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tv   Thursday in Parliament  BBC News  March 22, 2019 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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but if mps do not pass the withdrawal agreement, then that will change to two extra weeks. theresa may has reiterated her wish that parliament approve the deal and allow britain to leave the eu smoothly. a week on from the horrific attacks on two mosques in christchurch, new zealand has fallen silent to remember the 50 people killed. the call to prayer was also observed, while other services are taking place to show solidarity with the muslim community. aid workers are racing against time to get emergency supplies to hundreds of thousands of people affected by cyclone idai, which struck southern africa a week ago. more than 300 people have been confirmed dead in mozambique and zimbabwe, but the toll is expected to rise. now on bbc news, thursday in parliament.
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coming upfairy coming up fairy and the commons. they stash fury. i apprehended the prime minister last thursday evening and i begged — dial down the hate, prime minister. it is in your power to dial down the hate. the government is accused of being part of the problem in attempts to restore a devolved government in northern ireland. i know from personal experience how difficult it would be in northern ireland, but i see no evidence that energy and commitment has been effectively applied. there are calls for ministers to do more to get us all cycling and walking. and talking of exercise,
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a government peer reveals what he gets up to in a quiet moment. i have actually unrolled my yoga mat in my office. but first, theresa may spent thursday in brussels asking for an extension to the brexit timetable. mrs may told reporters that she had ‘personal regret‘ over requesting a delay to brexit and was still working on getting parliament to agree her deal. her brussels trip came a day after she made a statement in downing street in which she blamed the current situation on mps, claiming people were tired of infighting and political games. and she repeated an accusation that all mps had been willing to say is what they do not want. but those comments provoked a furious reaction in the commons, where the shadow leader of the house said the prime minister were setting up a hostile environment. it is not us in parliament contemplating this. i've never heard such unparliamentary language about ha rd—working colleagues from all sides of the house. hear, hear. we sit in committees, we sit on select committees, delegate legislation.
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that is what we do. but the government has had lancaster house, mansion house, florence, berlin and each time we backed the prime minister for clarity on the information about negotiations. and each time she said nothing. ‘i don't want to give a running commentary. ‘brexit means brexit.‘ what she should have done was given us broad heads of agreement, right at the start, so she can understand what parliament wanted. what i would say about the prime minister's speech yesterday is that what she was seeking to invoke amongst all parliamentarians is just the absolute reality that in a hung parliament, it is for every member of parliament to seek to provide their support for good governance. we are going to have to have an emergency debate about mp security following the prime minister's statement last night. i am certain that a few of us feel just a little bit more insecure this morning. it was the height of irresponsibility in the prime minister to pitch a public against parliament and
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this current climate. we are supposed to be out by next friday. this is totally unbelievable. this disaster is part constitutional crisis, part farce. but it is 100% tory. how dare this government try to put this mess on us? hear, hear! well, the honourable gentleman won't be surprised to know that i do not share his view at all. and what i would say again is that this house has a duty to decide what it does want. the honourable gentleman says where is the legislation to take no deal off the table? he knows this house voted to leave the european union on march the 29th. now, that is the legal position. how does he suggest that we legislate to take no deal off the table,
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unless it is by agreeing a deal? last week i received a message saying that my head should be chopped off — among lots and lots of other messages in common with many of the members on both sides of his house. i apprehended the prime minister last thursday evening and i begged her — dial down the hate, prime minister, it is in your power to dial down the hate. people are frightened. notjust in this place, but in the country as a whole. the prime minister must show some leadership. it is within her grasp. in recent weeks, like many mps in this house, i have been accused of being a traitor. and i have also had facebook posts saying that — along with the two other mps in hull — that we should be shot and hanged. in light of the statement made by the prime minister last night where she pitched members of parliament against the general public — can the leaderjust tell me, does she agree with what the prime
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minister did last night? and can we please have a debate in this house about patriotism? and about how we, as members of parliament across all sides of the house, love our country. hear, hear. and we want to make sure we get the very best for our country. and there is much more that unites us than actually divides us. the speaker intervened. none of you is a traitor. all of you are doing your best. this should not be — and i'm sure will not prove — to be a matter of any controversy whatsoever. from the chair, let me say that i believe passionately in the institution of parliament, and the rights of members of his house and in their commitment to their duty. during those exchanges, the long—running tension betweenjohn bercow and the leader of the commons andrea leadsom
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bubbled to the surface again. this time after conservatives appeared to shout from the sidelines, after a question from a labour mp. the principles that underlie the role of mps was set out 250 years ago. they are to be accountable to and listen to your constituents, but also to observe your own conscience and your own judgement. those principles what seriously undermined last night by the prime minister in one of the most contemptuous statements that i have ever heard. and that is up against the british difficult decision. can i now ask the leader of the house again, if she agrees with what the prime minister said last night? 0rder. let's grow up. do grow up! for goodness‘ sake! this is not a matter of party political hackery. let‘s have some seriousness and purpose and mutual respect.
