tv The Week in Parliament BBC News March 4, 2019 2:30am-3:01am GMT
welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. including his son, donald junior, i'm reged ahmad. to examine allegations our top stories: that the president obstructed justice and abused his powers. he denies any wrongdoing. donald trump under pressure. a democrat—led congressional committee demands documents from dozens of people to examine allegations that after days of protests against his decision to seek a fifth the president obstructed justice. term in office, the algerian president abdelaziz bouteflika has the senior executive registered as a candidate of the chinese tech firm huawei, in elections to be held next month. but in what seems to be a major currently detained in canada, is suing ottawa over the manner concession, he's suggested of her arrest last year. he would only serve one more year if he won the vote. almost five years after malaysia airlines flight mh370 disappeared, the malaysian government has said it's open to continuing the search the husband of british teenager if companies submit credible shamima begum who joined proposals to find the aircraft. the so—called islamic state tells the bbc he wants them to live in the netherlands. when you say that you are a victim, thatis the plane vanished in 2014 when you say that you are a victim, that is sickening. i lived a when travelling from kuala lumpur miserable life, i was imprisoned, i to beijing but the mission to find the wreckage was suspended was tortured, i lived in indefinitely last year. now on bbc news,
the week in parliament. hello, there. welcome to the week in parliament where theresa may holds out the possibility of delaying the uk's exit from the eu. but she says she still wants us to leave this month. our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on the 29th of march. jeremy corbyn says theresa may is offering a botched deal but holds out a possible shift in labour's policy, too. we believe that there must be a confirmatory public vote to see if people feel that is what they voted for. also on this programme, demands for urgent action to tackle global warming. and mps hear about the enduring challenge of migrants crossing the channel by boat.
on some occasions, from their own boats, they are phoning 999 and asking for our help. but first it was all change at westminster with both theresa may and jeremy corbyn having to embrace potential changes to their brexit policies. after the last round of votes, the prime minister had promised to come back to mps with a statement on next steps. so on tuesday backed into a corner by parliamentary arithmetic 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 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 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 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. 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 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 their 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 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. 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, 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. 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. it's 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 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'rejust 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 about it. but i think it was also a good opportunity for labour to show that its whipping operation still works. you know, i think 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 to leaving extended. she clearly is having to respond to some of the pressures from her backbenches, although however reluctantly she is still very keen to keep that extension as time—limited as possible and doesn't wanted 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 touches in place, that is absolutely fine. but they've also said if you simply want an extension to keep disagreeing amongst yourselves in parliament, what is the purpose of that? what good is there in that for us? so it is farfrom 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 ofjanuary 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. 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. 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 1.5%, 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. onshore 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 policy proposed by some of their participants aren't good enough either. it is not possible to tackle the climate crisis and expand airports or build new runways. we cannot be tackling climate change while ploughing billions of pounds into north sea oil and gas. we can't tackle 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 resources, with over 30% coming from renewables. a much quicker transition to electric vehicles, something 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. 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. there was a cutting in a diary of the biggest whale oil trader at the time saying, i am astonished that i've run out of customers before i ran out of whales. that's what's 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. 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 ? the memberfor camborne and redruth hasjust gone, so it may be his lucky day yet again. in the great tradition of reusing and recycling ministers, i can think of no find a replacement. i am 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 oliver 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. 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 is something wrong. our 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 are surprised that we've been receiving notjust one piece of evidence but quite a lot of evidence where people's lives are at risk in reality? would that not require the attorney general‘s of this, if they are aware of that information, but hopefully when you read our report you will be, that he would then act? the guidance is clear. the legislation is clear. 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 am convinced that the passing 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 ocean. 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 by shooting their dogs, with which they used to do fishing? 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 as we speak. 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 will be compulsory lessons on mental health. parents will still have the right to withdraw children from sex education classes. our guiding principles have been that these compulsory subjects should help to keep children safe, should help to prepare them for the world in which they are growing up, the laws as they relate to relationships, sex and health, and to help to foster respect for others and 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 is teenage pregnancy, where a young girl, having a child before she is 15 or 16, apart from the legality of the situation, will then 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 delay their first sexual experience, take fewer risks when they do so, and end up being better, more rounded a 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 is our countdown. at five, i bet you haven't
thought about any sort of horse dung recently. well, shadow treasury minister peter dowd thinks opposition day debates are just as rare as dung from a rocking horse. we've got opposition 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? where 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 stuck in confused.com. simples. at two... warning! turnaround 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?
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 spike 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. typically in the past, if people have been using what we call general maritime, so boats of various descriptions to make the journey from northern france, they would be doing so in a clandestine fashion, so they were 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 away through the uk to their intended destination. what we see in the matter is we are talking today is markedly different, because the business model is essentially for the migrants 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, so there is a significant shift. i think this is likely to be an enduring challenge for us, particularly as we move into the summer months. but there's a lot that we can do, and i think that 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, so 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 and are actively seeking being caught, so to speak, or engaging with 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, alicia mccarthy, goodbye.
storm freya is still making its presence felt. felled tree, flash flooding and snow and more heavy rain and snow to content with in the early hours of monday morning. it is clear into the north sea so the warnings will diminish as that low pressure, that storm moves away. heavy rains in the early hours in the south. strong gusty winds, 60 miles per hour. galeforce winds barrelling down the gulf sea coast. --at barrelling down the gulf sea coast. ——at north sea. there could be one oi’ ——at north sea. there could be one or two icy stretches but actually it does look much more promising to start the new week with more sunshine wants to get rid of the gale and snow. showers will pack in thick and fast as we go through the day and there will be heavy ones