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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  September 17, 2018 2:30am-3:01am BST

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hello. this is bbc news. the headlines: typhoon mangkhut is continuing to better china's most populous province of guangdong, after wreaking havoc in the philippines and hong kong. at least 2.5 million people have been moved out of the typhoon's path. authorities have cancelled hundreds of flights and closed all coastal resorts. police in the us state of north carolina are warning residents to stay off the roads as storm florence continues to drop record amounts of rainfall. the storm has already been blamed for hundreds of debts. thousands have been evacuated and are in shelters. a leading democrat senator calls for a delay in considering president trump's nominee for the us supreme court. brett kavanaugh denies allegations of sexual misconduct. now on bbc news, it's the week in parliament. hello there and welcome to our look
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back at the week in parliament. coming up, at prime minister's questions, jeremy corbyn says the government's key welfare policy, universal credit, is flawed. children forced to use food banks, and the prime minister wants to put two million more people onto this! but theresa may defends the government's record. what we are doing is seeing 3.3 million more people injobs as a result of our approach to the economy. an mp reveals thatjacob rees—mogg isn't the only mp whose children have found themselves targeted by opponents. the police rang me one day and said, "where's your son?" "well, i think he's at school." "well, can you check?"
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because there was a social media post claiming to be the execution of my son. and there's a call for more to be done to protect england's historic battlefields. we should, for the future, be creating national areas of national historic importance, that would recognise historical sites and their surroundings as areas that we wish and need to conserve for the future. but let's start with prime minister's questions — often a noisy, shouty affair, and this was a particularly rowdy session. parliament has only been back from its summer break for a fortnight, but mps and peers have now left westminster for three weeks for the annual autumn party conference season. so, this wasjeremy corbyn's last chance to scrutinise government policy for a while. and he started with what sounded like a trick question. the national farmers' union, the federation of small businesses, the national audit office, the national housing federation, gingerbread,
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and the royal society of arts. does the prime minister know what these organisations have in common? after a lot of noise and a bit of a pause, theresa may answered. i can tell the right honourable gentleman that what those organisations all have in common is that across a variety of areas of activity, they give excellent service, they promote the interests of those that they represent, and they are bodies with which this government interacts and to which this government listens. jeremy corbyn said they were, in fact, all organisations that had criticised the government's flagship benefit, universal credit. now, it combines six working—age benefits into one, which the government says will make the system more simple and flexible. it's being rolled out across the uk, but labour says it's creating real hardship. the government knows this policy is flawed and failing. their own survey on universal credit
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found many were in debt, a third in arrears with their rent, half fallen behind with their bills. does the prime minister dispute her own government's survey or dispute the experience of the claimants? we have gone from a situation under the labour party where1.4 million people — 1.4 million people — spent most of a decade trapped on benefits. we are helping get people into work and that's why earlier this week, we saw unemployment yet again at a record low. mps' westminster leader said a no—deal brexit would increase the cost of living by hundreds of pounds. the prime minister is unfit to govern. she's incapable of leadership. we know it, her backbenchers know it, and the country knows it. ten years after the economic crash and the poorest are still bearing the brunt. mr speaker, it's as simple as this —
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the prime minister should end her austerity programme or admit that her party is unfit for government. can i say to the right honourable gentleman, he mentions the question of brexit, and of course we are working to get a good brexit deal for the whole of the united kingdom, including scotland. and can i suggest to the right honourable gentleman that he might listen to the views of the scottish nfu, who said this week that the plan that the government has put forward is something that certainly the agriculture and food and drink sectors can work with and that politicians from all sorts of parliaments and assemblies should actually get behind it? thousands ofjobs are to be put at risk by the british government's brexit policies and threadbare industrial strategy. is it not the case that she is prepared to dole out p455 to manufacturing workers simply in order to appease the brexit
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extremists in her own party? an accusation theresa may rejected, but replying to one of her own backbenchers, she said she would rethink paying the £39 billion brexit divorce bill if the uk couldn't agree a deal with the european union. my honourable friend is right that the specific offer was made in the spirit of our desire to reach a deal with the european union and on the basis, as the eu themselves have said, that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. without a deal, the position changes. theresa may. if you're wondering about the stalks of wheat on mps' lapels, you can find out all about that a little later in the programme. now, a home office minister has insisted that the government understands the pressures on police forces in england and wales, despite a report from the national spending watchdog suggesting the department doesn't know if the system is financially sustainable. the findings came on tuesday, as sajid javid attended a meeting of the police superintendents association. the head of the national audit
