Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Monday 23 January presented by Joanna Shinn.
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Hello and welcome to Monday In Parliament,
our look at the day at Westminster.
The Defence Secretary says he has full confidence in the Trident
nuclear deterrent, but won't give the Commons any details on reports
of an unarmed missile going off course in a test last year.
Labour have questioned the Prime Minister's response.
And yet when she came to this House on the 18th of July to
call on members to back the renewal of Britain's nuclear submarines,
she did not say a word, not a single word.
But many Conservative MPs defended Trident and the need
to keep the tests secret.
Is it not the case that the unilateralists
opposite who are complaining today are in the position of eunuchs
complaining about the cost of Viagra?
Also tonight, users of adult social care explain what the shortage
of funding means for their lives.
It's now legally acceptable for them to just say use
incontinence pads even if you're not incontinent because
you can't have a night-time carer.
The Defence Secretary has told MPs he has "full confidence"
in the Trident nuclear weapons system, following reports
of an unarmed missile going off-course during a test launch.
But Sir Michael Fallon would not be drawn on the reports,
other than to tell MPs not to believe everything
they read in the papers.
Before an urgent question on the subject from a former defence
minister, there was a call from the Conservative
Jacob Rees-Mogg for the Commons sit in private.
Mr Speaker, as the matters we are about to discuss
are of the utmost confidentiality and may give succour to Her
Majesty's enemies, I beg to move...
I beg to move that the House sit in private.
Under standing order number 163, I am obliged to put this question
to the House without debate.
The question is that the House do sit in private.
As many as are of the opinion, say "aye".
To the contrary, "no".
I think the noes have it.
The noes have it.
In June last year, the Royal Navy conducted a demonstration
and shakedown operation designed to certify HMS Vengeance
and her crew prior to their return to operations.
This included a routine, unarmed Trident missile test launch.
Contrary to reports in the weekend press, HMS Vengeance and her crew
were successfully tested and certified as ready to rejoin
the operational cycle.
We do not comment on the detail of submarine operations.
I can however assure the House that during any test-firing,
the safety of the crew and public is paramount and is
He will have seen the press at the weekend, the claims
that the missile veered off towards the United States.
Could he confirm whether that was the case?
Could he also tell the House when he was first informed
that there was a problem with the test and when his
department informed the then Prime Minister David Cameron
of the problem?
Yesterday, the Prime Minister refused four times on live
television to say when she became aware of the details
of this missile test.
Today number ten admitted that the Prime Minister was told
about this incident as soon as she took office.
And yet when she came to this House on the 18th of July to call
on members to back the renewal of Britain's nuclear submarines,
she did not say a word, not a single word.
Mr Speaker, this is just not good enough.
The British public deserve the facts on a matter of importance
of Britain's nuclear deterrent and they deserve to hear those facts
from the Prime Minister, not in allegations sprawled
across a Sunday paper.
Is the Secretary of State telling us that nothing went wrong
on this particular launch?
While accepting that the nuclear deterrent needs to be
shrouded in secrecy, it also needs to deter and once
stories get out there that a missile may have failed,
isn't it better to be quite frank about it,
especially if it has no strategic significance as in this case
it probably has none?
It is absolutely outrageous that this House had to rely
on a leak to a Sunday newspaper to find out about this
and the subsequent cover-up.
Can the Secretary of State tell me when did he first find out
about this missile failure?
Was it he who informed the new Prime Minister
about the failure and who took the decision not to inform
Parliament of this incident?
Well, the honourable gentleman, of course, is opposed to the Trident
deterrent that has kept this country safe for so many years.
Let me, first of all, caution him against believing
everything he has read in the weekend press.
Mr Michael Gove.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Would my right honourable friend agree that investment
in our continuous at sea nuclear deterrent has bought us not only
peace since 1968 and the protection of western Europe but has also
congruent with our position as a Permanent Five member
of the UN's Security Council?
And is it not the case that the unilateralists opposite
who are complaining today are in the position
of eunuchs complaining about the cost of Viagra?
I agree with all three, all three of my right honourable
The Secretary of State has advised us not to believe everything we read
in the Sunday newspapers but should we believe the White House official
who, while we've been sitting here debating,
has confirmed to CNN that the missile did auto
self-destruct off the coast of Florida and if that is the case,
why is the British Parliament and the British public the last
people to know?
We do not, in this House, nor has any previous Government
given operational details of the demonstration and shakedown
operation of one of our submarines conducting a test with one
of our Trident missiles.
Later, in the House of Lords, the historian Lord Hennessy said
he witnessed the test last June.
