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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  October 18, 2020 5:30am-6:01am BST

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armenia has accused azerbaijan of violating a humanitarian ceasefire in the disputed region of nagorno—karabakh within minutes of the trees coming into force. an armenian defence ministry spokeswoman said azerbaijan broke the ceasefire by firing artillery shells. azerbaijan has yet to respond to the allegations. french officials say that the man who beheaded a teacher in paris on friday had been waiting outside the school and had asked pupils to identify his victim. it's thought the teacher, samuel paty, was targeted for showing cartoons of the prophet mohammed. a national tribute will take place for him on wednesday. australia's state of victoria's easing some of its coronavirus restrictions. people from melbourne will be able to travel 25 kilometres from their home, rather than 5. other changes include the re—opening of hairdressers and golf and tennis clubs. now it's time for a look back
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at the week in parliament. hello and welcome to the week in parliament where the government brings in a new three tier approach to tackling coronavirus in england. but the labour leader reckons it's time for a short sharp lockdown. having read and considered the sage advice, i have genuinely concluded that a circuit break is in the national interest. but borisjohnson accuses keir starmer of opportunism. i think at three o'clock, mr speaker, the shadow health spokesman said that a national lockdown would be disastrous. at five o'clock, he was calling for it. the first minister of wales says he's to ban people from coronavirus hotspots entering the country. also on this programme: why do children from some ethnic minority groups do better at school than white working class youngsters?
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they are desperate to make a new start and enable their children to succeed in the new system. and a plea to help lorry drivers caught short in channel crossing queues. but first: with covid—19 rates rising, more hospitalisations and an increasing number of deaths, the prime minister announced a new approach to tackling coronavirus. we are today simplifying, standardising, and in some places, toughening local rules in england by introducing three levels of covid—19 alert. so all parts of england would be put into one of three tiers. most is in tier one with the rule of six applying indoors and out and pubs and restaurants closing at ten. in the higher level tier two, households are not allow to mix indoors. the toughest restrictions tier three mean no household mixing
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inside or out, the shutting of pubs and bars that don't serve meals and guidance against travelling in or out of the area. in the commons, there was a mixed reaction from mps. the government has asked a lot from people during this pandemic, stay at home, close your business, don't be there at the death of a loved one. british people have borne such sacrifice with grace and resilience, all they ask in return from government is clear communication and basic competence. yet, it seems, mr speaker, that their sacrifices have been squandered by the government's failure to build a robust test trace and isolation system or even communicate competently. people from conway, with 122 cases per 100,000, are not permitted by welsh law to make non—essential journeys into next door where cases stand at 1818 per 100,000.
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-- 18 per 100,000. but people in liverpool, with almost 1600 cases per100,000, can still go on holiday. people in wales are asking the prime minister, how is this fair? well, mr speaker, the guidance is very clear that people from high areas such as merseyside should not be making those journeys. by when does my right honourable friend expect to have vaccinated the vulnerable population, what is his confidence in the date and why does he have that confidence? i am grateful to my honourable friend, alas, i cannot give him a date by which i can promise confidently that we will have a vaccine. there are some very hopeful signs from the oxford trials that are being conducted, but as he knows, sars was discovered 18 years ago and we still don't have a vaccine for sars, i do not wish to depress him, but we must be realistic about this. there is a chance of a vaccine, but it can't be taken for granted.
