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Summary

  1. The Commons began at 11.30 GMT and the first item of the day is International Development questions.
  2. PMQs was at noon; while the main business of the day was two Opposition day debates on housing benefit and food banks.
  3. Peers sat at 11.00 GMT - earlier than usual - for its last day before the Christmas recess.
  4. After oral questions, the main day's business was the Recall of MPs Bill at second reading.

Live Reporting

By Aiden James and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    And that brings an end to today's business.

    MPs will be back tomorrow at 09.30 GMT with questions to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey.

  2. Government response

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Responding for the government, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey congratulates Mr White on securing the debate to celebrate Warwick on an event that only comes around "every eleven hundred years".

    Cities like Warwick who have "a wonderful heritage" but are also able to adopt and accommodate "the modern economy" should be celebrated, he says.

  3. Keeping Warwick's character

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Chris White
    Image caption: Chris White tells MPs that he has campaigned to prevent building works ruining Warwick's character, while giving the chamber a history lesson of the city.
  4. Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    MPs now move to today's final business, the adjournment debate today on the 1100th anniversary of the town of Warwick led by Conservative MP for Warwick and Leamington, Chris White.

  5. Motion rejected

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    MPs reject the Labour motion by 293 votes to 237, a government majority of 56 - the Labour front bench is heard to say "that'll be the Lib Dems then" meaning the Liberal Democrat's 56 MPs made the difference in today's vote.

  6. Government response

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Responding for the government, DEFRA Minister George Eustice reiterates that the reasons behind the increase in use of food banks are "complex".

    Many MPs have claimed the main cause is delays to benefits payment. The "fact of the matter", he says, is that 90% of JSA claimants now get their benefit on time, up from 86% in 2009-10, while hardship payments are also being paid where needed.

    The government is looking at ways to advertise hardship payments and speed up their delivery, he adds.

    The best way to get people out of poverty is to get them off benefits and into work, he concludes.

  7. 'Hunger stalking the land'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Stephen Timms says there needs to be all party recognition "that hunger is stalking the land" and a strategy to end hunger, which must he says must include putting right "the terrible problems" in the welfare system.

    But as no Work and Pensions Ministers took part in today's debate, that'll take a change of government, he says.

  8. 'Unwilling' to face facts

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow Work and Pensions minister Stephen Timms is now responding to the debate for Labour.

    He says the Work and Pensions Secretary has refused to meet the Trussel Trust - who published a report on the use of food banks - as he was "unwilling to face up to the consequences" of his policies, which he says have led to hundreds of people going hungry.

  9. Economic changes

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Frank Field, who founded the APPG on Hunger and Food Poverty, says he does not believe it will be easy to abolish food banks. Food banks are present in similar countries all across the western world, he says, which he suggests means something very fundamental has happened to the economies in these countries.

    He adds that both front benches must commit to making emergency payments available to those whose benefits are delayed and introduce a "yellow card" warning system, to ensure those who are sanctioned are able to seek help before their benefits are taken away, forcing them to use food banks.

    Frank Field
    Image caption: Frank Field spearheaded the report on food poverty
  10. Government changes needed

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Jeremy Lefroy, who co-chaired the launch of the Trussel Trust's report 'Emergency Use Only' - quoted in the motion being debated - tells MPs the use of food banks caused by "acute income crisis" is mostly due to problems with the complexities and delays in the welfare system.

    The government must improve access to short term benefit advances, and must change its sanction system, he says - as many financial punishments are "completely over the top and unnecessary" - as well as improve the Employment Support Allowance to ensure that claimants are not left without income in order to combat food bank use.

    Food banks must not become a readily accepted part of provision and relied upon to help those who get into difficulties, he warns.

  11. Point of order

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow DEFRA Minister Huw Irranca-Davies raises a point of order, pointing out that George Eustice, the minster responding to the debate, was not in the chamber for the opening speeches - which would normally exclude him from taking part in the debate - and asks what the protocol is in these situations.

    Mr Eustice explains that he was required to be in another debate in Westminster Hall at the start and so could not make it into the chamber in time. Speaker John Bercow calls it a "regrettable state of affairs" but allows the debate to continue.

  12. Committee session ends

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Treasury Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie wishes the Chancellor a merry Christmas and closes the question session on the EU budget.

    Stay with us for coverage of the House of Commons, as MPs continue to debate an opposition motion on food banks.

  13. Complex negotiations

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Do Treasury officials needs to learn lessons about legal details, when it comes to EU negotiations, MP Steve Baker asks the Chancellor - and are there lessons to learn for future negotiations.

    You have to fight hard for your interests, George Osborne tells MPs.

  14. Complex causes

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Cabinet Office Minister Rob Wilson sets out the government's stall on food banks.

