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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  July 17, 2017 2:30am-3:01am BST

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the headlines: a women as been shot dead and three others injured while waiting to vote in an unofficial referendum on venezuela's constitution. armed men on motorbikes opened fire at voters on the outskirts of the capital, caracas. president nicolas maduro has described the vote as meaningless. spanish police say they have dismantled an organised crime group that was trading horsemeat across europe that was unfit for humans. more than 60 people were arrested. the police organisation, europol, said suspicions were first raised in ireland where tests showed that some beef products contained horsemeat. the pakistani military says it has launched a major offensive against islamic state militants in the north—western region next to the afghan border. a military spokesman again denied the presence of the is inside its territory, despite a series of attacks claimed by the group. now on bbc news, the week in parliament. hello and welcome to the programme.
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coming up: the government launches its repeal bill converting eu law into uk legislation. we'll be looking at the parliamentary battles to come. as the prime minister announces an inquiry into the abuse faced by candidates at the general election, one mp worries where the harassment will end. i think there is a serious risk that actually something much worse will happen. also on this programme: we talk to nicky morgan, the new chair of the powerful commons treasury committee. and: i'll be reporting on the clash of the deputies at prime minister's questions. and mps mark the centenary of one of the bloodiest battles of the first world war. the men couldn't even get into the shell holes because they were full of water.
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so they are absolute sitting ducks. but first, it started life as the great repeal bill — and while the word "great" may have been dropped make no mistake that the european union withdrawal bill, to give it its proper title, is going to be one of the big battle grounds of this parliament. it repeals the european communities act of 1972 and it transfers eu law into british law. this mega bit of legislation took just three seconds to make its debut in parliament. the european union withdrawal bill. the leader of the commons, andrea leadsom, stressed the bill's importance. as the brexit secretary has said, this is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that has ever passed through parliament. and it is a major milestone in the process of our withdrawal. it means we will be able to exit the european union with maximum certainty, continuity and control. but opposition parties didn't see it quite like that. as the brexit secretary has said, this is one of the most significant and it is a major milestone in the process of our withdrawal. it means we will be able to exit
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the european union with maximum certainty, continuity and control. in a vice—like grip in those sensitive places. and hooray! hooray! the great repeal bill is out today. a bill to unite the country and an invitation to climb aboard the battered jalopy as it trundles over the cliff edge. mps will hold their first big debate on that bill in the autumn. and it's not going to be straightforward. the government faces opposition on all sides at westminster, including from some of its own mps — meanwhile the first ministers of scotland and wales, nicola sturgeon and carwynjones, are threatening to make life very difficult. well, to discuss all this i'm joined by our political correspondent chris mason. welcome to the programme. on the face of it, this all sounds very technical. you're turning eu law into uk law. so why is it so controversial? the fact that it's so technical is what makes it controversial because the government is very aware that it's got a tight timetable for doing what it's doing. one element of this cut and paste job, of laws coming from brussels
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back to the uk, involves the government examining the detail of those laws and where they need to tweak, for instance if a particular sector is being governed by a european regulator and will in future be governed by a uk regulator, there has to be that change in legislation to make sure there is no black holes and the law. but in doing that via secondary legislation, what i call statutory instruments... these are ministerial powers. yeah, ministerial powers that then critics on the opposition benches are saying, well, hang on a minute, that's the problem. these are ministerial powers, the so—called henry viii law, which means that in their view they can't be scrutinised sufficiently. and that's where complexity becomes controversy. so that's westminster. but as we've been hearing, the first ministers of scotland and wales are already not happy. how much power have they got? they can't stop brexit. they can't stop it. they can't veto it but they can
