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tv   Westminster in review  BBC News  December 23, 2018 4:30pm-5:00pm GMT

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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. opponents 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
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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 plannned to stand down in the summer after ten years in thejob. 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
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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 commons 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.
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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 october 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 the ist january 2021. the conservative party has spent
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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.
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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 1950s and facing pension
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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 two—minute silence on 11th november commemorated the end of world war one. 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
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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 agreements 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 happy event a few days later, as tributes were paid to prince charles ‘s 70th birthday. the
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prime minister praised his total commitment to public service but added that this was only part of the story. he is the only public figure two appeared on both gartner ‘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. he remarked in 1974 that, if i hear rhythmic music, ijust want remarked in 1974 that, if i hear rhythmic music, i just want to remarked in 1974 that, if i hear rhythmic music, ijust want to get up rhythmic music, ijust want to get up and dance, something i am sure many of us empathise with. jeremy corbyn reflected on the prince's charity work and his love of plant and animal kingdoms. escorted cultural experts are well known for the i am cultural experts are well known for thelama cultural experts are well known for the i am a keen gardener and allotment holder and i consider five with his desire to talk to plants. i have found them better listeners than many members of this house. back to brexit and in late november there was finally a breakthrough in there was finally a breakthrough in the talks at a special summit in brussels, where eu leaders gave theirformal brussels, where eu leaders gave their formal backing to the
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withdrawal agreement, the so—called divorce deal between the eu and uk food it ran to a massive 585 pages. they also signed up to the much slimmer political declaration, setting out the framework for the future relationship between the two clu b future relationship between the two club while mps had yet to see the small print, opponents had already decided their work on promises they we re decided their work on promises they were not prepared to accept. after the smiles in brussels, the prime minister ‘s face a hostile commons again, and once again it was the guarantees in northern ireland that caused most attention from the leader of the dup westminster wanted reassurance that the backstop if a deal on trade couldn't be reached by 2020 would not last for ever. the prime minister says in her statement the legal text is clear once the backstop has been too busy did, it shall cease to apply. we need a ccu ra cy shall cease to apply. 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
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the backstop is bad for the union, bad for the economy? that's what he said. can she tell us which bits are so said. can she tell us which bits are so bad for the union? theresa may explained why the uk would not want to enter the backstop for it to be long—lasting. to enter the backstop for it to be long-lasting. in the future, we want to be able to have an independent policy for the one issue in relation to the backstop is whether we would be able to do that. that is one issue we would not want to see, is continuing to be in the backstop. what mps wanted to see the legal advice behind withdrawal agreement. they'd already voted for it to be published, minister declined and offered a summary. the government's chief law officer came to the commons to answer questions on that summary. 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 baying and shouting, members opposite of what i am trying to do
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is to guard the public interest. that's all! opposition mps were not satisfied with that. the next day, the government was defeated in to vote on the matter, finding ministers in contempt of parliament and ordering for publication of the legal advice. that didn't mean that ministers were clapped in irons or thrown in the tower, but it meant the government backed down and published the document serial government defeat in the commons is usually big news, but there was a third defeat for ministers on the same day. this one was potentially more significant for the future of brexit. a cross—party group of mps, spearheaded by conservatives, succeeded in a bid to make mps make changes to what was put before them if theresa may's brexit bill was voted down the ayes to the right, 321. the noes to the left, 299. mps
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backed dominic grieve. all of which provided an unwelcome backdrop for ministers and mps began finding five days of debate, which the government hoped would end in a vote to approve the eu withdrawal agreement and uk's future relationship with the eu. this was the big one. it would mean we'd reached a major milestone in the negotiations for the —— and emotions. dozens of gazebos sprang up emotions. dozens of gazebos sprang up overnight to house the massed ra nks up overnight to house the massed ra n ks of up overnight to house the massed ranks of journalists, commentators and mps. nearby copy shops ran dry, tension mounted. 40 hours had been set aside in the commons in what had been 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 began in the split in the conservative party and across the commons reared up again.|j 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