    The APPG on food poverty found that the increase in food bank use is caused by multifaceted problems, and the reasons often overlap, he says.

    The development of the use of food aid in other western economies - there are 1,000 found banks operating in Germany while one in seven Americans now rely on a food bank - is a moral problem, not just a sustainability issue.

    This government has a long term economic plan, which he says is the best way to improve living standards. The growing economy means disposable income per capita is rising, while income inequality is falling he says.

    Cabinet Office Minister Rob Wilson
    Image caption: Cabinet Office Minister Rob Wilson
  15. EU budget deal

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Negotiators from the European Parliament and EU governments have reached a deal on the EU's 2015 budget and amendments to the 2014 budget.

    Spending in 2015 has been set at €141.2bn (£111.2bn).

    The UK's total contribution to the current budget is €15.29bn (11% of the total).

  16. Treasury Committee resumes

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The Treasury Committee have resumed their questioning of Chancellor George Osborne.

    The second part of the evidence session focuses on the EU budget.

    Chairman Andrew Tyrie asks the Chancellor about his claim to have "halved the bill" the UK faces.

    Mr Osborne says the way the bill was presented was "completely unacceptable" and claims ministers have now achieved the "maximum rebate".

  17. Food Banks motion

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    MPs now turn to the second of today's opposition day debates on Food Banks.

    The motion states that Food Bank use "has increased from 41,000 in 2009-10 to 913,000 in 2013-14", one third of whom are children. The motion blames this on prices rising faster over the last four years and failings in the operation of the social security system.

    To tackle this Labour are calling on the government to:

    • bring forward measures to reduce dependency on food banks,
    • tackle the "cost of living crisis",
    • end delays and administrative problems in the benefits system,
    • introduce a freeze in energy prices,
    • introduce a national water affordability scheme,
    • introduce measures to end abuses of zero hours contracts,
    • bring in incentives for companies to pay a living wage, an increase in the minimum wage to £8 an hour by the end of the next Parliament,
    • guarantee a job for all young people who are out of work for more than a year
    • and introduce 25 hours-a-week free childcare for all working parents of three and four year olds.
  18. New motion passed

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    MPs vote to approve the newly worded motion - created by the government - by 300 votes to 262, a government majority of 38.

  19. Motion defeated

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour's motion to abolish the spare room subsidy - also known as the "bedroom tax" by Labour - is defeated by 298 votes to 266, a majority of 32.

    MPs now move to vote on the government amendment to reword the motion to something far more complimentary to the government.

  20. Government response

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Responding to the debate for the government Pensions Minister Steve Webb asks how Labour would pay for this motion, which he says would cost £500m a year.

    He says Labour's plans to fund the bulk of it from ensuring the building trade pays tax, is already being done he says - so the bulk of this money has already gone.

    He accuses Labour of avoiding the plight of over crowding in the housing sector. Overcrowded tenants will be helped by this scheme, he says, but their voice has not been hear in this debate.

    He also says there is an inconsistency in Labour's support of a spare room subsidy in the private sector but not council housing.

  21. Kafkaesque and cruel

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow work and pensions minister Kate Green is responding to the debate for Labour. She tells MPs that the housing welfare changes has failed in all its objectives - it was not saving money, while only 5.9% of families had downsized due to the policy.

    "This Kafkaesque proportions of this policy is beyond even what we'd image, even from this government. The policy is perverse, it's cruel, it's unfair, it's unworkable," she says.

    "Scrapping it would be the first move of a Labour government and for half a million people that can't come soon enough," she says.

  22. Treasury Committee adjourns

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The Treasury Committee has adjourned its meeting to allow for votes in the Commons.

    They will reconvene shortly to question the Chancellor on the EU budget.

  23. Merry Christmas from peers

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    That's it for the House of Lords for 2014. Peers are away for the Christmas recess, meeting again on 6 January.

    Business is continuing in the House of Commons, as is our live coverage of Chancellor George Osborne's appearance before the Treasury Committee.

  24. Tax rises?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour's Andy Love asks George Osborne if the need to cut the deficit will lead him to "seriously consider tax rises".

    The Chancellor says the UK does not need tax rises and spending cuts were needed instead.

    "We have shown in this Parliament that we can deliver those savings whilst improving public services," he adds.

  25. Labour's 'silence'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Scottish National Party MP Eilidh Whiteford suggests that Labour forced its Scottish leaders to "keep quiet on the bedroom tax" for a year while they "made up their mind".

    Labour MP Sheila Gilmour intervenes to say that Labour had been voting against the changes since they were first put forward.

  26. Staff tributes

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour chief whip Lord Bassam of Brighton is paying tribute to staff who have retired this year, shortly before the House of Lords rises for its Christmas recess.

