tv International Programming CSPAN March 10, 2010 7:00am-7:30am EST
>> now from london, prime minister's question time, live from the british house of commons. every wednesday while parliament is in session prime minister gordon brown takes questions from members of the house of commons. prior to question time, the house is wrapping a previous business. this is live coverage on c-spa c-span2. >> apologize if the member is put off by that but i want to explain that it will mean we will just help educate people further, the necessary skills that they need in order to do their jobs. i hope that makes it clear to the member. >> order. question to the prime minister. >> number one, serve. >> mr. speaker, i'm sure the whole house will wish to join me in paying tribute to the sacrifice of soldiers have lost their lives in afghanistan. they are riflemen donovan block,
rifleman liam maughan from the third battalion the rifles. lance corporal tom keogh from fourth battalion the rifles attached to third battalion the rifles, corporal stephen thompson from first battalion the rifles. these men have made the greatest of sacrifices in the service of their country and their comrades. their heroism and bravery cannot and will not be forgotten. their legacy will be in the future that is being won for the people of afghanistan and the protection they are securing for the british people. they will be remembered with great pride by the british people and by their families. as we honor their memory, we send our sincere condolences to the families and loved ones who feel their loss the most. the debt that we owe them can never be repaid. mr. speaker, the whole house i think we'll want to pay tribute also to the life of michael. you'll be member as a man of the principles was in the views of
many the greatest parliamentary debater of his generation. mr. speaker, this point i had meetings with others in addition to my duties in house. i will have further such meetings today. >> the whole house will want to concur with the words of consoles is the prime minister has offered to those of the rifles who lost their lives. we feel that loss at the loss of the families there intensely but it is matched with pride at what that regiment has become. the army families federation has carried out trials which prove that it is unlikely that the vast majority of our armed forces serving overseas will be able to vote in the coming election. will the prime minister intervened to assure that we don't have the perverse situation that we have people fighting abroad for others to have the right to vote, which deny them that right themselves to? i do repeat again and endorse
what he has said. not only about the regiment that he is talking about but about the brady i of the individual soldiers. i do also say to him to justice secretaries making the best arrangements possible so every soldier and every member of the armed forces overseas will have the vote will be able to cast their vote and i will write to them about all the arrangements that are being made. is absolutely right that everyone should have the chance to cast their vote in every election. >> mr. david drew? >> thank you, mr. speaker. and i asked to be associated with the remarks on our loss of life, and also of the late michael? i believe my honorable friend is in favor of for financial disclosure by parliamentarian. with that in mind, will he assure me the cabinet office is currently undertaking an investigation into the tax returns of the noble?
>> mr. speaker, i have been involved, i've been involved in no such investigation of lord ashcroft. i have to tell the house, i have to tell the house i believe the assurances that were made in december 2007, that lord ashcroft was paying his taxes and was a resident in britain. these assurances were given as an added you by the leader of the opposition. >> mr. david cameron. >> can i first of all echo what the prime minister said about michael, i will say i did not serve with him but i always admired his writing, his brilliant or a tree and his dedication to this house of commons. what i did not agree with much of what he said, at least about the soviet union and disarmament. he held all hoosiers with conviction and with passion, and that is how we should remember him. can i also join the prime minister in paying tribute to the for serviceman who lost their lives in afghanistan in the last seven days. corporal stephen thompson,
rifleman jonathon allott, rifleman liam maughan. we pay tribute to their bravery and their service and does the prime minister said, we will not forget what they have done. yesterday we had the inquest into the deaths of four soldiers in afghanistan in 2008. at the time the defense minister, the honorable member, link to their deaths to the commanders choice of vehicle. this was flatly contradicted by what the coroner said. so will the prime minister now apologize on behalf of his minister? >> the minister apologized at the time and i repeat that apology. the issue for me is, first of all, that our thoughts must be with the families of corporal sarah bryant, corporal sean reeve, lance corporal richard larkin and private paul stout. they also died serving their country. i have read the report from the inquest. that inquest report from the corner will go to the ministry
of defense. they've said they will look at every detail that is raised by the coroner. and take whatever action is necessary. there are three areas that have got to be looked at and we've got to be absolutely sure that everything possible is being done. first comma is our vehicles themselves. we have ordered 1800 new vehicles since 2006 at a cost of 1.7 billion, to make sure that we of the vehicles that are necessary for the commanders on the ground. secondly, on training, we have made sure the training is better and it will be improved for those who are going to afghanistan. and third on ied's themselves, as everybody knows that guerrilla warfare in iraq and afghanistan lead to them starting to use ied's and we had to take extra measures to deal with that. we have improved our engineering capability, our civilians capability. we have now 3000 my detector machines on the ground for our troops. that will double over the next few months. we are doing everything we can to do with the ied threat.
