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tv   Tuesday in Parliament  BBC News  October 16, 2019 2:30am-3:01am BST

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the headlines: as the turkish military offensive in northern syria continues, the pentagon deploys fighterjets to warn off turkish—backed fighters accused of violating an agreement not to threaten retreating american troops. russia, which backs syria's president assad, has also warned turkey, saying it will not allow clashes with syrian forces. brexit negotiations between the uk and the eu will continue later with downing street saying talks so far have been constructive. the continuation comes despite the eu's chief brexit negotiator having imposed a midnight deadline, but michel barnier is stressing the urgency for an agreement to be reached ahead of a 2—day summit of european leaders starting on thursday. the president of the bulgarian football union resigns after racist abuse against england players during a match against bulgaria in the capital sofia. uefa calls on football fans to wage war on the racists.
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now on bbc news, tuesday in parliament. hello and welcome to tuesday in parliament. as thomas cook bosses apologise for the travel firm's collapse... i'm deeply sorry about this failing and i am deeply sorry the distress we caused to millions of customers who booked holidays with us. but sorry isn't enough for angry mps. your apologies would perhaps ring a bit more true if you are willing to do something about it. at the moment, i'm afraid the number
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of times you've said sorryjust rings rather hollow. also in this programme, jacob rees—mogg settles one of those perennial domestic arguments once and for all. i always thought one was in the habit of drawing a bath rather than running a bath and i'm sure the house would be most capable of drawing a bath. more from him later. but first, thomas cook's former boss has apologised for the holiday firm's collapse. peter fankhauser and other executives were challenged by a cross—party committee over their role in the company's downfall. last month's collapse left 150,000 holiday—makers stranded abroad. their repatriation was the largest of its kind in peacetime. about 800,000 british people also had future bookings and the company employed 9,000 here people in the uk. some of them, wearing thomas cook uniforms, turned up at the business committee to hear peter fankhauser give evidence. how deeply sorry we are
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that we couldn't save this iconic brand and this company who has a long, long—standing history in this part of the uk industry. i'm deeply sorry about this failing and i'm deeply sorry the distress we caused to millions of customers who booked holidays with us and who were on holidays with us and i'm deeply sorry for our suppliers who were long—standing partners and who have been loyal to us throughout this time, and i'm especially sorry for all my colleagues who worked extremely hard and tirelessly to make thomas cook a better company. and what exactly are you sorry for, mr fankhauser? i'm sorry for not being able to turn around this company at pace and really pay back this debt.
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when i started as ceo in 2014, i was fully aware of the challenge. peter fankhauser received a bonus of more than £500,000 two years ago. do you think that that bonus should be paid back? i fully understand where you are coming from and i fully understand the sentiment in the public. i fully understand as well the sentiment of some of our colleagues. however, what i can say to that is that i worked tirelessly for the success of this company and i'm deeply sorry that i was not able to secure the deal, but it was not one hand sided that i failed. there was multiple parties who had the contribute to the deal, which finally didn't succeed. your apologies would perhaps ring a bit more true if you were willing to do something about it. at the moment, i'm afraid the number
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of times you have said sorryjust rings rather hollow when you're not willing to put something back. maybe in your reflections... in my reflection, i will take that back. i will consider what is right. but i'm not going to decide that today. you're an employee as well. the suffering that resulted from the collapse of the company, which was a result of the management decisions made... you were led to collapse, it didn't happen by accident. the suffering that was felt by employees is disproportionate. you didn't suffer in the same way that other members of staff suffered and some people were on extremely low income. did you at any point think — because you're not prevented by law from putting your hand into your own pocket and doing something and even making the gesture, which i'm sure would have been very, very appreciated at the time — did you consider doing something that would've made
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an impact on your own wealth in order to lessen the burden of other employees who weren't in the same situation as you were? as i said at the beginning, i don't try to defend my pay in comparison to a worker's salary. will you defend your lack of generosity? that lack of generosity? is not my intention. what i can say is that i worked exhaustively and extremely hard for that salary. i didn't succeed to get the deal over the line. the mps wanted to know how involved the government was in attempts to save thomas cook. at any point, did you speak to any of the government ministers involved? apart from the initial conversation with the transport secretary? no. because we were clearly told in this meeting on the 16th and 17th that the point of contact for us was those officials who were sitting in at the time. i find that astonishing.
