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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  September 10, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm BST

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hello. this is bbc news. the headlines at 2.30pm: hurricane irma slams into the florida keys with winds up to 130 miles per hour. more than 6 million people have been ordered to leave their homes as the storm inches closer to the mainland. the hurricane is predicted to create a catastrophic storm surge, which could be up to 15 feet high in places. we have these torrential rains which are causing flood warnings across this region. that's on top of the deadly storm surge that is almost certainly going to happen. cuba was battered overnight. there's been "significant damage" as the recovery process begins. officials in mexico say at least 90 people are now known to have died in thursday's earthquake. now on bbc news — we take a look back at the week in parliament
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welcome to the week in parliament. coming up: mps return to westminster after their summer break and begin debating a bill transferring eu laws into uk legislation. the brexit secretary says it's vital for an orderly brexit but labour accuses the government of a power grab. let me be clear, this bill does only what is necessary for a smooth exit. the combined effect for the provision for this bill would reduce mps to spectators as power falls into the hands of ministers and the executive. jeremy corbyn calls for an end to the pay cap for nurses. the prime minister reckons he's being profligate. poor pay means experienced staff are leaving and fewer people
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are training to become nurses. as a result of the decision the labour party took in government, we now have to pay more on debt interest than on nhs pay. and a labour peer tries again to end hereditary by—elections in the lords. we had a by—election last year, i have to say this slowly because it is unbelievabl — where there was an electorate of three and there were seven candidates. it was no surprise that the first week back after the summer break was dominated by brexit. talks on the terms of the uk leaving the eu had continued over the summer with both sides expressing frustration over the pace of progress. in the commons, david davis provoked laughter in the chamber on monday when he told mps that no—one had ever said the negotiations were going to be easy.
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while on wednesday, at prime minister's questions, a conservative mp tackled theresa may over the powers contained in the eu withdrawal bill, which mps were due to begin debating later in the week. the bill repeals the european communities' act of 1972, and also transfers eu laws into uk legislation. while some rules and regulations will simply transfer across many will have to be changed so they remain workable after brexit. however, many mps are concerned that the withdrawal bill gives ministers the ability to make sweeping use of powers, no—one as henry viiith powers, to change legislation without full parliamentary scrutiny. could my right honourable friend assure me that she will look in particular at those amendments that seek to change the eu withdrawal bill, so that it doesn't become an unprecedented and unnecessary government power grab. hear, hear. the speaker: prime minister. i'm grateful to my right honourable friend for raising this issue, i know, like me, she wants to see
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an orderly exit from the european union and will be supporting this bill, which enables us notjust to leave the eu but to do so in an orderly manner, with a functioning statute book. now as we do that, of course, we will require certain powers to make corrections to the statute book after the bill becomes law, because the negotiations are ongoing and we'll do that via secondary legislation which will receive parliamentary scrutiny, an approach which has been endorsed by house of lords constitution committee. well, the next day that committee released an updated report which was rather less helpful to the government and we'll be hearing from two of its members a little later in the programme. but back to the eu withdrawal bill. when the first day of the debate began on thursday, the brexit secretary sought to reassure mps about its aim. put simply — this bill is an essential step. whilst it does not take us out
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of the european union, that's a matter for the article 50 process, it does ensure that on the day we leave, businesses know where they stand, workers' rights are upheld and consumers remain protected. this bill is vital to ensuring that as we leave, we do so in an orderly manner. let me be clear, this bill does only what is necessary for a smooth exit. and to provide stability. that we are leaving is settled. how we leave is not. this bill invites us to surrender all power and influence over that question to the government and to ministers. that will betray everything we were sent here to do. we have got to make sure, madame deputy speaker, that on the day of exit, the statute book in this country works and frankly, the only way we can achieve it in the timescale with which we're
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constrained and which is set out in article 50, is to have a flexible, pragmatic system, such as the system that is laid out in the draft bill. if you look at all amendments put forward. a huge number of very powerful reasons that different mps of different parties have come up with for rejecting this bill at this stage. that tells us there is a huge number of serious and sometimes fundamental flaws in the bill which means it cannot be allowed to go forward in its present format. if that gives a problem for government timetablers, tough. fact is, we do not need to legislate in this fashion in order to carry out the technical task of leaving the eu. i remain utterly bemused as to why the legislation has been drafted in this form. parliament also has a job to do to hold ministers to account and as drafted this bill stops us doing that. it stops us standing up for democracsy in this house and it stops us making sure, frankly, that the government doesn't screw up brexit in the process it takes, puts through and the decisions that it takes.
