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Summary

  1. The day in the Commons began with Northern Ireland questions followed by Theresa May's debut at Prime Minister's Questions.
  2. Andy Burnham called for an inquiry into policing at Orgreave in 1984 using an urgent question.
  3. There was a ten minute rule bill proposed by Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, called Electoral Reform (Proportional Representation and Reduction of Voting Age).
  4. MPs debated two Opposition Day motions on reductions in housing benefit for people in supported housing; and then on the Charter for Budget Responsibility.
  5. Peers started the day with oral questions then moved onto the committee stage of the Bus Services Bill.

Live Reporting

By Esther Webber and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

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Join our 'collective endeavour' says Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at Conway Hall
BBC

Mr Corbyn suggested he had only begun to scratch the surface of what he wants to do over the past 10 months since becoming leader. 

Referring to the leadership fight ahead, Mr Corbyn suggested there are "formidable forces" arrayed against him.

But he sauid he and his supporters can win through by supporting the values of "basic humanity" rather than going down what he describes as the "arid road" of conventional economics.

Before leaving for another event in North London, he urged people to join the "collective endeavour" over the summer. 

Corbyn: I won't 'get in the gutter'

Addressing the audience, Mr Corbyn joked that he has received a bit of criticism in recent months.

But he said he was not going to respond to his critics in kind, saying "I am not going to get in the gutter with anybody".

Corbyn: Big change happening in UK and US

Jeremy Corbyn
BBC

Earlier on Wednesday evening, supporters of Jeremy Corbyn met at Conway Hall in central London. 

We weren't expecting the Labour leader, who is facing a challenge from Owen Smith, to put in an appearance but he surprised us by showing up.

He said there was a "fundamental political change" happening in the UK, Europe and the United States - a rejection of the rolling back of the state and "trickle down economics". 

He said the leadership fight will be about growing inequality, opportunities for young people, environmental protection, housing shortages and "the kind of world that we want to live in".

He also said there had been growing incidences of racism since the EU referendum and pledges to "chase down and defeat" hate crime. 

End of business

House of Lords

Parliament

The Lords has now concluded business for the day and returns tomorrow at 11am. 

Peers reject Labour's motion to regret

Civil Proceedings (Amendment) Order 2016

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers vote 89 to 78 to reject a regret motion from Labour's Lord Beecham on an order to make changes to the fees payable in proceedings in the civil courts and tribunals and uplift a number of fees charged in the civil and magistrates courts by 10%.  

Labour attacks lack of justice minister in the Lords

Motion to regret

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Lord Beecham is introducing a motion to regret an order to make changes to the fees payable in proceedings in the civil courts and tribunals and uplift a number of fees charged in the civil and magistrates courts by 10%.  

He says the government's approach to access to justice has "favoured interests of the powerful".

He also criticises the government for not appointing a justice minister in the Lords, saying the House "deserves" a spokesman of ministerial status. 

Fees charged in courts and tribunals

Civil Proceedings (Amendment) Order 2016

House of Lords

Parliament

The dinner break debate is on an order to make changes to the fees payable in proceedings in the civil courts and tribunals and uplift a number of fees charged in the civil and magistrates courts by 10%.  

Justice spokesman Lord Keen of Elie says it will help achieve "consistency" across different types of court cases.

Labour has tabled a motion to regret. 

End of Commons business

House of Commons

Parliament

Business in the House of Commons comes to an end.

MPs will be back tomorrow at 9.30am. The main debates are both organised by the Backbench Business Committee - first Labour's Jim Dowd, with a debate on a motion on a ban on the manufacture, sale, possession and use of snares.

That's followed by a general debate on matters to be raised before the forthcoming adjournment - where MPs can make a speech about pretty much anything.

Christchurch project part of government regeneration programme

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell
BBC

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell tells MPs that beach hut project in Christchurch is part of a government programme to regenerate coastal areas.

The government have helped set up "118 coastal community teams take control of their own area's regeneration". 

The team in Christchurch applied for funds through a "joint economic plan to drive forward future growth, jobs and prosperity".

Mr Barwell says he is concerned to hear that this particular project has "given rise to serious controversy".

"Whether a particular development requires planning permission is a matter for local planning authorities" he tells MPs.

