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tv   Review of British Parliament  CSPAN  January 1, 2018 12:00am-1:02am EST

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announcer: thanks for watching. announcer: the british parliament is in recess for the holidays. prime minister's questions returns january kent. now -- january 10. now we review the events that
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happened in the british house of commons since the summer. this is an hour. >> 18 months on from the referendum results, the prime minister scripts through phase one of the negotiations. host: facing claims that they
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are pushing people into poverty and destitution, ministers make changes to the welfare benefits. >> no government is perfect, no benefit system is perfect, no debates, no motion is perfect but we work together to make this better. host: in his budget, the chancellor announces a boost for house building and first-time buyers. but opposition mps recommend discomfort for sluggish economic times ahead. >> before the wind abrasive hit us, the position for millions of people as if we have been struggling with nine years of austerity. host: but with every passing day, the u.k. inches closer to brexit. we are scheduled to their scheduled to leave the european union at the end of march 2019 and with the deadline , approaching, mps have spent
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the time trying to pin down pretty big questions such as what role will parliament have in the present process area what will the final dilip like and what will the uk's relationship be with europe after we have left? meanwhile, prime minister theresa may has faced a complex task of trying to push present through the commons. also, keep northern iowa's democratic unionists, whose mps she relies on to get this through. this move to move brexit forward showed little success. theresa may traveled to funds in september to make a big speech, offering assurances on eu citizens rise and urging a new economic and security relationship of the future. and while that may have been seen as a step forward, there was a distinct wobble when they hit the prime minister had struck down with this approach by a prankster and standing in front of a disintegrating background. so there was wanted to talk about when parliament returned in the autumn and mrs. may came to the commons to update mps.
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pm may: mr. speaker, this is between the sovereign united kingdom and a strong and successful european union, it is our ambition and our arbitrary european friends. achieving the partnership will require leadership and flexibility, not just from us but from our friends the 27 nations of the eu. mp corbyn: this is demonstrated the scale of the mess the government is making of these negotiations. 15 months on from the referendum, bear no clearer about what the future of this country will look like. just when britain needs a strong negotiating team, we have a at each other's throats. half on the conservative party want the foreign secretary sacked the other half want the chancellor sacked. host: theresa may ridiculed what she said was a shifting approach to brexit. : they said they
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wanted to leave the single market, now they say they want to stay in the single market. they said they are staying in this union and it would be a drive and now they want to stay in the customs union forever and the use to biggest this effort -- second referendum but now they have refused to rule it out. with such a confused position on brazen, no longer they say it will be a run on the pound if labor gets into power. theresa may returned to comment a few days later, the conflicting demands on the prime minister were clearly on show. this urged her to keep up with conversation with european union to stop the u.k. dropping out of the eu with no deal. a so-called hard brexit and rely on well trade organization goals. >> is the prime minister sure is that the talks will continue and that she will not listen to those sometime want talks to stop after going onto these rules? >> will she stick to her guns, follow-through and have confidence that the only people undermining her from the side are people who are threatening
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to get into the lobbyist with the labour party? >> when is the prime minister going to face down in her party, on her back benches, and in her cabinet, who from their safety of their stately homes and shantou's, their inherited wealth clamor for a deal that they know would do huge damage to the just about managing, leave the u.k. weaker and leave our position in the world much smaller. >> this is the certainty, and we to know the details of our future relationship and any transition deal before the end of the year. it is absolutely critical that we stay in the single market and the customs union. >> the foreign secretary's attempt to be helpful in the european council this morning by quoting shakespeare, including this in the affairs of men which will lead on to fortune from
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"julius caesar," which was spoken by brutus, who went on to stab his leader and came to a sticky end. is that a perfect metaphor for her predicament? may: i always welcomed the literary and classical references my right honorable friend brings in his speeches and statements, and he and i are both working to ensure we get the right deal for the united kingdom when we leave. host: theresa may wasn't the only member of the government facing conflicting pressures. the brexit secretary was consistently pushed to release more information to parliament. at the start of november, mps backed the labor move to make the government show the commons brexit committee a series of impact studies on the effects of leaving the eu. the reports related to 58 different sectors in the u.k. including tourism and the nhs. ministers had resisted publishing the studies saying that that could damage the uk's negotiating position.
