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Summary

  1. MPs on two committees - the Business Committee and Work and Pensions Committee - took evidence on the collapse of BHS.
  2. From 11.30am, MPs asked questions of the Northern Ireland ministerial team followed by PMQs.
  3. There was an urgent question from Labour's Gloria de Piero, asking for a statement on the problems with the gov.uk website just before last night's deadline for registration for the EU referendum.
  4. There were two debates on the BBC White Paper and then the disability employment gap.
  5. Peers met at 3pm for oral questions, followed by the Bus Services Bill.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis, Esther Webber and Georgina Pattinson

All times stated are UK

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End of Lords business

House of Lords

Parliament

The Bus Services Bill passes at second reading, drawing business in the Lords to a close. 

Peers return tomorrow at 11am, when questions will focus on: 

  • Allowing people to include honours in titles when completing forms on government websites
  • Transforming Care programme supporting people with learning disabilities to leave in-patient settings and live with enhanced support
  • Ending the post of National Clinical Director of Adult Neurology 
  • Migrants rescued from the English Channel 

Government pledges equal access for disabled bus users

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

In his closing remarks at second Reading of the Bus Services Bill, Transport Minister Lord Ahmad picks up on points raised earlier about disabled access to buses.

He says there will be disability awareness training for bus staff, and government will work with service providers to encourage its uptake. 

The aim is to ensure "all disabled people have same opportunities to travel", he explains. 

Lord Ahmad
BBC

End of commons business

House of Commons

Parliament

And with that, proceedings in the House of Commons are brought to a close. 

MPs will be back at 9.30am tomorrow for an impromptu debate on legislation to extend the voter registration deadline by 24 hours. 

Emily Davidson and women's suffrage

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

On 4 June 1913 Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison stepped in front of the king's horse at the Derby and died from her injuries.

Ms Davison wanted to disrupt the race to raise awareness of the women's suffrage movement.

The manner of Emily Davison's death caused controversy with some commentators referring to her as a lunatic.

Wheher Ms Davison intended to kill herself or not by her actions is still hotly disputed.

Limited suffrage was achieved in 1918 but it did not become universal until 1928. 

Emily Davison of the suffragette movement, threw herself beneath the King's horse Anmer in the derby
PA

Women's Suffrage petition

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

In 1866 a group called The Women's Suffrage Committee presented a petition to Parliament of 1500 signatures, which was supported by the philosopher and MP John Stuart Mill.

John Stuart Mill presented the petition to the House of Commons and also proposed an amendment to the Second Reform Act in 1867, which called for enfranchisement of all householders, regardless of sex.

Mill's amendment was not successful but the petition is credited with kick-starting the suffrage movement.

From 1870 onwards, bills in favour of granting the vote for women were presented to Parliament almost annually. 

Millicent Fawcett, who founded the National Union of Women"s Suffrage, speaks at the Suffragette Pilgrimage in Hyde Park.
PA
Millicent Fawcett founded the National Union of Women"s Suffrage

Campaigners 'right to be angry'

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

"You are right to be angry" Alison McGovern tells the campaigners who protested outside the unveiling of the New Dawn exhibit last night.

"You are right to be angry with violent men", she says, "but you must choose how we use that anger". 

"Whether to hold the placard and do nothing more or whether to take up the right that our sisters fought for. To not just vote but to take office and seek the power to take decisions on the behalf of real women and men". 

Female MPs fill the Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

Wide shot of house of commons showing mostly women in the chamber
BBC
A rare sight in the House of Commons, as female MPs out number men

Women and the vote

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Alison McGovern gets proceedings underway again by opening a short debate on women and the vote.

Labour's Alison McGovern
BBC

'Tough hurdles' in bus franchising

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Earl Attlee, a Conservative and former transport minister, welcomes the Bus Services Bill and says there are some "pretty tough hurdles" local authorities have to clear before franchising local services. 

He adds that he will resist any attempt to "water down" those restrictions. 

Sitting suspended to allow photo opportunity

House of Commons

Parliament

The House of Commons has taken an unusual step and suspended proceedings for a few minutes to allow a photo opportunity in the House of Commons.

MPs are commemorating 150 years since the philosopher John Stuart Mill presented to Parliament a petition calling for votes for women.

To mark the occasion a new piece of artwork, called New Dawn, has been installed in Westminster Hall.  

The art work "New Dawn" by Artist Mary Branson, inside the Palace of Westminster
AP
The art work "New Dawn" by Artist Mary Branson, inside the Palace of Westminster

Labour motion on disability changes rejected

Disability employment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Text from Labour's amendment
Parliament

Labour have failed to get enough MPs to endorse their criticism of the government's welfare disability changes. 