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certainly blow a raspberry in the direction of westminster, and we've seen that this week in what carwynjones, the first minister of wales, and nicola sturgeon, the first minister of scotland, have been doing, because where they do have some power is, again it's complex, they have power via what are known as legislative consent motions to be able to say, we want a say on this because some of the powers which are coming back from brussels to the uk are ones that have been handed over to the devolved administrations and they say, get a move on, we want that power in edinburgh and cardiff, not just in westminster. so you can be certain, and we've seen it already, that they will seek to be involved as much as they can. it doesn't amount to a veto but it could amount to a headache for the prime minister. plenty for theresa may to think about over the summer. thank you forjoining us. now, westminster is a rough and tumble place, with its fair share of brutal battles. but when mps gathered in westminster hall on wednesday afternoon, they laid out the scale of the abuse they, their staff and supporters regularly receive from the public. the government has announced an inquiry into the intimidation of candidates during
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june's general election. the conservative leading the debate gave some examples of the problem. in a three—month period, mps received 188,000 abusive tweets. that's in a three—month period. that's one in 20 tweets received by colleagues. what political leaders need to do rather than what political leaders need to say. he cited the experience of the former conservative mp charlotte leslie. i wanted to mention the example of ourformer colleague charlotte leslie, whose parents became victims of this particular abuse. their entire oil heating supply was drained into the garden by somebody who had an objection to charlotte's particular position on fracking, which was a slightly ironic way of dealing with an environmental consideration. nonetheless, it caused enormous distress, as did the scratching of "tory scum" in her elderly parents‘ car. 30 years ago when i first became an mp, if you wanted to attack mp, you had to write a letter, usually in green ink, you had to put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and you had to walk to the post box. now they press a button and you read
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vile abuse which 30 years ago people would have been frightened to even write down. so i accept that male politicians get abused too, but i hope the one thing we can agree on in this chamber is that it is much worse for women. i've been an mp forjust over two years and i can't remember a single day that has gone by without having received some sort of abuse, whether that be death threats or a picture of me being mocked up as a used sanitary towel and lots of other things. this last election was the most brutal i can certainly imagine. we are not talking here about a bit of political banter, we are not talking about the rough and tumble of political debate or even satirising or caricaturing another person's point of view, we are talking about vile abuse, dehumanising people, offering and inciting sometimes violence against people. this is the sort of activity that should not be deemed acceptable in any democratic society. my concern is it stops women especially entering politics and i can very briefly give an example of a candidate who unfortunately wasn't elected, who stood in ealing, and because members of parliament have to declare their addresses when they stand for parliament,
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she says she started becoming nervous when she noticed activity during the election campaign by the opponents when they started, standing outside my door at my home spitting in my face and following me. well, after that debate i caught up with simon hart and asked if he'd been surprised by what he'd heard. i've definitely been surprised from what i've heard from members of all parties and certainly the increased amount of abuse people have been suffering from between the years 2015—17. to me, it's about the abuse which is being received by members of the public, by volunteers, by donors, people who are associating with us. we have a degree of protection and we are sort of semi—used to it. but it's actually all the other people around election time who are getting an equal amount of hassle and i'm as interested in the impact on them as the impact on colleagues here. theresa may has announced that there is now going to be an investigation into all of this. but where does it start and what do you particularly want it to look at? to my mind, it's got to quantify the extent of the problem. take evidence from colleagues,
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volunteers, the public, election officers. get a real feel for the extent of this problem, talk to the social media platforms. then it's got to identify where we have existing law to deal with that kind of thing. do enough people know about it? are the police enforcing it? do people have access to the legal system of the sort that they should have? and then identify gaps in the law. for example, some election legislation is 150 years old. it's not equipped to deal with social media campaigns. do we need to update the law and if so how? and then there's the question of shining a light on the social media platforms. i hope the enquiry will fully investigate their role in this and how they could be better regulated and how they can play their part in resolving this problem. obviously, this kind of abuse and harassment is nasty, unpleasant, it's off—putting. but do you fear that it's actually going to spill over into violence? well, i think there's a real line which we have to draw between legitimate cut and thrust and the sort of rumbustious nature of campaign politics, which we should all be thick—skinned enough to deal with. the other side of that line is abuse, intimidation, threat, real or otherwise, and just general use of campaigning to spread complete untruths about candidates.
