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Summary

  1. Commons day began with NI questions
  2. PMQs was at noon
  3. Two Opposition Day debates on Concentrix; and then on the conflict in Yemen
  4. Peers met at 3pm
  5. After questions, peers debated the Policing and Crime Bill at committee stage

Live Reporting

By Aiden James, Alex Partridge and Patrick Cowling

All times stated are UK

Get involved

End of the day in the House of Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers have finished for the day.

They return at 11am tomorrow for oral questions.

Call for top police to have wider experience

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative Earl Attlee has introduced an amendment to ensure that "senior appointees" in the police have "international policing experience".

The principle is attracting support from two former commissioners of the Metropolitan Police, Lord Blair of Boughton and Lord Condon, who have similar amendments down.

Lord Condon says police "parochialism" is often a strength, but can be a weakness in appointing top officers, who often have no experience outside their own force.

Lord Condon
BBC

Police volunteers offer 'flexibility'

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford says that the ability to bring in volunteers will give police chiefs "the flexibility that they need". She adds that volunteers can provide police with a variety of skills, and that it makes no sense for the police to have to turn away people who want to help out but who don't want to become full special constables.

Labour concern over 'cut-price policing'

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are now debating further amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill at committee stage.

Labour frontbencher Lord Rosser is speaking against the entirety of clause 37 of the bill, which would enable the police to extend more powers to volunteers and civilian staff. He says the party is "concerned this may be a move by the government towards cut-price policing".

Lord Rosser
BBC

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

Business in the Commons is brought to an abrupt end as the minister runs out of time while replying for the government.

MPs meet tomorrow from 9:30am to put questions to the attorney general and the minister for women and equalities.

There will also be a debate on young people's mental health. 

Minister: Legal aid decision 'shouldn't be a political one'

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Oliver Heald
BBC

Justice Minister Sir Oliver Heald says he remembers the "shock and horror" of the Birmingham pub bombings.

Turning to the inquest, he says rules allow for "exceptional case funding to be provided... if certain tests are met". But the fund doesn't have unlimited resources to fund cases that fall outside legal aid, he says.

However, he adds, "the legal aid agency decides cases entirely independently".

He says two applications for legal aid have been received so far. He insists that the decision to award legal aid "shouldn't be a political one".

Peers debate offender training in entrepreneurship

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord German
BBC

Peers are now taking part in the dinner break business, today on training offenders in entrepreneurship.

The Lib Dem peer Lord German is leading the debate. He says that finding employment as an offender is hard because employers are reluctant to take on people with criminal records.

"We have to look wider if we are to reduce the number of unemployed offenders," he adds.

MP calls for legal aid guarantees

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Jess Phillips
BBC

"Can the minister guarantee to me today that legal aid funding will provide the Birmingham families with parity?" Jess Phillips asks.

People believe "that those in the establishment act against them", she argues.

"This level of disillusionment should be a worry to all of us."

'Not the intention' of government to allow volunteers to carry guns

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford says that the provisions under the bill allow police volunteers to be armed with CS spray without the need for a firearms certificate. She says that this would put them on a level with civilian police staff.

Lib Dem Lord Paddick rises, saying he is concerned that the rather open wording of clause 37, section 6 of the bill may enable the home secretary to allow police volunteers to carry guns, rather than just the "defensive spray" weapons envisaged.

Baroness Williams accepts that the wording sounds like that but it is "not the intention of the bill to allow volunteers to carry guns".

Birmingham pub bombings: Government funding request rejected

26 September 2016

A composite picture of the victims
BBC
Twenty-one people were killed in the Birmingham pub bombings. Photographs of three of the victims have never been released

The government has refused a request from relatives of the Birmingham pub bombings victims to pay their legal fees.

Inquests into the deaths of 21 people are due to be held next year.

Families had hoped to secure an arrangement mirroring the Hillsborough inquests, where costs incurred were met by the government.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told families their request had been refused, but legal aid may still be granted.

Read more.

Inquest to be held into the Birmingham pub bombings

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Mulberry Bush
PA
Ten people were killed inside the Mulberry Bush when a device exploded in a duffle bag

Jess Phillips says that the campaign on behalf of the Birmingham Six, who were convicted of the 1974 IRA bombings, but were freed on appeal 16 years later, shows that a campaign on behalf of the victims could have an effect.

One of Britain's most senior coroners is to lead inquests into the deaths of 21 people in the Birmingham pub bombings.

Ms Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, says: 

If you're from Birmingham, you have a story to tell about the night of the pub bombings."

Adjournment debate on the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Jess Phillips leads tonight's adjournment debate, on legal aid for families of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings.