With all votes counted, their motion is rejected by 262 votes to 215. 

Tomlinson: The key is more opportunities

Disability employment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Concluding the debate, Disabled People's Minister Justin Tomlinson argues the "key is to create more opportunities".

Referring to the government's Disability Confidence campaign, which encourages employers to recruit and retain disabled workers, he argues: "If we create more opportunities more people will be able to get into work."

The government "will go further" he says, and announces his department are "working on plans to get larger business to include as many people in their supply chain as possible".

Disabilities Minister Justin Tomlinson
BBC

Abrahams questions government support of UN disability Convention

Disability employment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow work and pensions minister Debbie Abrahams questions whether the government believes in the "principles which underpin the UN Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities." 

In November 2015, the UN launched a confidential investigation at a closed hearing into alleged violations of disabled people’s human rights in the UK as a result of welfare reforms.

The results of the investigation have yet to be published, and the Guardian report the findings will not be published for two years.

Ms Abraham's suggests they do not buy into the UN's view. 

The inquiry by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities marks the the first time a country has been investigated by the committee over human rights breaches.     

Shadow work and pensions minister Debbie Abraham's
BBC

Manchester bus routes 'chaotic'

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Lord Bradley says bus services in Manchester are often "chaotic and uncontrolled" and he looks on London's buses "with envy". 

He supports franchising Greater Manchester's buses, which the bill will enable. 

But like other Labour peers, he questions why the bill has tied franchising to the introduction of elected mayors' offices. 

Badge for disabled transport users?

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baby on board badge
Getty Images

Lib Dem Baroness Brinton informs peers that Transport for London is "seriously considering" a badge similar to that used by pregnant women for passengers with hidden disabilities, so they can identify themselves as being in need of a seat.

She says she hopes bus providers outside London will also consider the idea.  

What is ESA?

Disability employment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Job Centre sign
AFP/Getty

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is the benefit paid to individuals who are ill or disabled to get into work  - or as financial support if they are unable to work - and makes up part of the Work Programme, the government’s main welfare to work scheme. 

Under the scheme, claimants who are expected to be fit for work within 12 months are referred to the Work Programme on a mandatory basis following a Work Capability Assessment.

The number of ESA claimants who are eligible for mandatory referral to the Work Programme has been expanded since the programme’s introduction. Between 2011 - 2015, around 327,000 ESA claimants have been referred to the Work Programme.

Last year the Work and Pensions Committee said 70% of Work Programme participants are still not getting longterm jobs and "we owe it" to them "to do much better".

The MPs said the £5bn Work Programme - launched in 2011 - was "not working well" for people with complex problems.

The Work Programme is run by providers who offer support and training to people on jobseekers' allowance and ESA. The providers are paid on the basis of the number of people finding and staying in work.  

Data based on claimants’ self-assessment of disability show that to December 2015, 34% of people without a disability have received a job outcome on the Work Programme, compared to 17% of people with a disability  

Bus 'apartheid' for disabled people

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Campbell of Surbiton says that for many years disabled people "were considered not part of the public when it came to public transport". 

She continues: "It wasn't a case of social apartheid as it was for Rosa Parks but physical apartheid. We were denied because we had wheels not legs."

She describes the bill as an "excellent opportunity to improve disabled people's access to bus services".  

Baroness Campbell
BBC

Crabb: 'Better ways to get disabled people into work'

Disability employment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb replies that he is "disappointed with the tone" struck by Labour.

He says under the Government the UK has the "highest levels of employment ever" with "6m more in work than six years ago".

Employment for those who are not disabled is 80% but the employment rate for those with disabilities is 47%. Mr Crabb tells MPs. 

"That's not just a gap in employment, it's a gap in the life chances of disabled people up and down the country."

But, he argues, there "are better ways than the current system to get disabled people back into work".

Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb
BBC

PIP U-turn

Disability employment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

In March, plans to cut the disability benefit Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) were scrapped, following widespread criticism and the resignation of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Days before the chancellor's budget, it was announced that the criteria that decide whether you're eligible for PIP and at what level, would be changed. This change was going to save the government £4.4bn.

As a result it was estimated that 370,000 disabled people would lose £3,500 a year, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Disability charities have been deeply concerned about the changes to PIP, warning that tightening the criteria would lead to more disabled people unable to financially cope with the extra costs that comes with having a disability.

The new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb confirmed his department won't be paying for the £4.4bn black hole in the government's budget.

