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tv   Wednesday in Parliament  BBC News  January 28, 2021 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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to tackle climate change which he's described as an existential threat. mr biden designated it a national security priority and said the us must lead the global response. among new measures announced is a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on public land. the row between the pharmaceutical company astrazeneca and the european union over a shortage of coronavirus vaccines has escalated. the eu's health commissioner has insisted that astrazeneca come up with a clear plan to deliver on their contractual obligations to supply vaccines. a team of world health organization experts in wuhan are to begin investigating the origins of the pandemic. they've been isolating in the chinese city for the last two weeks — and will study research institutes, hospitals and the seafood market linked to the initial outbreak. now on bbc news, wednesday in parliament.
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hello there, and welcome to wednesday in parliament. on this programme: boris johnson tells mps he hopes to set out a plan towards the end of next month on easing lockdown, but says schools won't return before the 8th of march. and i know how frustrating that will be — will be for pupils and teachers who want nothing more than to get back to the classroom. the labour leader calls for teachers to be vaccinated in the next few weeks. he should bring forward the vaccination of key workers and use the window of the february half term to vaccinate all teachers and all school staff. also on this programme: there's a call for tougher action against russia on human rights, and the jailing
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of the opposition leader, alexei navalny. the london laundromat is still very much open for business. i the lack of urgency is truly staggering. i and an appeal to help those hardest hit by the collapse of the retail giant debenhams. this will disproportionately affect women who traditionally hold many more roles in the retail sector. but first: prime minister's questions saw mps in reflective mood, following the news that the uk's coronavirus death toll had passed 100,000. more people have now died with coronavirus in the second wave than the first. the number of cases reached record levels in early january — partly driven by a new variant of the virus thought to be much more easily transmissible than other strains. the labour leader, sir keir starmer, who's self—isolating, said behind each and every death was a grieving family, friend, colleague, or neighbour. he wanted to hear the prime minister's explanation for the figures.
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the question on everyone�*s lips this morning is, "why?" the prime minister must�*ve thought about that question a lot. so can he tell us why he thinks that the united kingdom has ended up with a death toll of 100,000, the highest number in europe? the prime minister said he mourned every death. let he and the house be in no doubt that i am the government take full responsibility for all the actions i have taken, we've taken during this pandemic to fight this disease. and yes, mr speaker, there will indeed be a time when we must learn the lessons of what has happened, reflect on them, and prepare, mr speaker. i don't think that moment is now when we are in the throes of fighting this wave of the new variant, when 37,000 people are struggling with covid in our hospitals. and i think what the country wants is for us to come together, as a parliament and as politicians, and to work to keep the virus
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under control. why has the united kingdom a death rate that's higher than almost anywhere in the world? the prime minister's going to have to answer that question one day. and he should have the decency to answer it today. mr speaker, when you have a new virus, and indeed, when you have a new variant of that virus, of the kind we have in this country, when you have dilemmas as hard and as heavy as this government has had to face over the last year, i must tell the right honourable gentlemen there are no easy answers. a perpetual lockdown is no answer, mr speaker. the labour leader called for the swift vaccination of teachers. once the first four categories of the most vulnerable have been vaccinated by
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mid—february, he should bring forward the vaccination of key workers and use the window of the february half term to vaccinate all teachers and all school staff. mr speaker, of course it follows that all teachers injcvi groups 1—9 will be vaccinated as a matter of priority. the uk is the first country in europe to record 100,000 covid deaths. we also have the deepest recession of any major economy. 0ur schools are closed and our borders are open. but my biggest concern is that the prime minister still hasn't learnt the lessons of last year. and ifear that, as a result, we will see more tragedy now this afternoon, i will be speaking to families who have lost loved ones to covid. what would he like me to say to those bereaved families on his behalf this afternoon?