  27. Debt target missed

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The Chancellor tells Labour MP Teresa Pearce that he accepts that the government has missed its debt target, or rather will achieve it "a year late".

    He said he believes "a fiscal consolidation of £30bn" is needed to eliminate the deficit and run a budget surplus.

    He argues that the government's fiscal rules had enabled it to cut the deficit "by a half".

    In the Autumn Statement, the deficit was projected to fall to £75.9bn in 2015-6, £40.9bn in 2016-7, £14.5bn in 2017-8 before reaching a £4bn surplus in 2018-9.

  28. Welsh concerns

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Geraint Davies says Wales is disproportionately hit by the housing welfare changes - 46% of council housing tenants are affected in comparison to 31% in the rest of the UK.

    People on council housing estates need stable communities to build stable futures for the benefit of everyone, he says. For this to happen the government's housing welfare must be abolished, he says.

  29. Moving forward

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke says MPs have had this debate "again and again" but offer no solutions for moving forward.

    He raises the issue of a welfare cash card - something he'd previously suggested in a ten minute rule bill - for payment of benefits that could not be spent on "luxury goods such as cigarettes, alcohol, Sky television and gambling" as a way to control people's benefits spending.

  30. Trapped by the spare room

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Jack Dromey says that "there simply are not enough homes in the UK "- and the government is building the lowest number of houses since the 1920s. This has led to tens of thousands of people all around the country "trapped" in homes having to pay a retrospective tax, and struggling as a consequence, he says.

    The front bench just don't understand, he suggests, and adds that the increased housing benefit bill was due to low wages and high rent.

  31. Autumn Statement

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    George Osborne is answering the Treasury Committee's questions on the Autumn Statement.

    The Chancellor made the Commons statement on the state of the UK economy on 3 December.

    A BBC News summary of the main points is available here.

    George Osborne
  32. 18 March Budget

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    George Osborne announces that the final budget of the current Parliament will take place on 18 March 2015.

  33. Post update

    @ChloeSmithMP

    Conservative MP Chloe Smith tweets: We are challenging NATS today on @CommonsTrans re air traffic failure. They need to be ready for Christmas travel spike, & resilient & safe

  34. Chancellor gives evidence

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Over in the select committee rooms, MPs on the Treasury Committee are taking evidence from Chancellor George Osborne and officials on the Autumn Statement.

  35. 'Reserve power'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Cabinet Office spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire tells peers that "checks will be in place" to ensure that a person is eligible to sign a recall petition and that they cannot sign it more than once.

    "The government sees this process as a reserve power," he says, predicting it would not be needed "very often".

    Lord Wallace of Saltaire
  36. Rival bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Concerns have been raised that the government's bill leaves too much power to parliamentarians rather than the public.

    Conservative backbencher Zac Goldsmith introduced a rival proposal to Parliament in the form of a private member's bill.

    The MP called his bill, which would not require an MP to be proven to have broken any rules, "a genuine Recall Bill".

    An MP could be recalled if 5% of voters in a constituency sign a "notice of intent to recall" and 20% of voters then sign a "recall petition".

  37. 'Cynical' Labour

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Disabled Persons Minister Mark Harper accuses Labour of being cynical by choosing this debate to "contrive to scare people" rather than welcoming today's news on rising employment

    Speaking over the shouts from the Labour benches he says Labour would rather talk about anything other than today's "positive jobs figures" which he goes on to set out.

  38. Transport Committee proceedings

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The evidence session of the Transport Committee today will explore investment in air traffic management, compensation for airlines and passengers, and the forthcoming CAA investigation in relation to events on 12 December.

    Evidence is being taken from representatives from National Air Traffic Services (NATS) - Chief Executive Richard Deakin and Managing Director of Operations Martin Rolfe - followed by the Chief Executive of the Civil Aviation Authority, Andrew Haines.

  39. More on the bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The Recall of MPs Bill would allow Parliament or the public to remove MPs deemed unfit for public office.

    Recall would be triggered if an MP is "convicted in the UK of an offence and receives a custodial sentence". Recall will be automatic if an MP is suspended for "at least 21 sitting days, or at least 28 calendar days".

    And recall could also be triggered by a petition signed by at least 10% of a constituency's registered voters.

  40. Closing speeches

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Frontbench peers are making their closing speeches in the debate on the Recall of MPs Bill.

    Labour's Lord Kennedy of Southwark says that his party supports the principle of recall, but hopes that the measure never needs to be used.

    The government stated it would enact recall legislation, arguing that it was needed following the MPs' expenses scandal.

    The bill was published in September.

  41. Labour's case

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Rachel Reeves
    Image caption: Rachel Reeves sets out Labour's case for abolishing the government's housing benefit reforms
  42. 'Groundhog' debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative Sir Tony Baldry say the debate has a slight "groudhog day quality".

