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tv   Thursday in Parliament  BBC News  January 18, 2019 2:30am-3:00am GMT

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the latest headlines: prince philip, the duke of edinburgh, has been involved ina carcrash, but was unhurt. it happened near queen elizabeth's sandringham estate. buckingham palace said prince philip was driving a land rover and that the vehicle landed on its side. two other women involved suffered minor injuries. a senior north korean negotiator has arrived in the united states, as the two sides try to arrange a second summit between kim jong—un and donald trump. south korean reports say kim yong—chol is carrying a letter from the north korean leader to mr trump. thousands have been demonstrating in the sudanese capital khartoum, demanding the resignation of president omar al—bashir. the president insisted the month—long protests would not lead to a change in government. two people — a child and a doctor — are reported killed. it's about 2:30am. you're up to date.
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hello and welcome to thursday in parliament. in this programme, hundreds ofjobs at risk as the plug is pulled on a major energy project. if we cannot trust the chinese with optical fibre technology, are we really going to put all our eggs in the chinese basket on nuclear technology? the government shrugs off this week's record parliamentary defeat. like monty python's black knight — armless and legless — it fights on, prepared to bite the nation into submission! and is winnie the pooh the way to break the brexit deadlock? if the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient.
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it may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear. all that to come and more. but first, hitachi has announced it will suspend work on a multi—billion pound nuclear project in the uk because of rising costs. the decision puts thousands ofjobs at risk if the wylfa newydd power plant on anglesey in north wales is scrapped. the japanese firm had been in talks with the uk government sincejune about funding for the project, which was being built by its horizon subsidiary. hitachi said it would also suspend work on another site, in oldbury in gloucestershire, "until a solution can be found." about 9,000 workers had been expected to be involved in building the two reactors, which were due to be operational by the mid—2020s. in a statement to mps, the business secretary outlined the government's offer on wylfa. firstly, the government was willing to consider taking a one—third equity stake in the project, alongside investments from hitachi and government ofjapan agencies
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and other strategic partners. —— investment. secondly, the government was willing to consider providing all of the required debt financing to complete construction. thirdly, the government agreed to consider providing a contract for difference to the project, with a strike price expected to be no more than £75 per megawatt hour. i hope the house would agree that this is a significant and generous package of potential support, that goes beyond what any government has been willing to consider in the past. despite this potential investment and strong support from the government ofjapan, hitachi have reached the view that the project still posed too great a commercial challenge, particularly given their desire to de—consolidate the project from their balance sheet and the likely level of return on their investment. mr speaker, i understand the disappointment that the dedicated and expert staff at wylfa and at 0ldbury will feel as a result of today's announcement by hitachi. new commercial nuclear investments around the world are experiencing the same challenges as new sources of power become cheaper
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and more abundant. nuclear has an important role to play as part of a diverse energy mix, but it must be at a price that is fair to electricity billpayers and to taxpayers. i think he has to recognise now that the government's nuclear strategy — adopted by the conservatives and spearheaded by their liberal democrat coalition partners in 2013 — is now in complete meltdown. the government certainly have reacted far too slowly to ongoing concerns from nuclear partners, like hitachi's uk nuclear arm horizon, who have been raising concerns over funding mechanisms since purchasing the project from rwe back in 2012. today's decision to withdraw from the wylfa nuclear power plant lays a significant blow upon our economy. given the decision by hitachi, given the decision that was also taken about more sites, and in fact, the failure
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of a whole swathe ofjapanese—based nuclear projects around the world, does it not call into question whether the days of relying on mammoth sized nuclear power stations that make huge demands of taxpayers's cash are really over, and whether we should not be putting more energy into looking at smaller nuclear reactor technology? i'm grateful to my right honourable friend. he is right that the potential for small modular reactors is significant. in the nuclear sector deal that we agreed with the sector and published last year, we have a substantial commitment to small modular reactors, and many of them would be deployable on the sites of existing and some recently decommissioned nuclear sites. a lot of work has gone into this, as he rightly acknowledged. years of it. ten years of hard work and planning, started off under the labour government, followed by the coalition government, and indeed, the current government.
