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Summary

  1. Day in Commons starts with international trade questions
  2. Urgent question on the death sentence handed down to Hamed bin Hayda
  3. Backbench business debate on defence
  4. House of Lords meets at 11am for questions, with debates on housebuilders and social media

Live Reporting

By Richard Morris, Esther Webber and Alex Partridge

All times stated are UK

Summary: Today in the Commons and Lords

MPs took part in a debate on defence in the Commons today, with Labour's Vernon Coaker underlining the "intensification of the risks our country faces" and urging Parliament to address those threats.

In the Lords, peers debated issues including the performance of housebuilders and the role of social media companies.

Goodbye

That's where we leave our coverage of the House of Lords for tonight - you can continue to watch the final debate using the video tab above.

Thanks for joining us.

UK intends to be 'safest place to be online' - minister

Role of social media debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Ashton of Hyde
HoL

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Minister Lord Ashton of Hyde says the EU recently published guidelines on how online platforms should react to illegal activities online, with further consultation on the matter.

As long as the UK remains a member of the EU and bound by its rules, the UK will continue to contribute to policy in this area, he adds.

As the UK leaves the EU, the UK will be forming its own policy on this matter; the government has allocated £9m for a planned data, ethics and innovation body, he says.

The government intends to develop policies "to make the UK the safest place to be online".

Where to find them...

House of Lords tweets

'A key moment' in 'the fourth industrial revolution' - Labour

Role of social media debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Griffiths of Burry Port
HoL

Labour's spokesperson Lord Griffiths of Burry Port says he believes "this is a key moment" for "the fourth industrial revolution," in order to set rules and standards.

Twitter and Facebook have both indicated their readiness in engaging in a dialogue on online practices, he says.

He adds that the government could introduce a code of practice, underpinned in statute, for the social media companies, even an independent regulator; these regulations have already been recommended by Sky, he adds.

Online abuse raised by Conservative peer

Role of social media debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Jenkin of Kennington
HoL

Baroness Jenkin of Kennington says that no-one can claim "that this is the most digitally aware workplace in the country".

She says that she recently had to explain to a colleague that, as he wasn't on Twitter, it would be impossible for him to have any followers. He had presumed that he might have had followers on the social platform.

Most women in a recent survey said they didn't report abuse online, as they didn't think the platforms would act, she says.

She adds that Conservative candidates have received death threats and abuse from online sources during the most recent election, quoting to the Lords some strong words exchanged over Twitter.

'We must work with the social platforms'

Role of social media debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Viscount Waverley
HoL

Crossbencher Viscount Waverley uses his speech to alert the Lords to the use of government-sponsored disruption of news outlets.

He says that social networks could use their algorithms which spread fake news to identify fake news "in the first place".

He says the government should invest "in media literacy and education programmes".

"We must work with the social platforms and civil society groups, not against them, to close such loopholes as anonymous accounts and hyper-partisan rhetoric," he adds.

Minister defends armed forces' post-Brexit role

Defence questions

House of Commons

Parliament

Ellwood
HoC

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood defends the reshuffle, saying there's been "a huge jump in numbers" of women on the frontbenches and "let's not forget the prime minister is a woman".

As the UK leaves the EU, he continues, "we remain a formidable force" and part of "a coalition of the willing" which will respond to crises as they arise.

This determination is what's important, he adds, "not what organisations we might or might not be part of".

He says the defence budget is the fifth-largest in the world and the government has pledged to fund it above the rate of inflation.

Labour hails controversial Army recruitment adverts

Defence questions

House of Commons

Parliament

Griffith
HoC

Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith winds up for Labour, outlining that the armed forces face "immense uncertainty" and "significant funding gaps".

She stresses that in the context of Brexit, the UK "must not turn inwards" but uphold its international obligations, including those to Nato.

She says spending 2% of GDP on defence "does not go as far when growth is being downgraded" and "you cannot do security on the cheap".

She praises the controversial armed forces advertising campaign if it helps "remove perceptions that deter potential applications".

Justine Greening's first question after quitting government

Former education secretary Justine Greening poses a question on sex education in schools.
The former education secretary, Justine Greening, questions Amber Rudd, who has taken her role as minister for women and equalities, about sex and relationship education in schools.

Corporations are 'avoiding moral responsibility'

Role of social media debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Benjamin
HoL

Liberal Democrat Baroness Benjamin says that every day over a billion people use Facebook to share images and talk to people, but, she adds, a BBC investigation in 2017 found that up to 80% of images reported to Facebook for showing sexual images of children were not acted upon.