    He says he's been involved in an "identical debate" before and was thinking of using his speech from the last debate to see if everyone noticed.

  43. Transport Committee starting

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The Commons Transport Committee is currently holding a one-off session with NATS (National Air Traffic Services) and CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) executives over the partial closure of London's air space due to technical error.

    Passengers faced widespread flight disruption after a computer malfunction at the national air traffic service - or NATS - control centre in Swanwick on Friday 12 December.

    Systems were shut down for 43 minutes, causing delays, flight cancellations and aeroplanes to be grounded.

    An investigation is being put together to examine the cause of the technical fault in the flight data system at the NATS control centre.

  44. Chance to 'put it right'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Opening the debate Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves says today's motion gives MPs a chance to "put right one of the worst injustices" of the government.

    The government's housing benefit reform, which Labour have labelled the "bedroom tax", has hit 500,000 low income households, two-thirds of which include a disabled person, and two-fifths of which have small children, Ms Reeves says.

    Scrapping this measure will bring hope and relief to "hundreds of thousands of people struggling to stay in their homes, pay their bill and put food on their tables" in the run up to Christmas, she says.

  45. 'Least unpopular'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour peer Lord Soley, also a former MP, said he learned a long time ago that "you can never be truly popular in politics" and MPs have to expect a "kicking" sometimes.

    Winning elections is more a case of being the "least unpopular", he argues.

  46. Government amendment

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The full text of the government amendment is:

    "[That this House] regrets that the Government took over a housing benefit bill which was out of control, and without reform would have been more than £26 billion in 2014-15; notes that the reforms the Government has implemented have brought housing benefit spending under control and helped to tackle over-crowding and better manage housing stock; further notes that the Coalition has protected vulnerable groups through £165 million of discretionary housing payments in 2014; notes that, following the interim evaluation of the policy, the part of the Coalition led by the Deputy Prime Minister has proposed reforms to introduce other formal exemptions to the policy, including where claimants have not been made a reasonable alternative offer of accommodation; and believes that the Opposition's failure to support the Government's wider welfare reforms, including the wholesale abolition of this policy, is financially unsustainable, and would put at risk savings of nearly £50 billion over the present Parliament, as well as leaving people languishing in over-crowded accommodation."

  47. Housing benefit debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    MPs unanimously agree to Norman Baker's bill, and we now turn to the first of today's opposition day debates on abolishing the housing benefit social sector size criteria - which is basically a new way of saying "scrap the bedroom tax".

    An amendment from the prime minister has been accepted to be debated. The amendment would replace Labour's call for the abolishing the spare room subsidy, with a motion far more complimentary to the government.

  48. 'Gap in services'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Mr Baker says that while the government has a good record on protecting women from domestic violence there is gap in the services around the provision of refuges, due to cuts in funding.

    Norman Baker
    Image caption: Former Home Affairs Minister Norman Baker sets out the provisions of his bill.
  49. 'Parties could use' recall

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    "Don't let's fancy ourselves we were wildly well-known throughout our constituencies when we were members of Parliament," says Conservative peer and former MP Lord Hamilton of Epsom.

    Many people do not get involved in politics at all, he argues, but they might sign a petition to remove an MP.

    He suggests that political parties might use a recall petition to organise a by-election in a target seat.

    He adds that the Commons could end up consisting of people "constantly looking over their shoulders" and democracy would suffer.

  50. Ten minute rule bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Liberal Democrat ex-minister Norman Baker is tabling his ten minute rule bill on Women's Refuges (Provision and Eligibility).

    The bill is intended to establish a minimum level of provision for women's refuges.

    Mr Baker is concerned that, without such a requirement, they become easy targets for cuts in local funding and he wants to prevent local authorities imposing restrictive rules that would prevent women from outside their area using the refuge they fund.

  51. 'Errant' MPs

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Opposing the Recall of MPs Bill, Labour peer Lord Snape argues that "the duty of removing errant members of Parliament should lie with their colleagues".

  52. 'Asymmetric' warfare

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Hugh Bayley tells MPs there is an "asymmetric" nature to modern warfare, as British soldiers are often not fighting against a nation state who observe the Geneva convention but rather a "group of irregulars", which puts the soldiers under intense psychological strain.

    Will the lessons from this report be fed into the way soldiers are trained for fighting against people who do not hold themselves to the same standard? he asks.

    Michael Fallon says this is already the case.

  53. Professionalism praised

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Former Army officer Bob Stewart says it is very difficult for a soldier to change "within milliseconds" between a duty to kill the enemy to a duty to protect the enemy, and says he is proud of the professionalism of the soldiers involved in this case.

  54. Motive?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Sir Oliver Heald says the whole House is shocked by the lies of these detainees. He asks if there's any indication what their motive was - accompanied by shouts of "money" and "greed" from neighbouring benches.

