Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Monday 5 March, presented by Keith Macdougall.
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Hello and welcome to
Monday In Parliament.
Coming up on the programme:
Theresa May says she's confident
she can reach a deal with the EU.
The pragmatism, calm and patient
discussion, I am confident we can
set an example to the world.
But Labour dismiss her
vision as a shambles.
This government's reckless strategy
is putting our jobs in manufacturing
industry at risk.
The Defence Secretary repeats his
verbal attacks on Russia.
Putin has made it quite clear that
he has hostile intent towards this
And warnings in the Lords
about family doctors retiring early
and junior doctors quitting the NHS
after their training.
With the noble Lord care to
speculate why there is a flood of
departing junior doctors right now?
But first, emboldened
by her landmark speech
on Brexit last Friday,
Theresa May told the Commons
she's confident Britain
can reach an agreement
with the European Union.
Last week, she spelt out her vision
for the new relationship,
in which she said the UK will leave
the single market, the jurisdiction
of the European Court
of Justice will end,
some regulations will remain
in step with the EU,
and she said she wants trade
across borders which is
as frictionless as possible.
This was the first time
the Prime Minster had faced
MPs since that speech.
I am confident we can solve our
remaining differences in the days
ahead. Now we must focus on our
future relationship. A new
relationship that respects the
result of the referendum, provides
an enduring solution, protects
people's jobs and security, is
consistent with the kind of country
we want to beat and strengthens our
union of nations and people.
It was clear MPs from all sides
wanted to make their views heard.
We must resolve the tensions between
our objectives. We want the freedom
to negotiate trade agreements around
the world, we want control of our
borders and a frictionless as border
are possible with the EU so we did
not damage the integrated supply
chain to our industries rely on.
very considerable level of heckling
taking place in the House.
passed since the referendum. A year
has passed since the triggering of
Article 50, 20 wasted months in
which the arrogance of some of the
Cabinet who said it would be the
easiest deal in history has turned
into debilitating in fighting. This
government's reckless strategy is
putting our jobs in manufacturing
industries at risk. The Prime
Minister's only clear priority seems
to be to tie the UK permanently to
EU rules which are being used to
enforce privatisation and block
support the industry.
The Liberal Democrats were keen
to address concerns that a future
trade deal with the US would open up
the NHS to American health giants.
Can I first congratulate the Prime
Minister on the fact that, after 20
months of tough negotiation, she
appears to have delivered at least a
trade deal with her own Cabinet?
Specifically in her future,
independent trade negotiations with
the economic nationalists and
warmongering in the White House,
what exactly at the Prime Minister's
redlines? Do they include the NHS?
am absolutely clear that as we look
to negotiate a trade with the US,
the NHS will remain as it is today,
it will remain free of the point of
use, it is not for sale.
as the Prime Minister gathered with
her Cabinet at Chequers, there was
one glaring absence. Where was the
Secretary of State for Scotland?
Scotland's voice was not heard that
these crucial Cabinet discussions.
The House, Mr Speaker, been a
flagrant disregard by this
government of the nations that make
up the United Kingdom.
that led to the approach in my
speech were taken by the whole
Cabinet, not by a subgroup of the
Cabinet, and all members bar one
that was in this House at the time
were present when that was taken.
Friday and today, the Prime Minister
said access to one another's markets
would be less than it is now. This
is the public burial of the claim
made by her Brexit secretary year
ago in this House that the
government's aim was to secure the
exact same benefits. The Prime
Minister has admitted to her country
that there is economic cost to
Brexit. So blushing now tell us,
what is that economic cost, when
will the public be told about it,
and who will pay it?
Can I say to
the right honourable gentleman, life
will be different in the future
because we will have a different
relationship of the European Union?
But while he and the Labour Party
consistently only focus on our
relationship with the European
Union, what we're doing as a
government is ensuring that the good
trade deal, the best possible trade
deal with the European Union,
together with trade deals with
countries around the world and
develop a colour me so it is a
Britain the future.
And just in case you thought it was
possible for politicians to discuss
Brexit without any food metaphors...
When she gets into negotiations with
the European counterparts about
trade arrangements, could she remind
them that cake exists to be eaten
and cherries exist to be picked?
Iain Duncan Smith there.
After spending the best part
of an hour watching Theresa May
answer questions on Brexit,
the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond,
faced his own inquisition.
The European Scrutiny Committee
wanted to know first of all
if the UK would agree to any
new EU taxes - for example
on financial transactions -
if they were introduced
during a transition
period after Brexit.
