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Summary

  1. MPs began the day with questions to the Transport Secretary and his ministerial team.
  2. Chris Grayling set out upcoming business in the House of Commons in the weekly Business Statement.
  3. There are be two Backbench Business Committee debates on: the proposed privatisation of the Land Registry, and second a debate on a motion on bank branch closures
  4. Peers started the day at 11am, then they conducted a debate on introducing statutory guidelines relating to the investigation of historical child sex abuse.
  5. There was then be a debate on openness and transparency in reinforcing confidence in public institutions.

Live Reporting

By Esther Webber and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

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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 at 2.30pm on Monday for one of three yearly Estimates Day debates, where MPs consider the estimates of public spending by government departments. 

'Critical time for town centres'

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Communities Minister Brandon Lewis says that for high streets to survive they need to become "more than places to shop".

Town centres contribute nearly £600bn to the UK economy, he says, but now is a "critical time for our town centres".

The Department for Communities and Local Government have been increasing funding through enterprise zones and "reforming parking and planning restrictions making it easier for town centres to adapt".

But there can be no "top-down approach" as every town is different.

Communities Minister Brandon Lewis
BBC

Market towns 'fall between gaps'

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Michelle Donelan begins the day's final business, the adjournment debate on regeneration of market town centres.

Market towns "fall between the gaps" when it comes to regeneration funding, Ms Donelan complains.

They are "stuck in a difficult position between large urban areas eligible for city deals, wider regions that become powerhouses and politically backed regeneration projects that most rural areas get and rural development funds".

While many market towns "are vibrant and foster business and attract tourists" others are "held back" by this lack of funding, she says. 

Conservative MP Michelle Donelan
BBC

Bank branches 'important part of solution'

Bank Branch Closures debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Harriett Baldwin
BBC

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Harriett Baldwin says part of her role is to "make sure we have financial services that work for everyone".

While she says she "cannot remember the last time I went into a bank branch" local branches are an "important part of the solution in terms of access to finance for our local communities".  

She says all today's contributions would make "excellent submissions" to Professor Russel Griggs' review into how the BBA, the trade association for the UK banking sector, has been working in its first year.

McDonnell: Closures going too fast and too far

Bank Branch Closures debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell argues that the closure of bank branches is going "too fast and too far".

He criticises banks for "receiving significant funds of taxpayers' money to support" but not acting "responsibility by the closures".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell
BBC

FCA should step in, says SNP MP

Bank Branch Closures debate

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP MP George Kerevan calls for the Financial Conduct Authority to intervene over the closure of bank branches in the UK.

Current rules on bank branch closures are "as weak as dishwater but even that is not being adhered to", he complains.

The FCA have "a responsibility here as it oversees bank conduct", he tells MPs.

"There is a gross lack of proper consultation to the point of arrogance from the banks," he says.

SNP MP George Kerevan
BBC

Earlier today...

Deputy news editor for the Law Society Gazette tweets

End of business

House of Lords

Parliament

That's it from the Lords for this week. 

Peers return on Monday, when they will debating questions on: 

  • the role of the UK in relation to the EU 
  • reducing the amount of textile waste sent to landfill
  • qualifications of those assessing applications for non-EU citizens seeking to remain in the UK 
  • instructing NHS England to use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for patients with HIV 

Government acknowledges 'more to do' on transparency

Transparency in public institutions

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town responds to the debate for Labour, stressing the need for transparency in lobbying and expressing her regret at the government's recent lobbying reforms.

Government spokesperson Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen acknowledges there is "more to do" but insists the "government continues to push the boundaries of the range of information it publishes".

Baroness Chisholm
BBC

Why are bank branches closing?

House of Commons

Parliament

A workman cleans a newly installed TSB sign
VTff

The financial crisis and technology have both had a huge impact on the number of bank branches in the UK.

Firstly the 2008 financial crash meant significant mergers forced by the crash – for example, Lloyds acquiring the Halifax, and Northern Rock by Virgin Money – meant that there was duplication of branches, which now face an uncertain future.

Secondly, the crash and the resultant disruption to profits as well as the long-term downward pressure on profits have forced banks to look for ways to cut costs. 

