17/07/2017 Monday in Parliament

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Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Monday 17 July with Kristiina Cooper.

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Now on BBC News, it's time for Monday in Parliament.


Hello, and welcome to Monday in Parliament.


There's an extra ?1.3 billion for schools in England.


Labour says the Government is in retreat, but the Education Secretary


Fury over the Government's decision on where to route


These constituencies are going to be demolished, and roads are going to


go straight to a development that is only just taking place.


And a debate about parliamentary debate.


Opposition parties say the Government is stifling democracy.


This is what happens when you do nothing, bad stuff happens. This is


a government at war with itself. But first, education in England


was thought to be a big issue on the doorstep


during the general election. The Government announced recently


that it will not be scrapping free school lunches for four


to seven year olds. Now, the Education Secretary has


announced an extra ?1.3 billion Labour said the money -


to be found out of existing education budgets -


was no more than a sticking plaster. We recognise that at the election,


people were concerned about the overall level of funding


in schools as well And as the Prime Minister has said,


we are determined to listen. So that is why today,


I am confirming our plans to get on with introducing a national


funding formula in 2018-19, and I can announce that this


will additionally now be supported by significant extra investment


into the core schools budget over... There will therefore be


an additional ?1.3 billion for in addition to the schools budget


set at spending review 2015. This funding is across the next two


years as we transition I will always be the first


to welcome new money for schools. After all, I have spent a year


asking the Secretary of State to give our schools the funding


they need, so it's nice to know I'm But sadly, Mr Speaker,


today's statement raises more I welcome the 1.3 billion announced


today, but can the Secretary of State confirm if it will protect


per-pupil budgets in real terms Astoundingly, this is all been


funded without a penny Perhaps the Chancellor didn't


want to fund schools and thought that teachers and teaching


assistants are simply more I wonder if the Secretary


of State agrees with him? I know they are in full retreat


from their own manifesto, but I don't see how this 1.3 billion


can possibly fit with it. Mr Chalk, you're usually


a very understated fellow. Rather a gentlemanly type,


I'd always thought. And you're sitting next to a very


senior member who normally behaves, Prince Andrew over there,


the very embodiment of... I think there's only one


party that is retreating We heard over the weekend


that the promise to students wasn't worth the paper it was written on,


and I think it was one of the most dishonest pieces of electioneering


I have seen in many, many years, and our young people


deserve better than to be peddled some snake oil propaganda that


proves to be not true. I call the chair of


the education select committee. The news will be welcomed


by schools, teachers and parents, especially given the additional


costs facing our schools. In addition to moving money


from healthy pupil programmes, my right honourable friend has said


she is redirecting 200 million from the Department's central


programme to Well, we will now go


through a process of looking across those programmes to identify


that ?200 million. But I think across an entire


departmental resource budget of ?60 billion,


it is a reasonable request to make sure that my department and civil


servants in my Department are having to similarly make


efficiency savings. While I welcome this announcement,


of extra money today, isn't the fact that the Government


got themselves into such a mess over schools funding an indication


of the fact that they haven't been And I'm not sure they are being


entirely straight with people now. The Secretary of State talks


about an increased schools budget, but fails to mention


that the number of pupils And isn't it the case that even


with this money today, the truth is that since 2015,


the real terms cuts per pupils that schools have faced is ?2.8 billion


and will be further, additional of ?8.9 billion even


when you take into account So there is still a massive


shortfall here, and I think it is about time the Government


started being straight with the figures of the reality


of what schools on I think we are setting


out our figures very transparently. One thing I don't expect to happen


