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Summary

  1. MPs questioned defence ministers
  2. Statement on Article 50 High Court decision
  3. Second statement from Defence Secretary Michael Fallon
  4. Debate on EU and workers' rights
  5. Peers main business included Modern Slavery Bill and Wales Bill

Live Reporting

By Alex Partridge and Aiden James

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.

Read more

House of Lords adjourns

House of Lords

Parliament

And that's it from the House of Lords tonight.

Peers return at 2:30pm tomorrow afternoon.

Government police policy should not be a surprise

Wales Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Minister Lord Bourne of Aberywsyth apologises for policing being discussed as part of a larger group of amendments on a number of other, unrelated issues.

But he says that no-one should be "taken by surprise" by the government's stance on policing, and that they've always been clear that powers over it would be reserved to Westminster.

Minister challenged over police devolution

Wales Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Plaid Cymru's Lord Wigley is complaining about the grouping of amendments for debate, and the "tucking away" of his amendment on police devolution at "this hour of the night". But he says he's "not going to truncate what I was going to say".

He says the Silk Commission on devolution was "unanimous" on the issue and that he sees "no reason whatsoever" for Welsh policing to be a responsibility of the UK Parliament.

He adds that all political groupings in the Welsh Assembly except for UKIP support devolving policing, which would not be a "tectonic shift". He says he wants to 'beg' the government to think again.

Power over policing is devolved to the legislatures of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Police patrolling in South Wales
PA

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

That concludes Commons business for today.

MPs are back from 11:30am on Tuesday, when the session begins with business, energy and industrial strategy questions.

The main business consists of two backbench debates: on the role of grammar and faith schools; and on raising awareness of a new generation of veterans and service personnel.

Minister challenged on electrification timetable

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The rail minister is challenged by Labour MPs Lilian Greenwood and Clive Betts to commit to electrification of the Midland Mainline by 2023.

"We are committed to the ongoing electrification programme," Paul Maynard says, but does not give a completion date.

Minister hails 'biggest rail modernisation since Victorian times'

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Paul Maynard
BBC

Nicky Morgan calls for electrification of the Midland Mainline to be "delivered in full by 2023 at the latest".

Replying to the debate, Railways Minister Paul Maynard says the MP "spoke powerfully about the importance of this project to her constituents".

He says the government is overseeing "the biggest rail modernisation since Victorian times".

This includes "two distinct services" on the Midland Mainline. The first will be a commuter service between Corby and London, the second a long-distance service.

At present, only intercity trains have run on the line, he says, meaning long-distance travellers have to put up with more stops for commuters, while commuters have to board "already crowded intercity trains".

"Development work is continuing on further electrification of the route to Sheffield and Nottingham," the minister adds.

About the Midland Mainline

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Midland Mainline map
BBC
The Midland Mainline is electrified from London to Bedford but no further north

The Midland Mainline runs from London St Pancras to Sheffield and travels through Luton, Bedford, Corby, Leicester, East Midlands Parkway, Derby, Nottingham and Chesterfield.

In 2013 a five-year plan was announced to electrify the route from London to Sheffield through the East Midlands.

In 2015 the government announced a pause in the electrification project on the line.

Electrification of the Midland Mainline

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Nicky Morgan
BBC

The final, short debate today concerns the electrification of the Midland Mainline.

Nicky Morgan, the Conservative MP for Loughborough, has tabled the topic for debate.

The Midland Mainline has "suffered from years of under-investment", the former education secretary says, and is "the only north-south rail route yet to be electrified".

She calls on the government to give "the green light" to the electrification project.

Government will 'enshrine' workers' rights in Great Repeal Bill - minister

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

David Jones
BBC

Minister David Jones says it is right that post-Brexit workers' rights "should be debated at length and in some detail" and the government plans further debates on Brexit.

The government recognises workers' rights and is determined to protect them "by enshrining them in the Great Repeal Bill", he says.

He also argues, as Conservative colleagues have also done, that the UK has often been "ahead" of the EU on protections for workers and cites measures such as shared parental leave and flexible working.

As a result of the government's approach, "the UK economy is thriving", he says.

Worker protections 'may be chipped away' - shadow minister

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Matthew Pennycook
BBC

Matthew Pennycook, the shadow exiting the EU minister, says the debate has highlighted "a fair amount of consensus" that the UK's membership of the EU has helped to protect workers' rights and reduce discrimination.

"Britain has one of the most lightly-regulated workforces in the OECD," he says, adding that a majority of both Leave and Remain voters backed protections for workers such as maternity leave.

The Labour frontbencher says he is concerned that, once transferred into UK law, EU protections for workers "may be chipped away and... watered down".

