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Summary

  1. MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee took evidence from Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb.
  2. MPs assembled in the chamber at 11.30am, with Prime Minister's questions at noon.
  3. There was an urgent question on the BBC White Paper, from shadow culture secretary Maria Eagle.
  4. MPs then considered Lords' amendments followed by a debate on uprating of pensions for UK pensioners living overseas.
  5. Peers met at 3pm and, after oral questions, had three debates scheduled.

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel, Patrick Cowling and Gary Connor

All times stated are UK

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House adjourns

House of Lords

Parliament

The minister brings his remarks to a close and the day's business in the House of Lords comes to an end.

Thanks for joining us - MPs return tomorrow at 9.30am and peers begin again at 11am.

Until then though - good night. 

Buses bill 'just over the horizon'

Bus services debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon responds to the debate by mentioning the various funding routes for local bus services - naming several government departments as well as the NHS.

The minister says that government is spending £7.6 million on a review looking at how various organs of government can work together to provide efficient and cost-effective bus services.

A number of peers mentioned a rumoured upcoming 'buses bill' during the debate, and Lord Ahmad says that peers should "wait a little longer - it is just over the horizon".

Lord Ahmad adds: "where greener buses have been operating we have seen the benefits - but the technology is still developing". 

He says that the government is committed to encouraging greener buses and outlines a number of funding schemes to promote this. 

Labour call for more local powers

Bus services debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Rosser
BBC

Labour Transport spokesperson Lord Rosser says the government's "persistent attack on local government budgets over the past six years" has led to a reduction in the ability of local authorities to maintain bus services that commercial bus companies will not run because they are not profitable.

On the environmental issue, Lord Rosser argues that local transport authorities should have powers to set environmental standards on buses in their area.

Buses today 'unrecognisable' to 15 years ago

Bus services debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Snape talks about the progress made in the bus industry, saying modern buses are "unrecognisable" when compared to buses of "even 15 years ago" - talking about the connectivity and accessibility of new vehicles.

He argues that the main competitor to bus companies is not other companies but the car - "buses can only be viable if they offer a truly viable alternative to the private car" he says.

Lord Snape tells peers that the bus "really is the glue that holds together a successful and sustainable community".

Lib Dem Lord Greaves says the reduction in funding in local authorities means that the "screws are being put on the subsidised bus services". 

Lord Snape
BBC

Buses debate begins

Bus services debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Randerson
bbc

The debate on school admissions comes to an end and the next debate begins.

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Randerson is leading the last debate of the day, which is on bus services in England and their environmental impact.

Baroness Randerson says that despite falling usage outside of London, "every day 2.5 million people go to work by bus" and argues that bus services are often most important to the most vulnerable in society.

She argues that cuts to bus services are similar in scale to the Beeching cuts to train services in the 1960s.

On the environmental side of the issue, Baroness Randerson argues that "cutting edge technology" offers opportunities to cut carbon emissions and also says that the "uber model" of business could be an answer to falling bus usage - saying "there is nothing sacred about the bus as a style of vehicle". 

Minister: review of code underway

School admissions code debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Government spokesperson Baroness Evans of Bowes Park responds to the debate saying that there is an ongoing consultation on the admissions code, telling peers that many of the issues they have raised are being addressed in this review.

The aim of the review, she says, is to "make the admissions process as clear and fair as possible".

'Enormous pressure' on schools

School admissions code debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer and education spokesperson Lord Storey begins his response to the debate by saying "admission codes must be fair and equitable and in the interest of local schooling".

He argues that schools dealing with exams, league table positions, and Ofsted inspections place "enormous pressure on schools" and could lead to "wholly unacceptable situations where schools might be tempted to engineer the intake". 

Lord Storey
BBC

'Rationing' of school places

School admissions code debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Desai
BBC

Labour's Baroness Massey of Darwen welcomes the "timely" debate and notes that some have claimed that admissions are in "a mess". 

Lib Dem Lord Taverne says that the system by which religious schools are allowed to set their own admissions criteria is "not fit for purpose" and says that schools need to be made inclusive and free from discrimination.

"Schools should not put children into categories of belief", he adds. 

Labour's Lord Desai says that the lack of school places amounts to rationing, and says "when there is rationing it gives "powers to the suppliers" to impose conditions. 

School admissions code debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now move on to a debate on the school admissions code, led by Labour's shadow education spokesperson, Lord Watson of Invergowrie.

