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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  October 4, 2020 5:30am-6:01am BST

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a video thanking well—wishers, and says he's making progress — but admits he still expects to remain at the walter reed medical centre for a few more days to come. and in other news — despite international calls for calm, fighting has intensified in the disputed region of nagorno—karabakh with reports of civilians being targeted. armenia's prime minister says the country is facing a decisive moment as it battle azerbaijan for control of the region. at least three people have died and dozens are missing after a powerful storm hit southern france and north—western italy. a number of villages suffered serious damage around the southern french city of nice, with the mayor calling it the worst flooding in living memory.
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now on bbc news, the week in parliament. hello again and welcome to the week in parliament. a week of confusion, rebellion and anger. we want to see this virus beaten — of course we do. but it would be nice, just nice, if this house was shown some respect! boris johnson told us to follow the rules but apologised for struggling to explain them. i cleared that matter as fast as i could. it's very clear you shouldn't mix indoors, either at home or in a hospitality setting. also in this programme, the distressing human cost of failings in the nhs. losing louis is something i'll never fully recover from. i feel his loss every day.
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but first: more and more of us are living under local lockdown restrictions as the pandemic goes on. borisjohnson says we are at a "critical moment" with rising numbers of cases and deaths. things are so serious he's resumed regular downing street briefings, flanked by professor chris whitty and sir patrick vallance, who became household names during lockdown. back in march, mps rushed through emergency legislation to give ministers across the uk sweeping powers to deal with the crisis. six months on, the commons voted to renew the coronavirus act, but not before the speaker had his say about the government using its new powers to make laws without parliamentary scrutiny. sir lindsay hoyle said that all too often ministers published the details of laws only hours before imposing them. the way in which the government has exercised its powers to make secondary legislation during this crisis has
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been totally unsatisfactory. i am now asking the government to rebuild the trust with this house and a not treat it with the contempt that it has shown. sir lindsay hoyle channelling his inner bercow there. but he did help the government by ruling out a vote due to parliamentary rules to give mps more of a say before before new laws are imposed. it was a vote the government could have lost but with dozens of conservative mps in revolt, the health secretary beat a hasty retreat and offered a concession during the 90—minute debate to renew that coronavirus act. today, i can confirm to the house that for significant national measures, with effect in the whole of england or uk wide, we will consult parliament wherever possible, we will hold votes before such
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regulations come into force. but of course, responding to the virus means that the government must act with speed when required. and we cannot hold up urgent regulations which are needed to control the virus and save lives. labour said that with a "heavy heart" they would not block the the renewal of the act. but today, we say to the government things cannot go on as they are. the incredible efforts of the british people have not been matched with competence and grip by the uk government. with no proper notice and no proper power of review. government ministers on national media with absolutely no idea of what the rules are, the public are being let down on a grand scale. but one labour mp didn't think much of the government's concession. it's not worth the paper it's not been written on. we would like to see something in writing about what this consultation will really look like. my honourable friend is absolutely right.
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and i think the lesson from this government is that you always need it in writing and even then it isn't necessarily delivered. i have to say as i listen to what you have said, minister, i'm not convinced we will see that proper scrutiny because, if i heard you right, first of all, it would only be for matters which are significant. who will make the judgement as to whether the issue is significant? well frankly, it's nothing more than a gentleman's agreement. this act in its current form allows clumsy and asymmetrical authoritarianism, powers to restrict mass gatherings might well have been necessary, but broad police powers under schedule 21 capturing potentially infectious people have led to unlawful prosecutions 100% of the time. but the leader of the tory revolt who acts as the shop steward for the pa rty‘s mps was satisfied. i believe the outcome we have reached is in the interest of parliament, in the interest of better government,
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and most importantly, gives the british people reassurance that measures which restrict their liberty interfere with their family life and very often threaten their livelihoods, will not be implemented without important questions being asked and answers given in advance. this deadly virus presents unparalleled challenges to all of us entrusted with governmental powers. but that is all the more reason as to why the decisions need the insight of scrutiny and the legitimacy of parliament oversight. it is not only about scrutiny allowing this house to debate and vote. it's also about giving my honourable member, the minister, the credibility to continue to do the work that he is doing. it also exposes the very difficult decisions and trade—offs he has to make when he's balancing the spread of this virus versus all the restrictions we have to undertake, so i welcome the opportunity for further debates much longer i hope and votes too. many mps were unhappy that this
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debate was limited to an hour and a half. by the standing order of the house, this debate is 90 minutes and neither the speaker nor we have the choice over that. the secretary of state did say the time couldn't have been extended. yes, it could. and i would've agreed to it. 90 minutes. 90 minutes is an utter, utter disgrace! it is actually disrespectful to this house, and it is disrespectful to colleagues. and i am sorry, secretary of state, if i sound... actually, i'm not sorry that i'm angry, because a lot of people in this place are angry. we want to see this virus beaten, of course we do, but it would be nice, just nice, if this house was shown some respect! sir charles was one of seven conservative mps who voted against the renewal of the act. it's less than a fortnight since the government brought in the "rule of six" to make the covid restrictions more straightforward. but with different rules in operation in different council areas across the uk, the overall picture has become more complex.
