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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  March 3, 2019 2:30pm-3:01pm GMT

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this is bbc news, i'm rebecca jones. the headlines at 3pm... rescuers have called off — for the day — their search for british climber tom ballard who's been missing on one the dutch husband of shamima begum, of the world's highest mountains the teenager who has been stripped of her british citizenship forjoining the islamic state group, in pakistan for nearly a week. has told the bbc he wants them to live in the netherlands. it was acceptable for you to marry now on bbc news it's time a 15—year—old girl? it was her own choice, she was the one who asked to look for the week in parliament. for a partner for her. then i was invited, and yeah, she was very young. eight lawyers who back brexit — welcome to the week in parliament. seven of them mps — set out the concessions they require from the eu to support he holds out the possibility of the pm's brexit deal. delaying the uk is exit from the eu but says she wants us to leave this the hatch is open — america's new astronaut capsule month. jeremy corbyn says theresa may is offering a botched deal but holds
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out a change in the policy. we believe there must be a confirmatory public vote see if that is what people voted for. demands for urgent action to tackle global warming and mps hear about the challenge of migrants crossing the channel by boat. on some occasions from their own boat they are phoning 999 and asking for help. and a divided cabinet, mrs may said if mps rejected an amended version of her withdrawal agreement later this month, they would be able to vote on whether or not they supported britain leaving the eu without a deal. if that option was also rejected, there would be a vote on delaying the brexit process. the government will on the 14th of march bring forward a motion
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on whether the parliament wants to seek a short limited extension to article 50, and if the house votes for an extension, seek to agree that extension approved by the house with the eu, and bring forward the necessary legislation to change the exit date commensurate with that extension. but let me be clear, i do not want to see article 50 extended. our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on the 29th of march. and jeremy corbyn set out a shift on his position, saying if his brexit proposals were rejected in votes the next day, then labour would back a public vote on either accepting theresa may's deal or staying in the eu. we believe in getting the terms of our exit right. that is why we believe in our alternative plan. the prime minister's botched deal provides no certainty
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or guarantees for the future, and was comprehensively rejected by this house. we cannot risk our country's industries and people's the livelihoods. and so if it somehow does pass in some form at a later stage, we believe there must be a confirmatory public vote to see if people feel that is what they voted for. the eu has repeatedly made it clear that the withdrawal agreement is non—negotiable. what is it that the prime minister does not get of that? prime minister, businesses and citizens are worried about no deal, worried about the supply of medicines, worried about the supply of food. it is the height of irresponsibility for any government to threaten its citizens with these consequences. and many backbench mps were unhappy with the delay in the meaningful vote and the possibility that the uk wouldn't be leaving the eu
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at the end of the month. to delay article 50 would incur many billions of pounds of taxpayers' money, available otherwise for public services and which otherwise would not be handed over to the eu if we left on the 29th of march. this is a shameful moment. nothing has changed, apart from the fact that some of us who used to sit over there are now sitting over here. and one of the reasons for that is because yet again we see in the prime minister a can kicking at the same time that fudge is being created. this and a failure to put the country and the nation's interest first. when we vote against the deal in march the 12th, as we will undoubtedly, that leads to an vote on no deal on the 13th. when we vote against no deal again on the 13th, that leads to a vote on extending article 50 on the 14th. and if we vote for extending
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article 50 on the 14th, that leads to no deal coming back on the table for the duration of the extended negotiations. isn't this the political equivalent of swimming around in circles? well, next day, it was time for mps to vote again. they wanted to know what the government would do in the new series of votes theresa may was promising on no deal or extending the brexit timetable if her deal was rejected. the key thing to know is whether the government will actually vote in favour of an extension or whether the government is going to vote in favour of leaving with no deal. a labour mp had put down an amendment setting out in black and white a plan for the series of votes directs many had set and white a plan for the series of votes directs may had set out in her statement. could he now confirm that as a result of the prime minister's statement yesterday, that policy has now changed and the government policy is at least simply to be bound by the will of this house? the minister dismissed that as a hypothetical question.