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truth is, this bill was always going to be a sow‘s ear because the government started the negotiations without clear objectives and outcomes and the bill had to cater for any eventuality, any scenario, deal or no deal. the government claims the bill will restore sovereignty to parliament and secure certainty post—brexit. but that is not the case. it transfers huge powers to ministers, not to members of this house, over issues that are vital to people's lives, like maternity and paternity leave, holidays, environmental standards and a whole range of other issues. i fear the bill could increase the uncertainty, including the likelihood of legal challenge and judicial review because the powers in the bill are so broadly drawn. you can love parliament, you can want to jealously guard its rights and privileges created by our predecessors but still show pragmatism in the national interest when the times demand it.
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that's politics, that's life, that's the job we are sent here to do, that's poetry and prose, romance and reality, what we are sent here to achieve. mps will conclude that debate and hold their first vote on the bill at around midnight on monday. to discuss that, i was joined earlier by the conservative peer and member of the lords' constitution committee, lord norton. anne taylor, now lady taylor, who was a labour whip during her party's turbulent time in office in the late ‘70s. she is also now the chair of that constitution committee, which released its latest report on the eu withdrawal bill on thursday and pete wishart, the snp's spokesman on the constitution in the commons. i began by asking him, given that the uk was leaving eu, how he would tackle brexit. my view is that the dysfunctionality
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of the repeal bill, the way it applies across the nations of the european union, suggests that this isn't the means to deliver it. i have just come from the debate there and i have a real sense that some of the big feelings of this bill has started to be reset right now. a real sense that some on the backbenches of the conservative and the front benches of the labour party, and some of the rest of us have an interest in this, there dobb progress to be there is progress to be made on this. like, what with respect, you haven't answered my question, what would you do differently? i think the key debate is going to come around these henry viiith powers to make sure the government has all the authority when it comes o to delegated legislation and i think if there was a means to deal with some of the big questions about all of this, they would probably be less than palatable. now would the snp be able to support a bill even if it was to deal with some of the worst aspect
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of the henry viith powers? we'd still have problems, issues, because we'd have the problem with devolved responsibility and this idea and suggestion from us that there is a very real possession that it is pretty much power—grabbing. if it is not in schedule 5 of the scotland act it should be coming to us and it is not happening, it is coming to the uk government again. lord norton, let's pick up on this power—grabbing issue, this seems to be a real concern, the committee has described it as breathtaking in its scope and potential. hasn't the government got to do this? well, there is a means and ends, so not challenging the principle of the bill. there is going to be withdrawal and then you have to get the mechanism right. we are focussing on what is the mechanism, what are the means by which one does that. the government is introducing into the bill some provisions which we think are moving into the right direction, is an awful long way to go to ensure the relationship in parliament, the executive is right in enabling parliament to be involved in the scrutiny of the measures. the way it is drawn at the moment, it is complex and it does confer on ministers exceptional powers. butjust quickly, whether you like or whether you don't, henry viiith powers are perfectly legit, they are used all the time.