While as a minister he "cannot comment on any specific case" he cites a number of rules and regulations which may render the project in Christopher Chope's constituency illegal.

We need clarity in our planning law

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Christopher Chope
BBC

Christopher Chope argues beach huts should go through normal planning permission procedures to ensure "full consultation and transparency".

But Christchurch Borough Council "have avoided doing just that" Mr Chope tells MPs when granting permission for a competition to design a set of beach huts at High Cliff beach for Channel Four TV show George Clarke's Amazing Spaces.

Winning participants were told they would not need to apply for planning permission for these beach huts "despite being sited on open unspoilt coastline that is also a site of special scientific interest" Mr Chope says.

There is currently "no simple answer as to whether beach huts require planning permission" Mr Chope says. 

"We need clarity in our planning law."

Planning regime for beach huts debate

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Beach huts at Southwold on the Suffolk Coast
BBC

We now move to the adjournment debate. 

Today's debate is on planning regime for beach huts led by Conservative Christopher Chope, who represents the seaside constituency of Christ Church

MPs reject labour motion on abandoning surplus target

Surplus target debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs vote to reject the Labour motion to abandon the Charter for Budget Responsibility by 283 votes to 213.

MPs vote on Labour motion

Surplus target debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Proceedings are temporarily suspended to allow MPs to vote on the Labour motion. 

The motion reads:

  • That this House calls on the Government to withdraw the Charter for Budget Responsibility: Autumn 2015 update, which was laid before this House on 12 October 2015, and to lay before the House at the earliest opportunity an alternative update which provides the basis for stabilising the UK economy and providing long-term investment for growth.  

Labour's vision does not bare exposure to the facts, says minister

Surplus target debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison
BBC

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison says the "dire economic situation" painted by the Labour party "does not bare exposure to the facts".

Unemployment falling to 4.9%, it's lowest level in a decade, "does not emanate from a dire economic situation". 

The government have "no plans to withdraw the Charter for Budgetary responsibility" she tells MPs, and will  "update the hosue in the usual way through an Autumn Statement later in the year".

Cost of surplus target is loss of public services, says shadow minister

Surplus target debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Show Treasury minister Rebecca Long Bailey
BBC

Shadow Treasury minister Rebecca Long Bailey argues the cost of sticking rigidly to the government's fiscal targets was the "long-term economic stagnation and loss of vital public services".

Cuts to welfare, mental health provisions and care coupled with a lack of investment means the "economy is not working for the many", she says, and this is the "price to pay simply to save embarrassment".

Labour's approach would "allow substantial investment in skills" and improve the UK's flagging productivity, she argues.

"The direction of fiscal policy over the next few months is crucial," she concludes.

What is the OBR?

House of Commons

Parliament

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) was established within days of the coalition government coming to power in May 2010 with the aim of improving the credibility of fiscal policy. 

The body was initially established on an interim basis with Sir Alan Budd as chair but soon became a permanent fixture in Westminster.

Robert Chote, a former director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has been chair of the OBR since October 2010.  

The OBR’s role, as laid out in the Charter for Budget Responsibility, is to produce independent forecasts for the economy and the public finances.

These are produced independently of the government. In the past, the Treasury’s forecasts have been based on the chancellor’s judgement, which led to the suspicion that forecasts may be over-optimistic. 

The OBR also comments on whether the government’s policies have a better than 50% chance of meeting the chancellor’s fiscal targets which are set out in the Charter. 

It also examines the long term sustainability of the public finances, spending on welfare and devolved taxes. 

Since autumn 2015 the OBR has also been producing a biennial fiscal risk statement.

Minister: Disabled access should be 'at heart' of bus services

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Ahmad
BBC

Addressing amendments presented earlier to require bus operators to pay attention to the needs of disabled passengers, Transport Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon says: "I entirely agree with the sentiment," and they should be "at the heart of the planning and operation of bus services".

He tells the House, however, that the government does not regard the amendments as necessary because there are already regulations in this area which the bill will make it unlawful for bus companies not to uphold. 

SNP: Budget Charter a 'policy for inertia'

Surplus target debate

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP's economic spokesman Stewart Hosie
BBC

The rigid rules of the Charter for Budget Responsibility are a "policy for inertia", the SNP's economic spokesman Stewart Hosie argues.

