Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. MPs met at 2.30pm for Defence questions, followed by an urgent question on junior doctors' contracts.
  2. MPs on the Communities and Local Government Committee took evidence on homelessness.
  3. The day's main business was two debates on the introduction of the National Living Wage; then educational attainment in Yorkshire and the Humber.
  4. After oral questions, peers examined the Housing and Planning Bill at report stage.

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel, Patrick Cowling and Alex Partridge

All times stated are UK

Get involved

House adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

Minister John Penrose says "there has been plenty of care taken to gather all of the information that is out there" on voter fraud.

Mr Penrose says that he has been told by the Department for Communities and Local Government there has been "huge progress in Tower Hamlets - but there is still further to go".

The minister finishes his remarks and the day's business in the House of Commons comes to a close.

That's all from us this evening - join us tomorrow from 11.30am for another day in parliament.

Until then, goodnight.

'We must not be complacent on voter fraud'

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Cabinet Office minister John Penrose is responding to the debate for the government.

Mr Penrose thanks Mr Fitzpatrick for raising this issue, saying "this isn't only important for his constituency and borough, but has resonance in many parts of the country".

"Thankfully voter fraud isn't something we deal with much in this country, but it is entirely wrong for us to become complacent about this issue", he says.

Conservative MP Julian Lewis joins the minister in praising the "heroism" of the voters who took legal action over the issue.

John Penrose
BBC

Electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Lutfur Rahman, the ex-Mayor of Tower Hamlets, was found guilty of illegal practices in April 2015.

Mr Rahman was first elected as Mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2010 and went on to be re-elected in 2014.

The 2014 Mayoral election was voided and Labour's John Biggs won a new election in June 2015.

The Election Court found Mr Rahman guilty of giving money to Bangladeshi or Muslim groups in return for support.

A group of four voters took legal action against Mr Rahman over a series of allegations of election fraud in 2014.

Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey said the evidence revealed "an alarming state of affairs".

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The debate on educational attainment in Yorkshire and the Humber is brought to a close by Labour MP Jo Cox, and we move smoothly into the last business of the day - the adjournment debate led by the Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, Jim Fitzpatrick.

Mr Fitzpatrick is leading this debate on the investigation into electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets.

Government response

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Education minister Nick Gibb says that he "agrees entirely" with Jo Cox's statement that "nothing we do in this House is more important that making sure that no child is left behind".

Whilst admitting the problems in attainment in Yorkshire and the Humber, the minister says "schools today are better than ever before with 1.4 million more children in good and outstanding schools than in 2010".

In Yorkshire and Humber, Mr Gibb says that "compared with 2010, there are 209 more good and outstanding schools in August 2015, meaning 133,000 pupils attend a good school today".

Nick Gibb concludes by saying "this government is determined that every area and region of the country will have rising academic standards".

The role of teaching assistants

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Melanie Onn says that it is extremely important "for Yorkshire and the Humber to be here in the chamber today speaking up for children across our region".

The MP for Great Grimsby raises the point that teaching assistants are "a huge resource for schools but are often under valued and not used effectively".

"Unlike teachers there is no national pay structure for teaching assistants", Ms Onn tells the chamber, and says this often leads to situations where "when budgets are squeezed, those remaining have to take on more work, that they are not necessarily qualified to do, for less pay".

Melanie Onn
BBC

'Strain' on teachers and pupils

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Greg Mulholland
BBC

Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland is now speaking to the debate.

"It is unusual for a group of Yorkshire MPs having to have a debate about something where Yorkshire is not performing well" he says, pointing to Yorkshire successes in the 2012 Olympic Games, and the fact that the Yorkshire Pudding was recently "crowned best regional food in Britain".

Mr Mulholland says that "the morale of teachers is a very serious concern" and points to statistics compiled by the NASWUT teacher's union that points to the mental and physical strain on teachers.

The MP for Leeds North West also says that the "pressure being put on primary school pupils is leading to those young people being stressed", and saying he is now having to tell his own daughter to take some time away from doing homework "every single night".

