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tv   BBC Newsroom Live  BBC News  February 28, 2018 11:00am-1:01pm GMT

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this is bbc news, and these are the top stories developing at 11. cold weather intensifies across the uk, with heavy snow causing further disruption. hazardous conditions result in stranded motorists and crashes. if and services and flights. hundreds of schools are closed. the cheering continues to provide fresh snowfall as the amber warnings continue. as the eu prepares to publish the first draft of its withdrawal treaty, borisjohnson claims the row over the irish border is being used to frustrate brexit. also, two well known names from our high streets and retail parks go into administration. boys are others go bust while maplin
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threatens to have those workers. 100 yea rs threatens to have those workers. 100 years on from the end of the first world war, a new tribute to the soldiers who did not return from the front line. good morning. it's wednesday the 28th of february. welcome to bbc newsroom live. it's another morning of freezing conditions after temperatures fell to minus—12 in some areas overnight the cold weather has already caused major disruption, but forecasters say the worst is yet to come, with warnings in place until the weekend. amber warnings for snow are in place, covering parts of scotland, northern england, the east midlands, the east and south—east of england and london. drivers have been warned to take extra care as emergency services deal with stranded motorists and crashes.
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as many as 400 schools in scotland have shut their doors, with hundreds more closing in england — including in kent, sussex, surrey and yorkshire and public transport is widely affected. 0ur correspondent, phil bodmer is in thornton—le—dale in north yorkshire. what is the picture there? the picture here is one of the further snowfall overnight, they had about four or five centimetres yesterday at another five centimetres or so overnight and driving conditions like elsewhere in the country are especially hazardous. what i can assure you is the wind—chill, that is what is significantly different from yesterday. the air temperature now is about minus two. early on it was about minus six. couple that with a wind speed of about a0 knots and it
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gives us a wind—chill factor earlier on today of about minus 12. it is not quite that cold now but nonetheless it is really bitingly cold, the yorkshire discretion is 110w cold, the yorkshire discretion is now the ring and that sums it up. hundreds of schools across yorkshire are closed and a local primary school, 200 children here, the school, 200 children here, the school was closed today. the main road here is the a170, that runs between scarborough on the east coast and pickering further inland. that has been gritted our regular basis, we have seen the snowploughs going up and down all day today but as quickly as they plough the store for another fall of snow comes in and the forecasters are expecting more snow throughout the day today, we could have up to 12 centimetres of snow by the end of the day. there are concerns about vulnerable people and then getting out to get shopping and then getting out to get shopping and essential supplies. the advice is if you know someone you suspect
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might be vulnerable just knock on the door and check them out. a bonus day for many children enjoying a day off school, the concern comes again tonight for the rush hour tomorrow morning. more snowfall, sub—zero temperatures and tricky conditions on the road. that is a situation in north yorkshire, my colleague is on the a1 near peterborough. as ever the snowy landscape is very beautiful but can also be very destructive, here on the a1 they have some real problems during the night. the snow was falling quite heavily and round about one o'clock in the morning and feel so deeply particularly here on the northern carriageway that vehicles travelling ground to a halt and there were several dozen vehicles that became stranded, and they were stranded for several hours, many of them having to be rescued overnight and into the early hours of the morning. in fact the roads you only reopened just an hour and the roads you only reopened just an hourand a the roads you only reopened just an
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hour and a half are so cool but as you can see now things are moving but there's not much traffic around. it may be that people have decided simply to make unnecessaryjourneys and decided to heed the warnings and avoid running the risk of getting bogged down in trouble. drivers were stranded on the m6 northbound as we heard, there were drivers in various areas particularly on quiet road. not on main roads like this where the traffic flow tends to keep the snow clear but on quiet roads when it builds up and when that is winded can drift as well. broadly speaking the situation is getting back to normal but again the prospect of more bad weather to come. thank you. we will talk to fill in a moment, i weather presenter. let's ta ke moment, i weather presenter. let's take a quick look at the camera showing us central london. pretty heavy snowfall overnight and an
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unusual scene in london this morning to make up to snow. it is the heaviest snowfall for seven years isn't it? my kids told me that this morning so i believe them. i wish mine have spoken to me but they went up mine have spoken to me but they went up at quarter past three! it is still snowing. these are the cameras etc we are. tell us, what are the prospects? i was interested to see what ben was enduring their up i was interested to see what ben was enduring theirup in i was interested to see what ben was enduring their up in the peterborough cambridge area because dust before i did the last hit from u psta i rs dust before i did the last hit from upstairs the met office has issued another amber warning for an area that extends from north norfolk, through the wash, lincolnshire and over towards the derbyshire peak district area. that again is for snow and it seems to be one of these streets, one of these alleys piling in off the north sea and affecting not just the coastal areas,
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in off the north sea and affecting notjust the coastal areas, if in off the north sea and affecting not just the coastal areas, if the geography lines up wrongly or rightly you get the penetration of showers much further westwards. that amber warning sits alongside now another one that affects much of the north—east of england, much of eastern scotland and up into the north of scotland, too, where we are looking at... take your pick. some areas could see ten or 20 centimetres of snow. so this is the beast from the east. it is very much about the biting cold which was not such a factor through the weekend. where we begin to wrap things up is that the wind strength is now wrapping up in the middle part of the week, wednesday and thursday always was going to be feeling that much colder. 0n and thursday always was going to be feeling that much colder. on top of that now that we have this very cold air is tuning in across the north sea picking up moisture and getting very u nsta ble
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sea picking up moisture and getting very unstable and as i say some areas just dumping shower after shower after shower, ballmer is the place that seems to be catching up on the north—eastern coast. 22 centimetres of lying snow. this is not quite the end of the story because if i throw you forwarded to thursday, yes, again if you of the releva nt thursday, yes, again if you of the relevant website, you will see there is an amberwarning relevant website, you will see there is an amber warning stretching all over northern and eastern parts of scotla nd over northern and eastern parts of scotland and the north east of england, against what they're getting at the moment will continue for least another 2a hours. our real concern is afraid you may have heard is storm emma, that is going to slowly throw a weather front into the now south—western portion and they use that term widely. let's say southern britain including many of the southern counties of england, much of wales is well pushing into the midlands and this is during the course of tomorrow morning. many of the areas i have described, the south—western portion have not seen
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much in the way of store this far, but don't feel left out because you are going to see it through tomorrow morning and into tomorrow afternoon. again it could be that we see tens of centimetres following in some locations. it will be hugely destructive across the south—west in south—western midlands and into parts of wales. how unusual is at forest experience will like this across forest experience will like this a cross m ost forest experience will like this across most of the country? do get the scale of what we're looking at people are muttering about 2010, so we are going back a good 5—8 years before we see anything like this as widely as we are beginning to see it, and i am already highlighted to use the fact that new areas that have not been badly affected thus far could well be in the mix during the course of thursday and i'm afraid the misery of significant snowfall extends into friday, increasingly working at the top into the greater part of england and where. i havejust top into the greater part of england and where. i have just seen coming in now the republic of ireland have issued a red warning for snow across
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their central and eastern parts. it can italy that does not seem to see an awful lot of snow. they are going to see it within the next head of one hours, certainly within the next a8 hours. we are not out of the woods just yet. if you want to know when is it going to end, when will we get rid of this cold weather, relatively speaking and this is not a heatwave in describing, but the temperatures that are widely sub—zero at the moment might go positive towards the weekend and by then we could have significant snowfall with freezing rain falling on cold surfaces for we get to that slight warming into the weekend. and you can keep up to date with the weather and travel situation across the country. by visiting the bbc news live page. that's at bbc.co.uk/news. and if out and about, bbc local radio will keep you up to date on disruptions to traffic and travel in your area. the eu's chief negotiator michel barnier is to release
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the first draft of the eu brexit treaty shortly. it's expected to say that northern ireland will have to follow single market rules after brexit. downing street has insisted there will be no return to a hard border in ireland. meanwhile the foreign secretary borisjohnson said there were ‘very good solutions‘ to avoid a hard border. let's speak to her assistant political editor at westminster. borisjohn political editor at westminster. boris john and borisjohn and said there are good solutions but the brussels is putting forward what it believes is the best one, how much pressure does that put the governed under? i think we are potentially heading for the real brexit bust up over the northern ireland border, if the eu proposals do contain as most people expect suggestions that maybe northern ireland should stay in the customs union or have some kind of
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separate customs arrangement with the eu because mother ten have already made clear that is unacceptable, briefing overnight that mrs may will not sign any sort of deal which lends the territorial integrity of the uk or threatens the single market of the uk, in other words anything that treats northern ireland separately to the rest of the uk. and for good measure the dup have now thrown their weight and, we had from ian paisley have now thrown their weight and, we had from ian paisleer and the select committee upstairs seeing a short time ago that he wanted mrs may to show some teeth over this issue and saying he was disgusted by the proposal being put forward by the proposal being put forward by the eu. by the stars and just for good measure this morning said that he thought people were using the border issue to frustrate brexit. the issue of the northern ireland border is being used quite a lot politically to try to keep the uk in the customs union, effectively the
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single market so we can't leave the eu. that is what is going on. so what the letter says is that actually there are very good solutions you could put in place that would obviate, prevent any kind of ha rd that would obviate, prevent any kind of hard border but would allow good people, alo goods to move freely without let or hindrance. balderston referring to the leaked letter overnight which he wrote to fellow members of the brexit cabinet subcommittee on which he a beautiful idea that maybe the british government could countenance the idea of a hard border, something which downing street later had to roll out insisting there would be no ha rd roll out insisting there would be no hard border but you get a sense of the mutual suspicion and indeed anger on both sides here, on top of which mrs may has already said that
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if the brussels package suggests that the european court ofjustice should have judas diction that the european court ofjustice should havejudas diction over this treaty then that too would be unacceptable and the striking thing, joanna, as mrs may really has very little room to give ground on this because not only is she under pressure from the dup, she is under pressure from the dup, she is under pressure from the dup, she is under pressure from her own brexit years who are adamant that nothing should be done to threaten the integrity of the uk orto be done to threaten the integrity of the uk or to succumb to the authority of the european court of justice, so we do seem to be heading for a very significant confrontation over the northern ireland border. so if she can't give ground what is the tentative? the hope must be that both sides lawyers can engage in a bit of linguistic gymnastics to somehow mash the two arguments and avoid a confrontation but we're reaching the point where it seems to be
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increasingly hard to resort to that sort of ambiguity because we do need firm decisions on what will happen to the border once we quit the eu. the british government hope is that all of this can be avoided by a broader trade package, in which we continue to have seamless access to the single market. the noises from brussels are, that is not on, that's called cherry picking. a second option the british covered have floated is having amazingly sophisticated wizardry in terms of technology to enable the border checks to be carried out miles away from the border so there are no physical roads checks at the border but to date no one seems to have come up with the sort of mechanics to do that sort of approach. if neither of those in place then we are back to those two very fundamental options, either there is some sort of formal border or there has to be some sort of separate
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customs arrangement for northern ireland. thank you. let's speak to gavin lee and brussels. what is the view from there? is this a negotiable situation? we think the d raft a negotiable situation? we think the draft treaty is somewhere in the ether and about to hit our screens digitally in black and white as well as the legal framework any moment now, one newspaper claims it has seen now, one newspaper claims it has seen the draft of it and in that, on that specific issue, norman suggested that —— that there will be three options, one is a good relationship between the uk and eu saw no need for the border, option bea saw no need for the border, option be a unique solution needed, registration system, but that is pretty much like because the eu side are waiting for the uk side to fill in more details, but the bits that will have the most detail is this idea that northern ireland sign up to be part of the customs union.
