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Summary

  1. Foreign Affairs Committee taking evidence on UK-Russia relations
  2. MPs question business ministers
  3. Backbench debate on grammar and faith schools
  4. Urgent question on the UN's LGBT expert
  5. Debate on new generation of veterans
  6. Peers ask oral questions
  7. Lords move on to Children and Social Work Bill at report stage

Live Reporting

By Alex Partridge, Aiden James and Ros Ball

All times stated are UK

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  1. Peers vote with government on benefit cap

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers vote against a regret motion on benefit cap changes by 87 to 74.

    And that's that from the Lords this evening. Peers return at 11am tomorrow for questions.

  2. Peers vote on benefit cap

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers are currently voting on a regret motion on changes to the benefit cap. Legislation to lower the cap from £26,000 a year to £20,000 a year came into force this week.

    A regret motion is an opportunity for peers to criticise and publicly disagree with government policy. If passed it does not stop or change the policy.

  3. 'Culture change' on importance of work

    Benefit cap motion

    Work and Pensions minister Lord Freud says the government believe that those out of work "should not receive more than many working families are able to earn".

    He says "there has been a culture change about the importance of going to work". He says he doesn't know if the benefit cap is responsible, but the "figures are astonishingly dramatic". He says there are currently 1.35m children in workless households which he says is the "the lowest ever". He adds that the figure is 400,000 lower than in 2008, a million lower than in 1997.

    There is a "structural change", he says.

    Lord Freud
  4. Cap will lead to problems 'across the country'

    Benefit cap motion

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour frontbencher Baroness Sherlock says she wants to welcome the exemption of carers from the benefit cap. But is not a fan of the rest of the changes. She says the reduction of the benefit cap to £20,000 a year will bring many more people under the cap, so "no longer can ministers pretend the problem is people living in Mayfair or who have 17 children". Families struggling is going to be a problem "across the country", she says.

    She says a single mother with children will be unable to live in 19% of areas in the country, including Basingstoke and Reading, due to the cost of rent. She goes on to say that many of the areas where people could afford to live under the benefit cap will be "the type of areas where there are no jobs." "What's the point of that?", she asks.

  5. 'Extremely harsh' policy condemned

    Benefits cap motion

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Labour's Baroness Lister of Burtersett asks why people caring for infants are not exempt from the benefit cap, in the way adult carers are. She says that "impoverishment" reduces job seeking capacity and also asks why it's in the "best interest of these children to be driven into poverty".

    Crossbencher Lord Best says that the policy is "extremely harsh". He says the existing cap has seen "less than a quarter" of those affected enter work, while the rest have had a straightforward cut in their standard of living.

  6. Peers debate benefit cap changes

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope

    The Children and Social Work Bill has now finished report stage, and Lib Dem peer Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope is speaking in support of a regret motion on the benefit cap.

    This week the benefit cap, the maximum amount a household can receive from certain state benefits, was reduced from £26,000 a year to £20,000.

    The GMB union called the reduction a "monstrous assault on 40,000 single mothers", but ministers said the change is a "clear incentive to move into a job".

    A regret motion in the House of Lords cannot stop legislation, but is used by peers to criticise government policy.

  7. Peers vote against child refugees amendment

    Children and Social Work Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers have voted against the unaccompanied child refugees amendment by 203 to 68.

    Labour's Lord Dubs had proposed the amendment but indicated he would not push it to a vote after assurances on the issue in meetings with ministers.

  8. Peers voting on protections for unaccompanied refugee children

    Children and Social Work Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers voting in the House of Lords

    Peers are now voting on an amendment on the safeguarding of refugee children.

    In an unusual turn of events, the proposer of the amendment, Labour's Lord Dubs had indicated that he would withdraw it after assurances from government ministers over the issue.

    But a co-sponsor of the amendment, Lib Dem Baroness Sheehan, is not as reassured so pushes it to a vote.

  9. Peers debate safeguarding refugee children

    Children and Social Work Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers are now debating an amendment put forward by Labour's Lord Dubs, on safeguarding refugee children.

    Last week the Huffington Post reported that Lord Dubs was planning to withdraw the amendment after a series of concessions offered in meetings by ministers.

    Lord Dubs himself is not in the chamber tonight, as he's acting as an election monitor in the United States.

    He made headlines last year after passing an amendment in the Lords that committed the government to taking in unaccompanied refugee children.

    Lord Dubs at a protest outside the Home Office last month
    Image caption: Lord Dubs at a protest outside the Home Office last month
  10. It's a mini-recess for the Commons

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    The House of Commons adjourns for a short half-term recess.

    MPs will return on Monday 14 November at 2:30pm for education questions.

