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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  March 23, 2019 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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you're watching bbc news. i'm reged ahmad. key findings are expected to stay our top stories: finally finished — under wraps for a few days, the special counsel's report but it has been reported that into alleged collusion between president trump's election mr mueller has not called campaign and russia has been for any further indictments. submitted to the department of justice. here in britain, prime minister there are reportedly no theresa may says she might not new indictments but the content bring her brexit deal is under wraps — how much will be back for another vote, "if it appears there is not made public in the coming days? sufficient support". two cyclones threaten the european union has australia's indigenous communities — agreed to delay brexit, thousands of families are forced but only by two weeks if british mps from their homes in remote parts of the northern territory reject the agreement. financial markets in the us and europe have closed sharply down, apparently over growing fears another twist on the of a global slowdown. road to brexit — the dow, ftse and dax were all down theresa may tells mps the planned third vote on her withdrawal deal may not happen. the first glimpse of sperm whales between 1.6% and 2%. hunting in the darkest depths of the ocean. now on bbc news — the week in parliament.
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hello there, and welcome to the week in parliament, as mps react to the news that brexit is to be delayed. what is he going to say to reassure people outside of this place that it's not just an absolute farce? what i would say is, back the deal. after a stormy week at westminster, we ask a constitutional expert, what next? mps are going to come back next week quite fired up and quite determined to make sure that we get a resolution to this by the end of the week, which is not no—deal. also on this programme, after five government defeats, peers finally passed the trade bill. and we hear about the mp who was too young to vote. you had to be aged 30 and meet property requirements to be able to vote. jennie lee was just 24. but first, it was a week that ended with brexit being delayed. on thursday night, after eight hours of talks, eu leaders offered to put
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off brexit until 22nd may if mps approved theresa may's deal in the next few days. if they don't, the delay will be shorter, until 12th april, at which point the uk must set out its next steps or leave without a deal. theresa may had made clear she was unhappy at having to ask for any delay at all, and her trip to brussels came at the end of the week which had seen a surprise intervention from the speaker, a bad—tempered row at pmqs and a downing street statement from the prime minister that had backbench mps in a fury over the brexit blame game. so, let's begin at the beginning. theresa may started the week hoping to get a deal before mps for one last heave. after two heavy defeats, she was looking for some last—minute converts ahead of another so—called ‘meaningful vote'. but, much to ministers‘ surprise, the speaker, john bercow, made an announcement on monday afternoon which squashed that ambition flat. he quoted from parliament's ancient rule book.
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the 24th edition of erskine may states, on page 397, that, and i quote, "a motion or an amendment which is the same in substance as a question which has been decided during a session, may not be brought forward again during that same session". if the government wishes to bring forward a new proposition that is neither the same nor substantially the same as that disposed of by the house on 12th march, this would be entirely in order. what the government cannot legitimately do is to resubmit to the house the same proposition or substantially the same proposition as that of last week,
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which was rejected by 149 votes. that ruling effectively killed off the chance of mps voting on the deal again for the remainder of the week, and by the time prime minister's questions came round on wednesday, patience on all sides of the commons was wearing thin. the prime minister's deal lies in tatters. her cabinet is an open revolt. she presides over the biggest constitutional crisis this nation has experienced and where leadership is required she has once again cravenly caved in to her hard brexiteers and will not only seek a short extension to article 50, contrary to the expressed will of this house. when will she develop a backbone and stand up to those that would take this nation to disaster? as one of her ministers said this morning, referencing another feeble prime minister — weak, weak, weak. the outcome of a long extension would be this house spending yet
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more endless hours contemplating its navel on europe and failing to address the issues that matter to our constituents — schools and hospitals and security and jobs. this house has indulged itself on europe for too long... it's time for this house to determine that it will deliver on brexit for the british people. that's what the british people deserve. they deserve better than this house has given them so far. they've run out of time. they've run out of ideas. people, mr speaker, all over this country are anxious and frustrated with this government's utter inability to find a way through the crisis. if the prime minister cannot get changes to her deal, will she give the people a chance to reject the deal and change the government?
