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Summary

  1. MPs debating private members' bills
  2. Kevin Foster's Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill passes second reading

Live Reporting

By Claire Gould

All times stated are UK

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Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

And with the minister's remarks, the Commons adjourns for another week.

Join us next week for more questions, debates and legislation from both Houses of Parliament.

Goodbye.

'We know further education works'

Night schools and adult education debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Robert Halfon
BBC

David Lammy calls for the creation of a "single tertiary education entitlement" to help people improve their skills and change jobs over the course of their working lives.

"People are not trapped in low income jobs because of immigrants," says Mr Lammy, it's because successive governments have "failed" to address the need for adult education.

Education Minister Robert Halfon responds, saying "we need to change the prestige" associated with adult education.

Mr Halfon says adult education is a matter of "social justice", offering access to further education and creating "social capital" in deprived areas.

The government is investing £77m in the National Careers Advice Service, so that people are aware of what adult education is available.

Mr Halfon lists measures in the spending review aimed at supporting adult education including the apprenticeship levy and advanced learner loans.

Responding to an intervention from Mr Lammy, Mr Halfon admits that successive governments have not given adult education the support it required.

He says the government is reviewing how adult education can meet the skills needs of employers, and that it offers the right quality.

The government is "fully funding" all adults to achieve basic competency in English and maths, he says.

"We know further education works," says Mr Halfon, with improved chances for people to go on to higher education, gain jobs and increase earnings.

'Where is the strategy' on adult education?

Night schools and adult education debate

House of Commons

Parliament

David Lammy
BBC

Labour MP David Lammy now leads the adjournment debate on night schools and adult education.

Mr Lammy says he is concerned that night schools are rapidly disappearing. He says his own mother benefited from access to night school as an immigrant to the UK, and that night schools are an essential part of social mobility.

He praises the work of Birkbeck College and City Lit in keeping Britain's "proud tradition" of night schooling going.

Mr Lammy says the context of Brexit makes the debate even more vital. The European Social Fund contributes "between £50m and £100m per year to our colleges", he says.

Without access to the single market, businesses may struggle to recruit people with the right skills, he says.

Mr Lammy asks the minister "where is the strategy?" for adult education.  

"How are adults without the basic skills able to move on?" he asks, saying that people are becoming trapped in dead-end jobs on poor wages because they cannot improve their skills.

Government must consider 'unintended consequences'

Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Robert Halfon
BBC

Shadow Home Office minister Rupa Huq spoke in support of Tim Loughton's bill for the opposition.

She says there are examples in international law, including in European human rights law, to show that the current position is untenable.

Following support from two other Conservative MPs, Education Minister Robert Halfon answers the debate for the government.

Mr Halfon says attitudes to marriage have moved on since "the days when women were regarded as chattels", and that civil marriage ceremonies do not have any religious element.

He says there is not evidence of widespread public support for civil partnership to made available to all couples.

Mr Halfon says the government is awaiting the court judgement on a case brought by a heterosexual couple seeking to form a civil partnership.

He goes on to say there are a number of reasons why Mr Loughton's bill would not work, these include the implications on devolved laws, implications for recognition of partnerships internationally and the available parliamentary time for scrutiny.

Tim Loughton intervenes to say that all these problems related to the original civil partnership and same-sex marriage acts.

Mr Halfon says there is always the risk of "unintended consequences" for any new law, and that the government is right to consider all the implications.

At this point time for private member's bills runs out, and Mr Loughton's bill falls.

'Unfair, illogical situation needs to end'

Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Tim Loughton
BBC

Closing his speech, Mr Loughton says he doesn't know why the government "reneged" on its promise to address equal civil partnerships following the same-sex marriage act.

He says the current situation is "unfair, illogical and needs to change".

'No such thing as common-law husband or wife'

Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Mr Loughton says co-habitation is the fastest growing form of household in the UK, but that opposite sex couples often do not understand that there is "no such thing as a common-law husband or wife".

He says he supported same-sex civil partnerships and marriage, and that opposite sex couples should have the same choice.  

He notes that the Isle of Man is the only part of the British Isles to offer civil partnerships to all couples.

Making his bill law would only require "a one-line change" to the existing legislation, he says, and could all be done "by tea time".

Can an MP resign?

