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Summary

  1. MPs question Culture Secretary Karen Bradley and team
  2. Business statement outlines forthcoming bills and debate
  3. Statement on Sky and 21st Century Fox merger
  4. Statement on Public Administration Committee's report on lessons to be learned from the Chilcot Inquiry
  5. The Health Committee's report on suicide prevention examined
  6. Debate on energy later
  7. Peers meet at 11am for questions
  8. Orders and regulations considered; followed by debate on Commonwealth

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel, Esther Webber and Ben Butcher

All times stated are UK

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Lords adjourn for the week

House of Lords

Parliament

House of Lords clock
HoL

And that wraps up the day in the Lords. Peers return on Monday for oral questions followed by debate of the Digital Economy Bill. 

Join us then.

Collins: Commonwealth countries are partners, not an empire

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Collins of Highbury
HoL

Shadow international development minister Lord Collins of Highbury says that in uncertain times it will be important to focus on relationships with Commonwealth countries.

"As partners," he stresses "not as the former empire".

Speaking for the government Baroness Mobarik says the "global reach and extraordinary diversity" of the Commonwealth means it has "immense potential" to tackle challenges such as global corruption, extremism and climate change.

Purvis: We cannot dictate to other countries

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Purvis
HoL

Responding for the debate Lib Dem Lord Purvis of Tweed identifies two themes that have emerged - human rights and trade.

On human rights, specifically anti-gay laws, he acknowledges that the Commonwealth is made up of independent nations.

"We cannot dictate their legislation anymore than they can ours," he says. However he stresses the need for more "open dialogue".

Baroness Flather defends Commonwealth Secretary-General

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Flather
HoL

Crossbencher Baroness Flather begins her speech with a defence of the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland.

She notes concerns reported in the press and accusations that Baroness Scotland is "very greedy".

Why, asks Baroness Flather, "because she wanted the same salary as her predecessor?"

Should she accept lower pay just because she's a woman, wonders the peer.

Lord Popat calls for a Commonwealth Bank

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Popat
HoL

Conservative Lord Popat says Brexit provides an opportunity to rekindle a relationship with "an amazing group of nations".

He urges the government to establish a Commonwealth Bank to support major infrastructure projects.

Commonwealth is 'a natural home' for Ireland

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Caha mountains on north coast of the Ring of Beara
BBC

Conservative Lord Lexden uses his speech to urge Ireland to rejoin the Commonwealth.

He believes that if it did it would find "an utterly different organisation" from the one they left 70 years ago.

The Commonwealth is "a natural home" for Ireland, he says adding "they belong within our family".

Former World Trade Organization director warns against UK leaving EU with no deal
Former World Trade Organization director Pascal Lamy says that trade would be "more costly" if the UK left the EU with no deal.

Lord Sheikh optimistic of Commonwealth trade ties

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Sheikh
HoL

Lord Sheikh praises the diversity of the Commonwealth and says the UK should "drive forward a progressive and ambitious agenda" during the summit. 

He says he can "personally vouch" for the level of interest from Commonwealth countries in forming trade agreements with the UK post-Brexit. 

He also welcomes the potential for renewed attention towards Commonwealth migrants and the new skills and talent it can bring. 

Commonwealth can be 'a stable anchor in turbulent times'

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Chidgey says that the Commonwealth can be "a stable anchor in turbulent times" by working together to prevent extremism. 

He also says that the Commonwealth offers an array of economies to work with and the UK should relaunch its links with these countries after recent neglect.  

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs have wrapped up their day early with no adjournment debate. They're not sitting tomorrow and will return on Monday. 

UK must stand up on LGBT rights

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Cashman
HoL

Lord Cashman says that some Commonwealth nations have been "deeply resistant to change" on LGBT issues. 

He says that LGBT communities are not treated with the respect of the law and face the worst kinds of discrimination and violence, but when the UK tries to intervene in the issue they are accused of "neo-colonialism".

He calls for the UK to stand up for LGBT rights and put pressure on these countries in their future relationship with the Commonwealth. 

Minister brands energy price rises 'unacceptable'

Energy prices debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Norman
BBC

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister Jesse Norman says he's "concerned" at consumers paying over the odds for energy and the price rises instituted recently by the "big six" suppliers are "not acceptable". 