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according to the leaked draft of this goes on to a great deal of detail, common regulatory area of customs, vat energy environment, agriculture, property markets and more. it is saying that there will be this idea is that if britain would accept it, a customs union and northern ireland takes part, it is overruled and overseen by the european court of justice. overruled and overseen by the european court ofjustice. that is something the pro brexit members of the british government do not want to see but remember this is the first draft. this is the eu saying there should be no surprises here according to michel barnier, these are areas we are filling in on what we have agreed torfaen and what could work of the british government has not laid out its plans. thank you. we can speak to neil richmond. thank you forjoining us. what you think of a suggestion northern ireland remain a customs union so there is no hard border? the draft
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legal texts will be coming out and it is the legal manifestation of the decisions in december. the backstop has been affected, the third option of northern ireland are many within the customs union is not exactly what we want to see. 0ur preference is absolutely an overall customs arrangement or union on agreement, whatever the terror must be between the uk and eu in its entirety which would render this needless. the second option is in the british government's hands to give, we have not seen the detail, the solutions, it is own opinion i decide that there are not then raced solutions that are feasible or practical, allow the negotiations to continue and we will allow them to go on in good faith. i'm hearing that the document hasjust good faith. i'm hearing that the document has just been published. we are hoping to be able to take a moment on the website but the european commission has just the
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last few seconds published its staff of the brexit withdrawal agreement. we will have a look at that as soon as we can. we will keep talking to you while we wait to have a look. the british government is strongly opposed to the position being outplayed by brussels, is there any other alternative to a hard border if the brussels position is not acceptable? let's be clear, the british government agreed politically to what is coming out in this draft legal texts this morning, this draft legal texts this morning, this is the substance of the agreement achieved between the british and european negotiating sides. the british government have said this is ok, it is not the prevalence of anyone involved in the negotiations. 0ur preference is for an overall new customs union and customs arrangement between the eu and uk as a whole. that must be then
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one priority. the british government is not supporting northern ireland staying in the customs union, the british government is saying that the brussels position would break up the brussels position would break up the uk and it is opposed to it.“ we go back to the december agreement between the british and european negotiating sides, that agreed that there would not be border on the island of ireland and i would not be any regulatory diversions. this is the legal draft legal manifestation of that political agreement achieved in december. sorry to interrupt but by saying that there would not bea but by saying that there would not be a border, the british government's position was not in agreement that northern ireland would stay in a customs union, the british government believes that there are other alternatives which include boris to seven says that technological system that could mean that there is no hard border. do you believe that those are viable
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alternatives? first and we have seen no detailfrom the alternatives? first and we have seen no detail from the british government, we have asked for that detail injuly of last year, we missed a deadline in october and november, we finally got an agreement in december which now has agreement in december which now has a legal manifestation hitting the desks at the moment and yet brexit is 13 months away. if the uk government is serious about the solutions they needed to have reset in detail by now. the committee i chaired flip through it in an exhaustive manner about four or five months ago and we do not think there is a technological solution and the overall customs union arrangement between the eu and uk, not necessarily uk staying in love that would be my preference, but above customs arrangement would be the ideal solution and that is we hope we can still achieve in a substantive part of face to negotiations. and the idea of there being a broader trade package which is the government's preferred option, brussels says that is cherry
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picking and actually that is not going to be an option. overall, it comes back to an overall trade union an association between the uk and eu is perfectly viable. impact on the integrity of the single market or customs union is not acceptable to brussels, it is not acceptable to the irish government. what we hope to see is an overall eu uk customs association or union, a new one that moves on and allows things to stay as close as they are at the moment. at the moment we see relations on this island to be prosperous, just 20 years on from a peace deal. we seek the irish british literature overall to be prosperous due to our membership of the eu. that is changing. the uk government and uk people have made that decision. if they want the detail then it is up to them to see how it can be achieved. we believe the ideal situation is a new overall customs arrangement. if that can't be
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achieved under the british government not provide the detail that others have talked about but have not spelt out in any tangible way in the backstop that was agreed by the british government in december which has legal manifestation tomorrow, in today's publication, that will kick in and we don't want it to come to that. do you trust that it is in hand and it will happen? i hope so, we are in a very serious and delicate part of the negotiations. ireland is a paid—up member of the new eu negotiating side, this is not a bilateral deal, this is the uk and eu resolving this issue. the situation on the island of ireland was a top issue. we reach the agreement and this is the legal manifestation of that agreement. hopefully we can achieve an overall customs and trading agreement. thank you for and is here. the draft
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agreement hasjust been you for and is here. the draft agreement has just been published and there it is, you can see on the website. draft withdrawal agreement on the withdrawal of the united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland from the european union and the european atomic energy unity. ijust union and the european atomic energy unity. i just have union and the european atomic energy unity. ijust have the document here and it is going to be a likely one, obviously. we are flashing through the sort of top pages at the moment. the common provisions. we will scroll through and pick out the key points and keep you updated on what is and that 120 page long documents would might take a little bit of time but we will of course let you know all of the key points that are in it. let's catch up with the sport. ben stokes looking to put controversy behind him, he was named man of the match at england's six wicket
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victory over new zealand. stokes in the middle of an affray trial, he had taken a couple of buckets when he came to the crease. they said about chasing a target of 2aa. the top scored with an unbeaten 63. jos buttler hit the winning runs to level the five match series at 1—1. arsenal manager arsene wenger said he is amazed he still has to answer questions over his future at the club, reports suggest that arsenal are seeking a replacement for him following their defeat against manchester city. i am amazed that i a lwa ys manchester city. i am amazed that i always have to answer things that are always have to answer things that a re exactly always have to answer things that are exactly the same. i'm here for 21 yea rs, are exactly the same. i'm here for 21 years, i turned the whole world is down to respect my contract so i am still amazed that i still have to a nswer am still amazed that i still have to answer these kinds of questions. free tea and coffee was dished out a warm up found that the liberty stadium last night, as swansea reached the quarterfinals of the fa cup for the first time in sa years.
