tv International Programming CSPAN December 20, 2009 9:00pm-9:30pm EST
ahead to 2010 politics, including eric character and david gregory. buzz aldrin and fellow astronauts on the legacy of apollo 11. a discussion on the role of muslims in america and the war. a former cia intelligence officer on u.s. strategy against al qaeda in afghanistan. and remembering the lives of william f. buckley, jr. and senator ted kennedy. .
the debt deal labor leader fielded questions. the former -- the deputy labour leader fielded questions. she also took questions on the british economy and foreign policiey issues. >> questions to the prime minister. >> mr. speaker, i have been asked to reply. i am sure the whole house will join me in sending out profound condolences to the family and friends of the two soldiers from the third of volume rifles to die in afghanistan yesterday. we send out the deepest sympathies to their families. this christmas will all be thinking of the bravery and dedication of our armed forces
overseas and especially at this time of year. overseas and especially at this time of year, the families who support them. my right honorable friend the prime minister is in copenhagen. this morning he met the u.n. secretary-general. this afternoon he will address the assembly. >> the whole house will endorse what the right honorable lady has said about these fallen soldiers and our thoughts will be very much with their families. but may i turn to the home front and other families who will be desperately worried that their own loved ones might not be home for christmas because of the cabin crew british airways strike. whilst it's been good news this morning that british airways now be talking. can i have an assurance with the deputy prime minister that she will use her considerable influence with the trade unions to ensure this damaging strike is called off as soon as possible? >> i think both the prime
minister and the transport secretary has said that they, like i'm sure everyone in the whole house, will want to see there not be a strike taking place. this is important not just for those who have got travel plans over christmas to go abroad to see their families or to have their families joining them he. it's also important for the long-term future of b.a. and i hope when the talks take place this afternoon, they will reach a settlement. >> thank you, mr. speaker. we wish the prime minister well in the current talks in copenhagen. i know we need a united position with our european partners to reach agreement in those vital talks. how much harder does my right honorable friend think it would be to reach such an agreement if we were isolated in europe and does she share my concern and divisions and the group of allies of the party opposite in europe and the fact that over half the group oppose the european talks? >> the leader of the house.
well, as the prime minister said, it is an uphill task at copenhagen. but there couldn't be a more important task to get all the countries of the world to agree on tackling climate change. and there is, as she says, indeed a contrast between the prime minister at the center of events being the first -- he was the first -- he was the first world leader to decide personally to go to copenhagen. and what a contrast as he works with other world leaders that the shadow foreign secretary has not been able to persuade his own side that climate change is important. >> mr. speaker, first may i join
the lady of the house in recording our sad physicals in of the news last night of the death of two british soldiers of the third battalion in the rifle serving in afghanistan. over christmas and the holidays over the entire efforts of the men and women in the theater of war must never be far from our minds. the house of commons is today rising early for christmas. the earliest in 34 years we have risen for criticisms. -- christmases. and i want to have three questions over the next weeks. one indeed is the vital negotiations at copenhagen. in which we wish the prime minister and other british representatives every success. and about which we should have been able to hear the outcome, the outcome next week just no, sir the prospects this week. does she share our concern that the comments of the u.n. secretary ban ki-moon for
countries to tackle crime change may be set aside and not addressed until next year. after the prime minister spoke to the secretary-general this morning, what were the changes of this major setback being averted? >> the point he makes about the house is somewhat -- we are rising early but coming back earlier. it is indeed important that we not only have a political agreement in copenhagen that we have legally binding targets which are then independently verifiable and also we have this $10 billion fund to ensure that the developing countries, the emerging economies can play their part in the effort to tack ale climate change. that is a difficult challenge, the prime minister the secretary of the general of the u.n. and the world leaders are working on today and i hope the whole house will wish them well. >> we do wish them well. and i know the house will agree with me that in particular we must address the serious issue of the destruction of the
