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Summary

  1. MPs started with questions to the environment, food and rural affairs team and Commons commissioners.
  2. Home Office Minister James Brokenshire was questioned over the UK's policy on migrant rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea.
  3. That was followed by the business statement, during which Leader of the House William Hague set out future business.
  4. The day's main business was set by the Backbench Business Committee, and included debates on UK drugs policy and the sale of park homes.
  5. The day ended with an adjournment debate on Coventry GP services, led by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson.
  6. Peers took part in a government debate on the Middle East and North Africa, followed by two short debates on empowering football fans and combating slavery.
  7. Peers heard a repeated statement on migrant rescue missions, before quizzing Home Office minister Lord Bates
  8. At the start of the day Lord Rose of Monewden, former boss of Marks & Spencer, was introduced as a new Conservative peer in the House of Lords.

Live Reporting

By Pippa Simm and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

  1. Lords recap

    To recap peers began the day with the introduction of Lord Rose of Monewden, the former executive chairman of Marks & Spencer, to the Conservative benches in the House of Lords.

    Today's main business was a debate on the situation on the Middle East and North Africa. Though the motion was tabled by the government the debate was not binding on the government, but was instead designed to give peers a chance to present their views to parliament.

    Peers held their daily question session before quizzing Home Office Minster Lord Bates over the government's recently announced plans to withdraw from rescue operations to prevent migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

    The day ended with a pair of debates on subjects raised by Labour backbenchers: Baroness Taylor of Bolton on giving football fans a greater say in the running of clubs, and Baroness Kennedy of Cradley on combating slavery in supply chains.

  2. Lords adjourns

    And that's that. Lord Bates encourages peers to raise their concerns over slavery in the supply chain when the Modern Slavery Bill reaches the House of Lords - where they stand a chance of changing the legislation - bringing to an end parliamentary business for the day.

    Peers will return on Monday 3 November at 14.30 GMT, where the main business will be report stage of the Infrastructure Bill.

  3. Government response

    Homes Office Minister Lord Bates is responding to the debate for the government.

    He tells peers that organised crime in human trafficking is now overtaking trafficking in illegal drugs, and assures them that the government is doing "everything it can" to counter the problem.

    Homes Office Minister Lord Bates
  4. Modern Slavery Bill

    In August, Labour MP Frank Field, who chaired a parliamentary committee set up to scrutinise the Modern Slavery Bill, wrote an article in the Spectator accusing Prime Minster David Cameron of purposely not including measures that could have tackled supply chain slavery in the draft version of the bill.

    David Cameron could have been an anti-slavery hero had he ensured that the Modern Slavery Bill contained provisions to prevent the "evil practice" in corporate supply chains, Mr Field said.

    Home Secretary Theresa May said during the bill's second reading in July that discussions with businesses were ongoing but stressed that "legislation is not the answer to everything".

  5. Concern over inspection rates

    The Bishop of Derby tells peers that while the UK should be proud of its record of cutting red tape on businesses he is concerned that the UK has one of "the lowest rates of inspection of any Western country".

    Having a "flexible and informal" business sector can make hiding slavery "very easy", he warns.

    The Bishop of Derby
  6. Supply chain slavery

    According to Anti-Slavery International there is evidence of slavery in different stages of the supply chain, from the production of raw materials - such as cocoa and cotton farming; manufacturing of goods - such as hand-knotted rugs, and even at the final stage, when the product reaches the market.

    Recent research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) revealed that 11% of UK businesses polled thought it "likely" that some sort of modern slavery exists in their supply chains.

    A separate investigation by the Guardian found that slaves are being used in Asia in the production of seafood sold by major US, British and other European retailers.

  7. 'Supply chain transparency'

    Baroness Kennedy calls on the government to legislate for "supply chain transparency", which she says will ensure "good companies" are not undercut by companies that use slavery in their supply chains.

    "Multinationals have the power to stop slavery in supply chains and improve the lives of those enslaved by exploitative suppliers," Baroness Kennedy tells peers. Putting pressure on multinational companies is the best way to combat slavery in supply chains, Baroness Kennedy adds.

  8. Slavery debate

    Labour peer Baroness Kennedy of Cradley gets the final debate of the day underway telling peers that complex supply chains have meant slavery is a "growing part of our economy".

    Slavery is "hidden here in our communities and now exists in every country of the world", she says.

    Labour peer Baroness Kennedy of Cradley
  9. Call for a commission

    Baroness McDonagh highlights the history of AFC Wimbledon, a fan-owned football team in South West London set up in the wake of Wimbledon FC's move to Milton Keynes. A club, Baroness McDonagh tells peers, she is a part owner of.

    After the move, Wimbledon fans began a new club called AFC Wimbledon, and after five promotions in nine years the fan-owned club gained Football League status.

    AFC Wimbledon wasn't a team "born out of a dream but born out of terrible governance from the club and from the FA", Lady McDonagh tells peers.

    Being fan owned isn't a panacea for all football clubs, the Labour peer warns, but she adds that governance arrangements at the moment "are strangling talent in our game", and calls for a commission to be set up to look at how UK football clubs are run.

    Baroness McDonagh
  10. Commons adjourns

    MPs return at the usual time of 14.30 BST on Monday 3 November, where the main business will be further committee-stage scrutiny of the Recall of MPs Bill.