She reads out the names of those killed on 21 November 1974, when bombs exploded in two pubs in Birmingham, killing 21 people and injuring 182 others.

Labour motion defeated

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs reject Labour's motion on Yemen by 283 votes to 193.

The House then approves the addition of the government's proposed words to the motion, which "calls on the government to continue to support the UN special envoy in his ongoing efforts to achieve a political solution to bring sustainable peace to Yemen".

Police 'volunteers' may 'concern' public

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour has tabled an amendment opposing a series of new powers which, according to Lord Kennedy of Southwark, would enable "arming volunteers with CS spray" by police forces. He suggests such powers may "concern" the public.

Lib Dem Lord Paddick, himself a former police officer, agrees and says that "volunteers" of this sort already exist, in the form of special constables. This "adds complexity" to the "already complex policing family", he says.

The division between police constables, police community support officers and special constables is already confusing enough, he adds.

Division on Labour motion on Yemen

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs divide to vote on Labour's motion, which calls for "a full independent UN-led investigation... into alleged violations of international humanitarian law in the conflict in Yemen".

It also "calls on the government to suspend its support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces in Yemen until it has been determined whether they have been responsible for any such violations".

Minister - why would Saudi Arabia test the resolve of the West?

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Tobias Ellwood
BBC

Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood says the government wants to see more transparency and accountability, but he asks why Saudi Arabia would want "to test the resolve of the West and deliberately breach international human rights law".

He adds that "the government is not opposed to the idea" of an independent investigation, but Saudi Arabia should be able to investigate first.

Shadow minister calls on all MPs to back Labour motion

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Kate Osamor
BBC

Shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor urges MPs, whatever their views on the future relationship with Saudi Arabia, to "unite in efforts to stop civilian deaths".

She argues that a Saudi-led investigation of its conduct shows "clear inadequacy".

She asks: "Surely it makes sense for the UK to suspend its support for the coalition forces until there has been a full investigation?"

Arms control committee chairman calls for pause in arms sales

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Chris White
BBC

Conservative MP Chris White, who chairs the Committee on Arms Export Controls, says that Saudi Arabia has said that its bombing of a funeral in Sanaa earlier this month was a "mistake".

However, he asks: "With so many civilian casualties can every act that results in such loss be a mistake?"

He says the government must suspend arms sales if "there is a clear risk" of a violation of international humanitarian law, and calls for a "pause" in sales to Saudi Arabia.

His fellow Conservative, Robert Jenrick, disagrees, arguing: "We would have no influence if we were to suspend arms sales and walk away."

Police experience in the Office for Police Conduct

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Rosser
BBC

Peers are debating a number of amendments that relate to the renaming and reorganisation of the Independent Police Complaints Commission - which is to be renamed the Office for Police Conduct.

Amendment 157 seeks to require the new director general of the organisation to appoint regional directors, including a national director for Wales. The amendment also bars people who have formerly worked for the police from these positions.

Labour spokesman Lord Rosser says that this is important, because otherwise there would be a "significant detraction" from public confidence in the new organisation.

Minister Baroness Williams disagrees with this stance, saying that the government does not wish to disqualify those with "valuable experience" from holding positions in the Office for Police Conduct.

DUP MP: We must stop Yemen falling to the Islamic State group

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

DUP MP Jim Shannon says the UK should "do everything in our power to stop another Muslim country becoming an Isis-held country".

He adds: "We have a duty internationally to stand with our allies."

SNP MP on the use of cluster bombs in Yemen

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP MP George Kerevan says that cluster bombs, of a type sold to Saudi Arabia by the UK and US 20 years ago, "have been found to have been used in at least five provinces in Yemen".

He tells MPs that he doesn't know who used them but says this needs investigation.

The police barred list

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lib Dem peer and former police officer Lord Paddick is moving an amendment to a part of the bill relating to procedures for the police barred list.

His amendment seeks to remove the necessity to report the dismissal of civilian officers for efficiency or effectiveness reasons. 

The peer says he is essentially asking whether the barred list should be reserved specifically for wrong-doing by officers.

In response, Minister Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen says that the amendment would create a disparity between how a civilian officer and a constable would be treated.

She says that the government does not feel that creating such a distinction would be "desirable". 

Lord Paddick
BBC

'Potential human rights abuses on both sides' says Lib Dem MP

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Tom Brake indicates that he will support Labour's motion.

"Potentially, there are human rights abuses on both sides," he says.

He recalls a call for Saudi Arabia to be allowed to conduct its own investigation before any international investigation, made by Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Crispin Blunt, and asks at what point the government will decide that a UN investigation is needed.

