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Summary

  1. The Commons day began at 11.30 GMT with questions to International Development Secretary Justine Greening.
  2. The prime minister and Labour leader Ed Miliband exchanged blows over Europe during PMQs
  3. Labour MP Chris Williamson was granted an urgent question on Rolls Royce job cuts.
  4. Labour MP Thomas Docherty proposed a ten minute rule bill entitled Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill.
  5. The main business of the day was an opposition day debate on the top rate of income tax; and local bus services.
  6. The adjournment debate was led by Stephen Phillips on Ebola in west Africa.
  7. Peers began the day with a half-hour question session, which was followed by a debate on the Serious Crime Bill, which cleared the House of Lords.
  8. The main business of the day was report-state examination of the Infrastructure Bill.
  9. Peers also took part in a short debate on regulations that set out the fundamental standards for health and social care providers.

Live Reporting

By Pippa Simm and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    That wraps up our live coverage of Wednesday's proceedings in Westminster. Do join us tomorrow.

  2. Lords adjourns

    Peers have completed the list of scheduled business for today, and the House adjourns.

    They'll be back tomorrow morning, at the usual time of 11.00 GMT, for an introduction ceremony and a half-hour question session with government ministers.

    The main business will comprise of a series of debates, including on domestic violence and Ebola.

  3. Community electricity right

    The debate has now turned to part four of the bill, which contains measures allowing for the creation of a community electricity right.

    It would give individual residents in a community, or groups connected with the community, the right to buy a stake in a renewable electricity development, in or adjacent to the community.

  4. Government response

    Arguing against Bishop Smith's amendment, government spokesman Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon warns it could cause "significant problems".

    The bishop later withdraws his amendment, and Lib Dem Lord Teverson takes to his feet to propose a change to the bill regarding planning applications. It, too, is withdrawn.

  5. Bishop sets out case

    The Bishop of St Albans
    Image caption: Bishop Smith makes the case for his proposed amendment to the Infrastructure Bill
  6. 'Two-tiered regulation' concern

    The bishop says he is concerned that the proposal in the bill is "significantly lower than that agreed through cross-industry consensus", and warns that exempting small sites will cause "confusion" by creating a "two-tiered regulation system".

  7. Carbon compliance standard amendment

    The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Alan Smith, is seeking a new clause on the carbon compliance standard for new homes.

    The government is committed to implementing a zero carbon standard for new homes from 2016.

    So-called zero carbon homes are built to comply with energy efficiency and emissions standards with any remaining emissions offset elsewhere.

    Under the bill, developers will be allowed to offset carbon emissions from new houses once they have been built.

    Firms would have to contribute to carbon abatement schemes if homes they build in England do not meet the required standard of sustainability.

    Small sites, which are most commonly developed by small scale house builders, will be exempt.

  8. Infrastructure Bill resumes

    Lord Hunt of Kings Heath agrees to withdraw his amendment, and the motion to approve the regulations is passed, bringing an end to the debate.

    Report-stage scrutiny of the Infrastructure Bill resumes.

  9. What are the regulations?

    The regulations being debated in the Lords chamber introduce "fundamental standards" for health and social care providers.

    They are designed to help improve the quality of care and transparency of health and social providers by ensuring that those responsible for poor care can be held to account.

    They are a response to Robert Francis QC 's inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal.

    But Lord Hunt says there are concerns about the impact of the regulations on residents in care homes, in particular that they could reduce current protections in relation to complaints systems, food and emergency procedures.

  10. Commons wraps up

    And that's it. Desmond Swayne brings the day's business in the Commons to a close.

    MP will return tomorrow at 09.30 GMT when the main business will be two backbench business debates on UK foreign policy towards Iran and promotion of the living wage.

    Do stay with us as the House of Lords continues, where the main business is the report stage of the Infrastructure Bill.

  11. What is a regret motion?

    A regret motion is a way of expressing criticism of certain regulations or statutory instruments, without challenging them directly, as it does not require the government to take action.

    They are an invitation for the House to put on record a particular point of view, but they have no practical effect.

  12. Dinner break

    Peers are taking a short break from the Infrastructure Bill to debate a motion to regret regulations which set out the fundamental standards for health and social care providers.

    The motion has been tabled by Labour's health spokesman in the Lords, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath.

    Health Minister Earl Howe responds for the government.

  13. Government response

    International Development minister Desmond Swayne responds for the government.

  14. Adjournment debate

    Stephen Phillips is questioning whether money being given to non-governmental organisations in West Africa is being correctly spent, and whether the bodies are as efficient as possible.

    He claims there is evidence that the government needs to "take a grip" of what is going on "on the ground" and make sure money is being properly directed.

  15. Ebola background

    The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014 and is the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976.

    The World Health Organisation has said that there was still a significant lack of beds in Sierra Leone and Liberia, with more than 3,000 needed.

    In August, the UN health agency declared an "international public health emergency".

    The disease infects humans through close contact with infected animals or spreads between between humans by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs.

    Ebola can also be spread indirectly through contact with contaminated environments.

    The incubation period can be anything from two days to three weeks, and diagnosis is difficult.

  16. Adjournment debate

    Conservative MP Stephen Phillips begins today's adjournment debate on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, a situation he says he fear "will get worse before it gets better".

  17. Result correction

    Labour's second motion is defeated as well, by 278 votes to 208, a government majority of 70.

    Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle informs the House that in the vote on the previous income tax debate the number of backers for the motion was erroneously announced as 248, whereas the correct figure was 238. This doesn't change the outcome of vote as 287 MPs voted against the motion.

    Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke then presents a petition from his constituency with 800 signatures protesting the close of Dover Medical Practice.

  18. What is report stage?

    The Infrastructure Bill is currently being debated at report stage.

    This is an opportunity to consider further amendments following committee-stage scrutiny.

    Consideration of complex or wide-ranging bills at report stage can be spread over several days.

    If a bill is passed at report stage, it moves on to the final stage, third reading.

  19. Government response

    Transport Minister John Hayes is now responding for the government, and he is animated.

    Gesturing around the chamber he tells MPs he "pities" the opposition for their record in government on transport and, now, their motion. He congratulates the government - and his own department - on improving local bus services.

    John Hayes
  20. Opposition debates

    Following the wind up speeches MPs will vote on the Labour motion before turning to the today's adjournment debate at roughly 19.15 GMT.

    Opposition day debates are an opportunity for the opposition to raise subjects they believe the government may be vulnerable on but, if passed, they are not binding and cannot compel the government to form policy based on the text of the motion.

  21. 'No threat' to the public forest estate

    It's up to Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon to respond to the mini-debate on behalf of the government.

    He stresses that the government has "no plans to dispose of the public forest estate", and insists that Clause 21 does not present a threat to its future.

    However, the minister says he has acknowledged peers' concerns and commits to bringing back an amendment back at third reading "to exempt the public forests estate from transfer to the Homes and Communities Agency".

    Baroness Royall welcomes his assurances, and agrees to withdraw her amendment.

  22. Public perception

    Lib Dem Baroness Parminter is not entirely convinced about the need for the amendment.

    She is worried that it would create a perception among the public that the House of Lords "does not believe it's government intentions" for the public forestry estate, whereas she believes minister are "acting with good faith".

  23. Statements aren't acts

    Lord Jenkin of Roding, a Conservative former environment secretary under Margaret Thatcher, agrees with Baroness Royall that a statement "however formally issued, is not the same as an act of parliament".

    He can see the merit of some form of amendment to "place the intention of the [government's] statement firmly on the statute book", and concludes by saying he will listen to the minister's response with great interest.

    Lord Jenkin of Roding
  24. Opposition closing speech

    Shadow transport minister Gordon Marsden begins winding up the debate for Labour.

    Contributions to today's debate have "shown the failings of our bus network outside London", and largely endorse the Labour party's view, he says.

  25. Solutions not arguments

    Liberal Democrat Mike Thornton calls for MPs to stop bickering over their differing approaches and appeals for a "cross-party investigation" into how to improve buses.

    "It's a solution we need, not an argument," he tells the chamber.

  26. Legal Eagle support

    Lib Dem Lord Phillips of Sudbury provides another voice in support of the opposition's amendment.

  27. Public Forest Estate clause

    The government says Clause 21 of the Infrastructure Bill is "completely unconnected to the government's stated policy to establish a new public body to hold the public forest estate".

    Lords Leader Baroness Stowell said in July: "The government has no intention of transferring land from the new body to the Homes and Communities Agency, as the public forest estate is currently in use and not declared surplus.

    "As such, the powers will not be used in relation to this body and will therefore have no effect on it."

    The bill is designed to allow land to be transferred directly from arms-length bodies to the Homes and Communities Agency, to reduce bureaucracy and manage land more effectively.

    The intention behind the move is to make it easier for surplus and redundant brownfield land to be sold and to help build more homes, according to the government.

  28. Warning over subsidy scheme abuses

    Before being cut off for going over his time, Conservative MP Martin Vickers warns the chamber that subsidy schemes are open to abuse and can tempt "less than scrupulous operators" to defraud the government in order to get increased subsidy.

    Mr Vickers claims the current system allows operators who provide vital services to "blackmail" local authorities into applying for greater subsidies.

  29. Privatised forests

    Meanwhile, Labour peer Lord Clark of Windermere notes that the coalition doesn't have the best of records in this area, recalling the opposition to proposals to sell off some English forests in 2011 - which resulted in a government u-turn.

    He does not believe the government intends to privatise the forests estate, but he fears the bill leaves the door open for future governments to do so.

    Lord Clark of Windermere
    Image caption: Lord Clark sets out his reasons for supporting Labour's amendment
  30. Bishop's support

    Supporting the amendment, the Bishop of St Albans emphasises the benefits to the public and the environment of public forests, and stresses the need for continued public access.

  31. Public Forest Estate amendment

    Peers are now debating a Labour amendment designed to protect the Public Forest Estate against privatisation.

    Opening the debate, opposition spokesman Baroness Royall of Blaisdon describes forest as "the lifeblood of our communities".

    She welcomes government assurances on the matter, but insists that these need to be written in to the bill.

    The amendment would prevent any possible back-door privatisation of the public forest estate by ensuring that clause 21 on the Homes & Communities Agency would not have any effect on the rights or liabilities of the Public Forest Estate.

  32. What is the Infrastructure Bill?

    The Infrastructure Bill is wide-ranging, and proposes to change the Highways Agency from an executive agency into a government-owned company, and to allow the Homes and Communities Agency to gain control of land directly from other government quangos.

    Dependant on consultation, the bill will mean developers can run shale gas pipelines under owned land without consent.