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and did you try and challenge that, peter fankhauser? no. i didn't try to challenge that because that was also the advice of our financial advisers who went through different and multiple restructurings, and was also asking the government. we had contact with number 10, the advisers of number 10, but we didn't have... at no point a government minister, other than your initial conversation? me, personally, at no point in this process from tuesday to sunday we had a government minister on the phone. but he said he was contacted by government ministers from germany, spain, bulgaria, turkey and greece. rachel reeves thought the buck stopped with him. peter fankhauser, you've spoken about the commitment of your staff and the fact that they're here today, some of them in their uniforms, i think speaks to their commitment to the company
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that you ran and the commitment to the people who they served as in your company. i think they do your company proud. i think you should reflect on what you can do to put something back to try and say sorry to the people whose jobs you have taken from them and whose holidays you have ruined. rachel reeves. the sports minister has urged european football's governing body to investigate the racist abuse of england footballers during monday night's euro 2020 qualifier against bulgaria. the match, which england won 6—0, was stopped twice because of racist behaviour by home fans, which included nazi salutes and monkey chants. in his letter, nigel adams called on uefa to act to ensure that all football authorities and fans were aware the consequences of failing to tackle racism would be severe. the minister came to the commons
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to answer an urgent question. mr speaker, like all members of this house and the country, i was appalled by the disgusting, racist abuse encountered by the england football team and its support staff in bulgaria last night. whether you're a player, a manager, a supporter, a member of the staff, no participant in sport should have have to tolerate discrimination of any kind. can i also start by paying tribute to the leadership shown up by gareth southgate and his coaching team as well as all of the players for how they conducted themselves in appalling circumstances during and after the match? i've also spoken this morning to the chief exec of the football association to express my support
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to gareth southgate and his team and all the support staff in the way they conducted themselves. gareth southgate, again, has shown what a magnificent ambassador for england and, indeed, the uk he is. and how magnificently also the team behaved in circumstances of intense provocation and vile behaviour by so—called fans, they conducted themselves with extraordinary dignity. one of my own children was watching the match and came in to say how visibly shocked and upset he was and i think the minister's reaction is one i have a sense that will be shared right across the house and by millions of people across the country. labour said players who chose to walk off the pitch should be supported. we ourselves, however, are not exempt from this problem. it would be irresponsible for us
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to condemn the behaviour of fans around the world without addressing the fact that many players have indeed suffered racist abuse online, from the stands and in their day—to—day lives at the hands of a very small section of our own fans. uefa has a duty to act here. the world is watching. a fine is not enough. so i am asking our government to ensure that we are backing up the fa to seek the harshest possible punishments. stadium bans are a must, forfeiting matches and expulsion from tournaments must not be ruled out. enough is enough. the time to act is now. this is a deeply serious issue, but i think it would be fair to say, there has been some while, indeed perhaps my entire life, i've never wanted the england football team to win, and to win so well until last night.
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lam i am delighted they did the talking oi'i i am delighted they did the talking on the pitch. but they should have the right to walk off the pitch in the circumstances if they so choose. but it would be wrong to portray these disgusting scenes last night as isolated incidents. the truth is that they are not. racist chants and abuse form a growing pattern in parts of the game across europe. this must stop as the football authorities crack down and eradicate racism of all kinds in our sport. mps united in calling on uefa to do more to tackle racism in football. you're watching tuesday in parliament. still to come: will there be a saturday in parliament? the foreign secretary dominic raab has come under pressure from mps to take a harder line with turkey and the united states over the crisis in northern syria. turkish troops launched a military operation against kurds in the region last week
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after the us president donald trump pulled american troops out. turkey regards kurdish fighters in syria as terrorists, but the kurds have been helping the us fight the so—called islamic state group. with the us out of the picture, though, the kurds are now turning to syria's president assad for protection. from the outset, the uk government has warned turkey against taking this military action, and as we feared, it has seriously undermined the stability and the security of the region. it risks worsening the humanitarian crisis and increasing the suffering of millions of refugees and it also undermines the international effort that should be focused on defeating daesh. the uk is suspending all new export licences of weapons to turkey but mr raab said turkey did have some legitimate concerns. in relation to the 3.6 million refugees that it has taken from syria, and its concerns around the threat to its security from the pkk at its southern border with syria.
