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Summary

  1. MPs met at 11.30 GMT for questions to the Cabinet Office team; followed by prime minister's questions at 12 noon.
  2. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt made a statement on A&E waiting times following an urgent question from his Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham.
  3. Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers announced a new bill to devolve corporation tax to northern Ireland during a statement on the Stormont House agreement.
  4. The day's main business was the report stage consideration and third reading of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill.
  5. Labour MP Nia Griffith led the adjournment debate on the regulation of the hairdressing industry.
  6. Peers met at 15.00 GMT for oral questions; followed by repeats of the Commons statements on A&E waiting times and the Stormont House agreement.
  7. After that, peers debated the Pension Schemes Bill in a committee of the whole House and conducted a debate on improving skills in the NHS.

Live Reporting

By Aiden James and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight from the Lords

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Bradley accepts the government's assurances and withdraws the amendment, which is the last one to be debated tonight.

    That concludes business in the Lords for today.

    Join us tomorrow for live coverage of Parliament from 09.30 GMT, beginning with questions to business, innovation and skills ministers in the Commons.

    The House of Lords will sit from 11.00 GMT and peers will debate topics including the future of the NHS.

  2. 'Exceptional job'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Government spokesman Lord Bourne says NEST has been doing "an exceptional job" since its establishment.

    He says that research had shown that some of the restrictions on contributions and transfers were "seen as a barrier" by some would-be investors.

    However he argues that removing contribution limits was not a "proportional" response before 2017, when some restrictions are set to be relaxed.

  3. NEST scheme

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour work and pensions spokesman Lord Bradley is introducing an amendment which would lift a cap on contributions to the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) scheme.

    NEST is a workplace pension scheme introduced under the government's pension reforms.

    Lord Bradley also calls for an end to the ban on transfers to NEST from other schemes.

    "The effect is to discourage those employers who currently have schemes elsewhere," he argues.

    Lord Bradley
  4. Post update

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord German welcomes the commitment from both side of House to more transparency and withdraws his amendment.

    As a matter of parliamentary convention, amendments are rarely pushed to a vote during committee stage in the Lords.

    If peers are dissatisfied with the government's position they may choose to introduce another amendment during the next stage of a bill's passage - report stage - and force a vote.

    Divisions on amendments are more common during report stage.

  5. Improved governance

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Government spokesman Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth says ministers are consulting on proposals to require trustees to improve the governance of their pensions schemes.

    He insists that the government takes the transparency of schemes seriously.

  6. Labour backing

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord German's amendment gains the backing of the Labour benches.

    Shadow work and pensions spokesman Lord Bradley says he supports any measure "that improves transparency for the public".

  7. Lib Dem amendment

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The Lib Dem backbench amendment would require trustees or managers of an occupational pension scheme and the managers of a personal pension scheme to account for their investment decisions to the scheme's beneficiaries.

    "The more savers are informed the better the market will work," Lord German argues.

  8. Pension Schemes Bill debate resumes

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers reconvene to consider further amendments to the Pension Schemes Bill at committee stage.

    Liberal Democrat Lord German is introducing an amendment which is backed by a group of Lib Dem peers.

  9. Short break

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    That's the end of the debate on skills in the NHS and the House is taking a short break before peers resume debate on the Pension Schemes Bill.

  10. Government response

    Health Minister Earl Howe tells peers that the government has asked training body Health Education England to ensure that "professional and personal development continues beyond the end of formal training" for NHS staff in England.

  11. GP training call

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Parekh calls for increased training for GPs as part of efforts to improve medical competence.

    Lord Parekh
  12. NHS debate

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers are taking a break from the Pension Schemes Bill for a short debate on improving the level of medical competence and skill in the National Health Service.

    Labour peer Lord Parekh is opening the debate.

  13. Statutory instruments

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Ministers can exercise powers conferred by an act of Parliament by using statutory instruments, which enable the government to bring parts of an act into force or alter it, without Parliament having to pass a new act.

    If the government accepts the recommendations of the Delegated Powers Committee, MPs and peers will need to approve statutory instruments in Parliament before ministers can exercise certain powers under the Pension Schemes Bill.

    An act of Parliament can be referred to as primary legislation, while statutory instruments are also known as secondary, delegated or subordinate legislation.

  14. Ministerial powers

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The Pension Schemes Bill was one of the pieces of legislation scrutinised by the House of Lords' Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee.

    Many laws confer powers on ministers and the committee examines such proposals.

    It has recommended that some of the powers be subject to the approval of Parliament, known as being subject to the "affirmative procedure".

    The "negative procedure" refers to statutory instruments which automatically become law unless there is an objection from either House.

