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Summary

  1. Liaison Committee questioned Sir John Chilcot
  2. MPs questioned Cabinet Office ministers
  3. PMQs was at noon
  4. Opposition day debate subjects were community pharmacies; and police officer safety
  5. Peers examined Policing and Crime Bill at committee stage
  6. Lords committee looked at security post-Brexit

Live Reporting

By Aiden James, Alex Partridge and Kate Whannel

All times stated are UK

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House of Lords adjourns

House of Lords

Parliament

That concludes coverage of the House of Lords for today.

Peers return at 11:00am on Thursday for questions, a debate on the effect of Brexit on scientific research, and another debate on the housing shortage.

Before that, the House of Commons will sit from 9:30am for culture, media and sport questions and international trade questions.

Inquest decisions specific to Hillsborough, says minister

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Williams
BBC

Baroness Williams says clauses in the bill "draw on the experiences of the Hillsborough families and their fight for justice is a long time coming".

The minister says the families received public funding for their legal costs but that decision was specific to the inquest, and she argues it would be "premature" to legislate until an inquiry into the families' experiences by former Bishop of Liverpool James Jones has concluded.

A decision on funding for the police at the inquest was taken by the police and crime commissioner, the minister adds, in order that justice could be "seen to be done".

She continues: "The decision was taken specifically in the context of the Hillsborough inquest and should not be seen as setting a wider precedent."

There would also be a serious cost implication for applying such measures more widely, Baroness Williams tells peers. 

Labour spokesman calls for 'parity of funding' in inquests

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Lord Rosser introduces an amendment, backed by the Lib Dems' Lord Paddick, on "parity of funding at inquests".

He says bereaved families can "find themselves in an adversarial and aggressive environment" and cannot match the legal spending of the police.

Lord Rosser adds that the Hillsborough families have told of the lengths they had to go to to secure legal funding.

The home secretary would be required to "provide financial assistance to the individual family or the group of families to ensure parity of funding" if a police and crime commissioner recommends it.

Can you email the police for permission to use your tank transporter?

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Earl Attlee
BBC

Conservative peer Earl Attlee introduces an amendment to allow online or email notification of the police for permission to drive "special vehicles" on the roads.

Then the former transport minister declares his interest: "I own and operate a tank transporter."

Earl Attlee says he understands Merseyside Police are insisting that emails are not an acceptable form of notification, even though it is a "ubiquitous" form of communication.

Labour spokesman Lord Kennedy of Southwark says he doesn't own a tank but also asks the minister why online or email applications are not acceptable.

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams insists that they can, if the recipient will accept it: "Online application may be acceptable, an email may acceptable, pigeon post may be acceptable, but it has to be acceptable to the recipient."

About the bill

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The majority of the Policing and Crime Bill's provisions apply to England and Wales only, though certain provisions extend to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The bill would allow for collaboration agreements between police, fire and ambulance services. A collaboration agreement would set out in writing how the emergency services would work together.

Individual emergency services would be required to consider whether collaboration would be efficient or effective.

The bill would enable elected police and crime commissioners to take on responsibility for fire and rescue services.

The Police Federation of England and Wales will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act and the bill also makes changes to the police complaints and disciplinary system.

Committee stage resumes

House of Lords

Parliament

The short debate, and the dinner break for peers who did not take part, end and debate on the Policing and Crime Bill resumes.

Fund is subject to 'thorough evaluation' says government spokeswoman

Debate on the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund

House of Lords

Parliament

White Helmets
AFP
The White Helmets respond to airstrikes in war-torn Syria, and claim to have saved 60,000 lives

Baroness Goldie replies to the debate on behalf of the government.

The former Scottish Conservative leader notes that she has faced Labour peer Lord McConnell in a different debating chamber, "when he was First Minister of Scotland and we had a weekly clash at First Minister's Questions".

Turning to the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund, she says projects are assessed by regional boards and representatives of departments "across Whitehall".

She gives examples of the fund's work: support for the White Helmets, Syria's volunteer rescue service, and support for the Columbian peace process.

Labour spokesman calls for clarity on 'direction of strategy'

Debate on the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow foreign affairs spokesman Lord Collins of Highbury says the debate is about the fund's "direction of strategy" which some have described as "far from clear".

The Labour spokesman asks whether policies "place sufficient emphasis" on long-term needs and are consistent with UK aims for "more peaceful, just and inclusive societies", as set out at the UN.

About the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund

House of Lords

Parliament

The government established the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund in 2015 and it provides more than £1bn for projects, with an emphasis on fragile and unstable states and regions.

