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tv   Wednesday in Parliament  BBC News  March 1, 2018 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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united nations officials have described conditions in yemen — after three years of conflict — as ‘catastrophic‘ — with more than 20 million civilians needing humanitarian help. houthi rebels — supported by iran — are fighting forces loyal to the former president, backed by saudi air strikes. the white house communications director hope hicks is to step down. the former model is reported to have said she had achieved everything she could in the role. two weeks after the florida shooting, students returned to their school for the first time since 17 people were shot dead. earlier president trump met members of congress to discuss gun controls it is now time for wednesday in
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parliament. hello there, and welcome to wednesday in parliament, where theresa may makes clear she will reject eu proposals on northern ireland's border, and denies a rift in her government. the foreign secretary and i, are absolutely committed to ensuring that we deliver on no hard border between northern ireland and ireland. butjeremy corbyn says the prime minister is incapable of delivering a coherent brexit plan. when is she going to put the country's interests before the outsized egos of her own cabinet? hear, hear! also on this programme: the international development secretary says she is considering stopping aid to a number of charities in the wake of misconduct claims. and in the lords, there's a dire warning about the future of retail. retail trading may decline by 22% in the next year. and really, it is time for the government to move
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very urgently indeed. but first, theresa may has told mps the eu's draft brexit withdrawal agreement would threaten the constitutional integrity of the united kingdom. the european commission has published a draft version of the treaty, based on negotiations held last year. on the contentious issue of the irish border, it proposes, in effect, keeping northern ireland in a customs union if solutions cannot be found for the post brexit border. but a prime ministers questions, theresa may said no uk but at prime ministers questions, theresa may said no uk prime minister could ever agree to it. the draft, legal text the commission have published would, if implemented, undermine the uk common market and threaten constitutional integrity of the uk by creating a customs and regulatory border down the irish sea. and no uk prime minister could ever agree to it. hear, hear! jeremy corbyn turned his attention to the cabinet meeting at chequers, at the end of last week. which was organized to thrash out
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the government's brexit ambitions. mr speaker, the prime minister emerged from her chequers away day to promise a brexit of 'ambitious managed divergence'. laughter. could she tell the country what on earth ambitious managed divergence will mean in practice? hear, hear! he asks me about the government's position on the european union. well, it's very simple. we want to deliver on the vote of the british people that means we will bring back control of our laws, our borders and our money. now, of course, that is in direct contrast with the labour party's position who want to be in a customs union, have free movement and pay whatever it takes to pay the eu. that would mean giving away control of our laws, our borders and our money. hear, hear! and that would be a betrayal of the british people. jeremy corbyn then turned to the northern ireland border, and a leaked letter from the foreign secretary boris johnson to theresa may.
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in it he said the government should focus on preventing the border from becoming significantly harder. and that comment came hot on the heels of a bbc interview, where he'd compared the issue to crossing between london boroughs and the use of the congestion charge. three months ago, the foreign secretary told the house with regard to northern ireland, and i quote, "there can be no hard border. that would be unthinkable." that's what he said. yet, in a leaked letter to be prime minister, he wrote, "even if a hard border is reintroduced, we would expect to see 95% plus of goods pass." he's shouting at the moment. he's obviously mixing up the border with the camden—islington border. hey! laughter. so, mrspeaker. hey! mr speaker, can the prime minister confirm that she will not renege
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on commitments made in phase one to keep an open border in ireland? the foreign secretary and i are absolutely committed to ensuring that we deliver on no hard border between northern ireland and ireland. that's the position of the uk government, it's the position of the parties in northern ireland, it's the position of the irish government and it was what we agreed in the december agreement of thejoint report. we are all committed to ensuring there is no hard border between northern ireland and ireland. the government is so divided, the prime minister is incapable of delivering a coherent and decisive plan for brexit. hear, hear! so when is she going to put the country's interests before the outsized egos of her own cabinet? but theresa may insisted her government would not
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only deliver on brexit, but on housing, schools and the environment. but the snps westminster leader returned tote northern ireland border issue. the foreign secretary's leaked letter on the irish border shows he cannot get to grips with one of the most fundamental issues of brexit. the foreign secretary compared to crossing the irish border to going between camden and westminster. frankly, you cannot make this stuff up. this is a uk government that has prepared to put at jeopardy, the good friday agreement. that is right. that's right! does the prime minister agree with a bumbling foreign secretary who is making the united kingdom a laughing stock. this government is absolutely committed to the belfast agreement? indeed we made sure that the commitment was included in the joint report that we agreed with the european union last december. so, that committment to the belfast agreement stands and we are committed to the belfast