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mr speaker, i'm grateful to the right honourable gentlemen for meeting the families of the bereaved — as i have done and i know members across the house have done throughout the pandemic. and it's important that we do that. and the message i would give those families is the same that i've given everybody i've met — that i, of course, deeply, personally regret the loss of life and the suffering of their families, mr speaker. but i think the best thing we can do to honour the memory of those who have died and to honour those who are currently grieving is to work together to bring this virus down, to keep it under control in the way that we are. when we called on the prime minister to introduce tough. border controls last spring, he refused. i when we told the prime minister that it was a mistake to end - lockdown prematurely and push
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millions of workers back - to the office, he ignored us. when we said tough restrictions |were still needed, he dithered, i delayed, and left it too late. people have been asked to make huge sacrificesl by his government. at least they now deserve financial certainty. - tell people straight, - prime minister — will this uk government extend furlough, maintain the universal creditl uplift, and finally, i finally offer support for the three million excluded? i don't think anybody could seriously deny that this government has given absolutely unprecedented and unequal, by global standards, support throughout the pandemic. we will continue to put our arms around people across the whole of the uk throughout this crisis. borisjohnson at prime minister's questions. well, an hour or so later, the prime minister was back in the commons — this time, updating mps on the reopening of schools. schools in england have been open only to vulnerable children and those of key
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workers since the start ofjanuary, with the majority of youngsters staying at home. borisjohnson reminded mps that when he'd announced the lockdown, he'd promised a review in mid—february, once the most vulnerable had had the vaccine. so i can tell the house that when parliament returns from recess in the week recommencing 22 february, subject to the full agreement of the house, mr speaker, we intend to set out the results of that review and publish our plan for taking the country out of lockdown. it will not be possible to reopen schools immediately after the february half term. and i know how frustrating that will be — will be for pupils and teachers who want nothing more than to get back to the classroom. he insisted he understood the pressures on parents and the worries for youngsters�* mental health. the prime minister said if the government met its target of vaccinating
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the four most vulnerable groups by mid—february. .. we hope it will therefore be safe to begin the reopening of schools from monday, 8 march, with other economic and social restrictions being removed thereafter as and when the data permits. even for this prime minister, it's quite something to open schools one day, close them the next, to call them "vectors of transmission", and then to challenge me to say that the schools he's closed are safe. only now to give a statement where he says that schools can't open until the 8th of march at the earliest because it's not safe to do so. that's his analysis, it's the sort of nonsense that's led us to the highest death toll in europe and the worst recession. but of course, we welcome any steps forward in reopening schools, and we will look at the detail of how the education secretary plans to deliver this.
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the schools decision only applies to england, so the snp�*s westminster leader focussed on other demands. extend the furlough scheme for the full duration- of the pandemic, maintain. the uplift to universal credit and apply it to legacy - benefits, and put in place a package of support - for the three million included. in his statement, borisjohnson announced the extension of free school meal vouchers and parcels, a £300 million tutoring programme, and summer schools to help those who'd missed out. i really welcome what he has said today about catch—up, the extra funding free school meals, and above all, the education programme for covid recovery. will he ensure the catch—up fund also helps children with mental health problems? and will he work with a coalition of the willing, such as the children's commissioner and other educationalists, to get all our children back in the classroom? we are storing up a lifetime of problems of anxiety, mental health, obesity, by having all our young primary—age children at home.
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and please, may i urge the prime minister to have courage in these final months to bring children, particularly primary—aged children, back to school as quickly as possible. another mp worried about the wider easing of restrictions. the evidence shows that i the government's approach to easing the lockdown before christmas meant that crowdsl of people came to york despite my warnings, l spreading the infection i in the retail, hospitality, and transport sectors - because they could travel to a lower tier and were off guard in my community. i the result has been— devastating, it was completely unsafe and completely avoidable. _ will the prime minister commit not to return to a tiered - system where people can freely move the infection from one - place to another? borisjohnson told her the government took action as soon as it learnt of the increased transmissably of the new variant, and the best thing to do now was to keep the virus under control and continue with the vaccination programme.