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but labor use and of skewer an obscurekewer -- parliamentary procedure to make the government release the papers. >> looking at this that i have here, two things are obvious, -- are obvious. the first is that in many ways, it is unremarkable and could and should have been published months ago. the second is that the wide range of sectors analyzed demonstrate why it is so important for members of this house to see the impact assessment. host: after a great deal of tilling and throwing, the information was released but in an incomplete form. david davis was asked to appear before the committee, revealing that the impact assessment was not in fact impact assessments at all. >> the answer to the question is no. the government has not undertaken any impact assessments on leaving the eu for different sections of the british economy. so there isn't one on the
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reporting sector. is there one on aerospace? no? >> no to all of them. >> right. doesn't it strike you as rather strange given the experience in the committee that you have come of that the government and takes assessments at all looking at things, andrts of you just told us that the government hasn't undertaken any impact assessments at all looking at the impact on individual sectors of the economy. >> the first thing to say is that when these were initiated, they were done to understand the effect of the various options. what the outcome would be. you don't need to do an impact assessment, a full impact assessment, to understand that if there is a regulatory hurdle between our produces and a market that they will have an impact.
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they will have an effect. it is not as straightforward as people have made it out to be. i'm not a fan of economic models because they have all been proven wrong. host: away from westminster, the brexit talks continued. in mid-october, the eu showed enough progress had been made to move onto the second phase of the brexit talks, which, among other things would look at our , future trading relationships. progress had been made on the eu nationals and the brexit, a the amount of money the u.k. will pay on exiting the eu. but one sticking point remains, how to avoid the return of a the republicetween and northern ireland. this still had been done at the start of december but those
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hopes were targeted by the democratic union as party leader she made it fair to theresa may that she would not accept a deal. so after some frantic telephone diplomacy, a compromise was finally reached a few days later. in the early hours of the morning, theresa may appeared in brussels alongside the european commission president jean-claude juncker to announce that his -- that an interim deal had been struck, aligning progressions for phase two. returning home, theresa may made a long-awaited statement to him signed ino mps, britain's negotiators had argued robustly for the outcome that was achieved, which were -- : this is a deal that will guarantee the right of more than 3 million eu citizens sitting in the u.k. and a million u.k. nationals living in the eu so they can carry on living their
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lives as before. a fair assessment of the accounts, meaning all rights and the party member state in the spirit of our future partnership. and a community maintain the common travel area with island to uphold the belfast agreement and to avoid a hard border ireland and the republic of ireland while upholding the constitutional and economic integrity question one then nothing would be agreed until everything was agreed. this deal was good news all around. it is good news to worry so far down and tortures negotiations, it was never going to happen, it is good news for people who voted remain. we will do so and a smooth and orderly way, securing a special partnership with our friends while taking back control of our borders come money -- borders, money, and laws once again. this is this government's mission, on friday which is a big step toward achieving it and i commence this statement. mp corbyn: 18 months on from the
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referendum result, the prime minister has scraped through phase one of the negotiation. scraped through after 18 months, two months later than planned with many of the key aspects of phase one still not clear. this weekend, cabinet members have managed to contradict each other and some have managed to go even farther and contradict themselves. >> last week, we have a humiliating scene of the prime minister being forced out of the original deal by the dep. the government had to reread the agreement so as to reach the approval. we really have to wonder who is running the u.k. -- is it eileen foster or the right honorable member from maidenhead? >> when she confirmed that the text of this agreement does not make clear that in the event of a deal, northern ireland will not be separated politically, economically or by any
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regulatory requirements from the rest of the u.k., along with no hard border on the island of ireland, but also in the event of no overall deal, nothing is agreed. >> can i suggest to the prime minister that in order to strengthen leverage on the next phase of negotiations, she may want to suspend tribal politics and invite the leader of the opposition and his front bench colleagues to join her negotiating team since whatever their technical differences they , agree with her on the fundamentals of brexit and withdrawal from the single markets and customs union, this -- union. >> this has captivated the house with regulatory impact assessments that do not exist.