The current admissions code came into force in December 2014, but varies from school to school. Schools may give priority to some children due to their faith, or already having a sibling at the same school.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator helps to clarify the legal position on admissions policies in schools, and also settles disputes about school organisation proposals.

Lord Watson
BBC

House of Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

Claire Perry says she could talk on the issue all night...however, it is an empty threat and the debate concludes, bringing the day in the Commons to an end. 

MPs will return tomorrow for the last day of the Parliamentary session also known as prorogation.

There will be a special programme on BBC Parliament to mark the occasion. 

Natascha Engel
HOC
Deputy Speaker Natascha Engel announces the Commons adjournment

'Educational attainment is key'

Life chances strategy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Work and Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann thanks peers for their contribution to the debate, and says that a focus on life chances is ensuring that every individual is able to realise their potential.

"We know that being part of a working household is the best route out of poverty," she tells peers.

She says she "hears the concerns" on Universal Credit and says that it is "clear that educational attainment is key to ensuring poor children do not end up as poor adults."

Baroness Altmann
BBC

'Making work pay'

Life chances strategy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Summarising the debate on behalf of the opposition, Labour's shadow pensions minister Baroness Sherlock says that she's going to sit in the Bishops' Bar to talk about the subject further, because she doesn't have time to cover all her points in five minutes.

Focusing on the issue of work, she says that there is concern from all signs about working poverty and Universal Credit, the latter which she says all peers need to protect from the "ravishes" of the Treasury.

"One of the things we have to do is address making work pay."

Baroness Sherlock
BBC

Call to 'think big'

Life chances strategy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative Lord Shinkwin says he endorses the prime minister's call to "think big".

"The strategy needs to be inclusive because as we all know, disability remains a major source of disadvantage," he continues.

He asks those who are drafting the life chances strategy to include a package of cost-effective measures to ensure disabled graduates reach their full potential.

Lord Shinkwin
BBC

Perry: Timetable changes led to unintended consequences

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Transport Minister Claire Perry tells the MP that C2C introduced the changes to help passengers who wanted to get on at West Ham and Barking.

However she acknowledges that there have been unintended consequences. In this case "clever London commuters" realised they could use the C2C line rather than the District line (the Tube). This, she says, has led to overcrowding. 

She notes that the company has responded by making adjustments to the timetable and will continue to do so. 

Claire Perry
HOC

A new approach needed

Life Chances Strategy Debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord Lupton argues that it is "unproductive to overlay the intractable social problem of poverty, its causes, and its solutions with excessive party politicking". 

He argues that both the ideas of "big state" policies of government intervention and wealth redistribution, and laissez-faire capitalism as the sole answers to poverty are "defunct".

He argues that a new "social approach" is needed.

'Lessons to be learnt'

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

David Amess concludes: "Let me used the dreadful expression - lesson to be learnt."

He suggests that the lesson C2C should learn is that "they should not make an enemy of my good self - I remember everything and do hold grudges".

However he says he will keep fighting and is positive that the service will be improved.

More than one chance

Life Chances Strategy Debate

House of Lords

Parliament

The Lord Bishop of Truro asks for regular measurement of food insecurity levels in the country to be included in the life chances strategy.

"If you are poor and food insecure then your chances will inevitably be less," he says.

The bishop also says that there is already good focus on early years but argues, "we must not forget older children - people should not just have one chance".

Bishop of Truro
BBC

C2C line woes

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative David Amess has tabled the debate to raise the issue of timetable changes on the C2C line.

The C2C line runs between London and Southend and is run by the National Express Group. 

David Amess remembers travelling on the line before December 2015 as a happy experience.

However it was in December that he received a phone call from the Managing Director of C2C to say that the timetable would be changed to increase the reliability of the service.

"Within days [of the new timetable being introduced] I received literally dozens of emails complaining about how difficult their journeys had become." 

Southend pier
BBC
Southend pier

Debate has 'potential for good'

Life Chances Strategy Debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Farmer begins his comments in the debate by lauding the record of David Cameron on the issue of addressing the life chances of young people, saying that from the beginning of his leadership of the Conservative Party and then as prime minister he has been committed to addressing "root and branch" the issue of poverty.

He tells peers not to underestimate the "potential for good that our time together today holds".

"One of the paramount roles of good government is ensuring everyone has the opportunity to flourish, whatever their starting point," he says.