Engaged parenting 'makes a difference'

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Caroline Flint says that the loss of mining and industrial jobs in the region "cast a long shadow over children's potential".

Ms Flint says that attainment gap issues "start well before children start in school".

"Postcodes are a factor but parents are the most important influence on their children" she says, arguing that "confident engaged parenting does make a difference". 

"We may have more teachers than ever before but they might not be the right teachers in the right places", the MP for Don Valley says, and warns of the dangers of competing academies poaching teachers off each other.

Caroline Flint
BBC

Support for academies

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Martin Vickers says he doesn't want to "paint a black picture" of his region, but says that reading the research does "hit home" the problems faced in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Mr Vickers speaks very highly of the academies in his region as they have been "a considerable success". He is intervened on by a series of Labour MPs who argue that academies were brought in as a "tailored response" to under funding in certain local areas, and shouldn't be expanded across the whole school system.

When faced with Labour MPs pointing to falling results in some new academies in his area, the MP for Cleethorpes argues that "it is a much broader issue than just the GCSEs, it is the opportunities that are opening up to our young people from these organisations".

Amendment defeated

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The amendment has been defeated by 64 votes to 159.

The next group of amendments are two government amendments which deal with how local authorities deal with rouge landlords. 

Amendment 96 states that local authorities must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the offence complained of has been committed before issuing a financial penalty.

The amendment is unopposed and that concludes the day in the House of Lords.

Peers return tomorrow at 2:30 for oral questions.

House of Lords clock
HOL

'Wasted talent'

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Dan Jarvis
BBC

Labour MP Dan Jarvis says "unless we address the regional disparities in educational attainment then this country will become more divided".

Mr Jarvis says that the other problem is that "this attainment gap wastes the talent of young people in our communities".

The MP for Barnsley Central says that addressing poverty, raising aspiration, and ensuring strong leadership are the keys to tackling the regional attainment gap.

Prosecuting rouge landlords

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The next amendment up for debate is Labour's amendment 95B.

The amendment states that rouge landlords could be prosecuted in addition to being charged a financial penalty.

The bill as it stands states that financial penalties can be used as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences.

Viscount Younger of Leckie believes using both penalties and prosecutions for the same offence would be "disproportionate".

Lord Kennedy says he is not satisfied with the government's response and pushes his amendment to a vote. 

Attainment gap between boys and girls

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The Conservative MP for Shipley Philip Davies is raising the issue of the "very worrying trend" of the attainment gap in Yorkshire, and elsewhere, between boys and girls in education.

On the subject as a whole, he says that although there are some "very good schools with very good standards in Yorkshire", it is perfectly clear that standards are not good enough as a whole.

Mr Davies says that many pupils in Bradford are starting from "a very low language base" which causes teachers to work in "very difficult circumstances". 

Philip Davies
BBC

Amendment rejected

House of Lords

Parliament

For the first time today the government has won a vote in the House of Lords.

The amendment is defeated by 89 votes to 167.

The need for incentives

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Graham Stuart
BBC

The former chair of the education committee, Conservative MP Graham Stuart agrees with Jo Cox in saying that "we need constantly to work to improve the incentives for the best teachers to teach in the poorest areas and to be rewarded for staying there".

Mr Stuart warns other MPs from making a party political point on this issue, saying "this situation and divide was not created under this government".

"There has long been this divide and we need to find a way with the maximum consensus possible of creating a framework of incentives to get the best teachers to the places they are needed most and which can transcend general elections" he says.

The MP for Beverley and Holderness says that "without that we are going to continue to have this divide and have unnecessary tinkering and disruption in the education system".

Peers divide

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers vote
HOL

Labour's Lord Beecham remains unconvinced. 

He accuses the government of adopting "a Janus-like posture" by giving one impression to the community affected and another to the general population.

He describes the situation as unpalatable and pushes the amendment to a vote. 

