tv BBC News BBC News March 22, 2018 11:00pm-11:16pm GMT
this is bbc news. i'm ben brown. the headlines at 11pm: the european council backs britain over the salisbury nerve agent attack, agreeing that the only plausible explanation is that russia is responsible. the police officer who was exposed to the nerve agent attack is released from hospital, saying his life will never be the same again. one year on from the westminster bridge attack, a memorial is lit to remember all those affected by last year's terrorism in the capital. coming up on newsnight, we will have more on bullying in the house of commons. we will hear about the staff member who complained about the behaviour of an mp, only to find relu cta nce the behaviour of an mp, only to find reluctance among other mps to take action against one of their own. good evening and
welcome to bbc news. the president of the european council, donald tusk, has tonight said leaders agree with the uk that russia was highly likely responsible for the salisbury nerve agent attack. at a summit in brussels today, theresa may had urged other eu leaders to back her in the row with russia about the poisoning of former spy sergei skripal and his daughter, yulia. i'm joined now by our brussels correspondent adam flemming. adam, this backing for theresa may is exactly what the prime minister was looking for. the 28 eu leaders are still discussing the subject of russia at this summit, which is going to run into the early hours of tomorrow morning. we are still waiting for the written conclusions in black and white about what they've decided
about the salisbury case, but the tweets from donald tusk, the man who chairs the summit, is incredibly significant. he says the eu accept the uk's assessment that it's highly likely russia carried out this attack, and it's worth comparing this in detail with the language we saw from eu foreign ministers at a meeting on monday in brussels when they said the eu takes extremely seriously the uk government's assessment. so this is an upgrade of the language, which i think number ten downing st will be very, very pleased about. this proves that the immense diplomatic effort that the diplomatic machinery has been engaged in over the last few days has worked, theresa may sitting down with president macron of france and chancellor merkel, and taking intelligence around many of the other eu countries on the back of days and days and days of careful
diplomatic work from the british government. it is worth remembering that strong language may not necessarily be followed up by strong action today. that is because lots of eu leaders want to wait and get the assessment of the opcw, the watchdog which is doing its own investigation into this case in salisbury, so we may not see concrete actions from the eu, though we might see individual countries taking action over the next few days. as those discussions were taking place in brussels, here, officials in salisbury announced that detective sergeant nick bailey, who fell ill after being exposed to the nerve agent, has now been discharged from hospital. but the former russian spy sergei skripal and his daughter yulia are both heavily sedated and unable to communicate in any meaningful way. our home affairs correspondent daniel sandford reports. for more than two weeks, detective sergeant nick bailey has have been having what his boss called significant and daunting medical treatment.
he had become contaminated while responding to the salisbury nerve agent attack, but now he's well enough to leave hospital. i'm pleased to say that sergeant nick bailey's condition has now improved and he was discharged from salisbury district hospital this afternoon. i personally want to wish nick and his family well and i know that the staff right across the hospital will want me to share their very best wishes. i'm sure you'll understand that, for reasons of patient confidentiality, i'm not able to go into any further detail regarding nick's condition or his treatment. nick bailey's wife said it had been the most traumatic event of their life together. his chief constable read a statement on his behalf. "people ask how i'm feeling. there are really no words to explain how i feel right now. surreal is the word that keeps cropping up — and it really has been completely surreal. i have been so very overwhelmed by the support, cards and messages i have received.
everyone has been so incredible. at the same time a judge released the most detailed description yet of the health of yulia and sergei skripal. he said both are heavily sedated, neither can communicate, and it's not known to what extent either will recover. no friend or relative has been in touch with the hospital to ask about their welfare. at a private hearing at the court of protection, mrjustice williams ruled that as the skripals are unable to give consent and no relatives can be contacted to give consent for them, fresh blood samples can be taken from them with his permission. these will be given to international experts from the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons, to independently verify what the substance was that made them so ill. british experts believe the substance was a russian designed novichok nerve agent, and we learned today that the fourth person affected by it —
who's been treated as an outpatient — is also a police officer. daniel sandford, bbc news, at the court of protection. in the united states... president trump has named john bolton as his new national security adviser. he'll replace general hr mcmaster in the latest change in personnel in the white house. bolton is a former us ambassador to the united nations under president george w bush. he becomes president trump's third national security adviser in 14 months. live to washington and our correspondent chris buckler. john bolton is quite a controversial figure, isn't he? widely seen as something of a hawk. he isa something of a hawk. he is a hardline figure. he's been very critical of iran, north korea andindeed very critical of iran, north korea and indeed russia over the years, and indeed russia over the years, and here's someone who has been regarded as a hawk, i've you've mentioned. he is a conservative
commentator, he regularly speaks on fox news, and he is someone who will bring different approach to foreign policy than hr mcmaster, and i think what you are seeing here at the white house is changing of the guard. rex tillerson was replaced recently as secretary of state by mike pompeo. you know havejohn bolton coming in as national security adviser. that suggests that foreign policy is going to become tougher, and perhaps it's an indication as well that president trump wants be surrounded by people who think like he does, who buy into the same things that he does, because it must be said, from an outsider‘s point of view, there are many who believe that hr mcmaster and rex tillerson were moderating influences on president trump, but they weren't always on the same page as him. for example, we did here president trump formerly rebuke hr mcmaster for suggesting there was evidence to suggest that russia had