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they beat sheffield wednesday 2—0. this is nathan dyer sending his effo rts this is nathan dyer sending his efforts on the keeper's legs. the gap at the top of the scottish premiership is down to six points after rangers beat saintjohnstone 4-1. after rangers beat saintjohnstone a—1. alfredo modell is rounded things off but celtic will not be able to pull away again tonight, the amount has been postponed because of weather, as have the other two fixtures in the premiership. and greg rutherford has pulled out of the world indoor championships which start in birmingham on friday, he has been suffering a series of injuries. he had to withdraw from the common wealth games in australia and missed last year's world championships with an ankle injury, also had groin surgery. he said he will now focus on turning to full fitness in time to defend his european championship title in august. we will have more for you in the next hour. and then update on the weather because there are now
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red warnings for parts of scotland, some of the warnings have been upgraded. we are hearing that part of scotla nd upgraded. we are hearing that part of scotland affected by red warnings are central to a site and five, south—west scotland, lothian and borders, strathclyde. heavy snow showers expected. potential for travel to lease on the roads for stranded vehicles and passengers as well as delays to public transport. some communities could be cut off, power cuts as well. let's catch up with the latest weather, phil avery is back on the weather studio. thank you very much indeed. these are the scenes widely on offer across the british isles, you will remember i was on across the british isles, you will remember i was on was across the british isles, you will remember i was on was due in a few minutes ago and rightly so she has
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brought you rate up to date with the latest information we are getting from the met office. there will be more destructive weather today, a lot of amber warnings around across northern and eastern parts of scotla nd northern and eastern parts of scotland and as i was suggesting a leading towards the wash area the top end of the offer, the central sweden scotland and the emmy, really treacherous conditions. red warning, don't travel. if you can don't travel because there will be real problems. in the snow showers keep on coming across northern and eastern parts. in off the north sea and the north midlands toward sheffield as well. that is how cold it is going to feel today, we have wrapped up the win. not as the number of isobars. here comes another issue, this is for thursday. gradually working its way, this moisture, out of biscay and running into the cold air and that is why in addition to the snow showers that we have across northern and eastern parts that are there today this is a
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whole new area where we are expecting significant snow. the eu has published the draft outline for brexit. translation: it isa outline for brexit. translation: it is a draft. we will only officially placed it on the negotiating table with the united kingdom once this work with a 27 member states and the european parliament has been concluded. i have been committed to transparency throughout the entire negotiating process and that is why we have just published this draft. that will enable everyone to take stock of the subjects on which we need to reach an agreement with united kingdom buti need to reach an agreement with united kingdom but i believe that this transparency is also a very important tool in the public debate on brexit throughout europe. as of
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now, thanks to this text, this is a tool based on legal principles, fa cts tool based on legal principles, facts and solutions which are concrete and realistic. and i hope that this document will also be of use for your work. ladies and gentlemen. a third point, this draft text contains no surprise for our british partners. it expresses in legal terms the commitments jointly entered into by the union and the united kingdom in december in the joint reports. it includes the positions of the union which were already known on other withdrawal issues, and which we haven't really been able to make any progress since december. it includes the union position on the governance of the withdrawal agreement and finally it
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includes the union position on the transition, which is part of the withdrawal agreement because, i repeat, the only possible legal basis for transition is article 50. first, our draft translates into a legal text ourjoint commitments. nothing in here will be a surprise for those who have followed the negotiations. the draft text ensures that citizens rights are the priority. they will be protected as agreed and we will be diligent on the need to keep procedure is simple and affordable. financial
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commitments undertaken at 28 will be respected by the uk and the eu. the island of ireland will be protected and a hard border will be avoided. a few words on ireland. our text contains the legal commitments necessary for the protection of the rights of individuals as well as for the protection of the common travel area. these points have already been agreed between the uk and eu. the agreement must also contain a resolution to avoid a hard border and protect the good friday agreement in all its dimensions. this is a joint commitment between
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the uk and eu. in paragraph a0 nine, three options are listed for tackling the problem. first, to deal with this through the agreement of the future relationship if possible. 0bviously, the future relationship if possible. obviously, this solution will not be in place at the moment of the withdrawal. second, the uk committed to proposing specific solutions to address the unique circumstances on the island of ireland. we look forward to receiving these proposals. third, to maintain full alignment with those rules of the internal market and the customs union, which now or in the future support north — south cooperation and the protection of the good friday agreement. this is the
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backstop solution we have to put in the withdrawal agreement. it is the only way to guarantee that ourjoint commitments will be upheld in all circumstances, as the joint report requires. ladies and gentlemen, we have applied imagination and creativity to find a specific solution to the unique challenge that brexit posies for the protection of the good friday agreement. two issues are key to avoid border checks. first, full alignment with eu law on goods, vetera n alignment with eu law on goods, veteran merry and plant rules. secondly, northern ireland has to be covered by the union customs code. 0ur covered by the union customs code. our approach is focused on those areas where it is needed to avoid
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border checks. daily life around the border should continue as today. as i have said before, already today, northern ireland has rules in place that are different from the rest of the uk. let me repeat what i said in my last press conference. we stand by our commitment to discuss all three options set out in the joint report in parallel. and all of the issues on behalf of the 27, we will continue the dialogue with the political leaders of northern ireland. i will meet michelle o'neill and arlene foster early next week. translation: my second point
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on the draft agreement, after the question of ireland, our text also includes our proposals on the other separation issues. again, there is no surprise because we have translated in legal terms the union position as expressed in our essential principle papers, with which you are familiar. 0n essential principle papers, with which you are familiar. on several of the subjects, negotiations have effectively begun without our yet having reached an agreement at the moment i speak to you. that is the case with your tone or the question of goods placed on the market. regarding intellectual property public procurement, we have not yet
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received a proposal for the public procurement, we have not yet received a proposalfor the british position. and so on those points the negotiations have not been able to start. so on those subjects in the d raft start. so on those subjects in the draft treaty which you have in your hands, we have indicated the european union positions. we also hope to make progress on the governance of the withdrawal agreement, which is a key issue. 0ur position has not changed. we believe the court ofjustice of the european union must play a role for the interpretation and implementation of the withdrawal agreement whenever that agreement refers to european law. that is the position that we have put into our draft text with specific provisions already established in the joint report for the protection of citizens. 0n established in the joint report for the protection of citizens. on all of these important subjects, we hope
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that our draft text will make it possible for us to make progress more rapidly and speed up negotiations. we have agreed with the british side that we will meet for the whole of next week for a new negotiating round. and then a third point, i would negotiating round. and then a third point, iwould recall that negotiating round. and then a third point, i would recall that our draft text obviously includes our proposal for the transition period which has been officially requested by theresa may on behalf of the british government. and on which the heads of state of government and european parliament has given an agreement of principal. 0n transition, our technical discussions this week have, to be honest, confirmed that there are significant divergences, too many divergences on several points of which i will mention just
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two. citizens rights, our priority. the united kingdom still wishes to give different treatment, less favourable treatment, at the end of the transition period, to those citizens who arrived in the uk who arrived during the transition, as opposed to those who arrived before the transition, before the day of withdrawal in march 2019. for us, for the member states, for the parliament, this remains a major issue because as far as we're concerned the fool union acquis will apply throughout the transition. and it seems reasonable that we should treat citizens arriving before or during ina treat citizens arriving before or during in a fair and equal fashion. i also believe that with our proposal that should allow the united kingdom to have a system which would be easier to manage, in
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purely administrative terms. then a second big point of divergences for the transition is the application of european rules during this short period from march 2019 two 31 december 2020. united kingdom still asks to be able to oppose a new european rule with which it disagrees and which would enter into force during the transition. we recalled, i repeat, that the rules must be the same for all during that period. we cannot take any risk of regulatory divergences during the transition. so given these problems, these disagreements, i have courted two but there are others, i would simply repeat that at this moment, asi simply repeat that at this moment, as i speak to you, the transition is not a given. and that is why i think
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the next round of negotiations is both useful and important. so, ladies and gentlemen, we will be no discussing these matters in detail with the member states this afternoon. yesterday had the opportunity of addressing the ministers at the general affairs council. and also members of the parliament brexit steering group yesterday evening. 0bviously these discussions must take place with all the institutions before we officially transmit this document as a d raft officially transmit this document as a draft for negotiations with united kingdom. in that way, my hope is that thanks to this document and thanks to the negotiations, we continue to make progress towards an orderly withdrawal from the uk of
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the european union. thank you for your attention. i will be happy to a nswer your attention. i will be happy to answer questions. translation: i can see a lot of hands raised. if you could be patient. i am interested in the protocol on our land. what i don't understand is a conceptual difficulty i have. that protocol effectively changes the territorial status of the united kingdom, if it was to be enacted or enter into force. it's pretty clear for the british government and probably for any other government, that changing territorial status in that way would be unacceptable, or would be a red
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line. to hope that that backstop protocol ever enter into force ? line. to hope that that backstop protocol ever enter into force? if the withdrawal talks fail over that issue, that backstop protocol is just a worthless piece of paper. you can't make it happen by seattle. what is the point of having a backstop protocol that isn't going to happen because it would change britain's territorial order? translation: i'm not sure i understand your question, but i will try to answer nonetheless. there are three options. and all three are important. in paragraph a9 of the joint report, the future relationship which we don't know,
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which will be translated into a treaty much later on when we have an agreement on our economic relationship with the uk, without mentioning the other relationships, defence, internal security and so on. this solution we will not have at the point in time when we signed the withdrawal agreement, but we would imagine that generally speaking it would offer a solution to the fundamental question in ireland that we preserve the good friday agreement and all its dimensions and the lack of a hard border. the second option is that of specific solutions which the uk has said it would come forward with. now, and both those options which i'm prepared to discuss as of now, as soon as i'm prepared to discuss as of now, as soon as the uk has provided the elements to us, we are waiting and i
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hope that the next meeting will make headway on that. and our responsibility vis—a—vis all the citizens concerned in northern ireland, in ireland, with the maintaining of the good friday agreement, at the time of the signing of the withdrawal agreement we need to have an operational solution. i'm sure you can imagine i have been keeping a very close personal eye on this. i am listening andi personal eye on this. i am listening and i have a lot of respect for this. my responsibility as cheese negotiator is to ensure we have a proposal which is functional and operational. 0n the option, we on
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the eu side have the possibility of proposing solutions and i have done this ina proposing solutions and i have done this in a pragmatic and practical fashion, legalfashion, with our full tea m fashion, legalfashion, with our full team and all the in—house skills we have. 0nce full team and all the in—house skills we have. once again, we are prepared to examine the other options as soon as the proposed by the uk two hours. my personal opinion, as you have asked me on this, this backstop we are proposing will not call into question the institutional order of the uk. we will respect that. we are just saying that on the territory of the island where two countries need to find the capacity for certain issues relating to the customs union which we need to ensure that the good friday agreement can function, we need to ensure that there is
