Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. MPs met at 09.30 GMT for environment, food and rural affairs questions.
  2. After the Business Statement, there were ministerial statements on Birmingham schools and on growth deals.
  3. Backbench business debates followed: on the Iraq Inquiry and on financial support for the restoration of opencast coal sites.
  4. Peers met at 11.00 GMT and after oral questions, they conduct a series of debates.
  5. Topics included a report from the Procedure Select Committee, school reforms, and recognising the state of Palestine.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye

    Peers agree to the motion unanimously, which brings the week in parliament to an end.

    Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will be back at 14.30 GMT on Monday.

  2. Government: 'fully committed' to two state solution

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Foreign Office spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire is responding to the debate for the government.

    The government "remains fully committed" to the two state solution with ,but the best way to arrive at a "sovereign, independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestrina state living side by side with Israel" is through negotiation, he argues.

    The UK government "reserves the right" to recognise a Palestinian state bilaterally at the moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace, he adds.

    Lord Wallace of Saltaire
  3. Labour response

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Shadow foreign office minister Baroness Morgan of Ely is now responding to the debate.

    Labour fully supports Palestine being recognised by all of its neighbours and the UN she tells peers.

    But she accepts that the conflict can only be resolved "by both sides engaged in a peace process."

    The timing of Palestine's recognition needs to be carefully chosen, she says, as "both sides will seize on any excuse to stop the talking."

  4. 'Strengthening the hand'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Former UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Lord Williams of Baglan argues that today's motion will "strengthen the hands of those genuinely seeking a peace agreement on both side".

    "Recognising a Palestinian state in line with other great democracies will be a great step forward [in the peace process]" as it will mean "two states" are at the table during peace negotiations, he tells peers.

    Lord Williams of Baglan
  5. The full text of today's motion reads:

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    To move that this House takes note of the Resolution of the House of Commons of 13 October 2014 that "this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution", and that this recommendation has also been adopted by the European Parliament, and the Parliaments of Sweden, France, Ireland, Portugal and Luxembourg.

  6. 'Only game in town'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour peer Lord Mitchell tells peers that while he "abhors" the Israeli West Bank settlements, he believes that if Israel were to pull out of the contested area Hamas would "entirely predictably" overthrow the Palestinian Authority, and increase its attacks on Israel.

    It would be "suicide", he says.

    Unilaterally backing the Palestinian cause would derail negotiations, he argues, and "no matter how difficult or frustrating it may be negotiation is still the only game in town".

  7. Goodnight from the Commons

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    And that's it from the Commons for today and, indeed, for this week.

    MPs will return on Monday from 14:30 GMT to consider legislation including the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill and the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill.

    They will also debate a motion on the transfer of functions to Scottish ministers.

    Stay with us today as the House of Lords continues to debate the recognition of a Palestinian state.

  8. Undermining peace negotiations?

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Conservative peer Lord Leigh of Hurley argues that "unilateral" declarations like today's motion undermine any bilateral peace discussions.

    "Both sides' signatures" need to be on any peace deal, he tells peers.

    He argues today's motion would fail to dissuade Hamas and other Palestinian factions from "using violence to advance to their agenda" and "allow them to ignore Israel's legitimate security concerns, and deny the absolutely basic need to accept the right of Israel to exist".

  9. About HMS Victory

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The HMS Victory which sank in 1744 was a predecessor of Nelson's ship of the same name.

    In October, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that artefacts from the shipwreck can be recovered to save them from damage.

  10. 'Not to the benefit of peace'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour peer Lord Mendelsohn warns today's motion is not "to the benefit of peace".

    He argues that the motion will increase pressure on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and "restrict" the Palestinian Authority's ability to make any concessions when negotiating a two state solution.

    While he agrees it is in Israel's interest to "advance towards the creating a Palestinian state" - a point he says is recognised by most of the political spectrum in Israel - "massive external pressure" cannot force Israel to do things it does not want.

  11. Desperation in Palestine

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Conservative peer Baroness Warsi, who quit as Foreign Office minister over the government's policy on Gaza, warns peers that as Palestinians see the two state solution disappearing they will begin to fight for "Palestine they want to exist".

    "That is the desperation we see from the Palestinians," she says.

  12. Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The final business in the Commons today is the adjournment debate.