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agreement and the institutions under the belfast agreement. returning from a jog in the snow, borisjohnson said what is going on at the moment is that the issue of the northern irish border, is being used politically to try to keep the uk in the customs union, effectively the single market. so they cannot really leave the eu. but mps wanted him to explain his views and what he had said in that leaked letter to them directly. so, straight after pmqs, the shadow foreign secretar,y emily thornbury, asked what's known as an urgent question about northern ireland's border, addressed to borisjohnson. but as you might be able to see on the very left of the picture, the foreign secretary stood up to leave, prompting quite a reaction. and when borisjohnson was gone and the cabinet office minister david liddington stood up to respond for the government, there was more shouting from the labour side. where is he, where is he? where is he? mr speaker, i have
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been asked to reply. this government has been consistent in its commitments to northern ireland as the united kingdom leaves the european union. first, we will never accept any solutions that threaten the economic or constitutional integrity of the united kingdom. second, we will not accept a hard border between northern ireland and ireland, which would reverse the considerable progress made through the political process over recent decades. that position has been consistent from the prime minister's article 50 letter, through to our position paper published last summer. and the prime minister's florence speech last autumn. while i am always pleased to hear from the minister of state, i have to say it is an absolute disgrace... hear, hear! ..and a huge discourtesy to this house that the foreign secretary is not here himself... hear, hear! answer the questions of his memo. especially, mr speaker, given that we saw him in london a few hours ago,
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jogging in the snow and stopping to answer questions from the media. if he can answer their questions, he really should be prepared to answer ours. hear, hear! what is he afraid of? perhaps it's this: these questions go to the very heart of his credibility and the credibility of previous statements that he's made in this house. david liddington defended the fact that it was he, not borisjohnson, at the despatch box. since i both have cabinet responsability for constitutional affairs, including for the implementation of devolution throughout the united kingdom, and since i also chair the cabinet committee on the domestic implementation of our brexit arrangement, it seems to me to be perfectly reasonable that i should be responding to her urgent question. laughter. the leader of the democratic unionists at westminster, spoke on the central issue. it is ironic, is it not, that some of those people who complained hardest about creating a hard border between northern ireland
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and the irish republic have today welcomed proposals from the eu which would actually create a hard border between northern ireland and the rest of the united kingdom? the fact of the matter is, that there is a border between north and south. a currency border, there are different currencies, different fiscal regimes, different tax regimes, different economic policies. but it is managed in a way that is sensible and pragmatic. the same can be done in relation to the future relationship. it has already been spelt out in the government's paper last august, to use the belfast agreement, or more despicably to use the peace process as an excuse to either thwart brexit or to shape it in the way some people want. it's quite frankly outrageous and disgraceful. hear, hear! let us back the arrangements that are in place, but let us go forward in a pragmatic, sensible way and not create troubles that are not there. we've got to wake up now as a country and realize if we are not going to rip our
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nation further apart, we don't only have to have a pragmatic approach to brexit, but an honest approach to brexit. hear, hear! and the only solution to a hard border is membership of the customs union, the single market, mr speaker they will get there in the end. the foreign secretary did say this morning after his jog that he was going to publish the memo. when? we don't publish internal ministerial correspondence. shouts of, "he said it" and "bring him back there." sources told the bbc that downing street had blocked the release of the full text of the letter from boris johnson. you're watching wednesday in parliament with me, alicia mccarthy. sandwiched between the rough and tumble of normal political debate, there was a few hours of near consensus in the commons
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as mps gave their support to the complaints and grievances procedures governing parliament. a working group has spent 100 hours drawing up a new behavioral code that covers bullying and harassment against anyone who works in the palace of westminster. the leader of the commons explained what would happen with regard to complaints against mps. in the most serious of cases, the commissioner will refer her findings to the committee on standards. the committee can recommend to the house that an individual is suspended. and the house will vote on the recommendation. and it's through this route that the existing procedures under the recall of mps act of 2015 could be invoked. the trigger for recall remains the same as it is now, and there is no plan for changes to primary legislation. several mps said a change of culture was needed. i hate that culture in this house. i have never, ever been fond of being in the house of commons. i know some of my friends think it is a fantastic place to live and work
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and to do their business in. i always find it a little bit uncomfortable. something, maybe the scottish nationalist in me that perhaps gratesjust a little bit. but this house is a peculiar, historic culture that practically oozes patriarchy and an abuse of power. i had a female friend in the house just a few months ago, was very conscious of these issues. and she told me that portraits in this place practically seem to have attitude because of the way that the images are all set up and the defining features of this house are embedded in this historic patriarchy that we have in this place. 89% of women mps and 58% of men mps say that sexism still exists in parliament. and that gulf is significant. almost all women know that there is still those instances of sexism. but onlyjust over half of men recognize that's the case, and that gulf is part of the problem that we have, and it is part of the complacency that still exists.
