Highlights of Tuesday in Parliament presented by Alicia McCarthy.
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Hello there and welcome to Tuesday in Parliament.
The Prime Minister calls the passing of the Brexit
We will be a strong, self-governing, global Britain with control once
again over our borders and laws. Labour says britain needs
an inclusive government. decisions are made that we will pay
the price for decades to come. Also
on this programme... A Scotland minister tells
Nicola Sturgeon to take a second independence referendum
"off the table". A leading economist backs
Philip Hammond's decision to raise national insurance
for the self employed. And an MP calls for English
sparkling wine to be served What could be a more appropriate
setting to promote English wine than the famed Ambassador's reception?
Theresa May came to the Commons to make a statement following last
week's European Council meeting and told Mps the UK faces
a "defining moment" as it leaves the European Union.
Updating MPs on the Brussels meeting, Mrs May said European
leaders had discussed security in the western Balkans
and migration, and she announced the UK would be hosting a Somalia
Theresa May then turned to the UK's future relationship with the EU.
She was in the Chamber for the first time since legislation
allowing her to trigger the Brexit process cleared Parliament
Last night, the Bill on Article 50 successfully completed its passage
It will now proceed to royal assent in the coming days so we remain
on track with a timetable I set out six months ago and I will return
to this House before the end of this month to notify when I have formally
triggered Article 50 and begun the process
through which the United Kingdom will leave the EU.
This will be a defining moment for our whole country as we begin
to forge a new relationship with Europe and a new role
We will be a strong, self-governing global Britain,
with control once again over our borders and our laws.
The new relationship with the EU that we negotiate will work
That is why we have been working closely
..including the Scottish Government, listening to their proposals
and recognising the many areas of common ground that we have come
to such as protecting workers' rights and our security
So, Mr Speaker, this is not a moment to play politics or create
There is no doubt that if the wrong decisions are made,
we will pay the price for decades to come.
So now more than ever Britain needs an inclusive government that listens
However, all the signs are that we have a complacent
government, complacent with our economy, complacent
with people's rights and complacent about the future of this country.
When the Foreign Secretary says no deal with the EU
would be perfectly OK, it simply isn't good enough.
Far from taking back control, leaving into World Trade
Organisation rules would mean losing control, jobs and,
So when the Prime Minister says a bad deal is better than no
deal, let me be clear - no deal is a bad deal.
It was also Theresa May's first Commons appearance
since Nicola Sturgeon announced her intention to push
for a second independence referendum in Scotland.
The SNP's Westminster leader turned to what the Prime Minster
Last July we were told by the Prime Minister herself,
saying these very words, that she would not trigger
Article 50 until she had, and I quote her own words,
Now she knows that she has no agreement with the devolved
administration despite months of compromise suggestions
So will the UK Government, even at this very late
days to secure a compromised UK wide approach or does she still plan
to plough on regardless even though she knows what the consequences
He talks about a single market, he talks about the importance
of access to the single market of the EU.
I would simply remind him and his colleagues once again
that the most important single market for Scotland is the single
The Prime Minister has said that no deal is better than a bad deal,
and whilst we all wish her well in getting the best possible deal
for the UK, will she now publish what the effects would be
of crashing out of the EU on WTO rules so that we can have a debate
in the country about her assertion that no deal is better
I say to the right honourable lady, I'm grateful for the comment she has
made, being in support of the Government in looking ahead
and trying to negotiate the best possible deal for the United Kingdom
and that is precisely what we will be doing.
As my right honourable friend launches into the negotiations,
I wonder if she has had time to consider the excellent House
of Lords report that says we have no legal obligation to pay any money
And does she share my view that this is an excellent basis
I can assure my honourable friend that I have noted the House of Lords
on the 23rd of June last year, I think they were very clear
they did not want to continue year after year to be paying huge sums
On the committee corridor, the Mayor of London called
on the Prime Minister to strike an early "interim deal"
on transitional trade arrangements with Brussels.
Labour's Sadiq Khan warned that banks "can't wait" for the full
two-year negotiation to be concluded and would start making plans to move
operations out of the UK as soon as Theresa May triggers
Facing the Exiting the EU Committee, Mr Khan said without assurances
on a trade deal London could face a catastrophe.