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that's a very different matter and has that spilled over into violence? yes, i think it has. it's certainly spilled over into criminal damage. plenty of examples of that in this election and in local elections, too. yeah, by my estimation, if the next election is two or three years away and the rate of decline is the same as it was between 15 and 17, then, yeah, ithink there is a serious risk that actually something much worse will happen. you know, we are having this conversation 13 months afterjo cox was murdered. and all the work that has been done in that 13 months by herfamily and supporters to try and cleanse politics of this particular disease could be wasted unless we take the opportunity now to do something about it. it was the turn of the understudies to step into the limelight for this week's session of prime minister's questions. watching for us was henry mance, political correspondent of the financial times. theresa may and jeremy corbyn are sometimes criticised for not putting on a very good show at prime minister's questions. so could their stand—ins provide any more theatre? this week, the prime minister was meeting the king and queen
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of spain on their state visit to the uk, so the first secretary of state damian green took her place. meanwhile for labour, emily thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, filled in for mr corbyn. it was ms thornberry who arrived with enough swagger for the both of them. by my reckoning, in the 20 years since he firstjoined this house, he is the 16th member of the party opposite to be represented at prime minister's questions. so how about i give him to the end of this session to be able to name all the others? i'm grateful to the right honourable lady for her kind remarks. i might take up her offer to try and name all 16 in the tearoom later. rather than delay the house now. there are many, many distinguished people of both sexes who have done it in this party, because we of course elect women leaders occasionally. cheering. mr corbyn sometimes avoids the topic of brexit at pmqs. not ms thornberry. she wanted to know what would happen if britain didn't reach a deal with the eu. this isn't some sinister nightmare
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dreamt up by remainers, it was the prime minister who first floated the idea of no deal, the foreign secretary who said it would be perfectly 0k, the brexit secretary who said that we'd be prepared to walk away, but since the election, the chancellor has said that that would be a very, very bad outcome and a former minister has told sky news that no deal is dead. so will the first secretary clear this up? are ministersjust making it up as they go along? shouting. or is it still the government's clear policy that no deal is an option? i recommend the right honourable lady read the prime minister's lancaster house speech. that is the basis on which we are negotiating. we are also certain that it is conceivable that we would be offered a kind of punishment deal that would be worse than no deal.
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the only problem with swaggering is that sometimes you trip up. i know that the honourable member is new to this but the way that it works is that he asks... laughter. that i ask the questions and he answers them. mr green saw his chance. i've counted nine different plans on europe. they want to be both in and out of the single market, in and out of the customs union, they said they wanted to remain, they voted for article 50, they split their party on that, and she made one point about whether she would prefer to be at this dispatch box rather than at that dispatch box, i would also remind her of the other event that has happened recently where the conservative party got more votes and more seats than the labour party and won the election. mr green was actually promoted to his current role after the election but toby perkins, the labour mp for chesterfield noticed that mrs may have suffered something of a demotion,
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at least online. for the first time since she has become prime minister, her image has now been removed from the front page of the conservative party website. can the first secretary tell us why she has gone from being the next iron lady to the lady vanishes? recently as june last year, the honourable gentleman said that the leader of the labour party is not destined to become prime minister and he called on him to resign. i suggest he might want to make peace with his own front bench before he starts being rude about ours. even when the party leaders are away, they clearly cast a very long shadow. the conservative andrew rosindell had a suggestion for the subject of small talk for mrs may in her conversations with king felipe of spain. would he asked the prime minister
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to remind the king of spain that gibraltar is british and their sovereignty will remain paramount. i'm happy to assure my honourable friend the government's position on gibraltar and the primacy of the wishes of its inhabitants which are overwhelmingly to stay british will be respected by the government. by this stage many mps had left their seats. ms thornberry and mr green had put on some decent theatre but as anyone in the west end knows, it is hard to replace the headline acts. henry mance. now, let's take a look at some other news from around westminster in brief. theresa may reported back on the latest g20 meeting in hamburg. there'd been plenty for the leaders of the world's top economies to talk about — terrorism, internet security, trade, and climate change. mrs may delivered an upbeat assessment of the meeting and of brexit. at this summit, i held a number of meetings with other world leaders, all of whom made clear their strong desire to forge ambitious