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for decades, turkey has been a staunch ally in nato, one of the largest contributors of military personnel. but with close partners, mr speaker, we must at times be candid and clear. this is not the action we expected from an ally, it is reckless, it is counterproductive and it plays straight into the hands of russia and, indeed, the assad regime. the uk government calls on turkey to exercise maximum restraint and bring an end to the unilateral military action. the crisis was raised by a conservative former foreign office minister. injust a week, we've seen the map of north—east syria redrawn following the ill—thought through foreign policy change by a president trump, which led to a tragic series of events undermining international efforts to contain daesh. it has fostered counter daesh ally, the sdf, to resort to asking the bashar al—assad regime for help, giving russia and iran ever greater leverage over syria's future.
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and simultaneously diminishing any influence influence the us can claim to have over the country's future. in the fog of confusion, thousands of hard—line jihadist fighters are now able to escape, regroup to fight another day. the situation in northern syria has gone from bad to worse to utterly catastrophic and horrifying since the trump administration withdrew its troops and gave a green light to turkey to invade. and as we have seen, it is not just turkey's air strikes and artillery barrage that caused the deaths of dozens of innocent civilians, but the barbaric actions of the jihadi death squads, armed and supported by turkey, that are now freely operating inside the area. can i ask the minister whether, as part of the government's welcome review of arms sales to turkey, which i believe is worth {1.1 billion, they will look specifically at whether any of the arms that our country has supplied to turkey have ended up in the hands of the jihadi militants? mr speaker, it's clear to anyone
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with any understanding of the situation in syria that, if the kurds did not have the support of the us and faced another turkish invasion, that they would be driven reluctantly into the hands of assad and russia. the foreign secretary said the situation showed how much the uk needed nato. that's one of the reasons it was so irresponsible that the leader of the labour party has called for us to come out of nato. no, no, take that back. no, it is well known, and we need to be strengthening nato, not weakening nato, as well as working very closely, very closely... as well as working very closely with our un partners and agencies. i'm not the leader of the opposition's biggest fan, but i think cheap pot shots at a time like this are utterly unnecessary and demean the office of foreign minister. mr speaker, this is a brutal and unnecessary conflict.
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we have a needless humanitarian catastrophe, and a refugee crisis the foreign secretary rightly pointed out, but made much worse. and he raised the plight of british children found in northern syria. i think we should all pay credit to the bravery of the humanitarian organisations and the bravery of journalists like quentin somerville, when he discovered british orphans. surely mr speaker, children do not carry the sins of their parents? in relation to minors and unaccompanied minors or orphans, i can tell him that, assuming that they would represent no security threat, that is something... of course, in relation to — minors goes right the way up to close to 18, but we would be willing to see them return home if it can be done in a safe way given the situation on the ground.