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this is the best site, mr speaker, in the united kingdom for nuclear. —— for nuclear new build. 400 jobs today are at risk due to the announcement by hitachi. many of them are my local constituents. and there's a potential here for some 8—10,000 construction jobs, hundreds of operationaljobs, and importantly, 33 apprenticeships that are ongoing. this announcement, although it has been widely anticipated, will be greeted with dismay in north wales, where wylfa was — and remains — an important part of the vision for the future of the north wales economy, as expressed in the north wales growth bid. this statement confirms the uk government's nuclear programme's in absolute tatters. and yet, the secretary comes to the house and commends this statement and says they'll carry on regardless, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. so what does the secretary of state blame most for this setback to his nuclear strategy? is it renewables becoming much cheaper than nuclear? or is it japan's fears about brexit? or something else?
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i'm disappointed in the honourable gentlemen. as a former secretary of state knows, and i think i set our pretty clearly, the changing economics of the energy market. and i would have thought that he would know that. in the lords, a minister said the projects were "long—term", and there was plenty of time for the markets to respond. but a labour peer thought that was complacent. in the 1950s, our nation led the world in nuclear power generation. and decisions by successive governments, of all hues, have got us in the position today where we cannot even construct a large civil nuclear reactor. this is the second major blow to the long—term strategy of electricity supply here in the united kingdom. and as my noble friend, lord west, has pointed out, we are in a situation where we cannot deliver this if we cannot trust the chinese with optical fibre technology,
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are we really going to put all our eggs in the chinese basket on nuclear technology? my lords, as i said, this announcement is not a welcome announcement. i would have preferred to have more time to have debated it in a proper and timely manner. nevertheless, we remain committed to nuclear power. the noble lord will remember our nuclear sector deal. we will look to see what we can do. we still have a great deal of expertise in this country, and i think, my lords, we can work on that. the energy minister, lord henley. a date for your diary now. and the leader of the commons has confirmed there'll be a statement from the government on what next for brexit on monday, with mps voting on that statement at the end of the month. earlier this week, theresa may's plan for leaving the eu was defeated by 230 votes, forcing ministers to begin talks with other parties on how to break the deadlock.
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making a speech in hastings at the start of the day, jeremy corbyn dismissed the offer of talks as "a stunt". but other mps have been in and out of whitehall all day, setting out their red lines and trying to find a brexit solution. many have been demanding that no—deal is ruled out. andrea leadsom set out what would happen now. i can confirm to the house that a statement and a motion on the government's next steps, under section 13 of the eu withdrawal act, will be tabled on monday. a full day's debate on the motion will take place on tuesday, the 29th of january, subject to the agreement of the house. yes, the people have voted, but it is ourjob as elected representatives to look at the evidence of the impact on the country, and not rely on the campaign rhetoric which we now know to be based on falsehoods. we must rely on the
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evidence and the facts. so can the leader of the house confirm whether she will move the business motion to extend article 50 in time? i know friends of the leader have said she might resign if she had to do that. she says that the people have spoken, and she's absolutely right. the people did speak. she then suggests somehow that it's up to members of parliament to decide then what we do in response. i would slightly disagree with her there. i think the people have spoken, and it is ourjob to fulfil, in line with the requirements of the people. this house is a servant of the people of this country, the entire united kingdom. amazingly, this is a government that treats the biggest defeat in parliamentary history as a mere flesh wound. like monty python's black knight — armless and legless — it fights on, prepared to bite the nation into submission! and similarly, delusionally, it fights on as if nothing has
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happened. the red lines remain in place, there is no sense that other options are being seriously considered, and the government still believes that a little bit of tinkering around the edges of the deal will be enough to make everything all right. can i ask my right honourable friend whether we can have an early debate on collective cabinet responsibility and what it means in current circumstances? and will my right honourable friend undertake to lead that debate so that she can explain to the house the frustration, which we all feel on her behalf, at having the 2017 conservative party manifesto — which she supports, on the today programme, for example, this week — undermined by treacherous comments by her own cabinet colleagues? well, my honourable friend is really tempting me, but i can resist. all of my cabinet colleagues
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are absolutely in agreement that we will deliver on the will of the people, as expressed in the referendum. a labourformer leader of the house reckoned the government could put forward a series of votes to indicate what there was a majority for. it is within the gift, within the remit of the government itself, using its access to the order paper, to facilitate exploration of where the will of the house lies. and can i strongly urge the honourable lady to consider and to explore, in consultation with colleagues, ways in which the government might do that, to facilitate the house in expressing its wishes? the prime minister says she wants it to do and come to a decision, rather than — as perhaps inadvertently happened in the past — almost obstructing the expression of the will of the house? i'm grateful to the right honourable lady for her suggestion. she will equally appreciate that
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when in — under her government, indicative voting was attempted with regards to house of lords reform, it didn't come out with a clear solution. and that, of course, is the other side of the argument. but nevertheless, i'm grateful to herfor her remarks and suggestions. andrea leadsom. more from her later. you're watching thursday in parliament with me, david cornock. still to come — a row over baby leave for mps. now, those brexit talks meant michael gove was unable to answer mps's questions in hisjob as environment secretary. his deputy, david rutley, found himself rather busy facing questions about the government's plans and what brexit will mean for the environment, food and farming, especially if britain leaves the eu without a deal. i give apologies from the secretary of state this morning that he won't be attending this meeting, because he is attending vital cross party meetings in downing street...