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there has been an increase in the use of henry viiith powers and we at the constitution some time but this is on a totally different level. if you look at, i think clause 17, it more or less says that government ministers can make themselves, any act of parliament, that parliament itself would normally make. so this is giving totally different powers on a totally different scale. let's go back in time a bit and let's put yourformer whip hat on and ask a couple of questions about that. if you were in the government's whip office at the moment and facing no majority in the commons, what would you be doing, how would you keep your team on side? well it is notjust a question of keeping your team on side. it is a question of keeping the whole of parliament on side. if you alienate parliament, you are going to run into more and more difficulty. actually what we have done on the house of lords constitution committee
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is try to provide mechanisms that would actually help parliament to deal with this situation, which is actually going to end up as a crisis if we are not careful. we have said, for example, with the henry viiith powers and the delegated legislation, every measure the government brings forward, should have a certificate saying whether it is any change to current law, and if it is, we should have special mechanisms to give it more scrutiny than if it isjust a straightforward transition. now that's a very simple thing but we've got to make sure that parliament has the power, facilities and sufficient parliamentary time and committee time to actually deal with it. i raised this question in questions, we would normally have eight days before the house to consider this. but the government's counterargument to that that this is essentially technical where maastricht was changing laws. this is reinventing the whole of the uk law. disentangling
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with an institutions we've been in for decades with massive treaties, regular slayingses and directives. to pretend you can do it in eight days when there will be thousands of aamendments tabled by a variety of different members. the clock is et it ticking. last one to you, lord nortohn, if the government suffers defeat in the commons, defeats in the lords, how serious is that? is that something that will be the end of the government? because it's not an issue of a policy, it's a principle and people have voted in a referendum. the task of both houses essentially is to improve the bill. there are two elements to it, one is ensuring there's proper parliamentary scrutiny of the process and the other as indicated, is certainly in law once it is enacted. we have to get the bill right, if the government doesn't accept it, it is defeated but it is designed to improve the bill, i don't see a problem with that, from the government's point of view it should be looking to itself
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to ensure that the outcome is a bill but one that actually achieves the actual objectives. all right, i'm sure it is something we'll return, to we'll see what happens on monday but for the time being, lord norton, lady taylor, pete wishart thank you very much for coming into the programme. and if you'd like to see a longer version of that interview, it's available on our website. bbc.co.uk/parliament. now, let's go back to wednesday, and prime minister's questions. jeremy corbyn used the first session since the summer break to focus on workers' pay. with nurses protesting outside, he stepped up his calls for an end to the public sector pay cap. mr speaker, today thousands of nursing and other health care staff are outside parliament. they‘ re demanding that this government scrap the i% pay cap. poor pay means experienced staff are leaving and fewer people are training to become nurses. there's already a shortage of 40,000 nurses across the uk.
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will the prime minister, please, see sense and end the public sector pay cap and ensure our nhs staff are properly paid. in the year but it was a balance between those being paid and those paying the bill. he asks consistently for more money to be spent. he can do that in opposition because he knows he doesn't have to the problem with labour, is that they do in government as well and as a result of the decisions the labour party took government, as a result of the decisions the labour party took government, we now have to pay more on debt interest than on nhs pay. that's the result of labour. the snp's westminster leader turned to a leaked document suggesting the government would take a much tougher line on eu immigration after brexit.
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. does the prime minister agree with me that immigration is essential to the strength of the uk economy as well as enhancing our diversity and cultural fabric? i have said on many occasions before, overall immigration has been good for the uk but what people want to see is control of that immigration. theresa may. meanwhile scotland's first minister, nicola sturgeon, has outlined her programme for government, pledging to scrap the i% programme for government, pledging to scrap the 1% cap on public sector pay rises. our scotland political correspondent glenn campbell was watching. having lost seats in the uk general election, this was a chance for nicola sturgeon to refresh, if not relaunch the snp government. independence gotjust one mention. instead, a blizzard of announcements on devolved topics. education, she said was her top priority, with school reform and more powerfor priority, with school reform and more power for headteachers. priority, with school reform and more powerfor headteachers. on justice she wants to do away with
