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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  September 18, 2017 2:30am-3:01am BST

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into alleged crimes by myanmar‘s security forces against rohingya muslims. the un has warned myanmar‘s leader aung san suu kyi she has one "last chance" to end the military offensive that's forced 400,000 rohingyas to flee. kulsoom nawaz — the wife of the ousted pakistani prime minister, nawaz sharif, has won a by—election that was triggered when he stood down after being disqualified from public office. unofficial results show she had a comfortable win in her husband's heartland of lahore to claim parliamentary seat. the terror threat level in the uk has been reduced from critical to severe, meaning an attack is no longer thought to be imminent. police investigating the bombing on the london underground on friday are searching two houses in surrey, and two men have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences. now on bbc news, the week in parliament. hello and welcome to
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the week in parliament. a controversial bill that turns all eu law into british law has passed its first parliamentary test — but the battle is far from over. it actually represents the biggest peace time power grab by the executive over the legislature, by the government over parliament, in 100 years. the government rejects accusations that it is riding roughshod over the democratic process. the government of the day must have a realistic opportunity to make progress with its business through the house. the motion that the house is being asked to agree today guarantees that the party with a working majority is able to do exactly that. and for mps worried about a government power grab, there's a lesson in how
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to tame the executive. i am no friend of the front bench. i thrash them and i lash them — thwack, thwack, thwack — on a regular basis! but first, mps voted on the eu withdrawal bill in the early hours of tuesday morning. a strange time of day to be making big decisions, but the timing provided a dash of drama. because, in the end, the result wasn't as dramatic as expected. a comfortable win for the government. order! the ayes to the right, 326. the noes to the left, 290. but ministers can't rest easy. the bill has a long parliamentary journey ahead. during eight hours of debate on monday, mps of all parties made it clear the bill was far from perfect and they'd be trying to amend it when the committee stage starts in october. it actually represents the biggest
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peacetime power grab by the government over parliament in 100 years. some members seem to some members seem to think it is a compliment to refer to these as henry viii powers. i know that he legislated to allow two mps to come here from calais, on the whole, the tudor exercise was not a proud demonstration of democracy. tudor exercise was not a proud demonstration of democracylj tudor exercise was not a proud demonstration of democracy. i will not support this bill because it threatens a fundamental principle of british democracy, namely the supremacy of parliament and the division of powers. it gives a sweeping powers to government ministers and bureaucrats. this approach of ourselves alone against the world is not one i can possibly oi'i the world is not one i can possibly on doors and not one that my colleagues can possibly endorse
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either. we must reject this bill. a new approach is needed. either. we must reject this bill. a new approach is neededlj either. we must reject this bill. a new approach is needed. i supported the second reading, as becomes apparent, i do so on the basis that the bill needs improvement in the number of areas the bill needs improvement in the number ofareas in the bill needs improvement in the number of areas in the course of its committee stage. some mps warned against opposing the bill as a way of stopping brexit. i believe it is true that 80% of the people who voted in the general election voted for people who pledged to honour the result on the outcome of the referendum. if that promise is broken, i believe the resulting anger will give rise to extreme political movements right across the uk. that will change our politics for ever. i do not think the vast majority of honourable members in this house actually want to create a chaotic wrecks it. i think they are going to be voting... they are going to be voting for a tactical defeat of themselves. we have heard a lot about henry h. idealistic about these things. now i
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ama idealistic about these things. now i am a loyalist, i let the government get away with it in so many ways. henry eighth is a bastard, but here's my kind of bastard. so, where might the debate over leaving the eu rank in the historical records of parliament? sean curran asked the historian and crossbench peer lord hennessy for his assessment. it's always troublesome, the european question, for the british house of commons, and parliament generally, because it doesn't fit our left—right structure of politics. it's not a left or right question, and from 1950, when the first bit of it was proposed, the coal and ssteel community, it has bust us up, our politics, in a way that no other question does. so, it has these particular fissile properties. but in terms of the magnitude of this debate, the withdrawal bill debate, i think it's greater than all the previous ones, even maastricht, even the debate in the early ‘60s about the first application, even the referendum debate of ‘75, and indeed the debate
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that led up to ted heath getting us in, ini973. this has got very, very special properties. and i think it is so great a question for the house of commons and so disruptive of people, of people's psyche, the notion of their country, their part in it, who they are, where they're from, that the british political system is being tested on the anvil of brexit. so, it's a lineal successor of all these previous debates which have been remarkable for their ferocity when they really take off. but i think it has special qualities all on its own. when you think about it, the european debate in our country is either unbelievably boring or deeply disruptive. there's nothing in between. it reminds me of that line in aldous huxley about life — that life is routine punctuated by orgies. this is an orgy with a capital 0. if it's not like maastricht, is it like the end of the british empire? the end of empire is a comparator in terms of the magnitude of the geopolitical shift, but not in terms of the ecology of the politics of it.
