tv Westminster in review BBC News December 23, 2018 5:30am-6:01am GMT
by a tsunami in indonesia. it hit in the sunda strait, the stretch of water that separates the islands of java and sumatra. another 600 people have been injured. it followed the eruption of the krakatoa volcano. a partial us government shutdown is now set to last until at least thursday. earlier, the us senate ended talks to resolve an impasse over the budget without agreement. democrats are refusing to give in to president trump's demands for $5 billion to build a border wall with mexico. paddy ashdown, the former leader of britain's liberal democrats, has died. after leaving british politics, he served as the international high representative for bosnia and herzegovina. a former royal marine, lord ashdown led the lib dems to their best election result in 70 years in 1997. now on bbc news, westminster in review. hello and welcome to
westminster in review, as we take a look back at an extraordinary and tumultuous four months. on this programme — brexit divisions deepen and theresa may faces a vote of no confidence in her leadership. the number of votes cast in favour of having confidence in theresa may was 200, and against was 117. mps react furiously when the prime minister presents her brexit deal. it is the political equivalent of being asked to jump out of a plane without knowing if your parachute is there and attached. and that's not all. the government comes under fire over its new benefits system. the chancellor unveils his budget. and mps are forced to take a long, hard look at themselves after a damning report
on harassment and bullying. the report is clear that there needs to be a complete change in leadership at the most senior level, including you, mr speaker. it has been a long, fractious and unpredictable few months here at westminster — a term that ended in the high drama of a confidence vote demanded by theresa may's own mps. the result of the ballot held here this evening is that the parliamentary party does have confidence in theresa may. the prime minister may have won that vote by 200 to 117, but how did we get to this moment of division and crisis? in this programme, we'll be following the path that led to that challenge, the ins and outs of the brexit negotiations and some of the other stories that hit the headlines. for theresa may, the warning signs of trouble ahead had been clearfor months. she had no majority in the commons, relying on ten democratic unionists to win crucial votes, and her party was fundamentally
split between those who passionately wanted to remain in the eu and those who passionately wanted to leave. but even so, theresa may had gone on a promotional trip to africa in august, believing she had a plan known as the chequers deal, which she hoped to sell to the european union as britain's road map for leaving the eu. but at a meeting of eu leaders in salzburg, her proposals were firmly rebuffed and the bad—tempered fall—out from those talks led theresa may to make a blunt statement the next day. throughout this process, i have treated the eu with nothing but respect. the uk expects the same. a good relationship at the end of this process depends on it. the major sticking point — how to prevent a physical border springing up between northern ireland and the irish republic. more on the tortuous way
that developed a little later. but, of course, while brexit dominated life at westminster, there were other problems for ministers to deal with. top of that list — the new benefit system, universal credit. it combines six working age benefits into one with the aim of making the system simpler and helping people into work. 0pponents claim it's too inflexible and driving claimants into rent arrears and poverty. two former prime ministers, labour's gordon brown and the conservativejohn major, both warned of dire consequences if the roll—out continued unchanged. and one mp said universal credit was pushing women in his area into prostitution. it is not going as well as we are told in the house of commons, where some women are taking to the red light district for the first time. might she come to birkenhead and meet those women's organisations and the police who are worried about women's security being pushed into this position. perhaps he could tell these ladies that now we've got record job vacancies. 830,000 job vacancies and perhaps
there are otherjobs on offer. esther mcvey, who later became one of an increasing handful of ministers to quit the government over brexit. now, the speaker, john bercow, told friends he planned to stand down in the summer after ten years in the job. the news emerged a day after a fiercely critical report on the failure of high—level figures in parliament to deal adequately with bullying, including sexual harassment, of staff members at westminster. i firmly believe that the only possible way to resolve this matter is the establishment of a body, which is both entirely independent of and external to parliament to hear and adjudicate upon all allegations of bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct. the report is clear that there needs to be a complete change in leadership at the most senior level, including you, mr speaker.