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regulatory consistency, alignment. namely, animal health and protection against animal diseases, as an example. that is important for farmers and consumers. we are talking about geographical area, an island. you can't have two black different systems for managing animal health or protecting against animal health or protecting against animal diseases, that's just not possible. summer need to have a regulatory consistency, which is why we have focused on those subjects, those points which clearly affect the good functioning of the good friday agreement. my attitude is and
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will always be keep calm and be pragmatic. james is next. we are going to leave michel barnier for the moment. we will be back for more updates, but just to the moment. we will be back for more updates, butjust to bring you up to speed if you are justjoining updates, butjust to bring you up to speed if you arejustjoining us, thatis speed if you arejustjoining us, that is the eu's chief brexit negotiator michel barnier outlining the draft brexit treaty being published by brussels today. he has said he hopes the draft text will help to pick up the pace and speed up help to pick up the pace and speed up negotiations. he is saying that where there are not specific proposals for the uk, pragmatic solutions have been proposed. he was
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talking about the situation with the irish border as being a pragmatic solution that has been put forward currently. but there are still ready to examine other proposals from the uk as soon as you put forward. let's go straight to norman smith in westminster with more reaction. nine thank you. theresa may's response to that package, we will get that in pmqs. it is in part likely to be framed by the response from the dup. i'm joined by nigel dodds. what is your initial take? is the initial reaction is one of amazement that the eu thinks that these kind of propositions on the northern ireland border issue could possibly fly with either us or the british government. quite frankly, they are in some ways
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quite offensive in terms of the propositions being put forward. sources in downing street are clear the government will be robust in their response and i expect the pm to confirm that in question soon. borisjohnson suggested this morning he thought the argument over the border was being used as a device to keep britain in the customs union and therefore in effect in the eu. keep britain in the customs union and therefore in effect in the eui think there is a lot of truth to that. is we want a frictionless border and we want to preserve the peace process. but they are using this to mould a particular outcome on brexit. the fact of the matter is we cannot have a frictionless open border between northern ireland and the republic of ireland without having to see in the customs union. but what the eu is proposing a hard
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border between northern ireland and the rest of the uk. if this is not accepted, are not inevitably heading towards some sort of hard border? this is an opening draft position from the task force. this has to go to member states. clearly the british government will find this unacceptable, just as they found a punishment clause to be unacceptable and it was dropped. i expect there to be movement on all of this because ultimately what matters is that in october we get to a position ofan that in october we get to a position of an overall uk eu trade deal and in that context we sought the northern ireland border. the british government appears to have given ground over the divorce bill and the timetable, how confident are you you will not be sold out? very confident
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because we didn't leave the eu to oversee the break—up of the united kingdom. it would be catastrophic economically never mind politically for northern ireland to be cut off from the rest of the uk. is theresa may were to give ground, would your party withdrawal support for this government? i have no doubt that theresa may and the conservative party will stand full square behind the union. thank you for your time. i'm sure we will get more of this in prime minister's questions. two of nigel dodds's colleagues have questions. more on this within half an hour. thank you. there were also be an urgent question from labour on
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this issue immediately after prime minister's questions. two big names on the british high street have claws. let's get the details. news that both maplin and toys r us are in administration. administrators say they will begin an orderly wind down of the uk's biggest toy retailer following a failure to find a buyer. they have said they will sell off stock but shops remain open. they have urged customers to use outstanding gift cards or voters as soon as customers to use outstanding gift cards or voters as soon as possible. is let's start with toys "r" us.
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today, final sad confirmation it is closing. this is the cost of complacency. it would be very easy to blame amazon for the troubles at toys r us, but the fact is there are problems were largely self inflicted. the overlooked the importance of online. because they we re importance of online. because they were so importance of online. because they were so burdened by debt for the past seven years, they neglected to invest in their stores. it really short to shoppers. toy shops should be an almost magical experience. but a lot of shoppers left is toys r us feeling quite underwhelmed. we knew about the growth of online. something like a toy, you might want to play with it, but it is pretty big so you either need a car, so a lot of people order online and get it sent to the house. absolutely.
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the fees competitive threats on all fronts. 0nline and amazon. within the next couple of years, amazon is expected to be the largest toy retailer here in the uk. more and more consumers are recognising the convenience of buying toys, which is quite a brand led market so easier to buy online. toys r us were also fleeting threats from discount chains such as beer and m and home bargains which have aggressively extended over the last few years. also smiths and the entertainer have done well with providing shoppers with an exciting and compelling in—store experience. with an exciting and compelling in-store experience. let's talk about maplin. news this morning they are in administration. why?” about maplin. news this morning they are in administration. why? i think it was a victim of the amazon effect. it was one of the first
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category is to shift online. in some ways, i'm surprised maplin has lasted as long as it has. its performance has deteriorated over the years. we have tried to change their business model slightly and focus more on the connected home, but they face competition from john lewis and dixons. like toys "r" us, they were a retailer very much dependent on an outdated business model. thank you, as always. just some confirmation, if you have gift vouchers for either firm use them quickly. for now, they will honour them, but creditors will start lining up. stores will remain open run as a going concern, but we will start to see closing down sales,
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specifically at toys r us. more on that later. nine thank you. it is a busy day. business news, the draft brexit treaty, also prime minister's questions. and snow is affecting lots of us, so let's get the latest on that. we are inextricably linked to the continent meteorologically. 0ver we are inextricably linked to the continent meteorologically. over the next 2a hours, we have heard about amber warning next 2a hours, we have heard about amberwarning is, next 2a hours, we have heard about amber warning is, but next 2a hours, we have heard about amberwarning is, but through next 2a hours, we have heard about amber warning is, but through the heart of scotland the met office in the last hour have gone red. that means don't travel, it is life—threatening stuff out there. please take heed of that. really treacherous driving conditions. temperatures really struggling today. ad in the strength of the wind, the middle part of the week
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was always going to be brittle. please bear that in mind if you think you have to step outside your door. as if that wasn't enough, tomorrow we are looking at the south—western quarter because this isa south—western quarter because this is a new area of snow to affect wales and much of the of britain. this is bbc news, and these are the top stories developing at midday. cold weather intensifies across the uk, with heavy snow causing further disruption. hazardous conditions result in stranded motorists and crashes. there are delays and cancellations to train services and flights. hundreds of schools are closed. the publishers of the proposal document proposing a solution for the republic of ireland solutions cannot be further the post—president border. the agreement must also
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contain a solution to avoid a hard border and protect the good friday agreement in all its directions. this is a joint commitment in the uk and eu. brexit is expected to come up and eu. brexit is expected to come up at prime minister's questions, this is the scene at the house of commons. we will bring you queues soon as commons. we will bring you queues soon as it begins. toys r us goes bust putting more than three thousand jobs at risk, while maplin's collapse threatens another two and a half thousand workers. good afternoon. let's go straight to norman smith,
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prime minister's questions about to begin. norman is there waiting to hearand, norman, it begin. norman is there waiting to hear and, norman, it is clear what will dominate. it is, i think we know that mrs may is going to have to say some words about the package the european commission havejust about the package the european commission have just unveiled, about the package the european commission havejust unveiled, in particular about what is going to happen with the northern ireland border. why? because to dup mps are down on the list to ask questions, they are certain to haskell mrs may will react and they are looking for reassu ra nces will react and they are looking for reassurances that she will categorically reject the idea that northern ireland should have a separate customs arrangements with the eu. in effect putting it at one remove from the rest of the uk. but here now because i think mr may —— mrs may is coming. this morning i had meetings with
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ministerial colleagues and others. i shall have further such meetings later today. sheffield young carers asa later today. sheffield young carers as a group supporting inspirational young people who balance all the normal challenges of their young lives with the demands of caring for a parent or sibling often with acute needs. people like john, a parent or sibling often with acute needs. people likejohn, who has been caring for his mother with fibromyalgia from the age of ten or phoebe, supporting her father with mental health problems from age eight. they have practical ideas about what the government can do to make their lives easier. will the prime minister meet them and agreed to hear their proposals? i think it is absolutely right that he raises this issue. many young people are caring for their parents, sometimes for siblings as well. all too often they go unseen and unheard and certainly one of the things we are
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doing is a government is trying to ensure that we do see more opportunities and ability to identify, to assess young carers and theirfamilies identify, to assess young carers and their families and to support them and make the rights of young carers clear and i know the department of health and social care is intending to publish a plan setting out our targeted crosscurrents action on this area but i would be happy to meet with a group of young carers to hear directly from them. mr speaker... i believe in the global britain and! speaker... i believe in the global britain and i want us to trade freely with the world so can my right honourable friend explain the difference between a customs union and a customs arrangement. there seems to be some confusion. can i say to my honourable friend that he is absolutely right. we want to be able to have good trading relationships with the eu but we also want to be able to negotiate trade deals around the rest of the world with an independent trade policy and i was rather confused because i heard a speech earlier in the week which i believe was given by the labour leader on this subject, where he said he wanted
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labour to negotiate a new comprehensive customs union — that would mean we couldn't do our own trade deals — and it would betray the vote of the british people. and in about the next sentence he said he wanted a customs arrangement, meaning we could negotiate our new trade deals. that is the government's position. so what does he want to do — let down the country or agree with the government? jeremy corbyn. shouting mangrove good afternoon, mr speaker. i hope the whole house will join afternoon, mr speaker. i hope the whole house willjoin me in passing our deepest condolences to the families of those injured and who died in the explosion in leicester in the constituency of my friend the member of the leicester west. could we say thank you to all the emergency services and hospital staff who worked to save lives in that terrible situation. the prime
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minister emerged from her away day at chequers to promise a brexit of ambitious, managed divergences. could she tell the country what on earth ambitious, managed divergences will mean in practice? can i first of all say to the right honourable gentleman that i join of all say to the right honourable gentleman that ijoin him, and i'm sure the whole house, in expressing our condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives in the explosion in leicester, andi lives in the explosion in leicester, and i also agree with him that we should commend the actions and the work of the emergency services who day in, day out, do so much for all of us but in circumstances like that really showed the greatjob that they do in dealing with that issue. give them a pay rise! he asked me about the government's position on the eu. it is very simple. we want to deliver a proposal to the british
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people that will bring back control of our laws, our borders and our money. of course that is in direct contrast with the labour party's position, who want to be in a customs union, have free movement and pay whatever it takes to the eu. that would mean giving away control of our laws, our borders and our money and that would be a betrayal of the british people. . i understand the prime minister is going to make a speech about this on friday but i hope she will address the concerns of 9a% of small and medium—size businesses who say the government is ignoring their concerns about how we leave the eu. but who does she think might be better at identifying the business opportunities of the future — the confederation of british industry, the engineering employers federation and the institute of directors, or the international trade secretary?