    But do stay with us as we continue to bring you live coverage of the House of Lords, which is currently debating ways to give football fans more of a say in the running of football clubs.

  11. Commons recap

    That brings the day's business to a close, marking an end to the week in the House of Commons.

    To recap on the day's events, MPs passed a motion calling for an independent review of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, as they argued for reforms to UK drugs policy. The motion, debated on backbench time, is not binding on the government.

    The House also called for a review of the 10% levy payable on the sale of park homes to park home site owners.

    Earlier in the day, Home Office Minister James Brokenshire faced questions over the UK's policy on migrant rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea, following an urgent question from Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz.

    And MPs put questions to ministers for the environment, food and rural affairs and representatives from various Commons commissioners.

    The weekly business statement was delivered by Commons Leader William Hague, and Labour's Geoffrey Robinson led the final debate of the day on GP practices in Coventry.

  12. Call for money to grass roots football

    Liberal Democrat peer Lord Greaves calls on provisions to allow money from the Premier League to "filter down" through to grass roots football to be included into any new plans for fan ownership.

    "Any government changes that don't achieve this won't be fundamental" Lord Greaves says.

    Lord Greaves
  13. Commons adjourns

    The adjournment debate has finished and Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick raises a point of order to clarify a figure he quoted during a cycling debate in the House of Commons. Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing thanks him for "setting the record straight".

  14. 'Follow the team in red'

    Labour peer and Arsenal fan Lord Knight of Weymouth tells peers to support Labour's plans to legislate on the area, recounting his experiences after that American business entrepreneur Stan Kroenke ended a supporter ownership scheme at his club.

    "Football clubs are too important to be owned solely by just one person" Lord Knight says. "My advice, as always, is to follow the team in red."

    Lord Knight of Weymouth
  15. Baroness Taylor: football 'more than just a business'

    Opening her debate, Labour peer Baroness Taylor of Bolton tells peers "football is more than just a business and more than just a a sport."

    She says she has tabled her debate because there "are owners who regard a club as just another business" who are damaging the country's national game.

    Baroness Taylor of Bolton
  16. Lords football debate

    Labour has unveiled proposals to give football fans a greater say in the running of their club, if it is voted into government in next year's general election.

    The party says it would allow supporters to appoint some of the board of directors and buy up to 10% of the shares when a club changes hands.

    Fourteen league football clubs currently have fan representatives on their board, including Premier League Swansea City, where the Swansea City Supporters Trust own 20% of the club.

    The Liberal Democrats have also called for an independent review into the running of football clubs. At the Liberal Democrat annual conference in Glasgow, activists voted for stricter rules on club ownership, tougher measures to end discrimination in the sport, and extra money for the game's grass roots.

  17. Adjournment debate: background

    Adjournment debates are raised by backbench MPs, and receive a response from a relevant government minister.

    In this case, it is Health Minister Daniel Poulter that is replying to the debate.

  18. Fans' involvement

    The government and football authorities are working together to explore ways in which fans can have more say in the running of their clubs.

    The Supporter Ownership and Engagement Expert Group, tasked with helping to overcome the obstacles to clubs becoming supporter-owned, will meet in November. It includes representatives from the coalition, the FA, the Premier League, the Football League and fan advisory group Supporters Direct.

    The group's chair is Joanna Manning-Cooper, director of marketing and communications for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, a member of the Portsmouth Supporters Trust and a community shareholder in Portsmouth FC - the biggest supporter-owned club in the country.

  19. Adjournment debate

    Geoffrey Robinson and Jim Cunningham
    Image caption: Labour MPs Geoffrey Robinson (standing) and Jim Cunningham use the adjournment debate procedure to raise the issue of GP services in Coventry
  20. Adjournment debates

    Adjournment debates are time-limited to half and hour, but they can go on for longer if the day's main business in the House of Commons finishes early - as is the case today.

    Jim Cunningham, the Labour MP for Coventry South, is taking advantage of the extra time available and making a speech in the debate.

  21. An 'extraordinary debate' in the House of Lords

    Lord Risby thanks peers for what he calls an "extraordinary debate" as he draws the session to a close. The motion is passed unopposed.

    Peers now turn their attention to a backbench business debate on giving football fans a greater say in the running of clubs, led by Labour peer Baroness Taylor of Bolton.

  22. Park homes motion passed

    The backbench motion, calling for a review of the 10% commission payable upon sale of a park home to the site owner, is passed unopposed.

    That draws the debate to a close, and the floor is opened to Geoffrey Robinson, who leads the day's adjournment debate on GPs in Coventry.

    Mr Robinson is the Labour MP for Coventry North West.

  23. 'Another little step forward'

    Brandon Lewis says the government is committed to changing the "culture" of the sector and crack down on "rogue" park home site operators.

    He informs MPs he has asked his department to bring together representatives from across the sector to review and investigate how to raise standards and tackle abuse, and suggests the group could conduct the kind of review being requested by MPs.

    Mr Lewis hopes Annette Brooke will take part in the process.

    Ms Brooke responds by saying she hopes this marks "another little step forward" on the issue, and tells MPs she looks forward to taking part in future work, which she hopes comes "sooner rather than later".

  24. Baroness Anelay responds for the government

    We're onto the penultimate speech of the Middle East and North Africa debate in the House of Lords as Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay of St Johns responds for the government.

