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tv   Wednesday in Parliament  BBC News  November 30, 2017 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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theresa may, should pay more attention to destructive radical islamic terrorism taking place in britain rather than criticising him. the tweet came after britain said donald trump had been wrong to retweet inflammatory anti—muslim videos posted by a far—right group. the us ambassador to the united nations, nikki haley, has warned the north korean leadership that it would be "utterly destroyed" if war broke out. speaking at an emergency meeting of the un security council in new york, she called all countries to cut their diplomatic and trade ties with pyongyang. the former bosnian croat general, slobodan praljak, has died in the hague, after drinking poison during the final hearing of the international criminal tribunal for the former yugoslavia. praljak swallowed the liquid after the presiding judge affirmed his original 20—year sentence. now on bbc news, wednesday in parliament. hello, and welcome to the programme.
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in the next half—hour: that brexit divorce bill, are the rumours true? if they've got £60 billion to spare, it should go to the national health service and social care. a new strategy for the railways is announced, but labour say the plans are unambitious. and fears of an unwelcome new role for one county. the county will be a car park. the issue of how much the uk is going to have to pay to leave the eu, the so—called divorce bill, has been heavily debated. and that was before reports that suggest the government had substantially increased its offer to somewhere between 40—50 billion euros. the chief secretary to the treasury was called to the house to explain
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what was going on. can i ask the chief secretary, how do her constituents react to the idea that they're going to be lumbered with all these extra costs? don't they ask her, what exactly are we getting for this? what wondrous new advantages will we gain by shelling out these astronomical sums? won't the chief secretary be straight with the house? that we are paying for the privilege of voting the world's most efficient free trade, tariff—free, frictionless agreement into the bin, and we're being told to pay for the privilege of downgrading to an inferior deal with our european neighbours? why is the chief secretary being so coy about the deal that is being done? they've gone from "go whistle" to "where do we sign?" the honourable gentleman knows perfectly well we are in negotiations as we speak. if, in this house, we were to talk about numbers and we were to talk about the aspects of the deal, that would cut across our negotiating position. what the people of britain want to see is us get on with it, they want to see us take the advantages of leaving the european union, make the most of those opportunities,
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secure the best possible deal. we're well on the way to doing that, and i suggest the honourable gentleman, rather than trying to re—fight the referendum battle, which is what he seems to be doing, he needs to get with the programme, and start talking about how he can be helpful. those who oppose paying any money are presumably wanting a no—deal brexit, and that would actually be catastrophic for this country, and stop the opportunity my right honourable friend, the brexit secretary, has of negotiating a deal that retains as many benefits forjobs, investments and the growth of the economy of this country as we possibly can in the future. could she please remind those who have raised this question that,
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even if we agreed a figure of something in the order of 40 billion over 40 years, because we will not be paying contributions the european union, that means the uk exchequer will be better off by £360 million in the course of that 40 years, a net gain with a free—trade arrangement. will the chancellor, given there was a budget last week which did not make provision for this {40—50 billion, will he now bring forward an emergency budget to expand on where he is finding the money? well, ithought, mr speaker, when the honourable lady stood up, it was to be to thank the government for the £2 billion additional spending power that we gave to the scottish government in the budget, which no doubt, they will be able to use to improve their public services. as i've said before, and has been pointed out by the opposition front bench, to talk about the money now would cut across the negotiations and prevent us from getting the best possible deal, and that is not in anyone's interests. 70% of the people that voted
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in bolsover voted to leave. but can i also say this to you, those same people in bolsover, i believe, would expect me to tell the honourable lady from the finance department that if they've got £60 billion to spare, it should go to the national health service and social care. for the first time in my parliamentary career, i'm going to agree with the honourable member for bolsover. he's absolutely right. the 60%—odd of people in wellingborough who voted to leave would want to know what we were doing with £60 billion. would want it spent on the nhs, social care and defence.
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they would not want it given to the european union. would the minister agree such a move would be betraying the trust of the british people? the money that we've been reading about in the press is speculation. these negotiations are ongoing. the discussion is ongoing, and we want to secure value for money for the british taxpayer. liz truss. well, prime minister's questions looked a little different this wednesday, no prime minister. theresa may is on a visit to the middle east, so the first secretary of state, damian green, was understudy. and taking on the role of jeremy corbyn was emily thornbury, shadow foreign secretary. she opened with a fewjokes. see if you can get the references. and congratulating prince harry and meghan markle on their engagement. that's one anglo—american couple we on this side would be delighted to see holding hands.
