Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Wednesday in Westminster

Today in Parliament & Yesterday in Parliament
By Kristiina Cooper
Programme Editor

Photo of Big Ben and signpost
Radio 4 guides you around Westminster

Party politics was briefly suspended in Parliament to make way for words of condolence to David Cameron after the death of his six-year-old son Ivan.

Prime minister's questions was cancelled as a mark of respect and replaced by expressions of sympathy for the sudden death of Mr Cameron's eldest child, who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

There was a moving tribute from Gordon Brown, whose first child Jennifer Jane died when she was ten days old.

"I know that in an all-too-brief young life he brought joy to all those around him and I know also that for all the days of his life he was surrounded by his family's love," he told MPs.

"Every child is precious and irreplaceable and the death of a child is an unbearable sorrow that no parent should ever have to endure."

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said David and Samantha Cameron lived with the knowledge for a long time that Ivan could die young but that had made their loss no less heartbreaking.

"Ivan, their son, suffered much in his short life but he brought joy and love to those around him and, as David himself has said in the past, for him and Samantha he will always be their beautiful boy," he said.

After short tributes from the deputy Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable and from the Speaker Michael Martin, the Commons was suspended until 1230 GMT.

Committee corridor

It was business as usual for select committees as the treasury committee continued its inquiry into the financial crisis, questioning the Financial Services Authority over its regulatory failures.

But there was some good news in the transport committee as the Transport Minister Lord Adonis told MPs that rail fares would be going down.

House of Lords

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson caused a ripple of surprise by introducing legislation privatising the Royal Mail a day earlier than expected.

And during question time, there were exchanges on the national debt and improving ethical behaviour in businesses.

Tune in to Today in Parliament on BBC Radio 4 tonight at 2330 and Yesterday in Parliament tomorrow morning at 0831 on Radio 4 Long Wave and digital radio.

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