The fund is overseen by the National Security Council and replaces a previous fund, the Conflict (Prevention) Pool.

In May, a joint committee of MPs and peers launched an inquiry into the work of the fund.

The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy examined the extent to which the fund contributes to national security and the way in which projects are managed and evaluated.

End of the day in the House of Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

That's it for Wednesday in the Commons. MPs return tomorrow morning at 9:30am for culture, media and sport questions, followed by international trade questions.

The main business of the day consists of backbench debates on financial services and Brexit, and the living wage.

Debate on the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale
BBC

Debate on the Policing and Crime Bill adjourns for a short debate on the work of the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund, which provides funding for tackling conflict and instability overseas.

Labour peer Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale has tabled the question for debate, asking for the government's assessment of projects supported by the scheme.

Government 'will look very carefully' at post-Brexit trade solutions - minister

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Robin Walker
BBC

Brexit minister Robin Walker says the government "will look very carefully" at the competing arguments and "make a full assessment of the options" over the EU's customs union.

He spends part of his speech explaining the concept of a customs union, and also talks about "numerous" examples from across the world where countries have smoothed customs processes but stopped short of a customs union.

He cites Norway, US-Canada cooperation and Switzerland but emphasises that the UK is "not looking for an off the shelf solution" to Brexit.

Customs union 'more important' than any other Brexit question - Labour MP

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Helen Goodman wants to know what the government's policy is on remaining in the EU customs union. She says it's "more important" than any other question surrounding Brexit.

The EU customs union is an agreement among member states to levy the same tariffs on goods brought into the EU, and to levy no tariffs on goods moved between EU member states. The EU also has customs union agreements with Turkey, Andorra and San Marino.

The BBC's business unit has written an explainer about single markets, free trade areas, customs unions and other possible models for post-Brexit trade, which you can read here.

Crane along the quay side at Tilbury Docks in Essex
PA

Minister: Tasers are 'an important tactical option' for the police

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford says Tasers are "an important tactical option" for the police.

She argues in favour of their use in situations of extreme violence in psychiatric wards which "can only be met with force" when "other de-escalation tactics have probably been tried and failed".

She says the government and the police oppose any bid to "remove this valuable police tactic".

Baroness Walmsley, who proposed the amendment banning the use of Tasers in psychiatric wards, withdraws the amendment but reserves the right to return to the argument in the bill's later stages.

'Police service is almost becoming an auxiliary to mental health services'

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Ouseley
BBC

"The police service is almost becoming an auxiliary to mental health services in some areas," says crossbench peer Lord Ouseley.

There needs to be action on improving the "quality" and quantity of staff, he says, and the amendment draws attention to "the state of the problem" and could allow it to be addressed.

The former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality adds that there needs to be attention to Taser use and "the discrimination inflicted on black and ethnic minority communities".

MPs vote against Labour motion on police safety

Police safety debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's motion is defeated by 288 votes to 207. MPs instead agree to the government's amendment.

Labour MP Helen Goodman is now introducing her adjournment debate on the EU customs union.

Amendment 'could expose patients to the risk of death' says ex-chief constable

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Dear
BBC

Crossbench peer Lord Dear, a former chief constable, opposes the amendment banning Taser use by police in psychiatric wards.

The amendment states: "A police officer may not use a Taser or electroshock weapon during a deployment on a psychiatric ward."

He argues that police use of firearms is permitted in law when there is a risk to life and therefore banning Tasers specifically could mean firearms being used "in extremis" instead.

"To have something as extreme and prescriptive as this in statute could expose patients in psychiatric wards to the risk of death," he says.

Assaults on police an 'assault on all of us' home office minister says

Police safety debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Sarah Newton
BBC

Home Office Minister Sarah Newton finishes the debate for the government. Like many speakers so far, she pays tribute to the new Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Tracy Brabin, for her maiden speech.

She responds to calls from many members today for stronger sentences for those who assault police officers. She says sentencing guidelines are a "matter for the courts" but guidelines "already provide for assault on a police officer to be treated more severely". She adds that there are a number of police-specific offences that a suspect can be charged with.

She finishes by emphasising the "seriousness" with which assaults on police officers are regarded by the government. An assault on a police officer is an "assault on all of us", she says.

MPs are now voting on Labour's motion, which notes with "concern" the estimated 23,000 assaults on police a year.

Police not 'second class victims' - shadow minister

Police safety debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow home office minister Lynn Brown is winding up the debate for Labour.

She says that "experiencing violence should not be an expected or accepted part of the job" of a police officer, "nor should they be second class victims".

