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Summary

  1. MPs and peers return after the recess.
  2. In the Commons, after Communities and Local Government questions, there was an urgent question on foreign offenders remaining in UK’s prisons and communities.
  3. There was a statement on BHS from Business Minister Anna Soubry.
  4. Attention then turned to the Investigatory Powers Bill at report stage.
  5. Peers listened to oral questions. Main business is the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill at second reading.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Esther Webber

All times stated are UK

Get involved

End of Commons business

House of Commons

Parliament

And with that business in the House of Commons comes to an end

MPs will be back tomorrow for day two of the Investigatory Powers Bill Report stage, which will be followed by the Third Reading debate. 

Third Reading is an increasingly ritualistic occasion, but given the Scottish National Party has said its MPs will now vote against the Bill there could yet be some fireworks.

Jarvis calls for a national strategy to reduce excess winter deaths

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Dan Jarvis argues many elderly people "are dying unnecessarily" and in greater numbers than colder Scandinavian Countries.  

He calls on the government to create a "national strategy to reduce excess winter deaths" and announces an E-petition to help draw attention to the issue. 

"How a society cares for the most vulnerable is an important metric by which any society should be judged" he says.

"We are failing that test."

Dan Jarvis
BBC

Cold homes caused 9,000 deaths last winter, study suggests

Snow and steam on a rooftop
BBC

An estimated 9,000 people died last winter in England and Wales as a result of living in a cold home, a university study has suggested.

It found a fifth of the 43,900 excess winter deaths in 2014-2015 were caused by low indoor temperatures, BBC Panorama has learned.

Cold homes increase the risk of respiratory infections, heart attacks and strokes, the researchers said.

Ministers say £1m has been invested to help those who are ill from cold homes.

Read more here.

Excess Winter Deaths

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

After a mammoth seven hours MPs finish with the Investigatory Powers Bill for the night -  though there's plenty more debate left for tomorrow. 

MPs now move to the adjournment debate, led by Labour's Dan Jarvis on excess Winter Deaths.

Interceptions amendment rejected

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs reject a second SNP amendment.

The amendment would have required a "reasonable suspicion of serious crime" for a warrant authorising interception of communications to be granted. Additionally the amendment sought to prevent warrants being granted on the grounds of "safeguarding the economic wellbeing of the UK".

The amendment was defeated 272 votes to 66.

Thematic Warrants amendment rejeceted

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs reject the SNP's proposal to limit "thematic warrants" to situations where an identifiable subject matter or premises can be provided.

When all votes are counted the amendment is defeated by 271 votes to 67.

'Flawed' interception strategy

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Former shadow home secretary David Davis,
BBC

Former shadow home secretary David Davis, a long-standing critic of the government's approach on investigatory powers, says that while the bill is "undoubtedly necessary" the "whole interception strategy used by this country is flawed."

The main issue is that the UK relies “on the Home Secretary to authorise" warrants to intercept communications.

He tells MPs that the Home Secretary "admitted to authorising 2,500 warrants a year" -  an average of ten a day. 

Home Secretaries also tend to have extremely short terms of office, he argues, telling MPs that he saw off four Home Secretaries while in his previous role.

"So we have politicians typically only there for year or so making extremely serious decision in a rushed way".

Thematic Warrant Amendments

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Despite having previous recommendations rejected Dominic Grieve, Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, has not been put off.

Mr Grieve has tabled an amendment to limit the "potentially broad scope of thematic warrants involving people who share a common purpose” by ensuring that they also must be engaged in a particular activity for a warrant to be issued.

Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights Harriet Harman has also tabled an amendment to require thematic warrants to be compatible with the requirements of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights - which concerns the right to a private life.

Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights Harriet Harman
BBC

Thematic Warrants

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The Bill allows for warrants to be deployed against organisations, specific locations or groups of individuals with a common purpose.  

These so called "thematic warrants" allow interference with communications and equipment used for the same activity by multiple people or organisations in multiple locations, that come under the same investigation.

The Joint Committee which looked at the draft version of the bill in 2015 recommended that the bill be amended to ensure the powers cannot cover a "very large number of people".

The Intelligence and Security Committee was similarly concerned after scrutinising the bill and made several recommendations on "thematic warrants", which it thought should: only to be authorised for one month (as opposed to the usual six), used sparingly and subject to greater safeguards.

However the government disagreed, arguing that thematic warrants may be lawful provided that identification of the subject matter is sufficiently specific.

What is the Wilson Doctrine?

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs are also debating the so called "Wilson Doctrine" - the convention that MPs’ communications should not be intercepted by police or security services.

The convention is named after the former prime minister Harold Wilson who announced the policy in 1966 in response to questions from MPs who were concerned that their phones were being tapped.

Under the bill, MPs' communications can still be accessed but the home secretary must consult the prime minister before deciding to issue a warrant relating to the communications of a member of either House of Parliament.

Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh is unhappy with the arrangements as he feels this opens the process up to too much political pressure. 

"The prime minister is by their nature a political animal, as the head of government" he argues and prefers the home secretary to consult the Speaker before deciding to issue a warrant that applied to an MP’s communications.