    It also allows for Species Control Orders to control invasive, non-native species that pose environmental threats.

  33. Amendment withdrawn

    Baroness Whitaker agrees to withdraw her amendment after the minister's reply, and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon sets out about explaining a new group of government-tabled amendments.

  34. Bus subsidies

    Councils subsidise bus companies to run routes to remote areas which would otherwise not be cost-effective.

    According to a Freedom of Information (FoI) issued by Labour, bus subsidies from major English councils have been cut by 23% since 2010.

    The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils were compelled to cut back their concessionary ticket schemes for the elderly and disabled. The LGA blames reduced support on falling government grants, which have fallen by 39% since 2010.

  35. Design issues

    Labour's Baroness Whitaker has the floor now, to make the case for a new clause in the bill on sustainable development and design.

    It would ensure that design issues are taken more seriously by decision makers in the preparation of policy, the peer argues.

  36. Amendment withdrawn

    Opposing the amendment, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon emphasises the government's commitment to sustainable development and well-designed new town communities, and asks Lord Adonis to withdraw his amendment. He agrees to.

    Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
  37. Bus fares

    Transport Committee Chair Louise Ellman says that three inquiries into buses by her committee have provided "one over-riding message", that the deregulated system is not working effectively.

    Ms Ellman says the intended aim of deregulation - to increase competition, improving services and lowering fares - "simply hasn't happened".

    Instead a small number of operators have monopolised the market and pushed up fares, which has negatively affected millions of people across the country, many of whom rely on bus services.

    She too claims that bus usage is down.

    Transport committee chair Louise Ellman
  38. 'Carbuncle Cup'

    The next amendment - which has also been tabled by Lord Adonis - concerns new towns.

    The opposition front bencher explains that it is designed to "capture the spirit of the post-war rebuilding of the country that was spurred on by the original New Towns Act 1946".

    But while the legislation provided powers to deliver new towns, those that were built did not always conform to the "highest design and quality standard", he tells peers.

    Lord Adonis explains that the amendment would ensure protection for natural and historic environments, to require high quality inclusive design and contribute towards a low carbon future, in the building of new towns.

    The aim, he elaborates, is that no part of a new town would be eligible for the "Carbuncle Cup", an annual award for the "ugliest building" in the UK.

  39. Labour defeat in the Lords

    The results are in, and it's a Labour defeat.

    Peers vote by 235 to 195 - majority 40 - to reject a call for a National Infrastructure Commission to identify the long-term infrastructure needs of the UK.

  40. Labour 'did nothing'

    Concluding his remarks Patrick McLoughlin says that he agrees that small operators need to improve their technology. He says the bus industry is growing because of the government's decision to back business and devolve authority.

    He ends with a parting shot at Labour who he says "did nothing" for buses during their 13 years in government.

  41. Lords divisions

    Divisions, as they are called, typically tend to take about 15 minutes in the House of Lords, as peers must file through either the "Contents" or "Not Contents" lobbies to record their votes. Stay tuned for the results.

  42. Government figures

    Contradicting Labour's figures, which say bus use outside London is falling, Patrick McLoughlin tells MPs that bus use is actually rising, "reversing the trend we inherited from the last government", he adds.

    In 2013/14 16.1 billion passenger miles were travelled by passengers on buses in England he tells MPs, a 1.5% increase on last year.

    Several Labour MPs register their scepticism about his figures.

    Patrick McLoughlin
  43. Call for a vote

    Dissatisfied with the minister's response, Lord Adonis calls for a vote on the amendment.

    The division bells can be heard ringing in the background, as peers make their way out of the chamber to register their votes.

    House of Lords
  44. Government reservations

    Lord Ahmad says the government recognises the importance of a long term approach to investment infrastructure, noting the introduction of the National Infrastructure Plan, which he says has brought a "step change" in delivering UK infrastructure.

    He says the government has "reservations" about establishing an independent body "without a clear understanding of the impact of the change". He warns of "greater uncertainty" and risking the "successful delivery of the UK infrastructure".

  45. Government position

    Communities and Local Government spokesman Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon is setting out the government's position on Labour's amendment - namely that it does not support it, and wants it to be withdrawn.

  46. Long-term planning

    A National Infrastructure Commission was proposed by Sir John Armitt, the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, in his review of long-term infrastructure planning in the UK.

    Its aim would be to identify the UK's long-term infrastructure needs and monitor the plans developed by government to meet them.

  47. Welcome from Transport Secretary

    It's over to the government now and it's up to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to set out his stall.

    Mr McLoughlin tells the chamber that he agrees that buses are important, but often get overlooked, including, he says, by the shadow transport secretary. To jeers from the Conservative benches he points out that Mary Creagh has not asked a single question on buses during their regular oral question session.

    Clearly enjoying himself Mr McLaughlin rather sarcastically welcomes Ms Creagh to her first opposition day debate during her 15 months in her shadow cabinet post.

    "You could say it's been a long time coming," he says.

  48. Infrastructure Bill

    On to the Infrastructure Bill, which is being considered at report stage. The first amendment to be debated has been tabled by shadow Treasury spokesman Lord Adonis.

    It proposes the creation of an independent National Infrastructure Commission, to carry out an evidence-based assessment of the country's infrastructure needs over the next 25 to 30 years.

    Lord Adonis argues that the case for such as commission is clear, citing "decades" of underinvestment in infrastructure.