'Real investment' needed

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Jo Cox concludes her remarks saying "I recognise the answers to these problems will not be found easily but surely this growing divide in regional academic attainment can no longer be left unchallenged".

"Nothing we do in this place matters more than ensuring that no child is left behind", she says.

Ms Cox finishes saying "we need real investment and sustained political commitment" to address this issue.

Gypsies and travellers

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The next group of amendments seeks to ensure that when assessing accommodation needs local housing authorities in England must consider "the needs of separate plots on which gypsies, travelers and travelling show people can have both residential accommodation and space for the storage of equipment".

Viscount Younger of Leckie believes the amendments are not necessary as needs of such groups are already considered - "this clause does not change that".

Dale Farm travellers site, Crays Hill, Essex
BBC
Dale Farm travellers site, Crays Hill, Essex

The affect of where you are born on education

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Jo Cox says "for too long attention has focused narrowly on socio-economic inequality in determining academic achievement but we now know that it is not just the relative wealth of parents that holds back the potential of our children - it is also where they live".

Ms Cox says that "regional disparities in attainment are already apparent by the end of primary school and are apparent even when you take into account things like ethnicity and income".

The MP for Batley and Spen says "it is now clear that where you are born has become a more powerful predictive factor of your performance at school than any other". 

Jo Cox
BBC

Amendment withdrawn

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Williams says she appreciates the motivation behind Lord Watson's amendment agreeing that a stable environment is important for a child's upbringing.

She therefore offers an undertaking to introduce an amendment at third reading allowing councils to extend tenancies to cover the time a child is in full time education.

The amendment is therefore withdrawn. 

Second debate begins

Education in Yorkshire & the Humber debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The debate on the new national living wage comes to an end as the motion is passed without a vote, and Labour MP Jo Cox now rises to move her motion on educational attainment in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The full text of her motion says:

That this House notes that Yorkshire and the Humber was the lowest ranked region in England in 2013-14 for educational attainment; further notes that the January 2016 report from the Social Market Foundation entitled Educational Inequality in England and Wales found that geographical inequality was the most important factor in determining students’ educational attainment; and calls on the Government to take action to address the underlying causes of these inequalities as a matter of urgency and to set out the steps it is taking to ensure that children in Yorkshire and the Humber are equally likely to achieve good school qualifications as children in London."

'Who is running the country?'

National Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Joan Ryan
BBC

Labour MP Joan Ryan responds to the debate saying that although she has "heard what the minister has said" in response to the debate, workers are being "sold the same lie they were sold last year". 

"They are told that their lives will get easier but from this month thousands of them know that this is not true, and that cannot be right" she says.

"Increasing the minimum wage is not a bad idea" the MP for Enfield North says, but she remarks that it is "fundamentally unfair that hard working people should earn less as a result of this policy".

She tells the minister that "he should support this motion by closing this loophole" - asking the government frontbench: "who is running this country - is it the government or is it companies like B&Q?"

National Living Wage a 'significant achievement'

National Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Business, Innovation and Skills minister Nick Boles joins other MPs in wishing a speedy recovery for Siobhain McDonagh the MP who was supposed to lead the debate but is currently in hospital recovering from an injury.

Nick Boles says that many contributions from the opposition benches did not give enough credit to the government's policy, and "failed to recognise the significance of this achievement".

Mr Boles says that the government are enforcing the national minimum wage more robustly than any previous government.

He says the last Labour government spent £8 million in enforcing the minimum wage in 2009/10, compared to the "£20 million that this government will spend this year". 

'May not must'

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Porter of Spalding
HOL

Conservative peer and Chairman of the Local Government Association Lord Porter of Spalding speaks against Lord Watson's amendment. 

He is particularly wary of the phrase "must do something" as opposed to "may do something".

He explains that from a local government point of view "must is a very bad thing unless someone gives us a big cheque for it".

Opposition response

National Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow Business, Innovation and Skills minister Kevin Brennan rises from the Labour frontbench to respond to the debate for the opposition.