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yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. which i am sure members across this house will understand are vitally important at this stage. i should just advise the house that the secretary of state, in keeping with his usual courtesy, did inform me last night of his intended absence. i shall greatly miss him, but we look forward to seeing the fellow again before too long. i'm not sure the house does understand it, mr speaker. defra questions are only half an hour long. surely these meetings could have been delayed just for 30 minutes. my question to the minister is will defra be 100% ready in the event of us having to leave with no deal? the department is working flat out to prepare for no deal. we are, as the house knows, bringing on onshoring, environment, agriculture and fisheries policy 55 major projects, 120 si's and we have recruited... will be recruiting around 2,700 officials to ensure that we are well prepared in a no—deal scenario. mr speaker, we know that householders are stockpiling food
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and businesses are spending money they can ill afford — as is his department, — on a no—deal brexit that would harm the food industry, farming industry and of course the chemicals industry, which his department regulates. in a phone call on tuesday night the chancellor said that a no deal brexit would be ruled out and off the table by th end of the next week. does the minister agree? the best way to avoid a no deal is by agreeing a deal, and that is why we are working constructively... the house made its views clear on what the government's proposed deal was, and now we are working constructively with major parties across the house to get a deal in place. i am just disappointed that the leader of the opposition did not turn up to do that, and has not even agreed with the advice of former
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prime minister tony blair. six parties in this house, the prime minister met with three of them last night, the labour front benches are meeting with her, so i suppose we can work out who the secretary of state must be meeting with. but he told me last week that he thinks other european countries will be looking enviously at the prime minister's deal. is that still the government's position, and if it is, is it not concerned that it threatens the entire european project because everyone will want this glorious new future that britain is going to have? well, the eu has its own challenges, which it's no doubt seeking to take forward. can the minister confirm and lay to rest some of the buy and scare stories that are emanating over the last few months about under a certain basis if we leave the eu there will be a diminution in terms of standard of care for animals, and that whatever the circumstances are after march 29th, we will retain the highest possible standard? he makes a good point, and i can assure him that is the case. we'll make sure the existing regulations come over,
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and we will maintain those high standards. without a deal, scottish farmers could soon face tariffs of 30% on dairy products and 46% on lamb, which would make them uncompetitive and damage scotland's food and drink industry. i would like to have asked the perhaps future prime minister to rule out a no deal, but will the minister do it? i can assure the honourable member that i am not the future prime minister. that will not happen. she does not have to worry about that. the far too modest david rutley. now, staying with brexit — this time in the lords. peers focused on the possible effects of leaving the eu on the stability of the united kingdom, as a union of england, scotland, wales and northern ireland. the debate was led by the former clerk of the commons, lord lisvane. he set out the "main hazards" of leaving the eu: first, the brexit process itself, bearing in mind that
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in the referendum two of the constituent parts of the uk voted differently from the other two, and differently from the overall result. second, the repatriation of powers will be contentious. central government will want to protect the uk—wide single market by retaining substantial powers in london, but edinburgh, cardiff and belfast will not see it like that. and the repatriation process will, i think, take longer than anyone at the moment predicts, which is not going to help. the real danger is that we put into reverse all the gains we have had in terms of autonomy and identity and assuming responsibility under developing multilateral cultural links, and we get sucked back into the vortex of a unified, centralised british state. to every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. that, more than any other single factor, is what will drive the movement towards greater independence in wales and scotland, if that is what happens.