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i'm sure that prince harry, the patron of rugby football league, willjoin us all in supporting england in the world cup final on saturday. and i, for one, will be waving my st george's flag. that was a reference to the tweet she sent 2014 about a terraced house flying three england flags, for which she was sacked by ed miliband. and the handholding was of course donald trump taking theresa may's hand in washington. but it was her first question that raised eyebrows. the first secretary of state is currently be investigated by the cabinet office over allegations about his past behaviour. can i ask the first secretary a simple point of principle — is he happy to be held to the same standards in government that he required of others whilst he was in 0pposition? yes, i am, i think all ministers should respect and obey the ministerial code. and i absolutely think that that's a very important part of confidence in public life.
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i merely wondered if he remembered the question he asked at prime minister's questions almost 17 years ago, when john prescott stood in for tony blair, and whether he could answer the same question today. so, what's the question? the question was this — what percentage of new nurses recruited in the past 12 months are now working full—time? ican't remember... i can't remember asking the question then, and i'd love to know what the then deputy prime minister answered then. what i'm happy to assure the right honourable lady is that we have more nurses, more midwives, more doctors... working in the health service now, the health service is performing more operations now, certainly than it was 17 years ago. and in particular, in the budget last week, my right honourable friend the chancellor was able to announce more than £6 billion extra on health spending, which will make the health service even stronger in the future than it is now. we have an nhs in the grip of a chronic funding
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and staffing crisis. gps are quitting in record numbers, junior doctors are running a&es without supervision, our nurses are at breaking point and all this is before the winter crisis which is coming. so, mr speaker, let me finally ask the first secretary, what does it say about the government's priorities that last week's budget could only find £350 million to help the cash—strapped, stretched—to—the—limit nhs, cope with the winter fuel crisis? jeering keep going, keep going! only £350 million to cope with the winter crisis, and was able to find 11 times that amount to spend on a no—deal brexit? isn't that the very definition of a government fiddling away while the rest of the country burns? the right honourable lady's
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determined to talk the nhs down. it's the conservative government which is increasing funding on the nhs so it remains the best health service in the world, as the independent commonwealth fund has repeated for the second year in a row. it's this party which promised and delivered more money for the nhs in 2010, 2015 and in last week's budget, when my right honourable friend the chancellor promised 6.3 billion extra for the nhs. more patients treated, more operations carried out by more doctors and more nurses. and when she says at the end that the government is wasting £3 billion on preparing for brexit, we now know that the labour party
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doesn't think it's worth preparing for brexit. they do, though, think it's worth preparing for a run on the pound, that's all you need to know about labour. damian green. well, at the end of pmqs, news reached the commons chamber that the us president, donald trump, had retweeted three imflammatory videos from a british far—right group. two labour mps thought the home secretary should come to the dispatch box to condemn the president's actions. the speaker though said he wouldn't expect a minister to respond immediately. downing street later said donald trump was wrong to retweet the anti—muslim videos. and you're watching wednesday in parliament with me, mandy baker. firms which operate passenger services would also manage
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the tracks their trains run on, under new government plans. and some rail routes lost under richard beeching in the 19605 could be restored. the closing of some 4000 miles of tracks, mainly in the rural areas, became known as the beeching cuts. chris grayling said railway lines would be reopened if they encouraged house—building and eased congestion. his plans also give us the chance to show you these lovely pictures. the move is part of a new government rail strategy. i know the party opposite doesn't believe this, but privatisation brought a revolution to our railways. that's why there's twice as many passengers as there were 20 years ago. but now is the time, mr speaker, for evolution to build on that success, joining up track and train, expanding the network, modernising the customer experience, opening the railway for new innovation. we have a vision, mr speaker, of a revitalised railway, used to its full potential by a partnership between the public and private sectors. supporting people,
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communities and the economy. and we're taking real action to make that vision a reality. the government's proposals are more window—dressing, which will solve none of the rail‘s urgent problems. 0nly labour has the vision and courage to deliver the railway the public deserves. the public want public ownership of the railways and the next labour government will deliver it. beeching itself was typical of the tory policy of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. and this attitude continues with the secretary of state's ideological adherence to privatisation. now, while he worships the private sector, what he needs to remember, already there are four foreign state—owned companies operational in the existing uk franchises. so if it's good enough for foreign state—owned companies, it should be good enough for uk state—owned companies to run these franchises. and hopefully he supports the scottish government's move to bring a public sector bid in scotland. alan brown.