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the foreign secretary, dominic raab. a former director general of m15 has said that the public pressure mps are coming under to change their vote on issues like brexit is threatening democracy. he said that if that pressure had come from another state it would be a national security issue. jonathan evans, now lord evans, told the home affairs committee that he was genuinely worried about the situation. we are dependent on, in a representative democracy, on debate, freedom of speech, and people willing to say what they believe to be the case. and, by deterring people from coming into public life, by limiting debate and by particularly putting so much pressure on some individuals that they change their vote, that is a really troubling situation to be in. and, with my previously hat on in the national security space, if there had been such pressure on members of parliament that they would be changing their vote, we would have seen that as a really serious
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national security issue. if it had been another state doing it, and this is not generally states doing it, but it is the effect of changing votes, it would seem to me to be seriously worrying, as far as democracy is concerned. as part of an investigation into hate crime, the committee had invited a series of witnesses to discuss intimidation in public life. among them was the sister ofjo cox. the labour mp for batley and spen was murdered in 2016 by a right—wing extremist, a week before the european referendum. last month, boris johnson was criticised for saying the best way to honourjo cox was to get brexit done. his comments came in a bad—tempered debate in which labour mps had called on the prime minister to moderate his language. jo cox's sister is spearheading efforts to draw up a joint code of conduct for political parties. she told the committee why she was getting involved. one of the things that drives me and that drives my parents
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and many of my friends and family to keep going is that we don't wa nt any of the family to experience — gosh, what we had to experience and indeed continue to experience every single day. because behind every politician and every public figure there is a family, and there are staff and there are friends and there are people who are affected by the abuse that they face, every single day. she said abuse was becoming a normal part of being an mp. we're losing good people from public life. i've had lots of conversations with politicians across the political spectrum sincejo was killed, across the brexit debate and divide, who are scared. they're really scared and their reality is that they are getting horrendous messages, whether it's in their inbox or whether it is on social media, and whether it is going to the supermarket to do their shopping. that is their reality. i do not want to be a accused of scaremongering but these conversations are real. kim was asked why there seem to be
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a rise in vitriol and hatred. people feel that they don't have a say in things, and they feel frustrated and angry. and the easiest thing to do when they fear that way is to bring the other. to blame someone who is not like you, for your frustrations, whether that is around the economy, whether it is around what is going on in your town or city or village and i think that breeds into dislike and animosity towards people who are not like you. we have disconnected communities where people don't have the sense of belonging and sense of identity, that if you go back 50 years on, people used to have. so i think there is something around the infrastructure of community that needs addressing. but i think there is also this top level stuff around the nature of our discourse in public life, in parliament and elsewhere, that needs to change. what we do through jo's foundation is we take a very top—down and bottom—up approach. so a lot of the stuff we're doing down and parliament, working for politicians is really important. but we're also doing a lot of work
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at grassroots level to see how we can help its communities and issues with cohesion and segregation, knife crime and various other important issues. and i think the way to succeed is to join all that thinking together, and that is why i think the work we're doing for a standard of conduct for politicians is important, and hopefully by getting all the major political parties to sign up for that standard, it will have a knock—on effect on the rest of that society and communities around the country. the chair of the committee, yvette cooper, ended by thanking kim leadbeater. we started this, first looking at this afterjo cox was killed, she is in our thoughts every day. thank you. yvette cooper. parliament has met on a saturday only four times in the past 80 years, including the day before the outbreak of the second world war, the suez crisis in 1956, and for the invasion of the falklands in 1982. now, mps have been told to clear their diaries for this saturday to debate the outcome of the brussels summit and what it means for brexit. but the date is only really pencilled in, and the leader of the commons gave little away when questioned by mps.
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he will be aware that for many of our colleagues, particularly those with childcare responsibilities, the uncertainty as to whether we will or will not meet on saturday really is not tolerable. can the leader of the house now give a definitive statement on behalf of the government as to whether they intend to go ahead with that saturday meeting, and whether appropriate arrangements have been made for all our colleagues who will have to make real efforts to to ensure that they are with us on saturday? with regard to saturday, the issue there is that a saturday sitting is an extremely unusual process, dependent on events but the events that may require a saturday sitting have not yet reached their fruition, and it is only after that point has been reached that it would be sensible to confirm what exactly will be happening on saturday. but of course, it will be my aim to bring an announcement to the house as soon a possible with that regard. we need to hear what is
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happening on saturday. we need to have some sort of plan. we're from scotland, leader of the house. you've already destroyed our conference. we are here and missing the leader's speech today. we do not know what we are going to be doing and give us some security. sittings on saturday are highly abnormal. and has happened three times in 70 years is not unreasonable and it will only happen if we have to have something subject to what goes on in the european councils to debate on saturday. and i think members putting their duty to this house first, as we all try to do, do not find that an unreasonable or insupportable burden. the uk parliament has an international reputation of hardly able to run a bath, nor run a brexit. today is tuesday, and the uk parliament cannot tell us if we're sitting on saturday. this will be brexit saturday, if we sat, and brexit saturday will be the company of world war ii saturday, suez saturday and falklands saturday.
