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Summary

  1. MPs began the day with Education questions to Nicky Morgan and her ministerial team.
  2. There were two urgent questions: the first from Labour MP Gisela Stuart to the Home Office on the legal status of EU nationals.
  3. The second urgent question was from the shadow Chancellor on the government's surplus target and plans to cut corporation tax.
  4. The day's main business was Estimates Day - the first topic was Courts and Tribunals fees; and the second Energy spending priorities: impacts on investors and consumers.
  5. After oral questions, peers examined the Bus Services Bill at committee stage.
  6. There was also motion to regret the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 - in relation to e-cigarettes.

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 a conclusion.

MPs will be back at 11.30am tomorrow, when the main business will be the first committee stage day on the Wales Bill - which sets out the powers and responsibilities of the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh government for the foreseeable future.

Rendition of Star Spangled Banner

BBC Parliament journalist tweets

Cleverly celebrates with US national anthem

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

James Cleverly
BBC

Conservative James Cleverly celebrates the fact the Royal Regiment of Artillery make an appearance in the first verse of the American National Anthem by singing "The Star Spangled Banner" for the House of Commons.

The verse in questions recounts an incident during the conflict between between the UK and the United States in 1814.

After the rendition Mr Cleverly tells MPs he has been told "you need a music and entertainment licence to perform in the House of Commons, but given that was neither music or entertaining I think we got away with it."

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Tercentenary of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and Corps of Royal Engineers

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now move to today's final business - an adjournment debate on the tercentenary of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and the Corps of Royal Engineers, led by James Cleverly, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Artillery - and responded to by Defence Minister Mark Lancaster, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Engineers.

Opening the debate Mr Cleverly tells MPs "us gunners have had a long held sibling rivalry" with the Royal Engineers.

They also "share much with the royal engineers" including motto, patron saint and rugby ties.

Motion approved

Estimates Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs vote to approve the Ministry of Justice's proposed spending on the courts and tribunal system by 262 votes to 127. 

Vote on court and tribunal system underway

Estimates day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs have divided to vote on the earlier motion to approve estimated spending on courts and tribunals services by the Ministry of Justice.

Estimates day debates are not normally voted on, but Labour has broken convention due to "strength of feeling", as shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon told the House earlier.

Results are expected shortly.

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

Rudd: Brexit 'will not change' Hinckley Point plans

Estimates day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd
BBC

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd says despite Brexit there will be "no change" to plans for a new nuclear power plant at Hinckley Point in Somerset.

Ms Rudd says that both EDF, who are building the plant, and the French government - which owns a majority stake in the company - are "committed to arriving at a final investment decision very soon".

MPs must face up to the "fact that Brexit will make some of the targets more difficult to achieve", she adds. 

But she says the government is in dialogue with partners and investors to "ensure there is no major change". 

End of business in the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

That's it from the Lords for today. They return tomorrow for a slightly unusual day in which they begin early, at 11.30am, for a heavily subscribed debate on the outcome of the EU referendum. 

Oral questions will go ahead at 2.30pm, after which peers will return to the EU referendum debate.

Five-year moratorium on franchise bids rejected

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Ahmad
BBC

Labour resists Earl Attlee's move to prevent failed franchise bids from being revisited within five years, with Baroness Jones of Whitchurch saying the bill already contains "enough checks and balances".

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon acknowledges "any decision to revoke a scheme is a important one" but also says he feels the bill as drafted provides adequate oversight.

Labour MP warns of 'multi-million pound failure'

Estimates day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow energy and climate change secretary Barry Gardiner warns that axing the carbon capture and storage grant may be a "multi-million pound failure" as industries relying on the money may sue the government.

The Energy and Climate Change Department looked like it "had been receiving instruction from [Michael Gove] when one looks at the way in which they led industry on until the final minute before finally applying the knife", he adds. 

Shadow energy and climate change secretary Barry Gardiner
BBC

UK backs world-leading climate target

House of Commons

Parliament

Chimney smoke billowing into a blue sky
PA

The UK government has set a world-leading climate change target up to the early 2030s.

The Fifth Carbon Budget will cut carbon emissions by 57% by 2032, based on 1990 levels.

The announcement will help reassure investors needed to overhaul the UK's ageing energy system.

