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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  December 19, 2016 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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the evacuation of people trapped in the rebel—held east. about 350 people were able to leave on sunday. the un security council is due to vote on monday on a resolution allowing the un to monitor the process. security forces in jordan have declared an end to a siege in the historic town of karak. a statement said police and army units had killed four gunmen after flushing them out of a crusader—era castle popular with tourists. the insurgents had killed ten people, including one canadian visitor. a philippine senator, who's calling for president duterte to be impeached, has told the bbc she fears for her life. leila de lima — a former justice minister — said she'd taken on extra security since she began criticising the president's war on drugs, in which up to 5,000 people have been killed. now on bbc news: the week in parliament. hello and welcome to the week in parliament.
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on this programme: council tax bills will be going up to boost funding for social care. but opposition parties say it's the wrong way to tackle the problem. this is an unfair way to raise additional money, which will increase inequalities between rich and poor areas. the crisis in syria. was it a mistake for the commons to reject taking military action against president assad three years ago? i think we are deceiving ourselves in this parliament if we believe that we have no responsibility for what has happened in syria. and the labour former cabinet minister peter mandelson weighs into the brexit debate with a warning. you are risking a very severe deterioration in the uk business environment. but first, the government has been facing pressure over social care for older and disabled people.
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at prime minister's questions, the labour leaderjeremy corbyn dedicated five of his six questions to social care funding. the crisis affects individuals, it affects families and it affects the national health service, so why doesn't she do something really bold 7 cancel the corporation tax cut and put the money into social care instead. this social care crisis forces people to give up work to care for loved ones because there isn't a system to do it. it makes people stay in hospital longer than they should and leads people into a horrible, isolated life when they should be cared for by all of us through a properly funded social care system. get a grip and fund it properly, please! when he talks about governments ducking social care, let's look at those 13 years of labour in government. they said in 1997, they said they would sort it in their manifesto.
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they had a royal commission in 1999, a green paper in 2005, the wanless report in 2006. in 2007 in the csr, they said they would sort it. in 2009, they had another green paper. 13 years, and no action whatsoever. well, the next day, the government revealed what action it was going to take on funding the social care system in england. the local government secretary sajid javid announced measures amounting to an extra £900 million over the next two years. the plan is to let local authorities bring forward rises in council tax — what's called the social care precept. and money cut from a housing scheme will also be channelled into social care. today i can confirm that savings from the reforms to the new homes bonus will be retained in full by local government to contribute towards adult social care costs. i can tell the house that we will use these funds to provide a new dedicated £240
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million adult social care support grant in 2017—18, to be distributed fairly according to relative need. last year, the government announced that councils would fund social care via a precept of 2% a year. in recognition of the immediate challenges that are facing the care market, we will now allow local councils to raise this funding sooner if they wish. councils will be granted the flexibility to raise the precept by up to 3% next year and the year after. this will provide a further £208 million to spend on adult social care in 2017—18 and {a44 million in 2018—19. i ask gently of the secretary of state, is this really the best time to be choosing to cut corporation tax on amazon, sports direct and the big banks?
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since the prime minister came to office, there has been much talk of help for those who are onlyjust about managing their finances. that seems to have gone out of the window today. this is surely a truly feeble response to a national crisis, and the lga would be entitled to reject this proposal and put the ball firmly back in the government's court to think again. this is an unfair way to raise additional money, which will increase inequalities between rich and poor areas. now, the crisis in syria prompted an emergency debate in the commons on tuesday. there were some powerful speeches as mps pleaded with ministers to get aid to civilians and to stand up to president assad and russia. in his first speech as a backbencher in 13 years, george osborne harked back to a commons vote in 2013, when mps rejected david cameron's plans to take part in airstrikes against president assad's forces. i think we are deceiving ourselves in this parliament if we believe
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that we have no responsibility for what has happened in syria. the tragedy in aleppo did not come out of a vacuum, it was created by a vacuum, a vacuum of western leadership, of american leadership, british leadership. i take responsibility as someone who sat on the national security council throughout those years. parliament should take its responsibility because of what it prevented being done. meanwhile, a labour mp warned about the activities of russia. i don't think we have even begun to wake up to what russia is doing when it comes to cyber warfare, not only their interference, now proven in the american presidential campain, probably in our own referendum, we don't have the evidence, but i think it is highly probable. certainly in the french election, they will be involved, and there are already concerns that they have been interfering in the german elections coming up. we have got to wake up to this.
