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Summary

  1. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is being questioned by MPs.
  2. Commons day starts with Environment questions
  3. Business statement outlines Parliamentary week ahead
  4. Backbench debates on baby loss; and inquiry into hormone pregnancy tests
  5. Peers start with questions to government ministers
  6. Debates follow on grammar schools; and libraries

Live Reporting

By Aiden James, Alex Partridge and Esther Webber

All times stated are UK

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Nicola Sturgeon

A consultation gets under way next week on plans for a second Scottish independence referendum, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon confirms.

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Boris Johnson

The UK foreign secretary says those who "prophesied doom" over Brexit will be proved wrong - as European Council president Donald Tusk warns it is either "hard Brexit" or "no Brexit".

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House of Lords adjourns

House of Lords

Parliament

That's it for the House of Lords this week.

Peers will return on Monday, when scrutiny of the Investigatory Powers Bill will continue.

'Lasting solution' in all our interests

MIddle East peace process

House of Lords

Parliament

Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay of St Johns uses her speech to reaffirm the UK government's stance that Israeli settlements on the West Bank are "illegal".

But she also says the UK government is "appalled" by recent terror attacks against "ordinary Israeli citizens" and that "trust and goodwill will never be built in an environment of incitement, violence and terrorism". There must be, she says, a permanent end to rocket attacks from Gaza.

She says that a "lasting solution" for Israel and the Palestinians is "in all our interests".

Recognition could be a 'brick wall'

MIddle East peace process

House of Lords

Parliament

Lib Dem spokesperson Baroness Ludford says that she believes recognition of the state of Palestine without bilateral talks would hit "a brick wall". But she says the benefits of the two state solution are "self evident" but it cannot be achieved without hard work.

Speaking for Labour, Lord Collins of Highbury says his party "remains committed to a two state solution" in the region. He says that it's "essential" that the government continues to make every effort to keep hope of substantive talks between the two sides alive.

Lord Collins of Highbury
BBC

Minister urged to work for detained Palestinian children

Middle East peace process

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Lord Hylton is using his speech to talk about Palestinian children in Israeli military detention. He also asked a question on the issue yesterday.

The charity Defence for Children Palestine estimates that around 500 to 700 Palestinian children are arrested by the Israeli military each year, mainly for throwing stones.

Lord Hylton mentions the minister who will reply to today's debate, Baroness Anelay of St Johns. He says he admires her work on for women in conflict zones, and asks "will she work as hard for children at risk?"

Commons adjourns until Monday

House of Commons

Parliament

That's it from the Commons for this week - but the Lords continues its debate on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

MPs next meet in the chamber on Monday for work and pensions questions from 2:30pm.

Monday's legislation is the second reading of the Savings (Government Contributions) Bill, which would make provisions for government bonuses to Lifetime ISAs and Help-to-Save accounts.

The government launched the Lifetime ISA with the aim of enabling young people to save throughout their lives, while Help-to-Save accounts aim to help people on low incomes to save.

There also be a short debate on ambulance waiting times.

Personal independence payments leave 'the choice to the individual' - minister

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Penny Mordaunt
BBC

Work and Pensions Minister Penny Mordaunt says extra costs incurred as a result of being disabled are often "personal to the individual".

She says personal independence payments leave "the choice to the individual on how to spend that money".

"A disabled person will always be better spending that money" than a local authority, she argues, adding that PIP recognises mental health difficulties as well as physical disabilities.

'I used to sniff the books' - Lord Bird on libraries

Crossbencher and Big Issue founder Lord Bird opens a debate on libraries.

Tributes to Shimon Peres

Middle East peace process

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi, is one of a number of peers to pay tribute to former Israeli President Shimon Peres, who died last month at the age of 92.

Lord Sacks says he "never despaired of peace with the Palestinians, no matter how much he failed".

Shimon Peres was a central figure in Israeli politics from before the state's foundation in the late 1940s until his death. 

In 1994 he jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Yasser Arafat in recognition of the signing of the Oslo peace accords a year earlier.

Read more: Obituary: Shimon Peres

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Tulip Siddiq
BBC

The final, short debate today is led by Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, and is on the cost of independent living for disabled people.

"Disabled people face a financial penalty in almost every aspect of their life," the says, adding: "State support is increasingly difficult to obtain."