Being unable to act unless there is less than 1% growth in four back-to-back quarters "might mean changes to fiscal or monetary policy might be delayed longer than they should have", he adds. 

Parliament 'needs credibility' with public finances

Surplus debate debate

House of Commons

Parliament

While there has been a "degree of change" in the Labour party there is a continuation of a "failure to face up to the challenges of public finances", David Gauke says. 

Parliament needs "credibility with the public finances", he argues, and calls on MPs to oppose today's motion. 

Gauke: UK 'cannot go forward' without deficit target

Surplus target debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke
BBC

While the target to restore government finances to a surplus by 2020 has already been dropped, the UK "cannot go forward without a clear target" Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke argues.

Following the vote to leave the EU, the government will take the summer to analyse the situation and "come the autumn report back to the house in terms of spending and taxation".

However the government continues to "believe in fiscal responsibility", he adds. 

The government should "be proud of what we've achieved", including "bringing the deficit down by two thirds, the highest employment on record and lowest unemployment in a decade, and one million new business since 2010".

While it "hasn't always been easy" the "hard won recovery" over the last six years means "we are all now in a potion to see out whatever challenges come next", he adds. 

McDonnell: UK needs 'new economic approach'

Surplus target debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell
BBC

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell argues that the vote to leave the EU "showed to many that a new economic approach is needed".

"Too many feel left behind" by the current economic situation he tells MPs and the fiscal plans are "inappropriate for an economy facing this kind of shock".

He says it remains unclear whether the latest Charter for Budget Responsibility remains in place, and the "lack of direction and lack of a plan" is already harming investment in the UK.

In principle Labour supports "a fiscal charter approach" but it needs to be "realistic", he tells MPs. 

Former Chancellor George Osborne "introduced his own rules, missed every target in his own charter so had to bring in a second charter and was on course to miss every target in the second, so brought in a third", Mr McDonnell tells MPs.

Constantly missed targets "undermine confidence", he argues. 

Labour backs disability training for bus drivers

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Jones
BBC

Labour spokesperson Baroness Jones of Whitchurch agrees about problems faced by disabled passengers, acknowledging that "action on these issues is vital" and there is a "long way to go". 

She speaks about the need for equality awareness training of bus staff, and enquires about how Brexit will affect this given that the UK was due to sign up to an EU directive in the area in 2018. 

Labour call on government to ditch plans to run a surplus by 2020

Charter for Budget Responsibility debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now move to the second of today's opposition day debates.

The Labour motion being debated calls on the government to abandon its plans to deliver a surplus on the public sector’s overall budget by 2019/20 - contained in the Charter for Budget Responsibility.

The document, which sets out former Chancellor George Osborne’s fiscal targets, contains two other measures: to decrease debt as a proportion of GDP and to cap welfare spending. 

Labour motion defeated

Supported housing debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs have voted to oppose the Labour motion on exempting supported housing from housing benefit cuts by 290 votes to 256.

A final decision on the level of housing benefit available to those in supported housing will be made in the autumn. 

MPs vote on supported housing

Supported housing debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Proceedings are temporarily suspended to allow MPs to vote on the Labour motion. 

The motion reads:

  • That this House notes that the Government intends to cut housing benefit for vulnerable people in specialist housing, including elderly people and people who are homeless, disabled or fleeing domestic violence; believes that this will have harmful effects on current and future tenants of these specialist housing schemes; further notes that there is already a significant shortfall in this type of housing provision across the country; notes that charities, housing associations, councils and others have made Government Ministers aware of the damaging impact these cuts will have on tenants and the financial viability of these schemes and that the Government’s proposal to mitigate these cuts with discretionary housing payments will not compensate for these cuts; notes that the Government’s own evidence review into the impact of its decision, commissioned in December 2015, has yet to be published; notes that the Government has postponed the implementation of these cuts for new tenants to April 2017 but plans to fully roll out its planned cuts to housing benefit in April 2018; and therefore calls on the Government to exempt supported housing from its planned housing benefit cuts and to consult fully with supported housing providers to identify ways in which all vulnerable people who need supported housing can access it.   

