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Summary

  1. The day began with questions to the Work and Pensions team.
  2. There were two urgent questions: the first on triggering Article 50 and the second on the safety of staff in prisons.
  3. Followed by a statement on the Nato summit in Warsaw.
  4. The government survived several attempts to alter the Wales Bill at committee stage.
  5. Peers began work at 2.30pm and then moved onto the Investigatory Powers Bill at committee stage.

Live Reporting

By Esther Webber and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

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End of business in the Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

That's it for the Commons for today - MPs return tomorrow at 11.30am for Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions. 

'Bulk interference' powers

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are debating a series of amendments designed to restrict the circumstance that "bulk interference" can be deployed.

At the moment orders allowing multiple computers to be accessed - including hacking - to acquire information on the grounds of: national security; preventing or detecting serious crime; and threats to “the economic well-being of the UK”.

An amendment tabled by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Paddick would only allow "bulk interference" on economic grounds "if there is reasonable suspicion that a criminal offence has been or is likely to be committed".

Great Western Railway's bicycle policy

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Ben Bradshaw
BBC

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw is opening today's adjournment debate, on Great Western Railway's bicycle policy.

He says cyclists face the "Orwellian" situation of not being able to take their bikes on board, even if there is space, if they have not reserved a space for their vehicle. 

MPs voting on income tax amendment

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs vote 273 to 46 to reject a new clause tabled by Plaid Cymru would allow the National Assembly for Wales to determine the income thresholds at which income tax is payable by Welsh taxpayers.  

Text of statements

House of Commons

Parliament

The full text of today's statements are now available on Hansard - the official record of proceedings in Parliament.

The response to Helen Goodman's urgent question on parliamentary approval of Article 50, is available here.

Labour MP Andrew Slaughter's urgent question on the safety of staff in prisons is available here.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon's statement on Nato's Warsaw summit is available here.

MPs reject removal of Wales secretary veto on water supply

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs vote 274 to 47 to reject a Plaid amendment, which would have removed the power of the secretary of state to veto any Welsh legislation or measures that might have a serious adverse impact on water supply or quality in England.  

MPs reject greater energy powers for Wales

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs vote 275 to 195 to reject Plaid's amendment 74, which would have removed the 350 megawatts limit on the Welsh government’s legislative competence in the field of energy.

Minister warns against 'reopening' Wales energy issues

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Guto Bebb
BBC

Wales Minister Guto Bebb cautions that Plaid Cymru is trying to "reopen political consensus" agreed through the Silk Commission, whereas "this bill is attempting to move forward".

He reminds MPs that the electricity system is fully integrated and it would be impractical to try to separate them. 

Probing amendments

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers once again move back to scrutinising the Investigatory Powers Bill.

Labour's Lord Rosser has tabled a series of probing amendments - designed to clarify the government's position on a subject on the record.

The amendment would require communications firms served with warrants or notices to "publish figures on the number of warrants or notices received in the previous 180 days", but aims to get the government to set out the level of transparency on warrants.

Appropriate level of legal protection

Caste-based discrimination debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Williams of Trafford
BBC

Communities Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford argues that the legal precedent set in the Tirkey v Chandhok case may "already provide the appropriate level of legal protection against caste discrimination".

There is no "unanimous collective agreement of what caste is" therefore it is unclear what impact adding "caste-based discrimination" into the Equalities Act would have.

She adds, "I think we all want the same thing: the appropriate level of legal protection" against caste-based discrimination and the question is "how best to achieve that for everyone".

Plaid Cymru calls for devolution of air passenger duty

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Jonathan Edwards
BBC

Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards put forwards his party's argument for air passenger duty to be devolved to Wales, saying it would generate "substantial revenue". 

He points to the devolution of APD to Northern Ireland and Scotland, whereas Wales, in his view "has once again been given the short end of the stick". 

Labour apologises for 'inaction'

Caste-based discrimination debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Former shadow equalities spokeswoman Baroness Thornton
BBC

Former shadow equalities spokeswoman Baroness Thornton makes a one-off return to the despatch box to apologise on behalf of the Labour party to those suffering discrimination.

She calls on the government to apologise to those who "have lived with inaction on this for so long".

She says that "as a woman, I have heard all the arguments against legislating on discrimination being used in this house before".

Bringing up caste 'undermines community cohesion'

Caste-based discrimination debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord Popat
BBC

Conservative peer Lord Popat opposes amending the Equalities Act 2010 "on behalf of the vast majority of Hindus".

He argues that amending the bill to include caste-based discrimination will be "bringing to the surface social forces that are almost entirely irrelevant to this country" and "undermining community cohesion".

Indian Hindus have integrated into the UK society to the extent where caste is no longer an issue, and giving caste such a "prominent position" in legislation would be a backward step, he says.

'Intolerable' lack of action

Caste based discrimination debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Harries of Pentrgarth
BBC

Caste-based discrimination is of "deep seriousness to the hundreds of those treated badly" because of their birth status, Lord Harries of Pentrgarth argues, who "see their fellow citizens protected on discrimination grounds in a way they are not".

He criticises the government's inaction on the issue, arguing the UK is in "clear breach on international obligation on this issue".

