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tv   BBC News  BBC News  February 20, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm GMT

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this is the scene live. it comes as the prime minister warns peers not to delay the process. properly there'll be debate and scrutiny in the house of lords and i don't want to see anybody hold up what the british people want. a big overspend for the nhs in england as latest figures show it is hundreds of millions over budget. a big rise in council tax bills across england as local authorities try to tackle the social care crisis. most households could be charged 5% more from april. trouble for the new leader of ukip as two senior party officials in liverpool quit, citing "crass insensitivity" over the hillsborough tragedy. in the next hour, the us vice president arrives in brussels to try to reassure european allies. mike pence insists washington is still committed to partnership and cooperation. whatever our differences, our two
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continents share the same heritage, values and above all, the same purpose, to promote peace and prosperity through freedom, democracy and the rule of law. and what a night ahead for sutton united as they host a mighty fa cup match tonight against arsenal at their south london stadium. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. the legislation designed to allow the government to start the process of brexit takes to the lords this afternoon. it's already been overwhelmingly backed by mps and in just under a few minutes, they'll seek to amend
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the wording on issues such as the single market. many have already indicated that they'll seek to amend the wording on issues such as the single market or allowing eu nationals to stay. but theresa may said this morning she didn't want to see anyone holding up what the british people want. let's go live to westminster and speak to lelia nathoo our correspondent at the houses of parliament. talk us through the next few hours? what we are expecting today is to hearfor what we are expecting today is to hear for the first what we are expecting today is to hearfor the first time what we are expecting today is to hear for the first time from lords about their views on brexit. it's the first opportunity that lords and peers have had to debate the principle of brexit and to debate the government's plans for withdrawing from the eu. so, as you say, we've got 190 peers lined up to speak during this debate. remember, this is only the debate on the
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principle of brexit, we are not going to get a vote on itjust yet and, ina going to get a vote on itjust yet and, in a couple of weeks‘ time, that's and, in a couple of weeks‘ time, that‘s when we‘ll hear about the amendments, peers will have a chance to consider amendments butt forward by their colleagues on subjects such as extracting guarantees from the governments fact rights of eu citizens, about securing a parliamentary vote on the final deal and retaining membership of the single market. but today we are going to hearjust a flavour of the arguments that peers will put forward for the government‘s plans and against government‘s plans and we are hearing that theresa may will be sitting in the chamber for the start of this debate. this is an extremely unusual occurrence for a prime minister to be present at a house of lords debate. she‘s already warned peers not to hold up the will of the people by delaying brexit or holding up the process and her presence in the chamber today will
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possibly add to pressure on the lords to respect the referendum result. a bit like having the head mistress watching you as you take exams isn‘t it, but in terms of what the lords could do, they are unlikely to vote against it but it‘s the worry of amendments that theresa may will be voicing, is it? absolutely. so the bill passed through the commons com pletely bill passed through the commons completely unscathed, completely unchanged. there were attempted by mps to add amendments on the eu national subject, on the issue of a parliamentary vote, but none of the amendments made it through. there will be attempts by peers to add on their own changes to the article 50 bill on the same subject. we heard earlierfrom lord hain, the labour peer homeworks will be tabling amendment about retaining membership of the single market and we know the liberal democrats, for example, want to add on a clause about securing a second referendum on the final deal ah though we don‘t expect that to get through. the amendments on the
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rights of eu nationals and on the issue of a parliamentary vote on the final deal, they are likely to be problematic for the government and, if there are defeats on those for the government, remember the government does not have a majority in the house of lords, then the bill, the amended bill, will go back to the commons for consideration. but, we don‘t anticipate there being an extended back—and—forth between the commons and the lords so the commons we expect will reverse those defeats and the lords will ultimately back down. lots of people might feel this is already dragging on and theresa may hasn‘t got a lot of time because she wants this whole thing under way by the end of march? yes. her timetable for triggering article 50 is by the end of march and downing street says the prime minister‘s confident that she will still be able to meet that timetable despite the possibility of these amendments being supported in the lords and then having to be considered back in the commons, but because we do not expect the lords
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to be in for a huge protracted fight by ping—ponging the bill back—and—forth between the lords and the commons, theresa may, as it stands, i think can be confident that she will be able to start those brexit talks by the end of the month. thank you very much. nhs trusts in england are overspending by hundreds of millions of pounds more than expected — according to figures out this lunchtime. trusts reported a deficit of 886 million pounds in the last quarter, more than one and a half times the government target. doctor kathy mclean from the regulator nhs improvement, had this explanation. it is higher than our original anticipation but the number of patients coming into hospital, obviously we need to treat them as a priority and in spite of that, the hospitals are working really hard to keep the costs down. indeed, compared with last year, there are
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44 less hospitals posting a deficit this year compared with last year. hugh pym told me the increasing number of patients together with the crisis in the social care provision added up to a difficult picture for nhs finances. the full financial year, the regulator in nhs improvements reported a deficit of £580 million, they are now saying it will be £850 million for the year. there is an immediate overspend there. you heard a bit of explanation from nhs improvementjust then, a bit of explanation from nhs improvement just then, essentially saying more patients came through the doors than expected so that cost more for treatment, also with delayed transfers back into the community, beds being occupied for people medically fit but couldn‘t get home because of social issues. studio: we are going to pull away from hugh‘s report. that debate on
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brexit is now under way. constitutional duty to scrutinise legislation. the challenge of responding will fall to my noble friend lord bridges of headley and i can think of no—one better equipped to tackle this daunting task. my lords, in may 2015, a conservative government was elected with a clear manifesto commitment to negotiate a new settle m e nt commitment to negotiate a new settlement for britain in the eu, to ask the british people whether they wa nted ask the british people whether they wanted to stay in on this basis or leave and to honour the result of the referendum whatever the outcome. the government has delivered on these commitments. this house passed a bill to deliver a referendum without placing conditions on the result. 0n the 23rd june, 2016, the
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british people delivered their verdict. my lords, this bill is not about revisiting that debate. this bill responds to the judgment of the supreme court that an act of parliament is required to authorise ministers to give notice of the decision of the uk to withdraw from the european union. it asks parliament to confer upon the prime minister to power to notify and commence formal negotiations for withdrawal from the eu. my lords, many views have been expressed over what might be expected from your lordship‘s house as we scrutinise this bill. some have asserted that this house will ignore the referendum result and seek to use this bill to frustrate the process of leaving the eu. as someone who understands our collective sense of responsibility to our important constitutional role, i don‘t share those concerns.
