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tv   Wednesday in Parliament  BBC News  March 30, 2017 2:30am-3:01am BST

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for the two sides to agree the terms of britain's status outside the eu, at the same time as negotiating its withdrawal. the president of the european parliament warned britain not to take any unilateral action before it leaves the bloc in 2019. after 44 years together, britain officially started the process of severing its ties with the european union. in a letter notifying the eu of brexit, the british prime minisiter praised european values and insisted that britain can hold on to its trade benefits with the eu even after it has left. the ousted south korean president, park geun—hye, is due in court for a hearing that will decide whether to approve an arrest warrant against her over corruption allegations. her supporters gathered outside the district court in the capital ahead of that hearing. —— court. now it's time for a look back at the day in parliament. hello and welcome to
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wednesday in parliament, the main news from westminster: the united kingdom has triggered article 50 of the lisbon treaty — starting the process for leaving the european union. the prime minister issues a call for unity. we can together make a success of this moment and we can together build a stronger, fairer, better britain. a britain our children and grandchildren are proud to call home. i commend this statement to the house. but as brexit talks begin, there were warnings from the opposition parties. labour will not give this government a free hand to use brexit to attack rights, protections and cut services! if she denies scotland a choice in our future, she will make scottish independence inevitable. cheering
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also on the programme, the government's told there should be no more cuts in support for disabled people. and it's one week since the terror attack in westminster, in which four people were killed. our thoughts will be, in particular, with the metropolitan police as they mourn their colleague pc keith palmer. nine months ago, in lastjune's referendum, 52% of voters ticked the box marked "leave the european union". it set in train an enormous political upheaval. a prime minister resigned and a new one was installed. the government fought and lost two court battles over the role of parliament. legislation authorising the prime minister to trigger article 50 had a rough ride, but made it on to the statute book. dozens of parliamentary inquiries have been launched. and there have been hours of debate, inside and outside parliament. and now, a milestone has been reached. at around 12.30pm, the uk's ambassador to the eu, sir tim barrow, delivered a six—page letter to donald tusk,
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the president of the european council. shortly after the letter was handed over, theresa may began her statement to mp5. a few minutes ago in brussels, the united kingdom's permanent representative to the eu handed a letter to the president of the european council on my behalf confirming the government's decision to invoke article 50 of the treaty on european union. the article 50 process is now underway and, in accordance with the wishes of the british people, the united kingdom is leaving the european union. this is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back. britain is leaving the european union. we are going to make our own decisions and our own laws. we are going to take control of the things that matter most to us.
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and we are going to take the opportunity to build a stronger, fairer britain — a country that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home. loud cheers in the commons, largely on the conservative benches. but outside, there was a protest against brexit. pro—eu demonstrators waved placards saying, together we are stronger. meanwhile, in the commons, theresa may said she wanted a deep and special partnership between britain and the eu. and, unwittingly, she cheered the liberal democrats up. because, perhaps now more than ever, the world needs the liberal, democratic values of europe. values... chatter and laughter perhaps... laughter continues perhaps, now more than ever, the world needs the liberal democratic values of europe,
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values that the united kingdom shares. mr speaker, we understand that there will be consequences for the uk of leaving the eu. we know that we will lose influence... chatter we know that we will lose influence over the rules that affect the european economy. we know that uk companies that trade with the eu will have to align with rules agreed by institutions of which we are no longer a part, just as we do in other overseas markets, and we accept that. however, we approach these talks constructively, respectfully and in a spirit of sincere cooperation. for it is in the interests of both the united kingdom and the european union that we should use this process to deliver our objectives in a fair and orderly manner. and she promised to unite the country and act in the interests of everyone. i know that this is a day
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of celebration for some and disappointment for others. the referendum last june was divisive at times. not everyone shared the same point of view or voted the same way. the arguments on both sides were passionate. she ended on a rousing note. let us come together and work together. let us together choose to believe in britain with optimism and hope. for if we do, we can make the most of the opportunities ahead. we can together make a success of this moment and we can together build a stronger, fairer, better britain. a britain our children and grandchildren are proud to call home. i commend this statement to the house. jeremy corbyn! mr speaker, the direction the prime minister is threatening to take this country in is both reckless and damaging. and labour will not give this government a free hand to use brexit to attack rights, protections and cut services! or create a tax dodger‘s paradise!
