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Summary

  1. MPs on the Treasury Committee took evidence on the 2016 Budget.
  2. In the Chamber from 11.30am, MPs questioned the Foreign Office ministerial team.
  3. There was an emergency debate on the UK steel industry.
  4. There was a backbench business debate on reform of support arrangements for people infected with contaminated blood; followed by report stage of the Transport for London Bill.
  5. Peers met at 2.30pm for questions; followed by the Immigration Bill, the Energy Bill and the Northern Ireland Bill.

Live Reporting

By Aiden James, Patrick Cowling and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

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House adjourns

House of Lords

Parliament

That's it from the House of Lords today.

Peers will return to action at 3pm tomorrow afternoon for more oral questions, and a second day of report stage scrutiny of the Housing and Planning Bill.

Until then - good night!

'Wealth of experience' brought to bear

Northern Ireland Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Dunlop responds to the debate for the government by thanking all peers who have taken part for the "quality and wealth of experience that has been brought to bear".

The minister finishes his remarks by saying that the bill has the support of the Northern Ireland executive and assembly and "plays a significant part in all our efforts to support a stable and workable devolution settlement in Northern Ireland".

Victims must be 'at heart' of agreements

Northern Ireland Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord McAvoy
BBC

Labour Northern Ireland Spokesman Lord McAvoy says this bill gives Northern Ireland the tools to address outstanding issues between communities and political parties over legacies and the past.

The Labour peer says that the minister, all political parties in Northern Ireland and the government of the Republic of Ireland deserve "huge credit" for achieving the fresh start agreement that he says "prevented a collapse of devolution".

Lord McAvoy also says that victims and survivors must be at the heart of any future agreement.

'Positive' steps

Northern Ireland Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat Lord Alderdice joins other peers in thanking the minister Lord Dunlop for his work on the bill.

Lord Alderdice says "this agreement was more truly the product of engagement of political parties in Northern Ireland - and particularly the two largest parties, than most other agreements".

He says this is a "very positive" indication.

Lord Alderdice does also say that the Colombian peace process shows where "we could have done it better" in the Northern Ireland peace process. He says that dealing with paramilitary groups as legitimate organisations rather than dealing with broad community interests helped continue the influence of the paramilitaries.

Spending 'bad habits'

Northern Ireland Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Lord Bew says that we should not forget where the political situation was in late autumn last year before this agreement, when it looked like a solution would not be reached.

Lord Bew joins others in welcoming the formation of the Independent Reporting Commission on tackling paramilitary activity.

He does raise a "small issue" that he has with the new organisation, saying it is "so typical of Northern Ireland that other governments foot the bill - I think it's a bad habit".

Lord Bew
BBC

Defining progress

Northern Ireland Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The former Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Lord Eames, says that the debate tonight brings to his mind a quote from the Queen: "Progress will be defined as being able to bow to the past but not be bound by it."

He joins Lord Empey in raising the issue of the "sinister new paramilitary threat" in Northern Ireland, describing a situation today where "young people are growing up in these ghetto areas surrounded by peace walls and the remnants of history".

"I have buried the victims of the violence and I have consoled the families," he says, and calls on the government to address the threat of renewed paramilitary activity and recruitment.

Lord Eames
BBC

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

That's it from another long day in the Commons.

MPs return tomorrow from 11.30am to put questions to Wales Office ministers, before David Cameron faces Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister's Questions.

MPs will also debate the government's plans for schools in England.

Northern transport strategy

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Transport Minister Andrew Jones says the Northern transport strategy policy paper is "laying the foundation for transformative infrastructure projects across the north of England".

This includes improved road and rail links, he says.

The North needs a high-speed, high frequency network between its six city regions."

Paramilitaries 'rampant'

Northern Ireland Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Empey
BBC

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey says that he welcomes the Independent Reporting Commission as he feels it fills a gap that was opened by recent paramilitary murders.

"We didn't have a mechanism to shine a light on that," he says.

"The paramilitaries are rampant" in Northern Ireland, especially in inner city areas, he claims.

"Only by making politics work for people in those communities will we break the link with the paramilitaries."

