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Summary

  1. Questions to Culture ministers; and International Trade ministers
  2. Urgent question on air quality
  3. Business Statement laid out forthcoming debates and bills
  4. Statements on prison reform; and statement on select committee report into accident and emergency departments
  5. Statement from Boris Johnson on steps to counter so-called IS in Iraq and Syria
  6. Backbench debates on Brexit and on living wage
  7. Peers' debates included Brexit impact on universities; and housing shortages

Live Reporting

By Aiden James, Alex Partridge and Kate Whannel

All times stated are UK

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Brexit and EU signs

Alex Hunt

BBC News

A guide to plans for the UK to leave the European Union, after the 2016 referendum.

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House of Lords adjourns

House of Lords

Parliament

That ends today's coverage from Westminster.

The House of Lords will not return until Monday but the Commons will debate private members' bills from 9:30am on Friday.

Debate will begin on a bill to apply the minimum wage to internships.

'The government cannot impose consensus from Whitehall'

Debate on political party funding

House of Lords

Parliament

"Despite a decade of talks, there is no cross-party consensus," says Cabinet Office spokeswoman Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen.

She tells the House that funding is for political parties and "the government cannot impose consensus from Whitehall".

She says there has been "no arms race" in spending by parties and also notes there is no public appetite for state funding.

Baroness Chisholm says she will pass on the views expressed by peers during the debate to the Cabinet Office and with the hope that "perhaps now there is the momentum for cross-party talks".

Jeremy Corbyn

A range of figures react to news that the UK government must consult MPs before triggering Article 50 to leave the EU.

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Labour attacks plan to allow expats to donate to parties

Debate on political party funding

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour Cabinet Office spokeswoman Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town echoes her Labour colleague Lord Whitty's criticism of the Trade Union Act.

She also attacks government proposals to end the 15 year limit before UK citizens living overseas have their UK voting rights removed.

The Conservatives are planning to offer "a vote for a life to an estimated one million expats" who may not have paid UK tax for many years, Baroness Hayter says, and allow them to "become permissible donors" to a political party.

"I can't think of the political party [the government] has in mind," she jokes grimly.

Breaking the 'oligopoly' or the 'growth of the protest vote'?

Debate on political party funding

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord Sherbourne of Didsbury says UKIP has "broken the oligopoly" of the major parties in England, while the SNP has done the same in Scotland.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn's leadership "has swollen the membership and the coffers of the Labour Party".

He argues that these development mean that donations from individuals should not be "precluded". Otherwise, "the political elite are further entrenched and the public further alienated".

Liberal Democrat Lord Wrigglesworth hits back at the Conservative Party, accusing it of not being willing to hold all-party talks on reform.

Lord Wrigglesworth is a former Labour MP and was later a member of the SDP. He says that problems of party funding will not be solved "until we sit down and talk about it".

He argues that this failure is behind public disillusionment and the "growth of the protest vote: the UKIPs and, indeed, the Trumps".

Standards committee chairman on party funding

Debate on political party funding

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bew
BBC

Crossbencher Lord Bew is the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which advises the prime minister on ethical standards across the whole of public life in the UK.

He says 93% of people polled believed that large donations to political parties are motivated by "hopes of influence" or political favours, "the most obvious example being peerages".

He adds that 80% of people polled were opposed to state funding.

"Immediately one sees the complexity and inherent difficulty of this issue," he says.

Umbrella carrying the EU flag outside the High Court in London

Northern Ireland's political parties remain sharply divided over Brexit ahead of a possible Westminster vote on triggering Article 50 to leave the EU.

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Electronic voting review launches for trade union ballots

Trade union march
@RESISTUNITE

Electronic voting could become a reality in industrial action ballots, after the government announced an independent review of the technology.

The review will examine possible risks, such as hacking or fraud, as well as potential impact on cases of intimidation of union members.

The review has been welcomed by political parties and unions.

Earlier this year, the new Trade Union Act established that a vote in favour of industrial action requires a turnout of at least 50%, and that key public services need at least 40% of eligible members to back a strike for it to be a legitimate result.

The law also stated that these ballots had to be returned by post.

Read more.

Former Labour general secretary attacks Trade Union Act

Debate on political party funding

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Whitty
BBC

Labour peer Lord Whitty attacks the government's Trade Union Act for targeting a form of funding for the Labour Party.

The former Labour general secretary says restrictions on trade unions' spending on political funds in the act do not apply to other sources of funding for parties.

"It is not healthy for a political party to rely on donations from the super rich" or from "large corporations or private companies" or, indeed, from trade unions, he argues.

He thinks this is "not acceptable to the public".

He also says he does not want "utter dependence on state funding" but he thinks it has a role.