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the whole thing would be paid. this is the secretary contradicting him at the weekend saying that it would be conditional on a trade deal. here he is commenting on the alignment. he has dismissed this as a statement of intent. she can't even get her pregnant secretary to agree with her then how on addition going to get a good deal that protects jobs and growth in this country? >> phase one of the talks concluded that but can teresa talk them up as a triumph? let's talk to prisoners in who we join any threat the program. host: how will theresa may be when she comes out of this? >> i think if you tell your idea in the direction of dentistry, wherever you were watching or listening around the u.k., you
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could hear the size of relief because there is a huge sense that they're going to the point where they can move on to phase two -- this was the key thing that they said they wanted to do by christmas so they managed to do it. yes, there was a huge amount of noise about brussels and that phone call from the dep leader arlene foster and mrs. may having to trudge back to the u.k. without having a deal and then there being weak telephone diplomacy before going out and getting a deal. then the embarrassments, they were in the house of commons but as she said in that newspaper articles wrote that she got to where she set out to get to at the outset. host: but it did take absolutely ages to get there. what does that tell us? >> it took ages, it took longer than originally thought because october was the first deadline which was broken, and crucially remember that everything in those discussions is resolved. the barrier was sufficient progress. it doesn't mean that it is all done. there are still huge questions around the irish border. there is the agreement at the border should be soft between
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the republic of ireland and northern ireland, but there isn't much of an agreement yet about achieving that. so what this tells you, it is a mighty complicated business trying to a not a relationship that has gone back a generation. that is before we get to what many people would think there would be an even more complicated discussion, with the future relationship looks like. that is before starting a negotiation to see if they can get what they want to achieve area host: are we any closer to knowing what theresa may wants in the end? out of all of this >> i am not sure we are. some of them are not sure what the prime minister would necessarily want. the argument you hear from the prime minister's supporters is that she is being the ultimate pragmatist. she is listening and observing the views that are expressed with in her government, when in parliament and the country to try to come up with a pragmatic solution that the country can accept. the tricky thing, and the essence of the whole challenge
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politically, is that referendums bind. they are binary, they are forced -- it is a black-and-white moment. the politics after a referendum is the return of gray. the prime minister's task is to try to find some source of solution around brexit that is acceptable to those who voted as arexit, that isn't seen watering down of what they would want, and is acceptable to the 48% who are on the losing side of the referendum, and that is mighty hard because compromises guarantee that some people will be disappointed. host: who will come back to you a little later in the program, but for now thank you very much indeed. now let's take a look at some other stories from around westminster in brief. >> it has been described as a tragedy unprecedented in modern times, the fire that swept through grenfell tower in june that left 71 people dead. the blaze was thought to have began accidentally on a flat on the fourth floor. at its height 250 firefighters
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, from across london were at the scene. in the immediate aftermath, you the local community rallied around them to provide shelter for those affected and relief centers were set up to accept donations across the capital. six months on a memorial service , is held in london. it was attended by the prime minister and members of the royal family. just before christmas, the community secretary came to the commons to update mps. >> the council has been tasked with finding places to live for 207 households from grenfell tower. to date 144 households, almost , 70% have accepted an offer of temporary or permanent accommodation. we have all been very clear that we should move at pace of the families involved and that nobody should be rushed were pushed into making a decision about where to live. but to have so many families, including some children still living in hotels and other emergency accommodations six month after the tragedy is not
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good enough. >> the use of exotic overseas tax havens hit headlines with the government accused of failing to crack down on the biggest tax scandal of a generation. it followed revelations by the bbc's program as millions of late financial specimens known as the paradise papers showing how many were being selfish and taxes legally avoided overseas. >> does the government not recognize that the ordinary taxpayer hearing this news is utterly outraged, but if you are rich or if you are a business, you can avoid tax for schemes of an industrial scale? they are protected by lack of transparency. host: a government commission said it was conceivable that the bombing of a pop concert at manchester urban inmate could
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have been avoided. they told mps that the men had been a former subject of interest. nine other attacks had been averted since march. the government has rejected calls for meche in plans that offer to treat a number of conditions such as internal organ prolapse and incontinence. high numbers of women have become to come forward claiming the procedure has degraded and left them in debilitating pain. >> this will explain the problems as she stated, it won't stop, the mesh is never fully removed and it means that the mesh will stick and adhere to organs blood vessels, creating and lifelong injuries. >> mesh still is the best product for treating stress incontinence. the evidence regarding prolapse is rather more mixed.