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new bilateral trading relationships with the uk after brexit. talk of the uk/us trade deal was dealt a blow by the prime minister'sjustice secretary whojust hours after the summit ended said, it wouldn't be enough on its own. this government is the architect of the failed austerity policies. and it now threatens to use brexit to turn britain into a low wage, deregulated tax haven on the shores of europe. staying with brexit the foreign secretary told mps the european union can "go whistle" for any "extortionate" final payment. a conservative had totted up what the uk had paid so far. we will have given the eu and its predecessors in today's money in real terms a total of £209 billion. will the foreign secretary make it clear to the eu that if they want a penny piece more that they can go whistle. i'm sure that my honourable friend's words will have broken like a thunderclap over brussels and they will pay attention to what he has said and he makes
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a very valid point. i think that the sums that i have seen that they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate and i think that go whistle is an entirely appropriate expression. a suggestion laughed off by the brexit secretary when he appeared in front of a lords committee. you'll have to get the foreign secretary here to explain his views, i'm not going to comment on other ministers. but you will see two levels of knowledge when you go to our continental partners. you will see a level of knowledge in brussels in which frankly, i think they take a lot, they read a lot of british newspapers, you are quite right, and they take them, if anything, too seriously. it was a humorous exchange between jean—claude juncker and myself when i saw him. but more importantly in the context of 27,
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actually very little of what happens here percolates across. theresa may has ordered a uk wide inquiry into the use of contaminated blood products in the nhs starting in the 1970s. 2,400 people have died, many of them were haemophiliacs who contracted hepatitis c and aids—related illnesses. the labour mp who's campaigned foran inquiry said the victims needed answers. they deserve to be told what went wrong, why it went wrong, and who is responsible for what happened. the story of the injustice they have suffered needs to be set out and told to the wider public. their voices need to be heard. apologies, compensations, and other forms of support are essential but if their right to answers are not also satisfied, i feel that they will be denied true and meaningful justice. the government's given its response to a report it commissioned on modern working practices. the author, matthew taylor, recommended sick and holiday pay for workers in the so—called gig economy and a new employment status of "dependent contractor".
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theresa may said flexible working should not be an excuse to exploit employees. but she also called flexibility "the british way". labour thought it was a missed opportunity. in the words of the general secretary of unite, the biggest union in the uk, instead of the serious programme the country urgently needs to ensure that once again work pays in this country, we got a depressing sense that insecurity is the inevitable new norm. the wage increases we have seen in the last year have been at their highest amongst the lowest paid, thanks to the national living wage. today's response to the taylor review from the government tells us everything we need to know about their frailty and their
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approach to workers‘ rights. a weak set of proposals that will probably not be implemented, a set of talking points that leaves the balance of power with employers and big business. the king of spain came to westminster as part of his state visit to the uk. as we heard earlier, theresa may missed prime minister's questions to take part in the day's events. she and jeremy corbyn were part of the audience when the king addressed both houses of parliament in the lords royal gallery. mps held a debate to remember the half a million men who lost their lives here at passchendaele 100 years ago. the battle in 1917 is generally regarded as the bloodiest conflict of the first world war, with these belgian fields seeing weeks of heavy military bombardment and fierce fighting, much of it in atrocious weather. by 0ctober1917, british and commonwealth forces had advanced just a few kilometres with the loss of more than 300,000 men. casualties on the german side numbered 200,000. the men couldn't even get into the shell holes because they were full of water. so they are absolute sitting ducks, covered in filth, trying to go forward, absolutely exhausted. bob stewart.
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a new parliament means a new set of elections to chair the commons select committees. these groups shine a light on the work of departments, launch inquiries into policies or — as with the last parliament's investigation into bhs — take a look at wider controversies. this time round, with a minority government and brexit looming, elections for these key posts were hotly contested. one of the most hard—fought was for the top spot on the influential treasury committee after andrew tyrie stood down as an mp at the election. the winner was the former treasury minister and one time education secretary, nicky morgan. i asked her why she wanted the job. having been a treasury minister, having served in the cabinet, i thought it was a great opportunity to take that role on from that tireless andrew tyrie, and also it is fantastic to be the first ever female chair of the committee.