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the home secretary, priti patel, has announced new measures aimed at reducing the number of people travelling to and from the uk. british residents arriving from a "red list" of banned countries will have to quarantine in a hotel. and people travelling out of the uk are being told they need a "valid reason" to go overseas. the home secretary singled out social media influencers for "showing off" about being in sunny parts of the world. despite the stay—at—home regulations, madame deputy speaker, we're still seeing people not complying with these rules. the rules are clear — people should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to leave. going on holiday is not a valid reason. so we will introduce a new requirement so that people wishing to travel must first make a declaration as to why they need to travel. this reason for travel will be checked by carriers prior to departure.
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labour said it was "too little, too late" and called for "comprehensive hotel quarantining". and limiting hotel quarantining to only a limited number of countries from which to travel from non—uk residents was already banned means that the home secretary's proposals do not go anywhere near far enough. and perhaps that's why it appears there's been briefing to newspapers that the home secretary is personally not in support of the policies she's now advocating to the public. i very much welcome - the evidence an nuance—based approach that the home - secretary has outlined today, as opposed to a blanket i approach that seems to be advocated by her shadow, j which i believe would lead to impacts on trade and those that do need of essential- business, our ability- to actually hotel quarantine so many people. and i know that he takes seriously the need of- the aviation industry. i don't believe a blanket- approach would do anything for that.
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in a video recording obtained by guido fawkes, priti patel said the borders should have been closed last march. last week, the home secretary admitted that we were right, and she said that she thought that the united kingdom should've closed its borders earlier. so can she now tell me why she failed to take the precautions that she knew were needed at the start of the pandemic? what stopped her from closing the borders? was it her cabinet colleagues? and, if so, why did she not not resign and speak out? priti patel reeled off a list of steps taken last year. lending and each of these measures, madame deputy speaker, we have introduced have added another layer of protection against transmission of the virus. and that reduces the risk of new dangerous strains being brought into the uk. and i think the right honourable lady should also
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reflect upon the fact that there is not a single measure that mitigates risk entirely. can i ask the home secretary about the number of people i likely to still be arriving who are not covered - by quarantine hotels, - still won't have to do further tests on arrival, and will be able to go straight- onto the public transport system from heathrow l or wherever they arrive? can she confirm is that likely i to still be thousands of people each day, and does she thinks that is wise? - priti patel replied that people should not be travelling. border force have given me examples where even at saint pancras, people have been showing up with their skis. that is clearly not acceptable. we see plenty of influencers on social media showing off about which parts of the world that they're in, mainly in sunny parts of the world. going on holiday is not an exemption, and it's important that people stay at home. the home secretary, priti patel. you're watching
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wednesday in parliament. the government has been accused of a staggering lack of urgency in addressing the human rights situation in russia and the jailing of the opposition leader, alexei navalny. mr navalny was arrested on his return to moscow, months after he was almost killed in a nerve agent attack which he blamed on president putin. last weekend, thousands of opposition supporters defied police to take part in mass rallies across the country. in the commons, the foreign office minister condemned russia's actions. the uk is appalled by the politically motivated detention of alexei navlany on fabricated charges. he is a victim of a despicable crime and we call for his immediate and unconditional release. initial state that murders and imprisons its opponents is it great breach of the european commission on human rights and has forfeited its right to be
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a member of an assembly that is founded on the very principles of democracy. when will we see a proper list of the ill—gotten gains that. president putin has stolen off of the russian people over. the last 20 years? when will we see a down - over his head and well three uk jurisdictions or in areas - where the uk has influence so that the russian people can . know how much money has been stolen off of them by this gangster elite? i and what it will be held - in returned to them as soon as he is gone. on facebook, alexei navalny has said that the sanctions have not worked because, and i quote, the west has refrained from sanctioning the people with the money. is that true? you only have to listen to what members have stayed the statement so far, that is not the international
