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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  December 3, 2017 5:30am-6:01am GMT

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president trump says his former top aide's contacts with russia were lawful, but he had to sack adviser michael flynn because he lied to the fbi. some legal experts say mr trump may have then obstructed justice when he urged the former fbi director to drop the inquiry into mr flynn. in yemen, fighting has continued between iranian—backed rebels and theirformer allies who support the ex—president, ali abdullah saleh. the two groups had been fighting a saudi—led alliance that backs the ousted yemeni government. saudi arabia has welcomed mr saleh‘s suggestion to start talks. voters in honduras are still waiting for the result of the presidential election nearly a week after going to the polls. the main opposition candidate, salvador nasralla, has accused his rival, presidentjuan orlando hernandez, of manipulating the vote count. coming up at 6 o'clock, breakfast with chris mason and katherine downes. but first on bbc news, the week in parliament hello and welcome to
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the week in parliament. and much of it was dominated by donald trump and his notorious retweets. the home secretary was, to use one of the government's favourite words, clear. president donald trump was wrong to retweet videos posted by far—right group britain first. some called for the president's state visit to be cancelled. we cannot simply roll out the red carpet and give a platform for the president of the united states to also sow discord in our communities. and, brexit—wise, the knives were out for david davis. whether he is in contempt of parliament is to be debated, but he is certainly
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treating it with contempt. but first, at the end of prime minister's questions, there's always a bit of a scramble as mps head for the doors before the next debate starts. but on wednesday, many stayed in their seats as news reached them of the notorious donald trump retweets of three inflammatory anti—muslim videos. a couple of labour mps asked the speaker for a statement from the home secretary. he said he wouldn't expect a response immediately. but the next day, amber rudd was called to the house, where she had to steer a tricky diplomatic course. president donald trump was wrong to retweet videos hosted by the far—right group britain first. when we look at the wider picture, the relationship between the uk and america, i know how valuable the friendship is between our two nations. as home secretary, i can tell the house that the importance of the relationship between our countries —
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the unparalleled sharing of intelligence between our countries — is vital. it has undoubtedly saved british lives. that is the bigger picture here and i urge people to remember that. although the labour party appreciates the importance of realpolitik, we also call on the government to make it clear that in no way and at no time do they give any support whatever to the distasteful views of the 45th president on race, migration, and muslim communities internationally. to do anything else would be an affront to voters in this country, whichever side of the house they support. one of the advantages of having such
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a special relationship with the united states is that when a friend tells us we have done something dreadfully wrong, we tend to listen. would not the world be a better place if the prime minister could persuade the president of the united states to delete his twitter account? several mps felt strongly that the president's state visit should not go ahead. is not one of the key dangers of a state visit that we have absolutely no idea what the president will say or tweet next before he visits? what does he actually need to say or tweet before the idea of a state visit is ditched once and for all? an invitation for the visit has been extended and accepted, but the dates and the precise arrangements have yet to be agreed. no matter what diplomatic route we find to do this — we cannot simply roll out a red carpet and give the president of the united states a platform to also sow discord
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in our communities. putting aside the question of a state visit, should he even be allowed to enter our country? unprecedented actions require unprecedented responses. i point out to the honourable lady that the prime minister has robustly replied to the president and made her views absolutely clear. on the honourable lady's other proposal, we do not routinely comment on individual exclusion cases. is the home secretary satisfied that president trump's behaviour — this is not an isolated incident — does not undermine our important security and co—operation relationship with the united states? may i also say that just because somebody stops using twitter, it does not mean that they cease to be a twit? my honourable friend puts his finger on it, if i may say so, in the first half of his comment when he talks about the importance of that close relationship.
