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Summary

  1. Home Secretary Theresa May answered questions from MPs, then there were two urgent questions.
  2. The first was on prison safety and the second was on the situation in Madaya, in Syria. MPs then looked at the Armed Forces Bill.
  3. The next item of business was a debate on local government funding for rural areas.
  4. Peers return today and after questions, they turned their attention to the second reading of the controversial Trade Union Bill.

Live Reporting

By Alex Partridge and Kate Whannel

All times stated are UK

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  1. No vote on Lord Tyler amendment

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    "Due to the lateness of the hour" Lord Tyler chooses not to put his amendment to a vote. So the bill moves to committee stage.

    And that's that from the Lords tonight as the House adjourns. They'll be back at 2:30pm tomorrow.

  2. Bill is 'in favour of the public'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe says the bill "is not about party funding", to laughter from the opposition benches. It is, she says, about ensuring the relationship between trade unions and their members is transparent.

    She says the government "recognises the constructive role unions can play", but they want to "shine a light" on the amount of money and time spent on facility time in the public sector. Taxpayers, she says, deserve this.

    In conclusion "the bill is not the massive change that some have made out today". It is a bill "in favour of the public".

  3. Government: bill not 'vindictive'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe

    And it's Baroness Neville-Rolfe to wind up for the government. She says due to the number of speakers (more than fifty) she is unable to respond to everyone's points individually but will have "plenty of time in committee" to do so.

    Her door, she adds, is always open.

    She rejects the notion that the bill is "vindictive" and cites the support of the CBI as evidence that the bill is needed to "reform" the way unions work.

  4. Labour: Bill 'most partisan piece of legislation since the 1920s'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Collins of Highbury is winding up the debate for Labour. He calls the bill "an attack on civil liberties" and says it "flouts international labour standards."

    It's "the most politically partisan piece of legislation since the 1920s" he says, referring to proposed changes to the way trade unions fund political parties. It's a "deliberate" attack on Labour Party funding "while leaving Conservative funding untouched", he says.

    "Strikes are at an all time low" he tells the House, underinvestment in skills has a "far bigger impact on productivity" in the UK than strikes.

    He says Labour will introduce a motion to establish a committee to consider the issue of party funding, like Lord Tyler is proposing in an amendment to this bill, but without holding up the progress of the bill up.

    Lord Collins of Highbury
  5. Bill creates 'a completely one-sided playing field'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Stoneham of Droxford, speaking to wind up the debate for the Lib Dems, says that the Trade Union Bill is a return to an old style of adversarial politics, after the years of the Coalition.

    "I accept [unions] are not perfect, but they are important stakeholders in our society" he says.

    He points out that the strike of junior doctors called by the BMA would easily have met the threshold of strike votes required by the bill.

    On political funding he says opt-out vs opt-in has been "a political issue for a hundred years". But this is "a completely one-sided playing field" and is "just giving more political power to the Conservative Party".

    He says the Lib Dems will seek to amend the bill.

    Lord Stoneham of Droxford
  6. 'Exam boards making changes'

    Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Education Minister Nick Gibb responds, telling MPs that the government recognises the importance of feminism.

    He mentions the different ways schools can teach children about feminism such as in citizenship and PSHE lessons.

    However the minister acknowledges that female thinkers were not given due weight in the curriculum.

    He assures MPs that following the "strength of feeling" on the subject "exam boards are making changes". 

    And that concludes the day in the Commons - MPs return tomorrow at 11:30am with Foreign Office questions and then the Housing and Planning Bill will be debated at report stage. 

  7. Last few backbench speeches...

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Meanwhile we're down to our last few speakers in the debate.

    The Conservative peer Lord Borwick says that unions are "not a factor" in the growing parts of the economy, like high tech industries.

    Labour's Baroness Drake said that the government had attracted "the hat-trick" of "deep concern" for their bill from campaigning groups Amnesty, Liberty and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

  8. 'Hard to muster votes' late on?

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    As the clock ticks past 10pm it's worth returning to Mark D'Arcy's "week ahead" blog where he speculated about the likelihood of success of Lord Tyler's motion to send the parts of this bill dealing with Labour Party funding to a select committee. 

    A late vote is a problem because "many peers, particularly the crucial Crossbench vote, tend to drift off after the dinner break, making it far harder for the opposition to muster the votes needed to defeat the government."

    Certainly, the chamber is not nearly as busy as it was earlier in the day. But how many Crossbench peers are left elsewhere on the parliamentary estate? And which way will they vote?

    House of Lords
  9. A 'compass of feminism' of 'critical importance'

    Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Rupa Huq says the government had argued that the proposed change "tied in with school autonomy and trusting heads".

    She insists that it is "not good enough to leave this to chance".

    She tells MPs that "having the compass of feminism to provide an understanding of unequal gender relations" was of critical importance to young people starting out into the world.

    Rupa Huq
  10. Labour outrage 'turned up to eleven'

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Conservative Lord Callanan accuses Labour members, who have been unanimous in their opposition to the bill so far, of having their "outrage metres turned up to eleven".