Kevin Brennan says that the contributions from the opposition side of the chamber have been largely supportive of the idea behind the introduction of the National Living Wage, but are criticising the implementation of the policy in potentially making circumstances worse for some people.

The shadow minister says the policy is "not the introduction of a new concept, it's a symptom of the chancellor's inability to do anything that might be worthwhile without trying to extract the maximum political advantage out of it".

Kevin Brennan
BBC

Disruptive changes

Housing Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Kerslake is reassured by the government's concession and withdraws his amendment.

Peers now turn to the next set of amendments which continue to look at secure tenancies.

Labour's education spokesperson Lord Watson of Invergowrie speaks to his amendment which states that a local housing authority must grant a tenancy for a house which is a secure tenancy for the length of time that any child living in any such dwelling is in full time education.

He asks peers to consider how disruptive it must be for children to have to change school and re-establish life in an unfamiliar area.

Lord Watson of Invergowrie
HOL

Minimum wages support local economies

National Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP Social Justice and Welfare Spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford points to the history of minimum wage legislation, saying "what we must not lose sight of in this debate is that setting a floor in wages has had enormous benefit for those working in low paid sectors of the economy - the vast majority of them women".

Ms Whiteford says that "every time minimum pay has been introduced a wide range of corporate interests have predicted the economy is going to hell in a handcart".

"The reality has been quite the opposite because when people on low wages have money in their pockets they tend to spend it in their local communities, they've spent it boosting their local economies", she says.

"Not so much of it has ended up stashed in off-shore bank accounts".

The plight of seafarers

National Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The Labour MP for Cardiff Central Jo Stevens says that her remarks will be confined to the effect of wage legislation on seafarers - who she says "are the only group of workers excluded from the full protection of national minimum wage legislation and equal pay legislation".

Ms Stevens says "ships working in UK waters, between UK ports, and between UK and continental ports are crewed by staff on pay rates that are well below the national minimum wage".

The Labour MP says "many companies are recruiting outside the UK to crew their ships, in order to profit from sub-minimum wage pay rates"

She says this "legalised exploitation" is "driving a decline in the number of UK seafarers".

Government offers 10-year fixed term tenancies

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

After a speech from Labour's Lord Beecham where he indicates his party's support for Lord Kerslake's amendment, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park stands up for the government.

She says the proposed changes to secure tenancies are to help support people who need social housing and also to help those who live in social housing but "aspire to own their own home".

She offers a concession and says that government will bring forward amendments at third reading to bring in a maximum tenancy of ten years, an advance on the current proposal for a maximum of five years, and also to ensure that people with school age children can stay long enough to avoid them having to move schools unnecessarily. 

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
BBC

'Smoke and mirrors'

National Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Alison Thewliss
BBC

SNP MP Alison Thewliss joins many other speakers in calling the National Living Wage policy "smoke and mirrors" by the Chancellor.

Ms Thewliss says "if people can't live off it then it is not a living wage" and asserts to the chamber that "the real living wage is independently set by the living wage foundation".

The MP for Glasgow Central says the government owes an apology to the living wage foundation, trade unions, employers and campaigners who have undertaken "the real living wage".

"It is a gross insult to those campaigners to appropriate their term", she says.

Fixed tenancies will create more 'balance'

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative Lord Young of Cookham says he supports the removal of lifetime tenancies. He says there has to be a "balance" between those who have secure, lifetime tenancies and those who are on the waiting list for social housing.

He says that fixed term tenancies will "start a conversation" between tenants and local authorities over different options for housing, and will increase the amount of places available for those on the waiting list.

Lord Young of Cookham
BBC

'An absolute travesty'

National Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Holly Lynch says that she welcomes "any and all measures" to address the challenge of low paid work.

However, she says it is "an absolute travesty that young people have been told they are not worth £7.20 an hour" and says she will focus most of her remarks on the government only paying over-25s the National Living Wage.

