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Summary

  1. Transport Secretary answers MPs' questions
  2. Business Statement outlines agenda for coming weeks
  3. Statement on report on Women in the House of Commons after the 2020 election
  4. Debates on Yemen and on security and political situation in the African Great Lakes region
  5. Peers question government ministers from 11am
  6. Debates on 'State of the North' report and on Rohingya in Burma
  7. Debate also on armed forces; then consideration of Savings (Government Contributions) Bill

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel, Aiden James and Claire Gould

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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RAF Typhoon jet

Jeremy Corbyn and shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith meet after a reported row over comments about Nato.

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The long day closes

House of Lords

Parliament

The remaining stages of the bill pass in moments, as peers have no ability to amend a money bill.

That concludes a long and busy day in the Lords.

Peers return on Monday, when they will once again grapple with the Higher Education and Research Bill.

Meanwhile, MPs meet tomorrow from 9:30am to debate private members' bills.

Summing up

Savings (Government Contributions) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The two main parties' spokespeople sum up at the end of the short second reading debate.

Labour spokesman Lord Tunnicliffe says: "We must avoid adding to an already complex quagmire that is the pensions landscape."

And Treasury Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe that the bill "supports people trying to do the right thing" and save for the future.

Former pensions minister criticises Lifetime ISA plan

Savings (Government Contributions) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Altmann
BBC

Former Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann begins her speech by saying she is "delighted" that the government has made defined contribution pension schemes "more user-friendly".

However, the Conservative peer has some criticisms of the bill later in her contribution.

If savers use the new Lifetime ISA instead of a pension scheme, it "will mean less money being put in on day one", she argues.

"This Lifetime ISA seems such a waste of taxpayers' money," she says, adding that she doesn't think it will really benefit young savers.

"This bill means worse retirement outcomes for generations to come," she claims. 

Savings (Government Contributions) Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
BBC

The day's topical debates are over and the final item of business is the Savings (Government Contributions) Bill.

This government bill aims to provide incentives to encourage people to save and brings in a Lifetime ISA for younger people and the Help to Save scheme, which is aimed at people on low incomes.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, opens the second reading debate on the bill's general principles.

The remaining stages will follow but as this is a "money bill", the House of Lords has no powers to amend it, so these stages will be a mere formality.

House adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons clock
BBC

There ends the day in the House of Commons.

MPs will return tomorrow at 9:30am to discuss private member's bills on broadcasting, civil partnerships and workers' rights.

Housing associations should not 'lose sight of original purpose'

Orchard Village and Circle Housing

House of Commons

Parliament

Gavin Barwell
BBC

Communities and Local Government Minister Gavin Barwell acknowledges that the role of housing associations has changed.

He disagrees with Jon Cruddas that housing associations are beginning to see themselves as housing developers. 

However he agrees that as housing associations begin to play a greater role in commercial housing "they should not loose sight of their original purpose".

Labour peer says the minister is 'gentle and reasonable'

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Lord Robertson, who opened the debate, jokes that "it's difficult to mount any sort of attack on the noble earl, who is so gentle and so reasonable".

However, he warns that it is often said that "no plan survives the first engagement with the enemy" and asks Earl Howe to write to him with more information about defence spending. 

Defence meeting

The Guardian's political editor tweets

Minister sets out four threats to UK security

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

Earl Howe
BBC

Defence Minister Earl Howe sets out the government's assessment of "the four most pressing challenges to UK defence and security".

They are terrorism, "the resurgence of state-based threats", cyber threats and "the erosion of a rules-based global order".

He claims the UK's armed forces are "more agile, versatile and deployable than ever before".

And he adds: "We may be exiting the European Union but we are neither withdrawing from Europe nor turning our backs on the world."

The UK will work closely with France and Germany and "the United States remains our pre-eminent partner", the minister says, but the UK will seek to form partnerships "across the globe".

Orchard Village should 'act as a warning'

Orchard Village and Circle Housing debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Jon Cruddas believes the government is "actively committed" to deregulating the housing sector "so they can build more homes".

He says he accepts the logic but worries about the cost on accountability.

He hopes the experience of Orchard Village will "act as a warning" and calls for the preservation of the integrity of housing associations. 

'We have to question whether we are prepared' says Labour spokesman

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

"We may be drawn into conflict tomorrow and we have to question whether we are prepared," says shadow defence spokesman Lord Touhig, noting that "we have an army smaller than the one we put in the field against Napoleon".

The Labour peer says that recruitment of reservists is falling short of targets and morale is low.

