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tv   Wednesday in Parliament  BBC News  November 2, 2017 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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the headlines for you from bbc news: an uzbek immigrant accused of killing eight people in new york city by hitting them with a pick—up truck on tuesday, has appeared in court. sayfullo saipov, who was shot by police, sat in a wheelchair. he was charged with the killings and with providing material support to the islamic state group. president trump has called for harsher and quicker punishments for those who carry out attacks like the one in new york. he criticised the american justice system for terrorism suspects, calling it "a joke" and a "laughing stock". he also said he would repeal the visa system by which the suspect entered the usa. the british defence secretary, michael fallon, has resigned over his personal conduct. his decision comes amid a wave of allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against members of parliament. mr fallon admitted that his behaviour in the past may have fallen short of the standards expected. it's just gone 2:20am. that means it's time
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for wednesday in parliament. hello and welcome to wednesday in parliament, our look at the best of the day in the commons and the lords. in a day of high drama at westminster, mps tell the government to hand over their assessments of the impact of brexit to a committee of mps. with allegations of harassment swirling around westminster, theresa may says she'll work with other party leaders to get a grip on the problem. there are proper processes in this parliament for people to be able to report misconduct and for that to be dealt with. and a trio of ministers drop—in on the committee corridor, including one foreign secretary. i don't want to deceive the committee. he is making a very good job of it! on the contrary. i don't think the committee could be misled by anything i have said
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because i haven't said anything. in a development which shook westminster, the defence secretary sir michael fallon suddenly resigned late on wednesday, following allegations of past behaviour. he told the bbc he believed it was the right thing to do to resign. he said that his behaviour in the past had fallen short of the standards expected by the military. the bbc understands his decision was not in relation to any new or specific allegations. he said it was right that the prime minister and parliament are now taking this issue seriously. earlier, the prime minister has asked other party leaders to meet her to discuss an independent process for tackling sexual harassment at westminster. allegations of misconduct by mps towards morejunior staff have been surfacing almost daily. mrs may's close colleague, the first secretary of state, damian green, has said claims that he made inappropriate advances towards a conservative activist are completely false. he's contacted his lawyers. damian green was sitting a few feet away, as theresa may addressed the issue as soon as she stood up at prime minister's question time. mr speaker, members on both sides
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of the house have been deeply concerned about allegations of harassment and mistreatment here in westminster. this demands a response that is why my right honourable friend, the leader of the house, has been meeting with their counterparts and we're hoping all sides can work together quickly to resolve this. i have written to all party leaders, inviting them to a meeting early next week so we can discuss a common and independent grievance procedure for all of those working in parliament. we have a duty to ensure that everyone coming here to contribute to public life is treated with respect. just to put on record that i am happy to meet with the prime minister and all party leaders to discuss this. we need better protections for all in this house. this house must involve workplace trade unions in that but it is also incumbent on all parties to have robust procedures in place to protect and support victims of sexual abuse and harassment. it is absolutely essential, and he is right that we have processes, that political parties
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have processes, to deal with allegations of misconduct and also that obviously we have the the ministerial code and proper investigations take place against the ministerial code when that is appropriate and i believe it is also crucial for everyone working in this parliament, be they working for a member of parliament or the house authorities or a journalist working in this parliament that there are proper processes in this parliament for people to be able to report misconduct and for that to be dealt with and i think that is very important and i am gratefulfor him for saying that he will meet with me and i hope other political party leaders, i see the leader of the snp is nodding his head at this point, will look at this issue. can i associate myself with the remarks made by the prime minister when she spoke about zero tolerance for these sexual harassment allegations. i would like to work with the government to make sure we have a system that we can be proud of to protect all members
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of the houses of parliament. it's long been rumoured that the party whips who enforce discipline keep a note of mps' misdemeanours to use as leverage against individuals. one labour mp accused the prime minister of ignoring concerns about that. i would like to thank the prime ministerfor her opening words about the role of the revelations this week but can i say to her that three years ago i brought evidence to her in this house that whips had used information about sexual abuse to demand loyalty from mps. i brought that information to her in this house and i warned her at the time that unless real action was taken we risked repeating those injustices again today. on three occasions i asked her to act and on three occasions she did not so can i ask her, in this, of all weeks, for the fourth time will she finally take concrete action to tackle this? i will, of course, look back at the questions that the honourable
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lady had said that she raised with me in this house. i assume she raised those with me when i was home secretary. i will say to her that i am very clear that the whips office, i hope this goes for all whips offices across this house, should make clear to people that where there are any sexual abuse allegations that could be of a criminal nature that people should go to the police, it is not appropriate for those to be dealt with by whips offices, they should go to the police and that continues to be the case. i will look at the questions that she raised with me but i am very clear that we take action against those where there are allegations that we see and the evidence is there that there has been misconduct. theresa may. ministers don't want to publish the results of studies on 58 different economic sectors
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and the impact leaving the eu will have on them. they say it's because disclosure might damage the uk's negotiating position. in the commons, labour opted to use a rather obscure parliamentary technique designed to make a vote on releasing the documents binding on the government. but let's concentrate on the main substance of the assessments. looking at the list which i have here, two things are obvious. the first is that in many ways it is unremarkable and could and should have been published months ago. the second is that the wide range of sectors analysed demonstrate why it is so important for members of this house to see the impact assessments. i am going to highlight three sectors on the list. construction and engineering where there are 2.9 million jobs involved, medical services and social care, where there are 3 million jobs involved and pharmaceuticals where there are 50,000 jobs involved. these are just three of the 58 sectors and it is obvious why this is of such importance.