But the government's advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned the targets will be missed unless policies are improved.

Read more here.

Peers examine bidding for bus franchises

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Following the dinner-break debate, peers resume committee stage of the Bus Services Bill.

They begin with an amendment from Conservative former transport minister Earl Attlee designed to prevent a franchising authority from revisiting a failed bid by a company to run services for five years.

MPs 'gloss over the impact on electricity prices'

Estimates Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP David Mowat
BBC

Conservative David Mowat says he is worried that while the UK is reducing its carbon emissions, "others around the world are not following us in the way we might have hoped or expected them to do" - which he believes leaves the UK at a competitive disadvantage.

While he supports moves to reduce the UK's global carbon footprint Mr Mowat argues MPs sometimes "gloss over the impact on electricity prices which means fuel poverty and means uncompetitive manufacturing".

"We talk about rebalancing the economy," he continues, "but it is very hard to do that with differentially high electricity prices."

Peers reject Labour motion on vaping

Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 - regret motions

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers vote 91 to 57 against a motion to regret from Labour's Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, asking for a public information campaign "to reassure smokers that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than normal smoking".    

Division in the Lords

Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 - regret motions

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers divide to vote on a motion to regret from Labour's Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, asking for a public information campaign "to reassure smokers that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than normal smoking".  

Health minister: Priority is not to renormalise smoking

Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 - regret motions

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Prior
BBC

Health Minister Lord Prior of Brampton says it's right that this House "should be at the forefront of efforts not to 'renormalise' smoking". 

He stresses the importance of minimising children's exposure to vaping.

He reminds peers that the government is not banning e-cigarettes' use in public and the regulations will be subject to review. 

Tackling home fuel efficiency

House of Commons

Parliament

A heat map of a large property
Science Photo Library
Better insulated buildings would help households save money, argue many institutions

The Energy and Climate Change Committee published a report in March calling for improving home energy efficiency.

The report argues that improving home efficiency creates many jobs; combats fuel poverty; reduces air pollution; minimises carbon emissions; cuts fuel imports; benefits the balance of payments; and reduces the need to build new power stations.

Recent efforts by the government to improve household energy efficiency - including the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) the "pay-as-you-save" Green Deal - are "inadequate" the committee found.

In 2015 the right-leaning think tank Policy Exchange published a report which found that the UK’s housing stock "remains woefully inefficient compared to other European countries".

The report also found that households in the most energy inefficient properties would have to spend up to £1,700 extra a year to heat their homes to a suitable level  - between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius. 

The problem is most severe in older, detached properties, particularly those in rural areas off the gas grid.

Carbon capture £1bn grant axed

House of Commons

Parliament

Chimney stacks from a coal power station
AFP
Coal power stations have been keeping the lights on across the world for generations

In November the government announced it was axing its £1bn grant for developing new carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

The idea behind carbon capture is relatively straightforward: places like coal power stations produce carbon dioxide, but instead of being funnelled into the air, it's stored away.

One way to do this is by taking it away by pipeline to an offshore platform where it's injected into the space left by depleted oil and gas fields.

In 2013, the future for CCS had looked bright - but developing the technology proved more difficult.

A project at the gas-fired Peterhead power station, being taken forward by Shell and SSE was named by the UK government as one of two preferred bidders in a £1bn competition to develop carbon capture.

The following year, the then deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and environment secretary Ed Davey visited the site in Aberdeenshire to express their backing for carbon capture.

But without government support, experts say that's bad news for the chances of getting the technology off the ground.

Read more here.

E-cigarettes 'not harmless'

Tobacco and Related Product Regulations 2016 - regret motions

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Hollins
BBC

After speeches on the regret motions, crossbencher Baroness Hollins, who is chair of the board of science at the British Medical Association, provides a voice of dissent. 

She tells peers e-cigarettes are "not harmless" and the public health case for their use "is not yet well established". 

She adds it's not true that these regulations will ban the advertising of e-cigarettes, only restrict it.

Investor deterred by energy policy uncertainty

House of Commons

Parliament

Earlier this year the Energy and Climate Change Committee reported that investors were being deterred by energy policy uncertainty.

The report found that the government’s actions have clearly had an impact on the confidence of many investors - leading to a dip in confidence since the election in May 2015. 