The SNP have also tabled an amendment to take the home secretary out of the equation altogether, making Judicial Commissioner the sole authority on issuing warrants on Parliamentarian's communications.

Harold Wilson smokes a pipe
Getty Images
The convention that MPs' communications were exempt from interference was named after former prime minister Harold Wilson, seen here smoking his pipe.

Modification of warrants

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Similar amendments are often grouped together and debated en bloc to save time.

Alongside debate on the double lock, MPs are also debating plans to allow warrants for intercepting communications to be modified at a later date by a senior government figure or those who applied for the successful warrant.

Following complaints from the Human Rights Committee the government agreed to require a Judicial Commissioner to approve all major modifications - such as changing the description of a person, organisation or set of premises to which the warrant relates.

More modifications will not be subject to the "double lock" procedure however.

Raising the cup

Conservative MP tweets

Late amendment 'a great victory for Labour'

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham says Labour will be supporting the government's manuscript amendment.

The change will mean the Judicial Commissioner will have powers for much closer scrutiny of the home secretary's decision to issue warrants, and will take into account "human rights concerns, public interest concerns and if the information could be found through other means".

This will mean the provisions provide a true "double lock and not just a rubber stamp".

This is "a great victory" for Labour, he adds.

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham
BBC

Manuscript amendment

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Both Labour and former shadow home secretary David Davis, a long-standing critic of the government's approach on investigatory powers and an important player on the Tory benches, have amendments to give the Judicial Commissioner the same power as the secretary of state to determine whether a warrant is required based on the evidence available.

The government have made a late amendment to try and head off a potential defeat on the issue. Under the so-called manuscript amendment, the Judicial Commissioner must, when carrying out their review comply with the new privacy duties set out under New Clause 5 (see below).

David Davis
Getty Images
Conservative MP David Davis

Double lock authorisation

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now turn to the so called "double lock" for authorising access to people's internet connection records.

In the bill, the security services apply to the secretary of state for a warrant and then a Judicial Commissioner reviews the minister's decision under 'judicial review principles' - effectively checking that a proper process has been followed, rather than considering the merits of the application.

SNP to oppose bill at third reading

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The Scottish National Party has just announced its MPs will vote against the Investigatory Powers Bill at its third reading in Parliament tomorrow.

In a statement, the SNP justice and home affairs spokesperson, Joanna Cherry, said the UK government has "failed to make the case for such wide-ranging new powers and failed to deliver the necessary robust safeguards and independent oversight that these powers would require".

Amendment defeated

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Second amendment, second defeat for the SNP.

The proposals are defeated by 281 votes to 67.

Labour abstention on SNP amendment criticised

SNP MP Drew Henry tweets...

SNP amendment defeated

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs vote against the SNP's amendment by 281 votes to 64.

Not to be deterred, the SNP push a second amendment - amendment 482 - to ensure whistle-blowers are protected from criminal prosecution.

Amendment 482
Parliament

Amendment defeated...and House moves on

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Alistair Carmichael's amendment is defeated by 278 votes to 64.

MPs move straight to another vote, this time on the SNP's proposal to replace the Investigatory Powers Commissioner with a broader Investigatory Powers Commission. 

Vote on notifying the subject of surveillance

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs agree to the government concession New Clause five - which would require security services to consider whether information could be gathered via less intrusive means before applying for a warrant to use new powers - without a vote.

The Solicitor General Robert Buckland announces that the government will not be supporting Alistair Carmichael's proposal to allow the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to notify those who have been investigated under the new powers, and the amendment is pushed to a vote.

MPs file out of the chamber to register their votes in the lobbies either side of the chamber.

MPs file out of the chamber to register their votes
BBC

'Privacy at the heart of the bill'

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Solicitor General Robert Buckland argues that "we now have privacy very clearly at the heart of this bill".

Concluding the debate for the government Mr Buckland argues "members on all sides of the house can agree this is a job well done" before adding "it's something I'm very proud of".

Solicitor General Robert Buckland
BBC

What lies ahead...

Parliamentary reporters tweet

Business in the Lords concludes

House of Lords

Parliament

That's it from the Lords today - they're back tomorrow from 2.30pm, when they'll be quizzing the government on:

  • Improving the completion rate of apprenticeships 
  • Closing down puppy farms that breach animal welfare standards 
  • Keeping children’s teeth healthy 
  • The delay in opening the airport on St. Helena.

Changes to building society's floating charges

Building Societies (Floating Charges and Other Provisions) Order 2016

House of Lords

Parliament

We're onto today's final order of business, with government spokesman Lord Ashton of Hyde introducing a motion to approve the Building Societies (Floating Charges and Other Provisions) Order 2016.

It applies certain provisions of insolvency legislation to building societies to allow the appointment of a receiver over a building society’s property that is subject to a floating charge.  

Lord Ashton describes the move as "uncontroversial" and says it recognises building societies' competitiveness. 

Notified of surveillance

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael,
BBC

New Clause 1 (NC1) also being debated in this group of amendments proposes giving the Investigatory Powers Commissioner the power to notify those who have been a subject to an interception warrant/equipment interference/covert human intelligence gathering etc, when the authorisation or warrant against them has fallen.