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so let me be clear, mr speaker, the prime minister says... the prime minister says that no deal is better than a bad deal. but the reality is no deal is a bad deal! we all have an interest in ensuring the prime minister gets the best deal for this country. to safeguard jobs, living standards, we do need full access to the single market. the secretary of state for exiting the eu seems to agree on this. he stated, in this house on the 24th of january, the government plan is, and i quote, "a comprehensive free trade agreement and a comprehensive customs agreement that will deliver the exact same benefits as we have." so that is what they pledged. so will the prime minister confirm today that she intends to deliver a trade and customs agreement with the exact same benefits? the snp leader said
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the prime minister had promised not to trigger article 50 until she had reached an agreement with scotland. we on these benches have become accustomed to the views of members on the other side of the house of being incapable of understanding that the people of scotland voted to remain in the european union. the prime minister promised... promised... do honourable gentlemen and ladies opposite understand that we have televisions in scotland? that viewers in scotland can see the discourtesy from the benches opposite? they don't like to hear it, but listen they must! the prime minister promised an agreement. there is no agreement! she has broken her word! mr speaker, the prime minister says that she thinks that brexit will bring unity
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to the united kingdom. it will not! on this issue, it is not a united kingdom and the prime minister needs to respect, respect the differences across the nations of the united kingdom. if she does not, if she remains intransigent, and if she denies scotland a choice in our future, she will make scottish independence inevitable. cheering the commons speaker allowed the question and answer session to continue for nearly three hours. it was a momentous day for sir bill cash, who has been campaigning for the uk to withdraw from the european union for 30 years. today, mr speaker, is a historic day indeed. can my right honourable friend reaffirm that, at the very heart of this letter, lies the democratic decision in the referendum of uk voters, given to them by a sovereign act of parliament, by 6—1 in this house,
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enabling the british people to regain their birthright to govern themselves, for which people fought and died over generations? the liberal democrat leader was not in a celebratory mood. today, the prime minister is not enacting the will of the people. she is at best interpreting that will, choosing a hard brexit outside the single market that was never on the ballot paper, so this day, of all days, the liberal democrats will not roll over, as the official opposition has done! our children... our children and our grandchildren willjudge all of us for our actions during these times. i am determined that i will look my children in the eye and be able to say that i did everything to prevent this calamity that the prime minister has today chosen. the prime minister is right that this should be for all the people, the unity should be earned and not just asserted.
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we are a long way away from it. i hope she will agree with that. could the prime minister give an assurance that she has not turned her back on membership of the single market? it's what british business wants. it would see off nicola sturgeon and the snp‘s i'll register months for a second referendum. and... shouting wheesht a while! and these are serious matters that this united kingdom faces. and we'll be hearing what the house of lords had to say about triggering article 50 later in the programme. you're watching wednesday in parliament, with me, kristiina cooper. it's been one week since the terror attack in westminster.
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khalid masood drove at pedestrians on westminster bridge last wednesday, killing three people and injuring dozens. he went on to kill pc keith palmer in a knife attack inside the gates to parliament. the palace of westminster and the surrounding area went into a security lockdown. a commemoration has been held on westminster bridge. hundreds of people gathered on the bridge, which was closed to traffic. at the start of the day in the commons, the speakerjohn bercow harked back to the events of last week. 2.40pm today marks a week on from the shocking events of last week, and our thoughts will be, in particular, with the metropolitan police as they mourn their colleague, pc keith palmer. the attack raised questions about security around westminster. as would be normal after such events, we are seeking to make sure
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that any lessons are learned through two reviews. the lord speaker and i are commissioning an external independent review of how the perimeter of the parliamentary estate, including outbuildings, is secured and protected to produce a preliminary report by the end of april. the two clerks are commissioning an externally—led lessons learned review of the operation last week of parliament's incident management framework to report by the end ofjune. at the start of prime minister's questions, theresa may also recalled the terror attack. since my statement on thursday, the names of those who have died have been released. they were aysha frade, kurt cochran, leslie rhodes and, of course, pc keith palmer. i am sure members across the house willjoin me in offering our deepest condolences to their friends and families. the police and security services' investigation continues and two people have now been arrested
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and remain in custody. i want to begin by paying tribute to the emergency services, as the prime minister did, across the country, especially all those that responded to the westminster attack last wednesday and to those that turned out to help the victims of the new ferry explosion last saturday. our thoughts remain with the injured and those who have lost loved ones, and we especially thank the police for their ongoing investigations. staying with pmqs, jeremy corbyn challenged theresa may over funding for schools and the police. a cross—party group of mps has accused the government of overseeing the biggest funding shortage for schools in england since the 1990s. the public accounts committee criticised government "delusions" over the situation which it said threatened to damage standards. between 2015 and 2018 there will be a real—terms cut of £330 million in central government funding for police forces.