Nokes: Getting supported housing right is more important than rushing

Supported housing debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Work and Pensions Minister Caroline Nokes
BBC

New Work and Pensions Minister Caroline Nokes calls on MPs to oppose today's motion and wait for the government's decision on supported housing in the autumn.

She seeks to assure MPs, saying that "getting supported housing right" is a ministerial priority but a "complex sector".

"It is far more important to get it right and working than rushing anything through", she adds. 

Shortfalls in supported housing could be made worse, says Labour minister

Supported housing debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams
BBC

Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams begins her response by pointing out that Labour tabled an amendment to the Welfare Reform and Work Act that would have exempted supported housing from the 1% housing benefit cut, which was "rejected by the government".

She tells MPs the proposed housing benefit cap will make "thousands of supported housing schemes un-viable" at a time when there is already a shortfall of 15,640 supported housing places for those in need.

Investing in supported housing would lead to a "net saving of £940 per person per year" but if current trends continue "this shortfall will double by 2019-20", she adds. 

Bus drivers need greater powers to eject passengers, says peer

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Brinton
bb

Lib Dem Baroness Brinton introduced a group of amendments designed to ensure local authorities and bus operators take account of the needs of disabled passengers.

She says the intention is to mirror obligations on train operators, and would give bus drivers the power to eject passengers if they are behaving unreasonably in relation to disabled passengers. 

At present, she adds, the training of bus drivers and conductors in how to interact with disabled passengers is "patchy" and needs to be improved.  

Peers resume examination of the Bus Services Bill

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now move on to the final day of committee stage on the Bus Services Bill, which will focus on powers to make traffic regulation orders, information about English bus services and the registration of bus services.

Changes in housing benefit

House of Commons

Parliament

A row of terraced houses
PA

The Summer Budget 2015 saw the announcement of rent reductions for social housing landlords.  

Measures included in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 require social housing landlords to reduce their rents by 1% in each year for four years from April 2016.  

This was followed by last year's Autumn Statement during which the Chancellor announced an intention to cap the amount of rent that Housing Benefit will cover in the social rented sector to the relevant Local Housing Allowance (LHA) level - the rate paid in the private sector.

This policy is still under development and there is no legislation currently before Parliament concerning this measure.

The government subsequently announced a one-year exemption for the supported housing sector from the 1% rent reduction - mentioned several times in this debate.

Labour renews calls for Orgreave Coking Plant inquiry

Orgreave Coking Plant statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Rosser
BBC

Labour's Lord Rosser asks if the government recognises there is "no reason" why ongoing Hillsborough investigations should delay an inquiry, and responsibility "lies squarely" at the government's door. 

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford repeats that the home secretary is not minded to "rush to a decision". 

'Difficult' for UK to hold EU presidency during Brexit negotiations

Private notice question

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bridges
BBC

Minister for Exiting the EU Lord Bridges of Headley says "we wanted to discuss this with European colleagues" and Theresa May held a conversation last night with Donald Tusk in which it was agreed the UK would relinquish its presidency of the EU Council. 

It was felt it would be "difficult to hold the presidency while prioritising negotiations to leave the EU", he tells peers.  

What is supported housing?

House of Commons

Parliament

Supported housing covers a range of different housing types, including group homes, hostels, refuges, supported living complexes and sheltered housing. 

It is designed to allow disabled and vulnerable people to live as independently as possible.

Rent levels in supported housing tend to be higher than those charged for similar accommodation in the private sector.

For those residents who are eligible to receive Housing Benefit, it can help with all or part of their rent payments. 

Orgreave decision due after summer

Orgreave Coking Plant statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Miners
PA

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford is repeating an answer to an urgent question in the Commons earlier on calls for a public inquiry into policing at the Orgreave Coking Plant.

Home Office spokesman Lord Keen of Elie told the House of Lords last week that no formal decision will be made until the IPPC and CPS decide whether Orgreave material is relevant to ongoing Hillsborough investigations.

But shadow home secretary Andy Burnham argues Lord Keen may have misled Parliament.

