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tv   Thursday in Parliament  BBC News  January 27, 2017 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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of up to 20% on imports from mexico to help pay for his planned border wall to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs. the mexican economy minister has said the idea won't work because it willjust put up costs for american consumers. the british prime minister, theresa may, has said britain and the us should not return to what she called the failed interventionist policies of the past. mrs may was speaking to republicans in philadelphia at the start of a visit that will see her become the first foreign leader to meet president trump. the gambia's new president, adama barrow, has returned home to scenes ofjubilation. thousands lined the streets as his convoy travelled to the capital. mr barrow was inaugurated last week in senegal for his own safety while regional leaders persuaded his predecessor, yahya jammeh, to step down. now on bbc news, it's time for thursday in parliament. hello and welcome to thursday in parliament.
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the main news from westminster: the brexit bill has been published, but some mps say the government hasn't allowed enough time to debate it. i am astonished at the amount of time that the leader of the house has given to debate it. a new direction for us foreign policy? the foreign secretary chooses his words carefully. i don't think we've seen any policy changes, official policy changes or policy pronouncements. and gordon brown warns that there's not enough money to educate the world's poorest children. the children of the world will be without the qualifications they need, and that is indeed a crisis that's got to be dealt with. the day kicked off with questions to david davis, the secretary of state for exiting the eu. the prime minister has announced that there will be a white paper, setting out the government's brexit strategy.
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many mps wanted to know when the document would appear. can i thank the secretary of state very much for the part he played, i know, in securing the white paper. that has been welcomed across the house, and is good news. can he now tell us, does he know when it might be published, and how much time this place will have to debate it? of course, this is a decision solely for the prime minister, to publish the white paper, but it's nice to be able to agree with myself from six months ago. in terms of timing, we are going to be... sorry, my voice and the microphone together. in terms of timing, the prime minister said in due course, yesterday. it will be as expeditious as we can be. it takes time, she knows, she's been in government, these things have a procedure, it takes time to do,
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but we won't waste time in producing it for the house. thank you mr speaker. i hope the secretary of state gets his voice back, he'll be needing it over the next couple of weeks. does he think that we should be able to see the white paper before we consider legislation? well, with respect to the honourable gentleman, these are slightly separate issues. there'll be lots of legislation, i assume — i'm looking to see if he nods — i assume he's referring to the article 50 legislation? yes, he is. the article 50 legislation is about carrying out the will of the british people, the decision that was taken onjune 23rd. there will be much more legislation after that which will relate to policy, the maintenance of european law — that's the great repeal bill, but also the new legislation arising from that. so it's certainly going to be before all that, and i'll be as expeditious as is reasonable. i'm concerned by some of the responses from the secretary of state, who seemed to be bursting with entusiasm ——enthusiasm
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about this white paper, now it seems we may not get it as soon as we need it. given the level of interest in the legislation and the amendments that are going to be tabled, we need this white paper before committee stage of this bill. will he make sure we get it? how do you deal with an opposition that won't take yes for an answer? i've said we'll deal with it and i will produce it as expeditiously as possible, as quickly as possible. what can you do faster than that? he can work as fast as he can, i suppose, but we do need it before committee stage. when we get it, will it be a cut and paste of the prime minister's speach, or...? 0r instead, will we have assessments of the financial impact on this country of different options? let me start, as i said at the beginning, the prime minister's speech — one of the clearest expositions
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of national policy i've heard in many, many years — answered all of the questions that the opposition and brexit committee raised, other than those that would actively undermine our negotiating position. labour will be putting down amendments to the brexit bill. now that we have a commitment to a white paper, the role of parliament in the article 50 process needs to be determined. that's why labour will seek to table an amendment to the proposed article 50 bill to require the secretary of state to lay periodic reports at intervals of no less than two months on progress of the negotiations under article 50. will the secretary of state commit now to the principle of periodic reports? well, from behind me, i hear, "like he's not going to do that". every two months? since the start of this,
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since september, nearly five months, i've done five statements in front of this house, ten debates, appeared in front of a number of select committees and that process will continue. i suspect two months will be a rather unambitious aim. a little later, a bill paving the way for the uk's exit from the european union was presented to parliament. it's called the european union — notification of withdrawal bill. presentation of bill. mr secretary, david davis. european union — notification of withdrawal bill. second reading, what day? tomorrow. cheering tomorrow. and the commons leader, david lidington announced the timetable for debating the bill in the commons. tuesday the 31st of january, second reading of the european union — notification of withdrawal bill, day one. wednesday the first of february, conclusion of second reading
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of the european union — notification of withdrawal bill. monday the 6th of february, consideration in committee of the european union — notification of withdrawal bill, day one. tuesday the 7th of february, continuation of consideration in committee of the european union — notification of withdrawal bill. wednesday the 8th of february, conclusion of consideration in committee for the european union — notification of withdrawal bill, followed by remaining stages of the european union — notification of withdrawal bill. jeering so that's five days for debating the brexit bill. as you can hearfrom thejeers, some mps did not think the government was allowing enough time. what a week it's going to be. first there was to be no vote, now there's a vote. then there was to be no bill, now there's a bill. then there was to be no white paper, now there's to be a white paper. we should have chanced our arm and said we should definitely be staying in the european union!