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i‘m confident that noble lords will ta ke i‘m confident that noble lords will take a constructive approach in our deliberations. i‘m under no illusions about the challenge and rigour that will be evident in our debates and that is right and proper. noble lords bring a wealth of expertise to our proceedings and it‘s precisely when we bring this to bear that we show this house at its best. but i also know that noble lords respect the primacy of tell elected house and the decision of the british people on the 23rd june last year —— the elected house. this bill was the subject of detailed debate in the other place and was passed unamended with an overwhelming majority of 372. it comes to us with a strong mandate from both the people and the elected house and we should not overlook that. although this is an important bill,
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my lords, it simply allows the government to start the process of withdrawing from the eu. sub section 1of withdrawing from the eu. sub section 1 of clause 1 confers on the prime minister the power to notify, under article 50 of the treaty on european union, the uk‘s intention to withdraw from the eu, a decision taken by the people of the united kingdom. sub section 1 also gives the prime minister the power to start the process to leave. the 2008 eu amendment act made clear that the term eu as used in legislation includes uratum. it‘s a separate treaty—based organisation but uses the same organisations as the eu. so asa the same organisations as the eu. so as a matter of eu law, as well as uk law, the treaties are uniquely joined. triggering article 50 also
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entails giving notice to leave uratum. while our future relationship will be a matter for the negotiations, the prime minister has been clear this is a priority area. our nuclear industry remains of strategic importance and leaving does not affect our aim of seeking to maintain effective arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation—a—guards and trade with europe and our international partners. sub section 2 of clause 2 makes clear that the power to trigger article 50 may be conferred on the prime minister regardless of any restrictions in other legislation including the european communities act of 1972. so this bill is the legal means by which to give the prime minister power to commence withdrawal negotiations and nothing more. my lords, this bill is
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nothing more. my lords, this bill is not the place to try to shape the terms of our exit, restrict the government‘s hand before it enters into complex negotiation or attempts to rerun the referendum. this bill is the beginning of a process and a discussion we‘ll be having in this house and the other place for years to come. the legislative programme that follows this bill will be a huge task but one on which i‘m sure all sides of the house will work together constructively and the chief whip and i will work through the usual channels to ensure that we continue to be able to do our valuable work effectively looking ahead, the prime minister has set out a global vision for the uk outside the european union. we want a comprehensive new partnership with the eu and we want the right deal for the whole of the united kingdom. the government has ensured since the referendum that the devolved
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administrations are fully engaged in oui’ administrations are fully engaged in our preparations to leave the eu because a good deal will be one that works for all parts of the uk. the government‘s white paper sets out in detail our 12 objectives for the negotiations as noble lords will know. they are to provide certainty and clarity wherever we can to take control of our own laws, to strengthen the precious union of the you have kingdom, to maintain the common travel area with the republic of ireland, to control immigration to the uk from europe, to secure the rights of eu nationals in the uk and uk nationalings in the european union —— nationals in the european union, to protects and enhance workers‘ rights, to pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the eu, to secure new trade agreements with other countries, to ensure that the uk remains the best
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place for science and innovation, to continue to cooperate with our european partners in important areas such as crime, terrorism and foreign affa i rs such as crime, terrorism and foreign affairs and to deliver a smooth and orderly exit from the eu. in negotiating our new partnership, we wa nt to negotiating our new partnership, we want to be good neighbours and strong partners. we are leaving the eu but we are not leaving europe. my eu but we are not leaving europe. my lords, as we shape a new future for the united kingdom, it‘s right that parliament plays a full role. we will ensure that parliament sees as much of our strategy as possible as much of our strategy as possible as long as it does not damage our negotiating position or our national interest and the government will bring forward a motion on the final agreement to be approved by both houses of parliament before it is concluded. we expect and intend that this will happen before the european
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parliament debates and votes on the final agreement. noble lords have already demonstrated the value of the work of this house as we prepare to leave the eu. 11 reports relating to brexit have been published by our select committees with at least eight more to come in the next few weeks. the first tranche of reports covered issues including the impact on financial services trade, fisheries, policing and security and acquired rights of eu nationals. the government responses will be published over the next few weeks and if committees are well under way on their next inquiries. the eu committee has produced useful reports on parliamentary scrutiny of the process and uk irish relations and have travelled to brussels, separateburg car give and edinburgh as part of this work —— cardiff and edinburgh. i hope somewhere lord boss well is seated, i hope he found