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the health minister was back in the commons weeks later to tell mps that the cap on social care costs in england due to come into effect and four years time is to be scrapped. the cap of 72.5 thousand pounds on an individual's character was -- care costs was followed by recommendations in 2011. it had already been put in as a act of parliament. now they will be a first consultation on the future system of social care. >> we will not be taking over previous government's plans to implement a cap on care costs in 2020. >> it is no good for the minister to say that the government is consulting on these caps. they consulted on this during the general election and their proposals were rejected by the electorate. >> i am 53, mr. speaker. will my children be suffering the same level of mystery about my care costs in the next 30 years?
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>> is it reasonable for me to expect for my social care costs to be paid for by the state and get my heirs to inherit my substantial housing assets? i think my honorable friend, and a nutshell, summarizes neatly one of the debates we have to have in this space, which is how about we ensure that people can achieve care when they need it and that it will be paid for while at the same time achieving intergenerational fairness? host: jackie doyle price. now to an issue that rumbled on all on him as mps and peers hope that the government makes changes to universal credit. it replaces six existing working age benefits with the aim of simplifying the system and making it easier for people to get into work. while many mps supported the idea, there was a growing chorus of concerns about the six week weight before claimants received their first payment. opponents say this was pushing
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people into debt. jeremy corbyn took up the charge at prime minister's questions. mp corbyn: the roll out of universal credit is already causing debt, poverty and homelessness. does the prime minister accept that it would be irresponsible to press on regardless? host: theresa may explained why the change had been introduced. pm may: what we want is a welfare system that provides a safety net for those who need it, that helps people to get into the workplace, helps people to earn more and to provide for themselves and their families. host: with discontented growing, labor called for a debate demanding a cord and the benefits rollout. a conservative rejected the suggestion that his party didn't understand the problem people face. >> my father died at an early age. there wasn't any sport. we absolutely do understand the importance of providing opportunity.
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that is what put me in politics, and that is why i support universal credit, and i don't want to see yet being paused because it does offer a transformational opportunity for people. >> i want to genuinely say to the bench's opposites, none of us are lying about our experiences here. we are not making things up. we are coming to you with genuine problems that the government is failing to face. host: peers were worried about the impact of the change. a woman was moved onto universal credit and waited seven weeks for her money. she told one of my 30 that she took paper napkins from mcdonald's because she was unable to afford toilet paper. her son's condition means that he wears nappies which she was also unable to afford. can any of us imagine the stress and the indignity of such a situation? host: at the end of the debates in the comments mps voted for , the government to cut the waiting time for payment
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although mps from the government 's side did not take part in that vote. a few weeks later, they announced that in the future money can be paid directly to advancesds and large could be claimed and repaid more slowly. >> we are now offering a balanced package of improvements which ensures extra support for those who need it most. host: while those changes were welcomed, mps went on to demand that this was about the benefits being released to the committee that scrutinizes the work of the department. a leading campaigner reminded mps why he fought for the policy to be changed. on friday, the most brilliant to be -- but ought to be unnecessary organization reported a family coming in of a husband, wife, and young child. the child was crying with hunger. the family was fed. the father said it had been a lucky week for him because neighbors had taken pity and
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invited him to a funeral so that they could finish off the food after the other funeral guests had been fed. >> i don't know what to start after that. i am humbled by the words my honorable good friend. no government is perfect. no benefit system is perfect, no debate, no motion is perfect, but by god we work together to make this better. host: with brexit dominating the agenda at westminster, are issues like universal credit so slipping under the radar? chris mason is back with me. is there a long list of policies that are not getting the scrutiny you would expect? >> i think there are. there is a frustrating parlor game you can play. what would be talking about if brexit were not happening? would there has still been a row
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about our place in the european union? there would've been a substantial chunk of the population arguing that our relationship had to change, but it would not have been a big moment, obviously, as the referendum results was. what is really striking is the extent to which in this postcode of westminster, whether amongst civil servants or politicians or advisors or journalists collectively, the vast majority , day in, day out. that means all sorts of other issues.