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however strongly honourable members feel about the president, we must protect the particular relationship that we have with the us, which does so much to keep british people safe. about a month ago most popular man in the world on plod to be a count of the president of the united states. was he not right? and if twitter it is interested in tackling hate crime, it should have no problem taking down the president's twitter and whenever anyone else who preached hate crime. homophobes or racists who spread hate crime in this country will not be allowed. if they come here they will be arrested. that is what should happen! the home secretary knows it! just say it! i would say to the honourable gentleman there is no pretence. we are clearing the action we will take against people who propagate hate. the home secretary. now, do we need all 650 of our mps? could we do without 50 of them?
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six years ago, an act of parliament was passed to reduce the number to 600, and they're still consulting on how this should be done. but a labour mp wants to reverse that change and hang on to all 650. afzal khan's bill has just started its journey through parliament. i asked him what he was aiming to do. i'm trying to get a consensus with a view that was going through. there isn't a consensus in parliament. what the public think about this? i suspect some would say there are too many mps and we could manage with fewer and it would be popular. have you canvassed public opinion? it's important that we do a good job so the elected people are the voices of the people, unelected people are not, if we are getting more and more special advisers, how much does that cost? why don't we cut on that side? equally important is constituency—level work. as an mp, i spent half the week
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here doing the legislation side and the other half working with the people in the constituency. what they are proposing, it will be bigger constituencies which means community is broken up and added on, which doesn't have the same effect and accountability. they want to do a review every five years, building this stability. and the cost, which i'm saying we could do in ten years, which would give stability as well. we could do 7.5%, which gives us more flexibility to maintain the community link and a link with mp5. boundary changes would affect the conservatives. is this not a party political issue and a good thing for the labour party to keep the number at 650? when we were in power, we went ahead with the boundary review, even when it was against us.
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this overall is about levelling it, so levelling the principle isn't a bad idea. what part of the job would suffer if there were 50 less mps? number one is accountability and balance between the executive and parliament because what you will have is less backbench mps and more of them in ministerial posts and that balance is also important. second is the workload. it will have an impact. if there is more work with the bigger constituency and if you add in the brexit impact as well and if you add in the future of how we reach out to the world, and if you add to the point that 73 mep jobs will vanish, that work will be done, so you can see endlessly there will be much more. what chance do you think the bill has going through? i think there's a pretty good chance that we will have a huge support
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in the debate. thank you very much. thank you. and afzal khan opened the debate in the commons. the public already see politicians as remote, self—interested and unaccountable, and the current boundary changes would make that worse. the bill would preserve the mp—constituency link, the power to scrutinise the executive and the strength of our communities. we are probably the only people who drive around and see boundaries. when i go down the m4, i go through the constituencies of the prime minister and may honourable friends, but let's be frank, that is a thing that only us involved in politics see. normal people, constituents that we represent, don't see
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the country as a succession of government boundaries. the government has said it is with legislation, but according to three senior sources quoted in the times, the plan is likely to be scrapped due to a lack of support from the conservative benches. perhaps demonstrating that this is going to be the latest casualty following the prime minister's failure to win a majority in june, madam deputy speaker, if the review is going to be ditched, i say to the government, stop wasting public money! this is a charade! let's start a fresh review based on the principles that we can all agree on. just as a parent loves all their children equally, i love all the areas i represent equally. i would be sad to lose any of them.