as a result of today's funding announcement is for the website that


has been worrying parents I don't expect any of those numbers


to be updated because it is far easier just to simply continue


to peddle out of date data. She asked me about the numbers


of pupils, she is of course quite right and that is why I'm sure


she will welcome the fact that I'm saying that actually,


the real terms per-pupil spending The Government has announced


its preferred routes for the HS2 high-speed railway


north of Birmingham. One main route is to run east


of Sheffield, with a separate spur to take passengers


to the city centre. The Government has also announced


seven contracts worth nearly ?7 billion for some


of the engineering work There was anger from Conservative


and Labour MPs over the absence of a Commons statement


from the Transport Secretary, The points of order


came thick and fast. And sure enough, the Transport


Secretary Chris Grayling did get the message and made a statement


in the Commons later in the day. Can I seek your advice on an urgent


matter of the HS2 route and the announcement is due to be


made by the Transport ..Which will affect


millions of people? The Secretary of State


began his consultation with an oral statement last November


and there had been an expectation, Mr Speaker, that he would announce


his final decisions today with an oral statement,


and parts of the media All the indications


are now that the news will be sneaked out in a written statement


any time now. Mr Speaker, this is a gross


discourtesy and adds insult So I would seek your advice


about how we can get the Transport Secretary to come


to the House and show some Very grateful to the right


honourable gentleman As others relate to the same


subject, I will take them, or at least a number


of them, and then respond. Further to that point


of order, Mr Speaker, Because today, the Government has


announced, it's certainly been all over the airwaves,


?6.6 billion worth of contracts on HS2, and it would seem to me that


when such a large amount of taxpayers' money is being spent,


that the minister should come I appreciate the urgent question


in the statement and the business on the order paper today is equally


important, but I'm wondering whether you could extend


the sitting of this House, Mr Speaker, and allow us to


have a statement from the Minister? This is the latest in a long line


of actions by the Government which demonstrates an unwillingness


to make itself available, properly, I, too, sadly think it is outrageous


that this major item of public expenditure


which is affecting my constituents and those of many others


is not being reflected A lot of houses in my constituency


are going to be demolished and roads are going to go straight


through a development that has only just taken place,


that in Derbyshire there will be a slow track dawdling


its way to Sheffield and beyond and then a fast track


that goes to Meadowhall. This is a very important matter


and should be debated at length. I'm afraid it is not


within the power of I can only deal with


the situation as it evolves. But what I would say is that if no


statement is forthcoming from the Minister, it would be


perfectly open to members to do their best to secure


parliamentary time and attention tomorrow, and it may be that


such an exploration would take And it may be that faced


with that scenario, a minister might think


it prudent and judicious to anticipate the


difficulty and to offer Liberal Democrat Tom Brake has


raised reports that Saudi Arabia He said they included at least two


who were juveniles at the time of their alleged offences


and who were convicted on the strength of confessions


obtained through the use of torture. The Foreign Office Minister Alistair


Burt insisted that the UK Government opposed the death penalty


in all circumstances. He said Saudi Arabia was going


through a process of reform. The new chair of the Commons


Foreign Affairs Committee Will the minister ask


the Prime Minister to call on Saudi King Salman


and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to stop the executions,


especially of juveniles Mujtaba Sweikat and Salman Qureish,


from going ahead? Of the executions of juveniles


and others arrested English into alleged protest activity go


ahead, will the UK committed to freezing and reviewing any


criminal justice systems which could contribute


to the arrest of protesters And what further steps


will Her Majesty's Government to take to condemn Saudi Arabia's


use of the death penalty, especially in the case of people


with disabilities and juveniles such as Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoon,