"The government has worked very hard with Ofgem to improve competition," he tells MPs. 

He points to the "league table" for energy suppliers and access to data as two innovations which will increase transparency and make it easier to switch. 

Gadhia: Invite Japan to join the Commonwealth

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Tokyo and Mount Fuji
AFP/Getty Images

Conservative Lord Gadhia offers three suggestions to improve the Commonwealth.

Firstly he says the organisation should "aggressively add new members" such as Japan, the Gulf States and some European countries. 

Secondly, he wants to see the establishment of a Commonwealth bank which would focus on global trade finance. 

Thirdly he says the leadership of the organisation should be reviewed. The role of the Secretary-General should be seen as "a top global role", he adds. 

Labour: Energy market is broken

Energy prices debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Whitehead
BBC

Shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead responds to the debate for Labour, saying that MPs who have spoken this afternoon agree on "just how broken the present energy market is".

"The energy market as it stands is not transparent," he says, arguing this frustrates efforts to work out what fair pricing would look like. 

A price cap which allows competition to remain would be a good idea, he suggests. 

Frozen pensions in Commonwealth 'a national shame'

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Benjamin
HoL

Lib Dem Baroness Benjamin uses the debate to raise the issue of frozen state pensions which can affect those claiming a British state pension who live in the Commonwealth.

In the UK pensions rise in line with prices, wages or at least 2.5% (also known as the triple lock) but those living abroad do not receive any such uprating.

Baroness Benjamin describes this as "a national shame and a great injustice". 

Energy companies 'exploit loyalty'

Energy prices debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Gibson
BBC

The SNP's Patricia Gibson says this afternoon's debate on energy prices is "long overdue". 

She tells MPs that customers in the north of Scotland tend to pay 8% or 9% more than those in the south.

"Loyalty is treated as something to be exploited rather than rewarded" by energy companies, she claims. 

Switching can currently take up to 21 days, she continues, "for which I cannot see the justification". 

Flint: there is a 'crisis of confidence' with energy customers

Energy prices

House of Commons

Parliament

Caroline Flint
HoC

Labour's Caroline Flint criticises a lack of transparency in British energy firms which is leading to "a crisis of confidence."

She accuses the companies management of avoiding "effective change", happy to take advantage of their "monopoly" status. 

She calls for a "protective tariff" for customers and a database whereby customers can be offered cheaper tariffs by other companies. 

She says that the government are the only ones with the power to act as "consumer champions" and must step in immediately. 

'Your friend is back'

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbencher Viscount Waverly tells peers that when the UK joined the EEC in 1973 "our trade, aid and investment with the Commonwealth ended". 

He hopes that today the message will travel Commonwealth-wide: "Your partner and friend is back".

UK must walk 'a thin tightrope'

Commonwealth debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Scriven
HoL

Lib Dem Lord Scriven warns that the UK must walk "a thin tightrope" regarding the Commonwealth.

He says the UK should show leadership but should also avoid being seen as a western nation lecturing others.

Specifically he calls on ministers to be more robust with nations that impose the death penalty on gay people. 

He adds that the minister at the despatch box (Baroness Anelay) has been "superb" on gay rights.

'Oligarchy' of energy firms being challenged

Energy prices

House of Commons

Parliament

Iain Wright
HoC

Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee Iain Wright says that new players in the energy sector have begun challenging the "oligarchy of the big six" firms, taking their market share from 100% to 85% in recent years. 

He says that millions of customers are paying a higher tariff than they should be and that the longer you're with a company, the more you pay. 

He says that energy company claims that price rises are due to government schemes are "disingenuous", but rather due to their inability to manage their businesses properly.  

He calls for a price cap "now" and for efforts to educate customers of their rights.

Debate on Commonwealth begins

House of Lords

Parliament

New Delhi, Commonwealth Games
Getty Images
Opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in India

The statement concludes and Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay gets to her feet to open the debate on the Commonwealth.

She argues that the Commonwealth should play a greater role in the world stage and sets out two specific areas of improvement for the organisation:

  • Reforming the organisation of the Commonwealth to make it leaner and more effective
  • Boosting inter-Commonwealth trade

Energy firms 'exploit' customer loyalty

Energy prices

House of Commons

Parliament

John Penrose
HoC

Conservative John Penrose opens the debate by saying energy firms believe "loyalty should be exploited, not rewarded".

