tv Prime Ministers Questions Prime Ministers Questions CSPAN January 24, 2021 11:59pm-12:40am EST
department -- the treasury department. the senate will receive the article impeachment against president trump from the house. opening arguments are set for february 9. later in the week, more confirmation votes are possible and senate committees will continue holding confirmation hearings with biden cabinet nominees. watch live coverage of the senate on c-span two. during prime minister's questions, boris johnson congratulated president joe biden and vice president kamala harris on their inauguration telling members he look forward to working with the new administration on a range of issues, including climate change and security. the prime minister also answered questions on the vaccine distribution process and his government's response to the coronavirus. coronavirus. >> order, before i prime minister med express on behalf
of the house the best wishes to president biden and vice president kamala harris on this there inauguration day. we now come to questions from the prime minister. i will first called the prime minister to answer an engagement question, and then i will call >> mr. speaker, i want to thank the environment agency at our emergency services for the work
they are doing to support these communities. i will be sharing this later and we will cordon eight the lasher -- the national response. in addition to my duties in the house, i will have meetings later today. quests -- >> alex shall brooke? >> thank you. i would like to fully associate myself with the prime minister's opening comments. will the prime minister joined me in welcoming the fact, this element will continue to receive -- these elementary students will continue to receive free males -- free meals? >> mr. speaker, i can confirm eligible pupils in leeds will receive free meals. we have given over 2 million pounds to leeds city council through the grant scheme to support vulnerable families and it is the intention of this
government that no child should go hungry this winter as a result of the covid pandemic. >> the leader of the opposition. >> can i also welcome the inauguration of president biden and vice president harris. it is a victory for hope over hate and a real moment for optimism in the u.s. and around the world. can i also thank all of those on the front lines helping to deliver the vaccine, including the nhs, who are doing so much to keep us safe under the most extraordinary pressure. mr. speaker, it is 10 days since the home office mistakenly deleted hundreds of thousands of vital criminal records, including fingerprints, crime scene data and dna records, so can the prime minister tell the house how many criminal investigations could have been damaged by this mistake? >> mr. speaker, the home office is actively working to assess
the damage. as the right honorable gentlemen will know from the urgent question that was held in the house only a few days ago, it believes that it will be able to rectify the results of this complex incident, and it hopes very much that it will be able to restore the data in question. >> mr. speaker, >> let me ask how many convicted criminals have had their records wrongly deleted? >> i answered the first question
accurately, mr. speaker. we don't know how many cases might be frustrated as a result of what happened but i can tell you, i have 213 thousand records and 5000 arrest records and 15,000 person records currently being investigated because they are the subject of this problem. >> keir starmer. >> mr. speaker i have a letter , here from the national police chiefs council. it makes it clear that 403,000 records on the police national computer may have been deleted. in addition to that -- >> this is from the national police chiefs council. in addition, dna records from the dna database and 30,000 records from the fingerprints database, so this isn't just a technical issue.
it is about criminals not being caught and victims not getting justice. this letter makes clear that it includes data from criminals convicted of serious offenses, it has impacted organizations and it includes records, including dna, marked for indefinite retention following the conviction of serious offenses. that is the most serious and that has been deleted. is the prime minister seriously telling us that 10 days after, he still hasn't got to the bottom of the basic questions and he can't tell us how many cases have been lost, how many serious offenders this concerns and how many police investigations have been investigated? >> it is becoming a feature of the gentlemen's questions that he fails to listen to the answer i have just given. and he repeats, because i think he gave a figure of 413,000.
i will do math in my head, if you add 213,000, you get plus 15,000, which are the numbers i get. you get to 400-3000, if only he bothered to do that essential computation in his head he would have had the answer before he stood up and claimed to not receive it. it was there in the previous answer, mr. speaker. of course it is outrageous that any data should have been lost, but at the moment, as i sit in my first answer, which i hope you heard, we are trying to retrieve that data. >> the prime minister complains not listening to answers. the figure i quoted was 403,000. prime minister, that was the figure plus 26,000, plus 30,000.