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ben bradshaw there. now, turning to domestic affairs, let's take a look back at the challenges facing politicians in holyrood and cardiff bay. the scottish government has gained new powers over income tax. so there was a lot of interest in the scottish budget on thursday — unveiled by the finance secretary, derek mackay. we cannot accept, at this time of austerity, top earners benefiting from an inflation—busting tax cut. so i will limit the increase in the higher rate threshold to inflation, and not give a substantial real terms tax—cut to the top 10% of income earners. and plans to give more powers to the welsh assembly were discussed in the house of lords on wednesday. but the former lord chief justice lord judge warned that the uk government would still have the power to overturn laws made in wales. we have been discussing this legislation. it can be wiped out, any part of it, primary, secondary, tertiary,
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whatever it may be, it can be wiped out by a minister without any consultation with anyone at the national assembly of wales. here to explain the challenges facing politicians in scotland and wales are our wales correspondent and our scotland correspondent. david, starting with scotland, it's the first budget in which scotland has been allowed to set income tax. what have they done with these new powers? they've looked at them and said, we will fine—tune them. they are essentially sticking to what the uk government is doing. the basic rate of tax will remain at 20%, but as we heard in that clip, when you start paying higher rate tax, they are putting the threshold up by inflation and no more. so if you are a higher rate taxpayer in scotland, you will start paying the higher rate tax a bit earlier
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than you would be in england. these powers come into effect in april next year, so from then, in very crude terms, the scottish parliament will have far more responsibility and more power over the money it spends. there has been a lot of pressure from opposition parties over this budget. now we know what is in it, how are they reacting? as you would expect, the conservatives, who are now the principal opposition party at holyrood, said this is a tax—raising budget, meaning that people in scotland, if you follow the conservative argument, will pay more tax than people in the rest of the uk. labour have decided to go on the offensive. they would have liked a higher top rate of tax. they would like to have seen a 50% tax rate for the highest earners in scotland. —— 50p. and the liberal democrats are saying there is a sleight of hand in all this. when you look away from the income tax announcements, money is being taken away from local authorities in scotland. turning to wales, the welsh assembly has shut up shop,
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but the house of lords has been discussing the wales bill. could you explain to us the main points in the wales bill? this is devolving more powers to the welsh assembly, mainly on things like energy, transport, the way elections are run in wales, even the name of the assembly. it is also removing the need for a referendum before devolving income tax, so wales will, if this is passed, have powers over a certain amount of income tax, as in scotland. it is also moving to a reserved model of powers, which is something scotland already has, which is meant to make it simpler to understand so that you presume everything is devolved other than what is listed. however, there are concerns that it's a little overcomplicated. there have been a lot of critical comments about it in the house of lords and elsewhere. what are the key criticisms? mainly on the reserve powers. the list is extensive of the amount of exceptions.
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they say it's too complex and will lead to wrangling in the courts, exactly the thing that it is meant to avoid. there are also concerns that the uk government has a veto over certain powers in wales and could stop things happening in wales. all this is against the backdrop of brexit. in scotland, how has that changed the political atmosphere? you're right, everything is seen through the prism of brexit, be it in cardiff, edinburgh or belfast or of course here at westminster. within hours of the brexit result coming through, nicola sturgeon was saying it was highly likely that there would be a second independence referendum. slight rowing back on that now, but the constitutional question in scotland is now very much alive, and it is all tied in with brexit. depending on how the brexit negotiations go, whether they are easy or hard, whether scotland feels it is properly represented, we have to remember that
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although the uk as a whole voted to leave the european union, scotland, by quite a large majority, voted to remain. and in wales, how has brexit affected political discussions there? it has really dominated discussions in the welsh assembly, although it is very different to scotland. wales voted to leave. however, the majority of assembly members actively campaigned to stay. so they're slightly out of step with the national mood in wales. but they are very keen to make sure that wales has a voice, that the specific concerns of wales are heard and are listened to in these negotiations, because wales has received an enormous amount of regional funding from europe. last question on the future. 2016, no—one could have predicted what has gone on. could i ask you to share any thoughts on 2017 and how things are going to go?