    Michael Fallon says he shouldn't comment on the motive of these detainees, but feels no such reservation in questioning the motives of the detainees' legal advisors who he says have not "helped the reputation of the British legal system".

  55. Post update

    @GrahamEvansMP

    Graham Evans MP tweets: Cross party support for Commons Statement on the Al-Sweady Inquiry Report by Secretary of State for Defence Fallon.

  56. Preventing abuse

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Former Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth, who commissioned the report, says he made his decision after the department was "very heavily" criticised in the courts for failing to investigate allegations.

    This wasn't a lack of will but a refusal to co-operate with an inquiry by the representatives of the Iraqi detainees, he says.

    Public interest lawyers have a very lucrative business model at the public expense. Allegations must always be investigated, he says, but urges the government to look at how make sure systems are not "systematically abused".

    Michael Fallon says this is an important point, and agrees to look at how to curtail this.

  57. Analysis

    Norman Smith

    BBC Assistant Political Editor

    It's a very symbolic case for the British military because the charges were so grave, namely the mutilation of bodies of Iraqis and suggestions of torture.

    "These were very serious allegations which the soldiers involved and the Ministry of Defence have always contested all the way along following what became known as the Battle of Danny Boy when these British soldiers were ambushed by Iraqi insurgents.

    I think the view in British military circles was they had to contest this, they had to absolutely demonstrate their innocence which is why I think this process has taken so long.

    They needed to absolutely check everything out and show nothing was being hidden because if there had been any lingering suspicion that British soldiers had been involved in torture, the ramifications in terms of the standing of the British military, would have been hugely profound.

    I imagine it's a massive, massive relief and also a sense of vindication on the part of the MoD.

  58. Building trust

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Chair of the Defence Committee Rory Stewart tells MPs he was based in the area of the 'Battle of Danny-Boy' at the time, and encourages the Secretary of State to focus on the "broader context".

    It was "completely tragic" that the Iraqis were convinced these atrocities took place, he says. The UK needs political officers on the ground to ensure trust is built with local people to protect soldiers from such baseless allegations.

    Michael Fallon says he agrees with Mr Stewart's point. He will "reflect further" on the role of political officers, he adds.

  59. Government response

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Responding to Vernon Coaker's comments, Michael Fallon says the armed services are still accountable to the law and where there are allegations they will always be investigated.

    He will look at the practicalities of implementation the recommendations but accepts them all in principle.

  60. Implementation

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The implementation of the Al-Sweady report's recommendations can be achieved speedily, Vernon Coaker says, and promises that Labour will support the government in achieving this.

  61. High standards

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow Defence Secretary Vernon Coaker is now responding to the statement. He says the 'Battle of Danny Boy' was one of the most difficult and challenging situations soldiers often find themselves in.

    As well as their courage, soldiers pride themselves on the high standards they are held to, he says, and he asks if soldiers will still be held to high standards and the Geneva Convention.

    Will the government remain unafraid to be "open and frank" when soldiers do not reach this high standard? he asks.

  62. Post update

    @tnewtondunn

    The Sun's Tom Newton Dunn tweets: Breaking: Defence Secretary demands law firms issue "an unequivocal apology" to soldiers who reputations they tried to traduce #alsweady ‏

  63. A defence of MPs

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour peer Baroness Corston says she agrees with the principle of recalling an MP who is guilty of misconduct but argues that the current bill is the wrong way to do it.

    "When the front benches agree they're usually wrong," she says.

    The former MP for Bristol East says of MPs: "They are not all scoundrels. They are not all in it for the money."

  64. Recommendations

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Michael Fallon says he accepts the recommendations of the Al-Sweady report in principal, but he will have to ensure they do not prevent the armed forces from carrying out vital tasks.

    The Iraqi detainees and their lawyers must now bear the brunt of the criticism from the protracted nature and the £31m cost of this unnecessary public inquiry.

    The Solicitors Regulation Authority will now investigate possible breaches of professional standards.

  65. Instances of ill-treatment

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Michael Fallon says he accepts that there were instances of ill-treatment of detainees in 2004 - withholding of food, restricting sight and denial of sleep - but nothing on the scale alleged.

    Changes to MoD guidance means this will not happen in the future, he adds.

  66. Concession denied

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Expert witnesses were able to prove that the bodies that were handed over to Iraqi authorities had died on the battlefield, Mr Fallon tells MPs.

    Had a concession on this point been made earlier, it would have saved soldiers being brought before court and the taxpayer millions of pounds, he says.

  67. Inquiry set up following abuse claim

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The inquiry was set up following abuse allegations made in judicial proceedings at the High Court, where it was claimed that Iraqis were abused near the town of Majar al Kabir.

