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Summary

  1. Peers are debating private members' bills

Live Reporting

By Georgina Pattinson

All times stated are UK

Bill passes second reading

Parental Bereavement Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The bill is given its second reading in the Lords, and now goes on to committee stage.

That wraps up proceedings in the Lords for today. Peers will be back on Monday at 2.30pm for questions to ministers.

More about what the bill would do

Parental Bereavement Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Statutory parental bereavement pay is predicted to cost between £1.3m and £2m annually - small employers will be able to recover all statutory bereavement pay, while larger employers could recover most of it.

During debates in the Commons there have been calls to also include foster and adoptive parents in the bill.

The bill provides for parents to take a minimum of two weeks leave within a period of eight weeks after the bereavement

The law states if an employee suffers a stillbirth after 24 weeks they are still entitled to full statutory maternity leave - but existing provisions do not guarantee all employers will grant compassionate leave for bereaved parents.

Peers debate parental leave bill

Parental Bereavement Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are now debating a bill which would give employees leave and pay if they have lost a child.

The bill creates a statutory entitlement to parental bereavement leave and pay.

The bill is supported by the government and so has a greater chance of becoming law.

Introducing it, Labour's Lord Knight of Weymouth says many people are shocked that there is currently no legal requirement for employers to give parents leave - although Lord Knight says it is obvious that many companies go above and beyond what the bill requires.

Assaults on emergency workers bill passes stage

Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers approve the bill at second reading and it moves on to committee stage.

Former police officer highlights need for law

Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lib Dem Lord Paddick recalls working as a police inspector, working with a new constable, and being attacked by someone - which was a deliberate assault on the police, not to do with drugs or anything else, he says.

Our injuries were only minor, he says, so "we needed this sort of sentencing powers for the courts to punish these individuals for that sort of attack."

Quick work on bills today...

PA's parliamentary editor tweets

Marriages bill - what happened today?

Summary

House of Lords

Parliament

Proposals to include mothers' names on marriage certificates in England and Wales have moved a step closer to becoming law.

The Registration of Marriage Bill cleared committee stage in the House of Lords in little more than 30 minutes after peers approved a series of technical amendments, including curbing the powers of ministers over how to implement the changes.

The Bishop of St Albans's bill introduces reforms to move from a paper-based system to an electronic register.

This would make it possible to included mothers' details, with the system since 1837 only providing space for the name of the father of each of the couple to be recorded.

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said all the different family circumstances of society would be provided for under the new registration system, including same-sex parents.

What next?

The bill still has report and third reading stages to complete in the Lords before then moving to the House of Commons, where it will need to secure time on a Friday sitting to be considered by MPs.

Conservative former minister Dame Caroline Spelman, the Church of England's official representative in the Commons, has moved an identical bill as the campaign for change seeks to achieve its aim as quickly as possible.

The government supports the changes, so it's more likely to be considered and become law.

What's the bill about?

Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The legislation will cover attacks on police, prison officers, the fire service and search and rescue services, as well as certain healthcare workers including ambulance staff.

Chris Bryant has said: "The way our emergency workers are treated is a national disgrace.

"They are spat at, punched, attacked or even stabbed whilst they are trying to save other people's lives. We have all seen the horrific images on TV.

"But the shocking fact is that such appalling acts of violence attract no harsher penalty than an attack on an ordinary member of the public - and often no prosecution is brought."

In June, South Wales firefighters announced that assaults on staff had almost trebled in a year. Hospital staff in Wales were physically attacked more than 18,000 times at work over five years.

You can read the bill here.

Assaults on emergency workers bill now debated

Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Committee proceedings on the Registration of Marriage Bill concludes, and peers move onto the second reading of the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill.

The bill was introduced as a PMB by Labour MP Chris Bryant - and had been introduced originally by Labour's Holly Lynch as a Ten Minute Rule Bill.

The bill makes it an aggravated offence to commit assault on emergency workers or staff assisting them.

It also creates an offence to refuse to provide intimate samples in certain types of assaults against staff - for example, spitting.

The bill's being introduced into the Lords by Labour peer Baroness Donaghy.

Cross party support for changes proposed - minister

Registration of Marriage Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Williams
hol

Minister Baroness Williams says there has been growing pressure from the public to allow mothers' names on marriage certificates.

She points to a petition which has been signed to make these changes. You can find out more about it here and read about the petition here.

