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tv   Afternoon Live  BBC News  December 21, 2017 2:00pm-3:30pm GMT

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hello, you're watching afternoon live. today at 2: theresa may is in poland, but back home conservative mps are angry about the role the police played in the sacking of first minister of state damian green. they should be investigated for misconduct in public office, that's a criminal offence. i think what they've done is completely wrong, it undermines trust in the police. creditors of the struggling retailer toys r us have in the past few minutes approved a rescue plan to prevent it going in to administration. a man's arrested in the australian city of melbourne, after he drove into a crowd at a busyjunction, injuring at least nineteen people. coming up on afternoon live all the sport — olly foster. it was the worst kept secret in sport, who will host the commonwealth games in 2022. yes the race is on to get ready for 202 when birmingham will be the third uk city to stage the commonwealth games. thank you. and sarah has all of the
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weather. and this mild run of weather. and this mild run of weather continues? that's right. it may be the winter solstice, but temperatures are above average. pretty grey, but i will keep you up—to—date this afternoon. also coming up — howa up—to—date this afternoon. also coming up — how a daily serving of kale can protect your brain. the sacking of damian green — one of theresa may's closest allies — has prompted a furious backlash from some conservative mps who are angry about how confidential material gathered during a police investigation nine years ago came into the public domain. the first secretary of state was dismissed from the cabinet last night after a government inquiry found he made "inaccurate
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and misleading" statements about the pornography on his parliamentary office computer. he is the third cabinet minister to leave their role in the space of two months. our political correspondent ben wright reports. sacked from the cabinet and out the door. the third senior minister to leave theresa may's team in less than two months. reporter: why did you lie to the the public, mister green... this morning, damian green wasn't keen to talk, but former cabinet colleagues did, accepting mrs may had no choice but to fire, with a heavy heart, her de facto deputy and long time friend. he lied on a particular incident, yes. i think lots of people who understand the context would appreciate why that might have happened but that doesn't make it any more acceptable. i think what this shows is that in our democracy, we hold cabinet ministers to the very highest standards of conduct. it stems back to this police
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raid on mister green's parliamentary office nine years ago. officers say legal pornography was found on computers. damian green's always denied it was his but as recently as last month insisted he'd not been told about it. that wasn't true. he's now admitted the police talked to his lawyers about it in 2008 and the police raised it with him in 2013. in his resignation letter mister green said: damian green was judged to have broken the minutial code and he had to pay the price for that, and the prime minister, not letting a life long friendship with him entire fear with calling for him to do the right thing, which was for him to resign. the concerns were aired by a former commissioner of the met police bob quick and a number of people are angry. they should be investigated for misconduct in public office, that's a criminal offence.
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what they've done is completely wrong, it undermines trust in the police. how can any of us trust giving information to the police if senior officers leak in this way. the cabinet office investigation also examined claims from this tory activist about inappropriate behaviour by damian green. her account was said to be plausible but there was no clear conclusion about what happened. mr green apology islands for making her feel uncomfortable but denied any wrongdoing. his resignation and a consequence for an action sends a very, very clear message to young men and women who work in and around politics to feel that if they do come forward, there is a chance there'll be consequences. damian green's departure is a personal loss for the prime minister. he was a quietly powerful member of the government, an adviser and friend to theresa may, but all tory mps seem to accept he had to go and the political
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damage feels limited. this morning, theresa may arrived in poland, having survived a turbulent difficult political year. but her readiness to dismiss one of her closest allies shows some steel and a determination to carry on. ben wright, bbc news, westminster. with me is our political correspondent leila nathoo. steel and determination to carry on, but what choice did she have?” steel and determination to carry on, but what choice did she have? i did think she did have much choice after that investigation reported in the way it did. remember it was all about damian green misleading people with his comments that he wasn't aware that pornography had been found on his computer during that police raid. as ben said, the political damage does feel limited at the moment. theresa may is still there. she has taken what she thinks is firm action to show that she will
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not tolerate the standards of ministerial code being breached in any way. and certainly with the year coming to an end, i think she will hope she can start anew. there is no impetus to recruit a new first secretary of state, that won't be done before the parliament breaks up for recess. so a bit of new starts in the new year. she doesn't need to replace damian green, but she will feel she has drawn the mat tore a close. but there are members of her own party who feel he shouldn't have had to go and the fact there was confidential material that was, the product of a police investigation, has now been made public?” product of a police investigation, has now been made public? i think thatis has now been made public? i think that is perhaps where the focus of this will now turn to the role of the police in this. certainly today damian green has tweeted he has been
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overwhelmed by the support of friends and colleagues and constituents who have sent him supportive messages and people i was talking to last night in the immediate aftermath of his resignation said the same, mps from different parties. so i think the focus will turn to the police. some conservative mps said the police we re conservative mps said the police were wrong to have leaked information. the information commissioner has been brought in to look at the circumstances surrounding the information that certain police officers put into the public domain. this could be where the attention turns to. but certainly in the sense of damian green and his resignation, that seems to be self—contained for the moment. thank you. theresa may is in warsaw for a summit to strengthen ties between london and warsaw. this