  15. More on the Pension Schemes Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers are continuing their detailed scrutiny of the Pension Schemes Bill.

    As well as new provisions for private pensions, the bill gives force to measures announced in the Budget, such as giving people aged 55 and over more flexibility about how to access their defined contribution pension savings from April 2015.

    Savers will no longer be required to access their pension through a paid for annuity and will have greater choice over how they use the money in their defined contribution scheme.

    The measures are contained in the current bill and the Taxation of Pensions Bill, which achieved royal assent in December.

  16. End of Commons business

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Drawing his remarks to a close, Mark Harper tells MPs that hairdressers are already to subject a number of regulations that mean the risks involved in their profession are "comprehensively dealt with".

    That brings an end to today's business in the House of Commons. MPs will be back tomorrow at 09.30 GMT with two back bench business debates.

    The first is on higher education funding and a report from the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee. This will be followed by a debate on a report from the Foreign Affairs Committee concerning Gibraltar, entitled Gibraltar: Time to get off the fence.

    Stay with us though as the House of Lords continues its scrutiny of the Pension Schemes Bill.

  17. Trim legislation

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Responding for the government Work and Pensions Minister Mark Harper says he is "not attracted" to Nia Griffith's suggestions, as he is unsure what problem she is trying to solve.

    Legislation should be focussed on where the risks are, not where they may appear, he argues.

  18. Cutting remarks

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Richard Fuller argues that hairdressing sector is working adequately at the moment and is regulated sufficiently by word of mouth. Bad hairdressers will quickly get a bad reputation and go out of business, he says.

    Heavy regulation didn't prevent unscrupulous practices in banking he argues, and warns that regulation could put off many young people, who may have not found "formal education their direct interest", from beginning their own business.

  19. Public protection

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    You do not need a qualification to become a hairdresser in the UK. Ms Griffiths argues that this leave the public unprotected from "unscrupulous" and undertrained hairdressers.

    This is especially troubling because hairdressers use sharp implements and chemicals in their work, she adds.

  20. 'Shared risk' pensions

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The Pension Schemes Bill will create a new framework with three categories of pension: defined benefit, defined contribution and shared risk.

    The current types of pension scheme are defined benefit, which include final salary schemes, and defined contribution.

    Defined benefit schemes promise to pay pensions benefits based on a fixed factor, typically salary and length of service, while defined contribution schemes pay out a sum based on the value of a member's fund on retirement.

    According to the Department for Work and Pensions, shared risk or "defined ambition" schemes would "offer a promise while members are saving for their pension about some of the outcome from the scheme, but not all".

  21. Fairer cuts needed...

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    We are now on the final business in the House of Commons - the adjournment debate - today led by Labour MP Nia Griffith on regulating the hairdressing industry.

  22. Leave it to the Lords

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Several MPs have complained about many of the key issues, especially surrounding oversight of security services, being left unfinished decided in the House of Lords.

    In the last two days the government has indicated it may make concession on judicial oversight in the House of Lords.

  23. Pension Schemes Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers now move on to their committee stage consideration of the Pension Schemes Bill.

    The bill, which extends to England, Wales and Scotland, would establish a new legislative framework for private pensions.

    Committee stage gives peers an opportunity to examine a bill in detail and to propose amendments.

  24. Historical Investigations Unit

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Crossbench peer Baroness O'Loan, who has served as police ombudsman in Northern Ireland, calls for the new Historical Investigations Unit to have access to information held by the security services in the UK.

    The Stormont House agreement proposed the new unit to investigate killings that took place during the Troubles.

    Baroness O'Loan
  25. Too few safeguards

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper endorses the bill but argues that there are too few safeguards to protects personal liberties and freedoms from excessive state power.

    She suggests that Labour will return to many of the issues they have raised in the House of Commons when the bill passes to the House of Lords.

    Yvette Cooper
    Image caption: Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper setting out Labour's concerns with the bill
  26. What is third reading?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The third reading is the final review of the contents of the bill. Debate is limited to the contents of the bill and no further amendments are allowed to be tabled - unlike in the House of Lords.

    For controversial bills such as this, third reading is also the final opportunity for interested parties to fire parting shots at the government.

  27. Report stage completed

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    MPs unanimously agree to pass the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill at report stage. Which means we move to the third reading, the bill's final stage in the House of Commons before it is sent to the House of Lords.

  28. Consent not consult

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    SNP MP Pete Wishart welcomes a government amendment that would require the home secretary to consult the relevant devolved institutions before making changes to counter-terrorism legislation, but says the measures need to go further.

