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Summary

  1. Ministers from the Foreign Office took questions from MPs.
  2. This was followed by an urgent question on reports that UK-made cluster bombs may have killed civilians in the Yemen conflict and then a statement on the UK's involvement in Syria.
  3. MPs and peers will debate the proposals in the Queen's Speech. The day's subject in the Commons was foreign affairs, including Europe.
  4. The debate continues over several days, looking at different subject areas. The Queen's Speech is voted on by the Commons, but no vote is taken in the Lords.
  5. The Business, Innovation and Skills committee heard evidence on the EU Referendum.

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel, Patrick Cowling and Alex Partridge

All times stated are UK

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House adjourns

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bridges of Headley concludes his remarks saying that he and other ministers look forward to debating these issues in the weeks to come.

With that debate on the Queen's Speech is adjourned until tomorrow and the day's business in the House of Lords comes to an end.

Join us tomorrow at 3pm for oral questions and the last day of debate on the Queen's Speech - which will cover the topics of economic affairs, energy, environment, local government and transport.

Until then, good night!

Government response

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bridges of Headley
BBC

Cabinet Office minister Lord Bridges of Headley responds to the debate for the government - and has sixty speeches to respond to.

On one of the most popular issues raised in the debate, the proposed British Bill of Rights, the minister says that human rights were protected before the 1998 Human Rights Act and "will be protected in the future" by a new Bill of Rights, which will "return credibility" to the system.

Lord Bridges addresses the other hot topic of the debate - secondary legislation and the Strathclyde Review, saying that there has been "no increase in the number of Statutory Instruments laid before parliament over the last 20 years".

He points out that more SIs were laid during years of the last Labour government and tells peers there is a "comprehensive scrutiny system for secondary legislation".

Labour: Government 'frightened of being questioned'

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Opposition spokesperson Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town is responding to the debate for the Labour frontbench.

She says that transparency and challenge are healthy for democracy and outlines where she thinks the government are falling short - pointing to what she calls "a register of lobbyists which excludes all the main lobbyists", and to policies which she says show that the government is "frightened of being questioned".

Baroness Hayter concludes her remarks saying the speech does not show the government "facing up to the challenges" of the country.

Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town
BBC

Thoughts on prisons policy

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Ramsbotham
BBC

The former Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales and Crossbench peer Lord Ramsbotham says there is "no doubt that our overcrowded, grossly understaffed prisons are failing in their duty to protect the public".

He argues that "unlike every business, hospital or school" the prison service has no one person responsible or accountable for any particular function of the service.

Conservative peer and chief executive of the Centre for Social Justice Baroness Stroud says that if the government's policy ambition is effective, prisons could "become engines for social justice not just holding pens for criminals".

Baroness Stroud
BBC

Devolution in England

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Lennie speaks about devolution in England, saying that history was made this year with the north east combined authority agreeing to the creation of an elected mayor in exchange for the devolution of certain powers.

He calls for a national constitutional convention to provide "the intellectual rigour that is necessary for a process of constitutional change".

The north east's major export, he says, has been talent from the region leaving because it sees no future there.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Janke speaks in support of the government's ambition for locally driven devolution, saying that there are parts of England that do not lend themselves to city regions.

She also says that the uneven distribution of powers in the UK stifles the "ambitions, aspirations and needs" of local areas.

English devolution
AFP/Getty Images

Views from across the chamber

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve
BBC

Crossbench peer Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve makes a speech advocating a Remain vote in the EU referendum, citing the issue of the UK land border with the Republic of Ireland - another EU member state, and how it could be policed without endangering the Northern Ireland peace process.

Liberal Democrat Lord Hussain makes an impassioned speech about dealing with Islamic extremism in the UK, saying that "we need to be extremely careful in implementing counter-extremism measures".

The Bishop of St Albans joins others in speaking about the issue of human rights, saying that it must be "very tedious" when trying to deport those who wish harm upon the UK.

But, he says, "treating our enemies with the fundamental human dignity that they would seek to deny to us is exactly the sort of British value that I would hope this government would seek to promote."

Lord Hussain
BBC

'A shot across the bows'

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Former Clerk of the House of Commons and parliamentary procedure expert Lord Lisvane joins others in speaking about the reference to the primacy of the House of Commons in the Queen's Speech.