"Corporations are blatantly avoiding the moral responsibility to protect those vulnerable children and young people in our society," she adds.

She says that a Times investigation last month found that child sex abuse images continue to be published on YouTube.

SNP takes aim at 'all-male, all-white' Ministry of Defence

Defence questions

House of Commons

Parliament

The SNP's defence spokesman, Stewart McDonald, points out that following the reshuffle the Ministry of Defence is "an all-male, all-white department" - in the same week it launches a diversity campaign.

He says if he were a minister he'd be "embarrassed" to defend their record, focusing on the way the public-sector pay cap is affecting armed forces personnel.

He adds that they "really need to address" armed forces' housing, some of which, he says, would not be fit for a dog.

Google and Facebook 'are effectively public utilities'

Role of social media debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Black of Brentwood
HoL

"Anything which spreads knowledge across the globe is a good thing," says Conservative Lord Black of Brentwood, who is also executive director of the Telegraph Media Group, "but we have to be clear at the same time about its consequences for our society and our democracy".

He says that things have changed so rapidly in 20 years, that Google and Facebook have "effectively become public utilities".

It's estimated that by 2020, 70% of all advertising spend will be with Google and Facebook, he adds.

Free media "must remain the custodian of democratic debate and scrutiny", he states.

Content we consume shapes how we view the world - Bishop

Role of social media debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Bishop of Gloucester
HoL

"The content we consume does shape how we view ourselves, others, and the world," says the Bishop of Gloucester.

She says that previous generations had newspapers and television to consume content, but now modern consumer and children have access to "huge swathes of unregulated content".

She cites research carried out in 2016 which showed that 80% of teenagers had seen or come across online hate against a specific group.

Ofcom and the BBC 'must hold fast' in producing impartial news

Role of social media debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Viscount Colville of Culross
HoL

Crossbencher Viscount Colville of Culross, himself a producer and journalist working for ITN and the BBC, rings alarm bells at the decline of quality journalism in the UK and the western world.

He says some media research shows that half of people's media consumption comes from posts shared by friends, only 4% from publishers themselves.

Referring to Facebook, he says that high quality websites sit alongside websites peddling rumour.

He says that Ofcom and the BBC "must hold fast" to ensure the continuation of impartial broadcast news in the UK. People trust news in the UK, not so in the US, he adds.

Labour MP leaves shadow minister role

BBC tweets

Peers debate role of social media

House of Lords

Parliament

Facebook's office in Berlin
AFP/Getty Images

Crossbench peer Baroness Kidron is introducing her debate about the role of social media and online platforms as news and content publishers.

She says the big social networks have "unparalleled power, no collective oversight and unlimited piles of cash".

Social networks have been in the spotlight for content that appears on their platforms in recent years, from "fake news" spread on Facebook during the 2016 US Presidential Election, abuse on Twitter and the behaviour of YouTube stars such as Logan Paul.

The video blogger attracted a storm of protest and was reprimanded by the site after uploading a video in which he discovered a dead body in Japan's so-called 'suicide forest'.

Companies like Facebook and YouTube argue that they are just platforms and are not responsible for content that appears on them. Despite this, both platforms are spending money on original content, with Facebook reportedly investing a billion dollars in 2018.

Minister: we must reduce waste

Chinese waste import ban debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble calls the debate "timely", given today's announcement that the government will aim to eradicate "avoidable" plastic waste by 2042. He says that his department is doing its bit, having just banned plastic cups at DEFRA HQ in Westminster.

He says that China's decision to ban imports of waste plastic "underlines why progress is imperative...we must reduce the amount of waste we produce overall" and "we need to reduce the amount we are exporting around the world".

Defence spending of 2% of GDP 'should be the minimum'

Defence questions

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Ruth Smeeth expresses concerns over "holes in the defence budget", arguing that the commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence "should be a minimum, not a target".

She criticises the government for giving "limited strategic consideration" to the armed forces, and for giving the impression that its foreign policy starts and ends with the phrase "Brexit means Brexit".

The priority should be to maintain an Army which is "flexible, highly trained and capable of deploying quickly", she says.

Peers debate Chinese ban on imports of waste

Chinese waste import ban debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Greaves
HoL

Liberal Democrat Lord Greaves opens the debate on the Chinese ban on imports of plastic and other waste.

Last year, the Chinese government announced that it would limit the import of waste from other countries. The ban came into effect at the beginning of the year.

He calls the statistics "eye-watering", saying that between 2012-16 the UK exported 2.5m tonnes of scrap plastic to China, and the developed world exported 7.3m tons of plastic waste in 2016.

Collection and disposal of recycling waste has suffered under less funding for local authorities, he adds.

