12/03/2018 Monday in Parliament


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12/03/2018

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Monday 12 March, presented by Alicia McCarthy.


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customs union and depends on access

in some form to the single market.

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Hello and welcome to

Monday in Parliament.

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Coming up on the programme,

The Prime Minister says it's highly

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likely Russia is to blame

for the attempted murder of a former

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russian spy and his daughter.

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A military grade type of nerve agent

developed by Russia was used

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in the attack in Salisbury.

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It was an indiscriminate and

reckless act against the United

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Kingdom, putting the lives of

innocent civilians at risk. And we

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will not tolerate such a brazen

attempt to murder innocent civilians

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on our soil.

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A promise to stamp out

all kinds of bullying

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in Westminster, after accusations

against the Speaker

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and two other MPs.

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I am more determined than ever that

we banish all kinds of harassment

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and bullying from this place.

Because make no mistake, there is a

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need for change.

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And peers ask what's stopping

the Government approving

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the medicinal use of cannabis.

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Doctors are allowed to prescribe

heroin to addicts under certain

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circumstances. So how does he square

that?

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But first...

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Theresa May was impatient for

justice as you said it was highly

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likely that Russia was behind an

attempt to present a former spy and

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his daughter.

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She told the House a military grade

nerve agent was used on Sergei

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and Yulia Skripal in the cathedral

city of Salisbury.

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They remain in a critical

condition in hospital.

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Russia's ambassador has been

summoned to the Foreign Office

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to provide an explanation.

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The Prime Minister said if Russia

didn't provide a "credible response"

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by the end of Tuesday,

the UK would conclude there had been

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an "unlawful use of force".

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an "unlawful use of force".

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It is now clear that Sergei Skripal

his daughter were poisoned by

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high-grade military agent by Russia.

Based on the positive identification

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of this chemical agent by world

leading experts at the defence,

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science and technology laboratory,

our knowledge that Russia has

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previously produced this agent and

would still be capable of doing so,

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Russia Posner record of conducting

state-sponsored assassinations, and

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our assessment that Russia views

some of the vectors as legitimate

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targets for assassination, the

Government has concluded it is high

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likely that Russia was responsible

for the act against Sergei Skripal

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and his daughter.

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She added that there

were only two plausible

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explanations for what happened.

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I did this was a direct act by the

Russian state against our country or

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the Government lost control of its

potentially catastrophically

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damaging nerve agent and allowed it

to get into the hands of others.

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This afternoon, my right honourable

friend, the Foreign Secretary, has

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summoned the Russian ambassador to

the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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and asked him to explain which of

these two possibilities it is.

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She went on to say this

came against a backdrop

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of a well established pattern

of Russian state aggression.

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And that the Government was ready

to take more extensive measures.

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Mr Speaker, on Wednesday, consider

in detail response in the Russian

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state. Should there be no credible

response, we will conclude that this

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action amounts to an unlawful use of

force by the Russian estate against

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the United Kingdom. And I will come

back to this House and set out a

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full range of measures that we will

take in response.

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Jeremy Corbyn called it

a deeply alarming attack

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and paid tribute to the police

officer who fell ill after attending

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to Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

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He remains seriously

ill in hospital.

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The investigation into the shocking

events in Salisbury must reach its

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conclusions. See both the evidence

and a full account from the Russian

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authorities in light of emerging

evidence the Prime Minister has just

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referred to. We need to continue

seeking a robust dialogue would rush

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up on all the issues currently

dividing our country, both domestic

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and international. Rather than

simply cutting off contact and

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leading the tensions and divisions

get worse and potentially even more

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dangerous. We're all familiar with

the weight use your fortunes often

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acquired in the most dubious

circumstances in Russia sometimes

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that it criminal elements have ended

up sheltering in London and trying

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to buy political influence in the

British party politics. Meddling in

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elections as the Prime Minister put

it, there has been over £100,000

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worth of the Conservative Party from

a Russian oligarchs and their

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associates. -- £800,000.

I will say

two things to them. Personal, as the

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Chancellor of the attackers did at

the weekend, you should not harm who

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lives in this country of Russian

extraction with the same brush, and

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secondly, there are rules on a party

political donations and I can assure

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him that my party and I hope all

parties followed those rules.

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There were then calls for party

politics to put aside to support

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the government's action.

