Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Transport questions starts day in Commons
  2. Leader of the House David Lidington sets out the forthcoming business
  3. Then David Davis makes a statement on the Great Repeal Bill
  4. Following that, there is a debate on animal welfare
  5. Peers question government ministers and then debate the role of the Lord Speaker

Live Reporting

By Esther Webber, Julia Butler and Kate Whannel

All times stated are UK

Get involved

David Davis unveils Great Repeal Bill plan as Brexit gets underway

Statement on the Great Repeal Bill

Collage
HoC

Government plans to transfer thousands of EU laws into UK law have been unveiled in the Commons by Brexit Secretary David Davis.

Mr Davis said  the Great Repeal Bill  would allow the UK Parliament and Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland administrations to scrap, amend and improve laws.

EU laws on everything from workers' rights to the environment would become part of the UK statue under the plans.

It would also end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

The three principle elements of the bill are:

  • Repeal the European Communities Act and return power to UK
  • Convert EU law into UK law allowing businesses to ensure the rules "do not change overnight"
  • Create necessary powers to correct the laws that do not operate appropriately once the UK has left the EU so legal system can function properly.

You can read our coverage from today's events from here .

Lords back next week

House of Lords

Parliament

The House of Lords has now adjourned.

Peers will be back on Monday to continue committee stage debate of the Criminal Finances Bill.

Do join us again next week.

Lords adjourns
BBC

Baroness Evans: Issue 'not a priority'

Lord Speaker debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Evans says says she is not convinced the involvement of the Lord Speaker will be the "magic bullet" in resolving any current issues at question time.

Baroness Evans notes that she has only had to make a "dozen or so" interventions in question time, since the beginning of 2017.

She tells peers there will not be an official review in to the role of the Lord Speaker, as it is "not a priority" but adds "that there is always room for improvements".

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
BBC

Commons adjourn for Easter

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons clock
HoC

And that concludes the day and week in the House of Commons.

MPs now leave for a two week Easter recess. They will return on Tuesday 18 April with questions to the Chancellor.

Labour: Proposals 'sensible and incremental'

Lord Speaker debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Smith of Basildon
BBC

Leader of the Opposition, Baroness Smith praises the "useful debate" and says the proposals are "sensible and incremental". 

This week has been particularly "undignified" and "bad-tempered", she adds. 

Baroness Smith tells peers she would welcome further discussion on this topic with the Leader of the House.

Ellison: Government will reduce VAT on tampons

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Sanitary products
Alamy

Responding to the debate, Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison tells MPs that the government is increasing the personal allowance, increasing the national living wage, and doubling free childcare.

Such measures, she says will women "earn more and keep more" of their money.

She says that the government will reduce VAT on tampons "as soon as we are practically able to within the constraints of the EU law".

Last year the European Council stated that it would bring forward proposals to allow countries to set a zero- VAT rating on sanitary products.

Question time atmosphere 'intimidating'

Lord Speaker debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Horam
BBC

Conservative peer Lord Horam says people are "intimidated" by the atmosphere and so do not participate in question time.

He appeals to the "modern-minded" Leader of the House, Baroness Evans, to "see the sense in this". 

Lord Cormack, another Conservative notes the Lord Speaker's recent comments on the BBC Two 'Meet the Lords' documentary were very "helpful" and showed him to be a "servant of the House".

The peer said it was "utterly predictable" that much of the BBC film "should dwell on the red robes, an extravagant country mansion and comments about 'the best club in London'. "  

You can read Lord Fowler's comments in full here.

Adjournment debate begins

House of Commons

Parliament

Paula Sherriff
HoC

MPs now come to the last item of business of the day - an adjournment debate on the affordability of sanitary products.

Labour MP Paula Sherriff argues that "period poverty has gone under the radar for some time".

She says that some women are faced with the choice of "stealing products or doing without".

She adds that women have been forced to use alternatives such as socks or old newspapers thereby risking infections.

