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Live Reporting

By Victoria King, Lucy Webster and Emma Harrison

All times stated are UK

  1. MPs continue debate

    House of Commons


    The debate on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is set to go on late into the night.

    MPs are debating amendments to the legislation which enacts the government's Brexit deal in UK law.

    We're stopping our live text coverage for now but you can watch the debate on BBC Parliament.

  2. Benn: Take no deal off the table

    House of Commons


    Hilary Benn, who was chair of the Brexit select committee in the last parliament, asks if he can "test" Mr Barclay's "enormous confidence" that a deal will be done on the future relationship with the EU by the end of the transition period.

    He asks Mr Barclay to say there is "no prospect" of the UK leaving without a deal.

    Mr Barclay says the government will abide by its manifesto commitment to conclude transition at the end of the year and its commitment to negotiate a trade deal, both supported by the public at the election.

  3. Labour MP raises issue of security

    House of Commons


    Labour's Chris Bryant says he will always be a Remainer but accepts the mandate for Brexit.

    He asks what the government is doing to ensure an agreement on security co-operation with the EU by the end of the transition period at the end of the year, given time constraints, and says this is one of the most crucial parts of any deal.

    Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay says he is confident a security deal can be done this year and says both the UK and EU have committed to doing so.

  4. Lucas: Why risk no-deal at end of transition?

    House of Commons


    Caroline Lucas

    Green Party MP Caroline Lucas intervenes to ask why Mr Barclay wants to "tie the government's hands" on the length of the implementation period and "risk the disaster of no deal" at the end of the year.

    That's a reference to the fact that the bill explicitly rules out an extension to the transition period beyond the end of this year.

    She says Mr Barclay would be "prepared to throw away" constructive negotiations with the EU if they "can't fit into the arbitrarily short time" set out in the bill.

    "Why does he think it's worth taking that risk?" she asks.

    Mr Barclay says it is odd that Ms Lucas, who opposes Brexit, is speaking against the implementation period.

  5. Sparsely populated benches for Brexit bill debate

    House of Commons


    House of Commons

    The Commons chamber appears to have emptied as the debate on the government's Brexit bill begins.

    As the picture shows, there are a number of seats available on both sides of the House.

    A total of eight hours has been set aside for the debate.

  6. MPs begin Brexit bill debate

    House of Commons


    Stephen Barclay

    Right, back to the Commons where MPs have begun debating the Withdrawal Agreement Bill - or more colloqially, the Brexit bill - which has reached its committee stage. It will be analysed in detail over the next three days before moving to the Lords.

    The bill covers "divorce" payments to the EU, citizens' rights and customs arrangements for Northern Ireland.

    Opening the debate, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay says the bill "fulfills the will of the British people" and sets "the stage for our bright future outside of the EU".

    He uses a couple of very familiar phrases in his first few sentences - "take back control" and "get Brexit done".

    Before Parliament closed for the Christmas recess, MPs gave initial approval to Mr Johnson's bill.

  7. Jarvis officially rules himself out of Labour race

    Dan Jarvis - MP for Barnsley Central and Sheffield mayor - was one of those tipped to potentially put himself forward for the Labour leadership.

    He had said he was "thinking long and hard" about it, but felt he had "unfinished business" in his mayoral role. Now, with the contest formally under way, he has officially ruled himself out.

    View more on twitter
  8. McDonnell backs Long Bailey for Labour leadership

    John McDonnell

    On matters Labour, the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn and his former deputy Tom Watson officially began today.

    Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says he is backing Rebecca Long Bailey for Labour leader and Richard Burgon for deputy.

    He tells reporters in Westminster he is looking to "keep out" of the contest, though, and is not personally advising Mrs Long Bailey.

    "I'm supporting Becky, yeah," he says.

    "I thought she was superb on the Today programme. I thought she came across as an extremely warm human being and was on top of her game, she was excellent.

    "But all of them have been good. I think we've got a really good team of candidates."

  9. SNP reshuffles Westminster team

    Kirsty Blackman

    Away from the Commons for a moment, we mentioned a Labour reshuffle earlier - well, the SNP have been at it today too.

    The party has put out a list of changes, including the appointment of deputy Westminster leader Kirsty Blackman, above, to what it calls "a key strategic role leading on the constitution - in preparation for an independence referendum".

    That's the referendum - known as indyref2 - that SNP so desperately want and the UK government shows no sign of agreeing to.

    Alison Thewliss becomes shadow chancellor, in the SNP's words "leading on the economy as Tory cuts and Brexit threaten jobs, living standards and prosperity".

    The BBC's political correspondent Nick Eardley, something of a Scottish politics pro, was looking out for who would be chosen to replace Stephen Gethins on foreign affairs - a particularly important job given the Iran crisis and Brexit talks to come.

    Former MEP Alyn Smith is the one to take on that brief.

  10. Wallace: UK 'will do what it has to do to defend its citizens'

    House of Commons


    Acting Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey asks Mr Wallace whether he would rule out "any UK involvement in any attack in any site in Iran".

    "I’m not going to rule out anything," Mr Wallace replies.

