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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  November 5, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm GMT

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and michelle pfeiffer talks to the bbc of her hopes of a culture change in hollywood following the harvey weinstein scandal. now on bbc news, the week in parliament. hello and welcome to the week in parliament. allegations of sexual harassment swirl round westminster as all the parties agree to work together to deal with the problem. we have a duty to ensure that everyone coming here to contribute to public life is treated with respect. labour forces the government to hand over their assessments of the impact of brexit to a committee of mps. one conservative issues a warning. you are in charge of this, now you have to face up
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to the responsibility of delivering a brexit that works for everybody in this country. and, will it be all change in the lords? the architect of the latest plans for reform shares his vision. there will be some rebalancing according to election results. terms for new members. it would operate within a cap on the size of the house. but first, in quite the most dramatic wednesday evening in westminster for some time, the defence secretary suddenly resigned, saying his behaviour hadn't been up to standard. the news came amid a whirlwind of rumours about harassment by mps which had been brewing for days. the speaker set the tone for the week. let me make it clear that there must be zero tolerance of sexual harassment or bullying, here at westminster, or elsewhere. it is absolutely right that the house must address
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the urgent issue of alleged mistreatment of staff by members of parliament. these allegations make clear that there is a vital need to provide better support and protection for the thousands of staff members working in westminster and in constituency offices across the country. no woman, or man for that matter, coming to work in this house should be subject to unwanted sexual advances from those who are in a position of power over them. no one should have to work in toxic atmosphere of sleazy, sexist or homophobic banter. no mp, let alone a minister, should think it is something to make jokes about. this is not hysteria, this is something which is long overdue for all the parties in this house to deal with. when someone holds your entire future in their hand it is very difficult to refuse or to speak out. while it is sexual abuse and sexual harassment that has brought this to the attention today it is also misogyny,
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dismissal and gender discrimination. i really hope that the news reports of the last few days act as a watershed moment and help to catalyse the change that we so clearly need, not least in the outdated attitudes that exist still in some quarters. as i walked in here today to come to this statement i overheard two male colleagues walking through the halls wittering about a witch hunt that was going on in parliament. so i think what we need to do in this building is not think about this as being a party political thing, but something that absolutely has to happen. we have talked about this being a modern workplace, that is the rub, it is not a modern workplace, it is a strange workplace, for members, for families, but most of all strange for those members of staff. it requires all of us to take very strong political leadership and i say this to the political leaders on both sides, on all sides of the house,
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that means taking decisions against colleagues and others even when that is inconvenient, when that is against the allies or their own supporters on their own side. theresa may raised the subject at prime minister's questions. mr speaker, members on both sides of the house have been deeply concerned about allegations of harassment and mistreatment here in westminster. this demands a response and the leader of the house has been meeting with her counterparts and we're hopeful that all sides can work together to quickly resolve this. i have written to all party leaders inviting them to a meeting early next week so we can discuss the common transparent, independent grievance procedure for all those working in parliament. we have a duty to ensure that everyone coming here, to contribute to public life, is treated with respect. just to put on the record, i'm happy to meet the prime minister and all party leaders to discuss this. we need better protections for all in this house.
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this house must involve workplace trade unions in that. it is also incumbent on all parties to have robust procedures in place to protect and support victims of sexual abuse and harassment. can i associate myself with the remarks by the prime minister when she talked about zero tolerance there has to be for bad sexual practices and behaviour. i certainly commit my members to work with the government to make sure that we can have a system that we can be proud of to protect all members of the house of parliament. the leader of the house and summed up the mood. this has been a difficult week for parliament but it has been even harder for those who have come forward to report their experiences of inappropriate behaviour, harassment or abuse. their experiences are why we need to change. as i said on monday it is a right, not a privilege, to work in a safe and respectful environment. the prime minister has written to all party leaders,
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and i am pleased to say they have all agreed to meet to discuss a common, transparent and independent grievance procedure. now, plans to cut membership of the house of lords by a quarter were unveiled this week. the lord speaker commissioned the report amid concern over the increasing size of the upper chamber. there are currently 799 eligible members of the house, making the lords chamber second only in size to china's. the report suggests capping the number of seats to 600. it recommends a two—out, one—in system, so only half the peers leaving over the next decade or so would be replaced. new peers would serve only 15—year terms, and existing peers might be asked to leave to keep numbers down. the electoral reform society says the measures don't go far enough. going from 800 to 600 is not some radical change, we're still going to have hereditary peers, bishops from one church, one country of the uk.