Would you regard this as something
which we would have to reject
because, after all, we have said
categorically we are not in favour
of financial transaction tax, but
there is nothing on the face of it
to prevent the EU from bringing in
something like that?
you are asking is, could rules or
regulations be introduced during the
transition period which we maybe
didn't like? The question is whether
we would be required to implement
them. We think we have got very good
visibility of the pipeline of
potential legislation. In this case,
the relatively slow pace at which
the EU sausage machine grinds works
in our favour. We are talking about
a transition period, implementation
period of around two years from the
time we cease to take part as a
participant in decision-making. And,
as a matter of fact, during the
course of 2019, quite a lot of the
EU decision-making apparatus will be
in a state of suspended animation.
Six months ago, H R C had both here
and in the Republic of Ireland said
there was no issue about having a
hard border, and yet it has suddenly
become, over the last month or two,
huge issue and all these people are
jumping up and down getting
interested in Northern Ireland. Do
you not feel that, if the Irish
government really wanted this to
work, they should be getting
together with the British government
and officials on either side and
looking at technology and some of
the things that have been said by
the European Parliament or
constitutional committee, that it
Mr Hammond said the UK also
needed a free-flowing
border at Dover-Calais.
As we seek solutions with the
European Union, including
technology-based solutions to
achieve that objective, lorries
coming off the ferry at Calais can
roll straight through Dover and vice
versa, which has to be our
objective. As we seek a solution
that delivers that, we expect that
we will find in that solution the
basis for a working solution in the
Irish border as well.
Have you found
who licked those documents?
cross government economists. The
Cabinet Secretary, as I understand
it, is, you know... Carrying out an
investigation, as always happens
when an unauthorised leaks of
documents occur. I have not heard he
has reached any conclusions yet.
The Chancellor also said
he was setting aside £3 billion
over the next two years
to prepare for Brexit.
It is being spent on ensuring we are
prepared for a full range of
outcomes. Some of it is being spent
on preparations for a no deal exit
in March 20 19. Clearly, we will
make his money available to
departments on the basis that we
will continually review the
situation. They have to get on with
this now because, obviously, there
is limited time.
You're watching Monday
in Parliament, with me, Lucy Grey.
The Prime Minister has announced
changes to the planning rules
in England after admitting young
people without family wealth
were "right to be angry"
at not being able to buy a home.
She told a conference
in London that the disparity
was entrenching social inequality.
It was left to her Housing
Secretary, Sajid Javid,
to sell the new policy to MPs.
I am confident that the bold and
ambitious measures we are proposing
will have a huge impact. Not just on
the number of homes built but
ultimately on people's prospects and
our prospects as a country to ensure
that local authorities and
developers can no longer be in any
doubt where they stand about what is
expected of them and what they must
do to help fix our broken housing
market and deliver the homes that
the people of this country need and
Today once again we have
seen the government bring forward
proposals that tinker with the
planning system and yet another
failed attempt to look as though
they are doing something about the
housing and infrastructure prices
the country is facing and which is
largely of their making. And let's
be clear about the skill of the
problem that has arisen. Many
communities up and down the country
do not have the homes they need.
Since 2010, the number of rough
sleepers in England has nearly
trebled from 1700 to nearly 5000
Given the scale of the
housing crisis in London, does he
really think it is acceptable that
developers use viability assessment
is to drive down levels of
affordable housing simply because to
do otherwise would limit their
profits to below 20%?
Mr Speaker, I
do not think it is acceptable for
developers to not meet the
commitments they have set at the
start. We have seen particularly in
London too many examples where a
percentage of the developer will set
out for affordable housing, it was
not met on the way the assessment
process works. That is why I hope
you will support the process was set
up the day the greater
standardisation and much more
In 1909, Winston
Churchill spoke about the value of
the land tax while public money is
used to enhance an area. Today
developers are sitting on almost 1
million plots as young people face a
lifetime of house and security in
prices. Is it not time of the
government to look again at the
benefits of a land value taxation?
The honourable lady might be
interested in the consultation that
we have set up to on developer
contributions because I'm sure she
will agree that developer
contributions are a type of tax on
developers. They are expected to
provide for perhaps infrastructure
or affordable housing, in some cases
both, so if she's really interested
in this issue I would urge to look
at that consultation.
The SNP felt England should look
to Scotland in the area of housing.
Affordable housing is a third higher
per head of population than in
England. Has the government learned
from the SNP's building programme?
Scrapping right to buy has allowed
the Scottish Government to improve
our council housing stock. What
council houses had been delivered
across 32 local authorities in
Scotland than 326 local authority
areas in England. Or the Minister
rather than extending right to buy
the further reduce housing supply
follows:'s lead and abolish it?
the government learnt anything from
Pete 's SNP's approach to housing?