Text of the Labour motion

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

That this House supports efforts to bring about a cessation of hostilities and provide humanitarian relief in Yemen, and notes that the country is now on the brink of famine; condemns the reported bombings of civilian areas that have exacerbated this crisis; believes that a full independent UN-led investigation must be established into alleged violations of international humanitarian law in the conflict in Yemen; and calls on the government to suspend its support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces in Yemen until it has been determined whether they have been responsible for any such violations."

Houthis 'have a long record of atrocities' - Tory MPs

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Gerald Howarth
BBC

Another former defence minister, Conservative MP Sir Gerald Howarth, says he agrees with Labour's Kevan Jones.

He says the UK has has "a long and beneficial relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" and the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has the backing of many Arab nations.

The Houthi rebels "have a long record of atrocities", he adds.

He dismisses calls to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia as "at best SNP grandstanding, at worst a kick in the teeth to an important ally".

Iran trying to 'destabilise' Yemen - Labour MP

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Kevan Jones says he cannot support his front bench becasue the motion does not mention the "Iranian backed" Houthi rebels.

He says Iran is arming the rebels and trying to "destabilise" the region.

The former defence minister says the current system of UK arms export controls was "one of the achievements of the last Labour government".

'Unsatisfactory' answers on 'Leveson 2'

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford says there are "ongoing criminal cases" relevant to the Leveson inquiry, which is why a second stage on relations between the police and the media has not yet happened because of the risk of prejudicing any ongoing court cases.

She says there is an "established process in place" for a second stage so more legislation is not needed.

Labour's Lord Rosser asks the minister to clarify if stage two of the Leveson inquiry will definitely happen, or if the government's stance is that they will "consider" a second stage.

The minister says "a decision will be made" once related criminal cases have been concluded. Lord Rosser calls the response "unsatisfactory" and says the government has "gone back" on promises made by the previous Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Lord Rosser
BBC

Yemen-born MP says the country is on 'the brink of disaster'

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Keith Vaz
BBC

Labour MP Keith Vaz, who was born in Yemen and chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the country, says a ceasefire had allowed food and humanitarian supplies to reach civilians.

A bid to extend it was thwarted by "violations by both sides", he says.

He tells MPs that the country of his birth is on "the brink of disaster" and he regrets that the House will divide on the issue this evening.

He put forward an amendment - not selected for debate - which criticised "the failure of all sides within the conflict to ensure safe humanitarian access to all parts of the country" and backed a permanent ceasefire.

About the Yemen funeral hall bombing

Funeral hall bombing
AP

Boris Johnson and other MPs have referred to an attack on a funeral hall in Yemen's capital, Sanaa. Saudi Arabia admitted the bombing and said it was a result of "bad information".

At least 140 people were killed, most of them civilians, in the attack on 8 October - one of the single worst death tolls in the two-year conflict.

An inquiry blamed "non-compliance with coalition rules of engagement" and "the issuing of incorrect information".

The attack was heavily criticised internationally.

The 14-nation Saudi-led inquiry, carried out by the Joint Incidents Assessment Team, said coalition aircraft were wrongly told that the funeral hall was full of Houthi leaders.

Read more.

Disagreement on Canada trade deal's impact on UK after Brexit

Select Committee

Parliament

Sir William Cash
HoC

Geraint Davies asks David Jones if he's happy as a minister for Exiting the EU to approve the Ceta trade deal - the EU-Canada deal - which he says come with "binding terms" for 20 years. 

The chair intervenes, saying that it's not certain if Ceta will still be binding on the UK after leaving the EU, and that it depends on the form the final Great Repeal Bill takes. 

2011 photo of Colin Myler and Tom Crone giving evidence to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee about phone hacking.

MPs are calling for two former News of the World executives to be ordered to Parliament and "be admonished by the Speaker".

Read more

'Real doubts' about Leveson 2

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Rosser is introducing a Labour Party amendment that calls for an independent inquiry into relations between the police and the press, the promised second stage of the Leveson inquiry process.

He says that in the years since the original Leveson inquiry "real doubts about the government's willingness to honour that promise have arisen" and that the question of the inquiry has changed from "when" to "whether" it'll happen.

He talks about a series of injustices that featured "inappropriate" police briefing to newspapers including the Hillsborough disaster and the prosecution of the "Shrewsbury 24" and a number of lower profile cases.

Parliament must examine EU treaty, says Exiting EU minister

European Scrutiny Committee

Select Committee

Parliament

David Jones
HoC

David Jones, a minister at the Department for Exiting the EU, told the European Scrutiny Committee that the government "fully intended to comply with [its] obligations" under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act (CRaG).