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i think it's the single most disruptive thing that we face, europe. in some ways in my darker moments, because it's quite distressing, the rancour that it produces, it's our substitute for wars of religion. and i try and cheer myself up about that, because it's much better to have rows about wine lakes and prune mountains and tariffs than it is about religion. so, reason to be cheerful number one. some striking thoughts there from lord hennessy. the conservative cheryl gillan and labour's margaret hodge both entered parliament in the 1990s. i asked mrs gillan if she thought this was a divisive time for parliament. well, i think the europe question which is a huge generalisation in itself, has divided both our parties, labour and conservative, for a long time and i think that lend it does defy the normal politics of left and right. but strangely enough,
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i think this week was a defining moment, because with the withdrawal bill going through parliament, i hoped that the matter was settling down and i'm hoping that i heard from the front ventures, because i felt that the frontbench was also willing to admit, which all of us know, that parliamentary draughtsmen worked quite hard on producing legislation but it is never perfect. do you see a government under great stress 7 do you see a government under great stress? it would be understandable, a small working majority. is the government under stress to accrue power. i was not in parliament for maastricht so, when i was reflecting on what peter hennessy said, when i
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rememberthe on what peter hennessy said, when i remember the debates on war and iraq and syria, they were incredibly powerful and stressful moments in parliament. i don't think this is the only one although i do think it isa the only one although i do think it is a ridiculously disruptive time when we cannot focus on some of the keyissues when we cannot focus on some of the key issues that matter to wall our constituents. you are hoping the frontbench will concede. they have no option to do that, that is the honest truth. —— no option but to do that. with the diverging views within the conservative party, unless there is a concession around the so—called henry viii powers. henry viii powers. there are diverging views and everybody if they are completely honest, labour as a whole has no option but to oppose, that is what we are therefore. and if we can secure a defeat for, that's very disabling for the conservative party and it is very good for the labour party.
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so whatever the diverging views within labour, i think you've to see them openly, i think they will disappear. i have a slightly different take on it. in a strange sort of way, the narrowness of the majority and the parliamentary arithmetic in many ways makes the government's position more stable and theresa may more secure, because those mps that are at the extreme ends of the debate can look over the abyss, and the opposite to remaining in government is to havejeremy corbyn, and i think that's such a hugely strongly uniting factor. i think it's really healthy that we've got no overall majority, because i think it does give room for backbencher influencing parliament. if we go away from the party political aspect, if you look at the history, when the labour government in 1997 and 2001, we had massive majorities, we never lost anything.
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what is your advice to backbenchers? what is the best strategy? my view is that backbenchers have to cooperate across the parties. so, i think the more we can get cross—party co—operation, where we agree on issues around europe, i think that's the best possibility of achieving the changes that i want, to see an exit from europe which doesn't damage living standards and jobs, that's my priority. as a conservative backbencher and a very experienced one? i love the way you say experienced! been around a long time! i think what is key is, if you've got a sensible front bench and they look at these amendments and they see that it will improve the legislation, and accept those amendments... i have to say, what i hate about frontbenchers is, if they
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push every amendment back because it hasn't come from their side. i think we need a different approach. it's sort of what you were saying but slightly from a different point of view. there are going to be some very constructive amendments going around with this legislation. whether they are cross—party or whichever side of the house they come from, i think if the front bench is sensitive enough to respond to them, that will be good. can you gaze into the crystal ball for me to 150 amendments already, how is the committee stage going to look? i think we are going to see substantial amendments, they have no option but to listen to the backbenchers — and that is great. late nights? i'm not bothered by late nights, to be truthful. lam, i do think... you want to get to bed earlierfor me! ijust think we are doing serious business and playing silly tricks is not the way
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to tackle serious business. even this week keeping us there till midnight one night, that's not the way in which we can sensibly engage in what are hugely convex issues which have an incredibly lasting effect on the country. i disagree. i think we've got eight days on committee stage which i think is plenty long enough. and i think it is a good length of time. 0n maastricht we didn't have guillotine motions and all of these things which the labour government brought in. and so it went on too long and did not really add to the debate. cheryl gillan and margaret hodge. some mps think the government is getting a taste for power in many areas of parliamentary life. on tuesday the government set out proposals to exert control of the committees that scrutinise legislation in detail. the commons leader, andrea leadsom, defended the move, saying that with dup support, the government had a working majority.