In a statement seen by the BBC, the police watchdog has confirmed to Labour that the minister’s statement was incorrect and that a public inquiry was a decision for the home secretary.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the Commons an inquiry into Orgreave is "one of the most important issues in my in-tray", and that she hopes to come to a decision "soon after the summer recess". 

'Almost all' specialist housing at risk from benefit cap - Labour MP

Supported housing debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Former Labour housing minister John Healey
BBC

Former Labour housing minister John Healey says the decision to cap housing benefit for supported housing has "put at risk almost all specialist housing".

The decision by George Osborne was made with "no consultation, no evidence, no assessment of the impact and no warning".

While he says he welcomes Damian Green's announcement that a decision will be made soon, "the test will be if he can manage a change of proposal come autumn, that hundreds of thousands of people desperately want to hear from this government". 

Labour peer questions 'change of policy' over EU presidency

Private notice question

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour leader in the Lords Baroness Smith of Basildon wants the government to explain what she calls "a sudden change in policy" in respect of the UK’s expected presidency of the Council of the EU. 

It was announced earlier today that the UK is to relinquish its upcoming six-month presidency of the Council, which was scheduled for the second half of 2017.

She says the government gave an assurance yesterday that the UK would remain a full member until exit negotiations were concluded.  

The presidency role rotates on a six-monthly basis between the 28 EU countries, giving each the opportunity to shape the agenda. 

'No immediate change' for higher education after Brexit vote

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Students
BBC

Conservative Baroness Eccles of Moulton asks the government how it will ensure that the interests of UK universities and their students and staff from EU member states are protected in "the current period of uncertainty" following the EU referendum.  

She says the situation is "immensely unhelpful and unsettling" and calls on the government to reassure the academic sector.

Government spokesman Viscount Younger of Leckie tells peers there will be "no immediate change" for UK and EU students and staff, but he "recognises a degree of anxiety".

He highlights that Universities Minister Jo Johnson is holding meetings with stakeholders to explore what happens next.  

BBC education correspondent Sean Coughlan says the higher education sector, with few exceptions, has been a vociferous supporter of staying in the European Union, and university leaders have been pushing for clarity over the financial implications of leaving.

The UK's universities are substantial beneficiaries from EU research funding, and they are anxious about the risk of losing both the cash and their place in international research projects.

'Daily chaos' on Southern Rail

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Southern train
BBC

Labour's Baroness Smith of Basildon asks the government what discussions it has had with Southern Rail regarding disabled passengers, in the light of the company’s plans to change the role of conductors.

Passengers have faced months of delays, cancellations and a reduced timetable due to staff shortages and strike action by conductors.

Southern and the RMT union are in dispute about plans for drivers, rather than guards, to open and close carriage doors.

Lady Smith describes the situation as "shocking daily chaos" which she says is "compounded for those with disabilities".

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon points out that Southern Rail participates in train operators' passenger assist system, and agrees it is "unacceptable" if disabled passengers cannot access services.

He assures her this is a priority for the new transport secretary.

Business in the Lords

Coming up...

House of Lords

Parliament

The Lords kicks off at 3pm with questions on:

  • Southern Rail and disabled passengers
  • delays in payments from the Single Farm Payment Scheme
  • universities and the EU referendum
  • the threatened demolition of the Calais Jungle camp. 

Then there's a private notice question from shadow Lords leader Baroness Smith of Basildon on the UK’s expected presidency of the European Council.

After that, Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford will repeat an answer to an urgent question on calls for a public inquiry into policing at the Orgreave Coking Plant.

That will be followed by the third and final day of committee-stage debate on the Bus Services Bill.

The dinner break debate will be on a Labour motion to regret an order to make changes to the fees payable in proceedings in the civil courts and tribunals and uplift a number of fees charged in the civil and magistrates courts by 10%.

Supported housing 'can turn lives around'

Supported housing debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Alison Thewliss
hoc

The SNP's Alison Thewliss says services must be guaranteed "because women's lives depend on it".

She says a woman with children fleeing from abuse does not have the same needs as an elderly man, and people must be allowed to stay on in accommodation until "such time as they are able to move on".

She says she urges the government to take a wide approach to the term "value for money"; and that people who rely on the services will be "exceptionally vulnerable" without them.

Supported accommodation can save lives and "turn lives around", she says.