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a former top diplomat warned... if even a part of these admittedly gloomy predictions is borne out, our union is in for a rough ride in a post—brexit world. would it not be more sensible and more honest to recognise now that continued membership of the eu is far more likely to consolidate the unity of the united kingdom than is leaving the eu, and then to give all four nations, which make up that united kingdom a say on whether or not to accept the deal the prime minister has negotiated or whether to remain in the eu? my lords, i have family both north and south of the irish border. my family, including all who have served in this house and in the other place have long been liberal unionists, so i am not tempted to support the dup and least of all some aspects of their policies, but i know in my bones what loss of peace and good order would mean. for the first time in modern history, the conservative party has stopped being conservative,
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and has in fact becomes the revolutionary party which is seeking to undermine the entire fabric of our existing constitutional settlement with an impact which will go well beyond brexit as noble lords have said in their earlier contributions, will probably threaten the union with northern ireland and possibly in due course the union with scotland, too. it is perfectly conceivable, my lords, if brexit proceeds england will be a single, unitary state within the lifetime of many of us here at present, which of course would make sense for the sofocle, because it is an expression of extreme form of english nationalism, which we have not seen in recent history. my lords, in the turbulence of the current political situation, it is easy to lose sight of the background to this debate. the bonds between our nations exist not only because we share values and histories, but because time and again we have shown what we can achieve more when we operate together.
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that is why we believe in the union, why it will continue to govern in the interests of every part of it. lord young also congratulated peers on the tone of their debate: your lordships house has debated these issues today calmly and constructively in contrast to the excitable atmosphere in another place. another place being the house of commons, where the speaker accused government whips of blocking proposals to allow mps on maternity leave to vote by proxy. john bercow said there had been a "lamentable failure of leadership" to introduce changes to allow a colleague to vote on behalf of an absent mp. on tuesday, the heavily pregnant labour mp tulip siddiq voted in a wheelchair. she postponed her caesarian section to enable her to vote against the government's brexit deal. a fellow labour mp said she was shocked and ashamed by what happened. so, ijust wanted to ask the leader of the house, because we will now be having a series of other very important
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votes, when will we actually see the proposal around proxy voting implemented so members are not put in that position ever again? i myself am extremely concerned about the honourable lady's welfare, and wish her all health and happiness with her new baby, and i do personally wish that she would follow the advice of her doctors, and i genuinely do not believe that any of her constituents would possibly require her to turn up here in a wheelchair when it was perfectly possible for her to have received what is the normal arrangement in this place for people with conditions... it would of course be intolerable, literally intolerable, if, for example, a whips office, because of its own opposition to such a change were to frustrate the will of the house. that simply cannot happen, and i very much doubt members will be tolerant of it for any length of time. the house has spoken,
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and change must happen. it is a lamentable failure of leadership thus far that it has not done so. there is no otherjob anywhere where you would be asked and put in the position where you have to choose to come to your work the day before you give birth, or to delay the birth of your child. and i am sorry, but i am fed up hearing excuses from the leader of the house and ridiculous arguments about not putting in place proxy voting, baby leave, and frankly electronic voting. you only need to look north or to wales and scotland, where we have parliaments that have seats for every member and electronic voting. for goodness' sake, this is the 21st century. what is this government doing? it is about time it sorts it out. the leader of the house said not
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everyone agreed with proxy voting, but tulip siddiq did not need to vote alongside other mps. she could have come to this place at any moment on that day, been nodded through having her vote recorded, and so on this occasion until such time as we finalise the way forward, that is my strong recommendation, and i absolutely hope that the honourable lady will take her own medical advice and not come into this house unnecessarily. i am very sorry the honourable lady has had to raise it and the government whip's office is blocking progress on this matter, but let's hope that some progress will be made before too long. that is the situation, that is the reality, that is the evidence. it is very clear, there is no doubt about it. the latest clash between the speaker and the leader of the house of commons. but there were signs of a thawing in their frosty relationship. mr speaker, "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today