She tells peers the changes are not controversial and have cross party support.

200 years old

Library tweets

What's the bill about?

Registration of Marriage Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The Registration of Marriage Bill received its first reading in the House of Lords on 29 June 2017, introduced by the Bishop of St Albans.

The bill aims to reform the marriage registration system in England and Wales from a paper-based system and to include the names of both parents of the married couple.

The new system, as proposed by the bill, would introduce electronic registration. In 2015, Second Church Estates Commissioner Dame Caroline Spelman said moving to electronic registration would cost £3m.

The bill also proposes making it a criminal offence to not supply a signed marriage certificate to the registrar.

Purpose of bill 'straightforward and clear'

Registration of Marriage Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Bishop of St Albans
HOL

The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, tells peers he is grateful for responses to the bill.

The purpose of the bill is straightforward and clear, he says.

It is to "enable the system for registring marriages to be flexible enough to include the names of each of the couple's parents, whilst taking the opportunity to introduce a secure and reliable digital system of registration."

Good morning

We're covering the House of Lords today, as peers debate private members' bills.

There are three under discussion today - first, the Registration of Marriage Bill at committee stage. This would require marriages to be registered electronically and proposes making it a criminal offence to not supply a signed marriage certificate to the registrar - and to put the names of both parents of the married couple on the certificate.

Then peers turn to two private members' bills send over from the Commons. First, the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill - which makes attacks on them an aggravated offence, which can lead to a tougher punishment.

Then the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill - which deals with leave and pay for employees whose children have died.

Committee calls for five days in Brexit withdrawal debate

Today in the Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

Chair of the Exiting the EU committee Hilary Benn called for five days of debate on the EU withdrawal agreement when it comes before Parliament.

He said, during a statement to the Commons, that the government must accept that if Parliament rejects the final Brexit deal, then it must be prepared to go back to the negotiating table, and not accept that no deal should be the default in that scenario.

He added that the government should consider seeking an extension to Article 50 if necessary.

You can read more about the committee's findings here.

The Commons returns on Monday at 2:30pm, with Work and Pensions questions. The Lords sits on Friday, for private members' bills.

Barriers for disabled people have changed

Disabled people debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Borwick
HoL

Conservative Lord Borwick says that he is the father of a son with learning disabilities and is the trustee of a charity which helps deaf people.

He says disabled people face "barriers" which have changed. These days, disabled people are able to drive, whereas 20 years ago disabled people would have been asked "why" would they need to drive a car.

"As barriers have fallen, challenges have appeared," he states, he references the fact that a disabled person recently won Britain's Got Talent.

"Overcoming the challenge is the most difficult thing," he says.

He says he is "impaired" because he is not able to speak foreign languages, while there are apps which now allow people to translate things by pointing a smartphone camera at them.

These apps "take away my fear," he says, adding that "today's problem solvers dream bigger".

Debate concludes but Sir Bernard Jenkin says the issues 'will be back'

Business appointments debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Bernard Jenkin, committee chair
HoC

Sir Beranrd Jenkin winds up the debate and says it is a matter over which to agonise. He adds it is an issue about how to attract people into the public service and how not to punish them afterwards.

However, he says that nothing ever appears in the public domain and tells the House that application to the committee should be "transparent".

He concludes that these matters "will be back" unless the government takes action.

People have 'right to earn a living' after government service says minister

Business appointments debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Cabinet Office Minister, Chloe Smith
HoC

Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith says the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments provides "independent and impartial" advice on proposed appointments after an applicant leaves government service.

It is the government's view that the advisory committee fulfills its remit effectively with "professionalism", she says.

Chloe Smith tells the House that the committee is made up of nine knowledgeable individuals independent of government who bring a wealth of experience from the public, private and third sectors.

The minister says that people have a right to "earn a living" after government and that may occur in areas where they have "existing expertise".

She adds there is a balance needed between public confidence and restraint of trade.

Disabled people facing 'more barriers'

Disabled people debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Low of Dalston
HoL

Crossbencher Lord Low of Dalston says that the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that disabled people are facing "more barriers" and are "falling further behind".

Many disabled people still struggle in their daily lives and struggle with housing, education and employment. Welfare reforms have significantly affected the low living standards of disabled people, he adds.

There's evidence of "grave and systematic" violation of disabled people's rights, he says, pointing to a UN report on the matter.