    Labour MP Kevan Jones is speaking about the wreck of HMS Victory.

    HMS Victory sank in 1744 during a storm in the English Channel, drowning more than 1,000 sailors.

    The wreck was found in 2008 by Odyssey Marine Exploration and artefacts are currently being recovered.

  13. Palestine signing up to the ICC

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Williams of Crosby argues that Palestine's signing up to the International Criminal Court (ICC) "is of the greatest possible importance".

    It could pave the way for other Arab states to recognise "the role of the international criminal court in the steady development of the rule of law internationally" she says.

  14. Israel-Palestine conflict

    The BBC's coverage of and in-depth analysis of the Israeli-Palestine conflict can be found here.

  15. 'Burden of restoration'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Business, Innovation and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock says he appreciates "the scale of the difficulties" and wants to work with MPs on all sides on a resolution.

    However, he argues against "the burden of restoration falling on the taxpayer" when mining companies have profited from opencast mines.

  16. Reduced speaking time

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    In all, 32 peers have put their names done to speak in today's debate, meaning speaking time has been limited to four minutes per peer.

  17. 'Something to show'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Steel tells peers that he has tabled this debate today because peaceful protestors campaigning for a two state solution "need something to show for their pains".

    Approving this evening's motion will send "a sign that we welcome and echo what the other House has already done".

    Lord Steel
  18. 'Falling price'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow business, innovation and skills minister Iain Wright asks if ministers believe "the existing framework" for providing funds for restoration is adequate.

    The "falling world price for coal" is also a factor, he argues, as revenues for operators fall while they are "quite rightly" expected to restore sites.

  19. Picture: Jonathan Edwards

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Jonathan Edwards
    Image caption: Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards speaks in the debate on restoring opencast mining sites
  20. Commons vote on Palestine

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    In October MPs voted in favour of recognising Palestine alongside the state of Israel.

    The House of Commons backed the move "as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution" - although less than half of MPs took part in the vote.

    The result, 274 to 12, was non binding on the government and did not change policy but carried symbolic significance.

  21. Palestine debate.

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Former leader of the Liberal Democrats, David Steel, now Lord Steel of Aikwood, now stands to open his debate on recognising the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.

  22. Every child in a good school

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Reeling off some figures, Baroness Garden tells peers there are now "one million more pupils in good and outstanding schools" under a "tougher inspection framework".

    The government aims to get "every child to be able to go to a good local school," she adds.

  23. Government's response

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Education Spokeswoman Baroness Garden of Frognal has been given the task of responding to the debate for the government.

    Immediately going on the offensive, she accuses the Labour party of overseeing a dramatic slide down the academic league table in UK schools.

    The government reforms to GCSE are helping to reverse this decline she argues.

  24. Labour response

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Shadow education minister Baroness Jones of Whitchurch is responding to the debate for Labour.

    She argues that the government's focus on structural reforms is distracting from the "fundamentals of good teaching" and succeed only in "putting up barriers" in the education sector.

    "You don't need to be an academy or a free school, or any other category of school to deliver outstanding teaching. The best schools are doing it all the time. Our job should be to encourage and nurture that process," she says.

    Baroness Jones of Whitchruch i
  25. Restoring opencast mines

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Opencast mines in the UK produce around 10 million tonnes of coal per year.

    In the last decade the number of opencast coal mines has increased, prompting criticism from environmental activists.

    A taskforce was set up in 2013 to discuss the restoration of opencast mines in Scotland.

    In Wales, politicians have called on a mining firm to accept moral responsibility for restoring two opencast sites.

  26. Post update

    @IrrancaDaviesMP

    Labour MP Huw Irranca-Davies tweets: Beginning debate on open-cast remediation. @MadeleineMoon opening the debate very well. Important for our constituents in Cefn Cribwr & Pyle

  27. About opencast mining

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Opencast mining involves removing coal from an open pit rather than tunnelling into the earth.

    Once mining has finished, the site must be restored to stabilise the land and try to make the soil acid neutral.

    Opencast mine sites that have not been maintained can pose health and safety risks to the local area.

  28. Opencast coal sites debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The second backbench debate today concerns financial support for restoration of opencast coal sites.

    Labour MP Madeleine Moon is opening the debate.

    Madeleine Moon
  29. Future planning

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour peer Lord Whitty argues that taking schools out of local authority control means that school places can no longer ensured for future generations.