interfered in the presidential election. it won't surprise you to hear that that rebuke appeared on twitter. but there was that connection between the two men, a little bit of them being on different pages. he is closer to the thinking, maybe, of mike pompeo, and indeed john bolton, the new national security adviser, but it does suggest a much harder line coming forforeign policy suggest a much harder line coming for foreign policy in the white house. a memorial service has been held today in memory of the five people killed in the westminster terror attack a year ago today. the attacker, khalid masood, who also died, drove into pedestrians on westminster bridge before stabbing pc keith palmer outside the houses of parliament. vicki young looks back at the day. a year ago today, on this estate and on westminster bridge, we were visited by what i regard as evil. senior politicians and faith leaders
led tributes today to of the attack. westminster fell silent in their honour and remembered the shocking events of a year ago. the fear as khaled massoud ploughed his car into pedestrians on the bridge. the panic as people fled to safety. pc keith palmer was fatally stabbed as he stood on duty protecting parliament. one of his colleagues recalls the moment it happened. mass confusion, really. eventually one of my friends came over and said, who is it, who is the officer on the floor? he said, it is your friend keith. and — well, terrible. a conservative minister had been among those desperately trying to save the officer's life. you rack your brains as to what more
you could have done and should you have done things differently? there are all sorts of things you torment your mind with but you can't. you have to understand everybody that i think did their utmost on that day and it's very, very sad. romanian tourist andreea cristea also died in the attack. her family are still struggling to cope with the loss. there are moments when i pick up the phone to call her or write on messenger. we spent all our time together and now all of this doesn't make any sense. in her tribute, the prime minister said this was a day to remember those who were lost but also to defy those who sought to silence our democracy one year ago. vicki young, bbc news, westminster. the culture secretary matt hancock has said the cambridge analytica scandal demonstrates the need to end
the "wild west free—for—all" in which big tech firms operate. the company is accused of using data from facebook and using it to influence the 2016 us presidential election. the chief executive of facebook, mark zuckerberg, admitted last night there had been a major breach of trust. the prime minister called it an expression of our independence and sovereignty. but the new blue british passport that will be issued after brexit could be made in france, according to the british firm that lost the contract. the government says the process was carried out in a fair and open way. danny savage reports. an icon of british identity. post—brexit, the current style burgundy passport is going to be replaced with a new version of the old style. but the current uk manufacturer says they're going to be made in france — and they object.
i think it's disappointing for my workforce, who i'll now have to go and talk to later today or in the coming days, and explain to them why theresa may and amber rudd don't believe that the british passport should be manufactured by them. just down the road in durham is the passport office. there wasn't much appetite here today for french—made british passports. well, i think it should be made up here. ijust don't get it. if we're leaving the eu, why take it abroad? it's prestige. a british passport should be printed in made in england. and they shouldn't be made elsewhere in europe? i don't think so, no. regardless of cost? regardless of cost. the british government should step in and try and make sure... i think it's, the name of the company, de la rue or something... ? they should maybe get the contract. but again they may have to look at the price. the government says the deal could save the taxpayer up to £120 million, and they're playing by the rules. great uk companies compete on a world stage, and we often win business around the world, and will continue to do so, both before and after we leave
the european union. and they say on the new—look passports will only be added here, not abroad. danny savage, bbc news, durham. now it's time for newsnight. advice from one who knows, if you work for the house of commons and you're bullied by an mp, it is best to complain. it was such a long, drawn—out, painful process, with so little to say for it at the end of it that i wish i had not done it. we will hear how mps don't always live up to the employment standards they impose on others. also tonight: the prime minister went to brussels and warned the rest of europe about russia. how are they taking it? well, what has happened is very serious. italy is on the side of the uk
and is showing full solidarity. john swinney is learning about editorial independence. u nfortu nately, editorial independence. unfortunately, it is not like that any more. and this new shopping centre has only been able to rent out i centre has only been able to rent outi shop centre has only been able to rent out i shop unit. centre has only been able to rent outi shop unit. a sign that small towns and cities are struggling. we will ask why the big cities are doing better and what can be done to improve high—street centres. hello. two weeks ago, newsnight‘s policy editor, chris cook, and producer, lucinda day, reported on bullying in the house of commons. you probably heard about their report, as it told us that the institution which makes the laws that govern conduct in all our workplaces fails to live up to the standards we would expect anywhere else.
harassment is rife, notably by mps of the house of commons staff, or clerks. now one eye—catching case was mentioned there. a senior clerk of the house, who had made a formal complaint about bullying by labour mp paul farrelly back in 2012. he's always denied it, but what happened to her after she had complained had a big effect in deterring many other clerks from using the reporting system. her name was emily commander, and chris and lucinda, have now sat down to talk to her, and hear her story in full. we'll bring you that interview shortly, but first chris is with me. it's fair to say, the reporting you had done a couple of weeks ago has had an effect on the house of commons. the first and most important thing is the house of commons commission, the panel mostly of mps which runs the house,
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