    Following the 'Battle of Danny-Boy' in southern Iraq it is claimed that nine Iraqi men were taken to a British base where it was alleged some men were murdered and mutilated but these claims were later dropped.

    Former head of the Army, General Mike Jackson, has said the claims are based "on a tissue of lies".

    The inquiry has conducted 168 days of hearings and so far has cost £24.4m.

  68. Allegations changed

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    He says the allegations against British soldiers have changed several times. Today it has been confirmed that British soldiers did not carry out atrocities.

    Sir Thayne Forbes, who chaired the inquiry, was unequivocal in his ruling, Mr Fallon says.

  69. Al-Sweady inquiry statement

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is now at the despatch box making a statement on the report of Al-Sweady inquiry into allegations of abuse made against British soldiers.

    Mr Fallon says we know today these allegations are "completely unfounded".

  70. Welfare struggle

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Sheila Gilmore says, despite attempted cost saving measures like the so-called bedroom tax, spending on housing benefit has increased. She asks when David Cameron will tackle the real causes of the problem - low wages.

    David Cameron says Labour has opposed every change to welfare and housing benefit and today will vote to increase spending. Their plans are "completely incoherent", he says.

  71. Maiden speech

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Conservative peer Lord Cooper of Windrush makes his maiden speech to the House on the Recall of MPs Bill.

    He says that "confidence in MPs collapsed" following the scandal of MPs' expenses.

    He adds: "Not to introduce a system of recall would deepen even further the widespread view that politicians can never be believed."

    Lord Cooper of Windrush
  72. Conservative spending plans

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Former Chancellor Ken Clarke says the coalition will take public spending back to the level it was under Gordon Brown. But it was only because Mr Brown pledged to stick to Mr Clarke's spending plan, inherited from a Conservative government.

    David Cameron thanks Mr Clarke for his "historical perspective" and says Labour is basing its entire economic policy on some throwaway remark on the BBC from some reporter at 6.10am.

    The truth is, the government is getting public spending back to 2002 when Mr Miliband was in the Treasury, he says.

  73. Green targets

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    UKIP MP Douglas Carswell says the levy control framework - total cost added to energy bills from green target - rises from £2.3bn in 2012 to £9.8bn in 2020.

    Is this fair when many families are struggling to pay their bills? he asks.

    David Cameron says the levy is fixed and sets the overall amount of investment in renewable energy schemes which are providing jobs across the country. He says he welcomes that investment.

  74. Labour conversation?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative Stephen Metcalfe says those who think you should not talk about immigration with voters is "out of touch".

    Mr Cameron says he agrees but Labour MPs can't talk about immigration, unemployment, the deficit or leadership issues. He says he fears for the Christmas of Labour MPs.

    "What are they going to talk about?" he asks.

  75. Welfare bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour's Nick Brown says unemployment is still too high and asks where the cuts in working-age welfare will fall.

    David Cameron says unemployment is down across the country. Labour is voting this afternoon, on the bedroom tax, to add to £2bn to welfare. That would mean taking money from schools or health, he says.

  76. Post update

    @PickardJE

    FT's Jim Pickard ‏tweets: Today's #PMQs summarised:

    Cameron: economy all well

    Miliband: economy Orwell

  77. 'Debt bubble'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Mark Garnier asks for an assurance that David Cameron will not build a recovery on a "debt bubble".

    Mr Cameron agrees. And he says Labour should take a lesson that when you have had a period of growth, you should pay down debt.

  78. Pakistan's shocking events

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    DUP MP Nigel Dodds said the events in Pakistan shocked the world. Like the abductions of children in Nigeria its shows increasing attacks on children. The government pledged support and he asks what the prime minister can do.

    David Cameron says the government see what expertise can be supplied, which is what happened in Nigeria. We continue to work with Nigeria, he says. In Pakistan the government is encouraging the government to tackle terrorism.

  79. Post update

    @VickiYoung01

    Vicki Young

    Political correspondent, BBC News

    Decent line from Miliband on economy that Tories don't want to balance books they want to "slash the state". But Lab MPs still look glum.

  80. Silent night?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Ed Miliband says David Cameron should reflect on a year where he has lost two MPs, and given a new meaning to "conviction politician", with the jailing of the PMs former aide Andy Coulson.

    And Tory plans for the future is to take us back to the 1930s, he says.

    David Cameron says he feels sorry for Labour MPs who can't talk about deficit, or immigration. And they can't talk about their leader because he's a "complete waste of space".

    For Labour it's a "Silent Night", he says.

  81. Labour policy

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Ed Miliband says things may be fixed for "David Cameron's Christmas list" but everything isn't fixed for many people in this country. David Cameron has £7bn in unfunded tax cuts and a deficit plan he can't meet. Will he rule out a rise in VAT? he asks.