She says that a better approach to curbing police assaults is "not just about data" and is about "offering support" too.

Lib Dem amendment would end the use of Tasers in psychiatric wards

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lib Dem Baroness Walmsley's next amendment would disallow the use of Tasers by police officers in psychiatric wards.

She argues that the Taser is a firearm and constitutes "a form of torture".

She says the fact that the use of Tasers in such situations has only recently been widely exposed indicates the balance of power between those using Tasers and those on whom they are used.

The facts about sectioning under the Mental Health Act

BBC Newsbeat

Being sectioned means that you are kept in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983 - a piece of legislation that covers the treatment, assessment and rights of those with mental disorders.

You can be sectioned if your own health or safety are at risk, or to protect other people.

"Sectioning is a legal process which allows people to be detained in hospital where they're not prepared to go in as a voluntary patient or informally," says Ms Fiddy.

"It's a process that allows you to be detained without consent."

Read more.

Peers debate how long people should be detained under the Mental Health Act

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Walmsley expresses the hope that the government will return to the issue at the next stage of the bill's passage through the Lords and withdraws her amendment.

She now moves amendment 192, which would ensure that people are only detained under the mental health act for under 24 hours. 

She insists the clock should start ticking from the moment the decision to detain someone is made, not from the point they arrive at "a place of safety".

She compares the situation to the difference in time between calling for an ambulance and actually being picked up. She argues that "this is matter of parity between physical and mental health". 

Baroness Chisolm warns that stringent targets could lead to the police or mental health practioners having "one eye on the clock" at the expense of finding the most appropriate place for the detainee.

Police assaults: the statistics

Police safety debate

Police officer
PA

Official government statistics say that in England and Wales and in the British Transport Police there were 7,903 reported assaults on police officers involving injury in 2015/16, and 15,491 reported "assaults without injury", a total of more than 23,000. 

However, the government notes that statistics on police assaults have "known limitations", including that police officers don't always report assaults.

The Police Federation, the body that represents rank and file police officers, agrees that officers often "do not bother" reporting being assaulted and say that the real figure of police assaults is "thought to be much higher" than the official 23,000 estimate.

According to the Police Federation, the official estimates indicate that a fifth of serving officers have been assaulted in the past year.

'Inappropriate use' of police cells has fallen

Chilcot Inquiry

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Chisholm speaks for the government and agrees that it is important that people going through a mental health crisis go to the most appropriate place.

She welcomes progress in reducing the "inappropriate use" of police cells but argues that in some cases an adult detainee is "too violent" to be safely managed.

There are 'wide variations' in the use of police cells

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Responding for the opposition Lord Rosser wonders why there are "wide variations" in the use of police cells for people in a mental health crisis.

Why, he asks, do some areas not need to use cells.

He offers a number of possible answers - poor management, inadequate provision of health based places of safety or lack of qualified staff.

Lord Rosser
BBC

Hamwee: Police officers are not mental health workers

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Howe
BBC

Crossbencher Baroness Howe supports the amendment arguing that the experience of being treated like a criminal is "distressing" for vulnerable people and only serves to "make the matters worse".

The amendment also has support from Baroness Hamwee. She makes the point that police officers are not mental health workers: "We shouldn't expect them to respond to situations for which they are not qualified."

Watch in full: Labour MP's maiden speech

New MP Tracy Brabin pays tribute to her predecessor Jo Cox, in her maiden speech.

Amendment seeks to stop those with mental health problems from being put in a police cell

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Walmsley
BBC

Lib Dem Baroness Walmsley now speaks to a groups of amendments which would ensure that regardless of age "no one should be taken to a police cell under the Mental Health Act".

She argues that instead of this "outdated" method those with mental illnesses could be taken to "health-based places of safety" where police assistance can be called for if needed.

She notes that ethnic minorities are more likely to be locked up under the Mental Health Act. 

Burnham: select committee should investigate Orgreave

Police safety debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Andy Burnham
BBC

Labour's former shadow home secretary Andy Burnham calls for stronger sentencing for people who assault police officers.

He also says he wants to address the issue of public trust in police. He says that there has to be a "bond of trust" between police and the public and that decisions like the one made this week- not to hold an inquiry into the 1984 'Battle of Orgreave' clashes between police and striking miners - make it harder for South Yorkshire Police to regain the trust of their community.

He adds his support to a suggestion first made by Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh that a select committee should hold their own inquiry instead.

Speech in the 'best traditions of the House'

Police safety debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Tracy Brabin's speech is met with a round of applause from Labour members.