let me try the next simple question. how long will it take for all the wrongly belated records to be reinstated for police -- in the police database? >> that will depend on how long it takes to recover. people are working around the clock being briefed by my staff and the policing minister. we are working around-the-clock the clock on this issue. any loss of data is unacceptable but thanks to the robust economy we have had for the last few years, we have been able to invest in policing and drive crime down and that is the most important thing. i have no doubt we will be able to continue to do that by relying on excellent data. >> mr. speaker, the home secretary said they were washing through the data. we don't know where the records
are. and they may have to become a few can believe this, reentered manually, which will take a long time. the letter from the national chiefs council also makes clear that the obvious place to reinstate the dna database, this has been compromised so his answers need to be seen in that light. let me turn to another of the home secretary's responsibilities. last night, the home secretary told the conservative party event and these were her words, should we have closed out orders earlier, the answer is yes. i was an advocate, says the home secretary, of closing them last march. why did the prime minister overrule the home secretary? >> mr. speaker, i think it was last march that the right honorable gentleman along with many others was saying we didn't need to close borders but as usual, he has changed his tune.
we are facing, and it is interesting these questions were about a computer glitch in the home office. we are in the middle of a pandemic. this country is facing a very grave death toll and we are doing everything we can to protect the british public which i think he would expect. that is why we have instituted one of the toughest border regimes in the world and we insist you have to get a test 72 hours before you fly. there must be a passenger locator form which you have to provide and quarantine for 10 or five days if you do a second test. i am delighted he praises the home secretary, who changed the tune from the right honorable gentlemen. i'm glad he is in favor of tough border controls. he wasn't last year. and he campaigned for the leadership of the labour party on a manifest of getting back to free movement.
>> what the home secretary said last night is not disputed. she said last march, this is not hindsight, she was saying to the prime minister, you need to shut your borders. she was saying, so i repeat the question the prime minister avoided, why did he overrule the home secretary who claims that she said last march we should shut our borders? >> mr. speaker, we instituted one of the toughest border regimes in the world. it was only last march that he along with many others in his party were continuing to support an open border approach. i must say the whole experience of listening to the honorable gentlemen over the last few months has really been like listening to a weathervane, watching a weathervane spin around depending on the weather.
with passing this pandemic, we are rolling out a vaccine program that has inoculated 4.2 million people in our country, whereas he would have joined the eu scheme if i seem to remember, he attacked the vaccine task force which secured the supplies on which we are now relying and he stood on a manifesto on the last election to un-bundle the pharmaceutical companies on whose breakthroughs this country is now relying. they continue to look backwards, play politics and snipe from the sidelines. we look forwards and get on with the job. >> let the weather vane take me up to aylesbury and rob butler. rob butler. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the national roll-out of covid-19 vaccinations is a tremendous success story, but it is only in the past few days that over-80-year-olds in aylesbury have been able to get
their first jabs. many of my constituents have contacted me to say that they are frustrated and worried that they have been either forgotten or pushed to the back of the queue. can my honorable friend assure them that everybody in the aylesbury area in the most vulnerable groups will be vaccinated by the middle of february? p.m. johnson: i thank my honorable for everything he does to fight for the interests of the people of aylesbury. i can confirm that we are on track to deliver our pledge, although i must stress to the house that it is very hard because of constraints on supply. we are on track to deliver a first vaccine to everyone in the top four cohorts by mid-february, including the people of aylesbury. >> let's head to scotland with the leader of the snp. >> thank you, mr. speaker. this afternoon, millions around the world will breathe a massive sigh of relief when president joe biden and vice-president kamala harris are sworn into office.
