15/03/2017 Daily Politics


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15/03/2017

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn present live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions. They are joined by MPs Rory Stewart and Bill Esterson.


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pushing into Scotland and Northern Ireland.

:00:00.:00:39.

A Conservative MP has been interviewed under caution by police

:00:40.:00:50.

as part of the ongoing investigation into allegations of overspending

:00:51.:00:52.

Nicola Sturgeon says Brexit has put Scotland at a crossroads.

:00:53.:00:58.

But does the UK's departure from the EU make Scottish

:00:59.:01:04.

Plenty of issues as we approach the weekly bout of Prime

:01:05.:01:09.

And do you fancy taking a tour of the Palace of Westminster

:01:10.:01:16.

Parliament launches its 360 degree virtual view

:01:17.:01:19.

All that in the next 90 minutes and with us for the duration,

:01:20.:01:32.

the International Development Minister, Rory Stewart,

:01:33.:01:33.

and the Shadow Business Minister, Bill Esterson.

:01:34.:01:40.

Now it was once rumoured that Hollywood was interested in making

:01:41.:01:42.

a film based on the life of Rory Stewart and that

:01:43.:01:45.

Orlando Bloom was being lined up for the lead role.

:01:46.:01:47.

The film is yet to be made and we'll let the viewers decide

:01:48.:01:51.

It's as yet unclear who Hollywood executives have in mind for the film

:01:52.:01:55.

version of the life of Bill Esterson.

:01:56.:01:58.

If Mr Spielberg is watching, Bill is waiting for your call.

:01:59.:02:06.

We are just hearing reports, in fact from David Davis, the minister for

:02:07.:02:14.

the UK leaving the EU, in a royal assent, which means that the Brexit

:02:15.:02:18.

Bill will be passed into law, it'll get its royal assent tomorrow. That

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was being commented on by David Davis yesterday. We were expecting

:02:22.:02:25.

it yesterday when in fact Theresa May stood up in the House of Commons

:02:26.:02:29.

to give her report back fre. U summit last week, that she might

:02:30.:02:33.

then say - royal assent has been given and I'll trigger Article 50

:02:34.:02:36.

but it didn't happen. And the talk now is that the

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triggering of Article 50 may not happen until the final week of this

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month, which is up to the wire. It may not happen until the very end

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of March. That was her deadline, of course, but it was felt because it

:02:50.:02:52.

had passed through both Houses of Parliament in plenty of time she

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might have gone ahead and triggered it anyway and started the two years

:02:56.:02:59.

of negotiations and the firing gun on our departure from the EU, but

:03:00.:03:04.

no, not yet. Royal assent. It'll pass into law tomorrow, if David

:03:05.:03:08.

Davis is correct and then we'll have to wait and see when number ten

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decide to trigger Article 50. Snr very well. Why the delay? The Prime

:03:14.:03:17.

Minister always said the end of March. I think the Prime Minister is

:03:18.:03:21.

going to take her time and I don't think that's very long to wait. But

:03:22.:03:25.

there was a lot of speculation at the weekend, which wasn't

:03:26.:03:28.

discouraged by Downing Street, that it could be happening yesterday, or

:03:29.:03:32.

this week. And yet it was only in the last 24 hours that we were

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talked down from the top of the hill. Something has gone on? Andrew,

:03:37.:03:40.

essentially she said the end of March. I think it will be done by

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the end of March. I don't think it is a big issue. Why do you think

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there is a delay? I think she was spiking Sturgeon's guns for the

:03:51.:03:52.

announcement yesterday. You may be right. We don't know. So that's the

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end of it. So the Brexit Bill is set to receive

:03:56.:04:00.

Royal Assent tomorrow - It's by far and away the biggest

:04:01.:04:09.

item in the Government in-tray. But, if you thought

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Brexit was the only game Ministers have plenty of other

:04:13.:04:14.

issues to deal with. Indeed, for both the Conservatives

:04:15.:04:17.

and Labour, there has been something of a hangover from last week's

:04:18.:04:21.

Budget. Let's go into it. Are you

:04:22.:04:30.

comfortable about fighting the next election on a clear breach of the

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last election manifesto? As you have pointed out there is clearly an

:04:35.:04:39.

issue here which is we had in our manifesto commitment not to raise

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National Insurance and some people feel, as you do, that the change to

:04:43.:04:48.

the class 4 National Insurance is a breach of that manifesto. Well, I

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don't feel anything. I'm just asking questions. But there were no caveats

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in the manifesto. You mentioned it four times that there would be no

:04:56.:05:00.

increase in national insurance contributions, the class of

:05:01.:05:03.

contributions wasn't mentioned, and in the Queen's Speech, you repeated

:05:04.:05:08.

the manifesto commitment. O so five times we had it, no increase in

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national insurance. And you've increased national insurance. If

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that's not a clear breach of a manifesto promise, I don't know what

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is. Absolutely. I think it is also important putting the other side of

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the argument which is that it is important eventually to simplify

:05:25.:05:28.

this. It is important to deal with the fact that self-employed people

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have got a very different treatment from employed people and that's also

:05:32.:05:34.

their pension benefits have gone up over time. So the reason for the

:05:35.:05:38.

discrepancy is gone. But you are right. You didn't promise that. That

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may be the case. You have a Commission reporting into national

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insurance at the moment as well, with all these anomalies. Indeed the

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whole status of self-employment and so on, you could have waited for

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that and started a debate on that and headed into the 2020 election

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saying - we have now thought about all this, we are keeping to the

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promise we made you but starting in the next decade there will have to

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be changes, you did not do that. You simply went against a promise you

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had made. If you were self-employed and you voted Conservative in the

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last election on the basis of that promise, you voted on a false

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prospect us. Let me go back to self-employed. The majority of

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self-employed people will not be worse off as a result of this

:06:26.:06:30.

measure. If you are on, for example, ?17,000 a year like the majority of

:06:31.:06:34.

my constituents, you would be ?309 better off in terms of your tax tend

:06:35.:06:38.

of this. You were going to be better off anyway because the class 2

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contributions were going for these people, so they already had that

:06:43.:06:48.

banked Absolutely. But if you compare 2015-16 to 2019-20, ?309

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better off at ?17,000 and if you are on ?25,000, you would be about ?158

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better off. Right and the people on ?17,000 to ?it 25,000, I would

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suggest are what the Prime Minister calls the "just about managing"

:07:06.:07:07.

classes. The people who are not the poorest of the poor but they are not

:07:08.:07:12.

even middling of a fluent, they are just about managing and you have

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just increased their tax. If you look at their overall tax burden,

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compare how much they pay in ?2015-16, with how much they pay in

:07:23.:07:27.

2019-20, they would be better off. You have to be earning over ?32,900

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to be worse off. But you nevertheless increased their tax, if

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you hadn't done this they would be a bit better off. These people don't

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have much money in the first place. Why are you taking it from them, yet

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if you inherit a lot of money you are now given a massive tannings

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benefit. Why would you do this at this time? One of the reasons is you

:07:55.:07:58.

used to as a self-employed person get a lower rate of basic pension.

:07:59.:08:02.

Your basic pension will now go up, you will get about ?1,800 more than

:08:03.:08:05.

you would have got in real terms and we feel it is fair that people who

:08:06.:08:08.

are self-employed should contribute as much as people who are employed

:08:09.:08:11.

by employers. Except you never told us that to get elected. What you may

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be saying may be sensible. It may have been stupid that your manifesto

:08:17.:08:20.

promise not to raise income tax, VAT or national insurance, in other

:08:21.:08:23.

words, you basically counted out most of the tax base, that may all

:08:24.:08:28.

be true but a promise is a promise, at a time when trust in politicians

:08:29.:08:32.

is pretty low to begin with, have you not just undermined that even

:08:33.:08:36.

more? So, Andrew, I agree with you, we need to explain very, very

:08:37.:08:41.

clearly what we are doing. This isicallicated, class 1, 2, 3, class

:08:42.:08:45.

4 national insurance. And we need to make sure we absolutely sure we go

:08:46.:08:51.

into the next with people comfortable with the manifesto and

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election proimss. You don't seem comfortable. You have said you agree

:08:56.:08:59.

and I see your point. You don't seem comfortable? The honest answer is

:09:00.:09:02.

the Government is thinking about this very hard. The Government is

:09:03.:09:05.

considering this and we are looking at exactly these issues you raised,

:09:06.:09:09.

we take our manifesto commitments very seriously. We understand the

:09:10.:09:13.

Chancellor is going to be making a statement about national insurance

:09:14.:09:19.

this afternoon. I probably hear the grinding sound of some kind of

:09:20.:09:21.

u-turn. And he has written a letter... Not

:09:22.:09:28.

to me. So how am I meant to know. To Conservative MPs, to also explain

:09:29.:09:31.

the national insurance changes. Let's come on to Labour and its

:09:32.:09:36.

spending plans. A lot of the way you say you will finance the increased

:09:37.:09:41.

spending is from corporation tax. What will - at the moment the

:09:42.:09:47.

corporation tax is 20%. And it's due to fall to 17 under this Government.

:09:48.:09:52.

What would it be under a Labour Government? Well, to start with,

:09:53.:09:57.

people who are self-employed, who are trying to start or grow a

:09:58.:10:00.

business, which is what the Prime Minister said she wanted Britain to

:10:01.:10:03.

be the best place in the world to do, are not feeling the love from

:10:04.:10:06.

the Conservative Government. I understand that. I have done that

:10:07.:10:10.

with the minister. I think you can agree the minister was pretty

:10:11.:10:12.

robustly interviewed. I'm now coming on to Labour's plans. What would the

:10:13.:10:16.

corporation tax be under Labour. That's a the question I'm answering.

:10:17.:10:21.

I don't think targeting those people who are trying to start or grow a

:10:22.:10:26.

business is the right way to support our economy, to help intren airs. I

:10:27.:10:32.

understand that. -- entrepreneurs. That's why we wouldn't be making the

:10:33.:10:37.

cuts to corporation tax. The reason is we already have some of the most

:10:38.:10:43.

competitive corporation tax rates in the developed world. So we wouldn't

:10:44.:10:53.

go to 20%. Would you raise it from 20%? ? Well 2017, there are

:10:54.:10:59.

three-years plus to a general election, according to the six-term

:11:00.:11:03.

Parliament Act. I think you will have to wait a little bit longer to

:11:04.:11:07.

find out what Labour's plans are for that election. We don't. We need to

:11:08.:11:10.

know how. You have promised ?12 billion a year extra for the health

:11:11.:11:13.

service and social care. ?5 billion a year extra by 2020 on changes to

:11:14.:11:16.

Universal Credit and employment support. ?7 billion a year by taking

:11:17.:11:24.

away the public sector pay freeze. ?1 billion on maintenance grast

:11:25.:11:29.

grants, ?1 billion on waspy women, their pensions giving them justice.

