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tv   Wednesday in Parliament  BBC News  July 23, 2020 2:30am-3:01am BST

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the latest headlines from bbc news: president trump is sending hundreds of federal law enforcement officers to fight what he calls rising violent crime in american cities. he said he had no choice but to act, following anti—racism protests. 200 federal agents have already been deployed to kansas city, a similar number will be sent to chicago. china has reacted angrily to the us ordering the closure of its consulate in houston. beijing has theatened to retaliate saying it was a political provocation that would jeopardise relations. the americans said china was using the consulate as a centre for its spying operations in the us. brazil has registered a record number of new coronavirus cases, more than 67,000 in the past 2a hours. the health ministry says almost 1,300 deaths were reported in that period. the country has the world's
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worst outbreak, after the us. you're pretty much up—to—date, it's about half past two in the morning. now, it's time for a look back at the day in parliament. hello again, and welcome to wednesday in parliament. as the key reports they underestimate the threat from russia, boris johnson goes on the front foot. this is about pressure from the remainers who have seized on this report, to try and give the impression that russian interference was somehow responsible for brexit. keir starmer distances himself from jeremy corbyn. in case the pm has not noticed, the labour party is under new management. also in this programme, we have had the virtual parliament, is now time
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for a floating version? embarking on the ship, operating from there. but first, borisjohnson has insisted that the government is taking the strongest possible action against russian wrongdoing. and confirmed that new laws will be brought forward to protect national security. they accuse ministers of underestimating the threat of russian interference. at the last prime minister's questions before the summer recess, the labour leader confronted borisjohnson with some of the reports conclusions. it concludes that russia poses an immediate and serious threat. it is a range of espionage and serious crimes. the prime minister received the report ten months ago. given that the threat is described as immediate and urgent,
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why on earth that the prime minister sit on the report for so long? when i was foreign secretary, for the period that i'd been office of you been taking the strongest possible action against russian wrongdoing, orchestrated on explosion of 153 russian diplomats around the world while the right honourable gentlemen sat on his hands and said nothing while the labor party parroted the line of the kremlin when people in this country were poisoned on the orders of vladimir putin? keir starmer said he had condemned the 2018 salisbury poisonings whenjeremy corbyn was labour leader. when it came to russia he said the government had taken its eye of the ball, a charge rejected by the prime minister, who said no country was more vigilant. i think you'll find if he goes to any international gathering around the world it's the uk that leads the world in caution around russia.
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i don't mean to contradict the gentleman but he sat on his hands and said nothing, the leader of the opposition parroted the line of the kremlin, that the uk should supply... i didn't hear him criticise the then leader of the opposition, if he criticised the leader of the opposition, now is the time for him to set the record straight. i was absolutely clear in condemning what happened at salisbury, not least because i was involved in bringing proceedings against russia on behalf of the litvinenko family. that is why it was so strong about it. mr speaker, i spent five years as director of public prosecutions working on live operations with the security intelligence services so i'm not going to take lecture from the prime minister on matters of security. he asked about the new laws borisjohnson had he asked about the new laws boris johnson had promised he asked about the new laws borisjohnson had promised to introduce. this is about national
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security, why has the government delayed so long in bringing forward this legislation? this government is bringing forward new legislation, not only a new espionage act, new laws to protect against theft of our intellectual property but also and act directly to counter individuals in russia or elsewhere who tra nsgress human rights. this is what it's all about, mr speaker, pressure from the remainers who have seized on this report give the impression that russian interference was somehow responsible for brexit, mr speaker. mr starmer turned to a russian—state owned broadcaster that operates in the uk. this poses actual and potential harm, does the prime minister agree that it's time to look again at licensing from russia to operate in the uk? i think this would come more credibly from the leader
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of the opposition had he called out the former leader of the opposition when he took money for appearing on russia today. he flip—flops from day to day, mr speaker. one day he is in favour of staying in the eu, the next day he is willing to accept brexit. the leader of the opposition has more flip—flops than bournemouth beach. mr speaker, preprepared gags on flip—flops, this is the former columnist who wrote two versions of every article ever published. laughter mr speaker, in case the prime minister has not noticed, the labour party is under new management. and no frontbencher of this party has appeared on russia
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today since i've been leading this party. after prime minister's questions, mps kept pressure on the government's handling of the threat posed by russia. they raised concerns in the report about the prevalence of russian money and that the government had actively avoided investigating kremlin interference in the brexit referendum. but the home office minister james brokenshire said the uk had a record of taking action against russian wrongdoing. we have long recognised the threat posed by the russian state, including from the conventional military capabilities, espionage, cyber attacks, covered interference and illicit finance. we have been clear that russia must desist from its attacks on the uk and our allies, and we've been resolute in defending our country, our democracy and our values. and we categorically reject any suggestion that the uk actively avoided investigating russia. the minister was responding to an urgent question from labour.
