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Live Reporting

By Alex Partridge

All times stated are UK

  1. Summary: Friday in Parliament

    MPs have given their backing to a bill that would introduce an opt-out system for organ donation.

    The Commons gave the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill a second reading, without a vote. It will now move on to detailed scrutiny at 'committee stage'.

    The Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price said the government would refer to the legislation as "Max's law" after Max Johnson, a 10-year-old boy needing a heart transplant who's been campaigning for a change in the law.

    As the bill went through, Geoffrey Robinson, who initiated the legislation, called it a "great moment".

    MPs also approved another bill at 'second reading' stage, which would remove the time limit on British citizens abroad voting in general elections, currently set at 15 years.

    That bill too will now pass on to committee stage.

  2. Overseas Electors Bill passes second reading

    Overseas Electors Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Cat Smith

    Shadow minister Cat Smith says the issue "must be considered properly".

    She says it's "deeply concerning" that this measure, a Conservative Party manifesto commitment, has been brought forward as a private member's bill.

    She adds that it shows "disrespect" to the political process to bring forward the change this way.

    She goes on to list a series of other problems with the electoral system and the number of unregistered voters in the UK.

    She also asks whether more overseas voters would be a burden on "overstretched" election staff.

    She manages to speak for almost 20 minutes before Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a supporter of the bill, calls for a closure motion to end debate, which is put to a division.

    In confusing scenes, the division is then cancelled due to a lack of tellers for the "no" side.

    The bill then passes to committee stage unopposed.

  3. Democratic participation 'fundamental part of being British'

    Overseas Electors Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Chloe Smith

    Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith says the government is "interested in making it easier for people to vote" and that "participation in our democracy is a fundamental part of being British".

    She says it's now "easier to stay in touch" with what's going on in Britain due to changes in technology, which is why the issue of the 15-year limit on expat voting needs to be looked at again.

    Extending votes to all expats with no time limit is a Conservative Party manifesto promise from the 2017 election.

  4. Brits abroad have 'lost their voice'

    Overseas Electors Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative backbencher Sir Roger Gale delivers something of a dressing down to Sandy Martin. He raises Harry Shindler, a 97 year old veteran of World War 2 who lives in Italy and has campaigned for the right of UK citizens abroad to vote, eschewing the chance to take Italian citizenship in order to do so. He asks Sandy Martin to meet Mr Shindler to explain to him why he, as a proud Briton, shouldn't be allowed to vote.

    "I want Harry Shindler and those millions of expats like him, who are proudly British, who take a keen interest, who regard it as their mother country...I want them to have that right", he says.

    Lib Dem Layla Moran also speaks in support. She says British people abroad are "every bit as British as the people in this room" and they have "lost their voice" because of "outdated" notions of what it is to be British.

  5. Labour MP: Government finds measure 'embarrassing'

    Overseas Electors Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Sandy Martin

    Labour's Sandy Martin has spoken in the debate for over 45 minutes to oppose it. He says the Conservative Party supported extending votes for citizens abroad in the 2017 manifesto but suggests it has been downgraded to a private member's bill because they find it "embarrassing" to extend the vote to people who have "chosen not to pay their taxes in this country".

    He says "15 years is actually a very reasonable amount of time" for people to be able to vote once they've left the UK.

    He ends admitting that he would "love to go on [speaking] for 15 years, but I have pretty much run out of things to say" before suggesting there are "powerful and wealthy people...desperate" for the "right to vote forever more" which is why it should be opposed.

  6. Important to keep 'close involvement' with UK

    Overseas Electors Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Glyn Davies

    The bill is being introduced by a Conservative Glyn Davies, who says there are benefits to ensuring that British people living overseas retain a "close involvement" in what happens in the UK.

    "The last thing we need to do is make their involvement in this country less relevant," he says.

    He says British citizens living overseas have an "ongoing legitimate interest" in the public affairs of the UK. Many are working abroad and will eventually return home when they retire.

    He says the rationale for stopping British people overseas from voting is that after a certain period of time they "lose connection" with their country.

    Glyn Davies says that has changed because Facebook and Skype, for example, have made it easy to "connect across the world".

  7. MPs debate allowing British citizens abroad to vote indefinitely

    Overseas Electors Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Postal vote at the 2005 election

    MPs are now debating the second bill of the day, the Overseas Electors Bill. It is a private member’s bill introduced by the Conservative MP Glyn Davies.

    The bill would end the 15 year time limit on voters continuing to participate in UK elections after they leave the UK. If the bill passes British citizens can continue to vote in the constituency in which they last resided for as long as they live outside the United Kingdom.