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the government of the day must have a realistic opportunity to make progress with its business through the house. the motion that the house is being asked to agree today guarantees that the party with a working majority is able to do exactly that. i will give way to the honourable gentleman. the leader of the house keeps making reference to having a working majority. for the purposes of this parliament, the government only has a working majority for matters of confidence and supply. matters of confidence and supply, madam deputy speaker, are not committed to the public bill committees. they are dealt with on the floor of the house. in committees, they should not have, because they do not have in this house, a working majority. i feel sorry for the honourable leader of the house. she is sent out, in a bright outfit like that television presenter from north korean tv,... sent on in a bright outfit, to tell us everything is well, when actually something really bad and dramatic is happening. and it is to our democracy.
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charles walker said he was not afraid to cross swords with the government. charles walker said he was not afraid to cross swords with the government. i am no friend of the front bench. i thrash them and i lash them on a regular basis. but madam deputy speaker, try as i might, i cannot work myself up into a lather about this. "great power grab two, the sequel. "the return. "then they came for our committees". this is an incredible, totally undemocratic power grab from a government that does not command a majority in this house.
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in the end, the government got its way by 320 votes to 300. now, to other news from parliament this week. at prime minister's questions, theresa may and the labour leader, jeremy corbyn, argued over who was acting in the interests of "ordinary people". mr corbyn quoted remarks the chancellor, philip hammond, reportedly made to the 1922 committee of backbench conservative mps. last week at the 1922 committee meeting, he told conservative mps... he told conservative mps, "look at us, no mortgage, "everybody with a pension, and never had more money in the current account". a conservative prime minister... a conservative prime minister once told britain, "you've never had it so good". now, tory mps tell each other, "we've never had it so good". can the prime minister tell us what's happened in the last seven years to the average person's bank account? ordinary people, he's talking about the situation they face.
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this is his fourth question. he has not yet mentioned the employment figures today. that show unemployment at lowest levels since the mid—19705, and employment, people in work, people taking home a wage, a salary to support their families, at record levels, the highest level since records began. jeremy corbyn. the only problem is, more people in work are in poverty than ever before, and more are in insecure work. more relying on tax credits and housing benefit to make ends meet. consumer debt rising by 10%, as wages are falling. household savings lower than at any time for the past 50 years. that is the conservative legacy. the honourable gentleman
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promised workers he would protect their rights, and on monday he let them down. he promised students that he would deal with their debt, and he's let them down. he promised... he promised the british people that he would support trident, and he's let them down. and he promised voters he'd deliver on brexit, and he's let them down. what people know is that it's only the conservatives that deliver a better britain. theresa may is, of course, the second woman conservative prime minister and she takes a close interest in promoting women in parliament.
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there are now more female mps than ever before, a record 208 women won seats at this year's general election. but that's still onlyjust under a third, 32% of all mps. and in more than 100 constituencies, 16% of the total, there were no female candidates. so what can be done to encourage more women to apply? conservative backbencher mims davies led a debate on the issue on wednesday. parties can only work with the candidates that come through the door. when i described it took me four years to fill out my form and feel i was ready to have a go, it's a big thing to get knocked back from. so you've got to wait for a time to feel ready to go for it. so obviously, candidates are only going to come through if the parties are open and making that opportunity. and actually, the candidates will want to come through because they feel that being in government has a benefit, that time spent is actually worth it. now, if we don't get the pipeline right in parties, such as local councillors, where i started and got the bug for making things happen, then we are not going to end up with parliamentarians. harriet harman has been a longtime campaigner for gender equality in parliament.