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is where they will appear. there will be a few questions about damian green when she probably would rather focus on the future relationship between britain and poland. we will between britain and poland. we will be back there when she starts speaking. joining me now from westminster is pawel swidlicki, brexit analyst at edelman which specialises in research and insight for businesses. of course the prime minister walks into this row between poland and the european commission, action being taken against warsaw for the reforms that it wants to implement regarding the judiciary, that it wants to implement regarding thejudiciary, some regard that as undermining the independence of judges, which side will she have to come down on? yes, this is a controversial issue, the word reform here is quite polite. what is happening is that the polish government is effectively trying to ta ke government is effectively trying to take control ofjudiciary
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government is effectively trying to take control of judiciary and government is effectively trying to take control ofjudiciary and and the eu say were a country to do this and apply for membership it wouldn't be allowed in. so it is a very tricky situation for theresa may and the uk government. because they want to maintain good links with poland and want poland to be batting for them in talks and to be making the case the eu should retain close links with the uk, but when you have france and germany and the commission on the other side it becomes difficult. how much of a testis becomes difficult. how much of a test is this going to be for the european union project. brexit of course is posing its own problems, but in terms of these common core values, how much of a test will they be? yes, brexit is seen as a challenge, but at the end of the day
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a manageable problem. what is happening with poland and the eu has been keen to stress it should not be seen as been keen to stress it should not be seen as the eu against poland, but a broader issue, where you have a country rolling back its democratic norms and how the eu can respond to that. it is a very big problem. in terms of the relationship which both countries will want to have after brexit, how important are the two countries to each other. having a close relationship with poland and other eu member states is necessary, because it remains to be seen what the new relationship will be, but we can expect the uk won't be able to participate in european—wide defence and security policy co—ordination. so it has to strengthen its
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bilateral relationships and poland is in bilateral relationships and poland isina bilateral relationships and poland is in a key position in central europe in regards to russian aggression. so it is an important partner. we are watching pictures of a treaty being signed between the two countries regarding defence and security co—operation. we are going to hear shortly from the prime minister, theresa may and her polish counter part. he only took over as prime minister a couple of weeks ago. getting the paperwork out of the way. but also a great deal of interest, particularly for polls in this country, what will happen with them in terms of their citizenship rights after brexit. many have made their home here from poland. indeed. so she has now largely been dealt
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with at the highest level. we saw that reflected in the deal agreed in brussels the other week. it remains to be seen what practically the process for application looks like, the application for settled status. how it will be and other eu nationals decide to stay here or say maybe it is time to go home. that remains to be seen. stay with us if you would, we are going to listen in to the two prime ministers. they have just taken to the podium. putting ear pieces in to hear the translation when it comes. the polish prime minister is speaking now. translation: thank you for the thoughtful consultations that have taken place. i wanted to emphasise that we can see very clearly our
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joint interests, joint areas, joint activities between the government of the uk and poland between the uk and poland and we also point clearly that even though the united kingdom decided to leave the european union, but definitely it is not leaving europe. and wants to have very... deep links with europe. in the area of defence policy, economy, finance, as well as student exchange, co—operation in education and internal affairs. thank you once again that we were
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able to talk about so many common areas and i will discuss them in detail ina areas and i will discuss them in detail in a minute. in the area of brexit itself, here what we seek is the situation where the partners from the uk have very clear and transparent and quick and unprecedented mode of agreement that will let them enter the transition period and then maintain the co—operation at the highest possible level, compared to what it was in the european union. apart from those most essential strategic comments that i've just made at first that the united kingdom remains part of europe, which is of fundamental
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importance for us and the fact that brexit should lead to a possibly no problem leaving by the uk. leaving of the eu. with maintaining co—operation in a number of areas. i would like to mention some areas in greater detail. first, we talked about defence and here we are glad that the united kingdom will co—operate with us and within the framework of nato, that the nato is becoming an ever more important platform, political platform and not just military platform. of course it was a political platform before, but by the uk at the moment of the uk leaving the eu, nato becomes more important. we exchanged comments about co—operation within the un security council, beginning january next year, poland will become a
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nonpermanent member of the security council. we talked of permanent structural co—operation in defence policy of which we would like uk to bea policy of which we would like uk to be a part, so we can build on a number of different areas. ourjoint defence policy. because both our countries can contribute a lot to increasing the security in europe and in the world. as regards the sbenl affairs —— internal affairs, we are also on very similar wave length regarding the issue of refugees, taking care that we distinguish economic migrants migrating from outside europe into europe from real refugees and regards the issue of providing assistance on site. here our views