"I do not doubt that there is a very real Conservative tradition of social reform," he says, but argues that some Leave campaigners' words around the referendum gave "cause for concern".

In voting to leave the EU the British public did not vote for "diminution" of their workers' rights, he adds.

Guarantees over support for Welsh in South America sought

Wales Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Tea house Ty Nain
BBC
Tea house Ty Nain, ('Grandmother's House') in Gaiman, the main Welsh settlement in the lower Chubut valley

Plaid Cymru's Lord Wigley is introducing an amendment that would continue to allow the Welsh government to provide support for teaching the Welsh language in Chubut, in southern Argentina.

Just 153 settlers left Wales for South America in 1865, and now it's thought that there are around 50,000 people in Argentina with Welsh heritage and around 5,000 people who speak Welsh. Three Welsh teachers a year travel to Chubut to teach the language.

Government minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth says he's been assured that the bill will not change anything about Wales's links with Welsh communities in Argentina.

You can read more about Argentina's links with Wales here.

Labour MP: 'The terms of leaving matter'

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Seema Malhotra
BBC

"We appear to be the only country in the world without a plan for Brexit," says Labour MP Seema Malhotra, quoting an unnamed "senior" foreign leader.

Parliament should "scrutinise and have a say" over Brexit, she argues.

"We are not trying to kill off Brexit, and castigating those who ask you probing questions as being enemies of the people, or something similar is, quite frankly, a terrifying way for the government to behave," she tells MPs.

Ms Malhotra adds: "We respect the mandate for leaving... but the terms matter."

Plaid Cymru MP: 'Soft Brexit is the best outcome we can hope for'

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards says people respect the result of the referendum but there is "considerable disquiet about the 'hard Brexit' rhetoric of the prime minister".

Theresa May is determined to sever not just political ties but economic ties, he tells the House, adding that there is now a "clear ideological divide" between supporters of a "hard Brexit" and "soft Brexit", in which the UK would remain in the single market.

"A softer Brexit is the best of the outcomes we can hope for," he says.

Reserved powers and the Wales Bill

Wales Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Welsh Assembly building at Cardiff Bay
PA
Welsh Assembly building at Cardiff Bay

Peers have now resumed work on the Wales Bill. Baroness Morgan of Ely is introducing a Labour amendment on "reserved powers".

The bill changes the way powers are divided between Westminster and Cardiff Bay. Currently they are "conferred" by Westminster on the Welsh Assembly. The UK government has a list of powers that they grant to the Welsh Assembly and Welsh ministers, while powers not on the list remain in Westminster.

The Wales Bill is intended to reverse that, and change to a "reserved powers" model. Under reserved powers the UK government draws up a list of powers it retains, with everything else devolved to Cardiff Bay. This is already the way that devolution works in Scotland.

Debate is 'a Dickensian experience' for SNP MP

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Chris Stephens
BBC

SNP MP Chris Stephens says the debate has been "a bizarre, surreal and Orwellian experience or, should I say, a Dickensian experience".

He says he heard Conservative MP Michael Tomlinson talking about "the glory days of 1802". Mr Tomlinson discussed the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act of 1802.

"Ebenezer Scrooge was a boy in 1802," Mr Stephens. "Children were being sent up chimneys in 1802."

He predicts "a war on workers' rights from this government" when the UK leaves the EU.

UK has been ahead of the EU on workers' rights, says Tory MP

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Michael Tomlinson
BBC

Conservative MP Michael Tomlinson defends his party's record on workers' rights and claims that the UK has been "ahead of the European Union" on workers' rights.

"Do not rely on the EU, do not rely on the party opposite to protect workers' rights, because they will not," he says.

Brexit committee chairman: MPs are looking for a plan

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Hilary Benn
BBC

"We in this House have a responsibility to heal the wounds and reduce the division caused by this big decision," says Labour MP Hilary Benn, the chairman of the Exiting the EU Committee.

This Commons committee is tasked with scrutinising the work of Exiting the EU Secretary David Davis and his department.

Mr Benn says trade union support for the EU dates primarily from a speech to the TUC in 1988 by the then-president of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, in which he set out his "vision of a social Europe".

The Labour movement, which had been Eurosceptic, made a journey to being pro-European, he says, while at the same time the formerly pro-EU Conservative Party "passed us in the other direction".

The former minister tells the present government that a "growing queue of people will be looking for facts, for reassurance and a plan" for Brexit and denies that calling for a plan means MPs are trying to stop the process of leaving the EU or "tying the government's hands".

