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Summary

  1. MPs debate private members' bills
  2. Urgent question on tax credits

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel

All times stated are UK

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MPs adjourn

House of Commons

Parliament

The debate concludes as does the day, and the week in the Commons.

MPs will return on Monday when the government will be making a statement on the High Court's decision on Article 50. 

House of commons clock
BBC

Britain has 'heavy responsibility' to support human rights in Sri Lanka

Human rights in Sri Lanka

House of Commons

Parliament

Alan Duncan
BBC

Labour MP Gareth Thomas says there will not be peace or long term security in Sri Lanka until a truth and reconciliation process is established and human rights issues are dealt with.

He adds that given its history with Sri Lanka, Britain has a heavy responsibility to help Sri Lanka achieve progress.

Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan seeks to assure the MP that the government is providing support where it can.

He welcomes the progress made by Sri Lanka to date. This includes increased co-operation with the UN, constitutional reform and an improved environment for civil society.

He urges the Sri Lankan government to return land, currently in the hands of the military, to civilian owners. He also calls for the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act under which people have been detained without charge.

Human rights in Sri Lanka

House of Commons

Parliament

Sri Lankan military helicopter flies over the naval base in Trincomalee in 2006
Getty AFP
Sri Lankan military helicopter flies over the naval base in Trincomalee in 2006

MPs move on to the adjournment debate which today is on human rights in Sri Lanka which has been tabled by Gareth Thomas.

Twenty five years of civil conflict between Sri Lanka's Sinhalese and Tamil communities ended in May 2009 - between 70,000 and 80,000 people are estimated to have died in the conflict with the Tamil Tigers.

Both sides are alleged to have committed atrocities in the closing stages of the civil war in 2009. Thousands of civilians were trapped in a battle for a final strip of land on the north-eastern coast.

The UN says its hospitals and ships belonging to the Red Cross were deliberately targeted by the army; and it has accused the Tamil Tigers of using civilians as human shields and of shooting fleeing civilians.

Bill talked out

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The minister Margot James has managed to keep talking until the cut off point of 2:30pm.

The bill has therefore been talked out and will not progress to the next stage in the legislative process.

A 'well intentioned' but 'unecessary' bill

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Margot James
BBc

Business Minister Margot James says the bill is "well-intentioned" but believes it will have the unintended consequence of undermining existing laws and protections.

She also believes the bill to be unnecessary as interns are already eligible for the national minimum wage provided that they meet the legal definition of worker.

She argues that successful tribunals demonstrate that the law already protects interns against exploitation. 

It's not what you know...

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Peter Heaton-Jones
BBc

Conservative Peter Heaton-Jones has a number of concerns about the bill.

He argues that not having the right contacts is "a bigger block" to obtaining an internship than not having enough money. He believes that this bill does nothing to address this.

He adds that the legislation would mean an intern receiving a higher salary than an apprentice, despite apprentices, in his opinion, offering greater value to their employer. 

He also worries that the proposals would lead to a "contraction" in the number of internships offered by small and medium sized businesses.

Intriguing story for 5 November

Historical account tweets

Internship system is 'rigged'

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow business minister Gill Furniss now responds for the opposition.

She says internships can enhance a CV and be a great boon for employers.

However she believes the system is "rigged" towards those who can afford it, or rather she adds, whose parents can afford it.

She concludes that the bill goes a long way to "leveling the playing field".

Gill Furniss
BBC

Replay: Stephen Phillips talking Brexit

The MP spoke to Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics about Brexit vote last month

Andrew Neil

Presenter, The Daily Politics

Davies: Student loans benefit the wealthy

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Philip Davies
BBC

Philip Davies asks why the government does not offer student loans to people who do not, or cannot, afford to go to the university. 

He argues that this amounts to subsidising the better off whilst poorer young people, who are less likely to go to university, receive nothing.

He proposes that loans be offered to working class people enabling them to do work experience.