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brexit is the default topic that everyone talks about your the bigger challenge journalistically is that on the one hand it is a vastly important moment, but andto-day, it can be turgid often, from the perspective of the viewer with a listener, it doesn't seem to move very far in the course of the day so that is a really big challenge and i speak to mps as somewhere frustrated, this frustration is shared by their there are plenty of topics that matter to people every day, whether the universal credit for this bundle of the hospitals, they aren't getting the amount of attention. >> we will return to a little bit later in the program. you are watching westminster
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interview with me. don't forget, you can find a daily roundup of all the goings-on in the comments and on weeknight on bbc parliament at 11:00. or you can catch up by the bbc. now to one of parliament set piece of fence the budget. ,this came against the backdrop of brexit and murmurings about decisions in the cabinet, the suggestion is that the chancellor's position is under threat. the day began with a traditional photo at 11. he was find by his junior administers but he lost the budget contained that all-important speech. after some photos, it was into the car into commons to unveil the plans. the chancellor spoke for an hour with an announcement on health spending, universal credit and stamp duty. he began with preparations for brexit.
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>> we have already invested almost 700 million pounds in brexit preparations. today, i am setting aside over the next two years another 3 billion pounds and i stand ready to allocate further pounds if and when needed. chancellor found time for a well set up joke, he drank a glass of water and made may when he theresa handed her a offering to help. >> i did take the precaution of asking my right honorable friend. [cheering] >> conservative mps roared but the next section of the speech was less lighthearted. as the chancellor revealed the budget responsibility predicting slower growth in the coming years. >> regrettably, our productivity performance continues to
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disappoint. the opr has a few at each of the last 16 fiscal events. that productivity growth would return to its precrisis trend of about 2% a year. but it has remained stubbornly flat. so, today, the revised that look -- revise the outlook for productivity growth, business investment and gdp growth across the forecast. >> a surprise announcement came when philip hammond said there would be 44 billion to meet the target of building 300,000 new homes each year by the middle of the next decade. today, forax from all first time purchases up to 300,000 pounds, i am abolishing that. [cheering] >> when the din had died down, he said that would be a cut to 95% of all first-time buyers who pay stamp duty. so it doesn't apply in scotland.
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it is down to the leader of the opposition, not the shadow chancellor, to reply for the budget. with little time to absorb the announcement, it seems to be one of the toughest parliamentary occasions. jeremy corbyn said the test of any budget was how it affected people's lives. >> the pay is now lower than it was in 2010 and wages are now falling again. economic growth in the first three quarters of this year is the lowest since 2009. and the slowest of the major economies in the g7. >> jeremy corbyn said over a million older people were not getting the care they needed and he reacted angrily to a heckle of a conservative mp. >> over 6 billion would have been cut from social care budget by next march. i hope the honorable members begin to understand what it is like to wait for social care, stuck in a hospital bed, other
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people having to give up their work to care for them. >> and on housing, jeremy corbyn reckons he had heard it all before. >> the government promised 200,000 starter homes three years ago, not a single one has yet been built. public a large-scale funded building program, that this government accounting tricks and empty promises. >> snp reckons people in scotland would be worse off. >> before brexit hit us, the starting position for millions of people is if we have already been struggling with nine years of austerity, the cuts being put in public services, the service and public service workers in particular are feeling this squeeze. showss the budget that the chancellor is blind what is going on or is behaving like a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights. >> ian blackford.