    The home secretary will not only need to discuss matters but will need "consent" from the Scottish Parliament if any future devolution settlement is to work, he argues.

    The Scottish Parliament is responsible for delivering many of the counter-terrorism measures contained in the bill through devolved powers over education and the police force.

  29. Amendment withdrawn

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Home Affairs Minister Karen Bradley says Ms Johnson's amendments are unnecessary as there has yet to be a final decision on the functions of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board.

    A public consultation is being carried out on the terms of regulations of the boards composition, remit, powers and functions.

    Diana Johnson withdraws her amendment but again indicates Labour may return to the subject as the bill passes through the House of Lords.

  30. Stormont House Agreement statement

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The House moves on to the second repeated statement of the day, as Northern Ireland spokeswoman Baroness Randerson updates peers on the Stormont House agreement in Northern Ireland.

    Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers made the statement to MPs earlier, announcing that new legislation aimed at devolving corporation tax to Northern Ireland would be presented to Parliament shortly.

    The devolution of corporation tax was a key demand of political leaders in Northern Ireland in the run up to the Stormont House Agreement, which was finalised in Belfast last month after 12 weeks of inter-party talks.

    The UK government convened the talks in a bid to sort out enduring problems at Stormont, including the Northern Ireland Executive's budget, welfare reform, flags, parades and the legacy of the Troubles.

  31. Privacy and Civil Liberties Board

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow Home Affairs minister Diana Johnson moves a series of amendments to give powers to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, which will support the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

    The bill as it stands "doesn't determine anything", Ms Johnson says, and the board needs powers to counterbalance the strong security interests in Whitehall.

    Labour also want to rename the body the Counter-Terrorism Oversight Panel, to reflect the nature of its work.

  32. 'More funds'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Health Minister Earl Howe says the government has invested extra funds in the NHS in England, which will pay for more staff.

    The funding has been "made possible by a strong economy", he adds.

    Earl Howe
  33. Amendment withdrawn

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Diana Johnsons withdraws her amendment but indicates that the subject may be returned to when the bill passes through the House of Lords.

  34. A&E statement

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Questions are over and Health Minister Earl Howe is repeating a statement made in the House of Commons on A&E performance.

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt made the statement to MPs earlier, in response to an urgent question from his Labour shadow, Andy Burnham.

    Mr Burnham called on the government to hold an urgent summit on how to alleviate pressure on A&E services in English hospitals.

    The call came a day after figures showed the NHS had missed its A&E waiting time target for the last three months of 2014.

  35. Sufficient opportunity

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Responding to the debate, Home Office Minister Karen Bradley says the amendment is not necessary as only the home secretary can provide such guidance on the Prevent strategy, subject to a consultation.

    A public consultation will a provide a sufficient opportunity for interested parties to help shape the guidance, Ms Bradley argues.

  36. Climate change question

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The Bishop of St Albans has asked the fourth and final question in the Lords, on the agreement reached at the United Nations climate change conference in Lima in December.

  37. Extra checks needed

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow Home Office minister Diana Johnson is tabling an amendment that would require the approval of both Houses to any guidance given out as part of the government's Prevent strategy.

    Ms Johnson says she is concerned there is no parliamentary oversight over guidance that might have a bearing on free speech, academic freedoms and doctor-patient relationships.

    She adds that the amendment is also being tabled as a result of concerns that central government involvement may be harmful to the counter-terrorism strategy, with extra checks needed.

    Diana Johnson
    Image caption: Diana Johnson sets out the case for the Houses of Parliament to approve guidance for the government's Prevent strategy.
  38. Disabled Students’ Allowances

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are available to higher education students living in England who have disabilities, long-term health conditions, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia.

  39. Third oral question

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Another Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Addington, asks the third question to ministers.

    He asks whether any reform of Disabled Students' Allowance will take full account of the case for encouraging independent learning and study for eligible students.

  40. 'City-regions'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has backed a report calling for large "city-regions" to get tax-raising and spending powers, with elected mayors at the helm.

    Lord Greaves argues that many areas outside of the proposed city-regions "feel very much as if they are being left in limbo".

  41. Verdict on PMQs

    The Times

    The Times's Philip Webster analyses today's PMQs session for the newspaper's Red Box:

    Cameron had a better line up his sleeve. He accused Miliband of telling Nick Robinson, the political editor of the BBC, that he wanted to "weaponise" the NHS, which he said, to huge Tory cheers, was a disgusting thing to say. The NHS was not a weapon, he added.

    It appears that Cameron was referring to an appearance by Robinson on a political programme before Christmas when he said that Miliband wanted to weaponise the NHS.