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can the prime minister assure the house that police forces all over the country have the necessary resources with which to do the job? the former shadow home secretary, his colleague the right hon memberfor leigh, said during the 2015 labour party conference that savings can be found. the police say 5 per cent to 10 per cent over the parliament is just about do—able. we did not accept that. we have actually protected the police budget. i have been speaking to police forces, as has my right hon friend the home secretary, and they are very clear about the fact that they have the resources that they need. the police federation survey recently undertaken reveals that 55% of serving police officers say they are morale is low due to the way which the funding has been treated. front line policing is vital in tackling crime and terrorism. since 2010 however there are 20,000 fewer police officers, 12,000
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less on the front line so i ask the prime minister again will she think again about the cuts to policing and guarantee policing on the front line will be protected so every community can be assured it has the police officers in the community? let's think about what has happened since 2010. since 2010 we have seen crimes that are traditionally measured by the independent crime survey falling by one third to a record low. that is the work of hard—working police officers up and down the country. they have been backed by this government. we have made them more accountable through the police and crime commissioners, there has been reform of policing including a reform of the police federation which was very necessary, but we have ensured the police have tv sources to do the job and we see crime at a record low. last week she told me four times we have protected the schools budget.
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does she still stand by that statement? we have protected schools budgets and we are putting record funding into schools. today mr speaker the public accounts committee says of the department for education that it does not seem to understand the pressures that schools are already under and they went on to say that funding per pupil is reducing in real terms and goes on to say schools budgets will be cut by 3 billion, the equivalent of 8%, by 2020. is the public accounts committee wrong on this? what we see over the course of this parliament is £230 billion going into our schools. but what matters is the quality of education we see. 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools and a policy from this government to ensure that every child gets a good school place. if the prime minister is right then
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the parents and teachers are wrong, the iss is wrong, the national audit office is wrong, the educational policy institute is wrong and now the public accounts committee, which includes eight conservative members, is also wrong. so which organisation does back the prime minister's view on education spending in our schools? we said we would protect school funding and we have, real terms protection for the budget, and we have sent money to schools. she accused jeremy corbyn of demanding more spending. barely a pmqs goes by when he does not call for more public spending. when it comes to spending money they haven't got labour simply can't help themselves. same old labour, spend today and give someone else the bill tomorrow. we won't do that to the next generation. the government's been told
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there should be no more cuts in support for disabled people. the call came as mps held an emergency debate on changes to a disability benefit, the personal independence payment. ministers are seeking to overturn two tribunal rulings which would increase the number of people entitled to higher rates of the benefit. the government insists the change is not a cut but restores the original intention of the policy. the shadow work and pensions secretary disagreed. the minister for disabled people, health and work claims that the changes restore pip to its original policy intentions, but that does not hold water. the fact is that over a quarter of those on pip receive the highest level of support, which is much more than the 15% of dla working—age claimants who did so. are the regulations not doing exactly what was originally intended, targeting resources
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at those who need them most? i am sorry, but i do not see the honourable gentleman?s logic. these new regulations are nothing more than a shameful cut. once again, this government are trying to balance the books on the backs of the sick and disabled. the government's own analysis estimates that the new regulations will affect more than 160,000 people by 2023, the majority of whom will have mental health conditions. many of these will be newer applicants, but the regulations will also affect those who are being reassessed, who will not be eligible for the full support to which they would have been entitled under the rulings of tribunals, an effective cut of £3.7 billion. having spent 14 very happy months as the minister responsible for these matters, i want to pass on some of the observations that i made during that time. let me make it absolutely clear that stakeholders and charities recognise that pip is a better
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benefit than dla. it is not perfect? much more work is still to be done to deliver further improvements? but the statistics show why it is better. under dla, only 16.5% of all claimants access the highest rate of benefit, under pip, the figure is over 25%. the courts have given us a loud and clear message that we have got it wrong on mental health. in this age where we are desperately trying to change society?s views of mental health and parity of esteem, we have to listen to the courts, they have given us a judgment for a reason. personal indepents payments are supposed to support people with additional costs for the disability, we have heard that the court ruling these changes seem to undermine. if ruled that people live in the the house because of anxiety panic attacks or other mental health problems should be able to receive a higher rate of pip. this bears repeating. i thank you. does this not run the risk of actually increasing stigma again on mental health visitor to people clearly that anxiety causes you to stay inside and is not something
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that is serious and doesn't it conflict with the principle of equal treatment between mental and physical health? i thank the honourable gentleman for his intervention and completely agree. as i said and have said before, this government cannot simply change the goalposts of retirement was a battle. these regulations do nothing more than pander to old attitudes and stigmas towards mental illness. if a person needs help finding need help regardless of their age or disability or health condition. it is important to be clear what these regulations are not, they are not a policy change are intended to make new savings. and they will not result in any claimant saying a reduction in the amount of pip previously awarded by dwp. there is no change to the budget and no change to guidance.