    Planning to ensure there are enough school places for the local population to be educated in the area can only be done at the local level, Lord Whitty warns.

    The "two tier" system of state schools and free schools means that many local children cannot get into any school within their locality and one in five parents is having "great difficulty" finding places for their children in primary school, he adds.

  30. Iraq Inquiry motion agreed

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    MPs agree to the motion asking the Iraq Inquiry to publish a timetable for publication and an explanation of the causes of the delay by 12 February 2015.

  31. 'Maxwellisation'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Rob Wilson mentions "Maxwellisation".

    After a case involving Robert Maxwell in 1969, people criticised in draft reports have a legal right to respond before publication.

    Those criticised in the Chlicot inquiry received the draft report before Christmas.

  32. 'Unprecedented in scope'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Cabinet Office Minister Rob Wilson is replying for the government.

    He says that when the Chilcot Inquiry began in 2009, "none of us thought it would still not be completed".

    He describes the lack of a publication date as "disappointing and deeply frustrating".

    But, he adds, "this inquiry is unprecedented in scope".

  33. Spotting learning difficulties

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Liberal Democrat peer Lord Addington, who suffers from dyslexia, warns teachers must be properly trained in order to spot hidden learning difficulties.

    "Any structures do not address this properly is going to guarantee failure," he tells peers.

  34. About the Iraq Inquiry

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The Iraq Inquiry was launched in 2009 to examine the decision to go to war, post-invasion planning and whether UK forces were properly equipped.

    The inquiry was originally expected to publish its report in 2011 and has been widely criticised for the length of time it is taking.

    Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot has said that the report will not be published before the next general election.

    MPs are debating a motion regretting the delay and calling for an explanation.

  35. Don't turn away

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Conservative peer Lord Forsyth of Drumlean warns against turning away from the government's reforms.

    He tells peers about St Mary's in Dunblane which became the best primary school in Scotland after opting out of local authority control under the 1989 Self governing School Act (Scotland).

    When the Scottish Parliament was created in 1999, its first act was to return such schools to local authority control, leading to a decline in standards, he says.

    "In 1997 the number of pupils who got five good grades was 10% higher than in England, today that position has been completely reversed," he adds.

  36. Post update

    @HackneyAbbott

    Labour MP Diane Abbott ‏tweets: Really interesting speech by Tory MP & former serving army officer in #iraq condemning #iraq war & failure to publish #chilcotinquiry

  37. Too much too fast

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Former Schools minister Lord Knight of Weymouth accuses the government of rolling out its reforms too quickly.

    The government fully rolled out their free school programme before the reform's impact on school management was known, potentially endangering pupils learning, Lord Knight says.

  38. 'Come to terms with failure'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Rory Stewart says a major factor in the continuing debate on the war is an inability "to come to terms with failure, our inability to come to terms with what went wrong in Iraq".

    The chairman of the Defence Select Committee argues that the debate "can't just be reduced to legality and post-war planning" - it is about the UK's role in the world and understanding "our limits".

    In 2003 Rory Stewart was appointed as the Coalition Provisional Authority's deputy governor of a province in southern Iraq.

  39. 'Quite simply divisive'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour peer Baroness Massey of Darwen says she has "enormous concern" about the the introduction of free schools - independent, state-funded schools not controlled by a local authority.

    Many free schools are run by religious organisations which are "quite simply divisive" she says, telling peers that four out of five Sikh schools have no white British pupils while eight out of 15 have no white British pupils.

  40. 'Demand that report'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Pete Wishart rises to make his own speech in the Iraq Inquiry debate.

    "If anyone needs to know why this House was duped it is us, the parliamentarians," he argues.

    He says the wording of the backbench motion for debate today "should have demanded that report".

    The SNP MP adds that his vote against the Iraq invasion in 2003 was "the proudest vote of my 14 years in this House".

    Pete Wishart
  41. Reintroducing rigour

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Conservative peer Baroness Perry of Southwark is not a fan of the previous school system.

    She tells peers that under the previous administration the curriculum in most secondary schools was "neither broad nor balanced, and rigour was lacking in too many subject and too many schools".

    Too few pupils were "following key subjects such as English, Maths and Science" and too many were "gaining their five good GCSEs in subjects the teachers thought were soft" such as the humanities and Arts, she adds.

