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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  April 22, 2017 2:30am-3:01am BST

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"nu—”m bbc news. i'm tom donkin. the gunman responsible for the attack in paris on thursday has been named as karim cheurfi. a handwritten note defending the so—called islamic state group was reportedly found near where he was shot. us military officials say their troops have killed a leading member of the so—called islamic state group. abdurakhmon uzbeki was reportedly killed during a commando raid near mayadin in syria. the pentagon says al—uzbeki was involved in plotting the new years eve attack on a night club in istanbul in which at least 39 people died. the authorities in venezuela say at least 11 people died in violence and looting on thursday, making the night the bloodiest in three weeks of anti—government protests. the worst incident happened in caracas where ten people were killed during an attempt to loot a bakery. and those are the latest headlines on bbc news. now on bbc news, the week in parliament. hello there, and welcome
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to the week in parliament, when theresa may went public with the best kept secret in westminster. i have just chaired a meeting of the cabinet where we agreed that the government should call a general election, to be held on the 8th ofjune. opposition parties say they welcome the fight, but... this is the prime minister who promised there wouldn't be one. a prime minister who cannot be trusted. meanwhile in holyrood, the snp and the conservatives square up over scotland's future. but it wasn't all about the general election. in the commons, there was concern over the nuclear ambitions of north korea. and condemnation of the alleged death, detention and torture
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of gay men in chechnya. others would join in beating him with sticks or metal rods and demanding to know the names of other gay men that he knew in chechnya. but first: on paper, it had looked like mps were set for a gentle return after easter, with just a little light legislating to keep them busy in the the chamber. peers, meanwhile, had not yet even returned from their break, with another week of their recess to run. so it was to a hastily assembled and unsuspecting press pack that theresa may unleashed the best kept secret in westminster on tuesday morning. mrs may explained why she'd changed her mind about holding an early election. the country is coming together, but westminster is not. in recent weeks, labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the european union. the liberal democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill.
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the scottish national party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals britain's membership of the european union. and unelected members of the house of lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way. our opponents believe, because the government's majority is so small, that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course. they are wrong. if we do not hold a general election now, their political gameplaying will continue and the negotiations with the european union will reach their most difficult stage in the run—up to the next scheduled election. division in westminster will risk our ability to make a success of brexit, and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country. so we need a general election and we need one now. because we have at this moment a one—off chance to get this done
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while the european union agrees its negotiating position, and before the detailed talks began. theresa may no longer has the power to call an election exactly when she wants — under the fixed term parliaments act, two thirds of mps must support of the idea. so it was announced that the next afternoon there'd be a 90—minute debate and that all—important vote. but first, there was the small matter of prime minister's questions to get through. we welcome the general election, but... but, but this is a... this is a prime minister who promised there wouldn't be one. a prime minister who cannot be trusted. she says it's about leadership, yet is refusing to
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defend her record in television debates. and it is not hard to see why. the prime minister says we have a stronger economy. yet she can't explain why people's wages are lower today than they were ten years ago, or why more households are in debt, 6 million people earning less than the living wage, child poverty is up, pensioner poverty is up, so why are so many people getting poorer? well, i can assure the right honourable gentleman,
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first of all, i would point... i would point out to him that i have been answering his questions and debating these matters every wednesday that parliament has been sitting since i became prime minister, and i will be taking out to the country in this campaign a proud record of a conservative government. a stronger economy, an economy with a deficit nearly two thirds down, with 30 million people with a tax cut, 4 million people taking out of income tax altogether, record levels of employment, and £1250 more a year for pensioners. that's a record we can be proud of. if the prime minister is so confident that a hard brexit, pro—austerity, and the immigration case is right, she should debate it with leaders during the campaign. theresa may said she'd be out campaigning in every part of the uk — and she had this
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advice for the snp. now is the time for them to put aside their tunnel vision on independence and actually explain to the scottish people why under the snp, there are not putting as much money into the health service as they have been given from the uk, there are not exercising the powers they've been given, and scottish education is getting worse. it's time they got back to the dayjob. the british public deserve to hear party leaders set out their plans and debate them publicly, but the prime minister has refused to take part in televised leaders' debates. why will she not debate these issues? what is she scared of? i can assure the honourable gentleman that i will be debating these issues publicly across the country, as well every single member of the conservative team. a veteran labour mp raised alleged breaches of election expenses from the 2015 election which are still being investigated by some police forces.
