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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  July 6, 2019 2:30am-3:01am BST

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venezuela's supreme court has released 22 people from prison, including a high—profile judge, after the un said the country uses a campaign of fear to suppress opposition. president trump is threatening to use executive powers to count the number of us citizens in the population census. the supreme court has ruled against the practice, and the census forms are already being printed without the question. the american state of alaska, which lies partly in the arctic circle, has recorded its highest ever temperature of 32 degrees celsius. cori gauff is through to the second week of wimbledon. the 15—year—old american beat slovenia's polona hercog in a thrilling contest, saving two match points along the way. now on bbc news, let's a take a look
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back at the week in parliament. the chancellor says no to no—deal brexit. and it was a week that was remarkably brexit—heavy, and we haven't had one of those for ages. the chancellor started it. preparing for no deal is not the same as avoiding the effects of no deal. jeremy corbyn and theresa may picked up the baton. the best thing to do would be to go back to the people, and let them decide which way we go! labour wants to block brexit, and that would be a betrayal of the many by the few! also on the programme... the go—to guide for parliament goes online, forfree. but first, it wasn't so long ago that you couldn't get through a single parliamentary
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debate without brexit coming up. little else was talked about in westminster. but since the deadline was extended until the end of october, it's gone a bit quiet. but all that changed this week. the two conservative leadership candidates were responsible — by both saying they were willing to allow the uk to leave without a deal. with renewed no—deal talk, the chancellor philip hammond set out his stall. it would be wrong for a british government to seek to pursue no deal as a policy, and i believe that it will be for the house of commons, of which i will continue proudly to be a member, to ensure that that doesn't happen. a labour mp just wanted to get it clear. does he agree with me that both of the conservative leadership candidates supporting a no—deal brexit should stop selling the country out, in order to serve their own political ambitions, and will he commit tojoining us to vote against no deal, when he joins, if he joins the back benches? and if necessary, voting with us on a no—confidence motion, if it comes to that,
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to stop no deal. i think at this stage in my career, mr speaker, i won't speculate on my future actions. what i would say is that a no deal, the government's analysis shows that a no deal exit would mean that all the regions, nations, and sectors of the uk's economy would have lower economic output compared to today's arrangements, and compared to the white paper scenario that the government set out, and it is important that we all understand that preparing for no deal, which is a perfectly sensible thing to do, because it might happen to us without our volition. preparing for no deal is not the same as avoiding the effects of no deal. philip hammond's remarks were seized on the next day by the labour leader at prime minister's questions. the chancellor says that a no—deal brexit would cause a £90 billion hit to the public finances.
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the former foreign secretary says concerns about no deal are confected hysteria. who does the prime minister think is right? the figure that was quoted was actually publicly available at the time. it was a figure that appeared in the government's economic analysis in relation to these matters. but can i also say to the right honourable gentlemen, that if he, if he is worried about no deal, i have done everything i can to ensure we leave the eu with a deal. i can look workers in the eye and tell them i voted to leave with a deal that protectsjobs. the right honourable gentlemen can't do that, because he's voted three times for no deal. as i recall it, mr speaker, it was this party that puts a motion forward to take no deal off the table. theresa may mocked him. it was the labour party that put a motion to abandon no deal,
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to take it off the table, through, into this house, the trouble is, when it came to the votes that mattered, when it came to the votes that would actually have an impact on stopping no deal, the labour party whipped against them. absolutely typical of the right honourable gentlemen, all mouth and trousers! this government, mr speaker, is now an irrelevance. the two candidates to succeed, the two candidates to succeed her have only got fantasy plans. since she and her successors have no answers, doesn't the prime minister accept the best thing to do would be to go back to the people, and let them decide which way we go? theresa may responded with a question of her own. where does the labour party stand on brexit? the shadow brexit secretary doesn't support brexit. the shadow foreign secretary doesn't support brexit. the shadow chancellor doesn't support brexit. the labour deputy leader doesn't support brexit. labour want to block brexit. and that would be a betrayal of the many by the few! but it seems 49 minutes
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of parliamentary scrutiny at pmqs weren't enough for theresa may and so she embarked on a statement to the commons about her recent travels — including the summit she'd been to in brussels, where the top eu jobs were being divided up. a conservative quoted a former british ambassador, who thought one particular country was getting too big a slice of the action. nine of the 28 european commissioners have german leaders in their cabinets, there are six german director generals, he says it is germany's view, that is sought by the commission before it acts, and by other member states before they decide in the council of ministers by majority vote behind closed doors. that didn't go down well with another tory who wanted to thank the uk's eu allies. they should ignore the sometimes childish and unfortunate anti—german