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i could no more choose between any of them that i could between my daughters. but my belief in democracy is stronger, ensuring fair representation and that a vote in north oxfordshire counts the same as it does anywhere else. it is extremely important to me. the bill passed a second reading but stands little chance of becoming law without support. well, let's take a look at some of the other news in brief. rail firms which operate passenger services would also manage the tracks their trains run on, under new government plans. and some routes lost under richard beeching in the 19605 could be restored. the closing of some 4,000 miles of track, mainly in rural areas, became known as the beeching cuts. chris grayling said rail lines would be re—opened if they eased congestion. and his plans also give us a chance to show you these lovely pictures. the move is part of a new
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government rail strategy. despite the improvements in the rail since privatisation, we are still some way away from a high—performance, customer—focused industry. that is why we must continue to reform and invest in the railway and maximise the contribution that both public and private sectors make to improve services. the health secretary has told the commons he wants to halve the number of baby deaths and injuries during childbirth. jeremy hunt said the nhs in england must do more to learn from mistakes because each year, around 1,000 babies die unexpectedly or are left with severe brain injuries. mps welcomed the plans. it is easy to spot the woman who has a past history of difficult births. it is easy to spot the women with obesity and diabetes but anyone who has been involved in birth knows that even a healthiest pregnancy can go wrong at the last minute. mps have accused the government
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of sending mixed messages on the environment after a planned rise in fuel duty was scrapped in the budget. things got a bit tetchy in the committee room when the treasury minister was challenged over whether his department had analysed how well pollution—reducing measures were working. you are the treasury minister and you don't know if there is a cost benefit analysis inside government on the benefits of taking measures to tackle air pollution on public health. mr bradshaw, you are only suggesting you would want to take action on the basis of cost benefits. that is not the case. we recognise the public health challenge. that is why we have been working on it. we are revising the figures. we are seeing a downward projection in the medical statistics of avoidable deaths. but nevertheless, we are very keen to work on air quality because we know that poor air quality affects... the question — the question was to the treasury minister. thank you, chairman.
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the commons' second debating chamber, westminster hall, made a little bit of parliamentary history on thursday afternoon. the moment was heralded by the labour mp, jim fitzpatrick, who chairs the all party group on deafness and hearing loss. our debate is being translated into sign language, which i believe is a parliamentary first. so, we are making history in this debate. it is great for all of us who are here to participate in this event. well, prime minister's questions looked a little different on wednesday — no prime minister. theresa may was on a visit to the middle east, so the first secretary of state, damian green, was understudying. and taking the role ofjeremy corbyn was emily thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary. she opened with a fewjokes. see if you can get the references. and congratulating prince harry and meghan markle on their engagement. that is one anglo—american couple we on this side will be delighted to see holding hands. laughter. i'm sure that prince harry... i'm sure that prince harry, the patron of rugby football league
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will be joining all of us in supporting the england team in the world cup final on saturday. and i, for one, will be waving my st georges flag. laughter. that was a reference to the tweet she sent in 2014 about a terraced house flying three england flags for which she was sacked by ed miliband. and the hand—holding was of course donald trump taking theresa may's hand at the white house. but it was her first question which raised eyebrows. damian green is currently being investigated by the cabinet office over allegations about his past behaviour. can i ask the first secretary of simple point of principle? is he happy to be held to the same standards in government that he required of others when he was in opposition? the secretary. yes, lam. i think all ministers should respect and obey the ministerial code and i actually think that that is a very important part of confidence in public life. i merely wondered if he remembered the question asked at
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prime minister's questions almost 17 years ago, when john prescott stood in for tony blair, and whether he could answer that same question today. so, what is the question? the question is this, what percentage of new nurses recruited in the past 12 months are now working full—time? laughter. the secretary. ican't remember... i can't remember asking the question then and i'd love to know what the then deputy prime minister answered then. what i am happy to assure the right honourable lady is that we have more nurses, more midwives, more doctors working... working in the health service now. the health service is performing more operations now, certainly than it was 17 years ago. and, in particular, in the budget last week, my right honourable friend the chancellor was able to announce more than £6 billion extra on health spending which will make the health service even stronger in the future than it is now. damian green.