    Meanwhile, the House of Lords continues its debate tonight on the Children and Social Work Bill.

  11. Government to 'revisit' UN child rights convention

    Children and Social Work Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Minister Lord Nash says listening to children should be "second nature" to government agencies.

    But he says the idea of adding new statutory duties is "not taken lightly" and indicates that the government will not support the amendment.

    He says the government plans to "revisit" work already done to "embed the UNCRC across Whitehall".

  12. GP support service has 'fallen far short' minister says

    Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Nicola Blackwood

    Health Minister Nicola Blackwood notes "the presence of a clean sweep from Coventry" with the city's MPs attending the debate.

    She says Geoffrey Robinson is right to say that the outsourced GP support service in Coventry "has so far fallen far short of the standards which we expect".

    "I accept the need for urgent action," she adds. "Both NHS England and Capita openly acknowledge that the service has not, so far, been good enough."

    NHS England has embedded a team in Capita to help deliver "rectification plans", the minister says, while the firm is taking on 500 more full-time staff "at their cost".

  13. Peers debating children's rights convention

    Children and Social Work Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers are now debating a pair of amendments that would compel public authorities to have "due regard" for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child when making decisions about the welfare of children.

    The convention came into effect in 1990 and has been ratified by every UN state except for the United States.

    It sets out the basic rights states should grant to children, such as life, family, freedom of expression and health care.

  14. 'It's an illusion to think you can contract out' - Labour MP

    Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Geoffrey Robinson's debate follows an online petition to Parliament calling for a public enquiry into the primary care services contract "and its impact on NHS services".

    GP news service Pulse reports: "The petition cites significant issues with Capita’s overhaul of local support services, which Pulse has revealed left trainees unpaid, has seen patients unable to apply for jobs, and led to a practice being referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office."

    Pulse quotes Mr Robinson saying that NHS England "made this change to a reliable and trusted NHS service with the explicit intent of making significant financial savings through the use of a commercial provider", with the result being "an unacceptable transfer of unfunded work on to already hard-pressed practices".

    He tells the House: "It's an illusion to think you can contract out." Responsibility remains with NHS England, he argues.

  15. MPs debate NHS outsourcing in England

    Adjournment debate

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Geoffrey Robinson

    The backbench debates are over and two MPs have presented petitions on behalf of their constituents.

    The final debate tonight concerns "health care in Coventry and the Capita Primary Care Support Services contract" and is led by Geoffrey Robinson, the Labour MP for Coventry North West.

    NHS England has outsourced primary care support services to Capita, and Mr Robinson says the "privatisation" was badly thought out.

    Mr Robinson concludes from the attendance of his fellow Labour MPs at the debate that this outsourcing is a problem elsewhere in England.

  16. BreakingGovernment defeated over 'opt out' clause

    Children and Social Work Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Peers have voted to support Lord Ramsbotham's amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill, to delete the clauses that allow local authorities to opt out of statutory duties on children's care, to "test different ways of working".

    Opponents feared that the clause was a prelude to allowing councils to outsource their social services to private companies.

    The vote was won by 245 votes to 213.

  17. Minister outlines government support for service personnel

    Veterans and service personnel

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Mark Lancaster

    Defence Minister Mark Lancaster says Labour's Stephen Doughty "couldn't have chosen a more poignant time" to table his motion for debate than the week before Remembrance Sunday.

    Mr Lancaster, who has served in the Army himself and still serves in the reserves, echoes the views of other MPs in seeking to challenge the perception that veterans are all older people. He recalls his shock when he visited his uncle's grave and realised "he was only 19-years-old when he died".

    Turning to government policy, he says ministers are working to improve access to housing for veterans and "working with business to offer ex-service personnel job support".

    He adds that "better accommodation [and] better terms and conditions" will help the Army to compete with other employers and attract people to careers in the future.

  18. Lord Ramsbotham pushes the House to a vote

    Children and Social Work Bill

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Lord Nash

    Rising to sum up for the government on the group of amendments on children’s social care, Lord Nash says he has found peers "depressingly suspicious of our motives" and says "this is all about caring for children at the front line". 

    Lord Ramsbotham rises to sum up on amendment 57, saying he was depressed when he came into this bill because there was clearly "a great gulf" between government and practitioners on the ground. 

    He says more and more practitioners wrote to him with concern about the clauses on allowing local authorities to opt out of statutory duties and to contract out children’s social care. 

    He tells the House he is "totally in favour of innovation" but he says practitioners have no confidence in the bill and asks for a consultation with them so they can have confidence in the system. 

    He then says he wants to test the will of the House on his amendment...and so peers file out to vote.

    Lord Ramsbotham
    Image caption: Lord Ramsbotham pushes the issue to a vote...