tv Prime Ministers Questions Prime Ministers Questions CSPAN March 8, 2021 12:02am-12:33am EST
british prime minister boris johnson answered questions from the house of commons on a range of domestic and foreign policy issues, including covid-19, economic relief, green energy jobs, the governments arms sales to saudi arabia, and humanitarian aid to yemen. >> we now come to questions to the prime minister. >> aye. >> i will first call the prime minister to answer the engagements question, and then will call johnson. prime minister. p.m. johnson: thank you mr. speaker. it will be three years tomorrow since a chemical weapon was deployed by russian military intelligence in streets of salisbury. thoughts remain with those affected, families and loved and ones, we will continue to seek justice for them, mr. speaker,
i'm sure this has wish them well for the future. mr. speaker, this morning i had meetings with colleagues and others in addition to my duties, and i shall have further such meetings today. that's go to kim johnson. >> thank you mr. speaker. liverpool is a welcoming city, the oldest chinese community in europe, in 1946 -- causing lasting emotional trauma. many who still live in liverpool in my constituency. will the prime minister acknowledge these events and provide the defense with the formal apology and for the justice they deserve? thank you mr. speaker. p.m. johnson: happy members of -- happy memories of my own visits to liverpool and i can tell that we are certainly very grateful across the country to
the chinese community for their amazing contributions, her message has been heard loud and clear. >> let's head to johnson. john. >> thank you mr. speaker. the factory in carlisle employs around 800 people. contributes hundreds of millions of pounds to the local economy and is an exporter. if vocation as a consequence of regional economic policy from 50 years ago will the prime , minister agree that if we are to rebalance the economy, level up the country, we need modern day proactive regional economic policy. and if he does agree, will he come to carlisle to see old and new in action. p.m. johnson: of course, mr. speaker. i'm very grateful to my honorable friend for what he says and he will hear more and -- interest -- in just a half hour or so and try to keep it to half an hour. mr. speaker from the chancellor, , about how exactly we intend to
make sure we build back that across the whole of this country and unleash the tremendous potential of the whole of the united kingdom, including of course carlisle. >> the leaders of the opposition is stopped. >> thank you mr. speaker. can i join and talk about the salisbury atrocity. does the prime minister agree with president biden that the arms used in war of yemen should be suspended? p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, ever since the tragic conflict in yemen broke out, this country has scrupulously followed consolidated guidance in which here we are well aware. >> the trouble is, while president biden has suspended arms sales in yemen, the u.k. hasn't. in fact, we sold 1.4 billion pounds of arms to saudi arabia in the last 3 months last year. including bombs and missiles that could be used in yemen. given everything we know about the appalling humanitarian cost
of this war, with innocent civilians caught between the saudi coalition and the rebels, why does the prime minister think it is right to be selling these weapons? p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, the u.k. is part of an international coalition following the u.n. resolutions to which he will know well. which are very clear, is that the legitimate government of yemen was removed, illegally. those are the resolutions we follow, and we continue scrupulously to follow humanitarian guidance which are amongst toughest measures in respect to arms sales. he talks about humanitarian relief, mr. speaker, and actually i think the people of this country can be hugely proud of what we are doing to support the people of yemen. almost one billion pounds of aid contributed in the last 5 years, mr. speaker.
>> the system is robust to arms sales, but it can't be that robust. the government lost a court case just two years ago in relation to arms sales. the truth is the u.k. is increasingly isolated in selling arms to saudi arabia. despite what is happening in yemen, despite saudi arabia 's human rights records, and the brutal murder of the journalist from the u.s., a murder the u.s. has concluded was undertaken by the saudi crown prince. so i have to ask, what would it take to the prime minister to suspend arm sales to saudi arabia? p.m. johnson: we continue to condemn and call for an investigation into the cause of his death, and indeed we have already section 20 people, mr. speaker, in saudi arabia. and i repeat the point that i have made that the u.k. government continues to follow the consolidated guidance which
by the way, was set up by the labour party. >> mr. speaker, to make matters worse, the government decided this week to halve international aid to yemen. the u.n. has said yemen faces the worst famine the world has seen for decades. he the secretary general said on monday that cutting aid would be, in his words a death , sentence for the people of yemen. how on earth can the prime prime minister justified selling arms to saudi arabia, and cutting aid to people starving in yemen? p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, it is under this government that we have increased aid spending to the highest proportion in the history of our country, and yes, it is true that current circumstances, i'm sure the people of this country understand, mean that temporarily we must reduce aid spending but that does not
, obscure when it comes to duty of people of yemen we continue to step up to the plate. a contribution of 214 million pounds for the financial year. there are few other countries in the world, mr. speaker, that have such a record, that is setting such an example in spec -- spending and supporting the people of yemen. >> this week, the government >> this week, the government halved our international aid to yemen. if this is what the prime minister thinks global britain should look like, he should think again. and if he doesn't believe me or like me, he should listen to the u.n. secretary general. just this morning, he said cutting support to starving children is if not what global britain should be about. he it undermines the very idea of the u.k. as a nation to be respected on the global stage. andy honorable -- and the honorable member said this was unconscionable.