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this week, there was no discussion of the eu withdrawal bill because mps were occupied with the budget. so were we brexit—free? no. there were two issues — the size of the exit bill and those controversial impact statements. you'll remember they're the papers setting out how brexit would affect 58 sectors of the economy. mps wanted those papers to be shown to the brexit committee, and voted accordingly. ministers said they'd hand them over. and they did. but not in their complete form. cue the shadow brexit secretary. it is simply not open to the secretary of state to choose to ignore it and to pass to the select committee the documents that he chooses. whether he's in contempt of parliament is a matter that we will come to at some later date. but he is certainly treating parliament with contempt. we have not edited or redacted reports. at the time the motion was passed,
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and subsequently we were clear that the documents did not exist in the form requested. we have collated information in a way that doesn't include some sensitive material but the documents which he freely admits he hasn't seen do not contain redactions. if the government wished to resist the publication of the papers it had, it should have voted against the motion, and if it wished to qualify or to edit the papers that it had, then it should have sought to amend the motion. and we cannot allow post brexit to start reducing parliamentary sovereignty to a slightly ridiculous level. can i remind the minister that the question of what the government will provide the select committee is not for the government or indeed for the select committee to decide. this parliament has decided. i made it very clear to the secretary of state what procedure the select committee would use to consider the report. and if i may put it like this, i do object to any suggestion that the select committee, and i as chair, cannot be trusted to do ourjob.
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does the minister share my concerns as to how a letter sent by the secretary of state to the select committee managed to reach journalists at the daily mirror before it was considered by the committee? does that encourage him or discourage him when it comes to sharing confidential information? to meet this motion, it is not at the discretion of the government to decide what to take out, it is now at the discretion of the select committee. and i would therefore urge the government either to meet the terms of the motion in full all to seek to put down a new motion. and after that debate, the speaker suggested in quite a forceful way that the brexit secretary should have a chat with the brexit committee "within days". in fact, it'll be on wednesday. the other talking point this week was the so—called divorce bill. and the talking got louder once it was reported that the bill might reach 50 billion euros. but it did produce an unlikely meeting of minds. 70% of the people that voted in bolsover voted to leave.
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but can i also say this to you? those same people in bolsover, i believe, would expect me to tell the honourable lady from the finance department that if they'd got £60 billion to spare, it should go to the national health service and social care. for the first time in my parliamentary career, i'm going to agree with the honourable member for bolsover. he is absolutely right. the 60 odd percent of people in wellingborough who voted to leave want to know what we were doing with £60 billion. they'd want it spent on the nhs, social care, and defence. they would not want it given to the european union. would the minister agree such a move would be betraying the trust of the british people? the money that we have been reading
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about in the press is speculation. these negotiations are ongoing, discussion is ongoing, and we want to secure value for money for the british taxpayer. now, the funeral has taken place of carl sargeant. the labour welsh assembly member died last month days after being sacked from the welsh government amid allegations over his conduct. on wednesday, labour members of the welsh assembly blocked conservative moves for an inquiry into bullying allegations against the government. the tory motion was backed by plaid cymru and ukip. it would've triggered an inquiry by the committee for the scrutiny of the first minister carwyn jones. there has been talk in recent weeks about delivering naturaljustice and an enquiry that is set in the government's own terms behind closed doors does
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not set that agenda. a public, transparent forum is one of the vehicles to deliver that and so it is entirely appropriate that this motion is allowed to pass. indeed, the assembly has always prided itself in being an open and transparent forum and it is crucial that we continue to operate in this manner. i would just like the government party to consider this. do you think it is a good look to be seen to be looking as though you are avoiding full scrutiny? i would argue that it isn't. in two days' time, we are going to be burying our colleague and friend. and i think it is unseemly to be having this nature of debate while that still hasn't happened. ifind it reprehensible, the way people have used this tragedy to settle scores from their time in government. i think the first minister, to his credit, has set up two separate independent processes, which is unprecedented. those need to be given time to draw their conclusions. well, what's been happening in the wider world of politics?
