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Summary

  1. Environment questions first item on agenda
  2. Urgent question on LGBT people in Chechnya
  3. The Leader of the House announces future business
  4. Two statements on select committee reports
  5. Backbench debates on pensions and infectious diseases

Live Reporting

By Aiden James and Alex Partridge

All times stated are UK

Departing MPs say farewell

House of Commons

Parliament

Gisela Stuart
BBC

As the Parliament elected in 2015 nears its early end, a number of MPs have indicated that they will not be seeking re-election.

Among them was Labour MP and high-profile EU Leave campaigner Gisela Stuart.

In her parting words, she said the next government had to "implement the will of the people" following the EU vote and joked: "I will miss the House more than the House will miss me."

During the final business statement of the current Parliament, Leader of the House David Lidington paid tribute to all MPs who are standing down at the general election.

Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz paid tribute to the people who lost their lives in the Westminster terrorist attack on 22 March and to "our beloved colleague Jo Cox", who was murdered last year.

"She should be fighting this election," Ms Vaz said.

The Speaker, John Bercow, said a memorial to Jo Cox in the House of Commons, which was to have been unveiled on 20 May, would receive commemoration at a later date to avoid clashing with the general election.

Jo Cox
PA

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

And that's an early finish for the Commons for today and, indeed, for this week.

MPs return on Monday for what is almost certainly going to be the final week before Parliament dissolves for the general election campaign.

Business on Monday begins at 2:30pm with communities and local government questions.

And the House of Lords is back from recess for perhaps one week only. Oral questions is at 2:30pm.

Minister: Closure is 'a bitter blow'

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Science Minister Jo Johnson says he recognises the importance of the plant and the closure is "a bitter blow".

He says the closure is "a commercial matter for Coty" but workers will "receive all the assistance" that the government can offer.

Adjournment debate on factory closure

House of Commons

Parliament

Coty plant
BBC
Hundreds of people are employed at the site, which was formerly owned by Procter & Gamble

Finally today, we come to the adjournment debate as Labour MP Ronnie Campbell raises the proposed closure of Coty manufacturing plant in Seaton Delaval.

Four hundred jobs are set to be lost with the closure of the cosmetics factory in Northumberland.

The US-based company said after a study of global manufacturing capacities it wanted to consolidate its fragrance operations into "fewer core centres".

The factory will close by the end of 2018, subject to consultation and board approval.

UK is 'making a difference' - minister

Tackling infectious diseases

House of Commons

Parliament

International Development Minister James Wharton says the world faces "an extraordinarily significant" challenge.

He tells MPs that, in 2015, there were 10.4m people who became ill with TB and there were 1.4m deaths. There were 212m cases of malaria and 400,000 deaths, while 2m people were infected with HIV.

"Neglected tropical diseases affected 1.6bn of the world's poorest people, causing disability, disfigurement and stigma," he adds.

The minister says the UK is "investing in pioneering research" to tackle neglected tropical diseases, adding: "This is making a difference."

Shadow minister calls for 'commitment' to overseas aid

Tackling infectious diseases

House of Commons

Parliament

Catherine West
BBC

Shadow foreign affairs minister Catherine West welcomes the fact that the Conservative government has "adhered" to a commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on international aid.

She adds that Labour remains committed to the target and asks the minister if he has "knowledge" of a similar commitment in the Conservatives' forthcoming election manifesto.

'No new TB drugs' for 50 years

Tackling infectious diseases

House of Commons

Parliament

The motion for debate has been backed by Labour MPs Virendra Sharma and Stephen Doughty, and by Conservative MP Jeremy Lefroy.

In her contribution to the debate, SNP MP Carol Monaghan says: "There have been no new categories of anti-TB drug... since 1967."

She argues that "it is still a poor country disease", meaning there is no financial incentive to develop new treatments - but there is "a moral incentive".

Debate on tackling infectious diseases

House of Commons

Parliament

Virendra Sharma
BBC

The second of this afternoon's backbench debates concerns "research and development on tackling infectious diseases".

Labour MP Virendra Sharma opens the debate, telling the House that "TB, HIV and malaria are the world's leading infectious killers".

He says the UK is the second-largest donor to the Global Fund to tackle Aids, tuberculosis and malaria and calls on the ministers to "restate his commitment to that fund".

But he adds: "It is clear that without new tools, we will not meet the global commitment made in the global goals end the epidemics of HIV, TB and malaria by 2030.

"At the current rate of progress it will take at least 150 years to end the TB epidemic."

MP hopes to return to the debate after the election

State pensions for UK expatriates

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Roger Gale
BBC

Closing the debate, Tory MP Sir Roger Gale says that he and others who share his views on this matter "will go on until we get a resolution to this".

Sir Roger, who intends to return after the election if the voters allow, adds that he hopes the matter can be addressed then.