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we re assistance on site. here our views were similar. in commission policy it is difficult to find closer partners. the uk is an important market for poland. the united kingdom is very powerful, exporting services and it is obvious for the uk that they would like to remain a very strong player in this area. we believe that the freedom of providing services particularly with regard to services such as transport and it services and the services in which the uk is very strong, such as financial services, insurance, consulting, training and education that this co—operation on freedom of movement of people should be strengthened in the coming years. and we know that within the eu there are different views about it, we
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exchange our views about the directive on workers and transport and i'm glad that our views are not very divergent and in fact are very, very divergent and in fact are very, very close. in those areas. i also mentioned to madam prime minister about the importance of our co—operation in energy. here the third energy package, the gas directive that is being discussed today was mentioned by me as one of the very important aspects that we try to contribute to working out. there is the proper shape of the directive so that we have proper cohesion of energy policies included in the directive. we also talked about co—operation in the sector of finance, economy, small and
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about co—operation in the sector of finance, economy, smalland medium enterprises. we can see a lot of convergence as regards enterprises. we can see a lot of convergence 3s regards oui’ interests. in is in context, we also raised the topic that is very important for poland since the continuation of the project of the current budget is important from the point of view of the continuity of economic processes and here the compromise that has been worked out by michel barnier and his team and the uk government negotiating team is for us very satisfactory and we expect that it will soon be put into proper legislative framework. also caring for our citizens who decided temporarily or permanently to go to
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the uk, it is our duty and here with madam prime minister we exchanged not only our views, but we are close at reaching a compromise that we discussed many times with the british negotiators and we also relied on mr barnier‘s negotiating tea m relied on mr barnier‘s negotiating team and we are glad it was possible to work out an acceptable compromise in this area. so just to sum to work out an acceptable compromise in this area. sojust to sum up, it is very important for us that this co—operation even though it will be based soon on different rules, and different regulations, than it has been so far, because of brexit, because as madam prime minister said brexit is brexit. regardless of that we realise how important the co—operation in defence, internal
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affairs, economic affairs, financial affairs, economic affairs, financial affairs is as is the co—operation in all the areas that should really bring our countries together, bring our nations together and ensure better security for europe. i'm convinced that maintaining the empowerment is possible with further unify xags of the european union without the uk, but in very close co—operation with the united kingdom. thank you very much. translation: thank you prime minister is to speak next. our ties with poland are rooted deeply in your shared history. we will never forget the polish soldiers who fought with our drops in africa and europe in world war two, nor the polish pilots who stood up for freedom in europe and we value the
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contribution made by so many poles in our country today. i'm here to ensure we can work more closely together to ensure the security and prosper ity together to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations. our annual dialogue demonstrates the common ground we share and the importance we attach to our relationship. we share a clear commitment to elevate our co—operation and firmly establish the uk and poland as resolute and strategic allies in europe. our defence and security co—operation is already strong, but we have gone further the today in signing this landmarkjoint further the today in signing this landmark joint uk/poland treaty further the today in signing this landmarkjoint uk/poland treaty on defence and security. this is only the second such treaty we have signed with a european union country. there could be no clearer expression of uk's close witness poland. this treaty will provide a
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framework for training, exercise, information sharing and capability development. it will build on the deployment of our troops to poland which followed our last meeting in london. we have also agreed to bolster our co—operation to counter russian disinformation in the region, including through nowjoint communications projects. we are both concerned by russia's attempts to weaponise information. we will enhance our cyber security co—operation with poland, including hosting a polish cyberdelegation in march next year to share the uk's expertise and best practice in this area. the uk and poland will continue to work hand in glove across the foreign policy spectrum
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and look forwards to working with poland at the un security council. we have agreed to work to reduce firearms trafficking and the scourge of modern slavety. —— slavery. we have agreed to establish a new investment council to meet injune next year. the council will help forge stronger links between uk and polish business, including through the polish population in the uk. the first of its kind, the forum will be business—led and work to identify barriers to trade and investment. as pa rt of barriers to trade and investment. as part of our commitment to work together, on ideas and the knowledge economy, we have agreed that 2018
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will be a uk/polish year of entrepreneurship, science and innovation to support our links in science and research. i want to make the point that a key priority for me here is giving assurances to the nearly one million polish citizens in the uk that they're a strong part of our society and we want them to stay. that is why we work so hard to get a deal with the eu earlier this month to guarantee the right of eu citizens living in the uk. they will have their rights enshrined in uk law and will be able to go on living their lives as perfect. as i have said many times, and as has been repeated, although the uk is leaving the eu we are not leaving europe and i have reaffirmed to the prime minister that we want to work with poland and the other member states in the future to protect our shared