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but one conservative didn't like the way labour was going about this. this is a foolish and irresponsible debate to have been called. he knows that there is a blanket ban on disclosing advice to ministers. it is in the ministerial code and in the civil service code, that is absolutely standard. it is normal for select committees themselves to request information, not to get the official opposition to do it on their behalf. this is gameplay. sir keir starmer was surprised at bernard jenkin‘s remarks. this is a shared concern across the house. that intervention, i am afraid, is typical of what has been going on for 16 or 17 months, which is that every time somebody raises a legitimate question it is suggested that somehow they are frustrating or undermining the process. the brexit minister said many thousand of documents
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were being prepared with regard to the uk's exit from eu. some of these would not undermine our negotiating position though others might have more ofan impact. the house will appreciate that the more information that is shared more widely the less secure our negotiating position and the harder it becomes to secure the right deal for the british people. the house has the right to require the release of documents but i sincerely hope in what is requested in terms of how they guarantee confidentiality going forward and how much is guaranteed, the select committee and the house will be mindful of the job that ministers need to do and thatjob is to secure the vital national interest of the united kingdom as we negotiate our departure from the european union. we can discuss all sorts of processes and whether it will undermine negotiations but will you not agree that withholding this information is now becoming very counter— productive and it looks like it is hiding bad news. absolutely! the government will always take
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a careful view where we have disclosed plenty of information during the course of this process where we see it is in the national interest to do so, of course we will. the damage caused by brexit could be even worse than any of us had previously feared and that would weaken the uk's negotiating position. it would fatally undermined the uk's negotiating position. it could be that analysis shows that brexit is such a catastrophic decision that we shouldn't do it at all. what kind of government in possession of that kind of information would choose to hide it rather than to act on it? it seems to me that the only scenario in which releasing any information can possibly undermine the uk's position is if that information shows that the damage caused by brexit is worse than any previous analysis has indicated. the chairman of the brexit committee said impact assessments were published all the time. but on the single most important decision that we have taken because of the result of the referendum, as a country since the end of the second world war, nothing has been published
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in the way of an impact assessment by government. as to the papers themselves, i have no particular view that this is in normal circumstances a matter for the government and i would have gone along with the government had it wished to oppose today's motion, but in the event that it does not, it must publish these papers to the brexit select committee in full. people like me accept that we are going to leave the european union but i am not going to stand by and see the future of my children's generation and the grandchildren that i hope will follow being trashed and ruined without any form of debate and disclosure as to the consequences, and arguably the options that might be available, as disclosed in all these documents that cover, as we know, so many sectors in so many ways. this is grown—up, serious stuff. the days of carping from the sidelines, i say
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to honourable members on this side, have gone. you have won and you are in charge of this and now you have to face up to the responsibility of delivering a brexit that works for everybody in this country and for generations to come. and in dramatic, if confusing, scenes at the end of the debate, the government abstained on the motion, which meant labour's call for the documents to be handed over was passed. mps then demanded ministers act on the commons' vote. you're watching wednesday in parliament with me, mandy baker. now, a string of secretaries of state sat down in front of committees this wednesday. —— and one of them was michael gove. the question facing him was will the price of our food go up after brexit? and if so, by how much? it's one of the issues a committee of peers is looking into. lord krebs, a former chairman of the food standards agency, told the environment secretary that
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some of the major retailers believed that cutting formal ties with the eu, or leaving with no deal at all, would result in significant price increases. the chairman of sainsbury's estimated about 10% or thereabouts, so i wondered what the figures are that your officials have come up with in different scenarios? i think it's almost impossible to predict with accuracy, for a variety of reasons. one of them is that some of the biggest factors which bear on food prices are beyond any politician's control, so there are world commodity prices, and it's also the case that there are the prices of inputs, like energy and so on. it's also the case that, if you have reform in the supply chain, you can also bring prices down and ensure that you have a greater degree of competitiveness. so tariff barriers are simply one factor in many that help to determine what food prices might be. it is the case that,
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if we were to have significant tariff barriers, then we would find ourselves in a position where, depending on the foodstuff, the tariffs in their own terms could add to what otherwise might be the cost of food, but it is also the case that, if you erect tariff barriers, then there will be a process of import substitution as well, and it may well be the case that, at the same time as there being domestic suppliers replacing those who were exporting to this country, you might also find that there are opportunities to ensure that those domestic suppliers become more efficient. all of this is a way of saying that to focus purely on the process of leaving the european union and the moment at which we leave and the creation of any tariffs as having a decisive impact on food prices in the absence of anything else is to look only at one