  49. Bill passes to the Commons

    The Serious Crime Bill clears the House of Lords as peers conclude their examination of the legislation at third reading.

    The bill, which began in the Lords, will now pass to the House of Commons, where further debate and scrutiny will take place.

  50. Debate on buses

    Opening the debate for Labour, shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh says that the UK needs to get "better value" for the government subsidy given to bus operators, that makes up 40% of their income.

    While she says she's not against privatisation, she says the government has to "reform the broken market for buses and ensure that competition benefits passengers".

    shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh
  51. 'Lost opportunity'

    Baroness Smith of Basildon indicates that she will not force a vote on her amendment. She says the government's amendments "aren't wrong, but could be better", and labels it a "lost opportunity".

  52. Serious Crime Bill remit

    This bill updates existing laws dealing with proceeds of crime, cyber-crime, serious crime prevention orders, gang injunctions, child cruelty, female genital mutilation and the commission of certain terrorism offences abroad.

    The mainly applies to England and Wales, with some provisions extending to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  53. FGM legislation

    The debate moves on, and focuses on an opposition-tabled amendment which seeks to introduce female genital mutilation protection orders in England and Wales. It is to ensure the legislation is "the best it can be", Baroness Smith of Basildon explains.

  54. Government response in Lords

    Home Office spokesman Lord Bates is responding to the discussion on behalf of the government.

    He explains that existing legislation - in the form of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 - provides that it is "an offence to cause or incite a child to engage in a sexual activity".

    But he says the government is aware of the need to look at the issue raised by peers in the debate, and pledges that officials will seek a further meeting with NSPCC to discuss the proposal, which Lord Harris is "welcome to attend".

    The department will also explore, with the CPS, what additional guidance could be given to police and prosecutors on the options open to them in tackling such predatory behaviour, the ministers adds.

    Satisfied with the minister's promise of further discussions and consideration, Lord Harris agrees to withdraw his amendment.

  55. Bus services

    MPs now move to the second Labour-led debate of the day, this time on local bus services.

    The motion calls on the government to ensure city and county regions use London-style powers to improve services

    The motion states that except in London the use of bus services is in decline. Labour claim that since 2010 some 1,300 bus routes have been lost and bus fares have risen five times faster than wages.

    Labour says it would like to see more integrated, frequent, cheaper and greener bus services with smart card ticketing; and believes the deregulation of the bus industry prevents local authorities co-ordinating public transport networks.

  56. Labour defeated

    The Labour motion on income tax is defeated by 287 to 248, a government majority of 39.

  57. Gap in the law?

    Representing the opposition, Baroness Smith of Basildon says there is clearly a gap in the law, which needs to be changed.

    "There is an opportunity here...to do something which will make a difference and protect children today, tomorrow and the day after," she argues.

    The Labour peer is disappointed that the government has not brought forward its own amendment, but hopes it will act.

  58. Division called

    Eleanor Laing
    Image caption: Deputy speaker Eleanor Laing is forced to discipline unruly MPs as the House divides to vote
  59. Prevention of harm

    Another voice of support comes from crossbench peer Baroness Howarth of Breckland, who vice-chairs the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a child protection charity.

    She explains the way grooming works, telling peers that perpetrators go through "a number of hurdles" before reaching "full stature, if you life, of a paedophile", beginning with testing out whether they can gain the confidence of a child just by "kindness, relationship, involvement".

    Prevention must take place at the very first stage, she insists.

    Baroness Howarth of Breckland,
  60. Government response

    Treasury Minister Priti Patel is now at the despatch box responding to the debate for the government.

    Priti Patel
  61. 'Giving millionaires tax cuts'

    Shadow treasury minister Shabana Mahmood is tasked with winding up what has been a rather combative debate.

    Ms Mahmood tells MPs that any choices to bring down the deficit and improve the UK's finances must be done fairly, she says, and accuses the government of "raising tax rates for millions of people" while "giving millionaires tax cuts".

    Shabana Mahmood
  62. Keeping children safe online

    The amendment has the backing of former children's TV presenter Baroness Benjamin, who argues that the current law is "inadequate" in protecting children from abuse online.

    The Liberal Democrat peer adds: "This will help prevent abuse from escalating, and help keep children safe online in this new and dangerous world they are being brought up in."

    Baroness Benjamin
  63. Reservations

    Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Hamwee supports the idea of change in the law, but expresses some reservations about the wording of Lord Harris's amendment, stressing that "we must get this right".

    Baroness Hamwee
  64. Police intervention easier?

    Lord Harris argues that his amendment, in creating a standalone offence, would give the police greater powers to intervene in grooming cases earlier.

    He says the current law in this area is convoluted, and asserts that there needs to be a "clear offence that makes it always an offence to send a sexual message [to a child] or elicit a sexual message in reply [from a child]".

    Lord Harris of Haringey
  65. Thatcher legacy

    To loud complaints from the Conservative benches, former Labour cabinet minister Frank Dobson points out that Margaret Thatcher didn't reduce the top rate of income tax for nine of her 11 years as prime minister. Claiming that a 50p tax rate is bashing the rich and a "socialist policy" is thus ludicrous, he says.

    The beneficiaries of a cut to the top rate of tax mostly work in the financial sector and have already benefited from the bail-out of the banks and quantitative easing, he says.

