tv The Week in Parliament BBC News January 18, 2021 2:30am-3:01am GMT
to moscow, where he was detained when his flight landed. he'd spent five months in germany recovering from being poisoned with a nerve agent. the kremlin denies ordering the attack. mr navalny told reporters he was not afraid, before being led away. a republican congresswoman, and ardent supporter of president trump — has had her twitter account suspended for 12 hours. marjorie taylor greene has repeatedly made false claims about election fraud in her state, georgia — and has previously expressed support for the qanon conspiracy theory. riot police and the military in guatemala have fired tear gas at a caravan of thousands of central american migrants bound for the us. several people were injured. the guatemalan government says it has deported almost a thousand people to honduras in the past three days for entering the country illegally. now on bbc news,
the week in parliament. hello again and welcome to the week in parliament. a week when the prime minister saw light at the end of the covid tunnel — again. this is the toughest of times, mr speaker, but we can see the way forward. but borisjohnson once more faced questions about the help offered to poorer families. is the prime minister not ashamed of being schooled on feeding hungry children by marcus rashford? and brexit two weeks on — teething problems or something a lot worse? in my constituency, consumers are facing empty supermarket shelves, they can't get parcels delivered from great britain... but first, as the coronavirus death toll mounts, is the lockdown working?
scotland's covid rules have been tightened and the prime minister has said he's not ruling out tighter restrictions for england. but borisjohnson told mps there were "the beginnings of some signs" that the lockdown is starting to have an effect in many parts of the country, but by no means everywhere. as older people lined up to get theirjabs, the prime minister suggested the vaccine program, seen as the route out of the crisis, would go 24/7 as soon as possible. but amid concern that too many people aren't obeying the current rules, the labour leader sir keir starmer used the first prime minister's questions of 2021 to call for them to be tightened. and isn't this the situation that every time there's a big decision to take, the prime minister gets there late? the next big decision is obvious. the current restrictions are not strong enough to control the virus. stronger restrictions
are needed. and it's no point members opposite shaking their heads. in a week or two, the prime minister is likely to be asking members to vote for this. so can the prime minister tell us when infection rates are much higher than last march, when hospital admissions are much higher than last march, when death rates are much higher than last march, why on earth are restrictions weaker than last march? mr speaker, we keep things under a constant review, and we will continue to do so and certainly, if there is any need to toughen up restrictions — which i don't rule out, mr speaker — we will of course — we will of course come to this house but perhaps, as is so often the case, the right honourable gentleman did not listen to my earlier answer, because i pointed out to the house that actually, the lockdown measures that we have in place, combined with the tier 4 measures we were using,
are starting to show signs of some effect and we must take account of that too, mr speaker, because nobody can doubt the serious damage that is done by lockdowns to people's mental health, tojobs, to livelihoods as well. a few hours later, borisjohnson faced more in—depth questions from senior mps at the liaison committee. it's obviously horrific right now on the nhs front line and i wondered if we could just start by you updating us on what the situation is now in our hospitals and specifically in your judgement, do you think we are going to have enough critical care beds, icu beds for those who need them in the next few weeks? the prime minister said the strain on the nhs was colossal. there's about 32,000 covid in—patients, as you know — that's about 70% more than there were at the peak in april last year and the pressure is very considerable. if you ask me when do we think that the icu capacity is likely to be over—topped, i can't give you a prediction for that, but all i can say is that the risk is very substantial and we have to keep
the pressure off the nhs, and the only way to do that is to follow the current lockdown, and that's what i would urge everybody to do. earlier in the week, jeremy hunt's committee had been warned by the organisation that represents nhs trusts in england that it was "pretty clear" the covid infection rate is not going to go down as quickly as it did during the first lockdown and the peak of the pandemic may still be some weeks away. we were hoping for a sharper peak that came sooner and shorter, so something, for example, where we saw the peak and started to crest it in mid to late january. it now looks like the peak for nhs demand may actually be now in february.