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a place, buti boss well is seated, i hope he found a place, but i pay tribute to him, members of the eu committee, the sub commit it is and expert staff who have supported them —— boswell. my lords, valuable inquiries on brexit have been carried out by the constitution committee, the science & technology committee and thejoint committee on human rights. the economic affairs committee has announced its own brexit related inquiry and i‘m grateful to the noble lord, lord mcfall in his work in bringing together the brexit liaison group to facilitate coordination of activity in your lordship‘s house. ministers will continue to provide regular updates to parliament and, as we propose to convert the body of eu law into uk law when we leave, it will be for parliament to scrutinise any changes to our domestic legislation we make once we have left. my lords, as this house regularly reminds me, the process of leaving the european
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union is a complex one but it‘s also an opportunity for your lordship‘s house to demonstrate the valuable role that we can play. i know that the great repeal bill will be of particular interest but it will be only one of a number of bills brought before parliament during the process of exiting the eu. from immigration to customs, this house and the other place will have a huge number of opportunities to help shape the future direction of our country and i believe do so for the better. my better. my lords, the government is determined to trigger article 50 by the 31st march in order to deliver on the decision of the british people. the bill before us is a procedural pa rt the bill before us is a procedural part of that withdrawal process. i welcome the constructive tone we have heard from the opposition that they‘ll not seek to frustrate this process while of course undertaking the scrutiny role we are here to
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perform. leaving the european union offers our nation many opportunities and i‘m committed to working with all noble lords to ensure that we achieve the right deal for britain. this bill confers upon the prime minister the power to begin the process of leaving the eu and i commend it to the house. my lords, i beg to move. the question is this bill now be read a second time. i thank the noble lady for her comments. it struck me as she was hunting for the noble lord boswell how pleasing it is to see such a full house on the first monday back after recess and how the welcome extends to notjust all noble lords but to the distinguished guests visiting from the other place today. all of us will be spending a lot of time
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together over the coming days and weeks. can i thank the noble lady for volunteering to wind up our frontbenches tomorrow evening. 0n june 23rd, the country held a referendum with a straightforward direct question, should the uk remaina direct question, should the uk remain a member of the european union or leave the european union. it required a straightforward direct answer, a single cross in either the remain or the leave box. the result of that referendum, although hardly overwhelming, was clear in favour of leaving the eu. but although that question was simple and straightforward, the simplicity ended there. for those charged with implementing the decision, it has been anything but. it has led to the resignation ofa but. it has led to the resignation of a prime minister who‘d promised whatever the result he would stay and see it through. it‘s led to the government going to court to avoid
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seeking parliamentary approval on an issue that was supposed to be about sovereignty and it exposed the lack of preparation from a leave vote. my lords, it‘s that lack of government planning that‘s created a vacuum which uncertainty has thrived. brexit means brexit was perhaps the most unwise of all statements following the referendum. itjust served to highlight that void. but, my lords, until the two years of negotiation have ended, and until the, well pompously and hopefully enact ratsly named great repeal bill and consequent legislation has been completed, none of us know what brexit will look like. that‘s created uncertainty for science environmentalists and worringly for both eu citizens living and working in the uk and uk citizens living and working in other eu countries. it
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has become obvious that no thought had been given to our citizens in gibraltar or the implications for northern ireland and the good friday agreement. my lords, a recent report identified 1957 as the happiest year of the last century. a good year because it‘s when my mum and dad met andi because it‘s when my mum and dad met and i followed soon after. why was it such a happy year, notjust because of that? ! it was a time of low wages, poor housing and we hadn‘t had the benefit of the social reform and legislation of the 60s and 70s. but my lords, it was a time of optimism. few of our young people today, the mill ennials as they are often termed, will talk about such optimism for the future, faced as they are with house and job insecurity and the world seems to be becoming increasingly more dangerous. now, obviously not all the anxiety is a knock—on effect to the anxiety is a knock—on effect to the referendum and the membership of
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the referendum and the membership of the eu would not solve all our problems any more than it‘s caused them. my lords in 1957, with the horrors of the war years fading, it was also a time of hope and a brighter future wuss ahead. let‘s not forget that in that same year, 60 years ago, part of that optimism led to the treaty of rome. whilst accepting that today‘s ei led to the treaty of rome. whilst accepting that today‘s e1 is wider in shape and influence —— eu, we should acknowledge the vision of the men and women who wanted to see countries across europe knowing and understanding one another and at peace with one another. with so much of the debate around brexit being about business and the economy, we should take care never to lose sight of that vision and we should never ta ke of that vision and we should never take peace for granted. my take peace for granted. my lords, we still have battles to fight even though wars not not fought today between european countries. we have battles to fight