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May I commend my right honourable

friend for rising to this occasion

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it, as if she should, many in his

house would wish the leader of the

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evolution had abandoned party

politics and done just the same.

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Those calls were also echoed

on the Labour benches.

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There should be unity across the

House in terms of what I feel is a

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proportionate and sensible approach

that she has taken to analysing what

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is happening and coming back to

report at the House. And can I also

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say there are circumstances, as if

she does come up take part in

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political differences of opinion,

but when our country is potentially

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under attack, that is just not

appropriate.

What he promised her

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not agree what are the most

effective ways of punishing Russia

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for these appalling activities would

be to seize the private property

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assets of members of the Vladimir

Putin regime and their associates.

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And as a first step, to sheep

arranged to publish a list of who

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they are and what they own the?

The

Prime Minister made clear she was

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aware of the financial system was

not exported.

It is clear the

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Russians were retaliating. We have

to say resolutely and strongly, we

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are not backing down. This is an act

of terrorism and all members of

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Parliament should stand together.

Can I say to the honourable

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gentleman, he is absolutely right.

When we take action, we must ensure

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that its action will continue to

follow through.

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The Kremlin has denied any

involvement in the incident

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and released a statement saying

Theresa May's comments were a circus

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show and "another information

and political campaign

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based on provocation".

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The Leader of the Commons says she's

recommending an independent inquiry

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into allegations of bullying

of Parliamentary staff.

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It comes after accusations

on the BBC's newsnight

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about the Speaker John Bercow

and two other MPs.

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All three deny the claims.

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Answering an urgent question,

Andrea Leadsom said

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she was committed to stamping out

all kinds of bullying

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and harassment in Westminster.

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The House commission next meets on

Monday the 19th of March, next

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Monday. I have even noticed my

fellow members that I will be

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recommending a short independently

led inquiry by the House commission

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looking into allegations of systemic

bullying of Parliamentary staff. I

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will propose that the inquiry should

hear from past and current staff

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members about their experiences and

help to provide them with closure

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wherever possible. I am more

determined than ever that we banish

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all kinds of harassment and bullying

from this place, because make no

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mistake, there is a need for change.

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The House of Commons

commission is chaired

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by the Speaker John Bercow,

leading the MP who'd put down

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the urgent question to ask.

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Will she acknowledged that the

positive work she has let the date

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risks being undermined if it

intended to allow stations to be

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determined by committee on which MPs

effectively hold all the power. Will

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she agree the whole process,

including sanctions, must be handled

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by an independent body?

An inquiry

led by the House commission cannot

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be independent which is why my work

and the nation would be should be

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independently into allegations of

bullying.

Is it appropriate for Mr

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Speaker to remain in his place when

there are allegations against him,

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which him is trying to suppress

using taxpayer-funded money through

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sending out letters through speakers

counsel.

The Leader of the House.

I

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think it is vital that all

colleagues joined together in

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supporting the efforts being made by

this House to stamp out all bullying

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and harassment wherever we see it.

This is all just part of the

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normalisation of bullying and

harassment continues to poisoned our

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politics. The grandeur and the

subservience to which we conduct our

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roles as members of Parliament.

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Paul Farrelley was named

in the Newsnight film.

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He denies any wrongdoing and spoke

out the about the claims

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that had been made.

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I can assure you I have great

respect for all staff I work with

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but I also was the guinea pig in

2012 after a difficult report for

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the original respect policy. I was

delayed by selective leaking then,

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six years ago, and it has happened

again now. So I would ask the Leader

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of the House amp members before they

jump to judgement after what was a

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very one-sided BBC broadcast that

they approach the case is being

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raised in a more balanced wine and

they also consider the reasons why

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the original respect policy was

scrapped in the first place and not

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fit for purpose. But they also give

consideration to the disparities of

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MPs who are complaint against

especially when complaints have been

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backing of the resource form First

Division Association in particular.

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And perhaps I might say for the

House to consider why his store:

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allegations like this are being

recycled now and by whom because

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whatever is at play, this is not a

game for petitions or families.

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Paul Farrelley.

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You're watching Monday

in Parliament with me, Lucy Grey.

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After counter-terrorism police said

they were treating letters

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encouraging people to take part

in a "Punish a Muslim" day as a hate

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crime, MPs asked what the Government

was doing to tackle such crimes.