Households with one or more disabled members are systematically more affected in their daily lives. Households with a disabled adult have lost £2,000 each year since 2010, while those with a disabled child have lost £6,500, he states.

Matheson: Advisory committee has 'no teeth'

Business appointments debate

Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Chris Matheson
HoC

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Chris Matheson says that the advisory committee has "no teeth".

He says he wonders if it is "designed" to make a difference and as far as he knows has never refused an appointment.

The minister tells the House that the business rules have no statutory basis and there are no sanctions for non-complaince. They apply for two years after appointment.

He adds that the rules are applied inconsistently.

Chris Matheson says the rules do not differentiate between paid or unpaid appointments.

Labour welcomes the work of the select committee.

He concludes that by "failing to act" or being "unable to act" the advisory committee highlights how current arrangement are "simply not working"

Sir Bernard Jenkin: Business rules fail to 'command public confidence'

Business appointments debate

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Chair, Sir Bernard Jenkin
HoC

Sir Bernard Jenkin says the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee's role is to oversee the UK's changing constitution.

The chair says that this includes the work of the Advisory Committee on business appointments.

He says the business rules are procedural and do not make explicit when and how former officials can legitimately make use of their prior experience.

He tells the House that the system remains "ineffective" and "fails to command public confidence".

Sir Bernard says to restore public trust, it is "crucial" to "stamp out impropriety" by senior government ministers and officials and also the "appearance of impropriety".

Disabled people need clear legislation

Disabled people debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Masham of Ilton
HoL

Crossbencher Baroness Masham of Ilton says that there are a number of different and complex conditions which disabled people suffer from. She requests that the government makes forms for those claiming disability benefits as simple as possible.

Disabled people "need helpful and clear legislation" or else "they will not be able to live independently".

So many accidents happen with long term injuries which can paralyse people, patients may have to contend with getting suitable housing, schools, learning to drive again and workplace changes, she states.

She asks if new buildings would be available for rent and adapted for disabled people. In Australia, she states, the government has a programme where buildings are specifically built for disabled people to rent.

Local authorities 'overspending their social care budgets'

Disabled people debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Brinton
HoL

Liberal Democrat Baroness Brinton says that in the past few years, over half of disabled people feel things have got tougher, as well as the families of these people.

She states that 53% of people know that there are plans in their local area to reduce social care for children.

Local authorities are overspending their social care budgets, she states, adding that there needs to be more guidance given from government on children's palliative care.

Do Westminster insiders get all the top jobs?

Are the bosses of powerful public organisations drawn from a narrow group of people?
Are too many Westminster insiders being appointed to top jobs in powerful public organisations, such as the Bank of England or the BBC?

The Conservative MP Damian Collins, chair of the Culture Committee, says the field is dominated by former ministers and party officials.

Kristiina Cooper reports.

You can hear more from Today in Parliament at 11.30pm on Radio 4.

Commons debates business appointments

Backbench business

House of Commons

Parliament

The second debate of this afternoon is on the effectiveness of the Advisory Committee on business appointments.

The Public Administration Select Committee recently published a report recommending appointment rules should be "fundamentally" changed.

The committee further stated that "the regulatory system for scrutinising the post public employment of former ministers and civil servants is ineffectual and does not inspire public confidence or respect".

The government said in response to the report that it was committed to maintaining the "highest standards" of conduct for ministers and civil servants, including special advisers.

Environmental chair winds up the debate on air quality

Air Quality Debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Committee chair, Neil Parish
HoC

Neil Parish says this house is at its "best" when it work cross-committee and cross-party.

The Environmental Committee Chair says that the House must tackle air quality to improve the quality of life for the rich and poor alike.

Mr Parish says the planning system for roads and housing must take into account the quality of air.

He says we must concentrate on walking, transport, bikes and all the ways the issue can be made "right".

The Environment Committee Chair ends his contribution by remarking we "will make a difference" and "must make a difference."

Bishop of London makes maiden speech

Disabled people debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Dame Sarah Mullally
HoL

The new Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, is making her maiden speech in the Lords.

She says she became a Christian as a teenager, so becoming a nurse was a "vocation" for her. Later, she was Director of Nursing and then an NHS board member. She is a "passionate supporter of the NHS" as it has touched her life "in many ways".

The diocese of London serves four million, it is "multicultural" and "multifaith". It is also a city "of inequality and deprivation" and, referencing Grenfell Tower, she says it is a city where people can often feel "ignored".

