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Summary

  1. MPs met for Communities and Local Government questions. There was an urgent question on the junior doctors' contract negotiations.
  2. There were also two statements; on the Syria crisis and on local government finance.
  3. There was a backbench debate on the future of the routes of the Great Western Railway.
  4. Peers met at 2.30pm, and after oral questions, they conducted the third reading of the Education and Adoption Bill.
  5. The main business in the House of Lords was the Trade Union Bill at committee stage.
  6. The Transport Committee took evidence on airport expansion in the South East.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis, Kate Whannel and Alex Partridge

All times stated are UK

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  1. Benefits of bill should 'apply consistently'

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Speaking for the government Baroness Neville-Rolfe says the "benefits that this bill will bring should apply consistently" across Great Britain.

    She says "it would be unworkable to have different employment laws across Great Britain" and that reviews have always recommended that employment law remains a reserved matter.

    Reserved matters are those which are decided on at Westminster, rather than in Wales or Scotland.

    Baroness Morgan of Ely says the issue being discussed has been the constitutional settlement rather than the substance of the bill. She tells the government that ministers must be aware that they are pushing through a bill that "will" be sent to the Supreme Court if changes are not made.

    And so the House adjourns for the night. Peers resume at 2:30pm tomorrow.

  2. Government 'harming unionism'

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour's Lord McAvoy says that the government, with this specific bill are "harming unionism". Like Lord Foulkes he draws attention to the late time at which the House is debating something of such importance.

    He says the UK government is "overstepping its mark" and could face legal challenges over the bill.

    He says Labour will "fight this tooth and nail" in Holyrood, Cardiff and Westminster, as well as at grassroots level.

    Lord McAvoy
  3. 'Totally unnecessary poisoning' of industrial relations

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Conservative Lord Balfe references a letter allegedly leaked to the Socialist Worker newspaper from Business, Innovation and Skills minister Nick Boles. It suggests that the government will offer "concessions" on the parts of the bill affecting Scotland and Wales.

    Plaid Cymru's Lord Wigley says the bill will lead to a "totally unnecessary poisoning" of industrial relations in Wales, a country that he says "understands" the need for trade unions. He appeals to the minister to bring forward "reasonable amendments" to avoid the "disastrous" consequences of the bill.

    Labour's Lord Foulkes of Cumnock expresses outrage that the House is dealing with such an "important" issue at quarter to eleven at night rather than at a time when more peers would be in attendance.

    Lord Foulkes of Cumnock
  4. Order Order

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The debate concludes and MPs adjourn for the day.

    Business in the Commons starts tomorrow at 11:30am with questions to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

    House of Commons clock
  5. Three questions to answer

    Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Rory Stewart congratulates Craig Whittaker on "a quiet but forensic speech".

    He identifies three questions that the debate has raised: How much subsidy do we wish to put into an individual valley? What should be the balance between government subsidies and subsidies provided through the insurance industry? Should we look at introducing fixed indemnities for flooding insurance?

    He tells MPs that he is hosting talks with insurance industry representatives to find answers to these questions. 

    Rory Stewart
  6. Bill could release 'constitutional firestorm'

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Baroness Morgan of Ely for Labour is presenting a series of amendments about the relationship of the bill with the devolved legislatures.

    She says the central question is whether the government of the UK can legislate for the staff of public services which are devolved to administrations in Wales and Scotland. Health is a devolved issue in both countries, but the UK government seeks to restrict the rights of Welsh and Scottish health staff to strike, even though Westminster has no powers over the day-to-day running of health in either of those countries.

    She says the answer to this question is "unclear", and passing the Trade Union Bill will release a "constitutional firestorm".

    Baroness Morgan of Ely
  7. Small businesses' future 'in jeopardy'

    Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Craig Whittaker

    Craig Whittaker tells MPs that the Association of British Insurers said small businesses would not be turned down for flood insurance.

    However he believes that many small business are experiencing difficulties which is "jeopardising their future".

    He tells the House that an insurance broker in his constituency says 20% of his clients are unable to obtain flooding insurance.

  8. Adjournment debate begins

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The debate on the Great Western Railway routes concludes and the adjournment debate begins.

    The adjournment debate tonight concerns the availability of flood insurance for businesses.

    The debate has been tabled by Conservative MP Craig Whittaker whose Calder Valley constituency was severely hit by the Boxing Day floods.

    Across the UK the floods affected about 6,750 homes and businesses.

    Following the 2009 floods, £174m was paid out and in 2007 successful claims following flooding topped £3bn.

    Floods in Calder Valley
  9. 'That's not an option'

    Great Western Railway Routes debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle stops the Transport Minister who had started talking about investment in the A303. He urges her to focus on the subject of the Great Western Railway.