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The letters were put

through people's letter boxes

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in cities across England and Wales,

including Bradford, Leicester,

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London, Cardiff and Sheffield.

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They encouraged recipients to carry

out violent acts on a day in April.

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The Home Office Minister said

the letters were part

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of an ongoing investigation

so she couldn't

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comment specifically.

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But said they were being taken

extremely seriously.

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The Government condemns the content

of these letters as clearly

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unwarranted with no place in decent

society. This government takes hate

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crime and photophobia extremely

seriously, and the UK has a robust

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framework to respond to it.

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A Labour MP gave more

details about the letters.

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The letter calling for an attack on

Muslims on April three offer ten

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points for verbal abuse, up 50

points for throwing acid, 1000

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points for bombing a mosque, and

2500 points to nuke Mecca. Can I

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remind the House that millions of

Muslims fought for us in the two

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world wars? Including members of my

own family. Figures show the is

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homophobia and hate crime has

increased by 40%. -- is photophobia.

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1678 anti-Muslim hate crimes

reported in London just up to

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January of this year. Can I has to

Minister if she can explain why no

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Government Minister of the last

eight years has ever made a speech

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on the right of Muslim hatred.

The

issue of anti-Muslim and far right

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action is of course a focus for the

Government. The present strategy,

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which tackles extremism does not

tackle him Muslim extremism in and

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of itself, it tackles extremism. .

And it sadly, over a quarter of

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referrals in the prevent strategy in

2015-2016 concerned a far right

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activism. This tournament and in

particular this Prime Minister with

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all the experience she brings to her

position following her experience in

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the Home Office, all of this

experience is focused on tackling

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extremism and a radicalisation, how

it affects any part of our

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community, which is precisely why we

are refreshing the hate crime action

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plan this year.

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The Minister added that

the Government had committed more

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than £3 million to protect places

of worship and support

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victims of hate crimes.

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The Labour chair of the home affairs

committee wanted to know

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what the Home Office had done to get

social media companies to remove

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illegal propaganda videos.

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We know that the former

counterterror chief has warned of on

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-- online medicalization of the rise

of far right extremism and our

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select committee has heard in our

inquiry about the serious issues

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around Islamophobia and hate crime.

She one know that we are allowing

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social media companies to collude

with these far right extremists if

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action is not taken to take this

kind of file, you little propaganda

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down.

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The Minister said the Government

was working with large technology

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companies to ensure they remove

offensive material more quickly.

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The International Trade Secretary

has criticised President Trump's

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decision to impose tariffs

on imports of steel and aluminium

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into the United States.

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Liam Fox told MPs he would be

working with the European Union

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to win an exemption from the tariffs

which he said had a "weak

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foundation in law".

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Labour accused Donald

Trump of "bullying"

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and a "protection racket".

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Mr Fox said the 25% duties

could harm US industries

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as well as those in other countries.

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That we do disagree with the US

decision to implement tariffs on

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steel and aluminium imports based on

national security considerations.

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These unilateral trade measures have

weak foundations and international

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law, and they are not consistent

with the Department of defence own

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judgement and an investigation that

was conducted on the basis of

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national security. We are clear that

it is right to seek to defend our

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domestic industries from the direct

and indirect impact of these US

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tariffs, protecting jobs and

capacity. We will also any response

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from the EU be measured and

proportionate, it is important that

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the UK and EU response works within

the boundaries of the rule space

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international trading system.

The

application of 25% tariff on steel

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and 10% on aluminium imports and US

is unjust and unjustifiable! The

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suggestion that such tariffs are

necessary under section 232 to

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mitigate a threat to American

national security is patently false!

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Petitioning for exemptions from them

is to act as if they have a

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legitimacy. This is precisely the

trap that President Trump asset.

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Negotiate with us and we will not

believe you further. And that part

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of Glasgow where I grew up, it was

called a protection racket.

And 1992

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House conservative government

decimating 1200 jobs and livelihoods

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and it was the SNP government in

Scotland who brought those still

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works and the aluminium back into

production. We are fed up in

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Scotland of clearing up this

government's mess.

The free trade is

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about being free to trade with and

the agreed rules, not about a

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free-for-all. Can I strongly

encourage him to reiterate that

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message both to the United States

and China?