    Until 1985 citizens living outside the UK couldn’t vote at all, and since legislation to allow votes was brought in the limit has gone from five years after leaving, up to 20 years and down to 15 years in 2002.

  8. Organ donation bill approved by MPs

    Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Geoffrey Robinson, who introduced the bill, winds up the debate, saying it's been "the House at it's best".

    He calls it a "great moment" as the bill is passed without a division.

    The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent Bill) will now move on to committee stage.

  9. Government to support 'Max's law'

    Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Jackie Doyle-Price

    Bringing the debate to a close, the Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price says the government is supporting the bill and she wants to emphasise the personal support of the Prime Minister Theresa May for the measure.

    She says the government will refer to the bill as "Max's law" after Max Johnson, a 10-year-old boy in need of a heart transplant who has been campaigning for the change.

  10. MP: Signing up took 'two minutes'

    Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill

    Luke Pollard

    Luke Pollard tells MPs that the debate has inspired him to sign up as a full organ donor.

    The Labour MP admits that he was previously "squeamish" about giving his eyes.

    "However i was convinced by the arguments," he says, adding that it only took two minutes to sign up.

    "It was really simple to do," he says.

  11. Labour: 'opt-out' Spain a 'world leader' in organ donation

    Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow health minister Sharon Hodgson says it's been an "excellent debate" and thanks a number of MPs who have taken part.

    She also pays tribute to the Daily Mirror newspaper, for raising awareness with a campaign on organ donation, as well as the ITV soap Coronation Street, which has had a high profile storyline about an organ transplant.

    The Labour Party is supporting today's bill. She says one donor "can save nine people".

    Addressing concerns about the opt-out policy's lack of impact in Wales, she says it "took ten years" from implementation in Spain to any significant rise in organ donation, and says Spain is now a "world leader" in the field.

  12. BME organ donation difficulties raised

    Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Virendra Sharma

    Labour's Virendra Sharma is raising the difficulty black and minority ethnic patients have getting donated organs. He says that while non-white people make up a quarter of those on transplant waiting lists, only 6% of people signed up on the donors register are from BME backgrounds. Although BME patients can receive organs from white donors, they are far more likely to find a suitable match among non-white donors.

    BME families are also less likely to consent to their loved ones donating their organs after death.

    Mr Sharma says moving to an "opt in" system could "save thousands of lives each year".

  13. 'Everyone' should be grateful to organ donor families

    Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Julie Elliott

    Labour's Julie Elliott says she has always been a supporter of organ donation, but wants to tell the story of her 36-year-old daughter Rebecca, who suddenly developed chronic kidney disease. After a period of serious illness she has returned to work but undergoes dialysis for eight hours every night, until she can get a transplant.

    She says parents have a "natural instinct to make things better for your children" and talks about the frustration of not being able to fix something for your child. "What I can do from my privileged position", she says, is raise awareness of organ donation and support the bill.

    She says she has a message for donors' families "as hopefully one day the family member of a recipient" that their "selfless actions" amid a time of great pain "to save the lives of people you don't know, is such a wonderful thing that everyone should be grateful for".

  14. Davies: 'I have no intention of blocking the bill'

    Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    A Conservative, Nigel Huddleston calls it a "tragedy" that 456 adults and 14 children lost their lives last year while on the organ donation list.

    Backing the bill, he says it's about removing obstructions to donating while allowing anyone who does not want to donate to opt out.

    He says it's important, though, not to attach stigma to people who want to opt out.

    The Conservative Philip Davies, known for objecting to private members' bill, intervenes with a declaration: "I have no intention of blocking the bill today."

    But he wonders if his Conservative colleague "shares his misgivings about the state presuming that people have consented to something when actually they haven't."

    In reply, Nigel Huddleton says: "This is a matter of life and death we are talking about here."

  15. Changes must be accompanied by organ donation campaigns

    Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative backbencher Dame Cheryl Gillan says she supports the bill and is experiencing "deja vu".

    "I went through all these arguments back in 2010" she says, when she was Welsh Secretary and the Welsh Government was preparing to introduce the opt-out system there, which it eventually did in 2013

    She says that she has changed her mind on the issue, due to a family friend who has the condition primary sclerosing cholangitis, a liver disease.

    She says the shortage of available organs is such that you need to be experiencing cirrhosis to get a transplant but, by that time, you might be too ill to receive one.

    She says the the legislation "will not be enough in itself but it will do absolutely no harm" to people like her family friend. She says it must be accompanied by campaigns to encourage people to register and donate.