May I declare an interest in that I witnessed the launch in question
from the survey vessel two and a half miles away
from where the missile came out of the sea?
My Lords, may I put it to the noble Earl, the minister,
with great respect, that for those of us who support the independent
deterrent, very powerfully supported, and also the building
of the four dreadnoughts submarines in the successor class,
it would make it much easier for us to make the case generally in
the country when we are interviewed in the media if the noble Earl
could assure us that a full analysis has been successfully made
of whatever it was that went wrong, and I have no knowledge at all
of the nature of what went wrong, and remedies have been put in place.
The Defence Minister, Lord Howe, said there was "absolute
confidence" in the system.
The government has launched a new industrial strategy preparing
for Britain's post-Brexit future.
The plans, personally unveiled by the Prime Minister at a cabinet
meeting in Cheshire, include a ?556 million
boost for the so-called "northern Powerhouse",
an overhaul of technical education and a ?170 million cash
injection for science, technology, engineering
The Business Secretary told MPs it was about creating
the right conditions for new and growing enterprises.
To meet these challenges, we have identified ten pillars around
which the strategy is structured.
That is to say ten areas of action to drive growth across the economy
and in every part of the country.
They're to invest in science, research and innovation,
to further develop our skills, to upgrade our infrastructure,
to support businesses to start and grow, to improve public
procurement, to encourage trade and investment,
to deliver affordable energy and clean growth, to cultivate
world leading sectors, to drive growth across all parts
of the country and to create the right institutions to bring
together sectors and places.
Across all of these areas, the Government is taking strategic
decisions to keep British business on the front foot.
There is a glaring inconsistency between the noble aims of this green
paper and the threats made by the Prime Minister to turn
Britain into an offshore tax haven if she fails
in her Brexit negotiations.
Until now, the industrial strategy has seemingly consisted of one deal,
made in secret with Nissan.
If the Nissan deal didn't last six months, how can businesses be
confident of the other commitments in this green paper?
It's often said, correctly, that an industrial strategy
is a long-term project and that to work it must outlast
With this in mind, I can pledge our support for its broad aims
from this side of the chamber but I feel compelled to ask,
can the Secretary of State count on the same from his own side?
When we previously debated the industrial strategy here,
one of his own honourable friends said they had
two problems with it.
One was industrial and the other was strategy.
However good this industrial strategy may be, we have to accept
that the biggest threat to Scotland's economy and I believe
the UK economy is the lack of access to the markets and the skilled
people that come through our EU membership.
Will he give serious consideration to the Scottish Government's plans
that would see Scotland maintain its membership
of the European single market?
There's one area of infrastructure where Britain lags behind
all our competitors enormously and that's with the
cost of childcare.
Childcare in Britain costs more than every other OECD country apart
from Switzerland and takes up over 40% of the average wage and yet it's
hardly mentioned in his green paper.
This is the way to liberate the talent of women,
what's he going to do about it?
In the green paper that the Secretary of State has brought
forward there is mention of an overhaul of technical
and vocational education.
Can I say to him I think what this country needs is a cultural change,
a shift to valuing technical and vocational education and skills
education as highly as it does academic education?
And until that changes, the Secretary of State will not
achieve what he wants, however much all of us want him to.
The Prime Minister's strategy lacks concrete proposals for Wales,
considering our ?5 billion of trade and good net surplus with the EU,
Wales is set to suffer most at the pursuit of a brutal Brexit.
Does the Minister accept that doing nothing to counter the loss
of the EU convergence funding will serve only to exacerbate
the already significant geographical wealth and earnings inequalities
which characterise the British state?
May I welcome this wide ranging discussion of Government
policies at this time, even if the broad buffet of good
things outlined will unleash a torrent of insatiable demands,
not least from the Davos business leaders jetting back
with their Government advisers to barge their way to
the front of the table?
So will my right honourable friend assure me that his agenda will be
set by entrepreneurs?
Greg Clark assured him there would be, as he put it,
"no cosy clubs for the incumbents".
Where does the crucial role of free markets sit in the strategy?
It runs through every page of the strategy, Mr Deputy Speaker.
Laughter at the
Laughter at the diplomatic
Laughter at the diplomatic reply.
At the start of the day, the writs were moved for two
by-elections following the departure of two Labour MPs.
I beg to move that, Mr Speaker, to issue his warrant to the clerk
of the crown to make out a new writ for the electing other
member to serve in this present Parliament...
Both elections will be held on the 23rd February.