    Mr Dobson defends the previous Labour administration's record of lowering the top rate of tax by saying they didn't do it while lowering the pay of public sector workers such as nurses.

    Frank Dobson
  66. Post update

    @LibDemLords

    Lib Dem Lords tweet: Serious Crime Bill now receiving its 3rd Reading in @UKHouseofLords. Lib Dem Baroness Hamwee will be speaking

  67. Peers debate Serious Crime Bill

    Peers turn their attention to third reading of the Serious Crime Bill. Several government amendments are adopted within a matter of minutes.

    Over to Labour peer Lord Harris of Haringey now, who is proposing to make it an offence for adults to send sexual messages - verbal, written or pictorial - to children. His amendment is supported by children's charity the NSPCC.

    "It's about trying to prevent harm before it is caused to the child," he explains.

  68. Modern Slavery Bill

    The question session is over - and peers are informed that the House of Commons has passed the Modern Slavery Bill.

    A formal first reading is given to the bill - a very brief affair - meaning that it can progress to the next stage, which is a debate on the general aims of the bill.

  69. UK's obligations 'not changed'

    Home Office spokesman Lord Bates stresses that there is no change to the UK's humanitarian obligations

  70. Tackle 'organised crime gangs'

    Lord Roberts criticises the move, and says the stopping of search and rescue will lead to "thousands" of deaths. He asks "how many men, women and children need to drown" before the government changes its policy.

    Government spokesman Lord Bates stresses that the decision to end the operation was taken by the Italian government.

    He stresses the need to tackle organised crime gangs that traffic people across the sea.

  71. Government search and rescue operations

    Welsh Liberal Democrat Lord Roberts of Llandudno is pressing the government over the ending of future search and rescue operations to prevent migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

    The UK has opted out of migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, saying such operations could encourage more people to risk dangerous voyages to 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.

  72. Austerity measures

    Labour MP Iain McKenzie says the biggest difference between the two sides arguing about the top rate of income tax is where they see the "pain of austerity" inflicted.

    Labour, he says, see it being aimed entirely at the lower end of the income scale. He accuses the government of giving tax cuts to top earners while others have "really been struggling during these difficult, difficult times".

  73. Conservative view

    Conservative MP Mark Garnier says that as a result of his old job as an investment banker he knows a lot of people in the top rate of tax, but stresses he "has no sympathy for them" when they complain about the amount of tax they pay as he believes those "with the broadest shoulder should pay their fair share" - a comment, he says, which may stop him getting invited to dinner parties.

    But he warns that excessive tax could put off the inward investment that the UK needs to create jobs and cut unemployment.

    Mark Garnier
  74. Steps to combat fraud

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe tells peers the government brought in new regulations in June, and has been working with online market places to ensure consumers are protected from ticket fraud.

    She adds that she is "very impressed" with the steps being taken by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) - whom she met recently - to protect against ticket fraud at the 2015 World Cup.

  75. Minister answering

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe
    Image caption: Business minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe is tasked with responding to peers' questions on ticket fraud
  76. Ticket protection

    The next question on the agenda concerns illegal ticket touting, which is raised by Conservative peer and former chairman of the British Olympic Association, Lord Moynihan.

    He calls for greater protection for theatre goers and sports fans from online ticket fraud.

  77. Any progress?

    Conservative peer Earl Attlee enquires about the progress being made in getting more people with disabilities in to work.

    Work and Pensions Minister Lord Freud tells him there are 116,000 more disabled people in work this year, a "4% increase".

  78. Backlog down

    Lord McAvoy accuses the government of "failing in its duty of care" to disabled people, hundreds of thousands of whom he claims are still awaiting assessment.

    Work and Pensions Minister Lord Freud admits the service "is not where we want it to be", but insists work is ongoing to tackle the backlog, which is down by "20% since February".

  79. First question

    Former Labour chief whip Lord McAvoy - now an opposition front bencher - opens with the first question, which is on work capability assessments.

    These are fitness-for-work tests to determine whether claimants of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - formerly incapacity benefit - are eligible for the sickness benefit. ESA is currently paid to approximately two million people.

  80. Peers gather

    It's just a few moments until the House of Lords begins its business for the day. Here's the current scene in the upper chamber, as it is known.

    House of Lords
  81. Challenge to regulations

    Peers taking part in the debate on the Infrastructure Bill will have the opportunity for an hour-long break at a convenient point around 19.30 GMT.

    In the intervening period, there will be a short debate on an opposition-tabled motion to regret regulations which set out the fundamental standards for health and social care providers.

    A regret motion is a way of expressing criticism of certain regulations or statutory instruments, without challenging them directly, as it does not require the government to take action.

  82. Report stage

    The Infrastructure Bill will face a second day of report-stage examination. This is the stage at which legislation returns from committee, for peers to consider any changes made and propose amendments.

    Today's debate will focus on new towns, sustainable development and planning applications.

  83. Main business

    The main business is dedicated to two government bills: the Serious Crime Bill and the Infrastructure Bill.

    The first is being considered at third reading - its final stage in the House of Lords; unlike Commons procedure, peers can seek to change a bill at this stage - and there are a couple of proposed amendments down alongside government ones.

  84. Welcome to coverage of the Lords

    It's a 15.00 GMT start across the corridor in the House of Lords today. Peers will begin by questioning government ministers on a range of topics, including Work Capability Assessments, illegal ticket touting, unmanned aerial vehicles, and migrant rescue missions in the Mediterranean.

