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Summary

  1. House of Commons returns from Easter recess
  2. Treasury questions first item on agenda
  3. Two statements: first one forthcoming business in the Commons
  4. Second statement from Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Syria
  5. Main business of the day is discussion of Budget measures
  6. MPs on Culture Committee take evidence on Brexit

Live Reporting

By Aiden James and Alex Partridge

All times stated are UK

MPs to vote on early general election

House of Commons

Parliament

Leader of the House David Lidington has told the Commons that MPs will be asked to approve a motion for an early general election.

The motion will be put “under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011”, Mr Lidington said.

Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz said Mr Lidington’s statement explained why the government had not revealed the date of the next Queen’s Speech.

On Tuesday morning the prime minister announced plans to call an election, to take place on 8 June.

The vote in the Commons to approve the election plan needs two thirds of MPs to vote in favour. The debate will start after Prime Minister’s Questions.

What happened the day the PM called for a General Election?
Theresa May announced plans to call a snap general election on 8 June - and caught people by surprise.

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

That's it from the House of Commons for this evening.

Business begins tomorrow from 11:30am with Scotland questions.

At noon, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn face each other for their penultimate Prime Ministers Questions clash before the general election.

After that, a motion will be put before MPs to enable that election to be called.

Other business includes consideration of Lords amendments to the Technical and Further Education Bill.

Conservative Battle Bus

Daniel Sandford

BBC News home affairs correspondent

The election will help the Conservatives put behind the embarrassment of the expenses affair.

Read more

Minister insists support is available

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Penny Mordaunt
BBC

Work and Pensions Minister Penny Mordaunt says there is help available for people "who want to live independent lives", including local authority support, free prescriptions and travel allowances.

She says the "work-related activity component" of the Employment and Support Allowance was intended as an "incentive" when introduced by Labour.

Shadow work and pension secretary Debbie Abrahams intervenes to press her on exactly what support will be available to claimants.

Ms Mordaunt responds that this "depends on an individual's circumstances" while adding that some forms of support are "available to all claimants".

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Neil Gray
BBC

Finally today, SNP MP Neil Gray opens an adjournment debate on "mitigating support for the Employment and Support Allowance work-related activity group".

Mr Gray says the group includes "sick and disabled people who are, as of now, receiving £30 less per week" as a result of a cut in benefits to this group.

The group consists of people who have been found unfit for work but able to take part in a "work-related activity" such as a training scheme or interviews.

Bill passes its second reading

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The bill passes second reading by 313 votes to 236.

SNP amendment defeated

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The SNP amendment is defeated by 314 votes to 54 - a majority of 260.

"Recount!" shouts someone.

The House divides again to vote on whether to allow the bill to pass second reading and continue its progress through Parliament.

Vote on SNP amendment opposing the bill's progress

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs are voting on an amendment tabled by the SNP which "declines" to give the Finance (No. 2) Bill a second reading.

The motion attacks measures announced in the March Budget, which it calls "a wholly inadequate response to the economic challenges being faced by Scotland and the UK".

A ticking off for noisy MPs

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons
BBC

Financial Secretary Jane Ellison closes the second reading debate.

More MPs have arrived in the chamber, as a vote is expected, and Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing intervenes to tell them to be quiet while the minister speaks.

Ms Ellison says the government is "prepared to face up to" economic challenges and also to tackle childhood obesity with the soft drinks levy.

Labour spokesman attacks 'poor' government performance

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Jonathan Reynolds
BBC

The wind-up speeches begin with shadow economic secretary Jonathan Reynolds.

The Labour spokesman tells those MPs remaining that "other events" may have overshadowed the Commons debate today, but thanks them for their contributions.

"This is a poor government," he says, accusing the Conservatives of creating "a crisis in living standards" and of underfunding public services.

The Finance Bill offers "very few tangible improvements on that poor level of performance", he claims.

In addition, Mr Reynolds tells the House: "We have been presented with an almost impossibly tight timeline in which to scrutinise and discuss it."

Tory MP: 'We must learn to live within our means'

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Victoria Atkins
BBC

"We must always continue to get public spending under control," says Conservative MP Victoria Atkins, who accuses Labour MPs of believing in "a magic money tree".

She adds: "We have, sadly, a debt of nearly £1.7tn which equates to almost £62,000 for every household in the country.

"We're spending more money on debt interest than we're spending on defence and policing combined, which is why we must learn to live within our means."

Speaking up for millennials

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Kirsty Blackman
BBC

"I'm one of the 39 MPs who is a millennial," says SNP MP Kirsty Blackman, speaking in support of "generational fairness".

A millennial is often considered to be someone who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st Century.

"A lot of my peers are worse off than their parents' generation was," Ms Blackman says, adding that many struggle to afford housing and may delay having children for financial reasons.

"In terms of the government looking forward to future tax take, that's a real issue for a few years down the line," she argues.

'Sugar tax' debate

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP James Davies speaks in support of "the soft drinks industry levy" aimed at the producers of drinks that are high in sugar.