:11:30.:11:32.

?7 billion getting rid of tuition fees. On a yearly basis by 2020 that

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comes to ?33. A 5 billion of spending. I ask you again - how

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would you raise corporation too, and how much would it contribute towards

:11:44.:11:47.

that? Well, as I was saying, you wouldn't be starting from here, we

:11:48.:11:53.

wouldn't have made the cuts since 2010, that have seen living

:11:54.:11:56.

standards fall. But that's where we are. We have seen living standards

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fall whilst the economy has become... This is all just nonsense.

:12:00.:12:05.

It is the truth. Is there anything untrue in what I said? It may well

:12:06.:12:12.

be true, nothing to do with the question I'm asking, which is given

:12:13.:12:16.

you have commitments of over ?33 billion spending per year, how much

:12:17.:12:20.

would you raise corporation tax by to pay for that? And at the moment

:12:21.:12:25.

we are developing the ideas towards our manifesto in 2020. We wouldn't

:12:26.:12:33.

make the 73.6 billion worth of tax cuts that were in the manifesto from

:12:34.:12:38.

corporation tax and from other tax... But you have committed to ?33

:12:39.:12:44.

billion and you have, in your private calculations, most of the

:12:45.:12:48.

extra money comes from corporation tax, but you cannot tell me today

:12:49.:12:52.

what that rate would be and how much it would raise? Well if you tell me

:12:53.:12:57.

what the economy is going to be like in three years' time I'll tell you

:12:58.:13:01.

what our manifesto might look like. I can tell you now corporation tax

:13:02.:13:05.

brings in just shy of ?50 billion a year on the basis of 20%. How much

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would you raise it by to bring in ?33? And ?7 o 0 billion by 2022,

:13:12.:13:18.

would be the money for social care. Right, are you telling me the

:13:19.:13:21.

corporation tax would bring in ?70 billion. No I said it is ?73.6

:13:22.:13:28.

billion by 2022 when you add in inheritance tax. But it is nearly

:13:29.:13:33.

all corporation tax. Yes, it is. And you add in the ?70 billion a dubious

:13:34.:13:39.

figure, ?63 billion of that comes from corporation tax. The figure

:13:40.:13:42.

from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the independent body

:13:43.:13:44.

set up by the Conservative Government is a daubous figure. It

:13:45.:13:49.

is dubious in the sense that it goes back in time to work out what losses

:13:50.:13:54.

might have been. What I'm trying to find out from you is that

:13:55.:13:58.

corporation tax at the moment it 20% it brings in by about ?50 billion by

:13:59.:14:04.

how much would you increase it to get your ?33 billion you need? I can

:14:05.:14:09.

tell you we will be voting against the cut in corporation tax in the

:14:10.:14:12.

Finance Bill when the Government brings it forward and we would start

:14:13.:14:18.

with the ?73 billion by 2022 in not cutting those taxes. Let me

:14:19.:14:22.

interrupt you, we have heard as we have been on air and as I was

:14:23.:14:26.

interviewing the two politicians, the Chancellor has announced that

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there will be no increases in national insurance in this

:14:31.:14:32.

Parliament. So, the Budget was - what JoCo

:14:33.:14:43.

today. A weak ago? Well you said you could hear the grinding of a U-Turn.

:14:44.:14:48.

He has said in a letter to Tory MPs "I've delighted not to proceed with

:14:49.:14:51.

the class 4 national insurance contributions." They were the ones

:14:52.:14:54.

talked about by the Chancellor a week ago. He is not going to

:14:55.:15:00.

increase them as he had set out. There will be no increases NIC rates

:15:01.:15:05.

in the Parliament. "We will continue with the abolition of class 2."

:15:06.:15:09.

Which had already been announced. "The cost of the changes will be

:15:10.:15:13.

funded by measures to be announced in the autumn Budget." What is it

:15:14.:15:18.

about this Government and their chancellors, why are they so uses?

:15:19.:15:21.

Under George Osborne they announced a massive cut in tax credits for the

:15:22.:15:26.

work poor in the end I think Mr Osborne, in his final Budget had to

:15:27.:15:30.

get rid of it all, Mr Hammond announces increases in national

:15:31.:15:33.

insurance contributions, a week later, oh, it is not going to

:15:34.:15:38.

happen. Why are your chancellors so useless? Firstly, we have some very

:15:39.:15:47.

serious chancellors. But to go back to the bigger issue, you put your

:15:48.:15:50.

finger on it. This was a difficult decision. On the one hand, these

:15:51.:15:54.

were sensible changes that a lot of economists have been asking for many

:15:55.:15:58.

years. On the other hand, there was a manifesto issue. It sounds to me

:15:59.:16:03.

as though the government has made a difficult decision, which is the

:16:04.:16:05.

right decision, which is that we have to keep to the spirit of the

:16:06.:16:09.

manifesto. So you're happy with this? I think this is the right

:16:10.:16:14.

decision. It sounds from the way you answering like this is the way you

:16:15.:16:18.

want it to go. This is a dilemma here. This is a good policy that the

:16:19.:16:23.

Treasury came up with. It would have been a sensible reform. Within the

:16:24.:16:26.

letter of the manifesto, you could argue with what we did in 2015, plus

:16:27.:16:32.

one applied. But the spirit of the manifesto means this is the right

:16:33.:16:36.

way to go back. This is exactly what the Chancellor says, complied with

:16:37.:16:38.

the spirit. Does that mean he finally got round

:16:39.:16:42.

to reading the manifesto? Duke and that when you speak to him.

:16:43.:16:53.

Support for Scottish independence is at its highest level. Scottish

:16:54.:16:59.

social attitudes survey has recorded the highest level of support for

:17:00.:17:08.

independence since it began in 1999. The research also suggest that the

:17:09.:17:11.

popularity of the European Union has fallen among voters.

:17:12.:17:14.

We're joined now by one of the authors of the report,

:17:15.:17:17.

Does that mean that Nicola Sturgeon can win a second referendum? I think

:17:18.:17:24.

if you are going to use the verb can only answer for that must be yes.

:17:25.:17:30.

Our survey has shown 46% support for independence, given at an average of

:17:31.:17:39.

the moment the opinion poll -- it certainly means that any second

:17:40.:17:43.

independence referendum held either before spring 2019 or sometime

:17:44.:17:47.

thereafter is going to be launched against a very different backdrop

:17:48.:17:51.

for the first referendum in 2014. It will be against a backdrop where

:17:52.:17:57.

nearly half of Scotland is already apparently convinced of the case for

:17:58.:18:02.

independence. To that extent, at least, we have therefore to bear in

:18:03.:18:04.

mind that the Scotland we are talking about now is very different

:18:05.:18:08.

politically than the Scotland we were talking about four years ago.

:18:09.:18:13.

How does that compare to the YouGov poll in the Times today suggesting

:18:14.:18:16.

57% of Scots would reject independence? As always, you need to

:18:17.:18:21.

be very careful about quoting individual polls that happen to be

:18:22.:18:25.

the exception. If you take the average of one of the opinion polls

:18:26.:18:29.

done so far this year, including another that came out this morning

:18:30.:18:35.

that had it at 53%, on average it is 53% for no and 47% for yes. But

:18:36.:18:41.

remember that Scotland is a different animal from most of the

:18:42.:18:44.

opinion polls. This was done over six months in the second half of

:18:45.:18:49.

last year. We're not trying to measure the short-term weather.

:18:50.:18:50.

We're trying to measure the long-term climate. The crucial thing

:18:51.:18:55.

about our reporters that we show how the climate of public opinion in

:18:56.:19:00.

Scotland has changed dramatically in the wake of the first referendum. It

:19:01.:19:04.

particularly happened most strongly amongst younger voters. I think this

:19:05.:19:09.

raises questions about whether the UK Government will necessarily be

:19:10.:19:12.

wise and wanting to play a long game, rather than a short game.

:19:13.:19:18.

Simple demography could mean that a majority for independence may well

:19:19.:19:21.

emerge in Scotland in the future, even if frankly nothing else

:19:22.:19:27.

happened. What about Brexit? Against Abe backdrop Brexit negotiations,

:19:28.:19:32.

and the timing is being argued over, Nicola Sturgeon has picked a time

:19:33.:19:35.

when there is a lot of uncertainty around. Howard Brexit play out when

:19:36.:19:39.

you look at those who voted yes to independence last time? The

:19:40.:19:43.

difficulty that emerges for the SNP is that it's not obvious that they

:19:44.:19:47.

should want to fight the second independence referendum, focused on

:19:48.:19:50.

the issue of whether or not Scotland should remain inside the European

:19:51.:19:54.

Union. The first reason is one third of those people who voted yes on

:19:55.:19:58.

September 2014 voted to leave in June 20 16. The second is that over

:19:59.:20:04.

half of those people who voted to remain are and nearly two thirds of

:20:05.:20:08.

those who voted to remain having voted to stay in the union in 2014

:20:09.:20:13.

go on to say that perhaps we should remain inside the European Union,

:20:14.:20:17.

but the powers of the EU should be reduced. In other words, they are

:20:18.:20:22.

relatively unenthusiastic, lukewarm supporters of the EU. There may be a

:20:23.:20:27.

lot of them. 62% of Scotland may have voted in favour. But it's not

:20:28.:20:31.

clear that they are so committed to the EU that they will change their

:20:32.:20:34.

minds as a result of the Brexit secretary. Indeed, that's been the

:20:35.:20:39.

message of the opinion polls. Having an average of 53% for no and 43% for

:20:40.:20:44.

yes are exactly where they were before the Brexit referendum. John

:20:45.:20:45.

Curtice, thank you. We're joined now by the SNP

:20:46.:20:47.

MP, Kirsty Blackman. Nicola Sturgeon called the second

:20:48.:20:54.

referendum on the basis that Scotland is being taken out of the

:20:55.:21:01.

EU... K. I were! Thank you. What is the SNP's position on EU membership?

:21:02.:21:06.

The people of Scotland voted to stay in the EU. In terms of our manifesto

:21:07.:21:11.

commitment, we said that we would hold another referendum in these

:21:12.:21:14.

circumstances and would reserve the right holiday referendum. Do you

:21:15.:21:18.

want to be full members of the EU? In terms of the proposition that

:21:19.:21:23.

would be put to the Scottish people, in the fullness of time you'll see

:21:24.:21:33.

what that is, and. ... So you're not sure? That'll be made absolutely

:21:34.:21:39.

clear, we're committed to the EU. We supportive of Scotland being

:21:40.:21:43.

members. In terms of the proposition, will become trustingly

:21:44.:21:46.

two. We'll look at the cliff edge Brexit and the opportunities. That's

:21:47.:21:50.

just not clear to me. And probably not too many of our viewers. Are you

:21:51.:21:55.

going to be campaigning on the basis of an independent Scotland applying

:21:56.:22:00.

to either remain, if you can do that, ought certainly applying to be

:22:01.:22:04.

a full member of the European Union? Certainly, that's the intention. So

:22:05.:22:08.

you want to serve as part of the single market, hence the full

:22:09.:22:13.

membership. Would you take the euro as your currency? What we've done is

:22:14.:22:16.

happy growth commission look at this and the opportunities for an

:22:17.:22:20.

independent Scotland, and what currency would be best for Scotland.