will the prime minister do the right thing and reconsider this urgently? p.m. johnson: i repeat, we've given one billion pounds since it began. we are in support of the u.n. resolution. this year, we're contributing another 214 million pounds to support the people of yemen. there are very few other countries that have that kind of record. i think in these tough stringent , circumstances, very in mind of the immense cost of the pandemic that have affected our country, i think the people of this country should be very, very proud of what we're doing. >> mr. speaker, britain should being moral force for good in the world. just as the u.s. is stepping up, the u.k. is stepping back. if the prime minister is so determined to press ahead with manifesto breaking cuts to international aid, cutting the budget to 1.5% they should put , that for a vote in this house. will you have the courage to do so?
p.m. johnson: we are going to get on with our agenda of delivering for the people of this country and spending more than virtually any other country in the world. by the way, spending more than virtually any other country in the g7 on aid it is a record i , think which this country can be proud. given the difficulties this country faces, i think that the people of this country will think that we've got our priorities right. he can't work out, mr. speaker, what his priorities are. one minute he's backing us on the roadmap, next week he's turning his back on us, can't even record question on the issues of the hour. instead he has concentrated questions entirely to the interest of the people of yemen, mr. speaker. we are doing everything we can to support the people of yemen given the constraints that we face. we are getting on with a cautious but irreversible roadmap to freedom, which i hope
that people support, and very shortly, mr. speaker, you will be hearing a budget for recovery. >> i think i'll already know most of it. my right honorable friend will be aware when -- was established in scotland, there was no scotland civil service. we have a u.k. civil service with u.k. ministerial oversight. given the turmoil in scottish politics, will he then confirmed that any civil servants who feel pressure to behave inappropriately have a measure to seek redress, beyond the minister, to whom they are immediately answerable. p.m. johnson: of course. thank you, my right honorable friend. we will support all civil service -- by the way, i thank them for their work up and down the country, that they've done throughout the pandemic and i think everybody in this house would agree that now is the time , really for our civil service
to focus to build back together, rather on measures that might divide our country. [indiscernible] >> can i associate myself with the mark of the prime minister on the horrible atrocities two years ago in the town of salisbury. mr. speaker, the situation in yemen has been called the world's worst humanitarian crisis. 100,000 people have been killed. 16.2 million are at risk of starvation. 2.3 million children, prime minister, on deaths door facing , acute malnutrition. the u.k. government response has been cuts. that is what you are doing, prime minister. a 50% cut to international aid
to yemen. a move that the you and chief has described as a death sentence. since the start of the war. the tories have shamefully backed the saudi regime through billions of dollars of arms sales, despite evidence of war crimes and the target of civilians. the prime minister confirmed in these budgets these cuts to international aid. p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, anybody listening to this debate will have heard me say that this country, this government in the last 5 years have given one billion pounds to support the people of yemen. i can tell him that on monday, in case he thinks is any diminution of our effort, on we're going provide cash support monday to 1.5 million of the most vulnerable yemeni households, support 400 health clinics, and treat 75,000 cases of severe malnutrition, mr. speaker. that it the continuing effort of the british people and the british government to help the
people of yemen. >> it allocates a 50% cut to yemen aid at a time of our global pandemic. the coronavirus has hit poor and vulnerable countries the hardest, threatening decades of hard-won gains, exasperating existing inequality. the prime minister made a commitment to stand by 0.7%, a position he reaffirmed in june of last year. what followed was yet another u-turn, another broken promise. why is the prime minister breaking his own manifesto government, and why has his government broken the promises they made to the world? p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, i know most people in this country will know that the government has given 280 billion pounds to support the people, the economy, the livelihoods, the businesses, up and down, the whole of the united kingdom.