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the snp have sought to put pressure on the government over the plight of women born in 19505 who've lost out because of changes to pension law. in a rowdy debate, the snp claimed the 3.8 million waspi women have waited far too long. it is an absolute outrage that when the evidence is before us, of the fact that the women did not get appropriate notice and the fact that acceleration has taken place so quickly, we have had nothing yet from this government. i will give way. i'm grateful for the honourable member for giving way. it's an important debate, last week i attended the one in westminster hall because it is a very important issue but would he accept that it is wrong to say that the government has taken no action? in 2011 they made sure that nobody waited for an extended period beyond 18 months? that's not true!
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i have heard about spinning but let's deal with the facts of the matter, because what the honourable lady is referring to is the fact that the government brought in an act of 2011 that increased the acceleration, to talk about the fact that the government have mitigated is a distortion of the reality, and the government benches should stop spinning the way that they are doing, and start telling the truth to the 3.8 million women affected. that is that pensionable age is increasing by three months per calendar month. that is the reality. and for the government to try and argue against it is something they should be utterly ashamed of. but a former tory minister said he was prepared to vote with the snp. this is very much a women—focused injustice. of men approaching retirement expect to relyjust on the state pension but for women it is as many as 53%, which is why it is such an important issue to them and all of us.
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0ther conservatives intervened to say that the scottish government could take action. in section 28 of the scotland act, you can create a new benefit, and you can make that argument by not reason of old age, which the dwp have accepted, that argument, and in section 26 of the act, it allows the scottish government to make short—term payments to people who need them to "avoid risks to the well—being of an individual". they have the powers but they choose not to use them. ian blackford insisted the scottish parliament did not have the ability to introduce new benefits based on age. this is a failure of policy of the uk government. nobody can get away from that. are the conservatives in scotland really saying that the scottish parliament, the scottish government, should clear up the mess, again, which was left by this conservative government? we've already spent £400 million
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of the scottish government mitigating the worst effects of tory austerity. i think the government can find this money. it's no good blaming the scottish parliament. it is a uk issue, full stop. and i can assure the honourable gentleman that i will be backing him. we made a manifesto pledge regarding this issue. the reason why i am here as a spokesman of the party today is because we do support it, we will go through the lobby on it and i do think that the waspi women will be better served if we had a debate that was not divisive or about point—scoring. it's not a party. whether it is the liberal, labour or conservative parties which has not cause this problem. but the minister said, the government wasn't changing track. we cannot change of policy which has been implemented over 22 years, and supported by all three
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major political parties. the government has to ensure that the costs of an ageing population are shared out fairly without placing an unfair financial burden on future generations. but mps voted by 288—0 in support of the snp demand that the government improve transitional arrangements for the waspi women. the vote is not binding on the government, but the deputy speaker said the commons leader promised that after a result like this, it would be a ministerial response within 12 weeks. returning to brexit, and mps have heard fresh warnings that our departure from the eu could cause gridlock at ports and railway stations. the home affairs committee heard concerns raised by representatives of border and immigration staff. the 300 additional staff that the border force are recruiting at the moment, do you understand that that is entirely additional to meet brexit preparations, or will some of that be backfilling for existing staffing gaps? my understanding is that it is
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entirely backfilled... entirely? it is only intended to bring borders up to where it should already be. so if there were changes, what would be the impact with that number of staff? very long queues. not only of people, but also possibly and more significantly of freight. if we had to move to freight checking on day one, like dover, for example, it would grind to a halt and we wouldn't be able to bring the lorries off the ferry fast enough. there isn't enough physical space in that port. it would be a car park, in actual fact. because at the moment there is around 4 million units of freight which come through, dover and the channel tunnel at the moment, only 1% of that is non—eu so they go to the western docks to be checked over, and it normally takes 2—3 hours. per lorry.
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if you are looking at around 40,000 being checked now, you need to do 4 million. you can see the scale of the problem. if there were continental checks in place, if they are agreeable to that, then that does certainly take off the pressure off a large stacking system of lorries when they arrive at dover? it puts the stacking system somewhere else but if they are willing to have those checks in that country, it would make a huge difference. i don't know what the benefit to those countries would be though. the mps also heard from the independent inspector of borders and immigration. he was asked about plans for 700 staff to deal with applications from eu nationals for settled status, allowing them to remain in the uk. 3 million people to be registered in the space of two years, 2.5 years, and then a further 250,000 a year additional.