Lord Harries calls on the government to "do its constitutional duty" and outlaw caste-based discrimination.

"Those who are discriminated against find it totally intolerable that the clear will of both Houses is being frustrated in this way," Lord Harries adds, referring to the passing of the Equalities Act 2010 by the Commons and the Lords.

MP raises wind farm concerns

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Chris Davies
BBC

Conservative MP Chris Davies raises concerns about devolving wind energy policy to Wales, saying his constituents fear mid-Wales could be "littered, covered and blanketed" with wind turbines. 

He wants the Wales secretary to have a veto over UK-wide wind energy schemes. 

Wales could be 'energy powerhouse for UK'

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Paul Flynn
BBC

Shadow Wales secretary Paul Flynn says Welsh topography gives it the potential to become "an energy powerhouse for the whole of the UK" and this has been "neglected" in favour of "polluting forms of energy". 

He's arguing for Welsh ministers to be given oversight of renewable energy incentive schemes. 

As the bill is currently drafted, the government is not required to get Welsh ministers' approval.

Caste based discrimination case

House of Lords

Parliament

Statue of Justice
Thinkstock

Last year a woman was awarded £184,000 in what has been described as the "first caste based discrimination" case.

Permila Tirkey, 39, who was recruited from India to be a domestic servant for a family in the UK and paid 11p an hour, has been awarded damages for unpaid wages.

Ms Tirkey was discriminated against because of her "low caste", her lawyers said, describing it as the first successful case of its kind.

She worked 18-hour days, having been recruited because her employers wanted someone "servile", a tribunal hear.

Read more here.

Caste discrimination in the UK

Caste-based discrimination debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now move to a short dinner break debate combating caste-based discrimination in the United Kingdom, led by the crossbencher Lord Harries of Pentregarth, who once upon a time sat as bishop in the House of Lords.

The concept of “caste” is complex, but generally refers to hereditary communities differentiated according to different functions of life, such as occupation. It is associated with South Asia, particularly India and its diaspora.

Caste discrimination is not expressly prohibited under UK equality legislation, although section 9 of the Equality Act 2010 requires the government to introduce secondary legislation to make caste an aspect of race, thereby making caste discrimination a form of race discrimination - though this has yet to happen.

MPs vote against devolving licencing powers to Welsh Assembly

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs have rejected Labour's amendment to give powers over the sale and supply of alcohol and club licencing to the Welsh Assembly by 270 votes to 210.

MPs vote against devolving policing to Wales

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs haven rejected the Plaid Cymru amendment to give powers over crime, public order and policing to the Welsh Assembly by 270 votes to 47.

Journalist sources

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are debating an amendment to increase protection for journalistic sources, materials and activities.

As it stands the bill provides one extra protection for journalists. It states that applications to view journalists’ telecoms data, made in order to identify their sources, must have the approval of a judicial commissioner.

But news organisations remain concerned that such applications will be made in secret, with no opportunity for journalists to argue the case against disclosure

Under the amendment, media organisations will be notified on the granting of the order, unless "the judge determines that an application without such notice is required in order to avoid prejudice to the investigation".

Access to journalist sources will only be allowed if "the case is one of great emergency" and "immediate action is necessary".

Applications for access to journalist sources will only be granted if there is an overriding public interest, "reasonable alternatives" do not exist or have been exhausted, and the order is proportionate to the legitimate aim or aims being pursued.

UK surveillance powers explained

House of Lords

Parliament

The Investigatory Powers Bill aims to completely overhaul the laws governing how the state, police and spies can gather private communications or other forms of data to combat crime, terrorism and other threats to national security and the UK's economic wellbeing.

Both security chiefs and privacy campaigners agree the current rules are completely out of date and last year a massive review of powers by an independent watchdog called for a complete rethink.

But what does it do? The BBC have the details here.

Hands type on a smart phone
Thinkstock

Plaid Cymru calls for reserved powers model

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Liz Saville-Roberts
BBC

Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville-Roberts introduces amendments asking for parity with Scotland on devolution. 

She says the list of reserved powers is "dismayingly long" and "undermines" the Welsh Assembly. 

Plaid Cymru would prefer a reserved powers model, in which all powers are devolved unless otherwise specified.  

MP argues for speed limits to be set at Westminster

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

David Jones
bb

Conservative MP David Jones introduces an amendment to reserve speed limits and the design of road signs as a matter for Westminster. 

His argument is that variations between England and Wales could prove "at best confusing and at the very worst positively dangerous".

Divisions to come

Plaid MP tweets

Duty to privacy

Investigatory Powers Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat Baroness Hamwee
BBC

Peers return to the Investigatory Powers Bill.

First up is an amendment by Liberal Democrat Baroness Hamwee to ensure that any "action or decision undertaken under the act by the public authority should be subject" to duties to privacy included in the bill.

The bill as it's currently drafted is unclear as to whether the duties will apply to all public bodies who will be given powers under the bill, she argue - despite being a "exceptionally well-drafted bill".

No Nato in Ukraine

Nato summit statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Former Chief of the Naval Staff and Labour peer Lord West of Spithead
BBC

Former Chief of the Naval Staff and Labour peer Lord West of Spithead asks if there is any suggestion of Nato being deployed to the Ukraine.