world's rain forests and we proposed last month since she thinks we are not addressing it seriously it is good what we proposed last month the government has agreed to propose itself that difficult significant e.u. support should be given to halt deforestation but will the government agree with one of the proposals i made three weeks ago to set an example to other nations and show that we are going to take determined action under domestic law by making the import possession and distribution of illegally harvested timber an offense under u.k. law? >> well, i'm sure that we will be taking every action possible and we have already taken action to make sure that only sustainable timber is used. and i did make a comment about his own side, and i would suggest that because this week 11 of the honorable members on his side of the house have been party to producing a report, 100
reasons why climate change is natural and nothing to worry about. so we will deal with domestic law to protect timber. we will make sure that we take the action internationally to tackle deforestation. he should deal members on his own side who are climate change deniers. >> well, i hope she will indeed take seriously what we have proposed and look at what i have just put her because it may help the government to take it seriously as well as the opposition and we look forward to that. moving on to another issue, which requires urgent attention in this house. following the issuing of an arrest warrant for the israeli opposition leader, parliament needs to look urgently in ways that the system might be changed. because while we're all agreed that allegations of human rights violations by all sides of the gaza conflict need to be addressed, how is britain meant to play a leading role in the
middle east peace process if israeli politicians can't visit britain without fear of arrest. >> i thank him for the support for the words of the foreign secretary. we should be in no doubt that it's important for israel's leaders to be able to talk to government ministers in this country. they are important strategic partners. and we need to make sure the situation is as the foreign secretary said it should be. >> well, can the lady of the house shed a better light on this. when the international contract was, it was never the intention to obstruct normal business like the vital work like the middle east peace process. senior-serving politicians whom we all need to talk to everybody were not meant to be affected in this way, as we understand it. can she say magistrates are applying the law correctly? and if they're not interpreting the law correctly, will the government give fresh advice on that? and if they are -- if they are interpreting the law correctly, what are the government going to do about it.
and when is the minister going to come to the house and report on this and say what they propose to do? >> well, i think i'm in a position to tell the house that we agree and our objectives are those in which he set out and ministers will be looking at it and making sure that the situation is resolved. >> well, i thank the lady of the house for that, mr. speaker, and i hope they will do so quickly and report to the house when it comes back. and on a further issue which needs urgent attention and which may become the biggest threat to the peace of the world in 2010. does the government agree that the continued failure of iran to come to an agreement on its nuclear program and the mounting evidence of its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability needs to make the need to strengthen sanctions of immense and pressing importance. will the government commit during the recess to do its utmost to accelerate agreement on e.u. sanctions and the new u.n. security council resolution, which is urgently
needed? >> yes, i think that we can agree that we do want to make sure that the threat that we have never underestimated from iran is recognized with increasing sanctions. and i certainly would agree with him. and once again that's something else that the foreign secretary will be taking forward. >> mr. william hague? >> well, we know the foreign secretary will be taking it forward but the prime minister has twice announced new sanctions against iran without them ever taking effect. and isn't it time now that the prime minister to ensure that an effective new wave of sanctions are set out including a ban on any new european investment in iranian oil and gas. the prime minister announced in the middle of last year and those sanctions that exist in the united states. so will she ensure as leader of the house that a statement will be made to parliament early in the new year by the prime minister or the foreign secretary what at this critical
point this country and the european union and the united nations security council are prepared to do? >> well, indeed. the prime minister mentioned this in his statement following the european council and as leader of the house i make sure that the house is kept updated on this important issue. but how telling it is, mr. speaker, on this day, today is the day when we have seen employment rise. we've seen the number of people in work increasing. today's the day where we've seen the number of people claiming unemployment benefit falling for the first time in two years. and i would have thought today was the day that the foreign secretary would come to the house and admit the tories had got it wrong. >> thank you, mr. speaker. as my right honorable friend seen today's daily record which