Lord Empey says he has "little faith" in pledges made by some in Northern Ireland as he says he believes that for them, pledges are "water off a duck's back".

He adds: "While there are many measures in this bill that are to be welcomed I am disappointed to see that some issues are missing altogether."

Call for new Pennines rail route

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Angela Smith
BBC

Labour's Angela Smith opens the short debate on road and rail links connecting Sheffield and Manchester.

"Some of us have been campaigning for years for a new rail route across the Pennines," the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge says.

She notes that the proposed HS2 high speed rail line would link to Leeds, meaning "a route that crosses the Pennines" and connects to South Yorkshire is also needed.

Direct rule 'infinitely and badly wrong'

Northern Ireland Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Murphy of Torfaen
BBC

Former Labour Northern Ireland Secretary Lord Murphy of Torfaen says he remembers one of the American negotiators at the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 saying that it was the "beginning and not the end of progress in Northern Ireland".

He tells peers: "When I look back over the last 18 years at the many agreements that have been made - I don't think there is anything wrong with that."

Of his time as a Welsh MP and a minister and then secretary of state in Northern Ireland, he says: "I had no right ruling that place."

Lord Murphy adds: "I felt uneasy all the time that I was making decisions for people who should have been making those decisions themselves."

Direct rule was "infinitely and badly wrong", he says.

Bill passes third reading

Transport for London Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The Transport for London Bill passes third reading without a vote, to further cheers from MPs.

The final business in the Commons tonight is an adjournment debate on transport in a different part of England: road and rail links connecting Sheffield and Manchester.

'The end of a very long journey'

Transport for London Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Bob Blackman
BBC

Conservative Bob Blackman says the Transport for London Bill is at "what I hope will be the end of a very long journey", to cheers from some of the remaining MPs in the chamber.

He says the bill will help to provide new homes and investment in "one of the major cities of the world".

"This bill enables TfL to play its part," he argues.

Mr Blackman says there are already "75 sights which will generate 10,000 new homes over the next two years" in London.

Bill is a 'crucial stage' of progress

Northern Ireland Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Government minister Lord Dunlop says the bill comes at a "crucial stage" in the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.

"The bill has the potential to resolve some of the most difficult challenges facing Northern Ireland and help secure a more peaceful, stable, and secure future for all the people of Northern Ireland," he says.

Lord Dunlop
BBC

The Independent Reporting Commission

Northern Ireland Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The bill establishes an Independent Reporting Commission to promote progress towards ending paramilitary activity.

The Commission will be established in an international treaty between the UK and Irish governments.

The Irish government has committed to introduce the equivalent legislation to ensure it can operate in the Republic of Ireland.

The first and deputy first ministers jointly have the power to nominate two people to serve on the Commission.

MP attacks Earls Court project

Transport for London Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Earls Court pictured in 2011
Getty Images
Earls Court pictured in 2011

Labour MP Andy Slaughter highlights the redevelopment of Earls Court in west London as an example of a bad project involving Transport for London land.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson approved plans for a 77-acre redevelopment in Earls Court and West Kensington in 2013, including the demolition of the Earls Court exhibition centre.

Mr Slaughter says anyone visiting the sight can see "the huge disruption to a whole neighbourhood of London".

He adds: "TfL has no control over this any more as it's now just a sleeping partner."

Northern Ireland Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Government minister Lord Dunlop is now moving the Northern Ireland (Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan) Bill at second reading in the House of Lords.

The bill implements a number of the measures agreed in the "A Fresh Start: The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan", which followed on from the Stormont House Agreement.

Amendment defeated

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers have voted to reject amendment 9E by 141 votes to 169, a majority of 28.

The rest of the Commons amendments are agreed to on the nod and the business moves on to the second reading of the Northern Ireland (Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan) Bill.

Long journey to end?

Transport for London Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Andy Slaughter withdraws his amendment and the bill completes its report stage.

Third reading, the final debate on the bill in the Commons, begins.

The Transport for London Bill has competed its passage through the House of Lords, meaning it is nearing the end of its journey through Parliament.

That journey has taken over five years.

Division!

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers have divided to vote on Labour peer Baroness Worthington's amendment 9E.