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office warned of signs that forces are already experiencing financial strain and struggling to deliver effective services to the public. labour took up the findings in the commons. does the minister now accept what the nao sets out — that total funding to police forces, a combination of central government funding and council tax, has fallen by 19% in real terms since 2010—11? she asked me to confirm whether police budgets were reduced following 2010 and whether we have fewer police officers, that is the numbers don't lie, the numbers are there. that is hardly news. what she omitted to mention, of course, is the underlying driver of these decisions in 2010 result in the state of the public finances we inherited from the last government and the radical action that was needed. it's not desperate, that's stark economic facts
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that the coalition government faced in 2010 and the need to take radical action to get the public finances back into some sort of order, and that is an uncomfortable truth the labour party continues to remain in denial on. will the home secretary, ahead of the budget, both argue for more cash for the police and argue that extra cash goes to the nhs for collaborative work with the police, especially for people with mental health issues? one of the clear messages coming out of the police system from my tour of it is a frustration about the amount of time that police officers spend, in their words, doing other people's jobs and away from core policing work. and the large frustration is around the amount of time spent supporting people with mental health issues. now, a former national security adviser to theresa may has said the government can no longer keep its citizens safe from cyber attacks and terrorism. sir mark lyall grant was giving evidence to the lord's international relations committee, which is investigating security
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threats to the uk, including russia. i certainly am struck by the — what is a relatively new development, which is that the government can no longer keep its citizens safe from either cyber or terrorism. i put that very starkly, but if you take the first duty of government — to keep its citizens safe — what has happened over recent years is the government relies increasingly on companies and individuals in order to help them keep the people safe. the government can do a lot, but particularly in terrorism and particularly in cyber, they rely very heavily on individuals and companies, whether that is vigilance on the underground, with these slogans about "see it, say it, sorted", or whether it's through the prevent programme of trying to encourage doctors and teachers to identify people who might be at risk
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of radicalisation, or whether it's trying to get the big communication service providers, the big tech companies to clean up their act and help governments stop terrorists using their websites, they need other people. increasingly, we see the overlap between state and crime, so particularly in the case of russia, but notjust russia, where criminal groups work for — individuals may work for the government during the day and then at night they may, at the same computer and in the same building, work for a criminal gang and there's a rather unhealthy funding mechanism that has developed for some of the russian agencies that effectively allows them to moonlight. and of course, on your final point, i think you see the russian government, and this has been publicised by the us and uk in the last year, targeting, for example, the energy sector, because if you want to tweak the tail of your adversary, apart from attacking government, attacking a national airline or a national energy supplier
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is a very good way of doing it. it's what you would have done on the ground 50 years ago, so why wouldn't you do it in cyberspace? now for a look at some other news stories in brief. the chancellor has announced that the bank of england governor mark carney is to stay in his job untiljanuary 2020 in order to give continuity during what philip hammond said could be a turbulent time. mark carney has in the past been criticised by pro—brexit mps for taking, in their view, too pessimistic an approach to the uk's exit from the eu. the governor had been due to step down injune. the security minister ben wallace has told mps about his incredible frustration at being unable to prosecute some suspected terrorists. he said he needed to strengthen the law to tackle the threat from so—called foreign fighters, who travel to locations such as is strongholds. his solution is to make it illegal for uk nationals to enter or remain in so—called designated areas overseas, areas that would be
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determined by the home secretary. those who break the law could face up to ten years injail. we already have quite a lot of offences with extraterritorial jurisdiction and clause five of this bill is adding to them, so many of us are concerned about the necessity and proportionality of this amendment, so what can he do to convince us that it is necessary and proportionate, given the plethora of extraterritorial offences that already exist? well, i think first thing i would say is i would say that we have 400 people in this country who have returned from activity in terrorist hotspots, many of whom we believe through intelligence have been active but we have been unable to prosecute. that is a serious number of people that a number of them continue to pose a threat. i fear if we don't do this,
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then we will not be able to be in a position to prosecute those people coming back. there's been condemnation across westminster after a video appeared on facebook of protesters shouting at the children of conservative jacob rees—mogg. a video on the page of the class war group shows a man telling one of the mp's children, "your daddy is a horrible person." in the commons, another conservative told mps what had happened to him. i've had threats to my former wife, to our children, and the thing that i'm now prepared to say, which i wasn't a few years ago, is that my son, who was then about 12, the police rang me one day and said, "where is your son?" "well, i think he's at school." "can you check?" because there was a social media post claiming to be the execution of my son, and obviously we did not bring that to the attention of people at the time.