exposed an illegal company charging a e.p.i. of 2 million 639, 539%. is it not that we followed the leader of european countries and put these charges especially in the run-up to christmas? >> well, i congratulate the daily record for their campaign against loan sharking. it's important that we inform everybody that the government funded money advice centers are there to help people. that there are all areas loan sharking investigation teams and that people should -- can look to their credit unions to help them. for many families there's a lot of pressure at christmas and, therefore, they should take advice and use credit unions. >> dr. vincent cable. >> could i add our condolences for the two servicemen who died serving this country in afghanistan. one of the government's
achievements is that the chair of the tax revenue in this economy has now fallen to the lowest levels. yet this week, hmrc estimated that something of the order of 40 billion pounds is not being collected and is being evaded. where is that money? the government backbenchers are in an especially boisterous nerd, but i want to get as many people in as possible. and the leader of the house? >> tax revenue has fallen, as the hon. gentleman knows well, because there are fewer houses being bought and sold. an increase in unemployment, and there're fewer people paying taxes, and corporation taxes have fallen during a tax revenue has fallen because there has been a global economic recession, which has hit this
country. we have been determined to take measures to stop tax avoidance, and we think it is important that an example is set, not only in this house, but also in the house of lords. there is an old saying of new taxation without representation. what about no representation without taxation? that is something we are going to bring forward legislation to make sure people are domicile residents and ordinary residents to sit in this house or in the house of lords. >> you can make that point but perhaps a less partisan way. [laughter]
and perhaps commend the leader of the conservative party for the very helpful suggestion of new legislation based on liberal democrats proposals. it is the house of commons and lords who should sit in parliament, and can i suggest the the ministry give immediate affect to the wishes by bringing an amendment to the constitution so the problems could lead to immediate. >> we certainly do need transparency on this issue, and we will bring four of legislation, and where did bring forward legislation, but while he is busy commending the party, i would like to complain about the conservative party because
their deputy chair of the conservative party promised and entertained -- this pertains to the need for legislation -- their own everyday chair of the conservative party made a promise to the honors committee that he would make his tax affairs on shore, and the shadow foreign secretary -- secretary, the shadow foreign secretary, should actually -- the shadow -- the shadow foreign secretary -- the shadow foreign secretary can tell us what the shadow chief secretary to the treasury says he knows. has lord ashcroft -- >> order, we needn't pursue that point any further. linda gilroy? >> the effort community in my constituency is a strong community.
but does my right honorable friend understand the shock, horror and dismay at the crimes at which the nurse arrive worker received an indeterminate sentence yesterday. and will she work with me to ensure that the lessons of the review, the serious case review which can now move speedily to a conclusion are fully and speedily learned? >> indeed. i do agree with my honorable friend. everybody has the utmost sympathy for the parents whose children were at that nursery and expect there to be, as there have been, a very stiff sentences in that case. and if there are any lessons to be learned of what we hope is a very exceptional incident. i'm sure they will be learned by the serious case review panel. >> mr. speaker, in 1998, the government into law it's code for fiscal stability.
since when the so-called golden rule of borrowing has been broken since 2001. if they are going to have any more confidence in the announced fiscal responsibility bill, can the deputy prime minister tell us what penalties will apply to government ministers that break that law. will there be fines or loss of office or worse on such ministers or is this just another labour gimmick? >> the fiscal responsibility bill lays out a statutory responsibility, a statutory duty and this house will hold ministers to account. and i would say it's fiscally responsible to make sure that we ensure that we don't pull the plug on the economy. although we are seeing encouraging signs, the economy is still fragile. and we need to have fiscal
responsibility when it comes to taxation to help the public finances. that those are best off pay most and we want to make sure as well as putting the public finances back on a proper footing that we product public services. all of those are the fiscally responsible things to do. >> one of the best measures for tackle inequality of assets in this country is the trust fund which benefits 3,941 children in my constituency. but the very worst measure would be to introduce an inheritance tax cut for millionaires. >> well, the reason why none of his constituents will benefit from -- would benefit from the conservatives' tax cuts for millionaires is because his constituents don't live in knotting hill gate.