    The reforms of curriculum and examinations were designed to tackle this "head on and reintroduce rigour, breadth and balance to every secondary school."

    Baroness Perry of Southwark
  42. 'Persuaded' or 'duped'?

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell says he voted in favour of the Iraq invasion in the 2003 because "I was persuaded by the prime minister".

    SNP MP Pete Wishart intervenes to suggest that Mr Mitchell was "duped" rather than persuaded by Tony Blair.

    Mr Mitchell says that establishing the reliability of the information that Tony Blair gave to MPs is one of the purposes of the inquiry.

  43. Post update

    ‏@politicshome

    PoliticsHome tweets: Andrew Mitchell says Tony Blair's Iraq case had "the passive acquiescence, if not active support of the full panoply of the govt machine".

  44. School reforms debate

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers now move to the second of today's debates.

    Former chief inspector of schools in England Baroness Perry of Southwark is leading a debate on the progress of the government's school reforms, which she says "should be a cause for national celebration".

  45. Government response

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Trade and Investment Minister Lord Livingston of Parkhead is responding to the debate for the government.

    He tells peers that despite predictions Britain's exports have not suffered from the UK's economy growing faster than many of its trading partners.

    In the past a strong economy led to the UK "sucking up imports", but the current trade deficit runs at about 2% of GDP - much lower than in the past - he says.

    Lord Livingston of Parkhead
  46. 'Disastrous episode'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    "The Iraq War was a disastrous episode," Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron says.

    He argues that it also damaged the integrity of international law and "international institutions".

    He claims that the UK government at the time was "obsessed with its special relationship with the United States and allowed its judgement to be not only clouded but eclipsed".

  47. Labour response

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Shadow business, innovation and skills spokesman Lord Stevenson of Balmacara is now responding to the debate for Labour.

    Boosting exports must be a national mission, he says, and Labour will support the government to create "opportunities in a world where the global middle class in expected to treble in the next two decades".

    But a different approach is needed to the current "business as usual" model, he warns.

    Labour response
  48. The Language of trade

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Sherbourne of Didsbury, Margret Thatcher's former Political Secretary, warns there is a skills shortage in foreign languages in the UK affecting the UK's trading abilities.

    Only 3% of A-levels passed in state schools last year were in a foreign language, he tells peers.

    The UK needs a "more global mindset", he says. "Languages are not just a matter of speaking another language but also open the door to understanding another culture."

  49. 'Flawed' basis

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve argues that "it ought to have been possible to get this inquiry published by the end of last year".

    He welcomes Sir John Chilcot's appearance before the Foreign Affairs Committee next Wednesday.

    He admits that he voted for the war on a basis of he now feels was "flawed".

  50. War has 'torn Iraq asunder'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    George Galloway tells MPs that the decision to go to war "has torn Iraq and its region asunder" and "inflated the danger of extremism, fanaticism and terrorism".

    George Galloway
  51. Respect MP on feet

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Now Respect MP George Galloway gets to his feet to speak.

    He deprecates the fact that there are only 30 members of the House present; and only seven members of the Labour party.

    A controversial figure, Mr Galloway was a Labour MP at the time of the conflict and was opposed to the Iraq war. He was expelled from the Labour party in 2003 following comments he made.

  52. Supporting war

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Sir Richard Ottaway, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, tells the House that on 18 March 2003 Tony Blair told Parliament that security of the Western world was threatened.

    The Commons subsequently voted to go to war in Iraq.

    "In truth, I've regretted that decision that I made to support it in the absence of clear evidence ever since," he says.

  53. Jack Straw's views

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Former foreign secretary Jack Straw is now speaking.

    He says that claims that witnesses have caused delays in the inquiry's process is nonsense and that they are "wholly without foundation", he says.

    He says he is conscious of the anxiety and concerns of those who have lost loved ones in the conflict, at the delays in the report.

  54. 'Fresh and vital significance'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The trade envoy to Algeria, Lord Risby tells peers, that the financial crisis "was a real wake-up call" that revealed that financial services had become disproportionately important for the UK's economic growth.

    Rebalancing the economy has "taken on a fresh and vital significance" he tells peers, and improving the UK's exports, via the prime minister's trade envoy programme, is an important part of this.