    Whether Miliband had used the words himself was not clear. But that did not matter. Cameron used the quote as his own weapon to get through what was always going to be a difficult session.

    Miliband's assault was regarded by Labour MPs as effective; Cameron produced the shock factor with the "weaponise" charge. But just as the economic crash happened during Labour's watch and they still get blamed for it, the A&E crisis has happened on Cameron's.

    He can probably never win sessions such as today's but Labour will need to be wary of the Tory charge that patients should not be used as political pawns.

  42. Second question

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The next question is from Lib Dem peer Lord Greaves, who asks what proposals ministers have for promoting the economic prosperity of towns that do not form part of city regions.

  43. Post update

    The Spectator

    What's the verdict on PMQs today? James Forsyth from the Spectator says Ed Miliband was enjoying himself.

    Today's PMQs was, predictably, about the NHS, he writes. But the Punch and Judy nature of the session seemed particularly small in the light of events in Paris.

  44. Oral questions

    House of Lords

    Parliament

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

    The first questions is from Conservative peer Baroness Gardner of Parkes, on the impact of proposed changes to controls on London lettings on long-term residents.

  45. Report stage

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Now time for the second day of report stage of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill - shadow home office minister Diana Johnson stands to move a Labour amendment.

    She begins by condemning the terror attacks in Paris, after gunmen attacked the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo killing 12 people.

  46. Pregnancy warnings

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Bill Esterson - Labour MP for Sefton Central - is now introducing a ten minute rule bill, which proposes plans to introduce clear labelling on alcohol warning about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

  47. Today in the Lords

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers will start their day shortly with oral questions.

    Then Health Minister Earl Howe will repeat today's Commons statement on A&E waiting times.

    This will be followed by a repeat of Theresa Villiers' statement on the Stormont House agreement. Northern Ireland spokeswoman Baroness Randerson will also take questions from peers.

    Following brief consideration of the House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Bill, the main business of the day is the first of two days of detailed consideration of the Pension Schemes Bill.

    There will also be a short debate on improving the level of medical competence and skill in the NHS.

  48. Points of order

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The statement has now ended and MPs are putting points of order to the chair.

  49. Parade views

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Mark Durkan, from the SDLP, stands to ask Theresa Villiers about the negotiations on parades.

    He asks whether she regrets proposing a panel over parades; knowing now that the unionist parties "would not negotiate".

  50. MPs listen to statement

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Jeffrey Donaldson (centre)
    Image caption: DUP MPs flank Jeffrey Donaldson as he rises to his feet to ask a question of Theresa Villiers
  51. 'Parking garage'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Alliance MP Naomi Long asks what the secretary of state will do to "remain engaged" with controversial issues such as parading and flags, to prevent them being left in a "parking garage" until the summer.

    Theresa Villiers promises to stay directly involved and tells MPs she plans to begin discussion on parading in the coming weeks.

  52. Parades panel problems

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    A visibly angry DUP MP Nigel Dodds asks why Ms Villiers allowed Sinn Fein to announce that the panel to examine a parades dispute in north Belfast would not take place without any consolation to the Unionist parties.

    Ms Villiers says she understands the strength of feeling but the panel didn't have enough support and she apologises for the way the news came out.

    She says she will work to break the impasse on issues surrounding parades in Northern Ireland.

  53. Unresolved issues

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain asks how Ms Villiers can ensure that unresolved issues over flags and parades are not kicked into the long grass.

    He also uses his speech to accuse the prime minister of having a greater lack of engagement in Northern Ireland issues than any prime minister of the last 20 years.

    Ms Villiers says David Cameron has been closely engaged in the process including visiting Northern Ireland and securing a suitable financial package. But she promises the government will be working to keep unresolved issues on the table.

  54. Listening

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Theresa Villiers
    Image caption: Theresa Villiers listens carefully as Nigel Dodds asks a question about the Stormont House agreement
  55. 'Disappointed' over corporation tax

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Responding to Mr Lewis, Ms Villiers says she is disappointed to hear that Labour are hesitant about the corporation tax devolution.

    The process for monitoring the implementation will start with a meeting between the British and Irish governments at the end of January, and will follow the plan for oversight set out in the final paragraphs of the agreement, she adds.

  56. Why the 'rush'?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Mr Lewis says Labour are concerned about the "rush" to legislate on corporation tax. There should be a "proper consultation" before introducing legislation, he says.

    He asks a series of questions on the practicalities of such a move including what the impact of reducing corporation tax to levels seen in the Republic of Ireland might be on the block grant paid to Northern Ireland.

    He concluders his comments by asking what structures are in place for overseeing the implementation of agreement.

