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Summary

  1. House of Lords Home Affairs EU-Sub Committee look at data protection
  2. Wales questions start Commons day
  3. PMQs at noon
  4. MPs deal with amendments to legislation
  5. Peers sit at 3pm
  6. Lords then examine private members' bills
  7. Peers also to look at Northern Ireland and Finance (No 2) Bills

Live Reporting

By Aiden James, Kate Whannel and Esther Webber

All times stated are UK

Lords adjourn

House of Lords

Parliament

The House of Lords adjourns and will return tomorrow for its final day of the current Parliament.

Business begins at 11am with questions.

Peers will also consider orders and regulations, including one on student fees and support which could see a last dust-up for the Lords before Parliament dissolves.

Labour has tabled a regret motion opposing plans to scrap bursaries for nursing and midwifery degrees.

Peers approve the Finance Bill

Finance (No.2) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
HoL

Baroness Nevillle-Rolfe now responds to the short debate.

She says that during the election campaign her party will offer a programme for a "more secure and more productive economy".

The debate concludes and the bill is passed.

Labour Peer attacks the government's Budget

Finance (No.2) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Davies of Oldham
HoL

Shadow treasury minister Lord Davies of Oldham accuses the government of "pursuing tax cuts for the super rich" to be paid by "the mass of our people who have more limited resources."

On education, he asks why the government is "wasting resources on private schools when the state schools are facing a reduction in resources".

He summarises the Budget as being consistent with the government's "conspicuous failure to hit fiscal targets" whilst backing strategies that "reward those who are well-off". 

End of business in the Commons

The Commons has adjourned and will return tomorrow at 9.30am for questions on exiting the EU, the final day of parliamentary business before dissolution for the general election. 

Minister highlights anti-pollution schemes

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Environment Minister George Eustice assures the House air pollution is a priority for the government. 

He says evidence suggests that the most of the harmful particulates are from wood-burning, but acknowledges a "substantial proportion" comes from vehicle emissions. 

He points to £2bn of funding for green transport initiatives and the five cities working to implement clear air zones. 

Northern Ireland bill passes

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
BBC

The bill passes second reading and its remaining stages are treated as a mere formality.

Finally today, peers consider the Finance (No.2) Bill, which enacts some of the measures set out in the chancellor's March Budget.

As the end of the current Parliament is nigh, Treasury Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe says the bill "is proceeding on the basis of consensus". A number of measures have been removed in order to achieve agreement with Labour.

The Conservatives "will legislate" for those measures if they return to government after the election, the minister adds.

'No-one wants to see a return to direct rule' - minister

Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

"This is where we are, frustrating though that is," Lord Dunlop says, replying to the second reading for the government.

He thanks opposition parties for their support for the bill and for fast-tracking it through Parliament.

The UK government and the Irish government will maintain contacts during the election period, he adds.

If no agreement is reached, "an incoming government will have to look at all options he says", though he insists that "no-one wants to see a return to direct rule".

MP raises air pollution problem in Wales

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Evans
HoC

Labour's Chris Evans is opening his debate on diesel fumes in his Islwyn constituency.

He says his constituency contains the most polluted road in the UK outside London and calls it "concerning the government does not recognise this for the public health emergency it is".

He criticises the government's decision to delay its air quality strategy until after the election. 

'Anything that will restore devolution is worth a try' says former minister

Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour spokesman Lord Murphy of Torfaen recalls his experience as a minister in the Northern Ireland Office under direct rule, including making the "unpopular decision" to raise rates.

Of the Northern Ireland parties, he says: "You ask a British minister to do it and then castigate him for doing it."

He adds that direct rule makes the Northern Ireland parties "supplicants" and is "wholly unsatisfactory".

"Anything that will restore devolution is worth a try," he tells the House, arguing that many of the remaining sticking points in negotiations can be overcome.

Hefty petition delivered

Petitions

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Wes Streeting delivers a long list of signatures against the closure of a hospital in Ilford. 

Streeting
HoC

Two more Labour MPs - John Woodcock and Chris Bryant - also present petitions. 

