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Summary

  1. The day in the Commons began at 14.30 GMT with questions to the Home Office team.
  2. Following that, Labour has been granted an urgent question on tax avoidance and evasion; and HSBC's role.
  3. The day's main business is debates on motions relating to social security and pensions payments.; as well as payments on Mesothelioma and Pneumoconiosis.
  4. The adjournment debate will discuss a proposal relating to the announcement on flights into the UK about peanut allergies.
  5. Peers met at 14.30 GMT for oral questions; followed by the third reading of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill.
  6. Peers completed consideration of Commons' amendments to the Infrastructure Bill.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

Goodnight

Peers complete consideration of Commons amendments to the Infrastructure Bill, sending the bill back down the hall to the House of Commons for one final debate on the government's changes.

This brings business in the Houses of Parliament to an end.

MPs will be back tomorrow at 11.30 GMT to put questions to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and consider Lords amendments to the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill.

Peers will be back tomorrow at 14.30 GMT to debate the Recall of MPs Bill.

Public Works Loan Body abolition

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers agree to an amendment allowing the government to abolish the Public Works Loan Body (PWLB), which administers making loans to local authorities.

Government Spokeswoman Baroness Kramer tells peers the body's function has been made obsolete as local authorities are now free to finance capital projects with borrowing, without the requiring government consent. Abolishing the PWLB will "remove bureaucracy and align accountability to local authorities", she adds.

Both houses will have the chance to scrutinise any bill abolishing the body before it is passed.

'Crushing vote'

House of Lords

Parliament

In the face of a "crushing vote", Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb withdraws her amendment.

In withdrawing her amendment, however, she warns that the new proposals effectively let the government decide whether wells can be built on protected areas. "Even I wouldn't trust a politician with that" she says.

The government's replacement amendment is unanimously agreed to.

Labour's support

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow energy spokesman Lord Tunnicliffe says Labour will be supporting the government's amendments this evening.

He says today's amendments are based on Labour's proposals and are "genuinely in the best interests of the nation and the environment."

Lord Tunnicliffe
BBC

'Upper middle class myth'

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Viscount Ridley says much of the opposition to fracking is based on myths "popular amongst the upper middle class, and Russia."

He tells peers that in the United Sates, where thousands of shale gas wells have been established through fracking, there is no evidence of fracking "per se affecting ground water."

"We need gas and we will continue to need gas whatever happens" for heating homes, for chemical feed stock and fertiliser "to feed the world", he adds.

'Overturning limited protections'

House of Lords

Parliament

Green peer Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb argues the government changes "overturn already quite limited protections".

The new conditions miss much of the detail "which is absolutely crucial" in relation to drilling under people's homes and protecting ground water sources, she says.

To counter this, Baroness Jones tables an amendment to keep the original condition agreed by the House of Commons in the bill.

Baroness Jones
BBC

New 'necessary conditions'

House of Lords

Parliament

Under the government amendment a licences for hydraulic fracturing can only be granted if:

  • an environmental impact assessment is taken into account
  • independent inspection of the integrity of the relevant well is carried out
  • the level of methane in the groundwater has been monitored for at least 12 months
  • it does not take place in protected groundwater source areas
  • gas emissions are suitably monitored
  • it does not take place in protected areas
  • the substances used for hydraulic fracturing are approved by the relevant environmental agency
  • the public is given notice of the application for the relevant planning permission.

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

And that's a very early end to today's business in the Commons.

MPs meet again tomorrow from 11:30 GMT to put questions to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The main business is consideration of Lords amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill.

Meanwhile today, the House of Lords continues its debate on the Infrastructure Bill.

'All options open'

House of Commons

Parliament

Ian Paisley asks if there will be a new policy "if the evidence is there".

Minister Robert Goodwill says he hopes that airlines are formulating their own policies on nut allergies and announcements on flights.

He doubts there would be a need for legislation but the government "would keep all options open".

Conditions 'don't work in practice'

House of Lords

Parliament

Energy and Climate Change spokeswoman Baroness Verma argues that the Commons' amendment to require "necessary conditions" to be met before fracking can take place "would not work in practice".

As currently drafted the amendment is simply "not viable as law", she says, and would leave any hydraulic fracturing licences "wide open to challenges by third parties" she says.

She tables a series of government amendments in lieu, which, she says, are designed to reflect the "spirit" of the Commons amendment and support the growth of shale gas extraction.