he can live on this government protecting his constituents with measures like the child trust fund. >> simon hughes. >> on equality, on equality, given that in the last decade ending today, labour cabinet ministers have paid themselves an increase of more than 30,000 pounds. how does the deputy leader justify that the increasing cabinet salaries alone is more than the annual take-home wage of the people she is elected to represent? >> all cabinet ministers and indeed all ministers pay has been frozen. and cabinet ministers and ministers have also agreed to forego their pay increase as part of the parliament. >> thank you, mr. speaker. yesterday the secretary of state for transport said electricification of the midland main line is not a matter of whether but when. will my right honorable friend
give her support to ensuring that this happens as soon as possible as it's vital to the economy of the country? >> i do give my strong support to the point made by my honorable friend. it's important that we invest in our economic infrastructure and transport is a very important part of that and we've consistently done that over the last 10 years. >> thank you, mr. speaker. this morning i visited a homeless project run by the charity crisis write learned that more than 1 in 20 of the people there will be homeless is ex-service personnel. given everything these people have already done to serve their country, is there more that the government can do to honor the military covenant and to focus on serving the health and welfare needs of these people who have so often bravely served us? >> well, we absolutely -- i
absolutely agree with his point that we should do everything possible as part of the military covenant to support our serving military forces in the field. to support ex-service men and women and to support their families. and if he's got any particular suggestions that he would like to make on that, then i'm sure that they would be well received by the defense secretary. >> albert oing. >> mr. speaker, leon jones was killed following a fatal stab wound near his home recently. devastating his family, friends and local community. already that local community has been proactive in raising awareness of the possession and knife crimes. can my right honorable friend, the leader of the house, agree with me that such campaigns combined with such tough laws you are needed and ensure that the minimum sentence for murder by knife will be raised by this government from 15 to 25 years?
>> well, first of all, i would like to express as he has done my sincere condolences to the family of leon jones for the terrible loss that they've suffered in this tragic death. and, yes, we have to take knife crime absolutely seriously. we are upgrading the sentencing to put it on par with gun crime. everything must be done to protect people and send out the message that knife crime cannot be accepted. >> mr. gerald howe. >> are you aware that a build a massive distribution center was refused by the local authority. the appeal was rejected by the inspector. yet an unelected minister, lord mckenzie who knows nothing about the area allowed this planning application through is this what this government means by
supporting local democracy? >> well, he will know what the planning processes are. the planning processes are the ones that have been laid out and agreed under statute by this house. and if he's got any proposals, he should have brought those forward in the planning bill. >> anthony wright? >> my constituency has benefited both in staffing and in capital costs and just last week there was a 12.5 million pounds for building schools.vap can my right honorable friend guarantee that any future labour government will continue to building schools for the future fund to ensure that we build investment in education? >> well, i think the building schools for the future fund has not only been important to make up the backlog, the legacy of disrepair in our schools but also to make sure that our young people and children are educated in the best possible facilities. and it's also, i know, been
much-needed help for the construction industry at a time when private sector construction has been facing tremendous difficulties. and that's one of the reasons why we have not pulled the plug on public investment in construction in a way that the party opposite have insisted that we should do. >> copenhagen is the land of make-believe and fairytales. does the leader have a favorite fairy-tale? could it be the emperor's new girls. is she the little robin girl or the little princess? >> well, i think we could learn -- we could learn a lesson from fairytales which is you need to avoid the brothers grimm which we would get. >> order. order. order. order. i say to the right honorable
members good humor is one thing. but disorder is the other. we have to impress and ensure the public not to discuss them. mr. andrew mckinley. >> the minister may recall on the 7th of may i drew to her attention the plight of migrant workers and those people whose papers are languishing where it's prevailing. will she arrange for a meeting with the charity london citizens and the faith groups, the bishops, the bishop joe lynch and others, he met with his colleagues to discuss the problems of migrant workers and those peoples whose status is yet to be determined? >> well, i will ensure there is a meeting of ministers, the relevant minister with london citizens who are a very good organization. i'd like to pay tribute to the work they do. and i'm sure that they would be reassured to know how fast the backlog is being reduced under
the leadership of the home secretary. >> my honorable friend has mentioned the mega warehouse on the borders of our constituents. is the deputy prime minister aware that the noble lord who took that decision overruling 12,000 local residents and the local councils and her own inspector -- is she aware that that decision was taken in the interest and rather doubtful interest of employment because the jobs that the -- that the minister suggested might be created are very doubt until but against the address -- >> order. order. order. the question was too long. leader of the house. >> well, i cannot assist the honorable member further except to say what i answered the previous honorable member. these are decisions made under a
legal framework and they're made as ministerial decisions but in the public interest. and one of the public interest which the planning system is determined to promote is employment and i thought he would agree with that. >> thank you. thank you, mr. speaker. on the subject of the geneva convention act, will my right honorable friend take this opportunity to reassert the principle of judicial independence? and in whatever their status, their rank, or their influence. >> the courts are judicially independent under the framework of law both national and international, and we have to ke