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before us is a good deal and, if i may say... ok, there is one!|j sincerely may say... ok, there is one!” sincerely believe it. i have got no sta ke sincerely believe it. i have got no stake in this government any more, but i think it's the right thing to do. but there was lingering anger over mrjohnson‘s role as a lead of the brexit campaign. he was a senior member of vote leave, and secretary for two years, member of vote leave, and secretary for two yea rs, we member of vote leave, and secretary for two years, we are in this mess because of improved the deal on offer, as the prime minister says, it's the only deal on offer, and it does not recover our sovereignty. it leaves us real takers from the eu, without any voice in shaping those rules. next day, the commons heard from two former ministers, also opposed the dealfor from two former ministers, also opposed the deal for the this deal is not politically or practically
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deliverable and it will make us poorer and it will also risk the union. it's the political equivalent of being asked tojump out of an aeroplane without knowing if your parachute is there and attached. all the brexit scenarios modelled by the treasury, gdp in 15 years' time will be lower, and lower still with the impact of ending free movement is modelled. the prime minister did have supporters. one praised her doggedness and determination, saying she'd achieved a pragmatic compromise, and he quoted a poem by lewis carroll. the principal failing occurred in the sailing, and the gellman plex occurred in the sailing, and the gellman flex and distressed city had hoped at least, when the wind blew due east, but there would be dealt with at the ship would not travel due west. to coin a phrase from a greater, kinder and more resolute period in our national life, come,
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let us go forward together and settle this now. sir nicholas soames. but tension continued to grow, with more and more conservatives joining the democratic unionists and other opposition parties saying they would not back the deal. staring heavy defeat in the deal. staring heavy defeat in the face, the prime minister had the grim task of coming to the commons to confirm the remaining two days of debate and vote on their withdrawal agreement had been pulled.” debate and vote on their withdrawal agreement had been pulled. i have listened carefully to what has been set in this chamber and out of it... laughter to what has been said in this chamber and out of it by members from all sides. from listening to those views, it is clear that, while there is broad support for many key aspects of the deal... laughter on one issue, the northern ireland backstop, there remains widespread and deep concern. uncertainty is
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building for business, people are in despair at the state of these failed negotiations, and concerned about what it means about theirjobs, 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 must remark if she isn't prepared to do that, let her have the vote of this house to tell them what we think of their rotten deal. members across this house don't want your deal. the eu don't want to renegotiate. isn't the only way to break the deadlock about it to the people? we sell even now don't know when she wants to bring this 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
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these walls see a shambles by government and, with this in mind, we will support the leader of the opposition, should he, as he should, table a motion of no confidence. the thing that is changing is the view of the british people. i know it is nearly pantomime season but, oh yes, it has. anna soubry. don't be called by that christmas banter, anger among mps was growing. one 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 dispatch boxes, before having it taken from him and replaced by officials. but such theatrics were the least of theresa may's worries. the prime minister set out to get more out of the eu, desperate to get
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something on the northern ireland border to reassure her own mps. but many of them had clearly had enough. under the rules of the conservative party, if 15% of its mps write letters of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 committee, the committee of the backbenchers, a leadership ballot is triggered and, after months of speculation, in mid—december the magic number was reached. the chairman of the committee announced that she had won to rapturous applause from the 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 vote can take place for 12 months. the result meant theresa may can't face another challenge for a year, but opposition to her brexit deal remained insurmountable. so theresa may went back to brussels
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hoping for a concession. instead, she appeared to be caught on camera ina she appeared to be caught on camera in a testy exchange with the european commission president, jean—claude juncker, and the european commission president, jean—claudejuncker, and the promise merely of clarification, not renegotiation. she returned to the commons to try and persuade mps there could be progress on the sticking point of the irish border” explained that the issuance we had already agreed with the eu were insufficient for this house, we had to go further in showing that we never want to use this backstop and, if it is used, it must be temporary. the prime minister has cynically run down the clock, trying to manoeuvre parliament into a choice between two u na cce pta ble parliament into a choice between two unacceptable outcomes for the deal or 110 unacceptable outcomes for the deal or no deal. this embarrassing, reckless brexit we find ourselves perilously close to began with the tory party putting party before country. now we have a prime
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minister putting her own interests above both party and country. the most tense, dramatic, divided and bitter four months most tense, dramatic, divided and bitterfour months in parliament that many watchers can remember with me is bbc political correspondent leila nathoo. let's talk about the conservatives. do you think the brexiteer and remain er wings are further apart than ever? at the extremes further apart than ever? at the extre m es of further apart than ever? at the extremes of those wings, it appears that way. their positions are entrenched, and certainly the recent events have further duggan to their sides. we know that at least 48 letters of no confidence went in against the prime minister. we can presume a large chunk were the brexiteer wings. 117 mps did vote against her. i think it looks like, although she has her supporters, certainly the brexiteers are out to get her in some way, and that is driving the two wings of the conservatives further apart. do we