He says that the reference seems to have been "a shot across the bows of your lordships' House".

Lord Lisvane says that the government should be dealing with the prevalence of secondary legislation - methods of amending existing laws without needing to bring fresh legislation through parliament - for implementing its policy objectives.

"What are the chances of a sea change in the quality of legislation?" he asks, saying that draft legislation should be used more to address this issue.

Lord Lisvane
BBC

Charities and punching jelly

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Barker
BBC

Liberal Democrat Baroness Barker speaks in exasperation about the format of the Queen's Speech debates, saying "the debate days we have are so wide and so sprawling that taking part in it is about as satisfying as punching a jelly".

"You might get a point through to the minister but something else will disappear."

She spends the rest of her speech talking about government policy regarding the charitable sector, which she says had an "annus horribilis" - a year of disaster - last year.

Baroness Barker says that UK charities and social enterprises can offer "much that is good, innovative and of great value" on issues addressed in the Queen's Speech such as adoption and prisons.

Prison reform, victims, and devolution

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Given the broad spread of today's subject matter there have been speeches on a variety of topics. 

The Bishop of Rochester welcomed what he called a "marked change of tone" and the "seriousness of ambition for change" in the proposed changes to the prison system.

Conservative peer Baroness Newlove spent her speech advocating the increasing focus on victims in the criminal justice system, saying that "a victims law is a real opportunity for victims and one that should be seized upon".

Labour's Lord Foulkes of Cumnock talks about the devolution measures in the Queen's Speech and asks a number of questions about various proposed bills and their statutory standing in the devolved nations of the UK - such as the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill and the Higher Education and Research Bill.

Order Order

House of Commons

Parliament

And that concludes the day in the House of Commons.

MPs will return tomorrow for continued debate of the Queen's Speech in addition to Prime Minister's Questions and an adjournment debate on the Battle of Jutland.

Business kicks off at 11:30am with questions to the Welsh Secretary.

Quite a crowd

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs in the chamber
BBC
Michael Dugher has managed to keep a good sized crowd of MPs in the chamber for his adjournment debate.

Pregnancy in prisons

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Hayman
BBC

Crossbench peer Baroness Hayman talks about the "cycle of deprivation" in society and the issue of pregnant prisoners, telling peers about a female prisoner she met who gave birth in Holloway prison - who was herself born in Holloway prison.

She also says that she remembers a time when pregnant female prisoners were brought to medics to give birth "in shackles".

"That was prison policy and that was home office policy" she says.

"There was much that needed to be done and there is much that still needs to be done

Adjournment Debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Pharmacy Shelves
BBC

The debate on the Queen's Speech concludes and Labour’s Michael Dugher now gets to his feet to open his adjournment debate on the budget for community pharmacies.

Funding for pharmacies is set to fall from £2.8bn to £2.63bn by 2020 with an estimated 1,000 - 3,000 pharmacies set to close.

Official estimates suggest that, on average, a community pharmacy receives £220,000 in NHS funding per year. 

The Department of Health has said the number of pharmacies rose by 20% between 2003- 2015.

May: Human rights did not start with Human Rights Act

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Home Secretary Theresa May responds to the debate for the government and addresses several of the points made during the discussion.

On the issue of human rights, Ms May says that there is a "misconception" amongst opponents of the government's proposed changes to the law that "human rights started with the Human Rights Act". 

"This is the country that has led the way with human rights" she tells MPs, "they do not reside only in one piece of legislation".

Theresa May
BBC

Brexit case has 'crumbled'

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham praises the debate telling MPs that the security case for Brexit has "crumbled" under intense scrutiny.

He argues that leaving the EU would undermine the UK's standing in the world and expose the UK to greater risks. 

On scrapping the Human Rights Acts, he suggests the only reason for abolition is "to water down rights".

Concerning extremism, he worries the government's approach will allow it to flourish rather than diminish.

Andy Burnham
HOC

Prison population numbers

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

On prison reform Justice Select Committee Chair Bob Neill says real rehabilitation is critical but argues that it can only be achieved "if we get the numbers down." He says the current prison population is not sustainable. 