  85. Post update

    @labourwhips

    Labour Whips tweet: @ChrisLeslieMP opens labour debate calling on govt to rule out a further reduction in the top rate of income tax on earnings over £150k/yr

  86. 'Keep wealth creators'

    Opening the debate for the government David Gauke accuses Labour of playing a populist game, saying the motion before the House is "not about deficit reduction, not about economics, it's not even about getting more from the wealthy"; rather it's "all about the politics" he says.

    Raising the top rate of tax will not raise any significant amount of money, and could even cost the Treasury more, he warns.

    Advocating a 50p rate of income tax is a "stone age message of bash the rich" which shouldn't be allowed to prevail over the need to "attract and keep wealth creators" in the UK, he says.

    Mr Gauke warns MPs against raising the top rate of income tax "at a time when the UK must compete to prosper".

    The government is instead maintaining a tax system "that enables the UK to compete on a global stage", he says.

  87. Top rate battle

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke - who's this years Tax Personality of the Year at the taxation awards - intervenes to quote the words of former Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury Alan Milburn who is reported to have said that when it comes to public finances increasing the top rate of income tax is "entirely incidental".

    Chris Leslie disagrees saying that the country "cannot afford" such an attitude. The top rate of income tax is an important part of public finances, he says.

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke
  88. Opposition debate

    Shadow chief secretary to the treasury Chris Leslie
    Image caption: Shadow chief secretary to the treasury Chris Leslie at the dispatch box opening the debate on the top rate of income tax for Labour.
  89. Labour pledge

    Labour has said it would restore the top rate to 50% to "ensure tax fairness" while the deficit is being reduced.

    Business leaders, including some Labour donors, have criticised the plan, saying it would cost jobs and growth by putting off wealth creators from settling in the UK. But the policy has done well in polls indicating Labour may have won over most of the public with the pledge.

    David Cameron has so far refused to rule out another cut in the top rate of income tax to 40% for those earning more than £150,000 a year.

  90. Tax plea

    Labour is calling on the government to rule out a further reduction in the top rate of income tax on earnings over £150,000 a year.

    They say reducing the top rate of tax would be a mistake at a time when the deficit still remains and "when working people are not feeling the recovery". Labour claims people are on average £1,600 a year worse off since 2010.

    The Labour motion says "a fair plan to balance the books" would be to reverse the cut in the top rate of income tax - a move they say would be worth is worth £3bn a year for the top 1% of earners - and introduce a lower 10p starting rate of tax.

  91. Main business

    Despite opposition, Thomas Docherty's bill passes without the need for a division.

    MPs now move on to the first of the two opposition day debates that will take up the rest of the afternoon, on the top rate of income tax.

    Labour have tabled a motion calling on the government not to reduce the top rate of income tax down from 45%.

  92. Question the need

    Former Minister of State for the Armed Forces, who spent 18 years as a soldier, Mr Robathan says that while he has some sympathy with the bill has himself suffered discrimination due to his service.

    But he questions whether there is a need for more legislation as the offences being tackled are already illegal or being dealt with.

  93. Bill opposed

    Rather unusually Thomas Docherty's ten minute rule bill is being opposed. Conservative MP Andrew Robathan is arguing against it.

  94. Bill's push

    Thomas Docherty says that jobs in the armed forces are unique, and those who take these jobs deserve the "full shield of government protection".

    His bill's text is: "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision in relation to the reserve forces of the Crown; to provide that certain offences committed towards members of the armed forces and their families shall be treated as aggravated; to prohibit discrimination against members of the armed forces and their families in terms of provision of goods, services and employment; and for connected purposes."

  95. Ten minute rule bill

    Labour MP Thomas Docherty is now launching his Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill.

  96. Momentum

    Conservative MP Mark Pawsey, who has Rolls-Royce's Ansty plant in his constituency, tells the chamber that it is important that redundancies are made on a voluntary basis and with flexibility in mind to ensure that "this first class British company is able to respond effectively to a fast changing market".

    Matthew Hancock says it is crucial that the "momentum behind" the high-tech engineering industry is kept going despite the job losses.

  97. Impact on UK's defence capabilities

    Conservative MP Oliver Colville says he is concerned about the impact on the UK's defence capabilities and asks Matthew Hancock to meet him and engineering firm Babcock to ensure that the company is able to retain fitters for the UK's nuclear submarines.

    Mr Hancock says he is happy to attend such a meeting.

  98. Rolls-Royce changes

    Former trade union official Jack Dromey says he finds it extraordinary that Matthew Hancock said the government's role is to help Rolls-Royce make the changes. The process should be about looking at whether proposed changes should go ahead, he says.

    Given the "very significant national interest issues" raised by the announcement, he asks Mr Hancock to talk to Rolls-Royce about changing their decision in whole or in part.

    Mr Hancock says it is important for the company to be able to defend itself from "financial challenges"; and the government's role is to "support those who are affected" and talk to the company about the changes.

  99. Engineering industry

    Former President of the Board of Trade Margaret Beckett asks Matthew Hancock to "bear in mind" that the Rolls-Royce workforce and its union have the interest of the whole engineering industry at heart during discussions.

    Mr Hancock praises Ms Beckett's words and says he will do as she advises.