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all these things that people look at, scratch their heads, say how can this be going on in 2017? still essentially they remain. that lack of accountability remains one of the biggest challenges in the house of lords. the independent or crossbench peer lord burns led the committee which produced the report. i put it to him that this was perhaps a cosmetic exercise. it is much more than that. this would reduce the size of the lords to 600. it is a 25% reduction on where we are at the moment. but possibly even more importantly it would introduce mechanisms which would mean that there would be a cap on the size of the house of lords. it would not simply go back to being the level of that is now. we are also suggesting that new appointments should be for 15 year terms, and people would retire after 15 years. and the new appointments would be made in relation to the performance of the parties in the previous general election.
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so there would be some rebalancing according to election results, there would be terms for members, there would be a system of a cap on the size of the house. effectively you're asking the prime minister to give up a lot of power over the upper house, aren't you? yes, it is a big ask but the reason the prime ministers have wanted to appoint large numbers of people from their own party is that because they haven't been sufficient vacancies that have emerged in the house, because if you are in the house you are there for life, the only way that they can be able to rebalance the house is by increasing its size. what we are trying to suggest as a mechanism whereby you have that rebalancing but without increasing the size of the house. this would take decades to achieve. you're talking about 2042? that is the time when nasa is hoping
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to have someone on mars. no. the house would be down to 600 by 11 years or so. the 2042 date which we are indicating is when those in the house at the moment who came on the basis of being there for life, have departed. 2042 is not a terribly important date. the most important date is 11 years' time, you'll have a house of 600 and the level of 600 would be locked in. there would be a ceiling. appointments would be no greater than the people who are leaving. you are talking about cuts but you're not proposing to cut the number of bishops or the 90—odd hereditary peers still there. because this whole package has been designed to be able to go through without legislation. there is no opportunity of getting legislation for reform of the house
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of lords at this point. there are too many other competing issues, not least brexit. we have tried to design this to be done without legislation. the problem of hereditary by elections and the bishops is that they are both in statute and they can only be changed by legislation. there is nothing to stop them subsequently when the opportunity arises legislation for changes there. but we are not proposing that at the outset. otherwise it would hold up the proposals. is this going to happen? apart from the fact you're asking the prime minister to reduce the amount of power that they have you are also asking the agreement of the lords. while the lords realise that that is a problem, turkeys don't vote for christmas. sometimes they do. our first step on this journey now is to take the view of the house of lords to this report. i'm hoping that we will get substantial amount of support
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from existing members in the lords. if that is the case we can say to the prime minister the house of lords is ready to undertake this reform but we need you to agree to the aspects of the proposal which affect the way in which you make appointments. and we'll have to then see. i cannot anticipate or predict what the result of that would be but this is the order in which we now see this. we had the report. the next step is to see whether that command support in the house of lords, if it does command support, we can see if we can persuade the government this is worthwhile, in their interests, as well as the interests of the house of lords itself. good luck. thank you. one of the words of the week was arcane, that was the type of procedure labour used to try to prise a series of brexit assessments out of the hands of ministers. and it worked.
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the papers were studies of how the uk's departure from the eu might affect 58 different economic sectors. looking at the list i have here, two things are obvious. the first is that in many ways it's unremarkable. and could and should have been published months ago. the second is that the wide range of sectors analysed demonstrate why it is so important for members of this house to see the impact assessment. but one conservative mp suggested the debate was little more than gameplaying. this is a foolish and irresponsible debate to have been called. he knows that there is a blanket ban on disclosing advice to ministers. that intervention, i'm afraid, is typical of what has been going on for 16 or 17 months, which is that every time somebody raises a legitimate question, it is suggested that somehow they are frustrating or undermining it.