Conservative MP resigns

BBC political correspondent tweets

Previously undisclosed amibition

PA's parliamentary editor tweets

A level playing field?

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

It's the turn of the Conservative Shipley MP, Philip Davies, to speak. He commends Alec Shelbrooke for bringing forward the bill; but speaks to oppose it.

He says he takes on board the point that some employers would use interns for work, but "we're in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater" with this bill, he says.

He summarises Mr Shelbrooke's intentions, saying he wants to level the playing field, to ensure poorer candidates get a chance that richer ones do; but, Mr Davies says, he'll level the playing field to ensure no-one gets a chance to do an internship.

Mr Shelbrooke intervenes to say he's not trying to level everyone down, but bring everyone up.

Mr Davies reiterates that the bill will take opportunities away.

Watch: BBC correspondent on Tory MP resigning

Iain Watson

Political correspondent

Emergency debate sought

Stephen Phillips resigns as MP

House of Commons

Parliament

On 10 October, Conservative MP Stephen Phillips, who has just resigned, sought to introduce an emergency debate (which the Speaker declined) on the government consulting the Commons on Brexit.

You can read the debate in Hansard here.

Watch: BBC correspondent on Stephen Phillips standing down

Carole Walker

Political correspondent

'Not working but watching'

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

David Nuttall continues his speech by asking who the National Minimum Wage Bill would benefit.

He acknowledges that there may be unscrupulous employers who on seeing that there is short term amount of work to be done, would engage an unpaid intern.

However he argues that there are already laws that would allow such a person to claim backpay.

The only people, he concludes, who would be covered by the bill are those who are "not working but watching".

Watch again

Parliament tweets

Calls for Hansard to use emojis

Point of Order

House of Commons

Parliament

Lindsay Hoyle
BBC

The urgent question comes to an end and Labour's John Spellar seeks to raise a point of order.

He wonders if there is an emoji Hansard could use to record the look on the face of the minister during the urgent question which he believes "said it all".

Deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle, however quickly pours cold water on the idea with an unequivocal "absolutely not". 

Labour MPs suffering 'amnesia'

Tax credits urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

Jacob Rees Mogg
BBC

Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg accuses the Labour Party of believing that the state is entirely competent and that it is only when the private sector takes over that things go wrong. 

He seeks to reminds MPs that HMRC can also make mistakes including "a failure to answer the phone".

Another Conservative Philip Davies believes the benches opposite are suffering amnesia. He cites "the misery caused" when 50% of all tax credits were paid incorrectly by the Labour government. 

Philip Davies
BBC

MP resigns

BBC News tweets

Reynolds: Minister should apologise

Tax credits urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

simon Kirby
BBC

Shadow Economic Secretary Jonathan Reynolds says Labour stands by "the victims of this fiasco" many of whom, he adds, were single mothers.

He asks for the government to announce a timetable for a "comprehensive investigation" and calls on the minister to apologise.

Simon Kirby points out he has already issued an apology and says a National Audit Office report is underway.

Private sector 'incapable' of managing welfare payments

Tax credits urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

Louise Haigh
BBC

Louise Haigh tells MPs that HMRC has announced that it will not be going back to the market for "this kind of thing" obviously, she says, referring to the outsourcing of tax credit.

She believes this represents a "considerable shift on welfare" and that the "implications are profound".

She suggests that the Treasury has accepted that the private sector is "incapable" of working in the best interests of those on welfare.

She therefore asks why the government is still outsourcing the management of other welfare payments such as Personal Independence Payments. 

Economic Secretary Simon Kirby replies that the government has learned lessons from the problems that arose with Concentrix but insists that outsourcing can be an "appropriate way to deliver quality public service".

Outsourcing and tax credits urgent question begins

House of Commons

Parliament

The interns debate is now briefly paused as shadow minister for the digital economy, Louise Haigh is asking an urgent question on the change in government policy in relation to outsourcing and tax credits.

In September, the government announced that Concentrix, the firm employed to cut tax credit fraud and overpayment, would not have its contract renewed.