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very simply, brexit will still be important. it will dominate the relations between holyrood and westminster and between the scottish government and the uk government. we also have local authority elections in scotland in 2017, where the snp could do very well. it could take local authorities from labour in scotland, which will mean that the snp is in control of holyrood and a lot of the large city councils as well. that is a double—edged sword. it means the snp will have the power, but also, if things go wrong at a local level or there are controversies at a local level about spending and things like that, it will be snp councillors perhaps criticising the snp government in scotland. and similarfor wales? yeah, it will be brexit—tastic for everyone in wales next year! in the same way, we also have local elections and it will be interesting to see how ukip do, seeing as ukip
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now have a power base in the welsh assembly. can they build on that in local elections following the vote to leave, or where does that leave them now that we are leaving the european union? elliw gwawr and david porter, thank you both very much. theresa may has been attending a summit of european union leaders in brussels. she wasn't present at an informal dinner to discuss brexit but during official talks, she said she wanted an early deal on the status of eu citizens in the uk and british citizens living in other eu countries. it follows another week of twists and turns in the brexit debate. mrs may has said she intends to trigger article 50 in march leading to a two—year exit procedure. but on monday, the chancellor philip hammond suggested — in a session with the treasury committee — that there might be a drawn—out transition period. there is, i think, an emerging view among businesses, among regulators, and among thoughtful politicians, as well as quite a universal view among civil servants on both sides of the english channel that having a longer period to manage
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the adjustment between where we are now, as full members of the european union, and where we get to in the future as a result of the negotiations that we will be conducting would be generally helpful, would tend towards a smoother transition, and would run less risk of disruption, including crucially risks to financial stability. two days later, the brexit secretary david davis had his first session with the committee set up to examine the uk's exit from the eu. the committee chairman, hilary benn, wondered what he had made of the chancellor's remarks about transitions and thoughtful politicians. now, the chancellor said on monday there is an emerging view among business regulators and thoughtful politicians that it would be generally helpful to have a longer period to manage the adjustment
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as we leave the european union. can we classify you, the secretary of state, as a thoughtful politician when it comes to transitional arrangements? well, i'm not sure about the second qualification. i hope you can classify me as a thoughtful politician. in that context, let me be clear about where i think we are going. firstly, as the prime minister said a number of times, and as i have said a number of times, what we're after is a smooth and orderly exit. that is the overarching aim. people get frustrated with us for sticking to the overarching aim. but that is what we are trying to do, that is the purpose of at least part of the tactic and strategy of it. and within that box, we want to get the maximum market access for british companies with the minimum of disruption. and, so, we will do what is necessary to that aim.
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what if all of those things cannot be negotiated within the, it could be 18 months, depending on what view he is taking. he has said 18 months. i think that it is all negotiable in that time. i mean, that is the sort of core of this, really. we have got a lot to do but that is one of the reasons... you may have thought perhaps my opening answer was not that helpful but it is one of the reasons that we are taking our time to get prepared on all fronts. the article 50 process was written to allow departure of the european union. that is its purpose. and, plainly, the architects of it and the authors of it thought it was time enough to do the job. the brexit story moved swiftly on again on thursday when sir ivan rogers — the uk's ambassador to the eu — was reported as saying that the european consensus is that a brexit deal might not be reached for another ten years. the labourformer cabinet minister, peter — now lord — mandelson happened to be giving evidence to a commons
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committee that day. he was asked about the possible risks of brexit. you are risking a very severe deterioration in the uk business environment. this deterioration is not going to happen straightaway. that was the mistaken impression, in my view, given in the referendum. it will be a gradual, inexorable, worsening of the conditions for business in the uk. and that is why those who say it all seems to be going ok so far are completely missing the point. it hasn't even kicked off yet. you will be well aware, i'm sure, that sir ivan rogers, the british ambassador to the eu, in a leaked memo today, has been revealed as saying that a trade deal will take ten years to negotiate after brexit. can i ask what your gut reaction to that kind of revelation is? lord mandelson said that sort of timetable was "realistic"
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if the government wanted a bespoke trade deal with the eu. while an agreement on the exit terms will come earlier because this negotiation will come first, and can be approved by a majority of the eu's member states, the separate, quite separate negotiation on what trade arrangement replaces our membership of the eu will be harder, it will be longer, and it will require the approval of all member states and their parliaments, not just a majority. lord mandelson, giving his views on brexit. now, time for a round—up of some other stories from parliament. nigel 0wens — a top rugby referee — spoke to the culture committee about tackling homophobia in sport.