    Mr Cameron says he does not need to raise taxes because he can raise the money from efficiencies.

    He says he has had his Christmas present early and brandishes Labour's document about how to campaign against UKIP. He points out it says the Tories have a 17-point lead on the economy.

  82. Post update

    ‏@paulwaugh

    Editor of PoliticsHome.com Paul Waugh tweets: EdM has 'conviction politician' gag re Coulson, Cam has extended gag re Labour's 'Silent Night' of not talking about jobs, deficit, migrants

  83. Post update

    @stefanstern

    FT columnist stefanstern tweets: Lack of an answer on VAT from Cameron rather telling. He will have to find one. #pmqs

  84. Tax cutting?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Ed Miliband says the government is borrowing £207bn more than it expected.

    He tells MPs that David Cameron once said you can't promise unfunded tax cuts. So how will he fund his £7bn tax cuts, he asks: cuts in services, or an increase in VAT?

    David Cameron says if you get on top of the economy you can cut taxes. He accuses Mr Miliband of not wanting to talk about unemployment.

  85. Labour spending

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Ed Miliband says in six months Mr Cameron can ask the questions, when he's leader of the Opposition.

    The scale of the cuts is at over £50bn, he says. Is he really "pretending these cuts won't damage front line services", Mr Miliband asks.

    David Cameron says the government have had to make tough decisions and says the pretence that Mr Miliband cared about the economy lasted about a week. He claims that under Labour there would be more tax and more borrowing.

  86. Post update

    @politicshome

    PoliticsHome ‏tweets: Miliband asks Cameron why he thinks the OBR is joining the BBC in a "conspiracy" against the Tories. #PMQs

  87. OBR quote

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Ed Miliband reads the OBR quote about public spending at its lowest level for 80 years again.

    David Cameron says public spending will fall to roughly the level it was under Labour. We should be fixing the roof while the sun is shining, he says. Does Mr Miliband think the government should never run a surplus?

  88. Ed Miliband's question

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour leader Ed Miliband is now quizzing the prime minister.

    He joins Mr Cameron in condemning the actions in Pakistan and in Sydney.

    Then he goes on to ask a question about the OBR, which claims that the government's plans take total public spending to its lowest share of national income for 80 years. Why has the OBR joined the BBC in a conspiracy against the government? he asks.

    David Cameron says he welcomes Mr Miliband's backing of the OBR. The OBR says that by 2019-20 day-to-day spending will be at its lowest level since 2003 when Ed Milband was at the Treasury, he answers.

  89. Prime minister's questions

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    David Cameron is now at the despatch box. He kicks off the question session by condemning the "outrages" that have affected the world in recent days, including the siege in Sydney and an attack at a school in Pakistan which killed at least 132 children and nine staff.

  90. Cameron in the chamber

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    David Cameron
    Image caption: David Cameron is now in the chamber ahead of his weekly prime minister's questions sessions
  91. 'In the hands of constituents'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Opening for Labour on the Recall of MPs Bill, Baroness Hayter asks for reassurance that the power of recall will be "in the hands of constituents" and not in the hands of campaigns organised by "wealthy groups".

    A recall could be triggered by a public petition, if a sufficient number of legitimate voters become involved.

    For recall to go ahead, 10% of the registered electorate in a constituency would need to sign the petition.

    If a petition garnered the legal level of support then a by-election would be called in the relevant constituency.

  92. Minimum wage

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz asks if the government supports the actions of the Conservative's MEPs who voted against the global development programme because it included the minimum wage.

    Desmond Swayne says it is right for employers to pay a minimum wage, but first of all entrepreneurs must generate wealth before they can pay any wages at all.

  93. 'Only game in town'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Richard Burden says there are fewer trucks delivering supplies to Gaza since the summer's conflict. He asks whether Israel is in breach of UN resolution on allowing access to Gaza.

    International Development Minister Desmond Swayne says that the Gaza reconstruction mechanism - which delivers supplies to Gaza - had a faltering start, but it is now up from 46 trucks to 302.

    "It's not good enough, we're working for more, but it's the only game in town," he says.

  94. Answering questions

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Justine Greening
    Image caption: International Development Secretary Justine Greening is fielding questions from MPs
  95. 'Siphoned off' funds

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Andy Sawford says $1tn is "siphoned off" from developing countries each year because of corruption, money laundering an illicit revenue flows.

    How much of this is done by British based companies? he asks.

    Justine Greening says this is just one of many estimates, DfID is working on "capacity building" in developing countries to help fight corruption and tax avoidance, allowing countries to retain more of their own money.

  96. Recall of MPs Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Questions in the Lords are over and peers move on to consider the Recall of MPs Bill at second reading.

    The bill would allow the electorate to deselect an MP if he or she is found guilty of serious wrongdoing.

