tv Tuesday in Parliament BBC News February 21, 2018 2:30am-3:01am GMT
this is bbc news. the headlines: president trump has expressed his willingness to ban "very soon" the so—called "bump stock" mechanism, which turns a rifle into something close to a machine gun. bump stocks allow a rifle to shoot in almost automatic bursts, and were used by the gunman who shot dead 58 people in las vegas in october. 250 people — including 50 children — are reported to have been killed in the rebel—held enclave of eastern ghouta, as syrian government forces step up their bombardment. the un warns the situation is "spiralling out of control". activists say it's the worst violence in the region since 2013. oxfam is investigating 26 allegations of sexual misconduct which have been reported since allegations were made against some of its workers in haiti. the charity's leaders were questioned in the parliament in the uk on tuesday. it's just gone half past two in the morning. it's time now for tuesday in parliament. hello and welcome to the programme.
coming up, an uncomfortable morning of questioning for oxfam bosses. we are sorry for the damage that oxfam has done. mps demand the law is changed to help a 6—year—old boy. i would urge them to break the law because the law in this case is cruel and lacks compassion. and the case for a bridge across the channel. it is a curiosity that two of the most powerful economies in the world separated by barely 21 miles of water are connected by only one railway line. 0xfam has lost 7000 regular donors since it emerged some of its staff paid women for sex in haiti. mps spent two hours grilling senior executives on the accusations. then there were the comments made by 0xfam's chief executive. in your interview published
on saturday, you appeared to be downplaying the scandal, using the parallel with the murder of babies in their cots which many people regarded as grossly inappropriate. may i give you the opportunity to apologise? certainly. i do apologise. i was thinking under stress. i had given interviews. i had given many decisions to try and lead 0xfam's response to this. i was thinking about the amazing work i had seen oxfam do across the world for refugees coming from myanmar. i should not have said those things. it is not for oxfam tojudge things as far as portionality. i am sorry. we are sorry for the damage that oxfam is done, both for the people of haiti but also for wider aid and development, possibly undermining the book support. —— public.
people in our country behave well as citizens not because they are policed... but because of their values. this is about aligning our people with the values of oxfam. some hideous men came into our organisation and abused the trust of the british people, the supporters. but they were able to get away. this was wrong. we are going to change that culture, and working on that culture costs money. a conservative said she had been highlighting the problem of sexual exploitation for two years but no one had taken any notice. everybody knew this happened. everybody knew that the aid sector was pretty rotten because it had got all these people who were abusing women and girls regularly in all
countries. but nobody, not one organisation, was actually tackling it in doing anything about it. that's shocking. you are all supposed to be good people trying to help the world, but it would appear you are not as good as you should be. it's really heartbreaking that we are in the situation. but i want to assure you that we are not doing nothing. we're working on it, but we have reached a point where the world has woken up to the situation in a very special way and we find ourselves not to have done enough. but we did something. we have been improving every year, but we are not where we want to be. but your organisations are not the victims in this. it is the women and girls who were being abused by the men who you employed and other agencies. this is so shocking. no wonder the world is angry and no wonder the people are questioning whether anybody should
be giving to charities. sadly, the people who should benefit from this are the poor people in the different countries, and they're going to lose out because of all of your behaviours in the aid sector. i can see that indeed, some people entered our system who did not share our values. they abused the trust of oxfam. the power of oxfam in their hands, they abused the trust of the british public, and turned on the very people they were supposed to protect. over in the commons, the international development secretary gave a verdict on the previous leadership, using directors of putting the reputation of oxfam above the people they were supposed to help. we must trust organisations to report and follow—up incidents of wrongdoing when they occur. in this duty, 0xfam failed under the
watch of barbara stocking and penny lawrence. they did not provide a full report to the charity commission. they did not provide a full report to their donors. they did not provide any report to press getting authorities. in my view, mr speaker, they misled quite possibly deliberately. a labour shadow was equally appalled, but she said the good uk good to do... even at this darkest moment far exceeds evil. the secretary of state says she believes in aid but i have not heard her call out those simple opportunities, including her own predecessor and many in her own party who have jumped on this scandal and attacked aid. if she won't, then i will. because it is wrong. it does an injustice to our country and it will distract us from what's really happened needs to happen to happen,