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values, people and interests are. we are building a strategic partnership with poland from a base of shared history and deep ties of friendship that will outlast our exit from the eu. today's talks have been productive. there is much we can work on and celebrate together, poland's 100 work on and celebrate together, poland's100 year of independence in 2018. thank you. speaks in polish. thank you. merry christmas. now time for questions from the journalists. i i would like to ask the prime minister to appoint the first journalist to ask the question. have
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you done enough to deal with sexual harassment and if i may do you think the police have questions to answer? and secondly do you support britain's demand for a bespoke free trade deal in its talks with brussels. on the first issue that you raise, there is a very wide question of the issue of sexual harassment. this is an issue on which my government and i as home secretary and continuing as prime minister, to work both in the question of violence against women and sexual abuse of women and if you look at the strategy that we have developed as a government you will see our focus. as issues have arisen within the uk parliament i brought together leaders of all the parties together leaders of all the parties to ensure that within parliament people would feel it was a work place where they had no cause for
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concern and would be able to raise any concerns that they did have, be they of sexual harassment or of bullying. work is being done by the leader of the house of commons and the lords to ensure that we have a proper grievance procedure in the house of commons. your second question was about whether the police had questions to answer. now, there are two issues that they be addressing, i suspect you may be referring to the question of the attitude of the police in the case of damian green. and as i said in my letter to damian yesterday, i share the concerns that have been raised about comments made by former police office rs about comments made by former police officers and i expect those, that issue to be properly investigated and taken seriously and to be properly looked at. the question
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about free trade agreement. translation: i can say that the sole competence of the eu is to care about trade relations. i would wish that these relations between the uk and the eu remained the very coherent level and i would like to see roles of uk functioning and developed within the framework of policy trade and economic policy, particularly in these areas. so as to ensure the certainty of economic activity for polish entrepreneurs who run their businesses who either export to the uk or import from the
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uk, theirgoods, export to the uk or import from the uk, their goods, services and also the other way around for the british businesses that are involved in this activity. although this is a prerogative of european commission, we think trade and co—operation should be maintained as at the best possible platform for us and for the united kingdom and all the protectionist movements are dangerous and that is why we regret that we are losing the united kingdom as our ally in a number of discussions at the eu level, where we tried to to mitigate and reduce the red tape, the number of regulations but we do believe that also in the new agreement that will soon also in the new agreement that will soon be worked out soon be developed and negotiated we will be able to
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co—operate with the united kingdom closely. it is important for our entrepreneurs and our economies now the prime minister please point out the prime minister please point out the second journalist to ask a question. minister, are you concerned about reports of a russian spy you were photographed alongside in downing street being arrested by the ukrainians yesterday? and on the topic of damian green, do you believe he is a victim of a police vendetta against him? and prime minister mara gets key, will you stand up to france and germany if they try to stop britain getting a bespoke trade deal? jedinak i'm aware of reports into the ukrainian individual who attended downing street early in the summer. it's a matter for the ukrainian
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authorities. on the second question you asked me, as i said and expressed in my letter to damian green last night, i share the concerns expressed about the comments made by a former officer of the metropolitan police. i expect that issue, i expect that to be properly investigated, properly considered, and for those concerns to be taken seriously. translation: iam to be taken seriously. translation: i am satisfied with the state of the negotiations that we are at today. and we are talking to france and germany about further steps. we also have the why my triangle, the special forum have the why my triangle, the specialforum for have the why my triangle, the special forum for discussions with this country, under which i used to meet my french and german counterparts, still as minister of finance. i do hope, i'm in fact
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convinced, that our partners from france and germany also seek to work out as constructive a solution as possible in the context of this new, difficult situation that we found ourselves in in the context of brexit. two questions from the polish media, the polish press agency. i have a question to prime minister may. the united kingdom invested a lot of political capital in its relations with poland. is it going to change in the context of article seven being triggered? against poland ? article seven being triggered? against poland? and a question to prime minister morawiecki, whether the discussions with the european commission will impact this process or not. as i said in a statement i gave just a few minutes ago, the relationship between united kingdom
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and poland is based on a shared history and shared traditions. there is much we have discussed today where we can cooperate in the interests, notjust of where we can cooperate in the interests, not just of our individual countries, but i think in the interests of europe more widely. that is particularly in security and defence and the questions of prosperity and our economic ties. on the reference you made to article seven, these constitutional issues are normally, should be primarily, a matter for the individual country concerned. across europe we have collected belief in the rule of law andl collected belief in the rule of law and i welcome the fact prime minister morawiecki has indicated he will be speaking with the european commission and i hope it will lead toa commission and i hope it will lead to a satisfactory resolution. translation: i think in the european union we have learned not to put certain topics and areas together.