The Prime Minister talked about no deal being better than a bad deal.
Of course there are circumstances where that is the case.
If, for example, a bad deal with us paying a massive cheque
and all the rest of it, without the right benefits to us.
That's a bad deal, no deal may be better.
But in most circumstances, no deal means WTO terms,
which means tariffs for goods, nontariff barriers in relation
to regulation legal frameworks for services, and bearing in mind
we have a service surplus and when you speak to the service
sector in particular, no deal equates to WTO terms,
a catastrophe as far as they're concerned.
What is your perception of the impact of the referendum
result on what financial services companies are doing now?
The bad news is already in the public domain are some
of the decisions taken by financial institutions.
Whether it is UBS talking about 1000 of their 5000
Whether it is JP Morgan, they employ 16,000 staff in the UK.
They have talked about moving 4000 out of the country.
HSBC, of course, massive employer in the country.
Their biggest presence is in the UK and Hong Kong.
They have said publicly that they worry about 20%
of revenue being affected and could move to Paris.
You have already made very clear that, in your view,
transitional arrangements in the absence of a deal
being signed up in 18 months, are essential for London.
I don't see a downside to having an interim deal there.
It could well be we reach a deal within two years,
which is fantastic, but an interim deal gives the certainty and clarity
You say that if we don't conclude a deal and revert back to WTO
that this will be a disaster and our economy will suffer.
Surely your job as the Mayor of London actually is to talk up
London and tell people that London is going to be an even greater city
once we leave the European Union, not that it is at risk and it's
going to suffer all these dire consequences.
I appreciate the advice how to be a great Mayor but actually one
of my jobs is to articulate what businesses tell me.
It is my job and I can be naively optimistic
I am optimistic with reason because our underlying strengths
are not going to change but it will be, I think, unwise
for me not to articulate to you what is being told to me
about businesses by business leaders, from finance,
creative and culture, public services, to construction.
The transitional arrangement, as you envisage, is to make
There is no circumstance in which they will want to punish
us but wants to make that punishment painless.
That is a point of view you've got but my point of view is different.
I am quite clear in relation to what businesses are telling me,
as demonstrated by the CBI in the evidence they have given
which is that an interim deal would provide certainty,
not least that financial services need in relation
Over in the Lords, a minister was called to the Chamber to deal
with the other big development of the week.
Nicola Sturgeon's announcement on Monday that she wants another
independence referendum for Scotland, to be
held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring
Lord Dunlop told peers why the Westminster government
The UK Government remains of the view that there should not be
a further referendum on independence and, even at this late hour,
we call on the Scottish Government to take it off the table.
Another referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty
If a referendum is allowed, it is essential that it is held
after the Brexit negotiations are completed, not in the midst
of complex negotiations, with no ability whatsoever
to understand the implications of the detailed agreements
Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday that she wanted
I have to say, my Lords, I can think of nothing more
calculated to undermine the achievement of a good deal
than holding a divisive and disruptive independence
referendum during the last six months of one of the most important
peacetime negotiations this country has ever faced.
We certainly call on tough negotiations, tougher than the last
time, over the timing and the question, because it is
quite clear that Mr Alex Salmond ran rings round the Prime Minister
of the day at that time, and if they want any
advice on negotiations, I'm available.
It is not what people in Scotland want, not now nor after Brexit.
The SNP should stand by the Edinburgh agreement and stick
to their word that this was once in a generation, not
a never-endum to be repeated and repeated and repeated.
In the past half-hour, I have received an e-mail
from a leading player in the Scottish commercial property
market to say that overnight ?50 million worth of deals have been
withdrawn as a consequence of the possibility of
Would the noble Lord, the minister, agree with me that when the Scottish
economy is already weakened, while we are seriously
troubled about our education and our health sectors,
that the First Minister's action is one of unpardonable folly?
Well, yes, I would very much agree with the noble lady.
I meet many Scottish businesses and I have yet to find one
who thinks it is a good idea to engender this uncertainty
by calling for another independence referendum.
You're watching Tuesday in Parliament with me, Alicia McCarthy.