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until recently, the government had badly underestimated the russian threat and the response is required. not my words but the damning indictment of deep, systemic failings in the government's approach to security the russia report sets out. it isn't so much the government studied what was happening and missed the signs, the truth is they took a conscious decision not to look at all, as in the case of the 2016 referendum. no wonder the government was so desperate to delay the publication of this report, sitting on it for months, and blocking its publication before a general election was a dereliction of duty. let me say, mr speaker, we have no issue with the russian people. it is the russian state that is involved in a litany of hostile activity. there's a lot of stuff in there, this is a cow that is going to give us a lot of milk for some time and i think it deserves to be taken seriously and objectively. i think the issues that it
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raises in relation to actively looking the other way as far as interference into the brexit referendum need to be addressed and need to be addressed objectively by both the government and indeed the opposition. i have been warning about putin's russia for 19 years now and called for the sanctions for ten years. what mystifies me is that government ministers are still giving out golden visas to dodgy russian oligarchs, that government ministers are still granting exemptions to dodgy russian oligarchs so that they can hide their ownership of business is in this country, and i am mystified that government ministers are still taking millions of pounds from dodgy russian oligarchs. we have to clean up our act and it has to start with the government. i fully accept what the minister says about this government, i give credit where credit is due, i have met folks in the russia unit and i thank them
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for their work. however, from 2007 to at least 2014, as the honourable member said eloquently, we were hugely complacent and it damages. —— damaged us. julian lewis was expelled from the conservative parliamentary party for securing the chairmanship of the intelligence committee in defiance of downing street. the russia report could not have been british to this high standard without the dedication, expertise and above all objectivity of the isc's brilliant staff, some of whom i've worked with previously. yet, according to the journalist tim walker, some people within government tried to sack the secretary and make political appointments. will my right honourable friend, as i still regard him, resist the temptation to fob us
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off with cliches about not believing everything you read in the media, and give this house now a categorical commitment that no party political special advisers will be allowed anywhere near the intelligence and security committee? thank you, mr speaker. several mps pressed the minister for an answer to this question. will he now rule out any attempt at government interference in the work of the isc, any political appointments to its secretariat, any special advisers to be appointed to him, would he rule that out now? yes or no? it's important the isc is independent and rigorous and the right honourable lady can have my assurance in terms of the steps that i take to uphold that. the issue was also raised in the house of lords.
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a conservative former minister focused on the reference in the report to a number of peers who worked directly for russian companies to the kremlin. i am banned from going to russia, but i have been to various meetings with members of both houses and i regret to say that some noble lords seem to be defending the indefensible, namely, the putin regime. i wonder if my noble friend could ensure that there is a closer investigation into links that people have with the putin regime? all members of the house will have noted the comments in the committee report in relation to your lordship‘s house. i think it is extremely important that we should be on our guard, all of us, against the activities of the putin regime. you're watching wednesday in parliament. still to come, poohsticks
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and the prime minister. the westminster leader accused boris johnson of panicking about growing support for scottish independence. ian blackford offered some advice. the more scotland sees of this uk government, the more convinced they are of the need for scotland's independence. the far better plan for the tories would be to listen to the will of the scottish people. so, before his visit tomorrow, will be prime minister call a halt to his government's full frontal attack on devolution? boris johnson assumed he was talking about a bill about food standards on the rest of the uk. the prime minister said the proposed law will see powers transferred from brussels to scotland. its principal purpose
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is to protect jobs throughout the united kingdom, to stop pointless barriers of trade and anyone sensible would support it. the prime minister. the housing secretary has denied any wrongdoing for a home development belonging to the former daily express owner richard desmond. his decision to give the go—ahead to the controversial billion pound development against the advice of planning officials came one day before a new community infrastructure was introduced. which would've required the developer to pay £30 million or more. the go—ahead was later reversed after a legal challenge by the local counsel. he appeared before the housing communities and local government committee and he faced detailed cross—examination about his decision in the circumstances in which he found himself sitting next to mr desmond at the conservative party fundraiser last year. i think this could have been
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handled differently. i've regret that i was sat next to the applicant at a dinner in november. i have also made clear that i have absolutely no idea that i was going to be sat next to him or his associates. there was no bias whatsoever, and any suggestion of that, i think, is extremely unfair and is, in most cases, a wilful misreading of events. but would it be better not to have been sat next to the applicant? yes. that was not my decision. would it have been better not to have text messages with him? yes, and both myself and my department will learn lessons from the experience. would it have been better, once mr desmond made the approach at the dinner, if you had immediately notified officials in the department of that, and maybe even advised of the stage whether you could continue to be involved
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in the application? just to be clear on that — there was no meeting with the applicant, i encountered him at a dinner, he mentioned the application, i told him that it was not appropriate to discuss it and i didn't pass any comment. what advice did you get on the impact of the sale on the viability of this scheme, and when did you receive this advice? i think it's a perfectly fair decision to try and get this done one way or another before the seal charge came in. who that benefits is of no interest to me. i'm not interested in the personal finances of the applicant. i'm interested in making a fair decision on the basis of the facts before a material change in circumstances occurs. that is the rule of law. that is the role of the secretary of state. he said his priority was to deliver much—needed new homes, including social housing to london.