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in tackling serious and organised crime, terrorism, money laundering from drugs, child abuse and people trafficking. so we must continue working together on these issues across borders and on security where we have taken a leading role in the european union. my lords i think with something like 190 speakers signed up to speak today and tomorrow in your lordship‘s house, it shows notjust tomorrow in your lordship‘s house, it shows not just the depth tomorrow in your lordship‘s house, it shows notjust the depth of tomorrow in your lordship‘s house, it shows not just the depth of feel 999 it shows not just the depth of feel egg on this issue, but the expertise thatis egg on this issue, but the expertise that is available here in your lordship‘s house that i hope the government will welcome and make use of and government will welcome and make use ofandi government will welcome and make use of and i welcome the noble lady‘s comments on that in her speech. my lords, many on both sides of this issue are angry and they‘re worried. like many other noble lords i have received numerous e—mails, some wanting us to block brexit and others consider that any debate and discussion, any amendments we may pass, is a constitutional outrage. much of the work of this house is
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undertaken away from public gaze and even though with an interest in parliament are more familiar with the work of the elected chamber. with some of the reports and comments from when certain newspapers called judges enemies of the people, we should not be surprised that our role is often misunderstood and that some exaggerated and inaccurate outrage has been hurled at your lordships. we should be surprise and angry with those that should know better. my lords, mps, even peers from your lordship‘s house and an anonymous government source have threatened this house with 600 or thousands of conservative extra peers to get this legislation through or with abolition. i did have to point out to one conservative mp that it would ta ke to one conservative mp that it would take around two years to get a thousand new peers which might be a little too late for this bill. but my lords, we‘ll not be threatened into not fulfilling our normal constitutional role and neither will
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we be goaded into acting irresponsibly. we have to have a serious and a responsible debate and, in doing so, if we ask the house of commons to look again at an issue, it is not a constitutional outrage but a constitutional responsibility. it is the house of commons that will, as always and quite rightly, have the final say. so let‘s be very clear. as i have said so many times before, in your lordship‘s house and publicly, we‘ll not block or sabotage the legislation before us. whatever our personal views, disappointments and genuine concerns for the future, thatis genuine concerns for the future, that is not the role of this house. but, i‘ve also said neither should we provide the government with a blank cheque. it would be irresponsible to merrily wave the government off to negotiate our future without parliamentary engagement or accountability and
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merely ask them to return two years later with a deal. if sovereignty is to mean anything, it has to mean parliamentary responsibility. my lords, this legislation is the first stage of a process by which 2 prime minister can invoke article 50 to start negotiations to leave the european union and will lead to the so—called great repeal bill by which will start to bring provisions derived from eu law into the uk law. we‘ll treat this bill appropriately and as seriously as we do all primary legislation. as evidenced from the amendments already tabled, we‘ll seek improvements, will encourage ministers to make reasonable changes and possibly just possibly ministers to make reasonable changes and possiblyjust possibly we may ask our cleggs in the other place to reconsider on specific issues. my lords, that is not delaying the process , lords, that is not delaying the process, it‘s part of the process —— ask our colleagues. it has no impact on the government‘s self—opposed
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deadline. we will work, as we always do, with others across your lordship‘s house, including noble lordship‘s house, including noble lords on the government benches. as we have already seen from the excellent lord select committee reports, many of the issues to be addressed are complicated. they‘re complex and require wisdom, experience, thoughtful strategy and serious negotiation. whether it‘s theissue serious negotiation. whether it‘s the issue of the irish border or our trade policy, fishing industry or fighting crime, they remain at the forefront of the issues and this isn‘t going to be easy. this bill is very specific. it‘s about process rather than outcomes. but process is important. both those advocated this path and those charged with implementing the outcome bear a heavy responsibility. 0ur negotiating teams will need the best possible support. they‘ll need to scrutinise, they‘ll need to
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challenge and the motivation to get the best possible deal will be driven by understanding the complexities involved, not a glib confidence that it‘s all going to be fine. the process of brexit cannot be run solely by those that have no doubts. it has to engage those that fear the worst and will work for the best. after the division of the referendum, the prime minister has to make this a brexit notjust for the 52% but a brexit that is also understood by the 48% and indeed we should also consider those who at 16 and 17 were denied the opportunity to vote on their future. government ministers frequently state how scrutiny challenge and revision functioning of this house improved legislation. that is our sole purpose. 0ur amendments are guided by key principles and have been drafted after reflecting on the debates in the other place and the comments made by ministers. they
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include parliamentary engagement to show the uk parliament is not less engaged or less well informed than the european parliament or other national members of parliament and meaningful votes on negotiations, immediately protecting eu citizens living in the uk and also our commitment to the good friday or belfast agreement which has helped provide peace to our nearest european neighbour, the irish republic. when the bill was agreed by the house of commons it was after government commitments on some of these issues. wouldn‘t it my lords be helpful if they were written in the bill itself? my lords, we will debate the great repeal bill and subsequent legislation. we will ensure that ministerial promises not to dilute employment and social rights, environment and consumer