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shortjail justice she wants to do away with short jail terms justice she wants to do away with shortjail terms of justice she wants to do away with short jail terms of less justice she wants to do away with shortjail terms of less than one yearin shortjail terms of less than one year in most cases and on the environment, she wants to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars in scloonted by 2032, eight years ahead of the uk. the first minister also proposes to lift the i% of the uk. the first minister also proposes to lift the 1% cap on public sector pay rises, prompting some to speculate she might be prepared to raise income tax to pay for it. certainly she has committed toa for it. certainly she has committed to a debate. the first minister has been careful to choose a programme that will be uniting all the opposition against her. now other news around westminster in brief. borisjohnson news around westminster in brief. boris johnson updated news around westminster in brief. borisjohnson updated mps on north korea's missile test. the country has fired a missile overjapan and claims to have dead nated a hydrogen bomb. the —— detonated. the foreign secretary set out the gravity of the
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situation and called for calm diplomacy the house must be under new illusion this it least test marks another perilous advance in north korea's nuclear ambitions. in a country blighted by decades of communist, economic failure, where the i990s hundreds of thousands of people died of starvation or reduced to eating grass and leaves to survive, the regime has squandered its resources on building an illegal armoury of nuclear bombs. the house will wish tojoin me in condemning a nuclear test that poses a grave threat to the security of every country in east asia and the wider world. the british government has promise urgent assistance it territories and commonwealth countries hit by hurricane irmatch the believed to be one of the most powerful storms on record it's devastated parts of the caribbean. among the islands hit by winds of more than 18 o 0 miles per hour, where british overseas territories
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and members of the commonwealth. the united nations says the number of refugees krous cross myanmar into bangladesh has raised in recent days. the rohingya face persecution in myanmar. more than 130,000 people are said to have fled this is one of the worst atrocities in decades, yet the worst atrocities in decades, yet the international community is effectively silent. peers also wa nted effectively silent. peers also wanted to know what the uk government was doing to home. the minister there insisted its concerns had been made clear we do condemn this violence and we are trying to, with other partners to look to ways to both assist burma and assist the plight of those directly affected. 12 weeks after the grenfell
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strategy, the community secretary, told mps thatjust strategy, the community secretary, told mps that just two families strategy, the community secretary, told mps thatjust two families have moved into permanent homes. of the 196 households affected, 29 more had moved into temporary accommodation one reason for the low take—up of temporary home offers is some residents simply don't want to move twice and they have said it is their preference to stay where they are until a permanent home becomes available. i don't want to see anyone living in emergency accommodation for any longer than is necessary , accommodation for any longer than is necessary, but nor do i want to see families forced to move or to make that decision simply so i have better numbers to report at the despatch box. the government says it has no plans to review the new law banning psycho active substances formerly known as legal highs following the collapse of a prosecution last month. the crown prosecution service is reviewing two cases after a judge said that nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, was exempt from the ban as it is used by doctors for
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pain relief it hasn't taken long for the courts to expose the unworkable of parts of the legislation. faced with the very serious and pressing problem of new psycho active substance, ltd government now see reason and accept that prohibition and orthodoxy of the last half searching rain reiterated in a crude model in 2016 act has failed with disastrous consequences in terms of the growth of crime, the blighting of innumerable lives not to mention chaos in prisons. from this month all three—year—olds and grierlds in england rob entitled to 30 hours of #234r50e childcare a week but labour says the government is... it is advertised as free but it is clear it'll be subsidised by careers or pa rents. it'll be subsidised by careers or parents. it rickses pricing out the poorest. will he listen to and
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commit to re—evaluate the policies' funding. as we are only six days into september, 152,829 parents have secured a place. that's 71%. now, there's a row brewing over the make—up of a handful of key commons' committees. public bill or standing committees. public bill or standing committees scrutinise the detail of legislation. the government wants to have a majority on the committees in this session of parliament, even though it doesn't have a majority in the commons. this government has no means to expect to have a majority on the standard committees. they do not command a majority. this is a house of minorities and that parliamentary arggggh it mcparticular has to be reflected into the parliament committees of this house. the make-up of the committees is due to be voted on by mps next week. now, to the lords where although
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most hereditary peers were kicked out of the house in 1999 several dozen do still remain. vacancies in their ranks are still by a system of by elections held amongst peers. a bill to scrap the system was talked out by opponents last year. now its thorbes labour life peer lord g rowcot is thorbes labour life peer lord growcot is trying again and there was a second reading on frinchts we had a by—election last year. i will stay this slowly it is unbelievable. there was an electorate of three and seven candidates. i don't know of any electoral system anywhere on the planet, now other in history where you have twice as many candidates as there are electors. i have no doubt that 90%, i'll put it conservatively, that peers in the house of lords would either actively like to see this by—election system scrapped or, at least are indifferent to its whole continuation. it was blocked last year by a handful a very small