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the prime minister himself apologised for his inability to explain new restrictions that cover almost 2 million people in north east england. he had apparently "misspoken". the confusion offered an opportunity for the labour leader, sir keir starmer, at prime minister's questions. mr speaker, one of the major problems, as we've seen in the last 2a hours, is widespread confusion about the local restrictions. and i don'tjust mean the prime minister not knowing his own rules. having sat opposite the prime minister in pmqs every week, that didn't come as a surprise to me. he said a conservative council leader in a locked down area had also complained people felt forgotten and let down. mr speaker, if the prime minister doesn't understand the rules, and his own council leaders are complaining about mixed messages, how does the prime minister expect the rest of the country to understand and follow the rules? i actually think that
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the people in this country do understand and overwhelmingly do follow the rules. and he mentions the restrictions in the north—east. i cleared that matter up as fast as i could. it is clear you shouldn't mix indoors, either at home or at a hospitality setting and avoid socialising outdoors. and we need to apply that in the north—east because that is where it is spiking. i think people do understand why we are doing that. i think people do get it. i think people want us to defeat this virus and they want to see us doing it together! i spoke to the leader of newcastle council yesterday, he said the other big problem, apart from government messaging, is the lack of economic support being provided to local communities under restriction. newcastle council indicate that by the end of the year, 10,000 jobs in hospitality will have been lost. many businesses are forced to stay closed, prime minister, but for these extraordinary restrictions, these are viablejobs. these businesses are doing the right thing.
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why has the government decided that these jobs aren't worth saving? well, mr speaker, as i said repeatedly, we're putting our arms around the whole of the uk economy and we're doing everything we can to save everyjob. i must say, i saw the labour leader of newcastle and was rather surprised by what he said because actually to the best of my knowledge they were calling for the measures that we put in. with rebellion in the autumnal air, even theresa may abstained on a vote on the government's brexit policy. the former prime minister had previously said she couldn't support the internal markets bill as it would damage trust in the united kingdom and even put the future of the uk at risk. mps approved the bill, which allows the government to override the northern ireland element of the brexit divorce deal with the eu. it also aims to ensure trade continues freely across the uk and gives westminster a say
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in some areas currently devolved to the governments in cardiff, belfast and edinburgh. borisjohnson insisted to mps the bill actually gives scotland more powers — an argument that failed to persuade the snp. here we go again: yapping, bumbling, mumbling, but no answer. since he can't answer the straight question, i will tell the prime minister... order. i expect the prime minister to be heard. i certainly want to hear the leader of the snp. thank you, mr speaker. we're very used to scottish voices being shouted down by the tories in this place. a tory government that casually and arrogantly breaks international law, and breaks devolution, has shattered any remaining trust in this broken westminster system. mr speaker, i think the right honourable gentleman demonstrates once again that his ambition is simply to ferment grievance where no
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grievance should exist. all this bill does, actually, is devolve power back from brussels to edinburgh, it gives powers back to edinburgh, which he should welcome. the internal market bill now goes to the house of lords for further scrutiny — with a bumpy ride expected. time now for a brief look at what else has been going on in the world of politics. a senior united nations official has criticised the idea of sending people seeking asylum in the uk to ascension island in the south atlantic. some countries do process claims offshore and ministers considered the idea but rejected the island as too far away, although they are looking at options closer to home. we've seen reports in the newspaper this morning that the home office has been exploring sending asylum—seekers 5,000 miles from the uk to an island 1,000 miles off the coast of africa,
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which has about 800 people population, no substantial healthca re system, no support system or administrative system in place. does that strike you as a remotely practical responsible or ethical proposition? this is the australian model. i think we have already seen the australian model has brought about incredible suffering of people who are guilty of no more than seeking asylum. it has also additionally, i think, cost and continues to cost an incredible amount of money. the work and pensions secretary has told mps that ministers are in "active discussion" over continuing a £20 a week increase in universal credit payments. therese coffey's comments came as a coalition of charities, campaign groups and church leaders urged ministers to make the extra help, announced at the start of the pandemic, permanent. wouldn't it be inconceivable to cut everybody‘s benefit before the pandemic is over?