I will be concerned that

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the Government is putting all of his

hopes on exemption, I do for the UK

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or European Union. There will still

be substantial knock on effects of

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dumping on our shores by those

countries was to behave badly when

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they are set out in the US. Ask the

Secretary of State then a assessment

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of the knock on effects of further

global overcapacity as a result of

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these tariffs?

The Government has

been slow to act in the recent parts

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during the still crisis, the

secondary state assured my still

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working constituents that they would

do everything they can to fight for

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our industry.

Can they commit to

support given that the core products

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produced there, Caterpillar, an

American firm are not producing the

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US market in prose no threats to US

jobs?

My honourable friend makes an

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important points. The exports from

skin roasted Caterpillar, about 25%

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of the/ output, is quite right that

the US produces very capabilities in

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this product. Therefore, the

application of tariffs is likely to

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result in a rising input costs,

which is not really in anybody's

0:18:210:18:24

benefit.

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The Northern Ireland Secretary Karen

Bradley has been accused

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of 'dithering' over the issue

of the salaries that continue

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to be paid to Members

of the Northern Ireland Assembly,

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a body that's been suspended

since January last year.

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The MLAs, as they're known,

receive annual salaries

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of £49,000.

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She said it was time to address

what she called 'the public

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concern' over the issue.

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I think Trevor Rini, was instructed

by my predecessor to produce an

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independent view and recommended a

2000 and half percent reduction to

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MLA pay. I will seek to introduce

legislation to take a power to very

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MLA pay. Further to that I will

reduce Pate in line with the

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recommendation but I will welcome

full and final representation for

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the Northern Ireland parties before

I make a final decision.

I was

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actually disappointed that the

Secretary of State continues to

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dither about cutting the salaries of

MLAs. Doesn't the Secretary of State

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accept and recognise that it is

merely indefensible that MLAs should

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continue to receive their full

salary in the absence of a function

0:19:290:19:31

assembly for 14 months?

Morally

indefensible. Mrs. McDivitt

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honourable ladies sums up the

comments that have been made by

0:19:370:19:43

members of the public. But I do want

to make sure that everybody has the

0:19:430:19:47

chance to make representation about

this matter. So that the power that

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we can legislate forward and

Westminster is used to

0:19:520:19:57

appropriately.

Can I say it is a

very good move in terms of going to

0:19:570:20:01

consultation about the MLA salary

issue at the office cost allowance?

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Which he agreed it would be

intolerable to move on that if the

0:20:040:20:08

house were not also to move on the

issue of MP's from Sinn Fein who

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deliberately boycott this House

rather than MLAs who are prevented

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from doing a full job?

Am sure none

of us want to be here again but here

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we are, behind-the-scenes machinery

of government thinking still I. --

0:20:230:20:28

keep the lights on. We must at all

times keep in mind that the

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restoration of the ball government

in Northern Ireland is the

0:20:320:20:36

principal.

The gravity of the issue

at hand and the scale of the

0:20:360:20:40

decisions being taken really serve

to underline what a grave crisis we

0:20:400:20:44

face now in Northern Ireland. After

14 months of the Executive

0:20:440:20:49

collapsing and power-sharing and

big. I welcome very much the

0:20:490:20:53

commitment the Secretary of State

reiterated today to the Belfast

0:20:530:20:56

agreement and the principles of

consent and power-sharing that are

0:20:560:21:00

independent in the light of the

recent attempts by some to undermine

0:21:000:21:05

that agreement.

I welcome the series

of measures that she has announced,

0:21:050:21:09

and also welcome very warmly with

her willingness to look at

0:21:090:21:14

arrangements provided for local

decision-making across community

0:21:140:21:18

basis in the meantime, she can be

assured of our full support and

0:21:180:21:22

engagement in that process. We want

devolution up and running, she knows

0:21:220:21:26

we will form the Executive to mile

on the basis of the agreed programme

0:21:260:21:30

for government with Sinn Fein and we

welcome all efforts to return proper

0:21:300:21:34

decision-making to Northern Ireland.

0:21:340:21:37

In the Lords, the Government

was asked to urgently approve

0:21:370:21:39

the use of medicinal cannabis

to prevent the suffering

0:21:390:21:41

of thousands of people in the UK

who could allegedly be helped by it.

0:21:410:21:45

It was a Cabinet office Minister,

not a Health Minister,

0:21:450:21:47

taking the questions.