No. She has also then asked about
the right to buy. We have not
learned anything from that because
they followed exactly the wrong
policy. We actually believe it is a
good thing to allow people to buy
Now, could we be heading
for a crisis of departing doctors?
The number of GPs retiring early
in England is on the increase,
according to recent figures.
And the departure of junior doctors
from the National Health Service
at the end of their training
has become a flood,
in the words of one Labour peer.
The Government denies
the situation is serious.
The issue was raised at question
time in the House of Lords.
My Lords, we appear to be
in a vicious cycle of doctors
either retiring early and then
coming back and working part-time,
and fewer EU doctors
coming to work here.
What can my noble friend
the Minister do to increase
the number of doctors wishing
to enter GP practice,
as opposed to other
And as regards EU doctors,
what is the certification procedure
going to be for them to be
recognised as doctors
to practise post-Brexit
in this country?
It's interesting to
note that the total number
of retirees from general practice
has been falling in recent years,
which I think is very welcome,
even though there has been
an increase in the last
few years in the number
taking early retirement.
In terms of entering general
practice, of course,
that is how we need to get more GPs.
The number of training places
has increased to a record 3250,
and that has been, again, an 18%
increase over the last three years.
Finally, on the issue
of certification, mutual recognition
of professional qualifications is,
of course, a matter for negotiation
as part of our future
relationship with the EU.
But I can tell that the Government
is committed, under whatever
circumstances, to recruit
2000 international GPs
in the coming years.
One of the reasons why general
practice is less attractive
than it used to be is
because of the enormous
bureaucratic load that
is placed upon them nowadays.
They have to sit on
committees, on CCGs,
and they are rushing around
doing nonclinical work.
Is there anyway of reducing this
I would point the noble Lord,
and other noble Lords,
to NHS England's ten
These are actions that all GP
surgeries can take, whether it's
using technology such as e-booking
and e-prescribing to work
to reduce the kind of workload
that he's talking about.
More GPs are leaving the profession
than joining it, and there
are soaring numbers of junior
doctors leaving the NHS after
their two-year foundation training.
So how does the Government
intended to fill
the failing pipeline of junior
doctors, and would the noble
Lord the minister care
why there is a flood of departing
junior doctors right now?
Could it be due to the
rock-bottom level of morale
of junior doctors after their shabby
treatment by the Secretary of State?
Well, the noble lady might be
interested to note that if you look
at the number of GPs in specialty
training in 2014, it was 2671,
in 2017 it was 3157 -
an increase of nearly 400.
That is how
we're filling the places.
Is the noble Lord the Minister aware
of the increasing number
of inner-city GP practices where
the entire GP workforce consists
of locum doctors because of
And does he agree that
that is an expensive way
of providing GPs,
and one which diminishes
the doctor-patient relationship?
Yes, I do agree with the noble Lord,
we do need to crack down
on agency and locum spend, which has
been falling in recent years.
Of course, the way that we fix this
issue and the demand for
general practice in a sustainable
way is to increase the number of GPs
coming into the service,
and as I've said,
exactly what we're doing.
Health Minister Lord O'Shaugnessy.
The world is sliding
into a second Cold War.
That was the stark assessment
of an Opposition MP during
defence questions in the Commons.
It follows the state-of-the-nation
speech made by President Putin last
week, when he announced
that Russia had tested an array
of new strategic nuclear weapons
that couldn't be intercepted.
He said his country was now
in possession of missiles
that no other country had.
A Labour MP was clearly troubled
at the turn of recent global events.
Surely the Secretary of State knows
that what Mr Putin announced
a few days ago was, basically,
a new Cold War.
And it's not just cyber warfare,
it's every kind of warfare,
at a time when Europe
seems to be fragmenting,
our commitment to Nato is
deeply hurt by Donald Trump
moving into a new phase
What are we going to
do about all this?
So Putin has made it quite clear
that he has hostile intent
towards this country.
We've been seeing the build-up
of his forces across the Eastern
front, and in terms of what they're
doing over many years now.
We have to wake up to that thread,
and we have to respond to it.
We have to match what Putin is doing
with Russian forces, we
have to be aware of the challenges
that they face, and that is
very much why we're engaging
in the modernising defence
programme, to ensure that we can
match the Russians going forward.
The US Nuclear Posture Review
was met with an equal level
of posturing by President Putin
in his state-of-the-nation
speech last Thursday.
What is the British Government's
policy response to these worrying
developments at the world slides
needlessly into a second Cold War?