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fr0 kss rights, environment and consumer fr0kss are kept. and that bringing theseissues fr0kss are kept. and that bringing these issues into uk legislation is about sovereignty, not weakening legislation. and also as i‘ve already heard, the on going work of our eu select committees will be a valuable process. given the prime minister is playing catch—up on brexit, with her government distracting itself and parliament with the challenge of the court ruling and dithering over the white paper, we now need a more mature approach. my lords this is a defining moment for our country. there must be some acknowledgement from the government that this process is not just from the government that this process is notjust about the legislation before us and where it leads, but it is also about the needs to craft a new vision for our role in the world. that‘s realisable and sustainable and brings our country together and also gives hope and optimism to our young people and
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generations to come. my lords, our scrutiny of this process over the coming months and years will hold to that vision. well, my lords, finally we have the article 50 bill. if the government had brought forward this bill last july, six months of delay could have been avoided. since then, three things in particular have happened which requires us to take stock and to fashion a very sponse. first, the deliberate decision of the prime minister to prioritise control of eu migration and the severing of the links with the european court of justice over the membership of the single market and the customs union. as george osborne put it, they‘ve chosen not to make the economy the priority in this negotiation. and though some seek to portray this as an inevitable consequence of the
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23rd june vote, it was not. many prominent brexit supporters including nigel farage, dan hannon and the brexit secretary himself, suggested that we might remain in the single market. for example, by adopting the norwegian precedent. so the decision to rip us out of the single market was a deliberate choice by the prime minister and one which deserves to be challenged. secondly, as a consequence of the form of hard brexit chosen by the government, it has been forced to pivot our trade and indeed, our political priorities towards the us. and it has done so with una—a—lloyd enthusiasm. in any era, this would bea enthusiasm. in any era, this would be a risky strategy. but the election of donald trump makes an america first policy by this country, not only risky, but
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demeaning. the bold assertion by the foreign secretary that the us shares our values is unsustainable under a trump presidency. 0n our values is unsustainable under a trump presidency. on a wide variety of fronts. not just his trump presidency. on a wide variety of fronts. notjust his ban on asylu m of fronts. notjust his ban on asylum seekers, but on free trade, climate change, relations with russia and iran, trump‘s policies are opposed to british values and interests. i‘m sure the prime minister is aware of this yet her head long rush to the us offering the trinket of a state visit only serves to underline her weakness and the weakening position of the uk. thirdly. .. order. no, the weakening position of the uk. thirdly... order. no, my lords. there are 190 of us speaking. the noble lord will have his chance. we
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have the white paper setting out the government‘s negotiations. with the stark exception of its rejection of the single market and european court, the white paper is a rather horrifying mixture of pieious aspiration, and complacent delusion. the prime minister‘s preface sets the tone, british exceptionalism about we have the finest intelligence services, the bravest armed forces, the most effective ha rd armed forces, the most effective hard and soft power and what‘s more, according to the white paper, the country‘s coming together with 65 million people willing to make it happen. the whole term portrays the uk as happen. the whole term portrays the ukasa happen. the whole term portrays the uk as a sort of fettered giant, a national equivalent of clark kent which having entered the brexit
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telephone booth with emerge as a superman ready to take on the world and win. my lords, eitherthe superman ready to take on the world and win. my lords, either the prime minister believes this, which is deeply worrying... laughter 0rau laughter 0r all will work out well which is scarcely more reassuring. in view of these developments, how then should this house approach the bill before us? can we and should we seek to simply send it on its way or can we and should we seek to amend it? on the first question, the answer is crystal clear. we do have the power to ask the commons to think again on any piece of legislation large or small. and i hope the government will accept this. when we had the statement in response to the supreme court ruling on 24th january, the minister, the noble lord lord bridge said, "we in this house, as a non
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elected chamber, need to thread with ca re elected chamber, need to thread with care on this issue as we proceed." the clear implication my lords was what we should not be pressing amendments. in response, the noble lord lord rucker replied, "it would be very useful if when we debate this bill, we do not have ministers or anybody else talking about constitutional crisises. this place cannot have the last word. a government defeat in your lordship‘s houseis government defeat in your lordship‘s house is simply a request to the commons to look at the issue again." that is all it is. my lords, that sums up the position perfectly. i therefore hope that ministers in this house will not mimic the attitude of some of their colleagues in another place by dismissing any concerns or queries raised by members of your lordship‘s house as merely opposing the will of the people. all that we‘re trying to
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obstruct the process. there is no significant body of opinion in this house which is seeking to prevent the passage of this bill. but there isa the passage of this bill. but there is a world of difference between blocking the bill and seeking to amend it. so my lords, if we clearly have the power to amend the bill, should we positively seek to do so? my should we positively seek to do so? my lords, i believe that we should. brexit is the most important single issue which has faced the country for decades. for many of us, the approach being adopted by the government is little short of disastrous. for those of us and there are very many in your lordship‘s house, for whom europe has been a central theme of our entire political lives, to sit on our hands in these circumstances is both unthinkable and uncon shenable.