The government is reviewing the personal independence payment for disabled people, the MP says, arguing that PIP does not address the extra costs disabled people face.

Government wants to get to the truth - minister

Debate on hormone pregnancy tests

House of Commons

Parliament

David Mowat addresses the Commons
BBC

"Nobody in the government has any interest other than getting to the truth in this matter," says Health Minister David Mowat.

He invites MPs to write to him with their concerns about the inquiry; and to meet them to try to ensure they are "content" with the progress of the inquiry.

He defends the members of the Expert Working Panel Group, claiming they are just as interested in getting to the truth.

Julia Gillard warns Theresa May about sexist criticism

Justin Parkinson

Political reporter, BBC News

Julia Gillard
Getty Images

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has warned Theresa May she may face growing "gender-based" criticism.

She told the Institute for Government she had also taken over "in a political crisis" and, at first, there had been little comment about being a woman.

But "the gender stuff grew over time, as the government I led dealt with the hard issues and got into politically choppy waters", she added.

Ms Gillard, who, as Australia's first woman PM, was in power from 2010 to 2013, said female leaders had to labour under the stereotype that they should appear "empathetic and nurturing". If they gained high office, it appeared they "must have given up on the nurturing".

Read more.

Peers debate Israel-Palestinian peace process

House of Lords

Parliament

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres last month.
EPA
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres last month.

Peers are now taking part in the final debate of the day, on what the UK government can do to help revive the Middle East peace process and the prospect of talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Crossbench peer Lord Dykes is introducing the debate, and he suggests that Israel needs its own FW de Klerk figure, who will "step up to the plate" and start the process of talks with the Palestinians. He says that as the strong and established party in the conflict, the impetus is entirely with them.

FW de Klerk was the last president of white dominated South Africa, who un-banned the anti-apartheid African National Congress party, released Nelson Mandela from prison and paved the way for free and fair elections.

'Justice must be seen to be done' says shadow minister

Debate on hormone pregnancy tests

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow health minister Justin Madders says Primados was "astonishingly" still being prescribed to pregnant women as late as 1977.

There were "delays between warnings emerging and any action being taken", he adds.

Of the inquiry, he says: "Justice must be done and it must be seen to be done."

Libraries 'intellectual backbone' of society

Libraries and bookshops debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbencher Lord Bird, who secured today's debate, rounds up the debate by saying it has proven that libraries and bookshops are "not fluffy, not something you can add to society when you've got a few bob in your back pocket".

He says that it's clear that we see them as the "intellectual backbone of society" and promises to continue agitating for a reversal of closures.

'The government has a long way to go to re-establish trust'

Debate on hormone pregnancy tests

House of Commons

Parliament

Jacob Rees-Mogg
BBC

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg says the inquiry needs to "establish faith with the families who have been involved".

"It seems to me there is a strong prima facie case that something was wrong with this drug and that it was known to the authorities, and that they failed to act on it for an extended period," he says.

When time has gone by, the onus of proof shifts to them. It is for governments at that point to show how well they are behaving... The government has a long way to go to re-establish a trust that was probably lost as long ago as 1975."

Government to 'encourage' councils to 'consider alternatives' to library closures

Libraries and bookshops debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Ashton of Hyde
BBC

Replying to the debate for the government Lord Ashton of Hyde says he found himself in agreement with many points made in the debate, especially about the importance of reading. Access to books is "vitally important", he says.

On bookshops he says that the government's pro-small business agenda, including cuts to business rates, will help independent bookshops. 

On libraries, he says that wifi is now available in 99% of public libraries in England and that the government is working with authors and publishers to provide e-books via libraries. It's all part, he says, of a plan to "extend the use of libraries" to make them more useful to their communities.

In response to a number of peers who've talked about their concerns about library closures, he says the government will "encourage" local authorities to "consider a full range of alternatives" before shutting libraries, "including the use of volunteers".

Lord John Laugharne Thomas, Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd

The High Court is hearing a claim that parliament must give its approval before the government begins the official process of Brexit.

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Handover of power...

Conservative MP tweets

MP calls for clarity on inquiry progress

Debate on hormone pregnancy tests

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Liz McInnes asks why it took over a year to set up the Expert Working Panel Group Inquiry and why the group has only met three times, adding: "Where is the inquiry at now?"