you will hear from the chancellor, a strain on our public finances meantime, we , continue to do everything we possibly can, to support the people of yemen, including by the way, through a massive vaccination program to which the people of this country have contributed 548 million pounds, the second biggest contributor in the world. >> the prime minister will know from his time working in the black country how important in -- will he make sure that it will be canceled, and a man on the streets have the power and the resources he needs to ensure development is rather than value of the green spaces, and make sure that local people's voices are clearly heard and take into account, including where it is across local authority borders. p.m. johnson: indeed, mr. speaker, we will protect our green belts.
our vital green belts. which constitutes i think 12.4% of our land, but we can build homes. 300,000 on brownfield sites across the country. >> let's head to jeffrey donaldson. sir jeffrey. >> mr. speaker, [indiscernible] the prime minister will be aware of the disruption that it is causing, the damage is doing to stability of the political institutions established under the belfast agreement. what action does the prime minister intend to take to deliver on his promise that he would protect northern ireland's position within the u.k., internal market, provide us with unfettered access to goods from great britain? p.m. johnson: the position of northern ireland within the
u.k. internal market is rocksolid and guaranteed. we are making sure that we underscore that with some temporary operational easings in order to protect the market in some areas, such as food supplies pending further , discussions with the eu. i think the honorable gentlemen and his colleagues, we leave nothing off the table in order to ensure that we get this right. >> [indiscernible] exactly what the u.k. can achieve. we have this an industrial-strength, close to midland and the northwest. well the prime minister agreed with me that now is the time for young people to aspire for careers in health care.
p.m. johnson: my honorable friend is completely right. i thank her for her amazing service in the nhs, and returning to the front line. it was in walcott that i met a young female scientists helping to make the vaccine. not only go to free our country, we hope, but help to liberate the entire world. it was wonderful watching and we want to see many more young female scientists growing up in that part of the world. >> [indiscernible] i would like to ask of their report -- important domestic issue. the property tax in england is broken. [indiscernible] without generating the revenues. does the prime minister agree that a proportional property tax
would create a fairer taxation system, generate revenues, ease the tax burden across the country including in my constituency. p.m. johnson: with great respect to the honorable member, but the -- what the country needs are counselors that charge you less while delivering better services. if you look across the country, you can see these overwhelmingly conservative run councils do that. [indiscernible] in camden, it's three times as hard. that's the difference. >> last friday, my constituent , aged 18, was stabbed to death just a few miles from his family home. this has been horrendous for his
family and his friends have been left behind. my heart goes out to them all. what more does my right honorable friend think that the police, society and parliament can do to make sure that there never will be in the future be some senseless murders again? p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, i sympathize very much with luke's family and his friends and there's nothing i can say at all to alleviate their loss. but we are doing, mr. speaker, is we're recruiting many more police officers to fight crimes, drugs, gangs, wherever we can, and setting plans to keep sexual offenders behind bars for longer. i can tell the house we've now , got 6620 of our target expert -- extra 20,000 boys already recruited. >> we know that the prime minister is the leader of the british nationalist party, and
he says that his independents referendums. why are people in scotland distribute in -- just riveting leaflets that say vote is to assault independence referendum and halt to british nationalist story must be accepted as a vote against a referendum surely and must be respected as britain scotland future. p.m. johnson: [indiscernible] if he is running a nationalist party. if that's what he was, what he was saying because i'm afraid i with that, not irrespective of this country. but, i think most people will think it is extraordinary that they are talking about another referendum. the labor chief is nodding quite rightly. when actually, what the people of this country want to see is us working together as one united kingdom without further constitutional up people --
upheaval to get through the pandemic and build back better. >> mr. speaker, may i say how great it was to welcome my honorable friend and i'm sure the prime minister will join me in thanking both the staff and the people making our visit such a welcoming one. as you know, mr. speaker my , constituency was at the heart of the first industrial revolution, and we're ready in the new green industrial revolution. on that note, [indiscernible] to rejuvenate across [indiscernible] p.m. johnson: i congratulate my honorable friend on her campaign. we will be hearing even more shortly from the chancellor about what we can do to support the town and other measures. >> good to see. michaela had.