    We're slightly ahead of schedule here as the debate was due to end at 17.00 GMT, but with only Baroness Anelay to speak before Lord Risby concludes the debate that target now looks unlikely. Peers will probably start the next debate - on giving football fans a greater say in the running of clubs - within the next 30 minutes.

  25. Brandon Lewis replies for the government

    Batting for the government, Communities and Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis tells MPs the commission is a "legitimate" income stream for park home businesses, and adds that there is "no evidence that its payment leads to profiteering".

  26. Labour's Lord Bach at the despatch box in the Lords

    Lord Bach
    Image caption: Lord Bach congratulates peers on their speeches in the debate as he responds for Labour
  27. Benn sets out Labour's position

    Kicking off the front bench closing speeches, shadow communities and local government Hilary Benn sets out Labour's position on the motion.

    He says it would be sensible to have a review of the 10% commission payable on sale of park homes to the site owner.

  28. Winding up

    And we're onto the wind-ups in the epic five hour debate on the Middle East and North Africa in the House of Lords. Shadow foreign office spokesman Lord Bach is tasked with responding to the debate for Labour.

  29. Assad regime 'sub-optimal'

    Conservative peer Lord Balfe tells peers he believes Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad will survive his country's current civil war and calls on the government to be "realistic about Syria."

    President Assad will outlast any attempts to get rid of him as he has "the support of Russia and Iran" he Lord Balfe says.

    Assad's regime was "sub-optimal" but it was more stable than the current situation and the government should try to open diplomatic relations again with him once again, Lord Balfe adds.

    Lord Balfe
  30. MP 'hot-foots' it to park homes debate

    Apologising for missing a large part of the debate, Iain Wright, the Labour MP for Hartlepool, explains he has "hot-footed" from the committee rooms, where he has been scrutinising the Small Business Bill.

  31. Call for greater trade links

    Conservative peer and former banker Lord Selsdon urges the government to "develop and finance trade" with Middle Eastern and North African countries to help them release the potential of their natural resources to enable them to rebuild their "disabled societies."

    Developing oil and iron ore in the region countries could release "vast funds...which could be applied in an appropriate direction."

    Lords Selsdon tells peers that trade is important, so much so that the Koran states it is "the duty of every good Muslim to trade" but complains that "no one talks about it anymore."

    Lord Selsdon
  32. 10% commission is 'daylight robbery'

    Natascha Engel concurs with Conservative MP Bob Stewart's view that the 10% commission is "daylight robbery" - and adds her voice to calls for a review of the "extortionate" charge.

    The Labour MP says the review should also address minimum maintenance standards on sites, claiming that residents are "not getting anything in return" for the 10% levy due on the sale of their home.

  33. 'Not all doom and gloom'

    Labour peer Lord Soley, tells peers that it is not "all doom and gloom" in the Middle East, and highlights the cases of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

    Both countries, he says, have responded positively to the Arab Spring and are rebuilding their societies after listening to their people.

    Lord Soley, who tells the House that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was a former constituent of his, urges the government to "do all they can" to help the Arabic states.

  34. 'Fundamental injustice'

    Labour's Natascha Engle - who chairs the Backbench Business Committee - cites the 2011 Census as showing 160,000 people live in the park home sector, in about 84,000 thousands park homes across 2,000 sites.

    The Derbyshire North East MP describes the 10% commission as a "fundamental injustice" in the park home sector, particularly given that it is a "flat fee".

  35. Park homes campaigner

    Campaigner Sonia McColl, from Wareham, Dorset, helped win a change in the law for mobile home owners, and was appointed an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

    Mrs McColl - who lives in a park home - led a successful mission to change a rule which meant park owners could prevent residents from selling their homes.

    The law had led to rogue landlords blocking sales in order to buy the homes themselves at a cheaper price.

    She is now campaigning against a 10% commission charge mobile home owners have to pay landowners upon completion of a sale.

  36. 'A case for more transparency'

    Making the case for a review of the commission charge, Annette Brooke says it would help to determine whether the current situation is justified, or if there is a need for change.

    "I am absolutely sure there is a case for more transparency," she adds, and argues for a review to be held "sooner rather than later".

    Annette Brooke MP

    Ms Brooke's call is supported by Tory MP Conor Burns, who intervenes to congratulate her on bringing the matter forward.

  37. What is a park home?

    Park homes - or mobile homes as they are also known - are modern, single-storey residential properties on private or protected sites.

    In July, park home residents from across the country marched on Downing Street to present a petition calling on the government to debate the commission paid on the sale of mobile homes.

    Campaigners want the government to reconsider the 10% levy home owners have to pay to park operators if they sell their home.

  38. Government needs 'a clear plan'

    The situation in Iraq and Syria is "complex and changing" Lord Sheikh says but he urges the government to have a "clear plan of what to do when the conflict ends."

    Lord Sheikh blames "millions of deaths" on the lack of a effective plan on what to do after Saddam Hussein was toppled in Iraq. "Defeating an enemy is not enough" he adds "we need a plan to win the hearts and minds."

  39. Lord Sheikh: IS 'totally un-Islamic'

    David Cameron's senior advisor Lord Sheikh says that jihadists in Iraq and Syria "do not understand the principles of Islam" and accuses them of ignoring the "clear rules of engagement in Islam relating to warfare."

    The barbaric acts of Islamic State are "totally un-Islamic" Lord Sheikh says.