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part of the landscape. since the food industry has come up with estimates of its own, perhaps i can put the question the other way around, do you agree or disagree with what the chairman of sainsbury's and british retail consortium are saying? i have huge respect for everything that they have said and i wouldn't want my name or my department's name alongside any specific prediction. i will take that as a no, you do not agree. i do not want to be impolite to people who i think are doing a greatjob in running fantastic industries but i... we must choose our own words carefully so i wouldn't want to disagree or distance myself from them, simply say that i would express my own approach towards these issues in a slightly different way. you saw that the impact of brexit on food prices is a problem but are you prepared to release
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anything to the public? the first thing i would say is as the secretary of state for exiting the european union has made clear, it is a very important addition of the uk civil service that it should be able to offer advice to ministers candidly and that there should be, as the secretary of state pointed out, a safe space during which civil servants can offer advice ministers can challenge and you can have a robust conversation that would go on to show good policy. the second thing to say is that while i have the highest regard for civil servants, it is not as though within the department or anywhere else there is a magic formula that can explain what will happen post—brexit which nobody else could possibly access so supermarkets have made theirjudgment and other economists have made theirs
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and it is impossible to predict with accuracy, but what the informed citizen can do is to look at a variety of factors and draw their own conclusions about what the policy interventions should be in order to achieve the maximum possible benefit. michael gove. another secretary of state to face a committee was borisjohnson. he told the foreign affairs committee that he's not seen any evidence that russia interfered in british elections. he was asked about a possible russian role in uk affairs. is it your belief that the russians have played any role in british elections and referendums? i haven't seen any evidence of that. you seem uncertain about whether you've seen it or you haven't. i can confirm to you, mr bryant, that i don't think... i haven't seen... not a sausage! niet! so you don't think the russians played any role or sought to play
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any role in the elections? i don't know about sought to play but, as far as i know, they have played no role. during more than two hours in front of the committee, borisjohnson was asked about relations with many countries and many organisations. the new chairman of the committee, the conservative tom tugendat, had a question about the islamist group hamas. does the uk have any direct links with hamas? we, obviously, talk to a wide range of people across the world. i'm sure that, in the course of contacts with. .. i wouldn't want to rule out, mrchairman... is that a yes? i wouldn't want to rule out or to mislead the committee on this matter. i wouldn't want to exclude the possibility of our talking to hamas but, let mejust say, on hamas, that... that's not a yes or a no, is it?
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no, it's not! i don't want to exclude the possibility that we are... in the end, good diplomacy involves talking to all sorts of people who are not necessarily... that sounds like a yes! i think that sounds like a yes! i'm not saying... i don't wish to disappoint you, but i'm not going to offer you... are you aware of any contact? if i were, i couldn't tell you. what i will say is that... i don't want to mislead the committee. you're doing a very good job of it! 0n the country! i don't think the committee can possibly be misled by anything i've said since i haven't said anything... exactly! ..on this matter! borisjohnson. and not to be left out,
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liam fox appeared before the international trade committee. he said he was "frustrated" by the fact that the european council had not yet given the green light for talks to move on from any divorce deal to discuss the future trade relationship. i am very keen that we get a deal with the european union, but i'm not afraid of not getting a deal and i think that we need to work within those parameters. i think that those who say we want the deal at any price undermine our negotiating hand, and those who say we want no deal and we want to walk away are not taking a realistic view of our economic position. are you not equally frustrated by the lukewarm attitude of the chancellor of the exchequer towards brexit? i had a very constructive meeting with the chancellor yesterday, and it was far from lukewarm! nigel evans turned to the european union's attitude to brexit. there does seem to be this image that certain people within the european unionjust want to punish britain to stop anybody else from leaving and to also pay us back,
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so who do think is going to win this battle? i think the language, which is regrettable, that some people want to punish britain for leaving in case any other people would want to leave is the language of a gang, not the language of the club. and i think i think it should be avoided because it doesn't make... who's employing that language, do you feel? is that the language of the european union? i think there have been some unwise phrases used. i think it's much betterfor us to get away from the hyperbole. in the longer term, it's in the interests of all european union citizens to maintain an open liberal trading environment, and i would add, one thing to that — to go back to the international investors... just a minute. would part of that hyperbole be that the european union will whistle for its money? i think we need to stay away from language that suggests we don't want to deal or we want a deal at any price.