  100. Aerospace capability

    Shadow business minister Iain Wright MP says he is concerned that the UK's long term manufacturing capability is being put at risk for the benefit of shareholders, and asks what the impactions are for the government's industrial strategy.

    The UK cannot afford to lose its aerospace capability, he says.

    Business Minister Matthew Hancock says part of making sure the aerospace industry is competitive is to allow companies to "change the formulation of their business if they feel they need to do that".

  101. Post update

    @bbcnickrobinson

    Nick Robinson

    Political editor

    BBC's Nick Robinson tweets: Labour's trap for PM = get him to repeat that he wants to stay in EU outraging Tory sceptics OR to say might vote NO scaring business/voters

  102. Speaker's intervention

    Speaker John Bercow reprimands Chris Williamson for going on too long with his supplementary questions. Asks other MPs to keep their questions short.

  103. Skills loss?

    Chris Williamson says the aerospace industry is important to the UK and says that he hopes that the job losses won't lead to a skills loss.

    He also asks what the government can do to promote and increase the scope of manufacturing in the UK.

  104. 'Bitter blow'

    Labour MP Chris Williamson asks a follow up question, and says Rolls-Royce was created in his constituency and the job losses will be a bitter blow.

  105. Graduate scheme

    The UK government will still work to help Rolls-Royce, who will continue to operate its graduate scheme in the UK, Matthew Hancock tells MPs.

  106. Talent matched

    Mr Hancock says the government will now be operating the "talent retention solution" which aims to match engineering talent with new job opportunities.

  107. Engineering blow

    Matthew Hancock says a high proportion of jobs affected are likely to be engineers.

  108. Support promised

    Mr Hancock says the government will work with Rolls-Royce to support those made redundant.

  109. Cuts planned

    Business Minister Matthew Hancock says Rolls-Royce has said it is planning to cut 2,600 jobs over the next 18 months but has yet to announce where these jobs will be cut.

  110. Job cuts

    The setting sun reflects on a building at Rolls Royce in Derby
    Image caption: Rolls Royce announced on Tuesday that it plans to cut 2,600 jobs, with 800 to 1,200 believed to be going from its sites in Derby and Bristol.
  111. Rolls-Royce urgent question

    MPs are now moving to an urgent question on the future of Rolls-Royce, tabled by Labour MP Chris Williamson.

  112. Post update

    @paulwaugh

    Editor of PoliticsHome.com Paul Waugh ‏tweets: Darling is PM's fave Lab MP to quote today. Wonder why he didn't mention Darling on VAT rises too....?

  113. Deficit figures

    Labour MP Michael Meacher accuses David Cameron of "banging on" about Labour over-spending, but says until 2008 Labour's highest deficit was 3.3%, while the Thatcher and Major governments ran higher deficits in 10 years.

    Cameron says when Labour left office, the deficit was over 11%.

  114. Government priority

    Liberal Democrat MP Martin Horwood says the 90% superfast broadband target is not high enough.

    David Cameron says broadband is a key issue and spreading broadband around the country is one of the most important priorities for this government.

  115. Allegations against recruits

    Former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley asks David Cameron to instruct the Ministry of Defence to investigate allegations sex attacks carried out by Libyan army recruits at Bassingbourn Barracks, and says there is no basis for any of the recruits to seek asylum in the UK.

    David Cameron says that what happened at the barracks is unacceptable and he has asked the Chief of Defence staff for a report. The training programme has been concluded and the recruits are going to be sent to Libya soon, he says.

  116. Rolls Royce fears

    Pre-empting the urgent question later, Conservative MP Jack Lopresti asks about the announcement of job losses at Rolls Royce; and asks the prime minister to meet employer representatives from Rolls Royce to help preserve the UK's vital engineering expertise.

    Mr Cameron says he will do everything he can to champion companies like Rolls Royce. He says it is disappointing they are planning job cuts, but it is not clear how many jobs will go from the UK.

  117. Post update

    ‏@JGForsyth

    The Spectator's James Forsyth tweets: Telling that Cameron says 'Ulster' in reply to a question from Paisley jr, Tories keen to keep DUP sweet in case of another hung parliament

  118. VAT increase?

    Margaret Beckett says the government promised to cut income tax, and asks if the money will come from VAT increase.

    David Cameron says the government has demonstrated that if the economy is managed properly, you can reduce spending, the deficit and taxes.

  119. Meningitis vaccine cost

    Conservative MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown says 30 babies a year die from meningitis despite there being a vaccine available. Cost is the issue, he says, and asks David Cameron to intervene.

    Mr Cameron says the government is in talks with the vaccine producer to see if the cost can be reduced.

  120. Post update

    @IsabelHardman

    The Spectator's Isabel Hardman tweets: 'British business will be holding their heads in their hands,' says Miliband - Labour sees its EU policy as helpful for its biz credentials

  121. NI jobs fears

    DUP MP Ian Paisley asks David Cameron to meet with him to discuss keeping jobs in Northern Ireland. Mr Cameron says he will try to do so on a future trip to Northern Ireland.

  122. Post update

    ‏@jameschappers

    The Daily Mail's James Chapman tweets: That EU-tastic #pmqs just gave Cameron a taste of first 2 years of next Parliament if he wins the election #bangingon

  123. Communication problem?

    David Cameron accuses Ed Miliband of writing his questions in advance, which he says came at the end of a dreadful week for Labour.

    Even John Prescott said the party cannot communicate its message properly, which, he says, really shows Labour are in trouble.