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while many recent budget has unraveled in the days after the chancellor speech, and while this one contained if you dramatic headlines, it did not stick together, this was to the relief of theresa may and her party managers. so where does that leave philip wasond, who many reckoned in danger of being reshuffled? at six -- it is an extraordinary year for him. the election was good news for him. opinion was that hammond would be shoveled out after the german election, fired basically. he barely featured at all on the campaign trail, much to his public frustration he expressed afterwards. he felt the conservatives should have really pushed what was a strong and of the economy during the campaign, that didn't happen and he was parceled up and barely saw the light of day but
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he survived as chancellor and what was really striking into the hold up of the budget, was pretty easy to fight conservative mps, and not just disagree with them on brexit where he is extensively came for a pretty close alignment with the european opinion after brexit. there are quite a few conservative mps who felt that, to borrow a phrase used by david was an allys chancellor in a digital age, but along came the budget and unlike the other samples budget by the previous four coming budget from early this year where he ended up inadvertently breaching a conservative manifesto commitment that they had to roll back on, this one seemed to hold water politically, even though the overall message which weren't even his numbers but the overall message around the numbers as far as the economy is concerned, we are pretty grim as sell for a chancellor. >> it is one of the great
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offices of state but in the current climate, who would want the job? >> quite, here you are having a political discussion about the economy that is shaped by something that happened in political terms eons ago going and the financial crisis, the sense that that is still a huge driver in terms of how people perceive politics and the standard of living and the money in the pockets. the government is still living beyond its means, spending more every year than it is bringing in in taxes so that issue around the deficit is still there and all of the targets, first the coalition and then the conservatives sent down to try to eradicate it keeps getting pushed further and further and further back and yet, that fall, the chancellor still has an , there is not that much cash to splurge. >> is having to put beside a set
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load of money for brexit. >> millions of pounds were said to be set aside for brides it, -- for brexit. it will be potentially quite an offensive business, the argument for government is that it will necessarily have to be spent, that has to be put up and parceled up for basic expenditure. the overall one is that in the long run, they could be economic benefits, this is something that is highly controversial to be argued forth. brexit yet again, even though we are in a conversation about the budget or universal credit, it is the topic that creeps into every single discussion about politics. >> we will be back with you one last time in the program. but for now, thank you. philip hammond wasn't the only one making a budget statement this autumn. the scottish parliament has increasing power over how money is spent and for the last year or so, has had the ability to varying levels of income tax. setting out his draft budget, the finance secretary outlined plans to help first-time buyers. for the most eye-catching announcement, this proposal
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increases taxes for higher earners. it raises over 160 million pounds to help fund public sectors at the pay rises and health spending. >> these have enabled me to reverse the real terms that westminster has imposed on our resource budget next year while ensuring that scotland is not just the status tax part of the u.k., but the lowest tax party. [applause] >> the message of this budget is simple, don't be ambitious, don't be hard-working or successful, we will penalize you for our failure to grow this economy. >> the truth is, scotland needs real and radical change, not tinkering around the edges. and it should be based on the principle and it should be based on the principle from each according to their means, to
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each according to their needs, a penny on the top rate just doesn't do it. >> by adding new rates and vans, , we showed that we can raise additional revenue for our public services while reducing tax at the bottom and of the income scale, not at the top end as the conservatives of the u.k. government seem to continue to want. this budget does not do enough to meet the long-term needs of the economy, it does not include the transformation of investment in education that we argued for. >> let's take another look at the news in brief. the international development secretary resigned over unauthorized communication with israeli officials. she was ordered back from an unofficial trip to africa by the pm and driven straight from the airport to downing street to explain herself. she had already apologized for holding unauthorized meetings in august with israeli politicians , including prime minister benjamin netanyahu but later
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emerged she had further meetings without government official presence. she resigned, saying that it has been a privilege to work as international development secretary. britain is proud of it special relationship with the united states, but the election of president trump has caused a few bumps along the road. the president's decision to recognize jerusalem as the capital of israel, reversing decades of u.s. policy outraged many mps, who warned it could set the peace process back by decades. re-tweeting of an anti- group led manyt to demand that a future visit to the u.k. by the president be called off. >> when we look at the wider picture, the relationship within