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community that the government needs to galvanise but it needs to galvanise itself because they will not be travelling in moscow, and i think the minister who i do like has had to say this afternoon, and there will not be any winds of relief in alexei navalny's prison cell. mps questioned why the government hadn't implemented the recommendations of a report by the commons intelligence committee, which said ministers had badly underestimated the russian threat. in 15 months, that a single one of the 21 recommendations made in the russia report has been fully implemented. no action on foreign agents, no action on golden visas, and the london laundromat is still very much open for business. the lack of urgency is truly staggering, we cannot continue turning a blind eye to this. isn't the reason that the government has failed to implement a single one of about 15—month—old russia then report, and failed to apply
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the sanctions against the eight individuals as requested the government to do so a simple one, but london is awash with dirty russian money as does the conservative party. i do not accept the assertion made by the right honourable gentlemen. the russia report he refers to was released on the 21st ofjuly and with the government responded on the very same data that can that we have set out very clearly what our response is, that russia remains a top national security priority for the government. when it comes to sanctions, mr speaker, we have issued sanctions against the six individuals and one organisation in relation to alexei navalny, and i think i've made very clear we would not speculate on who else we may or may not sanction. wendy morton. 27 january is holocaust memorial day — a date that remembers the six millionjews murdered under nazi persecution — and the victims of subsequent
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genocides in cambodia, rwanda, bosnia and, darfur. for the first time, the speaker of the commons held a short, socially—distanced ceremony to mark the event. sir lindsay hoyle was joined by other senior politicians —— for the first time, the speaker of the commons held a short, socially—distanced ceremony to mark the event. sir lindsay hoyle was joined by other senior politicians as he lit a candle and gave a reading in portcullis house, where many mps have their offices. in the commons, borisjohnson began prime minister's questions with his own reflections on the day. last week i had the privilege of hearing from holocaust survivor, and ian forsyth were the last living british serviceman who liberated a camp. their courage to share their testimonies must inspire us all never to forget the holocaust and fight against all forms of hatred and prejudice wherever they are found. i will be churning the uk ceremonial lighting a candle to remember the 6 millionjews murdered in the holocaust,
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along with the other genocides and persecutions taking place around the world. we all remember the 6 million jews who lost their life - and the most terrible - crimes against humanity, we should never forget- that there were indeed those that sadly it fell into _ the genocides around the world. ian blackford. now, they were giants of the high street but the collapse of debenhams and arcadia has put more than 20,000 jobs at risk. the remaining debenhams stores are to be closed permanently after the brand was bought by the online retailer, boohoo. another online fashion retailer, asos, is in talks to buy the topshop and topman brands from arcadia. in the lords, a former chancellor warned of the consequences for retail workers. my lords, is not the risk but the devise of vast outlets would have it reflect of reducing for for further shops, and what would be completely wrong for the government to rescue
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retailers that have failed to adapt, there's no reason for all retail to disappear from the high street, and is it not the case that the government's on measures against covid have increased the chance for viable businesses. please consider measures like extending the business red holiday and also use the urban regeneration programme to facilitate the conversion of shops to other uses, thus avoiding great black holes in many town centres. i agree with the noble lord and it's very important we do all that we can to retain town centres, high street which are vital outlets for many businesses, and well loved by the public. we have the leveling up fund so we are doing all we can to assist the sector in these very difficult times. a digital entrepreneur wanted more help for women who lost theirjobs. at the covid—19 select committee yesterday, the independent british retailers association gave sterling evidence to our inquiry, and both of them quite
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rightly said that this will disproportionately affect women who traditionally held to many more roles in the retail sector, and many of these roles are now going towards distribution centres. the noble lady is correct and sadly recognise that many of those losing theirjobs in this sector are likely to be younger low—skilled female workers, hence the importance of higher universal credit payments, the kick—start programme and jets and from january 2021 the job support finding service. therefore we have temporarily increased universal credit by around £1000 a year, and are doubling the number of work coaches to 27000 by 2021. 0ther peers said bricks and mortar stores were facing unfair online competition. my lords, that is the case to an extent that the supply chains of online retailers rely on the victims of human trafficking, modern slavery, and appalling working conditions.