Does he believe the British
Government has an opportunity
to de-escalate the situation?
Let's be really clear.
President Putin has been developing
a much more hostile and aggressive
posture towards the United Kingdom,
towards the United States,
towards our allies for an awful lot
longer than the last 12 months.
They want to assert their rights,
they want to...
You've seen increased Russian
activity in the North Atlantic,
a tenfold increase over
the last few years.
And do we sit submissively by,
do we just accept that
President Putin can do
whatever he wishes to do?
Or do we have to look at how
we respond and make it clear
that we are not willing
to stand up to bullying?
Can I implore my right honourable
friend not to listen
to the Trump bashing opposite?
There is absolutely
no indication whatsoever
that President Trump
his commitment to Nato.
And can I further say to
my right honourable friend
that Nato is the backbone,
not the European Union,
of this nation's defence,
and he should be,
and I know that he is,
going out there to Washington,
speaking to his counterparts,
and can he talk about precisely
what he has achieved?
Sorry about that!
I thought my honourable friend
was incredibly eloquent,
and let's be absolutely clear.
There is one reason that
we've had peace right
across the continent of Europe
since the Second World War,
and that is down to the North
Atlantic Treaty Organisation,
and the fact that it has acted
as a deterrent against those
who which to prosecute aggressive
campaigns against the West,
and I'm very proud of the work
that has been done and will be done
in the future with our allies.
The Defence Secretary.
Ministers have been urged
to introduce a licensing
regime for air weapons.
As the Home Office Minister
was questioned in the Lords,
peers heard that there had been
thousands of attacks
on pets involving airguns
in the last five years.
Is she aware that a growing number
of crimes involving air weapons
relate to senseless attacks
and domestic animals,
and particularly cats,
nearly half of whom die
as a result of often
The Cats Protection charity recorded
164 attacks on cats and kittens
with an airgun last year,
while the RSPCA received nearly
900 calls to their cruelty hotline,
reporting air weapon attacks
on animals, making 4500 attacks
in the last five years.
Is it not time to license
these weapons to ensure
that they're possessed only
for legitimate purposes
by responsible owners,
and not by those who would cruelly
inflict pain and suffering,
and often death
on defenceless domestic animals?
Well, as a cat lover
and a cat owner, I sympathise
with my noble friend's question,
and the Government does take
animal welfare very seriously.
My Lords, anyone who shoots
a domestic cat is liable
to be charged and prosecuted
under the Animal Welfare Act 2006
with causing unnecessary suffering.
We are increasing the maximum
penalty for this offence
from six months in prison
and/or an unlimited fine
to five years' imprisonment
and/or an unlimited fine.
The number of offences involving air
weapons in the year to March 2017
was similar to the previous year,
and there were 64% fewer air weapons
offences than the decade previously.
A review was launched following the
case of 13-year-old Ben Wragge,
who was shot and killed
by a home-made air rifle.
We do have some
of the strongest gun laws
in the world, but they're
still not strong enough.
In the hands of irresponsible
people, these weapons can kill,
as in the tragic case
of Benjamin Wragge.
My friend Karen Smith in the other
place had an 18-month-old child
in her constituency injured
by an air weapon recently.
We need a responsible licence
system, and can the noble lady agree
to look at the whole
question of storage?
The advice at the moment
as they need to be stored
in a locked cabinet,
I don't think that good at all.
Lady Williams said the Government
was keeping an open mind
around the regulation of airguns
in England and Wales.
The weapons are already subject
to licensing in Scotland
and Northern Ireland.
Finally, two MPs briefly
used sign language
during a debate
in Westminster Hall.
It had been triggered
by an e-petition
around 30,000 signatures.
The petition calls for
British Sign Language, or BSL,
to become part
of the National Curriculum.
The debate also featured
a live communication
of the speeches
by a sign language expert.
There's three things
that I want to tell,
the story about why
I learned sign language.
Secondly, how BSL should be
in the National Curriculum,
and why that is really important.
And third, I want to ask
the minister some questions.
And we need more access
to work, not less.
We need to invest in access
to work so that deaf people
can reach their full potential.
And we need to invest, and the way
to do that is to show commitment.
So I do hope, when the minister
gets to his feet,
that he will have some good news
for the deaf community
and BSL users.
And I am asking the Minister
to please make BSL a GCSE.
We do value BSL.
There will be a huge number of steps
to go through for the BSL
be accredited as a GCSE.
And having been through the process,
it is not a simple process
of getting those qualifications
And that's it from us for now,
but do join us at the same time
tomorrow for another round-up
of the day at Westminster.
But for now, from me,
Lucy Grey, goodbye.