:22:21.:22:26.

That proposition will come out later. In due course we will publish

:22:27.:22:30.

that of butter to the Scottish people. How confident are you that

:22:31.:22:34.

countries like Spain, worried about their own separatist movement, would

:22:35.:22:37.

be to your membership to be full members of the EU? We've had pretty

:22:38.:22:42.

good comments made by members of the ruling party, saying recently that

:22:43.:22:49.

they would veto Scotland's application for membership. So we're

:22:50.:22:56.

pretty confident that. They said you couldn't seamlessly apply? We have

:22:57.:23:03.

been told we would have two join the queue. That has been made very

:23:04.:23:08.

clear. There have been people who talked about AQ, that everybody

:23:09.:23:11.

knows that the queue in terms of the EU membership is pretty fluid. You

:23:12.:23:16.

have to fulfil the criteria. You would have to apply a gain? That's

:23:17.:23:20.

what some people in Spain have been saying. Including the Government?

:23:21.:23:26.

Some have been saying that. Just be Prime Minister, the Foreign

:23:27.:23:28.

Secretary and the Secretary of State for Europe. Spain doesn't

:23:29.:23:34.

necessarily have... Than 27 member states. It does have the to veto.

:23:35.:23:40.

Has the SNP accepted that they couldn't just have an independence

:23:41.:23:44.

referendum if you were to win it, and then remain in the EU? You would

:23:45.:23:48.

have to come out and reapply as a new member? I don't think that's

:23:49.:23:52.

clear. Given what Jean-Claude Juncker said, he said Scotland has

:23:53.:23:56.

the right to be heard and listened to in terms of the Brexit

:23:57.:24:00.

settlement. I don't think it's clear that is the case. You've made it

:24:01.:24:04.

clear that your independence campaign is going to be about

:24:05.:24:09.

reapplying to become full members of the EU. How will you keep on board

:24:10.:24:14.

the 27% of US voters, those who voted for independence last time

:24:15.:24:19.

round? But also voted to leave the EU? -- 27% of yes voters. They

:24:20.:24:27.

thought I was going to be extra money for the NHS. They voted

:24:28.:24:34.

without full information. When faced with the realities of a hard Brexit

:24:35.:24:38.

cliff edge, quite a number of people will look at this and say small

:24:39.:24:42.

businesses will be hit with customs charges, individuals will see

:24:43.:24:47.

inflation in their shopping. Except the figures, from recent polls, have

:24:48.:24:52.

shown that 43% of people in Scotland to voted yes to independence and

:24:53.:24:57.

voted leave have now abandoned their pro-independence position. 28% now

:24:58.:25:02.

say they will -- 28% now say they will vote to stay in the union.

:25:03.:25:08.

People who have voted the other way, and who was staunchly no, really

:25:09.:25:12.

value the freedoms that they get as members of the European Union and

:25:13.:25:15.

wanting to protect those freedoms thank you.

:25:16.:25:16.

Tomorrow it's expected the Brexit Bill will finally

:25:17.:25:19.

receive Royal Assent, passing into law and formally giving

:25:20.:25:21.

Theresa May the authority to trigger Article 50.

:25:22.:25:26.

We know a little bit about royal approval here

:25:27.:25:28.

In fact, it might be just about now the Queen is settling down

:25:29.:25:32.

with a gin-and-dubonnet to watch the best and the brightest

:25:33.:25:35.

But with a second independence referendum in Scotland

:25:36.:25:40.

in the offing, Northern Ireland's power-sharing arrangements in chaos

:25:41.:25:43.

and, perhaps worst of all, the prospect of another

:25:44.:25:46.

40-minute-long PMQs, all we'll say is, Your Majesty,

:25:47.:25:52.

You've got time! She is our favourite viewer, you know. She

:25:53.:26:10.

watches us every day. Spoke to Princess and last night, she's

:26:11.:26:17.

another fan of the show. -- Princess Anne.

:26:18.:26:18.

Indeed, grab yourself one of these beauties and fill it to the brim.

:26:19.:26:21.

And if you're keen for a Daily Politics mug to help keep

:26:22.:26:24.

you steady in the months ahead, just tell us when this happened.

:26:25.:26:29.

# All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth

:26:30.:26:55.

REPORTER: 4,000 London dockers went on strike.

:26:56.:27:06.

# D, you're a darling and E, you're exciting

:27:07.:27:28.

# G, you look good to me, H, you're so heavenly

:27:29.:27:36.

To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug,

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send your answer to our special quiz e-mail address -

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Entries must arrive by 12:30 today, and you can see the full terms

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and conditions for Guess The Year on our website -

:27:57.:27:58.

It's coming up to midday here - just take a look at Big Ben.

:27:59.:28:08.

Yes, Prime Minister's Questions is on its way.

:28:09.:28:11.

And that's not all - Laura Kuenssberg is here.

:28:12.:28:18.

This Tory expenses investigation. It is getting serious. Craig Mackinlay,

:28:19.:28:26.

the MP for Thanet South, now questioned under the caution. Tory

:28:27.:28:31.

MP, Carol McCartney, he's turning on Conservative Central office. This

:28:32.:28:36.

has been rumbling on for months, partly due to the investigative

:28:37.:28:40.

efforts of Channel 4 News and the Mirror. As you suggested, in the

:28:41.:28:44.

last few days it has taken what appears to be a new turn with one MP

:28:45.:28:49.

being questioned under caution. At the core of this is whether or not

:28:50.:28:54.

in election battles around the country, the activities of national

:28:55.:28:57.

activists who were on a big battle driving around in a properly

:28:58.:29:03.

declared on local campaign expenses. That is what the Routier. It's all a

:29:04.:29:09.

bit technical, but it goes to something really important. Because

:29:10.:29:13.

it goes to who pays to get somebody to be elected, which is an important

:29:14.:29:19.

question. Every political party makes a step up now and again. But

:29:20.:29:22.

it could become extremely important because there are 17 forces

:29:23.:29:27.

investigating this now. It could be a pretty small micro, what CC HQ

:29:28.:29:34.

have described as an administrative error, to something that suddenly

:29:35.:29:37.

could theoretically end up questioning the results of many MPs'

:29:38.:29:42.

elections around the country. We need to keep an eye on this, it's

:29:43.:29:48.

getting serious. Absolutely. It could get very serious. Senior

:29:49.:29:51.

sources were suggesting to colleagues that BBC Newsnight that

:29:52.:29:54.

it would be more likely to end up as some sort of fine. For this to be a

:29:55.:29:58.

criminal situation is something that is just absolutely not... It could

:29:59.:30:06.

happen in one or two places. The background to this is that Theresa

:30:07.:30:10.

May's majority is wafer thin. So a seat here or there really matters.

:30:11.:30:15.

If you remember the Thanet election... I was there. Happy

:30:16.:30:21.

memories for you! It's a state where Ukip felt that they really had a

:30:22.:30:25.

good chance. The majority was very narrow. Craig Mackinlay the Nigel

:30:26.:30:33.

Farage. The national campaign, they spent ?18,000 on accommodation at

:30:34.:30:40.

the Royal Harbour Hotel. For the constituency, ?16,000. Questions the

:30:41.:30:43.

Tories will have to answer here. Another day, another Tory Chancellor

:30:44.:30:48.

U-turn. What a week this has been. Seven days ago we were sitting in

:30:49.:30:51.

this studio waiting for the Chancellor to do his first budget.

:30:52.:30:56.

And a screeching U-turn has been performed just in time for Prime

:30:57.:30:59.

Minister's Questions, so that the Prime Minister does not have to

:31:00.:31:02.

defend the most controversial policy that came out of the budget. It's

:31:03.:31:06.

important to say in the last half-hour, just as this has broken,

:31:07.:31:11.

I've spoken to people on both sides of the argument and one senior

:31:12.:31:14.

Conservative told me it was madness, they had to drop it. Somebody asked

:31:15.:31:19.

me they were absolutely livid. Think of would be difficult thing is that

:31:20.:31:22.

this government has to do over the next five years, and at the first

:31:23.:31:28.

hint of trouble over an issue of the ?145 million, the net gain of the

:31:29.:31:33.

Treasury, they've backed away. It's an interesting thing and does not

:31:34.:31:35.

sentiment on one side of the argument. Some were very upset

:31:36.:31:39.

coming out of the argument, only to find within days it's been dropped.

:31:40.:31:43.

You think it might have dawned on them before the budget. This is a

:31:44.:31:46.

question. Some people turned on Philip Hammond. The idea that Philip

:31:47.:31:57.

Hammond should have specifically flagged it in the cabin... You kind

:31:58.:32:01.

of wonder if shouldn't every cabinet minister have been aware of what was

:32:02.:32:05.

in the Tory manifesto? Lets go and see what happens now as these

:32:06.:32:06.

stories break. I am sure minsters will want to join

:32:07.:32:20.

me in wishing people around the world a happy St Patrick's Day on

:32:21.:32:27.

Friday. This morning I had ministerial meetings with my

:32:28.:32:29.

colleagues and will have further today With my Irish blood can I also

:32:30.:32:34.

wish a happy St Patrick's Day. Mr Speaker, I welcome the announcement

:32:35.:32:37.

from this Government that we will abide by the letter of our manifesto

:32:38.:32:48.

and also the spirit. CHEERS AND JEERS. MR THE Prime Minister AGREE

:32:49.:32:54.

WITH ME, THAT IN BALANCING THE BOOKS WE MUST SURE THAT WE HAVE A

:32:55.:33:00.

sustainable tax system in place. I would like to thank my honourable

:33:01.:33:03.

friend for this question. We made a commitment not to raise tax and we

:33:04.:33:07.

put our commitment into the tax lock. The measures we put forward in

:33:08.:33:11.

the Budget last week were consistent with those locks.

:33:12.:33:23.

But, as a number of my parliamentary colleagues have been pointing out in

:33:24.:33:30.

recent days, there is... THE SPEAKER: Order. This is intolerable,

:33:31.:33:35.

the answers from the Prime Minister...

:33:36.:33:41.