now, if that's right, that's going to basically mean that there's a higher level and a more extended period of pressure on the nhs than we were expecting even just a week ago. tell me about the impact of morale. how are people feeling? i mean, if people have been expecting things to peak in january and they are not now going to peak perhaps for another month after that, that must be a pretty depressing prospect for the people that you represent. i would not necessarily say a month, i may say two or three weeks perhaps, rather, so early to mid february. but the answer is is that when i talk to our trust chief executives, what they say is they're unbelievably grateful for the commitment and dedication and the professionalism from front—line staff who are having to do extraordinarily difficult things in near—impossible circumstances. the chancellor also delivered an economic health warning in his first post—lockdown
appearance before mps. even with the significant economic support we've provided, over 800,000 people have lost theirjob since february. and while the new national restrictions are necessary to control the spread of the virus, they will have a further significant economic impact. we should expect the economy to get worse before it gets better. i deeply regret that having last year blocked measures that would have helped to protect the nhs and secure our economy, today the chancellor appears out of ideas, urging us to look towards the sunny uplands but providing nothing new. in scotland, the new rules mean that takeaways can no longer allow customers indoors and only shops selling essential items such as clothing and homeware will be allowed to offer click and collect. the first minister ended her statement at holyrood with this appeal. please stick to the spirit and notjust to the letter of these rules.
don't think in terms of the maximum interactions you can have without breaking the rules. please think instead about how you minimise your interactions to the bare essentials, to remove as many opportunities as possible for the virus to spread. and in everything you do, assume that the virus is there with you, that either you have it or any person you are in contact with has it, and act then in a way that prevents it passing between you. i'm pleased the first minister says there will be funding made available at some point but is there not a case for extra compensation for businesses who were told by this government what to do to become covid compliant, spent money making all of the changes that ministers required of them, and are now being told that they have to adapt again? on the issue of financial compensation, there is significant money available, much of it already with businesses, much more of it flowing to falling to businesses over the course of this month and the finance secretary recently set out additional payments for those in the hospitality and retail sectors, for example. the lib dem leader offered
what he said was a positive suggestion. mobile pcr testing units at supermarkets, royal mail sorting offices, police stations, schools to test the people on the front line of the pandemic with the best test that we have got available for them. will she agree to that, or is she just going to stick in this rut that she's got herself into? yeah, we have, of course — scotland's the only country that's currently tackling this pandemic. we are not in a rut, we're the face of a global pandemic that we are seeking to lead the country through. nicola sturgeon. in the senedd in cardiff, there were concerns that wales has been slower to vaccinate its vulnerable people than other uk nations. first minister, the welsh government's vaccine strategy has confirmed that 280,000 doses of the pfizer vaccine and 10,000 of the oxford—astrazeneca vaccine have now been received here in wales, and yet, we know that only around 91,000 doses have been administered, and we know as of yesterday, 2.7% of the population of wales has been vaccinated, compared to 3% in scotland and 3.5% in england.
can you explain to the people of wales why the roll—out of the vaccine has fallen behind other uk nations to date, and can you tell us why you believe this is not a sprint, given that this is a race to actually beat the virus? well, that the race is against the virus, not against any other part of the united kingdom. that race will be run not over a week, but over months and months ahead. we will still be vaccinating people here in wales well into the final months of this calendar year. mark drakeford. two weeks after the uk left the eu's rule book, one third of the scottish fishing fleet is tied up in harbour — that's according to the snp�*s westminster leader, who said some boats are landing in denmark, rather than scotland, to avoid brexit bureaucracy. he raised the issue during prime minister's questions.
