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Summary

  1. MPs questioning environment ministers
  2. Business statement outlines debates in coming weeks
  3. Debates on International Women's Day and Welsh Affairs
  4. Peers meet at 11am for oral questions
  5. Debate on Economic Affairs Committee's report Building More Homes
  6. Debate on post-trade Brexit

Live Reporting

By Claire Gould, Kate Whannel and Ben Butcher

All times stated are UK

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Lords adjourns!

House of Lords clock
HoL

Responding to the debate Lord Whitty suggests that there was "not much new" in the government's reply.

He warns that by repeating the same phrases the government sounds like it is "whistling in the dark".

We need a little more than that, he says.

There the debate concludes as does the day in the House of Lords.

Join us on Monday at 2:30pm when peers return for oral questions followed by debate of the Higher Education and Research Bill.

You can find coverage of tonight's Northern Ireland election results here .

Mobarik: There will be give and take in negotiations

Brexit and trade debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Mobarik
HoL

The government does not expect failure, says spokeswoman Baroness Mobarik, but she accepts that there will be "give and take".

She warns that a punitive approach by the EU would constitute an "act of self-harm".

Britain could not accept such an approach, she says adding that "no deal is better than a bad deal".

She assures peers that the government does not underestimate the complexity of the task and insists that they will not do it alone.

She says the government will draw on the expertise from the House of Lords, Commons, businesses and civil society. 

Uncertainty is 'main destroyer' of GDP

Brexit and trade debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Mendelsohn
HoL

Labour's spokesman Lord Mendelsohn says the debate has demonstrated the "complexities of the negotiations".

He acknowledges that the current path "is not the one I wanted to be on" but says the task now is to make the best of the situation.

He says the government needs to take a "realistic approach" and remember that uncertainty is "the main destroyer of GDP".

He concludes that the report demonstrates that there are others who "can make a valuable contribution".

Randerson: Whole process is infinitely depressing

Brexit and trade debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Randerson
HoL

The whole process of preparing for Brexit is infinitely depressing says Lib Dem Baroness Randerson.

Particularly depressing, she says, are Thursday mornings when the European Union Committee holds its sessions. 

"One witness after another parades before us the complexities of the situation."

She compares the government to a duck; appearing calm but "paddling furiously underneath the waterline". 

The big showdown

Sun Journalist tweets

Lansley: Custom declarations could increase four-fold

Brexit and trade debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Lansley
HoL

Conservative Lord Lansley suggests that a legal framework to deal with customs should be put in place before the two years of Brexit negotiations concludes.

He tells peers that the customs declaration system currently deals with 90m transactions per year.

That, he says, could increase four-fold after Brexit.

He says the government should make use of technology that can track vehicles and goods in a way which means people won't have to be stopped at the border.

What if no deal is possible asks peer

Brexit and trade debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Aberdare
HoL

Crossbench peer Lord Aberdare poses a number of hypothetical questions.

What if a deal is in prospect but needs time to be brought into effect he asks.

He suggests that transitional arrangements will "almost certainly be necessary".

Another question he asks is what happens if no deal is possible.

He says that falling back on WTO rules is seen as "highly undesirable". 

Slap on the wrist or slap in the face?

Brexit and trade debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Gahia
HoL

Can we get away with a slap on the wrist or will it be a slap in the face asks non-affiliated peer Lord Gadhia.

He says the EU will want the UK to pay the price for "leaving the club".

Not out of vindictiveness, he says, but a desire to ensure that other countries are not tempted to also leave.

He warns of the "bear trap" of accepting a seemingly attractive deal on goods (where the EU enjoys a surplus) but a poor deal on services (where the UK has the advantage). 

Despite it being "unfashionable," Lord Gadhia says he wants to "stand up for financial services" and its £66bn tax base.

He argues that protecting financial services could require a beneficial immigration deal with the EU.

He urges the government to approach negotiations with a cheque book ready and a willingness to win friends "as never before". 

Armstrong: The government is being incredibly optimistic

Brexit and trade debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Armstrong of Hilltop
HoL

None of the options are cost free says Labour's Baroness Armstrong of Hilltop.

None are going to "take back control" she adds.

The real problem, she says, is that "nothing is for nothing".

She accuses the government of being "incredibly optimistic" but not realistic.

She tells peers that being a woman in the Labour Party and a Sunderland supporter she has to be an optimist.

However she says there is "a long, tough road ahead".

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

That's it for this week in the House of Commons as there'll be no consideration of private members' bills tomorrow.