'Little evidence'

House of Commons

Parliament

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill says he has "the greatest sympathy for those who suffer" extreme reactions from nut allergies.

However, he says that "there is little published scientific evidence of exposure during travel".

Evidence of exposure through inhalation is purely "anecdotal" at present, he adds.

In defence of fracking

House of Lords

Parliament

Energy and Climate Change Minister Baroness Verma argues that a well regulated UK shale gas industry could lead "lower overall life cycle green house gas emissions than importing liquefied natural gas" and improve the UK's "energy sovereignty".

Baroness Verma
BBC

Shale gas duty

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers agree to a new duty to be placed on the relevant secretary of state, to pay attention to reports from the Committee on Climate Change on the impact of onshore petroleum extraction, to be published at least every five years.

If the secretary of state ignores the committee's advice they must report to Parliament on the reasons behind their decision.

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The House of Commons has hurtled through today's business and the final, adjournment debate has begun.

DUP MP Ian Paisley is calling for "a consistent style of announcements" on flights in the event that someone with a peanut allergy is on board.

The North Antrim MP has a constituent who suffers from "a severe nut allergy".

Ian Paisley
BBC

Canon Sir Tony

House of Commons

Parliament

Motions relating to the Church of England and ecclesiastical property are formally moved by the Conservative MP who is also the Second Church Estates Commissioner.

Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle introduces him as "Canon Sir Tony Baldry".

Sir Tony became a lay canon of Christ Church Cathedral last month.

'People continue to be at risk'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Kate Green tells MPs that "in industrial and other settings, people continue to be at risk and to be exposed" to mesothelioma and pneumoconiosis - almost always through no fault of their own.

Kate Green
BBC

Mesothelioma and pneumoconiosis

House of Commons

Parliament

Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelial cells, which make up the membrane that covers the outer surface of most of our body's organs.

It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.

Pneumoconiosis refers to a range of diseases that are caused by the inhalation of a range of organic and non-organic dusts which are then retained in the lungs.

It can include asbethosis, silicosis and coal worker's pneumoconiosis.

Exempting beavers

House of Lords

Parliament

Peer agree to exempt Eurasian beavers being released into the wild under licence from control provision, which allow them to be captured or killed.

Under the bill species which used to live in Britain, but are no longer resident due to extinction, also known as "non-resident native species", are subject to control orders.

Mesothelioma payments

House of Commons

Parliament

The House moves on to consider regulations to increase the amount of compensatory payments to victims of mesothelioma and pneumoconiosis.

Work and Pensions Minister Mark Harper says the payments will increase by CPI inflation: 1.2%.

For Labour, shadow minister Kate Green welcomes the increase.

Mark Harper
BBC

Amendment passed

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers unanimously agree to the amendment.

Picture: Pensions and benefits debate

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons chamber
BBC
Labour's Stephen Timms at the despatch box

Cycling and walking strategy

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now move to an amendment that would add in a requirement for a national "cycling and walking investment strategy" into the Infrastructure Bill.

Under the amendment the transport secretary would be required to publish a strategy each parliament and report on how its objectives are being achieved.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer tells peers the government hope to make cycling and walking the "natural choice".

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer
BBC

Triple lock

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow work and pensions minister Stephen Timms says the government's "triple lock" was "intended to convey the impression of great generosity to pensioners".

The triple lock ensures state pensions rise by whichever is higher out of Retail Prices Index inflation, average earnings or 2.5%.

However, Mr Timms says it was overridden in the first year of its use because it would have delivered too small an increase in pensions.

He adds that the triple lock delivered lower increases in successive years than under the previous RPI formula - and only delivered a higher increase this year.

Road strategy

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers agree to a series of Commons' amendments that would require the transport secretary and a strategic highways company to consider the roads network as a whole, and transport provision at the local level when devising the roads investment strategy.

It is hoped that cooperation in this form can help a new company in undertaking its duties, such as by working with local authorities to reduce the use of strategic roads for local purposes.

The amendments will also ensure that councils to be involved in new "route strategies" - which look at improvements and extensions to the strategic roads network - at the earliest possible stage.

State pension

House of Commons

Parliament

Work and Pensions Minister Steve Webb says the state pension will be "£115.95 per week for a single person, an increase of £2.85 from last year".

He tells MPs this is "the highest rate of pension for over two decades".

The state second pension will be up-rated by the Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation, while many disability-related and carers' benefits will rise by 1.2%.