Former Archbishop says he learned 'the hard way' about peace process

Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Eames
BBC

Crossbench peer Lord Eames, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, says he "learned the hard way how difficult the whole issue" of the legacy of the Troubles is.

"The minefield has not altered, it has deepened," he says, adding that he supports the bill "with regret".

Parliament to be prorogued tomorrow...

Without an assembly, politicians will not 'build relationships' - Alderdice

Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Alderdice
BBC

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Alderdice, who led the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland from 1987 to 1998, says the lack of an assembly could "wipe out a generation of politicians".

Without a functioning assembly, he argues, "they will go back into their own communities and they will snipe at each other and they will not build relationships".

Minister responds to MPs' points

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Universities Minister Jo Johnson responds to points raised about international students, saying there is "no limit" to the number who can move into full-time jobs.  

Former NI minister accuses parties of 'showing contempt'

Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Empey
BBC

Former Ulster Unionist Party leader Lord Empey, who was an employment minister in the Northern Ireland executive until 2010, bemoans the lack of devolved government.

He says that Northern Ireland has the longest health service waiting lists and "huge problems" in education while, he claims, the opportunity to vary corporation tax has "gone down the drain now".

He also asks how Northern Ireland's views can be represented in Brexit negotiations with "the most critical, difficult situation developing at the border" with the Republic of Ireland.

"All we are doing with all of this is showing contempt for the ordinary people," he adds.

SNP criticises immigration policy

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Monaghan
HoC

The SNP's Carol Monaghan tells MPs "devastation" is being caused by falling numbers of overseas students. 

She says foreign students should not feel as though they are "allowed to stay but welcome to stay" and should be offered a more "attractive route" to higher education in this country.

She calls on the government to remove them from the net migration target.

Assembly 'could continue' without executive, says former first minister

Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Trimble
BBC

"We have an anomaly where one party, with less than a third of the seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly, is in a position to collapse the executive," says Conservative peer Lord Trimble.

The former Ulster Unionist Party leader who was First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2002, suggests that the Northern Ireland Assembly could "continue" while awaiting the formation of an executive.

'People want devolution up and running' - DUP peer

Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Democratic Unionist Party peer Lord Browne of Belmont blames Sinn Fein for the breakdown of the power-sharing executive, which included his party.

The executive was headed by DUP First Minister Arlene Foster, with the late Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein as Deputy First Minister.

Lord Browne says the extended talks deadlines of 29 June should be "the final cut-off date" in order to "focus the minds of the negotiators".

He supports the bill, saying: "People want devolution up and running."

Opposition parties back bill and condemn school bomb

Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Bomb disposal robot
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Shadow Northern Ireland spokesman Lord McAvoy says Labour supports the bill, to enable "progress to be made and an executive to be formed".

He also condemns an incident over the weekend, when a bomb was discovered by a passing police patrol near Holy Cross Boys' Primary School in Ardoyne.

Police said the device was "sizeable" and an attempt by dissident republicans to kill police officers.

Liberal Democrat spokeswoman Baroness Suttie adds her condemnation, saying: "Such actions have no place in a democratic society."

She gives her party's backing to the bill, accepting that agreement was unlikely during the general election campaign.

Peers debate Northern Ireland bill

Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Dunlop
BBC

Northern Ireland Minister Lord Dunlop opens the second reading of the Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill.

He says that Northern Ireland has enjoyed the longest period of devolved government since 1972 and is "a more peaceful and prosperous place than it was".

However, while talks continue to resolve the current political impasse, the bill before the House would prevent "a gap" in funding for public services, he says, and enable an executive to form if there is progress.

MPs have already passed the bill, which would extend the deadline for Northern Ireland parties to reach a deal to restore devolution until 29 June, after the UK general election.

Labour vows to scrutinise plans to extend universities

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow education minister Gordon Marsden acknowledges concessions made by the government but says they've been "a long time coming".

He says it's right that the government will consult on extending the kind of institutions which can gain the title university and Labour will subject it to "extreme scrutiny". 

Qualified welcome for the government's position

Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The government has proposed an alternative amendment which would require ministers to consult and to consider "the economic consequences for the life sciences industry in the United Kingdom".