the democratic removal of donald trump gives us all hope that better days are ahead of us -- that days will be a little bit brighter. turning the page on the dark chapter of trump's presidency is not solely the responsibility of president joe biden. it is also the responsibility of those in the tory party, including the prime minister, who cosied up to donald trump and his callous world view. this morning, the former prime minister, the member for maidenhead accused the current , prime minister of abandoning moral responsibility on the world stage by slashing international aid. so if today is to be a new chapter -- if today is to be a new start -- will the prime minister begin by reversing his cruel policy of cutting international aid for the world's poorest? p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, i think it is very important that
the prime minister of the uk has the best possible relationship with the president of the united states -- that is part of the job description, as i think all sensible members opposite would acknowledge. when it comes to global leadership on the world stage, this country is embarking on a quite phenomenal year. we have the g7 and cop 26, and we have already led the world with the gavi summit for global vaccination, raising $8.8 billion. it was the u.k., the first country, major country in the world to set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 -- all other countries are following, and we hope that president biden will join us. we are working to promote global free trade, and of course we will work with president biden to secure the transatlantic alliance and nato, which of course the scottish nationalist party would unbundle -- or i think they would. i don't know what their policy is is on our armed services, but i think they would break them
up. perhaps they would like to explain. >> it is the scottish national party. i know you keep having a memory lapse on it. ian blackford. [laughter] >> i think we have somehow lost ian blackford. we will come back to him. i call nicola richards. nicola, you are muted. press the mic. >> i am not muted. can you hear me? can you hear me? >> yes. >> can you hear me? it is not working. >> we will come back. we will move on to ed davey. have we got ed davey? >> good afternoon, mr. speaker.
can i add my warmest of welcomes to president biden and vice-president harris on their inauguration in washington today? in answer to my question in july, the prime minister promised an independent inquiry into the uk's response to covid. in the six months since, covid cases have soared, our nhs is on its knees, and 50,000 more people have died. the uk now has one of the highest death rates in the world -- higher, even, than trump's america. to learn the lessons from what has gone so devastatingly wrong under his leadership, will the prime minister commit to launching this year the inquiry that he promised last year? p.m. johnson: mr. speaker
answered his own question with , the preamble that he set out. the nhs is under unprecedented pressure. the entire british state -- trying to fight covid and to roll out the biggest vaccination program in the history of our country. the idea that we should consecrate vast state resources to an inquiry now, in the middle of the pandemic, does not seem sensible to me, and i do not believe that it would seem sensible to other members. of course we will learn lessons in due course and of course there will be a time to reflect and to prepare for the next pandemic. >> let us reconnect with ian blackford for his second question. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i think people would find the prime minister's claims about the uk's global leadership a bit more believable if last night he had not ordered his mps to vote down an amendment to the trade bill that would have prevented
trade deals with countries that commit genocide. it is happening in our world right now. the international community has stood idly by as uyghur muslim men, women and children are forced into concentration camps in china's xinjiang province. yesterday, the outgoing us secretary of state officially said that genocide was taking place, and the incoming secretary of state, antony blinken, agrees with his view. is the prime minister prepared to follow that lead? is he prepared to stand up today and clearly state that genocide is being committed against the uyghur population in china? if he is, will he work urgently with the new biden administration to bring the matter to the un security -- >> prime minister. prime minister. >> so that international pressure can be brought to bear on china?
p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, the right honorable gentlemen knows very well that the attribution of genocide is a judicial matter, but i can say for myself that i regard what is happening in xinjiang to the uyghurs as utterly abhorrent, and i know that members on all sides of the house share that view. i commend to him the excellent statement made by my right honorable front the secretary of , state for the foreign, commonwealth and development office on what is happening there, the steps we are taking to prevent british commercial engagement with goods that are made by forced labour in xinjiang and the steps we are taking against what is happening. i ask the right hon. gentleman, in all sincerity, what he would propose by way of a scottish national -- not nationalist but national -- foreign policy would he break up , the fcdo, which, after all, has a big branch in east kilbride?