    "The UK will do what it has to do to defend its persons, its citizens.

    "We cannot say what’s in the minds of Iran or anybody else in the future - that’s why we will always reserve that right to take the decision at the time of it."

  11. PM speaks to Turkey's president about Iran

    Downing Street has issued a statement saying that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken to President Erdogan of Turkey.

    The leaders discussed the situation in Iraq and agreed on "the importance of reducing tensions and finding a diplomatic way through the current crisis".

    “They agreed that Iran cannot be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon and must comply with the terms of the nuclear deal," the statement says.

    “On Libya, the prime minister reiterated the UK’s commitment to de-escalation and supporting the UN-led peace process. They agreed to keep in touch on this issue.”

  12. Wallace challenged on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe case

    House of Commons


    Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her daughter Gabriella

    Labour MP Tulip Siddiq challenges Mr Wallace on the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - who has been in prison in Iran since 2016.

    The British-Iranian charity worker was sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly plotting against the Iranian government.

    But she has maintained her innocence, saying she was on holiday in Iran visiting family.

    Ms Siddiq says she was "alarmed" to hear the present foreign secretary appear to agree on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that there was nothing the government could do to release her.

    "Are British prisoners going to be left to rot in jail in Iran while the situation between the US and Iran escalates more and more?"

    Mr Wallace says the government will do "everything it can to get released from prison, not just her constituent, but the very many dual nationals currently languishing in those jails".

    "This has been a long-term foreign policy tool of the Iranian government to incarcerate people it doesn’t like or to intimidate nations," he says.

    "We will do everything we can to try and get her constituent released and I mean everything.

    "Everything within international law."

    You can read more on the case here.

  13. Wallace: 'We will condemn any attacks on heritage sites'

    House of Commons


    Mr Wallace is asked about US President Donald Trump's threats to attack Iran's cultural sites if it retaliates in any way.

    "We, of course, would condemn any attacks on heritage sites and we think that would be against international law," he said.

    "If anyone were to do that, whether friend on foe, we would of course call them out on that."

    He tells MPs the US defence secretary has insisted Washington would not target such sites - despite the president's remarks.

    Read more about Mr Trump's comments

    View more on twitter
  14. SNP questions government commitment to international law

    Middle East statement

    House of Commons


    SNP MP Stewart McDonald says it "is not anti-American" to question the drone strike that killed General Soleimani and asks whether the government has done its own legal analysis on the US decision to strike.

    He also asks what is being done to protect international law as it is being "ripped up".

    Mr Wallace says he cannot speak for the US and what evidence its decision was based on, but reiterates that there is a right to self defence under international law.

  15. Wallace: 'None of us wants conflict'

    House of Commons


    More from Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who says the UK's commitment to Iraq's stability and sovereignty is "unwavering".

    The main focus for the UK now is to prevent any further escalation in tensions, he says, adding: "None of us wants conflict."

    He says the PM has spoken to the US President and other world leaders on the issue and he has spoken to his defence counterparts.

    Mr Wallace says in the "coming days we will be doing all we can to encourage Iran to take a different path".

    He says the UK is urging Iran "to return to normal behaviour of the country" and to "resist the urge to retaliate".

  16. Corbyn choosing to appear in the Commons

    Something worth noting, as James Ball - of The Bureau of Investigative Journalists - and others point out.

    Jeremy Corbyn doesn't have to be at the despatch box right now, but has chosen to be there...

    View more on twitter
  17. Corbyn: Where is the PM?

    Middle East statement

    House of Commons


    Jeremy Corbyn now responds for Labour, first asking where the prime minister is and what he is doing instead of being in the Commons. He says Mr Johnson has not answered his letter of concern about the Iran crisis and is "hiding behind his defence secretary".

    Mr Corbyn asks whether the government believes the killing of General Soleimani was legal and what evidence it has for the claim the US was acting in self defence.

    He says the country which will suffer the most in the aftermath of the killing is Iraq and asks whether the UK will respect Iraqi sovereignty if it asks for all foreign troops to leave its territory.

    Finally, he also asks what the government is doing to secure the release of British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from an Iranian jail.

    Mr Wallace responds that Mr Johnson is "running the country" and he is the right person to answer these questions.

    The defence secretary says the government has seen evidence of threats posed by Soleimani and it's main priority now is de-escalation and "keeping people safe".

  18. Wallace: UK helicopters and ships 'on standby to assist if needed'

    House of Commons


    Mr Wallace goes on to say that the Foreign Office has "strengthened" its travel advice to both Iran and Iraq.

    He urges those intending to travel to the region to check for regular updates - currently, for British-Iranian dual nationals, the FCO advises against all travel to Iran and only very limited travel for those in other cirucmstances.

    The minister also tells MPs: "(UK) defence are changing the readiness of our forces in the region, including helicopters and ships on standby to assist if the need arises."

    He says "non-essential personnel" will be relocated from Baghdad and coalition forces including British forces have suspended all training activities.

    The Department for Transport is also set to issue new guidance for commercial shipping around Strait of Hormuz and the government will review the threat level in Gulf daily.