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as it stands, i think it's fair to say that the legislation does automatically come to an end. but i will be open with you in that a lot of these discussions on what we continue to do with welfare support are still in active discussion with the treasury. could highly paid footballers chip in a week's wages to support community clubs? the idea was floated by a labour mp and got a warm reception from the sports minister, who has promised government help for clubs in the national league, the fifth tier of the english game. i wonder, has the minister thought of more innovative ways of raising finance by creating some sort of community trust where we ask the top earning hundred footballers in this country, some earning £350,000-£500,000 a week, to just donate one week's wages to a trust which then can be distributed amongst those struggling clubs to ensure communities can still enjoy their football? minister. both now and in the future, i encourage all
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stakeholders in sports to do the right thing and play their part. and he's making some good points about voluntary donations, as well as what we will be requiring and expecting from sport at various levels. some retired footballers go on to well—paid careers in broadcasting. match of the day presenter gary lineker has signed a new five—year contract worth £1.35 million a year — £a00,000 a year less than he had been paid. the bbc‘s new director—general faced some hostile questions from mps on the culture committee, but he defended lineker‘s salary. i watch match of the day and i'm a religious fan of match of the day and on intravenous drip on numerous football commentaries, but i also listen for outstanding analysis, proper curation of that. i like — i honestly think people are turning in for the debates on whether the handball was a handball, to talk of one recently. all of that is important to the analysis — and, by the way, that's why our competitors pay their sports pundits multiples often of what we pay.
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sometimes, the most powerful parliamentary exchanges are those involving members of the public. mps on the health committee heard harrowing evidence from a campaigner whose baby died after a series of failures. nearly two fifths of maternity units in england are still performing below the safety standards expected — although the former health secretary, who chairs the health committee, did begin with words of reassurance. i think it is important to start by saying that nearly 700,000 women give birth with the nhs every year in england and the vast majority are completely safe, but that doesn't mean that things can't improve. the committee went on to hear the story of one woman left alone in labourfor hours. when the registrar did finally arrive, there seemed to be some conflict between the midwife and the registrar, and he left without giving any
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real instructions. at this point, i became concerned as i could hear my son's heart rate and i felt something was wrong. i raised this with the midwife and asked for a c—section because i knew i could not deliver my son without helpful intervention. i was told not to worry and that it was too late for a caesarean section. around 11pm, the midwife performed an episiotomy and at 11:12pm, my son was born. there was happy cheers from my sister and my partner, paul, who were with me. he was placed on my chest, as i wanted skin to skin, and his cord was cut. but at this point, he was taken from me. he was taken behind a curtain, but in the same room as us, but the curtain was pulled across so you couldn't see what was going on. we then heard alarms ringing and people shouting for help. this commotion went on for some time, and after 30 minutes, a man came from behind the curtain. he didn't introduce himself, and he just told us that our son had died. he then walked away. losing louis is something i'll never fully recover from
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and i feel this loss every day. i also see the impact his death has had on my parents and my sister. they just haven't — they haven'tjust had their own grief to deal with, but they've had to see someone they love completely heartbroken and devastated. the lead investigator into several failing maternity services said there were some brilliant units, and others which were improving. my problem is that there are a few that are in the left—hand tail of that distribution performance that aren't able to or won't learn and improve. and my concern is that we understand those and i'm sure there are all sorts of reasons to do with clinical isolation and leadership and organisational culture and so on. but to do that, we have to learn to stop them. i don't think that we're very good at spotting a small numberof units that are in serious difficulties, and perhaps don't even recognise it themselves. to what extent do recruitment