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rhetoric that occasionally comes from our benches. and may i take the opportunity to congratulate the chancellor sitting next to her on the clear statements he's been making in recent days about the obvious danger to our economy from a no—deal brexit. after having to negotiate with these people for so many dreary months, the prime minister must be mightily relieved she will no longer have to go to brussels. but what advice would she give to her successor in dealing with these people? the advice i would give to my successor is to act at all times in the best interest of this country, i believe it's in our best interest to be able to leave the european union with a good deal, and but it is up to my successor to find a majority in this house, to enable us to leave the european union. well, she'll be able to see whether her successor gets that majority because she's
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going to have a ring—side seat on the backbench. theresa may reaffirmed that would be her new home in response to a question from the lib dem leader. i read from the maidenhead advertiser that he thinks i'm about to step down from parliament, lam not. i asked the historian, dr catherine haddon, from the institute for government whether it was unusual for an ex—pm to hang around in the commons once the removal lorry had left downing street? it is these days, it's getting more and more so, david cameron certainly lasted about three months or so, gordon brown stayed for a few years, but he wasn't very active on the back benches. if you go back much further, it's much more common, ted heath stayed for 25 years, was father of the house, was very critical of... what did they call it? the incredible sulk. exactly. others though, in and around that time, they went off to the house of lords, but increasingly, prime ministers are doing that. they are going off either to private
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sector, to the lecture circuit, working with charities, things like that. so it is a bit unusual. is that what you would see her doing if she wasn't going to stay? it seems so. i mean, we don't really know what her interests would be. beyond all of that. you know, some prime ministers come out with a sort of clear agenda, things that they want to do, obviously tony blair with his work in africa. his institutes, you know, these were obvious, sort of extensions of the kinds of things he had shown an interest in in government. she's talked about a range of things that she's interested in, you know, education, all sorts of various sort of charity areas that you can see her getting involved with, but again, we just don't know at this stage. do you think it's a bit of a humiliation for someone who has been prime minister, had the top job, to then go back and be just a normal backbencher? it seems so to us, but in a way, it used to be normal practice. you go back to the early 20th century, you would find former prime ministers would end up in cabinets of their successor. alec douglas home, he was the last
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to do that, when he served as foreign secretary to ted heath in the 1970s. these days though, yeah, the politics of it, it does seem like you should sort of vacate the arena, get off the stage, and, you know, leave it for the sort of new people coming through, and certainly that's whatjohn major wanted to make sure that he did, and sort of, that's why he didn't want to go to the house of lords, he thought that there should be a sort of barrier between him and politics from then on. i can't see the new prime minister giving theresa may a job in his cabinet. talking of the new prime minister, what will it be like for them, for him, to have theresa may on the back benches? will it be quite a distraction? i don't think massively, i mean again, it depends whether she turns up or not. you know, she might not be in the chamber that frequently. i think it will be more so for the media, looking for whether or not she's going to say anything, whether, you know, she will comment on whatever his policy is, whether he comes back with the deal, whether he ends up going up towards no deal. i mean we don't know quite,
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you know, what her lines will be on, for example, no—deal policy. it might be very interesting, actually, how she ends up voting in the autumn. will she be a back—seat driver, do you think? i suspect not too vocally, but whether or not she decides for some key interventions, because this is still about her legacy, whether or not her deal was the right deal, she just couldn't get it over the line, and she may be keen for that to be sort of shown to be the case. catherine, thank you. now, if you find yourself drifting in the seas off sheerness in kent, you may see a mast sticking out of the water. it belongs to an american ship which foundered in 1944. but, worryingly, aboard the ss richard montgomery there are still unexploded second world war munitions. and more worryingly they're only a few miles from giant gas storage tanks on the isle of grain. the government has set up an expert advisory group to monitor the wreck. but labour's lord harris told us more needs to be done. what i would like to see is a proper risk assessment,
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any we ask about the risk, what the government talks about is a survey, an external survey of the state of the physical state of the wreck. that doesn't tell you anything about the contents of the wreck, and what condition they are in. the minister last night seemed rather vague, as to how dangerous some of the shells were, whether they were, had got the triggers associated with them, or what would happen. the answer is, we do need to know that, i do appreciate it would be dangerous to find out, but actually, it might be even more dangerous not to find out. right! now, let's take a look at some news in brief. the department for work and pensions has been accused of potential cover up, or incompetence, over documents relating to the deaths of disability benefit claimants. a labour mp was concerned that crucial evidence about deaths linked to the work capability assessment was not sent to the independent expert who was reviewing how the tests were working. a government's first duty