This view has been echoed by former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham who suggested that 30% of prisoners (25,000 inmates) could be freed.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove has said he will not artificially "manage down" the prison population.  

Read more here

Bob Neill
HOC

Peers concerns over scrutiny of legislation

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Many peers have mentioned the section in the Queen's Speech about upholding the "sovereignty of Parliament and the primacy of the House of Commons", a clear reference to the Strathclyde Review into the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The review was set up after the government was defeated in the House of Lords on a statutory instrument on cuts to tax credits in October last year. It made a series of suggestions that would reduce Peers' powers over statutory instruments.

Crossbencher Lord Butler of Brockwell becomes one of many to raise concerns about the amount of lawmaking done via "secondary legislation", such as statutory instruments, which make changes to already existing bills. Statutory instruments often pass into law with much less scrutiny than bills. Members from across the Lords have argued that the scrutiny by the Lords makes law proposed by the government better.

Aid and Chilcot

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Alec Shelbrooke uses his speech to defend the international development budget arguing that it saves the UK money in the long run.

He also notes that the Chilcot Report is due to be published in July and urges MPs not to use the report's conclusions to avoid getting involved in future conflicts.

Alec Shelbrooke
HOC

What did the Queen's Speech say about home affairs?

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

The House of Lords chamber during last week's Queen's Speech
Getty Images

Today's theme for the debate in the Lords is "home, legal, constitutional and devolved affairs". So what did the speech have to say on those areas?

On constitutional and devolved affairs, the speech promised more power for directly elected mayors, including over bus services and to allow local authorities to retain proceeds of business rates.

In home and legal affairs the speech promised "reform" of prisons, including the closure of old prisons, greater freedom over budgets for prison governers and better mental health provision within the justice system.

The speech also said that the government intends to produce legislation to prevent radicalisation and tackle extremism. In addition, laws covering investigatory powers will be "modernised", a resurrection of the so-called "snooper's charter" bill killed by the Liberal Democrats in coalition.

And for the second year in a row, the Queen's Speech said that there would be proposals for a "British Bill of Rights".

Can MSPs block human rights reform?

Scottish parliament building, Holyrod
AP

Christine Bell, Professor of Constitutional Law at Edinburgh University, said the UK government does have the power to repeal the Human Rights Act throughout the UK.

She said:

"The Human Rights Act is Westminster legislation applying throughout the UK, if it is repealed in its entirety it will be repealed for the whole of the UK. However, human rights are also partially devolved, and so any unilateral repeal of the Human Rights Act by Westminster would violate the Sewel Convention, whereby Holyrood must give consent to legislation falling within its devolved powers."

Aileen McHarg, Professor of Public Law at Strathclyde University, agrees.

She said: 

The Human Rights Act is a protected enactment under schedule 4 of the Scotland Act and I think that means that the Scottish Parliament's consent would not be required for any attempt at repeal. However, human rights as a topic are not a reserved matter and therefore I think that any attempt to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights would require Scottish Parliament consent because it would affect devolved issues."

Read more here.

Scrapping the Human Rights Act

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Joanna Cherry
HOC

The Conservative manifesto promised to scrap the Human Rights Act and the Queen's Speech said such legislation would be published.

However the SNP's Joanna Cherry believes the devolved assemblies would have the power to block such legislation. 

She notes that, although the Human Rights Act is "a reserved matter" as laid out in the 1998 Scotland Act, "human rights themselves are not" and consequently the consent of Holyrood would be needed to repeal.

She adds that there is "no question of that consent being given". 

Thoughts on devolution and agriculture

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

We are on speaker 11 and we have not yet had a lengthy speech on the EU referendum, although - as expected - the proposed repeal of the Human Rights Act is marking quite high on debate points.

Conservative peer Baroness Byford spends much of her speech talking about issues faced in the agricultural sector - saying she is disappointed that this sector received no mention in the speech.

"If we fail to produce food then other aspirations cannot be achieved," she says

Labour peer Lord Hain spends his remarks criticising the government's record on devolution, saying English-votes-for-English-laws were a "flawed, contradictory, and messy" procedure that does not answer "the English question".

Veterans in the census

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Madeleine Moon regrets that the Queen's Speech did not include proposals to include veterans and reservists in the census.

