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Summary

  1. MPs on Culture committee investigate ticket abuse
  2. Health questions starts in Commons
  3. Urgent question on money laundering
  4. MPs hold debate on Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill then fuel poverty
  5. Lords start questions at 2.30pm
  6. Peers debate armed forces and Nato this afternoon

Live Reporting

By Esther Webber and Claire Gould

All times stated are UK

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Minister rejects claims about defence spending

Nato and security debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Defence Minister Earl Howe responds to the debate, saying he "rejects accusations" the government is not properly funding the armed forces. 

"We spend more than 2% of GDP [on defence] and we are pledged to invest more, year-on-year," he tells the House. 

Labour criticises defence spending 'wheezes'

Nato and security debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour spokesman Lord Rosser argues the government's approach is one of "simply moving existing items of expenditure around" in order to show it is spending a certain amount. 

He claims the government reached the 2% target for defence spending by including items that had not previously been, calling this an "accountancy wheeze".  

Lib Dems: Liberal values may not survive the decade

Nato and security debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lib Dem defence spokesperson Baroness Jolly says the liberal international order has prevailed for years and institutions arising out of it have benefited UK citizens. 

This international order is "under threat", and may not survive another decade, she warns. 

Peer names 'backsliders' on defence spending

House of Lords

Parliament

Jopling
BBC

Conservative peer and vice-president of Nato's parliamentary assembly Lord Jopling speaks of "continued uncertainty that comes from Washington". 

He says it's "been implied it's bad manners to name the backsliders" on defence spending among Nato members, but does so anyway: Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Slovenia and Hungary.

'David has been empowered against Goliath' in technology battle

Nato and security debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Howell
HoL

"The Davids have been vastly empowered against the Goliaths everywhere," warns Lord Howell, as he describes how weaponry and technology has changed in favour of "small, agile" groups around the world.

He goes on to call for the UK to use its "underused soft power assets" in a world "transformed" by digital technology.

Are we spending on 'gold plated' military assets at the expense of the basics?

Nato and security debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Empey
HoL

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey says he doesn't feel soft power means much if the UK's military capability is neglected.

"Do we go for this gold plated equipment" at the expense of more basic needs, he asks, referring to the two new aircraft carriers that are under construction.

He says it's "ridiculous" for an island nation to have only three vessels available to patrol the English Channel on a daily basis.

Law is 'clear' on illegality of extremist videos online

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Yvette Cooper
HoC

Committee chair Yvette Cooper closes the committee with a final question to Solicitor General Robert Buckland, asking if he thinks Google is actually breaking the law by hosting material from proscribed group National Action.

Mr Buckland says he can't arrive at a "firm conclusion" on that, but that he has made the point that the law covers this area.

Ms Cooper reiterates that Google has not removed all the National Action videos from their sites despite repeated requests from government, and assurances to the Home Affairs Committee by Google that it will remove the videos.

Mr Buckland says he doesn't want to "prejudice" any potential prosecution, but that he has made his view on the law clear.

Should misogyny be recorded as hate crime?

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Labour MP Naz Shah asks if misogyny will be recognised as a hate crime nationally, following the work done by the Nottinghamshire police force.

Home Office Minister Sarah Newton says police forces which have prioritised hate crimes against women have found more women coming forward to report crimes because they understand they will be taken seriously.

She says it would probably be more helpful to talk in terms of "gender" when recording hate crimes.

Ms Shah asks if the police should be instructed to record all gender hate crimes.

Ms Newton says the government will not direct the police to prioritise certain crimes, as individual forces are best placed to decide what is needed in their local areas.

Funding available for community projects tackling hate crime

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Committee chair Yvette Cooper presses Sarah Newton on whether the Home Office has the resources to deal with the range of threats.

Ms Cooper says there is evidence of "inadequate community prevention work" on Islamic extremism.

Ms Newton says the Home Office is flexible enough to shift resources into different areas as required.