SHOUTS AND JEERS I do take a view on the importance

:33:42.:33:46.

of hearing the questions and the answers from the Prime Minister As a

:33:47.:33:50.

number of my Parliamently colleagues have been pointing out the trend

:33:51.:33:54.

towards greater self-employment creates a structural issue on the

:33:55.:33:57.

tax base on which we will have to act and we want to ensure that we

:33:58.:34:01.

maintain, as they have said, fairness in the tax system. So we

:34:02.:34:05.

are going to awhich the the report from Matthew Taylor on the future of

:34:06.:34:10.

employment, we will consider the Government's overall approach to

:34:11.:34:13.

employment status and rights to tax and entitledment. We will bring

:34:14.:34:19.

forward further proposals but we will not bring forward increases to

:34:20.:34:30.

ni. -- NICs later this this Parliament Can I wish everyone a

:34:31.:34:39.

very be happy St Patrick's Day for the 17th in my constituency, in

:34:40.:34:43.

Ireland and around the world. We have just heard the Prime Minister

:34:44.:34:48.

is about to drop the national insurance hike announced only a week

:34:49.:34:53.

ago. It seems to me like a Government in a the bit of chaos

:34:54.:35:01.

here. SHOUTS AND JEERS A Budget that unravels in seven

:35:02.:35:04.

days, a Conservative manifesto with a very pensive Prime Minister on the

:35:05.:35:10.

front page saying there would be no increase, a week ago an increase was

:35:11.:35:15.

announced. If they are to drop this increase, as they are indicating,

:35:16.:35:20.

then this is a time that she should thank the Federation of Small

:35:21.:35:24.

Businesses and all those that have pointed out just how unfair this

:35:25.:35:30.

increase would be. But, also, how big business evades an awful lot of

:35:31.:35:34.

national insurance through bogus self-employment. I have to say to

:35:35.:35:41.

the right honourable gentleman, I don't think he actually listened to

:35:42.:35:46.

the answer I gave to my honourable friend, the member from Bexhill and

:35:47.:35:52.

Battle. I normally stand at this despatch box and say I don't take

:35:53.:35:57.

any lectures from the honourable gentleman, when it comes to lectures

:35:58.:36:00.

on chaos, he'd be the first person I would turn to. Mr Speaker, I think

:36:01.:36:07.

the Prime Minister should offer an apology for the chaos that her

:36:08.:36:10.

Government has caused during the past week and the stresses caused to

:36:11.:36:15.

the 4.8 million self-employed people in this country. Will she offer that

:36:16.:36:23.

apology? Her friend, the member for Conway said so a week ago. It's time

:36:24.:36:28.

she joined in and said that as well. This measure, if carried through,

:36:29.:36:32.

will create a black hole in the Budget, what is she going to do to

:36:33.:36:42.

fill that black hole? If the right honourable gentleman is so concern

:36:43.:36:48.

about balancing the books, why is it Labour Party policy to borrow half a

:36:49.:36:56.

trillion pound and bankrupt Britain? ? Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker, coming

:36:57.:37:09.

from a Government that proposes to borrow more between now and 2020,

:37:10.:37:15.

than the entire borrowing of all Labour governments put together, we

:37:16.:37:18.

don't need lectures from them on this. I hope that in his statement

:37:19.:37:26.

later today, the Chancellor will address the question of injustice of

:37:27.:37:32.

many people forced into bogus self-employment by unscrupulous

:37:33.:37:55.

companies. Because many of them force their workers to become

:37:56.:37:57.

self-employed, thus avoiding employers' national insurance

:37:58.:37:58.

contributions. It is a grossly unfair system, where those in

:37:59.:38:00.

self-employment pay some national insurance, employers do not benefit

:38:01.:38:03.

from it. That is a gross injustice that has to be addressed. The right

:38:04.:38:05.

honourable gentleman obviously hadn't noticed that one of the first

:38:06.:38:08.

things I did when I became Prime Minister was to commission Matthew

:38:09.:38:11.

Taylor from the RSA to conduct a review to look at the employment

:38:12.:38:15.

market, to look at employment rights and status, precisely because we

:38:16.:38:18.

recognise that the employment market is changing. He talks about the

:38:19.:38:22.

self-employed. Let's look at what we have done for the self-employed. Our

:38:23.:38:26.

increase in personal allowance means they now keep more of their

:38:27.:38:30.

earnings. They will have access to both tax-free childcare and 30 hours

:38:31.:38:34.

of free childcare, just like employees and now they have access

:38:35.:38:39.

to the new state pension worth over ?1,800 more a year. But what we know

:38:40.:38:44.

from the Labour Party's policies is that their policies would bankrupt

:38:45.:38:47.

Britain, they put firms out of business and people out of jobs. We

:38:48.:38:55.

have a Government U-turn, no apolicy and we have a Budget that -- apology

:38:56.:39:01.

and we have a Budget that falls most heavily on those with the least

:39:02.:39:05.

broad shoulders. Cuts to schools, cuts to social care and cuts to

:39:06.:39:09.

people with disbabilities. That is the agenda of her Government and

:39:10.:39:20.

everybody knows it. I'm not sure - I don't think the right honourable

:39:21.:39:23.

gentleman has quite got the hang of this. He is supposed to ask

:39:24.:39:31.

questions to me when he stands up. Let's talk... THE SPEAKER: Order.

:39:32.:39:36.

Order. Let's hear the answer, Prime Minister. He talks about schools.

:39:37.:39:47.

What have we done? We've protected the core schools budget. We

:39:48.:39:52.

introduced the pupil premium. This budget delivers money for over 100

:39:53.:39:56.

new schools, delivering on good school places for every child this.

:39:57.:39:59.

Budget delivers on skills for young people. We want them to be equipped

:40:00.:40:05.

for the jobs of the future. The Budget delivers ?500 million for

:40:06.:40:09.

technical education and on social care, we recognise the pressure on

:40:10.:40:15.

social care. This Budget delivers ?2 billion more funding for social

:40:16.:40:18.

care. Funding that wouldn't be available with Labour's economic

:40:19.:40:24.

policies. Mr Speaker, it would be a very good idea if the Prime Minister

:40:25.:40:29.

listened to headteachers all over the country, desperately trying to

:40:30.:40:34.

work out how to balance the books in their schools, losing teachers,

:40:35.:40:39.

losing teaching assistants, losing support for their children because

:40:40.:40:43.

the schools' budgets are being cut. She knows that, we all know that,

:40:44.:40:48.

everybody out there knows that. They also know that according to IFS

:40:49.:40:54.

figures, average working families will be 1,400 pounds worse as a

:40:55.:40:59.

result of her Budget that was produced last week. Can she say what

:41:00.:41:03.

she is doing to help the worst-off and poorest in our society, rather

:41:04.:41:08.

than continuing cutting local government expenditure, schools

:41:09.:41:09.

expenditure and underfunding social care? I'll tell the right honourable

:41:10.:41:15.

gentleman what we have delivered for the low paid. We have frozen VAT and

:41:16.:41:22.

fuel duty and every basic rate taxpayer have had a tax cut of at

:41:23.:41:26.

worst ?1,000 and we have taken 3 million people out of paying income

:41:27.:41:30.

tax altogether. That's what we have done for the low paid. On schools we

:41:31.:41:35.

now see 1.8 million children in good or outstanding schools. I want a

:41:36.:41:39.

good school place for every child. We have done it with free schools

:41:40.:41:43.

and academies and the changes we have brought forward in edge

:41:44.:41:46.

education, all opposed to the Labour Party. Now they want to oppose us

:41:47.:41:50.

giving a good school place for every child. What do we know about the

:41:51.:41:53.

Labour's policies? Let's see what the former Shadow Chancellor, the

:41:54.:41:58.

member for Nottingham East said, "Labour's policies would mean

:41:59.:42:01.

doubling national insurance, doubling VAT and doubling council

:42:02.:42:06.

tax as well." That wouldn't help the low paid or ordinary working

:42:07.:42:12.

families. Mr Speaker, the difference is, we

:42:13.:42:18.

want a good school and a good place for every child in every school in

:42:19.:42:26.

every community. Selective education, reintroduction of grammar

:42:27.:42:30.

schools does not achieve that. We want a staircase for all. Not a

:42:31.:42:36.

ladder for the few which is what the Conservatives policies actually are.

:42:37.:42:40.

What she hasn't addressed, also, is the unfairness of a Budget that cuts

:42:41.:42:48.

tax at the top end, continues to introduce corporation tax,

:42:49.:42:50.

encourages bogus self-employment. What she has to do is address the

:42:51.:42:55.

issues of injustice and inequality in our society and a Government that

:42:56.:43:00.

is dedicated towards widening the gap, not helping the hard-up or

:43:01.:43:04.

those that are working self-employed to try to make ends meet and not

:43:05.:43:08.

getting access to any benefits at the same time. Inequality has gone

:43:09.:43:16.

down under this Government. This Budget shows that the top 1% of

:43:17.:43:22.

earners will actually be contributing 27% in terms of the

:43:23.:43:25.

income they are providing. But let me address the issue, also, of

:43:26.:43:29.

schools. You see the problem with what the right honourable gentleman

:43:30.:43:33.

says is that on every single education policy that this

:43:34.:43:52.

Government has brought forward, that has been delivering more good school

:43:53.:43:55.

places for children, the Labour Party has opposed it and they

:43:56.:43:57.

continue to oppose it. Because the Labour Party's approach is that

:43:58.:44:00.

parents will take what they are given, good or bad. We believe in

:44:01.:44:03.

listening to parents. If he looks ahead to what his policies would

:44:04.:44:05.

produce for this country, half a trillion pounds of borrowing, 500

:44:06.:44:07.

billion more borrowing under the Labour Party. More taxes, more

:44:08.:44:13.

spending, more borrowing, a bankrupt Britain that wouldn't give money for

:44:14.:44:16.

public services or help ordinary working families. It's the

:44:17.:44:20.

Conservative Party that is helping ordinary working families. It is the

:44:21.:44:24.

Labour Party that is failing to address the needs of the people of

:44:25.:44:30.

this country. Inhe is just sitting there and going on protest marches.

:44:31.:44:40.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. As the tax changed, I changed my question. May

:44:41.:44:45.

I congratulate my right honourable friend on proposing the most radical

:44:46.:44:59.

reform of technical education in a generation and also delivering fair

:45:00.:45:02.

funding for all our schools but may I also her, as part of that

:45:03.:45:07.

consultation, to ensure a minimum level of appropriate funding for all

:45:08.:45:10.

schools? I thank my honourable friend,

:45:11.:45:18.

because he's raised an important point. One of the issues with

:45:19.:45:21.

addressed in the budget is to put more money into skills training,

:45:22.:45:26.

further education and technical education for young people. I think

:45:27.:45:29.

one of the most important things we can do is equip young people for the

:45:30.:45:32.

jobs of the future so they can get on in life. We are investing an

:45:33.:45:37.

extra half ?1 billion a year in England's technical education system

:45:38.:45:42.

to do this. My honourable friend has referred to the issue of a minimum

:45:43.:45:46.

funding levels. The Education Secretary confirmed last month that

:45:47.:45:49.

the DFE have heard representations on this issue and are considering

:45:50.:45:53.

the issues. But in relation to the funding formula, it is complex and

:45:54.:45:58.

has needed addressing for some time. We will look at it carefully.