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know what labour actually wants? many observers are looking for any hint that labour will ship its position in favour of coming out in support for that other referendum. there is still the general election demand first and then, after that, they are still saying all options remain on the table, so those looking for clarity will have to wait. parliament appears to be com pletely wait. parliament appears to be completely gridlocked, so good it have to be that giving parliament a vote on the different options, vindictive votes, might be the way forward ? vindictive votes, might be the way forward? the idea is gaining traction. interesting to hear senior cabinet members talking about this openly and looking beyond the vote we expect an theresa may's brexit deal to say, it's not going to get through, so what should happen next? we talked about divisions within the conservatives, but does it seem to be the case that there is also a separate operation going on with the cabinet, almost operating separately to theresa may in some ways, and
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does it have enough power to force a point of view an theresa may and force into a course of action? there will certainly be guidance going on, so she is obviously being lobbied by different groupings in the cabinet to ta ke different groupings in the cabinet to take different courses of action. ultimately, she is convinced she can still get backing for birdie with some tweaks from the eu, and she will be taking her cabinet's view on board, but at the moment she is sticking to her position of trying to get the deal through, convinced that over the christmas break mps will have enough time to think and ministers will have enough time to reflect on this process and come down or other site. certainly, reflect on this process and come down or othersite. certainly, it reflect on this process and come down or other site. certainly, it is highly unusual to have such an unpredictable and volatile cabinet. thank you for coming on. and that's it from me for now filled mps and peers have left westminster for their christmas break. time to reflect on where we are and what might come for the —— what might come from having wonderful festive
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season and we will be back with you with every twist and turn in parliament returns on monday the 7th of january for now, goodbye. the search for survivors in indonesia — after a tsunami hits coastal towns. more than 200 people have been killed and many more injured — after a wave triggered by an erupting volcano. translation: what was the government doing? at first they said there hadn't been a tsunami last night. they took ages to act. these waves were devastating. police examine a drone found at gatwick airport — but two people arrested have been released without charge. as shelters open for christmas, the charity crisis says 170,000 individuals and families are experiencing homelessness. alfredo morelos on the move. and rangers come from behind to move up to second in the scottish premiership. good afternoon.
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a rescue effort is under way in indonesia to try and locate any more survivors from a tsunami that's already known to have killed more than 200 people and injured nearly 900 others. the islands of java and sumatra were affected by the giant wave, thought to have been triggered by underwater landslides from an erupting volcano, anak krakatau. our correspondent rebecca henschke reports from the area. a popular local tourist destination, now a disaster zone. the only road in, cleared to allow aid supplies to get through. people here now trying to piece
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together their lives. a work party to celebrate the end of the year. onstage, the stars of the night, a local rock group, in full swing. the next second, a wave engulfed the stage. the lead singer confirmed that four band members had died and that his wife is still missing. this coastline where the band were playing is now littered with rubble. rani says she doesn't know how they will rebuild. translation: we were all set up for christmas and the new year holiday period but it's been destroyed by the waves and the rest has been stolen.
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what am i going to do? families here say they had no warning and there was confusing information coming out from the government. translation: what was the government doing? at first they said they hadn't been a tsunami last night. they took ages to act. these waves were devastating. it was clearly a tsunami. over here, an image that gives you a sense of the power of the waves. these cars, i am told, were parked on the other side of the road and they have been pushed into each other on top of what was a holiday villa. full at this time of year. here at this local clinic, desperate families are looking for their relatives. the injured are still arriving. and the death toll is still rising. translation: the victims were local
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people who own shops and stalls here but there were many visitors too. we were trying to open the access road. last night a lot of debris had been dragged in and clogged the road. officials believe underwater landslides caused by eruptions at the nearby anak krakatoa volcano may have triggered the huge waves. it's still active. authorities are warning there could be another tsunami and telling people to stay away from the beaches. let's get more from rebecca in banten in indonesia. it is one of the affected regions. how far has the rescue and relief that got in getting help to those who need it? where we are now we are seeing a lot of ambulances passing by. they've been bringing out the injured from this area. it's not really a ble injured from this area. it's not really able to cope with the scale
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of the disaster. medical clinics here, very small clinics, there are no hospitals in the region. they are reaching down past where i am, towards ta njung lesung, reaching down past where i am, towards tanjung lesung, where we have bad reports of damage, with hotel owners saying there are more injured and that bodies are piling up injured and that bodies are piling up in their hotel. on the sumatra side, officials working to get to some areas but the response has been much quicker than what we saw after the previous tsunami. this area, fairly accessible, just a few hours drive from jakarta. this is a popular holiday destination for people from the capital and they came down here for the holiday period. now people are rapidly trying to get out of here. . thanks for joining trying to get out of here. . thanks forjoining us. sussex police say they're forensically examining a damaged
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