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the honourable gentleman is an experienced member of the house, he‘s asked an honest question to which the leader i know will honestly reply. for goodness‘ sake, let‘s raise the level! the leader of the house. mr speaker, may ijust say that your response does not raise the level, but i will leave it there. 0rder. resume your seat, leader of the house. my response sets out the constitutional position that has applied to members of the house of commons over generations. and i cannot, for the life of me, see or believe that there is anything remotely controversial about what i have said. the leader of the house. in response to the honourable gentleman's point, what i wanted to say is i will speak for my own views when i say that i had the highest regard for members right across this chamber. i think that all honourable members do exactly as they think is right for their constituents
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and for their country. and it's absolutely right that patient continued to do so. what i think the prime minister was urging upon all of the honourable members is to recognise that in the heart of parliament it is incumbent on all of us to ensure that there is a good government. because by definition... by definition, it's important that we all participate in ensuring progress for our country. as indeed we have done through over 40 pieces of primary legislation in this session alone. those conservatives that they just don‘t labour mp reckoned andrea leadsom had got things a long way around. i reckon i worked out where everything has gone wrong over the last couple of years in this parliament. we have discovered today from the foreign secretary and having it at the house as well, that there is a new rather dangerous doctrine developed any government — that when there is a hung parliament it is the duty of mps, broadly speaking, to support the government even if they don‘t
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think that is a very good idea. that is the essence of it, isn‘t it? but it is ok — and actually should be at the other way around. in a hung parliament, the government must listen to the whole of the house. but i have got a solution to it. i think the leader of the house can help with this. all government ministers, when they are giving their copy of the code of conduct for ministers, they should also be given a copy of that 1936 book how to win friends and influence people. clearly the prime minister didn‘t have a copy last night. not least because it guarantees the reader will increase your popularity and help you to win people over to your way of thinking. i‘m sure if the leader of the house could leave here later, pop over and see the prime minister and give her a copy, she would manage to solve everything. the key to the book is — always a smile and never get cross. laughter. in reply to that, andrea leadsom said that in a hung parliament it was essential for people to work together. northern ireland has been without a devolved
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government since january, 2017, when power—sharing broke down between sinn fein and the dup. labour wanted to know why the northern ireland secretary karen bradley had acted to suspend the extension of the stormont assembly from next week until the end of august. she was accused of having become "part of the problem" rather than the solution. she‘s given up on bringing the parties together. nobody in northern ireland, none of the political parties say to me that they believe she‘s been sincere or energetic in her determination to get the parties together, to get the stormont assembly back up and running. i will quote the honourable member for belfast north in the house magazine who said "the basic policy approach has been flawed "in the sense that she just decided northern ireland "to just stand still. "leave it to the civil servants. "in fact, that is a glaring failure on her part". there are only three options before the legislation expires next week.
