15/03/2017 Daily Politics


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pushing into Scotland and Northern Ireland.


A Conservative MP has been interviewed under caution by police


as part of the ongoing investigation into allegations of overspending


Nicola Sturgeon says Brexit has put Scotland at a crossroads.


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


Plenty of issues as we approach the weekly bout of Prime


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


Parliament launches its 360 degree virtual view


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


the International Development Minister, Rory Stewart,


and the Shadow Business Minister, Bill Esterson.


Now it was once rumoured that Hollywood was interested in making


a film based on the life of Rory Stewart and that


Orlando Bloom was being lined up for the lead role.


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


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


version of the life of Bill Esterson.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Brexit was the only game Ministers have plenty of other


issues to deal with. Indeed, for both the Conservatives


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


Budget. Let's go into it. Are you


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


increase in national insurance contributions, the class of


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


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


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


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


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


the argument which is that it is important eventually to simplify


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


into the next with people comfortable with the manifesto and


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


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


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


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


we take our manifesto commitments very seriously. We understand the


Chancellor is going to be making a statement about national insurance


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the independent body


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


interviewing the two politicians, the Chancellor has announced that


there will be no increases in national insurance in this


Parliament. So, the Budget was - what JoCo


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the spirit. Does that mean he finally got round


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


Support for Scottish independence is at its highest level. Scottish


social attitudes survey has recorded the highest level of support for


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


popularity of the European Union has fallen among voters.


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


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


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


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


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


independence referendum held either before spring 2019 or sometime


thereafter is going to be launched against a very different backdrop


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


be very careful about quoting individual polls that happen to be


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


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


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


remember that Scotland is a different animal from most of the


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


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


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


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


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


particularly happened most strongly amongst younger voters. I think this


raises questions about whether the UK Government will necessarily be


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


Simple demography could mean that a majority for independence may well


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


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


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


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


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


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


should want to fight the second independence referendum, focused on


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


MP, Kirsty Blackman. Nicola Sturgeon called the second


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


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


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


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


circumstances and would reserve the right holiday referendum. Do you


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


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


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


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


members. In terms of the proposition, will become trustingly


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


happy growth commission look at this and the opportunities for an


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


clear that your independence campaign is going to be about


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


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


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


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


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


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


businesses will be hit with customs charges, individuals will see


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


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


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


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


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


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


wanting to protect those freedoms thank you.


Tomorrow it's expected the Brexit Bill will finally


receive Royal Assent, passing into law and formally giving


Theresa May the authority to trigger Article 50.


We know a little bit about royal approval here


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


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


But with a second independence referendum in Scotland


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


and, perhaps worst of all, the prospect of another


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


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


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


another fan of the show. -- Princess Anne.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in election battles around the country, the activities of national


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


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


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


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


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


it could become extremely important because there are 17 forces


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


have described as an administrative error, to something that suddenly


could theoretically end up questioning the results of many MPs'


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


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


sources were suggesting to colleagues that BBC Newsnight that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


stories break. I am sure minsters will want to join


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


Friday. This morning I had ministerial meetings with my


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


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


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


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




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


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


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


the Budget last week were consistent with those locks.


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


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


the answers from the Prime Minister...


SHOUTS AND JEERS I do take a view on the importance


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


number of my Parliamently colleagues have been pointing out the trend


towards greater self-employment creates a structural issue on the


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


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


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


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


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


forward further proposals but we will not bring forward increases to


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


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


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


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


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


here. SHOUTS AND JEERS A Budget that unravels in seven


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


many people forced into bogus self-employment by unscrupulous


companies. Because many of them force their workers to become


self-employed, thus avoiding employers' national insurance


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


increase in personal allowance means they now keep more of their


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


listened to headteachers all over the country, desperately trying to


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


losing teaching assistants, losing support for their children because


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


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


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


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


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


than continuing cutting local government expenditure, schools


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and academies and the changes we have brought forward in edge