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will the prime minister give a guarantee that no tory mps who is under investigation by the police and the legal authorities over election expenses in the last general election be a candidate in this election? because if she will not accept that, this is the most squalid election that has happened in my lifetime. i stand by all the conservative mps who are in this house, and who will be out there standing again, campaigning for a conservative government that will give a brighter and better future for this country. theresa may. a short time later, mps had their chance to debate and vote on mrs may's call
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for an early election. if this election is, as the prime minister says, about a more secure future for this country, if it is an election of such national significance, we should have an urgent change in the law to give britain's 1.5 million 16 and i7—year—olds a say in what will very much be their future on the 8th ofjune. the people of northern ireland will have a clear choice. they will have a clear choice as to whether they will want to rally round and say very, very firmly that they want northern ireland to remain part of the united kingdom, or whether they want to go down the route presented by sinn fein, which is this marxist leninist concept of a republic which has been rejected even by most people who accept their nationalism, but reject what they stand for in terms of their economic outlook and all the rest of it. in essence, the prime minister's
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argument is that she has no confidence in parliament. so we have this bizarre situation where we had a referendum that was about taking back control and parliamentary sovereignty, but a prime minister who pronounces that she has no confidence in parliament. mr speaker, against the eu, for the eu, then against again. against holding a general election, and now determined to have a general election. the record is about as straight as the legendary european union banana. to suggest that she needs a mandate to negotiate brexit isjust ridiculous. she was given that mandate on the 24th ofjune, by a majority of the british people, and it is up to her now to carry that out. there is only one reason why the prime minister wants a general election on the 8th ofjune, and that is, she figures she has a better chance of winning it now than she does in the future. i know that this government, which has delivered so much already and has so much more to deliver, will have a resonance with the british public
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when they look at what is on offer from the other parties, who are divided, they are wrangling, their scaremongering, and they aren't brexit denial. and at the end, theresa may co mforta bly and at the end, theresa may comfortably got her way. order, order. the ayes to the right, 422. the noes to the left, 13. and that meant theresa may had well over the two thirds majority she needed to dissolve parliament for an early election and the 8th ofjune. the snp won all but three of the 59 scottish seats at westminster, but they abstained on that commons vote. at holyrood, where they form the government, they were rather more demonstrative. at first minister's questions on thursday, nicola sturgeon said the question was who would stand up for scotland against an increasingly hardline tory government.
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we have seen the damage that tories do with a small majority. i know they don't want to hear it, but with a small majority, the tories have cut scotland's budget, they've imposed the bedroom tax, the rape clause, cuts in disabled support, robbed women of their pension entitlement. let's think about the damage a tory government could do with a bigger majority. she focused on what the snp are calling the rape clause, a benefits change which limits payments to two children, unless a woman can show a third child resulted from rape or coercion. this tory government is forcing women to prove that they have been raped before they get access to benefits for their children. i will give... i'll give ruth davidson the chance to do today what she has shamefully so far refused to do.
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do not pass the buck. stand up here today and tell this chamber, tell scotland straight, do you support the rape clause in principle or do you, like me, think it is utterly abhorrent? answer the question. i'll answer the question the same way i answered it in the press this morning. if the first minister doesn't like the two child tax policy she can change it. but the truth is... the truth is this first minister is always happier, always happier, complaining about the uk government than she is about doing anything herself. and the fact is that the way the snp is readying itself to pour negativity on this country at this election is shameful. and she might not like it, she might not like it, but scotland is part of this united kingdom.