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borisjohnson. next day, mps were asked to approve the new regulations bringing in england's three tier system. more is going to have to be done to support local people in tier three areas and to prevent what follows on from the pandemic. i do think we need a plan b for the possibility that there isn't an early and successful vaccine. we hope the secretary of state is right and that by the spring, there is vaccine that works and can be produced to scale and enough people want to take it and the problem goes away in the spring. but there may not be. unless the government is prepared to set up roadblocks across the m1, m6, m62 and all other routes to the north, i am afraid, just as it did in the first wave in italy, that it will spread. frankly, the pandemic strategy so far has been akin to throwing a glass
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of water on a chip pan fire and the government needs to change course today. i fear these measures would, for wakefield, be a death by a thousand cuts. mr deputy speaker, i cannot look my constituents in the eye if i had voted for these measures. well despite reservations from some conservatives, mps backed the regulations bringing in the three tier restrictions in england although more than a0 conservative mps rebelled. at prime minister's questions next day the labour leader pointed to the recommendations made by the government's scientific advisers, sage, three weeks ago, that there should be a short period of stricter rules across england. mr speaker, i know that for someone who has been an opportunist all his life, this is difficult, this is difficult to understand. but having read and considered the sage advice, i have genuinely concluded that a circuit break is in the national interest. the whole point, mr speaker
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is to seize this moment now, to avoid the misery of another national lockdown into which he wants to go headlong by delivering a regional solution. and, mr speaker, opportunism is i'm afraid the name of the game for the party opposite. they backed the rule of six, or he backed the rule of six and then refused to vote for it. i think, at three o'clock, mr speaker, the shadow health spokesman said that a national lockdown would be disastrous. at five o'clock, he was calling for it. he will know that the chief medical officer said on monday that his words, "not confident, nor is anyone "confident that the tier three proposals for the highest rate "would be enough. " this morning, the telegraph quotes, senior government sources saying that the chances of the prime minister backing a circuit break in the next two weeks are about 80%. is that right? and if it is, why doesn't he do it now, save lives,
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fix testing and protect the nhs? i rule out nothing, of course, in combating the virus. but, we are going to do it with the local, the regional approach that can drive down and will drive down the virus, if it is properly implemented. the snp‘s westminster leader warned of a tsunami of unemployment resulting from the virus and the ending of the furlough scheme. thousands have already lost theirjobs. the ons has confirmed the highest rate of redundancies since 2009. we are heading towards a tory winter of mass unemployment created by the prime minister and the chancellor. we all know what the prime minister's tory colleagues are saying that the prime minister's nextjob could be on the back benches, he just doesn't know it yet. if the prime minister won't u turn on his plans to scrap furlough, does he realise he will never, not ever be forgiven for the damage he is just about the cost to people up and down scotland? as i say and i have said many times before to the right
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honourable gentlemen, this government is continuing to support people across the whole of the uk, many billions of pounds in confidential at least five billion for scotland alone and what i will congratulate him on is the scottish nationalist party's support for the tiered approach which i think is still their policy, mr speaker, unlike the party opposite. at least they're showing some vestige of consistency in their normal gelatinous behaviour. borisjohnson. by the end of the westminster week things were moving fast, with millions of people in london, essex, york and other areas moved up into tougher tier two restrictions. the health secretary came to the commons to update mps. i did not come into politics to put restrictions on peoples lives and i want people to have as much freedom as possible, subject to not harming others. but the nature of this virus means that anyone of us can inadvertently pass it on without even knowing. that is the liberal case for action and i believe
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that the british people get that. but he said he wanted that action to be as targeted as possible. we make these decisions with a heavy heart with the sole aim of steering our nation through troubled waters. things will get worse before they get better. but i know that there are brighter skies and calmer seas ahead. that the ingenuity of science will find a way through and until then, we must come together because we all have a part to play in defeating this dreadful disease. while i don't quibble or object to the public health interventions he is making, i am afraid they're still not backed up with a financial package that is needed to mitigate their impact on jobs and livelihoods. more people will fall into poverty and destitution, families across for example, barry and bolton, small businesses across burnley or london, have been failed by the chancellor. the snp spokesperson returned to the issue of testing and tracing. tracing systems based on local
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public health teams, such as in scotland, wales and now in some parts of england, have all outperformed the centralised circle system, which has barely reached three quarters of cases and well under two thirds of contacts. i welcome that local public health teams will now be directly involved in contact tracing in areas of high covid spread. but will the secretary of state now have the lead contact tracing in all areas across england to help get the test trace and isolate system working effectively? matt hancock said the best approach was when local and national systems worked together. meanwhile the welsh first minister announced a ban on people from uk coronavirus hotspots travelling to wales. mark drakeford said the move was needed "to prevent the spread of infection within wales" and elsewhere in the uk. i've read the paper that accompanied the paper