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we shouldn't merge certain areas at all. this is why i do not think that the current dispute with the european commission would influence other processes and negotiations under way, such as our cooperation in defence, which we want to develop with our european partners. it should also not impact our economic cooperation. i'm also convinced we should be able to convince our partners that our judiciary should be able to convince our partners that ourjudiciary system is in need of deep reform. i can only remind our german partners for example that after the fall of communism in the german democratic republic, gdr, on the 35% ofjudges we re republic, gdr, on the 35% ofjudges
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were positively vetted. in poland we didn't have such a verification process , didn't have such a verification process, orjudges who worked during the martial law, during the communist, stalinist period, remained without any problems. in the system of the judiciary in free poland. this is just the system of the judiciary in free poland. this isjust a small the system of the judiciary in free poland. this is just a small example of the history. i hope our european partners will appreciate how much we need an in—depth reform of the judiciary system. the polish public television will ask the next question. modern prime minister, you spoke about the polish die aspera, what will be the state is a polish citizens after brexit? mr prime minister, what can polish citizens returning to poland count on? obviously this whole question of the status of polish and other eu citizens in the united kingdom after
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we've left the european union was one of the issues i wanted to give priority to in talks. we have done and, of course, in the joint progress report published a couple of weeks ago between the uk and the european union we set out in a whole range of areas the agreements we had made on the status of polish citizens in the uk from other eu citizens in the uk from other eu citizens in the uk, and uk citizens living in poland and elsewhere in the eu 27. the citizens who are in the eu 27. the citizens who are in the uk will be able to apply for saddle status. in united kingdom we will make the process simple, an easy process for them. there will be certain requirements in terms of the length of time they will have been in the united kingdom, but we'll get a significant period of time for people to be able to apply for that settled status. the basis on which we operate it is that we value polish citizens and other eu citizens in the united kingdom. they've made a life choice, we want
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them to be able to continue with a life choice and continue living in the uk and living their lives as before. the agreement we've come to with the european union will enable them to do just that. translation: indeed, there was one thing that is perceived differently by madam prime minister and myself, this pertains to our citizens living in the uk. and the context is very particular. madam prime minister has been very kind, for which i'm very grateful. she said she would like 1 million of polish citizens to remain in the uk. on the contrary, i would rather have this1 million of on the contrary, i would rather have this 1 million of polish citizens returned to poland. so here is a difference of opinion between us. but in order to respond to your question, i'd like to say that i
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wa nt to question, i'd like to say that i want to underline we have lowered taxes for small and medium enterprises, some of those operate on the british market, we lower the tax from 19 to 15%. the start—ups will have a period of two and a half yea rs, will have a period of two and a half years, where there will be no need to pay contributions to our social security system. or they will be lowered for most of this period. till there will be new opportunities opening up for people in poland, we have a new constitution for business. a package of 100 changes, cutting red tape. all this to encourage polish entrepreneurs, including those currently living and working in the uk to return to poland. i hope as many of them as possible want to return and settle
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in poland. some of them have left theirfamilies behind in poland. some of them have left their families behind and in poland. some of them have left theirfamilies behind and it's important for them to return to reunite with the families. the unemployment in poland is at its historic lowest. which should also be an encouragement for people to return. an economy growing at a pace of 11.5 return. an economy growing at a pace of 4.5 gdp return. an economy growing at a pace of 11.5 gdp per year. a company that is... an economy that is sustainable, where public deficit is low. we have very good results in international trade, so this is a very healthy economy and... it's good to do business in a country with a healthy economy. we want to encourage people. the best proof is we have many british entrepreneurs who also settle their businesses in poland. we're very happy about it. as it strengthens our bilateral ties. how am i to encourage people to return? the cost of living in