This amendment would commit the government to holding a review into whether it is appropriate for emissions resulting from the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme to be included in the net UK carbon budget.

The result of the division is expected at 8.35pm.

Further consultation 'unnecessary'

Transport for London Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Another London MP, Conservative Bob Blackman, opposes adding a requirement for a public consultation before Transport for London can lease land for development.

An amendment proposed by Labour MP Andy Slaughter would introduce this requirement.

Mr Blackman says TfL is "subject to the normal legal requirements on the development of land", which include a requirement to consult.

This makes a further consultation unnecessary, he asserts.

Measuring progress

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are now debating Commons amendments relating to "carbon accounting" in the Energy Bill. Carbon accounting refers to the ways in which carbon emissions are measured by the government.

The Climate Change Act sets a target for the UK to reduce emissions by 2050, and the government sets a number of intermediary targets called "carbon budgets".

The government favours counting carbon units created by the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme towards the UK carbon budget.

Labour frontbench spokesman Lord Grantchester says that the opposition favours removing this addition to the UK's carbon budgets. Labour peer Baroness Worthington has also tabled amendments to review the government's calculations of the carbon budget.

"This is about how we measure progress," she says, adding that the government's method is "complicated and unclear".

Baroness Worthington
BBC

'An arduous journey'

Transport for London Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow transport minister Daniel Zeichner
BBC

Shadow transport minister Daniel Zeichner says the bill has had an "arduous journey through both Houses". Parliament has been considering it for over five years.

"I guess plenty of people have aged during the passing, some of us visibly," he jokes.

He says his Labour colleague Andy Slaughter's amendments seek to improve the bill.

Mr Zeichner also welcomes the withdrawal of a clause in the bill which, he argues, would have allowed Transport for London to enter into "opaque limited partnerships" with the private sector.

He thinks the bill "can now move forward" without this clause.

Minister opposes 'watering down' bill

Transport for London Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill
BBC

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill says his department "supports TfL's commercial programme".

He believes "greater flexibility" will make Transport for London's business more efficient, which will benefit both taxpayers and fare-payers.

Mr Goodwill opposes the amendment from Labour's Andy Slaughter, which he thinks amounts to "watering down" the bill.

BreakingGovernment defeat

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Amendment 7AB has been accepted by 182 votes to 178, a razor thin majority of four.

The government is defeated despite large majorities in their favour in the two preceding divisions.

Third time lucky?

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Amendment 7AA is defeated by 78 votes to 181, a majority of 103.

Peers are clearly in a voting mood as they decide to stroll through the lobbies for the third time in a row on this group of amendments.

They are now voting on amendment 7AB which would add an exemption from the government's cut off date for new onshore wind developments, if planning permission was agreed before the government's cut off date of 18 June 2015.

The division result is expected at 7.55pm.

Proposed restriction on land development

Transport for London Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Andy Slaughter is speaking in support of a proposed new clause to the bill, concerning development on Transport for London land.

The new clause would prevent TfL leasing land to third parties if it has been used for "transport services" in the last ten years or has been deemed suitable for such a use.

Mr Slaughter's amendment would also require a public consultation before TfL "enters into a contract involving the development of land for other than the provision or maintenance of transport services for passengers".

Double division in the Lords

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Several peers agree to withdraw their amendments in this group but Liberal Democrat Lord Wallace of Tankerness says that, as he has received "no assurances from the government", he wishes to test the opinion of the House on his amendment 7X.

This amendment seeks to clarify the grace period for ending subsidies for new onshore wind developments in certain circumstances.

Peers vote to reject amendment 7X by 88 votes to 192, a majority of 104.

Not deterred by this thumping defeat, Lord Wallace of Tankerness now pushes amendment 7AA to a vote.

'Very risky steps'

Transport for London Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Andy Slaughter
BBC

The Transport for London Bill causes consternation for London Labour MPs, including Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith.

He thinks TfL is taking some "very risky steps in the deals it is doing with property developers".

His colleague, Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas, says TfL does not have "any social housing providers sitting on its property development group".

'Arbitrary' dates

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth
BBC

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth is responding to the debate on this group of amendments on behalf of the government.