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but things have got worse and worse, and i doubt if there's a single member in this house who hasn't had something like that. controversy is never far away from boris johnson. shortly after he resigned from the government injuly, he took up a newjob, writing articles for the daily telegraph. is that a crime? well, no, but it seems he should have notified a panel set up to vet what former ministers do after leaving theirjobs. the advisory committee on business appointments, better known as acabar, said it was unacceptable that boris johnson had signed a contract with the telegraph before contacting them. it was left to a government frontbencher to defend mrjohnson — sort of. i am not an apologist for the former foreign secretary — that requires a portfolio of skills which i... laughter which i don't have, but i would just say this in his defence. the rules are designed to prevent a minister using the knowledge he acquires, the relationships he develops in the department, to stop him
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rolling the pitch for a lucrative job subsequently in a related organisation. in the case of the former foreign secretary, after two years, he reverted back to a career injournalism, a career for perhaps which his qualities are better suited. laughter the government's ivory bill is aimed at halting the extinction of these majestic animals. the population of african elephants is at risk due to a surge in poaching for the ivory trade. but could the ivory bill banning the trade have unintended consequences? there are exemptions in the legislation — some older musical instruments for example — but for one conservative peer, those exemptions didn't go far enough. anything certified as being made for 1918, should i believe biggs and?‘
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liberal democrat revealed himself as the proud owner of a set of ivory handled fish knives, but he backed the bill. i am very relaxed about it, my lords, i don't believe one should be able to trade, deal or sell in that kind of commodity, my lords. it is the sort of thing you pass on to your descendants. now, the government was urged to show some backbone when mps debated the dispute with france over scallop fishing. there were violent confrontations at the end of august as fishermen off the coast of northern france rammed boats, threw stones and let off smoke bombs to try to force
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british boats out of the area. the scallop fishing grounds lie just beyond french national waters, but within its economic territorial area. french rules banned their own boats from fishing for scallops there between may and october, to allow the shellfish to breed. but the rules don't apply to other countries. fishing stopped while talks took place to try to resolve the dispute, but those talks broke down over a compensation deal. it is open to the french government to lift the domestic restrictions they have in place earlier than they normally would, in order to address concerns that their industry have expressed about the lack of a level playing field. the uk industry is legally allowed to fish in the baie de seine, they have shown commendable restraint during negotiations, and i welcome their cooperation and understanding. the industry is looking to government for some backbone, and for the minister to fight for them, their livelihoods and their communities. why can't the royal navy accompany our ships back into those fishing grounds? the minister said the waters were within the french exclusive economic zone, so it was absolutely the responsibility of the french to police fishing there. fishing is the most hazardous peace time occupation. in the years since i left school myself, mr speaker, no fewer than five men who were at school with me in islay high school
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have lost their lives while making their living at sea. and that is why the sort of behaviour that we witnessed on the 27th of august is simply unforgivable. in terms of looking at negotiations with the eu about fishing rights post—brexit, will the minister assure us that any bad feeling that's been created over this situation will not spillover into those negotiations? the minister said that the uk would be leaving the common fisheries policy when the uk left the eu. now, the director—general of the bbc, tony hall, appeared in front of the culture, media and sport committee and told them the future of free tv licences for the over 75s is to be reviewed. the scheme, scheduled to cost the corporation £725 million a year, is due to end in its current form in 2020. lord hall told mps he had yet to make a decision on what would happen then. the current concession