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warsaw and in smaller towns in poland are two times, sometimes even more times lower than the cost of living in the uk. we envied the uk for the wages. in london people probably make four times more than they do in poland but the cost of living is lower here, so maybe this would be one of the arguments that we could use in order to encourage thousands of our citizens to return to poland. thank you, this concludes our press conference, thank you. there we are, the two prime ministers of the united kingdom and poland taking questions from the media. first of all, mateusz morawiecki, the polish by minister, who took up the role only a couple of weeks ago, saying he wants there to be deep links with the uk and poland and indeed, for the rest of europe, particularly regarding defence. the economy. finance. and student exchange as well. they both
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talked about the fact there are 1 million poles residing in the uk and he would like quite a few of them back, he said! he also hoped there would be a good trade agreement between the eu and uk and that germany and france in particular would do their best to make sure those trade relations were successful. for her part theresa may shocked about the shared history between the uk and poland and the important contribution that polish people in this country have done. of course, she was asked a question by political correspondent eleanor garnier regarding damian green, the first secretary of state, who was sacked last night. the prime minister said she has concerns about comments made by a former police officer and expects them to be fully investigated. more reaction to that summit between the uk and poland through the afternoon. a meeting of creditors approved the
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plan with more than 98% in favour. the deal could save more than 3000 jobs in the uk. simon gompertz is outside a store in south london. tell us what has panned out today. as you say, it has turned out better than the start 2—1 might have feared this morning when the creditors meeting was getting under way and the pension protection fund, which beaks for the pension scheme of toys "r" us, have said it would vote against the rescue plan. there have been intense talks. eventually toys rus been intense talks. eventually toys r us and the pension protection fund have come to an agreement which involves toys "r" us paying millions of pounds into the pension scheme but over the next three years rather than upfront. they had bad agreement. the second thing that happened was because of that they we re happened was because of that they were able to proceed to a vote
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amongst creditors to approve the rescue plan put together. that was passed by 98%. good news. but where does it leave staff? 3200 of them, most of them, can sleep easy in their beds, think myjob for the moment is safe. the rescue plan itself involves the closure of 26 out of 105 outlets. this one on the old kent road is one of those likely to close. those 26 stores including this one could involve the loss of between 500 and 800 jobs. still some pain to come. as far as customers are concerned, toys "r" us say they can shop with confidence through christmas and new year, it has been busily today. gift cards, returns policies, they will stay the same
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and remain valid. over the holiday period toys "r" us remains open. there is a sale on at the moment and shoppers can continue shopping as before. thank you, simon gompertz in south london. a chief of staff to conservative mp has been cleared of four charges including rape at southwark crown court. samuel armstrong was accused of attacking a woman when she fell asleep after a night drinking in the houses of parliament. that'sjoined night drinking in the houses of parliament. that's joined helena lee, who is outside southwark crown court, tell us what has been happening. this has been a two week trial at southwark crown court, samuel armstrong 2a years old, assistant to the south thanet mp, a conservative mp. he gave evidence during this trial, the accusations against him, he was facing four separate charges, two charges of raping a woman and two charges of sexual assault. those charges in
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connection with the same woman we can't name for legal reasons. a woman in her 20s. who also works for parliament. the alleged events, the prosecution said, took place in the houses of parliament where he and this woman had sex in his boss's office. he had always said she had consented to it, that he didn't force himself on to this woman and she wanted to have sex with him. today in court he's been cleared of all of those charges, he was asked to stand in the dock as the jury foreman read out the not guilty verdict. he was visibly upset and emotional when those four charges, not guilty charges, were read out in court. he came onto the steps at southwark crown court and spoke to reporters. my whole life has been
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turned upside down, for a year i've not slept or eaten. i was innocent. we re not slept or eaten. i was innocent. were it not for the fact that crucial evidence was disclosed to my defence team just eight working days before trial, there could well have been yet another miscarriage of justice in this case. thank you very much. he talked about late disclosure. his team said they'd been asking for evidence, they didn't tell us what that was. they'd been asking for evidence for the last eight or nine months. it was only eight days before his trial here they disclosed that evidence to them. he was very upset but he is now left court to go back home with his family. thank you very much, our correspondent helena lee, reporting from southwark crown court, where that unanimous verdict on all four count against samuel armstrong has