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very many of us across the house have always been proud international internationalists. we will cross to the house of commons. the business secretary is facing a question from the labour mp secretary is facing a question from the labourmp on secretary is facing a question from the labour mp on the take—over, proposed take—over of vauxhall by peugeot. mr speaker, vauxhall is one of our oldest and most valued motor manufacturers. it has been making ca rs manufacturers. it has been making cars in britain for 113 years and been owned by general motors. there are over 40,000 people employed directly by gm or in vauxhall‘s retail or supply chain in this country. last tuesday, news emerged that gm were in discussions with the french company psa about the future of gm‘s european operations. i spoke to the president of gm by telephone that afternoon and communicated the
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importance we attach to vauxhall‘s presence in the uk and to its workforce. i‘m grateful to him for travelling to meet me last thursday. he told me no agreement with ph a had been reached. he shared my assessment of the success of the vauxhall plants in britain and of the vauxhall brand and gm‘s intention was any deal should be about building on the success of these operations rather than seeking to rationalise them. following on from my meeting with gm, i travelled to paris to meet my counterpart in the french government, the industry minister, and following these discussions, i met with psa board members for two hours later on thursday night. i emphasised once again the importance attach to the continuing success of vauxhall in britain and the recognition of its workforce. the psa executive said that they too greatly valued the vauxhall brand and that any deal would build on these strengths. they emphasised their operational
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approach has not been to engage in plant closures, but to focus on continuous improvements in plant performance. our intention as part ofan performance. our intention as part of an ambitious industrial strategy to enhance the competitiveness of the uk economy generally, including of course, the automotive sector. earlier today, my minister of state spoke to his german counterpart. we remain in close contact with gm, psa and the french and german governments and i meeting the psa chief executive later this week. and of course, i have met and will continue to meet with the trade unions and members of the this house with constituency interests. mr speaker, i will do everything i can at all times to secure the best possible future for vauxhall and its workforce. 0ur unity of purpose in seeking this good future should be a source of strength in this house and i will keep the house informed at every opportunity.
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i‘d like to thank the secretary of state for his response and for the helpful way he kept myself and other interested parties informed as matters unfolded. as he said not only are there thousands employed, but there are tens of thousands of people working in the supply chain and sales network. vauxhall is a british success story. the plant in ellesmere port and luton benefit from a dedicated staff. if the take—over does go ahead, we need to get the message out that risking the closure of either facility was a receipt owe grade step. will the secretary of state confirm that the government stands ready to use all the tools at its disposal to protect britishjobs at the tools at its disposal to protect british jobs at vauxhall? it is not a new experience. there were threats to the plant in the past, but they have been seen off between collaborations between unions and management and government. i want that to carry on. can the secretary
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of state confirm that he will continue to work with everybody at every stage. whilst it would be an over simplification, there are concerns about brexit‘s impact particularly if tariffs were imposed? particularly if tariffs were imposed ? will the particularly if tariffs were imposed? will the secretary of state ensure that the auto motive industry is put front and isn‘t ter? we are very proud of our automotive sector in ellesmere port, but we cannot ta ke in ellesmere port, but we cannot take it for granted and i will do everything that i can to fight for the future of vauxhall and i expect nothing less from the government. cani nothing less from the government. can i commend the honourable gentleman and i‘m grateful to him for giving us the opportunity to update the house on these matters. i agree with him about the importance and the success of the workforce at both the ellesmere port, his
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constituency, and luton and of course, the supply chain and the retail network across the country and the call centre and the customer service centre. every part of britain has a stake in vauxhall and soi britain has a stake in vauxhall and so i completely agree with him that we will do everything we can and my personal commitment to and the commitment of this government will be to make sure that the future building on the success of the plant in his constituency, of the workforce, will be maintained. that is my purpose. i‘m gratefulfor his support for that. and i will, of course, work with all of the groups including the trade unions and including the trade unions and including the trade unions and including the workforce to make that case if new owners, there are to be, to those new owners. studio: the business secretary telling the mp for ellesmere port that the government would be doing all it could to protect workers at
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the two plants, the vauxhall plants in the uk. this comes as theresa may says she will have a private conversation with the chief executive of peugeot and is determined to protect britain‘s car industry. we‘ll have more reaction and more on that in the business coming up. we will return to the figures on nhs overspending. there was a deficit of £886 million in the last quarter, more than one and a half times the government target. are you surprised by the figures? what i‘m worried about there isn‘t a plan for getting the hospital deficits under control. much of it is because the government failed in their planning for workforce changes and more and more hospitals are relying on agency staff. so unless theresa may and jeremy hunt do something to sort out the nhs in the budget next month and indeed the social care sector, i fear things will get a lot worse in the nhs.