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i was going to ask you about that. there was a lot of talk about how it would be a good thing to have another woman chairing a heavyweight committee because we have had relatively few. how important was that to you? well, i'm the former minister for women so i am very conscious of how important it is to have women out there taking on roles in public life. i don't think it affects the way that i would do the job, and nor do i think that anybody should have voted for me because of that. but i am very pleased to add another female voice to the ranks of the select committee chairmen. now, you mention you were elected by other mps, it is no secret that in the past you have had your disagreements with theresa may. did you think that some mps would have thought that perhaps you might had stuck it to the government a bit more than some of your conservative colleagues who were standing for the post? i have spoken out about things that
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i care about, things that i feel strongly about, and i think that is what members of parliament are elected to do, and as the select committee chairperson, you are accountable to parliament, you work on a cross—party basis, which i think i have shown i can do on a whole variety of different issues. i suspect like any electorate, there is going to be at different number of reasons why people supported me. now, brexit. it is the big ticket item of this parliament. obviously a big issue for your committee. where are you going to start with that and what do you see your committee's role being? things like the impact of brexit on our economy, on the decisions taken around not being members, or continuing membership of the single market, for example, the customs union, what the voices of businesses, and the financial institutions are saying. all of those are relevant areas for the select committee to be asking the treasury, ministers, and others about the decisions they have taken in that context. and aside from brexit, are there other issues that you have a particular passion for that you want your committee to look at? i'm keen to broaden the work
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of the committee to reflect the whole remit of the treasury. having been a minister, i know that treasury policy impacts obviously tax, public spending, infrastructure investments, skills funding, childcare funding, there is a whole range of things. i think probably the difficulty will be trying to cut down what we do before we are completely swamped. you are elected to this job, it is seen as one of the commons more powerful committees but we all know that ultimately the government can take your reports, pop them on a shelf, and carry on and ignore them. how are you going to stop that happening? well, obviously, in terms of the issues, we want to work with the government, and actually you are pointing things out to ministers, and i know from my time as a minister that actually it is helpful sometimes when a committee points out that something hasn't happened or they make a recommendation.
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but if it is not helpful... if it's not helpful, then i think, often what you will find is that coverage of reports under pressure from outside, the pressure from parliament, and of course from what we have seen in this parliament, because of the election result, that i think the government and ministers will have to listen to what parliament is debating and what parliament is saying much more, and that is why i think the select committees assume an ever greater importance, and that is a good thing. should ministers be quaking in their boots at your arrival? not quaking in their boots but i hope they will know that i will ask tough questions and i will want to get to the bottom of decisions they are making, but i also understand from the other point of view, having been a minister, what it is like, the pressures that are there, so i hope people will find me to be impartial, independent, fair—minded, but forensic. we shall see. nicky morgan, thank you very much for coming on the programme. nicky morgan, the newly installed chair of the treasury committee. and that's it from us for now, dojoin kristiina cooper on monday
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night at 11 for a full roundup of the day here at westminster. but for now, from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye. hello there. some real ups and downs in the week ahead, but firstly up, seen a lot of sunshine. some showers, and the wind is quite blustery in northern scotland. a lovely bit of high cloud in parts of the south, turning hazy. essentially, blue skies are the order of the day. —— order. as we had through monday night into the early hours of tuesday, staying quiet and fine. some clear spells. the odd patch of fog here and there.
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a muggy night in the south, cool up towards the north—east. 0n a muggy night in the south, cool up towards the north—east. on tuesday, a lot of dry weather. some spots getting close to 30 degrees. some thunderstorms getting in from the south, becoming more widespread during tuesday night and wednesday. as they clear away, things turning much cooler and fresher for the end of the week. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. our top stories: a woman is shot dead and three injured while waiting to vote in an unofficial referendum on venezuela's constitution. horsemeat scandal. police in spain accuse an organised crime group of trading meat across europe that's unfit for humans. swiss tennis star, roger federer, makes history by taking a record eighth wimbledon single‘s men's title. and for all you timelord fans, time to meet the first actress to take on the role of dr who.
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