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been returned, a jury of seven women and five men, clearing him of all of those charges. a glimmer of hope for the british mother held in and iranians prison after her case was made eligible for early release. nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe is serving a five year sentence for allegedly plotting to topple the iranian government. our diplomatic correspondent james landale is here. the family must be immensely optimistic, but having to temper that with realism. they are daring to hope. there has been a pattern here of what they see as positive signals. the foreign secretary's visit to give an earlier this month, then a planned quart appearance. it was postponed. she's been able to make more telephone calls. this announcement on the iranians judiciary internal database saying
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her court case now says she is technically eligible for release. this is a procedural thing, when you've been in prison and served a period of your sentence in iran, like manyjudicial period of your sentence in iran, like many judicial processes period of your sentence in iran, like manyjudicial processes you become eligible for parole. i don't think the iranians regime needed to have done this. they've chosen to do it and that is the reason why campaigners are drawing comfort and hope from it. how is she? we heard she had quite considerable health concerns. i think those concerns are still there but on the evidence of richard ratcliffe, her husband, who's been speaking to her on a much more regular basis, she has been buoyed by this latest news. i think that would have a huge impact on her morale. the long—term health issues that have been there for some time, are still there. james landale, louder, to correspondent. two men have been arrested in australia after police say a car was driven
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into a after police say a car was driven intoa carof after police say a car was driven into a car of pedestrians deliberately in melbourne. 1a people injured, some critically. the driver was a 32—year—old australian citizen of afg ha n was a 32—year—old australian citizen of afghan origin with a history of mental health issues and drug use. a man nearby was carrying a bag containing knives and filming the incident. there is no evidence of a terror link. i will griffiths reports. a man arrested by police just a few metres from the four by four vehicle used to mow down pedestrians. around them, paramedics rushed to help the injured pedestrians left lying in the street. minutes earlier, the city centre was packed with commuters and christmas shoppers. the car drove towards them at speed, leaving some in a critical condition. the police say the driver was a 32—year—old australian of afghan descent with a history of mental health problems. at this time we don't have any
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evidence or intelligence to indicate a connection with terrorism. having said that, however, we continue to support this investigation with our counter terrorism command to ensure that there isn't that connection and that there is no ongoing threat. eyewitnesses were left in shock. one business owner watched events unfold in front of him. he just ploughed into them without stopping. all i could hear was people hitting the front bumper and windscreen and people screaming and the only reason i think he slowed down was because of the sheer volume of people he hit. special security measures to prevent vehicle attacks have been introduced in melbourne after a similar incident in january. but nothing was able to stop the 4x4 bringing chaos to the city once again. we have seen a horrific act, an evil act, an act of cowardice perpetrated against innocent bystanders, we are all caught up in this.
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we are all deeply sad and deeply wounded. police are still questioning the driver and a second man arrested at the scene. they've stressed they believe this was a one—off incident, but melbourne remains a city on high alert. hywel griffiths, bbc news. ina in a moment, the business news. she's very busy! a look at the headlines first. theresa may is in poland — but back home conservative mps are angry about the role of the police in the sacking of first minister of state damian green. creditors of the struggling retailer toys r us have approved a rescue plan to prevent it going in to administration a man's arrested in the australian city of melbourne, after he drove into a crowd at a busyjunction, injuring at least nineteen people . the business headlines:
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the practice of selling leaseholds on new build homes is to be homes is to be headlines: banned by the government. communities secretary sajid javid made the announcement but said there will be some exceptions for shared ownership. the use of such leaseholds has shot up in recent years and developers have used them to push up ground rents as the years go by. the government said back injuly it would to do something about the problem. the us has ruled that ca nada's bombardier received government subsidies and sold c—series jets below cost in the us, a step likely to lead to steep tariffs. the investigation follows a petition from rival american company boeing and the conflict has the potential to lead to job losses in northern ireland. bombardier said it was "deeply disappointed" in the decision. the number of cars built in the uk last month fell by 4.6% compared with a year earlier, driven down by a sharp decline in domestic demand.