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the first is an assembly election, a costly exercise which would be highly unlikely to change the political dynamics. the second is an alternative approach to decision—making in northern ireland such as a direct rule — something which i do not believe is in the interest of people of northern ireland and certainly, they tell me it is not what they want. and at the third option is to extend in the act. this gives the political parties more space to come back together in the best interest of the people of northern ireland. it also provides the northern ireland civil service with the certainty and clarity they need to continue to deliver public services in the absence of ministers. the secretary of state‘s decision not to hold the northern ireland assembly elections are understandable. however it leaves northern ireland in uncertainty. school boards are in crisis as we know willingness for operations grow, there is a need to target specific monies across all departments. particular to health and education, as they suggested. dozens of secretary of state feel that perhaps it is going to be vital to have an independent facility
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to chair the process? because the uk government, rightly or wrongly, may appear to be compromised by its current arrangement in this place with the dup. could i suggest to her that to do something a bit more radical, a bit more... you know, to take the initiative. what about calling the assembly together? what about putting it up to the parties? who is prepared to go into the government now, and who wants to sit outside? because my understanding is that four out of the five parties in northern ireland would go into government tomorrow. why not put it up to people? instead of all the talk about wanting to evolution, let‘s see who actually will vote for it. in the lords, labour‘s former northern ireland secretaries share their concern. this is a dire situation. it is really serious — everything from the really serious problem of waiting lists for children in the national health
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service in northern ireland, right through to the lack of a functioning assembly of executives at a time of great crisis for northern ireland. probably the most serious crisis it has faced in many a long year, and that says something. it has been one long saga of inertia and inactivity. hear, hear. i know from personal experience how difficult it can be in northern ireland. but i see no evidence that energy and commitment has been effectively applied. the prime minister, frankly, has shown little interest. no attempt has been made to appoint an independent chair. there has been no structure to the talks. and suggestions regarding possible restoration of the assembly on its own have been ignored. mps have heard claims that an autistic child has to fail before getting the support he or she needs. members were taking part in a commons debate on services for people with autism. they heard first from hugh merriman, a member of the all—party
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parliamentary group on autism. each of us, as my honourable member has just reminded, has around 1000 people on the autism spectrum in our constituencies. and it affects one in 100 people. we each will have many autistic people and their family members contacting us to ask for our help, on areas from education to adult support, diagnosis to employment. sort of a perennial problem that keeps popping up every time. certainly in my constituency. one is the speed of diagnosis. but also the fact is that so many children with autism just do not get an education. that strategy has surely got to try and address that in a better way than it has in the past. the honourable member is absolutely right. one of the issues, time and time again, is that young people have to fail in order to be given the service and support that they actually need. there are good examples of young people going to a preschool where it is quite clearly fail, they still then have to go on to a mainstream school where they will then fail before they are then given that support.
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it should be blindingly obvious and councils should actually look at those plans before the primary school starts. they should do that, and often many will say they are not required, perhaps they don‘t actually know what their obligations really are. autism is not a learning disability, it is not an illness, it is a form of neurodiversity. i would like to commend the work that is taking place in my own party by neurodivergent labour who are working to ensure policy commitments to create a society which works for everyone, living with autism and other forms of neurodiversity. autistic people also have very special gifts and talents, like the young man who spent time doing work experience in my office after his gcscs last summer, he completed the most brilliant analysis of crime statistics in my constituency i have ever seen. the phrase that autism is about neurodiversity. it is probably listed in my members interest, i talk about this often. i have a son who is about to turn 20 — he was diagnosed with asperger‘s
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and is in his first year at university now and thriving. precisely because he had the great fortune and he beat the personal courage to have teachers in his mainstream schools who took the time to learn about how they could help him stay in mainstream school. and have proof that it is absolutely possible for most young men, but some young women to the tenant to make a chance for them to thrive and be everything that they are born to be. there is still not enough knowledge out there about autism. we know that many people can still be quite ignorant about it as well. i think that is a point that we must all reflect upon. that is why it is so important that — while autism awareness week is a good opportunity for us to give this the focus that it desires, particularly in parliament that is so dominated by brexit — i think this reminds us that there are other issues out there that people ought to be focused on. i think there is a lot of unity here today. the honourable gentleman said that children have to fail before they get the support that they need.