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to the prime minister yesterday and that confirms that the data does not constitute definitive proof in favour of a travel ban. in fact, that paper goes one step further and suggests that it should be considered alongside a range of other factors before a conclusion is reached and it also shows the transmission rates in relation to travel have already peaked in august into september. so, do you believe this paper constitutes enough evidence when by its own words, it implores you to consider it alongside other data to justify a travel ban? the first minister said the people of wales were "clamouring" for the action he was proposing. where people are anxious and fearful of the effects on bigger areas and people from very high transmission areas elsewhere, not being able to travel from wales, but absurdly still being able to travel from england to those areas. so, he is entirely out of step with the views and the preferences
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of people in wales. i was glad to publish that paper yesterday, it certainly does not implore me to do anything and i am more likely to rely on the advice of those who are experts in genomics rather than amateur readers of their advice. the scottish parliament was in recess for the week but the first minister, nicola sturgeon, held a virtual meeting with msps. and didn't rule out a similar travel restriction to the one announced in wales. scotland has already acted first among the nations of the uk in applying tough restrictions. we have done so at a time when our levels of covid—19 although far too high for comfort a re actually lower than the other uk nations. and i believe and expect that this will make a difference. but although we have put in place top measures, we cannot rule out having to go further in the future. for example, the approach to travel being adopted
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by the welsh government mitigates the spread of the virus from high to low prevalence areas. notjust within each of the four uk nations, but also necessary between the four uk nations needs to be considered here too and is being considered here too. meanwhile at stormont, first minister, arlene foster announced the tightening of coronavirus restrictions in northern ireland including extending the school half term break to a fortnight. talks ran into the early hours of wednesday as ministers tried to reach a compromise on a range of measures, finally agreeing to a package that will apply for four weeks. as well as the extended school closure the new rules include the closure of the hospitality sector, apart from deliveries and takeaways no alcohol sales after 8pm, an end to most indoor sport and the closure of hairdressers and beauty parlours. we fully appreciate that this will be a difficult and worrying news
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for a lot of people. the executive has taken this decision because it is necessary and we discussed the impacts in great detail and we do not take this step lightly. we want these measures to have two impacts. firstly, on the covid—19 transmission rate which must be turned down now or we will be in a very difficult place very soon indeed. and secondly, we believe it marks a point for each and every one of us can take stock and go back to the social distancing measures that are vitally important. judging by the hundreds of messages that i received overnight, people across the north went to bed last night not knowing if their children would be going to school today, if businesses would be opening, or if they needed to go to work. and the confusion over the past 24 hours has certainly not helped that. a lot of these decisions will make a huge impact on people's lives but they are for four weeks
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— we are very determined that this will be a time—limited intervention. they are, i mean, they will not continue past those four weeks. while it is beyond doubt that these measures are now absolutely necessary and, indeed, urgent. it's also the case that they will, as you have mentioned, have implications and knock—on impacts. can you share with us any of the evidence that you were shown or the executive was shown around the risk? and are there any other ways of mitigating that risk? i know, again, as an mla, i have received emails from headmasters and headmistresses from various schools, wanting to know why they are having to have this extra week. these decisions have weighed very heavily on us today and particularly protecting our young people, which is why we have kept the school closure to an absolute minimum, and i think that that was the right thing to do. arlene foster. and don't forget, if you want to find out exactly what the restrictions are in your area, you can find them on the bbc website. that's
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bbc. co. uk/news/coronavirus. you're watching the week in parliament with me, alicia mccarthy. you can follow me on twitter at @bbcalicia and you can find all our programmes on the bbc iplayer — just search for "parliament". why are white children from poor backgrounds the least likely to stay in education and move up the income ladder? the education committee is trying to find answers in a sometimes controversial area. they heard that those children had been overtaken by most other ethnicities on low incomes, with only traveller children doing worse. the statistics for children who went on to higher education were stark. the figure for white british kids is for boys 13%, for girls 19%. and is eclipsed by,