which are reforms. the minister said that she did not recall hearing anyone doing that. 0ne conservative had a blunt question. should the uk government ever be working with an organisation that thinks they are above the law in one of the poorest countries of the world, which is haiti? there is no organisation that is too big or our work with them too complex to have us withhold funding if they do not meet the standards. penny mordaunt. karen bradley has to become is that northern ireland cannot remain in a state of limbo. she promised to provide clarity on a budget for civil servants to work from a soon as possible. there's been no functioning government in stormont for more than a year after the coalition collapsed in a bitter row. the northern ireland secretary also said she was looking into the salaries of assembly members who are still being paid. a number of challenging decisions will have to be taken. ultimately, the government has
a responsibility to ensure good governance and the continued delivery of public services. in particular as the head of the northern ireland civil service has made clear, there needs to be certainty and clarity about a budget for northern ireland for next year as soon as possible. i intend to take steps to provide clarity on the budget, and i will update the house as soon as i'm in a position to this is clearly not what i want to be, but in the absence of an executive in northern ireland, i have no other choice. talks between the dup and sinn fein last week over legislation for the irish language, with both sides isolating each other. i must commend the secretary of state for the herculean optimism that she continues to still hope for a deal to be done and for the clear statement that she's rejecting the calls to exceed to direct with immediate effect. optimism the vital ingredient
in northern ireland, even when it's at its most difficult to summon. i will not criticise the government for remaining hopeful. but clarity and contingency planning has also been important features of the process, mr speaker, so people know where they are in the process and what it will follow if there is no progress. and on this question, mr speaker, i fear that many in northern ireland will be with all the wiser after the secretary of state's statement this afternoon. i've just come from a meeting of a group of charities and others who want somebody to lobby the minister to argue about mental health funding in northern ireland. there've been no ministers for 13 months. that cannot continue. it's time secretary of state to set a budget, let the efforts for devolution continue post ideas. we want to see devolution, but it is a dereliction of duty to continue without a budget without ministerial decisions. it's time to get on with it. does the secretary of state share my concerns that some
of the drumbeat coming from the hard brexit calls of the debate that the good friday agreement has failed, that it's "outlived its usage?" will she take this opportunity to reassert the government's view that nothing should be done tojeopardise this carefully brokered peace settlement? no brexit ideology, no attempts to justify introducing any order, that the government is 100% behind the good friday agreement. mr speaker, i can confirm the government is 100% behind the belfast agreement and that it was specifically referenced in the report as being of great relevance and importance to the people of northern ireland. the people of northern ireland
want their assembly up and running. it is their assembly. and they were extremely disappointed and very angry last week when the talks collapse. i'm not pointing the finger. that's not going to help anybody. the people of northern ireland will also be externally angry at mlas receiving their full salary. what possible justification can there be for paying their full salary? the minister said the salaries were being discussed and a decision will be made shortly. you're watching tuesday in parliament with me, mandy baker. the home office minister said the government will explore every option in the current law to try and help a 6—year—old boy who has a rare form of epilepsy. he has as many as 30 violent seizures a day. his parents want him to be treated with cannabis oil, which is illegal in the uk. his condition improved when he took the drug abroad. mps demanded changes. failure for the government to move from its current position would sentence him back
to steroid treatment, which is likely to cause psychosis and premature death. it also means that british citizens are being denied more potential medical treatment. if we don't spend the money to do the research, they won't get the product. and we will not have to rely on the wisdom of crowds on the source and unreliable product but on peer—reviewed evidence—based treatments produced to pharmaceutical grade standard. it is clear there are some special circumstances to this case which need to be respected. i have undertaken to meet the family, and i will do that as quickly as possible, and undertake to explore every option within the current regulatory framework that exists. i give that undertaking.