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number of largely hereditary peers. now thatp can't go on forever. they maybe think it can but you can only be kanute for so long. it would be very nice if the government said —— yes, it is an indefensible system, which they know it is, and we will give you full backing. but government, of course is always able to say — we have far more important things to do, which is true, but this is a two—year session. mine is a two—clause bill. it would take a day, maximum, if people were sensible about it and it is only a small improvement but it is an improvement in our parliamentary system and it is time we got on and did it. lord growcot‘s bill will move on to scrutiny by a committee of the whole house. now other stories making political news this weevenlingt here is richard morris with the countdown. over the summer big ben fell silent
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for repair work. that's caused upset in the commons where one mp had a question. big ben's bonns are silent. they are loved by the communities and international visitors. could we splees a debate as to why this has happened and is divrond the, which t of man for silence silencers to be worn by the workers. and the vote in the lords, on nhs referral times in england was passed at 169—104. there was surprise in the commons on thursday after labour's ann llwyd revealed she missed a vote because she was stuck in aly. the leader of the house promised to elevate the issue whereas the speaker added...” house promised to elevate the issue whereas the speaker added... i hope she won't take it out of good humour ifi she won't take it out of good humour if i say, i'm rather surprised the lift dared. protesters descended on parliament to oppose the so—called
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henry viiith powers. objectors claim it could amount to a ministerial power grab. in brussels a fire alarm interrupted the chief brexit negotiator, michel barnier on thursday. ‘twas the sign of an importance of a swavent orderly exit? tra nstranchtss i importance of a swavent orderly exit? transtranchtss i was talking about something quite important. -- translation: i was talking about something quite important. richard morris. and that's it from me for now, butjoin us on bbc parliament on monday night at 11.00pm fora parliament on monday night at 11.00pm for a full round—up of the day here at westminster, including the second day of debate on the eu withdrawal bill. but for now, from me, goodbye. good afternoon. news of an unsettled
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week of weather to come here in the uk good afternoon. news of an unsettled week of weather to come here in the uk in week of weather to come here in the ukina week of weather to come here in the uk in a moment. obviously nothing on the scale of what we are seeing on the scale of what we are seeing on the other side of the atlantic. hurricane irma noun leashing her full force on the —— now unleashing herfull force. sustained winds full force on the —— now unleashing her full force. sustained winds of 150 miles per hour. the storm drifting northwards over the next 24—hours or so, with flooding rain, a significant storm surge close to the coast and of course damaging winds. back home things look unled tluted next few days, cool and windy with gales at times and heavy downpours in the forecast. you have band of rain working eastwards at the moment. the rain along the weather front not heavy for the most pa rt weather front not heavy for the most part but the showers chasing on behind are heavy there. could be a rumble of thunder here and there, blustery winds, too, touching galeforce for some exposed spots in
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the west and afternoon temperatures of around 14—18. through this evening and tonight this area of low pressure will lumber across north of scotland. watch the white lines, isobars how they squeeze together. that's a sign of a spell of really windy weather. gales easily for some western coasts. a lot of showers flinging in from the west but weather winds stay lighter across north—east scotland where here it could be a fairly chilly night. generally temperatures holding up. for the monday morning commute, particularly for wales and the south—west, there is a chance that strong winds could cause some travel issues. worth staying tuned to your bbc local radio station. gales, particularly in exposed spots, with the heavy showers across the south—west, across wales, also blustery and showery across the wales, east midlands and south—east, temperatures at 8.00, 12. o wales, east midlands and south—east, temperatures at 8.00, 12. 0 heavy showers for northern ireland and
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western scotland in eastern scloonted maybe some brighters and drier weather and we'll start the day with lighter winds but they'll pick up through the day. nowhere there could be strong and gusty winds which could cause disruption, lots of showers, heavy with heal and thirned but with spells ofshine sandwiched in between. temperatures 14 sandwiched in between. temperatures 1a for aberdeen, 15 in belfast, maybe sneaking up to 19 in lob doovenlt slightly drier day on tuesday but very windy weather possible on tuesday night and for wednesday and thursday it will be cool wednesday and thursday it will be cool, blustery with a mix of sunshine and showers. this is bbc news. i'm annita mcveigh. the headlines at 3pm — hurricane irma slams into the florida keys with winds up to 130 miles per hour.
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over six million people have been ordered to leave their homes as the storm inches closer to the mainland. we do have a lot of power lines down, transformers are exploding causing minorfires. torrential rains causing flood warnings, on top of the surgery expected. this is the scene live in miami, described as a ghost town, as the storm approaches. overnight cuba has been battered — there's been significant damage as the recovery process begins.

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