Without more investment, he argues, "we will not meet the challenges posed to Nato" or the growing power of Russia, China and "the terrorist threat".

Referring to today's row in Labour ranks, he adds: "Notwithstanding spin doctors, that is the official policy of the Labour Party."

Debate on Orchard Village and Circle Housing

House of Commons

Parliament

Jon Cruddas
BBC

Labour’s Jon Cruddas gets to his feet to kick off his adjournment debate on Orchard Village in Rainham.

The Mayor of London has approved a new housing development of 3,500 homes on the former Somerfield depot site in Rainham.

Concerns have been raised about the Circle Housing’s management of the development.

In 2015, the Circle was downgraded for “chronic failure” to provide repair services to its residents. 

UK defence requires 'close co-operation with allies' - Lib Dem peer

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

"The challenges faced by the UK are global and require close co-operation with allies," says Lib Dem defence spokeswoman Baroness Jolly.

The UK should "resist any attempt to test Nato's commitment" to defend the Baltic states, she adds.

"Collective self-defence is cheaper and more secure than any of the alternatives."

Great Lakes debate concludes

African Great Lakes debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood responds for the government.

He celebrates the fact that the UK is the second biggest donor in the region which, he argues, helps the UK as well as the aid recipients.

He tells MPs that if you can "get the source right" the number of refugees travelling to Europe will be reduced.

He adds praise to the Catholic Church for coming close to achieving "what many thought was impossible" - a peaceful transition in the DRC. 

'We must prepare to be surprised,' says former Air Chief Marshal

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Stirrup
BBC

"We must prepare for the future as best we can," says crossbencher and former Air Chief Marshal Lord Stirrup, "but we must also prepare to be surprised."

McInnes: 'The rule of the strong man is beginning to break'

African Great Lakes debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow foreign office minister Liz McInnes believes there has been "an upsurge" in the region of political repression, violence and militia recruitment.

However she is hopeful for the region arguing that "the rule of the strong man is beginning to break".

She acknowledges that conflicts in Syria and Yemen may have taken focus away from the region, but urges MPs not to "turn a blind eye" to problems in the Great Lakes region. 

DRC should be 'richest country in the world'

African Great Lakes debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Patrick Grady
BBC

International Development Spokesman Patrick Grady believes that the DRC should be "one of the richest countries in the world" given that "we all carry around a piece of the DRC in our pocket".

He refers to coltan - a mineral which controls power flow in mobile phones.

Weak governance, he argues, allows mining companies to "run wild" - "dodging taxes" and ignoring poor labour standards.

He notes that there are some MPs in the House that want to reduce the international aid budget. He suggests that if want to reduce the budget they should lobby companies to pay their tax in developing countries. 

Peer says the EU has contributed to peace

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Lord Bilimoria tells the House that "not one member of the UK armed forces" was killed in action in 2016, which was the first time since 1968 that this happened.

And he adds: "The peace of the last 17 years has not been just because of Nato. It has been because of the EU and Nato."

Minister aspires to 'champion' the maritime industry

UK maritime industry debate

Westminster Hall

John Hayes
BBC

Transport minister John Hayes is now answering the debate for the government.

He says the government will "fight" the implementation of the EU port regulation "at every opportunity".

On recruitment, he says he will raise the importance of recruitment and training of British seafarers with the department for skills and has also met with the maritime unions to discuss training.

"I am absolutely committed" to ensuring proper welfare for seafarers," he says, including on wages, safety and the needs of women seafarers.

Mr Hayes says he wants to be a "champion" for the maritime sector.

'Reasons for cautious hope'

African Great Lakes debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Stephen Twigg
BBC

Labour MP and Chair of the International Development Committee Stephen Twigg tells MPs that 5% of the world's poorest people live in the DRC and that number is set to double in a decade.

He believes the crisis is shaped by conflict and political instability and welcomes "encouraging" news that the Catholic Church will mediate reconciliation talks between President Kabila and the opposition. 

There are reasons for cautious hope, he says. "Let us do our role in supporting free and fair elections."

Peers urged to consider the views of the armed forces

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde
BBC

Labour peer Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde used to chair the Armed Forces Pay Review Body.

She urges the House to consider how members of the armed forces and their families feel.

Baroness Dean says Theresa May "has not made one major speech on national security and defence" as prime minister and asks: "How are they supposed to feel about that?"

She also describes the inclusion of pensions in the 2% of GDP target for defence spending as "smoke and mirrors".