MPs will be back on Monday with Home Office questions at 2.30pm.

Five models for post-Brexit UK trade

27 June 2016

BBC News UK

A ship
Getty Images

After the UK voted to leave the EU, the country faces the prospect of having to establish new trade relationships - both with the remaining 27 EU members and other countries around the world.

As a member of the EU, the UK has been included in trade deals the EU has negotiated. There are 22 trade agreements between the EU and individual countries, and five multi-lateral agreements covering multiple countries.

This means that if the UK wants to retain preferential access to the markets of the 52 countries covered by these agreements, it would have to renegotiate trade deals with all of them.

Britain is a large market, so there is a clear incentive for other countries to negotiate a deal. Advocates of Brexit argued that it would be in nobody's interest to interrupt the current trading partnerships.

But which of the other models discussed as potential post-Brexit options for the UK are realistic?

Read more here.

Debate on trade and Brexit begins

House of Lords

Parliament

House of Lords
HoL

For those peers who have not had enough of Brexit this week, the last item of business for the day is a debate on the report by the European Union Committee – Brexit: the options for trade .

The report set out a number of possibilities for trade post-Brexit, including being a member of the European Economic Area and joining the customs union.

Committee Chair and Labour's Lord Whitty acknowledges that since the report was published (in December) the prime minister has ruled out being an EEA member in favour of "a bold ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement".

Adjournment debate on A6-M60 relief road

Adjournment Debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative William Wragg now starts the adjournment debate on the A6-M60 relief road.

The road is hoped to reduce congestion between Hazel Grove and Manchester Airport.

Carins: we will listen to Wales on Brexit

Welsh affairs debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Alun Cairns
HoC

"We want Wales to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer and more outward looking than ever before," says Wales Secretary Alun Cairns.

He says that the UK has "benefited from the flow of ideas and innovation" that come from Wales and that he didn't see that changing in the future. 

He says that the government will work with Welsh institutions in order to have a "UK-wide approach" to exiting the European Union. 

On steel, he says there is a "sustainable future" to be found, despite a rocky year for the industry.

How to influence government...

Housing debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Young
HoL

Government spokesman Lord Young of Cookham describes the committee report as "a textbook example of how to influence government policy".

He notes that the report was published in July 2016  - two days after the arrival of a new prime minister and a largely new ministerial team at the Communities Department.

This, he says, provided the "political space to revisit policy" and the committee's report was in their "in tray" .

He notes that recommendations in the government's white paper fit with "over half" of the committee's recommendations. 

Labour: looking forward to working with the minister

Welsh affairs debate

Christina Rees
HoC

Shadow Wales secretary Christina Rees praises the nature of the debate, which covered a variety of issues from roads to agriculture. 

She says she looks forward to working with the Wales secretary in order to make it "a superb place to live and to work".

New council tax bands 'not unreasonable'

Housing debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Beecham
HoL

Lord Beecham responds on behalf of Labour.

On the issue of council tax, he argues that adding additional bands "would not be unreasonable".

He welcomes the report's call for councils to be allowed to borrow more to build social housing.

He says that this will allow councils to invest in assets that will then increase in value.

Breaking the 'cycle of ever rising prices'

Housing Debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Shipley
HoL

Lib Dem's Lord Shipley has two suggestions.

Firstly, he calls for a tax on undeveloped land to encourage new building. 

Secondly, he says government bodies should be prepare to sell their land at below market prices.

This, he argues would break the "cycle of ever rising prices".

Best: We cannot rely on large companies to build homes

Housing debate

House of Lords

Parliament

"We've got build a lot more homes," says Crossbencher Lord Best, but warns that "we cannot rely on large companies to do it".

Therefore, he argues, government has to boost building by other providers - "councils, housing associations, SME builders, retirement housing and self build".

Plaid Cymru: Brexit is an opportunity for Welsh government

Welsh affairs debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Liz Saville Roberts
HoC

Brexit offers opportunities to return some powers to Wales, says Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville Roberts. 

She says "determinations need to be made about which powers are to go to devolved powers."

She asks that the vote to leave the EU not be seen as an opportunity for populist forces, but rather a positive one which allows for a restructuring of the way the UK works. 

Welsh universities under risk from Brexit

Welsh affairs debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Cardiff university
HoC

Labour's Jo Stephens praises the role of Welsh universities which she says are "thriving like never before."

But, she warns, that Brexit threatens the country's seven universities. 