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on the over 75s' license fees, as we know it today, will not be delivered into the 2020s, it will be replaced by something which is different. to be absolutely truthful with you, it could be the same, you know, the board could say we'lljust continue with it as it is, it could be reformed, there is a whole load of options, and we're just not in a position at the moment to say, in all honesty, what the right option would be. and anyway, we've got to have a proper public consultation about all of that, and what we do. and i think that's something the board is very mindful of, and they will make a decision about at some point in the autumn or winter. now, lord hall was then also asked about the future of this very programme, the week in parliament, and our weeknight edition, the day in parliament. do you think it's important that bbc parliament should continue to have an edited daily programme looking back on what happened that day in parliament, and an edited weekly programme doing the same? these formats are produced
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obviously for radio, but do you feel they should continue on television, and be available on bbc parliament? i do. i also think we should be looking at other ways in which we can attract people to what parliament is doing. it's been put to me that there is a plan that bbc parliament will stop producing edited programmes and willjust effectively broadcast live footage from the lords and the commons. but from what you said in your previous answer, it sounds like that is not the case. could you just confirm that? i want the edited programmes to continue. let me just say, we are constantly reviewing what we do, and looking... and i have been saying we've got to make £800 million of savings by the end of the charter period. and we are well on the way. we keep on looking at, should we be doing this, should we be doing that, could this be better, could we do it were effectively, but don't read into that necessarily something that we intend to do. lord hall.
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now, parliament has only been back a fortnight, but mps and peers have now left westminster for three weeks. why? well, because it's time for the annual autumn party conferences. a chance for bigwigs and members to get together to either discuss weighty political issues, or let their hair down, depending on your point of view. earlier in the week, i spoke to conservative mp and chair of the commons procedure committee, charles walker. he told me he was confident that even with this three—week break, all the government's brexit legislation would get through. but did he think the conference recess was a sensible thing for parliament to do? no, because i don't think we should have party conferences every year. i think party conferences are a thing of the past, i think we should have conferences perhaps once every four or five years, a bit like they have in the united states of america. so, no, i don't think it's sensible, i think we should really get rid of conferences and we should sit, if we're going to come in september, we should sit properly in september. but a lot of people do like the conference season, it is a chance for everybody to get together and to make their big speeches, and to be on the telly.
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it is a chance for those people who want to be there to get together and make their big speeches on the telly, but i'm not sure the nation really pays much attention any more to party conferences. they do pay attention to the party conferences immediately before the general election, and we do now have fixed term parliaments that run for five years, so there should be a party conference in november or october before a general election scheduled for the spring. but i think party conferences are probably a thing of the past. now, on thursday, mps debated a proposal from the procedure committee to allow proxy voting — letting mps vote if they are not in the chamber. at the moment, there is a system of pairing, where mps from the government and an opposition party agree not to vote, cancelling each other out. but the whole system took a knock when a government mp voted in a division in which he'd been paired with the then heavily pregnant lib dem jo swinson. she's since had her baby, and was in the chamber with her son gabriel during the debate. i asked charles walker what was being proposed. women who have given birth, for six months should be able
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to have a proxy vote in the house of commons, for no longer than six months. maybe a few weeks extra, in exceptional circumstances. we think that's the right thing to do, to allow more women to come into parliament, to feel parliament is a place for them, and when they are in parliament, they can have children. i think the danger is, a number of women feel being a member of parliament is not compatible with having children, either before they get into parliament or a once they are in parliament. charles walker. now, what's been happening in the wider world of politics? here's gary connor with our countdown. at five, a statue to suffragette emily wilding davison has been unveiled in her hometown of morpeth. it shows her tipping away food, to mark her hunger strikes injail. at four, a tory backbencher‘s invitation for the chancellor. will my right honourable friend actuallyjoin me on a pub crawl in shrewsbury? laughter i'm buying! well, mr speaker, provided i can get it in writing that he is buying, i'm very tempted to consider that offer, and i'll negotiate with him.