  124. British business

    Ed Milband uses all his questions on the EU and the proposed referendum on British membership; adding that British business will be upset that the prime minister won't say yes to staying in the European Union. He calls David Cameron a "don't know prime minister".

  125. PM fires back

    David Cameron claims he answered that question, He says he wants Britain to stay in a reformed European Union, adding that Labour say nothing about the issue.

  126. Avoiding questions?

    Ed Miliband accuses David Cameron of avoiding question on the EU. He says Mr Cameron used to say he would never support leaving the EU, and asks whether he will he use those words today.

  127. Quotes from Labour MP

    David Cameron quoting Labour MP Tom Docherty says the Labour party is in a "dreadful position" with the electorate. He finishes by calling Labour a "dead parrot".

  128. Ed Miliband's questions

    Ed Miliband
    Image caption: The leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, focuses his questions on the EU and the proposed referendum
  129. Referendum inevitable?

    David Cameron says Ed Miliband is wrong about Angela Merkel. He points out that Alistair Darling - who the PM dubs "the only Labour MP with economic credibility" - says an EU referendum is inevitable.

  130. Labour leader

    Ed Miliband says his position on a referendum is the same as David Cameron's before he lost control of his party, and asks Mr Cameron why he has lost the support of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

  131. Answers over EU

    David Cameron says the government has a plan for the EU, unlike Labour.

  132. Remembrance Sunday

    Labour leader Ed Milband joins the prime minister in praising the UK's troops.

    He goes on to ask how many EU countries are on the UK's side over EU renegotiation.

  133. Sale

    David Cameron is at the dispatch box, beginning this week's prime minister's questions.

    Labour MP Tom Greatrex accuses asks whether Clydebridge should be sold to the Klesch Group who have a history of asset stripping. David Cameron says its disappointing that the Clydebridge have been taken over but they are working with the group.

  134. PMQs begins

    David Cameron
    Image caption: The prime minister begins with a tribute to those killed in the service of their country, as Remembrance Sunday approaches
  135. Post update

    @steve_hawkes

    The Sun's Steve Hawkes ‏tweets: Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman take their places at PMQs - not a T-shirt in sight #pmqs

  136. PMQs coming up

    The Prime Minister is now in the chamber and deep in conversation with Home Secretary Theresa May. Prime Minister's question session is due to kick off at noon.

  137. Climate change

    Liberal Democrat MP Duncan Hames urges Justine Greening to push the government to fight for greater changes at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, as climate change "disproportionately affects the worlds poor" which her department works with.

    Ms Greening says she agrees about the importance of climate change on international development. "It's always the poorest who are hit hardest and hit first with climate change," she says.

  138. Disabled aid

    International Development Minister Duncan Swayne announces that the government will outline a framework to ensure disabled people benefit from UK aid programmes on 3 December.

    The government is "determined that disabled people will benefit from UK aid" he says.

  139. Ebola fight

    In response to a question form Conservative MP Stephen Metcalfe, Justine Greening tells the chamber that the UK is "leading the international response" against Ebola in West Africa, committing £230m to aid efforts in Sierra Leone along with 700 beds.

    UK doctors are also helping to train health care workers, she adds.

  140. Gaza query

    Conservative MP Andrew Turner kicks off the day's business asking the International Development secretary what work she has been doing with her international counterparts to address humanitarian needs in Gaza.

    Mr Turner points out that there are 1.8 million people in Gaza, which is smaller than his constituency of the Isle of Wight, around a million of whom are unable to find work.

    Justine Greening says the government is providing shelter and basic services in Gaza including private sector groups, and are working towards a political settlement that will allow the economy in the area to "thrive".

    Justine Greening
  141. Post update

    @politicshome

    PoliticsHome tweets: Justine Greening opens DfID questions by wishing Jim Murphy "good luck with his mission impossible" with Scottish Labour.

  142. Questions to Justine Greening

    Coming up: International Development Secretary Justine Greening and her ministerial team will field questions from MPs on matters relating to the department's remit.

    Several MPs have tabled questions on what is being done to tackle the Ebola outbreak, so the debate is expected to focus on the department's work in West Africa.

  143. Ten minute rule bill

    Before the day's main business, shadow deputy leader of the House, Thomas Docherty, will table a bill aimed at prohibiting discrimination against members of the armed forces.

  144. Opposition day debates

    The rest of the afternoon will be dedicated to two Labour led debates. The first on the top rate of of income tax, which is currently at 45% on taxable income over £150,000. The second is on local bus routes.

    Opposition day debates, as they are known, are usually on subjects that which the opposition - Labour - feel the government may be vulnerable on.

    At the end of the day is the adjournment debate, which today is on Ebola in West Africa, led by Conservative MP Stephen Phillips.

  145. Good morning

    Welcome to our live coverage of the Houses of Parliament. The day in the Commons is about to begin.

    The House of Commons sits from 11.30 GMT this morning, and today's main event is the weekly contest between David Cameron and Ed Miliband at prime minister's questions, which kicks off at noon.

    Following that Labour MP Chris Wiliamson will ask an urgent question on Rolls-Royce, after the engineering group has said it is planning to cut 2,600 jobs over the next 18 months.

    It said most of the jobs would go in its aerospace division the, majority of which are in Britain and the United States, with most of the posts being shed in 2015. Rolls-Royce employ roughly 24,000 people in the UK.