One is to replace the Jamie Reed, who represented Copeland -
he's taken a job at Sellafield Nuclear Power Plant.
The other replaces Stoke-on-Trent Central's Tristram Hunt,
who is becoming the director of London's Victoria
and Albert Museum.
Now, moves which would allow local councils in England to keep
all the proceeds from business rates raised in their area have
had their first main debate in the Commons.
The local government Finance Bill will also enable councillors to vary
the level of business rates.
Ministers say the move would encourage local
authorities to boost business, increasing the income from local
taxes that can be spent in the area.
I am often told that local authorities lack
meaningful incentives to grow their local economies.
They tell me the system is overcentralised, that residents
see no connection between the level of local taxation and the level
of services they receive, that the proceeds of local growth
disappear into national coffers, forcing councils to go cap in hand
asking Whitehall for funding.
Mr Deputy Speaker, that is not good enough.
Local authorities, local businesses and local communities deserve
a better deal and this Bill will provide it.
It could exacerbate the social care crisis and leave council taxpayers
having to foot even more of the bill for local services.
Badly introduced, it could deepen regional inequality and increase
the divisions between those areas with a large business
community and those with more entrenched barriers to growth.
We support the principle of a 100% business rate retention,
but it needs to be accompanied by a redistribution formula,
which redresses the divide between those councils that do have
sizeable business rates income already and those that don't.
The Shadow Local Government Minister, Gareth Thomas.
You're watching Monday In Parliament.
Our top story...
The Defence Secretary says he has full confidence
in the Trident nuclear deterrent, but has refused to give any details
on press reports suggesting a missile went off-course
during a test last June.
Now, last week Surrey County Council announced it would be holding
a referendum to find out whether voters would approve a big
rise in council tax to pay for better social care.
The Council said care was in crisis, a message that's been echoed
elsewhere in the country.
MPs on the Communities and Local Government Committee heard
the views of three people who use adult social care services.
The main worry I think comes from not that even that my quality
of life would have improved but that if my condition gets worse,
and I don't know what's going to happen in the future,
that the care won't increase to even keep, to even be dignified, really.
I know of local authorities now that say at night-time if you need
assistance going to the toilet it's now legally acceptable for them
to just say use incontinence pads, even if you're not incontinent,
because you can't have a night-time carer.
Now, I don't need that fortunately at the moment but that is a fear
for me that if one day I needed that support,
would it actually be provided?
I have been in the process of recently having health
professionals and social care professionals making
a recommendation and the panel who have never met me making
a decision around providing something that's ?500 cheaper
and I have now got to trial a product that isn't going to work
and is wasting my time and the professionals' time just
to please the panel.
It's all about, for me, it has all been a game
of aligning what you need
with the people that can often support you and sometimes your voice
gets lost within that.
I think people who enter this profession of providing care do
so with a sense of vocation and a sense of service and a desire
to want to make a difference and to change things and to be
of service and I happen to be mindful of not taking
that for granted and certainly not abusing it but it is a messy,
it's a messy place to go, this.
I get six hours a week for socialisation,
whatever that means.
That includes, has to include my food shopping,
my hospital appointments, which average one a week,
going to church and if I want to go swimming, because none of those
things can be separately, you know, they don't get covered otherwise.
So by the time you've done that, there is no socialisation left.
There's certainly no flexibility or, you know if a friend rings up
and says "do you want to go here?"
It's "oh sorry, I've used by hours."
So, for me, I think it's, you know, you try and get on and you try
and make most of the situation and I do find myself having make
choices sometimes so there will be times and I think I want to go here,
I won't have a shower or I won't cook a meal
that day with my PA, I'll use the time to do
the socialisation aspect of it because otherwise you become
extremely isolated and that's quite depressing or, you know,
it's hard not to feel like I'm a 31-year-old and my friends that
were in university with me are all out doing all these things
and actually my life looks extremely different to theirs.
I live in my own home, my own home is becoming more
like an institution.
I have support and there are times and I feel really isolated
and I need that additional support but it's not available and for me
it has been really detrimental and it has really had a massive impact
on my mental ill-health.
It's something that I would think that lots of people with care
and support needs often struggle with, so, you know, the practical
stuff is amazing, you know, I'm grateful to live in a country
where we do have that system, but sometimes I just feel like I'm
a product of a system that is just functional, so I'm just like dress,
wash, eat, nothing about well-being, nothing about relationships
and the hardest thing is being somebody that has hopes
and dreams and aspirations and you have to sometimes say
to yourself and people around you, that's not possible.
Now, there have been further calls for increased sex and relationships
education in schools to tackle online grooming for child abuse.