my constituent in lochaber, a producer and exporter of shellfish, is experiencing his worst nightmare. after loading a lorry of fresh local seafood on monday, as he has done for 35 years, his driverfaced bureaucracy and delays. brexit red tape now means that £40,000 of his fresh, high—quality produce is lost, unable to be sold. mr speaker, that 40,000 produce is income for over 100 local families and many remote and fragile communities. can the prime minister tell my constituent where is the sea of opportunity that he and his scottish tories promised? well, mr speaker, we are putting £100 million into supporting the fishing industry in scotland and across the whole of the uk. and it is the policy of the scottish nationalist party not just to go tresh —
break up the united kingdom under their harebrained scheme, but also to take scotland back into the eu and hand back control of scottish fisheries to brussels, thereby throwing away all of those opportunities. the prime minister was also challenged over the special arrangements for northern ireland. the dup�*s westminster leader said he should consider scrapping them. the prime minister promised us that northern ireland would continue to have unfettered access to the uk internal market and yet in my constituency, consumers are facing empty supermarket shelves. they cannot get parcels delivered from great britain. small businesses cannot bring spare parts and raw materials
into northern ireland from great britain, steel importers are facing tariffs, and we have many other problems, all caused by the northern ireland protocol. so what i and the people of northern ireland need to know from the prime minister, as leader of the united kingdom, is what his government is going to do to address this, and if he will consider invoking article 16 of the northern ireland protocol to resolve these issues, because the trade and support service is welcome but it's not the solution alone. we need direct government intervention to deal with this now. well, i thank the right honourable gentleman and i can tell him that at the moment, goods are flowing effectively and in normal volumes between great britain and northern ireland. so far, no lorries have been turned back. yes, of course, there are teething problems and what i can say — well, i can confirm to him is that if there are problems that we believe are disproportionate, then we will have no hesitation in invoking article 16. the dup said that response was "an insult", although it became clear the party's analysis of the situation is not universally shared across northern ireland. people here find it very difficult to listen to those
members who campaigned for brexit and blocked every single alternative, and who explicitly said they don't care what the circumstances are, so long as we are out of the eu. will the minister take this opportunity to confirm that further disruption is not the answer, and that he won't agree to the dup�*s reckless calls to trigger article 16, and to end the protocol? article 16 as part of the protocol and it is there should circumstances require it, as the prime minister pointed out. what did we do? what did we do to members in those benches over- there to be screwed . over by this protocol? ask your hearts. every single one, what did we do? i because what has happenedj with this protocol has ruined trade in northern ireland and it's an insult to our. intelligence to say it's a teething problem. l an unconvinced ian paisley.
time now for a quick look at some other news in brief. ministers have been told that people living in homes with unsafe cladding face "a form of torture". conservative and labour mps called on the government to do more to tackle a safety problem that became apparent after the grenfell tower fire, in which 72 people died. sleep deprivation is recognised as a form of torture. people living in buildings with unsafe cladding are being tortured physically due to a lack of sleep as they live in fear, financially as they cannot sell their homes, and are forced to pay for waking watches, and mentally, as they live in limbo. can i ask my honourable friend when he expects this torture to end? we all appreciate the terrible challenges and suffering that many people around our country face with this issue, and that's why we want the residents of blocks which are enduring waking watch to get the benefits of our changes as soon as possible. we expect the £30 million fund to be open this month with the aim to start providing
funding for the installation of alarms as quickly as possible. we all agree, i think, mr speaker, that the best way of making buildings safe is to speed up remediation and that is what our policies intend. a health minister has tried to reassure people that "no corners" have been cut in developing the covid—19 vaccines. lord callanan was responding to reports of "scepticism" and "suspicion" in some communities about the newjabs. with the vaccine being rolled out, i have been hearing messages from the black community about their mistrust around the vaccine and the lack of confidence that they have. i would like to ask the government what proportion of black and asian and ethnic minority was part of the vaccine trial before the roll—out? it's vital to point out that the vaccine has only been developed, deployed as they have been proven to be safe and effective by our independent medicines regulator. everyone from all communities
can be absolutely confident that no corners have been cut. the government is sponsoring content on social media channels on a range of news media outlets to get this message out, to provide information and to advise to communities in many different languages. and i can tell the noble lady that in the oxford trial, the data is from september 2020, 830 bame participants out of a total of 9,531 took part in the trial, which is just under 9%. plans have been announced to overhaul the mental health act, which is almost 40 years old. ministers say changes to how people are sectioned in england and wales will see them treated "as individuals, with rights, "preferences, and expertise". until now, the use of powers in the act did not distinguish between people with mental illness on the one hand and people with learning disabilities and/or autism on the other. this is wrong. needs are different, and the law should be different, too. labour welcomed the proposals but said the causes of ill
health needed to be addressed. children from the poorest 20% of households are four times more likely to have serious mental health difficulties by the age of 11 compared with those from the wealthiest 20%. this will not simply be solved by mental health legislative changes. although a—levels and gcses have been cancelled in england this year, the education secretary told mps that secondary school pupils could nevertheless be asked to sit mini external exams to help teachers with their assessments. but gavin williamson told the education committee that the grades would still be based on teacherjudgement. it's teacherjudgement that is what we are relying on, and it's important... it's absolutely vital and clear that any changes to grades as a result of any external policy assurance process should be an absolute exception because it's teacherjudgements that we are relying on, not algorithms.