    Lord Sheikh
  40. Park homes debate

    MPs now turn their attention to the second of the afternoon's debates, on mobile park homes. It is being led by the Liberal Democrat MP for Dorset Mid and Poole North, Annette Brooke.

    Ms Brooke wants a review of the 10% levy park home owners have to pay to park operators when they sell their home.

  41. Lord Wright: open talks with Syria and Iran

    Former Head of HM Diplomatic Service Lord Wright of Richmond urges the government - and its diplomats - to open talks with the Syrian and Iranian Government in order to tackle Islamic State (IS).

    He says he understands why the government would be reluctant to deal with governments that have track records of human rights abuse, but he warns "air attacks on IS controlled areas are likely to have very little effect."

    "Surely the threat of IS to all of us is serious enough to make us re-asses our diplomacy and where our interests lie." Lord Wright adds.

    Lord Wright of Richmond
  42. Drugs law motion approved

    The motion calling for an independent "cost-benefit analysis" of drug laws was approved by MPs without the need for a vote.

    It is largely symbolic as backbench motions are not binding on the government.

  43. 'The genie is out of the bottle'

    Welcoming the debate, Home Office Minister Norman Baker tells MPs "the genie is out of the bottle, and it will not be going back in".

    Norman Baker
  44. 'Rational debate'

    Labour's Tom Watson tweets: I've not yet read the home office report but @NormanBakerMP has done well to create a space for a rational debate on drugs reform.

  45. Norman Baker replies to the debate

    Lib Dem Home Office Minister Norman Baker is addressing the points raised by MPs in their speeches, as he sums up the debate on drugs policy.

  46. Diane Abbott: MPs 'too frightened'

    Intervening in the Labour frontbencher's speech, Labour MP Diane Abbott says "she doesn't know what world [Ms Johnson's] living in" - contending that young people are suffering from drug harm "because MPs in this House are too frightened to look at the recent evidence".

    Replying, Diana Johnson stresses that the evidence needs to be looked at "in the round", cautioning that "we cannot cherry pick".

  47. Drug treatment 'has stopped 4.9m crimes'

    Diana Johnson does not agree with the motion "that the status quo is failing". She says drug-related deaths in the under 30s have "halved" in a decade, and that drug treatment has "prevented 4.9 million crimes being committed".

    MPs in the chamber - who have largely been in support of the motion - seek to intervene in her speech.

    Diana Johnson
  48. Closing speeches

    We're on to the closing speeches now, beginning with shadow Home Office minister Diana Johnson.

    The Labour front bencher calls for a "proper framework" to assess the scale and danger of legal highs.

  49. Backbench business in the Commons

    The debate on drugs policy is the first of the afternoon's two backbench debates.

    The topics are chosen by the Backbench Business Committee, which has responsibility for scheduling debates on 35 days of each parliamentary session.

    The committee, chaired by Labour MP Natascha Engel, meets weekly to consider requests for debates from MPs on any subject, including those raised in e-petitions exceeding the government's 100,000 signature threshold, or national campaigns.

  50. Middle East debate

    Peers are coming up on the half-way point of their five hour debate on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. To get through the roughly 35 peers who have put their name down to speak, all speeches are limited to 7 minutes.

    If all goes to plan, peers should begin the next item of business, a debate on giving football fans a greater say in the running of clubs, at roughly 17.00 GMT.

  51. Islamic State: background

    Islamic State (IS) is an extremist group known for its brutality, beheading enemy soldiers and westerners on video.

    It was formed in April 2013 as ISIS, growing out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, from which IS has since been disavowed. It has since become one of the main jihadist groups fighting government forces in Syria - and claims to have drawn its fighters from across the world.

    IS has captured large areas of western and northern Iraq and Syria, declaring the establishment of a "caliphate" in the areas it controls.

    The RAF is now taking part in airstrikes against IS militants in Iraq following a vote last month in the Commons. They join Kurdish and Iraqi army forces that have been fighting a ground war with Islamic State insurgents, and a US led coalition of forces that been co-ordinating air strikes in both Syria and Iraq.

    Anti-IS Kurdish fighters are currently holding out against militants besieging the Syrian town of Kobane.

  52. 'Keeping to time'

    Deputy Commons Speaker Dame Dawn Primarolo impresses on Tory Stephen Phillips the importance of keeping speeches to time, noting he has been speaking for nearly double the recommended limit.

  53. 'Powerful speeches'

    Green MP Caroline Lucas tweets: Am so pleased that chance to #debatedrugs today has seen so many powerful speeches from all sides of House in favour of review & reform

  54. Double standards

    Liberal Democrat peer Lord Palmer of Childs Hill tells peers there is a double standard in people's perception of Israel over its recent conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

    Countries such as Turkey and organisations such as NATO had been involved in bombings of non-state organisations which resulted in the death of civilians, but had not received the international condemnation that Israel had, Lord Palmer said.

    Lord Palmer of Childs Hill
  55. Concerns on terrorist funding

    Former Chancellor Norman Lamont, now Lord Lamont of Lerwick, says he is concerned that citizens of many of the UK's allied countries are supporting and funding the terrorist groups the UK are fighting, such as Islamic State - also known as ISIS or ISIL.

    "After flirting with the Arab Spring we have reverted to our own traditional comfort zone of uncritical support of Sunni autocracies" Lord Lamont says.

    Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
  56. Westminster Hall

    This afternoon's Westminster Hall debate has just started. MPs are debating the first joint report from the Committee on Arms Export Controls - watch here.