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and retention issues of staff impact on the quality and safety of maternity services, in your experience? that was certainly a feature at morecambe bay and it's been a feature of other investigations that i've been involved with — not necessarily in maternity services. it's one of the products of this thing that i've been loosely calling 'clinical isolation' and it's — there are locations where it is very difficult to recruit staff, and that can become a serious factor in their standards slipping. scotland's first minister has found herself under severe pressure over the inquiry into her government's handling of complaints against her predecessor, alex salmond. a holyrood committee looking at the issue has been frustrated with the lack of evidence being submitted by the government, and said it's unable to continue holding evidence sessions. a conservative msp was
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ejected from the chamber after this contribution. in this chamber in... audio cuts out. ..january, the first minister said the salmond inquiries will be able to request whatever material they want, and i undertake today that we'll provide whatever material they request. will the presiding officer ask the first minister to explain why she lied to parliament? well, i recognise the point of order. first of all, before i address that, could i suggest, mr mundell, that using words like 'liar' is not appropriate in this chamber? oliver mundell refused to apologise. with due respect, presiding officer, i think it's disrespectful to the parliament for the presiding — for the first minister to make a promise and not to keep it, but i can't withdraw the word, no. very well. i think mr mundell's made his point. i'm afraid, mr mundell, i'm going to have to ask you to leave the chamber. i don't think the language is acceptable. thank you. applause. at first minister's questions, the acting tory leader kept up the attack, accusing nicola sturgeon of a shabby abuse of power. we have the head of the civil service having to be recalled
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to the inquiry because she can't remember or won't answer key questions, a tranche of government e—mails re lated to the inquiry deleted, committee hearings having to be suspended because they can't continue due to obstruction, and a committee chairwoman having to write to the court to get information that the first minister promised 18 months ago that she would undertake to provide. two years ago, nicola sturgeon told the media with regards to the salmond case "i relish the prospect to answer all and every questions". well, on today's performing, the question is when is she going to start? 0k! i've not been invited to give evidence to the committee, so here — well, here it is! i'll turn up to the committee next week and give evidence to the committee if the committee invites me. the committee can call me any time it likes. iwill turn up on the day asked, the committee room asked, and i will give evidence to the committee. it hasn't yet asked me to do so! now, in a similar way to the uk
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government being put under pressure to offer mps more of a say before imposing coronavirus restrictions in england, nicola sturgeon found herself facing a similar challenge. new rules have been increasingly announced via late—night press releases, twitter and tv interviews and parliament has so far not had an opportunity to give its consent to local restrictions, unless they have already expired. this is no way to govern! parliament is supposed to provide checks and balances to government power. without this, we risk a real democratic deficit. and will she agree to bring future regulations to a vote in parliament before they are imposed? yes, i will give an undertaking that, where it is possible, we will seek to bring things to parliament in advance. angry murmuring. well, with the greatest of respect to people across the chamber, this is an infectious virus. we have to act quickly and flexibly sometimes if we have sudden spikes or outbreaks that are putting
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health and life at risk. to wales now, where the first minister has asked borisjohnson to tell people in locked—down areas of england not to visit holiday areas of wales as tourists. mark drakeford revealed he had written to the prime minister after pictures emerged of crowded scenes on mount snowdon. many of these will have been visitors, and there is nothing set out in the guidelines at the moment that stops someone from a covid hotspot elsewhere in the uk travelling to areas of wales currently with low community transmission. why is it the case, first minister, that you can't travel from aberafan to abergavenny, but you can travel from manchester to mynytho? i'm going to begin by agreeing with adam price that those were alarming pictures. but he said there weren't examples where the virus had gone out of control in holiday areas after being imported
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from elsewhere. i don't think it is right for us to institute a set of border controls, trying to prevent people from elsewhere visiting wales. i think that would lead us into all sorts of anomalous and difficult territory. but i do think that as we act to prevent people who live in hotspots in wales from travelling to england and taking the risk of the virus with them, so the prime minister — in his capacity as a prime minister of england case — ought to do the same to prevent people from english hotspots from travelling elsewhere in england to wales, or other parts of the united kingdom, because of the risk that that undoubtedly poses, and i wrote him yesterday, asking him to do that. at stormont, northern ireland's first minister stressed the importance of getting the public health message across after some students at queen's university halls of residence in belfast tested positive for covid 19. we have now put in place
