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Summary

  1. Day in Commons starts with questions to Sajid Javid and team
  2. Urgent question on situation in Aleppo
  3. Main business is Digital Economy Bill
  4. Peers start day with oral questions
  5. Pension Schemes Bill examined

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel and Patrick Cowling

All times stated are UK

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Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons clocks
BBC

The debate concludes and MPs adjourn for the day. Business starts tomorrow at 11:30am with Treasury questions.  

Minister praises MP's strength and courage

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Marcus Jones
BBC

Communities Minister Marcus Jones praises Carolyn Harris' "strength and courage".

He regrets that he is not able to give the MP "what she would like".

He tells MPs that the government will be conducting a round table discussion with the funeral industry and bereavement charities. 

'My little world blacked over'

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Carolyn Harris
BBC

Labour's Carolyn Harris tells MPs that on June 5th 1989 "my little world blacked over" when her son was knocked over by a car and died.

She says the pain was acute and describes sitting in her bath wandering if she should "join my son on the other side".

She urges the government to set money aside to cover children's funerals which she argues would amount to £10m.

"Its the right thing to do, the respectable thing to do and the compassionate thing to do."

Adjournment debate on children's funeral costs begins

House of Commons

Parliament

The adjournment debate now begins.

Labour MP Carolyn Harris is campaigning for the abolition of council charges for the burial of a child.

Carolyn Harris lost her son in 1989, and had to take out loans from friends to pay council burial fees.

The government currently offer funeral payments for people on low incomes.

Bill passes third reading

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Calum Kerr
BBC

Labour's Kevin Brennan welcomes parts of the bill but says the government's guarantee of a broadband speed of at least 10mbps is too low.

The SNP's Calum Kerr described this measure as more tokenistic than meaningful and regrets that the government didn't take up their voucher scheme.

The brief debate concludes and the bill passes at third reading without a vote. It will now go the House of Lords for their consideration. 

Bill moves to third reading

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Karen Bradley
BBC

The legislative grand committee has one clause to consider - clause 85.

SNP MP Pete Wishart uses the opportunity to object to the "English Votes for English Laws" process.

The bill now moves to its third reading - this is where MPs can take an overview of the bill as finally amended.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley tells MPs that the bill will make the country wealthier, more efficient, more skillful and safer.

MPs reject TV licence amendment

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Lindsay Hoyle
BBC

MPs reject the amendment on the TV licence 267 votes to 220.

The House is now briefly suspended as the Deputy Speaker considers if any parts of the bill are affected by the "English Votes for English Laws" process.

If the Deputy Speaker considers that parts of the bill apply to England only or to England and Wales only the bill will be considered by legislative grand committee.

A beginner's guide to the process is available here.

MPs vote on TV licence

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP MP Pete Wishart declares it to be "a good evening" welcoming the government's willingness to work with backbench and opposition MPs.

MPs have been so concise that there is an extra minute left at the debate.

Minister Matt Hancock uses it to thank everyone involved in working on the bill.

And now voting begins - starting with Labour's new clause eight which ensures the government, rather than the BBC, have responsibility over the entitlement and cost of TV licences. 

Labour MP supports free school meals amendment

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Sharon Hodgson
BBC

There is an informal 2-minute limit on speeches so MP contributions have become increasingly pithy.

Labour's Sharon Hodgson expresses support for Labour's amendment on free school meals. 

The amendment allows local authorities with schools so they can identify which children are eligible for free school meals. 

She argues that hungry children fall behind their peers and it is therefore important that those entitled to free school meals can access them.  

MPs should decide TV licence concessions

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Peter Bottomley
BBC

Conservative Peter Bottomley argues that parliament should be consulted over the decision on TV licences for over-75s.

He acknowledges that the BBC may not want to see the charter agreement "unpicked" but says "parliament are the people who set the rules and that's what we should be doing". 

Theresa May and Beata Szydlo in Downing Street

Theresa May and Polish counterpart Beata Szydlo discuss bilateral relations after the UK leaves the EU.

Read more

Minister wants to 'build a bridge over troubled waters'

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Matt Hancock
BBC

Culture Minister Matthew Hancock responds to the debate.