  57. Blunt: report is 'big step forward'

    Conservative Crispin Blunt offers his congratulations to Lib Dem Home Office Minister Norman Baker for pushing "very hard" for publication of the report, which is a "big step forward".

    The former prisons minister supports the motion, which calls for an independent "cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment" of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, to report back within one year.

  58. Middle East: background

    During the summer the Israeli Defence Forces and Hamas were engaged in a military conflict in Gaza and Israel, where more than 2,100 Palestinians and 66 Israeli soldiers were killed.

    The UK government's official policy states that it ultimately wants to recognise Palestinian statehood but "reserves the right to recognise a Palestinian state at the moment of our choosing" at a time "when it can best help bring about peace".

    Earlier this month, the House of Commons voted on a non legally binding motion to recognise Palestine as a state alongside Israel by 274 to 12.

    More than 100 countries already recognise the Palestinian territories as a sovereign state and in 2012 the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade the Palestinians' status to that of "non-member observer state".

  59. 'Morally indefensible'

    Baroness Warsi tells peers that the UK's current position on the Middle East is "morally indefensible".

    The former cabinet member says the government's policy on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is "not in Britain's long term interest and will have a detrimental impact on our reputation international and domestically", and was the reason she stepped down from her role as a minister.

  60. Coalition row

    A Home Office report has found there is "no obvious" link between tough laws and levels of illegal drug use.

    The report compared the UK's approach to drug misuse with that of 13 other countries.

    Lib Dem Home Office minister Norman Baker - who will respond to the Commons debate on behalf of the government - said the report should end "mindless rhetoric" on drugs policy.

    He has accused the Conservatives of "suppressing" the findings for months.

    The Lib Dems want sweeping changes to drugs policy, arguing that addiction should be treated as a health problem, not a criminal issue.

    The government says it has "no intention" of decriminalising drugs.

  61. New system needed

    Julian Huppert, a co-sponsor of the motion and member of the Home Affairs Committee, has long-supported the legalisation of drugs.

    He calls for a new system of treatment, education and rehabilitation, which he argues could be paid for by re-directing money currently spent on enforcing drugs laws.

    The Cambridge MP says Britain is "leading the way" in calls for drugs reform, but not in an official capacity - and urges the government to reconsider its position

  62. 'Flawed' approach

    Former Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi, who quit earlier this year over the government's policy on Gaza, says the government's approach to the Middle East peace process is "simply not working and is flawed."

    She accuses the government of knowing that the policy is not working and "failing to change it", leading to a loss of respect in the Middle East and affecting the UK's position as a peace broker.

    Baroness Warsi
  63. Smart on drugs

    Lib Dem Julian Huppert opens his speech by declaring the so-called war on drugs a failure, which has caused more harm than good.

    It is not about a question of being hard or soft on drugs, "but being smart on drugs", the Cambridge MP tells the Commons, asserting that drug use is a health problem.

    Julian Huppert
  64. Trade relations

    The UK's Trade Envoy to Iraq, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, says it is good news that businesses and universities are investing in Iraq.

    But she complains that the UK's "stringent and completely inflexible" visa procedures are costing the country "high powered friends" in the Middle East.

    Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne
  65. Portugal's success

    Endorsing the backbench motion, Paul Flynn tells MPs that public are aware of the "stupidity and impotence" of the UK's drugs policy.

    The MP highlights the "great success story" of Portugal, where drug-related deaths have reduced "by 50%". The country made drug possession a health issue rather than a criminal one in 2001.

  66. Smoking MPs

    Labour's Newport West MP Paul Flynn says that many years ago there used to be an annual Commons debate on drugs policy, and recalls a time when halfway through, both government and opposition front bench speakers "had to leave to go outside the chamber for a fix, because they were both chain smokers". They couldn't see the "contradiction", he adds.

  67. Arab Spring

    In early 2011 a wave of demonstrations, protests and riots took place in many North African and Middle Eastern countries.

    The Middle East is still in a state of flux due to the consequences of this upheaval, which became known as the Arab Spring.

    While the wave of initial revolutions and protests expired by mid-2012, by December 2013, rulers had been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

    Some of the ongoing large-scale conflicts in Middle East and North Africa, such as in Syria, stemmed from the Arab Spring.

  68. Hard and soft drugs

    Over to Peter Lilley now, the Conservative MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, who is making a distinction between soft and hard drugs. He believes that cannabis should be legalised, to allow more effort to be focused on the drugs that cause greatest harm.

  69. Stolen speech?

    After taking several interventions from Lib Dem MPs on drug use in prisons, and prescription drugs, Mr Vaz jokes that the Lib Dems are pre-empting every point of his speech, and says they must have a copy.

    Keith Vaz
  70. Middle East can be 'success story'

    Opening the debate on the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa, Lord Risby tells peers that "tragedy and drama" have overtaken the region.

    Lord Risby insists there is room for Western involvement in the region, even though many believe that the West should not intervene due to religious differences or because of its counter-productive influence - and argues that the Middle East and North Africa could become a "success story" with the UK's help.

    Lord Risby
  71. Rejected drugs commission

    Home Affairs Committee chair Keith Vaz is addressing the House, despite revealing he hadn't been planning to speak in the debate.

    Mr Vaz expresses his disappointment that the government rejected the committee's call in 2012 for a Royal Commission on UK drugs policy.