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he doesn't want to actually respect the vote that took place in the referendum in 2016. it was a rowdy, bad—tempered session with shouts of "resign!" echoing around the chamber. some of her own backbenchers were equally unhappy with the prospect of delay. if you continue to apply for an extension to article 50, you will be betraying the british people. if you don't, you will be honouring their instructions. prime minister, it is entirely down to you. whilst other mps urged her to change tack and allow mps to have a series of votes to see what their was a majority for. why will she notjust open up, just think again, just allow the indicative votes that others have put forward? because what she is doing by sticking to this failed plan is deeply dangerous for our country. in the national interest, i beg this prime minister to think again.
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to try to make her case away from the hullabaloo in the commons, on wednesday night, theresa may made an appeal direct to the british public. in a statement in downing street, she blamed the current situation on mp5, claiming people were tired of infighting and political games and she repeated an accusation that all mps have been willing to say is what they do not want. but those comments provoked a furious reaction from mps in the commons the next morning. last week, i received a message saying that my head should be chopped off, among lots and lots of other messages, in common with many other members on both sides of this house. i apprehended the prime minister last thursday evening and i begged her, dial down the hate, prime minister. it is in your power to dial down the hate. people are frightened, notjust in this place, but in the country as a whole.
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the prime minister must show some leadership. it is within her grasp. can we please have a debate in this house about patriotism and about how we as members of parliament across all sides of the house love our country and we want to make sure we get the very best for our country. there is much more that unites us than actually divides us. the speaker intervened. none of you is a traitor. all of you are doing your best. this should not be, and i'm sure will not prove to be, a matter of any controversy whatsoever. what i think that the prime minister was urging upon all honourable members is to recognise that in a hung parliament it is actually incumbent on all of us to ensure that there is good government, because by definition it is important that we all participate in ensuring progress for our country. andrea leadsom. theresa may, meanwhile, had gone to brussels where, late on thursday night,
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eu leaders offered a delay until 22nd may, if mps approved her deal. if it was rejected again, there would be a shorter delay, until 12th april, by which point the uk must set out its next steps or leave without any deal at all. with that news still being absorbed on friday morning, mps asked the minister to come to the commons and make a statement. three years after the referendum, it would be utterly intolerable if we were still in the eu during the european elections. i want him to give an absolute commitment today that the government would rather resign than be privy to such an appalling betrayal of the people's trust. it would be intolerable to have european elections, given that we would have had three years since this country voted to leave the eu. is the meaningful vote coming forward this week? if so, on which day? and if, as seems almost inevitable, that it is voted down again, what happens then? as my honourable friend said in an earlier question,
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i am not getting into hypotheticals. i fully said that they we hope to have a meaningful vote. let's see, mr speaker, if you decide this is in order, that we can see what happens, we can test the will of the house in that meaningful vote. my constituents have been contacting me in their hundreds. they don't want a no—deal. they don't what the prime minister's deal. that is what parliament has also ruled. what is the minister going to say? he is talking about hypotheticals, well, given that it is almost friday afternoon, next week's business is not hypothetical. what is he going to say to reassure people outside of this place that it is notjust an absolute farce? what i would say is, back the deal. back the deal. mr philip davies. thank you, mr speaker. can i say, mr speaker, that there are millions of people outside this house who are absolutely seething and they are largely seething with people who stood on a promise to deliver the result of the referendum, and then see, once elected, that they try
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and frustrate, or in some cases even overturn, the result that they promised to honour when they stood for election at the general election. if those people don't think there is going to be a backlash, they are in cloud cuckoo land. the government could, and should, leave on 29th march, as it promised all the way along. why is it not doing that? will he give an absolute assurance that the two dates mentioned, the one in may and the one in april, that they will not be superseded by pushing it to a later date under any circumstances whatsoever? because to do so would be the most appalling betrayal of trust of the british people. i cannot recommend the words of my honourable friend enough. we all stood on manifestos in this place that were committed to honour the 2016 referendum result. some members of this house have sought essentially to flout that and turn their backs on the solemn commitments they made and they will have to answer for that. the government is still committed to honouring the referendum
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and leaving the eu in an orderly way. mps in the commons on friday demanding answers on that brexit delay. so, yet another remarkable week, beginning with that dramatic intervention from the speaker, but what does all this tell us about where power really lies? a question i put to professor meg russell from the constitution unit and bbc parliamentary correspondent mark darcy. i began by asking markjust how unusualjohn bercow‘s intervention had been? well, in some ways, the procedural ruling was quite straightforward. most of the commons clerks seemed to think that this was a fairly unexceptional thing to declare, that you can keep on putting the same thing again and again to the house in the same parliamentary year, parliamentary session, until the point, hopefully from the point of view of the government, that they actually win it! that they don't think is the right way to proceed and it is basically there is the rule there to stop the government from effectively bullying the commons.
