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Summary

  1. International Development Committee looking at food crises in central and east Africa
  2. Commons starts at 11.30am with justice questions
  3. MPs will look at remaining stages of Finance Bill, which enacts the Budget
  4. Lords amendments to Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill
  5. Peers sit at 2.30pm for questions
  6. Peers to work through Commons amendments to a number of bills
  7. Also debating Criminal Finances Bill at report stage and third reading

Live Reporting

By Aiden James, Kate Whannel and Esther Webber

All times stated are UK

UK and EU flags

Alex Hunt

BBC News

A guide to how the UK will leave the European Union following the 23 June referendum vote.

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Parliamentary ping pong continues

House of Lords

Parliament

MPs and peers continued the race to get bills through both Houses as the current session of Parliament nears its end.

MPs passed the Finance (No.2) Bill which will go before the Lords tomorrow. They also accepted government amendments to the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill.

Over in the Lords, there was lengthy debate on the Criminal Finances Bill and a bid to introduce greater transparency of company ownership in the UK's overseas territories.

The government resisted attempts to require territories to keep registers of "beneficial ownership" and claimed its policy of working with the territories was producing results.

So, we'll see you tomorrow when we'll be covering every twist and turn as the 2015 Parliament nears its end...

Goodnight from the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

The House of Lords adjourns until tomorrow at 3pm.

After questions, peers will debate a number of private members' bills at committee stage, before all stages of the Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill.

After that, peers will consider the Finance (No.2) Bill, which completed its Commons stages earlier today.

'Anyone who thinks that steel is a low priority has misread the runes' - minister

House of Lords

Parliament

Business Minister Lord Prior of Brampton recalls the 1970s and 1980s when, he says, the steel industry had a problem of "over-capacity" and competition in the form of high quality steel from Japan.

"To our shame," he adds, most steel used in the North Sea oil industry came from Japan, as did much that was used in the car industry. Now China has huge steel production capacity.

"The steel industry desperately needs strong, sustained economic growth," Lord Prior says.

He says the government is compensating energy-intensive industries for costs incurred by measures to combat clime change and there are now measures against dumping.

"We are open to a sector deal for steel," he insists. "Anyone who thinks that steel is a low priority has misread the runes."

Lib Dem spokesman's concerns about Brexit and the steel industry

Support for the steel industry

House of Lords

Parliament

"What we want in this debate... is a commitment to a modern, innovative manufacturing sector in which steel will play a full part," says Liberal Democrat spokesman Lord Stoneham of Droxford.

He tells the House that "52% of steel imports go to Europe" and other EU countries "will defend their interests" in Brexit negotiations.

Meanwhile, China's "total exports exceed the total production of the top five European countries".

He asks whether the steel industry will be "cast aside in the desperate interests of trying to improve exports to China in other sectors".

Government should offer more than 'tea and sympathy' - Labour peer

Support for the steel industry

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bhattacharyya
BBC

Lord Bhattacharyya, professor of manufacturing at Warwick University and a former engineer, calls for more government support and also for "urgent, quick action to bring in anti-dumping measures".

"Anti-dumping" refers to tariffs imposed on imports believed to be priced below market value. China has been accused of "dumping" steel imports on world markets.

The Labour peer says Tata Steel considered closing its plants because "they were losing £1m a day" but claims that "all they were offered from the Treasury was tea and sympathy".

He warns: "Our steel industry has declined to the point that Canada, Poland and Belgium all produced more than us last year."

Peers welcome security for local plants

House of Lords

Parliament

In December 2016, Tata Steel announced a commitment to secure jobs and production at Port Talbot and other steelworks across the UK.

"Port Talbot's mighty and most productive steel plant was at risk," says Labour peer and former Welsh Office minister Lord Jones.

The plant "deserves to remain a respected steel producer worldwide", he adds.

Baroness Redfern, a Conservative peer and a North Lincolnshire councillor, says people there "look forward to steelmaking continuing in Scunthorpe for many generations to come".

She says that the Scunthorpe plant employs over 4,000 but "it is estimated more than 16,000 people are employed in the supply chain".

Debate on support for the steel industry

House of Lords

Parliament

Steelworker
STEVE MORGAN/BRITISH STEEL
Workers accepted a pay cut and a reduction in pensions for the Greybull deal to be sealed

Finally tonight, Labour's Lord Mendelsohn opens a debate on support for the steel industry.

The question for debate also asks what role the industry will have in the government’s industrial strategy.