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a conservative put down an amendment on protecting eu citizens‘ rights, whether or not there was a deal on the uk's departure. but to do so, alberto costa had to resign as an aide to the scottish secretary dave mundell. when an amendment attracts such broad consensus across this house, including the leaders of every opposition party, and importantly for me, the support of honourable members across the brexit debate on my side of the house, a sensible government must accept a reasonable amendment. so at the end of all that, it was time for mps to hold a series of votes. division! clear the lobby! the first from labour's front bench, calling for a permanent customs union, was defeated by a majority of 83. an amendment from the snp stating that mps were determined not to leave without a deal under any circumstances was defeated by 36 votes. one of the other amendments wasn't pushed for the vote,
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while alberto costa's amendment on eu nationals, which had been accepted by the government was passed without a formal division. and finally an amendment from labour's yvette cooper noting the commitments made by theresa may on a meaningful vote, a vote on no deal, and a vote on delaying brexit was passed with a thumping majority. the ayes to the right 502. the noes to the left, 20. so where does all of this leave us? theresa may is now committed to giving mps a vote on any revised deal by march 12th. if it is rejected, they will vote the next day on whether or not to back no deal. and if that is rejected, they'll finally vote on the 14th on extending the timetable for the uk to leave the eu. to chew over the parliamentary implications, i turned to two experts, professor anand menon is director of the think tank uk in a changing europe. and maddy thimontjack is from the institute for government. we began by talking about the labour party.
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its amendment calling for the uk to stay in some form of customs union was defeated on wednesday's vote so where did that leave labour? what was very interesting this week was that on monday, labour actually significantly shifted its position, it said that it was going to table an amendment to the motion on wednesday but if that was voted down, it would actually support another referendum on the deal. and this is what they confirmed last night so i think at the moment what we are expecting is that when the meaningful vote comes back so when parliament next votes on theresa may's deal, an amendment from labour will go down, saying that they are calling for another referendum. but not everyone in labour will be happy with that. that is true, and i think that is the key bit, that labour might table an amendment saying that and they might whip their party in favour of voting for it but whether all in the party will obey the party whip is yet to be seen, and so i think that we shouldn't necessarilyjump a step forward and presume there is a majority in the houses
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of parliament for, or houses of commons, sorry, for another referendum. i think that still remains to be seen because i presume you would have to get quite a few conservative mps on side if you wanted to pass that amendment. sticking with wednesday's vote, anand menon, we did have one amendment that went through with a whacking majority, that was the amendment from yvette cooper. essentially, that really put in black and white the promises that theresa may had made, that mps would get a vote on her deal and then possibly on no deal and then on extending the timetable. what's the significance of that? what does that achieve? well, i mean part of it wasjust plain fun for yvette cooper because she took a real delight in taking her old adversary because of course she was theresa may's shadow home secretary, saying, we're just going to hold to what you said if that is all right. we are going to put an amendment through to make sure that you don't renege on the promises made to parliament. so there was that element of theatre about it. but i think it was also a good opportunity for labour to show that its whipping operation still works.
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you know, ithink the labour whips must have come away very satisfied with the strong reaction they got from the labour party. and it also pointed to the unpredictability of politics. i mean, maddy said before that, you know, not all labour mps are going to like a second referendum. the problem both parties have is there are no policies around brexit that all their parties are going to like. there are these weird votes on the tory backbenches with some members voting against the amendments and abstaining, no clear pattern emerges. but for me, just underlies how unpredictable votes around brexit are because people's preferences are unpredictable. so, maddy, how far is theresa may now being pushed around by parliament and having to put forward things that she doesn't really want to do? she's made it perfectly clear that she personally doesn't want the timetable for leaving extended. she clearly is having to respond to some of the pressures from her backbenches, although however reluctantly and she is still very keen to keep that extension as time—limited
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as possible and doesn't want it to go on beyond june and into the rest of the year. how is all of this being seen in the eu? what are they making of what is going on in parliament? well, i think you can't deny there is an element of bafflement as people look in on us and see what is happening because nothing seems to be decided and indeed nothing has been decided. i think the eu have reached the point where they want this deal to go through, and they are willing to make limited concessions to help the prime minister if they think she is able to get this deal through. now, one of the interesting questions that we don't know the answer to is this, should the prime minister, and it is absolutely certain she will have to, even if a deal passes, we will need an extension to the article 50 process to get the necessary legislation on the statute book, people in brussels have been saying, we are happy to give you an extension for a reason. so, if you've agreed the withdrawal agreement and you just need to put the final legislative touches in place, that is absolutely fine. but they've also said if you simply want an extension to keep
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disagreeing amongst yourselves in parliament, what is the purpose of that? what good is there in that for us? so it is far from a given. i think they will give it but they will be reluctant to give us an extension if parliament hasn't made some sort of progress on this. all right, maddy, last one on this from you, and probably the most difficult one, how does theresa may break this impasse in parliament? what does she do to get this done? i think that is probably the hardest one. i think the thing that i would say is at the moment, what we do know in parliament is that there is a majority against her deal. what we don't know is what alternatives there is a majority for. you know, there was an amendment passed at the end of january which said that if there were changes, alternative arrangements found for the backstop then people would support her deal. but it is really unclear what that deal exactly is. i think that is a challenge for theresa may, actually, in terms of bringing something back that she knows her party will support. basically, i'm slightly avoiding answering your question because i don't think there is an easy answer to it. i think that is her challenge.