    In a wide-ranging report, the committee urged the government to consider a system of drugs decriminalisation used in Portugal. It said it was impressed with the approach to cutting drug use where people found with small amounts are not always prosecuted.

  72. Lucas concludes

    Caroline Lucas has concluded her speech setting out the terms and background of the motion - and the floor is now open to other backbench MPs. First up is Dr Sarah Wollaston, the chair of the Health Select Committee.

  73. Increased risk

    Green MP Caroline Lucas
    Image caption: Caroline Lucas argued that the prohibition of drugs does not stop people taking illegal substances, rather it "increases the risks"
  74. Are policies 'up to the job'?

    Caroline Lucas stresses that the motion simply calls for a look at the evidence, and does not dictate in which direction drugs reform should go. We need to know our drugs policies are "up to the job", the Brighton Pavilion MP insists.

  75. Green view

    Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavilion MP, says there has been no processing of reviewing the effectiveness of drugs laws since the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was introduced, as she makes her case for a "cost-benefit analysis" of the act.

  76. Middle East and North Africa debate

    Peers are turning their attention to the day's main business on the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa led by the current British Trade Envoy to Algeria, and former Conservative MP, Lord Risby.

  77. Drugs debate: background

    The motion being considered by the Commons states that an evidence-based approach to drugs policy is required in order for Parliament and the government to pursue the most effective drugs policy in the future.

    It notes that drug-related harms and the costs to society remain high, and that the independent UK Drugs Policy Commission highlighted that the government is spending around £3bn a year on policies "that are often counter-productive".

    It calls on the government to conduct an authoritative and independent cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and to publish the results of those studies within the next 12 months.

  78. Drugs policy debate

    Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert tweets: Not a great turn out for this debate. I make it 6LDs, 8 Tories, 5 Lab, 1green, 1 indep. #fb

  79. Commons drugs policy debate

    That's an end to the weekly business statement, and MPs now turn their attention to a backbench debate on UK drugs policy. It is being led by Green MP and former party leader, Caroline Lucas.

  80. House of Lords: Lord Ashdown speaks out

    Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Lord Ashdown says the government's plan to withdraw support for future search and rescue operations to prevent migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea is "inhuman, discreditable and may well be contrary to our duties under international law" in response to Lord Bates' statement.

    The UK has no problem with rejecting European policies so why, Lord Ashdown asks, does the UK government want to "lay our hand to a European policy whose central proposition believes the best way to discourage people from seeking a better life is to leave them to drown?"

    Lord Ashdown
  81. Business statement

    The business statement is a weekly session in which MPs have the opportunity to raise topical questions and request parliamentary time for matters they feel merit attention.

  82. EU Referendum Bill row

    The row over the future of the EU Referendum Bill has reared its head again.

    The bill - which would enshrine an EU referendum in law - was dealt a fatal blow on Tuesday when the Liberal Democrats withdrew their support, having failed to get Conservative backing for Lib Dem MP Andrew George's bill calling for housing benefit changes to be revised.

    Raising a business question, Mr George calls for a statement from the government, saying it is "extremely rare" for a government to refuse to table a money resolution, which is required for any new bill which would lead to an increase in public spending.

    Commons Leader William Hague agrees it is "unusual, but not unprecedented". He argues that the MP's bill would cost "hundreds of millions of pounds" so the government "has to ask whether it can responsibly provide a money resolution".

  83. House of Lords: UQ background

    Answers to urgent questions are usually repeated in the Lords as a statement to allow peers to voice their opinions to the government.

    Following the repeated statement, peers have a ten minute question and answer session with a relevant minster on the issues raised in the urgent question.

  84. House of Lords: urgent question

    Home Office Minister Lord Bates is repeating the answer to an urgent question given earlier by James Brokenshire in the House of Commons, on search and rescue operations for refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean.

  85. 'This is what a feminist looks like'

    In his response, William Hague defends the government's record on policies for women. He tells MPs there are more women in work than ever before, that all FTSE 100 boards now have female members, and half of all honours this year have gone to women.

    Mr Hague quotes himself as saying there is no greater strategic prize of the 21st Century than the full social, political and economic empowerment of all women, and tells the Commons: "This is what a feminists looks like, with or without the t-shirt."

    William Hague
  86. Lords questions: security in Afghanistan

    Peers are now quizzing the government on what arrangements they have made to review their continuing support for the promotion of security and development in Afghanistan.

  87. Lord questions: Iran

    Not enough is being done to oversee the nuclear programme in Iran and sanctions against the country were lifted too early, Crossbench peer Baroness Deech says.

    "Centrifuges and the nuclear structures of Iran remain intact", she tell peers as she urges the government to do more to tackle concerns over Iran's nuclear power.

    Crossbench peer Baroness Deech
  88. Joking aside

    Exchanges between the leader and shadow leader of the Commons typically tend to be humorous and light-hearted, with some (attempts at) jokes.

  89. 'Mr Angry'

    Commenting on the prime minister's statement over the EU's £1.7bn demand from the UK, Angela Eagle seeks to mock his "Mr Angry" performance, by theatrically banging her first on the despatch box.

    Angela Eagle
  90. A 'dire record' on women

    Angela Eagle comments that Tuesday is "equal pay day, when women effectively stop being paid for the rest of the year because of the gender pay gap". She calls for a debate on the government's "dire record" on women, and ask William Hague if he'll wear the Fawcett Society's campaign t-shirt - worn by both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg for promotional pictures - but not by David Cameron.