She states her intentions to be a Bishop "for London" and not just "of London".

In the UK, one in five of the population has a disability of some sort, she states, and churches, as well as society, "need to up their game" in being welcoming to different sections of society, as well as the disabled.

'Our very survival is under threat' - Lord Shinkwin

Disabled people debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Shinkwin
HoL

Conservative Lord Shinkwin says it is important to acknowledge the "generosity of the great British taxpayer" from those who help people like him with a disability.

He says that government spending on disability is the second highest in the G7, at 2% of GDP.

He says that enforcing rules on treatment of disabled people would "boost" their spending power, and he asks for the government to improve opportunity for those who are disabled.

He adds that any government could spend more on benefits, but that is not the only challenge facing disabled people. He states that the recent changes in Ireland will make it easier for non-disabled people to terminate pregnancies where an unborn child is diagnosed as disabled.

Equality "has now become so distorted" that it favours a particular able-bodied group of people, he states.

"Our very survival is under threat," he finishes.

Minister says UK is among the top six in tackling poor air quality

Air Quality Debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister, David Rutley
HoC

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister David Rutley says that the government has an "active" programme to tackle the issue.

The government published its 25 year environment plan with the aim of being the first generation to leave the environment in a "better state" than they found it.

The minister says that air pollution has reduced "significantly" since 2010 but the message that more needs to be done has come across "loud and clear" in the debate.

Mr Rutley says the government has committed £3.5bn in funding for clearer air and clean transport.

He tells the house that only six countries in the world are moving more quickly than the UK on ending petrol and diesel transport.

The government will engage with select committees in the months ahead.

Around 13 people have died from poor air quality during the debate - Pollard

Air Quality Debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Luke Pollard
HoC

Labour's spokesperson Luke Pollard says that the crisis has brought cross-party support and that the government has been "too slow" to take action over air quality.

He says poor air quality causes cancer asthma and heart disease. He adds around 13 people have died because of poor air quality during the course of the debate.

Mr Pollard says that the government has had to be "dragged" through the courts and has failed three times on air quality.

He informs the House that a freedom of information request has revealed £500,000 has been spent "dirty" air court causes.

The Labour MP adds the UK is not "doing enough" to modernise the transport sector and the UK is on track to miss legally binding targets.

When you experience discrimination, it is not a cerebral experience - Lord Holmes

Disabled people debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Holmes of Richmond
HoL

Conservative Lord Holmes of Richmond says in terms of opportunities, disabled people often do not know what is available for them.

"Many, many opportunities, who knows about them?" he asks, adding that he is undertaking a review on disabled people working in public appointments.

He says that just because he has a guide dog, he can be excluded from restaurants, bars or cabs.

"When you experience discrimination, it is not a cerebral experience, you feel it in your heart, and you feel it in your guts," he states.

Air pollution 'affects brain development in unborn children'

Air Quality Debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Philippa Whitford, SNP Health Spokesperson
HoC

Philippa Whitford tells the House that traffic pollution has soared in the last 50 years and 70% of towns and cities are defined as being unsafe.

The SNP health spokesperson says a third of children are exposes to unsafe level of air pollution and that can cause respiratory problems and if exposed before they are born, brain development problems.

She informs the House that for older people, poor air quality increases the deterioration of lung function as well as increasing dementia and stroke.

Dr Whitford says that the "can" has been "kicked...down the road" and countries are facing legal action from the EU unless they "get serious" about air quality.

Lords debate challenges facing disabled people

Disabled people debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Two wheelchair users
Getty Images

The Lords are now turning their attention to their final debate of the day, on the challenges facing disabled people in the UK in 2018.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Thomas of Winchester says she met a man in hospital earlier this year who told her that his care package had been reduced, and had been told by people "can't your girlfriend help you?".

She adds that she is not calling for full reinstatement of the Independent Living Fund, but that there should be more funds available.

She asks for the minister to take note of disabled people "who do not want their lives to go backwards".

She says that disabled people have a "myriad" of different problems, but that one thing united them all, which is that being disabled is very expensive.

She asks if there will be enough carers after Brexit, enough accessible workplaces and suitable toilets.

The lack of accessible toilets up and down the country "is a disgrace", she states.

Profiling the Speaker's Chaplain

Magazine tweets

MPs seek action against Dominic Cummings for 'contempt'
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