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Summary

  1. We joined the House of Commons after PMQs, as Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb introduces his National Health Service and Social Care (Commission) Bill.
  2. The day has been occupied with two Opposition Day debates - one on Universal Credit and the other on flooding.
  3. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has taken evidence on the winter floods.

Live Reporting

By Alex Partridge

All times stated are UK

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  1. That's all for now...

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    We'll leave today's events in the Commons as Labour MP Kate Hoey introduces the adjournment debate. Tonight, it's on the effect on London and the transport network of the proposed demolition of Vauxhall bus station.

    We're back tomorrow with coverage of the Commons, including Energy and Climate Change questions, and debates on the effect the equalisation of the state pension age will have on women.

  2. Flooding division result

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    MPs have voted against the Labour opposition day motion on the flooding by 281 to 216. 

    The motion criticised the "damage" caused by government cuts to flooding schemes.

  3. Flooding issue 'one of the most serious crises of our generation'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Environment Minister Rory Stewart pays tribute to the quality of the debate and says everyone should recognise the scale of the flooding. He goes on to express his thanks to the emergency services, army and other public bodies, as well as faith and community groups for their work in response.

    He says that whatever issues that has been raised in the House today, all of them come back to the importance of independent judgement by outside bodies like the Environment Agency and the Flood Forecasting Centre.

    He says he's drawn four lessons from the debate and the flooding; the need to act decisively, the importance of compassion, humility in the face of "extraordinary" challenges and the importance of localism.

    "This is a country that has responded very well," he says, and we go forward "with the utmost seriousness" which will allow us to deal with "one of the most serious crises of our generation".

    Rory Stewart
  4. 'Prevention rather than defence'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow environment minister Alex Cunningham winds up the debate for Labour. He says there are "tens of thousands of people" across the north of England and Scotland who have seen evidence "with their own eyes" that their governments have not done enough to protect against flooding.

    "What we need are measures aimed at prevention rather than defence," he says.

    Alex Cunningham
  5. Government using 'smoke and mirrors'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour's Barry Gardiner is defending his party's response to the floods, criticised earlier for being overtly party political.

    He says the recent floods are a "national tragedy" that will cost the country £5bn according to KPMG.

    He accuses the government of using "smoke and mirrors" over funding and says that it took until 2014 for the current government to spend more on flood defences than Labour did, according to what he says are the government's own figures.

    Barry Gardiner
  6. No 'north-south divide'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Andrew Percy

    Conservative MP Andrew Percy is telling the House that after flooding in his area in 2007 "it never dawned" on him to make party political points out of flooding.

    He rejects the idea of there being a north-south divide in the UK, an idea propagated he says by people who only appear in Yorkshire "when they've won the nomination for a Labour constituency".

    He says the idea only leads to "bitterness and division" when "we need a sensible debate" over flooding.

  7. Government criticised over EU Solidarity Fund

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville-Roberts criticises the government for its reluctance to apply for EU Solidarity Fund payments to help in the aftermath of floods. She asks for the devolved administrations to be allowed to apply for the funds, even if the UK government doesn't.

    She also asks for the devolved administrations to be able to mobilise army units to places where they are needed to help, rather than having to wait for the UK government to do so.

    Liz Saville Roberts
  8. Today's other developments

    BBC Politics

    Three Labour MPs have quit the party's front bench in protest at sackings made by Jeremy Corbyn in his reshuffle.  

    Here's a list of Labour's shadow Cabinet - and you can follow updates with our colleagues' live blog.

    And a cross-party commission should be set up to review the future of the NHS and social care in England, a trio of former health ministers have said.

    Ex-health secretaries Stephen Dorrell and Alan Milburn and Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb say without radical change, the future looks bleak.

    Mr Lamb introduced a bill to the Commons under the ten minute rule motion earlier today.

  9. 'Magnificent' community spirit

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Craig Whittaker says the floods have brought "untold misery" to his area. 

    Calder Valley has seen 2,100 homes and 1,500 businesses flooded and lost three bridges, causing £16m of damage in the Calderdale local authority.

    But he says the community spirit was "magnificent".

    His constituency covers the town of Hebden Bridge, where the effects of the flooding drew national headlines.

    Hebden Bridge
  10. Evidence session concludes

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

    Select Committee

    Parliament

    Committee Chair Neil Parish concludes the evidence session by thanking all the witnesses for attending and speaking to the committee.

    "We'll be inviting you back in the near future," Mr Parish tells the Environment Agency representatives, as the committee meeting adjourns.

    Neil Parish
    Image caption: Neil Parish, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
  11. Reeves: Leeds flood schemes were 'cancelled'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves is speaking about flooding in her constituency. On Boxing Day parts of Leeds, including roads in the city centre, were flooded after rivers burst their banks.

    She says that phases two and three of the Leeds flood scheme were "cancelled" in 2011 as Jeremy Corbyn claimed in clashes with David Cameron in PMQs earlier today. The prime minister insisted that no flood defence schemes had been cancelled during his time in office.