Russia are "terrified of Nato", he argues, and sending troops in "would be terribly destabilising".

Earl Howe replies there is "no question" of Nato troops being sent in.

Dispute over passes for Labour staff

Point of order

Simon Jones

Today in Parliament

John Bercow
BBC

Earlier during a point of order, the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, said the parliamentary passes of a number of staff of former shadow cabinet members had been "incorrectly" suspended.

He was responding to Labour's Nia Griffiths who complained that last Friday a member of her staff had their parliamentary pass "de-activated" following an email from Jeremy Corbyn's office.

Raising a point of order with Mr Bercow, she said that the email had advised the Parliamentary Pass Office to terminate the passes of a number of staff working for former members of the shadow cabinet. And Nia Griffiths put it to the Speaker that staff passes were the sole responsibility of the sponsoring MP.

Mr Bercow said she was correct and that a number of passes had been "incorrectly" suspended. 

He said: "As soon as the error… came to light, the passes were re-instated."

MPs resume debate on the Wales Bill

Wales Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs move on to the detail of the Wales Bill - which aims to give effect to the government's policy of establishing a 'reserved powers' model for devolution to Wales. 

Labour's new shadow Welsh secretary Paul Flynn will be pushing amendments to give the Welsh Assembly more legislative elbow room, where its law-making might impinge on policy areas reserved to Westminster. 

Labour add support to statement

Nato Summit statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow defence minister Lord Touhig
BBC

Shadow defence minister Lord Touhig adds Labour's support to the government's approach, particularly the confirmation that the government have accepted "women are capable of engaging in close combat roles". 

The government's approach "underlines Britain continued commitment to Nato as the lasting bulwark of our defence", Lord Touhig says.

Labour welcomes Nato message

Nato summit statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Clive Lewis
BBC

Shadow defence secretary Clive Lewis welcomes what he sees as a signal that the UK will continue to play an active part in Nato and help to protect "friends and allies in eastern Europe".

He emphasises Nato should "never lose sight of the principle of its founders" that "peace should be founded on justice". 

Peers to debate nuclear deterrent

Nato summit statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Defence Minister Earl Howe
BBC

Defence Minister Earl Howe announces that there will be a debate in the House of Lords on Wednesday on the nuclear deterrent.

The debate will be on a "note motion" so that the "views of the House can inform the vote" in the House of Commons, due in the coming weeks.

The speakers' list for peers has "already been opened" he says.

Future of Trident

Political reporter for the Press Association tweets

Peers debate Nato summit

Nato summit statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Defence Minister Earl Howe is now repeating a statement on the recent Nato Warsaw Summit - meaning the Houses of Parliament are both debating the same subject, a rare sight.

Only responses to urgent question are time limited so peers will have slightly longer to scrutinise the government. 

Prison numbers questioned

Prison staff safety statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Dholakia says the key issue regarding staff safety is the high number of prisoners.

Noting that Justice Secretary Michael Gove "has fewer things on his mind", he asks whether he can focus on "reducing the number of prisoners so prison objectives are met". 

Lord Faulks argues that the number "present challenges to the staff" but there are other factors. 

The government has set up a "wide-spread strategy" under the Violence Reduction Project to deal with them, he adds. 

Lords hear statement on prison staff safety

Prison staff safety statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Faulks
BBC

Lord Faulks stays on his feet to repeat an answer to an Urgent Question of staff safety in prisons, made just now in the House of Commons.

The answer will be delivered as a statement and once again peers will have ten minutes to question the government.

Lawson: Article 50 should be 'triggered without delay'

Article 50 statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Former chancellor and lead Leave campaigner Lord Lawson says he agrees with the "present prime minister" that Article 50 should be "triggered without delay".

Uncertainty "can only be bad for British businesses and the economy" as well as negotiations with the EU.

He warns that EU officials are "stringing us along" with a promise of a new trade deal.

Lord Faulks says its should be the new PM who decides when Article 50 is triggered so she can "negotiate the best trade deal for the United Kingdom".

Former chancellor Lord Lawson
BBC

Defence secretary updates House on Nato summit

Nato summit statement

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs have moved on to the statement on the recent Nato summit in Warsaw.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon says Nato is "more capable and projects stability beyond our borders" and the UK "is at the forefront" of that project.

At the summit, Nato and EU nations signed a deal focusing on the perceived threat from Russia.

Lords hear repeated statement on Article 50

Article 50 statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Justice Minister Lord Faulks is now repeating the answer to the urgent question on Article 50 made earlier in the House of Commons.

Peers will then have ten minutes to question the government on its position.

Michael Gove rebuts safety claims

Prison safety urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

Michael Gove
BBC

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon says prisons have been made "less safe for staff and less safe for prisoners" by cutting £900m from Ministry of Justice budget and "there is a servicing crisis".

Justice Secretary Michael Gove insists his department has been in contact with prison staff and offender management services. 

He wants to "make sure legitimate concerns are addressed and we continue to attract high-quality people into the profession", he emphasises.