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  1. Parental Bereavement Bill debated in Commons

Live Reporting

By Georgina Pattinson

All times stated are UK

  1. What's happened today?

    Parental Bereavement Bill clears the Commons

    House of Commons


    A bill to guarantee bereavement leave and pay for those who lose a child has made it through its stages in the Commons.

    The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill, which aims to create a legal entitlement of at least two weeks leave and pay for parents, cleared its final Commons hurdle with unanimous support.

    The private member's bill will now undergo further scrutiny in the Lords before it becomes law.

    It was brought forward by Conservative Kevin Hollinrake in consultation with his Conservative colleague Will Quince, whose son was stillborn at full term in October 2014.

    The draft legislation had been dubbed "Will's Bill" in honour of the campaigning by Mr Quince, but he said it should be referred to as "Robert's Bill" in honour of his son.

    He said: "When members of the public, who in some cases have a bit of disdain for politicians, say 'You MPs you do nothing, what do you do for us?', well today we're doing something for tens of thousands of bereaved parents up and down this country.

    "We know the good this bill will do."

    The government offered its support to the bill along with Labour and other opposition parties.

  2. Bill proposes votes for younger people

    Representation of the People (Young People's Enfranchisement) Bill

    House of Commons


    The bill now being debated aims to reduce the voting age to 16 in parliamentary and other elections and to make provision about young people's education in citizenship and the constitution.

    The MP taking the bill through the Commons is Labour MP Peter Kyle.

    This private member's bill was listed second on Commons business and is unlikely to secure enough time for its second reading debate as MPs devoted their attention to the parental bereavement bill.

  3. Bill passes third reading

    Parental Bereavement Bill

    House of Commons


    The bill passes third reading and will now make its way to the Lords.

    There's a response from campaign group Bereavement Alliance to the news:

    View more on twitter
  4. Consultation to take into account issues raised

    Parental Bereavement Bill

    House of Commons


    Business minister Richard Harrington tells MPs: "The bill has to be seen as an enabling framework, which has the advantage of allowing time to be taken get the necessary details right."

    A consultation which closes next month will take into consideration issues and concerns raised by MPs via the amendments, he tells MPs.

    He says: "I can assure members on both sides of the House that this is not a can-kicking consultation, it's not a formality."

  5. Call for flexibility in when leave can be taken

    Parental Bereavement Bill

    House of Commons


    Labour MP Karen Lee, who lost her daughter to cancer, explains the importance of support at work after a bereavement.

    The Lincoln MP says: "I know every business is different but it is so important when you go back, your world has been turned upside down and you can't just walk back in and pretend everything's the way it was the day that you left, so that is really vital."

    SNP MP Patricia Gibson says parents should have greater flexibility over when they can take the leave, which would enable them to grieve but also potentially attend an inquest or court case linked to the death.

    The draft law specifies the leave must be within 56 days of the child's death.

    She says: "I fear that for the minority of employers who are perhaps not as sympathetic as they might be, bereaved parents may face losing their jobs as well as losing their child."

  6. Legislation aimed at employers 'who adopt...Scrooge and Marley' practices

    Parental Bereavement Bill

    House of Commons


    The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill, which has government and opposition support, brings forward proposals to create a legal entitlement for parental bereavement leave and pay of at least two weeks.

    Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake has brought this bill forward, with his Conservative colleague Will Quince, whose son was stillborn at full term in October 2014.

    Tory MP Kevin Foster tells the Commons he "fully supported" the ideas behind the legislation as he debated a series of amendments he proposed at report stage.

    He says: "A reasonable employer will clearly behave in a very different way to the type of person we're having to aim this legislation at.

    "We're bluntly aiming this legislation at the sort of person who adopts the employment practices of Scrooge and Marley."

    The Torbay MP lent his name to 21 amendments to the bill.

  7. Video content

    Video caption: Dealing with a parent's worst nightmare

    When a family tragedy struck, this MP campaigned for change

  8. MP's campaign makes progress through Parliament

    Parental Bereavement Bill

    House of Commons


    This bill - to bring in paid leave of at least two weeks for bereaved parents - should be passed in the Commons today.

    It was proposed by backbencher Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake after being put forward by Will Quince who had a still-born son.

    It's backed by the government - but, remember, it will only become law after going through the House of Lords.

  9. Good morning

    What's on in the Commons?

    MPs are debating the final stages of the Parental Bereavement Bill.

    This bill makes provision about leave and pay for employees whose children have died.

  10. Government apologises to Libyan dissident

    What happened in the Commons today?

    The government has apologised to Libyan Abdul Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Boudchar, who say an MI6 tip-off led to their capture and his torture by Colonel Gaddafi's forces.

    Attorney General Jeremy Wright said the settlement with the couple included a £500,000 payment to Ms Boudchar.

    Mr Belhaj says MI6 helped the US kidnap him in Thailand in 2004 to return him and his wife to Libya.

    UK actions had contributed to the couple's capture, Mr Wright said.

    Mr Belhaj had not sought and would not receive financial compensation, Mr Wright added.

    A leading opponent of the then Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Mr Belhaj says he was abducted in Bangkok - along with his wife, then five-months pregnant - while attempting to fly to London to claim asylum in the UK.

    Now a politician in Libya, Mr Belhaj spent six years in prison upon his return to the country, while Moroccan-born Ms Boudchar was released shortly before giving birth.

  11. Today in the Commons

    What happened?

    House of Commons


    An urgent question on how the government is dealing with (or not dealing with) money resolutions for private member's bills saw MPs from both sides claiming that the bill in question has been approved by the House, and must now be given authorisation through a money resolution.

    The Attorney General announced that the government has paid £500,000 in damages to the wife of a Libyan dissident and issued a formal apology after a lengthy litigation process. Abdul Hakim Belhaj will receive no compensation himself, as the Attorney General said he has never sought any, just an apology.

    A sombre mood descended on the Commons for two backbench debates, the first on people affected by financial misconduct, in particular the Global Restructuring Group within RBS.

    The second was on compensation for the victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism. The government stated in both cases that more does need to be done: in the case of RBS, it is waiting for the result of a review from the Financial Conduct Authority, and in the case of Libya/IRA terrorism, is unable to do anything further at the moment.

    The Commons has adjourned for the day, and will return at 9:30am tomorrow.

  12. Libyan assets cannot be used for compensation - minister

    Libyan-IRA terrorism debate

    House of Commons


    Alistair Burt

    Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt says that the government is in no doubt Semtex and other materials supplied to the IRA and distributed in Ireland and the UK were supplied by the Libyan regime and "responsible for IRA-based terror".

    On compensation, he says: "If it was straightforward and simple it would have been sorted. It isn't."

    "The government has the greatest sympathy for the victims and their families," he says, many of whom still live with the effects of the attacks.

    The government attaches "great importance" to finding a solution on this.

    He adds that the government has helped in seeking compensation for the Lockerbie bombing, in these cases, there was no doubt of direct Libyan involvement, he states.

    "It is a priority matter for the UK government," he says.

    The advice he has is that there is "no lawful basis" under which the UK could use Libyan assets to compensate victims, and says that the UN has deemed that this money should eventually be returned to the country for the benefit of the Libyan people.

    Using this money for compensation would be a "violation of international law", he states.