Technology has also been a big driver of change, with the growth of online and mobile banking being adopted by millions of customers. 

According to research by the House of Commons library, in 1988 25% of adults were paid in cash.

Across a range of measures cheque usage, and paper credit usage, declined by about 13% between 2014 and 2015 - a decline expected to continue in step with new technology and changing demographics.     

Cheque usage – one of the main reasons for visiting banks was to pay in cheques – has declined dramatically, from a peak of 4bn in 1990 to 558m cheque payments in 2015. 

Bank branch 'crisis' hits poor - Labour MP

Bank Branch Closures debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Chris Matheson calls the closure of bank branches "a crisis" which disproportionately hits the poor.  

Mr Mathewson, who tabled the debate, says that 80% of the 600 branches closed over the last 12 months were in areas "where the medium household income is below the national medium of £26,000".

By way of comparison, he adds that "five out of eight branches opened are in the some of the most affluent areas." 

Labour MP Chris Matheson
BBC

Decline of bank branches

Bank branch closures debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Order paper
Parliament

MPs agree to the motion on Land Registry privatisation and now move to a debate on bank branch closures.

The bank branch network has been declining steadily for nearly 30 years. There were 20,583 branches in 1988, but only 8,837 in 2012.

Privatisation 'confronts crisis in public finance'

Land Registry Debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Business Minister George Freeman says plans to privatise the Land Registry are to "confront a crisis in our public finances".

Privatising could "create a basis on which the Land Registry could raise substantial investment", he argues.

He re-states that the government have "merely consulted and no decision has been taken".

Talking more generally, he says privatisation is "driven by the need to introduce competition and choice to consumers, users and taxpayers, additional investment when government are not able to and take off the balance sheet chronic liabilities."

The Land Registry "goes to the heart of our property-owning democracy" he says, which he says "underpins a very important role of the state keeping safe a reliable independent register of land ownership".

Business Minister George Freeman
BBC

Peers begin debate on transparency in public institutions

Transparency in public institutions debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative Lord Fairfax of Cameron is opening a debate on the role of openness and transparency in reinforcing confidence in public institutions. 

He is objecting to the lack of a requirement for former MEPs who are peers to declare an interest as recipients of pensions from the European Parliament.

No plans for statutory guidance on investigating child sex abuse

Historical child sex abuse debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Keen
BBC

Home Office spokesman Lord Keen of Elie tells the House there are no plans for statutory guidance on investigating child sex abuse, despite earlier calls for individuals arrested not to be named until they are charged. 

But he admits it is a "sensitive" area, particularly where reputations are at stake, and says the debate has shown "passionate engagement on the rights and wrong of every case". 

Land Registry linked to tax havens

Research by The Times and 38 Degrees suggests all the potential bidders have business ties to secretive and low-tax jurisdictions including the Cayman Islands, Jersey and the US state of Delaware.  

The companies thought to be interested in the privatisation are Canadian pension giant, Omers, and American private equity firms Advent International and Hellman & Friedman, The Times reports.  

How can trust remain - shadow minister

Land Registry debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Bill Esterson, the shadow business minister, says the debate has shown public opposition to the proposal. 

He says it is important that every land transaction is carried out with confidence by the seller, the buyer and the lender. "How could that trust remain if the very basis of that trust, the knowledge it is impartial, is removed?"

And he says research by The Times newspaper shows that potential bidders have links to jurisdictions outside the UK, like the Caymans.

Does the minister agree that trust would be fundamentally undermined if such owners took over, he asks.

He says selling off the Land Registry is not the responsible view, and that a private operator would not create a more efficient organisation.

And he says that because the Land Registry would become a private company, it would no longer be subject to Freedom of Information requests, which would be undesirable in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations.

Labour: More funding needed to deal with child sex abuse claims

Historical child sex abuse debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Tunnicliffe
BBC

Labour spokesman Lord Tunnicliffe, responding to earlier speeches, says he was surprised the debate was "so much focused on the harm to those accused of injustice". 

He admits the process of investigating historical child sex abuse is "complex" but urges: "It is vital government accepts the need of police for more funding." 

The need has become more pressing, he argues, as reporting of such incidents is on the rise.