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he said that before coming out as gay, he had experienced suicidal feelings. i had to accept my sexuality first of all, and it took me an overdose and a few days in intensive care and onlyjust coming back to life until i accepted that. there were people to help me through this and tell me things will be ok and i can look back now and say yes, they were right, things will be ok in the end, but at the time, a lot of it was to do with me dealing with myself, and you are quite right in what you say there. we have to do all we can to make the environment safer for these people, the matter what age they are. it was the last prime minister's questions of 2016. it started on a jovial note — with a fewjokes at the expense of the foreign secretary, borisjohnson. in the light of the foreign secretary's this play of chronic foot in mouth disease, when deciding on cabinet positions, does the prime minister now regret that pencilling f0 against his name should have been an instruction, not a job offer? laughter.
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mr... order! there is far too much noise in the chamber, we have heard the question, but i want to hear the prime minister's answer. prime minister. thank you, mr speaker. i have to say that the foreign secretary is doing an absolutely excellent job. he is, in short, an ffs, a fine foreign secretary. and now for a quick rundown of some other interesting nuggets of news from in and around westminster. here's richard morris with our countdown. sleaford by—election winner caroline johnson arrived in the commons this week as the a55th woman ever to have been elected as an mp.
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that total now finally equals the number of male mps in the front parliament. ministers faced three urgent questions on monday as mps asked about social care, the fox bid for sky, and the conflict in yemen. the last time so many urgent questions were asked was in march of 2015. tory mp peter bone got into a bit of trouble on thursday for an unusual choice of headwear for asking a question in the commons. the hat was made by a local charity but one glance at the speaker, and it was promptly removed. margaret thatcher has topped the woman's hour power list on radio 4. the list was compiled of women who have made a difference to real women's lives. also featured was barbara castle. and season's greetings, let's take a look at some of the festive cards from party leaders this year. merry christmas. richard morris. now, as many of us sit down to christmas leftovers on boxing day, spare a thought for the shop assistants who are back
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at work for the first day of the sales. a public petition has called for shops to be closed on boxing days. the government has said it's not for ministers to tell retailers how to run their businesses. but the labour mp, helenjones, recalled a time when the sales didn't start until january. now, i confess that being a bit long in the tooth, i can remember when boxing day closure was the norm. it was a bank holiday. nobody thought of doing anything else. certainly, all big stores were closed. and people stayed at home with theirfamilies. in fact, i'm old enough to remember that when the new year sales actually began in the new year. after the first of january. so, people stayed at home. if they wanted to go to the sales, they went later on. and here is the thing. nobody starved to death.