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


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


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


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


doubling national insurance, doubling VAT and doubling council


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


families. Mr Speaker, the difference is, we


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


every community. Selective education, reintroduction of grammar


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


earners will actually be contributing 27% in terms of the


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


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


says is that on every single education policy that this


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


I congratulate my right honourable friend on proposing the most radical


reform of technical education in a generation and also delivering fair


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


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


schools? I thank my honourable friend,


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


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


further education and technical education for young people. I think


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


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


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


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


funding levels. The Education Secretary confirmed last month that


the DFE have heard representations on this issue and are considering


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


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


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


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


today has announced that she is returning with her screeching,


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


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


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


the devolved administrations between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland


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


be Prime Minister announced the details of the agreement?


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


asking the questions on the timetable, we will trigger Article


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


discussions with the devolved administrations over that period.


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


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


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


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


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


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


constitutional gameplaying must not be allowed to break the deep bonds


of our shared history, and our future together.


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


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


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


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


an agreement with the Scottish Government before triggering Article


50. HECKLING I recognise the passions.


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


assistance. The right honourable gentleman will be heard, however


long it takes. Carry on, Mr Robertson.


The Prime Minister promised an agreement. There is not an


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


understand that if she does not secure an agreement before


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


the Scottish Government and secure membership of the single European


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


our... We have been in discussions with the


Scottish Government and other devolved administrations about the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


all? My honourable friend speaks well on


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


consistently put forward the unique characteristics of the Isle of


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


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


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


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


sure that on the island, the business community will work


together to create the best possible conditions.


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


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


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


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


break-up of Britain? The honourable gentleman is wrong


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


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


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


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


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


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


with the single market and operate within the single market.


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


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


places like my constituency in Barnet. With the Prime Minister


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


the international agreement that we need to ensure that all big


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


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


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


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


secured an additional 140 billion in compliance yields since 2010.


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


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


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


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


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


as well as everybody. An answer to my honourable friend


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


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


been ignored in these negotiations. Where is your respect?


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


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


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


protecting workers' rights. Colchester Hospital's A department


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


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


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


this issue and improve patient outcomes?


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


recognise, the hard work and dedication of our excellent staff


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


provide the proper and appropriate service for the recipients of those


particular benefits. Last weekend, thousands of people


across Lincolnshire came to the races in my constituency to enjoy


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


Lincolnshire sausages. As the Government prepares to strike new


trade deals, international trade deals, will my right honourable


friend ensure that the high standards we expect of our food


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


will this government continued to back British farming?


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


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


sampling some of the excellent Lincolnshire sausages that has come


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


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


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


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


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


to ensure our food safety, environmental protection and the


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


for certainty for businesses and have provided guarantees for support


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


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


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


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


the UK can afford to be an independent country?


If he wants... Honourable members on those benchers


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


reply. If he wants to talk about figures in


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


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


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


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


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


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


the ridiculous European Court that ruled yesterday that employers can


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


and reiterate that reasonable freedom and expression should never


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


continue the tradition of freedom of expression.


Our First Minister was voted with the largest vote in Scottish


parliamentary history on a manifesto which stated that the Scottish


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


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


largest vote in Scottish parliamentary history, on a


manifesto pledge which stated that the Scottish Parliament should have


the right to hold an independence referendum if there was a


significant and material change of circumstances like Scotland being


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


great British entrepreneurial spirit to go out into the world,


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


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


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


working for everyone. -- entrepreneurs. But the opportunity


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Livingston constituency. Despite widespread criticism from the NEO or


Public Accounts Committee and the staff at Livingston being most


engaged and productive this Prime Minister's Government is determined


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


equipped with the digital infrastructure and facilities needed


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


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


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


customer services. -- HRMC's.


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


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


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


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


everyone in our country? THE SPEAKER: Prime Minister?


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


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


for Perth ander North Perthshire. The honourable gentleman was


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


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


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


now calm himself. The Prime Minister.


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


as she said a condition constituencicy that voted


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


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


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


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


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


Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


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


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


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


Budgets? Because they just keep ripping them up?