    Lord Risby
  55. Iraq Inquiry: Day-by-day timeline

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    You can access a BBC News timeline of events in the Inquiry here.

    Sir John Chilcot
    Image caption: Sir John Chilcot, the former civil servant who heads the Inquiry, is to be questioned by MPs next week
  56. 'Live by trade'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Conservative peer Lord Cope of Berkeley congratulates the government on its work to improve trade and exports, but warns more still needs to be done.

    "We've always lived by trade, and we still do," he says.

  57. Backbench motion

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The motion for debate today reads: "That this House regrets that the Iraq Inquiry has decided to defer publication of its report until after 7 May 2015; and calls on the Inquiry to publish a timetable for publication and an explanation of the causes of the delay by 12 February 2015."

    The motion is backed by a cross-party group of backbench MPs.

  58. Research and development

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Liberal Democrat peer Lord Stoneham of Droxford tells peers the UK's research and development capabilities are its greatest export.

    He calls for greater diversification in the UK's research budget which has been too heavily dominated by pharmaceuticals, aerospace and automobiles industries.

  59. Falklands inquiry 'took six months'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    David Davis says a report on the Falklands War took six months, yet the Iraq Inquiry, which began in 2009, has still not published its findings.

  60. 'Greatest foreign policy failure'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    David Davis says the invasion and occupation of Iraq from 2003 was, "with hindsight, the greatest foreign policy failure of this generation and I say that as someone who voted for it".

    He argues that the Iraq Inquiry was set in an effort to learn from this failure.

    David Davis
  61. Iraq Inquiry

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Statements are over and Conservative MP David Davis is opening the debate on the Iraq Inquiry.

  62. 'Every part of England'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Greg Clark insists that "every part of England" will benefit from the 39 Growth Deals.

    He rejects Labour's suggestion that some areas will miss out.

  63. Picture: Baroness Wheatcroft

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    House of Lords
    Image caption: Baroness Wheatcroft winds up her speech on the promotion of British exports
  64. 'Not properly supported'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow communities minister Roberta Blackman-Woods praises Greg Clark for showing a commitment to localism.

    However, she argues that "local enterprise partnerships have not been properly supported".

    She claims that funding reductions have hit areas with higher levels of deprivation, including northern English cities.

  65. Growth Deals statement

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Business, Innovation and Skills Minister Greg Clark is delivering the second of today's ministerial statements, on Growth Deals.

    Local Growth Deals, announced last year, provide funds for projects to local enterprise partnerships between local authorities and businesses.

  66. 'Discredited' policy

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative Andrew Robathan claims "these problems" were a result of a "discredited policy of multiculturalism promoted by the Labour party".

    He calls for every child to be taught the "Judeo-Christian tradition and history of this country".

    Nicky Morgan says children need to be taught "respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs".

  67. 'Overwhelming majority'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Barry Sheerman says: "The overwhelming majority of the people of the Muslim faith in our country do not want to take over schools.

    "They're not extremists. They just want a darn good education for their children."

    Nicky Morgan agrees that most Muslims want "the best possible education for their children" and the Clarke report highlighted "a very small number of people".

  68. Picture: Nicky Morgan

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Nicky Morgan
    Image caption: The education secretary walks to the despatch box to answer MPs' questions
  69. Debates begin

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    After the House briefly approves the fourth report from the Procedure Select Committee (put before peers by Lord Sewel, chair of committees), Baroness Wheatcroft rises to open the debate on support for British exports.

    Baroness Wheatcroft was editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal Europe before becoming a Conservative peer.

  70. DfE defence of Clarke

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Last year, government sources denied that Peter Clarke's appointment to lead the inquiry indicated a possible terrorist link.

    A DfE spokeswoman said Peter Clarke's background made him "exactly the right appointment for this important job" and that he had worked for many years with diverse communities.

    "He has long experience of leading sensitive investigations, and has earned a reputation for thoroughness, integrity and independence," she added.

  71. 'Good or outstanding'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Nicky Morgan defends the government's education record in England.

    There are "a million more children in good or outstanding schools since 2010 thanks to this government's reforms", she claims.

    She concedes that the Clarke report uncovered "compelling evidence" of efforts by people with "a shared ideology" to take over some Birmingham schools.