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and if the first minister really wants to set out her stall at this election isn't a practical vision of how she is governing scotland the very least that we should all expect? given the way that education and the economy are going, is she just banking on the fact that scots just won't buy it? the first minister has said that she wants an honest debate. so let's have it. it suits the snp for the tories to stay in power. that's why they refused to vote theresa may out of office yesterday. and every day that the tories remain in power 430,000 scots go without a real living wage. waspi women go without the pension they have worked their whole lives for. and young people have their housing benefit stripped away from them. it suits the snp for the tories to stay in power because the only thing the snp has ever cared about is independence. so tell us, first minister, on the 8th ofjune,
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what is more important? kicking the tories out of office or having another divisive referendum ? jeremy corbyn is unelectable and will leave labour carping from the sidelines. how do we know that? because that's what kezia dugdale said aboutjeremy corbyn. so, you know, iagree with kezia dugdale about how awful and how damaging this tory government is. that's why i think it is so utterly shameful and disgraceful that labour have allowed itself to get in the position that this lot are 20 points ahead of them in the opinion polls uk—wide, and even ahead of them in scotland as well. that's labour's failure and it is an utter disgrace. nicola sturgeon. away from the election mps turned their eyes to the wider world and united in condemnation of the treatment of gay men in the russian republic of chechnya. answering an urgent question the foreign office minister,
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sir alan duncan, who was the first openly gay conservative mp, said the reported torture and killing was beyond contempt. the arbitrary detention and ill—treatment of over 100 men in chechnya because of their sexual orientation is of deep concern to the uk. credible reports suggesting that at least four people have been killed and many have been tortured are particularly shocking. statements by the regional government in chechnya which appeared to condone and incite violence against lgbt people are utterly despicable. the question had been raised by a labour mp. we are talking about beatings, abuse, electric shock treatments. i do not say this lightly but some have described gay concentration camps. and the guardian's shaun walker, express the horrors that we are seeing. he described a situation where an individual at least once a day, captors attached metal clamps,
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and sent powerful electric shocks through his body. if he managed not to scream others joined in beating him with sticks or metal rods and demanding to know the names of other gay men that he knew in chechnya. so if we have any doubts of the brutality of this regime towards the lgbt community we need not have them. so he asked, what had the british government done to put pressure on the russian or chechen governments? we fully condemn this. we do use all engagement with russia to make our voice clear. i did so personally with the deputy foreign minister of russia when i met him two or three weeks ago. we spoke on general human rights matters and also chechnya. and may i say that i hope this house will be fully united in giving as strong as possible a message to russia, and to chechnya in particular, that this kind of activity is beyond contempt and is not acceptable in the world in which we live. whether we like it or not, kadyrov actually has the fundamental
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support in some terms, of his nation, as a region of the russian federation. so how do we undermine that is also about investment and also about our foreign aid in tackling human rights across the world. so will the deputy foreign minister commit now here on the floor of the house in fighting for human rights, lgbt and other rights in places like chechnya, to ensure that his foreign aid budget doesn't change after the general election? i think we should all commit to fighting prejudice wherever we find it and i hope that when we stand in the election onjune 8th that will be part of all of the views that we hold as we present ourselves to the electorate. the foreign secretary came to the commons to update mps on the situation in north korea following a failed missile test. north korea's vice—foreign minister told the bbc pyongyang would continue to test missiles
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and would launch a pre—emptive nuclear strike if it thought the us was planning an attack. in the commons borisjohnson called on china to use its influence with the country. the regime is now developing intercontinental ballistic missiles which would be capable of delivering a nuclear strike on the mainland united states. these weapons have not yet been fully tested but no—one can be complacent about the potential threat they pose. yesterday i spoke to my chinese counterpart and i urged him to use beijing's unique influence to restrain north korea and to allow a peaceful resolution of this crisis. this crisis can only be resolved through coordinated international action, through the de—escalation of tensions, and ultimately through negotiations. so can he assure us that britain
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will argue against any unilateral military action taken by the united states and instead urgently back china's call for the resumption of the six party talks? when it comes to north korea the world needs statesmanship not brinksmanship. labour says food prices are on the rise and is warning things will get worse if there's a bad brexit deal. but the environment minister argued the proportion of income spent by the poorest households on food hadn't gone up. children are returning to school after the easter holidays hungry. the elderly are being admitted to hospital for malnourishment. and still this government refuse to properly measure the levels of hunger and food poverty in our country. isn't it true that they refuse to measure it because then they would have to admit some culpability? the honourable lady is wrong. we do mention it and we have a long standing living cost of food survey which has run for many many years and which includes a measure for household spending among the 20% poorest households. and i can tell her that household spending in those poorest households
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has remained steady at around 16% for at least a decade. fashion industry leaders have told mps that the uk's departure from the eu could put their haute couture designs at risk of being copied. it's currently possible to get protection across the whole eu. i have got my trademarks registered under eu trademarking. it gets renewed every so many years. i don't know what that means now we are out of it. are we protected? so you're going to have a lot of companies have registered trademarks on this eu trade intellectual property right, which is going to have to be unravelled. so it's a mess. but with every situation like this there are opportunities and so it requires fresh thinking, innovation from the side of government, to really think about how you are going to deal with it and that requires investment. around one million uk
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pensioners are now resident in overseas locations, many in sunny retirement destinations such as spain, france and the caribbean. more than half of them don't receive yearly increases in their state pensions. a conservative argued that wasn't fair. this leads to the ludicrous situation where a british pensioner living on one side of niagara falls in canada receives a frozen pension, while another living just a mile across the falls, in the united states, has their pension uprated every year. these people are not immune from the effects of inflation, yet are forced to cope with the rising costs of living on a static income. as you can imagine this has a major impact upon their lives. but the minister said the cost of giving all uk pensioners overseas an annual uprating was too high. those who are eligible for uk state pension can have their pension paid whenever they choose to live.