Last year, Greybull Capital became the new owner of Tata Steel's Long products business safeguarding 4,000 jobs at the huge plant in Scunthorpe.

The move also saw the revival of the British Steel brand.

While welcoming the revival of the UK's steel plants, Lord Mendelsohn claims that "other countries better value their steel industry".

Final amendment withdrawn

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams says the government is concerned that the provisions in the amendment could undermine a firm's internal whistleblowing procedures.

Workers who have been unfairly dismissed "or have otherwise suffered detriment" have the option of seeking redress through an employment tribunal, she says.

Baroness Kramer agrees to withdraw the amendment on the basis of the minister's undertaking that she "will look at this issue again".

That concludes debate on the amendments and third reading begins. This is a final chance to debate the bill as a whole.

Quite often in the Lords, this is an opportunity for peace to break out among the frontbenchers after the fierce arguments during earlier stages.

Peer alleges treatment of whistleblowers is 'an utter disgrace'

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

House of Lords
BBC

The final amendment at report stage of the bill concerns protection for whistleblowers.

The Liberal Democrat amendment would require the government to make regulations to "provide for the Financial Conduct Authority to undertake the administration of arrangements to facilitate whistleblowing in respect of corrupt or suspected corrupt practices".

Lib Dem peer Baroness Kramer says: "The way that we have dealt with whistleblowers in the financial industry has quite frankly been an utter disgrace."

She says she has spoken to whistleblowers "whose lives have been destroyed" and adds: "It is extremely rare in the UK to get a whistleblower."

The former vice president of Citibank says the culture in the UK needs to change from "a gentleman's club" attitude to the "much more cynical and questioning attitude" seen in the United States.

Amendment on regulator's powers

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour spokesman Lord Mendelsohn speaks in support of a Labour and Liberal Democrat amendment about the financial regulator's powers to levy penalties.

The Financial Conduct Authority would be required to withhold a proportion of any discount to a financial penalty imposed on an organisation, until the firm "has completed any internal disciplinary actions agreed in the settlement".

Minister Baroness Williams says the regulator is considering its policy on penalties and "subject to the outcome of the election" the government would welcome further discussions with the peers backing the amendment.

Lord Sharkey, the Lib Dem peer who signed the amendment, agrees to withdraw it.

Debate moves on to a backbench Conservative amendment to create a new regulator, the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision.

Labour: Government expecting territories to 'follow suit'

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour spokesman Lord Rosser says the government amendment must have come about "in partial response" to the cross-party amendment, which bears his name.

The amendment would "help" the authorities in overseas territories to identify where money laundering and corruption is taking place, he argues.

Instead, he adds, the government amendment just expects the overseas territories to "follow" the UK.

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams says that, while the UK government has the power to legislate in respect of its overseas territories, doing so could undo what has been achieved so far.

She urges peers not to push the cross-party amendment. The House agrees to the government amendment without a vote.

Government or cross-party amendment?

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbencher the Earl of Sandwich sees "no reason" why peers could not support the government amendment on working with the overseas territories and the cross-party amendment calling for a public register.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Kramer praises Baroness Stern for the cross-party amendment but says "with regret" that she does not think it will succeed.

She argues that, amid the "pressure" of the so-called "wash-up" of bills before Parliament dissolves, the government amendment is the one that is likely to pass.

Amendment would undermine current co-operation, argues peer

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The Cayman Islands
Getty Images

Conservative Lord Naseby also expresses concern about the amendment.

He argues that it will result in businesses moving from the overseas territories to the US - who he adds do not have beneficial ownership registers.

If business goes elsewhere good co-operation will be undermined and the UK won't get any information, he argues. 

Blencathra: Don't clobber Cayman

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Blencathra
HoL

Conservative Lord Blencathra objects to Baroness Stern's amendment.

He says he is "appalled" at the "old style colonial arrogance" behind the campaign targeting British overseas territories. 

Campaigners should target the "real tax havens" such as Luxembourg and Delaware not "the good guys" such as the overseas territories, he argues.

"Clobbering Cayman is foolish."

Peer calls for publicly accessible register of beneficial ownership

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Stern
HoL

Crossbencher Baroness Stern now speaks to her amendment which seeks to establish a publicly accessible register of the beneficial ownership of companies based in UK overseas territories.

She argues that the economies and defence of these territories depend on the UK.

Therefore, she says, it is only fair that these territories should be expected to follow the UK's rules of business. 

Overseas territories and 'beneficial ownership'

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Williams of Trafford
BBC

Debate turns to a group of amendments on transparency of ownership of companies in the British overseas territories.