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the right honourable gentleman talks about the views of business and talks about the views of small business. can i just talks about the views of small business. can ijust refer him to what the federation of small businesses has said about our position? the uk small business community sees the potential wins an independent global trade policy. we wa nt independent global trade policy. we want trade kept as easy as possible with the eu 27 - that want trade kept as easy as possible with the eu 27 — that is our position. small businesses are pushing to export to new growth areas, the us, english—speaking nations in emerging economies and the commonwealth. a good trading relationship with the eu and free trade deals around the rest of the world under an independent sovereign nation. the internationaltrade secretary says that business organisations and the tuc have got it all wrong, that they don't know best how to prosper or grasp opportunities. ijust best how to prosper or grasp opportunities. i just put best how to prosper or grasp opportunities. ijust put it gently
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to her, it might be they have more of a clue than he has about the interests of business, jobs and living standards. last week, the health secretary — and it is wonderful to see him here today. i assume he was speaking on behalf of the government when he said there will be areas and sectors of industry where we agree to align our regulations. he seems to know the answer, so can regulations. he seems to know the answer, so can the prime minister and lightand answer, so can the prime minister and light and the rest of us as to which sectors of the government —— which sectors of the government —— which sectors of the government —— which sectors the government wants to remain aligned and which they plan to divert? first of all, the right honourable gentleman himself has said that i am going to be making a speech on these issues later this week, so he could... just calm down! i've already set out in some detail the position that the
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government is taking. i will elaborate on that further this week. what we want to ensure it is across a variety of sectors, the issues like financial services, which are such a crucial part of our economy, that we get the relationship that means we are able to ensure we can see that trade going across the borders between the uk and the remaining eu 27 members, and that we have no hard border between northern ireland and ireland and we are committed to delivering on that. but he talks about people not having a clue. i'll tell you who hasn't got a clue. i'll tell you who hasn't got a clue about business and jobs — that isa clue about business and jobs — that is a labour party that wants to borrow 500 billion and bankrupt britain. the endless round of after—dinner speeches by the prime minister on europe does not really substitute for negotiations as to what is actually going to result from these negotiations altogether. 0ne from these negotiations altogether. one of the sector already suffering very badly is that of health and
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social care. it is highly reliant, mr speaker, on migrant workers. we depend on them for our health and the care of those that need it. isn't the prime ministerjust a little bit concerned that european union workers with vital skills are leaving britain in unprecedented numbers now? as the right honourable gentleman might have noticed from the last set of immigration figures, we actually still see more people coming into the uk from the eu than our going back to the european union. but we do have a care about the number of nurses and gps we have in the nhs. that's why we have set the highest levels of training, numbers of people in training, for both nurses and gps. it is why we have significantly increased the opportunity is not just for have significantly increased the opportunity is notjust for people coming from the eu to work in our
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national health services but actually for those people here in this country who want to work in our nhs to get those training places and do the excellentjob that we know they will do for patients in our national health service. from a government that has cut the nurse training bursary, that does not seem to understand it takes eight years to understand it takes eight years to traina to understand it takes eight years to train a doctor and completely oblivious, apparently, to the fact that there are 100,000 vacancies in the nhs now, i suggest some members get a life and go and visit a hospital and see just how hard those people work in order to cover for the vacancies that are there. surely we need to give immediate, real assurance to eu nationals that they have a future in this country. mr speaker, just three months ago the foreign secretary told the house
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with regard to northern ireland, and i quote, "there can be no hard border — that would be unthinkable". that is what he said. yet in a lea ked that is what he said. yet in a leaked letter to the prime minister, he wrote, "even if a hard border is reintroduced, we would expect to see 95% reintroduced, we would expect to see 95 % plus of goods pass". he is shouting at the moment and is obviously big thing of the border with the camden/ islington border. laughter so, mrspeaker... can laughter so, mr speaker... can the prime minister confirm that she will not renege on commitments made in phase one to keep an open border in ireland? can i say to the right honourable gentleman, he actually raced through different issues in that question so i'll address all of them. he raised the issue of rights
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for eu nationals and, of course, a key pa rt for eu nationals and, of course, a key part of the decemberjoint report that we agree with the european union was about the rights of eu citizens living here in the uk and the rights of united kingdom citizens living in the eu 27. that was an important thing to have agreed on an early stage in the negotiations. we said we'd do it and we did just that. he talks about the number of nurses. there are now 13,900 more nurses on our wards than they were under labour and while he is talking about the number of years that it takes to train doctors... he said it takes eight years to train a doctor. well, if he is worried about the number of doctors there are now, eight years ago it was the labour government deciding vote number of doctors that were going to be trained, so he could talk about that. and then... and... and just
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finally, because he referred to the position on northern ireland, the foreign secretary and i are absolutely committed to ensuring that we deliver on no hard border between northern ireland and ireland. that is the position of the uk government, it is the position of the parties in northern ireland, it is the position of the irish government and it was what we agreed in the december agreement on that drug reported talk we are all committed to ensuring there is no ha rd committed to ensuring there is no hard border between northern ireland and ireland. if that is the case, why is the private secretary in private correspondence with the prime minister, talking about doing the opposite of that which was agreed in phase one? this is a government in disarray. every time the cabinet meets, all we get is even more bizarre sound bites. remember when we had brexit means brexit? then we had red, white and
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blue brexit, which presumably appealed to the members opposite. then we had liberal brexit and now we have ambitious, managed divergences. the government is so divided, the prime minister is incapable of delivering a coherent and decisive plan for brexit. so, when is she going to put the country's interests before the outsized egos of her own cabinet? cani outsized egos of her own cabinet? can i say to the right honourable gentleman, my priorities are the priorities of the british people. yes, we are going to get brexit write and deliver a good brexit deal for them but we are also delivering the homes that the country needs so people can on their own home. we are raising standards in our schools so our kids all get a good education. we are protecting the environment for future we are protecting the environment forfuture generations. we are protecting the environment
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for future generations. that as a conservative government delivering on people's priorities and giving them optimism and hope for the future, as opposed to a labour party that would bankrupt britain, betrayed voters and drag this country down. thank you, mr speaker... mr clarke, you are getting overexcited. i was calling chris davies, the honourable gentleman behind you. thank you, mr speaker. may i start by wishing you, mr speaker, the prime minister and indeed the whole house a very happy st david's day. can i thank my right honourable friend for taking representatives of river is simple, a leader in the field of hydrogen powered automotive is and based in brecon and radnorshire on her recent successful trade visit to china.