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


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


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


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


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


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


LAUGHTER Money into schools, into skills and


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


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


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


Prime Minister join with me in welcoming the news today that


Sergeant Blackman's murder conviction has been downgraded to


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


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


constituency and who has complained so unstintingly on this and my


honourable friend the member for South Dorset who I believe is


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


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


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


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


understanding and given the adequate resources, including for mental


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


make an incredible contribution to our country and we should pay


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


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


crisis, does the Prime Minister share my concern that President


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


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


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


the right honourable gentleman we recognise the severity and urgency


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


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


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


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


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


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


every opportunity to ensure that countries around the world recognise


the importance of international aid, the importance of supporting


countries when we see terrible, terrible disasters like this famine


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


cancer and Now, here is what happened. Jeremy


Corbyn came to the House with questions about the increase in


national insurance contributions. The problem was, just before PMQs


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


in national insurance contributions and this has happened before. It


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


adjust his questions very much to take account of the new


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Responsibility has been too pessimistic on the size of the


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


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


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


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


further action will be required after voluntary saying that he did


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


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


War. So glad you raised that. How do you


know? A popular dating site for socialists Communists and anarchists


are splitting into four factions due to adealing onical disagreements


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


from this particular dating site. From the board.


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


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


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


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


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


Shadow Chancellor who says that the Chancellor Philip Hammond's


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


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


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


breaking a promise in the Conservative manifesto, perhaps he


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


actually from the Labour benches as well as Conservative.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Philip Hammond's credibility in tatters, today Jeremy Corbyn


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Angus Robertson, who leads the Scottish Nationalists in


Westminster, in Parliament, said it was a screeching embarrassing


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


position where since 2010 we have faced falling living standards,


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


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


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


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


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


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


responded quite positively to that decision must be about bigger


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


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


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


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


context in which people can be forgiving about these kinds of


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


And of course they would dispute that! He's not even -- I've not even


named them. But I don't get the impression that the Prime Minister,


although she has had some ups and downs, with the Chancellor, I don't


get the impression that she has any interest in getting rid of him. I


don't think that's a potential at this stage at all. I think Theresa


May, her political style, frankly, people say she doesn't trust very


many people. One of the people that she does broadly trust, it said, is


Philip Hammond. They're not necessarily best of friends but they


have dinner every week, they talk a lot, they have a businesslike,


professional relationship. While they're not bosom buddies, it is a


relationship that despite tensions, particularly with the wider teams,


always the case between the Treasury and Downing Street, I think at this


stage in the game, we're not in a place where there are suggestions


that somehow he may be moved out. This, however, of course may have a


longer-term impact. Whatever the politics of today, it is a very big


deal for a Chancellor seven days later to back down. To drop a! To


drop a huge part of his budget. That is a really significant thing.