i am so sorry to hear of the experiences highlighted by dame laura's report, of members of houses of common staff, and i speak to them directly when i say, you deserve so much better. dame laura's report should shame all of us who work on the parliamentary teams. it is quite a devastating litany of this place with details of bullying, and almost out—of—control gender— based power relationships. nothing i've heard today fills me with any hope that politics will be taken out of this and that the same 12 people, and we all know exactly who they are, and exactly how they are getting away with it, won'tjust been walking around for the next 20 years. labour mp jess philips. meanwhile, we were onto the 0ctober brexit summit in brussels. the big stumbling block — the northern irish border, specifically what became known as the ‘backstop‘.
it's an insurance policy that would kick in at the end of 2020 if a wider deal to keep the border frictionless can't be found. reporting back to the commons. theresa may said the uk and the eu were working on a plan for the whole of the uk to enter into a temporary customs or import tax arrangement with the eu. by far, the best outcome for the uk, for ireland and for the eu is that our future relationship is agreed and in place by i january 2021. the conservative party has spent the past two years arguing with itself instead of negotiating a sensible deal in the public interest. it is crystal clear that the eu will not accept any deal that does not include the backstop for northern ireland. those who attempt to wreck the backstop will be responsible for a no—deal brexit. the eu have made it clear that the backstop is designed to keep northern ireland as part
of the customs union territory of the eu. sammy wilson. and there was more of that in the november summit, which we'll come to later. but back at westminster, there were some important domestic goings on. philip hammond unveiled his third budget, the first on a monday for 56 years. the chancellor posed for the traditional photographs outside 11 downing street before making the short trip to the palace of westminster. he entered the commons to conservative cheers. philip hammond announced some increases in some public spending, the minimum wage and tax thresholds. he began by telling mps conservative chancellors had had to make tough decisions in the last eight years, but... today, mr deputy speaker, i can report to the british people that their hard work is paying off and the era of austerity is finally coming to an end. what we've heard today are half measures and quick fixes
while austerity grinds on. and far from people's hard work and sacrifices having paid off, as the chancellor claims, this government has frittered it away in ideological tax cuts to the richest in our society. the budget statement shows a chronic lack of understanding of the threats that we face and the storm clouds ahead. we got more for potholes than for schools, nothing for women born in the 19505 and facing pension inequality, and a pathetic and inadequate sticking plaster for universal credit. barely two weeks ago, the world scientists issued their most stark warning yet that we have just 12 years in which to tackle climate change and to avoid climate catastrophe, yet not one single word from this chancellor about climate change, nothing about clean energy, nothing about green energy. members of the royal family,
politicians, veterans and the public came together as always on remembrance day. this year's 2—minute silence on 11 november commemorated the end of world war i. around six million british, french and russian troops are thought to have died. prince charles laid a wreath on behalf of the queen at the cenotaph in london. theresa may was joined at the ceremony by the labour leader jeremy corbyn, and the snp‘s westminster leader, ian blackford. thousands of people filed passed the memorial to commemorate those who'd died. elsewhere, portraits of casualties of the war were drawn on beaches around the country, washing away when the tide came in. in a debate in the lords, a former army chief reflected on the aftermath of the conflict. the hubris of victory, the increasing of alienation of germany, the creation of a stab in the back myth, the failure of the united states to engage properly in the global commons, the san remo agreement on the division of the remnants
of the ottoman empire, which we see unravelling before our eyes today — all of these things and others led us eventually to a much darker abyss than the one from which we emerged in november 1918. there was a happier event a few days later as tributes were paid to prince charles on his 70th birthday. the prime minister praised his total commitment to public service, but added that this was only part of the story. he is, i believe, the only public figure to have appeared on both gardener's question time and australian masterchef. not to mention, once delivering the weather forecast on bbc scotland. and he has a great and wide—ranging love of music. indeed, he remarked in 1974 that, "if i hear rhythmic music, ijust want to get up and dance." something i'm sure many of us empathize with. jeremy corbyn reflected on the prince's charity work and his love of the plant and animal kingdoms.