    She says that only building the full proposed flood defence scheme would protect Leeds properly from the type of flooding it saw in December.

    Rachel Reeves
  12. SNP: need to 'up the ante' on floods

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Richard Arkless of the SNP is paying tribute to the "resilience" of the people of his Dumfries and Galloway constituency and he says it should never be taken for granted.

    He says flooding of the type seen in December is a "new challenge" and "the weather is not going to get better so we need to up the ante" in the future.

    Richard Arkless
  13. Background: Fixing flood defences

    BBC News UK

    Flood defences "overwhelmed" by recent record rainfall will be fixed and bolstered in a £40m package of spending, the prime minister has said.

    Thousands of homes across northern England were affected after Storm Eva hit on Boxing Day.

    The £40m package for Yorkshire comes on top of £50m funding to help local authorities' response to the floods.

    Read more here.

    David Cameron
    Image caption: The prime minister visited York to meet flood relief workers
  14. 'How much have you spent?'

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

    Select Committee

    Parliament

    Conservative Chris Davies asks the panel how much the Environment Agency has spent so far dealing with the aftermath of the storms and how much still needs to be spent.

    "We're still counting the cost," says Sir James Bevan.

    "In Cumbria we've already done a lot of the repairs that needed doing after the flooding."

    Sir James goes on to explain that £40m of funding announced by Prime Minister David Cameron will allow the agency to "get on with those repairs," including spending £10m upgrading the Foss Barrier, in York.

    Chris Davies, Conservative
    Image caption: Chris Davies, Conservative
  15. Government 'investing £2.3bn' in flood defence

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Environment Secretary Liz Truss responds for the government.

    She says money is now with local authorities so they can help communities get "back on their feet". She says the money can be used to cover extra costs incurred by councils and as well as to help homes and businesses.

    She says the government is investing £2.3bn over six years on flood defences and has made the first ever commitment to maintenance spending before telling the House that "it is only with a strong economy" that money to spend on flood defence is available.

    Liz Truss
  16. Dredging 'a core part of our armoury'

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

    Select Committee

    Parliament

    "There's a perception that there isn't enough dredging going on," Conservative Rishi Sunak asks Environment Agency Chief Executive Sir James Bevan.

    "What's your response?"

    Sir James explains that dredging "is a core part of our armoury" and that the agency will do it where it is value for money and it will make a difference.

    Neil Parish says that he is "not convinced" that the Environment Agency has changed its philosophy.

    "I'm interested in what works," Sir James tells him.

    "When things make a clear difference to flood risk, we will do them."

    Rishi Sunak
    Image caption: Rishi Sunak, Conservative
  17. 'What on earth made you take the job on?'

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committe

    Select Committee

    Parliament

    Labour's Angela Smith asks Sir Philip "what on earth made you take this job on", given the cuts to flooding funding over recent years.

    He tells MPs that it is a job that involves "giving something back" and that the "people are terrific".

    "It wasn't the prime minister who persuaded you to take it on?" Ms Smith asks.

    "I didn't speak to the prime minister prior to taking the job," Sir Philip tells her.

    Angela Smith
    Image caption: Angela Smith, Labour
  18. Expert advice 'inexplicably' ignored

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow environment secretary Kerry McCarthy is asking why the government "inexplicably" ignored expert advice about the risks to the country posed by flooding. 

    She welcomes the prime minister's announcement of a six year programme of flood defence work, but says some communities "cannot wait six years" for work to be done.

    She says there needs to be a cross department approach to flood prevention, making sure housebuilding and infrastructure planning takes flood risk into account.

    Kerry McCarthy
    Quote Message: We can't stop the rain but we can stop some of the devastation it causes from Kerry McCarthy Shadow environment secretary
    Kerry McCarthyShadow environment secretary
  19. 'Regrets' about absence during flooding

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

    Select Committee

    Parliament

    One of my biggest regrets is the focus on me has detracted from the people affected, Sir Philip Dilley continues, on the subject of his Christmas holiday.

    "I do have two homes. When I'm in Barbados, I don't feel that I'm away. I keep in regular contact with all the people that matter.

    "I know that none of my actions detracted from the performance of the agency."

  20. 'Why did you not come back from holiday?'

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

    Select Committee

    Parliament

    "Why did you not return from holiday," SNP MP Paul Monaghan asks Environment Agency Chair Sir Philip Dilley.

    "I wish I had come a few days earlier," he tells the committee.

    "It's important for me to visit these affected areas, and to see first-hand the devastation that has taken place.

    "We are an organisation where the chief executive is in charge of operations. My role is to chair the board and to set the agenda. I believe we have been doing that very effectively.

    "It was only after the severity of the floods became apparent that I felt it was right to come back."

    Sir Philip Dilley
    Image caption: Sir Philip Dilley, Chairman, Environment Agency