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but it's a very old rule and it is not used very often. well, it hasn't needed to be used very often. you don't get situations where the government keeps coming back with the same big constitutional mega—vote at regular intervals in the hope that next time they will get a different answer. to that extent, it may not need to be invoked very often, but when it is being invoked it is actually quite important, from the speaker's point of view, that it is invoked. if you like, the procedural side of it is quite a straightforward thing, but the sheer magnitude of the issue, the importance of it to the government, made it an extremely difficult ruling for the speaker to make on another level, because, politically, he there would be consequences. it looked like there was the real power struggle going on here. where does the power in all of this really lie? is it with mp5, is it with the speaker or is it with the government? well, it's a really complicated situation this one because normally you have the relationship between the government and parliament and the government is accountable to parliament ultimately and, therefore, really ought to be doing what parliament says,
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but in this case there is a third actor, which is the eu 27. so even if parliament gives government an instruction, it can't necessarily deliver on that instruction. so, there is a lot of tension in the system at the moment. of course, one of the key things is not only is this a minority government, which is a really unusual thing in british terms and makes parliament much more difficult to handle than usual, but you've got huge splits in both of the parties, but most importantly within the governing party, so the prime minister can't even rely on her own troops to vote for her policy. and then, she is still short of a majority if she does. i think what has been going on, part of what has been going on, is that theresa may, in a sense understandably because it has been our tradition, is trying to govern as if she was in charge of a majority when she's not. she doesn't seem to be showing the imagination or the flexibility to work in a different way, which is necessary in these circumstances. because we're just not used to this.
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normally, it all looks quite straightforward. we are used to governments with majorities being able, or at least looking like, they can do more or less what they want. yeah, well, that's a thing that i have often spoken about and written about, that people give the impression and sometimes people say that government controls parliament. in fact, the relationship is the other way around, but it doesn't look like it because they are broadly in agreement with each other. when the government has a single party majority in the house of commons, you can't really tell who's controlling who. in this situation, the government seems to think, or at least the prime minister seems to think, that she ought to be able to tell the house of commons what to do, but the truth is that it works the other way around. let's just go back to the speaker for a minute, then. the speaker's role is to represent backbench mps. is that howjohn bercow sees himself or does he think he has a slightly bigger role to play in all of this? well, he is that rarest of creatures now — a historically significant speaker. you have to go back centuries to find someone who's had as much influence on the course of events
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during the parliament asjohn bercow‘s been exerting just in the last year or so. to that extent, he is quite an unusual figure. most speakers are fairly parliamentary establishment figures. john bercow is different. john bercow was elected as a reforming speaker way back in 2009. he was someone who set out from the start to try and rebalance the way parliament worked, so that parliamentarians had more leverage. all of this is just part of what he thinks he's there for. he is determined to make sure that substantial bodies of opinion in the house of commons get a chance to bring their political point of view to the wicket and get it voted on. it's interesting that that is the result partly of procedural change. this is not necessarily a personality issue. it's because of the way bercow came to be chosen, in a secret ballot across the whole house after hustings... and manifestos, indeed! ..and the potential speakers set out their stalls. so he feels he has a mandate from the house of commons. at the end of the parliamentary week, where is parliament's reputation?
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we've had john bercow‘s controversial intervention. we've had an incredibly bad—tempered session at prime minister's questions and we've had mps expressing their utter fury at theresa may standing in downing street and saying we are where we are because of you. personally, i think that the prime minister's statement was extremely unfortunate. i mean, forthe prime ministerto be very explicitly suggesting that parliament is against the people i think is bordering on the dangerous. and i think that it didn't even work, you know? that statement simply angered mps, including mps on her own side, and it won't have helped her to get her deal through, so i think that, actually, let's see what happens over the weekend, but mps are going to come back next week quite fired up and quite determined to make sure that we get a resolution to this by the end of the week, which is not no—deal, because they have stated twice very clearly that they oppose that. 0k, professor meg russell and mark d'arcy, thank you very much indeed for coming on to the programme.