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that is why including children and young people in the autism strategy for the first time is so important. the centre funds that the government introduced were intended to support all young people to achieve their potential in education. since 2014, he has invested £391 million to help implement these reforms. we know that there is more to do. we funded the autism education trust to autism awareness training for more than 195,000 existing school and college staff, not just teachers but administrators and support workers. we hope that will go some way to helping diagnosed women and girls who we know very much are underrepresented. you‘re watching thursday in parliament with me, alicia mccarthy. the government has been urged to protect our children from toxic air. earlier this month, public health chiefs proposed a ban on cars idling outside school gates, in an attempt to cut air pollution. the measure is among a series
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of uk—wide recommendations put forward by public health england. it has also recommended making sure that children can walk or cycle to school. labour mps raised pollution and transport questions. 11.5 million children are growing up in areas with unsafe levels of particulate matter. over 70% of uk towns and cities have levels that are above the limits recommended by the world health organisation. when will he protect our children from toxic air? because under his existing plans, they are likely to persist in facing that for another ten years. absolutely. mr speaker, i am sadly surprised that the honourable lady is not aware of the very considerable hundreds of millions of pounds of funding and the very specific, close work we are doing with cities — many of them labour cities — constructively working with government on reducing this issue. it is a complex and multifaceted
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issue and we are taking it very seriously. the minister announced £21 million of new funding for the national cycle network. two weeks ago, the transport committee took active travel inquiry up to manchester where we met with chris portman, the walking and cycling commissioner. he was telling us that there were certain safety measures such as small pedestrian crossings which they are unable to put in, discouraged by the department for transport because they are not recognised interventions. how can the department do more to give us safety improvements to local authorities so that we can eradicate some of the less safe areas of our streets? there is a tension between national standards and local innovation. we are keen to try to ensure that both are next in the right way. i am delighted and i will certainly take this up again because i think it is an important issue and we want to see more innovation in support of road safety. mr speaker, walking is the most basic form of transport. a ten—minute walk offers huge
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benefits to our health and also to our communities by easing congestion and air pollution. areas where footpaths have been improved, also see increases in trade at local shops and a stronger sense of community. however, millions ofjourneys less than a mile long are still being made by car. when is the government going to properly fund its cycling and walking walking strategy? the money he announced today simplyjust won‘t cut it. mr speaker, when we last looked at walking and cycling funding in 2010 — that is the level we heard from the last government — it was about £2.50 a person. it is about £7.55 a person at the moment. we'd like to get it a lot higher if we can. we fully agree with the merits and benefits, but it is three times the amount we inherited from the government for 13 years. a veteran labour mp thought ministers should lead by example and take up using electric bicycles. based upon what is said about walking and cycling and e—bikes and all the rest of it — when is the government going to get
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rid of their ministerial cars and have e—bikes instead? laughter hey! i welcome the question. he will be aware that i am a very keen cyclist to—and—fro work, and i barely use — unless cars are required for security and other reasons — but i barely use my car. we encourage all colleagues to enjoy the benefits of cycling and walking. another labour mp turned to brexit. eight days. just eight days until the uk leaves the eu. no deal in place, no plan in place, simply chaos across government. but it is the chaos across our borders which is my concern today. some with the secretary of state in—store that the prime minister today, and making her case to the eu
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council to avoid a no deal and how essential it is to extend article 50, highlight that a border created between the eu and the uk will harm trade, the flow of goods, foods and medicines and will be catastrophic for the logistic sector? mr speaker, as she knows and has this house knows, we don't want to see problematic arrangements at the border. indeed, a deal reached with the prime minister has reached with the european union would prevent those problems existing. the frustration is — and she is right to say there are only eight days left — why is the party opposite continuing to put party advantage of the national interest? they should support the bill next week and we can then move forward with a constructive partnership of the european union. finally if you are finding politics all a bit too stressful at the moment, worry not. hope is at the hand from the house of lords. my lords, there is evidence that yoga helps to build strength in healthy adults and can improve health conditions such as high blood pressure.
