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tv   Monday in Parliament  BBC News  February 21, 2017 2:30am-3:00am GMT

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from such declaration since is the first such declaration since 2011. according to the government and the united nations, over 100,000 people face starvation. almost 5 million are of food. people face starvation. almost 5 millio has} of food. ” near the airport in the —— me = supported by the i and iraqis, supported by the us and british special forces, try to take control of the west of the city, where thousands of isis fighters are still holding out. time for a look
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at the day in parliament. hello and welcome to monday in parliament, our look at the day at westminster. the headlines... peers start debate on the brexit bill — with the leader in the lords warning them not to slow things down. the government is determined to trigger article 50 by the slst of march in order to deliver on the decision of the british people. the bill before us is a procedural part of that withdrawal process. mps debate two petitions on donald trump — one calling for his state visit to be cancelled, the other welcoming it. one labour mp said it went against everything she'd come into politics for. by allowing donald trump a state visit and rolling out the red carpet we are endorsing all of those views, all of those things i've fought hard against, and saying, do you know what?
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it's ok. and the business secretary pledges to do all he can to safeguard jobs at vauxhall, amid speculation a french motor group could buy its parent company. every part of britain has a stake in vauxhall and so i completely agree with her that we will do everything we can and my personal commitment and the commitment of this government will be unbounded. but first, the house of lords has begun considering the law which would allow brexit to go ahead. the prime minister was in the chamber to hear the start of proceedings. the leader of the lords, lady evans, warned peers not to block brexit — although some have called for the lords to ask for greater oversight in parliament of the final deal. 187 peers are scheduled to speak over two days of debate. the process of leaving the european union is a complex one but it is also an opportunity for your lordships‘ house to demonstrate the valuable role that we can play. i know that the great repeal bill
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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. my lords, the government is determined to trigger article 50 by the 31st of march in order to deliver on the decision of the british people. 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 will not seek to frustrate this process while of course undertaking the scrutiny role we are here to perform. last june the 23rd this country held a historic referendum with a straightforward direct question, should the uk remain a member of the european union or leave the european union? it required a straightforward direct
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answer, a single cross in either the remain box 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. none of us know what brexit will look like and that has created and fuelled uncertainty for business, for universities, for science, for environmentalists, and worrying for both eu citizens living and working in the uk and uk citizens living and working in other eu countries. and it 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. but the liberal democrat leader in the lords said the idea the second chamber should nod
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the bill through without amending it was unacceptable. there is no significant body of opinion in this house which is seeking to prevent 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 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. there was a resounding majority in support of the bill in the other place, so however much i and the many, many others who have been writing to us during the past few days might have wished that it were otherwise i am convinced that there is no turning back. as it is, i confess to a keen desire
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to get on with the article 50 process as soon as possible. i want to know where we're going. it has been made clear to us many times, particularly by the noble lord the minister, that the government will not reveal its hand until notification is given and the process of negotiation has started. my lords, i'm speaking only for myself, as i must do from this position on these benches, where all others speak for themselves, when i say that i find this acutely frustrating. do we really want to remain in the eu for the next two years? is it worth the risk? even the poor old international monetary fund, which gets practically every forecast wrong, but maybe not this time, says greece's debts are on an explosive path and the imf appears unwilling to fund further bailouts. professor otmar issing, the ecb first chief economist, said recently, "the ecb is becoming dangerously overextended and one day the house of cards will collapse." the government has lost its sense
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of perspective in this matter. the prime minister is terrified of looking less than full hearted so she is overcompensating. debate is discouraged in case it gives the impression of being faint—hearted. critics are attacked in case their arguments catch on. as is well—known, i was a remainer, not, i might say, because of my pension rights but because i am a patriot. a patriot rather than a nationalist. now, with the sound of an anti—trump protest on the streets of westminster echoing through the walls, mps settled down to debate petition number 178841; — president trump's state visit to the uk.