£44bn to be spent on housing up to 2022-23 - minister

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth
HoL

Housing, Communities and Local Government Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth says the government does understand the importance of fixing the market, and if necessary regulating it.

He says the government has will spend a total of £44bn up to 2022-23 on housing.

The budget sets the government on track to provide housing at 300,000 a year on average by the mid 2020s; this means that by the end of the current Parliament, housing supply will be at its highest annual level since 1970, he adds.

The government has committed £2bn to social housing development, he says.

Bigger role for local authorities in housing - Labour

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Kennedy of Southwark
HoL

Labour's communities and local government spokesperson Lord Kennedy of Southwark, himself a councillor in Lewisham, says that under successive governments, house building has been on a decline.

There has to be a bigger role for local authorities and housing associations, he says, as the present model the government is aiming for will not deliver.

As a councillor sitting on the housing and planning department of Lewisham Council, he says he finds it frustrating when planning permission is granted to a developer, for that developer to then sell the land on with the permission.

He says that "all too often," houses are provided to the same design, without taking into account the local area or needs.

Ex-minister mocks Treasury's 'pinstripe warriors'

Defence debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative ex-defence minister Mark Francois argues for more money for the Ministry of Defence from "the pinstripe warriors in the Treasury who live in fear that the air conditioning might malfunction or tea trolley might be late".

Without more funding we face a "hollowing out" of the armed forces and "continuing retrenchment in our capabilities", he warns.

He says when we let our capabilities erode, as in the 1930s, we risk "catastrophe".

Raise housing to an even more important issue - Lib Dems

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Shipley
HoL

Liberal Democrat Lord Shipley says it is important to raise housing "even higher than the recent reshuffle did".

In the reshuffle, the Department for Communities and Local Government was renamed the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

He says that more smaller builders operating on one site would mean that more builds can take place at the same time.

It is important that the UK workforce has the necessary skills in order to build, especially after Brexit, he adds.

Many council planning departments operate with too few staff, he says.

Government has not been bold enough - former head of Civil Service

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Kerslake
HoL

Crossbencher Lord Kerslake, former head of the Civil Service and chair of Peabody Housing Association, says that the government has correctly identified the importance of tackling the broken housing market, but hasn't been bold enough in correcting it.

He says a decade on from the financial crash, housebuilders have returned to profitability, but he says we still have the issues of house affordability.

He adds that the task of new housing the country needs "can not and will not" be solved by the private housebuilders.

He calls for a "fundamental review" of the Help to Buy scheme, as well as for a joint plan between government and the sector.

MPs debate forests

Westminster Hall

Broxborne Woods
BBC

MPs are taking part in a Westminster Hall debate on forests in England this afternoon.

The debate's based on a report by the Environment Committee.

The report criticises the government's Countryside Stewardship Scheme, which creates financial incentives for the creation of woodland and says that a target of 12% woodland cover by 2060 will not be achieved with it.

The report calls the CSS "bureaucratic", "overly complex" and "torturous".

The committee's report also calls on the government to clarify how forestry grants will work after Brexit.

Government urged to surpass Nato spending target

Defence debate

House of Commons

Parliament

NATO
BBC

Julian Lewis, chair of the Defence Select Committee, is calling for more spending on defence. He says that "a newly assertive Russia and a global terrorist threat" mean that a target of 3% of GDP spent on defence "can no longer be delayed".

NATO members commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence, although few member states reach this. The International Institute for Strategic Studies says that in 2016 UK military spending was 1.98% of GDP, although the government disputed this claim.

Very big housebuilders 'nearly went bust'

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Borwick
HoL

Conservative Lord Borwick, himself a property developer, says that builders are often accused of holding on to sites, but it is a mistake to confuse planning permission and final approval from the local council.

He says the very big housebuilders "nearly went bust" in the recession, so they are now acting very cautiously.

When the government wants to encourage something in the UK economy, they offer tax cuts, he says.

But he points out that building companies pay corporation tax, stamp duty and planning fees, as well as 30-40% of their output being nationalised at cost.

He says that under agreements they will also pay for new schools, new roads and public art.

Climate change and housing under question

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Brown of Cambridge
HoL

Crossbencher Baroness Brown of Cambridge says that homes are taking up a large proportion of our carbon budgets.

She states that building a new home to the new zero carbon standards costs around an extra £3,000 per home, which is much less than the cost of retro-fitting an existing home to those standards, she adds.

She says that even if housebuilders absorb the cost of zero carbon homes into their own profit margins, they will still make a profit between them of £4bn.