Last week's surprise announcement in the Budget of a rise
in National Insurance paid by self-employed workers has been
supported in Parliament by Paul Johnson, of the Institute
The day after the Budget, Theresa May said decisions
on changing NI would be made in the Autumn.
At the Treasury Committee, Paul Johnson was asked about the gap
between the NI amounts paid by employed people and
Historically there has been a justification
which is that the self-employed have been entitled to significantly
smaller state benefits than employees.
That gap is almost completely closed now, particularly
with the introduction of a single tier pension, so the only difference
is in terms of maternity benefits and contributing
That might imply a difference in national insurance rates of up
to one percentage point, certainly no more than that.
Other differences are first of all very different according
to the type of self-employment people are in.
Let's talk about the genuinely self-employed.
The self-employed self-employed, not people who might easily have
Let's just concentrate at that end of the sector.
Then you need to think about what exactly it is you want
Is it that you want to compensate or subsidise for,
as you were saying, risk people are taking?
And you need to ask is the best way of doing...?
First of all, why do we want to subsidise risk?
We don't subsidise all risk and we don't think all
Secondly, if you do want to do it, why do it through the tax system
in a blanket way which subsidises or helps an awful lot of people
Do you want to find some better way of achieving that.
Mr Johnson was challenged on his use of the word "subsidy".
On the whole, when one is talking about one group paying less
than another doing very similar things, one can think
Well, I think only if you assume that it is
If you think there is a case of horizontal equity.
And the Government isn't giving a subsidy by not taking your money.
I think linguistically that is very important because it slightly shows
To put it another way, you are charging other people more
tax in order to reduce the tax on another group.
You are charging people more tax not necessarily in order
to do anything else, you are just charging
But I think language is important because it gives an indication
You always seem to be in favour of higher taxes, which worries me.
What we are saying here is there is a case of horizontal
equity between people and if you want to have a lower rate
of tax across the board, that is absolutely reasonable.
I think there is a case, but it is much harder to make a case
for treating this group very differently from this
group when they are doing very similar things,
and that creates complexity at cost to the economy and to those
who are not benefiting from the reduced tax.
You didn't make a case for reduced tax for the others,
you made a case for higher tax per self-employed.
We are making a case for bringing the two together.
The House of Lords is too big, leading peers have admitted
The problem is no-one can agree on the best way to reduce it.
Lady Smith, the Labour leader in the Lords,
gave evidence along with the Lib Dem leader, Lord Newby,
and the convenor of the crossbench or independent peers,
Given how difficult it has been to attempt radical reform
of parliament's second chamber, they were asked what smaller
reforms they would make if it were up to them.
Labour's Paul Flynn began with a reference to the recent
BBC Two documentary Meet The Lords.
My admiration for your house as a body for scrutinising
legislation far superior to what happens here.
But the position of the Lords, which is nothing to do with you, is
one that is indefensible in so many ways, in
that it is possible to buy a place in the Lords if you
contribute enough to any of the three main parties.
The fact it overrepresents London and underrepresents Scotland,
All the problems that arise, all the illogical
Could you list some practical ways to
reforming the excesses in the near future?
I think there are a number of things that can be achieved quite easily.
Ending the hereditary by-elections, which are complete and
utter nonsense and an embarrassment to the house would be
a first, that could be done tomorrow.
There is a private members bill which the
The Government takes the view there should be consensus.
To get complete consensus on anything is very difficult.
There is a broad consensus that the House of Lords
should be reduced in number, but there is no consensus
Not least because each of the parties are differentially
affected by virtually any reform that you might care to make.
The convenor of the crossbench peers wanted to see the brakes put
I would like an absolute cap but that depends
Prime Minister, frankly, whose prerogative is affected by the
appointments process said that she operates.
Interesting statistic to bear in mind, we had a vote
last week on the Brexit Bill, the largest
vote since the 19th century, and
Now, you test that against the nominal number of our membership,
which is over 800, and you can see that
actually, in practice, even
with all the efforts to get people in,
we don't get anything like the
800 people coming in and so there is a question as to the actual
working number, as opposed to the nominal number that is
I would go for a cap, frankly, at around 600.
And should there be a set retirement age?