so we are answering legitimate questions that have been raised him and i thought that we could also pay tribute to the dignity with which the parents of those died yesterday. the dignity which they showed is something that i believe press everywhere throughout all the country. >> david cameron? >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister has now apologize for something that never should've been said by the minister. in the house will be grateful for that. from that apology let me turn to the broader issue of the prime minister is evidence to the chilcot inquiry. following his evidence, one former chief of the staff said the prime minister was being disingenuous. another former chief of the defense staff said he was dissembling. [shouting] >> both of these people worked with the prime minister. it's because they are tories, as it? that said, is it? [shouting] that is what this government thinks about people who serve our country? [shouting] >> i think first of all this prime minister should get up and associate himself completely
with what those people have said. [shouting] >> mr. speaker, mr. speaker, mr. speaker, is common cause within this house that we support the campaign in iraq and in afghanistan. and it is common cause, it is common cause also that we do not send our troops into battle without the commanders ushering us that they are properly equipped for the operations they are undertaking. in every instance where the ministry of defense asks for equipment under you or i, that's urgent operational requirements, that equipment was given. and if i may say so, as far as the vehicles were concerned, the leader of the opposition praise us last summer for what we have done to increase the number of vehicles in afghanistan. so if we're talking that these issues, let us find where the common ground is rather than where there is division. >> mr. speaker, is members apartment, his members of
parliament have questioned the integrity of people who serve this country, fought for this country, who are essays in bravery of this country. before we go on he's got to get to that dispatch and associate himself with those disgraceful remarks. [shouting] >> mr. speaker, i have never at any time criticized the country of anybody who's been involved in the defense establishment for this country. but i think, i think we should have a debate about this, which is both serious and which is based on facts. and i have to say to him, every request that we made, every request that was made to us by the ministry of defense for urgent operational requirements were met. we have spent 18 billion pounds in afghanistan, in iraq, on top of the minister of defense budget. i assure this house that every time, every time our commanders go into action, i asked him for
an assurance that they had the equipment they need for the operation. i want to applaud the patriotism of anyone who served our country, and so does the vast majority of this house. >> the prime minister has given us a lecture this morning outside a house on character, but he hasn't got the character to stand up to his own backbenchers. [shouting] >> it is a disgraceful smear. and it's not -- it is not just sheets of the defense staff who said this, we've had former parliament secretary of the ministry of defense talking about guillotine budget. we've had a serving secretary talk about a serious dispute between the treasury and the m.o.d. we've had the former commander of the pairs in afghanistan say he was and i quote staggered by the lack of any sense of responsibility from the prime minister. why does the prime minister think that all these people, dedicated to the defense of this country, are wrong what only he is right?