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it's how she gets both sides of the party on board or, if she can't, how many labour mps she can bring over to actually get the deal through at the end of the day. 0k. we've only got a couple more weeks to wait. for the time being, thank you both very much for coming onto the programme. now, some mps argue that the subject up for discussion in the commons on thursday was even more important than brexit. they were demanding the government take urgent action to slash the uk's carbon emissions further, to help prevent catastrophic climate change. a liberal democrat said 2018 had been the fourth hottest year on record, and she pointed to the record high temperatures for february. lovely weather was lovely, was it not, but do we not remember a year ago the beast from the east? these extreme weather events are not to be welcomed. they are not good things. they are a sign that something has gone horrifically wrong. there is no more time left for delay. the government needs to urgently show that they are serious about tackling climate change and enshrine in law net zero before 2050.
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it must be a clear strategy that we can all get behind. layla moran agreed, saying the uk should have a target of zero carbon emissions. we have just 12 years before global warming rises above the maximum limit of i.5%, after which the risk of droughts, floods and extreme heat increases significantly. the green mp argued climate change was here now, and she said the government's response to what she called the climate crisis was nowhere near ambitious enough. since 2010, almost every existing sensible climate measure has been torched. zero carbon homes scrapped. 0nshore wind effectively banned. solar power shafted. the green investment bank flogged off. fracking forced on local communities. and on the opposition benches, while many honourable members grasp the severity of this situation, the policies proposed by some of their party simply aren't good enough either. it is not possible to tackle the climate crisis and expand airports or build new runways.
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we cannot be tackling climate change while ploughing billions of pounds into north sea oil and gas. we can't tackle the climate crisis while chucking billions into new roads, and we can't tackle the climate crisis whilst our economy is built on the assumption that precious minerals, fresh air, clean water can magically regenerate themselves in an instant. last year saw a record amount of power generated from renewable sources, with over 30% coming from renewables. a much quicker transition to electric vehicles, something that we really need to push on, will mean more jobs, will mean more investment. supporting new clean technologies means jobs and investments, and that transition, incidentally, is going to happen, whether we like it or not. it's the old story of whale oil. whale oil, in 1850, every home in america was lit by whale oil, and who was it? edwin drake nine years later struck oil and we had the oil rush, and almost immediately after the oil rush began, the whale oil sector simply evaporated.