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a digital campaign which is targeted specifically at our young people, working in partnership with organisations like coolfm and using social media using and obviously using social media and, indeed, something called mobster, which the member might be able to tell me what it is, but i'm not quite sure what it is! i'm sure many of our young people would be able to tell me! but apparently, we are going to use mobster to do some digital advertising which will target 16— to 25—year—olds based — including students based on their location data. so obviously, if they are in queen's, if they're in the university of ulster or whatever, then we're able to get some messages to them. arlene foster. finally, that annual challenge for mps of how to mark national poetry day. fortunately, jacob rees—mogg was available. mr deputy speaker, we should take, as i said before, pride in this royal throne of kings, this sceptred aisle,
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this earth of majesty, this seat of mars, this other eden demi paradise, this fortress built by herself against infection and the hand of war, this happy breed of men, this little world, this precious stone set in the silver sea which serves it in the office of a wall or as a moat, defensive to a house against the envy of less happier lands, this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this england. and had william shakespeare lived in a later day, he would've said "this united kingdom". because that is what we should take pride in! jacob rees—mogg, inevitably. that was the week in parliament. i'll be back with more tales of this happy breed of men and women and more plots, blessed and otherwise, on bbc parliament at 11 o'clock on monday evening. i hope you canjoin me. until then, from me, david cornock, bye for now.
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hello there. it's been a thoroughly wet night up and down the country and we continue with more heavy rain through this morning, in fact mainly across western and southern areas, and it's here where we're likely to see more transport disruption, some further flooding in places, and it's here where the winds will be strongest as well. all tied in with this area of low pressure. you can see where the isobars are closest together across more west and south—western areas, and this is where we will have the weather front as well, bringing that heavy and persistent rain. now, the amber warning across south—west england and wales is likely to persist up until around midday today, so we could see further flooding here through the morning period, whereas further north, the amber warning across eastern scotland should expire early this morning as the rain begins to pivot away and push towards the west. so we should see a little bit of brightness appearing as the day wears on. the heaviest of the rain will tend to be across
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northern ireland, down into wales, south—west england, across the south and south—east as well. but even here the rain should start to move away aas we head on into the afternoon. central areas — lighter winds, some sunshine around and it's here where we will see some heavy, slow—moving showers as temperatures reach around 15 or16, but feeling quite chilly across the south—east. into sunday night, it looks like those rain bands begin to spread away from the uk but we will continue to see lots of showers spiralling around the centre of the low. some lengthy clear spells in between and when that happens, it could turn chilly in one or two spots — generally 8—10 for most. low pressure still with us then as we head on into the new working week for monday. it will be slowly filling, which means it will be gradually weakening through the day, so conditions should slowly improve as we move through the week. but for monday, again, we will see scattered showers around, the winds not quite as strong, some of the showers that develop could be on the heavy side again, some could merge together to
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produce longer spells of rain. but in the sunshine, again, we could see 15 or 16 degrees, and that is where we could see some of the heaviest of the showers. if we move out of monday, i will show you our area of low pressure begins to fill more and drift northwards. it opens a north—westerly wind across the uk which will drive in a few showers, but we should also see good spells of sunshine as well, so i think it's really a slow improvement as we move through the week. that low pressure system moving away. and if anything, by the end of the week, high pressure should start to build in, so that will settle things down.
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good morning — welcome to breakfast with chris mason and rachel burden. our headlines today: in a video from hospital, president trump says he's doing well but will continue coronavirus treatment for a few more critical days. so i just want to tell you that i'm starting to feel good. you don't know — over the next period of a few days, i guess that's the real test, so we'll be seeing what happens over the next couple of days. the uk registers almost 13,000 daily coronavirus cases, nearly doubling from the day before.


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