The problem is most pronounced for homeless women, she says.  

Easter adjournment debate concludes

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons
HoC

Opposition spokeswoman Cat Smith responds to the debate and wishes a Happy Easter to other MPs and parliamentary staff.

She also particularly offers her thanks to the police and security on the parliamentary estate whose work, she says, "may often have gone unnoticed".

Deputy Leader Michael Ellis praises the parliamentary doorkeepers for displaying calm, dignity, professionalism and control during last week's terrorist attack. 

He concludes with a tribute to PC Keith Palmer: "He did nothing less than save lives."

Current system a 'bear pit'

Lord Speaker debate

House of Lords

Parliament

House of Lords
BBC

Lord Rooker says the current self-regulating system is a "bear pit" with "bullies" from all sides competing to speak. 

The Labour peer says there are world-class experts on the red benches that "can't bring themselves to get involved".

Crossbencher Lord Low says the House of Lords becomes "undignified" when it comes to question time or statements. 

Peer proposes two changes to Lord Speaker role

Lord Speaker debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Grocott
BBC

Labour peer Lord Grocott rises to suggest "two small changes" to improve the House of Lords' "intelligibility to the public".

He proposes that the Lord Speaker is given control of daily question time. Lord Grocott says the atmosphere is increasingly "aggressive" and many members with valuable knowledge are dissuaded from contributing. 

He also suggests that the Lord Speaker has control of announcing and managing statements, to enable as many peers as possible to contribute.

Currently question time and statements in the House of Lords are self-regulated.

Tribute to long serving doorkeeper

Parliamentary reporter tweets

'I have never experienced pain like it'

Easter adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Lyn Brown
HoC

Labour's Lyn Brown raises the issue of hysteroscopy. 

She explains this is when a small device - often including a camera - is inserted manually through the cervix into the womb.

She objects to the fact that local anesthetic is not routinely offered during the procedure and quotes the experience of one woman:

"It was so excruciatingly painful I cried out, my body went into shock and I began sweat profusely... I've never experienced agonising pain like it in my entire life."

Conservative Bob Stewart recalls that the Labour MP has raise this before and says "it deeply upsets me".

"For goodness sake this has got to be sorted out."

Peers debate role of Lord Speaker

Lord Speaker debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Speaker, Norman Fowler
PA

Peers are now taking part in a debate tabled by Labour's Lord Grocott on the role of the Lord Speaker.   

The Lord Speaker chairs daily business in the House of Lords chamber - but unlike the Commons speaker he does not make rulings on what is in order or decide who gets to speak. 

He also acts an ambassador for the work of the House, conducting outreach work and representing the Lords at events. 

The current Lord Speaker is Lord (Norman) Fowler.

Labour peer raises Single Market

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Davies of Stamford
BBC

Labour's Lord Davies of Stamford says leaving the single market would have "devastating consequences" for the UK economy, and it would be "elementary common-sense" for the government to review this policy.

Brexit Minister Lord Bridges says leaving the EU will be done in a "sensible" manner and will be "mindful and sensitive" to the needs of the economy.

In January, Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK "cannot possibly" remain within the European single market, as staying in it would mean "not leaving the EU at all".  

Schools, salt, social media and jazz

House of Commons

Parliament

David Amess
HoC

Conservative Sir David Amess now rises to make his speech.

He trots through a number of issues including school funding (he warns he may vote against the new formula), salt awareness week (“we need to do much more”), the opening of the National Jazz Centre in Southend (“truly wonderful”) and social media comments(“I really do despair”).

Minister: 'Ample' opportunity for scrutiny

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Hannay of Chiswick
BBC

Conservative peer Lord Hannay complains there is no parliamentary process for approving and scrutinising the deal, other than a "binary" choice when such a deal is brought to Parliament for a vote by both Houses.

Minister Lord Bridges assures the peer there will be "ample opportunity" for scrutiny.