But at Home Office Questions, ministers insisted the resources
for staying safe online were available and schools
were already taking action.
Can I urge the House that people recommend to their constituents that
a process of contributing to keeping their own children safe
is to take time out to look at the Think You Know campaign
on the National Crime Agency because we all, I as a parent,
have a role in making sure my children know
what's safe online.
But actually, don't children need to be educated about how to help
themselves stay safe online and wouldn't it be the case
if we had compulsory sex and relationship education that
every school could make sure that every child knew
how to be safe online?
Can I ask the Honourable Lady to go onto the website
of the National Crime Agency and look at the Think
You Know campaign.
It is tailor-made for children to go through the tutorial online
and it's broken down by age, so my young children
have an appropriate curriculum to look at and it makes
a real difference.
There's even one for her so she could follow it
and understand how she can be safe online and make sure
children are as well.
The Minister is being far too glib on this.
All the research shows the best intermediary for teaching children
is someone they trust in the school.
That is the truth and online work isn't actually very effective.
Isn't it the truth that bullying, exploitation, is rampant and isn't
it about time we stopped making excuses and took on the Googles
and the people who allow this to be transmitted?
The honourable gentleman misses the point.
We are taking on the Googles and the big internet companies
and also if he spends time in the schools, in the primary
school when my children go to, they are given classes on how
to stay safe online.
This is not done in a silo way, it's not just a website,
it's a website, it's teachers, its parents, everyone has a role
in it and that is being delivered.
The challenge we have in the world of the internet is keeping pace
with the huge numbers of referrals we get every month from
international paedophiles who abuse the internet to exploit our children
and take advantage of the very latest technology, to make
sure our law enforcement agencies are having to constantly go
the extra mile to catch them.
Mr Speaker, we have had a dreadful local case where an international
paedophile ring such as the one the Minister was mentioning
infiltrated a chat room aimed at 9-year-olds with really
dreadful consequences for those children.
Could the Minister tell us what investment the government
is making to help the police and other law enforcement
agencies deal with and stamp out this sort of abuse?
I'm grateful to my honourable friend, the National Crime Agency's
child exploitation and online protection command receives an extra
?10 million this year and in November 2015,
the NCA joined up with GCHQ in a joint operation to make sure
that we tackle some of the most complicated crimes online.
Labour's Rupa Huq raised the immigration status of EU
nationals in the UK seeking some certainty following the Brexit vote.
People like Mrs Fabio La Paras, Spanish by birth but married
and resident in Acton for decades, now dismayed at having been rejected
because they cannot prove either five years continuous service
with the same employer or having paid in for
private health insurance.
Can the Home Secretary revisit these rigid requirements that penalised EU
nationals like her who have been homemakers or students,
on short term contracta or self-employed and end
this bureaucratic nightmare?
There is no penalising of people like the lady who the Honourable
Lady was referring to.
We continue to value the important contribution that EU nationals make
to this country and I would repeat and I would urge the honourable lady
to follow the advice I previously set out,
which is to reassure constituents like the one she referred to that
in fact we are doing our best to ensure that their future will be
secure and as the Prime Minister says, it will be an early
priority to do so.
The Home Secretary Amber Rudd replying there.
Now, returning to social care, Labour peers have called
on ministers to reverse cuts
in funding, which they say have had
a knock-on effect on the whole of the National Health
Service in England.
Raising the matter at Question Time in the Lords, Lady McDonagh said
the government had cut the social care budget by nearly ?2 billion.
It is the case that the government have cut ?1.8 billion to social
care during this period, which has led to the escalation
of the ?2.5 billion in NHS debt.
I don't know whether it's through incompetence or ideology
but the government has set about providing us with the most
expensive and the worst system of care for the elderly
in the Western world.
Can I ask the noble Lord the minister whether he would use
all his powers of persuasion to do what the Chancellor wanted to do
last year and persuade the Prime Minister to put more money
into local authorities for social care?
It will save lives and money.
The Minister said he accepted there were challenges still there.
There are a million more over 65-year-olds
than there were in 2010.
The social care is under a lot of pressure, of course it is,
which is why in the Autumn Statement additional money was
outlined for social care.
There is ?900 million extra over the next couple of years
and the precept is rising faster than it was previously
and we have the Better Care fund.
So there is money going in, but I accept the fact
that there is pressure on the system.
The Minister said he accepted there were challenges still there.
And that's all from me for now.
Kristina Cooper's here for the rest of the week but from me,
Joanna Shinn, goodbye.