Crossbench peer Lord Warner, a former Labour health minister, thinks the government has "met the concerns" of peers with its own proposed amendment.

However, another crossbencher, Baroness Masham of Ilton, asks how the government can be sure that the costs of drugs and treatments will come down.

Labour health spokesman Lord Hunt of Kings Heath says the parties have reached a "satisfactory" position on the bill and urges the government to implement its provisions.

The government amendment is agreed and the short debate on the bill ends.

PMQs: Robertson and May on pension triple-lock commitment
The prime minister is asked for a "clear and unambiguous commitment" to maintain the state pension triple-lock by the SNP's deputy leader.

Minister urges House to accept verdict of the Commons

Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

After dealing briefly with four private members' bills and having a minor scrap about procedure, peers begin debate on the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill.

The House of Lords passed an amendment requiring the government to "promote and support a growing life sciences sector" and to "ensure that patients have rapid clinical access to new clinically effective and cost-effective medicines and treatments".

Health Minister Lord O'Shaughnessy argues the amendment would "undermine one of the core purposes of this bill" which is to enable the government to "exercise its powers effectively to control costs".

He asks the House to accept the Commons' rejection of this amendment on the grounds that the government might be prevented from taking action to control costs if doing so is deemed not to promote life sciences.

PMQs: Corbyn questions May on housing and schools policies
Jeremy Corbyn questions Theresa May in their final PMQs sessions before the general election.

MPs asked to reject Lords' amendments on universities

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Johnson
HoC

MPs agree to the government's changes to the Criminal Finances Bill and move on to Lords amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill, which aims to create a new Office for Students and provide greater choice in the sector. 

Universities Minister Jo Johnson asks them to reject an amendment by peers which sought to insert a clause at the start of the bill to define universities as autonomous institutions.

He says the government recognises universities as autonomous degree-awarding bodies and the Office for Students would help uphold this. 

He also asks MPs to overturn amendments: 

  • preventing the scheme in the bill for rating the quality and standards of higher education institutions from being used to set course fees
  • requiring that students at UK universities are not counted as long-term migrants
  • altering the grounds for appeal against a decision by the Office for Students to revoke degree-awarding powers 
  • requiring the Office for Students to ensure providers have functioned to required standards for at least four years
  • requiring the Secretary of State to introduce a scheme to provide information about the quality of education.

Lib Dem peer calls for UK to give asylum to gay Chechens

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

The third Lords questions concern action to deliver the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development, asked by Labour's Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale.

Then, Liberal Democrat Baroness Barker asks the government if they will take action "in response to reports of the persecution and detention of LGBT citizens in Chechnya" - which was the subject of an urgent question in the Commons last week.

Reports of a campaign against gay men by Chechen security forces have been trickling through since early April when they first appeared in a Russian newspaper. Now some of the alleged victims are starting to speak out.

Baroness Barker urges the government to allow gay people from Chechnya to seek asylum in the UK.

Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay tells her the government is working to "improve the asylum processes for those claiming on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity".

The difficulty of defining extremism

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Singh of Wimbledon
BBC
Lord Singh once told the BBC he was "extremely moderate"

Green Party peer Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb asks whether the government intends "to refine the definition of domestic extremism, in order to enable the police to focus on those involved in terrorism and serious crime".

She claims that "police are watching peaceful, non-violent campaigners", such as environmental campaigners, rather than concentrating on terrorists.

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams insists that the defenition of extremism "is not our definition" but one that is made by the police.

Labour peer Lord Harris of Haringey says a government bill on extremism is in "the long grass" and asks when it will be brought forward. Referring to the difficulty of defining extremism, he notes that "quite a number of us might be deemed by other colleagues in your lordships' House as extremist".

Baroness Williams tells him that "events have overtaken us" with the calling of a general election and it will be up to the next government to legislate if it chooses.

Crossbencher Lord Singh of Wimbledon says that when Sikhs were being "called terrorist and extremist" in India in the 1980s, the BBC asked him whether he was a moderate or an extremist.