  72. Zombie Parliament?

    David Cornock

    BBC Wales Parliamentary correspondent

    Some MPs - across parties - think Westminster has become a "zombie parliament" with MPs deserting the green benches to spend time knocking on doors or, in the case of government ministers, visiting any successful office factory that will offer them a cup of tea and a photo-opportunity, the BBC's David Cornock writes.

    You can read his blog - and watch his film - on the subject here.

  73. Final oral question

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers are on to the fourth oral question, which is concerning the political situation in Northern Ireland; and whether the government has fulfilled its 2010 commitment to "bring Northern Ireland back into the mainstream of UK politics"?

  74. 'Government did nothing'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt claims that, following allegations about Birmingham schools, "the government did nothing with this information".

    He claims ministers acted only after the "Trojan Horse" allegations made the news.

    Mr Hunt says some of the alleged behaviour included homophobia and "a consistent undercurrent of anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments".

    Tristram Hunt
  75. About Peter Clarke

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The Department for Education (DfE) appointed former national head of counter terrorism Peter Clarke to lead an inquiry into 25 Birmingham schools over allegations that some extremist Muslim groups were involved in a takeover plot.

    But the appointment of an ex-deputy assistant commissioner of the Met was described as "desperately unfortunate" by the chief constable of West Midlands Police, Chris Sims.

    The city council's Labour leader, Sir Albert Bore, said: "He [Mr Clarke] will have to build relationship with the community, the community of Birmingham, the Muslim community of Birmingham.

    "And coming with a background which is that of counter-terrorism doesn't make for a good starting point."

  76. Third question

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The third question on the order paper is about fuel prices.

    The Earl of Courtown asks the government: what is being done to ensure that the benefits of lower oil prices are being passed to consumers?

  77. Post update

    @GregHands

    Conservative MP Greg Hands tweets: Important Commons statement on Birmingham schools now, but only 2 of the 8 Labour MPs for Birmingham are here in the Chamber. #PoorShow

  78. Birmingham schools statement

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is making a statement to MPs on Birmingham schools.

    She tells MPs that the government had "accepted every one" of the recommendations in a report by former senior Metropolitan Police officer Peter Clarke.

    Implementation of the recommendations are on track, she claims.

    Any future incidents like those in Birmingham would be "dealt with more quickly and in a far more effective way".

  79. Prevent strategy

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour MP Kerry McCarthy says some of her Muslim constituents are "very worried" about some requirements in the government's Prevent strategy, which aims to tackle extremism.

    The strategy, which is subject to a consultation, includes "disrupting extremist speakers, removing material online, intervening to stop people being radicalised, and dissuading people from travelling to Syria and Iraq and intervening when they return", according to the government.

    William Hague says he is not sure there will be time for "a further debate" but the Counter-Terrorism Bill - debated in the Lords yesterday - will be returning to the Commons for further consideration.

    "We have reformed Prevent significantly," he claims.

  80. Second question

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The second oral question, from Lord Empey, is: Will there be aircraft ready to fly from the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier when it comes into service?

  81. Keep it quick

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Baroness Stowell remonstrates with the House, as she answers a question from Lord Dubs, who points out that too many peers make speeches.

    And Baroness Royall - Labour leader in the Lords - asks whether Baroness Stowell will encourage ministers to answer questions and to discourage "patsy" questions.

    Baroness Stowell responds that she will ensure the government bench upholds its responsibilities.

  82. Questions, questions

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    And they're off.

    Peers have gathered in the chamber for oral questions. The first - from Baroness Sharples - is about this very procedure.

    Baroness Stowell answers for the government, pointing out that the Upper House has different customs and conventions to the Commons.

    Questions should not be read, according to the rules of the Lords - and should be kept short.

  83. Today's debates

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Late on today, peers will be conducting a number of debates.

    First on the list is a debate on the fourth report from the Procedure Select Committee (amendments to legislative procedures).

    Following that, the subjects up for discussion are: support for British exports, the progress of the government's school reforms and recognising the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.

  84. 'Impending disaster'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    William Hague jokes that a recent defence of Ed Miliband by former Labour leader Lord Kinnock is "a sure sign of impending disaster".

    William Hague
  85. Peers sitting

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    The House of Lords will soon begin their day's proceedings - peers sit from 11.00 GMT on a Thursday.

    They finished late last night - at about midnight - after committee stage consideration of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill.