He argues that the measure is "not regressive" and will benefit people on low incomes.

Labour MP Stephen McCabe is more sceptical and thinks the measure could "fail to bring about the lasting change in consumption habits of the public that we all hope for".

He claims that a sugar tax in Mexico only led to a short-term drop in the consumption of sugary drinks.

He is followed by Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who opposes the tax in theory and practice.

"I don't think it's the job of the government to tell me how much sugar to give to my children," he says.

"The tax system is not there to tell people how to live their lives."

SNP outline opposition to bill

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Scotch whisky bottles
Getty Images
The duty paid on Scotch whisky is due to increase by 3.9%

The SNP's Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie is speaking to introduce his party's reasoned amendment to the Finance Bill.

A reasoned amendment is a way of opposing a bill while providing reasons for doing so. The SNP's amendment says the party opposes the bill because it continues austerity, doesn't provide an economic stimulus to deal with Brexit, doesn't support the oil and gas industry and increases the duty paid on Scotch whisky. 

The amendment calls the bill a "wholly inadequate" response to the "economic challenges" facing Scotland and the UK.

Government accused of favouring 'the super rich'

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Peter Dowd
BBC

Shadow Treasury minister Peter Dowd recalls "the chancellor's shambolic u-turn" on increasing National Insurance contributions for some self-employed workers.

Philip Hammond abandoned the policy days after the Budget, facing a backlash by Conservative backbenchers who accused him of breaking a general election manifesto commitment not to put up National Insurance, income tax or VAT.

Mr Dowd similarly accuses the prime minister of making u-turn on her declaration that she would not call a general election.

He says the government is offering tax breaks "to corporations and the super rich" while small business owners "who are the life-blood of this economy, are increasingly fleeing the pressure".

Finance (No. 2) Bill second reading begins

House of Commons

Parliament

Jane Ellison
BBC
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison opens debate on the bill

The Finance (No. 2) Bill would enable the government "to amend the law relating to the national debt and the public revenue".

It follows the Budget in March and sets out income tax rates and corporation tax rates, among other measures.

MPs are taking part in a debate on the bill as a whole. It will be considered in detail at a later date.

Ten minute rule bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Mims Davies
BBC

Before MPs get stuck into the Finance (No. 2) Bill, Conservative MP Mims Davies introduces a ten minute rule bill.

She has up to 10 minutes to speak in support of her Parish Council Governance (Principles of Public Life) Bill, which concerns "the governance and operation of parish councils in England".

Praising the work of parish councils, Ms Davies says her bill would help to combat "party politicisation" of parish councils, particularly in the form of councillors sitting on several parish councils at once.

MP calls for Commons vote on Syria action

Syria and North Korea statement

House of Commons

Parliament

James Cartlidge
HoC

Conservative MP James Cartlidge calls for assurances that, if the UK should adopt a "regime change role" in Syria, there would be a Commons vote.

Boris Johnson tells him that UK government policy supports "a political process leading to a transition away from the Assad regime".

Johnson not drawn on UK-Russia relations

Syria and North Korea statement

House of Commons

Parliament

DUP MP Ian Paisley notes that the foreign secretary has cautioned against dealing with "devils", when discussing Syria talks.

Recalling the Northern Ireland peace process and his own party's opposition to the IRA, he comments: "Some of those devils are home grown and government has been able to deal with those in the past."

He says that Russia is the "lynch pin" in the conflict and asks Boris Johnson about the "true state of his relationship with Russian officials".

Mr Johnson agrees that Russia has played in a key role in President Assad's continuation in power but does not comment further on the state of UK-Russia relations.

'No change' to Israel travel advice

Syria and North Korea statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Hannah Bladon
PA

Boris Johnson says there are no current plans to change Foreign Office advice about travel to Israel, following the killing of Hannah Bladon.

Ms Bladon, 20, was stabbed to death on a tram in Jerusalem on Good Friday. She was on an exchange at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

A 57-year-old Palestinian man was detained at the scene. Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevy told the AFP news agency that the man was "very mentally disturbed".

US should 'dial down the rhetoric', says Blunt

Syria and North Korea statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Tory MP Crispin Blunt, who chairs the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, urges the government to press the Trump administration "to try and dial down the public rhetoric" towards North Korea.

He likens the North Korean regime to "an attention-seeking child which happens to belong to somebody else, in this case China".

'Bombs will not bring peace in Syria'

Syria and North Korea statement

House of Commons

Parliament

For the SNP, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh says that "bombs will not bring peace in Syria" and urges all parties to bring about an end to hostilities.

Following North Korea's missile tests, she calls for "an end to weapons of mass destruction in general and nuclear weapons in particular".

Boris Johnson argues that the US could not consider "getting rid of its nuclear weapons before we have a de-nuclearised North Korea".

Johnson v Thornberry on TV?

Syria and North Korea statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Emily Thornberry
BBC

Emily Thornberry invites her opposite number, Boris Johnson, to take part in a live TV election debate on foreign affairs.

