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Summary

  1. MPs asked the Energy and Climate Change Secretary questions.
  2. That was followed by an urgent question from Conservative MP John Redwood, on NI numbers issued to EU migrants.
  3. There was a statement on the future of the BBC, as the Culture Secretary revealed the white paper.
  4. Peers met at 11am for questions to ministers.
  5. Parliament was prorogued later in the day.

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel, Patrick Cowling and Gary Connor

All times stated are UK

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New Broadcasting House

What is the White Paper on the renewal of the BBC Charter and how will it affect the corporation and its audience?

Read more

Class dismissed

MPs file out of the House of Commons chamber and shake hands with Speaker John Bercow on the way out.

That's all for now folks - Parliament will return for the Queen's speech on Wednesday 18 May.

House of Commons prorogued
BBC

New Lord Speaker to be chosen

Parliamentary reporters tweet

School's out

Baroness Stowell of Beeston has read out a speech from the Queen regarding the work of the government over the last parliament.

The Leader of the House of Lords then proceeds to prorogue the Parliament until Wednesday next week.

MPs now return to the House of Commons.

Baroness Stowell of Beeston
BBC

La Reine le Veult

The clerks of the House of Lords read out the Acts of Parliament which have been granted Royal Assent by the Queen.

One clerk reads out the Acts that have been passed, and the other responds with the Norman French phrase "La Reine le Veult" which can be roughly translated as "The Queen wills it".

La Reine le veult
BBC
The end of the Parliamentary session involves a few odd actions and Norman French being spoken in Westminster
The end of the Parliamentary session involves a few odd actions and Norman French being spoken in Westminster.

Nods and doffs

In the highly formal and ceremonial procedure officers of the House of Commons enter the Lords chamber and nod respectfully to the Lords Commissioners - who return with a doff of the hat.

House of Commons nodders
BBC
House of Lords doffers
BBC

Dressed to impress

The Lords Commissioners are seated ready to receive members of the House of Commons for the prorogation - they send Black Rod off to fetch MPs.

Lords Commissioners
BBC

What exactly is prorogation?

Prorogation marks the end of a parliamentary session. It is the formal name given to the period between the end of a session of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament that begins the next session,

Read more here.

Historic ceremony

Parliamentary reporters tweet

All rise for the Lord Speaker

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers, clerks and those in the public gallery stand for the arrival of the Lord Speaker for the beginning of prorogation procedure. 

Leader of the House of Lords Baroness Stowell of Beeston then tells the chamber that the Queen has "been pleased to cause a commission under the great seal to be prepared for proroging this present Parliament".

Peers then resume their seats while they wait for MPs to finish.

Peers stand for the Lord Speaker
BBC

And Speaker Bercow leaves the chair

Parliamentary reporters tweet

Statement raised

Parliamentary reporters tweet

Points of Order

House of Commons

Parliament

The statement on the BBC concludes and is succeeded by a flurry of points of order including the case of Suliman Gani and an expected statement on Syria.

Labour MP Diana Johnson notes that a statement on the situation in Syria was promised before prorogation, yet no such statement has been forthcoming. 

Speaker John Bercow tells MPs that the rights of the House must be respected and "very much" hopes that a statement will happen as soon as is practicable.

John Bercow
HOC

First time

BBC parliamentary correspondent tweets

House adjourns during pleasure

House of Lords

Parliament

With the end of the question and answer session on the BBC statement repeat, the House of Lords "adjourns during pleasure" until 1.10pm.

This is a very grand term for a break of specified or unspecified time in the Lords business.

Today the cause of this break is preparation for the ceremony of prorogation.

Does the licence fee have a future?

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative David Nuttall hopes that if additional subscription services are introduced, the BBC will have the confidence to move away from their "outdated" funding model and instead give individuals the choice to pay for the licence fee.

John Whittingdale agrees and says that in a fast-changing world there may come a time when the existing model is "harder to sustain".