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is a gift, which is why we call it the present." 0n the eve of a a milne's birthday, that's a favourite quote from winnie the pooh. and as eeyore said, "it never hurts to keep looking for sunshine." and so can i wish you, mr speaker, a very happy birthday for saturday. and finally... i do. and finally, can i leave the house with an uplifting and rather wise thought from winnie the pooh? "if the person you are talking to does not appear to be listening, be patient. it may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear." i am not quite sure about the bit about the fluff in the ear. i don't know whether she's suspecting that you're not listening to what she says. when she sends her card signed "love, andrea" to mr speaker tomorrow, could i remind that when piglet said to pooh "how do
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you spell love?" he replied, "you don't spell it, you feel it," and so... andrea leadsom said she was just too tempted... you are going to love this. in response to the honourable gentlemen, "rivers know this. there is no hurry, we shall get there someday." andrea leadsom with some advice for all of us following the brexit process. thank you for watching. i hope you canjoin me on bbc parliament at 11:00 on friday for a special the week in parliament, taking in the highlights of a momentous few days here. bye for now. hello there, good morning. the cold weather has arrived, and it looks like it's going to stick around
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for quite some time. and it's really cold and frosty in many places right now. not everywhere, because we've got a weather front coming in, bringing in more cloud, bringing some rain. but it's moving into the cold air, so there will be a bit of sleet and snow, mainly over the hills. but ahead of that, still some icy patches, following those earlier showers on the northerly wind. widespread frost, and we could be down as low as minus seven celsius. but there's more cloud coming into northern ireland, into wales and the south—west, bringing with it some rain, a bit of sleet and snow over the welsh hills, then over the cumbrian fells, the pennines, the southern uplands as well. but there may be even a little bit of sleet and snow at lower levels through the midlands, the west country too. temperatures in the west will recover a bit later on, but for the eastern side of the uk, where it's going to be dry but nowhere near as sunny as it was on thursday, it's another cold day. but at least we don't have the northerly wind, and it's not set to return this weekend either. it will stay cold, mind you, although a lot of places will be dry, particularly on sunday. now, this area of low pressure is bringing in that band of cloud
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and patchy wet weather. and it tends to weaken and stall as we head into saturday, and things turn a little more showery. now, it won't be as cold and frosty in the morning, because there'll be more cloud around. there'll be some showers, as well, mostly of rain, but a bit of sleet and snow in those, particularly if they head a bit further north across england towards northern ireland, as well. it's probably going to be a dull day for the most part. the best of the sunshine across northern parts of scotland, but temperatures struggling — four, five or six degrees generally across the uk. now, as we move into sunday, pressure starts to rise a bit more. so that will tend to push away the showers, break up the cloud a little bit, and into that, we've got a weak weather front arriving from the north—west. but there's probably going to be more frost ahead of that. not as cold as it is right now, minus one or minus two, but some more sunshine across the uk on sunday. we've got that weak weather front bringing a little bit of rain, maybe some sleet and snow over the hills, nothing very much, and behind it, a north—westerly wind pushing in the sunshine back into scotland and northern ireland.
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but again, it's quite a cold day, with temperatures about six degrees or so. let's look ahead into the beginning of next week, and another frost to come as we move into monday morning. then we get these weather fronts coming in from the atlantic, and at some point they're going to stop, and that means we run the risk of some sleet and some snow, particularly in the west for a while. but an easterly wind may pick up as the week goes on, and therefore it is staying cold. a very warm welcome to bbc news — broadcasting to our viewers in north america and around the globe. my name's mike embley. our top stories: the duke of edinburgh, the queen's 97 year—old husband, is involved in a car crash. his car overturned, but the royal family says he is not injured. a top north korean diplomat arrives in washington, fuelling speculation of a second summit between kim jong—un and donald trump. thousands take to the streets of the sudanese capital, khartoum, demanding the resignation of president 0mar al—bashir.
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