his royal highness's horticultural exploits are well— known. i'm a keen gardener and allotment holder and i can sympathise with the prince's desire to talk to plants. i've certainly found them better listeners than many members of this house over the years. the so—called divorce deal between the eu and the uk. there was a massive 585 heavyweight pages. they signed up to the political declaration setting up the framework for the future relationship. 0ne mp has yet to see the small print, planners decided there were compromises they were not repaired to accept. after all the smiles in brussels, the prime ministerfaced a packed and hostile commons once again, and it was the guarantees on
northern ireland that caused most tension. the leader of the deps westminster wa nted reassu ra nce tension. the leader of the deps westminster wanted reassurance that the backstop if a deal on trade can be reached by the end of 2020 would not lost forever. prime minister says in a statement the legal text is not also clear that once the backstop has been superseded, it shall cease to apply. now, we need accuracy, we need accuracy here because it's the legal text that matters and this is what will bind the country, will the prime minister tell us, as the chancellor has rightly said, that the backstop is bad for the union, bad for the economy, that's what he has said, can she tell us what bits are so bad for the union? theresa may explained why the uk would not want to enter the backstop, orfor it to be a long—lasting solution. what we want to be able to do is in the future to be able to have our independent trade policy. one of the issues in relation to the backstop is whether or not we would be able to do that, that's one of the issues we would not want to see within us continue to be in the backstop for. mps wanted to see all the legal advice
behind the withdrawal agreement. they'd already voted for it to be published, but ministers had declined, and offered a summary instead. the government's chief law officer came to the commons to answer questions on that summary. to disclose any advice that might have been given would be fundamentally contrary to the interests of this country. it's no use debating and shouting of the members opposite. what i am trying to do, is guard the public interest. that's all! 0pposition mps weren't satisfied with that. the next day, the government was defeated in two votes on the matter, finding ministers in contempt of parliament and ordering full publication of the legal advice. that didn't mean ministers were clapped in irons or thrown in the tower of london, but it did mean the government backed down, and published the document. now, a single government defeat in the commons is usually very big
news, but there was a third defeat for ministers on the very same day, this one with potentially more significance for brexit‘s future. a cross—party group of mps, spearheaded by a conservative succeeded in a bid allowing mps to make changes to what was put before them if theresa may's brexit deal was, voted down. it is contrary to all sensible practise and i have to say, slightly disrespectful to roll this house that we should end up with the situation in which we have an amendable motions for consideration at a time when the parliament ought to be fully focused on trying to find means of resolving outstanding issues. the media moved en masse to the green opposite the houses of parliament, with dozens of gazebos springing up overnight to house the mass ranks of journalists, commentators and mps.
nearby coffee shops ran dry. tension mounted. a0 hours had been set aside in the commons, with what had become known as a "meaningful vote" at the end of the fifth day of debate. but everything unravelled for the government. no sooner had the debate begun than the splits in the conservative party and across the commons reared up again. i really can't believe that there is a single member of this house who sincerely believes that this deal we have before us is a good deal. and if i may say... there we go, there is one, there is one. i sincerely believe it. i've got no stake in this government any more, but i still think it's the right thing to do. but there was lingering anger over mrjohnson‘s role as a leader of the brexit campaign. the right honourable member was a senior member vote leave, he was foreign secretary for two years, we are in this mess because of him. the deal on offer.
as the prime minister says, the only deal on offer does not recover oui’ sovereignty. it leaves us rule takers from the european union without any voice in shaping those rules. the next day the commons heard from two former ministers who also opposed the deal. this deal is not politically or practically deliverable. it will make us poorer and also risk the union. it's the political equivalent of being asked tojump out of a plane without knowing if your parachute is there and attached. all of the brexit scenarios modelled by the treasury showed the gdp in 15 years‘ time to be lower. and lower still, when the impact of ending free movement is modelled. but the prime minister did have supporters, one praised her doggedness and determinations, saying she'd achieved a pragmatic compromise. and he quoted a lewis carroll poem. which includes the following lines
which i think are appropriate. the principal failing occurred in the same. and the bowman perplexed and distressed said he had hoped at least when the wind blew due east but the ship would not travel to west. mr speaker, to coin a phrase from a greater, kinder and more resolute period in our national life, "come, let us go forward together and settle this now." sir nicholas soames. but tension continued to grow, with more and more conservative mps joining the dup and other opposition parties saying they wouldn't back the deal. staring a heavy defeat in the face the prime minister had the grim task of coming to the commons to confirm that the remaining two days of debate and the vote on her withdrawal agreement had been pulled. i've listened carefully to what has been said in this chamber... to what has been said in this chamber and out of it by members from all sides.