A BBC 'health check'

BBC statement repeat

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Neville-Rolfe responds to criticisms about the government's approach, by saying that the government is holding a review that amounts to a five year "health check" for the BBC given the "completely new governance structures" that are being introduced.

On the point raised by Lord Alli, Barones Neville-Rolfe says the new approach seeks to "enhance the independence" of the BBC and ensures that the organisation is able to continue producing the programmes it "wants and needs" to make.

A luvvie apology?

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Nigel Huddleston
HOC

Conservative Nigel Huddleston notes a chasm between the "ridiculous scaremongering of the left and the luvvies and the common sense in the white paper".

He asks if the culture secretary has received an apology or iota of support from "the luvvies".

John Whittingdale agrees that there have been some "hysterical reports in the media" but hopes people will now welcome the proposals.

Reaction to white paper

BBC programme tweets

'Listen with Mother to Rastamouse'

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Rupa Huq tells MPs that from "Listen with Mother to Rastamouse" BBC children programming has been important to the corporation's reputation.

She asks that such programming will be exempt from possible charges on iPlayer.

John Whittingdale says that none of the BBC's existing services will be made subject to a voluntary subscription. 

Julia Lang, from Listen with Mother
BBC

BBC independence

BBC statement repeat

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Fowler
BBC

Conservative peer Lord Fowler asks why there is the need for a five year review before the new 11 year charter renewal process, saying "the BBC should be left to develop its own plans and build on its reputation as one of the world's great broadcasters without interference".

Labour peer Lord Alli, after criticising the whips for time limiting the debate to 20 minutes, says he fears that the white paper outlines a "less independent" BBC and contains "ticking time bombs" including the appointment of board members, funding and the "distinctiveness mandate".

Lord Alli says he fears this will stop the BBC producing popular programmes and asks whether the BBC will still be able to produce "the programmes it wants to, schedule them when it wants, and introduce the new services it thinks are right".

Lord Alli
BBC

Historic view

Archive tweets

BBC's EU referendum coverage

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative John Baron says the BBC does "a good job overall" but asks how the government is ensuring fair coverage of the EU referendum campaign given that the BBC receives EU funding.

John Whittingdale replies that he pressed the BBC to establish a fast track system for dealing with complaints about bias and is pleased that they have done so.

He adds that the impartiality requirement applies not just to the BBC but includes the commercial broadcasters. 

John Baron
HOC

Mandate for a 'strong and creative BBC'

BBC statement repeat

House of Lords

Parliament

Lib Dem Lord Foster of Bath welcomes many of the announcements made in the statement, saying that if the government had undertaken some of the rumoured proposals to change the BBC it would have amounted to "madness".

He finishes by saying the BBC is "the best broadcaster in the world and it is vital that the government does nothing to damage that reputation".

Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe responds that the white paper "delivers a mandate for a strong and creative BBC that the public believes in". 

She also tells peers that whether there will be a vote in parliament on the white paper "is still to be considered".

BBC vs local newspapers?

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Victoria Atkins asks how  the new charter will ensure that the BBC website does not have the unintended consequences of "driving people away from local newspapers".

John Whittingdale says local newspapers play a vital role particularly with increased devolution.

However he is encouraged by the deal reached between the BBC and the local press whereby the corporation will fund a reporting service to cover local authority services.

Victoria Atkins
HOC

Diversity commitment 'needs funding'

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's David Lammy welcomes the decision to make diversity a public purpose and wishes that Labour had done so when it was in power.

However he says that the commitment will need funds and asks the culture secretary for more details.

John Whittingdale welcomes Mr Lammy's support and tells him that it will be for the BBC to decide about the allocation of budgets.

David Lammy
HOC

Banned from the BBC?

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Peter Lilley
HOC

Conservative Peter Lilley tells MPs that he has affection for the corporation but notes that he has been banned from broadcasting on the BBC following an incident when he "pointed out that the MET Office forecast was incorrect".

He assures the House that he can take care of himself but hopes that in encouraging diversity, the BBC should consider "the greatest oppressed minority in this country - Conservatives".