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for example, chinese kids on free school meals, 66%. for black african boys on free school meals, 51%. pakistani boys on free school meals, 4296. and so the differences are enormous. i'd really like you to be as open as possible on this because, often, people refuse to discuss it. why is this the case? why is there this underattainment by disadvantaged white working—class boys and girls compared to many other cohorts? i think our elitist, exclusive curriculum does not work, as i say, well in enabling working—class children to succeed through the system. that doesn't explain why some groups are doing better under that. so you have working—class people from ethnic groups that are doing much better. but i think when we look at — we also need to look at their histories and their histories
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of migration, because i think that some ethnic groups have come from countries where their families — and they have generations of educational success in their countries of origin and they have social and cultural capital in their countries of origin, even though they may be economically impoverished by the move here — i think other countries come because they are desperate to make a new start and enable their children to succeed in a new system. you're having here multi—generational issues for these families, where successive parents, grandparents will have had poor experiences in education, as well as the children. and i think that has profound impacts on the attitudes towards schooling. over in the lords, peers wanted to know what the government was doing to help black and minority ethnic workers hit by the economic downturn caused by coronavirus. one independent or crossbench peer said ministers had been told in the summer that those
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communities had been disproportionately hit by redundancies and the furloughing ofjobs. the mainjob retention scheme coming to a close, we can now expect another spike in bame redundancies. can my noble friend the minister tell me if the government has undertaken a bame impact assessment before making these changes? and in spite of repeated calls — including the 140,000—signed petition — why we still don't have a covid—19 race equality strategy? when designing the coronavirus job retention scheme and its next steps, the government undertook an analysis of how the policies were likely to affect individuals sharing protected characteristics, in line with our public sector equality duties. of course, the coronavirus job retention scheme comes to an end at the end of october. it is being replaced by the job support scheme that will continue to support
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jobs during the pandemic. i'd like to press the minister on the question put by my noble friend lord woolley that there has been a petition of 140,000 people calling for a proper covid race equality strategy. in terms of the vulnerability of people from black and minority ethnic communities to the virus itself, there was work done by public health england on that and there is follow—up work being undertaken, including asking every nhs trust to undertake risk assessments and then take action to mitigate those risks. in terms of an equality impact assessment, there was an assessment done under the government's public sector equality duty, of both the cjrs scheme and its successor schemes. in the minister's replies, i hear no hint of any new action to tackle this great injustice. does the government not accept that this is disappointing, given that covid strikes hardest where inequalities
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are greatest? that one of the greatest drivers of inequalities is rising unemployment? and that the bame community has suffered most of all from this? the noble lord says that the government's not taking any new action in response to this. my lords, new action was announced on friday. i'm updating the house on it today. and as i said, the commission for racial equality is also reporting on employment as one of the themes it's looking at by the end of the year. now for a look at some other westminster news in brief. mps overturned changes made to the agriculture bill after the government said they were unnecessary and could have "undesirable" side effects. peers made a number of amendments to the legislation including one demanding the government make it impossible for the united states or other countries to export chlorine—treated chicken or beef fattened with hormones to the uk. ourfarmers risk being undercut by cheap imports from abroad within months.
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if the government is serious about keeping its manifesto promise to safeguard standards, it should put that guarantee into law. if this promise was good enough for the conservative manifesto, why is it not good enough for the agriculture bill, the flagship piece of legislation around food and farming for this government? will it not be right for the secretary of state for trade to have the armour of having the backing of parliament to actually say "i can't negotiate away that particular part of the deal with you" because it is written down in law? our current import standards are enshrined in existing legislation. these include a ban on importing beef produced using artificial growth hormones and poultry which has been washed with chlorine. the withdrawal act carries across these existing standards on environmental protections, animal welfare, animal and plant health and food safety. any changes to this legislation would need to be brought before
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parliament. the fisheries bill cleared the commons moving a step closer to becoming law. the legislation enables the uk to become an independent coastal state post—brexit, with foreign fishing boats barred from fishing in uk waters unless licensed to do so. mps overturned a number of changes made to the bill in the house of lords, so the bill will now be sent back to peers for them to look at again. musicians are just one of the many groups in the arts, culture and sport sector hit hard by the covid shutdown. earlier this month, 400 freelance musicians played outside parliament to highlight the plight of the music industry. the musicians' union, which represents more than 32,000 performers in the uk, says 70% of its members have lost more than three quarters of their regular work, leaving many in financial hardship.