On the TV licence he says that the government supports free licences for over-75s. He argues that the BBC charter settlement protects free licences and that Labour's amendment would undermine the corporation.

On ticketing Matt Hancock recounts his own difficulty buying Paul Simon tickets. He acknowledges the problem and tells MPs that on Wednesday he will be holding a round table event with industry representatives to discuss how to tackle the problem.

To sum up, he says he wants to "build a bridge over troubled waters".

The new age of the ticket tout

The World Tonight

Dolly Parton at Glastonbury
BBC

No sporting event or music concert would feel complete without the ticket tout. Buying low and selling high has always been the business model of the tout.

But touting now is no longer the preserve of the Arthur Daleys or "Del Boy" Trotters familiar to music and sporting fans.

The internet has helped to turn it into a business worth an estimated £1.4 billion a year.

Tickets are now re-sold through a small number of giant websites that have come in for intense criticism. The companies running the sites have been accused of encouraging ticket touts and ripping off fans.  

Read more here.

MPs seek to tackle ticket bots

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

V Festival
Press Association

Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Damian Collins, has tabled an amendment which would make it an offence to use software to buy up large numbers of tickets.

Former culture secretary John Whittingdale tells MPs of his experience of trying to buy tickets for the V festival.

He was unable to get on the website for the first ten minutes. After 12 minutes the festival was sold out. By the 13th minute those tickets were available elsewhere on the internet for four times the original value.

Conservative John Penrose makes the point that the London Olympics were able to circumvent the problem by asking for photo id when buying a ticket.

He concludes that the industry already has the answer and does not need a legislative solution.

Is it Christmas yet?

Reuters political correspondent tweets

Lords adjourn

House of Lords

Parliament

House of Lords clock
BBC

As the debate on mental health parity comes to an end the House of Lords adjourns for the evening.

Peers will return tomorrow at 2.30pm for more oral questions and a debate on the economy in light of the Autumn Statement.

Labour introduces further amendments

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Kevin Brennan whizzes through a number of other Labour amendments being tabled.

New clause 19 allows local authorities to share information with schools to enable them to better identify which pupils are entitled to free school meals. 

Amendment three seeks to introduce "adequate protections" for the confidential health information of patients and to prevent the disclosure of identifiable health information. 

'Mental health stigma persists'

Mental health debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen
BBC

Health minister Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen responds to the debate for the government, saying that the stigma associated with mental health still persists - creating a barrier to people talking about mental health problems and seeking help.  

Baroness Chisholm says that the scale of the challenge is to address "chronic, historical under-funding of the service" 

Labour: Mental health services being squeezed

Mental health debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Opposition health spokesperson Lord Hunt of Kings Heath says that although mental health services came as part of the health service in 1948, they remained invisible throughout the NHS's history - and that they are still invisible.

He says there is an issue about the culture and structures that needs to be addressed, as people are often "inappropriately cared for in inappropriate places". 

The "clear experience on the front line", he says, is that mental health services are being "squeezed and squeezed and squeezed".

Government 'doing away' with free TV licences

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Kevin Brennan
BBC

Labour has tabled an amendment that would make free TV licences for over-75s the responsibility of the government.

Kevin Brennan argues that maintaining the free TV licence for over-75s was a manifesto pledge.

By handing the responsibility to the BBC, Mr Brennan argues that the government is breaking the promise "in all but name".

He argues that the BBC does not have the money to maintain the entitlement for over-75s.

SNP amendment rejected

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs reject the SNP amendment 277 votes to 221.

That concludes voting for the time being and MPs begin debating the next set of amendments. 

MPs vote on SNP's proposed broadband scheme

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs have voted against Labour's amendment by 278 votes to 181.

They now vote on new clause 27 - an SNP amendment which would introduce a broadband voucher scheme.

The scheme would allow individuals to choose alternative internet providers. 

The result is expected at 7:15pm.

Separation of physical and mental health 'unhelpful and inaccurate'

Mental health debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Hollins
BBC

The former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Crossbench peer Baroness Hollins, says that we "cannot, must not" think about mental and physical illness separately any longer. 