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what‘s that something then? the nhs is already ring—fenced. will you put more money into it or raise taxes? well, i think the priority now has to be the social care sector. it has seen £4.6 billion of cuts under this conservative government. and the reality is that lots of very elderly vulnerable people aren‘t getting the social care support they need and they‘re trapped in hospitals. it is why for example surrey county council the other week was proposing a 15% increase in its council tax and there was a suggestion of some kind of sweetheart deal between surrey and the government. i would say to the government, use the budget to pump in some emergency cash into social care because if you don‘t sort out social care in this country, you will see the nhs being pulled under. you know, we have heard the council tax bills are allowed to rise in councils across england to tackle the social care crisis. would you, what would you do to that? would you
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put a higher limit on that? or would you say that that has got somebody something that works independently of local councils? would you want another tax rise for that? the problem is with what the government have done they‘re trying to pass the buck down to local councils and in many areas, local councils can increase their council tax by a couple of percent, but it won‘t go anywhere near meeting the social ca re anywhere near meeting the social care demands of a local area. you asked where would it come from? government is about making choices and this is a government that has chosen to give billions away in corporation tax cuts and in the chancellor‘s mini budget last november, he allocated hundreds of millions to building new grammar schools and there wasn‘t an extra penny for the nhs or social care. we would say to the government in the short—term, in this budget, make a different set of decisions and bring
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forward investment for social care. you would do it all without tax rises, is that fair? i don't think the government need to be putting in place some of the big tax cuts for very wealthy corporations. that‘s the point i‘m making. should that really be the priority for our public finances when we can see the state that our nhs is in. we‘ve got reports today about the number of beds that have been lost in the nhs, something like 15,000 over the last few years, putting huge pressures across the system. and over the next couple of years some estimate we could lose another 20,000 beds as pa rt could lose another 20,000 beds as part of something called the sdp process which is these big cuts to local or big changes to local provision which many fear is more about cutting services. in a moment a summary of the business news this hour but first the headlines on bbc news: peers begin debating the legislation to give theresa may the authority to trigger brexit talks.
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the house is expected to sit until at least midnight — and in an unusual move — the prime minister will also be present in the chamber. nhs trusts in england report an overspend of nearly £900 million in the first nine months of the financial year despite extra funding from the government. a big rise in council tax bills across england as local authorities try to tackle the social care crisis. most households could be charged 5% more from april. in the business news, business minister greg clark will be has been answering an urgent question about the take—over of vauxhal. the labour party will ask him a question regarding peugeot‘s proposed takeover of vauxhall car and van plants. unions are concerned the takeover will lead to the closure of at least one british plant. the biggest merger deal in corporate history is not happening — after the american food giant kraft—heinz said it was dropping
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its bid to buy rival — unilever. unilever is well known for products like marmite, lipton tea and dove soap. it rejected a £115 billion bid from kraft on friday. now kraft has said it has agreed to scrap the plan. the head of the unite union will meet bmw executives today to try and stop industrial action over planned changes to the company‘s pension scheme. len mccluskey said uk workers‘ pensions were at risk of being "diminished". bmw produces mini, bmw and rolls—royce brands in the uk. all this week, we‘re doing a series called disability works. it‘s a week of coverage looking at how businesses work with people with disabilities. and how disabled people have made business work for them. matthew evans worked as a tractor driver on his family farm in north wales. three years ago, he was hit by a car and paralysed from the chest down. it might have spelt the end of his working life. but mr evans had his tractor adapted with a hoist and special controls that he can work by hand. now, he‘s building up his business as a contract tractor driver, serving farms across his local area. my
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my name is matthew evans. i have a contracting business doing mainly tractor work involving hedge cutting and baling and sigh lapbleg and things like that. i have always been in agriculture from working at home with my father on the farm to starting a contracting business in my early teens. i had the accident. we were in an agricultural show and coming from the show me and three of my friends were knocked down by a 4x4 and that left me paralysed from the chest down. yeah, it has affected us a lot, but there is a lwa ys affected us a lot, but there is always ways around things. the main thing was putting the hoist, the lift on the tractor to get into the tractor. we had this steel leaver put on the brake pedal so you can apply the brakes easy by hand and
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the rest of it is all on the joystick which is pretty much standard in a tractor anyway. it‘s a lot different. 0bviously, frustration is the biggest thing. not being able to justjump out and open a gate. gates are the biggest thing! you have to be patient. you have to ask a lot of people for help, but it is do—able. 0f have to ask a lot of people for help, but it is do—able. of course, i was worried i wouldn‘t be able to do, but! i was worried i wouldn‘t be able to do, but i have a passion for doing it. i will do it whatever. that‘s all we ever wanted to do it. it‘s a lifestyle. it‘s not a job. ijust love it, really. here‘s a look at some other stories we‘re following today. uk house—builder bovis homes says 2017 will be the year they reset the business. it has had a challenging 12 months. it is setting aside £7 million to improve customer relations. customers are paid compensation when repairs have taken longer that expected. the owners of dulux paint are investing over £10 million into a new research facility in the north east.