from listening to those views, it's clear that while there is broad support for many of the key aspects of the deal... on one issue, on one issue the northern ireland backstop, there remains widespread and deep concern. uncertainty is building for business, people are in despair of the state of these failed negotiations, and a concern about what it means about their jobs, their livelihood and their communities. and the fault for that lies solely at the door of this shambolic government. does she not realise that every time she comes back here, with her tail between her legs, she humiliates the british people? when will she stand up to the eu and if she's not prepared to stand up to the eu, then let her have the vote of this house to tell them what we think of their rotten deal.
prime minister, members across this house don't want your deal. the eu don't want to renegotiate. isn't the only way to break this deadlock to put it to the people? we still, even now, don't even know when she wants to bring the vote back or even what she wants the deal to be. does she not realise how chaotic and ridiculous this makes our country look? people outside these walls see a shambles of a government and with this in mind, we will therefore support the leader of the opposition should heed as he should table a motion of vote. but the thing that is changing is the view of the british people. no it's not. i know it's nearly the pantomime season, but oh, yes, it has. anna soubry. but don't be fooled by that christmas banter. anger among mps was growing. 0ne labour member, lloyd russell moyle was so furious
that the vote had been pulled he grabbed the ceremonial mace — without which the commons can't debate or vote — from its resting place in front of the despatch boxes, before having it taken from him and replaced by commons officials. but such theatrics were the least of theresa may's worries. the prime minister set out to wring more out of the eu, desperate to get something on the northern ireland border that would reassure her own mps. but many of them had clearly had enough. under the rules of the conservative party if 15 percent of its mps write letters of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 committee, the committee of the party's backbenchers, a leadership ballot is triggered. and after months of speculation in mid—december the magic number was reached. the confidence vote on her leadership was announced at breakfast time, voting to take place in the evening and the result to be declared at 9pm. the chairman of the 1922 committee
announced that she'd won to rapturous applause from her supporters in the room, but the numbers were telling. the number of votes cast in favour of having confidence in theresa may was 200 and against was 117. under the rules set out in the constitution of the conservative party, no further confidence that that can take place for at least one month. the result meant theresa may can't face another challenge for a year, but opposition to her brexit deal remained insurmountable. and so theresa may went back to brussels, hoping for a concession. instead she appeared to be caught on camera in a testy exchange with the european commission presidentjean—claude juncker. and the promise merely of clarification not renegotiation. she returned to the commons to try to persuade mps there could be progress on the sticking point of the irish border. i explained that the assurances we already agreed with the eu were insufficient for this house,
and we had to go further in showing that we never want to use this backstop and if it is used it must be a temporary arrangement. the prime minister has cynically ran down the clock, trying to manoeuvre parliament into a choice between two unacceptable outcomes, her deal or no deal. this embarrassing reckless brexit we find ourselves perilously close to was begun to quell a position within the tory party plating party before country. now we have a prime minister putting her own interests above a book party and country. so the most tense, dramatic, divided and bitter four months in parliament that many westminster watchers can remember. with me to chew it all over is bbc political correspondent, leila nathoo. let's talk about the conservatives purse, do you think that the brexiteers and remainer wings are further
apart than ever? i think the edges, at the extremes of the wins of the conservative party it certainly appears that way their positions are entrenched and certainly the events that we've seen other the last few weeks have further sort of dug and to their sides. we know that 48 at least of them went in against the prime minister, we can presume a large chunk were brexiteers winks, 117 mps in the event did vote against her, so i think it looks like although she has her supporters, certainly the brexiteers are out to get hurt in some ways. and that is driving the two wings of the conservative party further apart. what about labour, do we know what it actually wants? many observers are looking for any hint that labour is going to shift its position in favour of coming out in support for that other referendum. there is still the general election demand for us, and then after that they are still saying all options are on the table, so i think looking for clarity will have to wait longer. parliament does appear to be completely gridlocked, so could it be that giving parliament a vote on all the different options indicated votes, might that be the boat forward? i think that's certainly an idea dating traction and it's interesting