Baroness Hollins says that her main concern about the failure to achieve parity is that we are still separating the physical and mental parts of ourselves in "such an unhelpful and inaccurate way".  

"It's almost as if our hearts and our minds are in different bodies" she says, or that "the social context in which we live our lives is of no importance". 

MPs vote on internet pornography amendment

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons
BBC

The debate comes to an end and MPs divide to vote on Labour’s new clause 10. 

This amendment requires maintained schools to teach pupils about the risk and dangers of internet pornography and the legal age requirement to access it.

The result is expected at approximately 7pm.

Mental health debate in the Lords

Mental health debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Oates
BBC

Peers are now on their last business of the day, a debate on plans to ensure parity of esteem between mental and physical health.

Liberal Democrat Lord Oates says he hopes that the minister realises the "desperate, life threatening urgency" of the issue.

He says that although "money alone" won't change things, without the requisite funds "none of the other the things that need to happen, can or will happen". 

Bill is 'treating the symptom and not the disease'

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael has a number of concerns about the age verification process.

Firstly he believes that the provisions will be easily circumvented by any "tech-savvy" 14-year-old. 

He also worries about the protection of data linked to the process.

Ultimately however, he says the measures treat the symptom rather than the disease and argues that better sex education is what is really needed.

Former culture secretary warns about blocking sites

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Former Culture, Media and Sport Secretary John Whittingdale says that although he supports the principle of introducing age verification restrictions on pornographic content, he wants to "introduce an element of caution".

"Like it or not the sites we are discussing are some of the most popular sites on the entire internet", he says.

Mr Whittingdale says that he fears blocking sites is a "dangerous road to go down".

SNP: More options for rural internet users

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Calum Kerr
BBC

The SNP's Calum Kerr speaks in support of the age restriction amendments, saying it is important to seek to avoid unintended consequences whilst still providing a robust set of measures to protect children from adult content.

Mr Kerr moves his New Clause 27, which relates to the standard universal service order offering for rural broadband services.

The new clause would provide individuals with the option of a voucher scheme that empowers them to take up an alternative provider if they want to.

Tory MP: 'Our best work is done when we work together'

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Claire Perry
BBC

Claire Perry rises to praise the government for being "absolutely in listening mode" during committee stage of the bill on age restrictions and other aspects of restricting the online access to adult material from children.

The Conservative MP praises other members from across the chamber for signing her amendment, saying "we might like to stand up and shout at each other our best work is done when we work together".

Ms Perry's amendment seeks to enforce the proposed new rules about age restriction, by giving the new regulator the power to block pornography websites, via the internet service providers, if they refuse to provide age-verification tools.

Amendment supporters

Labour MP tweets

'Cleaning up the internet'

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Maria Miller
BBC

Conservative MP Maria Miller says she shares the regret of other MPs that it was not possible to address online abuse in this bill, but goes on to say that she "really welcomes" the age restriction for pornographic material amendments.

Ms Miller says it shows the intentions of the government, and a "real action and energy" to clean up the internet so that it is safer for children to use.

She is moving a number of amendments that would require all providers of internet content which is not suitable for children to put in place a "robust" age-verification system. 

"In the offline world, children are not allowed to view material which the BBFC has classified to be only suitable for adults. This amendment ensures that these restrictions apply equally to the online world."

Labour seeks to amend legislation

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Kevin Brennan
BBC

Shadow culture minister Kevin Brennan now responds to the bill and speaks to three amendments Labour have tabled.

Their new clause 7 would allow customers to place a financial cap on their monthly phone bills.

New clause 10 requires maintained schools to teach pupils about the risk and dangers of internet pornography and the legal age requirement to access it.

New Clause 32 states that those offering age verification methods for online pornography access must be approved by the age verification regulator. 

Issue is 'not straightforward' - minister

Pension Schemes Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Freud says that he believes existing provisions in the bill will allow a transfer of funds in certain circumstances.

He promises to check up on the issue and come back to Lord Flight with a more comprehensive answer to some of his more detailed question.

"We are looking at it but it is not straightforward," he says.

The amendment is withdrawn.