The energy minister says that the criticism that the government has picked an "arbitrary" date for the end of the grace period for new developments is flawed, as "it is only arbitrary in the sense that any date is arbitrary".

Transport for London Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The next business in the Commons is the Transport for London Bill.

This is a private bill, meaning that it only changes the law as it applies to a particular organisation, in this case London's transport body.

It would allow TfL to borrow money against its property and to "enter into limited partnerships".

The bill has had a tortuous journey through Parliament, having been first introduced in 2010.

'Unintended consequences'

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer the Earl of Lindsay is speaking in support of the amendments tabled by Lord Foulkes and Lord Wallace.

He says he has two concerns about what he calls the "unintended consequences" of the bill as it currently stands.

The earl explains to the House that planning regulations in Scotland require a statutory period of three months consultation which adds time to a planning application. Therefore the cut off date for new onshore wind projects would unfairly affect developments in Scotland.

The other concern he raises is that community based projects could be stopped "dead in their tracks", despite a significant local investment.

Earl of Lindsay
BBC

Motion passes

Contaminated blood debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Diana Johnson says today's debate has revealed a "striking unanimity" of views across party lines about the proposals in the consultation.

MPs agree the motion, which is critical of the government's proposals and calls for improved support, without a vote.

Discretionary payments 'demeaning'

Contaminated blood debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Minister Jane Ellison says the proposal to end discretionary payments was influenced by feedback that "the process of applying for them was demeaning".

She adds that she has heard the criticism from MPs about this proposal.

Minister: No decisions until consultation closes

Contaminated blood debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison
BBC

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison declines to set out "any commitments or guarantees on scheme reform" until after the government's consultation has closed at the end of the week.

She stresses that no final decisions on reform will be made until after the consultation.

"This is a truly open consultation" she says, insisting that she wants to hear from those affected on what support they need.

But she argues that "scheme reform is necessary" to provide simplification and transparency.

'Fundamentally unfair'

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Wallace of Tankerness is speaking against the Commons amendment that would re-insert the end of onshore wind subsidies into the bill.

Lord Wallace talks about "the amount of investment that has been made over a long period of time" in the sector that is now going to be "cut off".

He says that, as far as he can see, this is "fundamentally unfair" to those who have invested in the renewables sector in the UK.

'Victims deserve justice'

Contaminated blood debate

House of Commons

Parliament

"The victims deserve some form of justice," says shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne, adding that the "removal of discretionary payments will make them worse off".

A number of MPs have criticised the potential removal of discretionary payments such as the winter fuel allowance for victims of contaminated blood and blood products.

Mr Gwynne asks the health minister to set out when a new support scheme will be implemented and calls for a debate in government time once the consultation on the proposals has ended.

Wind energy subsidy cuts

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Onshore windfarms
Getty Images

Peers now turn to an attempt by the Commons to re-insert a clause to end onshore wind subsidies.

The original Energy Bill would have ended the renewable obligation in March 2016, a year earlier than planned, but peers backed a Labour amendment deleting the clause at report stage.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth says this cut was a "manifesto commitment based on ideas we had floated long before the election".

To maintain investment in the sector a "grace period for organisations meeting certain conditions" will be introduced, to allow some schemes to have access to the subsidies as the industry transitions away from them.

Scandal is 'a disgrace'

Contaminated blood debate

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP health spokeswoman Philippa Whitford
BBC

"This scandal has been going on for over 40 years and people have been dying and not been recognised and not been looked after all of that time," says SNP health spokeswoman Philippa Whitford.

"It really is a disgrace."

She says it happened because the UK imported "American coagulation products and American blood".

Donors included prisoners and people who had sold their blood, such as drug addicts and people living "on the streets", she adds.

OGA amendment not reinstated

Energy Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers opt not to re-insert a clause to require the energy secretary to review the Oil and Gas Authority's performance each year.

Peers previously defeated the government to insert the requirement but the House of Commons reinstated a three year review period.

Energy Spokesman Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth argues a yearly review prevents the OGA from acting as an "independent regulator" and would make it "significantly out of step with other regulators".

The OGA will publish an annual report alongside its accounts to aid scrutiny, he adds.