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now, let's take a look at some other news from around westminster in brief. labour says child sexual exploitation victims should no longer be forced to reveal convictions linked to their abuse. the shadow home office minister asked the government to look at enacting a proposal called ‘sammy‘s law', which would allow victims to have their criminal records automatically reviewed and crimes associated with their grooming removed. they are blighted by an obligation to expose criminal convictions ——to disclose criminal convictions linked to past abuse, forced to tell employers and even local ptas about their past convictions. this punitive rule means they simply cannot escape a past in which they were victims. mps wanted to know what the government was doing to help victims of cyclone idai, which struck mozambique, malawi and zimbabwe. the storm has caused devastation, destroying buildings and triggering severe flooding. hundreds of people have died, more are unaccounted for and survivors have been left without food or shelter.
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the dangers confronting those caught up in this disaster, mr speaker, include the loss of everything they own, the difficulty of getting food and medicines through to those affected. the dangers of waterborne diseases, including cholera, due to the contamination of the water supply. the risk of starvation and famine are very real, with harvests destroyed and livestocks drowned. new zealand's prime minister, jacinda ardern, has vowed never to say the name of the christchurch mosque gunmen. the shootings at two mosques left 50 people dead and dozens wounded. a 28—year—old australian has been charged with murder. speaking in the new zealand parliament, jacinda ardern described the attack as one of new zealand's darkest days. speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them. he may have sought notoriety, but we in new zealand will give him nothing. not even his name.
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a former gang member has said that children are attracted to gangs because of social and financial benefits. junior smart now works for a charity which helps disadvantaged youngsters make positive life choices. he said children as young as eight were becoming gang members. the easiest places to recruit are outside schools. you know, the kids that leave school last will be the ones that are often in detention, the ones that are socially excluded. you only have to look at our county lines evaluation where100% of our young people involved in county lines came from pupil referral units or alternative learning establishments. mps held a minute's silence in memory of pc keith palmer and all of those who died in the westminster terror attack two years ago. 48—year—old keith palmer was stabbed by khalid masood while on duty on the forecourt of the palace of westminster and died despite an mps attempts to save him. pc palmer was one of five people killed in the attack on 22nd
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march, 2017. over in the lords, there was an outbreak of cross—party praise as peers finally passed the trade bill — one of the central pieces of legislation needed ahead of any no—deal brexit. the government was defeated five times during the passage of the bill, including on implementing a customs union and ruling out a physical border on the island of ireland. but as the bill crossed the line in the lords, there were warm words from all sides. there may be aspects of the bill as it leaves this place with which the government does not agree, but i really believe that your lordships can be justly proud and we should be justly proud of the contribution made here to this important piece of legislation. we didn't always agree and she has acknowledged that, but where we have differences i think we have done so only once all possible avenues of compromise have been explored and we have proceeded on a basis of mutual respect for each other's point of view and, in doing that, i think we have upheld the best standards of this house.
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the minister said this was a rewarding, constructive and challenging experience for her. the rewarding aspect will be how she can persuade her colleagues at the other end of this building to ensure that all of those very wise amendments that this house has passed are not overturned. that, i think we will have to see, how she will do on that business. let's take a look now at what's been happening in the wider world of politics. with our countdown, here's simon vaughan. at five, canadian pm justin trudeau is caught snacking during a marathon vote in ottawa. it was a chocolate bar, but i apologise. at four, parliament's petitions website reports its fastest ever sign—up rate, nearly 2,000 signatures a minute for a call to cancel brexit. at three, surprise from the speaker at one mp‘s use of a mobile phone. however, it does conflict very, very, very heavily with my image
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of the honourable gentleman as the embodiment of tradition. regrettably, i was explaining why i was delayed for an appointment at two o'clock, so i would have the pleasure of being in the chamber. at two, pause for thought in brussels as eu leaders consider a brexit extension. how long is a long extension, please? do you have an idea? until the very end. bong! and at one, the elizabeth tower shows its face again. its north clock dial unveiled as part of the £61 million restoration. 90 years ago, voters in north lanarkshire made political history, electing an mp who was too young to vote. julia butler has the story.