Age verification for access to online pornography

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Computer mouse
BBC

During the 2015 election the Conservatives promised to introduce age verification for access to online pornography.

A government analysis estimated that 1.4m users aged under 18 accessed pornography from their desktop.

The bill requires a person to have age verification controls in place if they wish provide online pornography. The method of age verification is not specified but will be monitored by a regulator.

If websites do not verify ages they could face a financial penalty of up to £25,000.

The Open Rights Group has objected to these proposals as raising “very serious privacy and security issues”.

Lost money

Pension Schemes Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Flight
BBC

Baroness Bakewell welcomes the minister's positive response and agrees to withdraw her amendment.

Conservative Lord Flight is now moving his amendment 80 to the bill, which proposes for "trustees of master trusts... to require the transfer of accumulated assets from default funds when they move from one investment manager to another".

The issue, Lord Flight says, is that at present the agreement of the individual scheme members are required, but many don't have the "time to be bothered" with such things.

As a result, small bits of money get left in default funds where "no one is keeping an eye on them".

Minister insists online pornography data will be kept safe

Digital Economy Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Matt Hancock
BBC

Matt Hancock tells MPs that the measures on age verification (AV) will help reduce early exposure to inappropriate material that could harm children's development. 

Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael asks how data collected through the AV process will be protected. Culture Minister Matthew Hancock insists that the process will fall within the data protection act.

Alistair Carmichael intervenes again to asks if the data will be anonymised noting that "even the best security in the world can be breached".

Matt Hancock reiterates that the data will be held "in a safe way".

Government support for 'enormous' issue

Pension Schemes Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Minister Lord Freud thanks peers for raising this "very substantial issue", quoting "enormous" Office for National Statistics figures on the issue; such as an estimated eight scam calls every second in the UK, and 11 million pensioners being targeted annually by scammers.

Lord Freud says he wishes to "state firmly" that this issue is a priority for the government, asserting that he wants to tackle the "scourge" of nuisance calls.

The government is consulting on how best to tackle cold calling and pension scams, and Lord Freud says this consultation will be publishes before Christmas, with the next steps ready for the 2017 Budget.

Digital Economy Bill debate begins

House of Commons

Parliament

Internet LAN cables
Reuters

MPs now move on to debate of the Digital Economy Bill at report stage.

Report stage allows MPs to debate and amend a bill before its final reading in the House.

The Digital Bill Economy:  

  • Introduces a new "Universal Broadband Obligation" entitling consumers to a broadband minimum speed of at least 10Mbps
  • Introduces age verification for online pornography with penalties for non-compliance
  • Makes OFCOM responsible for regulation of BBC activities and gives the BBC the power to maintain or remove concessions on TV licences relating to age.
  • Allows personal information to be shared between national authorities, public authorities and gas or electricity suppliers
  • Updates intellectual property rules for digital industries.

Cross-party support for the amendment

Pension Schemes Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Drake
BBC
Labour peer Baroness Drake calls pension freedoms 'a free lunch for the sharks'

Labour's Baroness Drake says that banning cold calling should be part of a wider approach to dealing with the issue that includes raising customer awareness.

She says that the pension freedoms were announced they were received by many with "rapturous acclamation" as a reform with no downside.

But the evidence, according to Baroness Drake, suggests the reform has offered "a free lunch for the sharks".

Conservative Baroness Altmann agrees, saying "the longer we delay the more people are caught". 

The amendment would help increase consumer awareness, she says, as it would "send a clear signal" to anyone who gets an unsolicited approach that the person approaching them is doing something illegal.

Baroness Altmann
BBC
Conservative peer and former work and pensions minister Baroness Altmann supports the amendment

Labour MP asks about the effect of President Trump

Urgent question

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Tom Pursglove worries that if a UK plane delivering humanitarian aid drops was shot out of the sky "we would have to be prepared to retaliate".

SNP MP Margaret Ferrier urges the UK to accept more refugees from Syria.

Labour Tom Blenkinsop asks about the consequences of the election of President Trump.

Tobias Ellwood replies that the government is looking forward to hearing who the US's Secretary of State will be under President Trump.