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my lords expectation of low pay. it's notorious of the case that these issues are prominent with a number of the bigger names in the online shopping. this is a scandal which must be stopped. another labour peer had his own ideas to save high street shops. such as reducing the ratel of vat on sales from brick and mortar shops. and reducing the state pension age to enable many to retire i and vacate jobs - for younger people. i cannot give commitments on that, and tax changes, there really a matter for the chancellor. but lord callanan said the government would continue to support the retail sector. the women and equalities committee has been holding an inquiry into body image over the last four months. having taken evidence from mental health charities, youth organisations and social media companies it was now time to hearfrom government ministers. 0ne told them that body image
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could have a big impact on people's lives. the data that the government poses in 2019 says that one in five people say that poor body image has slowed their career progression and 57% of 18 to 24—year—old say that poor body image impact that mental health, and with statistics like that potentially impacting not only someone�*s courage but also future career prospects, in the future health and well—being prospects, and the future relationship prospects, that's why we have to work really collaboratively across government to try and do what we can to address this issue. whilst a health minister said eating disorders had been a huge problem during the pandemic. young women, young adults, men also, and boys come at home with less control over what they eat, how they eat and when they eat because of lockdown.
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an add—on to that the layers of apprehension, fear and knowing disruption to social circles, school, all the other layers on top of that, it's been extremely difficult for that group of people. i suppose that's the area in terms of the relationship between body image and mental health, iwould be most absorbed in. she said the government had given extra money to eating disorder charities, brought in crisis teams to help people in their homes, and there'd been a surge in demand for eating disorder beds. eating disorder is archly the most deadly and all mental health illnesses. one in four people with eating disorder die a result. nadine dorries. and that's it from me for this edition of the programme. but do join me again at the same time tomorrow, as we take a look back at the week here in westminster. but for now, from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye.
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hello there. a bit of the weather tussle going on in the skies above the uk of the next few days between cold air to the north and east of us in milder air to the south and west. during the next 2a hours, it's the milder air which will win through for many but on this dividing line we are going to see quite an active weather system and that's going to produce on one side pretty heavy rainfall. northern ireland, north—west england of greatest concern where we could see 1 or 2 inches of rain, adding to the flood concern. 0n the colder side of our weather system the hills of northern england, southern scotland and into central and northern scotland we could see significant snow which could have an impact on some of the higher road. it's here where we start the day. it's here where we start the day start coldest of all.
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maybe temperatures as low as —6 degrees compared to 10 or 11 in parts of cornwall. big north—south contrast. there is the dividing line, that area of rain, sleet and hill snow, through the morning rush hour pushing its way northwards. drying up and brightening up to the south quite misty and murky underneath that weather front but you can see that it's on these higher sites were more likely to see the snow. that rain—sleet—snow mix is going to hang around across parts of central scotland, moving into northern scotland as we go through the day. it does allow skies to brighten in england and wales but stays mostly misty and murky in the north but with sunnier skies and a bit of a breeze, it will stay incredibly mild average is up to 1a degrees compared to just 4 in aberdeen, 2 in lerwick where it should stay dry and bright through much of the day. should stay dry and brighter much of the day for another batch of rain comes through thursday evening for that rain rather than snow. milder air snow continues to fall in northern parts of scotland. some heavy, thundery showers into the first part of friday morning across the south. we've still got those north—south contrast as far as temperatures are concerned. widespread frost in the far north of scotland where you've got some snow and some icy conditions to start friday.
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that will still be there on friday morning. rain across southern scotland, northern england fizzling out. a few heavy, maybe thundery showers across the south but a better chance of sunshine winning through friday. temperatures still in double figures in the south but the colder air starting to fight its way back. and it will continue to try and push back as we go into the weekend. notice how it's pushing its way southwards. this swirl here is an indication of a weather system which could bring another mix of rain, sleet and snow on saturday across england and wales ahead of a potentially another one late on sunday. that fight goes on into next week too.
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welcome to bbc news — i'm mike embley. our top stories: in my view we've already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. we can't wait any longer. he calls it an existential threat — a warning from president biden as he signs a series of executive orders to make climate change a foreign policy and national security priority. european union officials attack astrazeneca over a shortfall in vaccine doses but fail to get the company to hand over supplies marked for the uk. how did the pandemic start? world health organization experts finally end their quarantine in wuhan, and prepare to investigate covid's origins. and how the shares in one struggling online game company have sparked a war with wall street hedge funders.


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