  91. Lords questions: The Bank of England and of the UK?

    The second question in today's session comes from Labour peer Lord Harrison who asks the government whether they will rename the central bank of the United Kingdom, "The Bank of England and of the United Kingdom."

    Given the recent debate about currency and lending that arose from the Scottish independence debate Lord Harrison says it would be "wise, inexpensive and inclusive" to rename the bank to "properly recognise the reach and reliance to all four nations of the UK of our own central bank."

    Labour peer Lord Harrison
  92. Business statement: opposition response

    Angela Eagle, the shadow leader of the House, is responding to William Hague's statement.

    She raises the three defeats the government suffered in the Lords over its judicial review reforms. She says the government has "gone too far" and should accept the changes made to the bill by peers.

  93. Lords questions: background

    Boko Haram is an Islamic Militant group committed to eliminating association with western society.

    At least 2,000 civilians have been killed by Boko Haram this year, and the group has taken more than 500 women and girls hostage. More than 200 schoolgirls are still being held by Boko Haram after they were abducted in April this year, an act which provoked international outrage

    The group had intensified abductions since May 2013, when Nigeria's government imposed a state of emergency in the three states where Boko Haram was most active - Borno, Yobe and Adamawa,

  94. Business statement by the Leader of the House

    Leader of the House William Hague is setting out the business agenda for the next two weeks in the House of Commons.

  95. Lords questions: Nigeria

    Chairty head and crossbench peer Baroness Cox kicks off the daily oral question session asking the government about the recent developments in Nigeria and the activities of terrorist organisation Boko Haram.

    Baroness Cox - who says she has recently visited Nigeria - tells peers that the scale of suffering at the hands of Boko Haram "massively exceeds that reported in the Media" and urges the government to do more to prevent "escalating terrorism" in Nigeria.

    Baroness Cox
  96. Backbenchers' questions continue

    There are a handful of MPs still waiting to question the Home Office minister on the ending of search and rescue missions to prevent migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. Coming up next, is the weekly business statement.

  97. People traffickers: 'the root cause'

    Conservative former Welsh Secretary David Jones says the root cause of the problem is people traffickers, and suggests an information campaign in North Africa to persuade and inform people that "if they put their lives in the hands of these people they will very likely end up losing them".

  98. 'This is not just a normal peer...'

    Lord Rose of Monewden, the former £1m a year executive chairman of Marks & Spencer, takes his seat as a Conservative peer - revealing that his middle name is Ransom - after taking the Oath of Allegiance.

    Lord Rose of Monewden,
  99. Reducing the attractiveness of the UK

    Tory backbencher and eurosceptic David Nuttall stresses the need to reduce the "attractiveness" of the UK as a destination factor for illegal immigrants. He says it should be a criminal offence to be an illegal immigrant.

    Home Office Minister James Brokenshire responds by saying the government's focus is on ensuring strong and effective borders, and removing those who are here illegally.

  100. A 'race to the bottom'

    The SNP's Pete Wishart attacks the government's statement as "the most shameful" he has heard from the front bench. He accuses the government of pursuing a "race to the bottom" with the UK Independence Party on "who can be the hardest on immigration".

    James Brokenshire responds with criticism of Mr Wishart's comments and reaffirms that the ending of search and rescue operations is designed to "address a problem that has got worse".

  101. James Brokenshire fields questions from MPs

    James Brokenshire
    Image caption: Home Office Minister James Brokenshire is fielding questions from backbench MPs
  102. Support for North African countries urged

    Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz says the real problem is the "failure" of EU border agency Frontex to ensure borders are secured.

    He urges the Home Office to support North African countries to "prevent people leaving in the first place".

  103. 'Half of the Middle East is currently burning'

    Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather says more people are attempting the journey across the Mediterranean because "half of the Middle East is currently burning".

    "We cannot wash our hands of these people Pontius Pilate-style", she tells the government, and says more work is needed to find safe routes for them to travel.

    She tells the minister he's lost any sense of ethical reasoning - which James Brokenshire "entirely rejects", and reiterates that the move is being taken to put fewer lives at risk.

  104. A 'barbaric abandonment of British values'

    Labour's shadow home office minister criticises the government's decision as a "barbaric abandonment of British values", and claims it is being done to "distract from a failed immigration policy".

    Diana Johnson says there is no evidence that abandoning the search and rescue missions will reduce the number of people making the journey across the Mediterranean - and calls on the government to publish the evidence.

  105. 'Common sense'

    Conservative MP Philip Davies praises the minister's "common sense" statement, and backs an end to the search and rescue operation. We should tell people to "stop trying their luck in the first place", he adds.

  106. House of Lords: new peer

    But first peers welcome Sir Stuart Rose into the House of Lords.

    The former executive chairman of Marks & Spencer was appointed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to lead a review into the management of the NHS in February, and will join the Conservative benches as Lord Rose of Monewden.

    Once Lord Rose has completed the introduction ceremony, peers will hold their daily oral question session, where topics will include the terrorist activities of Boko Haram, renaming the Bank of England, the development of nuclear weapons by Iran and security and development in Afghanistan.

  107. Background

    The UK has said it will not support future search and rescue operations to prevent migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. The government said such operations can encourage more people to attempt to make the dangerous sea crossing to enter Europe.