These obligations would mean that any treaty that results from negotiations with the EU would be brought before both houses of parliament, for them to debate and vote on.

Withdrawing support from Saudi Arabia would be 'damaging' - committee chairman

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Crispin Blunt
BBC

Conservative MP Crispin Blunt says the Foreign Affairs Committee, which he chairs, has called for "independent verification of the cluster bomb incident" and a UN investigation into all parties.

However, he argues there should be a Saudi investigation into their own actions "in the first instance".

Mr Blunt also refers to the UK's "tough arms licence conditions", as did the foreign secretary.

"What is the Saudi interest in committing breaches of humanitarian law?" he asks, claiming that the country leads "a relatively immature coalition - they've never done this before".

Withdrawal of support from Saudi Arabia in Yemen, he adds, would be "seriously damaging".

Committee adjourns

Select Committee

Parliament

The Joint Committee on Human Rights' evidence session on the human rights implications of Brexit has come to an end.

More information on the committee's inquiry, including terms of references, can be found here.

Human rights clauses in trade deals

Human rights implications of Brexit

Select Committee

Parliament

Baroness Lawrence
BBC

Labour's Baroness Lawrence asks about the future wording of trade agreements following the vote to leave the European Union, as EU trade agreements currently contain "human rights clauses".

Professor O'Cinneide says in answer to this "fascinating question", he predicts that the UK government will be "tempted to dilute" human rights clauses to trade agreements.

This, he argues, could lead to an imbalance between UK standards and EU standards, which he says "could prove controversial"

Ms Wheeler argues that as a policy issue this should be looked at very carefully, but tells the committee that she understands that the Council of Europe decided not to include human rights clauses in trade agreements post-2009 because they were inherently political rather than solely based on human rights.

UK has 'a moral responsiblity to act' - SNP MP

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, making the opening speech for the SNP, says there is "a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Yemen".

She says the UK government has "a moral responsibility to act now and do what they possibly can to protect lives in Yemen".

While she condemns the "evil, wicked and wrong" actions of the Houthi rebels, she says the UK has a chance to influence the Saudi side - and asks why the government "is so averse to an independent UN-led inquiry into what is happening".

She claims the Saudi-led coalition has "bombed funerals, weddings and markets [and] used banned cluster bombs on populated areas".

Saudi Arabia 'a key strategic and defence partner' - Johnson

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Turning to UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Boris Johnson says the country "has been a key strategic and defence partner for the UK for decades".

The foreign secretary says his Labour shadow, Emily Thornberry, has not called for an immediate suspension of arms sales, which he says was "wise" and indicates "there is a wide measure of agreement between our parties".

Ms Thornberry refers him to Labour's motion - "perhaps we can read it together" - which calls for a suspension of UK support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen pending investigation of alleged violations of humanitarian law.

SNP MP Alex Salmond suggests that Mr Johnson has confused Labour's motion with an SNP amendment - not selected for debate - which calls on the government "to immediately suspend its licenses for arms sales to Saudi Arabia pending the outcome of the investigation".

The foreign secretary says an attack on a funeral hall in Sanaa on 8 October shocked many people. "An investigation is now taking place," he adds and welcomes Saudi Arabia's undertaking to "review" rules of engagement.

Falling behind or leading the pack?

Human rights implications of Brexit

Select Committee

Parliament

Karen Buck
BBC

MP Karen Buck asks whether the UK leaving the EU would lead to the UK falling behind on anti-discrimination law on which the EU is "seen as a driver".

Marina Wheeler disagrees that the EU has been the primary driver of progress in anti-discrimination law, and argues that UK law has been "at the vanguard" of this drive.

There is no reason, she argues, why Brexit should stop the UK from continuing to have a very high standard of descrimination legilsation and says there is nothing to stop Parliament matching other EU laws within our own domestic legal sphere.

Professor Colm O'Cinneide says he "strongly disagrees" that UK law has always been at the vanguard of anti-discrimination legislation, arguing that many UK anti-discrimination laws owe their origins to EU laws.

Yemen crisis: Who is fighting whom?

Air strike in Yemen
EPA
More than 60% of civilian deaths have been the result of Saudi-led air strikes, the UN says

Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries, has been devastated by a war between forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement.

More than 6,800 people have been killed and 35,000 injured since March 2015, the majority in air strikes by a Saudi-led multinational coalition that backs the president.

The conflict and a blockade imposed by the coalition have also triggered a humanitarian disaster, leaving 80% of the population in need of aid.

Read more about the conflict.