The firm has been accused of incorrectly withdrawing tax credits from hundreds of claimants.

Work and Pensions Committee Chair Frank Field welcome the end of Concentrix's "reign of terror".

Bill 'superficially' a good idea

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative David Nuttall believes that his colleague Mr Shelbrooke brings forward the bill "with the best of intentions".

However he believes that, whilst the bill may "superficially" appear a good idea, closer scrutiny will show that it is not.

David Nuttall
BBC

Unpaid internships 'perpetuate inequality'

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Phil Boswell
BBC

Alec Shelbrooke completes his speech and SNP MP Phil Boswell now gets to his feet.

He notes that social mobility in the UK is low compared to its European neighbours.

He argues that unpaid internships exclude young people who come from less well off families.

The result, he suggests, is that certain professions become dominated by those from wealthy backgrounds thereby "perpetuating inequality".

He therefore says he will be supporting the bill. 

Helpful guide

Parliamentary service tweets

'What planet is she living on?'

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Dame Vivienne Westwood
Press Association

Alec Shelbrooke now launches an attack on the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood for employing "voluntary internships".

He notes that the "multimillionaire fashionista" complains that a "13% pay rise for doctors" is not enough whilst refusing to pay her staff a wage.   

"What planet is she living on?" he asks.

MP calls for an end to 'unacceptable' internships

National Minimum Wage Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Harrods
AFP/Getty Images
Harrods paid £2,000 to an intern after she had worked unpaid for three months

Conservative Alec Shelbrooke begins his speech by calling unpaid internships "unacceptable" and urges MPs to end the practice.

He tells MPs that young people have successfully been able to claim back pay from employers such as Harrods and Sony by going to tribunals.

He argues that it should not be left to tribunal rulings to implement workers' rights.

A number of his Conservative colleagues intervene to question the logistics and principles of the bill. 

Philip Davies, for example, suggests that Mr Shelbrooke is espousing a philosophy that no one should have an opportunity rather than someone having an opportunity - "that sounds like a socialist principle". 

Reported rumour...

Political editor of the Spectator tweets

Frequent interruptions

PA parliamentary editor tweets

The National Minimum Wage (Workplace Internships) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Money
Press Association

The National Minimum Wage (Workplace Internships) Bill would ensure that interns receive remuneration at the level of the current National Minimum Wage.

The bill would apply to adults hired as interns but not school-age children, apprentices and full-time university and college students completing work experience as part of their studies.

Mr Shelbrooke has called unpaid internships “a scourge on social mobility”.

According to the Sutton Trust, an unpaid internship can cost an individual £926 a month in London or £804 in Manchester. The education charity also found that 31% of graduate internships were unpaid.

In the past, the CBI has warned that banning unpaid internships could reduce unpaid internships.

MPs vote on sitting in private

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons
BBC

The session begins and almost immediately a division is called.

MPs are voting on whether or not to sit in private - this would mean removing all members of the public and press from the gallery and the TV cameras being switched off.

Calling for a vote to sit in private is seldom to do with wanting privacy rather it is used as a delaying tactic. 

By calling a vote first thing MPs can ensure that another vote to sit in private cannot be called later in the day to disrupt the proceedings. 

The last time a vote to sit in private was successful was in 2001 when MPs were voting on the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill.

The vote is defeated and business continues.

What's on today?

Parliamentary reporters tweet

Today in the Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

Victoria Tower
BBC

Hello and welcome to our coverage of the House of Commons.

It's Friday and that means a day of debate on private members’ bills - legislation introduced by backbench MPs.

Today it’s the turn of Conservative Alec Shelbrooke who will introduce his National Minimum Wage (Workplace Internships) Bill which would ban unpaid internships.

Other bills due to be debated deal with the transportation of live animals and removing competition from the management of the NHS.

At 11am there will be an urgent question on outsourcing and tax credits.

The day ends with an adjournment debate on human rights in Sri Lanka to be led by Labour MP Geraint Thomas.