He says that customers finding switching energy companies "scary", claiming that the process needs to be made "simple" by making customer data more easily accessible. 

Whilst these measures are put in place, he says, a "price cap" is needed to limit the gap between the normal tariff and the best deal energy firms offer to protect less "savvy" customers.

He says that two-thirds of customers are being "ripped off" and the "time for action is now."

Fox 'has not changed'

Sky and 21st Century Fox statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord McNally
HoL

Lib Dem Lord McNally also welcomes the statement, arguing that the company has "not changed its approach" since the hacking scandal. 

He calls for communication between Rupert Murdoch and the prime minister to be made public.

MPs debate energy prices

Energy prices

House of Commons

Parliament

Power lines
PA

MPs move to a backbench business debate on energy prices. 

SSE has become the latest "big six" energy supplier to raise its prices.

It blamed the increase on government policies that mean customers subsidise energy from renewable sources and the cost of smart meter installation.

Four of the other big six suppliers have already announced price rises this year, while British Gas has held prices until August.

Read more.

Sky and Fox statement repeated in the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

James and Rupert Murdoch
PA

Government spokesman Lord Keen of Elie now repeats the culture secretary’s earlier announcement that an intervention notice has been issued on 21st Century Fox's £11.7bn takeover bid for broadcaster Sky.

Labour's Lord Stevenson welcomes the decision and asks if  ongoing sexual harassment cases in the US will be considered when Ofcom considers the governance of Fox.

'A messy patchwork'

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Kennedy
HoL

Labour's Lord Kennedy suggests that the government's approach to devolution has led to "a messy patchwork" and calls for a clearer framework.

However despite these general objection he does not oppose the specific regulations and they are approved by the House. 

Number of avoidable suicides 'unacceptable'

Suicide prevention statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Wollaston
BBC

Conservative chair of the Health Committee, Sarah Wollaston, is making a statement on her committee's report on suicide prevention.

"The scale of avoidable loss of life from suicide is unacceptable," she tells MPs. 

The report expressed concern that provision of funding for suicide prevention will be "too little and too late to implement the strategy as effectively as required". 

It calls on the government to set out how it will make sure that funding is available for the actions outlined in their strategy.

MP defends Iraq War decision

Chilcot Inquiry statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Ann Clwyd puts it on the record that "my thoughts are with the victims" of Saddam Hussein and "that is why I and the majority in this House voted in favour of going to war".

Mr Jenkin responds he wants people with a range of views on the war to be involved in deciding how to improve procedure. 

Labour: Questions unresolved after Chilcot

Chilcot Inquiry statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett says there is a "gaping chasm" left by the fact the Chilcot report does not deal with whether Parliament was misled. 

He warns that the problems identified in the committee report are unlikely to change without a complete turnaround in the Westminster political culture. 

Liverpool and Tees Valley devolution deals

House of Lords

Parliament

Albert Docks
BBC

"Lets see if we have less trouble over this one," begins Lord Young as he seeks approval for the next two regulations. 

These regulations would devolve powers to Liverpool and the Tees Valley.

'Too easy' for PM to disregard procedure - report

Chilcot Inquiry statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Bernard Jenkin
bb

Conservative chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Bernard Jenkin, is making a statement on his committee's report on lessons still to be learned from the Chilcot Inquiry.

He says it's "striking" the extent to which the inquiry suggests collective Cabinet responsibility was "sidelined".

The report found it was too easy for the prime minister to disregard Cabinet procedures and that Parliament should have been much more actively involved in establishing and setting up the Iraq Inquiry. 

Another broken manifesto commitment?

Devolution regulation

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Young tells peers that yesterday he had "an uncomfortable time" at the dispatch box in connection to a manifesto commitment. (He was tasked with making a statement on the  National Insurance rise U-turn ).

He notes that devolving powers to those areas that chose to have a mayor was a manifesto commitment.

Lord Cormack is now inviting me to break another manifesto commitment, he says.

"Please do," shouts Lord Cormack.