>> let us head to west bromwich again with nicola richards. nicola richards. >> thank you, mr. speaker. next week, we mark holocaust memorial day, remember the 6 million jewish men, women and children murdered by the nazis, and pay tribute to the extraordinary survivors. will the prime minister join me in thanking the holocaust educational trust for organizing a live webcast so that students throughout the country can tune in on 26 january to hear the testimony of survivor eve kugler? will he join me in asking all members to encourage their local schools to join q3 academy great barr, from west bromwich east, in taking part? p.m. johnson: my right honorable friend is absolutely right to warn us of the need to continue to inoculate our populations and ourselves against the wretched virus of anti-semitism, which has a tendency to recur and re-infect societies, including, tragically, our own. i am very happy to join her in encouraging all members to ask all schools to do what the excellent q3 academy in great barr is doing and to tune in to
the event that she mentions. >> alexander stafford. >> thank you, mr. speaker. both i and many residents across rother valley are very concerned about crime, drug abuse, including from nitrous oxide capsules, and antisocial behavior. will the prime minister back my campaign and call on the labour police and crime commissioner of south yorkshire to restore a police presence and even reopen a police station on dinnington high street? p.m. johnson: mr. speaker there , could be no more fervent and effective advocate for the people of rother valley than my honorable friend, and i'm sure he has much support for his campaign for a police station. i hope that a solution can be found. in the meantime, i can reassure him that we are making sure that there will be the police officers -- the policemen and women -- to put in that police station, because, as he will know, we are delivering on our commitment to have 20,000 more police over the lifetime of this parliament.
>> now to northern ireland and clear hanna. >> thank you mr. speaker. contrary to the view of every political party here and all of those involved in logistics and retail, the secretary of state for northern ireland said last week that there is no border in the irish sea and that disruption to supplies was a covid issue and nothing to do with brexit or the protocol. the papers are reporting the prime minister's plans to woo the biden administration through the topic of northern ireland, as they and we try to move on from trump and trumpism. would being straight with the people of northern ireland not be a good start? p.m. johnson: as the honorable lady may know from what i said to the liaison committee several times, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. actually, there is more transit now taking place between larne and stranraer -- cairnryan, than there is between holyhead and dublin, because it is going so
smoothly. >> mr. speaker, thank you. i'm sorry. it is excellent that we are leading europe in vaccinations and it is excellent that we now have strong health borders, but, as the virus bounces around the world, there is a real risk that it will mutate and be able to dodge the vaccines or reduce the efficacy and there is concerning data from south africa in that respect. will the government develop a new rapid pathway to allow the approval of new variations of the vaccines so that we can shut down any new strains quickly? p.m. johnson: yes, indeed. my honorable friend makes an incredibly important point, and we have been talking intensively about that with the scientists over the past days and weeks and also in the past few hours.
we are confident that the medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency will be in a position to turn around new applications for new variants of vaccines, as may be required to deal with new variants of the virus. >> rosie cooper. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. lorries containing food produce sitting idle for days is a stark reminder that, if post-brexit britain is to be self-sufficient, protecting our food production through infrastructure investment is crucial. will the prime minister provide the infrastructure investment essential to tackling flooding in west lancashire by giving the environment agency enough funding both to keep the 961alt crossens pumps operational and to maintain the watercourses? that will be vital to ensure that the rich food-producing lands of west lancashire, which are essential to the security of food supplies and our local and national economy, are better
defended as well as protect -- >> prime minister. prime minister. we have to get through the questions. p.m. johnson: we will see i , could have heard almost any amount about the rich food-producing parts of west lancashire, but she is entirely right, and we will protect those areas. she is entirely right to call for flood defenses. that is why we put £5.2 billion over six years into flood defenses, including the crossens pumping station refurbishment scheme that she mentions, in which we have invested £5.7 million to protect nearly 4,000 homes. >> sir gary streeter. >>, mr. speaker. the southwest has an ambitious program to build back better in both the green and blue sectors, investing in both clean growth and marine high-tech clusters, but to do so, we will need continued investment in our infrastructure.
will my right honorable friend assure us that leveling up does not just involve the north but every region of the united kingdom, including the south-west? p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, the potential of the greater southwest is enormous, particularly in the areas of blue and green technology. he can be assured that we will be giving massive investment in infrastructure to support the green industrial revolution in the southwest as well as in all parts of the u.k. >> ben bradshaw. >> when the prime minister told fishermen in the south-west that they would not face new export barriers or unnecessary form-filling, and when he told britain's musicians and artists that they would still be free to tour and work in the rest of the european union after brexit, neither of those statements was correct, was it?