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the uk chief medical officer recommend muscle strengthening activities at least two days a week. it is one of many activities recommended in their report. start active, stay active. hear, hear! laughter. very grateful and deal to the noble earl for such a positive response. i'm sure he will agree with the secretary of state's statement last autumn that he believes that if the nhs is to survive, we need more social prescribing by gps which will help with the financial position. i am sure he will agree that yoga, given what he hasjust said, it is very helpful with people with mental health problems. it helps people with back pains. it helps with people tackling addictions, with people with obesity. there is a whole range of subjects there. just discovered that you can do downward dog on these benches. laughter i invite noble lords tojoin me. with the evidence showing that yoga and mindfulness could be good
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for preventing and curing illnesses both physical and mental — could the minister tell us what progress has been made with the national academy for social prescribing and if representatives of yoga and mindfulness practise will be on it? thank you. i thank the noble lord for that question. yes, the national academy of social prescribing, engagement with stakeholders has already begun and they are being consulted. in view of the fact that it is acknowledged that yoga is very beneficial for mental health — it also provides mindfulness, it provides an ability to get betterjudgements, to relax, to actually take decisions in a sensible and responsible way. would he not agree with me that yoga should not be made obligatory for members of the house of commons?
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laughter. hear, hear. my lords, my noble friend makes a very important point about the importance of yoga and the great benefits that it gives to everybody. i have actually unrolled my yoga mat in my office. and i am waiting for a lesson from my noble friend baroness baron who is a teacher of yoga. a politician who truly practises what he preaches. that is it from me for now. dojoin me on friday night at 11 for our round up of the week here at westminster — where i will be talking to two parliamentary experts about the speakers intervention in the brexit process and the current battle between the commons and the government. but for now from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye.
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it was cloudy again in that cloud is still with us as friday starts. but there are changes on the way as this weather front move south during friday into early saturday and behind it it may be cooler but there are behind it it may be cooler but there a re clear behind it it may be cooler but there are clear conditions are more of us will see sunshine over the weekend. ahead of the weather front this is all the cloud we have to start friday, damp and drizzly in places, misty and murky but very mild. here isa misty and murky but very mild. here is a weather front with rain on scotla nd is a weather front with rain on scotland and as it moves through we will see when strengthening across northern england and scotland setting this is where we will see the strongest gusts during the day, in excess of 60 mph across the northern western isles. the rain is moving south across scotland, northern ireland and later reaching
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into parts of north—west england and north wales but look behind the weather front. the land appears, an indication that the sun is coming out. blustery showers, winter on hills into north—west cost and sitting ahead of the weather front, plenty of cloud, brad breaks in north—east england, yorkshire and along the coast but most say cloudy and mild. behind the front it turns cooler. the front continues to move southwards with the cloud but increasingly light and patchy rain on friday evening and night before grinding toa on friday evening and night before grinding to a halt close to the south—west of anglia that make england. damp in places, and elsewhere under clear skies it is a cool night and you may see a touch of frost for parts of northern england, and scotland. quite a change this weather front is bringing. cool and clear conditions in time for the weekend setting more ofa in time for the weekend setting more of a see sunshine but the front lingers close to south—east england, at least on saturday and that means there will be a lot of cloud lingering here and may be some light rain or drizzle did a sunny spells elsewhere, showers on a brisk wind continue to push into scotland setting maybe not wintryjust on the
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hills sitting for showers into northern ireland and temperatures for most areas around 9— 12 degrees so for most areas around 9— 12 degrees so they are down compared to recent days dig a widespread frost going into sunday morning. slowly brightening across southern parts of england on sunday sitting sunny spells elsewhere. heavy and prolonged downpours running through scotla nd prolonged downpours running through scotland and parts of northern ireland and northern england, again wintry on hills. similar temperatures, still quite blustery and scotland. this is how the weekend is shaping up. it will be a little different because the weather front will have moved on through. cool days, chilly nights with a touch of frost but more scotland.
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a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: the european union to give union agrees to give the uk more time. if the withdrawal agreement is passed by the house of commons next week, the european council agrees to an extension until the 22nd of may. twenty—four hours after she attacked mps, theresa may now says she understands their frustration. but she says, it‘s time to end the uncertainty. i hope we can all agree we are now at the moment of decision and i will make every effort to ensure we are able to leave


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