Yesterday, a six-page letter from Mrs May triggering Article 50 was handed to European Council President Donald Tusk by the UK's ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow.  

Lib Dem: 'Sneaky copy and paste bill'

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Ludford
BBC

Liberal Democrat Spokeswoman Baroness Ludford said the bill is not "great", it is the "sneaky copy paste bill" and repeals nothing.

"My party demands for the British people to have the final say on the Brexit deal", she adds.

Minister Lord Bridges of Headley says he is keen to "consult with all members [of the House of Lords]" on the White Paper as it is "important we get it right". 

Stanmore Station update

Easter adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Intervening on Bob Blackman, Labour MP Keith Vaz notes that, in previous similar debates, the MP for Harrow East has normally brought the issue of the need for a lift at Stanmore Station. 

He asks if there is good news on that front.

"It is a sad fact", replies Bob Blackman, that a company offered £1m to build such a lift but "in their infinite wisdom" Harrow Council declined to give the project planning permission.

'We'll be watching you'

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Hayter
BBC

Shadow Brexit spokesperson Baroness Hayter raises concerns about the "sheer scale" of the level of scrutiny of the Bill that will be required.

Baroness Hayter says "extra capacity" will be needed if the House of Lords are able to deal with the "avalanche" of upcoming secondary legislation. 

"There are dangers ahead", she says, whilst telling the Government benches "we'll be watching you". 

Statement repeated in the Lords

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Brexit Minister Lord Bridges of Headley is repeating a statement given earlier by David Davis on legislating for the UK's withdrawal from the EU.  

Thousands of EU laws on everything from workers' rights to the environment are to be scrapped or replaced with UK equivalents in what's being called the Great Repeal Bill.

Lord Bridges of Headley
BBC

Easter adjournment debate begins

House of Commons

Parliament

Ian Mearns
HoC

The animal welfare debate comes to an end and MPs now move on to the smorgasbord that is the debate entitled "matters to be raised before the forthcoming adjournment".

This debate allows MPs to raise all manner of issues before the House of Commons adjourns for the Easter recess. 

Minister responds to debate

Animal welfare debate

House of Commons

Parliament

George Eustice
HoC

Responding to the debate, shadow environment minister Sue Hayman says that acting upon the report's recommendations would cement the UK's position as a world leader in the standards of animal welfare.

Environment Minister George Eustice tells MPs that the government is proposing to make licensing mandatory for anyone selling or breeding more than two litters in a year.

Cruelty to animals leads to violence against humans, argues Labour MP

Animal welfare debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Anna Turley
HoC

Labour's Anna Turley tells MPs of two cases of animal cruelty.

Firstly the case of a dog called Baby, who was headbutted and thrown down the stairs. The two men responsible received a suspended sentence.

Secondly she describes the discovery of Scamp the dog who was found with a nail hammered into his head. In this case, the men responsible were sentenced to four months. 

She addresses the argument that such crimes are "worth less serious attention" than the abuse of humans.

She argues that there is a "startling propensity" for those convicted of cruelty towards animals to go on to commit violent offences towards humans.

A pedigree puppy

Animal welfare debate

House of Commons

Parliament

David Amess
HoC

"What a relief to be discussing something other than the European Union," begins Conservative Sir David Amess. 

"I am absolutely sick to death of it and there's another two years to go."

Turning to the subject of the debate, he says that people must check where an animal comes from when they buy a new pet.

He tells MPs that his black Labrador was bought for his family by Anne Widdicombe and had been owned by the grandson of Rab Butler so it "certainly had a very good pedigree".

Debate on animal welfare begins

House of Commons

Parliament

A bear
AFP/Getty Images

And that wraps up the statement.

Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Neil Parish now opens the debate on animal welfare. 

The motion being debated calls for a ban on third party sale of dogs and a maximum penalty of five years for animal welfare offences.

Murray: Has he forgotten about the EEA?