    A second reading debate allows peers to consider the general principles of a bill.

  97. Post update

    @SteveTheQuip

    Labour's chief whip in the Lords Steve Bassam ‏tweets: Govt minister says that cuts in police numbers mirror cuts in levels crime. Peers not convinced!

  98. Private security

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Shadow home affairs spokewoman Baroness Smith says cuts to police have led to the growth of private security firms.

    "Why has the government failed to regulate private security firms?" she asks.

    Home Office Minister Lord Bates insists that the industry is subject to regulation.

    Some back office administrative roles were outsourced in order to protect front line policing, he claims.

    Baroness Smith of Basildon
  99. Ebola help

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Margaret Ritchie begins business in the House of Commons.

    The World Health Organisation estimates that there have been 18,000 Ebola cases in 2014 she tells MPs. The speed of response is crucial to combating the problem, she says, and asks what further action is being taken by the government to help.

    International Development Secretary Justine Greening, who has just returned from Sierra Leone, says that as well as funding and medical support the government are providing more support for children.

    "As we're scaling up our operation, we're reaching more and more people," she adds.

  100. Fourth question

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The fourth and final question in the Lords is on plans for the funding of policing over the next five years, tabled by Conservative peer Lord Cormack.

    The question follows comments by Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who claimed that public safety would be at risk unless radical measures are taken to deal with funding cuts.

  101. Third question

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The third question is from shadow health spokesman Lord Hunt of King's Heath, who asks what is being done to address the increase in alcohol-related disease.

    Lord Hunt congratulates Health Minister Earl Howe for being nominated "as the 29th most powerful person in the National Health Service" by the Health Service Journal.

    "Coming in 95th, I look on with admiration," he says, adding that Conservative election strategist Lynton Crosby was 50th, and noting that his lobbying firm Crosby Textor has long-standing links with the alcohol industry.

    Earl Howe says he disagrees with Lord Hunt on the role of Mr Crosby, arguing that it is important to "engage" with the industry.

  102. International Development questions

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    But before all that business in the House of Commons begins at 11.30 GMT with questions to International Development Secretary Justine Greening and her ministerial team.

  103. Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The day ends with the usual adjournment debate, today led Conservative MP for Warwick and Leamington Chris White, who will continue the fine tradition of using the day's final business to celebrate local historical events, discussing the 1100th anniversary of the town of Warwick.

  104. Second question

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The second question is from Labour peer Lord Kennedy of Southwark, who asks what action is being taken to improve dermatology services within the NHS.

  105. Ten minute rule bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    At 13.15 GMT Liberal Democrat ex-minister Norman Baker has a ten minute rule bill on Women's Refuges (Provision and Eligibility) - intended to establish a minimum level of provision for women's refuges.

    He's concerned that without such a requirement they become easy targets for cuts in local funding - and he also wants to prevent local authorities imposing restrictive rules that would prevent women from outside their area using the refuge they fund.

  106. Hereditary peer introduced

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Business in the Lords begins with the introduction of hereditary crossbench peer the Duke of Somerset.

    John Seymour, Duke of Somerset, was elected under the system of by-elections for hereditary peers.

    Duke of Somerset
  107. Opposition day

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The majority of the day will be devoted to two opposition day debates - tabled by Labour on subjects they feel the government may be vulnerable.

    The first on the abolition of social sector size criteria in housing benefit - which is simply a new way Labour has found to phrase "scrap the bedroom tax" - which should take place at 13.30 GMT.

    This will be followed by a debate on food banks.

  108. First question

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Questions to government ministers are about to start in the Lords.

    The first question today is from Conservative peer Baroness Shephard of Northwold, on the impact of the Childcare Payments Bill on maternal employment rates and the level of tax paid by mothers.

  109. Commons business

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Business in the House of Commons is about to begin.

    The day's main business will be the weekly contest between David Cameron and Ed Miliband at prime minister's questions, at 12.00 GMT.

    This will be followed by a statement from Defence Secretary Michael Fallon on the report of the Al Sweady Inquiry, which earlier today ruled that British soldiers were guilty of mistreating nine Iraqi detainees after a 2004 battle.

    The inquiry was set up in 2009 by then defence secretary Bob Ainsworth following abuse allegations made in judicial proceedings at the High Court.

  110. Good morning

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Welcome to our live coverage of today in Westminster.

    The House of Lords will sit first today for oral questions at 11.00 GMT.

    Then peers will debate the Recall of MPs Bill at second reading.

    Defence Minister Lord Astor of Hever will repeat a Commons statement on the report of the Al Sweady Inquiry into allegations of misconduct by British troops in Iraq 10 years ago.

    Finally, peers will consider two motions relating to company regulations before adjourning for the Christmas recess.