Tory peer opposes state funding of parties

Debate on political party funding

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Leigh of Hurley
BBC

Conservative peer Lord Leigh of Hurley, a senior treasurer of the party, argues that the public would find the idea of state funding of political parties "unattractive".

He warns of a perception that the state could influence political parties.

He adds that he accepts that there is what he calls "soft state funding" in the form of financial assistance for opposition parties in Parliament.

Lord Leigh suggests that individuals should be encouraged to become donors to political parties, criticising the press for having "castigated" people who donate.

Debate on political party funding

House of Lords

Parliament

The final debate today is on political party funding.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Wallace of Saltaire has tabled a questions asking the government "what plans they have for further reform to party funding".

He says the matter of party funding reform is "rather like the issue of Lords reform" in that "we come back to it every other year".

Methodism and Marxism

Impact of the shortage of housing on young people

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer and Methodist minister Lord Griffiths of Burry Port closes the debate by thanking Conservative Lord Horam for saying that his opening speech did not "turn into a sermon".

Lord Horam jokes that he is "glad that, at least in the House of Lords, the Labour Party still owes more to Methodism than to Marx" - a quote attributed to former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, amongst others.

Lord Griffiths asks if he can have that in writing.

'We're simply not building enough houses' minister says

Impact of the shortage of housing on young people

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth
BBC

"Rising house prices have pushed home ownership further and further out of reach," says Communities and Local Government Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth.

"We're simply not building enough houses," he adds.

He says the government is producing what he hopes will be a "seminal white paper" on housing policy soon.

Lord Bourne adds that the level of homelessness is "unacceptable".

End of the day in the House of Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood tells the House that the government has introduced a "tougher regime" for care home inspections, as well as a specific criminal offence for care home mistreatment.

She also talks about a series of other measures the government is bringing forward, including putting an extra £3.5bn into social care. 

But she says "funding issues are no excuse for poor care or abuse".

And that's it in the Commons today. MPs return at 9:30am tomorrow for private members' bills. First up for discussion is Conservative Alec Shelbrooke's National Minimum Wage (Workplace Internships) Bill.

'Council housing was good for us' says Labour spokesman

Impact of the shortage of housing on young people

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow communities and local government spokesman Lord Kennedy of Southwark says the UK has "the fourth-lowest home ownership rate in the European Union", with only Denmark, Austria and Germany having lower rates.

He claims that young people's wages are lower than they were 10 years ago while rents have risen.

The Labour peer says he grew up in social housing in Southwark, in south London, adding: "Council housing was very good for us. It was a step up."

He argues that, if more housing with affordable rents is not made available, "we're going to reap a terrible reward".

Lib Dems want 300,000 new homes per year

Impact of the shortage of housing on young people

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Palmer of Childs Hill says his party is calling for a house building target of "300,000 new homes per annum, including 10 new garden cities".

He also calls for the "removal of the local authority borrowing cap" and a government-led housing investment bank.

Gina Miller

The UK government must consult MPs before triggering Article 50 to leave the EU, a court rules.

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Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The Commons has now moved to the adjournment debate, today led by Peter Heaton-Jones, on the regulation of privately run care homes.

He says that residents of care homes are often "people without a voice, and that has to change".

National Living Wage is 'unacceptable age discrimination'

Living wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour frontbencher Jack Dromey is finishing off the debate. He's drawing attention to what he calls "unacceptable age discrimination", the fact that the National Living Wage applies only to over 25s. He says an under-25 can legally be paid £6.95 an hour, the National Minimum Wage, for the same work a colleague aged 25 or over has to be paid £7.20 an hour for.

He says his party has a "more ambitious approach" to the issue, and is advocating a £10-an-hour minimum wage by 2020. 

He says for workers the "dignity of labour is paramount" and they should be able to "enjoy life" and "not have to scrimp and save".

Former Tory minister calls for council housing cap to be lifted

Impact of the shortage of housing on young people

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer and former minister Lord Horam says Lord Griffiths' opening speech showed "all the fluency of a minister of the church, without it ever quite sounding like a sermon".

He welcomes the appointment of Sajid Javid as Communities and Local Government Secretary, because he is an economist and a former Treasury minister, "which is important".

Lord Horam argues that, when it comes to meeting demand for new housing, "the private sector will not do it". Social housing and council housing is needed as well.

He says the cap on the amount of housing local authorities can build should be lifted.

"It's ridiculous that local councils can build swimming pools ad lib, but cannot build housing beyond a certain point."

Impact of the shortage of housing on young people

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Griffiths of Burry Port
BBC

The next debate is led by Labour peer Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, and concerns "the impact of the shortage of housing on the desire of people, particularly the young, to live in the communities where they were born, raised and educated".

He says he wants young school leavers to be able to "root [their] lives in the communities they know, close to friends and support networks".