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the u.k. and america, then i know how valuable the friendship is between our two nations. >> one of the key dangers is that we have actually no idea what the president will say or tweet and before he visits so , what does he need to say or tweet before the idea of a state all? is -- once and for >> mr. speaker, an invitation has been extended and accepted but the dates and the precise arrangement have yet to be agreed. >> president trump's role in the world came up again when north korea fired a missile over japan, and has tested a nuclear weapon that could be loaded onto a long-range missile. >> i disagree with the government cozying up to donald trump. but if there is to be any value in those actions, surely the foreign secretary should use his influence to make sure donald
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trump is talking instead of sending inflammatory tweets into what is a fragile and precarious situation. >> i really must disagree thoughtfully with the honorable assertion that this crisis has been whipped up by the americans or by the president or by the white house, when you look at their history, not just in last year but over the last 10 years and 30 years, this has been a movement toward the acquisition of further nuclear weapons by a rogue state. >> there is still no northern ireland assembly after a collapsed in january. talks to end the deadlock failed again in forcing the northern november, ireland secretary to intervene and establish a budget, although he stopped short of re-imposing direct rule. the scottish labour leader was taken by surprise when she announced that she was stepping down after two years on the job. she later got into hot water
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with her party after swapping edinburgh for australia. she was replaced by a former labour mp. labor is now the third largest party behind smp and the conservative. westminster once again found itself at this -- the center of scandal as allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior emerged. several mps found themselves under investigation by the parties or in some cases, the police. an early casualty was the defense secretary michael fallon, he quit in november saying that his behavior may have fallen short of the standards expected by the u.k. military. he told the bbc that what had been acceptable 10 years ago is clearly not acceptable now. the prime minister later announced that parliament is to
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have an independence grievance procedure to deal with complaints about harassment and abuse. the leader of the commons explained the next step. >> the working group has agreed the new system should provide support, advice and action on a wide spectrum of complaints around bullying and harassment. we will do everything in our power to ensure the solution is transparent, fair and effective. >> just before christmas, theresa may suffered another blow when she lost her third cap -- third cabinet minister within two months. she sacked her closest political ally and the man who was effectively a deputy after a government inquiry found he twice made inaccurate and misleading statements about the discovery of pornography on his parliamentary office computer. he denied downloading pornography but admitted he should have been clear that police had spoken to him and his lawyers about the material.
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now let's go back to brexit. we saw earlier in the program the delicate balancing act the prime minister was trying to strike to keep her party together and make progress in talks with the rest of the eu. but there was an equally tricky high wire act to navigate in westminster itself, as ministers tried to push through what had originally been called the great repeal bill and now went by the rather more modest title of the eu withdrawal bill. it repeals the european community act of 1972 which took us into the european community. it sets up the process to transfer the current eu laws into u.k. law so the legal system doesn't collapse after brexit. when the bill had his first full debate in the commons, the minister explained why it was needed. >> cordially, this bill is an essential step, and while it does not take us out of the european union, that is the -- it doesn't sure that businesses know where they stand, workers rights are upheld
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and consumers remain protected. this bill is vital to ensuring that as we leave, we do so in an orderly manner. billying to portray this as a technical exercise converting eu law into our law without raising any serious issues about the role of parliament. nothing could be further from the truth. >> it is utterly incompatible with the idea of our sovereignty. [indiscernible] >> this bill was always going to sow's ear.t are -- a >> copy and pasting is not
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enough to beard the law is only as effective as the mechanisms enforced in practice. to replace the monetary and , we would atoles best be left with zombie legislation, it might be the statute but it is not enforceable. >> the argument against this bill says that this is a grab, it is quite clear from what ministers have said, what the legislation has said, the restrictions have said, that is not the case. first of all, it enables the eu law to be dropped into this parliament, where eventually, if it is not appropriate, it can be amended. >> as the bill moved into line by line scrutiny, there were two other issues that bubbled to the surface. earlier in the program, you saw
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how one of his -- one of the key andking point was ireland the border. as they got down to the detail of the eu withdrawal bill, one -- agreement to be preserved in the bill. in a powerful speech, she reported how the trouble had affected her family and community. it put forward an amendment which she said was designed to protect the principle of mutual respect for all. a 50 acre farm. it unfortunately became known as the murder triangle for the number of people who were murdered both catholic and protestant by the ira and by loyal-- by