Conservative MP Philip Davies has the job of congratulating her on her maiden speech. 

He says it was made in the "best traditions of the House" and also lauds the "massive amount of dignity" she showed during her acceptance speech the night she was elected. She was subjected to what Mr Davies calls "deeply unpleasant barracking" from some of the other candidates and their supporters.

The Conservatives, Lib Dems, UKIP and the Greens did not put up candidates in the Batley and Spen byelection, so the opposition to Labour was limited to fringe and far-right candidates.

Committee concludes

Chilcot Inquiry

Select Committee

Parliament

Liaison Committee
BBC

The questioning comes to an end and Chair Andrew Tyrie thanks Sir John for answering questions.

He also thanks him "on behalf of Parliament" for having done "such a thorough job" with the inquiry.

And there the committee is adjourned.

'More in common': new Batley and Spen MP makes maiden speech

Police safety debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Tracy Brabin
BBC

Tracy Brabin, the new Labour member for Batley and Spen, is making her maiden speech

She says she's been elected to the House in the "darkest of circumstances through the loss of my friend and inspiration Jo Cox". 

The former MP Jo Cox was killed in her constituency in June.

Her byelection victory came against a number of far-right and fringe parties, after the main UK parties withdrew. 

Ms Brabin says she wants to "stand tall against those who seek to divide our community" and quotes from Jo Cox's maiden speech, made just last year, where she said that people in her constituency are "far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us".

Chilcot: Failure of security sector one of worst aspects of Iraq venture

Chilcot Inquiry

Select Committee

Parliament

Chair Andrew Tyrie is questioning Sir John on who should bear responsibility for the failures of the mission.

Sir John believes that the failure of the security sector was "one of the very worst aspects" of the venture.

He argues that if better security could have been put in place in the south-east of Iraq then "the whole process of reconstruction might have had a chance".

Maiden speech imminent

Labour whips tweet

Did the prime minister delay military preparations?

Chilcot Inquiry

Select Committee

Parliament

Dr Lewis now asks if the procurement of protective equipment against IEDs (improvised explosive devices) was delayed as a result of the prime minister wishing to keep private his early decision to go to war.

"I don't believe the two things can't be put together," replies Sir John.

He expands on his answer to say that there is a criticism to be made that preparations for equipment were held up in order to avoid the sense that military activity was inevitable.

However he doesn't believe this had a direct impact "on the IED question".

Minister requests time to consider 'lack of evidence' argument

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams says the government "would like to give further consideration" to the arguments as they apply to people questioned under caution but not charged.

Fellow Conservative Lord Marlesford says he is "happy to leave it her to come back to us" and withdraws the amendment.

By convention, amendments are rarely pushed to a vote at committee stage in the Lords and are introduced to provoke debate and ask for a government response.

However, peers may introduce similar amendments at later stages and put them to a vote if they are not satisfied with ministers' reassurances.

Chilcot: Tony Blair did not set out to deceive

Chilcot Inquiry

Select Committee

Parliament

Julian Lewis
BBC

Conservative Julian Lewis asks what Tony Blair can be blamed for and "from what he should be absolved".

Sir John replies that he can be absolved from a "personal decision to deceive".

He does criticise the former prime minister for failing to share a "crucial judgement" and taking a part in an "advocacy exercise".

Dr Lewis asks who should have stood up to Tony Blair.

Sir John says the Cabinet did not insist on an opportunity to challenge the decision - "that is a failing". 

Peers call for change of terminology on 'lack of evidence'

Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord Marlesford tables an amendment on "lack of evidence to charge". He proposes this form of words instead of "insufficient evidence", when a person is released without charge.

The present form of words suggests there is "no smoke without fire", he argues.

He gets support from crossbencher Baroness Boothroyd, who shares concerns over public figures who have been suspected of crimes. When released without charge, "they have been harassed by the police, they very often have been pilloried by the press", she says.

"There's a serious risk of agreement breaking out," says Lib Dem Lord Campbell, also backing the amendment.

Chilcot: Invasion not justifiable on humanitarian grounds

Chilcot Inquiry

Select Committee

Parliament

Laurence Robertson
BBC

Conservative Laurence Robertson tells Sir John that at the time of the build up to the Iraq War he had visited Rwanda.

He describes the feeling of shame he felt that the UK had done nothing to prevent the genocide there.

He asks if the inquiry considered the invasion from "a humanitarian point of view".

Sir John replies that although Saddam Hussein's regime was "barbaric" this did not amount to sufficient grounds for the invasion of a sovereign country.