Robert Buckland says there is a new funding scheme for community projects, distributing Home Office grants to local organisations tackling different kinds of hate crime.

Home Office learning from expert on right-wing extremism

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Stuart McDonald
HoC

SNP MP Stuart McDonald asks the witnesses if the government has enough information from experts on the activities of the extreme right in the UK.

Home Office Minister Sarah Newton says there are monitoring teams in the Home Office looking at right-wing extremism and that the department engages with academic experts working in this field.

She says the Home Office needs to learn more about how "vulnerable individuals" get drawn into extreme right-wing groups, and work is being done on this.

"Resources are matched to the level of threat," says Ms Newton, so the department can respond to emerging threats, and she cites the example of the government response to child abuse online.

Navy has too few ships, claims ex-Navy chief

Nato and security debate

House of Lords

Parliament

West
BBC

Labour peer and former Navy chief Lord West of Spithead says liberalism is receding and there's a chance we could be heading into a "highly dangerous" world. 

He charges the government with "staggering complacency" when it comes to resources for defence. 

"The Royal Navy has too few ships to do what the nation expects of it," he continues. 

'Nothing being ruled out' to compel social media companies to act

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Both Solicitor General Robert Buckland and Home Office Minister Sarah Newton say nothing is being ruled out, including compelling companies through legislation, to take action against extreme content on their sites.

Mr Buckland says he is wary of emulating the laws in Germany, as he doesn't want to "give too much power" to already very powerful companies to decide on what is or isn't acceptable to be published.

He says legislation might not be "sufficiently flexible" to deal with fast moving changes in technology and in trends online.

'Incomprehensible' that government didn't take action sooner - Labour MP

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

David Winnick
HoC

Labour's David Winnick presses the witnesses on the "millions of pounds of public money" that have been paid to the social media companies to advertise government programmes.

"I find it incomprehensible" that action was not taken earlier than last week, says Mr Winnick.

"As soon as the issues were known, action was taken," says Ms Newton, of the government's decision to withdraw advertising from Google when its advertisements were seen next to extreme content on YouTube.

Ex-Army chief: US retreating from international responsibilities

Nato and security debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Former chief of defence staff Lord Stirrup warns of the United States' "threatened and actual retreat" from the world stage. 

He says President Trump's appeal for European countries to pay more towards Nato is "neither new nor wrong", and although the UK is meeting the minimum spend we should allocate more. 

Conservatives 'ignorant' on EU defence role - Lib Dems

Nato and security debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Fallon
BBC

Lib Dem spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire says international relations are going from "benign to much more unstable" and Western democracies "can no longer set the rules". 

The defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, looks on as the former minister tells peers "the level of ignorance in the Conservatives about the European defence co-operation is astonishing", and many behaved during the referendum campaign as if the EU "bore no relation" to Nato. 

Will government get its advertising money back from Google?

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Committee chair Yvette Cooper asks if the government has demanded its money back from the advertising it has withdrawn from Google.

Mr Buckland says discussions are ongoing, and Ms Newton says they "won't give a running commentary".

Despite the hilarity of the committee, Ms Newton goes on to say that there are "serious discussions" with Google about the government's advertising policy.

Does banning organisations work?

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Conservative Ranil Jayawardena asks if proscribing an organisation for inciting racism or terrorism is the best way to tackle hate crime.

Ms Newton says banning certain organisations sends an important message about "what is acceptable in our country".

She says there is a "challenge" in the way social media can be used to allow people to organise outside of more official groups, which can be banned.

Social media sites responding to threats from advertisers, not government - Tory MP

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Tim Loughton
Parliament

Conservative Tim Loughton says it is only as a result of the bad publicity that social media companies have received recently which has forced them to take action against abuse and other illegal content published on their sites.

"Government has not been totally supine," says Robert Buckland, and that publicity is the "best disinfectant".