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you campaigned vigorously for leave and you stood by that bus that said £350 million would be saved every week from leaving the european union. are you prepared for any of that money to be paid to the eu to access the single market on a favourable trade deal? well, if i am, with due respect, i'm not going to set out any cabinet negotiation position here, and i think that we need, before we make any offer on any financial settlement, to know what we're getting as that end stage, and i think, as i said to one of my fellow ministers in another country, would they be willing to guarantee us a sum of money before we told them what the agreement that we were signing up to was, and they said absolutely not, so why should we? the committee moved on to contingency planning in the event there was no deal. would you advise the private sector to develop contingency plans and to execute them for a no deal? no, because, on balance, at the present time, i think that we are more likely to get a deal, but i think it would be reasonable for them to develop such plans. clearly, the longer we take to get
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into end state discussions with the european union, the greater the likelihood that people would want to implement as well as develop, which is why i think it's in all our interests to get into those end state discussions as early as possible so that business has greater certainty about what the potential end state looks like. liam fox. a labour peer has said he's sent the chancellor details of a british bank's involvement in laundering money allegedly stolen from south africa. the former cabinet minister and one—time anti—apartheid campaigner lord hain has previously named other financial institutions involved in a corruption scandal linked to the wealthy gupta family and the south african president jacob zuma. in the lords, the peer gave a warning. there are disturbing questions, around both the complicity, witting or unwitting, of uk global financial institutions in the gupta—zuma transnational criminal network, and also about these institutions' wilful blindness to the reality that the laundering process most often necessitates financial systems with lax regulation and controls.
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unless we urgently find ways to leverage our respective capabilities to coordinate and influence action between the law—enforcement and banking sectors domestically here in the uk and globally, we cannot win this battle. mr zuma and the guptas deny any wrongdoing. a report into the experiences of the families of the hillsborough victims has called for a change in culture to stop the "burning injustice" in the way bereaved relatives are treated. it was in 1989 that 96 liverpool fans died in the crush at an fa cup semifinal match against nottingham forest. in a second inquest into the tragedy last year, the coroner ruled they were unlawfully killed. at prime minister's questions, the report was raised bya labourmp. an hour ago, the government published this report — the patronising disposition of unaccountable power. it's a report of right reverend james jones, which the prime minister herself
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commissioned to ensure that the pain and suffering of the hillsborough families is not repeated. but, mr speaker, given what we've heard in this session and given the events surrounding the grenfell tower disaster, i think that i worry that the pain and suffering of the hillsborough families is already being repeated. so can the prime minister commit her government to supporting both the duty of candour for all public officials and, as this report requires, and end to public bodies spending limitless funds, providing themselves with representation which surpasses that available to families? i've always been very clear that the experience that the hillsborough families had should not be repeated. that's why we have looked and we are committed to the concept of the public advocate, because we want to ensure that people have the support that they need, and it's important
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that we learn the lessons from hillsborough. i was, as she knows, involved in making the decision that enabled the hillsborough families to have legal support on a basis that i felt was fair in relation to the other parties involved in that inquest, and i can assure her that we will not forget the hillsborough families. theresa may. and that's all we've got time for. so from me, mandy baker, goodbye. hello once again. clearer skies at the moment, temperatures falling away. this
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cloud producing some rain. moving slowly southwards. either side of that, temperatures falling away mostly. patchy mist and fog developing in parts of southern england and even south wales. that will remain through the morning rush—hour. dense in the west country. more than we had this morning. slow to clear. lifting into low cloud lingering in wales and the south—east of england. further north, sunny skies. showers. sunshine around. a chilly day compared to today. 9—10 for scotland and northern england. the north—west. rain and fresh winds arriving on friday. otherwise, light winds. non—descript. cloud continuing. lifting in sunshine. a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to our viewers in north
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america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. 0ur america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: charged with terrorism: the uzbek suspect in the new york truck attack appears in court. and president trump pours criticism on the way america's justice system handles terrorism suspects what we have right now is a joke. and it's a laughing stock. and no wonder that so much of this stuff takes place. britain's defence secretary resigns as a wave of sexual harassment allegations hits parliament. doing his bit for brexit britain: on a trip to singapore, prince charles meets an orchid with a familiar name.
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