Five levers of development

African Great Lakes debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Jeremy Lefroy
BBC

Conservative MP Jeremy Lefroy tells MPs that the UK is increasingly engaged in the Great Lakes region and that he feels "more positive" about the area than he has "for some time".

He identifies five "levers of development" that are "absolutely crucial - jobs, health, education, gender equality and infrastructure".  

He says he is proud that Dfid are doing work to improve all five categories in the region.

Labour calls to end 'exploitation' in merchant shipping

UK maritime industry debate

Westminster Hall

Pat Glass
BBC

Shadow transport minister Pat Glass rises to speak in the debate on the maritime industry.

She begins by praising the Scottish government's moves to improve conditions in the maritime sector, but points out that Lithuanian seafarers working on ships passing through waters off Scotland can be paid as little as £1.30 per hour.

She goes on to say that she will be writing to DFDS who, she has discovered, pay crew under £3 per hour on the route from the north east to the Netherlands.

"If we end the pay exploitation in merchant shipping" we can end the recruitment decline, she says.

On Brexit, she calls for "clear direction" and asks how the Department for Transport is communicating the issues affecting the maritime sector to the government's Brexit negotiators.

From the House of Lords library...

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

The government (under David Cameron’s premiership) set out its plans for the Armed Forces’ future capabilities in the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR 2015) published in November 2015. 

This outlined plans for a Joint Force 2025 capable of deploying an expeditionary force of around 50,000, including a maritime task group, a land division, an air group and a Special Forces task group.

The government stated that it would meet the Nato guideline of spending at least 2% of GDP on defence each year, and would also raise the defence budget by 0.5% a year in real terms, and invest £178bn in defence equipment over the next decade (an additional £12bn compared to previous plans).

The SDSR 2015 made headline commitments to slightly increase the overall size of the regular armed forces, maintaining an Army of 82,000 and increasing the Royal Navy and RAF by 400 and 300 respectively, but pledged to reduce the Ministry of Defence’s civilian staff by around 30%.

You can read more and download the full report here.

Former Army commander has doubts Nato will continue in current form

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbencher Lord Ramsbotham, a former commander of the UK Field Army, says he hopes the government "would have learned the lesson from the disastrous" Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in 2010.

He says he has called for a review of the 2015 version of the SDSR, which examines likely threats and military and security requirements.

And he suggests that Nato's "existence in its current US-reliant form must be in doubt" following the election of Donald Trump.

'Grotesque' employment practices must be addressed

UK maritime industry debate

Westminster Hall

Karl Turner
BBC

Labour's Karl Turner describes some employment practices in the maritime industry as "grotesque".

He says foreign seafarers working for companies using the port in his constituency of Hull are being paid less than the minimum wage, while local seafarers are unemployed.

"It's scandalous and needs sorting out," he says, admitting that successive governments have failed to address the poor pay rates in the industry.

African Great Lakes debate begins

House of Commons

Parliament

Police officers arrest a Congolese protester
AFP/Getty Images
Police officers arrest a Congolese protester

MPs now begin the debate on the political and security situation in the African Great Lakers region. 

The Great Lakes area covers Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The political and security situation has continued to deteriorate in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Burundi over 2016 .

In the DRC, 34 people were killed protesting against delays to elections.

In Burundi, 100 people died in protests, when President Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term - a move opposition parties considered illegal. 

'We need to raise our game' on cyber security - former minister

House of Lords

Parliament

Former cabinet minister Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke says "we are a world now that is so interconnected" that "a clever cyber brain could bring all of [it] to an end".

The UK is not spending enough on cyber security, she says, but "our enemies undoubtedly are".

The Labour peer adds: "We really need to raise our game."

Jeremy Corbyn 'to discuss Nato comments with Nia Griffith'

RAF Typhoon
CROWN COPYRIGHT
RAF Typhoons have been deployed to the Baltic region each year since May 2014

Jeremy Corbyn has told the BBC he will be speaking to his defence spokeswoman following a row over Nato's planned deployment to Estonia.

Nia Griffith was said to be "furious" that it was described by Mr Corbyn's spokesman as "one of the escalations of tension" on the Russia-Nato border.

A source close to the shadow defence secretary said she was "livid".

The Labour leader said he wanted to see a "de-escalation of tensions between Nato and Russia".

Read more.

Call to increase opportunities for women seafarers

UK maritime industry debate

Westminster Hall

Liz Savile Roberts
BBC

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Savile Roberts rises to speak "as the proud mother of a female seafarer".