Mr Loughton says he would expect to prosecuted if he put up a sign in his local newsagent containing anti-Semitic hate speech - and he says if he said the same things online he would not expect to be prosecuted.

Robert Buckland says perpetrators of online abuse against MPs have been successfully prosecuted and are now in prison.

Mr Loughton presses the witnesses on what more government could be doing to deter online abuse, and he says technological solutions have existed for "some years".

Sarah Newton says government is learning lessons from successes in removing images of child abuse to apply to removing hate speech from websites.

Ms Newton agrees that the action of advertisers is "focussing minds" at the social media companies.

Lords Labour spokesman takes a swipe at Jeremy Corbyn

Nato and security debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Discussing the birth of Nato, Labour spokesman Lord Touhig says Bevan helped Clement Attlee set up an independent nuclear deterrent against the wishes of left-wing Labour MPs, adding: "Some things never change."  

He goes on to object to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's contributions as he travels the globe, saying policy cannot be devised "on the wing". 

Britain will 'step up' security role after Brexit

Nato and security debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Howe
BBC

Defence Minister Earl Howe opens this afternoon's heavily subscribed debate on Nato and the future of UK security.

He begins by paying tribute to armed forces, whom he describes as "the best in the world".

He says in the wake of the Brexit vote, the UK is "determined to step up to defend global security". 

He is also asking peers to approve the Armed Forces (Continuation) Order 2017, which makes the necessary provision for the armed forces to exist as disciplined forces and is renewed every year. 

What steps are being taken to remove terrorist content from social media?

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Witnesses
Parliament

The committee is now hearing from two ministers:

  • Sarah Newton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism
  • Robert Buckland, Solicitor General

Yvette Cooper asks about the steps being taken to restrict the activities of the National Action group, a proscribed terrorist organisation.

She says videos made by the group are still viewable on YouTube.

Home Office Minister Sarah Newton says there is a team in the Home Office checking for proscribed material online, and reporting any they come across.

She says the particular videos asked about are hosted outside the UK and the platform has not responded to requests to remove the material. She describes a blocking measure that is used in the UK to prevent them from being viewed on computers in the UK.

"That's the theory," says Ms Cooper, but she goes on to describe how she has found National Action videos still easily viewable on YouTube.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland says the government has an agreement in place for videos to be taken down within 24 hours.

"We expect to be supported by organisations like Google" when the government bans organisations for terrorist activities, he says.

"It's now a question of getting them to do what they've already agreed they're going to do," adds Sarah Newton of the discussions they've had with sites such as Twitter and Google.

Security advice does not reflect how MPs work

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Nusrat Ghani says women MPs feel the security advice they are given does not reflect the work of a constituency MP.

Eric Hepburn says advice given is based on advice from the police and that additional police support can be provided where increased threats are known about.

Lindsay Hoyle says he is working to improve the advice given and to make sure all MPs receive it and understand what they can do to protect themselves.

Mr Hepburn says they are working with MPs to help them understand how to keep their families secure, particularly on social media so that personal information is not accidentally disclosed.

Online abuse 'is a threat to democracy' - Deputy Speaker

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Conservative Nusrat Ghani asks why a young Muslim woman would want to become an MP, given the increased abuse directed at Muslim women MPs.

"I want everyone to have an equal chance to be a member of Parliament," he says, and that Parliament must reflect society.

Ms Ghani asks Eric Hepburn how confident he is that Parliament can demand abusive content to be removed from social media sites.

"There's more they could do," says Mr Hepburn, and that the difficulty in getting abusive content removed is "undermining" the security of MPs.

Mr Hoyle says the level of abuse is "a threat to democracy" and that social media platforms have to take responsibility for the content they host on their sites.

"Common sense should prevail," he says, when asked if he thinks legislation is required to force social media companies to remove abusive content.

Peers quiz ministers

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Lords
BBC

Peers are taking part in their daily question session with ministers, addressing: 

  • forest governance 
  • the pension rights of spouses police officers who have been killed in the line of duty
  • international action to keep the Gaza Strip habitable
  • the new funding formula for schools.