  57. No room for complacency

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Responding to the statement shadow Northern Ireland secretary Ivan Lewis welcomes the Stormont House agreement for Labour.

    But he says there is no room for complacency and unresolved issues on parades and flags must be dealt with.

  58. Post update

    @KenReid_utv

    Political Editor at UTV Ken Reid tweets: Secretary of State says progress made in Stormont House Agreement should not be under-estimated.

  59. New plans

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Ms Villiers opens the statement telling MPs that despite not reaching any agreement after 10 weeks of discussions, the talks finally came to broad agreements on welfare, the past, flags and parades just before Christmas.

    This means that a government package represents additional spending power of almost £2bn can now begin being transferred to Northern Ireland.

    A bill devolving corporation tax to Northern Ireland will be laid before Parliament next week, and if the Stormont government can agree a budget the government will work to pass the bill before the general election.

  60. Stormont House statement

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers is now finally delivering her statement on the Stormont House agreement.

  61. Unparliamentary language

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Speaker John Bercow asks Labour MP Clive Efford to withdraw his remarks after he called Jeremy Hunt an "idiot".

    Mr Efford had accused the government of setting out with a plan to close nine out of 31 A&Es in London including one at Lewisham hospital, which Jeremy Hunt denied, leading to Mr Efford's outburst.

    If Mr Efford had not withdrawn his remarks he may have been expelled from the Chamber and banned from returning for several days for un-parliamentary language.

  62. Unintended consequences

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Seema Malhotra asks why the Coalition scrapped Labour's target to get everyone a GP appointment within 48 hours.

    Jeremy Hunt says the target led to GPs trying to "play" the system, preventing people making appointments more than 48 hours ahead. Labour have also scrapped the scheme in Wales, he adds.

  63. Post update

    @AlunCairns

    Conservative MP Alun Cairns tweets: Assume that Lab proposal for an A&E Summit is aimed at Wales where A&E waiting times are 83% seen in 4hrs. England achieving 92.6%

  64. False stories

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Chloe Smith, accuses Labour of publishing leaflets with false stories about the NHS in her constituency.

    Jeremy Hunt says, with the NHS under such pressure, all parties should act responsibly.

  65. 'War zone'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Bill Esterson quotes a constituent who described a recent visit to A&E as a "war zone". A&Es and ambulance services are unable to cope, he tells MPs.

    Jeremy Hunt says he agrees there is pressure but even with the current problems nine out of 10 people are still being seen within four hours.

  66. Appeal for brevity

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    John Bercow asks for shorter questions and answers to help get through the still substantial number of MPs trying to have there say on the NHS.

    He reminds MPs there is still a statement and a whole day's legislation to come.

    John Bercow
    Image caption: John Bercow trying to keep the House of Commons on schedule
  67. Four hour targets

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Former Labour health minister David Lammy tells MPs that he introduced the four-hour target, which was dependent on targets for delayed discharge, NHS Direct and other hospital targets.

    He asks Mr Hunt to apologise for demolishing the additional targets and scrapping NHS Direct.

    Mr Hunt says he disagrees, and key operational targets are continuing.

  68. Ambulance integration

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP, and NHS first responder, Andrew Percy suggests moving to a "community para-medicine model" to use the skills of ambulance services more.

    Jeremy Hunt commends Mr Percy on his work with the ambulance services. He agrees that ambulance and health services could do a better job if they were integrated.

  69. Health and social coordination

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Diane Abbott says there is no proper coordination between health and social care.

    Mr Hunt says the solutions to these problems cannot all be introduced overnight but this government are working on it and has got NHS providers to sit down and jointly plan social care.

  70. Increase in acutely ill patients

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Derek Twigg says there has been an increase in the number of acutely ill people coming into hospital. Has the health secretary investigated what is causing this, and if so, what are the causes?

    Jeremy Hunt says they have been following this development closely and have found the ageing population, an expectation from younger users who want faster services and a greater refusal by NHS services to cut corners are all contributing.

  71. Analysis

    Nick Triggle

    Health correspondent

    If a hospital declares a major incident or internal incident, it is a sign that things have got exceptionally busy and special measures are needed to cope.

    This can happen in winter when demands are high, but also at other times, for example if there is a major road accident. The declaration allows hospital bosses to call in extra staff to help them cope. But it is also worth noting that some hospitals may not necessarily go public with their problems. You can be sure that there are more sites under intense pressure than the numbers officially on alert.

    What is important is what steps they take in terms of restricting the flow of patients into the hospital. One of the first measures is to start postponing routine activity, such as knee and hip operations or outpatient appointments. This is not uncommon - and is likely to be happening at a significant number of sites at the moment.