When asked what their biggest fears were, they cited "energy policy continuity" following a year of multiple unheralded changes in support of clean technologies.

The government offered what it called a "reset" of energy policies in November, planning to deliver a new wave of gas power stations, support low-carbon energy and promote a flexible electricity grid - but the announcement was criticised for leaving too much uncertainty for clean technologies.

The UK’s position in the EY Renewable Energy CountryAttractiveness Index, also fell from 8th place in June 2015 to 11th place in September 2015. 

Two rows of windmills in a wind farm
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

MPs debate cost of changes to energy spending

Estimates Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Screen grab of today's order paper
Parliament

MPs now move on to approving an estimated £6.5bn of public spending by the Energy and Climate Change Department on changes to funding renewable energy and carbon capture and storage. 

Vote delayed

Estimates Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing announces that the vote on the Ministry of Justice estimates will be delayed until 10pm.

MPs instead move straight onto the second of today's estimates day debates.

Support for Labour opposition

Labour MP Stella Creasy tweets

Labour to break convention to vote on estimate

Estimates Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Despite the convention that estimates are usually not voted on Richard Burgon says "such is the strength of feeling this evening we will be voting against [the estimate] on a point of principle".

Fees 'necessary to ensure access to justice'

Estimates Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Justice Minister Dominic Raab argues that increases to court fees are necessary to "ensure the courts and tribunals are properly funded and access to justice is properly protected".

The cost of the courts and tribunal system to the taxpayer is "unsustainably high", he says.

The Ministry for Justice is not a protected department and so must reduce annual spending by 15% - roughly £1bn in cash terms by 2019-20.

This is "so we can invest £1.3bn to modernise prisons and over £700m to transform the court system", Mr Raab tells MPs.

While Labour advocates getting rid of fees, they have been "a little thin on how you would pay for them", he adds. 

Justice Minister Dominic Raab
BBC

Burgon: Access to justice has been deliberately obstructed

Estimates Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow justice minister Richard Burgon tells MPs he was an employment lawyer when tribunal fees were first introduced in 2011.

He says his experiences have made him "angry at what [tribunal fees] have done to access to justice".

After eight years working as a Trade Union Lawyer he is now "at the despatch box for those whom access to justice has been deliberately obstructed by this government at the coalition that proceeded it", he tells MPs.

Shadow justice minister Richard Burgon
BBC

Tobacco and electronic cigarette advertising

Tobacco and Related Product Regulations 2016 - regret motions

Michael Mosley
BBC

Peers are debating regret motions on Tobacco and Related Product Regulations, which define the law around:

  • the reporting of tobacco ingredients and emissions
  • the size of health warnings on tobacco packaging, and prohibit misleading descriptors such as 'organic' or 'natural'
  • prohibit characterising flavours, such as menthol
  • provide prior notification of tobacco products on the market
  • regulate the marketing, labelling and product standards of electronic cigarettes
  • regulate the marketing and labelling of herbal cigarettes

Conservative Lord Callanan has tabled a motion to regret that the regulations restricting vaping devices were devised before "evidence had accumulated that vaping was enabling many people to quit smoking", and calls on the government to withdraw them.

Labour's Lord Hunt of Kings Heath has tabled an amendment to Lord Callanan's motion, asking instead for a public information campaign "to reassure smokers that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than normal smoking".

Lib Dem Baroness Walmsley has tabled a motion to regret that the advertising ban would hinder e-cigarettes from being promoted as a way of assisting smokers to stop smoking tobacco, and that concerns regarding the restriction of the nicotine concentration of the vapour have not been properly addressed.

UK Estimates v US Estimates

Journalism project, Parly App, has tweeted

Minister clarifies auditor role on bus franchises

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Ahmad
BBC

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon agrees with previous speakers there is "a need for a level of independent assurance" but adds "devolved decisions should not be second-guessed".

He specifies that the auditor's role will be to scrutinise the franchising process, not to weigh up the merit of decisions taken by local authorities. 

Peers seek checks on mayors' powers

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lib Dem Baroness Scott of Needham Market introduces an amendment which would make franchises subject to audit to "ensure there is independence and the mayor is held accountable".