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what is the government planning to do to help regional smes to make the most of potential trade opportunities with emerging markets once we leave the eu?|j opportunities with emerging markets once we leave the eu? i can say to him that i was very happy to take a large business delegation with me on a trip to china, including representatives of that company. it was a very good trip and very positive in terms of the connections and the deals that were agreed as a result of that trip. i can assure him that the department for international trade is working hard to support sm ease across the uk to help exporters with buyers around the world and, of course, companies in the uk can access size —— access our network and a programme of international events and i would commend the work of colleagues who are trade envoys, including my honourable friend the member for gloucester who is the trade envoys are china and who accompanied me on that trip. i am pleased to say that
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last year uk export finance provided £3 billion in support, helping 221 uk companies to sell into 63 countries. 79% of those companies we re countries. 79% of those companies were smes. in 2012, the prime minister talked about, and i quote, "a future in which scotland, wales, northern ireland and england continued to flourish in side by side as equal partners". does the prime minister still stand by this? of course i continue to stand by wanting to ensure that all parts of the uk continue to flourish. i think the uk continue to flourish. i think the best way of doing that is ensuring all parts of the uk remain in the uk. of course, mr speaker, the emphasis was on equal and we are faced with a situation that there is a power grab by westminster and it is no surprise that the scottish and welsh governments are putting forward continuity bills to stop the
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power grab by westminster. the foreign secretary's leaked letter on the irish border shows he can't get to grips with one of the most fundamental issues of brexit. the foreign secretary compared crossing the irish border to going between camden and westminster. frankly, you could not make this stuff up. this isa uk could not make this stuff up. this is a uk government that is prepared to put injeopardy is a uk government that is prepared to put in jeopardy the good friday agreement. does the prime minister agree with the bumbling foreign secretary, who was making the uk a laughing stock? can i say to the right honourable gentleman, first of all, this government is absolutely committed to the belfast agreement. indeed, we made sure that that agreement was included in the joint report that we agreed with the eu last december, so that commitment to the belfast agreement stands and we are committed to the belfast
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agreement and the institutions under the belfast agreement. he refers to this issue of devolved powers which are coming back from the eu. that was his reference. we have also given an absolute commitment to amending clause 11 and that remains unchanged. my right honourable friend the chancellor of the duchy of lancaster hasn't recently met with representatives of the vol dub illustrations. he put forward a further proposal for them which ensured that more powers are directly devolved and with the northern ireland executive and it was acknowledged that that was a significant step forward. i have to say to the right honourable gentleman, he talks about continuity bills. the proposals being put forward a re necessary bills. the proposals being put forward are necessary and would be rather more helpful if he was to concentrate on reaching an agreement in relation to the withdrawal agreement, because we want to ensure more powers are devolved to the administrations and that is what we will deliver. backin
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back in the real world, last year network rail paid out £181 million in conversation to train operating copies the cancellations and delays yet only 7a million of that was passed on to passengers. why should train operators benefit financially from failure to deliver a decent service when it's the passengers who suffer the aggravation, inconvenience and cost? what is she planning to do to make sure the money goes to the rightful place, the passenger? can i say to my honourable friend, that yes, she is right, the rail opposite dot—macro operators are compensated when there is disruption on the tracks run by network rail. compensation has happened not as a result of their doing but as a result of something network rail is doing. we do ensure there is also compensation available to those who suffer from the disruption, to the passengers who suffer from the destruction, and disruption, to the passengers who sufferfrom the destruction, and i'm pleased to say that automatic payments are available to many rail
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operators but not everybody can be automatically refunded. we are operating a delay repay scheme which means everyone regardless of the ticket i can have access to the compensation that they deserve. we wa nt to compensation that they deserve. we want to ensure that passengers do get the compensation they deserve when their journeys are get the compensation they deserve when theirjourneys are disrupted.” would ask the prime minister to reinforce her earlier comments. given the imminent publication from the eu of draft rating from december‘sjoint the eu of draft rating from december‘s joint report. will the prime minister confirmed that she will never agree to any trade borders between northern ireland and the rest of the uk? well, can i say that we continue to stand behind all the commitments mean made in december and my negotiating team will work with the commission to agree how they should be translated into legal form agree how they should be translated into legalform in agree how they should be translated into legal form in the withdrawal agreement. but he is correct, the
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d raft agreement. but he is correct, the draft would, if implement it, undermine the uk common market and threaten constitutional integrity of the uk by creating a customs and regulatory border down the irish sea. and no uk prime minister could ever agree to it. i will be making it crystal clear to jean—claude juncker and others that we will never do so. we are committed to ensuring we see no hard border between northern ireland and ireland but the december text also made clear that there should continue to be trade between northern ireland and the rest of the united kingdom, as there is today. unemployment has fallen faster in the north—east than anywhere else in our country. the next step is to put rocket boosters under the economy in tyneside would be to create a free port at the port. . can i say to my honourable
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friend that when i visited teesport, this was one of the proposals that they did put to me. i'm very happy tojoin with him in they did put to me. i'm very happy to join with him in welcoming they did put to me. i'm very happy tojoin with him in welcoming the fall in on climate we've seen in the north—east and there are a number of ways in which we are providing and ensuring we see that economic growth continuing in the north—east. that's why we are investing £126 million through the tees valley local growth deal. i know that the chancellor has confirmed recently we do remain open to ideas that could drive growth and provide benefits to the uk and its people and so we'll keep all these options under consideration. agents from the shell gas company recently posted a premium contract to my closet, alison davies, asking her to agree to a geological survey on her farm. she rejected this request when she was doorstep a few days earlier.
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does the prime minister know what it feels like to get an unsolicited letter from a group who won't take no foran letter from a group who won't take no for an answer? and will she join the welsh and scottish governments by saying no to fracking in england? shale gas extraction could be a very important part of ensuring energy security in this country. i am sure all his constituents and the constituents of others represented in this house will want to ensure the government is doing everything it can to ensure we maintain our energy security. we don't see the lights being turned off. it's obvious that there will be concerned about the draft from the eu of the withdrawal agreement. can the prime minister assure me that when she responds she'll have utmost in her mind the importance of both preserving and also strengthening the union of the uk of great britain and northern ireland? he raises an
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important point first of all, if i can reiterate the point that i made in response to an earlier question, we're very that we want to ensure that we are able to see that trading, that movement between all parts of the uk, that common single market within the uk, that all parts of the uk benefit from. we are committed to protecting and enhancing our british union of england, scotland, wales and northern ireland. the devolved administration should be fully engaged in preparations for the uk's exit. discussions have been taken from them and as i said also in response to the leader of the snp, it's our intention that the vast majority of powers returning from brussels will start off in edinburgh, cardiff and belfast. not in whitehall. we will continue to talk to devolved administrations because we also need to ensure we
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maintain the single market of the uk. last december's report, the joint report, guaranteed continuing u nfettered joint report, guaranteed continuing unfettered access for northern ireland businesses into the uk into the market. does the prime minister agreed with me that the eu appears now to be trying to cherry pick that agreement by ignoring such critical comments to our economy? can i say to the honourable gentleman that it is absolutely clear? first of all, we stand by the commitments we made in december and we are going to work, the negotiating team will be working to agree how we put that into a withdrawal text. part of that agreement was of course that we will see no hard border between northern ireland and ireland. another part was that there would be guaranteed access for northern ireland business to the uk market. as i said earlier andi to the uk market. as i said earlier and i am happy to repeat a legal text of the commission, if
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implemented, would undermine the uk common market and threaten the constitutional integrity of the uk by creating a customs and regulatory border down the irish sea. no uk prime minister could ever agree to it and prime minister could ever agree to itandi prime minister could ever agree to it and i will be making that absolutely clear. can i welcome the prime minister's very firm reaffirmation of her commitment to the good friday agreement and the open border, and to the december agreement she made on the withdrawal terms, which included, if necessary, full regulatory convergence on both sides of the border. does she accept that means, if necessary, that with full regulatory convergence between the uk and the european union? can i perhaps at this stage, prior to my speech and freddie, referred him —— on friday, to the speech i made in florence last year which set out
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that we recognise the rest areas we will have the same objectives as the u and we want to achieve those objectives in the same way. there will be other areas we want to achieve objectives by different means and there will be other areas where our objectives will differ. what matters is that it is this united kingdom that will be able to ta ke united kingdom that will be able to take the decisions about the rules it applies. my constituency roads are ina it applies. my constituency roads are in a terrible state of repair. in all my life i've never seen such a mess. small potholes are being left by lancashire county council to become big potholes. in several cases, these emerge to become trenches —— these are emerging. it is dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists take their life in their hands, motorists damage their cars or swerve to avoid them. does the prime minister agree with me that
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this is an unacceptable state of affairs and not least because of the failure... order! sit down. this is very discourteous. the remainder of the honourable lady's question will be heard. it's as simple and unarguable as that. the honourable lady will be heard on her feet and that's the end of the matter. thank you. does the prime minister agree that this is an unacceptable state of affairs, not least because the failure to put one stitch in time is a leading to far more expensive repairs? can i say... can i say to the honourable lady that we all recognise the issue of potholes and the important issue will stop it is why my honourable friend the member for northampton north actually is this a while back and we put more money into the issue of dealing with