    More unusual is diverting ambulances so no emergency patients arrive. In effect, that closes the hospital. However, this is only used as a last resort as it increases demands on nearby sites.

  72. Future funding

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Former health minister Paul Burstow says there is no single cause to the problem and as such no single solution. Instead funding commitments are need to help the NHS plan.

    Will the health secretary commit to securing £8bn of funding the NHS needs, he asks.

    Jeremy Hunt says funding commitments have been made so far, and the £2bn announced in the Autumn Statement was a down payment for future investment. But a strong economy is needed to secure future funding, he adds.

  73. Long-term plan

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative former health secretary Ken Clarke says commentators did not predict that the "welcome ageing" population would have this impact on services.

    Jeremy Hunt needs to implant the changes that are necessary to deal with this problem, he tells MPs.

    Mr Hunt says the government needs a short-term plan as well as a long-term plan for a better way at looking after vulnerable older people, which is what it is doing.

  74. 111 problems?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Former Labour health secretary Frank Dobson asks if Jeremy Hunt accepts that call handlers on 111 service are referring "far more" patients to A&E than NHS Direct did, as it was staffed by nurses.

    Jeremy Hunt says it's important to keep the service under review, but 111 has helped ease the pressure on A&E services.

    Sign at hospital
  75. Patients over targets

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Chair of the Health Committee, and a former GP, Dr Sarah Wollaston, asks Mr Hunt for an assurance that clinical priorities will come before targets.

    Jeremy Hunt says Dr Wollaston is right. Targets matter, but not at any cost. When Mid-Staffs was mistreating patients, it was mostly meeting its targets. Patient safety is the priority, he says.

  76. 'Playing politics'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Jeremy Hunt says he agrees the social care system is closely linked to what happens in the NHS. Plans are in motion between social care and local health services on how to prepare for the winter.

    "This is not the time to play politics," he says. Shouldn't Labour think about what is best for patients, he asks, rather than using the NHS as a political football.

    Mr Hunt says that while Ed Miliband blames the coalition's reforms, England, which introduced the reforms, has a better A&E performance than Wales, which did not introduce them.

  77. Post update

    @pamela_nash

    Labour MP Pamela Nash tweets: Nice to see @TheSeanLock and @LeeMack in for #PMQs today!

  78. Summit needed

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Fourteen hospitals have declared major incidents. What does this mean for people and what contingency plans will be put in place, Andy Burnham asks.

    Cuts to GP services, the closure of walk in centres and cuts to social care are all contributing to the current problems, he suggests, and asks Mr Hunt if he will accept Labour's plan for an urgent summit of all services involved in A&E care.

  79. 'Complacent' government

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham is now responding to the statement.

    He opens by saying the NHS in England is at breaking point and getting worse. Too many vulnerable people are being exposed to too much risk by missed targets, he says.

    Mr Hunt's complacency has meant Labour have had to force him here today to answer questions on what the government's plans are, he continues.

  80. Future changes

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The government is investing in primary care facilities and the Better Care Fund programme is fusing social and hospital care in order to reduce pressure on A&Es, Mr Hunt says.

    He finishes his comments by thanking NHS staff for their hard work.

  81. Targets missed

    Graph
  82. Record funds

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Jeremy Hunt says he chaired his first meeting on mitigating winter pressure in March last year and a record £700m has been given to the NHS to help ease winter pressure.

    This planning and funding has been widely welcomed by the NHS, he says, and would not be possible without a strong economy.

  83. Where's affected?

    The hospitals currently most affected are:

    • The Royal Stoke University Hospital
    • Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
    • Cheltenham General Hospital
    • Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals
    • Walsall Manor Hospital
    • Peterborough City Hospital
    • Croydon University Hospital
    • Addenbrooke's Hospital
  84. Winter problems

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the NHS always faces significant challenges over the winter but an aging population is making the problem worse.

    Every section of the UK are missing there targets, not just in England he says.

  85. Urgent question

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham is now asking his urgent question on A&E performance in England.

  86. Labour continues

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour are not letting the NHS go, even with an imminent urgent question on the subject.

    Labour's Heidi Alexander says half of ambulances in London do not arrive in the eight minutes deadline for critical cases; and Kalid Mahmood asks David Cameron to apologise again to people let down by the NHS.

  87. MPs in the Chamber

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    House of Commons
    Image caption: A packed House listens to PMQs, the first after MPs returned from the Christmas break
  88. Why the delay?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP, and Father of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell says he views it as a disgrace that the Chilcot inquiry has not been published even though the report was finished many months ago. Who is blocking the publications he asks: the Cabinet Office, Sir John Chilcot or the White House?