and Abdullah al-Zaher? Our starting point for engagement


on human rights with all countries is based on what is practical,


realistic and achievable and we will always be ready to speak


out as a matter of principle. Ministers frequently discuss human


rights and raise concerns with the Saudi Arabian government,


we have a balanced relationship with Saudi Arabia and we use


engagement to encourage reform. We have heard over the years


Her Majesty's governments talk about the influence it has had over


the actions of the Saudi government I would be very grateful


if the Minister could, from his place today,


give some examples of Because on days like this,


it does leave some questions It's so difficult to try


and prove a negative. The authorities with which we deal


in Saudi Arabia are not necessarily any position to make their judicial


decisions dependent on external pressure,


and nor would we be in their case. What we do know is a number


of allegations are made about possible executions,


possible exclusions of minors, But whether or not it would be


specifically laid at the door of any Saudi Arabia is one


of the world's most prolific executioners and the death penalty


is increasingly being used as a punishment


for non-violent acts. Indeed, in January 2016,


the Saudi authorities executed 47 men in a single day


for alleged terrorism offences. And just last Monday,


six men were killed. It is becoming clear that these


executions are being used not only as a form of draconian punishment,


but as a tool to suppress political opposition,


to fight sectarian religious battles against the Shia minority


and antagonise their religious We are constantly being told


by the party opposite that we share They are not values


concerning human rights. They are not values


of international law. What are these values


we could possibly share with Saudi Arabia when they propose


to crucify somebody and to use Well, in response to the honourable


lady asking for things which we may share in common,


we shouldn't ignore Saudi Arabia's important contribution


to regional stability. It has had its own painful


experiences as the victim of numerous Daesh attacks,


and the collaboration with Saudi Arabia has


foiled terrorist attacks, So there are areas


where our interests work together in the interests


of the United Kingdom. It is a month now since


the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, in which over


80 people died. The tragedy has left dozens of


families without a permanent home. Some are being offered


temporary accommodation. A few have received offers


of permanent homes. When the Communities Secretary Sajid


Javid updated MPs about re-housing the former Grenfell Tower residents,


the local MP, Emma Dent Coad, The first new permanent homes


will be available very shortly, and more are being secured,


either in Kensington and In the meantime, good quality,


fully furnished, temporary accommodation in the local area has


been offered to every family. Sorry, I'm not sure


about the formalities of this, but in some cases, this is due


to a single unsuitable offer. The fact that people are refusing


these homes is because an unsuitable One single, unsuitable offer,


and this is absolutely true. I am dealing with cases day by day


and I'm amazed that only 22 households have been matched


with temporary accommodation, four There are empty homes


all across the borough and they are still not


being taken up. They are being offered unsuitable


homes, can the Secretary of State please answer


what is happening here? I can tell the honourable lady,


first of all, there are only 220 temporary homes that


have been identified. They have been inspected,


they are all good quality, they are all available


with good quality accommodation. She has referred to something


that she is called an unsuitable offer, she should certainly bring


those details to me and we will certainly look at that


and take it very seriously. In terms of the families,


169 families have been, 30 offers of temporary accommodation


had been accepted by those families. As she will full well know


from talking to her constituents, many families don't feel ready


to move into temporary accommodation yet and we will absolutely


respect their wishes. You're watching Monday


in Parliament, with me, Coming up, a voyage of discovery


for one Minister as she watched I was amazed to see the diversity of


people on horseback and on foot. And I also got some nice food for


breakfast. With Brexit and the so-called


"Great Repeal Bill" on the horizon, MPs are putting parliamentary


scrutiny high on the agenda. Labour claims the Government


is trying to "stifle" debate by restricting


the parliamentary timetable. But the Government says it's


"business as usual", and Labour should focus on policy


rather than process. The convention is that each


parliamentary session must include 20 days on which the opposition


parties set the agenda. But as this session is twice


the usual length, there's confusion The Government has not


provided an opposition day before the summer recess,


making the earliest This means a staggering


eight months, nearly as long a time as it


takes to have a baby, without a single opposition day,


denying vital scrutiny The SNP and Labour


were equally upset. Perhaps unfavourably,


this Parliament has already been I actually think that this


comparison would actually give This is turbo-charged


political zombie-ism. But it's a curious type


of zombie-ism, Mr Speaker, cos if you look at them,


not only are they tearing the flesh from the public,


but they are starting If you look around Whitehall just


now, what passes for discourse, normal discourse, amongst


Secretaries of State and Whitehall departmentsm is briefing


and counter briefing. And this is what happens,


Leader of the House, when you do nothing -


bad stuff happens. This is a Government


at war with itself. The Government said many important


debates had already taken place. Last week, we had a vital debate


on the Grenfell inquiry. Many powerful points


were raised from members on all sides of the house,


and it's right that we have prioritised giving time to such


a catastrophic and tragic event. This week, we are having a general


debate on what more could be done to eradicate the evil