Commons tweets

MPs debate civil partnership for all couples

Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Tim Loughton
BBC

Conservative Tim Loughton now has a short time in which to speak on his Civil Partnership Bill.

Mr Loughton's bill seeks to amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to provide that opposite sex couples may enter a civil partnership.  

At the moment, civil partnerships are available only to same sex couples.

MPs pass broadcasting bill at second reading

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Kevin Foster
BBC

Kevin Foster thanks MPs for their support, saying he's glad they're all "on the same wavelength".

With that, MPs agree to give the bill its second reading and it now goes on to committee stage.

Bill supported with 'panache'

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Matthew Hancock
BBC

Culture minister Matthew Hancock responds to the debate on Kevin Foster's private member's bill for the government.

He praises the contribution of Shadow minister Rosena Allin-Khan, speaking from the front bench, having only been elected in June 2016.  

Mr Hancock says the provisions in the bill were not included in the Digital Economy Bill as the government was waiting for the outcome of the trials of small-scale DAB.

On the practical question of the need for radio masts, he says radio equipment can be added to existing masts, or mounted on buildings, without the need for a radio station to construct its own mast.

Answering a question from Oliver Colvile's speech on the risk of political bias, Mr Hancock says all radio stations of any size have to abide by broadcasting rules covering their content.

In response to a concern raised by David Nuttall, Mr Hancock says the government hopes to have the bill made law before the current trials of small-scale DAB come to an end, thus allowing those new stations to continue broadcasting.

In the long term, Mr Hancock says FM channels will be switched off, but only after DAB coverage and uptake becomes comprehensive.

In closing, Mr Hancock says he is "delighted" that the bill has cross-party support and congratulates Kevin Foster from bringing the bill forward with "such panache".

Labour support for bill proposals

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Rosena Allin-Khan
BBC

The shadow sport minister Rosena Allin-Khan now stands to sum up for Labour. 

She says small scale DAB, as proposed in the bill, would "indeed provide a cost-effective way forward", she says. 

She says radio content for communities was championed and funded by Labour when it was in government. She says the bill "extends and modernises" Labour's legacy and is supported by the Opposition.

Why was this not included in the Digital Economy Bill? she asks. That bill was not ready and should have included these provisions, she adds.

Future is digital - and this bill helps, says MP

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Andrew Bingham
BBC

High Peak's MP Andrew Bingham, who is chair of the APPG of commercial radio, says digital is the future of radio. He says if it is the future, "we need to secure the future of our local radio stations". 

The way things are at the moment, he says, it's beyond the finances of small radio stations to go into digital. 

This bill is an excellent piece of legislation, he says, because it places a framework whereby the likes of High Peak Radio "can move into the digital zone".

Who's here - and who's not?

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Tom Pursglove is the next Tory MP to speak. And, as the parliamentary reporters from ParlyApp report on Twitter:

View more on twitter

Conservative MP Philip Davies often attends private members' bills debates on a Friday, with the intention of talking out and opposing bills he disagrees with.

Community cohesion encouraged by radio

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Wendy Morton
BBC

Wendy Morton is the next Conservative MP to rise to speak about Kevin Foster's bill.

She says there are 250 community radio stations and 200 smaller radio stations which do not have the opportunity to broadcast on DAB radio. She wants to see more community and local radio stations encouraged to start.

She also mentions the BFBS - the British Forces Broadcasting Service - as another example of radio stations doing a good job for local communities. She says the bill will ensure communities are served and radio stations help them come together.

Community radio suffers 'interference' from larger stations

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Maggie Throup
BBC

Conservative MP for Erewash Maggie Throup is now speaking in support of the bill.

She says the experience of her local community radio station, Erewash Sound, has convinced her of the need for small-scale DAB broadcasting for community radio.

Erewash Sound has been allocated an FM signal, which she says many people in the constituency are unable to receive due to interference from more powerful transmissions from the local BBC radio stations.

On a journey...

BBC tweets

Bill would make DAB 'affordable' for community radio

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Rebecca Pow
BBC

Conservative MP Rebeca Pow, a former radio presenter, is now speaking in support in the bill.

"In times of crisis" local radio plays a key role, she says. Information about flooding alerts or school closures can be quickly relayed to the people affected.

She praises the work of community radio stations in her Taunton Deane constituency, who are a "valuable source of news and gossip", she says.