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there was a cutting in a diary of the biggest whale oil trader at the time saying, "i'm astonished that i've run out of customers before i ran out of whales." that is what is going to happen. we published the clean growth strategy — i think, the most comprehensive document i have ever seen from a government — setting out policies and proposals to decarbonise right across our economy, and i am happy to say that we have delivered almost all of the action points and commitment that we've made so far. we know we have to do more and we will do more, and we actually have to go further than those budgets, which i think is the point of the debate today. now, as the debate got under way, the news broke that the environment minister and brexiteer, george eustice, had quit the government over theresa may's promise to allow mps a vote on delaying brexit if her deal is rejected. a labour mp thought a former environment minister, richard benyon, should be on standby. can i advise him to keep his mobile phone switched on, given the news that the fisheries minister has just resigned ? they may be looking for a new — the member for camborne and redruth hasjust gone,
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so it may be his lucky day yet again. in the great tradition of reusing and recycling ministers, i can think of no finer replacement. i'm very grateful to the honourable lady, i really can't allow her to get away with that. if she thinks that it's a privilege or a delight to be a fisheries minister at present, she must be dreaming in ways i know she's not capable of. sir 0liver letwin. now, let's take a look at some other news from around westminster in brief. 28 women, representing the number of women who fly from northern ireland for an abortion every week, marched with suitcases to parliament. they included mps and actors from the tv comedy, derry girls. abortion is illegal in northern ireland unless there is a serious risk to a woman's life or health. we have evidence of women's lives being put in danger. we — i would say that if you have a situation where a 12—year—old girl who has been raped has to be accompanied by the northern ireland police in order to gather dna evidence to liverpool, that there's something wrong.
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0ur law does allow for people to have abortion when their life is at risk, so it shouldn't be that someone's life's at risk because an abortion's not been offered. so you're surprised that we've been receiving not just one piece of evidence, but quite a lot of evidence where people's lives are at risk, in reality? and would that not require the attorney—general's 0ffice, if they're aware of that information, and hopefully when you read our report, you will be, that you would then act? the guidance is clear, the legislation is clear. the guidance is clear that abortions are lawful in those circumstances. plans to change the rules on organ donation in england have cleared their final hurdle in parliament. from next year, consent will be presumed, unless people have opted out. the legislation will be known as max and keira's law, after a boy who received a heart transplant and the girl who donated it. i'm convinced that the passing
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of this bill will lead to many more organ donations and lives saved, whilst retaining the involvement of the family in what will remain a remarkably altruistic act of giving. my lords, i beg to move. the un's highest court has ruled that the uk should end its control of the chagos islands in the indian 0cean. the foreign office says the ruling is advisory and not binding. mauritius claims it was forced to give up the islands in 1965 in exchange for independence. the british government evicted the entire population, before inviting the united states to build a military base on diego garcia, one of the larger atolls. it is not a good human rights record to forcibly expel islanders, innocent people, to make way for an american base, or to encourage them — and to encourage them by shooting the dogs with which they used to do fishing.
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we have funded a package of support over a period of ten years, starting in 2016, and that has enabled visits by chagossians to the ocean territory. one is currently going on at the moment, as we speak. and these visits have been very well received by participants, and there are plans for more visits, so the uk has been endeavouring to engage with chagossians and do something constructive to help with them remaining related to their cultural origins. new guidance for english schools on sex and relationships education is to be issued for the first time in 19 years. ministers have modernised it for the internet age. relationship education will be compulsory instead of optional for children from the age of four, and there'll be compulsory lessons on mental health. parents will still have the right to withdraw children from sex education classes. 0ur guiding principles have been that these compulsory subjects
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should help to keep children safe, should help to prepare them for the world in which they're growing up, including the laws as they relate to relationships, sex and health, and to help to foster respect for others and for difference. given the lack of distinction young people see between on and offline contexts, we've expanded teaching about internet safety and harms to include content on the potential risks of excessive screen time and how to be a discerning, discriminating consumer of information and other content online. i am delighted not least because if you look at what passes on poverty in so many cases round the country, it's teenage pregnancy, where a young girl, having a child before she's 15 or 16, apart from the legality of the situation, will end up having a child who grows up to be a teenage mum as well, and all the evidence shows that really good sex and relationship education makes sure that children have their first — delay their first sexual
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experience, take fewer risks when they do so, and end up being better, more rounded, more fruitful, happier children, so hoo— bloody— rah. time now for a look at what's been happening in the wider world of politics. here's selina seth with our countdown. at five, i bet you haven't thought about any sort of horse dung recently. well, shadow treasury minister peter dowd thinks 0pposition day debates are just as rare as dung from a rocking horse. we've got 0pposition days as rare as rocking horse dung... at four, when giving evidence to the committee, the home secretary, sajid javid, was left a little confused, shall we say. what do you mean now? when was the government not supporting it? when did you hear that? yesterday. from whom? the prime minister. did you? at three, in response to the prime minister shining her inner meerkat, labour mp jim mcmahon declares that the prime minister is in fact
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stuck in simples. act two... warning! turn around now if you don't like feet. in a plaid cymru versus snp football match, plaid mpjonathan edwards's foot got a bit of a battering. and at one, conservative mp peter bone has an intriguing solution to stop those cabinet leaks. to sort this issue out, would itjust be easier to televise cabinet meetings? laughter selina seth. now, migrants crossing the english channel from northern france will be an enduring challenge, senior police officers have told mps. they said the number of people making the journey spiked at the end of last year and would rise again as the weather improves. they said people were motivated to make the crossing because of the very low risk of being returned to their country of origin.