Pensions 'part of expats' calculations' - minister

State pensions for UK expatriates

House of Commons

Parliament

Work and Pensions Minister Richard Harrington says the debate has focused on partial uprating of overseas pensions, which he takes to mean that pensions would increase in the future but the uprating would not be backdated.

He argues that people live overseas by choice but Conservative MP Sir Gerald Howarth intervenes on that point.

Sir Gerald says he is standing down from Parliament and wants "to put on record my support for our overseas pensioners".

Many have been "obliged to move to support their families", he argues.

However, Mr Harrington maintains that when people live overseas, "the pension part of it is part of their calculations when moving away".

Labour spokesman commits to 'partial uplifting' of overseas pensions

State pensions for UK expatriates

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow work and pensions minister Alex Cunningham says he hopes the forthcoming election campaign will allow a chance to address the situation of pensioners.

He asks whether ministers "will ditch the triple lock" on pensions - which guarantees that pensions will increase by inflation, average earnings or 2.5%, whichever is higher.

Turning to the pensions of UK citizens overseas, Mr Cunningham recalls Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland's earlier comments that he didn't expect parties to commit to uprating these pensions at the moment.

The Labour MP tells the House: "While he can't guarantee a partial uplifting will be in the Lib Dem manifesto, it certainly will be in ours."

SNP's Ferrier says UK offers 'pitiful and paltry pensions'

State pensions for UK expatriates

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP MP Margaret Ferrier attacks the level of the UK state pension and adds that warnings over pensions were part of the "No" campaign in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

"The reality is that this great fantastic Union with its mighty broad shoulders offers one of the most shamelessly pitiful and paltry pensions in the world," she says.

Pensions disparity is 'a failure of the United Kingdom' - SNP MP

State pensions for UK expatriates

House of Commons

Parliament

Ian Blackford
BBC

SNP pensions spokesman Ian Blackford says the matter is "one fundamentally about fairness and one which should have been resolved many decades ago".

He says the UK is the only nation in the OECD to not offer "full pension rights including annual uprating of pensions".

He adds: "It is a failure of the United Kingdom to accept its responsibilities to make full pension entitlement to those who have earned that right."

Pensions situation 'a disgraceful injustice' - Lib Dem MP

State pensions for UK expatriates

House of Commons

Parliament

"This is just a disgraceful injustice. It cannot continue," says Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland of the disparity in state pension payments to some UK citizens overseas.

He also argues that the situation may prove "legally unsustainable in an increasingly globalised world".

Mr Mulholland says all UK citizens around the world should get the state pension "that they paid for and they deserve" but he thinks the government will not commit to that at the moment. 

MPs debate pensions for ex-pats

House of Commons

Parliament

Niagara Falls
Getty Images

Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale is leading a backbench debate on state pensions for UK citizens living abroad.

Around a million UK pensioners live overseas, but more than half of them have their state pension frozen at the rate it was when they left the UK. This depends entirely on whether someone is moving to one of the 150 countries with which the UK government has a deal.

Sir Roger says this leads to the "ludicrous situation" where a British pensioner living on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls has a frozen pension, while a British pensioner living a mile away in the United States would have their pension uprated on a regular basis in line with UK residents.

Manchester Gorton by-election cancelled

House of Commons

Parliament

The Commons has just approved a motion to cancel the Manchester Gorton by-election, due to be held on 4 May following the death of the incumbent Labour MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman.

Because of the surprise general election, the current Parliament will be dissolved at 12:01am on 3 May and there will be no sitting Parliament for a winner of the contest to join. Manchester Gorton will instead choose its next MP as part of the general election on 8 June.

Leader of the House David Lidington said cancelling the by-election would avoid "unnecessary expense and uncertainty".

Prison autonomy plans need 'clarity'

Prison reform report

House of Commons

Parliament

Bob Neill
HoC

Justice Committee Chair Bob Neill is presenting his committee's report on prison reform.

He says it's likely that the current Prison and Courts Bill "will be lost" before the early election, but says he hopes it will return if the Conservatives return to government.

He says his committee "supports" the idea of more autonomy for prison governors, but the report criticises the lack of "clarity" from the government over how the plans will work in practice.

Changes to give more powers to governors are due to come into force this month.

He says there is "no doubt that our prisons are in a difficult period" with assaults and deaths up "despite the best efforts of prison officers", but that more prison autonomy creates "opportunities" for improvement.

UK electoral system 'resilient' to outside attack

Lessons learned from the EU referendum

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett asks about a section in the select committee's report dealing with the possibility of cyber attacks on UK elections and votes. 

He asks if the systems in place are strong enough to deal with a "concerted cyber attack" from a foreign power or some other source and if there is anything that can be done for the election.