it's notjust one case. there are thousands of people who have the choice of suffering terrible pain and seizures every day or criminalizing themselves by breaking the law. i would urge them to break the law because the law in this case is cruel and lacks compassion. and i have a constituent, vicki clark, who is now just five stone in weight in saint giles hospice in my constituency, suffering from the final stages of multiple sclerosis. her husband found that the only drug that cured her pain or alleviated her pain was cannabis, and twice he has been investigated by the police. we urge the uk government to look again very seriously at decriminalizing the use of cannabis for medicinal use. if they do not, we would ask they devolve the power of scotland so the scottish government can take the appropriate steps. we say we would like this for everybody in the united kingdom. there are good reasons
for the government's current position, but as i said, i made very clear in the statement we are looking very closely at other approaches taken by other countries and we have a keen eye and what the global experts, the who, conclude terms of the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of cannabis. may i help the minister and suggest that he speak to his colleague, the secretary of state for health, and ask about the extensive trial known as delta nine which took place the royal hospital a0 years ago, with cannabis found to be an excellent prophylactic against nausea. the data is there, the evidence is there. why does he not save time and trouble and talk to the secretary of state for health and let's resolve this matter for once and for all? in addition to the cost in human
misery, can the ministeradvise if any attempt has been made to assess the net cost of continued medicinal costs for sufferers denied access to cannabis? i think that answer is best answered by the department of health. what i am keen to register is our determination to try and explore every option to see if we can support this case. the case of alfie dingley. the education secretary has admitted that changes to higher education in england haven't delivered the range of choice and ministers wanted. on monday theresa may launch a government review of tuition fees and university funding. putting a little flesh on the bones, it was told mps that reviews would look up parts of the system that were not working well. the post—18 system does not always
offer a comprehensive range of high quality alternative routes for the many young people who pursue a technical or vocational path at that stage. in universities we have not seen the extent of an increase in choice that we would have wanted. the great majority of courses are priced at the same level and three—year courses remain the norm. although the funding system is a progressive one with built—in protections, those elements are not a lwa ys protections, those elements are not always entirely well understood. he said the review would also look at the cost of higher education. we must maintain and protect key elements of our post—education system that work well already. we will maintain the principle that students should contribution because of their studies and we will not place account on the number of students who can benefit from post—18 education. in scotland controls on the numbers continue to restrict the aspirations
of young people. let me welcome the prime minister's admission yesterday that the system is not working. she rightly talked about the choices facing a working—class teenage girl today. i have faced those choices as a working—class teenage girl myself but every part of the education system that helped me has been attacked by this government. the truth is that a year—long review is an unnecessary waste of time and energy when action is needed now. so let me offer him a simple conclusion to his review, a fully costed plan to scrap tuition fees, bring back maintenance support and reverse the rest of the cuts. it is called for the many not the few. that is exactly what our education system should be. an snp mp highlighted
certain issues. this support package works. scottish 18—year—olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are now 67% more likely to apply to higher education than 12 years ago. and they graduate with the lowest debt in the uk. isn't it time that we stop the nonsense and abolish the fees? and match notjust scotland but the rest of the developed world? 0ne fifth to a third of graduates are not getting graduatejobs. and the number of state school graduates have gone down in the past year. is it not the case that our higher education system is not providing value for money for many disadvantaged people? that is why this review must focus on skills and addressing social injustice. there is no such thing as free in higher education. somebody must pay.
there only two types of people who can fund higher education, the people who have benefited from it, and we know that over their lifetimes they typically earn much more, and the people who haven't. there is a public subsidy that goes towards education and 0'reilly reflects the societal benefit that we do think it is right that if you are one of those ones who benefits you should contribution to the cost. the alternative, the labour alternative, is to have the tab picked up by other taxpayers entirely. many of whom will not have benefited from this advantage. about is a regressive policy, it would mean less money going to universities and fewer people going to university. a policy for the few, not the money. a policy for the few, not the many. the education secretary. when borisjohnson proposed 22 mile long bridge connecting kent with france last month experts were quick to point out the hazards
of a giant concrete structure in the middle of one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, and the matter came up again. you'll be aware of the warning that the channel ports face gridlock if a transition arrangement for brexit is not put in place urgently. what is the point of a 20—mile bridge if there is a 20—mile queue to get onto it? i congratulate the honourable member for crowbaring brexit into that question. i think most people would appreciate that the eurotunnel, the existing channel tunnel, is likely at the present rate to be full within the next seven years. it is a very short time. it is a curiosity that two of the most powerful economies in the world, separated by barely 21 miles of water, are connected by only