Benefits up-rating

House of Commons

Parliament

The urgent question is over and MPs are now considering orders dealing with annual increases in social security benefits and pensions.

Infrastructure Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now move on to look at Commons amendments to the Infrastructure Bill.

Some important changes were made in the Commons, where the government accepted a series of Labour amendments on the rules for fracking, a cycling strategy, special control orders, mayoral development orders and on control of the Eurasian Beaver.

Bank 'co-operating'

House of Commons

Parliament

HSBC now faces criminal investigations in the US, France, Belgium and Argentina.

The bank said it is "co-operating with relevant authorities" but faces no charges in the UK, where it is based.

Offshore accounts are not illegal, but many people use them to hide cash from the tax authorities.

HSBC said it has completely overhauled its private banking business and has reduced the number of Swiss accounts by almost 70% since 2007.

Who knew what?

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Harris of Haringey asks if Lord Green was aware of the "wrongdoing of the bank of which he was chairman" and if he was aware, was the prime minister aware.

If not, what judgement does the prime minister now make of Lord Green's effectiveness as a trade envoy, Lord Harris asks.

Treasury Minister Lord Newby says he has "no idea what was in Lord Green's head".

But he argues that at the point at which Lord Green was appointed he was held in "extremely high esteem by anyone who'd ever had any dealing with him".

'Election question'

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Peter Bone claims Labour's urgent question is an "artificially generated question, because there is an election on".

David Gauke replies that the current government has acted on tax avoidance but has been unable to "go back in time and change it before we were in office".

@halfon4harlowMP

Conservative MP Robert Halfon tweets: On Tax Avoidance dbt-wrth ntng: Govt brought in £2 billion in unpaid tax thru agreements wth 90 countries + £135million under LagardeList

Support for Lord Green

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Howarth of Newport tells peers that the former director of HSBC Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint is a person of "utmost integrity and great ability".

Today's revelations show is that "enormous international financial conglomerates are impossible to manage properly", he says.

Whistleblower

House of Commons

Parliament

Panorama has seen accounts from 106,000 clients in 203 countries, leaked by a whistleblower in 2007.

The documents include details of almost 7,000 British clients and many of the accounts were not declared to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

The French authorities concluded in 2013 that 99.8% of their citizens on the list were probably evading tax.

HMRC said £135m in tax, interest and penalties have now been paid by those who hid their assets in Switzerland.

PM has 'form on appointments'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Chris Bryant, commenting on the appointment of Lord Green as a minister, claims the "the prime minister has got form on appointments".

"Just look at Andy Coulson."

He goes on to accuse the government of having "effectively promoted" tax avoidance.

Treasury Minister David Gauke calls the comments "pretty desperate".

Criminal convictions

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Philips of Sudbury says that "one conviction of one major figure in one major bank" for tax fraud "reverberates around the city, and the world of business with infinitely more force and effectiveness than any amount of civil penalties".

Lord Newby says the government has "extended the scope of criminal law" in respect of people in senior position in banks.

"The very threat of criminal action against directors has made a number of directors extremely nervous," he adds.

HSBC statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Treasury Minster Lord Newby is now repeating the Commons statement on tax avoidance by HSBC.

Important government statements made in the House of Commons will sometimes be repeated in the Lords at an appropriate time to fit in with the main business.

Once the statement has been repeated peers have an opportunity to quiz a government minister on the content of the statement, as in the House of Commons.

Is Swiss deal 'robust'?

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie asks if a tax deal between the UK and Switzerland is "robust" enough, given the revelations about HSBC.

David Gauke says the agreement is "on course to bring in £1.2bn that would not otherwise have been brought in".

He claims the "the era of bank secrecy is over" and people cannot hide assets in the same way as before.

Undeclared money held by UK taxpayers in Swiss accounts was taxed for the first time under the 2011 agreement, at up to 34% of the total, but account holders' identities were kept secret.

'Top of the list'

House of Lords

Parliament

Home Office Minister Lord Bates confirms that academic freedom will be at the "top of the list of factors to be weighed up" when considering universities' obligations under Prevent.

This is "not to say their are no other factors to be considered" however, he adds.

Peers then unanimously pass the amendment, meaning the bill has completed its stages in the House of Lords. The reformed bill will now return to the House of Commons for further review.

@jamesrbuk

Special Projects Editor of the Guardian James Ball ‏tweets: Gauke: "There has been one prosecution as a result of this evidence". Incredulous cries of "one?!" in response. #HSBCFiles