This would allow someone who is notified of their surveillance to take a case before the investigatory powers tribunal and, so the theory goes, would discourage the police or security services from mounting fishing expeditions based on very little evidence. 

A similar system is already in place in Germany, Belgium and California.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, who tabled the amendment, argues that "if the government are sincere about bringing forward protection for our liberties then there should be no objection at all" to his amendment.

Meanwhile at the Parliamentary Tug of War

Diary reporter at The Times tweets

Reducing the cost of voter registration

Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Chisholm
BBC

Government spokesperson Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen is introducing a motion to approve the Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations.

The regulations will allow: 

  • voters to identify they are the only person eligible to vote at that address
  • invitations to voters to register and reminders by electronic means.

Lady Chisholm says the changes will help ensure the system "is as efficient as possible, delivering value for money".

New Clause Five

Investigatory powers bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs are debating the home secretary's new "privacy clause" (NC5) requiring security services to consider before applying for a warrant to use the new powers:

  • (a) whether what is sought to be achieved by the warrant, authorisation or notice could reasonably be achieved by other less intrusive means, 
  • (b) the public interest in the integrity and security of telecommunication systems and postal services, and 
  • (c) any other aspects of the public interest in the protection of privacy.
The headline of new clause five from the parliamentary website
Parliament

'Extensive engagement' with public over devolution plans

West Midlands Combined Authority Order 2016

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Williams
BBC

Communities and Local Government Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford responds to claims the public was not adequately consulted over plans for a West Midlands Combined Authority, saying there was "extensive engagement".

She goes on to say local authorities can influence how the proposal progresses as it  "absolutely is an ongoing process and not a one-off deal".

Channel 4 to Birmingham?

West Midlands Combined Authority Order 2016

House of Lords

Parliament

In an earlier aside, Labour's Lord Hunt of Kings Heath called on the government to consider taking steps to move Channel 4 to Birmingham. 

Communities and Local Government Baroness Williams of Trafford does not give her own view, but discusses the success of the BBC and ITV's operations in Salford and says she hopes "sense will prevail". 

Separating functions

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights Harriet Harman speaks to amendment 146, which requires the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to ensure the separation of the judicial authorisation function from the audit and inspection function. 

Ms Harman reasons that "it is a problem" to have the same person both carrying out approval of a warrant and overseeing their approval of that warrant. 

Harriet Harman
HOC

Commons vs Lords tug-of-war

A tug-of-war - not the legislative kind, but an actual one - is about to take place in College Gardens in Westminster Abbey to raise money for the cancer charity Macmillan.

Deputy Commons Leader Therese Coffey shared some of her training secrets with a Times reporter: 

View more on twitter

More on this nailbiting contest as we have it....

A refreshing lack of Punch and Judy?

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Sir Simon Burns praises Labour shadow minister, Sir Keir Starmer, for his approach to the bill - "It is refreshing not have punch and judy politics."

He says he will support the bill in order to ensure "the liberty of my constituents to live peacefully... that is the most fundamental liberty of all." 

He approves of the bill's "reasonable approach" to protect people's civil liberties and argues that the government has gone further "than ever before" in terms of transparency.

German infiltration?

Press Association reporter tweets

Criticism of process

SNP MP's member of staff tweets

What do the SNP want?

Investigatory Powers Bill

Mark D'Arcy

Parliamentary Correspondent

The SNP want even more controls - they're particularly concerned about equipment interference, one of the most intrusive powers in the bill, which would allow the direct bugging of computers, smartphones and other devices - and where it's applied to parliamentarians, which includes those in the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Welsh Assembly, they want both the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister to sign off on equipment interference warrants.

They are also calling for heavier supervision of the use of investigatory powers - with amendments to replace the proposed Investigatory Powers Commissioner with a bigger, all-singing, all-dancing Investigatory Powers Commission.

Lib Dem defends government's devolution plans

West Midlands Combined Authority Order 2016

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's local government spokesman Lord Kennedy of Southwark raises several concerns about plans for a West Midlands Combined Authority, saying they are "complex" and consultation beforehand was "not adequate".

But Baroness Burt of Solihull defends the proposal, which she predicts will "let local government think beyond their normal boundaries".

Read analysis from BBC West Midlands political editor Patrick Burns.

Cherry: Bill could be vulnerable to legal challenges

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The SNP's justice and home affairs spokeswoman Joanna Cherry warns the government that it will have to go "a lot further" before getting SNP support. 

She explains that the purpose of SNP amendments is to bring the bill into line with "human rights norms". 

This, she argues, is needed to protect the legislation against challenges in court - something other bulk powers have already been subject to.

Joanna Cherry
HOC

Scrutinising safeguards

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve now speaks to his amendment 8 which "explicitly" requires the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to scrutinise the underlying safeguards relating to "bulk equipment interference warrants".

Such warrants allow agencies to to hack into foreign computer networks.  

Mr Grieve argues that the amendment is needed because, when taking evidence, his committee discovered that the current interception of communications commissioner "did not know the detail" of the safeguards.