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what would your expectations be of the level of staffing needed to deliver that, given the staffing ratios that you have got already? it will essentially be a different sort of regime to any that exists at the moment. essentially one where the onus is on the department to grant settlement in all but most cases where there are particular reasons for not doing so. but that said, 700, if you do the maths, that we tried to do the other day, it did come out at something like 100 decisions per day per person. i may have got the maths wrong but that is a lot of decisions, even with a relatively light touch process. if that were to be the case, that would be around... you would need someone taking a decision every 3—4 minutes. is that remotely realistic on any kind of casework system that
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you have ever seen? i think the point to be made is that it isn't intended to be like any casework system that any of us have seen. that's what the minister was saying. but... do you think it is conceivable? i wouldn't want to be doing it myself. david bolt. now, do we need an arctic ambassador? a couple of years ago, a lords committee called forjust such a person to be appointed, peers said britain could and should be more active in arctic affairs. the snp‘s douglas chapman agrees, and he led a debate on the idea in westminster hall. he pointed out that the north of scotland is closer to the arctic than it is to london, and he focused on shared interests... like iceland, scotland is the home of some of the world's most beautiful scenery and natural wonders which attracts millions of visitors to our shores every year. we need to make sure that these valued resources are protected, so they can continue to be enjoyed by scots and tourists alike for generations to come.
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it's very generous. i too am a scot and scotland has a great deal to offer to the north and the south but i'm puzzled as to his logic why scotland has nice scenery, and why it should lead to a leap that there should be an arctic ambassador. after all, that is what the debate is about? well, i think it fits absolutely perfectly. the need for an arctic ambassador, i will cover other areas in my speech but it is absolutely crucial that we make these links and have these friendships, and collaborative projects across the whole of the arctic. you know, i hope the honourable member has a wide range of interests and am asking him to open his mind to the possibilities if we have an arctic ambassador fighting for the uk and for scotland over a wider range of issues. the minister said he didn't think that appointing an arctic ambassador, as some countries have done, was the right approach for the uk. particularly given our wide diversity of interests
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and established engagement across the arctic states and in the arctic council, we do not think that this would add value. as minister for the polar regions, i'm already supported by a senior foreign & commonwealth office official. that official oversees the development and implementation of the uk's arctic policy framework. chairs across government arctic network, and ensures that the uk is appropriate representation at the arctic council and other key international arctic events. the minister for the polar regions. there is to be an emergency debate in the commons on thursday on the crisis in yemen. the bitter conflict there has been going on for more than two years. the yemeni government, supported by a coalition led by saudi arabia, is battling the rebel houthi movement, aided by iran. the saudis have recently lifted their blockade of yemen's borders but it is estimated there are more than 20 million people in need of humanitarian help.
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when theresa may visits saudi arabia for trade talks, she is expected to broach the subject of the growing humanitarian crisis in yemen. the snp raised the matter at prime minister's questions. the uk government received £4.6 billion in serving arms to saudi arabia since the war in yemen began. a war that has created a devastating humanitarian crisis. yemen is now on the brink of famine, and unicef has said that 150,000 children will die by the end of this year. doesn't the first secretary agree that the best thing that the prime minister could do with their meetings today is to follow the example of the netherlands and suspend licences for arms sales to saudi arabia. to stop killing children! mps will get the chance to debate the situation fully after conservatives secured an emergency debate. today we are witnessing an almighty catastrophe of biblical proportions unfolding in yemen, in
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which britain, madam deputy speaker, is dangerously complicit. britain is respected throughout the world for bringing hope and relief to those caught up in humanitarian misery but today, in yemen, which i visited earlier this year, we are in danger of earning a reputation for precisely the reverse. we will have full coverage on the debate on the programme at the same time tomorrow. but for now from me, mandy baker, goodbye. hello first starts with a widespread frost icy patches. much of southern england, the
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midlands, and southern scotland. a scattering of mostly rain showers and fleet to the highest ground in northern ireland. rain, hail, for the west wales and england. it will be cold a feeling cold in the wind. the focus of sleet and snow showers will be across eastern scotland, running through eastern coastal parts of england. through thursday evening some of these will penetrate further inland, giving accumulations in places, not just further inland, giving accumulations in places, notjust in hills. quite wintry down the eastern side of the uk going into friday morning. quite a hard uk going into friday morning. quite a ha rd frost uk going into friday morning. quite a hard frost in the west, especially in scotland is freda begins. —— friday begins. increasing cloud in scotla nd friday begins. increasing cloud in scotland and northern ireland. that isa sign scotland and northern ireland. that is a sign of mahle. weather arriving for the weekend. —— milder weather. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is duncan golestani.
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our top stories: donald trump hits back at the british prime minister following a spat over controversial tweets by the us president. after north korea's latest missile test, the us ambassador to the un issues another blunt warning to kim jong—un. if war comes, make no mistake, the north korean regime will be utterly destroyed. a convicted bosnian war criminal kills himself by drinking poison in court, after his sentence is upheld. britain offers more money to unblock the brexit negotiations, reportedly as much as 50 billion euros.
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