A wheelchair access button
PA

Labour raises devolution fears over bus reform

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

For Labour, Baroness Jones of Whitchurch broadly welcomes the bill, interpreting it as evidence that "deregulation has proved to be a failure".

But she says her party is worried about the provision under which directly elected mayors will get "London-style" powers to franchise local services.

This, she warns, could "force authorities to go down the elected mayor route" for the sake of franchisement.

Bus services vary outside London, government admits

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Bus
AP

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad tells the House that buses are "an important lifeline to many" and while some routes work well there is "much room for improvement". 

He acknowledges that while Londoners have access to live bus information and stop announcement, provision of these services "varies across the rest of England". He adds it is "not about mandating any particular approach" but about empowering local authorities to make arrangements to suit their needs. 

Smith: Tories 'deliberately failing' disabled people

Disability employment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith
BBC

Opening the debate, shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith accuses the government of "deliberately failing" disabled people in Britain.

Citing Iain Duncan Smith's resignation letter he tells MPs that the Conservatives see "benefits as a pot of money to cut because they don't vote for us". 

"It still shocks me to say that," he adds.

The Conservatives' actions were "entirely pre-meditated", he adds. "Boasting they were going to cut a further £12bn from social security but forgetting to mention it was going to come from disabled people."

Labour explain the debate

Labour's Work and Pensions team tweet

Disability debate

Disability employment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now move to the second of today's opposition day debates, this time on the disability employment gap.

Labour's motion reads:

That this House regrets the Government's lack of progress towards halving the disability employment gap; further regrets that the Government has not yet published its White Paper on improving support for disabled people; notes with concern that commitments made in the Autumn Statement 2015 to help more disabled people through Access to Work and expanding Fit for Work have not materialised; further notes that the Government is reducing funding for specialist support for claimants with health conditions and disabilities through the Work and Health Programme; and calls on the Government to reverse cuts to the work-related activity component of Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit work allowances that risk widening the disability employment gap.  

Warning from Mr Bercow

Parliamentary reporters tweet

Legislation introduced to extend voter registration

Business Statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Leader of the House Chris Grayling is making an impromptu business statement.

He announces that there will be a short debate tomorrow introducing a statutory instrument to extend the deadline to register to vote in the EU referendum to tomorrow night.

The deadline is now midnight on 9 June 2016.

You can register to vote on the Electoral Commission website here

Leader of the House Chris Grayling
BBC

Motion rejected

BBC White Paper debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The Labour motion criticising the government's BBC white paper is defeated by 286 votes to 216, a government majority of 70.

Division on motion

BBC White Paper debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The Labour amendment on the white paper
Parliament

MPs divide on whether to accept the unamended Labour motion on the BBC white paper after the government amendment is withdrawn.

Results are expected shortly

Bus drivers' families in the fast lane

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Ahmad
BBC

Peers have moved on to second reading of the Bus Services Bill, which seeks to expand the powers available to directly elected mayors and local transport authorities (LTAs) in areas in England outside of London to improve local bus services.

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad opens with a nod to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Business Secretary Sajid Javid, saying being the son of a Pakistani bus driver seems to be "a sure sign of success".

He goes on to reveal that while he can't claim to be the son of a Pakistani bus driver, but he is the nephew of one. 

Minister defends move to individual electoral registration

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bridges
BBC

Following last night's problems with the electoral registration website, Labour spokesperson Baroness Smith of Basildon asks the minister if he regrets "rushing" the introduction of individual electoral registration and wants to know whether local authorities will be adequately supported now the deadline has been extended. 

The Lib Dems' Lord Tyler describes the whole incident as "damaging" and asks whether the government could have acted more quickly to extend the deadline.

Cabinet Office Minister Lord Bridges acknowledges "considerable passions" on this question and confirms the government will cover reasonable extra costs to electoral returning officers. 

Closing the 'iPlayer loophole'

BBC White Paper debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Screenshot of today's White paper
BBC
The White Paper will bring forward legislation to close the licensing loophole

The BBC white paper would also close up what has been dubbed the "iPlayer loophole" soon, which allows some to watch BBC programmes without paying the licence fee.

Only UK TV licence holders can use the iPlayer to watch BBC programmes as they are broadcast live, but currently those without a licence can view the shows at a later date.  

Labour's Liz Mcinnes has argued that the change will hit UK students, many of whom do not own a TV but watch content on-line, "adding yet more expense onto an already phenomenally expensive education".

She adds that only 15.1% of respondents during the government's consultation for the white paper actively supported closing the iPlayer loophole.