Similarly, Labour's Lord Snape has an amendment which would require the appointment of an auditor by the transport commissioner. 

Baroness Scott
BBC

Unison legal challenge for employment tribunal fees

House of Commons

Parliament

Unison, the public service union, is currently seeking a judicial review of the introduction of fees for workers seeking employment tribunals.

Those wanting to bring tribunals must now pay a fee for the first time since they were created in the 1960s.

Under the rules, it will cost £160 or £250 to lodge a claim, with a further charge of either £230 or £950 if the case goes ahead.

The higher charges will cover cases such as unfair dismissal, the lower ones issues such as unpaid invoices.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service said it would refund people if the bid to abolish the charges succeeded.

Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis has said that as a result of the fees it is "too easy for bad employers to escape justice". 

"Many low-wage workers now have to put up with unfair or discriminatory treatment simply because they cannot afford to take a case." 

Neill: Lack of evidence for fees

Estimates Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Chair of the Justice Committee Bob Neil
BBC

Justice Committee chairman Bob Neill complains that there has been a "lack of an evidence" for the establishment of tribunal fees. 

Detailed evidence is needed to establish at "what level to pitch" a new fee, but currently there is "no apparent evidence base to support the level of increase", he argues.

These issues "impact not just our system but also individuals, because every piece of litigation involves an individual somewhere at the end of the day", he adds.

MPs asked to approved MoJ expenditure

Estimates day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

As part of today's debate MPs are being asked to approve approx £9m for the administration of the Courts and Tribunals system by the Ministry of Justice.

Screen grab of Estimates Day motion
Parliament

Peers debate not-for-profit bus services

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are resuming committee-stage debate on the Bus Services Bill.

They begin with a Labour amendment designed to mean franchising authorities would have to give consideration to how the not-for-profit sector can be involved.

MPs criticise tribunal fees

Estimates day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Hammer and Gavel
BBC

Last Month the Justice Committee published a report calling for urgent "major changes" to restore an "acceptable level of access" to the employment tribunals system.

Fees of up between £160 or £250 to lodge a claim - with a further charge of either £230 or £950 if the case goes ahead - were introduced on 29 July 2013.

The introduction of issue fees and hearing fees for claimants in employment tribunals in July 2013 has led to a drop of almost 70% in the number of cases brought, the report found.

Committee Chair Bob Neil said: "Where there is conflict between the objectives of achieving full cost recovery and preserving access to justice, the latter must prevail."

Labour attacks chancellor's credibility

Surplus target statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Tunnicliffe
BBC

Labour spokesman Lord Tunnicliffe attacks what he calls a "woeful lack of contingency planning" by the Treasury for Brexit. 

He asks, after announcing he would abandon the government's surplus target, "how can the chancellor claim to be maintaining financial credibility?"

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord O'Neill replies that there was always "a well-identified escape clause" on the target in the event of an economic shock.

Courts and tribunals fees debate

Estimates day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now move to the first of today's two Estimates Day debates - on courts and tribunals fees. undefined

There are three Estimates Days a year, which focus on the estimates of public spending by government departments. The topics are chosen by the Liaison Committee and follow up on select committee reports.

Britain 'remains best place to do business'

Surplus target statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord O’Neill of Gatley is repeating the answer to an urgent question in the Commons earlier on the government’s surplus target and cut to corporation tax.

On 1 July Chancellor George Osborne announced he was abandoning his target to restore government finances to a surplus by 2020.

In a speech he said, given the effects of the referendum vote, the government had to be "realistic about achieving a surplus by the end of the decade".

Mr Osborne told the Commons he was always explicit that in the event of a "significant negative shock" the fiscal rules would change.

The UK must now "broadcast loud and clear that Britain remains the best place in the world to do business".

"In my view, the strongest signal we could send the world that Britain is ready" would be to "cut corporation tax still further".

Lib Dems warn against treating EU nationals as 'pawns'

EU nationals statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Smith
BBC

Lib Dem Baroness Smith of Newnham cautions the government against "walking away from the categorical imperative" that people should never be treated as a means to an end.

She warns that any move to treat EU nationals as "pawns in a game" would be "wholly wrong". 

Lord Ahmad says he shares her sentiments and the issue will be "at the centre of discussions as we move forward".