Ex libraries minister condemned for lack of 'urgency'

Libraries and bookshops debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Collins of Highbury is winding up the debate for Labour. As a youngster he says libraries "opened the world of knowledge" to him in a way that was not available at home.

He laments library closures and says that the government has not done enough to step in to stop them. He says that the government is guilty of not even knowing the scale of library closures, with reliable figures only being available from investigations like the one conducted by BBC News.

He condemns the previous minister with responsibility for libraries, Ed Vaizey, as having "no sense of urgency" or "coherent strategy" over the issue.

Lord Collins also notes that the new minister with responsibility for libraries, Rob Wilson, is also minister for volunteering

MP alleges constituent's medical records went missing

Debate on hormone pregnancy tests

House of Commons

Parliament

Maria Eagle
BBC

Labour MP Maria Eagle claims that a constituent of hers "had her medical records go missing" when she tried to sue in the early 1980s.

Ms Eagle says there is a familiar pattern in complaints about the suspected effects of the pregnancy test drug Primodos.

The pattern includes "a lack of warnings about effects, being called a fussy mother... denial of causality, the disappearance of medical records... and outright hostility", Ms Eagle alleges.

About the first Primodos debate and the inquiry

Debate on hormone pregnancy tests

Pregnant woman
PA

An Expert Panel Working Group Inquiry was set up to examine hormone pregnancy tests following Yasmin Qureshi's first Commons debate on the subject in October 2014.

George Freeman, a health minister at the time, said there was not clear evidence of a "causal link" between the drug given to expectant mothers and birth defects, which affected a small proportion of the population regardless.

Ms Qureshi said there were cases of medical records having gone missing which suggested there had been a "cover-up".

The Bolton South East MP said minutes of a General Medical Services committee from the 1960s - found in the National Archives - suggested doctors should stop recording adverse reactions to the medication and those who recorded evidence should "have it destroyed".

But Mr Freeman said: "The department is not aware of any documents requesting the destruction of papers or records."

Read more.

Libraries a 'quiet haven'

Libraries and bookshops debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Baroness Blackstone, who is a board member of the British Library, says that libraries can offer a "quiet haven" for children and young people to study, especially for those who live in noisy and chaotic homes.

On the subject of library closures, she asks what the government intends to do to stop closures, citing the case of Lancashire council which is proposing to close 20 of its 73 libraries and leave others unstaffed. 

About the backbench motion

Debate on hormone pregnancy tests

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi's motion "notes that an Expert Working Panel Group Inquiry was set up by the government to investigate and assess evidence on children born with serious deformities due to hormone pregnancy test drugs taken by expectant mothers between 1953 and 1975".

It also " notes with concern that the terms of reference as set out by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency do not clearly allow for an investigation into the systematic regulatory failures of government bodies at the time".

Ms Qureshi's motion calls for the inquiry to have sufficient time to consider all evidence and for background checks of inquiry members to ensure no conflicts of interest.

The Labour MP is also calling for the inquiry to "include an investigation into the conduct of the Committee on Safety of Medicines", which was that regulator at the time. It was replaced by the Commission on Human Medicines. 

Britain's disappearing libraries

Libraries and bookshops debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Library books
Science Photo Library

Earlier this year a BBC News investigation found that 343 public libraries had closed between 2010 and 2015, and that 8,000 jobs in libraries had been lost and replaced by 15,000 volunteers.

The research also found 111 libraries slated for closure in 2016, 174 libraries passed to community groups, and 50 that had been handed to external organisations.

In Sefton, Brent, Stoke-on-Trent and Sundarland more than half of libraries had closed since 2010.

You can read more about the BBC's investigtion into library numbers here.

Debate on hormone pregnancy tests begins

House of Commons

Parliament

Yasmin Qureshi
BBC

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi has tabled the motion for today's second backbench debate, which is on hormone pregnancy tests.

She says she has been campaigning on the subject for five years.

It concerns the drug Primodos, taken by pregnant women in the 1960s and 1970s, and which, Ms Qureshi says, "has 40 times the strength of an oral contraceptive".

She adds: "It is estimated one and a half million women may have taken this drug and thousands of families suffered."