There are members in their 80s making a
phenomenally great contribution, Alf Dubs, for example, on my side.
Then you've got others in their 30s who you
never see, so I think the committee will have to look at things like
attendance, activity, whilst not the same time
ignoring those people who
bring expertise when they do come in, but there should
Some of those things have been partially dealt with.
If you don't attend in a session now,
you're automatically retired and that's the end of your
Lady Smith was referring there to a committee set up
by Lord Fowler to aim to reduce the size of the House of Lords.
The SNP's Ronnie Cowan had another idea.
I've got a solution to this, which I'm sure you're not
Have a second chamber, which is elected by all the
people the United Kingdom and therefore will represent all the
regions of the United Kingdom, and that seems to solve a lot
Lord Newby agreed, although Lady Smith warned
an elected second chamber might be a challenge to the primacy
It's a dilemma presented to many a dog walker.
Everyone knows that owners are supposed to clean up
after their furry friend makes a doggy deposit, but increasingly it
seems many then don't know what to do with the plastic poop bag.
A Conservative MP set out the problem.
There is no doubt that dog fouling is an anti-social, environmentally
It blights parks, forests and farmland apart from
being left on fields and verges and, to compound the problem,
we've now seen the rise of the phenomenon of
Fellow walkers, cyclists and families out
with small children are met with lumps of dog faeces
wrapped in pink, blue, black, even
apricot coloured plastic, dangling from trees,
bushes or decoratively tied to people's fences.
Deers ingest the bags, children may handle
the packages, cyclists have
even ridden head on into them as they dangle from overhanging
She called for better signage so owners knew where bins were.
But there was an alternative in very rural areas.
If the walker is further on in their walk
out in a no-bin area, an area of natural habitats,
that walk should show dog walkers that, in that area, they ought to
This is an approach on the Forestry Commissions website.
Having been on the Jeremy Vine show trying to flick a pseudo-poo
eclair and didn't flick at all well, I can say it is actually quite
an effective, in reality, way of doing things but actually
stick and flick will cover the poo with leaves and vegetation,
so we need clear, easy to recognise graphics for these
The minister, Marcus Jones, said irresponsible dog owners
spoiled the environment and that local councils were looking
at improved signage and other "innovative solutions".
The new MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central has made his maiden
Gareth Snell was speaking on the last day of the Budget debate.
He held the seat for Labour after Tristram Hunt stood down
from the Commons to become the director of London's Victoria
Gareth Snell turned to the potteries' most famous export.
We were the beating heart of a ceramic
empire that stretched to the
Today, proud members of the turnover club
can be seen inspecting their tableware for that
hoping to find neatly inscribed on the back of their plate the five
greatest words in the English language,
It is a ceremony, Mr Speaker, which may own
daughter Hannah has taken up with vigour.
In doing so enthusiastically, she wished to
discover the origins of the dinner plate that she has on occasion
forgotten to finish its contents before turning it over
there and depositing her lunch on her lap.
The new MP for Stoke on Trent, Gareth Snell.
Finally, feeling the need for a bit of sparkle in your life?
How about a nice, cool glass of fizz?
Not champagne, or prosecco, but English sparkling wine.
According to a Conservative MP, the industry is on the up,
with sales topping ?100 million in 2015.
And Nusrat Ghani wanted to give the trade a bit more of a boost.
She brought in a bill to have English wines served
In a post-Brexit world, we must do all we can to get behind
industries that show the sort of potential of our wine
industry and what better way to do that than to give the world a taste
by serving UK produced wine and sparkling wine
in our 268 embassies, high commissions and consulates around
What could be a more appropriate setting to promote
English wine than the famed Ambassador's reception?
However, the lack of consistency in embassy policies
for hosting and serving British product mean we are missing
opportunities to show it off in new markets that should be
fertile territory for export, such as China,
Japan, Singapore and even India where wine consumption among the
professional classes is growing exponentially.
So she argued the UK should make the most of the chance to promote
Ms Ghani won the right to take her bill forward,
though unless the Government backs it it may well fall flat.
And that's it from us for now, but do join me at the same time
tomorrow for another round-up of the day at Westminster,
including the highlights from Prime Minister's Questions.