to hear senior cabinet members actually talking about this openly, and looking beyond this vote we expect on theresa may's brexit deal to say well it's not going to happen or get through, so what should happen next. we talked about divisions within the conservative party, but doesn't seem to be the case that there is also a separate operation going on with the cabinet that the cabinet is also operating separate to theresa may and lots of ways and doesn't have enough power to force a point of view on theresa may to force her into a particular course of action? there will certainly be guidance going on and she has obviously been lobbied by different assorted groupings within the cabinet to take different courses of action, ultimately theresa may is convinced that she can still get backing for her deal with some tweaks from the eu, and she will obviously be taking her cabinets views on board. but at the moment, she's bury much of sticking to her own position of still trying to get a deal through, convinced over that christmas break, perhaps mps will have enough time to think and her ministers will have enough
time to reflect on this process and come down on her side. but, certainly it's highly unusual to have such unpredictable, i think an volatile cabinet. leila, thank you. and that's it from me for now. mps and peers have now left westminster for their christmas break... time to reflect on where we are and what might be to come. we'll be back with you with every twist and turn when parliament returns on monday january 7. but for now from me, goodbye. hello. what a difference a day makes — certainly the better day of the weekend for the dry and bright, even sunny weather on saturday, whilst today brings with it more cloud for most
of the country, and some rain. the exception being northern and central scotland, where actually, saturday brought most of the rain. from showers, it looks drier through the day ahead. but this is what's galloping in off the atlantic, this array of weather fronts which will alleviate the fall in temperature as we go through the remainder of the night, except of course in scotland and the north—east, where we'll also see some fog issues. but the rain already upon us will move its way across most parts by mid—morning, into northern ireland, perhaps brushing into southern scotland, and heavier bursts for a time, and then perhaps again later. but it does look as if, therefore, the lion's share of the sunshine will be across northern and central scotland. mind you, it's going to be a cold start, and there'll be patchy fog, which at this time of year struggles to clear. may dry up again for northern ireland and southern scotland later, but for much of england and wales, it's misty, low cloud. it'll be grey, it'll be foggy over the hills and around some of the coasts as well.
relatively mild with the atlantic air and moisture coming in, but a very different day, quite a grey, miserable day. whilst in the north, as we saw yesterday, temperature around six or seven. but that clearer air, drier weather, will eventually push across more parts of england and wales through the coming night, limiting the rain to the far south. but obviously we've had the moisture, so there could be some fog, and we'll see a more widespread frost as we go into the morning of christmas eve, with temperatures below freezing in some parts. a really chilly start to the day. and it means a much brighter day ahead, a much drier and brighter day. you saw those those temperatures hovering around freezing, even the towns and cities, so they'll take a while to recover. it's not going to be as mild as we'll see through this day ahead. but it'll be brighter, there'll be more sunshine around, except in southern and western areas. and yes, there will be some fairweather cloud elsewhere, but it does look fine and dry. the recent high pressure is squeezing all the rain out of that weather front, but unfortunately, as we get back into tuesday, christmas day, it pushes that weather front and the cloud back in from the west. so not as sparkling, we don't think, on christmas eve, in terms of sunshine amounts. could be a bit misty and foggy, but it should be mostly dry,
despite being rather cloudy. but again, i'm hopeful that there will be a little bit of wintry sunshine to enjoy for some of us during the day on tuesday. and it won't be particularly mild, but it will be a little less cold, if you like, than christmas eve, because of all that cloud, particularly in the west. as ever, there's plenty more information on the outlook on the website. but, just taking a quick glance at wednesday and thursday, it's more of the same — cloudy. good morning. welcome to breakfast with victoria fritz and roger johnson. 0ur headlines today: tributes to the former liberal democrat leader lord ashdown who's died at the age of 77. more than 60 people are killed and hundreds injured as a tsunami hits the coast of indonesia. flights return to normal at gatwick as police investigating the drone disruption continue to question two people. the last weekend before christmas but no sign of a super saturday on the high street. in sport, manchester city lose valuable points in the title race
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