p.m. johnson: mr. speaker, it is absolutely true that some british fishermen have faced barriers at the present time owing to complications over form-filling. indeed, one of the biggest problems is that, alas, there is a decline in appetite for fish in continental markets just because most of the restaurants, as he knows, are shut. but the reality is that brexit will deliver, and is delivering, a huge uplift in quota already in the next five years. by 2026, the fishing people of this country will have access to all the fish in all the territorial waters of this country. to get them ready for that eldorado, we are investing £100 million in improving our boats and our fish processing industry, and getting fishing ready for the opportunities ahead.
>> thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the prime minister and the health secretary for the recent strength and guidance to allow parents access to neonatal intensive care units whenever they need to in this pandemic. can the prime minister confirm that compliance with this guidance will be monitored, and can he reassure parents, once and for all, that we know that they are integral to their child's care in hospital, and not just visitors? p.m. johnson: absolutely. mr. speaker, my honorable friend knows of what she speaks. she is completely right to say that they are partners in care and should not be considered as visitors. that is why the current guidance has been put in place -- and yes, we will be monitoring it to ensure that it is observed. >> thank you you, mr. speaker.
on the seventh of march of this year, my constituent nazanin zaghari-ratcliffe's unjustified five-year prison sentence will finally come to an end. could i ask the prime minister what assurances have we had from the iranian authorities that nazanin will have her ankle tags removed, that she will get her british passport back, and that she will be allowed to board a flight back to the u.k. in 45 days' time? >> here, here. p.m. johnson: i can tell the honorable lady, who i know has campaigned hard and well on behalf of her constituent, and quite rightly, that we are working virtually round the clock to secure the release of all the dual nationals that concern us in tehran. without going into the details of the cases, which are, as she knows, complex, we are doing everything we can to secure what we regard as the completely
unjustified detention in tehran of nazanin zaghari-ratcliffe, although as the honorable lady knows, she is now out on furlough, admittedly in the conditions that she describes. >> jason mccartney. >> thank you, mr. speaker. with yorkshire leading the way in the vaccine roll-out, does the prime minister agree that once we have vaccinated the most vulnerable, the elderly and our wonderful health and social care workers, we should then look at prioritizing the vaccination of police officers, emergency service workers, carers, teachers, nursery staff and all those whose essential daily work brings them into contact with other people? p.m. johnson: my honorable friend is a great advocate for his constituents in colne valley, and i much enjoy my exchanges with him. i thank him for what he says about those groups. we must rely on what the joint committee on vaccination and immunization has to say and the priorities that the experts have decided, but of course we want
to see those groups that he mentions vaccinated as soon as possible. i am very pleased that in spite of all the difficulties in supply, last week we gave 1.5 million people their first dose, up half a million on the week before. >> mr. speaker, when we praise our social care workers for their immense response to the pandemic, that includes more than 100,000 care workers from the eu. new research from the joint council for the welfare of immigrants shows that many of them do not know anything about the prime minister's eu settlement scheme, and many more do not know that they must apply by the end of june. we could see thousands of essential care workers and possibly hundreds of thousands of valued eu nationals losing their rights to live and work here overnight on 1 july. will the prime minister please cancel or postpone the application deadline or, better still, extend the rights of eu nationals in the uk automatically, just as he previously promised to do? p.m. johnson: i thank him for
what he has done just now to draw attention to the scheme, but i must say that i respectfully disagree with him about the ignorance in which our wonderful eu nationals have been, because 4 million of them have successfully applied and been given residence, thanks to the scheme we have instituted. it is a great success, and we pay tribute to the wonderful eu nationals in our country who do a fantastic job for this country. >> thank you very much mr. speaker. for many years, my right honorable friend wrote humorous articles that nevertheless made serious points about individual freedom and the dangers of over-regulation. the department of health and social care is currently consulting on how to increase regulations on food advertising significantly. can my right honorable friend reassure me that any implementation of this consultation will be in line with his and my long-held principles?