She tells MPs that such a move is "essential" to supporting veterans wherever they are and allowing the government to fulfill the Armed Forces Covenant.

The covenant sets out what practical help the government will offer servicemen, women, and their families.

Madeleine Moon
HOC

Housing and policing proposals examined

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe
BBC

Labour peer and chair of the national housing federation Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe says she welcomes some of the proposals brought forward by the government on community planning.

She says that Housing Associations increased their house building during the recession and tells peers that the organisations are "determined to give everyone a place to live at a price they can afford".

This sort of ambition and innovation will be facilitated by the proposed legislation in the Queen's Speech, she says.

Lib Dem peer and former police officer Lord Paddick says that the government is keen to take the "easy but ultimately ineffective" way out in addressing radicalisation and policing issues by "banning things".

'Nato suceeds and the EU fails'

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Defence Select Committee Chair Dr Julian Lewis seeks to pick apart the argument that a Leave vote would undermine national security.

He argues that "Nato succeeds and the EU fails" when it comes to acting as a collective security organisation.

He points out that the EU can "muster only a fraction" of Nato's military power.

He further highlights Nato's "solemn commitment to start World War III on behalf of a member country facing attack or invasion".

Julian Lewis
HOC

UK law and constitutional issues

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

The Bishop of Southwark says that the government is lacking "a positive, attractive narrative without which aspirations to integration are futile". He says that the government is guilty of giving "ambiguous answers" to questions about free speech and whether there is a "right not to be offended".

He also says that there is a "very un-British" aspect of UK law now where a defendant does not have the right to see evidence against them.

Conservative peer Lord Wakeham uses his speech to touch on constitutional issues - where the government does not have a majority in the House of Lords.

He says that peers are most effective when there is "doubt" in the other chamber rather than just "banging back political points".

Government 'denigrating' human rights law

Queen's Speech debates

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbencher and practicing barrister Lord Pannick speaks about the proposed repeal of the Human Rights Act, and says that the problem with the protection of human rights in the country is "the willingness of politicians and the press to use human rights as a political football".

The peer says that he has found newspaper editors as clients "are just as keen as everyone else" to take the protection offered by human rights in the face of arbitrary government decisions.

"Instead of denigrating and undermining human rights law" Lord Pannick says the government should focus on "educating children and informing adults" on the value of the Human Rights Act in "contributing to our civilised society".

Lord Pannick
BBC

Maiden speech delivered

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

New Labour MP Chris Elmore now makes his maiden speech.

Mr Elmore was elected in a by-election following the resignation of Huw Irranca-Davies who left to stand for the Welsh Assembly.

He tells the House that he is trained in butchery and some have suggested that his skills with a knife may come in useful during his career as an MP. 

"Metaphorically," he assumes they mean...

Chris Elmore
HOc

Anglo-Russian relationships 'in a deep freeze'

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Crispin Blunt
HOC

Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Crispin Blunt has just returned from Russia.

He believes that there is "a deep freeze" in Anglo-Russian relationships but urges the government to help Russians "out of the cul-de-sac they have got themselves into".

He argues that cultural exchanges and student trips are an important way of investing in this "very important relationship". 

Maintaining the relationship, he says, is "all the more critical" at a time when the Russian leadership has "a deep lack of self-confidence".

Motion getting support

SNP MP tweets

Problems in prisons

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Dholakia
BBC

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Dholakia says that overcrowding and understaffing levels in UK prisons are "at record levels" and tells peers that the current cost of reoffending to the UK economy is estimated to be between £9.5bn - £13bn a year.

Lord Dholakia also says the UK has the "highest rate of imprisonment in western Europe".

Despite this, he says he welcomes the "central thrust" of the plans for greater autonomy for prisons. 

Why aren't pregnant women making unfair dismissal claims?

Women and Equalities Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Committee chair Maria Miller points out that although almost one in 10 pregnant women reports either being forced out of their job or leaving because of discrimination, the numbers of women who go to tribunal are incredibly low. She asks why this is.

Minister Nick Boles says that it could be a lack of knowledge or a lack of time. "By definition these are pregnant women, they've got a lot on their mind and a lot on their plate," he says. He rejects a suggestion from Maria Miller that tribunal fees may dissuade women from making an unfair dismissal claim.