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the second reading will be next tuesday, but we of course know there will be the committee of the whole house the following week with everything rushed through and concluded the following thursday. as the leader of the house, as the guardian of this house's procedure and its business, will he now guarantee today and right now there will be a white paper published in time for the committee of the whole house, so this house can consider that white paper and a bill of such importance and magnitude. i was astonished at the amount of time that the leader of the house has given this parliament to debate it. and he's being very coy about whether the white paper will be published before the committee stage of the bill. can he give us more time and tell us if he's going to publish the white paper before next week? i think, if you consider that this is a two—clause bill, that the second clause is dealing only with the extent of the bill to the united kingdom, there is plenty of time, including two full days at second reading, for all opinions to be fully expressed.
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just three days to debate the detail of the most important issue facing this country in a generation, the repercussions of which will face generations to come, is totally u na cce pta ble. and i would hope that every opposition party in this house and every member who cares about parliamentary democracy will vote against this contempt of parliament when it comes to the programme motion. well, i simply say to the honourable gentleman that his party supported the referendum bill, and putting the question to the people, and his party supported the timetable of triggering article 50 by the end of march. and the bill is designed to secure that those objectives are met. the uk is in a position to show "international leadership" to end the fighting in yemen and prevent a famine —
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that's the view of the snp‘s tasmina ahmed—sheikh, who called for an urgent statement about the conflict between the forces loyal to the yemen's president hadi and the houthi rebels. the foreign office minister set out the uk's position. the uk supports the saudi arabian—led coalition military intervention, which came at the request of the legitimate president hadi, and we are clear through that coalition and the government of yemen military gains must be used to drive forward the political process. i last spoke to president hadi on the 15th of january to discuss the importance of taking measures to prevent economic collapse. we continue to strongly support the tireless efforts of the un special envoy, in trying to achieve a political settlement. we're providing over £1 million to the un special envoy‘s office to bolster the un's capacity to facilitate the peace process, and the un special envoy is due to brief the un security council today in new york on the latest developments on the un's plans.
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when the un security council meets this afternoon, it will do so against a backdrop of heavy fighting in the red sea, and an increasingly dire humanitarian situation across the country. there are already 7 million people starving in yemen. if these ports are destroyed or besieged, then delivery of vital aid which is required to avert famine in yemen will become even more difficult. the only way to prevent this unfolding humanitarian disaster deteriorating even further is to agree an immediate ceasefire. today's meeting of the un security council provides a key opportunity to bring that closer. the snp believes that the uk is in a unique position to show positive international readership in order to bring about the ceasefire to which i refer. i understand her desire to want to call for a ceasefire, a cessation of hostilities immediately. we will see what comes out of the meeting today and comes out
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from the united nations. but i'm absolutely in agreement with her, this is actually what we want to happen. calling for it needs to work in conjunction with the art of the possible, otherwise it simply is just words. in order for us to be able to ensure it will hold, we need to be able to say what happens if one of the sides, either of the sides, actually breaches the cessation of hostilities. he talks about the need for a political solution, when is he going to present our resolution to the united nations? when we going to get proper investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law? why we continuing to sell saudi arabia the arms to wage this conflict? and, ultimately, when we going to bring the suffering of the people of yemen to an end and then get the humanitarian aid to them that they need? every debate, every month, now every year, we ask the same basic questions, and every time the minister — whose name now is, i'm afraid, synonymous with the yemen conflict — stands there and gives us
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the same non—answers. the minister said that arms were subject to strict controls, and aid was getting to people caught up in this awful conflict. you're watching thursday in parliament with me, kristiina cooper. now, as the prime minister was preparing to meet donald trump, the foreign secretary was facing a group of peers. theresa may wants to enhance the uk's special relationship with the us. and president trump has said he wants a quick trade deal with britain. borisjohnson, however, had to admit to significant policy differences between downing street and the white house. not least on the use of torture. we've had statements from the new president to abc which showed pretty fundamental disregard for a whole number of the united states international obligations, most specifically under the torture convention. we have to be very careful with this.