"No ifs, no buts," the shadow foreign secretary says. "I'm ready to say 'yes' now."

Mr Johnson replies: "We're having a televised debate right now."

Government 'openness' on industrial strategy praised

Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

The session ends with Stephen Woodford praising the government's openness in taking on board views for their post-Brexit industrial strategy.

He says the UK has a "strong hand" and it is "all up to how we play it".

Sarah Weir of the Design Council says that there may be "bumps along the road" but the industrial strategy will allow the UK to "take the long view".

Shadow foreign secretary questions 'unilateral' US action

Syria and North Korea statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry says the matters raised in Boris Johnson's statement are more important that the prime minister's "cynical, short-term manoeuvres".

The PM has called an election when "global leadership" is needed on Syria and North Korea, Ms Thornberry says.

She criticises Boris Johnson for backing the threat of "more unilateral airstrikes by the US" on Syria and cancelling a recent visit to Moscow rather than engaging in a peace process.

She suggests the the US is "telling him what to say and do" and urges him not to back unilateral action against North Korea.

Johnson: UK will stand with US and allies

Syria and North Korea statement

House of Commons

Parliament

The foreign secretary turns to North Korea's recent missile tests and the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

He says he has been urging China to use its "unique influence to restrain North Korea".

Boris Johnson ends his statement with a pledge that the UK will stand alongside "the United States and our allies".

Russia should end 'blind support' of Assad - Johnson

Syria and North Korea statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Boris Johnson
BBC

Boris Johnson says a US missile strike on an airforce base in Syria was an "appropriate and justified response to an awful crime".

He says that President Trump has indicated that President's Assad's actions will not be met by "passivity and inaction".

He adds: "I call on the Russians to end their blind support for Assad."

UK must 'keep attracting talent'

Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Stephen Woodford
HoC

Stephen Woodford of the Advertising Association says the reaction to the Brexit vote from international colleagues was that they "could not believe we were turning our back on the world in this way". 

For the forthcoming negotiations, he says that the UK government needs to do everything possible to reassure the world that the UK is an "open" country.

The SNP's John Nicholson says he's putting on a "brexiteer hat" and asks why leaving the EU affects advertising.

Stephen Woodford says leaving the EU doesn't have to affect advertising as long as the UK can "keep attracting talent". He says that one in every five people working in advertising in the UK is originally from the European Union.

Johnson: 'The Assad regime almost certainly gassed its own people'

Syria and North Korea statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson begins his statement by paying tribute to UK citizens who lost their lives in recent attacks in Stockholm and Jerusalem.

He turns to the recent chemical attack in Syria. He calls it "shocking" and claims there has been "a deliberate attempt to obscure" what happened.

He tells the House that evidence points to "only one conclusion: that the Assad regime almost certainly gassed its own people".

Labour MP: 'How does look to people outside?'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Jess Philips questions public reaction to today's Westminster bombshell.

"How does look to people outside?" she asks.

"As someone who came from outside, it looks like political opportunism."

Plaid wants to fight 'right-wing Tory government'

Statement from Leader of the House

House of Commons

Parliament

Hywel Williams
BBC

Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader, Hywel Williams, says his party will support tomorrow's motion.

He wants to get rid of what he calls an "opportunist, right-wing Tory government".

Tomorrow's vote confirmed

Leader of the House tweets

'What will the government do in the event of tomorrow not existing?'

Statement from Leader of the House

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP MP Kirsty Blackman points out that there is no fixed finishing time for Commons business today, which could affect tomorrow's timetable.

As debate on the Finance Bill can in theory go on "until any hour", she asks: "What will the government do in the event of tomorrow not existing?"

Leader of the House David Lidngton accuses the SNP of being "a bunch of fearties" about an election - though his pronunciation gets some groans.

(What Ms Blackman is referring to, by the way, is that a day's business is cancelled if MPs sit through the preceding night and into the start time for the next day's business.)

'Big opportunity' for the design industry

Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

Sarah Weir of the Design Council says Brexit can bring "massive opportunities" for the UK design industry as long as they're "thinking about training, thinking about skills...there's a big opportunity". 

But she says opening up these opportunities needs the industry to work with government and the education sector to create the skilled workforce the country needs.

'Bring it on!'

Statement from Leader of the House

House of Commons

Parliament

The DUP's Ian Paisley gives the election an enthusiastic welcome and indicates his party will back tomorrow's Commons motion.

"We say bring it on," he says.

"Bring on the election and let people support the Union and the unionist cause in Northern Ireland."

A 'short but incendiary' statement - SNP

Statement from Leader of the House

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP spokesman Pete Wishart calls the statement "short but incendiary".

Echoing Theresa May's response to the SNP's call for a second Scottish independence referendum, he jokes that "now is not the time for this sort of big decision".

David Lidington tells him that the PM will make "the case for the union of the four nations of the United Kingdom" during the general election campaign.