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the rules governing the uprating of pensions are straightforward, widely publicised, and have been the same from many years. the government's position remains consistent with that of every government for the last 70 years and the annual costs of changing it is a long—standing policy and will be an extra half a billion half a billion pounds, which the government believes cannot be justified. finally, a conservative mp got into some some hot water after a tactless comment about his wife and her beauty secrets. during environment questions, sir henry bellingham attempted to make a point about microbeads, bits of plastic found in many bathroom products, which cause environmental damage when they work their way into the seas and ocean life. sir henry explained he'd been doing some investigating of his own. i was recently rummaging through my wife's collection of shampoos and to my horror i found a plastic container of olay anti—wrinkle, anti—ageing lotion. complete with exfoliating micro beads. obviously neither the secretary
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of state nor the minister will have need to use this sort of product but will she get on the telephone to the chief executive of procter & gamble and tell him that selling this sort of product is completely outrageous and it should be withdrawn from the market at once? extraordinary. minister. mr speaker, what i find extraordinary is that lady bellingham is a flawless picture and wouldn't even need these products. i'm sure that my honourable friend will be buying flowers later today to make up for this. i think it might takejust a little more than that. finally, let's go back to theresa may's surprise election. here's gary connor with five things we learned this week. the general election is on but manchester gorton is off.
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mps cancelled the by—election to replace sir gerald kaufman. his successor will now be chosen on the 8th ofjune. the much promised reduction in the number of constituencies hasn't been finished so this election will be fought under the existing boundaries. it's goodbye to some famous faces. george osborne, gisela stuart, and alanjohnson were some of the first to say they won't be standing again. but is it hello to some old faces? 73—year—old lib dem sir vince cable has declared he wants to come back. the conservative grandee ken clarke has cancelled his retirement. he is hoping to be voted in again. we won't know who will be sitting on these green benches for a little while yet but the occupant of the big green chair will be familiar. gary connor, and that's it from us
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for now, but dojoin me on monday night at 11 for another round up of the day here at westminster. the house of lords is back from its easter break and both mps and peers will be busy as the government decides which bills it wants to push through before parliament dissolves for the general election. but for now from me, goodbye. hello there.
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quite an extensible cloud and we're hoping to see a bit more sunshine into the weekend. clearer skies returning in the north but that means overnight frost will develop here, grass frost at least behind the cold weather front but that is still around on saturday morning. still mist and fog potentially and that means there's quite a bit of cloud for some as well, the best sunshine in the south—west and the north following on from the weather front with wintry showers in the hills of scotland with sunshine in southern areas of injury. if it does, 15 or 16 again, but a cooler day in the north. as for sunday, very much the same, high pressure, lots of dry and pleasant weather. some brightness and sunshine at times. hello and welcome. it has emerged that
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the gunman who killed a policeman and wounded two others in paris was known to the french authorities. karim cheurfi was shot dead by security forces on thursday evening, after he opened fire on the champs—elysees. the paris prosecutor said he had served a prison sentence for the attempted murder of two police officers. well, the issue of security has dominated the final day of campaigning ahead of the first round of voting in the french presidential election on sunday. thomas fessy reports. the french prepare for an election organised under a state of emergency.
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