Labour: need to focus on the detail of plans

BBC statement repeat

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow Minister Lord Collins of Highbury says people will be "reassured by the headlines" of the government's announcement, but warns that parliamentarians will have to "focus on the fine detail" of the plans.

The government, Lord Collins says, seems "intent" on appointing non-executive directors to the "all-powerful" new board and asks how these government appointments will continue to have a duty to the licence fee payers rather than to the minister who gave them their job.

On the change to the core message off the BBC to focus on distinctiveness, he asks "what does this mean in practice?" and asks whether the BBC will be able to compete with competitors and whether this will allow the board to interfere in editorial decisions.

Lord Collins of Highbury
BBC

'A champagne night for Rupert Murdoch'

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Barry Sheerman says the British people will not be fooled by the culture secretary's words.

Like a budget, he predicts that by Sunday the detail will have been crawled over revealing this to be "a dark day for the BBC" and "a champagne night for Rupert Murdoch".

John Whittingdale calls his response "utterly desperate".

Barry Sheerman
HOC

BBC' historically weak' on diversity

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Culture select committee chair Jesse Norman says the BBC has been "historically weak" on diversity and asks how the commitment to diversity will be monitored and enforced.

John Whittingdale says diversity should be a central priority for the BBC and says it will be up to Ofcom to determine whether or not the BBC is delivering.

Jesse Norman
HOC

Shot foxes and confused hounds

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Ken Clarke has sympathy for Maria Eagle "because every one of the foxes she expected to see running about has been shot and the hounds she expected to release appear to be running around in some confusion".

John Whittingdale says he has always been an advocate of fox hunting and feels he has shot plenty of foxes this morning.

Kenenth Clarke
HOc

'Scraping by on £300,000'

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

John Nicolson
HOC

SNP MP John Nicolson welcomes some of the proposals including the replacement of the BBC Trust with a unitary board, although he insists the board must represent the nations.

He says he is glad that the proposal to prevent the BBC from scheduling popular programmes at the same time as ITV "has died a quiet death".

He calls for a new Scottish news at six to replace the current "overly parochial offerings" and welcomes rumours that the BBC is currently "secretly piloting its own alternatives".

He notes that, as the salary transparency rules will only apply to those earning over £450,000, "we will not find out who is scraping by on £300,000".

Team celebration

Defence minister tweets

BBC statement repeat

BBC statement repeat

House of Lords

Parliament

Culture, Media and Sport Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe is now repeating a statement made earlier in the Commons today by the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, entitled A BBC for the future: a broadcaster of distinction.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
BBC

What's in the government White Paper?

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

The government's white paper proposes the following:

  • Creating a unitary board to be responsible for BBC governance. The BBC will appoint "at least half" of the board members
  • Appointing Ofcom as an external regulator of the BBC
  • Ensuring the licence fee level rises with inflation for five years from 2017/18
  • Opening up BBC content commissioning to the independent sector
  • Establishing an 11-year Charter to 2027 to separate the Charter review from the political cycle.

The government's proposals for the Charter review can be found here.

Whittingdale: 'No involvement in editorial decisions'

BBC statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale responds to Maria Eagle, and says that the mid-term review is not a mini-review, but instead a "health check".

On governance, Mr Whittingdale says that this is the first time that the BBC board will have at least half of members appointed by themselves, and reminds her that Labour appointed board members directly, when in government.

"The board will have no involvement in editorial decision making. The director general will remain editor-in-chief. They will not be influencing editorial content."

John Whittingdale
BBC

iPlayer loophole closed

BBC News tweets

The need for more statistics

NI numbers and EU migrants UQ repeat

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Sherlock
BBC

Shadow minister Baroness Sherlock says the number of National Insurance numbers has "never been a good guide to the number of British residents in the country never mind anybody else".

She also says that the Office for National Statistics figures published today should be used in conjunction with other statistics from government to help differentiate between short term visitors and long term workers.