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the thing that's changed isn't that the behaviors are no longer is it acceptable, actually they never were acceptable. the difference is now people cannot get away with them, and that is right, and that is an improvement. and i think what we're really trying to deliver with the training and the of culture is that everybody accepts that not only are those sorts of behaviors not acceptable, no one is going to let them get away with it. culture eats strategy for breakfast. it is about the culture. it is about the leadership. you can have as many reports or processes or training, as people have said, as you want. if that is not followed through, if that is not lived and breathed by deeds, not words, i'm afraid we might as well all give up and go home. in order to persuade colleagues to undertake some training, some kind of sanctions might concentrate peoples' minds. for example, having some pay docked, or something similar. i am so much more in favour
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of persuasion than coercion. and in the and, can ijust tell the honourable lady, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink. and you could force mps to attend a training session, but what kind of attitude would they have towards that training, if they did not feel it was something they wanted to do. we are more powerful than most people and we're much more frightening than most people, if you get a threat... i am, that's quite right. laughter. i like to think that i can recognise that, try to employ it with appropriateness, but the truth is that i still worry that there'll be a power imbalance. it's only when processes are in place, and used will we know if they're robust and command the support of those who seek to use them.
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the opposition support the motion as tabled and amended and look forward to be updated, we thank the staff are taking on this task, so we have a truly modern parliament. where everyone knows the boundaries of acceptable behaviour in a safe secure workplace. the international development secretary is considering stopping the uk aid for a number of charities after they failed to provide assurances over safeguarding to her department. it follows the scandals surrounding sexual misconduct by eight agency workers. on the 20th of february i asked all uk charities receiving uk aid to give me assurances on safeguarding and reporting of historic cases, by monday last. i have received 161 responses. my officials are analysing those with independent oversight and we have shared returns with the charity commission. a number of organisations
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unbelievably mr speaker, have not replied. we are following up, but without justification they will have lost our confidence and we will consider whether it was right to continue their funding. i will share my key findings trends and themes and in response to the safeguarding summit held with the charity commission on march five and i'll keep the house informed. two was asked about the situation for civilians trapped in fighting in syria. you estimate this is my one syrians are displaced and with fresh fighting despite the cease—fire, this number will continue to rise. what is her department doing specifically to support these families especially in this region and whose that challenges our increasing? we have a huge number of programmes that are supporting those people in particular, notjust as i said, for short—term needs, shelter, food and so forth, but also education and jobs and livelihoods. but i would also say that these
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individuals have some unique needs, that have not been addressed i think to date with as much focus by the international community and setting up a panel to actually look at those needs and what more we can do to help in similar situations, i think will be a big step forward. the authorities in myanmar, formerly known as burma have blocked mps and for making a trip to the country. the chairman of the international development committee said the move was direct retaliation for the report they publish on the rohingya crisis. i get urgent questions, stephen twigg what happened to. yesterday our passports were returned to us without visas, and clearly the failure of the burmese government to grant these visas, simply prevents us from doing ourjob as a committee, which is to oversee how oversee
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development assistance is spent in countries. i have no doubt, that a major part of the reason this has happened, is direct retaliation for the report that we published last month on the rohingya crisis. i believe there is a direct connection between our report and these actions. i understand mr speaker, that it was aung san suu kyi herself, who blocked the approval of the visas. they were due to visit both myanmar and bangladesh which is now home to 600,000 refugees. he has described what has been happening to the rohingya dictate textbook case of ethnic cleansing. is a withholding visas a textbook case of an authoritarian regime with something to hide trying to shield itself from legitimate international scrutiny? and if aung san suu kyi is indeed responsible for that, then it's nothing
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short of disgraceful. i, like him, are at disappointed by this, this displeasure has been communicated to the burmese authorities, the officials have indicated three reasons for that refusal. first, there is an extended public holiday there. second, the access to rakhine state remains restricted for security reasons, and finally, i think this was something that was brought up in the press release yesterday evening, they were unhappy that individual members had signed a letter calling for the senior general of the burmese army to be held accountable for the military behaviour. it those atrocities are being carried out, then it's for all democracies to make their voices heard, and she has been championing zinc
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dust trapping democracy there, i hope she is listening to the message today, because she should also be speaking out. the minister is right, we must keep supporting and helping the vulnerable people in myanmar particularly rohingya, but can i press the issue of accountability and those responsible for the military, is it possible for him to have discussions with others in the security council that a possibility for a resolution to the criminal court? mark field said that the feeling was any move would be vetoed by china and russia. he said the government wanted to keep the lines of communication open with more moderate elements within the burmese military. and was pursuing the use of targeted sanctions through the eu. now there was a dire warning in the lords that trading in britain retail sector was declining. it comes after the uk's biggest toy retailer, toys "r" us went into administration.