    The Italian mission, Mare Nostrum, is being wound down and an EU force will carry out a more limited border security operation.

    The UK has offered support to the new enterprise.

  108. Our 'moral duty'

    Responding to the minister, Mark Lazarowicz - whose urgent question prompted the statement - brands the decision "cruel and inhumane" and "totally without logic". He calls on the UK to reconsider its position and convince other EU states to do the same.

    It is our "moral duty" to act otherwise we are "complicit" in their deaths, the Edinburgh North & Leith MP insists.

  109. An 'unprecedented increase'

    James Brokenshire tells MPs that since Italy launched its Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation off the Libyan coast last year, there has been an "unprecedented increase" in illegal immigration across the Mediterranean, and a "fourfold increase" in the number of deaths.

    The operation is having the unintended consequence of placing more lives at risk, the minister argues. He says EU countries have "unanimously" agreed it should be phased out, stressing that it must be well managed and well publicised to mitigate the risk of further deaths.

    Mr Brokenshire adds that the only "sustainable answer" to the current situation is to tackle the causes of illegal immigration and the organised gangs that facilitate it.

  110. 3,000 deaths this year

    James Brokenshire says the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that more than 3,000 people have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean already this year, which is up from 700 deaths last year.

  111. House of Lords

    Our live coverage of the House of Lords is about to begin.

    Today's main business is a government debate on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, followed by two short debates on subjects raised by Labour backbenchers: Baroness Taylor of Bolton on giving football fans a greater say in the running of clubs, and Baroness Kennedy of Cradley on combating slavery in supply chains.

  112. Urgent question

    It's time for the urgent question on migrant search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea, which is being raised by the Labour MP, Mark Lazarowicz.

    Home Office Minister James Brokenshire is responding with a statement.

  113. Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

    South West Devon MP Gary Streeter, also a Conservative, represents the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission.

    Gary Streeter
  114. Second Church Estates Commissioner

    Conservative Sir Tony Baldry is the Church Commissioners' representative in the Commons.

    The Banbury MP is standing down at the 2015 general election.

    Sir Tony Baldry
  115. Stand in

    The leader of the House, William Hague, announces that he is standing in for the chair of the Public Accounts Commission, Sir Edward Leigh, who is overseas.

    The commission examines the National Audit Office Estimate, considers reports from the auditor of the National Audit Office and appoints non-executive members of the Board.

  116. Commissioners' questions

    The environment question session is over, and MPs are putting questions to representatives from various Commons commissioners.

    These includes the Church Commissioners, the Public Accounts Commission and the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission.

  117. Racing in 'like a perspiring postman'

    Two MPs who had been due to ask questions to the government have not been in the chamber. "Goodness me, what's going on," exclaims the Speaker, John Bercow.

    Conservative Guy Opperman was one of them and has, in the Speaker's words, "just raced late in to the chamber like a perspiring postman". He gets his chance to ask a question, and hopes "I don't disappoint".

  118. The view in the Commons

    House of Commons
    Image caption: The view in the House of Commons as MPs put questions to government ministers
  119. Dairy farmers question

    Labour MP and former chief whip Nicholas Brown has the first topical question, and calls on the government to support fixed-price contracts for dairy farmers.

    Environment Secretary Liz Truss says she wants to help the industry to become competitive and deal with "increasing exposure" to international markets.

  120. Food and drink exports

    Environment Secretary Liz Truss tells MPs the UK is exporting food and drink to a "record number" of markets, including one billion British pints of beer to 113 countries.

  121. Topical questions

    In just over five minutes MPs will have the opportunity to raise topical questions with ministers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. These are questions which the government front bench has no advance notice of.

  122. Badger culls question

    After a question on badger culls from Labour MP Paul Flynn, Environment Secretary Liz Truss tells MPs the government will publish the results of this year's culls once the quality assurance processes have been done and the independent audit is complete.

  123. US-EU trade agreement

    MPs are discussing the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, an agreement between the US and EU which aims to remove a wide range of barriers to commerce between the two.

  124. Questions on water bills

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Liz Truss is being pressed on what steps the government is taking to reduce water bills.

    Liz Truss
  125. Adjournment debate

    Labour's Coventry North West MP Geoffrey Robinson will bring the day to a close with an adjournment debate on GP services in Coventry.

  126. Drugs policy

    The day's main business is dedicated to two debates chosen by the Backbench Business Committee.

    The first is on UK drugs policy, led by Green MP and former party leader Caroline Lucas, and the second is on the sale of park homes. The latter has been tabled by Lib Dem Annette Brooke.

  127. Business statement

    The weekly business statement - in which the leader of the House announces the forthcoming Commons business - will take place at about 11.15 GMT. This session is also an opportunity for MPs to request parliamentary time on matters they feel merit attention.

  128. Urgent question

    Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz has been granted an urgent question on migrant rescue missions in the Mediterranean.

    It comes after the government said the UK would not support future search and rescue operations to prevent migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. The Foreign Office has said such operations can encourage more people to attempt to make the dangerous sea crossing to enter Europe.

    A government minister will have to come to the Commons to make a statement in response to the MP's question.

  129. Good morning

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Thursday's proceedings in the Houses of Parliament.

    Business begins in the Commons at 09.30 GMT, with questions to environment, food and rural affairs ministers. Representatives from various House of Commons commissions will also answer MPs' queries.