She asks what the government is doing to address female recruitment, and the progression and safety of women seafarers internationally.

Moving on to speak on safety more generally, she praises the work of the RNLI to improve safety at sea.

Safety regulations must not be "eroded" once the UK leaves the EU, she says.

Opposition comments 'shameful'

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Tobias Ellwood
BBC

Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood responds for the government and says he is "not going to react" to Emily Thornberry's speech.

He describes her comments comparing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Saudi Arabia as "shameful". (Emily Thornberry said: "Just like Assad, Saudi Arabia sees no value in seeking a ceasefire.")

Tobias Ellwood says the government is not opposing calls for an independent investigation but first, he argues, the Saudis should be allowed to investigate the breaches themselves.

They have "the best insight" into their own military procedures, he says. Self-investigation will also allow the country to understand "what went wrong", he argues.

Concerning the UN resolution, he says it will be brought forward once it is clear that the resolution can be effectively implemented. 

Call to keep common travel area between UK and Irish ports

UK maritime industry debate

Westminster Hall

Albert Owen
BBC

Labour's Albert Owen rises to speak, saying he is the only person in the chamber speaking as a member of the former National Union of Seamen (now part of the RMT).

He calls for a "common travel arrangement" to be retained post-Brexit, which he says concerns people in his constituency of Holyhead as one of the busiest ports connecting the UK and Ireland.

Lord Reid warns of military becoming 'a well-defended pension scheme'

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Reid of Cardowan
BBC

It is now the turn of another former defence secretary, Labour's Lord Reid of Cardowan, who says defence spending "has been subject to what I can only kindly call creative accountancy - cooking the books".

He says that the target of spending 2% of GDP on defence now includes "a very substantial amount of wages and pensions".

Lord Reid recalls the words of a Belgian official about his own country's forces: "We don't really have an armed forces, we have a very well-defended pension scheme."

And he says the minister might be tempted to refer to what he describes as "the shambles of the Labour Party's position on defence" but says he hopes he will be "too big a man" to do so.

"Almost everyone who will speak here... has a long-standing commitment to sound defence," the Labour peer adds.

Thornberry: Have the guts to stand up to Saudi Arabia

Yemen debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Emily Thornberry
BBC

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry tells MPs that Labour supports the UN resolution sanctioning action against the Houthi rebels.

However she says they "disagree profoundly" with how the action has been carried out. She also regrets the failure of the British government to bring the war to end.

She also has concerns about the man appointed to investigate alleged human rights abuses - Mansour al-Mansour - a man she says is also known as "the Butcher of Bahrain". 

She concludes with a plea to the government to "have the guts to stand up to Saudi Arabia", stop "the hypocrisy" and present the draft UN resolution proposing a ceasefire. 

'Europeans can no longer get their defence on the cheap' - Campbell

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Campbell of Pittenweem
BBC

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Campbell of Pittenweem says Russia has achieved "game set and match" in Syria. 

He argues that, "in the face of Russian ambitions" and with political changes in the United States, "Europeans can no longer get their defence on the cheap". 

Former naval chief accuses government of 'complacency and self-delusion'

House of Lords

Parliament

The former First Sea Lord, Lord West of Spithead, accuses the government of a "staggering sense of complacency and self-delusion".

Defence needs more resources, the Labour peer says, arguing that it is the greatest responsibility of any government.

"Spending on pensions does not win wars," he adds. 

'Recruitment crisis' in Coastguard Agency

UK maritime industry debate

Westminster Hall

Drew Hendry
BBC

The SNP's Drew Hendry says the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is suffering a recruitment crisis which threatens safety.

He moves on to talk about wider issues of recruitment in the maritime industry. The majority of employees are over 41 years old, and only 3% of employees in the sector are women, he says.

He asks what action the government is taking to address these recruitment problems and imbalances. 

Former defence secretary's 'great concerns' about UK military strength

Future capability of UK armed forces

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord King of Bridgwater
BBC

Former Conservative Defence Secretary Lord King of Bridgwater says he "broadly" supports what Labour's Lord Robertson has said.

Pointing to new, planned developments in the UK military, he jokes darkly: "As long as no-one attacks us before 2025 or 2030 we'll be in good shape to meet them."

He says that he was "much criticised" when in government for "daring to reduce our armed forces to 350,000 men in uniform.

"As I look at the 144,000 that are now indicated as our present strength, you will understand I do have great concerns."

He thinks the world is seeing "President Putin's reassertion of Russian interests in many parts of the world" and warns "accidents can happen" and conflicts can start.