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the brexit minister said many thousands of documents were being prepared with regard to the uk's exit from eu. some of these would not undermine our negotiating position but others may have more of an impact. the house will appreciate that the more information that is shared more widely, the less secure our negotiating position and the harder it becomes to secure the right deal for the british people. we can discuss here all sorts of processes or whether it will undermine negotiations but will he not agree that withholding this information is now becoming very counter— productive and it looks like it is hiding bad news. it seems to me that the only scenario in which releasing any information can possibly undermine the uk's position is if that information shows the damage caused by of brexit is worse than any previous analysis has indicated. this is grown—up, serious stuff. the days of shouting from the sidelines, i say to honourable members
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on this side, have gone. you've won, you're in charge of this, now you have to face up to the responsibility of delivering a brexit that works for everybody in this country and for generations to come. after the debate, there was no formal vote because the government chose not to oppose the motion. but the government decided to act. so the question for thursday was: when would the papers be released to the brexit committee? when will the papers be handed over? the right honourable gentleman was present for the whole of yesterday's debate. as he notes, i said that i would respond appropriately and we will do. the secretary of state himself issued a health warning about the papers. i will reiterate the point made by my honourable friend, and that is these documents are not some sort of grand plan. they are data about the regulations, the markets, and individual sectors which will form a negotiation. of course, we will be as open as we can be
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with the select committee. ifully intend to. but shadow ministers wanted a definitive date. he said in the cool light of tomorrow, we will revisit exactly what was said in hansard. in the cool light of today, the minister got up this morning and said, in due course. it is the case that it is difficult to balance the conflicting obligation to protect the public interest through not disclosing information that could harm the national interest and the public into, whilst at the same time ensuring that the resolution of the house passed yesterday is as adhered to. andrea leadsom. and now for a look at some of the other stories from westminster this week. there was a call for tyres which are more then ten years old to be banned from buses and coaches. three people were killed when a tyre burst on the coach they were travelling in. one of the victims, michael molloy, was just 18. the tyre on the coach
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was older than he was. his mother frances is heartbroken. she thought coach travel was a safe form of public transport. yet the coach to which she entrusted her son turned out to be a death trap because of 19 and a half year old tyre that no one could see was going to burst because of the deterioration caused by its age. the maximum stake for a fixed—odds betting terminal could drop to as little as £2 under a government review. currently, people can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on fobty machines, as they're known. but labour's spokesman said the government's announcement was a victory for the gambling industry, as he set out the scale of the problems. 430,000 people addicted to gambling. up a third in three years. a further 2 million problem gamblers at risk of developing an addiction. £1.8 billion lost on fobtys this year, an increase of 79% over the last eight years.
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a gambling industry whose yield the amount they win in bets has increased to £13.8 billion, up from £8.3 billion in 2009. and, yet, they only pay £10 million for education and treatment services on a voluntary levy this year. a report into the experiences of the families of football fans who died at hillsborough has called for a change in culture to stop the burning injustice in the way bereaved families are treated. 96 liverpool supporters were unlawfully killed in the disaster. i worry that the pain and suffering of the hillsborough families is already being repeated. so can the prime minister commit her government to supporting both the duty of candour for all public officials, and as this report requires, an end to public bodies spending limitless sums, providing themselves with representation which surpasses that available to families.
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the government must urgently review how prepared it is for a flu outbreak this winter. that was the demand from opposition peers debating the take—up level of flu vaccinations in england and wales. the problem with viral infections is, like pandemics, they are completely unpredictable and often hit in a way that we never expect beforehand. they remain one of the single biggest threats to humanity, and i hope you understand that this unpredictability is a very real issue with all these infections, including influenza, as history has shown us. in the commons, a labour mp has introduced legislation to change the way force is used in mental health units in england. steve reed dedicated his bill to 23—year—old shaney lewis, who was taken to hospital by his parents after suffering his first ever mental health episode. the mp described how hospital staff called the police when shaney lewis became very agitated.
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11 police officers took shaney into seclusion room, and using pain compliance techniques, the kind used against violent criminals, they took it in turns to hold him facedown on the floor for 30 minutes in total. his hands were cuffed behind his back and his legs were in restraints. they held him like that until he could no longer breathe, and he suffered a heart attack. he went into a coma, and four days later, shaney was dead. so, the question is let the bill be read a second time. as many of the opinion say, "aye." all: aye! on the contrary, no. silence. the ayes have it. the bill was voted through to the next stage. a bill to allow people to vote at the age of 16 has been debated in the commons. a large contingent of labour mps turned up to try to get the measure through to the next stage. people were demanding that we take back control. and i think the very fact that the way today has gone means
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we might not even get to a vote today. i think the government benches are to be very concerned because 16 and i7—year—olds today might be denied the right to vote, but in two years' time, they will be 18... they will remember... a democratic right... you have caused me to change my speech. i was going to talk to the house about roman democracy and indeed the influence on the napoleonic code. instead, i am disappointed that he spent 13 minutes speaking nonsense and partisan speechifying rather than dealing with the substance of the argument. any voting age is somewhat arbitrary. however, there are strong arguments in favour of retaining the status
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quo, and the arguments in favour of lowering the voting age at best somewhat muddled and inconsistent. a line must be clearly drawn somewhere and the present age of 18 is widely accepted across society, and indeed widely accepted across the vast majority of countries in the world, only a tiny fraction of which have a lower voting age than the united kingdom. the measure ran out of time for debate. paintings of parliament by claude monet take centre stage in a new exhibition at tate britain. impressionists in london features the work of french artists who fled the franco—prussian war. claire gould reports. iconic images of westminster. on show at tate britain. six paintings from claude monet's houses of parliament series,
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the largest number on show together in europe since 1973. monet first came to london to escape conscription in france. decades later, he spent three winters by the thames, working on dozens of canvases. the palace of westminster was seen as being gigantic. it was commented on the fact that the victoria tower was the tallest in europe and is the one that monet represented in this picture. he didn't paint big ben at all. and there was a fascination for the houses of parliament as a symbol of the british empire, and as a symbol of wealth at a time when france was really in difficulty. and what drew him to westminster was the weather.