:45:59.:46:03.

We once had a Prime Minister who said that the lady's not for

:46:04.:46:10.

turning. My, goodness. Isn't it welcome that the Prime Minister

:46:11.:46:17.

today has announced that she is returning with her screeching,

:46:18.:46:25.

embarrassing U-turn? Only days remain until the Prime Minister is

:46:26.:46:30.

going to invoke Article 50 on leading the European Union. And last

:46:31.:46:35.

July, she promised to secure a UK wide approach - an agreement between

:46:36.:46:42.

the devolved administrations between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

:46:43.:46:45.

and the UK Government before triggering Article 50. So when will

:46:46.:46:49.

be Prime Minister announced the details of the agreement?

:46:50.:46:57.

As I said to the Right Honourable gentleman yesterday, and to others

:46:58.:47:01.

asking the questions on the timetable, we will trigger Article

:47:02.:47:05.

50 by the end of March. There will be an opportunity for further

:47:06.:47:07.

discussions with the devolved administrations over that period.

:47:08.:47:11.

When the right honourable gentleman looks at the issue of membership of

:47:12.:47:15.

the European Union, and his view of Scotland not being a member of the

:47:16.:47:19.

United Kingdom, I say this to him. He is comparing membership of an

:47:20.:47:23.

organisation that we've been a member of four 40 years with our

:47:24.:47:29.

country. We have been one country for over 300 years. We have fought

:47:30.:47:33.

together, we've worked together, we've achieved together. And

:47:34.:47:39.

constitutional gameplaying must not be allowed to break the deep bonds

:47:40.:47:44.

of our shared history, and our future together.

:47:45.:48:00.

The Prime Minister can wag her finger as much as she likes. Last

:48:01.:48:06.

year, she made a promise. She promised an agreement. I asked her

:48:07.:48:12.

about it yesterday. She didn't answer. I asked her about it now.

:48:13.:48:18.

She hasn't answered. When will she reach an agreement? Not discussions,

:48:19.:48:25.

an agreement with the Scottish Government before triggering Article

:48:26.:48:32.

50. HECKLING I recognise the passions.

:48:33.:48:42.

Calm yourself, I'm perfectly capable of doing that without your

:48:43.:48:46.

assistance. The right honourable gentleman will be heard, however

:48:47.:48:49.

long it takes. Carry on, Mr Robertson.

:48:50.:48:54.

The Prime Minister promised an agreement. There is not an

:48:55.:48:58.

agreement. When will there be an agreement? Because does she not

:48:59.:49:01.

understand that if she does not secure an agreement before

:49:02.:49:08.

triggering Article 50, if she is not prepared to negotiate on behalf of

:49:09.:49:11.

the Scottish Government and secure membership of the single European

:49:12.:49:15.

market, people in Scotland will have a referendum, and we will have

:49:16.:49:20.

our... We have been in discussions with the

:49:21.:49:33.

Scottish Government and other devolved administrations about the

:49:34.:49:37.

interest that they have. As we prepare as the United Kingdom

:49:38.:49:41.

government to negotiate a deal on behalf on the whole United Kingdom.

:49:42.:49:46.

A deal which will be a good deal, not just for England, Wales and

:49:47.:49:49.

Northern Ireland, but for the people of Scotland as well. And as we go

:49:50.:49:55.

forward in negotiating that deal, I think the right honourable gentleman

:49:56.:50:00.

should remember this - Scotland will be leaving the European Union. It

:50:01.:50:04.

will leave the European Union either as a member of the United Kingdom,

:50:05.:50:09.

or were independent, it's very clear with the document that it would not

:50:10.:50:13.

be member of the European Union. What we need now is to unite, to

:50:14.:50:18.

come together as a country and to ensure that we can get the best deal

:50:19.:50:29.

for the whole of the United Kingdom. This government is working with

:50:30.:50:34.

councils and other partners to grow the economy. But despite being in

:50:35.:50:41.

the prosperous south-east, the Isle of Wight is 339th out of 379 in the

:50:42.:50:50.

UK competitive index. Will my right honourable friend ensure that more

:50:51.:50:58.

growth funding is targeted at rural areas, like the islands, with many

:50:59.:51:04.

small and micro businesses, to deliver a country that works for

:51:05.:51:10.

all? My honourable friend speaks well on

:51:11.:51:14.

behalf of his constituents, and he's right to do that. I know that he has

:51:15.:51:19.

consistently put forward the unique characteristics of the Isle of

:51:20.:51:22.

Wight. We've already been able to support the island's economy through

:51:23.:51:30.

the local growth deal for the Solent, and supporting the Isle of

:51:31.:51:37.

Wight rural SME programme. I want to make sure that we make the best of

:51:38.:51:41.

the diverse strength of Britain's cities, regions and Islands. I'm

:51:42.:51:45.

sure that on the island, the business community will work

:51:46.:51:48.

together to create the best possible conditions.

:51:49.:51:54.

It is our two single market that are the backbone for our economy. And

:51:55.:51:58.

yet the Prime Minister wants to rip us away from one, and they want to

:51:59.:52:03.

break up the other. Can she tell me, is it really a price worth paying,

:52:04.:52:07.

the risky and reckless approach she is taking to Brexit, to foster the

:52:08.:52:14.

break-up of Britain? The honourable gentleman is wrong

:52:15.:52:17.

when he uses the term that I want to rip the United Kingdom away from the

:52:18.:52:20.

single markets. What we wanted you... No, this is... I'm sorry to

:52:21.:52:29.

say to honourable members on the Labour benches, this is the same

:52:30.:52:32.

answer that I have given consistently in this house. We want

:52:33.:52:35.

to ensure that we get a good free trade agreement which gives us the

:52:36.:52:41.

maximum possible access to the single market to enable us to trade

:52:42.:52:44.

with the single market and operate within the single market.

:52:45.:52:50.

Can I welcome the support of business rates, which is being given

:52:51.:52:54.

by the budget to local high streets, which also crucially valued in

:52:55.:52:58.

places like my constituency in Barnet. With the Prime Minister

:52:59.:53:02.

agree that we can give more help to small businesses if we can secure

:53:03.:53:05.

the international agreement that we need to ensure that all big

:53:06.:53:09.

businesses pay their taxes? This is a very important issue. It's

:53:10.:53:14.

one on which I think this government has a record of which we can be

:53:15.:53:17.

proud. Of course, there's more to do. We have, since 2010, in the work

:53:18.:53:24.

we've done on tackling tax evasion, avoidance and noncompliance, we have

:53:25.:53:29.

secured an additional 140 billion in compliance yields since 2010.

:53:30.:53:32.

Internationally we've driven the global agenda and we now have

:53:33.:53:36.

several companies signed up to the global exchange. -- global exchange

:53:37.:53:40.

information. We have pushed for the G7 nanograms eight. -- G7 and G8.

:53:41.:53:49.

There is more to be done and I want to see an economy that works for

:53:50.:53:52.

everyone. That means that the company should be paying their tax

:53:53.:53:58.

as well as everybody. An answer to my honourable friend

:53:59.:54:02.

from Murray, the Prime Minister called for respect. But that is a

:54:03.:54:10.

two-way street. The Scottish Government's compromise proposal has

:54:11.:54:14.

been ignored in these negotiations. Where is your respect?

:54:15.:54:19.

The proposal has not been ignored. It has been discussed by ministers.

:54:20.:54:23.

There are many areas within that proposal on which we agree. As I've

:54:24.:54:29.

said before, such as on ensuring our securities and maintaining and

:54:30.:54:34.

protecting workers' rights. Colchester Hospital's A department

:54:35.:54:42.

has excellent staff but suffers from poor layout and patient flow. Does

:54:43.:54:46.

the Prime Minister agree with me that the ?100 million set aside for

:54:47.:54:50.

triage in the budget last week will allow hospitals like mine to address

:54:51.:54:53.

this issue and improve patient outcomes?

:54:54.:54:57.

My honourable friend is right to recognise, and we should all

:54:58.:55:01.

recognise, the hard work and dedication of our excellent staff

:55:02.:55:05.

throughout the NHS. What we're seeing in the NHS is that A are

:55:06.:55:09.

treating more people than ever before. We are spending half ?1

:55:10.:55:14.

trillion on the NHS in England during this Parliament. The NHS will

:55:15.:55:18.

see that increase in its funding of ?10 billion in real terms. But there

:55:19.:55:25.

is an issue about the consideration of A, and enabling changes to take

:55:26.:55:30.

place to help the flow, and to help in dealing with patients as they

:55:31.:55:33.

come in. That's why my right honourable friend the Chancellor

:55:34.:55:38.

announced last week 425 million in new capital investment in the NHS,

:55:39.:55:42.

which includes 100 million to help manage the demand on A services,

:55:43.:55:47.

enabling hospitals to make changes to ensure that people are treated in

:55:48.:55:53.

the most appropriate way possible. Over 200 staff at the pension fund

:55:54.:55:57.

in my constituency face an uncertain future as they have been told they

:55:58.:56:00.

have to relocate to other areas over the next few years. Does the Prime

:56:01.:56:05.

Minister realise the impact this has on staff and the local economy? Will

:56:06.:56:09.

she meet me and representatives of the workforce to see what can be

:56:10.:56:15.

done to save the pension centre? I recognise the concern raised for

:56:16.:56:19.

staff at that particular pension office. I recognise this is an

:56:20.:56:32.

issue. I'm sure it is an issue which the Secretary of State for Work and

:56:33.:56:34.

Pensions will look at very closely. But of course the Government is

:56:35.:56:38.

looking to ensure that we both use our resources effectively, but also

:56:39.:56:42.

provide the proper and appropriate service for the recipients of those

:56:43.:56:48.

particular benefits. Last weekend, thousands of people

:56:49.:56:52.

across Lincolnshire came to the races in my constituency to enjoy

:56:53.:56:57.

the racing and the delicious local food - including award-winning

:56:58.:57:01.

Lincolnshire sausages. As the Government prepares to strike new

:57:02.:57:07.

trade deals, international trade deals, will my right honourable

:57:08.:57:09.

friend ensure that the high standards we expect of our food

:57:10.:57:16.

producers and farmers will be met and maintained in these deals, and

:57:17.:57:20.

will this government continued to back British farming?

:57:21.:57:26.