SNP view

New Economics Foundation tweets

Land registry cost

Land Registry debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The Land Registry is required by statute to ensure that its "income from fees covers all expenditure", but has generated a profit over the last few years. 

In 2014 and 2015 it generated a surplus and paid a dividend to the Treasury of £26.6m and £19.1m respectively as well as two dividends of £100m.

'Madness' to hand over money to contractors

Land Registry debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Nia Grffith asks why the situation has arisen again - following previous attempts to sell the Land Registry.

She says the Land Registry currently brings in £100m a year to the Treasury, and says it is madness to hand that money over to contractors.

"Let's remember for a moment what happens with Royal Mail," she says, wondering if Land Registry would be sold off at "a bargain basement price".

Worries among MPs

Labour MP tweets

Jenkin: Land registries are military targets

Land Registry debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Land registries are so important that they are the first targets for military campaigns, Bernard Jenkin tells MPs.

"It is in the lexicon of military doctrine that when you take a town the first thing you do is you take the land registry because that's how you settle disputes," he says.

Mr Jenkin, who chairs the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, says he is concerned about the impact on the public access data from privatisation and calls on the government to "look at alternatives that keep [the Land Registry] in public ownership".

Bernard Jenkin tells MPs.
BBc

Former archbishop attacks Church's abuse claim procedures

Historical child sex abuse

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Carey
BBC

Lord Carey of Clifton, a crossbencher and formerly the Archbishop of Canterbury, has been speaking about the campaign to clear the name of George Bell. 

He says the "procedures [in investigating claims of child sex abuse against Bishop Bell] have had the character of a kangaroo court" and "should never be used in this way again".

He calls for "a clear, objective and open investigation" into what happened. 

George Bell was one of the most influential Anglican bishops of the last century. But, almost 60 years after his death, he was accused of having been a child abuser. Now campaigners are battling to defend his reputation.

But on 22 October last year the Church revealed it had made a payment to someone who had made a complaint against Bell. 

Union opposition to Land Registry privatisation

Land Registry debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents the majority of staff at the Land Registry, is strongly opposed to any privatisation. 

In its response to the consultation the union contends that the proposal is purely political and rejects the case for moving Land Registry to the private sector.

The PCS says there are large number of risks with the privatisation proposal, including potential negative impacts on trust, impartiality, service quality, fees, and access to data.  

What is the Land Registry?

House of Commons

Parliament

Land Registry logo
The Land Registry

The Land Registry is a non-ministerial department that registers the ownership of land and property in England and Wales.

The 150 year-old agency could become a government-owned company or move into a joint venture with a private company.

A consultation on the future of the Land Registry with a view to privatisation was announced in the Queen’s Speech in May.

Land Registry staff have taken strike action over the plans.

Land registry must be 'wholly independent' from the market

Land Registry debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP David Lammy says he tabled today's motion to make the opposition to the project known and "call on the government to think again".

The "recording of property and land ownerships is integral to the functioning of our economy" he tells MPs.   

The Land Registry must be "wholly independent from the pressures of the market" for it to function properly, he argues.

Labour MP David Lammy
BBC

Conservative peer claims 'culture shift' in sex abuse inquiries

Historical child sex abuse debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Lexden
BBC

Lord Lexden says there's "deep public disquiet" over the manner in which allegations are being investigated.   

He goes on to argue there's been a "culture shift" towards automatically believing those making claims of sex abuse which causes "distress" to those accused. 

He also speaks of his "shock" at the way allegations against Lord Bramall and the late Lord Brittan were handled.  

Peers begin child sex abuse debate

Historical child sex abuse debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Lexden is opening a debate on introducing statutory guidelines relating to the investigation of cases of historical child sex abuse.

number of police investigations have been launched into historical allegations of child abuse.

Operation Yewtree investigated abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile and others associated with him.

Operation Fairbank is investigating claims of sexual abuse carried out by politicians.

Operation Midland, which looked into claims of a paedophile ring operating from premises in the exclusive London apartment block Dolphin Square, has ended with no charges being brought.

The Home Secretary has set up a public inquiry into the background to allegations of child sexual abuse in previous decades, led by Justice Lowell Goddard.