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he would come to the houses of parliament in winter and make sure there was fog because he was not interested in london otherwise. and he always walked from the savoy where he stayed, at about 4pm, so that he could catch the sunset, and have this backlit effect on the houses of parliament. and through that effect, the sun refracting through the fog, he managed to achieve these extraordinary pictures. and impressionists in london is at tate britain until april. now let's take a look at what's been happening in the wider world of politics this week. here's alex partridge with our countdown. congratulations to labour's angela rayner. accepting the rising star award at the spectator‘s annual award
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bash, she told the audience she was only there for the free food. collins dictionary named their word of the year and it is that favourite of donald trump, "fake news". it has certainly been on the mind of mps and peers to with 86 mentions in parliament this year. it's fake, phoney, fake. conservative mp douglas ross caused a furore when missed a debate to play the champions league game in barcelona. but this week, he announced he will no longer referee games whilst parliament is sitting, ending his hopes of going to next summer's world cup. european commission president jean—claude juncker has received an honorary degree in portugal this week and also got to sample the country's unique academic dress. and move over george osborne, fake could be another former politician in journalism. alex salmond is part of a group that wants to take control of the scotsman newspaper. he says he wants it to be more pro—scotland. alex partridge.
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and finally, ministers like to show they're being straight with mp5. and so it was when boris johnson appeared before the foreign affairs committee. i don't want to be misleading. you're doing a very good job of it. on the contrary, i don't think the committee could possibly be misled by anything i have said since i haven't said anything on... laughter. exactly! a rare example of a politician not only failing to answer a question but making a feature of it. and that's it. but dojoin keith macdougall on bbc parliament on monday night at 11pm for a full round up of the day here at westminster. but for now, from me, mandy baker, goodbye. good afternoon. for the vast
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majority it is a beautiful crisp autumn day, get out and enjoy it if you can. plenty of sunshine out there. this was the scene in argyll & bute, sunny spells. showers have been wintry over high ground in the north. sunny further south and east in london. some cloud around, bringing some showers across parts of the west. also parts of the north—east. as we head into the evening, essentially it is a story of dry weather, some late sunshine, but bridges to the next few hours no better than seven to 10 degrees. those temperatures will dip away as soon as it gets dark under the clear skies. if you are out for bonfire night tonight, across scotland, three degrees there in inverness, suspect that might be a bit optimistic. temperatures hurtling towards freezing. seven in belfast,
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a peppering of showers across the isle of man in north wales in north—west england, and east coast of england. one or two showers. inland, dry with clear spells, to bridges around six to 9 degrees. during the evening, we will stick with that dry theme with the clear, starry skies overnight that will allow things to get very cold. especially in central and eastern areas, towns and cities perilously close to freezing. look at that in the countryside, —4 —6, not unusual but this time of year but something we've not seen much yet this autumn. under the ridge of high pressure the cold est under the ridge of high pressure the coldest weather, out west of of a change, a frontal system slowly pushing its way in, thickening the cloud across western areas. some patchy rain, but any rain confined to the high north west of scotland. eastern areas, after the cold frosty start, early fog will clear and readable season spells of sunshine. nine in norwich, nine in newcastle. up nine in norwich, nine in newcastle. up to 13 belfast. a little milder
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into western areas ahead of our very slow—moving weather front. sliding into tuesday, it will take rain on with it, also cold their tucking into the back of the front. over high ground in scotland, do not be surprised of rain turns the snow. wet weather dramatically moving westwards, turning brighter, but colder once again. temperatures dipping to eight or 9 degrees. lots and downs over the next few days, continuing into wednesday and thursday. wednesday lovely, frosty start, some sunshine, thursday rain, moving south and east. this is bbc news. i'm annita mcveigh. the headlines at three. the prime minister's deputy, damian green, strenuously denies claims that pornography was found on a computer in his commons office in 2008. it's among several further allegations about the conduct of mps jeremy corbyn tells bbc news he was
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aware of the allegations against kelvin hopkins before his shadow cabinet appointment. he had been reprimanded. the case had been closed. i thought it was reasonable to appoint him albeit for a very short time, to the shadow cabinet. catalonia's sacked leader and four of his former ministers turn themselves in to belgian police — a judge must decide whether to execute european arrest warrants issued by spain. the investigative judge has to decide within 24 hours, which means
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