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is to protect its people, all its people, but they are failing the sick and disabled, and this reveals the enormity of this failure. the department takes the death of any claimant extremely seriously, and always conducts an investigation into the circumstances. the department is continually working to improve it safeguarding practices, working with partner agencies, and local government, and the department is presently undertaking a review of the departmental safeguarding policy and guidance available to staff, and will report in the autumn of 2019. mps wanted to know if the outsourcing firm serco would continue to be given government contracts — despite a 19 million pound fine for fraud and false accounting over electronic tagging carried out for ministry ofjustice. following the successful conclusion of this process, we see no reason why serco should not continue to be a strategic supplier to government and compete for government contracts. this was probably the most memorable image of the prime minister's trip to the g20 summit injapan, the frosty handshake with the russia's president putin. when she reported back on the visit,
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there was some admiration in the commons. i congratulate the prime minister on the wonderfulface that she adopted when she was holding president putin's hand. it had more ice in it then the polar ice cap. unlike the polar ice cap, on this issue, i'm not melting. the government has insisted it's up to the bbc to provide free tv licences for the over 75s. the corporation announced that only people on pension credit benefit will still be eligible for a free licence. many mps directed their fury at the government. there are 6,500 over—75s in my constituency, so will he come and visit and tell them why he's planning to cut their tv license? the fact of the matter is that legislation has now provided that this decision should be one for the bbc to take, and indeed, if you listen to what the bbc says, that is exactly the message they give too. peers questioned the government over what it was doing to improve access
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to medical services in rural areas. very few nhs plans consider rurality, with its high levels of deprivation and loneliness, and their associated diseases. and perhaps that might be one of the reasons that gp's choose not to work there, or do not stay long. and squirrels! 0ne mp‘s quest to protect the red from its nasty grey cousin. it is widely agreed by scientists, government departments, wildlife trusts, and conservationists, that grey squirrels and red squirrels cannot cohabitate. without exception, where there are live grey's there will be dead reds. now, on the anniversary of his father's suicide, an mp made an emotional plea for the laws on assisted dying to be changed. it was eight years ago that labour's paul blomfield received a phonecall at westminster to say that his father had been found dead. and i'm sure that he made up his mind to take his life soon after receiving a terminal diagnosis
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of inoperable lung cancer. but he still died prematurely, i'm sure that what drove him to end his life at that point, was the fear that if he didn't act when he could, and was still able to do so, then he would lose the opportunity to act at all. the mp who'd opened the debate had his own very personal story to tell. six years ago this week, on a sunnyjuly day like today, my father made a decision. at home in devon, in the bed he shared with my stepmother for over 30 years, with his family around him, he took communion for the last time, said a few words of goodbye to each of us, and asked the district nurses to switch off the oxygen, and make him comfortable. he died a few hours later in what nick boles called "the best of deaths". a few months ago, jeff whaley
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made a similar decision. cut from the same cloth as my dad, he was a gentleman of the old school. butjeff had motor neurone disease, and recognized that he was likely to suffer horribly in the final days and weeks of his life. he knew that his only chance of a good death was to arrange to go to dignitas in switzerland. thanks to the support of his wife and daugher he said jeff had died on his own terms. but several months earlier than he would've needed to, if the same procedure had been available here in the uk. a conservative mp claimed the public didn't support changing the law. the more aware people are of the implications of change, the more concerned people become. and i can quote from another poll from february of this year, indicating that over half the public say that people would feel pressurized into accepting
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help to take their own life, so as not to be a burden on others if assisted suicide were legal. only 25% disagreed. an emotional debate on assisted dying. the appliance manufacturer whirlpool has admitted there could be as many as 800,000 faulty tumble—dryers in homes across the uk. whirlpool also owns brands such as hotpoint. mps on the business committee heard from a witness who'd bought a dryer that caught fire. my baby was in the cot the time, sleeping, because i've got the toddler, he followed me in the kitchen as i opened the door, and saw the flames. i had to grab him, and get out, and i had to get my son to help me grab my daughter out. i'm sorry, i'm getting upset. it's not worth thinking about, because ijust think, what if i did not smell that fire at that time?