    "Far be it from me to criticise you..." Claire Perry beings before being interrupted again.

    "We both know that's not an option" he warns her.

    Claire Perry and Lindsay Hoyle
  10. Government 'haven't thought through' thresholds

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Collins of Highbury is introducing an amendment backed by the Labour Party which he says is a probing amendment to find out what the government means by workers who are "normally engaged in the provision of important public services" and "activities that are ancillary to the provision of important public services."

    This is the government wording that defines those workers who will be subject to the 40% threshold for being able to take strike action.

    He accuses the wording of being vague and says "it is clear that the government haven't thought through this measure very closely."

    Lord Collins of Highbury
  11. 'They don't give a stuff'

    Great Western Railway Routes debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Transport Minister Claire Perry hits back at the opposition who she says didn't invest "a penny" in electrification in the South West when they were in government.

    Quote Message: They don't give a stuff about transport investment, it's not something they think is important, and their track record is disgraceful.
    Claire Perry
  12. Government has a 'poor record'

    Great Western Railway Routes debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Shadow transport minister Andy McDonald attacks the government for its "poor record" on the Great Western Railway route with electrification being delivered late and over-budget.

    He tells MPs that this delay impacts significantly on commuters who rely on the line.

    Andy McDonald
  13. 'Must consider' rights of the public

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Speaking for the government Baroness Neville-Rolfe says "we must consider the rights of the wider public...alongside the rights of union members" when considering rules around strike action.

    She says the "most severe" impacts of strike action are felt in public services. She says "it can't be right" that strike action that disrupts millions of people can take place on the back of a vote of a minority of union members.

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe
  14. Government majority 'made in the South West'

    Great Western Railway Routes debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative James Heappey says the government will need to come good on the promises it made to the South West during the election.

    He tells the House that the government's majority was made in the South West and the government needs to make sure it now delivers on its commitment to more investment in the region.

  15. Industrial action 'a matter of last resort'

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Collins of Highbury is speaking from the Labour front bench. He says people don't "go on strike to destroy" their workplace.

    He thinks that the bill will have the consequences of protracting disputes rather than resolving them amicably.

    He also says that unions are treating industrial action as "a matter of last resort", as the government wants, and the number of days lost to industrial action has decreased hugely since the 1980s.

    Lord Collins
  16. Workplace power 'loaded' in employer's favour

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour's Lord Sawyer says he's "concerned this is not a trade union debate but an RMT union debate", given the frequency with which London Underground strikes have been talked about in relation to this bill. 

    He says "the balance of power in the workplace is massively loaded in favour of the employer", which peers "shouldn't forget".

    He says industrial law should search for balance and as such he thinks the voting thresholds are "a bridge too far".

  17. 'The totemic issue for the South West'

    Great Western Railway Routes debates

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Conservative Johnny Mercer tells the House that, to his father's disappointment, he is no rail engineer. He is however "an extremely mediocre politician".

    This he says gives him the opportunity to knock on people's doors and hear what is important to those in his Plymouth constituency. 

    He says his constituents ask why Plymouth has so many deprived communities.

    He argues that a "resilient and fast" transport link would provide more opportunities for young people - "This is the totemic issue for us in the South West".

    Johnny Mercer
  18. 'Clear mandate' for bill

    Trade Union Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Conservative Lord Balfe says the bill is a "clear manifesto commitment" and that most provisions in the bill were "very clearly written in the manifesto".

    "The government has a clear mandate for this", and he says that over half of the strikes called by the RMT union on the London Underground would not be possible under the provisions in the bill.

    He predicts that "this could be a very popular law".

    Lord Balfe
  19. 'Quite disgusting service'

    Great Western Railway Routes debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Fiona Mactaggart

    Labour's Fiona Mactaggart apologises for being late explaining she was at a rehearsal of the Parliamentary choir.

    She uses her speech to focus on the commuter service of the Great Western Railway which she says can be "quite disgusting". She tells MPs that on an average day the rail line carries 1,000 people in excess of capacity.

    Quote Message: We have standards for carrying around animals on lorries. We do not have standards for humans on trains.
  20. Trade Union Bill resumes

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Wallace of Saltaire

    Lord Wallace of Saltaire is speaking on his amendment, which sets the threshold for a legitimate strike at 35% of those vote.

    He's proposing the amendment to make a point about democratic legitimacy, given that the Conservative government was elected on 36.9% of those who voted in May 2015.

    Unaffiliated peer Lord Dykes also rises to make a point about the government's "manifesto-itis", where he says they attempt to justify almost everything they legislate for on the basis that "it's in the manifesto". He says very few people actually read manifestos, which should cause governments to attempt to make "consensual" legislation.

    Conservative Lord King of Bridgwater rises to accuse Lord Wallace's speech of having "very close to zero intellectual content".