She says that the universities will lose EU funding and teaching staff if their rights are not protected. 

She asks that the government ensure that funding is protected before it hits the reputation of the universities. 

Welsh transport infrastructure 'slow and ageing'

Welsh affairs debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Byron Davies criticises "slow and ageing" road network and calls for more investment in Welsh infrastructure.

He believes Welsh MPs must "challenge our institutions more" to gain funding, as Wales can sometimes be left behind

He also ask for more research to be done into understanding why Swansea cockles are disappearing. 

Build on green belt to create million homes

Housing debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Layard
HoL

Labour peer Lord Layard speaks about the use of green belt land. He says that a large amount of green belt within the M25 around London is not publicly accessible.

He asks peers if they are aware that if "just 10% of green belt land within the M25 were built on, it would provide one million homes."

Baroness Young of Old Scone intervenes to say the green belt is essential to make London "a liveable city" in terms of environmental benefits.  She says greater public access to the green belt should be allowed, rather than it be "built over."

Lord Layard says he is more optimistic about the prospects for tackling climate change, and that "we need to make progress without expecting people to move into ever more expensive homes."

He closes describing British planning laws as "a self-inflicted wound", with the balance of held by "the few, not the many."

Councils buying commercial properties to rent, instead of building homes

Housing debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Wheatcroft
HoL

Conservative Baroness Wheatcroft speaks on how the process for building new homes can be speeded up.

"One third of planning permissions for houses are never actually built at all," she says.

She goes on to speak about the high rates of acquisition of commercial properties by councils. She says councils are trying to "bridge the gap" in central government funding by borrowing cheaply to buy commercial properties they can then rent out.

"How many houses could they have built with the money spent?" she asks.

While she believes local authorities know a lot about managing social housing, how much they know about running "Mercedes showrooms and ferry terminals, I'm not so sure", she says.

Wales is 'outward looking' part of a United Kindom

Welsh affairs debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Albert Owen
HoC

Labour's Albert Owen opens the debate on Welsh affairs by praising the role Welsh MPs have played in the development of the UK. 

He says that they "work best for our constituents and Wales in a United Kingdom, as outward looking internationalists."

He mentions some of the challenges facing Welsh residents, including infrastructure and access to fast internet. 

Dinenage: 'women's equality is everyone's business'

International Women's Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Caroline Dinenage
HoC

"Women's equality is everyone's business and benefits men and women alike," says Woman and Equalities Minister Caroline Dinenage. 

She announces that the women and equalities question session will be made permanent session in Parliament. 

She says the government has worked hard on women's issue including forcing companies to publish pay gaps and solidifying parental leave. 

She says that she hopes new compulsary sex and relationship education classes will help develop positive relationships and mutual respect between young boys and girls. 

Praise for minister

Housing debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Gavin Barwell
PA
Housing Minister Gavin Barwell (r) next to the Prime Minister

The ears of Housing Minister Gavin Barwell may be burning this afternoon as peers, despite expressing some disappointment in the housing white paper, line up to praise him personally.

Lord Forysth calls for him to be made a senior minister and Lord Turnbull welcomes his fresh thinking.

Lord Sharkey and Lord Kerslake also have nice things to say...

Champion: make sure the Budget works for women

International Women's Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Sarah Champion
HoC

Shadow women and equalities minister Sarah Champion asks for assurances that the Budget next week works for women. 

She praises the commitment of women activists in Parliament, including Labour's Jess Philips who introduced the debate.

She also praises the "honorary sister from Ogmore" - the only male contributor to the debate - and says that these kind of debates should see male speakers as well as women MPs.

Bereavement payments intended for 'when people need it most'

Bereavement support debate

Westminster Hall

Richard harrington
HoC

Minister Richard Harrington is now responding to the debate on bereavement support, setting out the government's position on payments made to widowed partners.

Bereavement support payments are to replace previous bereavement benefits, and will not have any work-based conditions placed on them, he says.

Bereavement support payments are claimable by married partners or people in civil partnerships, they are not claimable by co-habiting couples.

The minister says establishing proof of co-habitation would be very complicated, and that contributory benefits are reliant on there being a legal arrangement between the partners - such as marriage.

He says the new payments are intended to support bereaved people in the 18 month period following a bereavement "when they need it most", and that after that time other welfare benefits may apply.

'Houses earn more than the people living in them'

Housing debate

Houses
Getty Images

Crossbench peer and former head of the civil service Lord Turnbull tells peers that "houses can earn more than the people living in them".