I can assure my honourable friend that we will certainly do that. I

:57:27.:57:31.

remember when I visited her prior to the general election in 2015,

:57:32.:57:35.

sampling some of the excellent Lincolnshire sausages that has come

:57:36.:57:39.

from her constituency. But we do have an opportunity to build a new

:57:40.:57:42.

future for our food and farming industry when we leave the European

:57:43.:57:46.

Union. We will maintain high standards of food safety and animal

:57:47.:57:50.

welfare, that will be a priority. Any trade deals we enter into will

:57:51.:57:55.

need to be right for consumers, businesses, farmers. They will need

:57:56.:57:59.

to ensure our food safety, environmental protection and the

:58:00.:58:01.

animal welfare standards I've just referred to. We recognise the need

:58:02.:58:07.

for certainty for businesses and have provided guarantees for support

:58:08.:58:11.

for farmers up to 2020. We will continue to back British farmers.

:58:12.:58:16.

The UK has one of the worst performing currencies in the world.

:58:17.:58:21.

It has a trade deficit of ?133 billion, and a national debt

:58:22.:58:28.

approaching ?1.7 trillion. Does the Prime Minister really believe that

:58:29.:58:30.

the UK can afford to be an independent country?

:58:31.:58:45.

If he wants... Honourable members on those benchers

:58:46.:58:49.

are very overexcited individuals. I want to hear the Prime Minister's

:58:50.:58:53.

reply. If he wants to talk about figures in

:58:54.:58:59.

relation to the UK economy, the UK economy is the world's sixth-largest

:59:00.:59:03.

economy. The Government has reduced the deficit by two thirds. If he

:59:04.:59:08.

cares to look at the employment figures we see today, employment at

:59:09.:59:11.

a record high, and unemployment which hasn't been lower since 1975.

:59:12.:59:23.

Today is the Ides of March. Yet again, Brutus opposite missed badly.

:59:24.:59:31.

So can the Prime Minister take the opportunity to stick the knife into

:59:32.:59:35.

the ridiculous European Court that ruled yesterday that employers can

:59:36.:59:38.

ban their staff from wearing signs of religious or political belief,

:59:39.:59:43.

and reiterate that reasonable freedom and expression should never

:59:44.:59:51.

be snuffed out politically. We have a strong tradition in this country

:59:52.:59:55.

of freedom of expression. It's the right of all women to choose how

:59:56.:59:58.

they dress, and we don't intend to legislate on this issue. He's raised

:59:59.:00:03.

to be broader issue of symbols, but this case came up in relation to the

:00:04.:00:08.

wearing of the Vale. There will be times when it's right for Israel to

:00:09.:00:12.

be asked to be removed, perhaps in border security law courts.

:00:13.:00:15.

Institutions can make their own policies, but it is not for

:00:16.:00:19.

government to tell women what they can and cannot wear. We want to

:00:20.:00:23.

continue the tradition of freedom of expression.

:00:24.:00:28.

Our First Minister was voted with the largest vote in Scottish

:00:29.:00:35.

parliamentary history on a manifesto which stated that the Scottish

:00:36.:00:39.

Parliament... THE SPEAKER: The question will be heard. Thank you,

:00:40.:00:45.

Mr Speaker, I will start again. Our First Minister was elected with the

:00:46.:00:50.

largest vote in Scottish parliamentary history, on a

:00:51.:00:52.

manifesto pledge which stated that the Scottish Parliament should have

:00:53.:00:58.

the right to hold an independence referendum if there was a

:00:59.:01:01.

significant and material change of circumstances like Scotland being

:01:02.:01:05.

taken out of the EU guest our will. My question to the Prime Minister is

:01:06.:01:09.

simple - does she agree that Government's should stick to their

:01:10.:01:14.

manifesto promises and if so, she cannot object to the First Minister

:01:15.:01:19.

sticking to hers? I, of course, recognise that there

:01:20.:01:23.

was a vote that took place in the Scottish Parliament and the First

:01:24.:01:29.

Minister was returned as the First Minister of a minority Government.

:01:30.:01:38.

But I would refer the honourable lady to two other votes that took

:01:39.:01:44.

place. The Scottish people were given the opportunity to vote to

:01:45.:01:54.

whether or not they wished to remain in the United Kingdom. They choose

:01:55.:02:00.

that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom. That was

:02:01.:02:02.

described by the right honourable member for Gordon, as a once in a

:02:03.:02:05.

generation vote. And the other vote to take note of is that on June 23rd

:02:06.:02:09.

last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European

:02:10.:02:13.

Union, and that is what we are going to do. Mr Speaker, with 80% of SMEs

:02:14.:02:19.

reluctant to export, does my right honourable friend agree that the

:02:20.:02:24.

prospect of Brexit gives those firms a golden opportunity to use the

:02:25.:02:29.

great British entrepreneurial spirit to go out into the world,

:02:30.:02:33.

particularly those firms in Scotland, to go out into the world

:02:34.:02:37.

and to sing? My honourable friend is absolutely right about this. Small

:02:38.:02:41.

businesses and the intren airs are essential for an economy that is

:02:42.:02:43.

working for everyone. -- entrepreneurs. But the opportunity

:02:44.:02:48.

that comes from Brexit is to see those firms going out across the

:02:49.:02:52.

world, exporting across the world and doing the trade deals that will

:02:53.:02:56.

be of benefit to them and their communities and of benefit to our

:02:57.:02:59.

economy. We divoont to encourage more businesses to go out there.

:03:00.:03:05.

That's exactly what my right honourable friend the Secretary of

:03:06.:03:09.

State for International trade is doing. This is anp important part of

:03:10.:03:12.

building a stronger, fairer Britain for the future. -- an important

:03:13.:03:16.

part. Thank you, Mr Speaker. HRMC employed over 1,000 staff in my

:03:17.:03:22.

Livingston constituency. Despite widespread criticism from the NEO or

:03:23.:03:25.

Public Accounts Committee and the staff at Livingston being most

:03:26.:03:29.

engaged and productive this Prime Minister's Government is determined

:03:30.:03:32.

to move jobs from Livingston toad inborough whose staff don't want to

:03:33.:03:37.

move and rental costs would be higher. And to compound this,

:03:38.:03:41.

another 400 jobs are to go at another Livingston site. Will the

:03:42.:03:47.

Prime Minister change her mind on the is jobs in Livingston and meet

:03:48.:03:51.

with me to make sure that vital public sector jobs to Livingston

:03:52.:03:58.

will stay there. The HRMC are relocating 170 outdated offices to

:03:59.:04:01.

13 large and modern regional centres. These new centres will be

:04:02.:04:05.

equipped with the digital infrastructure and facilities needed

:04:06.:04:09.

to build a more highly-skilled and flexible workforce to enable

:04:10.:04:13.

modernisation of ways of working, to make tax collection more efficient

:04:14.:04:18.

and effective and it'll bring significant improvements to HMRC's

:04:19.:04:23.

customer services. -- HRMC's.

:04:24.:04:31.

People moo my can constituent voted in favour of Brexit and I was proud

:04:32.:04:47.

to be here in the House on Monday to vote no sport withdrawal of the EU

:04:48.:04:58.

bill. Can my honourable friend, the Prime Minister confirm that she

:04:59.:05:00.

shares my commitment that Brexit should work in the best interests of

:05:01.:05:02.

everyone in our country? THE SPEAKER: Prime Minister?

:05:03.:05:05.

I think, I have to say be... THE SPEAKER: Order. I say to the

:05:06.:05:07.

honourable gentleman for pert and North pertshire. Order, order, the

:05:08.:05:12.

for Perth ander North Perthshire. The honourable gentleman was

:05:13.:05:15.

shouting from beyond the bar, which is very disorderly, on top of the

:05:16.:05:20.

fact that a few moments ago he was gesticulating in a most eccentric

:05:21.:05:25.

manner. I'm becoming concerned about the honourable gentleman, he must

:05:26.:05:27.

now calm himself. The Prime Minister.

:05:28.:05:30.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. My honourable friend is absolutely right. She had,

:05:31.:05:34.

as she said a condition constituencicy that voted

:05:35.:05:36.

overwhelmingly to leave the European Union. The point is that the people

:05:37.:05:41.

of the United Kingdom voted by a majority to leave the European

:05:42.:05:44.

Union. As we do, that we will be ensuring that the deal we achieve in

:05:45.:05:48.

our negotiations, will be the right deal for the United Kingdom, the

:05:49.:05:52.

whole of the United Kingdom and for people across the UK, England,

:05:53.:05:54.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

:05:55.:06:03.

Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister's just done a ?2 billion Budget U-Turn

:06:04.:06:09.

in the space of a week. Last year the Government did a ?4 billion

:06:10.:06:13.

U-Turn in the space of five days. Is that why they want to abolish Spring

:06:14.:06:18.

Budgets? Because they just keep ripping them up?

:06:19.:06:31.

I welcome the measure that is were in this Spring Budget, to improve

:06:32.:06:35.

school places for children in this country, to ensure that we put

:06:36.:06:42.

money... THE SPEAKER: Mr Fabricant you are another eccentric fellow

:06:43.:06:45.

shouting loudly but you mustn't shout down your own Prime Minister.

:06:46.:06:49.

Let's hear the Prime Minister. Thank you, Mr Speaker, I welcome the

:06:50.:06:52.

measures in the Spring Budget to ensure that we are putting money...

:06:53.:06:56.

LAUGHTER Money into schools, into skills and

:06:57.:07:01.

into social care and I would've thought The Right Honourable lady

:07:02.:07:04.

would accept that money into schools, skills and social care is

:07:05.:07:11.

good for this country. Thank you Mr Speaker, would the

:07:12.:07:15.

Prime Minister join with me in welcoming the news today that

:07:16.:07:19.

Sergeant Blackman's murder conviction has been downgraded to

:07:20.:07:22.

manslaughter, in part, thanks to the release of previously unheard

:07:23.:07:25.

evidence. This is fantastic news for his wife Claire, who lives in my

:07:26.:07:33.

constituency and who has complained so unstintingly on this and my

:07:34.:07:35.

honourable friend the member for South Dorset who I believe is

:07:36.:07:39.

turning to the chambers provided a very worthy advocate for this case

:07:40.:07:42.

and I commend his hard work. And would the Prime Minister agree with

:07:43.:07:46.

me that within the correct legal framework, those who defend our

:07:47.:07:50.

peace, protect our world from evil, be treated with fairness and

:07:51.:07:55.

understanding and given the adequate resources, including for mental

:07:56.:08:00.

health support they deserve. THE SPEAKER: I'm extremely grateful.

:08:01.:08:04.

Prime Minister. We respect the court's decision, the Ministry of

:08:05.:08:07.

Defence will be looking closely at the judgment but I can assure the

:08:08.:08:11.