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potholes as a government. she talks about a stitch in time, i'm afraid i won't take any of that from a labour party that when in government failed to mend the roof while the sun was shining! next week we celebrate international women's day. celebrating the achievements of women globally. with a record of action on the gender pay gap, with more women in work, and more childcare to help them, doesn't the prime minister agree with me that it's the conservatives while in government with two female prime ministers that i really delivering for women? can i say to my honourable friend but she's absolutely right? i'm happy tojoin her in celebrating international women's day because i want girls who are growing up today to know that they can achieve anything they want. how far they go is about them and their abilities and their
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willingness to work hard. we do see female employment at a joint record high. there are 1.2 million women led businesses now, the highest since records began. the gender pay gap is at a record low for full—time employment. that is a conservative party in government that is delivering for women. will the prime minister support the joint endeavours of 18 conservative and labour councils from yorkshire, the yorkshire cbi, the yorkshire institute of directors, the yorkshire tuc, is grazed the archbishop of york, in their efforts to getan archbishop of york, in their efforts to get an all yorkshire devolution settle m e nt to get an all yorkshire devolution settlement by 2020 with the first directly elected mayorfrom god's own county? can i say to the honourable gentleman that we are committed to devolving powers to local areas where it will deliver at local areas where it will deliver at local services and greater value for money and clear accountability. i'm pleased to say we've already agreed an ambitious devolution deal with sheffield city region which will
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bring around 1 billion of new investment to the area. i hear the enthusiasm he set forward for more devolution in yorkshire and i'm pleased to say that i believe my right honourable friend the housing secretary actually met with a group of councillors from yorkshire yesterday to discuss these very ideas. excellent to see the right honourable gentleman of bexley and sid got back in his place. james brokenshire! thank you, mr speaker. it is very good to be back. last yeari it is very good to be back. last year i had the privilege to open the quys year i had the privilege to open the guys cancer centre at queen mary ‘s hospital in sidcup in my own constituency. not knowing then how releva nt that constituency. not knowing then how relevant that might be to me! i pay tribute to the nhs and the outstanding people who work within it and my own treatment has been absolutely outstanding. but i know that early diagnosis and early
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treatment is key. and therefore, with this in mind, will my right honourable friend see that the long health check programme announced by nhs england last november is implemented —— the lung check programme is intimated as speedily as possible. will she do all she can to challenge the stigma attached to lung cancer and some of the false judgments that are made so that it receives the attention it deserves and those suffering with the disease receive the care that they need? can i say to my right honourable friend that i am absolutely delighted to see him back in his place in this house? can i also commend him for the interviews that he gave over the weekend and the way he spoke about his own experience? he's absolutely right about early diagnosis. i think the message that my right honourable
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friend gave from his experience needs to be one that we all promote around the country, which is, if there is the slightest doubt was on, if something happens that you think is potentially problematic and the sign of something, then please go to the doctor and get it checked out. there are many men particularly who think, oh, no, it's better not to, we'lljust put up with it. actually, go and get it checked out because, crucially, in cancer and in many other areas, but in cancer, like lung cancer, if that early diagnosis and early action can be taken, it means an enormous difference to the patient. i can assure him that we are looking very carefully and monitoring the effectiveness particularly of scanning of high—risk groups, and we'll be looking carefully at the results of that. as he says, we need to ensure we get rid of the stigma of lung cancer and that anybody who has the slightest suspicion of a problem actually goes to the doctor, get them self checked out and gets the treatment they need. for many young
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people in the north—east, employment is precarious and low paid. since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, youth unemployment in gateshead, my constituency, has remained stubbornly constant, while apprenticeship recruitment has declined by 35%. having a plan to develop a plan is not good enough. what does the prime minister actually want to do to resolve the problem of youth unemployment in the north—east of england ? problem of youth unemployment in the north-east of england? as i heard earlierfrom my north-east of england? as i heard earlier from my honourable friend for middlesbrough, actually what we have seen overall in the north—east is unemployment overall in the north—east has fallen faster than in many other parts of the country and thatis many other parts of the country and that is something to be welcomed. we do need to ensure we are seeing the intended outcome of the apprenticeship levy, more opportunities for young people actually been put into practice and i'm sure that my honourable friend
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who is responsible for the apprenticeship issue will take up the particular reference that he's made to the apprenticeships in the north—east. made to the apprenticeships in the north-east. last sunday, we celebrated the achievements of chichester born astronaut tim peake by honouring him with the freedom of the city. will the prime minister join me in congratulating tim and give assurances that our significant investment in the european space agency, eu space programmes and research, will continue as we leave the european union? can i say to my honourable friend that this is an important issue? i was very pleased, one of the best receptions i hosted when i became prime minister was tim peake. and to see the enormous enthusiasm he generated among young people for space and science. the joint report we agreed with the eu in december made clear that through the multi—annual financial framework, we'll continue to participate in programmes funded by
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that and that includes space, but will also discuss with the eu how we can build on our successful cooperation on space as negotiations proceed. she will have seen some important developments including legislation in this house that will enable us to take a real forward position in relation to space in the future. the prime minister will be aware that the huge new midland metropolitan hospital is currently halted by the karelian collapse. it's already two thirds finished and the longer the restart on work is delayed the more the ultimate costs will rise. 0nly delayed the more the ultimate costs will rise. only this week, more project management staff were laid off. will the prime minister commit to getting this site back to work, instruct her ministers, especially in health of the treasury, to get the work rolling again next month and complete this much needed hospital? i understand that over 8000 karelian workers have had their
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jobs safeguarded but of course that is no comfort to those who have found themselves redundant and the families of those who have been made redundant. he raised the issue about the hospital. the department for health and social care and nhs improvement are working with the trust and the pfi company so that work can recommence as soon as possible. will my right honourable friend agreed that is behind the smiling beard of the leader of the 0pposition lies the real threat to this economy? the shadow chancellor and his hard—line marxism as mark can you reassure the country and the house that this country will put jobs, prosperity and growth before ideology? were not going to talk about beards, we'll talk about policy. we won't talk about the honourable gentleman's beard either. he is absolutely right that if we wa nt to he is absolutely right that if we want to build a strong economy with high skill, high—paid jobs for the
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future, the way to do that is not to go out borrowing hundreds of billions of pounds and bankrupting our economy. the labour party will bea our economy. the labour party will be a real threat to the economy of this country, but more than that they'd be a threat to the jobs of hard—working people they'd be a threat to the jobs of ha rd—working people up they'd be a threat to the jobs of hard—working people up and down the country. this week is the seventh anniversary of the 2011 referendum in wales, where the people of my country overwhelmingly supported full legislative solemn whoa sovereignty of devolved lizzie. despite concessions in this week's speech by the de facto deputy prime minister the de facto deputy prime minister the withdrawal bill will drive a sledgehammer through the welsh constitution and it isn't it the reality that under her plans for brexit britannia wales would be ruled togo, a vassal country? —— a ruled togo, a vassal country? —— a rule taker. he is wrong about what we're proposing in relation to the devolved administrations. we will be
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devolving far more powers to the devolved administrations. this is something the government has done only recently. in the wales that we have seen new only recently. in the wales that we have seen new powers only recently. in the wales that we have seen new powers being devolved to welsh government. we are absolutely clear that we want to see the vast majority of powers returning from brussels, starting off in edinburgh, cardiff and belfast, not on whitehall. but we are also clear that where powers are related to the uk as a whole, it makes sense for us to ensure that rules continue to apply across the whole of the uk in the same way. to celebrate world budai tomorrow, would the prime ministerjoin me in helping share a story of child literacy campaign to make reading for ten minutes with a child as much a part of a day as eating fruit and veg? i am very happy to join her in welcoming that campaign and to mark world but die which is the day to
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enjoy and celebrate reading. as a child i very much enjoyed reading and this idea of trying to make sure we see ten minutes of reading every day with a child becoming a natural habit for everybody is extremely important and habit for everybody is extremely importantandi habit for everybody is extremely important and i would certainly support that. sunday's explosion in leicester has been a terrible shock to the local community. i know all of our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives and those that have been injured. i thank the prime minister and the leader of the opposition for praising our incredible emergency services, who are continuing to work in extremely difficult circumstances. will the prime minister also pay tribute to our local residents, who have pulled together to support one another, showing great strength and courage, and will she make sure we get all the support we need to get to the bottom of what's happened and to
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help my constituents but their lives back together again? can i say to the honourable lady, but as both i and the leader of the opposition said earlier, we express our condolences to the family and friends of those who were sadly killed in this tragedy but also we recognise the impact it has all the local community and i am very happy to pay tribute to local residents who have shown that, i think, the real value of community in the way they have come together on this and i assure her everything will be done to get to the bottom of why this happened and to ensure, as far as possible, depending on the cause, but it would not happen to anybody again. mr speaker, last year i attended a meeting the house of lords organised by wonderful crossbench peer and human rights campaigner baroness cox, in which three very brave woman told us their harrowing tales of how they have been treated and discriminated against by sharia councils. it is
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amazing how noisy feminists in this place are so quiet about this issue when women are being discriminated against so blatantly in this country. isn't it time this alternative discriminatory form of justice was no longer tolerated in this country? can i say to my honourable friend that we are very clear that there is one rule of law in the united kingdom and that is british law. but he is right and i myself have also heard stories from individual women who have been discriminated, felt they have been discriminated, felt they have been discriminated and treated badly as a result of decisions by sharia courts. that's why when i was home secretary i set up the review into sharia courts and that is a review which i believe has recently published its report and the home secretary will be responding to that shortly. victims... sorry, organisations working with the victims of modern slavery bill