Pay is subject to all sorts of tax, he says, but, apart from inheritance tax, there is no tax on the increase in the value of a house. 

Consequently, he argues, investments in bricks and mortar has increased taking home ownership "out of the reach of many".

He suggests that a solution can be reached by updating council tax.

The grandest mansion - "some owned by members of this house" - will never pay more than three times the tax of the "humblest dwelling," he says

He adds that the property values on which council tax is based have not been updated since 1991.

Sharkey: Government approach is timid

Housing debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Sharkey
HoL

The government's white paper on housing was a disappointment, says Lib Dem Lord Sharkey.

There are good things, he acknowledges, but it "is rather timid".

He describes the housing market as disfunctional and socially harming and argues that it needs "radical reform".

Specifically, he calls for "a lot more building" by local authorities.

The easiest, most obvious way of doing this is to relax rules on council borrowing, he says. 

He regrets that "the Treasury seem to have prevented this".

Celebrate the everyday achievements of womanhood

International Women's Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Sarah Olney
HoC

Lib Dem Sarah Olney says we should celebrate the everyday achievements of womanhood. 

On issues such as childbirth, childcare and work-life balance, she says "we don't think anyone will take us seriously, if we talk seriously about it."

She says every mother should be proud, every day. 

She acknowledges the role fathers play, but says that so often many of the jobs related to children are "uniquely female."

Forsyth: We cannot rely on private sector

Housing debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Forysth tells peers that the key finding of the report was that the private sector was "failing to meet demand".

He admits that the evidence that "we cannot rely on the private sector" was, for him "ideologically challenging".

We have to find a way to enable local authorities to provide low cost housing, he says.

Lords 'a workhouse, not a day care centre'

Housing debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Forsyth
HoL

Conservative Lord Forsyth begins by noting that in the BBC documentary, Meet the Lords , a Lib Dem peer described the House of Lords as "London's best day care centre".

"It is more like a workhouse," argues Lord Forsyth, particularly for members of the Economic Affairs committee under the leadership of Lord Hollick. 

Lord Forsyth tells peers that the committee has recently worked on reports on electricity, labour and student loans.

He adds that the number of days members meet has gone from one day a week to three. 

Changing mentality must start with the young

International Women's Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The SNP's Kirsten Oswald says that "too often we are not anywhere near where we need to be."

She argues that one of the most important things we can do right now is to tell young children that women are "equal in ability, and equal in every way".

The Scottish government is "very focused on action" on women's issues, and she mentions her colleague Eilidh Whiteford's efforts in pushing the government to sign the Istanbul Convention. 

Peers begin debate on housebuilding

House of Lords

Parliament

New homes being constructed in Bristol
Getty Images

Conservative Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts expresses concern about the regulation but it is approved.

The next item of business is a debate on the report from the Economic Affairs Committee - Building More Homes .

The report recommends that the government should

  • relax the "arbitrary limits on how much local authorities can borrow to build social housing. 
  • provide financial support for local authorities to join with housing associations and investors
  • Make more public land available for housing
  • Allow local authorities to levy council tax on developments that are not comlpeted within a set period
  • Ensure local planning departments are properly resourced by allowing local authorities to set planning fees 
  • Simplify the planning process to help small builders

Young people not entranced by regulations

A bishop tweets

Women have come long way in politics, but obstacles remain

International Women's Day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Nusrat Ghani
HoC

Conservative Nusrat Ghani reads out reasons why women were prohibited from voting including that they might get hysterical or would get pestered by men at the polling booth, to laughter from MPs.

She suggests that although women have come a long way in politics there are still a lot of obstacles. 

She references abuse faced by female MPs on social media which she fears discourages younger women from getting involved in politics. 

Bereavement support debate begins

Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall

Frank Field
HoC

Work and Pensions Committee Chair Frank Field is opening this debate on the committee's report into government support for bereaved people.

The committee looked into the problem of "funeral poverty", the Social Fund and the Widowed Parents' Allowance.

You can read about the committee's inquiry here.

Mr Field says he hopes the debate will allow MPs to relate cases from their own constituencies, as well as for an update from the minister on government progress on responding to the committee's recommendations.

He goes on to relate the recent case of one of his own constituents, who was faced with a bill of over £1,000 for the funeral of her husband.  

Mr Field says his constituent was never made aware of the availability of the Social Fund to assist with funeral costs.

Mr Field points out that even with access to the Social Fund, the amount payable for funeral costs has remained set at £700 since 2003.

Looking back

Hansard tweets