House that the Ministry of Defence has cooperated fully at each stage

:08:12.:08:14.

of Sergeant Blackman's case and will continue to provide support to the

:08:15.:08:17.

family as they have done since the charges were first brought. What I

:08:18.:08:20.

would just say on a generalp point is that our Royal Marines have a

:08:21.:08:24.

worldwide reputation as one of the world's elite fighting forces. They

:08:25.:08:28.

make an incredible contribution to our country and we should pay

:08:29.:08:33.

tribute to them all for that. The Disasters Emergency Committee have

:08:34.:08:35.

launched its East Africa crisis appeal. In the context of that

:08:36.:08:40.

crisis, does the Prime Minister share my concern that President

:08:41.:08:43.

Trump is considering major cuts to spending by the United States on

:08:44.:08:50.

aid? Will this Government take every opportunity to press the Americans

:08:51.:08:53.

to remain fully part of the global humanitarian system? I can assure

:08:54.:08:58.

the right honourable gentleman we recognise the severity and urgency

:08:59.:09:01.

of the crisis that is taking place in the East Africa. More than 20

:09:02.:09:04.

million people face the risk of dying from starvation because of war

:09:05.:09:08.

and drought and again it is this country that is leading the way in

:09:09.:09:12.

delivering life-saving support. We've announced we'll match pound

:09:13.:09:16.

for pound the first ?5 million donated by the public to the

:09:17.:09:23.

Disasters Emergency Committee's new appeal and I can assure him we take

:09:24.:09:27.

every opportunity to ensure that countries around the world recognise

:09:28.:09:31.

the importance of international aid, the importance of supporting

:09:32.:09:38.

countries when we see terrible, terrible disasters like this famine

:09:39.:09:41.

coming to place and it is the UK's record on what we do on this, that

:09:42.:09:45.

enables us to say to others that they should do more.

:09:46.:09:51.

Henry Smith? It is my honour to chair the all parliamentary group on

:09:52.:09:57.

blood cancer and today we launched an inquiry into greater awareness of

:09:58.:10:02.

the condition can I take assurance from my honourable friend that the

:10:03.:10:05.

additional ?10 billion going into the NHS in this Parliament will in

:10:06.:10:10.

some way be spent on ensuring we tackle this third biggest cancer

:10:11.:10:12.

killer? High honourable friend is right to raise a subject like that,

:10:13.:10:17.

which is a cancer of which many people have not heard much and

:10:18.:10:20.

probably are not awhich are of that as a particular issue. I can assure

:10:21.:10:24.

him that -- aware of that particular issue. I I can assure him what the

:10:25.:10:29.

NHS is doing. Over recent years we have seen a significant improvement

:10:30.:10:33.

in cancer survival rates. We have seen significant improvement in the

:10:34.:10:40.

increase of the number of people who are being referred on because of

:10:41.:10:45.

potential cases of cancer and the number of people being treated for

:10:46.:10:46.

cancer and Now, here is what happened. Jeremy

:10:47.:11:00.

Corbyn came to the House with questions about the increase in

:11:01.:11:02.

national insurance contributions. The problem was, just before PMQs

:11:03.:11:07.

began, the Chancellor announced he wasn't proceeding with the increase

:11:08.:11:10.

in national insurance contributions and this has happened before. It

:11:11.:11:14.

caught the Leader of the Opposition on the hop and he was unable to

:11:15.:11:18.

adjust his questions very much to take account of the new

:11:19.:11:22.

circumstances. So, in a way, we didn't get very far on that. The

:11:23.:11:30.

cost to the Government, or to the Treasury, looks to be, by not

:11:31.:11:35.

proceeding with the higher national insurance for the self-employed, to

:11:36.:11:40.

be about ?2 billion, but over four years. It starts at under ?400

:11:41.:11:46.

million and gets to ?600 million at one stage and comes down. Now ?2

:11:47.:11:50.

billion, obviously a lot of money, but it is over four years, half a

:11:51.:11:54.

billion a year. I guess the Chancellor will wait for his

:11:55.:11:56.

November Budget, which is meant to be the big one, to see whether he

:11:57.:12:00.

needs to do anything about that or whether the Office for Budget

:12:01.:12:02.

Responsibility has been too pessimistic on the size of the

:12:03.:12:07.

deficit. So it is a problem for the Chancellor but hardly a huge one.

:12:08.:12:10.

Other news was happening while we were on air, a second Conservative

:12:11.:12:16.

MP has been interviewed by police over his general election expenses.

:12:17.:12:21.

Will Quince MP for Colchester but he has been told by Essex Police no

:12:22.:12:26.

further action will be required after voluntary saying that he did

:12:27.:12:30.

that. For me, the billing story is that actually that a leftist dating

:12:31.:12:35.

site has split due to different positions on the 1936 Spanish Civil

:12:36.:12:37.

War. So glad you raised that. How do you

:12:38.:12:46.

know? A popular dating site for socialists Communists and anarchists

:12:47.:12:49.

are splitting into four factions due to adealing onical disagreements

:12:50.:12:52.

over the Spanish Civil War in 1936. So it looks like I'll have to resign

:12:53.:12:57.

from this particular dating site. From the board.

:12:58.:13:01.

What did viewers say? They didn't say much about that leftist dating

:13:02.:13:05.

site. They will now They might. But I took the comments before you made

:13:06.:13:09.

that announcement. They were concentrating on the U-Turn and

:13:10.:13:13.

actually I pulled out some political tweets in response, in terms of

:13:14.:13:15.

politicians giving their views. So this was from John McDonnell, the

:13:16.:13:22.

Shadow Chancellor who says that the Chancellor Philip Hammond's

:13:23.:13:26.

authority is "she redded only a week after his first Budget after being

:13:27.:13:29.

forced to U-Turn under Labour pressure." This from Tim Farron, the

:13:30.:13:33.

Liberal Democrat leader "So the Chancellor has U-Turned after

:13:34.:13:36.

breaking a promise in the Conservative manifesto, perhaps he

:13:37.:13:39.

will now U-Turn on another broken election commitment, to keep us in

:13:40.:13:44.

the single market." This from Ed Vaizey a Tory MP, a backbencher who

:13:45.:13:49.

said "Blimey I have been vigorously defending it." He wasn't alone,

:13:50.:13:55.

there were quite a view, one who also said he hoped they weren't

:13:56.:13:59.

going to change their minds so he didn't look stupid. I think this

:14:00.:14:02.

comes from Matthew Taylor who carried out the view. Is carrying

:14:03.:14:07.

out the review. It is still going on. And it will he be discussed

:14:08.:14:14.

later on in the summer, he said "Let's hope big political learning,

:14:15.:14:22.

is there a danger of trying to make big tax promises to try to embarrass

:14:23.:14:29.

opponents." Here is the headline on the Evening Standard - Hammond

:14:30.:14:33.

U-Turn on Budget fees a quo. More bad headlines for the

:14:34.:14:36.

Chancellor, as if he didn't have enough last week. But I would guess

:14:37.:14:42.

if it caughterises the issue now, he will probably take that on the chin?

:14:43.:14:47.

I was struck watching PMQs with you, although that was a very difficult

:14:48.:14:50.

moment, in the end I think the House accepted it and I think they made

:14:51.:14:54.

the right decision and they were vindicated by the response they got,

:14:55.:14:56.

actually from the Labour benches as well as Conservative.

:14:57.:15:01.

It leaves them with a 2 billion hole, but they don't necessarily

:15:02.:15:08.

have to fill it. It would only take the OBR to have slightly

:15:09.:15:12.

underestimated the growth rate. One Conservative MP described it to me

:15:13.:15:16.

as a rounding error and questioned why they got themselves into such a

:15:17.:15:21.

mess in the bigger context of a government budget of 700 billion or

:15:22.:15:25.

so. But what people may take away from this is that normal people, in

:15:26.:15:33.

normal political times, for a screeching U-turn just before Prime

:15:34.:15:36.

Minister's Questions would have been disaster for the Prime Minister.

:15:37.:15:41.

They would normally have had a terrible, relentless grilling. It

:15:42.:15:45.

would have been a real punishment greeting at the dispatch box.

:15:46.:15:50.

Instead, one shot of the House of Commons was extremely striking.

:15:51.:15:53.

After her questions from Corbyn, Theresa May was seen sitting back on

:15:54.:15:58.

the bench, head back, huge grin. I think there will be big concern on

:15:59.:16:03.

the Labour benches that despite an enormous government U-turn, which is

:16:04.:16:07.

normally seen as humiliating, as John McDonnell suggested, it is

:16:08.:16:13.

Philip Hammond's credibility in tatters, today Jeremy Corbyn

:16:14.:16:16.

couldn't land those blows. He was asking long questions. He couldn't

:16:17.:16:20.

wield the knife. It didn't seem that he was able to think on his feet and

:16:21.:16:23.

respond to what had already happened. I'll come to you win a

:16:24.:16:27.

second. It does leave the Chancellor a diminished figure. Wannabe

:16:28.:16:32.

challenges a financial challenge. As you say, there's probably 0.0% --

:16:33.:16:42.

0.07% of the national budget. The difficult decision was weighing the

:16:43.:16:45.

fact that this is a fair, good reform. It will be concluded that

:16:46.:16:52.

there is a lot of sense and sorting of discrepancies between employed

:16:53.:16:55.

and self-employed people. I agree with Laura that in the death was the

:16:56.:17:00.

right decision. It's also possible, apart from the question about Jeremy

:17:01.:17:03.

Corbyn, that public use of these things was changing. -- I with Laura

:17:04.:17:10.

that this was the right decision. Rather than ploughing on regardless,

:17:11.:17:14.

when you get a clear message that people feel the manifesto has been

:17:15.:17:19.

broken, that politicians respond. Therefore there is some forgiveness.

:17:20.:17:22.

Angus Robertson, who leads the Scottish Nationalists in

:17:23.:17:28.

Westminster, in Parliament, said it was a screeching embarrassing

:17:29.:17:33.

U-turn. It was an effect of intervention by Mr Robertson. Why

:17:34.:17:41.

didn't Jeremy Corbyn say that? To hear a Conservative MP described the

:17:42.:17:44.

self-employed as a rounding error is frankly insulting. Don't you think

:17:45.:17:50.

-- I don't think that's what they did, they said. Last week, Philip

:17:51.:18:00.

Hammond was cracking jokes. He had a whale of a time announcing the

:18:01.:18:03.

increase in National Insurance will stop one of those strokes was that

:18:04.:18:09.

the last Chancellor to make similar comments was sacked a few weeks

:18:10.:18:14.

later. So perhaps he should have been a little more careful in what

:18:15.:18:17.

he said last week, both in cracking jokes and also in bringing forward

:18:18.:18:23.

something he would have two reverse. He's not cracking jokes now, is he?

:18:24.:18:28.