>> mr. speaker, i put the facts before the inquiry on friday. and i said to the inquiry very clearly, about first love, the expenditure of the ministry of defense which has been rising in real terms under this government. and i sat in addition to that expenditure, 8 billion pounds had been spent in iraq and that we're spending 9 billion pounds in afghanistan. and i have to say to him that the chief of the defense staff has said on record that we are the best equipped force that we have ever been. at and that is a personable to on the ground and in his position has got to satisfy himself that the forces have the equipment they need. i have also to tell him, i've got to take no lectures on integrity. from the man who wouldn't even answer one question about lord ashcroft. [shouting] >> order, order. government back benches must call them. we must your mr. david cameron.
>> the fact is once said he was dissembling of the other said he was disingenuous. the prime minister answers every question by talking about urgent operational requirements. of course, they didn't reject those but they never thought what did that mean for the defense budget. the fact is he has tried to fight two wars on a peacetime budget. will he confirm this, will he confirm that when he was chancellor the treasury massively underestimate the cost of the war in afghanistan? >> no, mr. speaker. i have to tell him that the defense budget has been rising every year. he might have not a complete if we were cutting the defense budget every year but it is rising every year. the only time the defense budget has been cut was in the 10 years before 1997 when it was cut by 30 percent by a conservative government, by half a billion a year. in the shadow defense secretary has had to apologize for the cuts that the conservatives
made. we won the cold war. [shouting] >> order, order their order. order. order. order, order. order. mr. twig, mr. twig, i'm quite worried about you. called down. mr. david cameron. [shouting] >> and we all remember who was a member the badges at the time. [shouting] >> i ask the prime minister, i asked the prime is a very specific question. did he underestimate the cost of
the war in afghanistan. i have a freedom of information request saying the cost of the war was estimated at hundreds of millions of pounds. the cost of this is 4 billion pounds. isn't it the case we got ministers blending commanders, we've got a prime minister than to take responsibility, a government that has been found that. shouldn't everyone conclude they fail to plan, they failed to act, they fail to prepare and they failed in their duty of care? [shouting] >> mr. speaker, mr. speaker, first of all, first of all in defense he cannot deny the fact that the budget is rising every year in real terms. and he cannot deny the fact when he raises a question of afghanistan that we have now spent 9 billion pounds on afghanistan, and that is on top of the defense budget. as for his talk about the cold war, talk about him asking for no partisanship in the house of commons. [laughter]
>> and mr. speaker, i seem to remember that he was at school at the time. [laughter] [shouting] >> now, mr. speaker, the conservative party, the conservative party talk about the new politics, but how can there be new politics with lord ashcroft? the conservative party talk about modernization. but happen to be modernization with lord ashcroft and the conservative party talk about change. how can they ever change as long as lord ashcroft is vice-chairman of their their party? [shouting] >> order. order that i've already told mr. twig i'm worried about him. mr. burns, your heckling is as boring as it is boorish. stop it or leave the chamber. i don't mind which. mr. neil turner. >> mr. speaker,.
[inaudible] cannot ask my right honorable friend to guarantee that anything by him will continue to invest in the children, the citizens of my constituency and in our country? >> mr. speaker, i can tell the house we have now built 3400 sure start children's center. there were none in 1997 pick there are about five or six in every constituency of england now. and three and four year olds are now until two early education place. mr. speaker, is a concerted party persist in their policy, which is to cut sure start children's centers, only to a minority of children, and millions of children in this country will lose out on early education. and the whole country will suffer. >> mr. nick clegg. >> i'd like to add my own expressions of sympathy consulted to the family and
friends of corporal stephen thompson from first battalion the rifles, lance corporal tom keogh from fourth battalion the rifles, rifleman liam maughan of third battalion the rifles, rifleman jonathon allott of third battalion the rifles. all of whom who tragically lost their lives serving so bravely, so selfishly in afghanistan this lastly pick out also also like to add the attribute to everybody on these benches and to the late and lamented michael as we know from the tributes paid order that he was a great parliamentary, a great orator, a great and great integrity. it lifts the lid on labour's dark secrets. 13 years, 13 years of tough talk on crime has actually turned our prisons into colleges of crime. repeat one is the report shows now cost the taxpayer 10 billion pounds a year and the human cost of the tens of thousands of victims is even