gavin williamson. british firms doing business in china will face fines if they don't do enough to show their products are not linked to forced labour in the country's xinjiang province. there is growing evidence that more than a million uighur muslims are being held in forced labour camps. the foreign secretary said businesses must make sure products from the camps were not ending up on british shelves. mps welcomed the measures, but dominic raab faced cross—party anger that they didn't go further. internment camps, arbitrary detention, political re—education, forced labour, torture, and forced sterilisation. all on an industrial scale. it is truly horrific. barbarism we had hoped lost to another era being practised today as we speak in one of the leading members of the international community. mr speaker, we have a moral duty to respond. labour accused him of tinkering round the edges.
the government had trailed long—awaited sanctions in the media on officials responsible for appalling human rights abuses in xinjiang. we have waited months. he briefed the papers that he was planning to announce this today. what has happened to this announcement, and who in government has overruled him this time? cracking down on businesses and their supply chains - is vitally important. however, in this week- of the holocaust memorial, surely magnitsky sanctions . should have been in this list. i happen to believe that my. right honourable friend wants this to happen. so, i wonder who it is in- government that is blocking this. he can perhaps whisper it in this chamber to me. i i promise him i won't tell anybody else outside. . the foreign secretary said he hadn't ruled out imposing direct sanctions on the officials responsible. i'm very happy to talk to him about the issue of genocide. he will know that my father fled the holocaust. i couldn't take it
more seriously. i am confused why the foreign secretary can't just call this crime what it is and ensure that britain is not complicit to genocide. doesn't the uk have a responsibility in—linel with its obligations under- the genocide convention to find alternative routes to make the legal determination? i uighurs aren't being persecuted for what they pick but for who they are. as with the tibetans, does he support their right to self—determination that they seek? we certainly want to see the human rights, the freedoms, the basic liberties of the people of tibet, the people of hong kong and the people of xinjiang respected. we are taking a series of measures. we're at the vanguard internationally in the measures that we've taken. dominic raab. with schools closed for most pupils, food parcels are being used to feed children from some of england's poorest families who would normally get free school meals.
but the contents of some parcels were so meagre, the prime minister described them as "an insult to the families that "have received them". the footballer and campaigner marcus rashford highlighted the problems. once again borisjohnson phoned him, and said the food didn't meet government standards. but at prime minister's questions, the labour leader thought he knew who was to blame. we've all seen images on social media of disgraceful food parcels for children. costed at about £5 each. that's not what the government promised. it's nowhere near enough. so, can i ask the prime minister would he be happy with his kids living on that? and if not, why is he happy for other people's kids to do so? well, mr speaker, i don't think anybody in this house is happy with the disgraceful images that we've seen of the food parcels that have been offered, they are appalling, they're an insult to the families that have received them and i'm grateful by the way to marcus rashford who highlighted
the issue and is doing quite an effective job by comparison with the right honourable gentlemen in holding the government to account for these issues. borisjohnson said the company responsible for the food parcels, chartwells, had apologised. but keir starmer said he had checked the current government guidance on free school meals. the current guidance published by the department for education, i've got it here, it sets out example parcel for one child for five days. department for education, prime minister — you want to be held to account. one loaf of bread, two baked potatoes, block of cheese, baked beans, three individual yoghurts, sound familiar? that's the images, prime minister, you just call disgraceful. the only difference i can see in this list and what the prime minister has described as disgraceful is a tin of sweet corn, a packet of ham and a bottle of milk. so, he blames others, but this is on his watch.