Labour's Liz Mcinnes
BBC

Electoral registration deadline extended

Statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Cabinet Office Minister Lord Bridges of Headley is now repeating as a statement the answer to an urgent question was tabled earlier in the Commons by Labour's Gloria de Piero on the technical glitch that crashed the site. 

He says "due to unprecedented demand there were problems with website from 10.15pm last night" and "anyone eligible should be able to register".

The government has now brought forward secondary legislation to extend the deadline until midnight on 9 June.

Lords renew calls for release of Profumo papers

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer and historian Lord Lexden asks the government why "access is denied" to papers relating to the Profumo affair, despite the time after which official documents can be released being reduced from 30 to 20 years. 

He's backed up by fellow historian and crossbencher Lord Hennessey, who says the release of such files is not a case of "'wouldn't it be nice if we had the time', but a legal requirement". 

Replying, government spokesman Earl of Courtown tells the House the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is "behind" with its release schedule but the Cabinet Office is working to ensure the publication of papers relating to the Profumo affair "in due course".

John Profumo
BBC

Dip in armed police numbers since 2010

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Harris
BBC

The first question in the Lords is from Labour's Lord Harris of Haringey, who wants to know how many armed officers there were in April 2016 compared with April 2010.

Home Office Minister Lord Keen of Elie specifies it was 6,976 in 2010 and 5,647 this year - but funding will be provided for an additional 1,000.

Lord Harris argues the "uplift will barely take numbers up to 2010 levels" and expresses concern that other forces supporting armed police such as Ministry of Defence are facing "substantial cuts".

Lord Keen counters that "it is for chief officers to determine the number of armed officers in their area" and adds "the system is working". 

BreakingStatement on voter registration announced

Voter Registration statement

House of Commons

Parliament

EU referendum Ballot paper
AFP
EU Referendum Ballot paper

The House of Commons has announced that there will be a statement immediately after this debate, on the introduction of emergency legislation to extend the deadline for voter registration until tomorrow night.

The voter registration website suffered technical problems late on Tuesday evening, prompting calls for a deadline extension.

The Cabinet Office said the issue had been caused by "unprecedented demand".

Earlier Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock tweeted that the deadline will be extended until tomorrow night through secondary legislation.

Voter Registration deadline extended until tomorrow

Cabinet Minister Matt Hancock tweets..

Unitary board

BBC White Paper debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Under the proposed changes in the White Paper there will be a new “unitary board”, replacing the existing BBC Trust and internal BBC Executive.

The new board will have responsibility for ensuring that the Corporation’s strategy, activity and output are in the public interest and that decisions are in the best interests of licence fee payers.

The new board will consist of between 12-14 members, with the BBC responsible for appointing at least half of the board members while "no more than half" of the board members will be Government appointees.

The board will be made up of a majority of non-executive members with a non-executive chair and deputy chair and members designated for each of the four constituent nations of the UK. 

In line with the recommendations of the Clementi Review, Ofcom will become the external independent regulator of the BBC. Ofcom will be responsible for assessing the performance of the BBC Board in meeting its Charter obligations.   

Possible statement on Voter Registration

Shadow leader of the house, Chris Bryant tweets...

Business in the Lords

Coming up...

House of Lords

Parliament

It's a short day in the Lords today, starting at 3pm with questions on the number of armed police officers in England and Wales, the Court of Justice and the European Parliament, making departmental records available to the public, and the latest immigration figures.

After that, Cabinet Office Minister Lord Bridges of Headley will repeat an answer to an urgent question on problems with voter registration for the EU referendum.

Peers will spend the rest of the day on second reading of the Bus Services Bill, which seeks to expand the powers available to directly elected mayors and local transport authorities (LTAs) in areas in England outside of London to improve local bus services.

Read more about the bill in a Lords library briefing.

What is the Royal Charter?

Copy of the Royal Charter
BBC
A paper copy of the BBC's Royal Charter

MPs have been referring to the Royal Charter - the constitutional basis for the BBC.

The Charter is an agreement with the government outlining how the corporation is funded, how it is run, who holds it to account and what its broad objectives are - and it is due for renewal in 2016.

The first Charter ran from 1 January 1927 to 31 December 1936. Since then, every 10 years or so, the government has carried out a review to see how the BBC serves the public and to consider its future.  

The Agreement and the Charter are intended to establish the BBC's independence from government interference.  

The process ends with a meeting of the Privy Council at Buckingham Palace.

Find out more about the history and role of the Royal Charter here.