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report that tomorrow the government's cutting their miserable daily living allowance. will the prime minister stop that cut? can i say to the right honourable gentleman... first of all can i commend him for the interest and work he has done in the interests of modern slavery bill human trafficking and all our efforts to stop this terrible, horrendous crime that takes place. our benefits system is there to provide a safety net for people. we have been putting changes in place to make sure we give more help to those who need it most. in relation to the specific issue he has raised, i'm not aware of the details but i know my right honourable friend the secretary of state for work and pensions will wa nt to state for work and pensions will want to look of the specific issue he has raised. a free independent press is vital to our country. does she share my concerns about the links max mosley has with impress and some of our leading politicians? cani
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and some of our leading politicians? can i say to my honourable friend, i think some people will have been surprised to learn of those links with some leading politicians but cani with some leading politicians but can i also say to her that i absolutely, absolutely agree with her that a free press is very important. it underpins our democracy and whatever they say about us, whatever they write about us, actually, it is important that they are able to hold politicians, they are able to hold politicians, the powerful, to account and they are able to shine a light in some of the darkest corners of our society. and as far as i'm concerned, as prime minister, while i am prime minister, that will never change. edinburgh airport has recently launched its noise abatement consultation process but given that aviation is a reserved matter, will the prime minister undertake and agree that her government will undertake an investigation as to whether the level of night flights
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at edinburgh airport has now reached the same level as was reached at sta nsted the same level as was reached at stansted when the same level as was reached at sta nsted when it the same level as was reached at stansted when it was regulated? can i say to the honourable lady that i was not aware of the work that was being done at edinburgh airport but iam very being done at edinburgh airport but i am very happy to as the department for transport a look at the particular issue she has raised.” am sure the whole house would agree that the value of peace is priceless. can i ask my right honourable friend to confirm her support for and, indeed, the good friday agreement is safe in her hands? my honourable friend has raised an important point and i should recognise that, of course, this april will mark the 20th anniversary of the historic belfast agreement and that agreement has been fundamental, together with its successors, in helping northern ireland move forward to from its troubled past to a brighter future. ican
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troubled past to a brighter future. i can assure my honourable friend that this government remains absolutely committed to the belfast agreement. 0uragreement to absolutely committed to the belfast agreement. 0ur agreement to that —— our commitment to that agreement is steadfast. well, that is the end of prime minister's questions. we're expecting an urgent question on the situation in northern ireland. we will cross back to the chamber when that happens. dup mps wanted her to very firmly kick into the long grass and rejects ideas from the eu regarding the border in northern ireland. she said it would threaten the common market of the uk by
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creating a new border between northern ireland and the rest of the uk. she said she would make her views crystal clear to michel barnier and jean—claude juncker. it basically levers in a stand—off between the british government and the european commission and the only way out of this to be either for british lawyers and your lawyers to find some sort of phage, it's getting very late in the day for phage. 0rfour eu countries to getting very late in the day for phage. 0r four eu countries to tone down the stance of the european commission, in other words for the heads of government to take some of the edges of this package. but let's go back to the commons now because emily thornberry is asking that urgent question on the eu's proposals. consistent in its commitments to northern ireland as the united kingdom leaves the european union. first, we will never accept any
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solutions that threaten the economic or constitutional integrity of the united kingdom. second, we will not accept a hard border between northern ireland and ireland which will reserves the considerable progress of the political process over the recent decades. that is consistent with the prime minister's article 50 letter through to our paper published last summer and the prime minister's florence speech at last autumn. most recently, the government enshrined both of these commitments quite clearly in the joint report we agreed with the european union in december. i preserve our commitment to preserving the integrity of our internal markets with northern ireland. it also guaranteed an avoidance of a hard border between northern ireland and ireland including any checks and controls. these agreements were approved
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collectively by the entire cabinet. those commitments have not changed nor will they. thank you, mr speaker, for granting the urgent question. i am always pleased to hear from the question. i am always pleased to hearfrom the minister of question. i am always pleased to hear from the minister of state, i have to say it is an absolute disgrace and a huge discourtesy to this house that the foreign secretary is not hear himself to a nswer secretary is not hear himself to answer the questions of his memo. especially as we saw him in london a few hours agojogging in especially as we saw him in london a few hours ago jogging in the snow and answering questions from the media. if he can answer their questions he really should be prepared to answer ours. what is he afraid of? perhaps it is this, these questions go to the very heart of his credibility and the credibility of previous statements that he is made in this house. on november the zist i made in this house. on november the 21st i asked the foreign secretary at this dispatch box whether he
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stood by the statements he made in frippery 2016 that a vote for brexit would lead the border arrangements in northern ireland absolutely unchanged. that is what he told the house just three months ago. i repeat exactly that pledge. there can be no return to a hard border, that would be unthinkable. it would be economic and political madness. everybody understands the ramifications of allowing such a thing to happen. but last night, mr speaker, despite the clear a big statement from the foreign secretary, we discovered his private memo to the prime minister on the same subjects. and on that, he wrote, it is wrong to see the task as maintaining no border. the government ‘s task, he said, is to stop the border becoming significantly harder, but even if, he wrote, a hard border is reintroduced, we would expect to see
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95% plus of goods past the border without checks. so let us be clear what this memo reveals. contrary to the foreign secretary ‘s previous statements, he except that there will have to be changes to the current border arrangements. he accepts that there will need to be border controls that do not exist at present. the only debate is their degree of hardness. but surely the foreign secretary has learned by now that you cannot just foreign secretary has learned by now that you cannotjust be a little bit pregnant. either there is a border or there is not. so my first question for the minister is this, the foreign secretary told this house that there would be no new border arrangements and no changes to the status quo but this memo says the exact opposite. so which is the truth? what the foreign secretary said three months ago in public what he said three weeks ago in private? now, the foreign secretary has already said what we have heard so
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many times on this issue, that there is some magical, technical solution which will allow goods to be checks, smuggling to be prevented and points of origin proved as easily as paying the congestion charge. but here is the congestion charge. but here is the truly magical parts, without even the installation of cameras. and as i pressed the foreign secretary repeatedly to tell us how on earth is this possible? or is it just another addition to his ever growing list of fantasy from boris island to the channel bridge. i welcome the fact that the foreign secretary has already promised the media to his leaked memo in full and i hope that will provide some a nswe rs i hope that will provide some answers but can i ask the minister now for the benefit of this house and so that's my colleagues can question him on his answer to spell out in detail how this proposed invisible border will actually work in practice? because if he cannot
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provide that the tell, mr speaker, we are left with the conclusion that all of us on this side and increasing number on his side accept that the only way to avoid a hard border in northern ireland is by staying in a customs union. the fact is the government knows that. we are extremely grateful to the shadow foreign secretary but she has now exceeded her time. we foreign secretary but she has now exceeded hertime. we must foreign secretary but she has now exceeded her time. we must leave it there. i have one further sentence andi there. i have one further sentence and i am done. well, very well. or that! i will be the judge of these matters. i'm grateful to you for your offer we're leaving the house of commons. much more on that story coming up on the 1pm news in a moment. first, let's catch up on the weather.
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it is quite treacherous for many trying to get from a to b. it is hideous for trying to travel anywhere. amber weather warnings are in force for much of the eastern half of the uk. in the last few hours, i read warning has been issued over the central belt of scotland. that means do not go out u nless scotland. that means do not go out unless at all necessary. relentless snow showers piling on, blizzard like conditions and quite dangerous out there. we cannot stress that enough. further south, snow showers through the evening will continue to feed in off the north sea. we could see a further ten — 20 centimetres of snow running down through northern england. some icy stretches
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around first thing. moving into thursday, we still have weather warnings in force for relentless snow showers over the far north and east. at the same time, we start to see potential for snow developing into the south—west. a bitterly cold day. factoring in the strength of the biting wind, it really will feel freezing. through thursday afternoon and evening, things will start to get quite interesting with his vigorous area of low pressure moving up vigorous area of low pressure moving up from france. it will bring some snow over northern ireland in particular. we could see the slow turning to rain which could freeze. it is worth bearing in mind it will be pretty difficult during the early hours of friday morning across the south—west and eventually into northern ireland. you need to keep abreast of the weather forecast
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because this area of low pressure will continue to track its way steadily northwards during the day on friday. that could be a little change as to exactly where this noble lie. keep abreast of the forecast. further north, slightly quieter, still a few scatterings of showers. still feeling bitterly cold. take care out there. severe weather across the uk causes widespread disruption. warnings in scotland are raised to the highest level, red, meaning there is a threat to life. more than 1,000 schools are closed, roads are blocked, trains are cancelled and airports are affected. the area covered by the warnings stretches from the south east to the far north and there is much more snow to come. yes, hearing thornton—le—dale on the
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edge of the north york moors, they have had plenty of snow over the last 2a hours. more is expected tonight, as the beast from the east continues to bite. we'll bring you the latest from around the country. also this lunchtime... the prime minister rejects proposals on northern ireland setup by the eu in the first draft of the brexit treaty.
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