of drug misuse, and today, although now under threat by this


debate, we're scheduled to have a debate on the intimidation


and abuse of candidates in the general election -


abuse that challenges the very heart These, to me, Mr Speaker,


seem to be perfect examples of our parliamentary


democracy working well. And she accused Labour


of playing politics. My Government, this party,


has done far more for parliamentary So far, over 10 million people have


signed various petitions. The Government has formally


responded to 264 petitions, and 20 petitions have been


scheduled for debate. The Government has also responded


to a 162 urgent questions in this Mr Speaker, this urgent debate


is the result of party Nearly 13 million people voted


for the party opposite to come I don't believe they were voting


for petty time-wasting by Labour. One of the pledges in


the Conservatives' election manifesto was to give Parliament


a free vote on whether The Government has said it isn't


planning to hold a vote during this parliamentary session,


which is due to last for two years. It's an issue that still


rouses a few passions. Obviously the message is beginning


to seep through that Theresa May's support for hunting with hounds


was massively unpopular The manifesto pledge to reopen


the debate once again illustrated a party out of touch


with the British people. The latest polls showed


that an overwhelming My Lords, it is widely regarded


as cruel, inhumane and ineffective. So, can the noble lady confirm


that the ban on fox-hunting is now And can she give a guarantee that


any approach from the Council of Hunting Associations to


reverse the legislation will My Lords, I'd like to commend


the noble lady for her continued Any decision or announcement


on future legislation programmes will be made before the start


of the second session However, the Government does


acknowledge the high level of public interest in this debate,


and the strength of feeling on this Since the ban, the latest research


by the British Ornithological Trust and Springwatch have both shown


a significant fall, a decline, in the numbers


of both hares and foxes. In asking this question, I am having


to declare my interest as chairman of the Hunting Association,


and chairman of the Masters Of Foxhounds Association,


of which I am pleased gives so much amusement opposite, but are the only


two organisations, clearly, which have any interest


in the welfare of Given the latest successful


prosecution by the police of three members of the Grove


and Rufford Hunt, does the Minister agree with me that the Hunting Act


is both enforceable and effective? My Lords, I do agree with the noble


lady in that the police are under a duty to enforce the Hunting Act,


and enforcement is ultimately But I would also say that,


as with any suspected criminal activity, we rely on


the general public as well. Anyone who believes an offence


is taking place, or has taken place, should report the matter


to the local police. My Lords, I declare my


interest as the president of the Countryside Alliance


and a passionate hunter. Can I take up with the minister,


if I may, very briefly, the point that has has just been


made by the noble The issue where the methods


available now to those who were suffering fox predation,


of which I have to say I have been one in recent


weeks very considerably, are sneering, which is in my view


likely to cause very considerably greater and prolonged suffering,


and night shooting, which does cause Does the noble Minister agree


that what is important, as soon as it is politically


possible, is to look at the way in which we manage wildlife


populations and come up with a method which is stable,


which is acceptable on both sides of the argument,


and which puts animal welfare at the forefront,


which I don't believe Will my noble friend join


with me in commending one of Anthony Trollope's novels


Of The American Senator? It describes the visit


to the English countryside in the mid-19th-century


of Mr Senator Gotobed, who arrives and is at first


shocked by what he sees in the English countryside,


fox-hunting in particular, but, after weeks of experience,


comes round to their merits My Lords, I have not actually read


that particular book, but I will commend it to you anyway


because you've got weeks off. But I would like to say, actually,


that I watched my first hunt earlier this year,


and I was amazed to see the diversity of people involved,


from all walks of life, on horseback and on foot, and I also


got a taste for mini-sausages Well, mini-sausages and port


might not be on the breakfast menu at Skegness, but a Lincolnshire MP


is urging holiday-makers to consider Skegness was home to the first


Butlins Holiday Resort in 1936. It has a clean, sandy beach


and - says the tourist board - With Parliament on its last week


before the summer break, minds are, quite naturally,


turning towards the holidays. Mr Speaker, as you know,


in Lincolnshire we have some They trip off the tongue


with a litany of sun and fun - Cleethorpes,


Mablethorpe, Skegness... Indeed, Mr Speaker, when you go


on your holidays on Thursday, don't go to Italy and France,


come to bracing Skegness. So, can I say to my right honourable


friend, can he promise to use the Coastal Communities Fund


to promote all-round tourism, and after Brexit match


the ?143 million we receive in European Regional Development


Fund for these resorts? Mr Speaker, my right honourable


friend rightly highlights the importance of all of our coastal


communities, and of course those in Lincolnshire as well,


many I had the pleasure of visiting during the recent


general election campaign, and I can assure that we


will continue to use the Coastal Communities Fund,


and whatever other resources we have available,


to help promote those areas. Brexit and the general election,


never far from the conversation. Well, that it's from


Monday In Parliament. Alicia McCarthy will be


here for the rest of the week, but, from me,


Kristiina Cooper, goodbye. Yesterday, we saw 27


degrees in the London area, with increasing amounts of medium


and upper-level cloud, but the sky stayed pretty much clear


in northern Scotland. And, through the day today,


we're going to see those temperatures creeping


up a notch or two. 29 degrees somewhere


in England and Wales.