>> thank you, mr. speaker. -- amy callahan. i would like to thank new members. mr. speaker the prime minister , had previously guaranteed -- who participate in the program -- [indiscernible] as i was a result. can the prime minister guarantee that charities will receive match funding under a new trading scheme? but he agreed to meet with me? -- will he agree to meet with me? to be sure no young person gets left behind as a result of brexit. p.m. johnson: i am sure i speak for everybody but i say how much i welcome the honorable lady back to pmq. it is great to see her back. i do give her the assurance. i think this scheme will be better, and both deliver exactly what she wants. the criticism is it tended to favor higher income households. we will do everything we can
with the scheme to give opportunity to people from disadvantaged backgrounds. that is what we intend to do. >> thank you, mr. speaker. my honorable friend has taken a strong personal interest in the tragic story of my constituents. can i ask him, will he please continue to do everything in his power to reassure tim and charlotte harry's parents, and , all of their family that he will try to persuade president biden to deliver justice for harry? p.m. johnson: i thank my right honorable friend. she's completely right to continue to raise the case. we sympathize deeply with his family, a case that we continue to raise at the highest level i know that my right honorable
friend, the former secretary is only just raised it now with tony blinken. >> this to beth winter. beth. >> my constituency has the third-highest covid deaths rates in the u.k.. [indiscernible] the u.k. government has an appalling record -- [indiscernible] [indiscernible] my constituent has a question. what will it take to stop ignoring the south wales values? p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, i am afraid i disagree profoundly. and what her constituent linda is by implication asking.
this government continues to give massive support. through bondage alone is 2.4 billion pounds, and there is now more coming through the leveling up fund, and other means. it is thanks to the u.k. government that the scheme has supported 3400 jobs in her constituency alone. this is one of the advantagings of the united kingdom. >> andrew. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. only this week the governor once again demonstrated his commitment to the energy industry jobs in the northeast province. over 30 million pounds committed to creating a green energy transition zone and global underwater hub. will my right honorable friend therefore go further support , this most vital energy technologies of future industry, to developing and he'll agree in the department of the country, with a long-awaited energy
transition that will help transform the oil capital of europe into the green energy center of the world. p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, i congratulate my honorable friend on his last-minute lobbying. he only has a few minutes to wait before he made something to his advantage. >> thank you, mr. speaker. prime minister, in an interview broadcast on the eighth of december, 2019, you pledge there would be no tax on goods going from ni to gb or from gb to ni. why has this proven more challenging to deliver and practice? do you wish to take this opportunity to encourage ministers in northern ireland -- >> order. unfortunately i'm not responsible, not something we should be using. >> my humble apologies, can you make this an operation to
reality and to ensure they act in accordance with section 46 of the united kingdom internal market act 2020, which stresses the importance of facilitating the free flow of goods between great britain and northern ireland? p.m. johnson: yes, mr. speaker. i certainly can do that. as i said also to another right honorable gentlemen from her party, we leave nothing off the table in order to make sure that done. there is unfettered access. >> andrew. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister's good friend will be aware that trading in the country [indiscernible] i encourage him to look at it closely, and also favorably, as it contains site in whole. it is really important for this
region. p.m. johnson: he is absolutely right, mr. speaker. my honorable friend has mounted an excellent campaign, we will more -- save more about that shortly. >> thank you, mr. speaker. [indiscernible] two hours, 24 minutes, 59 minutes. with the carbon tax we would generate, and increase capacity can i ask the prime minister, , mr. speaker, what prevents governments from putting shovels in the ground in the north, now? p.m. johnson: the answer to that is as anybody knows who gets a project done on their home or whenever, who gets a project done on their home or whenever if you start again mid-way through you greatly multiply the cost. we are going to go as fast as we
possibly can. >> final question. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the last time that u.k. hosted the g7 in 2013, then prime minister launched the social impact investment task force to categorize a market for private capitol seeking and financial returns. this country now leads the world in the development of financial innovations for public good. will my honorable friend confirm that the social impact will continue to be updated, and but -- will use this year's g7 to trumpet it to the world? p.m. johnson: my honorable friend has long been a campaigner for the wonderful benefits of social enterprise. if you just wait a little bit longer he will receive an update , on social investment tax relief. >> i have suspended the house for three minutes. order.
>> this weekend, the senate passed a nearly $2 trillion covid-19 really plan. the legislation passed by a partyline vote of 50-49. that now heads to the house and is expected to be taken up on tuesday. the house returned for legislative business on monday. the senate tuesday is expected to work on the nomination of congresswoman marcia fudge to be secretary of housing and urban development. other nominations include michael regan to be epa administrator, and judge merrick garland to be attorney general. live coverage of the house when they return on monday at noon eastern on c-span. you can much live coverage of the senate when they return, tuesday at 3:00 p.m. eastern on c-span two. >> you are watching c-span, your unfiltered view of government. c-span w