the truth is families come last under this government whether it's exams, free school meals, or childcare. will the prime minister undertake — he wants to be held to account — to take down this guidance by the close of play today and ensure that all of our children can get a decent meal during the pandemic? mr speaker, the right honourable gentleman's words would be less hypocritical and absurd if it were not for the fact that... i'm sorry, but i don't believe anybody's a hypocrite - in this chamber. i think we need to be a little bit careful about what we're| saying to each other. prime minister, would you like to withdraw "hypocrisy"? - i'm delighted to abide by you, mr speaker. let me confine my criticism to the absurdity of the — which i hope is acceptable, mr speaker — the right honourable gentlemen attacking us over free meals when it was a conservative government that instituted free school meals universally, not a labour government. the questions continued later at the liaison committee.
i know you have seen the shocking images of half a tomato, half a carrot, and half a bag of tuna as part of a ten—day food parcel, and i know you've said you'll put this right but why do children needing to eat keep taking the government by surprise? is the prime minister not ashamed of being schooled on feeding hungry children by marcus rashford? well, i talked to marcus rashford today and i think he's doing an excellentjob of pointing these issues out, and i said that to him. i think when you look at some of these images, they don't reflect the guidance but it is a scandal and a disgrace, as i've said, that some companies are trying to get away with the provision that they're offering. the prime minister. now, whether it's marcus rashford or the fa cup you can't get away from football at westminster at the moment. the speaker was keen
to make sure everyone knew about his side's giant killing exploits in the cup. just before i bring the chamber out of suspension, chorley had j a great win by the way. when it comes to currying favour with the speaker, mps know the score. mr speaker and finally this isjust for you. chorley, 2. derby county, 0. leader of the house, thank you. mr speaker, i think that was a reference to association football, so i congratulate you as well. jacob rees—mogg. clearly over the moon there. that's the final whistle for this edition of the week in parliament. thank you for watching. alicia mccarthy will be back on bbc parliament at 11 o'clock on monday evening with the latest from the commons and the lords. but from me, david cornock, bye for now.
hello there. after the snow that some of us had last week, this week, the weather focus shifts to rain, enough rain in a few places over the next few days to give the very real risk of some flooding. now, having said that, monday morning is getting off to a decent start, a lot of dry weather around. one band of rain across the north coast of northern ireland, the far south of scotland. that will drift up towards the central belt. some wintry showers in northern scotland. eastern counties of england holding onto some brightness, but further west across england and wales as well, we'll see thickening clouds, some mist and hill fog and some outbreaks of rain through the afternoon. and as we go through monday night into the early hours of tuesday, that rain will spread across england and wales, becoming really heavy and persistent over high ground in north wales, northern england, some of that rain getting into northern ireland as well. very mild by the end of the night down towards the south, staying colder further north across scotland, but we'll also remain drier with just a few showers.
but for tuesday, this procession of weather fronts is going to be working its way across the british isles, bringing some heavy and persistent rain. you can see where we're expecting the wettest of the weather. for a time across northern ireland, maybe into southern scotland, but certainly across northern england, wales. pretty wet across the south west as well, where it will also be pretty windy. further north, lighter winds across the northern half of scotland, some spells of sunshine, but it will be chilly across the northern half of the uk, whereas for the south, very mild indeed, 12—13 celsius. but i think it is the rain that gives most cause for concern. met office yellow warnings in force across all of england and wales through the middle part of the week. but there's an amber warning in force across parts of the south pennines and the peak district, and in this area, there is the potential certainly for some flooding and some travel disruption if you do need to make an essential journey through tuesday and indeed on into wednesday, because you can
see the rain just keeps on coming, particularly across england and wales. northern ireland and scotland always a little bit drier, but maybe some snow mixing if the rain does get up into southern scotland, because there will be some colder air in place across the northern half of the uk. and as we move out of wednesday into thursday, as our rainmaker area of low pressure deepens and slides away eastwards, the winds will pick up. those winds will start to come from the north, so it will feel colder for the end of the week and snow could return.
welcome to bbc news. i'm rich preston. our top stories: russian police detain the kremlin critic alexei navalny — who was nearly killed by nerve agent poisoning last year — as he lands back in moscow. twitter suspends the account of us republican congresswoman marjorie taylor greene for repeatedly making false claims about election fraud. riot police in guatemala used batons and fired tear gas at a caravan of thousands of central american migrants bound for the united states. a year ago this week, china issued its first coronavirus lockdown — we return to hubei where the global emergency started. singing and the american music
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