These stations are not available on DAB, "because the costs are too high", she says.  She hopes the bill would allow community radio to expand in an affordable way.

Moves to scupper next bill?

PA's parliamentary editor tweets

Bill will allow 'hyper-local radio to flourish'

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Seema Kennedy
BBC

Conservative MP Seema Kennedy confesses she is a life-long "radio nut", and is in support of the bill.

She praises the work of Leyland Festival Radio, a community radio station in her constituency of South Ribble. She describes it as reaching a "hyper-local" audience, who "really identify" with the station's output.  

Volunteers running the station also got the chance to develop valuable skills in production, she says.

She moves on to speak about the way radio can be a "friend" to lonely, isolated people. Community radio can help connect people, she says.

Snowy scene

Picture archive tweets

'Concerns' over bill, but no intent to wreck it

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Kevin Foster
BBC

Kevin Foster watches intently as his colleague David Nuttall rises to speak in the debate.

Mr Nuttall takes attendance on sitting Fridays very seriously, and often speaks at length.

On this occasion though, he says he has no interest in "scuppering" the bill, despite having a few concerns.

MP spent night in Parliament to introduce bill

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Pauline Latham, Conservative MP for Mid Derbyshire, is now speaking in the debate on this private member's bill.

She congratulates Kevin Foster on bringing forward his bill and says she is happy to support it. She is particularly impressed, she says, as he had to sleep overnight in Parliament to ensure he got a slot to introduce it.

Pauline Latham
BBC

Support from colleagues

Conservative MP tweets

What does the bill seek to do?

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Kevin Foster's bill would create a power for the secretary of state to modify Part 2 of the Broadcasting Act 1996 and Part 3 of the Communications Act 2003.

He says it would "create a lighter touch licensing regime", suitable for the new small scale radio multiplex services. 

Radio stations must seek the appropriate service licence from Ofcom according to the means of transmission on which they wish to broadcast. The subject of this bill is the licensing of digital radio transmission, rather than radio services.  

Conservative support for private member's bill

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Kevin Foster
BBC

Kevin Foster, MP for Torbay, has a good show of support from colleagues today for his Radio Multiplex Services Bill.

Facts and figures at your fingertips: the Commons library service

Commons library tweets

Bill seeks to give 'digital option'

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Kevin Foster
BBC

Following some interventions from Conservative colleagues, Kevin Foster stresses that his bill seeks to allow the "option" for small-scale DAB community radio stations, and not to replace or compete with existing FM services.

Kevin Foster moves on to describe a trial of small scale DAB broadcasting carried out by Ofcom and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2014 - 2016.

The experiment included 10 technical field trials of multiplexes in towns and cities across the UK. More than 100 small radio stations began broadcasting on terrestrial DAB for the first time, including some completely new services.

Mr Foster says some of these services may be able to continue beyond the period of the trial, but that without the progress of his bill they would be unable to continue DAB broadcasting indefinitely.

Who else?

The Telegraph's assistant political editor tweets

Labour MP resigns

Tristram Hunt to step down from Stoke-on-Trent seat

BBC Politics

Tristram Hunt
BBC

Labour MP Tristram Hunt is quitting as an MP to become the director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, triggering a by-election.

The former shadow education secretary's Stoke-on-Trent Central seat is among constituencies set to be abolished under new boundary proposals.

Mr Hunt confirmed the news to the BBC but an announcement is due later.

He said: "It's about the opportunity to have one of the greatest museum jobs in the world."

MPs debate radio transmission

Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Radio multiplexer
BBC

Conservative Kevin Foster is beginning his speech in support of his bill, which seeks to alter the regulation of small digital radio transmission services.

He explains that a multiplex is the device which handles digital transmissions to broadcast out to digital radios.

Multiplexers are also used to handle digital television, broadband internet and digital telecommunications.

Mr Foster goes on to explain that he hopes his bill will allow for more small, community radio stations to begin broadcasting.  

At the moment, Ofcom licenses either national radio stations, or local county-level stations. Mr Foster's bill would apply to areas approximately 40% smaller than county-level stations.

He points out that many areas of the UK now have a greater choice of digital television channels than of radio stations.

Good morning

Welcome to today's coverage of Westminster.

MPs are debating private members' bills today - and the first is Kevin Foster's Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill at second reading.