Normally it takes months. More on that thought, Rory Stewart? Lets get


more reaction. You may remember last Thursday, the day after the


announcement, we spoke to Stephen McPartland who joins us again. He's


in central lobby. He is smiling, presumably because of the screaming,


screeching U-turn, to use Angus Robertson's words. Is that what you


would call it? I'd certainly call it a U-turn. I said last week he needed


one and needed to do it quickly. I believe it shows he's a strong


Chancellor in the sense that he's admitted he's made a mistake and now


can move forward. Does he look like a strong Chancellor, or does he look


like someone forced into it by backbenchers like yourself, and


Number 10, who didn't want to have to explain all allowed the Prime


Minister to take a beating over this policy in the House? I think it


demonstrates that he is strong having stood up and said that he


holds his hands up. That's good news for me. It also demonstrates the


power of the back channels, and how backbenchers can actually go in


there and make a difference. He has listened and changed his mind. I'm


delighted about that. This was going to be punitive. I thought this was


going to be an attack on those families who had taken a risk to


setup their own business, and you are the backbone of our economy. So


I'm absolutely delighted he's done the. Did you speak to the Chancellor


yourself? I spoke to the Chancellor and a number of people. We certainly


made our views clear. There was lots of communication, blogs are back


channels and we got the message across. It was something I wasn't


going to be voting for and we will had been campaigning against. We had


decided this was a mistake and would move forward. Seven days after


standing up in the same place where Theresa May is today, and then


completely dismissing and you turning on a fairly key part of your


budget statement, it does smack of not strength, but we can. From my


point of view, I'm very pleased about the results. He's admitted


he's made a mistake. Instead of trying to create a fudge which would


have let everybody disappointed, he's listened and moved forward. I


called for a quick U-turn and we got a quick U-turn. To some extent,


Theresa May has ruled it out. How saw were people about the fact that


it did breach the manifesto commitment or no tax rises? Quite


strong. We all stand a manifesto. One of the things that you're going


to do a new rebel against the Government is actually not rebel on


anything stated in the manifesto, because you stood on that manifesto.


Effectively something being in a manifesto was taken very, very


seriously inside the Parliamentary party. Thank you for joining us


again almost a week later. Laura, before you go? Fascinating hearing


that. Polls suggest Theresa May is strong in the country, but we've


just seen she is not necessarily very strong in Parliament. Steve


McPartlin, rebel MP, saying very clearly there that backbenchers won


the day. Thank you very much. It's been a very eventful PMQs. I need to


lie down. Today a virtual tour of Parliament


was launched so people can experience the famous building


in all its glorious 360 degrees. We sent our reporter,


Emma Vardy, to take a look. You don't need to come


in all the way to London Now you can do it with your


mobile phone - and one of these. Now I'm standing exactly where


the PM would be stood for PMQs. Parliament has run guided tours


in real life for a number of years. The hope is this will encourage


people from all over the world to take a walk through the corridors


of power in virtual reality. You can go inside some


of the most famous rooms, The tour goes live online today,


and the 360 images will also be available to explore


on Google Street View, alongside Well, it has been said


that some MPs are living So now there's one for


the rest of us to enjoy. Joining me now is Penny Young, who's


Director of Information Services Why have you done this? Is part of


the way we're reaching out to the public, and that the public and find


out more about Parliament. You do need a virtual reality headset. This


is mobile and tablet friendly. With the best will in the world, not


everybody is going to be able to get to the Houses of Parliament to see


those fabulous sites. This is one way they can do it. Is it about


trying to attract more people, if they can make it to parliament, to


come and have a look around? It's partly if you can't get there, so


you can see it for yourself. It's also if you're coming, you may want


to be preview. Or if you've been, you may want to learn more. It is of


course only one way of engaging Parliament. You can contact your MP,


you can go on a members' tour, you can pay to go on a richer


experience, if you like. Schoolkids can come on education visit. You can


go in the gallery yourself and see what's going on. So there is a whole


range of ways, and this opens it up. Picon with the same as the real-life


experience of going round with you? -- it can't be the same as the


real-life experience. You can now get into very dangerous countries


and the beautiful buildings, and it also preserves things for the


future. In years' time, it will be able to see what the houses of


Commons looked like. Will you buy one? I've got my glasses at home.


It's an amazing place to work and it's a privilege for us to be there.


It's important to remember it. But for Rory and I come our constituents


are hours away from London and sometimes it's difficult to get it.


Why has it taken so long to do it? We've had a version, but it is now


mobile friendly and tablet friendly. You can look at it on Google maps,


and so on. That point about your constituents living hours away,


that's an important one. That's why things like the petitions committee


and digital debate on important so people can tweet at you and you can


comment on that in the chamber. There are many ways now of engaging


and it's important that you know the relationship -- it is important


because we know the relationship with the public is not as strong as


we would like. They don't necessarily think Parliament is


working for them, so it's one of the many ways to reach out and


strengthening relationship. Just before they move out! We may not see


it in everyone will be kicked out. There's just time to put you out


of your misery and give 1949, a very important year.


Desperate to press that buzzer. And it's Peter Thomson in Warrington.


Well done, you got 1949 as the correct answer.


The one o'clock news is starting over on BBC One now.


Jo and I will be here at noon tomorrow with all the big political


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