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this calamity is not in the best of company. that he wants to visit on the country. and what is going to happen on thursday, between now and thursday, that might be able to clear his mind up on whether we are sitting on saturday? decide, man, decide! madame deputy speaker, i was the one in the habit of drawing a bath rather than running a bath, and i'm sure the house would be most capable of running a bath. but, to come to the honourable gentleman's main point, we are waiting upon events. there is a european council taking place on thursday and friday, upon which the events on saturday will depend. jacob rees—mogg. and if mps do sit at the weekend there will, of course, be a special saturday in parliament with the day's highlights. now, if you thought peers had enough fun dressing up for the state opening to last them a year, think again. some members of the house of lords got to don the ermine again to welcome two new peers
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to their number. among those given a peerage in theresa may's resignation honours list were the entrepreneur david brownlow and the former green party leader natalie bennett. i, natalie bennett, of manor castle, do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that i will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her majesty queen elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. baroness bennett of manor castle, which is in camden, north london. she is, though, only the second australian—born woman to sit in the house of lords. if you got baroness gardner of parkes as the other, you win today's special prize. but that was tuesday in parliament. thank you for watching. i do hope you canjoin me at the same time tomorrow for the latest from the commons and the lords. bye for now.
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hello. well, after the overnight rain, wednesday is going to bring some sunshine. in fact, a lot of clean, fresh air coming our way of the atlantic. before that happens, the atlantic. before that happens, the early birds will get some rain. the rain could be heavy at times. they will probably be breezy as well. now, the weather front is coming off the atlantic. there is a low pressure here. that's actually heading away as well. but in the short term, the weather front will be moving across the uk. eventually, it will clear out into the north sea. but before that happens, some of us sea. but before that happens, some ofusa sea. but before that happens, some of us a real soaking through the early hours of wednesday morning. so let's take a close look, then, across the uk. sol let's take a close look, then, across the uk. so i think around the early hours the heaviest of the rain will be in southern parts of the uk. also some heavier bursts of rain in parts of wales, the north—west of england, but by the time we get to around 5am or 6am in the morning, i
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think the weather will start to improve across south—western parts of the uk. so plymouth may end up having a clear start to the day. so there could be some sunshine here right from the word go. but notice early in the morning there is that rain hugging eastern parts of the uk. by the time we get to the early afternoon, it is sunshine all round. there is not can be many showers around. are going to be light, the wind, care will be fresh, it is going to be a very pleasant. but it'll be a little on the cool side in some areas. temperatures in the north of the country only around 30 degrees. so that was wednesday, this is thursday's weather map. this big low pressure is slowly rolling in, and it's going to bring frequent showers and also strengthening winds. you can see the wind strengthening here across western parts of the uk, around the coast of cornwall, devon, wales, winds proper gusting to around 40, maybe even 50 mph. strengthening in central, southern england as well, and showers bringing hail and thunder as well. the most frequent showers across western and southern areas.
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and then on friday i think the winds could even strengthen further. that is, in the south, could be gusting in excess of 50 mph. in the showers will be pushed in by those breezy conditions. but i think we will call ita conditions. but i think we will call it a mixture of sunny spells and showers, because it is certainly not going to be a right of the other day. and cool. temperatures in some spots only around 11 degrees. and this showery, blustery weather, is expected to continue all through the weekend. goodbye.
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welcome to bbc news. i'm mike embley. our top stories: russia calls turkey's invasion of syria "unacceptable" and warns against any attacks on syrian forces. the uk says negotiations with the eu to reach a brexit deal have been constructive and will go on later. protests hit the streets of catalonia in spain after pro—independence leaders were jailed. and royals in a rickshaw: the latest from the duke and duchess of cambridge's tour of pakistan.


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