Committee chair Bernard Jenkin says the UK has a "pretty resilient system". The "vast majority of votes cast are pencils or pens on bits of paper, and they're physically counted" which means "it's basically an impossible system to hack". 

Additionally, he says the electoral register is "resilient" because of its dispersal among local authorities. He tells the House that he doesn't think any country influenced the result of the referendum, but we "need to understand" why some countries are attempting to meddle in elections.

'Important lessons' learned from referendum

Lessons learned from the EU referendum

House of Commons

Parliament

Bernard Jenkin
HoC

Bernard Jenkin is presenting the Constitutional Affairs Committee's report on lessons learned from the EU referendum.

He calls the vote a "momentous event" and says there are "important lessons" to be learned. 

He says the committee thinks referendums are "important for resolving questions of key constitutional importance" but are less satisfactory as a "bluff call referendum", where the government calls a referendum in an attempt to shut down debate on an issue. 

He says the EU referendum was this type of vote.

He says there's a problem with a referendum being held where the government is opposed to implementing one of the possible results of the referendum. 

As such he welcomes the forthcoming general election, which he says will translate the result of the referendum into a government with a mandate for leaving the EU.

He also critcises the amount of planning for a "leave" vote. The committee is "alarmed" that the official line was that there would be no planning. 

He says that planning was carried out "without the knowledge of ministers" and that "civil servants should never have been asked to operate in an environment where contingency planning was officially banned". 

In future, he says, the committee believes the civil service should plan for both eventualities.

Committee statements and by-election writ

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Gerald Kaufman
PA
A vacancy was created by the death of Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman, who represented the seat for more than 30 years

Coming up after business questions, MPs will hear two statements from select committees.

The Constitutional Affairs Committee has produced a report on "lessons learned from the EU referendum" and the Justice Committee has published a report on prison reform.

MPs will also be asked to formally overturn the writ for a by-election in the Manchester Gorton constituency.

The Cabinet Office said the election for the vacant seat, planned for 4 May, would now take place on 8 June as part of the nationwide polling day.

Good wishes for fellow MPs, as campaigning starts

House of Commons

Parliament

The UUP's Danny Kinahan wishes MPs well in the general election campaign ahead.

Douglas Carswell to quit

MP who fainted in Parliament thanks those who helped her

Business statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Natalie McGarry
BBC

Independent MP Natalie McGarry, who was taken ill during Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, thanks those who helped her.

The pregnant MP was treated by ambulance staff after fainting at Westminster.

She thanks Conservative MP Graham Evans and SNP MP Carol Monaghan for assisting her, as well as "the wonderful Commons staff and medics for their usual excellent care".

Pro-Leave Labour MP to stand down

Business statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Gisela Stuart
BBC

Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who played a key role in the Vote Leave campaign ahead of last year's EU referendum, tells MPs: "I will be on the campaign trail but I will not be returning to this Parliament."

She says the next government "has to implement the will of the people as expressed on 23 June last year".

She ends by paraphrasing Nancy Astor: "I will miss the House more than the House will miss me."

David Lidington assures her that many people will remember "her and her contributions for a very long time".

Lib Dems estimate 100 new candidates needed

Esther Webber

BBC News

John Pugh
BBC
John Pugh is the only Lib Dem so far to say he will stand down

A Lib Dem spokesman has told the BBC the party has selected around 500 candidates already, with about 100 still to be chosen by local parties.

The spokesman claimed they were "way ahead" of other parties in the selection process.

In line with changes made to party rules under Tim Farron, the retirement of Southport MP John Pugh will mean an all-women shortlist in that constituency.

SNP MP on the marathon - and the timing of the election

Business statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Pete Wishart and Hannah Bardell
BBC

SNP spokesman Pete Wishart gives "a big shout out" to MPs who are competing in the London marathon on Sunday, including his SNP colleague Hannah Bardell.

Referring to the forthcoming election campaign, he jokes: "I just pity her political opponents when she laps them out there on the leaflet run."

On a more serious note, he asks whether Conservative MPs under investigation over electoral expenses will be allowed to stand and whether the investigations "played any feature" in the timing of the election.

"We are confident that individual colleagues acted properly," Leader of the House David Lidington replies.

Who'd have thought?

Parliamentary reporters tweet

Jo Cox memorial unveiling to be postponed until after election

Business statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Speaker John Bercow announces that the unveiling of a memorial to Jo Cox will be rescheduled as the original date falls during the election campaign, after Parliament has been dissolved.

He says the occasion will take place "very soon" after the election.

The plaque was due to be unveiled on 20 May as part of a "family day" in Parliament, when MPs and staff were to be invited to bring their children into the Commons chamber.

Jo Cox 'should be fighting this election'

Business statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Jo Cox
PA
Labour MP Jo Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on 16 June 2016

Shadow leader of the House Valerie Vaz pays tribute to the people who lost their lives in the Westminster terrorist attack on 22 March and to "our beloved colleague Jo Cox", who was murdered last year.