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the culture secretary insisted the closures were necessary. i am doing things i find positively hateful. i do not want to be stopping theatres from operating. i don't want to be stopping fans from going into stadiums. the reason why we're doing this, though, and paying that price is in order to secure public safety in order to control covid and we are taking record measures to support all those sectors through this difficult period of time. finally, haulage bosses have warned that the new year could see thousands of lorries queuing in kent to get through customs as the uk makes its final exit from the eu. they told the commons transport committee that the system for processing lorries was not yet in place and the result could be vehicles waiting for days to cross into france. a conservative had a pressing worry. but in the case of lorry drivers perhaps being delayed up to two days, what other facilities, other than toilet facilities, will be provided for them? or are there plans to be provided for them? because obviously, you have various lay—bys.
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we know there's a proliferation of bottles that look like they're filled with irn—bru, but they're not. but obviously, if drivers are going be stuck for two days, they're going to need feeding and watering. we are working very hard with highways england so that we are signing and providing access and very clear signalling to drivers where those facilities will be, again, to ease theirjourneys, because, absolutely, we want to consider the welfare of the drivers. we know they play a vital role. they played a vital role in the pandemic and keeping goods and services moving around the country. i'm incredibly grateful to them for that. and we need to think about their welfare — because we can't keep this country going without them. which urgent matters bring us to the end of this edition of the programme, but do join me on bbc parliament on monday night at 11:00 for the start of another westminster week. but for now, from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye.
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hello. sunday will be the last day in this spell of fairly quiet, settled weather. that said, there will still be enough cloud out there to produce a little patchy rain in a few spots as we go through the day. but some of us will actually end up being a little bit brighter than we were on saturday. we're just in this weather pattern waiting for something to come along, and the signs are there in the atlantic as low pressure starting to form and heading our way to bring some very different weather in the week ahead, as we'll see in a moment. this is how we start off on sunday morning. the thickest cloud through northern ireland, scotland, through northern and eastern england, giving some outbreaks of mostly light rain, so some of us getting off to a damp start. there may be some early sunny spells in the far north—east of scotland. that will cloud over. and as all of this starts to push north again, it will stay damp for some in scotland but northern ireland will brighten up for a time, and parts of wales and across the midlands and southern england, a great chance of seeing some sunny spells on sunday compared with saturday. it will still be another rather cool day but for now,
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the winds are light. some rain will push across northern ireland on through sunday evening, on across the northern isles too, and more widely into scotland, into parts of northern england as the night goes on. south of that, there will be a few clear spells around. for all parts, the breeze is starting to pick up, starting to come in, though, from the south. look at this. it has been so quiet, it is much more active on the big picture here, though, for monday. weather fronts out towards the north and west and, of course, low pressure taking over. and during monday, there will be some further heavy rain, particularly into northern ireland and scotland, but some outbreaks of rain also affecting some of us towards the west of wales and western fringes of england, whereas elsewhere, cloud's going to increase. still some hazy brightness. again, the wind is starting to pick up as well, but it's a southerly breeze. those temperatures are a little bit higher. that spell of rain will push its way east across all parts during monday night. on tuesday, still some further heavy rain in northern scotland, further heavy showers elsewhere in scotland and northern ireland. a few elsewhere on this brisk south—southwesterly wind.
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but that flow of air will bring some milder weather in, particularly into england and wales, where some will reach towards the high teens. temperatures trail off again later in the week. as the week goes on, there will be further spells of rain clearing to showers to end the week. bye— bye.
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good morning. welcome to breakfast with rogerjohnson and sima kotecha. our headlines today: police in england are to be allowed to access some of the details of people who've been told to self—isolate by the nhs test and trace system. gatherings are to be held across france today after the murder of a teacher in a terrorist attack. britain's high streets under threat as a record number of shops close over the first six months of this year. winning it for rob burrow. leeds rhinos are inspired to victory in the challenge cup by theirformer star. it is said to be a mother mostly cloudy and chilly day to


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