People in London with jobs such as retail or care work can find that the cost of private renting can be above 100% of their income, and even junior bankers struggle, the peer says.

Lord Griffiths, who is also a Methodist minister, says he is soon to leave his tied accommodation and move into the private sector for the first time, but has some words of admonishment for people of his age.

"It is time people of my generation come clean about the mess we've left for our children and grandchildren," he tells the House.

He adds that luxury flats are being built in London and "there seems to be no end of demand for them and yet, nobody seems to live in them".

Government says it has had 'positive' discussions with exam boards

Creative subjects at A-level debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Education spokesman Viscount Younger of Leckie says he studied history of art himself and shares the "disappointment" of other peers that exam board AQA is dropping the subject.

"I can assure you this is not a government decision but one taken by AQA," he says.

Once notified by AQA the government "opened urgent discussions with the other exam boards" on offering history of art, which have been "positive", he adds.

Minister 'proud' of National Living Wage

Living Wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Small Business Minister Margo James is speaking. She says she's "proud" of being part of a government that introduced a national living wage that saw 1.5m workers receive a pay rise in April.

She says the National Living Wage is the highest the statutory minimum wage has ever been, both in cash terms and taking account of inflation.

Siobhan McDonagh intervenes to say that the average 8.2% pay rise for those helped by the National Living Wage doesn't compare to the average pay rise experienced this year by FTSE 100 executives, who have seen their pay jump by 10%.

Margot James says the Business department is going to put top end pay "under the microscope" too.

Margot James
BBC

Labour spokesman urges government to value creative subjects

Creative subjects at A-level debate

House of Lords

Parliament

"Squeezed school budgets" and a differing focus is changing the range of subjects on offer to school students, says Labour education spokesman Lord Watson of Invergowrie.

He argues that the government thinks "every pupil should take" the subjects that the Russell Group of universities want, but he warns them against "sending a message to young people that creative and technical subjects are not valued".

He adds that it is "a great shame" that not enough young people seem to want to study a foreign language, which is "a skill for life".

Competing living wages

Living wage debate

Money
AFP/Getty Images

The government's National Living Wage, currently set at £7.20 an hour for over 25s, came into law on 1 April 2016, after being announced in George Osborne's July 2015 budget. The National Minimum Wage (£6.95 an hour) now applies to those between 21 and 24-years-old.

There is another "living wage", the one promoted by the Living Wage Foundation which is £8.45 an hour, £9.75 an hour in London. The LWF endorsed living wage is calculated by the Resolution Foundation and is based on the amount of money a family needs to live on.

While the government National Living Wage is a statutory requirement, the "real" living wage is voluntary. The LWF currently claims that 2,900 employers pay it. Earlier Siobhan McDonagh told the House that "a quarter of UK workers earn less than the real living wage".

'STEM needs to be expanded to STEAM' says artist and peer

Creative subjects at A-level debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Earl of Clancarty
BBC

Crossbench peer the Earl of Clancarty, also known as the artist Nicholas Trench, defends the history of art as an exam subject.

Creative subjects are "part of the foundation of a rounded education", he argues.

He says the breadth of education is being narrowed, with the education secretary wanting more girls to be taking STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and maths.

The Earl says boys need to be encouraged into arts subjects as well: "STEM needs to be expanded to STEAM."

A-level subjects debate begins

House of Lords

Parliament

National gallery
BBC

Peers now begin their debate on the status of creative subjects on A-Level curricula.

Earlier this month AQA, the last exam board to offer history of art at A-level, announced it would be dropping the subject.

This year the A-level was taken by only 839 students and 721 at AS-level. AQA said it was struggling to recruit enough specialist examiners for the subject. 

Lib Dem Baroness Brinton is opening the debate and worries that the creative subjects are being undermined at the expense of STEM subjects.

She asks the government if it still believes that students need a broad range of choice when choosing what to study at A-level.

Clean air zones

Air quality statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Lib Dem Baroness Featherstone notes that the government is planning to set up five "clean air zones".

She worries that the government is focusing on these areas at the expense of other parts of the country that suffer from poor air quality. 

Lord Kimble seeks to assure her that the government efforts would not solely be concentrated in the five zones specified.

That, he says, is why the government has invested £2bn for green transport initiatives. 

Baroness Featherstone
BBC

Living wage debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Siobhan McDonagh is introducing her backbench debate on the living wage, on what campaigners are calling "living wage week".

She says that living wage week marks "the real living wage", not the government's National Living Wage. She says the main criticism of the National Living Wage "is its name" because the mandated £7.20 an hour falls short of the "actual living wage".

Air quality statement

House of Lords

Parliament

The debate ends and Environment Minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble rises to repeat the answer to today's Commons urgent question on air quality.