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the government has been warned that tens if not hundreds of thousands of people can become homeless towards the end of next month. in the commons, labour demanded that ministers take urgent action. ina in a government statement... the secretary said that the government is clear that no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home. nor any landlord face unmanageable debts. labour wants to hold them to this. evictions on august 23, the government is felt to plan for what happens next in this failure looks set to lead to evictions and homelessness this autumn. nobody benefits from renters becoming homeless, people struggling with the referral scheme, we have called on the government to act, and it is not too late to extend the ban and sort of the legal changes in september. for the sake of everyone whose home is at risk and everyone who cares, i urge them to act now. the housing minister said
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they took unprecedented measures to help tenants and difficulty during the pandemic, spending billions of pounds on the employment furlough scheme and, for example, on council tax relief. we have committed to 6,000 new long—term homes, 3,300 this year to help anyone who suffers from homelessness. i think the house will agree that is, by any measure, a real effort to help people who are in need. but we are moving out of the worst of the epidemic, madam deputy speaker, and we are moving through a transition phase and it is right that we normalise proceedings and procedures. i'd dread the autumn. even before covid, my area of rent was the second—highest evictions in london. a third of households live in poverty and more than of employees earn below the living wage. now, many face redundancy.
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this will mean after paying their rent, the average family with three children in my constituency will be left with just £38.46 a week to feed and clothe all five people and to pay all their utility bills. well, madam deputy speaker, the best way to help the constituents out of this crisis is to get the economy back on track and people back into work so that they can pay their bills and enjoy their lives again. i have military families returning from serving this country abroad who are unable to regain access to their family homes because of the moratorium on evictions. i have neighbourhoods who were blighted because despite the best actions the authorities to affect households that have been a persistent source of antisocial behaviour. it means that those individuals are there filling their noses at their neighbours in causing misery for many.
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will the government commit to an infrastructure project. to road buildingm build at least a handful of social homes, social homes not affordable homes to address the homelessness crisis once and for all pins because we will not get of homelessness unless we have a public—sector, infrastructure project to build social homes for rent. they said no—one would lose homes as a result of losing income due to covid—19. the minister said today that they cannot guarantee that, can he? we have protected those tenants from eviction by the actions that we have already taken, madam deputy speaker. actions that i believe have been supported across the house. we are now moving into a new stage of this crisis where we are trying to normalise our economy and society. of course, i cannot guarantee that every tendency will be retained, but we have
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taken steps to make sure that tenants are supported, will continue to take the steps. the defence secretary is stored in peace that the aircraft and struck a0 terrorist targets in the battle against the so—called islamic state group in the last 12 months. ben wallace said the hard fight, which is also known as daesh, is by no means done even though the group lost control of territory it once held in syria and iraq. the poisonous ideology continues to endure. their pernicious influence continues to spread. conflict, economic collapse and inequality is creating new opportunities that they will continue to exploit, to grow and recruit. and the prospect of their resurgence should concern us all. as long as they are able to operate over there, they can hit our citizens over here. daesh retain their intent to inspire and carry out attacks against us and remain the most significant terror threat to the united kingdom and our interests. the coalition's success so far is clear.
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daesh no longer controls any territory and compared to its height six years ago when it had sway over 8 million people and a land area the size of our own uk. the snp wanted to know what was being done to tackle recruitment and the cyber threat. can we get a bit more information for the house, perhaps through the defence fommittee, i'm not sure, on exactly what the government is doing to tackle the online recruitment and strangle off those funding mechanisms that keep them going? ben wallace told him a special unit has been set up in the home office to spot material online. the mayor of london is been accused of mismanaging the funding of transport for london, tfl. he set out to the financial cost of the coronavirus pandemic to london's transport network. £100 million a week lost in fa res.