one railway line. and i think it is a matter for legitimate reflection by our two countries. in terms of links across the channel with france and many other european partners, yesterday the brexit select committees saw michel barnier and others and it is absolutely clear that the partnership that we are looking for will be a unique and specific agreement. it will benefit both sides of the channel enormously. does the foreign secretary agree with me that this should be the outcome of the talks that will be starting again soon? 0n the subject of crowbarring, the question is about a fixed link, not about brexit. it is about a fixed link across the channel. that's the pertinent matter which the right honourable gentleman will focus. the foreign secretary. if i may say so i think my honourable friend has hit upon the notion of a metaphorical fixed link, a great swollen,
throbbing connection of trade between us. i won't say which way it is going. each side neutrally nourishing the other. i very much approve of the note of optomism he strikes. in 1971 the french and the english counterparts started talking about the channel tunnel and they were mocked. can we have more visionary and less mockery of the ideas of how we can take forward future relationships? i would remind honourable members opposite, it is invariably conservative administrations who come forward with these schemes, it was the conservatives who revived the east end of london with the canary wharf project
and it was margaret thatcher who green—lighted the first channel tunnel. a bridge to france, it could yet happen. is too much money being spent on sports? that too few of us actually play? several mps have claimed up basketball is a popular sport that has been unfairly deprived of funds by the uk sport government body which helps recruit promote. a london labour mps said basketball is very important for inner—city youngsters. almost 60% of adults in this sport are from black, asian or minority ethnic backgrounds. 75% if you look at the figure for adult men particularly. that is staggering. what that is in reality is role models i desperately need. you cannot have role models if there is no prospect of making it elite. and so i say to the minister,
when i look at the figures, i have to ask for this urban sport and this sport which attracts black, asian and minority ethnic members in the number that it does, why is it that hockey received 28.1 million and the rugby league received 51.6 million? why is it that canoeing, equestrian, cycling, rowing all do so much better? where is the equity in that formula? and can she satisfy herself that there is no unintended or unconscious bias in the way that judgements are being made about that funding? but the minister was not convinced. as other colleagues have mentioned, basketball is not the only olympic sport that uk sport do not fund. it can offer great opportunities in communities, many other sports can set out equally credible reasons to receive equal support.
tracy crouch. finally, the house of lords has a new black rod, for the first time in 650 years it is a woman. sarah clark previously ran the wimbledon tennis championships and will be known as the lady usher of the black rod. she replaces david leekie in a role that involves more than having a door slammed in yourface, as the leader of the house explained in her tribute. behind the scenes during his time as black rod, david was responsible for arranging a six state openings, a huge operation which he and his team including the doorkeepers always managed with skill and sensitivity. david supervised nine state visits and the six addresses by number of notable heads of government and states. the shadow leader of the house recorded particularly memorable state openings. 2017 brought an unexpected election.
the queen's speech unfortunately clashed with the previous commitment and the overall calendar. ascot. in a full house of commons, in such a formal ceremony, it was a delight to watch david struggle to keep a straight face. lady smith on the delights that await the new black rod. that's all we've got time for but from me, mandy baker, goodbye. i want to update you on the next couple of days of weather for the british isles, how do we start on wednesday? not too bad at all, plenty of sunshine force colander
northern ireland, more variable cloud perhaps as we go further south and a chilly start with some frost and a chilly start with some frost and fog across those northern areas. the big picture shows there are still weather fronts out in the atla ntic still weather fronts out in the atlantic but we'll be looking towards the continent in the next few days for an influence on the weather. once the mist and fog has gone first up and the frost has dissipated its not a bad day, not dry weather, maybe a shower in the far south—east and the temperatures by comparison to what we're going to see over the next few days or so, certainly into the start of next week, not bad, seven, eight, nine. again, thursday, a chilly start, a bit of mist and fog around i'm sure, bit of mist and fog around i'm sure, bit of mist and fog around i'm sure, bit of frost as well but there you save the date in all its glory. some sunshine, variable a man's cloud but turning cooler in the east with norwich only four. —— amounts. welcome to bbc news — broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: making a move towards gun control: president trump says he wants to ban bump stock devices "very soon".
i signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to propose regulations to ban all devices that term illegal weapons into machine—guns. —— turn legal. hundreds are killed in eastern ghouta as syrian government forces step up their bombardment. the un says the situation is "spiralling out of control". a breakthrough by scientists in the uk gives hope to thousands with a rare and sometimes life—threatening disorder. and a front row seat at london fashion week: the queen