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more than 3000 jobs are now at risk. it's understood that it made losses in seven out of the last eight years. the electrical retailer maplin has also collapsed maplin has also collapsed which could see two and a half thousand jobs go. 39% is controlled by amazon of the uk, and 57% if you look at the stakes. will her majesty level the playing field and look at what other countries are looking in the terms of digital taxation or special sales tax like the usa, or a higher rate of vat which is possible under our legislation. and at the very least, would they set up now,
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bearing in mind that 39% of today's billion palomar kick, and our country, set up a monopoly commission inquiry for if they do not, that our retail trade as we know it would disappear. the business minister said the competition and markets authority have powers to look into such claims and the government was acting. we believe that all those multinationals in that world, ought to be paying the taxes due, and we will not settle for anything less other than that, my lords, my noble friend should accept that many of the changes that are happening in the marketplace are being driven by what the consumer wants and ourjob is to make sure that the marketplace can adapt to that. today, toys "r" us went into administration of putting about 3000 jobs at risk, maplin has called in the administrators, there was a crisis on the high street. can the minister tell us what the government is doing to recognise the pressure that the digital economy is putting on the physical shops
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of our high streets? retailers have to pay business rates, that means they have to start off at a significant disadvantage. they have to contribute their producing responsibility levies, another disadvantage. they have to pay proper apprenticeship levy, another disadvantage. we cannot wait for a general statement, we have to do this now. the latest proposal, proposition, is that retail trading may decline by 22% in the next year. and really, it is time for the government to move very urgently indeed. we have made changes in the autumn budget, we have measures worth to pointer billion, in terms of cutting business rates and bring a degree of fairness to the system, there are limits to how far one will go, one has to accept that a lot of what is happening as a result of what the consumers
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want, and this is obviously up to the retail sector itself to be able to adapt and change in the face of changing consumer and social trends. the business minister. the government has said it will find time to increase maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving. minister said last year they would act when motorists speeding or on under drinks, will face a life sentence. in a short debate in westminster, conservative or is the case of a 74—year—old man killed by a drunk driver. the 29—year—old defendant had 15 previous convictions for 3h offences. including two previous cases of dangerous driving. but he was jailed forjust seven years, after admitting causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop at a scene of an accident, driving when disqualified, drunk driving, and having no insurance. the justice minister setup action have to be taken.
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these are people whose recklessness with one and a half tonnes of metal, this incredibly dangerous weapon, it's unbelievable. this is why we as a government have committed to increasing penalties for causing death by reckless driving to a life sentence and why we are now working to find the time for that agenda to bring that in, and this needs to happen. because he said, families currently didn't feel that they got justice. and that's it from us for now, do join me at the same time tomorrow, for another round up of the day here at westminster. but for now, for me, alysia mccarthy, goodbye. the 1st of march it may be but we
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are still in the grip of wintry weather. met office red warning still in force across central parts of scotland, for wider part eastern scotland, there is an amber warning and these areas seeing plenty of snow showers to take us into the first part of thursday. further south, the wind is picking up and bitingly cold if you happen to be out and about through the early hours. but most concern, will be the weather across north eastern scotland, north—east england. snow showers feeding in and some places seen ten to 20 centimetres of snow. perhaps more than that across parts of the central belt. let's run the weather to the day on thursday. showers continue to feed in across
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these northern and eastern areas. into northern england, not as many showers as we have had across parts of lincolnshire and east anglia. then down to the south, an area of low pressure then down to the south, an area of low pressure comes then down to the south, an area of low pressure comes in. the channel islands and parts of wales. on the thermometer, your thermometer will struggle to read above freezing but on the strength on the wind it will feel like minus 11 in birmingham and minus 11 in cardiff for the middle of the afternoon. in the evening, this low pressure comes up from the south and it will bring further significant snow, particularly across the south—west of inman, wales, fringing in two parts of the midlands. met office amber warning in force and there will be strong winds, blizzard conditions and even if some of the snow turns back to rain across devon and cornwall, it will be falling on very cold surfaces and it can give a lot of ice into friday morning. during
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friday, some of the snow is likely to push into the south—east, perhaps east anglia as well. we keep the snow showers feeding into northern eastern scotland, the far north—east of england. another cold day for many, but something milder in the far south—west. we will see temperatures climbing a little bit through the weekend, but there will still be some showers and some of those will still be wintry. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories. three years after civil war started in yemen the death toll continues to rise. both sides are fighting for the biggest prize the capital, sa'naa. to take the fight into the heart of this historic, densely populated city would be a bloody, urban battle. another white house resignation. communications director hope hicks is the latest high profile figure to leave president trump's top team.
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back in class for the first time since the deadly shooting in florida. students return to a high school changed forever. and tributes to the evangelist billy graham. his body is lying in state in the us capitol — as the nation's leaders pay their respects.


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