0:21:470:21:50

And first of all he admitted it

wasn't his area of expertise.

0:21:500:21:57

This is a bit like mastermind behind

somebody else's specialist subjects.

0:21:570:22:00

LAUGHTER -- mastermind's but on

somebody else.

0:22:000:22:04

But one veteran campaigner for drugs

law reform wasn't deterred.

0:22:040:22:07

When most of the Western world, and

I recognise that cannabis does have

0:22:070:22:13

significant medicinal value, and

when Germany has just recently

0:22:130:22:17

legalized cannabis for 57

indications, no less, in this

0:22:170:22:23

country the UK, Miles behind

everybody else, we have cannabis and

0:22:230:22:27

schedule one and defined as a

dangerous drug, with no outlined

0:22:270:22:35

medicinal value. What will the

Minister do in terms of working with

0:22:350:22:39

his colleagues to bring this matter

forward as a matter of urgency

0:22:390:22:42

rather than waiting years for the

WHO report? I know them somewhat and

0:22:420:22:48

they do take a little time and order

to save the incredible suffering, I

0:22:480:22:53

have met so many people now

suffering, tens of thousands if not

0:22:530:22:57

hundreds of thousands of people up

and down this country.

I officials

0:22:570:23:02

last week and I didn't press him

very hard on the medical advice and

0:23:020:23:06

I have to say that the professional

advice of medical experts in this

0:23:060:23:10

country is that cannabis in its raw

form has no medicinal value. And

0:23:100:23:14

that is why it's a schedule one

drug. Subject to strict rules. I'm

0:23:140:23:20

reluctant to second-guess those

officials.

Some 15 years ago, the

0:23:200:23:25

technology and secretary which I was

chairman at the time at a six-month

0:23:250:23:29

inquiry on the use of medicinal

cannabis. We found and reported

0:23:290:23:35

overwhelming evidence that there was

proof of a value of cannabis and

0:23:350:23:38

that people who were taking cannabis

do not get high on the stroke, they

0:23:380:23:42

were not actually dependent on the

job but it is their symptoms with

0:23:420:23:46

neurological conditions and other

result, we did get at least one drug

0:23:460:23:50

which was licensed for market. I

agree with the local lady come a

0:23:500:23:55

great deal of urgency, or 15 years

and it's about time the Government

0:23:550:23:58

did something about this.

0:23:580:23:59

The Minister said he would report

back to the Home Office on the views

0:23:590:24:02

raised and said he was awaiting

a report from the World Health

0:24:020:24:05

Organisation due next year.

0:24:050:24:08

I welcome the fact the noble lord,

the Minister, except that perhaps it

0:24:080:24:13

should be a Health Minister Stanek

at the despatch box, but even so, is

0:24:130:24:18

the noble lord aware that in the UK,

doctors are allowed to prescribe

0:24:180:24:25

heroin to addicts under certain

circumstances? So how does he square

0:24:250:24:31

that with the fact that they are not

permitted to prescribe most

0:24:310:24:38

effectively cannabis medicines to

patients in pain, even though these

0:24:380:24:41

are available legally in many other

countries in the world? Isn't it

0:24:410:24:46

time we stop criminalizing patients?

On the specific issue, the noble

0:24:460:24:53

baroness raises, the Home Office

would consider issuing a licence to

0:24:530:24:56

enable trials of a new medicine

including cannabis, subject to

0:24:560:25:00

appropriate ethical approvals. There

is a possibility of a specific

0:25:000:25:04

licence indicates the noble baroness

Ashton just raised. If necessary,

0:25:040:25:10

the timetable could be expedited.

0:25:100:25:13

Lord Young.

0:25:140:25:15

And that's it from us for now,

but do join us at the same time

0:25:150:25:18

tomorrow for another round up

of the day at Westminster,

0:25:180:25:21

the Chancellor will present his

spring statement to the Commons

0:25:210:25:24

at lunchtime, which of course isn't

a full-scale budget,

0:25:240:25:25

but it should provide an insight

into the current state

0:25:250:25:28

of the nation's finances.

0:25:280:25:31

Afterwards Philip Hammond

will answer questions from MPs.

0:25:310:25:33

But for now from me,

Lucy Grey, goodbye.

0:25:330:25:43