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£600 per a—week period to run tfl. it doesn't take much to work out that it's going to run out. there's no fares coming again and many lost at one stage that we had only 5% of people using public transport. the lowest numbers since the 1800s. the point that i want to delve into a little bit is the place where tfl finances were on the day things started to go wrong because of the pandemic. certainly, government figures suggest that because of decisions you took under your mayority, £700 million down in terms of fair revenue because of your pledge to freeze fairs. because of our fares freeze, we have not seen the reduction in bus usage, i can give you a table across the country in london and it stayed pretty good because of our fares freeze, and i can also give you evidence of additional use
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of public transport in london, cheaper numbers, bus numbers and incredibly healthy and pays for profit there because of one of the reasons is the freeze that we've had. the debate on how to tackle the crumbling palace of westminster and whether mps and peers should should move out goes on. it has been given added impetus by the prime minister suggestion that perhaps the house of lords could move to york through the multibillion—pound restoration and renewal project. at question time in the lords, a former head of the navy offered the solution. 0ptions seem to come out from number ten a bit like chaff from an aircraft under missile attack. but as we seem to be in a season for crackpot ideas, may i ask the noble lord, the minister, bearing in mind the furthest point from the sea in our great maritime nation is 45 miles and there are large numbers of cruise ships lying idle and may be available in the future at very cheap rates, couldn't both houses embark on a ship and operate
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from there, visiting all parts of our islands? i raised this before on the floor of our house and the government minister in reply to me said it would be looked at. hasit? my lords, i'll have to take advice on that matter, and i will respond to the noble and gallant lord. options like chaff have varying effects, as the noble and gallant lord will know. my lords, i repeat, this is a matter for exclusive cognizance of your lordships' house and of the other place in the last resort. suggesting they are not ready just just yet. as the mp for the hundred acre wood, to read winnie the pooh, and as pooh said, "you're
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braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." sage advice for children everywhere. i think that's wonderful advice from my right honourable friend which i will take to heart, and i look forward tojoining her for a game of poohsticks in the hundred acre wood. borisjohnson sharing his staycation plans with mps on the last sitting days for the comments until september. we will be back when they are. right before then, do keep an eye out for special westminster and review programmes on bbc parliament. when looking at the impact of the pandemic and the other packed with everything else that is happened since the general election. perfect holiday viewing. but for now, goodbye. hello there.
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cloud is thickening up once again from the atlantic. it's set to bring some more rain mainly for the middle third of the uk. some areas stayed cloudy and damp throughout the day on wednesday and, as a result, it was quite cool, as well. we had a temperature of 26 in london, but the sunniest weather, that was in bournemouth. almost 1a hours of sunshine. probably not as much sunshine, though, for thursday. it will be quite a cloudy start to the day with temperatures around 12—14 celsius. and we start with some outbreaks of rain mainly across northern ireland, southern scotland, northern england and wales. that's going to be quite heavy for a while, gradually turning lighter and more patchy through the day. we get some sunshine more widely across scotland and northern ireland and towards the south—east. perhaps even into the midlands, it may well stay dry, but there'll be more clouds around, so it won't be quite as warm — still 23 or 2a degrees. we are looking at some showers to come into the south—west of england, still damp into wales, some more rain
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across northern england, so quite a cool day here, although the far north of england improving later on. we'll have some sunshine in the afternoon across northern ireland and more widely in scotland, so a warmer day here, 19 or 20 degrees. but still some rather sharp showers in the north—east up towards the northern isles. those will tend to ease off a bit during the evening. this light and patchy rain by this stage heading down towards the midlands, eventually later on in the night towards the south—east of england. the weather front bringing that is going to be very weak, and as we move into friday, we are in between two wet weather systems — a transient ridge of high pressure before that weather front increases the cloud and brings some rain in from the atlantic. but many places will have a dry day on friday. could be a fair bit of cloud, particularly across southern parts of england and south wales, the odd shower here. one or two showers further north, perhaps into north—east england and scotland. then we get later on in the day some rain pushing in from the west across northern ireland. ahead of that, 20 degrees through the central belt of scotland, and we're back up to 25
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in the south—east of england. as we head into the weekend, we're dominated by low pressure sitting close to the north of the uk. that weather front will tend to move through, taking some heavy rain away and then it's showers following on behind. certainly looks like saturday is going to be the wetter day, and those showers could be heavy and thundery. a much drier day on sunday for eastern parts of england with the bulk of the showers in the north and the west of the uk. at the conservative party fundraiser last year.
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welcome to bbc news, my name is mike embley, our top stories: president trump deploys hundreds more federal officers to american cities, expanding his crackdown on what he calls spiralling violent crime. my vision for america's cities could not be more different from the lawlessness being pushed by the extreme radical left. even though the us is recording more than a thousand coronavirus deaths a day, the president also insists schools must get back to normal. tensions between the world's biggest powers escalate, as the us orders china to close its consulate in houston. millions of poeple are displaced by torrential monsoon rains in india, nepaland bangladesh.


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