Peers debate NI anti-paramilitary legislation

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are now debating a approval motion to allow the new Independent Reporting Commission to come into existence. The IRC is intended to report on progress made towards the goal of eradicating paramilitary organisations from Northern Ireland.

Speaking for the government, Lord Dunlop says the aim is to "rid Northern Irish society of the harm caused by paramilitary activity". There "never was any justification for paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, and there is none today", he adds.

Legislation on the IRC is being passed through the UK Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Irish Parliament.

'Which part do they not understand?'

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Anna Soubry
BBC

Former minister Anna Soubry campaigned for Remain but says that it was "fallacious" to argue that workers' rights were a reason to support remaining in the EU.

"Which part of 'all the rights that we have got by virtue of our membership of the EU will be transferred into British law' do... members opposite not understand?" the Conservative MP asks.

'We're no clearer on what leaving the EU will actually mean' - SNP spokesman

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Neil Gray
BBC

SNP employment spokesman Neil Gray begins with the only part of his speech that he thinks likely "to garner support from all sides of the House": congratulating Andy Murray on achieving number one in the world tennis rankings.

"We're no clearer than we were on the 23 June over what leaving the EU will actually mean," he continues.

The Scottish government's white paper, published before the independence referendum, meant "the people of Scotland were given far more information" than voters in the EU referendum, he argues.

He says the Conservatives' 2015 election manifesto backed membership of the single market, and calls for clarity over whether this is still Conservative policy.

Mr Gray believes that EU workers' rights will be "less guaranteed" if they are transferred into UK law.

'Unique moment' of cross-party unity on worker's rights

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Arch-Brexiteer and Conservative MP John Redwood says we're in a "unique moment" where government and opposition are "completely united" in favour of Brexit and in favour of EU law being transposed into British law.

He says Labour should be happy that they have won the argument, and asks if the party will now agree to support the coming "Great Repeal Bill".

"Are worker's rights at risk? No they are not," he says, because they will be passed into British law by the bill.

John Redwood
BBC

A new social settlement challenge

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow Business Secretary Clive Lewis challenges the Secretary of State to make a "new social settlement" on workers rights that he says will require repealing the trade union act.

Mr Lewis says "they say they want to be the party of workers" and he asks them to put their money where their mouth is and prove it.

'You and me'

PA's parliamentary editor tweets

Speaker calls for calm

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing
BBC
Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing brings the house to order telling MPs it is "too noisy" and that the debate is supposed to be "genteel". 

She goes on to tell the shadow business secretary that he has used the word "you" too many times in his speech and says there are "very good reasons why we use the third person". 

Mrs Laing says it has to do with keeping the atmosphere "courteous".

Government don't have a 'blank cheque'

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Opening the debate for Labour, shadow business secretary Clive Lewis says the UK is going through "a period of dramatic change". He says it is imperative that the government is subject to scrutiny.

Mr Lewis says the country voted in the referendum to set off on a journey but were "not asked its destination" and therefore that the government doesn't have a "blank cheque". 

He says there is no area that is more likely to be impacted than workers' rights and that it must not be forgotten that it is the EU that has given workers maternity pay and rights against discrimination.

Clive Lewis at the dispatch box
BBC
Clive Lewis at the dispatch box

Proceedings on Wales Bill resume

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers have now returned to scrutiny of the Wales Bill at committee stage, and are considering an amendment on the limits of powers held by ministers.

'British law is stronger and goes further than EU law'

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

Business secretary Greg Clark
BBC
Business secretary Greg Clark

Business Secretary Greg Clark takes a flurry of interventions from the opposite benches on whether rights for workers will be maintained after the UK leaves the EU.

Mr Clark tells MPs that the fact that all EU law will be transferred to the UK should put minds at rest. 

He then offers examples of when "British law is stronger and goes further than EU law"; for example, he says the UK offers 18 weeks of parental leave that goes beyond what is offered under EU directives.

Military base sales not 'disguising' cuts

Statement on the defence estate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord West of Spithead
BBC

Peers are currently reacting to a repeat of the statement made earlier in the Commons on the defence estate.

Labour's Lord West of Spithead, a former First Sea Lord, says he welcomes a "rationalisation" of the Navy's estate. But he says he hopes it's not being used to "disguise a systematic under-funding of defence".

Defence Minister Earl Howe says funding will increase 0.5% a year and the sell-off of military bases is "not a plan to secrete money away from the front line, this will boost the front line".

'Important' debate on workers' rights

Exiting the EU and workers' rights

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons
BBC
House of Commons

MPs are now moving on to a general debate on exiting the EU and workers' rights. 