higher. we now admit the truth, this government isn't tough on criminals because it is during the young offenders of today into the hardened criminals of tomorrow. >> mr. speaker, i just got to tell him the facts. it is now 25%. so whatever he says he's got to face up to the fact that crime is down in this country, violent crime is down in this country. the number of police in this country has gone up. people have a right to feel safer, and we're doing more with neighborhood policing, but he cannot give the house information that he cannot back up by the statistic. >> how could he defend a record in which nine out of every 10 young men who go into prison on short-term prison services go out and commit another crime within two years? prison isn't working. is spending 11 times more locking children up and stopping them from committing crimes in the first place. so won't he just admit he talks tough on crime, and ignores the
evidence and it is that they can to end up paying the price. >> mr. speaker, again, you cannot ignore the facts. there are 20,000 more prison places. youth reoffending has fallen. and if he would support us on cctv in dna, we might be all able to catch criminals and the right time in the right place. i have to say to him, i share with him a desire that we prevent young people from reoffending. and i share with them a desire that person is better at educating people for the future, but he cannot at the same time acknowledged the advances that are being made and that youth reoffending is down 25%. >> thank you, mr. speaker, in this week which includes international women's day and mother's day is the prime minister aware that moms next is organizing a group of women to come to this house on friday in order to remind us all that there is still half a million women around the world who die in childbirth, and too many
children who died in the first day of their lives? with the prime minister commit to action to reduce this international death of women and you need more children? >> mr. speaker, i applaud the work that she does on the organizations, to highlight the avoidable loss of maternal life during childbirth, and at the same time, the damage that arises because the children were born are without mothers. and i do say to her that the theme of the g8 this year will be to make advances on my turtle mortality and make sure that mothers are better prepared and given better help. and it is not a huge amount of money that each mother needs so that she could have a safe pregnancy, but it is vital that we all, together, make sure that the supplies are available. it is one of the great causes of our time to reduce my maternal mortality. i hope the whole house can
support that cause. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister referred order to vehicles training and ied's as the three issues need to be examined. but the wiltshire and swindon corner, david masters, was very clear that the soldiers he named earlier were killed unlawfully. that was the verdict. because they had unsuitable vehicles. they had inadequate training and they had insufficient bomb making equipment. so the question is, why would he send people into battle with unsuitable vehicles, inadequate training and unsuitable -- insufficient bombing equipment? >> mr. speaker, i just, i just had to say to him that before any operation is carried out, and we ask those people who are in charge if they have the equipment that is needed to undertake this operation. what we are dealing with here is a situation where four people in a snatch land rover face a huge mine that blew up.
at that stage, the mine detection equipment is not as good as it is now. it is a lot better now and we have learned lessons over the last few years, and that's what i say there are 6000 my detectors to be out in afghanistan in the next few months. as far as training is concerned, the ministry of defense have already said that training has improved and they will look at how it can improve. as far as the issue of snatch land rover's are concerned, he knows that in 2006 we decided at the recommendation of the chiefs of staff that we would allocate 90,000,002 buying masters, two buying ridgeback, to buying other vehicles and he knows also that a contract for 200 vehicles to replace a snatch, that's patrol vehicles, has been the work in the last few days. everything we can do to make sure that our vehicles are safer is being done, and that's what a lemon hundred new vehicles are out and available since 2006. and that's why we spend
1.8 billion on it that i cannot bring the soldiers back to life, but i can assure him and their families that we're doing everything we can to ensure that training is improved, to ensure that equipment against minds is better than it has been, and to make sure that the vehicles in which they are driving are safe. >> labour party never need and don't take down patriotism. [shouting] >> michael foot was on the greatest patriots of this country has had. rising from the speech, rising from the speech and the former head of mi5, which he made yesterday, can the prime minister tell us when protest were made to the united states over the barbaric use of torture? wended mi5 officers know what was happening? and is it not quite clear from our experience in northern