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more than 1.8 million people had signed it. a counter—petition supporting the visit had mustered 300,000 signatures. and for three hours mps argued the issue. only two presidents of the us have been granted a state visit since 1952. it is extraordinary but here we have a position where seven days into his presidency he is invited to have a full state visit, extraordinary. completely unprecedented. racist, or that they attack him in an unseemly way they are actually attacking the american people. i want to remind the chamber
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that there are many african—americans in america sitting at home in fear. they are concerned about the president, who has had the support of the ku klux klan. it is to my mind foolish to allow our personal views and assessments of an individual and some of their more grotesque interests. what i believe is britain's national interest is to continue that special relationship. listen carefully and you hear the thousands of people outside
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do not want donald trump to be coming into this country on a royal state visit. we have a duty to listen to these people, to give them a voice, and if people from the trump administration are listening this is not fake news. this is a special moment for the special relationship. mr turner, the visit should happen, the visit will happen, and when it does i trust that the uk will extend a polite and generous welcome to president donald trump. concerns about assessments for people with limited mobility have been raised at work and pensions questions. the government's promised to look into individual cases and has promised to streamline the appeals process. separately, ministers promised support to help people
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with mental—health issues and learning disabilities into the workplace. may i ask the secretary of state to be personally involved in her case? car was ta ken guarg’e assessment that has led to her motability vehicle being taken away from her. she is currently appealing and i have written to the minister about the case, but what reassurance can she give me and my constituents that this vehicle that she needs will be returned to her? well, i would first of all point out that there are 70,000 more people in receipt of motability and making
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use of that scheme than there were in 2010, but she will know that there are improvements that we want to make to the motability scheme. we have been working very closely with that independent organisation. we are now attending their board meetings and are able to work much more strategically and i have spoken at length so i won't repeat it, mr speaker, but those areas where we wish to see better customer service and we hope to bring forward some announcements shortly. does she agree that local voluntary groups such as the talk it out mental—health group in my constituency do invaluable work helping people to be work—ready and we must do more to support them? i do agree with my honourable friend that voluntary organisations have huge insight and expertise that we can tap into and commend the work of talk it out in his constituency. this is one reason why we are recruiting 200 community partners across the jobcentre plus network so we can ensure we are reaching all of those organisations and benefiting
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from the huge experience and wisdom they have. can the minister say what consideration has been given to providing tax breaks to employers who hire employees with a certified mental—health illness, as proposed by the national autistic society and others? the honourable gentleman has hit on a theme of the green paper. there is much work going on in this area, both for those with mental illness but also those with a learning disability. just to mention one health trial, there is a trial going on at the moment looking at discounting business rates for employers that have good mental— health practice. you're watching monday in parliament. still to come: the head of volkswagen in the uk says there's no need for compensation for drivers who bought a car with greater emissions than advertised. the business secretary has promised
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an "unbounded commitment" to protectjobs at vauxhall. the french group psa, which owns peugeot and citroen, is in talks to buy the european arms of general motors, which owns vauxhall. greg clark said the uk car industry was a "beacon of success" and known to be very efficient. but mps asked what effect brexit and the uk's less rigorous employee protection would have on the future of vauxhall production. vauxhall is one of our oldest and most valued motor manufacturers. it has been making cars in britain for 113 years and has been owned for the last 92 years by an overseas investor, general motors. there are over 115,000 people employed directly by gm or in vauxhall‘s retail or supply chain in this country. le egiiirf es 1551555442?
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tools in his disposal to protect jobs at vauxhall. this is a worrying time for everyone affected but it is not a new experience. there have been threats to the plant in the past. they have been seen off by industry collaborations between unions, management and government. i want that to carry on. can the secretary of state confirm he will work closely with everybody at every stage? every part of britain has a stake in vauxhall. i completely agree with him that we will do everything that we can and it is my personal commitment will be unbounded to make sure the future, building on the success of the plant
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in his constituency, of the workforce will be maintained. that is my purpose. i am gratefulfor his support for that. i will of course work with all the groups, including the trade unions, including the workforce, to make that case, if there are to be new owners. vauxhall has been a huge name in bedfordshire for over a century and that tradition continues with ibc plant in luton, building the excellent vivaro van. whilst i want to see the secretary of state do everything he can to secure those jobs, can he say a bit about the pensioners in this country, many of whom are in my constituency? they will be worried for the future of their pensions. can he say something on that issue as well as the jobs? i am grateful to my honourable friend. of course, in any prospective take over, the continued welfare of pensioners is of great importance. i mentioned how important that would be in my discussions both
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with gm and with psa. no deal has been concluded yet. both organisations are well aware of the importance that i, as well as my honourable friend, attach. i do not think we can ignore the impact that brexit may have in this going forward. if it is a direct competition between a german plant and a uk plant, regardless of the undoubted strength of the uk plant, when they have 75% of their components and 80% of their exports going to the single market, they will be at a disadvantage with european counterparts. can i take this opportunity to ask the secretary of state, given he has said he will do everything he can at all times, to to rule out the hard brexit that is being proposed, reassess the single market membership? we can leave the eu but we do not have to leave the single market and doing so will protect employees at vauxhall and right across the economy. we are all, as local mps, justifiably proud of the