Parliament's 'duty' to address threats

Defence debate

House of Commons

Parliament

HMS Westminster escorting a Russian naval task group through the English channel
Ministry of Defence
HMS Westminster escorting a Russian naval task group through the English channel earlier this week

Labour's Vernon Coaker is introducing a backbench debate on defence issues.

He says he wants to start the debate by emphasising that challenging government policy on defence is not the same as challenging the armed forces themselves.

He says that "all of us are united in terms of wanting to defend our country, and hold in immense pride the dedication and professionalism" of the armed forces.

He goes on to talk about the "intensification of the risks our country faces" naming Russia, China, North Korea, terrorism, cyberwarfare, artificial intelligence and "the undermining of the rules based international order" as potential problems for the future.

He says Parliament has a "responsibility and a duty" to address these threats.

'High level of risk' in housebuilding sector

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Bishop of Newcastle
HoL

The Bishop of Newcastle says that "when the next recession comes," housebuilders, especially smaller ones, will fail.

She says this "high level of risk" is one of the many reasons why only large housebuilders exist.

Government interventions such as government backed loans for small builders "are worth making", she states.

The housing crisis cannot be solved by the private sector alone, she adds.

She says that "there is a hollowing out of communities," due to the two extremes of current housebuilding, and says that there are two ends of the spectrum, either small homes or luxury homes.

'We need a lot more homes'

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Stunell
HoL

Liberal Democrat Lord Stunell says "we need a lot more homes, we need them quickly and we need them at a price people can afford".

He says we are "far from getting that at the moment".

All political parties agree that there is a need for new housing, he says, but parties cannot agree on how to go about it.

He adds that many housebuilds are being completed too slowly, citing an example where one company had 15,000 permissions granted seven years ago, but "only 800 built so far".

In all, 93% of new build customers reported faults to their homes, he states.

"It is surely silly that they [councils] are free to borrow at will to buy cinemas and hotels and offices, but cannot do so for homes," he adds.

Foster children face 'a lottery of care'

Select committee motion

House of Commons

Parliament

Halfon
HoC

Conservative chair of the Education Committee Robert Halfon is introducing a report by his committee on fostering.

He says they found foster children face "a lottery of care, frequent placements and separation from siblings".

He tells MPs this is "damaging to their wellbeing and future prospects".

He calls for greater efforts for foster children to be placed with their siblings, advocacy on their behalf and a national college for foster carers.

'We have a housing crisis in this country'

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord McKenzie of Luton
HoL

Labour's Lord McKenzie of Luton says that there is a growing problem of homelessness, alongside the dream of home ownership disappearing for many due to the high cost of renting and buying.

"We have a housing crisis in this country every bit as bad as the challenges facing the NHS," he states.

He says that in 1969-70, about half of new homes were completed by private enterprise, "a few by housing associations, about half by local authorities".

The curtailment of local authority housing provision at the end of the 1970s "was never compensated for".

'Stark decline' in number of housebuilders

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Hunt of Wirral
HoL

Conservative Lord Hunt of Wirral says that "in just two decades," the average cost of owning a home has doubled.

He says that housebuilding in the UK has been on a long-term decline for the past 50 years, despite a rising population. He says there has been a "stark decline" in the number of housebuilders.

It would be "helpful" for the government to outline how it will "cut red tape" in the building of new houses.

Labour MP gets a telling-off

BBC journalist tweets...

MP requests debate on Virgin and Daily Mail

Business statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Martin Vickers asks for a Commons debate on "unacceptable" withdrawal of Daily Mail from Virgin Trains West Coast.

Paul Maynard says he travels on this line and he hopes as a member of the government he's not "in contravention of their corporate values".

Tory MP calls for hard Brexit minister

Business statement

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Sir Edward Leigh asks why the government hasn't created a minister for hard Brexit "as promised before the reshuffle".

Government whip Paul Maynard tells him there is "a range of dedicated ministers focused on making a success of leaving the EU".

Peers debate the rate of UK housebuilding

Performance of UK housebuilders debate

House of Lords

Parliament

House construction
Press Association

With the conclusion of questions, crossbencher Lord Best opens his debate on the performance of the UK's housebuilders.

He says that private-sector housebuilders only deliver around half of what the country needs per year. Housebuilding is completed at a rate of around 1,500 per year, he says.

Too few companies control housebuilding, leading to an "oligopoly", he argues.

He adds that "shoddy workmanship" and "poor customer care" are problems, as well as the "pattern book" way of designing the new homes, with no "sensitivity" to the local area.

He calls for councils to be able to keep 100% of their receipts of the sale of a council home, in order to put more money into affordable homes.