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford introduces a government amendment which will require ministers to report on "beneficial ownership information" arrangements with the UK's overseas territories.

A beneficial owner is a person who enjoys the benefits of ownership even though the title to some form of property is in another name.   

She tells peers that overseas territories are working on greater transparency and the government believes it should "work with them" rather than imposing requirements.

The minister adds that the UK is the only country in the G20 to have established a public register of beneficial ownership. 

End of business in the Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

The Commons adjourns for the day and will return tomorrow at 11:30am for questions to ministers in the Wales Office before prime minister's questions. 

Government has 'offered more' to contaminated blood victims

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Blackwood
BBC

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood responds to Andy Burnham's speech, saying: "Nothing can make up for the suffering and the loss families have experienced."

While no amount of money can compensate for that, she continues, this government has secured "materially more" support for victims than previous administrations. 

She underlines that the government "does not believe a further inquiry would be beneficial" at this stage. 

She says the Department of Health has made all relevant documents publicly available. 

Does Parliament have the political will to take on the oligarchs?

Peer condemns 'cancer of corruption'

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Faulks
BBC

The final bill in the series for consideration today is the Criminal Finances Bill, which expands powers to tackle money laundering and corruption.

Peers begin debate at report stage, which gives a further opportunity to introduce amendments following a bill's committee stage.

Conservative Lord Faulks speaks in support of an amendment which aims to strengthen the bill's "unexplained wealth orders".

The orders would require someone to set out their interest in a property and how it was obtained. The amendment would add the power to question someone under oath.

Lord Faulks says the current situation has a "knock-on effect on the property market" and adds to the difficulties that young people have in buying property in London and elsewhere.

He believes the amendment and the bill will help "deal with a cancer of corruption in our society".

Andy Burnham condemns 'cover-up' of contaminated blood scandal

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Andy Burnham tells MPs he thinks there was a "criminal cover-up" of the full extent of those affected by receiving contaminated blood.  

He says several people reported pages missing from medical records and it is impossible to prove whether this was deliberate. 

He goes on to recount the stories of several victims who had their symptoms ascribed to mental illness or alcoholism by medical professionals. 

Opposition parties criticise government 'dogma'

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

"I still do not understand why it is so important to the government to remove this power [for councils to set up bus companies]," says Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman Baroness Randerson.

She argues that there are successful council-run bus companies and no reason why they could not be "a template for future development".

The Lib Dem peer thinks the government opposes new council bus companies for "purely dogmatic political reasons".

Labour spokesman Lord Kennedy of Southwark also thinks the move is "party political dogma" and it is "a shame" that the government reversed the Lords' vote to remove the clause from the bill.

However, the opposition parties decline to press the matter this time and the government gets its way.

Minister defends ban on new council bus companies

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad defends the government's position that local authorities should not be able to set up their own bus companies.

He tells the House that there are some very good municipal bus companies and the bill will not affect their operation.

He claims that preventing councils from starting new bus companies was not "likely to impact on the plans of many, if any, local authorities".

Councils should be "thinking about utilising the skills of existing bus companies", the minister adds.

Minister: Only combined authorities should have bus franchising powers

Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad says the government believes that "automatic access to franchising powers should only be available to mayoral combined authorities".

Bringing together councils into combined authorities with an elected mayor is part of the government plans for regional devolution in England.

Labour peer Lord Snape thinks that if the combined authorities have "the sort of money London receives for its franchising it might well be worthwhile".

Contaminated blood scandal is 'biggest injustice'

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Burnham
BBC

The government's amendments to the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill are accepted and it completes its parliamentary journey. 

Labour's Andy Burnham is opening his adjournment debate on compensation for thousands of people infected with Hepatitis C and HIV through NHS blood products in the 1970s and 80s.  

Their families are seeking a new public inquiry into the scandal, after two previous inquiries - one of which was privately funded from donations and could not force health officials or ministers to testify.

The other only looked at a small number of Scottish victims and did not have the power to summon witnesses from England.

Victims and their families are also worried that a new financial support scheme currently being planned could leave some worse off.

Mr Burnham says the scandal remains the "biggest injustice" facing the country and there was an "orchestrated campaign to stop the truth being told".

Commons amendments to the Bus Services Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The Bus Services Bill, which applies to England only, would give combined local authorities the power to franchise local bus services.

Councils would set standards for ticketing, branding and frequency of services and operators will be required to share route fare and schedule data with app developers.