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i certainly don't think we seen any policy changes, official policy changes, or policy pronouncements and, on the matter of torture, which you rightly draw attention to, i think the prime minister made the position of the government very clear yesterday in the house of commons and that is unchanged. mrs may says the uk does not sanction torture. what about refugees from certain countries? do you think it's acceptable under international obligations shared by the uk and the us, to have a ban on refugees from certain middle east countries? i don't want to disappoint the committee by, you know, retreating too much into this formula but we haven't yet seen the legislation brought forward. rather than get into some sort of hypothetical dispute, let's see exactly what the proposals are.
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and what about the nuclear deal with iran, resident trump says it's and what about the nuclear deal with iran, president trump says it's the worst deal ever made. i assume that is not the view of the government since the government is a party to the deal and doesn't presumably go around making the worst deals ever made. i think we've already made our views very clear to the trump administration that we think trying to improve relations with iran through this deal, you know, it's a pretty cautious thing, is, on the whole, a good thing and we regard that as one of the achievements of the 0bama administration. and then to what may prove one of the most difficult dilemmas, syria. president trump has been very clear already that he wants to eradicate islamic militancy from the face of the earth and he's also been clear that he's prepared to have a new approach to prioritise the defeat of isis, possibly in collaboration with russia. would you support a change in us — uk direction to support those goals, possibly even joining forces,
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figuratively and militarily, with russia to do so? we are already with the united states engaged very heavily in attacking daesh in iraq. the committee will know that more than 1000 sorties have been flown, i think, almost 1200, we are there. are you prepared to see an alliance of forces, including russia, attack daesh? to switch sides, to come in on the side of assad and the russians, would be seen, i think, as a great betrayal of the people of syria who have opposed assad. it would be seen as a betrayal of the moderate armed opposition that we have supported
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and it would be... it would have grave repercussions in the area. we might find ourselves in days and weeks to come where the united states is on a different side of this argument. that would put us on a direct collision, or not on a collision but on two different sides of this argument. with the closest allies that we are trying to forge an even more special relationship that it has been over the last decades, how would we deal with that? if there is a possibility of an arrangement with the russians that simultaneously allows assad to move towards the exit and diminishes iranian influence in the region by getting rid of assad and allows us to join with the russians in...
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attacking daesh and wiping them off the face of the earth, or whatever the president has said, then that might be a way forward. but there were, he said, no good options. but even if we did achieve the end, this is the real hit, nor is it clear that even if we did achieve the end of the assad regime, that syria would be in a better place. the brexit secretary david davis also faced questions on president trump's remarks over the use of torture. the prime minister will today meet an american president who champions torture and who is proud to discriminate against muslims. would the secretary of state, therefore, agree with me that it is even more important that his government send a strong moral message, goods and chattels are bargaining chips, human beings are not. will he confirm the residency rights of eu nationals? the honourable lady knows my stance on torture down the years,
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better than most, i suspect. and the british government's stance on torture is very plain. we don't condone it, we don't agree with it under any circumstances whatsoever. the labourformer prime minister gordon brown has returned to parliament, for a few hours, at least, to talk to a committee of mps about the challenges he faces in his newjob as the un special envoy for education. he talked about what he'd seen first hand when he visited some developing countries. you go to a place like south sudan, where i was a few months ago, i don't know if the committee has been there recently. you have been there some years ago, i know that, and you meet mothers who have come across the border from saddam into south sudan, virtually refugees. i met a group of mothers. the one thing they want for their children is education. we forget that shelter is sometimes secretary to the importance that their child has the best chance in life. i was in a village just outside
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djuba and there was this project, the bangladesh group who do these small huts, as schools, so there were places in the school for only about 20 kids. i remember being in that heart and there was a small portable and looking in on that portal were about a hundred kids who were unable to get the education they wanted and there was another who told me she had to choose between her twins, at eight years old, which went to school. a labour mp quoted the chief executive of the global partnership for education. as part of this enquiry in november alice albright, i would have liked her to be the democratic candidate but the chair won't allow me to go there, i don't think, told this committee that there is a funding crisis in global education. do you agree? absolutely. and it has gone into humanitarian shelter and survival, as infrastructure, agriculture got money, as health has got more money, education has suffered.