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Two Labour MPs - Heidi Alexander and Ian Murray - ask about how the UK government will withdraw from the European Economic Area (EEA).

Ian Murray says the UK needs to give 12 months note before withdrawal.

How will that be dealt with? he asks, "or has he simply forgotten".

David Davis says this is not a matter for the Great Repeal Bill.

Another Labour MP, Kevin Brennan, pursues the issue by asking if a separate vote will be needed to withdraw the UK from the EEA.  

That depends on what the policy decision is, replies the Brexit secretary.

View more on twitter

'Like asking Attila the Hun to mind our horse'

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Commons

Parliament

The SDLP's Mark Durkan fears that the bill will lead to "a demolition derby" as workers' rights and environmental protections are reduced.

He tells MPs that trusting Conservative ministers with such powers is like "asking Attila the Hun to mind our horse".

"Didn't know he had a horse," replies David Davis but he adds that "his assessment is just plain wrong".

Who is in the barmy army?

Press Association reporter tweets

Sheerman: Don't pander to barmy army

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Barry Sheerman warns the Brexit secretary that "if he panders to the barmy army Eurosceptics behind him" he will not get the cooperation he needs.

I don't know who he is referring to, replies David Davis - but says that he will be guided by his conscience. 

Davis: I don't know if a legislative consent motion will be needed

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Cherry
HoC

The SNP's Joanna Cherry asks if the bill will require legislative consent motions.

A legislative consent motions is the mechanism by which a devolved assembly can allow the UK government to legislate on issues which affects the devolved region.

"Yes or No?" demands Joanna Cherry.

At this stage we don’t know, replies David Davis.

Role of the ECJ?

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Martin Vickers welcomes the announcement that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will have no authority in the UK.

He seeks reassurances that the commitment will not be watered down during negotiations. 

David Davis says "there will be no reach of the ECJ into the UK".

However, he adds, when you sell a product into that country you have to meet the rules of that country. 

'How on earth is that taking back control?'

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Commons

Parliament

The hallmark of this government has been to avoid scrutiny, says Labour's Owen Smith.

He notes that the bill will include at least 1,000 statutory instruments which won't be properly scrutinised. 

"How on earth is that taking back control?" he asks.

David Davis replies that any policy changes will be made through primary legislation, not statutory instruments.

View more on twitter

New position?

BBC Newsnight journalist tweets

'Ghastly EU legislation'

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Christopher Chope seeks confirmation that two years from today "we will have the change to amend, repeal or improve all this ghastly EU legislation".

The aim of the bill is to bring decisions back to this House, replies the Brexit Secretary

Coming up next...

Parliamentary reporters tweet

How will government consult Northern Ireland?

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Nigel Dodds
HoC

DUP MP Nigel Dodds welcomes the government's approach.

He asks if the government will be engaging with the devolved administrations as to where power should lie.

The straight answer is yes, says David Davis.

He tells MPs that he held off on publishing today's white paper in the hope that a Northern Ireland executive would have been formed.

"But we can't wait any longer," he says.

He says that there will be a mechanism to consult with Northern Ireland "whether it is the executive or not".

He adds that he is not yet sure what that mechanism will be. 

To summarise: what did David Davis say?

Great Repeal Bill statement

House of Commons

Parliament

In his statement, Brexit Secretary David Davis said the bill would "provide clarity and certainty for businesses and consumers on the day we leave the EU".

He said it would allow businesses to continue operating "knowing the rules have not changed overnight" and ensure there was "no sudden change" to individual rights.

Workers rights, environmental protection and consumer rights currently enshrined in EU laws would continue as before when Britain left, he added.

But the UK Parliament, and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, would then be able to amend or scrap these laws without EU consent.

The bill will also "end the supremacy" of EU law in the UK, "delivering" on the result of last year's referendum, he added.

"Our laws will then be made in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast and interpreted not by judges in Luxembourg but by judges across the United Kingdom."