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because the fire alarms didn't even start going off until the house was thick — full of smoke. my neighbor next door as well, she's a child minder, and where the fire took place, it was right under the boiler, and the fire crew said to me, if that fire would have been any longer, that whole house would've just gone bang, and there could have been multiple deaths and injuries. i don't know. this is a company that we should have been able to trust. i will never, ever touch whirlpool again, ever. how would you describe whirlpool's treatment of you genrally? i felt like i weren't, i weren't a person, ifelt like i were just another number, if you like. when it came to adding the cost of everything as well, ifelt like a criminal, like i was being questioned. and have you had any comeback from whirlpool or anything? no, i've still not even heard from them, i've never even had an apology. right. should i expect one? throughout this whole process? nothing, absolutely nothing. jemma didn't have to wait long for that apology. the next witnesses were
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executives from whirlpool. i want to start by giving you an opportunity, an opportunity to apologize to gemma spur and her family for what they've gone through. the consumers that i work with and come in contact with, are treated very, very fairly, so i apologize to you for whatever stress this situation has caused to you, to your family, your loved ones and to your neighbors. the mps tried repeatedly to find out how many faulty machines had been modified. i think the importance of this session is sunlight being the best disinfectant and getting all of this out in the open, so i'm asking you, how many have you modified since 2017? and how many unmodified machines are there still? we want more people to call. no, we would just like the numbers, mr noel. we've heard the reasons why you haven't been able to modify all of them at the moment, we would just like the numbers mr noel as we move forward our expansions, we have had 45,000 that we have
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resolved since the last time we were here, which brings the numbertoi.7 million which by all accounts, including the electrical safety standards, is two to three times the average. jeff noel of whirlpool. now, if you've ever wondered why we at the bbc are so knowledgeable about parliamentary procedure — it's because of this book, erskine may, which we read from cover to cover. i'm joking — this is the first time i've ever picked it up. anyway, alongside a new hardback version, it'sjust been published online and you can take a look for free. duncan smith can tell us more. for generations, this has been the go—to guide for how parliament works. erskine may, named after a former clerk of the house of commons, has been the bible of parliamentary procedure since 181m. erskine may says on page 397, 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.
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to the point of this ruling in erskine may, it was to stop the bullying of the legislature by the executive. but for the general public, checking on prorogation or statutory instruments hasn't come cheap. this is an old edition, but new, the book costs more than £300. but now there is an alternative. erskine may, this time, is being published digitally, online, free access to anyone who wants to find it on the parliament website. it contains the developments in parliamentary procedures and practice since the last addition in 2011. so things like the fixed term parliament act, the regal of mps act, changes in the standards regime, changes within the procedures within the chamber, proxy voting, which was only introduced very recently, all of these are recognised, and some of them recorded at great length, and others in the new volume. the recent big votes on theresa may's brexit deal has sparked interest in procedure.
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i think recent events have created more public interest in how parliament works, how its procedures operates, and certainly created more interest within westminster as well, so we're responding to two sets of demand, if you like. there's been public interest, and interest within the westminster community, in having access to erskine may, and not having to pay the price for a commercial product. and we've tried to respond to that. we responded within the westminster community with the last addition, and we are responding more widely this time with a free digital online version. now let's see if they have any advice for dealing with brexit. no, there isn't i checked. well, let's take a look at some of the other stories which have been making the political news this week. alex partridge has our countdown. at five, the european parliament has seen a whole new intake of members, and guess who's back? former italian prime minister, sylvia burness tony adds mep to his lengthy and colorful cv. at four, optimism abounds in the borisjohnson tory leadership campaign. this week, they even e—mailed jeremy hunt, asking him to volunteer to help his rival out.