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the world did not run out of cheap televisions. nor did the country run out of supplies of winter coats and boots at reduced prices. so, i confess when i first realised that people were shopping on boxing day, i would look at people going into the supermarket, i would look at the queues, and i would think to myself, for heaven's sake, get a life. however, i have moved from indifference to anger. and i have done so because all of the evidence shows that poorly paid retail workers are being exploited to fuel a national obsession, a debt—fuelled shopping binge that in the end does no—one any real good. now, it's six months since the labour mpjo cox was murdered in her constituency in west yorkshire. she is still very much on the minds of mps. as a tribute tojo cox, the parliamentary rock band, mp4, along with several pop stars,
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have released a single. it's a cover of the rolling stones song, you can't always get what you want. proceeds from the downloads will go to thejo cox foundation. mps remembered their colleague at prime minister's questions. sadly, mr speaker, our late colleaguejo cox will not be celebrating christmas this year with her family. she was murdered and taken from us. so, i hope the prime minister, and i'm sure she will, join me in encouraging people to download the song, which many members helped to create, as a tribute tojo's life and work and in everlasting memory of her. the right honourable gentleman is absolutely right to raise this issue. i'm sure everybody in this house will send a clear message, download this single for the jo cox foundation. it is a very important cause. and we all recognise that jo cox was a fine member of this house
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and would have carried on contributing significantly to this house and to this country had she not been brutally murdered. it is right, i think, that the chancellor is waving the vat on this single, i think everybody involved in it has gave their services for free, i'm having a photograph with mp4 later this afternoon. pete wishart is a member of mp4. and... and once again, once again, let's just encourage everybody to download this single. well, that's it from me for now. keith macdougall will be with you on monday night at 11 for another round up of the day here at westminster. until then, from me, kristina cooper, goodbye. hello. a huge week of pre—christmas travel plans, and with different weather challenges either end of the week.
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now, what we'll see later in the week is actually governed by what's happening in us and canada at the moment. a big freeze at the moment. much of the continent starts below freezing, but the temperature contrasts in the south—east. this fires up a jet stream that will charge towards us this week bringing ever deeper areas of low pressure later on. that will give us a challenge later in the week. the challenge again this morning is contesting with the fog. having an impact on some of the roads and airports. probably worst across parts of western england and wales this morning. some dense patches of fog in places across the south—west. a pretty grey and dismal start for many. maybe not quite as foggy as east anglia and the south—east has been in recent days which could be good news in the airport. some of the higher ground will see some fog and we will see some fog in the higher ground of northern england. the fog not as much of an issue in scotland and northern ireland. maybe even north—east england. but here the sunshine will start the way and western scotland cloud. patch and drizzle affecting northern ireland. not a huge amount of wet weather. we will finish the day with some brightness. elsewhere, though, remains cloudy
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and misty in some western areas and later on in eastern england, patches of light rain or drizzle. temperatures to finish monday where they should be for the time of the year but feeling cool where the mist lingers. heavy rain developing in the south in monday night. patchy rain in england and wales. misty over the hills. but clear england and wales skies. scotland and northern ireland, and here, coldest night of the week, with frost in places, and for northern ireland, could be a foggy start to tuesday morning. still fog an issue for one or two of you for tuesday. probably worse in northern ireland and in the hills andier bursts in the south. through central and eastern england, brighter afternoons in store than we've been used to for a while. but, at last, the arrival of some sunshine. some sunshine for eastern parts of scotland, but in the west, we start to see some rain. a cooler day by and large, but let's focus on that rain. western scotland and northern ireland, not just rain but strong winds. the strong winds are back. gale force across many areas into tuesday evenings rush hour. severe gales, if not storm force, across the north, thanks to this weather front bringing rain across the country and increasing winds as we go through the night
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and into wednesday. and that links into weather systems waiting in the wings being fired up by the jet stream i mentioned. so it is that big challenge to start the week. fog could be an issue. strong winds and heavy rain later on. we'll of course keep you updated and take you through it each day step—by—step. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers
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in north america and around the globe. my name is lebo diseko. our top stories: the evacuation of eastern aleppo resumes but conditions for people trapped in the syrian city are getting worse by the hour. translation: i've been coming and going forfour days now. in the morning they've been promising to take us in ambulances and i've been waiting since then. gunmen target a tourist site in jordan. 10 people are killed, many more are injured. the senator from the philippines who wants president duterte impeached tells the bbc she fears for her life but won't stop speaking out. and the original showbiz celebrity, hollywood actress, tabloid star and socialite zsa zsa gabor has died at the age of 99.

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