>> indeed, mr. speaker. i remain a champion of liberty in all its aspects, but i am also the living embodiment of the risks of obesity. there is no question but that it is a comorbidity factor in the pandemic. i think that is something that the people of this country understand. they understand that it is all of our individual responsibility to do what we can to get healthy and to stay healthy, because that is one of the ways we can all help protect our nhs. >> doctors, researchers, experts, campaigners and my constituents, of whom just under two-thirds are from bame backgrounds, including a large bangladeshi population, have all observed the covid-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting bame communities. the royal college of general practitioners has even requested that these communities be prioritized for vaccine roll-out. will the prime minister finally recognize that this disparity is as a result of structural
racism, and can he outline what his government are doing to address the issue? p.m. johnson: i don't agree with her last point, but she makes a very important point about the need to reach hard-to-reach groups in society. that is why it is so important that the vaccine roll-out is not just conducted by the nhs, the army, pharmacies and volunteers, but in co-ordination with local government at all levels, because it is local government that will know where we need to go, as i am sure she would understand, to ensure that we reach those groups we must vaccinate and who may be a little bit vaccine hesitant, as the jargon has it. >> let's head to stafford with theo clarke. >> thank you mr. speaker. over the last week, there has been yet again very significant flooding in stafford. unfortunately, my constituents in penkridge, central stafford and bishops wood are regularly experiencing the disruption and
distress that flooding causes. will my right hon. honorable friend commit to my campaign to establish a flood control centre in stafford that residents can call directly, which would provide 24/7 assistance for my constituents affected by flooding? p.m. johnson: i have every sympathy for the residents of stafford who have been affected by flooding and for everybody who has been affected by flooding in the latest bout. what i can say to my honorable friend is that the environment agency is working hand in glove with her local authority and other partners to find a particular solution to the flooding in sandon road and sandyford brook. >> thank you, mr. speaker. my constituency is served by two
local councils. recently, bexley has taken emergency action to shed hundreds of jobs, while greenwich needs to make £20 million of cuts in its upcoming budget. last year, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government promised councils “whatever it takes” to get through the pandemic, so why instead is the prime minister dropping a council tax bombshell and asking my constituents to pay for his promises? p.m. johnson: the last time i looked, bexley was a conservative council and greenwich was labour, which may explain part of the problem. the reality is that we are supporting every council, with £4.6 billion of support for
local government so far during the pandemic. she raises council tax. perhaps she could have a word with her friend the mayor of london, who is threatening to put up his council tax by 10%. >> derek thomas. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the announcement by my right honorable friend that the g7 summit is to take place in carbis bay in june presents a tremendous opportunity for my constituency and, of course, the duchy of cornwall. i thank the prime minister for this. does he share my belief that the g7 summit offers the perfect opportunity to secure a global commitment to embrace and accelerate our ambitious low-carbon industrial revolution? p.m. johnson: i do indeed. i believe that the g7 summit in carbis bay will be an opportunity to not only bring the world together to tackle covid, to build back better, to champion global free trade and to combat climate change but also to showcase that wonderful
part of the united kingdom and all the incredible technological developments happening there, such as newquay space port, goonhilly earth station and lithium mining. cornwall led the way -- i think the romans mined tin in cornwall, did they not? i have a feeling they did, and, indeed, the copper mines there were at the heart of the uk industrial revolution. what is going on in cornwall today shows that cornwall is once again at the heart of the first century green u.k. industrial revolution. >>
>> you have been watching the prime minister questions. you can also go to here to see more. in other british programs. >> this is the new online store at she pan shop. to check out the products and with the new congress in session, we are taking preorders. every c-span shop purchase helps support the nonprofit operations. shop at c-spanshop.org. >> house democrats plan to send an article of impeachment to the senate charging former president trump regarding the rights in january 6. senate majority leader chuck schumer announced a time when. >> mr. president, we have made good