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she singled out the speaker, john bercow, for praise. though you did arrive in this house as a man and as a tory, you have... you have, since... since... since you have been... since you have been in the chair, really, you have proved yourself to be nothing less than an honorary sister. the right honourable lady for camberwell and peckham, and to the house as a whole, that as members can probably tell, my cup runneth over. i'm in a state of overwhelming excitement. the commons select committees are up and running again. the home affairs committee got down to work quickly, investigating allegations of abuse at brook house immigration removal centre near gatwick airport. the bbc‘s panorama programme has exposed violence and chaos at the centre. first to give evidence was a former gas manager at brook house. i wasn't surprised but was shocked
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that the level of abuse that was going on, so i have been raising concerns about practice within gas since 2001. and in particular raised concerns tojerry petherick upon my resignation. jerry petherwick is the gas executive in charge of detention centres. would you have been aware of any of these things, or taken any action on them, had there not been a panorama programme? well, i was ashamed of what i saw and very sorry for what we saw. i can assure you that if we were in any way aware of any of that behaviour, we would have taken action. of course, since the panorama programme we have taken action. we've immediately suspended ten members of staff and have now dismissed three of those members of staff, and there are ongoing
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investigations into the conduct of the other people involved. you clearly have a system failure, to allow those things to happen in the first place. as peter says, we were both absolutely ashamed and disappointed, because it doesn't reflect the behaviour of the vast majority of our staff at brook house or elsewhere, who do a very good job in very trying conditions. and we need to remember and acknowledge that. obviously we are looking at the systems, because i expect such uses of force to be examined on a regular basis, by committee. around aa,000 people die each year in this country from sepsis, a condition in which an infection spreads to other parts of the body. to coincide with world sepsis day this week, nhs england has launched a new action plan. in the lords, peers shared personal stories about their experience of sepsis. as a survivor of total body sepsis, can i very much endorse what my noble friend said about the speed of, and the danger of this illness? and what was so difficult in my case, for both my family and the professionals who treated me to understand was it could lead to a total failure
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of all the body's organs, as it did in my case, within literally hours. so the urgency of this must be really emphasised in any public awareness campaign. i'm very sorry to hear the noble lady has suffered that but obviously delighted that she is still here. just to re—emphasise the point about speed, and i encourage noble lords to look at the quality standard, because it really is very stringent, the speed at which treatment needs to be administered. the critical thing of course is making sure there is proper triage and assessment ahead of that, and that is where we still need to make some progress. mps have been relating disturbing stories about the way they and their families have been treated by members of the public. here's the conservative mp and former army officer bob stewart. all my four children have been hassled by other kids in their local schools because of the job of their father. there is little that can be done about that, because they are children, and my kids are robust
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enough to withstand it. but such behaviour is taken to a new level when, during the last general election, a teacher tells the class of my 13—year—old boy that nobody should talk to him because he's the son of a conservative mp. i'm grateful to my honourable and gallant friend for sharing with the house such a personal and deeply upsetting and deeply troubling incident that's happened to his son, and that is simply unacceptable. it's a noble thing to stand for election. it's a noble thing to want to represent your community, whether as a councillor, or as an mp in this place. so what's been happening in the wider world
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of politics this week? patrick cowling has our countdown. tony blair has said he was obsessed with the idea of combining the scottish and english football leagues to improve cultural ties. as we know, teams who play each other regularly, learn to love each other. several mps were seen sporting interesting lapel badges on wednesday. sadly, not a reference to the prime minister's forays into fields of wheat, but a show of support for british farming. conservative mp michael fabricant has been revealed as contestant on celebrity first dates, but assured colleagues he was not appearing on another programme. i will not be appearing on they could attraction. baroness golding clashed with former holyrood nemesis lord faulkes on thursday in the house of lords, and reminded the labour peer where he was. you're not in the scottish parliament now, mister. sports minister tracey crouch provided first—hand evidence of bbc parliament's drive to gain a younger audience with this video of her little one glued to the screen.
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so watch out cbeebies. money. mummy! patrick cowling, with news of one of ourjunior viewers! parliament is having a three—week break now for party conference season. mps will be back again on monday 9th october. until then, from me, kristiina cooper, goodbye. monday morning will be misty and
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murky to start. quite chilly. it will improve. sunshine will clear the mist. a northerly breeze around eastern coast of england. showers inland. many of us avoiding them all together. a heavy one is possible with hail and thunder. cooler with the breeze. overnight, monday night on the tuesday, this system goes south across the east of the country, clearing away on the early hours of tuesday, leaving another chilly start to the day. a touch of frost in the countryside. after that chilly start with mist and fog first thing, tuesday looks decent. largely dry across the board. temperature is a degree or so dry across the board. temperature is a degree or $0 warmer. dry across the board. temperature is a degree or so warmer. 1a— dry across the board. temperature is a degree or so warmer. ia— 18. dry across the board. temperature is
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a degree or so warmer. 1a—18. —— temperatures. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is duncan golestani. our top stories... the un warns of a "horrible tragedy" for rohingya muslims — and says myanmar has one last chance to halt the offensive against them. we have a special report from the refugee camps. the chances are the military operation inside myanmar is reaching its natural end. as far as the burmese military is concerned, these people are a historical problem that has now been fixed. the governing party in pakistan celebrates after the wife of the ousted prime minister, nawaz sharif, wins a by—election in his political heartland. the uk terror threat level is reduced from critical to severe as a second man is arrested after a bomb attack on a london tube train.
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