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unless we now realise that by 2030 there will be 800 million children, half the children of the world, 800 million children, who will not finish education with any qualification of any value whatsoever, and in 2030 on current trends, 200 million will still be out of school and never finish their primary education, 400 million will only get primary level qualifications, and, as i said, half the children of the world will be without the qualifications they need. and that is, indeed, a crisis that has to be dealt with. so it's a crisis in terms of we've got a duty to step in when we know that countries will not meet their targets and we know that we've got a duty we've agreed to meet that every child be in education, so we need to do something about international aid and funding. i say that 15% of aid, at least, should go to education. he moved on to talk about an initiative for youngsters in lebanon. in a unique project which is called
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the double shift school system, we are using the same school in the morning for lebanese children and in the afternoon for syrian refugees. they've managed to get almost a quarter of a million children into school in this country. would you agree that it is vital that we commit money to humanitarian aid and the vital issue of health, given the fact that we are at 0.7% and there is no room for increase, where would you see additional funds in education coming from? i do regret the fact that dfed has reduced the share for education in saved budget from something like 12 to 15%, i think, in the last decade to about 7%. i do understand that some of that is for humanitarian aid but i think that there is money to be found for education in other parts of the budget without affecting health, for example, which i know
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you and i think is important, as well. so i think there are ways forward. gordon brown. making a brief appearance back in parliament. now, the supreme court ruled against the government on tuesday, saying that parliament should authorise the triggering of article 50. that followed a lengthy and complex court case. some peers want to know how much it all cost. my lords, the figures for the total costs associated with the case will be published in due course. laughter i live in hope. i had hoped that the welcome announcement yesterday of a white paper might have tempted the noble lord into answering my question in another welcome u—turn today. but can i put a serious issue to him. the prime minister has been clear that she would invoke article 50 by the end of march. given that is her deadline of her choosing, does he accept that it would be more open
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and democratic if the past two months were used for parliamentary debate rather than the rushed process we have now during a delay to be considered byjudges in the courts. well, i dispute, i'm sorry the premise on which that question is founded, i'm sorry to say. the government believed, as did a number of others, including the leader of the opposition straight after the referendum, that the triggering of article 50 was a matterfor the royal prerogative, that was disputed, as i said yesterday, people have a right to be able to dispute these matters in court. that battle was taken for court and a judgment has been passed. my lords, i would also dispute that the last few months have not been one of parliamentary scrutiny. i have very much enjoyed coming to this house and answering questions and giving statements and doing other things and i'm sure we will continue to do so. does my right honourable friend not think it extraordinary to have had that question when the leader of the opposition wanted to move article 50 the week after the referendum result?
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my lords, it was the day after the referendum result he said this and that is absolutely the case. we were not alone, therefore, in assuming that we would be able to use the royal prerogative on the triggering of article 50. my lords, the courts have required the government to come to parliament to trigger the negotiating process, the government have said that parliament will have a vote at the end of it but what plans does the government have two involve parliament and consult parliament during the course of the negotiations, or is it the case that for the entire negotiating process, parliament will actually have no significant role in influencing the negotiations themselves? i'm very sorry to say, the noble lord, i don't know whether i have been somewhere else or he has been somewhere else but i've been answering questions here, giving statements and taking part in debates and this will continue, my lords, this will continue. we are absolutely committed to ensuring that this house and the other place will have ample
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opportunity to scrutinise the negotiations as they proceed. furthermore, as i have set out on a number of occasions, there will also be the great repeal bill and the legislation that will flow from that which will give your lordships, i can assure you, a great amount of legislative fodder upon which we can all deliberate. so, lots to look forward to. and that's it from me for now. but dojoin me on friday night at 11 for a round—up of a fast—moving week for brexit here at westminster. but, until then, from me, kristiina cooper, goodbye. some places across the north of scotla nd some places across the north of scotland had a mild day but for most
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of us it was really cold. a bit of a breeze, sunshine but also some rain. getting back to normal. a cold start to the day. some freezing fog around also. upon the high ground of wales primarily and it will be lifting. rain not too far away from the west of northern ireland. a frosty start but the best of the sunshine here as we go through the day. wintry start and freezing fog and further south still may be the do shower across eastern countries. the risk of a bit of ice but for most it will be dry with some of brightness and developing. temperatures will be climbing above freezing. milder across the south—west. shell is not
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far away for cornwall and the threat increases as we go through the day from the west and from the south. having said all that, northern and eastern areas will stay dry albeit cold. temperatures struggling to get much above freezing but for many it will be less chilly than thursday. as we head into the night, we are going to see sporadic outbreaks of rain pushing north and east. a period of snow through the highlands of scotland. a touch of frost in northern ireland at —— for most for central and eastern areas, the rain will clear. dry and bright with sharp showers pushing through in some areas. for most the temperatures higher than they have
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been. the theme continues into sunday. some questions are about the extent of rain, potentially some wet weather here. but reasonably mild, especially in the south. a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to our viewers in north america and around the globe. my name's mike embley. our top stories: the diplomatic rift over the border wall — president trump suggests taxing imports from mexico. president pena nieto cancels a trip to washington. unless mexico is going to treat the united states fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless. britain's prime minister will meet mr trump on friday to talk trade. celebrations in the gambia for the first peaceful transfer of power in the country's modern history. and it may not seem much but this rough diamond is the largest uncut stone everfound in north america. we can give you a special close—up look.
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