    First item on the day's agenda is oral questions.

    And the first question on the list is about...oral questions.

    Conservative peer Baroness Sharples has tabled a question asking whether there are any changes planned to the daily oral question session in the House of Lords.

  86. Picture: Angela Eagle

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Angela Eagle
  87. 'U-turned on their U-turn'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow leader of the House Angela Eagle asks if health ministers "U-turned on their U-turn" on plain packaging for cigarettes when "tobacco lobbyist Lynton Crosby wasn't looking".

    Health Minister Jane Ellison made the unusual move of announcing the major policy change when replying to an adjournment debate in the Commons last week.

  88. Business statement

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Leader of the House William Hague is setting out business in the Commons for the coming days.

  89. 'Turn his big gun...'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Anne McIntosh congratulates Sir Tony Baldry on being made "a lay canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford this weekend".

    She then asks his to "turn his big gun on my question", and then realises what she has said. Giggles ensue...

    Speaker John Bercow joins in: "The House is in a state of eager anticipation to witness the Right Honourable Member's big gun!"

    Boom boom!

    Tony Baldry and Anne McIntosh
  90. Post update

    @LabourDefra

    Labour Environment ‏tweets: 'Which Minister was responsible for producing the heavily redacted defra report on fracking, or is that info redacted too?' asks @meaglemp

  91. Topical questions

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    MPs move on to topical questions to environment ministers a little earlier than usual in an hour-long question session.

    This is to allow time for questions to the MP representing the Church Commissioners and the representative of the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which will follow environment questions.

    The Church Commissioners, represented in the Commons by Conservative MP Sir Tony Baldry, manage the Church of England's property and investment portfolio.

    The Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission is represented by Conservative MP Gary Streeter and oversees the work of the Electoral Commission and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

  92. Post update

    @AnneMcIntoshMP

    Conservative MP Anne McIntosh tweets: Liz Truss @DefraGovUK confirms Govt has laid Regulation to empower GCA to levy fines ...implementing key recommendation of @CommonsEFRA Rpt

  93. 'Victorian attitudes'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Following a question about the number of people who used emergency food aid in the last 12 months, shadow environment minister Huw Irranca-Davies accuses the government of taking the UK back to "Victorian times in attitudes to the poor".

    He claims that "an advanced nation cannot feed its working poor".

    Replying, minister George Eustice says more people are in work, while energy and food prices have fallen.

  94. Ofsted findings

    In June, Ofsted issued a damning verdict on the running of a number of Birmingham's schools and declared five failing, placing them into special measures.

    Those schools were Golden Hillock School, Nansen Primary School and Park View Academy - all run by the Park View Educational Trust (PVET) - as well as Oldknow Academy and Saltley School.

    Sir Michael Wilshaw
  95. Birmingham schools statement

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Today's statement on Birmingham schools, expected around 11:15 GMT, follows comments by the chief inspector of schools in England, Sir Michael Wilshaw.

    Sir Michael told MPs on the Education Select Committee that schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse allegations in Birmingham are struggling to recruit staff.

    Claims that hard-line Muslims tried to gain control of the schools have led to "big problems about leadership and staffing", he said.

    Last June, Ofsted issued a damning verdict on the running of a number of Birmingham's schools and declared five failing, placing them into special measures.

  96. Environment questions

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Questions to the Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss, and her ministerial team have begun.

    The first is from Conservative MP Sir Tony Baldry, who asks what has been done to improve the cleanliness of Britain's rivers and waterways.

  97. More from the Commons

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    After statements, there will be two backbench debates.

    The first is on a motion criticising the delay in the publication of the Iraq Inquiry report, which asks the Inquiry to set out when it will publish its report and explain why it has been delayed.

    The second debate concerns financial support for the restoration of opencast coal sites.

    Finally today, Labour MP Kevan Jones will lead an adjournment debate on the wreck of HMS Victory, the predecessor to Nelson's flagship, which sank in 1744.

  98. Good morning

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Welcome to our live coverage of today's business at Westminster.

    MPs start the day in the Commons shortly with questions to environment ministers.

    After leader of the House William Hague has announced the forthcoming Commons business, there will be two ministerial statements.

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan will provide an update on Birmingham schools, followed by a statement from Cabinet Office Minister Greg Clark on growth deals.