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here's simon vaughan with our countdown. it's christmas time in washington. the white house turned into a winter wonderland, complete with tree made from green books. will anyone actually read them? it is a game of two halves. ex lib dem leader tim farren gave a speech to the religious think tank theos. he put the ball somewhere with an extended football metaphor. ..which in the richmond park in the local elections results, in which you could say i had an impressive and morale boosting fa cup run. now is the winter of our discontent. made glorious summer by this son of york. jeremy corbyn went to edinburgh on monday to congratulate the new leader of scottish labour richard leonard from sunny yorkshire. labour mp fiona onasanya smuggled in a quote from big shaq, man's not hot comedy rap into her speech in the budget debate. it is not as simple as two plus two is four minus three
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is one, quick maths. other mps were slow to spot the reference. in her 12th debate on the effects of state pension changes on women, says her election in only 2015, mhari black struggled to keep it clean. my honourable member eloquently said, they've got a brass neck. now, iam have to say, i'm happy to apply the brasso on that. honest to god, how shiny it is for the amount of rubbish that has been spoken in this chamber today by those members is appalling. other metal polishers are available. simon vaughan. this week saw the final days of the debate on the budget and the votes to approve it. but after four days of discussion, the excitement can wane slightly. order! the question is as on the order paper.
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as many that are of the opinion say, "aye!" quietly: aye... laughter. you're not in very good form. well, they had another go and although the response was still a bit lacklustre, the speaker decided that it did amount to approval and the budget went through. and that brings us to the end of this edition of the programme. but do join keith macdougall on monday night at 11 for a full roundup of the day at westminster. but for now, from me, mandy baker, goodbye. hello. it's been a bitter week for some parts of the uk but it is at least a little less cold this weekend.
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further afield, if you're keeping an eye on the second test in adelaide, it's warmer but we did have some interruptions because of showers on saturday. fewer showers sunday. still a brisk breeze, though. and actually here, temperatures are a little below par. they should recover as we head towards midweek. despite an increasing cloud on saturday, we did have a little late evening sunshine in kent. i'm hopeful that we will see a little bit more sunshine through the day ahead and slightly less cold conditions, particularly in the south. but at the moment, we've still got quite a bit of cloud. it's trickling its way southwards. they're weak weather fronts, really, but they're bringing some patchy rain and drizzle with misty low cloud and hill fog. to the north, yes, the cloud does break and clear and it could turn a tad chilly to start the morning up in the north—east of scotland. perhaps a touch of frost, a little bit of fog here. but for many, it shouldn't be frosty first thing. but it will be rather grey and murky. hill fog around, patchy drizzle as well, and this weather front may well drag its heels across southern parts of england, across the west and into the west of wales. it'll be with us across northern ireland and we may see
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a little bit of early brightness across antrem and down. it should be a decent start to the day across scotland. more sunshine here. still a few showers and a brisk wind in the north—east. still the potential for some morning fog and frost in the glens but that should lift and we should see some good spells of sunshine. and gradually, that cloud will thin and break across the rest of southern britain but it may hang around in cornwall, in western parts of wales and it drifts eastwards across northern ireland to western scotland, so the west of northern ireland may see some brighter spells later in the day. in contrast to yesterday, probably a little bit cooler in the north—east but actually feeling a bit milder further south as temperatures won't be quite so low to start the day. then, through the night ahead, we'll see the cloud gradually easing back eastwards, but where there are breaks in the cloud, yes, it will turn chilly, but also we could have some fog for the monday morning rush across east anglia, the south—east, the east midlands in particular. but otherwise it's here where, once the fog clears, we should see some brightness and some sunshine again to start our week.
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relatively mild compared with last week, nines and tens, but there will quite a bit of cloud, showery rain coming in, although it will be light and patchy because it is under the influence of high pressure for the next two or three days. this high pressure isjust keeping those weather fronts at bay but this does have our name on it. this is going to come in for wednesday. it looks particularly nasty, actually, some wet and windy weather to keep our eye on. but, between now and then, fairly quiet or benign conditions. as ever, there's plenty more more on the website. bye— bye. hello, this is breakfast, with chris mason and katherine downes. a new drive to help children and young people with mental health problems. ministers want faster access to treatment and specialist support in schools and colleges. good morning, it's sunday the 3rd of december. also this morning:
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the government's entire social mobility commission resigns in protest at what it says is a lack of progress towards a fairer britain. bolstering the blue belt. more stretches of the british coastline get special status to help protect vulnerable wildlife and habitats. in sport, we'll have the latest from the ashes overnight. an early wicket for england but australia enjoy the better

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