"She should be fighting this election," Ms Vaz says.

She criticises the Theresa May and other ministers for making major statements outside Parliament rather than to MPs, joking to the Speaker: "They seem to be afraid of you. I find you very personable myself."

Ms Vaz ends by paying tribute to MPs who are standing down and adds: "It's been an absolute privilege to be the shadow leader of the House."

One major bill missed off the list

Deputy news editor, Law Society Gazette, tweets

'Probably' the last business statement of the Parliament

House of Commons

Parliament

Leader of the House David Lidington announces the forthcoming Commons business.

He says a number of bills will be considered and "the House will not adjourn" until Royal Assent has been granted for those bills, meaning they will become law.

However, he conceded that this is "probably going to be the last weekly business statement" of the current Parliament.

He thanks the staff of the House of Commons and pays tribute to all MPs who are standing down at the general election.

Applause for Labour MP who voted to legalise gay relationships

Chechnya urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

David Winnick
bb

"This is being discussed 50 years after the House of Commons changed the law on homosexuality," says Labour MP David Winnick.

He says that if the Commons marks the anniversary in July following the election, "I will do my utmost to be here to explain why I was pleased to vote for the change in law".

The 83-year-old MP sits down to applause and cries of "well done".

In July 1967, the Sexual Offences Act received Royal Assent. It partially decriminalised sex between men over 21 "in private". This applied only to England and Wales and did not extend to the Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy.

Lib Dem MP adds to pressure to call in ambassador

Chechnya urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Tom Brake says he has written to the Russian authorities on behalf of his party.

Like Stephen Doughty and others, he urges the UK government to "call in the Russian ambassador".

He also says the government "failed" to secure sanctions against Russia at the G7.

Sir Alan Duncan replies that "what happened at the G7 was in response to fast-moving events following the gassing to people in Syria".

Labour and SNP MPs condemn persecution

Chechnya urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry says the prime minister should summon the Russian ambassador over the treatment of gay people in Chechnya.

SNP MP Hannah Bardell says MPs "must say loudly and clearly that we condemn this horrific brutality".

She describes Russian and Chechen denials of reports of persecution of gay people "at best extraordinary and at worst deceitful".

MP says he came out 'to give other people hope'

Chechnya urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

Nigel Evans
BBC

Conservative MP Nigel Evans claims the House of Commons now has more openly gay MPs "than anywhere else".

He adds that he came out as gay in 2010 "partly to send a signal to other people who were troubled about their own sexuality, to give them hope and confidence".

Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan, who is also gay, says there are now many gay MPs and "long may that continue".

Government concession in pre-election rush to tie up loose ends

Esther Webber

BBC News

Before the Easter recess, the government was defeated in the Lords after crossbencher Lord Warner successfully insisted on an amendment to the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill.

The amendment seeks to introduce a commitments to the life sciences sector and on patient access as the government reforms the way new drugs are priced. 

Now Labour's health spokesman in the Lords, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, tweets:

View more on twitter

Next week, Parliament will have to finalise or bin the remaining legislation still passing through Westminster.

There are a few bills at ping-pong stage at the moment bouncing between the Lords and Commons in search of final agreement. 

What normally happens in these circumstances is that the government seeks as much agreement as possible, and drops controversial parts of the legislation to get the rest through - a process known in Westminster slang as the "washup".

As Emma Norris of the Institute for Government points out, bills which are currently in ping-pong stage which the government wants to see passed "are only likely to make it through to the statute book with compromises".

Yesterday ministers were able to resist a Lords amendment to the Technical and Further Education Bill attempting to secure child benefits for apprentices on the grounds that it is a financial matter, giving MPs the final say. 

Labour MP: 'Some have described gay concentration camps'

Chechnya urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

Stephen Doughty
BBC

"This is truly a shocking anti-gay campaign," Labour's Stephen Doughty says.

"I do not say this lightly Mr Speaker, but some have described gay concentration camps."

He welcomes Sir Alan Duncan's comments but asks whether the UK government has summoned the Russian ambassador.

He also asks whether Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson "now regrets" cancelling a recent planned trip to Moscow, as he could have raised the situation in Chechnya.

Sir Alan says he has "raised the matter personally" with Russia's deputy foreign mnister and insists that "this kind of activity is beyond contempt".

Chechnya urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Stephen Doughty has tabled an urgent question on allegations of the detention and persecution of gay people in the Russian region of Chechnya.

Russian LGBT activists say police are holding more than 100 people, some of whom have been tortured. A Chechen spokesperson denied the claims, on the basis that gay people "simply don't exist in the republic".

Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan says the developments are of "deep concern".

He describes statements by the regional government that "appear to condone and incite violence" as "despicable".