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we finish where we started, with the news that the uk government has triggered article 50 of the lisbon treaty. theresa may's statement was repeated in the house of lords. first to respond was the labour leader in the lords, lady smith. just like any other divorce there will be some who rejoice in new opportunities and those will despair of our shared past and was love. if you find the look of the marriage divorces and remarriage of richard burton and elizabeth taylor with some hope but through it all my lords the only people to get rich where those trying to unravel those a0 plus years of relative harmony. lawyers. labour has set the government six tests for the brexit deal. lady smith added a seventh — honesty. this process must not be so ideologically driven that the government accept anything and claim it is a good deal. that is where honesty comes in.
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if the prime minister is disappointed or dissatisfied with the negotiations or the outcome of agreements, she must in the national interest be prepared to say so. but sadness is a passive emotion, and it is not the only thing that we feel. we feel a sense of anger that the government are pursuing a brutal brexit, which will rip us out of the single market and many other european networks from which we benefit so much. the minister reassured peers that parliament would be fully invovled. we have said there will be a motion on the final agreement to be approved by both houses of parliament before it is concluded. we expect and intend that this will happen before the european parliament debates and votes on the final agreement.
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we intend that parliament's vote will cover not only the withdrawal arrangements but the future relationship with the eu. and we will give the last word to lord kerr, a former diplomat who wrote article 50. the country willjudge the outcome of the negotiations by the words of those on the government front bench. before the referendum, mr davis told us that there would be no diminution of trade with the eu if we left the european union. this year, he has told us that the exact same benefits will be secured as if we had remained in the single market and the customs union. before the referendum, mrjohnson told us that there would be no change at the irish border. this year, mr brokenshire has told us that there will be a frictionless border, even though that will be the border of the eu's customs union and it will be for the eu to decide the regime on it. does the noble baroness understand
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that, as this negotiation proceeds, the country will not forget what it was told, and ministers will be judged by their own words? the author of article 50, lord kerr, speaking on the day that the uk triggered article 50. well, that's it from wednesday in parliament. i'll be back at the same time tomorrow but for now, from me, kristiina cooper, goodbye! hi there. mixed weather fortunes for today's weather picture. some will have the best weather so far. western areas will have rain today. rain coming from the south and west. across eastern areas of england, the air has been coming up from the near continent, and that will bring temperatures into the low 20s in the warmest spots. as i said, the warmest
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day of the year so far. a mild start to the day with temperatures staying in double figures, 11 to 12 degrees as we start off. always the risk of pulses of rain affecting northern ireland. western areas of scotland is looking wet. cumbria as well. further pulses of rain across these western areas through the day on and off through the rest of the day. for the east, after a cloudy start, things will brighten up the sunshine coming in. for scotland, south—western areas the warmest. dumfrees and galloway. not too much rain towards the murray coastline. brighter spells. northern ireland, rain. there or therabouts for much of the day. some drier spells from time to time. western england and wales seeing some rain even into the afternoon.
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further east, warm sunshine. sunshine will be hazy. we could see temperatures pushing up to 22 degrees in the warmest spots. now, during the evening and overnight, there will be some more wet weather coming across western areas of the uk. the rain will turn more persistent and heavy. murky conditions developing over the hills as well with mist and fog. but it wil be another mild night. temperatures 11—12 for many of us. friday's weather picture. low pressure is in charge. a band of rain moving north and east through the morning. then the weather will try to improve as we head through the afternoon. northern ireland brightening up. sunshine in england and wales. some areas of scotland as well by the end of the day. it will turn quite windy for northern scotland later on. never that warm in the far north. in the sunshine, temperatures pushing well into the teens.
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pretty mild for the time of year. and that's your weather. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is tom donkin. our top stories: signed, sealed and delivered — now the hard part begins — britain formally triggers brexit and the prime minister says there's no turning back. europe's message to the uk — we're ready for negotiations but this is not a happy moment. our goal is clear. south korea's ousted—president in court — prosecutors are seeking 2 the arrest of park geun—hye over a long—running corruption scandal. leading democrats and republicans in the us senate say they'll work together to establish any russian interference in the presidential election. and a global football star immortalised in bronze. own goal, or work of art? you decide.
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