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at three, sex in the city star cynthia nixon says her bid to be democratic nominee for new york governor may have failed this week, but she hopes she has inspired many women to enter politics. at two, cornwall county council has voted to officially add an apostrophe to lands end. it's planning to rename some electoral wards and wanted to clarify the spelling. so, that's "land's". and at one, some mps marked back british farming day at pmqs, but the prime minister herself decided not to join them in the wheat fields. gary connor. finally, there is renewed fighting over bosworth field, one of england's most famous battlefields. now, as you'll remember from your school history, the battle saw henry tudor defeat
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richard iii in 1485, ending the plantagenet era and ushering in the tudors. but now, an application has been put in to build a driverless vehicle test track on part of the site. conservative mp, author and historian chris skidmore argued it should be preserved. the battle of bosworth is one of our nation's most historic and important battles. it is where the last english king to be killed fighting a battle, richard iii, fell. it is where the tudor dynasty, under henry vii, was born. and it is a battle that truly changed the course of english history. if we knew what was there hidden beneath the fields, then we would preserve. yet not to know currently allows the battlefields to be thrown into the mix, into the planning process. to argue, therefore, thatjust1% of a battlefield might be affected by development is entirely to miss the point. this could be the 1%
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of a battlefield which witnessed the most important stages of combat. the ministerfor arts, heritage and tourism said battlefields were precious and unique, but these were local decisions and it would be inappropriate for him to comment. but in every case, i trust and expect that the benefits of development will be very carefully balanced against the harm by the local planning authority. michael ellis. and that's it from me for now. we'll be back with you when parliament returns from the conference break in october. but for now, from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye. hello. there is some turbulent weather in the forecast over the next few days and it is mainly down to this area of cloud.
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it is the remnants of what was hurricane helene, it is no longer a hurricane, but embedded in this is a lot of tropical energy. what that will do is strengthen the winds over the coming days. you see this area of low pressure tracking it's way northwards to western part of the uk, the squeeze in the isobars means there will be strong winds, gales and heavy rain, but also ahead of it is drawing up some very warm, tropical air and that will extend all the way northwards into parts of northern ireland and southern scotland over the next few days. yes, it is going to be windy. there will be gales at times, some spells of heavy rain, particularly the further north and west you are, further south and east, dry and warm as well. here is how monday pans out. further outbreaks of rain across western parts of scotland becoming heavy and more persistent as it works it's way north and eastwards, some of that rain affecting northern ireland, the wind starting to strengthen. across england and wales, aside from one or two showers, most will have a mainly dry day, some spells of sunshine, often cloudy, but feeling warm for many, temperatures between 19 and 23 celsius, 24 or 25 for east anglia and south—east england. as we go from monday night into tuesday, our area of low pressure works its way northwards across western parts of the uk, notice that squeeze in the isobars
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will bring strong winds, likely to see gales through irish sea and western coasts, some heavy rain as well, particularly for northern ireland and some of that extending into northern parts of wales, northern england and into scotland. a blustery start to tuesday, these are the wind gusts, the average speeds will be somewhat lower, but it is a windy day for all of us on tuesday and even though the winds do lose some of their strength, we will pick up strong gust particularly for western coasts. could be some rain around for northern parts of scotland, showers for northern ireland, northern england down into wales. again, further south and east it stays mainly dry and it could be quite warm for many, 19 to 23 celsius, perhaps a degree or so higher across south—east england. as we go into wednesday, our area of low pressure is in the north of the uk, but on its southern flank we have some very strong winds. we could see gusts of 60 or 70 mph across parts of northern england,
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southern parts of scotland on wednesday. so it's a windy day. heavy spells of rain across northern england, northern ireland and parts of scotland, still very little rain further south and east, where it again it will stay fairly warm. some unsettled conditions over the next few days. hello. welcome to bbc news — broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm duncan golestani. our top stories: nearly 2.5 million people are moved from their homes, as typhoon mangkhut batters china. the storm has already left dozens dead in the philippines. police in the us state of north carolina say stay off the roads, as storm florence continues to drop record rainfall. a leading democrat senator calls for a delay in considering president trump's nominee for the us supreme court. brett kavanaugh denies allegations of sexual misconduct. and, why is it taking so long? and what happens if there's no agreement? with only six months to brexit, the bbc travels around britain to ask the key questions.
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