Lib Dem peer Baroness Tyler of Enfield says that a life chances strategy "must consider the entire life cycle", and also argues that there is no chance of increased life chances while entrenched inequalities remain .

Treasury Committee session with Osborne ends

Treasury Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

The Treasury Committee session comes to an end after nearly two and a half hours, leaving George Osborne time to make it to his daughter's school play.

'No coming back' if UK votes to leave EU - Osborne

Treasury Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Chancellor George Osborne tells MPs: "If we vote to leave we are leaving. There is no coming back. It is a one-way door."

He argues that leaving the EU would mean the UK having "no influence on the continent in which world geography requires us to live".

Drawing to a close

Sean Curran

Parliamentary correspondent

This session of parliament is expected to end at around lunchtime tomorrow.

The last round of parliamentary ping pong - over the Housing and Planning Bill - came to an end when the House of Lords backed down in a row with MPs over proposals to force councils to sell off high value properties to fund Right to Buy for housing association tenants.

The end of the parliamentary year - prorogation - will be marked with a ceremony in the House of Lords.

The Government Chief Whip in the Lords, Lord Taylor, said the exact timings would be agreed sometime tomorrow but he expected the ceremony to take place around lunchtime or in the early afternoon.

House of Commons resumes

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The House of Commons has resumed and Conservative Sir David Amess gets to his feet to open his debate on train services in Southend.

He says he is delighted not only to have secured the debate but also that, technically, he has until 7pm to raise his concerns. 

David Amess
HOC

Housing Bill passes in the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

After a round up, the bill is passed by peers without the amendment being pushed.

While speaking for the last time on his amendment, Lord Kerslake says "Any contest between this House and the other place will be an unequal one - and this is as it should be. They are elected and we are not. However that should not dissuade us from making our case clearly and forcibly on issues that really matter".

With that the House now considers a debate on the government's delivery of the Life Chances Strategy to transform the lives of the most disadvantaged people in Britain, as outlined by the Prime Minister on 11 January.

The debate is being led by Conservative peer Lord Farmer.

Ping-pong finished

Parliamentary reporters tweet

What happens if the UK votes to leave EU?

Treasury Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

The chancellor faces questions from SNP MP George Kerevan about the mechanism for leaving the EU if the referendum results in that decision.

"If we vote to leave the European Union, the House of Commons is going to be doing nothing else for the next few years," George Osborne says.

He tells the committee the only way to leave is to "trigger Article 50" of the Lisbon Treaty, which sets out how a member state may withdraw from the union.

Mr Kerevan wants to know what would happen if a majority in Scotland Remain and the rest of the UK voted to Leave. Mr Osborne tells him "this is a UK-wide referendum" and a matter for the UK Parliament and the UK government, adding:

The best way to answer these questions is to campaign very hard [for Remain] so we don't have to face all these decisions."

Housing minister's 'disgraceful attack' on peer

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour frontbencher Lord Beecham responds to the minister's remarks with a strongly worded rebuke to Housing Minister Brandon Lewis for his "astonishing personal attack" on Lord Kerslake in The Sun newspaper. He calls it a "disgraceful attack" that is "unworthy of a minister of the crown".

Lord Kerslake is the crossbench peer responsible for the contentious amendment on the selling off and replacement of high value housing.

Lord Beecham says that the newspaper's story was "only wrong in three ways" and goes on to say "in fairness to The Sun, the have been fed this distorted version of events by the government".

The Labour shadow minister also questions the argument that the financial privilege of the House of Commons is being challenged by the Lords amendment to the bill.

In closing, Lord Beecham thanks Baroness Williams for her stewardship of "a very bad bill" and wishes her a peaceful weekend.

Lord Beecham
BBC

MP higlights constituents' concerns over EU expansion

Treasury Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Labour MP Helen Goodman
BBC

Labour MP Helen Goodman says "migration is quite a concern" for her Bishop Auckland constituents. This concern includes the possibility of countries including Albania, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey joining the EU and their citizens able to come to the UK, she sas.

George Osborne says the prospect of some of those countries joining is "very many, many years off" if it happens at all.

The chancellor says "the Balkan countries" - such as Serbia - are in discussions to join but the UK government has said: "We would not accept free movement of people for new accession states unless the GDPs of those countries had risen to the kind of levels that we see in Western Europe."

Ms Goodman says many people would not be aware that that was the government's position.