    He cites the unions representing London Underground workers as an example of the sort of "militant" trade unions the bill is meant to deal with.

    RMT, Aslef and Unite have announced three more 24 hour strikes over the proposed "night tube" service.

  11. Adjournment debate: feminism in schools

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Illustration of a suffragette in the House of Commons
    Image caption: Illustration of a suffragette in the House of Commons

    We now come to the adjournment debate which tonight is on feminism in schools and will be led by Labour MP Rupa Huq.

    Concerns were raised over changes to the school curriculum which did not include feminism as a major political philosophy and included only one woman in a list of 14 political thinkers.

    The government has since suggested that the women's rights movement will be included on the curriculum and that the number of female political theorists to be studied will be increased.

  12. Government should show 'humility'

    Trade Union bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Tomlinson, of Labour, is not holding back. It is, he says "a mean, vindictive bill" which has "nothing to do with sorting the basic industrial problems in this country".

    He says the bill will have real consequences and that it's in the best interests of government to show "humility" and listen to people who have "much greater experience" of industrial relations. He says they can learn from their experience and change the bill while there's still time. 

    If that doesn't happen there will be a "catastrophic" effect on industrial relations and possibly the wider economy, he says.

    Lord Tomlinson
  13. Funding gap 'will narrow'

    Local Government funding in rural areas

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Communities and Local Government Minister Marcus Jones concludes the debate.

    Conservative Graham Stuart intervenes to ask why rural funding is being hit harder than urban areas.

    Marcus Jones insists that the government package will continue to narrow the funding gap between rural and urban areas.

    Marcus Jones
  14. Ex civil service head: government has 'authoritarian' streak

    Sean Curran

    Parliamentary correspondent

    The former head of the civil service has attacked plans to change the trade union laws.

    Lord Kerslake, who sits as a crossbench peer, said the main thrust of the Trade Union Bill was "partisan and disproportionate".

    He went on to criticise other government policies and accused ministers of being "uncomfortable with scrutiny and challenge".

    The peer said that when the trade union proposals were taken together with plans to limit the powers of the House of Lords, changes to the freedom of information laws and cuts to the public funding of the opposition in parliament, there appeared to be "an authoritarian streak to this government".

  15. 'A toxic cocktail'

    Local Government funding in rural areas

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Steve Reed

    Shadow communities and local government minister Steve Reed describes a "toxic cocktail" of "rising fares for inaccessible transport, falling wages, underfunded services and soaring housing costs".

    The result, he argues, is that people are being "priced out of rural areas".

    When Conservative Sheryll Murray asks if he would reverse the funding changes Labour made in government Steve Reed replies that he wants to see fair funding across the country.

  16. Strike support threshold questioned

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Judd

    Labour's Lord Judd tells the House that a bill of this significance demands "a great deal of careful preparation" and building of widespread understanding of what it entails. The government, he says, has not done this.

    More than that, it "dismays" him that a Conservative government with the support of "barely a quarter" of the electorate would demand support thresholds like those proposed for union ballots.

  17. 'Europe gives us shedloads of money'

    Local Government funding in rural areas

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Derek Thomas

    Conservative MP for St Ives, Derek Thomas, notes that the debate has focused on which area is most deprived.

    He claims the crown for Cornwall pointing out that the his area is so deprived "the whole of Europe gives us shedloads of money".

    However the MP argues relying on "generous handouts from Brussels" rather than having a fair funding settlement means people cannot properly prepare for the future. 

  18. £700,000 cut to local authority

    Local Government funding in rural areas

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP for Devon North, Peter Heaton-Jones opens his speech by noting that the government is "making progress in putting our finances on a secure footing".

    "The people of North Devon get that" he says.

    However he raises concern that his local council's overall grant has been reduced by over £700,000 - "a very significant reduction for a local authority".

    He argues that the council is "well behaved, very competent and Conservative, working hard to deliver value for money - the government should be helping them to do that". 

  19. Bill is 'an anti-trade union bill'

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lib Dem Lord Rennard says this is "an anti-trade union bill."

    He says the changes to trade union law by the Thatcher government were in most cases justified, as shown by the lack of changes made by the Labour governments of 1997-2010. But he doesn't believe a case can be made for the measures contained in this bill.

    The Conservative Party should move on from the battles of the 70s and 80s, he says.

    Lord Rennard
  20. 'I took a bus, then a ferry, then a bus, then another bus...'

    Local Government funding in rural areas

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative MP Sheryll Murray chooses to focus on poor transport in rural areas.

    She tells MPs of the commute she had to make for her first job: "I took a bus, then a ferry, then a bus, then another bus". 

    She says it is rare for her to see a timetable at Westminster tube station without seeing a train due in "a couple of minutes".

    By comparison she tells MPs that some small villages in her South East Cornwall constituency have to wait "hours or even days" before a bus arrives.

    Sheryll Murray