Concern over proposed privatisation of the Land Registry

Land Registry debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now move onto the debate on the privatisation of the Land Registry.

Over 100 MPs from eight parties signed an Early Day Motion earlier in the month expressing concern at the proposed privatisation of the Land Registry.

Boundary review to be based on December registers

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Chisholm
BBC

Government spokesperson Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen tells peers the current constituency boundary revisions will be based on the electoral register as at December 2015. 

Lib Dem Paul Tyler says "it is ridiculous to use out of date figures", and the review should take full account of the electoral registers on 23 June.

Lady Chisholm responds that "there are always upturns" at the time of elections or referendums and asks him to "imagine the expense" of revising boundaries every couple of months. 

A record 46,499,537 people were entitled to take part in the referendum, according to provisional figures from the Electoral Commission.  

A two-day extension to voter registration was granted after the government website for registering voters failed just before the original deadline.

Chilcot debate

Business questions

House of Commons

Parliament

Tony Blair in Basra
PA
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared before the inquiry twice

Several MPs have raised the Chilcot inquiry report, which is published next Wednesday.

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake calls for "two consecutive days" to be made available to debate the report, which he says should "provide closure for families of armed forces personnel" and shed light on a "sad and murky recent chapter of our history".

Chris Grayling says he is "very aware of the issue", which is why he "only announced business until Monday week".

Labour urges action on secondary ticketing

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Hayter
BBC

Labour's Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town is asking the government if it will implement the recommendations of the independent review of online secondary ticketing facilities.

In May, the government published an independent review which said secondary ticketing platforms should provide the seat location and face value of tickets offered for re-sale.

In the meantime, Lady Hayter says, they continue to sell tickets "against the rules - ripping off fans". 

Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe replies that the government will respond to the review "shortly" but reminds peers the report "also recognised positive aspects of secondary ticketing".

'Redeeming' Lindsay Lohan

Business Statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Actress Lindsay Lohan
Getty Images

Conservative MP Philip Hollobone has just called on actress Lindsay Lohan to turn on the Christmas lights in Kettering to "redeem herself" after live tweeting the EU referendum results.

Mr Hollobone, who represents Kettering, tells MPs that "in a series of bizarre tweets" the pro-Remain actress "slagged off areas of this country that voted to leave the UK".

In one "fierce and offensive tweet", he says  - which has since been deleted - she asked: 'Where is Kettering?'

Turning on the Christmas lights would "redeem [Ms Lohan's] political reputation and raise money for a good cause", Mr Hollobone concludes.

Humanism in schools

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Candle
Thinkstock

Peers kick off the day with a question from Lib Dem Lord Taverne, who wants to know why the government considers Dr Juss’s guidance on the High Court’s ruling on religious education to be inaccurate.

Humanist parents have challenged the government’s decision to leave non-religious views out of GCSE Religious Studies.

The High Court ruled that the government had made an error of law in leaving humanism out of the GCSE syllabus.

The DfE deemed Dr Juss’s legal guidance on the subject to be inaccurate, saying that the syllabus did give pupils an understanding of religious and non-religious beilefs.

Coming up later today

Parliamentary reporters tweet

'Extraordinary comeback'

Business Statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Chris Grayling holding Paul Flynn's book
BBC

Chris Grayling congratulates Paul Flynn on his "extraordinary comeback 26 years since last sat [on the front bench]".

Mr Flynn was such a good backbencher he wrote a book on it, Mr Grayling tells the House, before producing the book.

Mr Grayling shares a few of the "words of wisdom" from the book, including the advice that "ministers in waiting should cultivate the virtues of dullness and safety".

Labour call for referendum on EU deal

Business Statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Paul Flynn calls for a referendum to be held on the final deal struck with the European Union.

Given the "petition of historic dimensions" calling for a second referendum he says it is fair that in "five years when the issue has been settled and a new alternative comes along" that a referendum be held.

Leader of the House Chris Grayling replies that it "just doesn't work like that any more than I can ask for re-match between Iceland and England".

Delving into the history books

Tweets from academics and political enthusiasts

Promoted from the backbench

BBC's parliamentary correspondent tweets