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parliamentarians as well. [indiscernible] in the event of no deal, we face a hard order and dissident republicans will regard officers and u.k. border officials. i don't want that on my conscience, i don't believe the prime minister wants that on hers. but while ministers were able to offer assurances on that point, they were not able to persuade mps, including some of their own on another. in october, the committee was told that a parliamentary vote on the exit deal might not come until after march 2019, the uk's intended exit date. the ensuing outrage prompted compromise, with david davis saying he would bring forward a separate bill, giving mps a
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chance to go through it in detail. but that was not enough for some of his own side. during detailed scrutiny of the eu withdrawal bill, a conservative minister put down an amendment demanding that a meaningful vote be written into law. parliament he argued should have a say on how we leave the eu. >> the most worrying aspects of the debate is how we have become polarized and fixated on and the we feel completely to look at means, we look at the top of the mountain and we don't know where we are going to put our foot t.xt beard -- foot next come beforehas to we commit ourselves to the treelike agreement that is entered into with the other members. bill iseality of the that it would allow ministers to start implementing it withdrawal
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agreement through secondary legislation and wouldn't it allow ministers to do so even before parliament has not endorsed the withdrawal agreement. >> we are recovering from a situation, where as members of the european union, we had happy -- we have handed over decisions lock stock and barrel to the european union. this is a massive improvement. the attempts to reverse brexit -- it is nothing but can't. >> oh my, what stalinism is this? in an attempt to disagree in the way in which this bill is brought up is somehow a betrayal of a brexit. what rubbish. >> another conservative feared that the process would just get dragged out. >> if the treaty is not right in the eyes of this parliament, a couple of months could turn into a couple of years and indeed, in
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some cases people would like it to be a couple of decades. so when she talks there for about a meaningful vote what , about the meaningful vote of the people of this country who last june voted to leave the european union? surely we need to get that done as quickly as possible to deliver what they voted for. >> the government did offer a last-minute concession to come back to the issue at the next stage of the bill's consideration. it was too little too late for the rebels, and the government suffered its first defeat on the bill by just four votes. o 305. t >> so, the government headed into the christmas recess with a legislative hangover which it will try to cure in the new year. but what does all this tell us
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about the state of westminster's biggest party? much of the focus has been on the internal divisions of the conservative party, meaning labor's policies have not come in for a detailed scrutiny. chris is here one last time. labor has struggled to come to a position on brexit. >> it has beard and it speaks to what we were saying much earlier, when you have a referendum which is binary in black and white, it will decide political parties which are inevitably broad churches, we have seen that in labor as well, spending much of the, senior figures contradicting one another and contradicting themselves about the outlook on brexit. what was quite striking was during the general election campaign, broadly speaking, they seemed to be able to profit from sounding a little warmer toward -- thanpean union them the conservatives were, even though there are internal contradictions that come within
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the conservatives. that was possibly a factor i think in helping them along in some states in the general election but after that, and it -- and indeed before it, they managed to benefit from one of the few joys of opposition which is that you get as much scrutiny as the government, particularly as the government is trying to execute something you are defining and when the government , is ripped with its own divisions. >> that's what i was going to argue. doesn't actually matter if labor's position is constantly shifting given that they are not in power and the government is struggling to come to a point where they are happy with brexit? >> it doesn't matter as much with the government's position is. constantlyr will point out and some conservatives will privately acknowledged, given the space, theresa may's that means the dep, that you lose in the house of commons sometimes. it is not impossible to imagine a scenario where in 2018 there
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is a general election, and it is also not impossible you look at the opinion polls, most of them labor is close or ahead. it is entirely possible that jeremy corbyn could be prime minister and in that instance, it would matter. >> just a moment, let's talk about jeremy corbyn's position.
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>> thank you for joining us throughout the program. finally, there was one piece of news upon which all visions of all sides could unite and offer the best wishes. news that prince harry had -- engaged to american actor meghan markle. they made the announcement at the end of november. congratulations. may the 19th in st. george's chapel. brings us to the end of this edition of the program. we are back in our daily roundup. now, for us and me, goodbye. ♪
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>> british parliament is in recess for the holidays. prime ministers questions returns on january 10. you can go to and find video of past prime minister's questions. more than 200 young people to spend in the annual u.k. and youth parliament debate in the british house of commons. during this portion, students talked about the importance of employers hiring young people to gain necessary work and 4 -- experience for the future. this about 40 minutes.
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