'We don't want to become virtual MPs' - Deputy Speaker

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Committee chair Yvette Cooper asks the witnesses about the abuse that women MPs and black and ethnic minority MPs receive online.

Mr Hoyle says they now know that there are certain subjects, which if a woman MP speaks out on in Parliament, she will receive a high level of social media abuse.

He says they are looking to take action in advance of certain sensitive debates to warn MPs and reassure them that steps will be taken against any resulting online abuse.

Mr Hoyle agrees with Yvette Cooper that it is vital for democracy for MPs to live in their constituencies and be publicly available.

"We don't want to become virtual MPs," he says.

MPs feel 'less safe' since murder of Jo Cox

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Committee chair Yvette Cooper asks about the physical threat to MPs.

Lindsay Hoyle says parliament is now gathering information on all threats to MPs, and that threats are also made to the staff of MPs, who are in the constituency office all week.

Mr Hoyle says he never wants to receive another call of the kind he received to be told Labour MP Jo Cox had been attacked on the street.

Eric Hepburn relates evidence from some surveys of MPs, saying they feel more physically threatened and less safe since the murder of Jo Cox.

Women and ethnic minority MPs under greater threat - Deputy Speaker

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Witnesses
Parliament

Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle tells the committee the situation has changed since he came into Parliament in 1997.

He says if any MP speaks on a subject that someone disagrees with, that is "open season" to attack that MP via social media.

The online threat is greater against women MPs and MPs from ethnic minorities, says Mr Hoyle.

Eric Hepburn, Parliament's Director of Security, says social media has given an outlet for people who might otherwise have stayed silent.

Home Affairs committee hears about threats to MPs

Home Affairs Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

This afternoon the Home Affairs Committee is holding a session on hate crime, hearing from MPs and people responsible for Parliament's security.

The first witnesses this afternoon are:

  • Rt Hon Lindsay Hoyle MP, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons
  • Eric Hepburn, Director of Security for Parliament    

Later the committee will hear from:

  • Sarah Newton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism
  • Robert Buckland QC MP, Solicitor General 

'Efficient' bill gets third reading

Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Eleanor Laing
BBC

After a short debate, the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill gets its third reading, and MPs move on to this afternoon's general debate on fuel poverty. 

"I must say that's the most efficient bill I have ever seen in this House", says Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing after the vote. 

"I think that somebody somewhere ought to be commended for it," she adds. 

This afternoon in the Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs are now embarking on report stage of the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill, which aims to reform the law of unjustified, or groundless, threats as it applies to patents, trade marks and designs. 

That's followed by third reading, and a general debate on fuel poverty. 

A report by construction firms last month said  25 million existing homes will not meet the insulation standards required by mid-century.

The UK needs to cut carbon emissions by 80% by then - and a third of those emissions come from heating draughty buildings.

The government said it would devise policies as soon as possible. 

Labour decries 'democratic deficit' over disability benefit changes

Point of order

House of Commons

Parliament

A little earlier, shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams highlighted the number of MPs who have "prayed against" changes to Personal Independence Payments. 

She argued if MPs were not able to debate the new regulations it would represent "a democratic deficit". 

Speaker Bercow told her he was sure she'd been heard by ministers and that there would be an opportunity for her to raise it at business questions... 

MP: Airbnb lettings in London rose 127% last year

Ten Minute Rule Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Karen Buck
BBC

Labour's Karen Buck is now introducing her bill, which aims to deal with what she sees as problems arising from the rapid growth of the "short-let" sector through companies such as Airbnb. 

Her bill would require anyone renting out their property short-term to notify their local authority, which she argues would make it easier to enforce rules relating to noise, rubbish and anti-social behaviour.

"Good ideas can be undermined when a minority abuse or exploit them," Ms Buck says, and "individuals need to be protected". 

She says Airbnb lettings in London rose 127% last year.