The drug has been linked to deformities in babies, including one of Ms Qureshi's constituents, who is now an adult and brought the matter to her attention.

The MP alleges there was "deliberate, criminal, negligent oversight by the then Committee on Safety in Medicine about this drug and its usage".

'We are breaking the silence around child loss'

Baby loss debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Antoinette Sandbach
BBC

Conservative MP Antoinette Sandbach closes the debate and pays her own tribute to Labour's Vicky Foxcroft.

She says she understands the dilemma of deciding whether "you want to put something that is a deeply personal part of your life into the public domain".

Bereaved parents in every walk of life are "in the same dilemma", she adds, telling the House:

I'm so grateful that we are breaking the silence around child loss."

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing pays her own tribute to MPs' bravery.

"Those who criticise this chamber and the way it works" should take note of debates like this one, she adds.

We cannot treat many stillbirths as inevitable, says minister

Baby loss debate

House of Commons

Parliament

"England is a very safe country in which to have a baby," says Health Minister Philip Dunne. Health policy is devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

While rates of stillbirth and neonatal mortality are declining, Mr Dunne insists it is not acceptable to treat such things as inevitable as "many of them could have been prevented".

He notes that England is in the "bottom third of the table" of countries around the world "for progress on stillbirths".

The minister argues that improvements cannot be achieved through health services alone. There are public health aspects too, with smoking, poverty and age of mothers having an influence.

Vicky Foxcroft

MPs give emotional accounts of their experiences of baby loss during a landmark Commons debate on the issue.

Read more

Peer calls for action to protect libraries

Libraries and bookshops debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Discussing the closure of libraries, Lib Dem Lord Tope says "what has been lacking is any action".

While he recognises they're not "immune" from budget cuts, he says he looks forward to hearing more on local government funding in the Autumn Statement. 

Minister: 'The most moving debate I've participated in'

Baby loss debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Philip Dunne
BBC

Health Minister Philip Dunne, responding for the government at the close of the debate, says he is "humbled".

He calls it "the most moving debate I've participated in in the 11 and a half years I've been in this House."

As his Labour opposite number did, Mr Dunne pays tribute to the "bravery and courage" of MPs who have spoken about their experiences.

Mr Dunne says it is important the NHS improves its practices to "minimise the distress caused by insensitive conduct" by healthcare professionals tasked with supporting bereaved parents.

Peer stresses importance of bookshops

Libraries and bookshops debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer and publisher Baroness Rebuck highlights what she sees as risks to the protection of copyright after Brexit.

She also discusses the importance of authors to the UK economy, and bookshops, saying the experience "cannot be replicated" on the internet.

The UK will not retain its dominant position in publishing if it does not support bookshops and libraries, she says.

Baby loss debate winds up

Today in Parliament reporter tweets

Shadow minister commends MPs' courage

Baby loss debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Justin Madders
BBC

Shadow health minister Justin Madders pays tribute to the courage of Will Quince and Antoinette Sandbach in bringing the debate forward and speaking about their loss - and also to his Labour colleague Vicky Foxcroft.

He says the debate "has shown the House at its absolute best".

Mr Madders also wishes Mr Quince well with his private member's bill to give bereaved parents a legal right to time off work.

The Labour MP also pays tribute to other members who have shared their stories, such as hospitals lacking bereavement suites and feelings of loneliness and isolation following bereavement.

He adds: "We can hope that, the more members talk about those experiences, that those situations will cease to happen."

Big Issue founder warns over loss of bookshops

Libraries and bookshops debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bird
BBC

Crossbencher and Big Issue founder Lord Bird is opening his debate on the cultural, civic and educational significance of libraries, bookshops and booksellers in the United Kingdom. 

"If we don't sort out our libraries and our bookshops, and our high streets are denuded... we will have a real problem," he warns.

Government right to 'question status quo' on grammar schools

Grammar schools debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Viscount Younger
BBC

Education spokesman Viscount Younger of Leckie begins his wind-up speech by acknowledging this is a topic about which people feel "passionately". 

He says the government believes "each child go as far as talent and hard work can take them" and it's right to "question the status quo" if this will improve the situation. 

He tells peers a good education should be available to all, not just those whose families can afford to move to areas with outstanding schools.