Business Secretary Greg Clark opens the debate telling the House that MPs will have the opportunity to debate many issues about the UK's future in the coming months but says it is right that the first debate is on workers' rights which is "an issue that is so important to our constituents".

MP makes plea for museum collection of Victoria Crosses

Statement on the defence estate

House of Commons

Parliament

Chris Davies, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, says the statement delivers a "devastating blow" to his constituency, where there is deep concern over the future of the barracks there.

The site includes a regimental museum with a display dedicated to the Battle of Rorke's Drift in the Boer War, "immortalised in the film Zulu", the Conservative MP says.

The museum contains "the largest collection of Victoria Crosses in the country", he says.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon says he understands the museum is "currently negotiating a long-term lease with the ministry" and hopes to obtain "lottery funding for an extension".

'So much has been done in such a short time'

Syrian refugee resettlement programme

Select Committee

Parliament

Meg Hiller
BBC
Meg Hillier
Mark Sedwill and Paul Morisson
BBC
Mark Sedwill and Paul Morisson

Closing the session on the Syrian refugee resettlement programme, public accounts committee chair Meg Hillier gives the witnesses from the Home Office some words of advice and encouragement.

She congratulates them and tells them that "so much has been done in such a short time", however she says she is grateful that "you don't pretend you've got it all right."

Ms Hillier goes on to tell Mr Sedwill and Mr Morisson that they shouldn't relax because the committee will be keeping a close eye on them. 

Finally she tells them that it is very important that their work goes well as some of the people they are helping have been through "extraordinarily difficult circumstances".

MP invites defence minister to 'blow a few things up'

Statement on the defence estate

House of Commons

Parliament

James Duddridge
BBC

Conservative MP James Duddridge suggests the defence secretary could "deploy" minister Mark Lancaster to "review" facilities in his constituency Rochford and Southend East.

"And he'll also be able to blow a few things up!" Mr Duddridge adds.

Michael Fallon says he is happy to see Mr Lancaster "deployed to the ranges of Essex".

Pledges to take refugees should be voluntary

Syrian refugee resettlement programme

Select Committee

Parliament

Philip Boswell
BBC

An NAO spokesperson tells the committee that official figures on the number of Syrian refugees currently in the UK is 9,810.

SNP MP Philip Boswell says Scotland has accepted a third of the refugees and asks what is being done to make sure the numbers who are due to be resettled in the UK are achieved.

Mark Sedwill says the government have pledges from local authorities that they will take the numbers due to come. He adds that it is best that it is voluntary because it means local authorities can operate at their own pace. He says making it mandatory has not been necessary so far.

May 'clear' she expects to trigger Article 50 by March 2017
Theresa May tells the BBC she is "clear" she expects to be able to trigger Article 50 by March 2017.

Scotland's defence estate 'is being hollowed out and sold off' - SNP

Statement on the defence estate

House of Commons

Parliament

Brendan O'Hara
BBC

SNP defence spokesman Brendan O'Hara accuses the government of the "savaging of what remains" of Scotland's defence estate.

He alleges Scotland's defence estate "is being hollowed out and sold off because of this government's obsession with nuclear weapons" which, he claims, are consuming a larger proportion of the defence budget.

"We are investing in defence in Scotland," Defence Secretary Michael Fallon insists.

Defence committee chairman raises the scenario of 'times of war'

Statement on the defence estate

House of Commons

Parliament

Julian Lewis
BBC

Conservative MP Julian Lewis, who chairs the Commons Defence Committee, asks what would happen in "times of war" if the armed forces do not "have a sufficient military estate to occupy in terms of military expansion".

Michael Fallon responds: "We would seek to rely on the training facilities that we have."

Decisions on estate based on 'military advice' - Fallon

Statement on the defence estate

House of Commons

Parliament

Michael Fallon tells his Labour shadow that decisions were based on "military advice".

Ministers also considered "job opportunities" for the partners of armed forces personnel "and more stability for their children".

Civilian employees will have "as much support as possible", the defence secretary adds.

Shadow defence secretary asks about help for employees who cannot relocate

Statement on the defence estate

House of Commons

Parliament

Nia Griffith
BBC

Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith says "the closing of so many bases" will have a major economic impact in many parts of the country.

She points out that many places, such as York, have a long-standing association with the armed forces.

She asks how the Ministry of Defence plans to consult on its proposals and "what help and support will be available to employees who are not able to move".

Fallon announces £4bn to improve forces' accommodation

House of Commons

Parliament

The government will invest £4bn over 10 years in improving infrastructure and accommodation, while aiming to "minimise disruption" to armed forces members and their families.