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work that they have done which has kept this production as one of the most efficient in the world. we do not bow to anyone in the world for our efficiency and productivity in the ellesmere port plant. but given that it is much cheaper effectively to get rid of british workers because of the nature of the employment rights in this country compared to france and germany, what can he do to ensure that when it comes to potential cost—cutting that equation is evened up, so we can support british production and british jobs? the concern will be that this issue of this important company's future in britain will become collateral damage in wider negotiations and deals regarding brexit. in the face of elections in france and germany this year, does he think that nations will have to engage in an ever rising bidding game in order to maintain production facilities in their own countries? if so, what will he do
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for british manufacturing? if i was on the board of directors and had a very successful vehicle manufacturing outlet in the fifth biggest economy in the world, and that economy was about to leave the eu, i think i would want to invest more in that facility and make sure that i do not put all my eggs in one basket. peter bone. in the commons, the government accepted limits on the number of properties and land that could be compulsorily purchased to make way for the high speed rail link — hs2. a house of lords committee had recommended that powers be restricted to what's needed for the project — rather than the wider development and regeneration opportunities. the transport minister, andrewjones, said the powers had been intended as a "backstop" if commercial negotiations failed. however, the lords felt that given the broad nature of the powers, and the fact that local authorities had similar powers, it was unnecessary for
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the government to take these powers. the government accepts this ruling and will continue to work with local authorities to ensure that opportunities for regeneration arising from phase one of hs2 are not missed. if there is then disagreement, these powers would therefore give the department for transport the power to do this by fear — to override the local authority or local resident's concerns, would they not? well, it certainly does give the power to the secretary of state, if required, to make tros himself and prohibit or provoke tros that hinder the delivery of the railway. i think an answer to the honourable gentleman's question is yes. we cannot have a position with a significant national project could be held up over a small matter of tros. the best thing to do is to work with the highways authorities. these are some back stop powers is just in case that does not deliver the consensus required. the government decision was welcomed
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by a former conservative cabinet minister and opponent of the hs2 scheme, cheryl gillan. such a sweeping power would have been adding insult to injury with the plundering of property that has resulted from this project, which is as ravenous for land as it is taxpayers money. if we had not had this amendment accepted, the government would have been able to buy up land for a lucrative developments, virtually without control. that is not right. however, i still have constituents with serious concerns. they believe that h52 one has to give 28 days notice to enter and do what they like to the land and pay no compensation until the job is finished, which they believe could be even years and years. mps accepted the changes made by the lords to the hs2 bill which is now set to become law. it will give ministers the ability to begin work on the line between london and birmingham. this first phase of
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the £56 billion scheme, which will eventually run to manchester, is expected to take a decade to build. the head of volkswagen in the uk has told mps there are no grounds for paying compensation to the 1.2 million british drivers affected by the scandal over emissions tests for its diesel—powered cars. in 2015, the german car giant was found to have installed a "defeat device" or software designed to foil emissions tests in the united states, and as a result has paid out more than 5.5 billion there, in fines and compensation. the scandal also spread to europe and elsewhere, with millions of cars being recalled for remedial measures to be put in place. but when paul willis, the group's uk managing director, appeared before the commons transport committee, he insisted in answer to questioning from a labour mp that compensation for british drivers was not on the cards. my position on compensation is absolutely consistent and clear. you cannot compare the situation in
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europe to what you are referring to. i think you are referring to the united states. for example, after the technical fixes, there is no change to the vehicles in terms of fuel consumption. there is no change in terms of the criteria. the vehicles are more or less where they were before the technical fix. indeed, one of the discussion points we have had previously is any effect on residual value. from all the data that i analyse, and all the data that i see from the people who are experts and independent on residual values, there is no evidence that there has been any degradation in residual values. what i come back to is there is no loss. compensation is a legal question in the end and
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therefore there is no legal basis for compensation. but what about those drivers who'd been misled on the levels of nitrogen oxide being emitted by the vehicles? mr efford wanted to know weren't they entitled to compensation for that? have you made an assessment of how much volkswagen have benefited from selling vehicles on the basis of people making decisions on falsified emissions information? our position is that we did not falsify any information at all. we never sold cars on the basis of nitrogen oxide levels. there is no falsification whatsoever. i have to say that. we completely refute that. we misled nobody. so as a result of the actions by people yet to be identified in volkswagen, nobody was misled over emissions from your vehicles? in europe, our position is that no one has been misled over emissions in europe.
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that is correct. the customers that bought your vehicles based on the information you were supplying, that we now know was incorrect for whatever reason, you do not feel any responsibility to them to compensate them in any way? you bear no responsibility to those customers at all? well, first of all i have a great responsibility to our customers because without responsibility to our customers, we do not have a business. i come back and say to you we have a very important responsibility to our customers and that is why we are working so hard to apply the technical fixes, and that is why i have explained to the committee what we have been doing. you came before us again and you're opening gambit, the first thing you came and told us in 2015 was how sorry you were, how awful it all was. today, you are sit in front of us and you have done nothing wrong. i am sorry for any ambiguity or any
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confusion that i have cost the customers. you're sorry you have been made to look daft. you are sorry that you have been in a situation where volkswagen was caught red—handed doing things that it should not have been doing. that is what you are sorry for. i'm afraid, mr menzies, i have to refute that statement. he then went on to describe mr willis as an incredible witness. the chairperson told the boss that he was free to go. and that's all from me for now. kristiina cooper's here for the rest of the week.
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