The end of the line

Housing and Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The minister responsible for the long hours of scrutiny of the Housing and Planning Bill, Baroness Williams of Trafford, rises to move Commons reasons for rejecting Lords amendments to the bill.

She emphasises that she is speaking "for the last time" on this bill and says that peers have provided "immense scrutiny" and that "together we have made some real improvements to the bill".

Baroness Williams says peers have debated the bill with "intelligence and good humour - and we have needed it".

"I'm sure we are looking forward to getting some well earned rest," she finishes by saying.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
BBC

Vote on the white paper?

BBC White Paper statement

House of Lords

Parliament

A number of peers including Conservative Lord Fowler and Labour's Lord Alli ask a question about the "process" around the charter renewal, and ask specifically if there will be a vote on the government's white paper.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe responds that the white paper will be announced tomorrow in Parliament and a full debate will be "forthcoming".

BBC UQ repeat

BBC White Paper statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Collins of Highbury
BBC

Labour frontbencher Lord Collins of Highbury responds to Baroness Neville-Rolfe's repeat of the answer to an urgent question made earlier today in the House of Commons.

Lord Collins says that the government's "pre-briefing" over the last few weeks has been "extremely unhelpful".

He says it "makes me wonder if the strategy is to make it sound so awful that the not-so-bad outcome becomes acceptable".

EU and net migration

Treasury Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Conservative MP Chris Philp says pressure group Migration Watch has said "net EU migration might drop by about 100,000" if the UK leaves the EU.

Chancellor George Osborne says there is a question for Leave campaigners over whether it is possible to secure access "to European markets without accepting freedom of movement".

Non-EU countries such as Switzerland and Norway have not managed such an arrangement, he adds.

News from the Upper House

PA's parliamentary editor tweets

The virtues of being polite

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Responding to a question about cold-calling from call-centres abroad, Baroness Neville-Rolfe says that it is important to work with international partners on this issue - and tells peers that she is going to China in the summer.

Shadow Minister Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town rises and remarks: "I hope they are very polite to you" - a reference to the recent video of the Queen complaining about the manners of Chinese officials during the recent state visit.

The comment causes laughter across the chamber.

Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town
BBC

Commons suspended

House of Commons

Parliament

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing has suspended the Commons, as MPs await a message from the House of Lords.

The House of Lords is going to be considering an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill that MPs sent back to the Upper House in a vote last night.

Eleanor Laing
BBC

Cold-calling vulnerable people

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Seccombe
BBC

Conservative peer Baroness Seccombe is asking the government about preventing vulnerable people from being targeted by unscrupulous cold-callers.

Culture, Media and Sport Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe responds for the government, saying the Consumer Rights Act has brought in a "package of measures to protect most vulnerable in society from the plague of nuisance calls".

This includes fines of £500,000 for breaches of the new code of practice, she says.

Blackford: 'Let's do the right thing'

Pensions uprating debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The SNP's Ian Blackford concludes the debate by noting that there's been a "unity" across the chamber this afternoon, on an issue that "shames us all".

This is a matter of considerable importance, he tells MPs.

"Let's do the right thing."

Ian Blackford
BBC

Leaving EU would cause deficit to rise, claims Osborne

Treasury Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

"If we vote to Leave, the deficit will rise", George Osborne says. He would expect an "impact on tax receipts" in the event of an EU exit.

"Credit conditions will tighten and that will impact on mortgage costs as well as business borrowing costs," the chancellor adds.

War in Yemen

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Wood of Anfield is asking the government what the scope and purposes of the involvement of United Kingdom security forces in military action in Yemen are.

Defence Minister Earl Howe responds for the government that the government supports the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen but says "the UK is not a member of the coalition and has no military presence in Yemen". 

"British military personnel are not involved in carrying out strikes or selecting targets," he tells peers.

Lord Wood lists a number of humanitarian organisations who have cited evidence of the Saudi-led coalition targeting civilians and asks the minister to strengthen parliamentary scrutiny over British engagement in the conflict and through arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

British soldiers
BBC

Black: 'Pensions get more bizarre'

Pensions uprating debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Winding up the debate on behalf of the SNP, Mhairi Black notes that the more she looks into the issue of pensions, the more "bizarre" it gets.

She says that the argument about cost of pensions "doesn't seem to stand up", because the costs incurred if pensioners were forced to return would be greater.

"It's worth reminding the minister that all the sympathy in the world won't pay bills."

Mhairi Black
BBC