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at three, they do things differently down under, australian mp, tim wilson, swore his oath of loyalty to the queen on what he called his "economic bible". capitalism and freedom by the free—market guru, milton friedman. in westminster, mps have to make do with an actual holy book. at two, deputy speaker, emily lange, gave mps a quick lesson in the importance of punctuation. there is a significant difference, as, the honourable gentleman says, between, eats shoots and leaves, and, shoots, and leaves. at one, glastonbury is famous for the weird and wacky flags carried by festivalgoers, but this tribute tojohn perko was surely the best of the lot. order, order. alex partridge. and finally, after three years in the job, it's likely that the chancellor philip hammond
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has answered his last treasury question. his labour opposite number had got him a gift — this wasn't the first time john mcdonnell had produced a present for a chancellor. remember this? to assist comrade osborne in his dealings with his new—found comrades, i brought him along mao's little red book. the conservatives jeered. i thought it would come in handy for him with his new relationship. oh look! it's his personal signed copy! this time in a much quieter chamber, john mcdonnell paid tribute to philip hammond. ijust want to thank him for the civility in which he's always maintained our relationship, admits also that at times, we have enjoyed his dry sense of humor, and i gave his predecessor a little red book as a present,
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we have another red book. this is a guide to london's rebel walks, and we hope he will enjoy it in his leisure periods. the chancellor of the exchequer. well, let me say, first of all, it's very kind of the right honourable gentleman, and i much prefer this little red book to the one that he gave to my predecessor, although, i have to say, i haven't read this one, and i have read the other one. and that's it for now. don't forget there's a round up of the day in parliament each evening on bbc parliament and each morning on bbc two. but for now from me, mandy baker, goodbye. hello. we saw the peak in the heat yesterday, and the top temperature, 28 celsius, 82 fahrenheit,
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compared with the cooler, cloudier16, that's 61 fahrenheit, further north. that cooler, cloudier air is heading southwards, it's on a weather front which through the night has been meandering its way very slowly south and bringing rain to northern ireland, northern england, heading towards north wales and the wash by the time we get to dawn. the warm air uncomfortable for sleeping but it will feel much fresher by morning further north. and that fresher air is on a cold weatherfront and it's heading southwards, so i think it will introduce more cloud across england and wales during the course of saturday, and in particular today, so it will feel cooler as a result. now that cold weather front‘s also being followed by a north—westerly breeze which is never a warm direction. but if you are sheltered from the breeze in the sunshine that follows across scotland, northern england and northern ireland, it will feel quite pleasant. this weather front will take much of the day to meander across wales, the midlands and east anglia, down into the south—east. introducing cloudy skies and even the odd splash of rain,
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so if you are heading off to wimbledon, it does look cooler, more cloudy, still think there could be some sunshine getting through that cloud, but i would not like to rule out a shower later in the afternoon, early evening — because that weather front could give a few sharp splashes of rain here and there — not for all, but what it does do is dampen the heat. so the 28 we saw on friday not repeated, still warm across the south coast but for most of us, it's cooler temperatures, back down to what they should be, with some lovely sunshine coming through behind that weather front, it does not mean the temperatures are lower, but it is just as strong. a few showers across the north and north—east of scotland, and they will continue through the evening and overnight, blowing further southwards, blowing that fresher air into the far south of england. so it looks like a fresher night on the whole, cooler night, even further south, just a little bit of warmth just maintained in the towns and cities. but it could be that on sunday we still have that weather front
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dragging its heels across southern parts of england, still giving the odd shower and slow to clear. a little more cloud in eastern parts of england and scotland with the odd shower around, but again some dry, bright weather for the majority, the best of the sunshine in south—west scotland and north—west england, further south as well, feeling fresher, temperatures down to where they should be, and that is maintained into next week though it looks more unsettled further north. there's more on the website.
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welcome to bbc news, i'm reged ahmad. our top stories: venezuela releases more than 20 prisoners, and a high—profile judge after the un accused the government of human rights abuses. president trump threatens to use his executive powers to include a controversial citizenship question in the population census. venezuela's supreme court has released 22 prisoners, including a high profilejudge. maria afiuni is one of many people the opposition says are political prisoners.


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