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COMMONS CHAMBER 11.30am: International Development questions (topicals at 11.53am) 12 noon: Prime minister questions Main business Ministerial statement: The Al Sweady inquiry report Ten minute rule motion: Women’s Refuges (Pr... Continue to article
Andrew George, former Lib Dem environment spokesman, calls for "pacts" between his party and the Greens in the 2015 election. Continue to article
The Prime Minister has pledged a vote in the coming weeks on the European Arrest Warrant, despite a potential Tory backbench rebellion. David Cameron denied dithering on the contentious issue after Ed Miliband piled on the pressure at P... Continue to article
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have joined forces to back a bill easing the impact of the so-called 'bedroom tax’.
The two parties voted to send the Affordable Homes Bill, put forward by Lib Dem MP Andrew George, to committee stage for further scrutiny.
The bill was backed by 306 votes to 231, after Nick Clegg ordered his MPs to support it and the Government allowed collective ministerial responsibility to be suspended.
If passed, the legislation would exempt people from housing benefit reductions if a smaller home could not be found for them in their local area.
Mr George welcomed the success of the bill saying it was "great news for those families who have been thrust into difficulties".
Business Secretary Vince Cable tweeted his approval of the result saying he was "delighted that the bill from Lib Dem Andrew George to fix the Tories' bedroom tax has passed thanks to Lib Dem and Labour MPs."
But Tory MP Philip Davies this morning defended the Government's welfare changes, accusing Mr George of putting forward "a solution looking for a problem".
He told the Today programme the Government had implemented a "huge increase" in Discretionary Housing Payments for councils "so they could look at every individual case and decide whether or not they warranted an exemption."
Some disability charities have expressed concern over the way Discretionary Housing Payments operate, with Scope telling PoliticsHome recently the measures only amounted to a "short-term fix".
One of the leading Lib Dem opponents to the Government's NHS reforms has warned that Government plans to increase the money NHS hospitals can earn from private patients could prove "catastrophic". Andrew George said that ministers did not "fully understand" the implications of the plans and warned that they could expose the NHS to legal challenges from private providers. A Labour amendment to scrap the cap was voted down 292 votes to 239, but further scrutiny on the issue is expected in the Lords.
Lib Dem MPs have voted to pursue a motion calling for increased pressure on the international community to provide more aid to the victims of the Pakistan floods. Andrew George, Mp for St Ives, said countries were not "responding sufficiently to begin addressing some of the serious problems Pakistan faces".
One of the leading Liberal Democrat rebels on the Health Bill has warned the Government's changes to the Health and Social Care Bill will continue to put core services at risk.
Andrew George said ministers' response to the NHS Future Forum's recommendations had been "disappointing" and left "many of the previous concerns - about the risk of a marketised NHS, a missed opportunity to better streamline health and social care and a lack of accountability - still unresolved."
He added: "Whether it is the intention of ministers or not is unclear, but it seems that the Government will perpetuate rather than resolve the risk posed by the private sector to core NHS services."
Labour have protested that the Government is not giving enough time to scrutinise the changes at committee stage. But at a press conference this morning, David Cameron said: "When we were in opposition we used to dream of 10 days for a Government bill. I remember sitting on standing committee looking at criminal justice legislation where whole parts of the bill would just go rushing through because the guillotines had fallen.
"I think 10 days is actually a significant amount of time: we have recommitted this bill, so it goes back into the committe stage."
19/10/2014 on Westminster Hour, BBC Radio 4
05/09/2014 on Today, BBC Radio 4
05/09/2014 on Today, BBC Radio 4
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