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over 161,000 vehicles were made in uk factories in november, according to the society of motor manufacturers and traders, but adds that output for the domestic market fell by 28%, as a result of "brexit uncertainty" and "confusion over diesel taxation". production for export rose by 1.3%. news about toys r us. it is a relief for people. absolutely, after some fraught talks, likely to be very fraught, we have this announcement from toys "r" us that they can enter into a company voluntary agreement, which means it can start restructuring the company and restructure its debt, likely to involve trying to renegotiate lower rents from landlords. and close some of those stores underperforming. it did say no closures would be taken until spring, so some relief for the
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4200 employees. lots of toing and froing in the talks, what was the sticking point? it's all about the pension deficit, the black hole blooming in the pension fund. the ppf, the pension protection fund, said it wanted toys "r" us to pay in £9 million immediately to fill the hole. that was the issue because the ppf actually had a 31%, 31% of the creditors and they needed a 75% agreement went into the restructuring deal. finally ppf said, yes, you can, because toys "r" us said we'll pay you that £9 million but it'll be over three yea rs, million but it'll be over three years, not immediately. what has gone wrong for the store? it's competition from online, it's really tough out there in the online marketplace, supermarkets, the might of amazon. other cut—price retailers. and some will take the experience in those huge warehouses, but in the 1980s and 1990s, you
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don't really get a great customer experience, it's all about pick and pay rather than browse and play. competitors are offering something slightly different. you mentioned in headlines a crackdown on new leasehold properties. sajiv javid has said there will be a ban on new leasehold properties, he said because ground rents for example have been soaring, the average is around £300. an excuse for landlords to push up those ground rents. the government said earlier in summer it was going to do something. it has come up with this plan. it won't be for all properties going forward, shared ownership for example will be exempt. ground rent should be kept up exempt. ground rent should be kept up to zero. however there are lots of people who have already stuck in these leasehold contracts. i spoke to beth rudolph earlier and she told me she was worried about those people who would be left behind. my heart breaks for them, can you imagine having bought the property
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finding they can't sell it? or if they want to add a conservatory to make it bigger they will pay massive amounts. the governments need to look at this. there is precedent for it. 40 years ago the rent charges meant rent charges were a abolished. there is no reason we can't put proper consumer redress in by making a treat the regulations and legislation already out there. let's ta ke legislation already out there. let's take a quick peek at the markets. it's the miners on the energy companies that really have been boosted today. look at persimmon homes, that share price is down by nearly 1%, after that announcement came through about the ban on new leasehold properties. thank you, susanna, see you later. time to look at the weather forecast with sarah. a mild and clouded over the winter
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solstice, the shortest day of the year. drizzly outbreaks of rain across northern england, northern ireland, through the evening. tonight some of the rain will push into wales and the south—west. mostly dry tonight across the south—east, mild in most places but for scotland we could see quite a sharp frost. some mist and fog through the day tomorrow, drizzly rain in the south and west, which should ease away. it will continue to be murky across western areas, hill fog persisting through the day. brightness tomorrow for the country, a view brighter spells for the south—east, towards eastern scotland, tempered as between 9—12d. saturday, heavy rain across the north west of scotland, more other player through the weekend and into christmas, disruptive rain through the north west of scotland. dry and mild elsewhere. into christmas, things are staying mild, pretty breezy, potentially heavy rain towards the north. goodbye for now. hello, you're watching afternoon live —
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i'm martine croxall. today at 3. theresa may is in poland — where she expressed concern about the role of the police, after she sacked first minister of state damian green. i share the concerns that have been raised across the political spectrum about comments that were made by a former police officer and i expect that issue to be properly investigated. creditors of the struggling retailer toys r us have approved a rescue plan to prevent it going in to administration. a man's arrested in the australian city of melbourne, after he drove into a crowd at a busyjunction, injuring at least 19 ineteen people. coming up: all the sport with ollie and birmingham have plans to make. yes they were the only city in the running for 2022, but they're still celebrating as they follow
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manchester and glasgow as uk commonwealth games games. thank you. sarah wi be here late we are the weather. also coming up: i think we are going to be telling you how spinach is good for you. maybe. i hope we will. we will explain why the brussels sprout should feature in your christmas dinner. also we will look at the year in politics. in halfan will look at the year in politics. in half an hour i will look back on a momentous year in politics that saw brexit negotiations start and that snap general election. that is review 2017. the prime minister theresa may has
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called for ‘proper investigation' into the officer accused of making comments that led to the sacking of the first secretary of state, damian green. the dismissal of mr green has prompted a furious backlash from some conservative mps who are angry about how confidential material gathered during a police investigation nine years ago came into the public domain. the first secretary of state was dismissed from the cabinet last night after a government inquiry found he made "inaccurate
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