"I replied: 'I'm extremely moderate'," he says. "Such words have no meaning. We must get beyond these smear definitions and look to what is actually concerning us."

SNP calls for action on Scottish limited partnerships

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The SNP's Richard Arkless says he's "very proud" that the bill includes betting slips as a form of cash for the purpose of anti-money-laundering measures, which was an SNP manifesto pledge. 

However, he adds the lack of action on Scottish limited partnerships "brings this place into disrepute".

The legal status of a limited liability partnership can be protected from external scrutiny and gives the partners the capacity to handle money that is not open to their English equivalents.

Labour laments 'missed opportunity' on beneficial ownership

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Huq
HoC

Shadow Home Office minister Rupa Huq says Labour is happy to support the government's amendments.

But she notes that closed registers of beneficial ownership are "the elephant in the room" and the original Labour amendment on this issue would have been a better solution. 

"This is a missed opportunity for Britain," she tells the House. 

Peer concerned at 'fall' in pupils studying art and design

Oral questions

House of Lords

Parliament

Earl of Clancarty
BBC

The first question today comes from the Earl of Clancarty, who asks what the government will do to encourage the study of design subjects in schools.

Education Minister Lord Nash says art and design are compulsory subjects under the national curriculum at key stages one to three.

The crossbench peer, who is also known as the artist Nick Trench, says he is concerned about "a significant fall in take-up" of the subjects and a fall in schools offering the subjects at GCSE.

Lord Nash claims the government has "arrested that decline".

Labour education spokesman Lord Watson alleges that "design is one of the subjects that some headteachers will be unable to afford to provide if the Tories government is re-elected and cuts to the schools budget are given free reign".

Deputy speaker struggles through list of amendments

Today in Parliament reporter tweets

Government won't 'force' greater transparency on overseas territories

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Wallace
HoC

MPs pass government amendments to the Digital Economy Bill and now move to consideration of Lords amendments to the Criminal Finances Bill, which aims to toughen measures to prevent money-laundering.

The bill was not defeated in the Lords; some peers sought changes to the bill to ensure greater financial transparency in the crown dependencies and overseas territories. 

Home Office Minister Ben Wallace acknowledges this is of "great interest" and says the government is committed to working with them to prevent criminals from hiding behind anonymous shell companies. 

The government has introduced a statutory review but he says it would not be right to "force" new legislation on these countries. 

Peers consider bid to restore Stormont executive

House of Lords

Parliament

Stormont
AFP

The House of Lords will also debate the Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill, which had its Commons stages on Tuesday.

The bill is a fresh attempt to restore devolved government at Stormont.

Parties in Northern Ireland are currently trying to reach a power-sharing agreement following the resignation of the late deputy first minister Martin McGuinness in the wake of the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal

The collapse of the executive triggered an election in Northern Ireland in March, but under existing legislation it is not possible for an executive to be formed on the basis of that election, even if an agreement were reached.

A new election would be needed, or a change to the Northern Ireland Act 1998. 

The bill therefore provides for the possibility that the ongoing negotiations bear fruit, by changing the effect of the 1998 act in this instance, to provide interim arrangements.

Without an executive to set the regional rate, rate bills cannot be issued and revenue cannot be collected. The bill addresses this by setting a regional rate itself.

Finally today, peers will debate the Finance (No.2) Bill, which has also been passed by the Commons.

Digital campaigner expresses concern on child protection

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Perry
HoC

Conservative Claire Perry approves of extra protections for children from online pornography, but expresses concern that the definition of what constitutes extreme pornography has narrowed. 

She says "time is running out" for companies who "hide behind" being based overseas.

Culture Minister Matthew Hancock intervenes to point out that "what is illegal offline is also illegal online". 

Coming up in the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers meet at 3pm for questions, then deal briefly with four private members' bills.

The House then considers a Commons amendment to the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill, as the government continues its bid to get bills through Parliament before it is dissolved.

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

The Commons overturned the amendment and approved a government amendment in lieu, which ministers say would provide guarantees without leaving the government open to challenge from drug companies.

Health Minister Lord O'Shaughnessy will try to persuade peers to accept the Commons' decision.