ireland that torture, such torture was used in the united states, is counterproductive and would not help in the fight against terrorism? >> we do not support torture. we do not condone torture. we condemn torture. any instance where allegations are made about torture, these will go to the proper authorities to be investigated. >> thank you, mr. speaker, last week 170 families in my constituents learned they had not been offered a place at a local high school in my constituency. that means there are many boys and girls in my area who are the casualties of unfair mission system that has condemned them to go to schools that are unpopular miles away from their homes. will the prime minister look at my bill that sets out proposals to do with this issue? will he take the steps necessary to ensure that no child gets left behind in this way against the? at the moment as he knows the framework assure that all parents are free to consider the rights go, not just the nearest. laster over 85 percent of secure
both the three most preferred schools. so i recognize the intention behind the honorable members comments, but i have to say to him in anything which mirrors the range of schools available to all families is not something we can support. >> will robertson. >> thank you, mr. speaker. will my right honorable friend allay the fears of my constituents and myself on the, and not do with the leader of the opposition, and also as a defense spokesman and say that we will open up any contracts in look for clauses in day one of the next government? >> mr. speaker, once again were committed to the aircraft carriers and to the program that is necessary for the navy and for the defense of our country. and where going ahead with the aircraft carrier program because we believe on the recommendations of our defense staff, that it is the right thing to do. i think he's right to say that
it would be far better if there were all party consensus on this issue. and that we have support from the opposition party on aircraft carriers. and there is silence on this issue today suggests, the silence on this issue today, the size on this issue today suggests that they cannot commit themselves to the aircraft program. and as the shadow chancellor has hinted, it may be one of the first cuts under a conservative government. i think the public is owed an answer from the conservatives about what their position really is. [shouting] >> mr. speaker, in view of the answer which the prime minister gave to his honorable friend a few questions ago, could he say why, when stonecutters are running at more than 3600 deaths of children in the first seven days of life aren't running at over 1700, he has yet to implement the recommendations of the new nato task force would
report to the government last year? >> mr. speaker, i do know a lot about this issue, and i do know about the problems that arise. and i do know that there are issues affecting health inequalities as well as issues of medicine in baltimore. and i do assure her that we're doing everything that we can to reduce the number of infant deaths, to make sure as i said to my honorable friend before, that mothers, too, are safe in childbirth. i can assure her we will do everything we can. >> thank you, mr. speaker. onto the house will join in offering condolences to the family of those who died so tragically in my constituency on sunday. turning to the economy, does my right honorable friend share the views of the executive board of the international monetary fund and a growing band of leading economist, to slash public investment this year with drivers back into recession and destroy jobs?
>> mr. speaker, i share the condolences he has expressed for those who died in his constituency on sunday. it is not just the senior adviser to the conservative party on fiscal policy who has said, who has said that we cannot remove the fiscal stimulus now. it's every sensible piece of opinion and every sensible opinion in this country and other countries. and how the conservative party can be in a position now where they're wanted to cut public spending at the moment that the recovery is fragile, i do not know. they were wrong on the issues as we entered the recession. they were wrong in calling for cuts at the height of the recession. they are now wrong in calling for cuts as we try to escape the recession. on every major economic policy question, they've been wrong, wrong, and wrong again. [shouting] >> mr. speaker, will the prime minister give an unequivocal
commitment that no labor government will renege on the negotiated in the 1972 european communities accession treaty, 20 rate, value added tax on food, children's clothes, newspapers and books? >> mr. speaker, we made a decision in november not to go ahead but to go ahead with a national insurance price. the party that has raise it is a conservative party. it went from 18 percent to 50% and then they raise it to 17.5%. the tory tax is vat and they have imposed it many, many times. >> wasn't not under a labor government that nato was created? and doesn't the prime minister agree with me that its soldiers, british soldiers, from all political parties and no