    David Cameron says the report is largely finished, But there is a process that involves those being criticised being given the chance to respond delaying the report.

    This is not his decision, he says.

  89. Chilcot inquiry

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd asks why the Chilcot inquiry report on the Iraq war is taking so long - and asks if it could be published in March, rather than waiting until after the general election?

    David Cameron says he shares Mr Llwyd's concern, but lays the blame on Labour.

    If they had set it up earlier, it would have reported earlier. It is not a matter for him, he adds.

  90. GPs to ease pressure?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour's Virendra Sharma keeps the NHS theme going, asking David Cameron why he won't accept Labour's plan to hire more GPs which he says would ease pressure on A&E services.

    David Cameron says from what he's seen in the last 24 hours he thought Labour's plan was to tax London and spend all the money in Scotland.

    In Mr Sharma's Ealing constituency, almost all A&E patients are being seen within four hours and there has been an expansions in A&E services nearby, thanks to the government.

  91. Post update

    @BarrySheerman

    Labour MP Barry Sheerman tweets: Cameron on #NHS Excuses Excuses Excuses but no apology for disaster of top down reorganisation ! @PMQs

  92. Post update

    @GavinBarwellMP

    Conservative MP Gavin Barwell MP tweets: Fatal flaw in @Ed_Miliband questions: if pressure on A&E is all PM's fault, why is situation worse in Wales where Labour in charge? #pmqs

  93. Help for business

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    In something of a soft-ball question, Conservative MP Henry Smith asks what Mr Cameron can do to help business and reduce unemployment.

    David Cameron says the government is cutting jobs tax, abolishing employee national insurance contributions for under-21s along with other measures.

  94. Post update

    ‏@ZacGoldsmith

    Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith tweets: The tone of today's PMQs seems completely disconnected given the magnitude of what has happened in Paris.

  95. Scottish oil industry

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Anas Sarwar says the price of oil has fallen to $50 a barrel, which he says is bad news for the Scottish oil economy. Will Mr Cameron meet the industry to see if support can be provided, he asks.

    David Cameron says the news helps make the case for the United Kingdom. The SNP, who said revenue would be much higher, were utterly misguided, he adds.

  96. Post update

    @jreedmp

    Labour MP Jamie Reed ‏tweets: #pmqs Asked PM if he regretted misleading the electorate over his promise of "bare knuckled fight" against A&E closures. No answer.

  97. 'Bare-knuckle fight'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Jamie Reed asks if David Cameron intended to mislead the public over his promise for a "bare-knuckle fight" to keep A&E services open.

    Mr Cameron says all the health services are facing a challenge but the English NHS that he is responsible for is performing better than the other parts of the UK.

  98. Weaponise the NHS?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Ed Milband calls David Cameron a "useless prime minster" and says he has no answer on care for the elderly. He decided to plough ahead with a top-down reorganisation of the NHS - but wasn't it obvious that diverting £3bn out of patient services would impact A&E, he asks.

    David Cameron says he has cut the amount spent on bureaucracy in the NHS. He accuses Ed Miliband of telling Nick Robinson he wanted to "weaponise" the NHS.

    That's a "disgusting" thing to say; the NHS is not a weapon, Mr Cameron tells the Labour leader.

  99. Post update

    @paulwaugh

    Editor of PoliticsHome.com Paul Waugh tweets: Cameron repeats line Lab using NHS as 'political football'. But noise on both sides suggests PMQs still about scoring goals.

  100. Post update

    @BBCLouise

    Louise Stewart

    Political editor, South East

    PM asks why Labour cut health budget in Wales by 8% #pmqs

  101. 'Blindingly obvious'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Ed Miliband says it was "blindingly obvious" that cutting social care would put more pressure on A&E.

    David Cameron says if Mr Miliband had solutions, he would implement them in Wales.

  102. Post update

    @BethRigby

    The FT's Beth Rigby ‏tweets: Splutters of laughter in press gallery as PM makes gaffe saying 'more patients being seen in A&E within 4 years, er 4 hours' #pmqs #nhs

  103. Playing politics

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Mr Miliband says Mr Cameron is not apologising to patients but instead he is blaming them. When walk-in centres were closed wasn't it obvious that more people would go to A&E, he asks.

    David Cameron says Mr Miliband has asked three questions, but has not made suggestions. He accuses him of "playing politics" with the NHS.

  104. Promise broken?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Mr Miliband quotes David Cameron who said: "I refuse to go back to the days where people wait for four hours on end for A&E."

    Will he apologise for breaking this promise? he asks.

    David Cameron says he is sorry for anyone having to wait. However, compared to four years ago 2,500 more people are being seen within four hours A&Es, he says.