Since 2013 workers who want to make a claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination have had to pay tribunal fees of up to £1,200 for a hearing.

Government plans could lead to 'justified grievances'

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Harriet Harman
HOC

Former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman addresses the government's plans to tackle extremism.

Proposals include creating new powers to disrupt radicals' activities and to intervene in unregulated schools. 

Harriet Harman cautions the government over banning an activity "not because it is going to lead to violence" but because it is something "of which the government disapproves".

She also worries that an over zealous focus on domestic Islamic extremism will give rise to "justified grievances".

UK's position on ECHR causes 'immense reputational damage'

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Dominic Grieve focuses his remarks on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). 

The ECHR sets out a number of human rights and European citizens who feel their rights have been violated are entitled to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

In April, Home Secretary Theresa May said the UK should quit the ECHR arguing that it “can bind the hands of Parliament”.

Mr Grieve worries that the UK's "ambivalent position" towards the convention is doing "us immense reputational damage".

He also worries that the UK's stance damages the convention itself - he notes that the UK position has been invoked by President Putin to "justify Russian intransigence" in implementing the European convention.

Dominic Grieve
HOC

Minister would 'rather get on with the work' than publish action plan

Women and Equalities Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Chair Maria Miller says that the report concludes that a lack of information for pregnant women is one of the reasons there can be problems in the workplace. "Where's your plan?" she asks. 

Nick Boles says this is the fourth time he's appeared in front of the Women and Equalities Committee, on four different issues. "I find a similar tone in all of you inquiries," he says; an idea that you can "achieve deep culture change through urgent action plans and new websites and big announcements and I'm afraid I fundamentally disagree".

Maria Miller says "sorry that you feel that we're pressing you for detail, but we need to see a plan", so that the committee can carry out its scrutinising role.

"Rather than publishing a plan I'd just rather get on with the work," replies Mr Boles.

Lessons from history

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Faulks finishes his remarks by saying "it is possible the debate will not involve the upcoming referendum, but I rather doubt it".

Shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer of Thoroton responds to the opening remarks for the opposition by telling peers that the last time a Queen's Speech accepted an amendment, it resulted in the fall of a Conservative prime minister and the ascendancy of a Labour Party leader who had recently deposed his former leader.

"I hope this doesn't give political plotters on either side any ideas," he says.

On the issue of a British Bill of Rights, he says that the Human Rights Act instigated "a fundamental change in the relationship between an over mighty state and its citizens".

Lord Falconer says "if as a nation we are serious about human rights there must be human rights for all and not just for those the executive wishes to bestow them on or those of whom the Daily Mail approves". 

Minister admits some findings are 'truly depressing'

Women and Equalities Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Minister Nick Boles is now in front of the committee. His Business, Innovation and Skills department was jointly responsible for commissioning the EHRC's report into pregnancy discrimination.

Conservative MP Ben Howlett calls some of the figures in the report "disgusting in the 21st century" and suggests there don't appear to be the kind of "leadership" in government that there is to tackle other forms of discrimination.

Nick Boles disagrees that leadership is needed from government or from some new agency, and lists work being done by groups like ACAS. However he acknowledges that the research has painted a "truly depressing" picture of the experience of some mothers.

Nick Boles
BBC

Prison reform and human rights

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Faulks says that the government plans to address crime by reducing reoffending, by making prisons "places of education and purpose".

"Reducing violence and self-harm will be a high priority," he says.

The justice minister also speaks about the government's planned British Bill of Rights that is set to replace the Human Rights Act - a topic that is likely to be a very popular one during contributions to the debate this evening.

He says that the government's changes to the system "will not erode people's human rights" but are rather designed to "restore some common sense to the system".

Order!

Queen's Speech debate

Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle
HOC
Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle admonishes an MP for an overly-long intervention.

Queen's Speech debate resumes

Queen's Speech debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Faulks
BBC

With the end of oral questions and the statement comes the start of today's debate on the Queen's Speech and its measures relating to home, legal constitutional and devolved affairs.

Justice Minister Lord Faulks is kicking off what promises to be a long and wide-ranging debate with 61 peers on the speakers' list.