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though women first won the vote in 1918, that didn't apply to the under—305. it took another ten years for women to gain the right to vote at the same age as men — 21. but the act hadn't taken effect whenjennie lee stood for the independent labour party in a by—election in north lanarkshire in march, 1929. the law was changed to that woman could vote aged 21 without property restrictions, but whenjennie lee stood in the by—election two months before that, you had to be aged 30 and meet property requirements to be able to vote. jennie lee was just 2a, so she couldn't vote, but interestingly, she could stand to be a member of parliament. although the equal franchise act had been passed the previous year, in 1928, it didn't come into force until 1st may, 1929, and that was because it took some time, about a year, to get the new electoral register together to add all these new women voters who had previously been too young. she also benefited from another
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quirk in the legislation. the parliament qualification of women act, 1918, was passed and it allowed women to stand and become members of parliament in the house of commons for the first time. unlike the voting act, there were no restrictions on age or property for women, so women could stand to become mps at the same age as men, which at that time was aged 21. all the political parties had selected underage women candidates in the ten years after the representation of the people act, 1918. i found examples of all the parties, conservatives, liberals, labour, all doing that, butjennie lee was the only one to be elected. jennie lee lost her seat in 1931, but returned to westminster as a labour mp in 19115. later, as britain's first arts minister, she faced down political opposition to set up the open university, established in 1969. i think thatjennie lee helped break the mould of women in politics. she wasn't going to play by anybody else's rules. but in terms of her proudest achievement, that absolutely has to be the open university.
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she described the open university is not being a dream, not being a luxury, but that it had become an urgent necessity. jennie lee was once asked if the university should just be for unemployed men and gave a characteristic reply. not on your life! jennie lee, making her views clear. that's it from me for now, but do join christina cooper on monday night at 11.00pm on bbc parliament for a round—up of what promises to be another extraordinary day at westminster. but, for now, from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye. hello, welcome to a weekend which is going to deliver some dry weather but there will be blustery
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showers, particularly in scotland and it is going to feel cooler than it has done recently. we've seen this weather front move on southwards, coolerfresh air moving on behind but it's clearer and more of us will see sunshine over the weekend. this is how we start saturday, a touch of frost possible in parts of northern england, scotland and northern ireland, and cloud through parts of southern england and towards the south coast in particular, it may hold on through the day and we have that, don't be surprised if there is a little light rain and drizzle. elsewhere across england and wales, high cloud. any sun is going to be quite hazy. sunny skies in northern ireland and scotland though cloud producing a few showers here and there, and they are very blustery showers and scotland. these are average speeds — gusts are higher, the northern isles between 60 and 70 miles per hour initially before the wind eases later and showers moving into scotland are going to be wintry on the hills.
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temperatures mostly at around 9— 12 degrees. saturday evening and night, further showers coming into scotland. that means a bit more snow to the higher ground. that may be the far north of england. still some cloud into parts of england and wales. maybe a little drizzle but where you are clear, hence the touch of blue on the chart, you just get a bit of frost, particularly on the ground as sunday begins. early on sunday, there could be a longer spell of wet weather moving into the far north—west of scotland and that will move on southwards with more showers following on behind to northern ireland and maybe northern england later. blustery showers. elsewhere across england and wales, sunny spells. temperatures are fairly similar for part two of the weekend. highs of around 9— 12 degrees. so that is how the weekend is shaping up. let's just take a look into next week and high pressure is back with us, look slike it will be moving right across the uk. just a few weak weather fronts
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into the far north—west of scotland. most places with high pressure are going to be dry. variable cloud, some sunny spells, the risk of a touch of frost overnight but other days we go deeper into the week, temperatures look like they will be going up a few degrees. that is next week covered. let's just recap the weekend weather. rather cool, chilly nights, some decent sunny spells around. you may catch a shower. mostly in scotland blustery showers and wintry as well.
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