  105. Post update

    @MichaelWhite

    The Guardian's Michael White tweets: #PMQ Miliband also offers solidarity to Paris , then asks if A&E is in crisis ? Cam stresses demand side pressures , Mil blames supply

  106. NHS attacks

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Ed Miliband
    Image caption: Unsurprisingly, Labour leader Ed Miliband uses his questions at PMQs to challenge Mr Cameron on the NHS
  107. NHS crisis?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour Leader Ed Miliband also expresses "horror" at the attack in Paris.

    He begins his questions by saying that NHS staff are doing a valiant job but A&E waiting times targets are being missed. Does the prime minister agree the NHS is in crisis? he asks.

    David Cameron admits there are some problems but says there are now more doctors than ever before. Any health system in the world would be struggling under current situations, he says.

  108. Cameron addresses MPs

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    David Cameron
    Image caption: The prime minister tells a packed House about the unfolding events in Paris, as news unfolds of an attack on the office of a French magazine
  109. Prime minister's questions

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    David Cameron is now at the despatch box kicking off prime minister's questions. He begins the session condemning the gun attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

  110. PM in the chamber

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    David Cameron
    Image caption: David Cameron is now in the chamber ahead of prime minister's questions
  111. Digital 'chaos'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow Cabinet Office minister Chi Onwurah says that the government's digitisation strategy has led to "total chaos" as people are unsure what personal information can be being digitised, creating "deep distrust" amongst the public.

    Francis Maude counters by describing Labour's attempts to digitise information as "train wreck".

  112. Miners' strike

    Orgreave
    Image caption: The miners, members of the National Union of Mineworkers, picket outside Orgreave coking depot in South Yorkshire during the 1984 miners strike.
  113. Division lines

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Old fault lines appear to be resurfacing as several Labour MP from mining constituency are accusing the previous Thatcher administration of lying and foul play during the miners' strike, and accusing the current government of covering up for them.

  114. Miners' strike documents

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Ian Lavery asks what the government "has to hide" after only 30 out of 500 documents relating to the 1984-85 miners' were released.

    Francis Maude says that usual protocol was applied to the release of these papers, where personal or sensitive papers don't get released in the normal time frame.

  115. Francis Maude at the despatch box

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Francis Maude
    Image caption: Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude is now at the despatch box fielding questions from MPs with his ministerial team.
  116. Civil service reduction

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh has the first question, asking what plans there are to reduce the number of London-based civil servants.

    Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude says the government has reduced the size of the civil service by 21% including a substantial reduction in London-based workers.

  117. Cabinet Office questions

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    But before all that the day begins with a shortened session of Cabinet Office questions.

    Topics expected to be raised include plans to reduce the number of London-based civil servants and the releasing of outstanding documents relating to the 1984-85 miners' dispute.

  118. Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The day finishes with the adjournment debate: today, it is on the regulation of the hairdressing industry, led by Labour MP Nia Griffith.

  119. Ten minute rule bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Bill Esterson has a ten minute rule bill to make it compulsory for containers of alcohol to have a clear warning of the dangers of drinking while pregnant. That will come after the urgent question and statement.

  120. Counter-Terrorism Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The rest of the day will be devoted to final stages of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill - the last opportunity for MPs to amend the bill before it goes to the House of Lords.

    There are still many contentious issues to be debated and today's session will focus on the role of the government, schools and community groups in preventing people from being drawn into terrorism.

    Given that yesterday's debate finished two hours early due to a lack of speakers the bill may still pass without the expected fireworks however.

  121. A&E to dominate Parliamentary business

    Earlier today, it was reported that Labour has called on the government to hold an urgent summit on how to alleviate pressure on A&E services in English hospitals.

    Local government, emergency services and other NHS professionals need to agree co-ordinated action, it said.

    Hospital corridor

    The Conservative Party accused Labour of trying to generate headlines.

  122. Statements

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Following PMQs, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has an urgent question on the aforementioned A&E waiting times which will take place at 12.30 GMT.

    This is either a master stroke in order to keep sustained pressure on the Tories over the NHS or a miscommunication between Mr Burnham and Mr Miliband's offices, Isabel Hardman, from the Spectator explains.

    This will be followed by a statement from Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers on the Stormont House agreement brokered over the Christmas break.

    The 12 week talks on welfare, the past, flags and parades between the British and Irish governments resulted in agreements on key issues.

  123. Good Morning

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Hello and welcome to our rolling coverage of today's events in Parliament as they happen.

    It's the first prime minister's questions of the year today and with a backdrop of missed A&E waiting times targets and EU negotiations expect a lively session.