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gateshead will be home to a new campus that‘ll promote skills and development. now, dulux is known for its paint pots, but it also produces specialist coatings for mining and energy companies. this is interesting — the new facility will be able to create extreme environments, similar to the north pole or a fire on an oil rig, to test out new products. exports of single malt scotch whisky topped £1billion whisky topped £1 billion for the first time in 2016. exports account for around 93% of production. single malts are doing well as a luxury product, and so that‘s what‘s been driving most of its growth. the markets, the ftse 100 the markets, the ftse100 slightly in the negative at the moment. it is a bit flat. not helped by bovis homes after it announced it was setting aside £9 million to customer compensation. that‘s it from me. i will be back with more business in an hour. footage has emerged of the moment the north korean leader‘s half
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brother was attacked at kuala lumpur airport in malaysia. a woman appears to cover his head with a cloth for a few seconds before walking away. kim jong—nam is then seen telling police what has happened. he collapsed shortly after and died. but north korea has questioned the identification of the man who died and has demanded the body. daniel boetcher reports. cctv footage at kuala lumpur international airport. a figure in a light suit with a bag slung over his shoulder walks through the hall. it‘s believed this man is kimjong—nam. the next pictures are less clear. but the man is grabbed from behind by a woman in a white top. she appears to push a cloth into his face. the footage then shows them separating. the man is seen talking to airport staff apparently explaining what happened. and seems to be led to police where he again explains and gesticulates, before he‘s accompanied to the airport‘s medical clinic. police believe kim jong—nam, the half—brother of north korea‘s leader kimjong—un, was poisoned at the airport a week ago.
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the mysterious circumstances, the investigation and speculation that north korea was behind the killing, has led to growing diplomatic tensions. malaysia has recalled its envoy to north korea, while the pyongyang ambassador at kuala lumpur said at a news conference the investigation could not be trusted. it has been seven days since the incident, but there is no clear evidence on because of the death and at the moment we cannot trust the investigation by the malaysia police, even though its result would be obtained. but malaysia‘s prime minister has defended the investigation and the work of police and doctors. we have no reason why we want to do something that would paint the north koreans in a bad light. we will be objective and we expect them to understand that we apply the rule of law. malaysian authorities have said that
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autopsy results could be ready by the middle of the week and that they will release mr kim‘s body to his next of kin. his son is reported to be travelling to kuala lumpur. now the weather. well, we maybe heading towards the end of february, but we have had our warmest day of the winter so far. temperatures across central and eastern england and eastern scotland into the mid—teens, but with blue skies across the london area, this is where we‘ve hit 18 celsius, 63 fahrenheit. not been the same everywhere. the skies a different colour across parts of north—west england. this will be close to where all of us will lie by the end of the week. a change will be on the way. 0ut there at the moment, the skies are
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bright through north—west england. the main rain bearing cloud is pushing southwards. it is a weak cold front that‘s introducing cooler air across country. it pushes towards southern counties of england. then we see heavier bursts as we go towards dawnment here temperatures will hold at eight to ten celsius, for some higher than it was further north, but day, but the northern half of the country, clear skies and a touch of frost around maybe for one or two into the start of tuesday morning. a brighter start across northern parts of england with sunshine. blustery conditions in the highlands. patchy rain and drizzle along this zone through southern counties. that could turn heavier and into wales and into western scotland later on. temperatures not as high as today, but above where they should be for the time of year. with breaks, we could get to around 15 celsius. we
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finish the day with northern england and scotland and northern ireland, windy and pretty wet at times too. that leads us into a blustery spell to ta ke that leads us into a blustery spell to take us through tuesday night and into wednesday. this area of low pressure zipping past scotland will bring strong to gale force winds across the north and east scotland. 60mph gusts possible. sunshine and showers, some of those turning wintry. southern counties will start fairly cloudy and outbreaks of rain and drizzle. brightening up for all, but southern most areas as we finish wednesday and notice temperatures getting close to back to where they should be for the time of year. the one thing to watch, well, it is wednesday and into thursday, potentially a stormy area of low pressure crossing the country. we‘ll keep you updated on what that can mean. we will have well and clearly cleared the air and introduced colder air to end the week with sunshine and wintry showers. more
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details through the afternoon and evening with me here on bbc news. this is bbc news, i‘m emily maitlis. the headlines at four. members of the house of lords have begun debating the legislation to give theresa may the authority to trigger brexit talks. this is the scene live. it comes as the prime minister warns peers not to delay the process. properly there‘ll be debate and scurtiny in the house of lords but i don‘t want to see anyone hold up want the british people want. nhs trusts in england report an overspend of nearly £900 million in the first nine months of the financial year despite extra funding from the government. a big rise in council tax bills across england as local authorities try to tackle the social care crisis. most households could be charged 5% more from april. i‘m simon mccoy, in the next hour. the us vice president is in brussels where he warns european allies to step up their spending on defence. today it is my privilege on behalf of president trump to express the strong commitment of the united states to continued
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co—operation and partnership with the european union.


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