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typically, in the past, if people had been using what we call general maritime, so boats of various descriptions to make the journey from northern france, they'd been doing so in a clandestine fashion, so they'd be looking to avoid being detected before, during and after arrival in the uk. so that typically would mean there would be shore parties greeting them on arrival, and they would be moving their way through the uk to their intended destination. what we see in the matters we're talking about today is markedly different, because the business model is essentially for the migrants to reach the point where they can engage with uk authorities, whether that be on land, or indeed at sea, and claim asylum at that point. they want to be found and helped. there is a big difference. on some occasions, from their own boats, they are phoning 999 and asking for our help, you know, so there's a significant shift. i think this is likely to be an enduring challenge for us,
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particularly as we move into the summer months. but there's a lot that we can do, and i think the numbers do tend to suggest that some of our work has been effective, but i completely agree. success here is stopping people wishing to travel and actually travelling from france. it seems that, despite some of the work you're doing, actually the biggest factor at the moment is the climate and the weather to deter people from making that crossing. so is there one thing, or a number of points we can use, to continue to see these numbers coming down, and we don't see another spike in the last quarter of this year, for example? candidly, one of the things that impacts on this business model, as alan has said, is that people are happy to be and are actively seeking being caught, so to speak, or engaging with the uk authorities, because, rightly or wrongly, they don't fear being returned. and that's it from me for now, but do join keith mcdougal on monday night at 11pm on bbc parliament for a full round—up of the day here at westminster. but for now, from me,
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alicia mccarthy, goodbye. good afternoon. things are said to get storming over england and wales in the coming hours. the storm has a name, this is freya and freya will bring widespread gales across england and wales, perhaps over 70 mph in places. this swirl is the low pressure, this is the centre, over the south of ireland. it will move over the irish sea, over northern
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england and into the north sea by tomorrow morning. quite punchy showers, even into the south, with a trailing weather front but the wind is the big concern and there are warnings for wind which mayjust over 70 mph or even excess of that around irish coasts. inland in the south—west, wales, the midlands, even the north of east anglia, up to 60 mph overnight and very windy as the night comes to a close for the north—east of england, lincolnshire and northern norfolk. the storm is going to pull into the north sea pretty quickly on monday morning. situation will improve dramatically. the final rain clearing from kent by the end of the rush—hour and the rain moving from eastern england in general but the wind is going to stay pretty strong on the east coast. further west, punchy stay pretty strong on the east coast. furtherwest, punchy showers through the day, heavy with the possibility of thunder, and a colder feel. the week looks unsettled, low pressure is keen to stay close by
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and on tuesday it sits to the north, bringing in showers. a target of northern ireland and southern scotla nd northern ireland and southern scotland and northern england, looking a bit wintry. some cold air to the north of the uk. elsewhere, highs of 12 or 13 but not like we've seen recently. by the end of the day, cloud gathering and rain in the south—west as the next big bit of low pressure works over on wednesday and some quite strong wind. brightening to the south through the day but some punchy showers following on. chile in scotland, cold enough for some snow over the high ground and high—temperature is of six or seven. further south, 13 01’ of six or seven. further south, 13 or 1a. look out for the hefty showers. the story remains unsettled as we go further on with the forecast. 0ften as we go further on with the forecast. often a chance of getting wet, pretty windy but the biggest
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change we noticed is the colder weather with the return of overnight frost by the end of the week.
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