Ms Lynch points out many of the financial problems faced by 16-25 year olds, including high debt levels, saying "would it not make sense to lend this group a helping hand and extend the national living wage to under 25s?"

'Insecurity, uncertainty, and exploitation'

National Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Justin Madders
BBC

Labour MP Justin Madders begins his remakrs saying "to many the reality of the world of work involves insecurity, uncertainty and exploitation".

Mr Madders says the debate so far has highlighted "many examples of employers taking away with one hand what the new minimum wage gives with the other".

Conservative MP Richard Fuller intervenes on Mr Madders to say that the National Living Wage will see a 30% increase in the labour costs of companies and asks "what will he say to the employers who have to meet that increasing cost?"

Mr Madders says that Mr Fuller "misses the point of the whole debate", saying that "at the moment we have a very dishonest settlement where unscrupulous methods are used to take money away from people".

Richard Fuller
BBC

Peers seek concessions on lifetime tenancies

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Kerslake
BBC

Crossbencher Lord Kerslake is introducing Amendment 79, which removes the section of the bill that would phase out lifetime tenancies in social housing.

He says that the amendment gets to the heart of an important debate over how we see council homes. He asks if council houses are "a genuine home, or a house, or even a temporary welfare provision."

He says that unless the bill is changed, "that is the direction of travel".

He says that "stable, successful communities need stable tenants", and that the provision is "unnecessary".

'Not a living wage'

National Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP MP Angela Crawley says that the National Living Wage (NLW) "sounds positive, it sounds like a great thing" but says "the fact is this is not a living wage".

"The fact that we are already witnessing the unintended consequences on this policy...that only proves that once more this government has undermined the role of workers in favour of businesses."

Ms Crawley says "once more the hardworking people of this country will pay while the bankers, businesses and tax avoiders continue to profit".

Angela Crawley
BBC

Peers return to the Housing Bill

Housing Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers return to the Housing Bill and Viscount Leckie of Younger speaks to government amendments 78A and 133B. 

The amendments allow the government to limit local authorities' power to appoint or remove officers of private registered providers.

Viscount Leckie tells peers these amendments have one aim: "to remove housing associations from the public accounts".

After a short debate the amendments are agreed to.

Viscount Leckie of Younger
HOL

Junior doctors contract statement

Housing Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
HOL

Peers take a break from voting on the Housing Bill to listen to a repeat of Jeremy Hunt's statement on the new junior doctor contract.

Responding for the opposition Lord Hunt of Kings Heath warns the government that doctors are now "utterly disenchanted" with how the issue has been handled.

Lord Prior of Brampton acknowledges that there are "no winners" from the dispute and that patients are the "very clear loser". 

Lord Prior of Brampton
HOL

Living wage 'an intellectual nonsense'

National Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Philip Davies calls the concept of a national living wage "an intellectual nonsense". He says the amount of money someone needs to live on is dependent on so many factors that it's not possible to set an amount of money that's needed to live on.

He says what is really being talked about here is a rise in the minimum wage.

He says Joan Ryan, in her opening speech, appears to believe that all employers are "a rich Baron living in a mansion, driving round a huge Bentley". He says the vast majority of businesses are small and medium sized and will struggle to pay for an increase in the minimum wage.

He says the ultimate result of an increase in the minimum wage will be less jobs being available.

Housing Bill defeats

Housing Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The House of Lords has inflicted a third defeat on the Government over its plans to push up rents for "high income" tenants of social housing in England.

Peers have backed an amendment from the crossbench peer, Lord Kerslake, raising the income thresholds when households would be expected to pay a higher rent from £31,000 to £40,000 - or £50,000 in London.

Peers backed the new thresholds in an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill by a majority of 91 votes.

The Government has now suffered six defeats on the Bill during its Report Stage in the Lords. 

Housing Estate
BBC

Breaking... and another defeat

Housing Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

It's a hat-trick for opposition peers as the government is defeated for a third time.

Lord Kerslake's amendment 76 is agreed 266 votes to 175.