He and the Prime Minister were, as Laura pointed out. His arrogance and

:18:29.:18:31.

complacency is really not what is needed when we have the country in a

:18:32.:18:38.

position where since 2010 we have faced falling living standards,

:18:39.:18:40.

whilst the overall economy has grown. We are the only country in

:18:41.:18:44.

the developed world where that is the case. I think a little more

:18:45.:18:49.

thought the head of the budget wouldn't have gone amiss. I'm

:18:50.:18:53.

pleased he's maybe U-turn. But it does put a huge question over his

:18:54.:18:59.

future. Can I come in on this? I think it's tempting to focus

:19:00.:19:02.

everything on Jeremy Corbyn. But the bigger question of why Parliament

:19:03.:19:06.

responded quite positively to that decision must be about bigger

:19:07.:19:11.

things. And one of those things is, I believe, obviously, I would

:19:12.:19:14.

believe, is that if they vote a basic confidence in Theresa May's

:19:15.:19:18.

government. It is basically felt but Theresa May and the Chancellor are

:19:19.:19:23.

competent and the economy is going in the right direction. That's the

:19:24.:19:26.

context in which people can be forgiving about these kinds of

:19:27.:19:30.

things. Laura, Mr Hammond has his enemies in ten Downing St. No names.

:19:31.:19:36.

And of course they would dispute that! He's not even -- I've not even

:19:37.:19:44.

named them. But I don't get the impression that the Prime Minister,

:19:45.:19:48.

although she has had some ups and downs, with the Chancellor, I don't

:19:49.:19:51.

get the impression that she has any interest in getting rid of him. I

:19:52.:19:55.

don't think that's a potential at this stage at all. I think Theresa

:19:56.:20:00.

May, her political style, frankly, people say she doesn't trust very

:20:01.:20:04.

many people. One of the people that she does broadly trust, it said, is

:20:05.:20:08.

Philip Hammond. They're not necessarily best of friends but they

:20:09.:20:12.

have dinner every week, they talk a lot, they have a businesslike,

:20:13.:20:17.

professional relationship. While they're not bosom buddies, it is a

:20:18.:20:21.

relationship that despite tensions, particularly with the wider teams,

:20:22.:20:26.

always the case between the Treasury and Downing Street, I think at this

:20:27.:20:29.

stage in the game, we're not in a place where there are suggestions

:20:30.:20:34.

that somehow he may be moved out. This, however, of course may have a

:20:35.:20:38.

longer-term impact. Whatever the politics of today, it is a very big

:20:39.:20:42.

deal for a Chancellor seven days later to back down. To drop a! To

:20:43.:20:50.

drop a huge part of his budget. That is a really significant thing.

:20:51.:20:54.

Normally it takes months. More on that thought, Rory Stewart? Lets get

:20:55.:20:58.

more reaction. You may remember last Thursday, the day after the

:20:59.:21:04.

announcement, we spoke to Stephen McPartland who joins us again. He's

:21:05.:21:09.

in central lobby. He is smiling, presumably because of the screaming,

:21:10.:21:14.

screeching U-turn, to use Angus Robertson's words. Is that what you

:21:15.:21:18.

would call it? I'd certainly call it a U-turn. I said last week he needed

:21:19.:21:22.

one and needed to do it quickly. I believe it shows he's a strong

:21:23.:21:27.

Chancellor in the sense that he's admitted he's made a mistake and now

:21:28.:21:31.

can move forward. Does he look like a strong Chancellor, or does he look

:21:32.:21:35.

like someone forced into it by backbenchers like yourself, and

:21:36.:21:38.

Number 10, who didn't want to have to explain all allowed the Prime

:21:39.:21:41.

Minister to take a beating over this policy in the House? I think it

:21:42.:21:46.

demonstrates that he is strong having stood up and said that he

:21:47.:21:50.

holds his hands up. That's good news for me. It also demonstrates the

:21:51.:21:55.

power of the back channels, and how backbenchers can actually go in

:21:56.:21:58.

there and make a difference. He has listened and changed his mind. I'm

:21:59.:22:01.

delighted about that. This was going to be punitive. I thought this was

:22:02.:22:06.

going to be an attack on those families who had taken a risk to

:22:07.:22:11.

setup their own business, and you are the backbone of our economy. So

:22:12.:22:16.

I'm absolutely delighted he's done the. Did you speak to the Chancellor

:22:17.:22:23.

yourself? I spoke to the Chancellor and a number of people. We certainly

:22:24.:22:28.

made our views clear. There was lots of communication, blogs are back

:22:29.:22:31.

channels and we got the message across. It was something I wasn't

:22:32.:22:34.

going to be voting for and we will had been campaigning against. We had

:22:35.:22:39.

decided this was a mistake and would move forward. Seven days after

:22:40.:22:44.

standing up in the same place where Theresa May is today, and then

:22:45.:22:48.

completely dismissing and you turning on a fairly key part of your

:22:49.:22:58.

budget statement, it does smack of not strength, but we can. From my

:22:59.:23:04.

point of view, I'm very pleased about the results. He's admitted

:23:05.:23:12.

he's made a mistake. Instead of trying to create a fudge which would

:23:13.:23:15.

have let everybody disappointed, he's listened and moved forward. I

:23:16.:23:19.

called for a quick U-turn and we got a quick U-turn. To some extent,

:23:20.:23:24.

Theresa May has ruled it out. How saw were people about the fact that

:23:25.:23:28.

it did breach the manifesto commitment or no tax rises? Quite

:23:29.:23:33.

strong. We all stand a manifesto. One of the things that you're going

:23:34.:23:36.

to do a new rebel against the Government is actually not rebel on

:23:37.:23:40.

anything stated in the manifesto, because you stood on that manifesto.

:23:41.:23:45.

Effectively something being in a manifesto was taken very, very

:23:46.:23:48.

seriously inside the Parliamentary party. Thank you for joining us

:23:49.:23:53.

again almost a week later. Laura, before you go? Fascinating hearing

:23:54.:23:57.

that. Polls suggest Theresa May is strong in the country, but we've

:23:58.:24:00.

just seen she is not necessarily very strong in Parliament. Steve

:24:01.:24:06.

McPartlin, rebel MP, saying very clearly there that backbenchers won

:24:07.:24:12.

the day. Thank you very much. It's been a very eventful PMQs. I need to

:24:13.:24:13.

lie down. Today a virtual tour of Parliament

:24:14.:24:15.

was launched so people can experience the famous building

:24:16.:24:17.

in all its glorious 360 degrees. We sent our reporter,

:24:18.:24:20.

Emma Vardy, to take a look. You don't need to come

:24:21.:24:22.

in all the way to London Now you can do it with your

:24:23.:24:25.

mobile phone - and one of these. Now I'm standing exactly where

:24:26.:24:34.

the PM would be stood for PMQs. Parliament has run guided tours

:24:35.:24:39.

in real life for a number of years. The hope is this will encourage

:24:40.:24:51.

people from all over the world to take a walk through the corridors

:24:52.:24:54.

of power in virtual reality. You can go inside some

:24:55.:25:00.

of the most famous rooms, The tour goes live online today,

:25:01.:25:15.

and the 360 images will also be available to explore

:25:16.:25:25.

on Google Street View, alongside Well, it has been said

:25:26.:25:28.

that some MPs are living So now there's one for

:25:29.:25:39.

the rest of us to enjoy. Joining me now is Penny Young, who's

:25:40.:25:46.

Director of Information Services Why have you done this? Is part of

:25:47.:25:59.

the way we're reaching out to the public, and that the public and find

:26:00.:26:03.

out more about Parliament. You do need a virtual reality headset. This

:26:04.:26:08.

is mobile and tablet friendly. With the best will in the world, not

:26:09.:26:12.

everybody is going to be able to get to the Houses of Parliament to see

:26:13.:26:16.

those fabulous sites. This is one way they can do it. Is it about

:26:17.:26:19.

trying to attract more people, if they can make it to parliament, to

:26:20.:26:23.

come and have a look around? It's partly if you can't get there, so

:26:24.:26:28.

you can see it for yourself. It's also if you're coming, you may want

:26:29.:26:31.

to be preview. Or if you've been, you may want to learn more. It is of

:26:32.:26:35.

course only one way of engaging Parliament. You can contact your MP,

:26:36.:26:41.

you can go on a members' tour, you can pay to go on a richer

:26:42.:26:45.

experience, if you like. Schoolkids can come on education visit. You can

:26:46.:26:49.

go in the gallery yourself and see what's going on. So there is a whole

:26:50.:26:54.

range of ways, and this opens it up. Picon with the same as the real-life

:26:55.:27:01.

experience of going round with you? -- it can't be the same as the

:27:02.:27:06.

real-life experience. You can now get into very dangerous countries

:27:07.:27:09.

and the beautiful buildings, and it also preserves things for the

:27:10.:27:16.

future. In years' time, it will be able to see what the houses of

:27:17.:27:21.

Commons looked like. Will you buy one? I've got my glasses at home.

:27:22.:27:26.

It's an amazing place to work and it's a privilege for us to be there.

:27:27.:27:30.

It's important to remember it. But for Rory and I come our constituents

:27:31.:27:33.

are hours away from London and sometimes it's difficult to get it.

:27:34.:27:38.

Why has it taken so long to do it? We've had a version, but it is now

:27:39.:27:43.

mobile friendly and tablet friendly. You can look at it on Google maps,

:27:44.:27:47.

and so on. That point about your constituents living hours away,

:27:48.:27:51.

that's an important one. That's why things like the petitions committee

:27:52.:27:54.

and digital debate on important so people can tweet at you and you can

:27:55.:27:58.

comment on that in the chamber. There are many ways now of engaging

:27:59.:28:05.

and it's important that you know the relationship -- it is important

:28:06.:28:07.

because we know the relationship with the public is not as strong as

:28:08.:28:10.

we would like. They don't necessarily think Parliament is

:28:11.:28:13.

working for them, so it's one of the many ways to reach out and

:28:14.:28:16.

strengthening relationship. Just before they move out! We may not see

:28:17.:28:19.

it in everyone will be kicked out. There's just time to put you out

:28:20.:28:21.

of your misery and give 1949, a very important year.

:28:22.:28:33.

Desperate to press that buzzer. And it's Peter Thomson in Warrington.

:28:34.:28:37.

Well done, you got 1949 as the correct answer.

:28:38.:28:40.

The one o'clock news is starting over on BBC One now.

:28:41.:28:43.

Jo and I will be here at noon tomorrow with all the big political

:28:44.:28:47.

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn present live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions. They are joined by the international development minister Rory Stewart and the shadow international trade minister Bill Esterson to discuss a second Scottish independence referendum and the main issues arising from the Budget.

The Guess the Year competition closes at 12.30pm during the live broadcast of the programme.