Speaking for the opposition, Baroness Jones of Whitchurch says the government's handling of the issue has been "a disgrace".

She asks for a date when the government will wipe out illegal levels of air pollution. 

Lord Kimble insists that the government is determined to tackle "this unsatisfactory situation" but is unable to provide a "timetable" for action at this time. 

Lord Kimble
BBC

Bank passporting 'one of the key areas' for Brexit negotiations

Brexit and financial services

House of Commons

Parliament

Simon Kirby
BBC

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby says that in the referendum the British people were "clear that they want a new relationship with the European Union". The government is "committed to getting on with the job to make Brexit a success", including for "our world leading financial sector".

On bank passporting, he says it's "one of the key areas" and the UK is looking for a "sensible discussion" on how UK and EU markets can continue to serve each other.

A good deal is "very much in the interest" of both sides, he says.

Passporting a 'dealbreaker'

Brexit and financial services

House of Commons

Parliament

Jonathan Reynolds, shadow economic secretary to the Treasury is winding up the debate for Labour.

He says trust in financial services is "at an all time low", so the notion that finance may suffer because of Bexit may not draw sympathy. But he says it is a crucial industry for the country.

He says that passporting is a "dealbreaker for the negotiations".

Finance a 'key strategic industry'

Brexit and financial services

House of Commons

Parliament

George Kerevan addresses the Commons
BBC

SNP finance spokesperson George Kerevan says the financial sector, a "key strategic industry", is being "left in the wind" by the government post-Brexit.

He says the minister, Simon Kirby, will stand up in a bit and continue doing "a fine job of not telling us anything". 

But he says that "given the unique uncertainties" in the industry, he must tell financial institutions that there will be transitional arrangements because negotiations over financial services will not be possible within the two-year Article 50 process. 

He says that an indication from the government that they would be seeking transitional arrangements "would calm everyone down".

On Scotland, he says that the Scottish government is asking to remain in the single market, while still being part of the UK. He says this would be a "solution to the passporting problem". UK banks could trade in the EU, via their Edinburgh offices, he says.

'We punch well above our weight' says higher education spokesman

Debate on Brexit and scientific research

House of Lords

Parliament

Viscount Younger of Leckie
BBC

"The UK science sector is one of the best in the world," says higher education spokesman Viscount Younger of Leckie. 

"We do punch well above our weight."

The UK will "continue to fund excellent science wherever it originates", he tells the House.

He says he understands the concerns provoked by the EU referendum result and wants to reassure peers of "the government's commitment" to funding science.

Labour spokesman says overseas academics considering leaving

Debate on Brexit and scientific research

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow business spokesman Lord Mendelsohn says people from overseas working in higher education and research "who hitherto saw their futures in the UK... don't necessarily see themselves any more as staying in our country".

"What we have done is not the act of those who look outwards," he says.

Worry over other EU countries taking UK finance jobs

Brexit and financial services

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry tells the House that Edinburgh's economy is "more reliant" on finance than London, or anywhere else in the UK. 

It's worth 23% of the economy in Scotland's capital, compared to 18% in London and 12% in Glasgow.

She says she is worried that other cities, including Dublin and Paris, are already trying to attract financial services jobs away from UK cities.

Lib Dem peer claims the UK is becoming a 'nasty country'

Debate on Brexit and scientific research

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Garden of Frognal says the UK could be looked on as a "nasty country".

She asks which students would want to come to a country that she describes as "loath to help those who are in distress and puts up barriers to genuine students".

She calls for students to be removed from immigration figures as they do not come to the UK to stay.

'Debate goes to the heart of what the UK will be after Brexit' - Labour peer

Debate on Brexit and scientific research

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Dean
BBC

Labour peer Baroness Dean, a member of the council of Nottingham University, says today's debate is not about "special interest pleading".

"It's not just about money," she says. "It's about culture, it's about expanding the boundaries of talent that we can bring together.

"This debate goes to the heart of what the United Kingdom will be after Brexit."

She claims that, if "we stumble into" Brexit, there will be "self-inflicted wounds" and adds: "We're looking desperately to the government to show leadership."

What is a bank passport?

Brexit and financial services

House of Commons

Parliament

HSBC headquarters at Canary Wharf, London
Reuters

There's been a lot of talk of "passporting" rights in this Commons debate so far, whether UK firms can retain them, whether they even need them.

"Passporting", at the most basic level, is the ability of a bank or financial company that's registered in one EU or EEA (European Economic Area) country, to do business in any other EU or EEA country.

So UK-based firms are able to do business across the continent. The UK, particularly London, has also been a popular base for US and Swiss banks who want to trade across the whole bloc.

If the UK lost bank "passporting" rights, London based firms that wanted to do business across the EU and EEA would have to find a new base in one of the EU or EEA countries.