Opposition parties and unions had voiced concern about a clause preventing councils setting up bus companies.

Labour peer Lord Whitty says he regrets the Commons' "reinstatement of the clause" after peers defeated the government to remove it.

Labour welcomes NHS supplies reform

Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow health minister Justin Madders says he welcomes the bill's measures to close "loopholes" which allow "abuses" of the system for pricing drugs used by the NHS. 

But he challenges the government to do more to help patients affected by conditions requiring treatment with especially expensive medicines. 

The SNP's health spokesperson, Philippa Whitford, also offers a broad welcome to the bill whilst stressing patient access to drugs should always be prioritised. 

Labour spokesman who 'likes a pint' welcomes pub protection

Neighbourhood Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Kennedy of Southwark
BBC

Labour's Lord Kennedy of Southwark, a vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, welcomes the government's moves to protect pubs.

The shadow communities and local government spokesman says he is "delighted that the government have listened to the campaign both inside and outside Parliament".

In case peers have not picked up on his enthusiasm, Lord Kennedy declares: "I like pubs. I like a pint."

So, pubs ping-pong is avoided and debate moves to the Bus Services Bill.

Government offers concession on patient access to new medicines

Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Dunne
BBC

Health Minister Philip Dunne tells MPs that the amendment made in the Lords would "undermine the core purposes of the bill" because a reduction in drug price "might be challenged on the basis it does not support life science sector". 

He introduces an amendment in lieu, which he says would provide guarantees without leaving the government open to challenge from drug companies. 

Budget bill passed

Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The Finance (No. 2) Bill passes at third reading and MPs are now being asked to consider Lords' amendments to the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill. 

Before Easter, peers insisted on an amendment to the bill offering guarantees to the life sciences sector and on patients' access to new medicines.   

Peers persuaded over planning and pubs?

Neighbourhood Planning Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Ping-pong on the Technical and Further Education Bill comes to an end as peers agree the Commons' amendments.

We move to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill.

Communities and Local Government Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth urges the House to accept MPs' rejection of two of its amendments.

One of the Lords' amendments would ban rules preventing a planning authority requiring a condition which confiorms to the national planning policy framework. 

The minister claims this amendment is "unnecessary" and tests for planning conditions exist.

The other concerns the "change of use" rules for pubs, which aims to protect community pub buildings from conversion for other uses. The Commons rejected the amendment but Lord Bourne says ministers accept the value of community pubs and would amend the law to further protect them.

Illustrious predecessor

Parliament tweets

Outgoing Labour MP attacks government's economic record

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Marris
BBC

Labour MP, Rob Marris, who is standing down at the forthcoming election, says fiscal policy has been "unnecessarily tight and our constituents have paid the price for that".

He laments what he says is a tendency to portray tax as "an evil in itself", instead of seeking "a fair and sustainable" system. 

He tells the government his constituents have had "the pain but not the gain". 

On retirement, he says he will be "putting my feet up in the garden and watching the rest of you work".

Labour 'disappointed' at child benefit rejection

Technical and Further Education Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Watson of Invergowrie
BBC

Labour education spokesman Lord Watson of Invergowrie says it is "disappointing" that the government has not accepted the Lords amendment extending financial support for apprentices.

He adds that the government can apparently "miraculously find money to create new grammar schools" but not to fund this policy.

However, he also indicates that the opposition has no desire to hold up the passage of the bill.

SNP MP brands Budget process 'bizarre'

Finance (No. 2) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The SNP's Kirsty Blackman says this bill has been "one of the most bizarre" things she's experienced in Parliament, pointing out that legislation which was expected to take at least eight days has been squeezed into one afternoon. 

She calls for a change to the procedure so that more time could be given to the bill enacting the Budget in the future if it is interrupted by dissolution. 

Consideration of Commons amendments

Technical and Further Education Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Nash
BBC

Peers now consider Commons amendments to the Technical and Further Education Bill.

Last week, MPs rejected two Lords amendments, including one to extend child benefit to qualifying young people in apprenticeships.

Ministers urged rejection of the amendment on the grounds that it would "it would involve a charge on public funds" and therefore impinge on the financial privilege of the Commons.

Education Minister Lord Nash repeats colleagues' argument last week that the Commons is conventionally the only chamber with financial powers.

'Bad news for dentists'

Finance (No. 2) Bill

Dowd
BBC

Shadow Treasury minister Peter Dowd repeats his earlier concern that scrutiny of the bill has been curtailed. 

But he welcomes the soft drinks industry levy, calling it: "Good news for teeth, bad news for dentists."