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.
Hello and welcome to
Monday in Parliament.
Coming up on the programme,
The Prime Minister says it's highly
likely Russia is to blame
for the attempted murder of a former
russian spy and his daughter.
A military grade type of nerve agent
developed by Russia was used
in the attack in Salisbury.
It was an indiscriminate and
reckless act against the United
Kingdom, putting the lives of
innocent civilians at risk. And we
will not tolerate such a brazen
attempt to murder innocent civilians
on our soil.
A promise to stamp out
all kinds of bullying
in Westminster, after accusations
against the Speaker
and two other MPs.
I am more determined than ever that
we banish all kinds of harassment
and bullying from this place.
Because make no mistake, there is a
need for change.
And peers ask what's stopping
the Government approving
the medicinal use of cannabis.
Doctors are allowed to prescribe
heroin to addicts under certain
circumstances. So how does he square
Theresa May was impatient for
justice as you said it was highly
likely that Russia was behind an
attempt to present a former spy and
She told the House a military grade
nerve agent was used on Sergei
and Yulia Skripal in the cathedral
city of Salisbury.
They remain in a critical
condition in hospital.
Russia's ambassador has been
summoned to the Foreign Office
to provide an explanation.
The Prime Minister said if Russia
didn't provide a "credible response"
by the end of Tuesday,
the UK would conclude there had been
an "unlawful use of force".
an "unlawful use of force".
It is now clear that Sergei Skripal
his daughter were poisoned by
high-grade military agent by Russia.
Based on the positive identification
of this chemical agent by world
leading experts at the defence,
science and technology laboratory,
our knowledge that Russia has
previously produced this agent and
would still be capable of doing so,
Russia Posner record of conducting
state-sponsored assassinations, and
our assessment that Russia views
some of the vectors as legitimate
targets for assassination, the
Government has concluded it is high
likely that Russia was responsible
for the act against Sergei Skripal
and his daughter.
She added that there
were only two plausible
explanations for what happened.
I did this was a direct act by the
Russian state against our country or
the Government lost control of its
damaging nerve agent and allowed it
to get into the hands of others.
This afternoon, my right honourable
friend, the Foreign Secretary, has
summoned the Russian ambassador to
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
and asked him to explain which of
these two possibilities it is.
She went on to say this
came against a backdrop
of a well established pattern
of Russian state aggression.
And that the Government was ready
to take more extensive measures.
Mr Speaker, on Wednesday, consider
in detail response in the Russian
state. Should there be no credible
response, we will conclude that this
action amounts to an unlawful use of
force by the Russian estate against
the United Kingdom. And I will come
back to this House and set out a
full range of measures that we will
take in response.
Jeremy Corbyn called it
a deeply alarming attack
and paid tribute to the police
officer who fell ill after attending
to Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
He remains seriously
ill in hospital.
The investigation into the shocking
events in Salisbury must reach its
conclusions. See both the evidence
and a full account from the Russian
authorities in light of emerging
evidence the Prime Minister has just
referred to. We need to continue
seeking a robust dialogue would rush
up on all the issues currently
dividing our country, both domestic
and international. Rather than
simply cutting off contact and
leading the tensions and divisions
get worse and potentially even more
dangerous. We're all familiar with
the weight use your fortunes often
acquired in the most dubious
circumstances in Russia sometimes
that it criminal elements have ended
up sheltering in London and trying
to buy political influence in the
British party politics. Meddling in
elections as the Prime Minister put
it, there has been over £100,000
worth of the Conservative Party from
a Russian oligarchs and their
associates. -- £800,000.
I will say
two things to them. Personal, as the
Chancellor of the attackers did at
the weekend, you should not harm who
lives in this country of Russian
extraction with the same brush, and
secondly, there are rules on a party
political donations and I can assure
him that my party and I hope all
parties followed those rules.
There were then calls for party
politics to put aside to support
the government's action.
May I commend my right honourable
friend for rising to this occasion
it, as if she should, many in his
house would wish the leader of the
evolution had abandoned party
politics and done just the same.
Those calls were also echoed
on the Labour benches.
There should be unity across the
House in terms of what I feel is a
proportionate and sensible approach
that she has taken to analysing what
is happening and coming back to
report at the House. And can I also
say there are circumstances, as if
she does come up take part in
political differences of opinion,
but when our country is potentially
under attack, that is just not
What he promised her
not agree what are the most
effective ways of punishing Russia
for these appalling activities would
be to seize the private property
assets of members of the Vladimir
Putin regime and their associates.
And as a first step, to sheep
arranged to publish a list of who
they are and what they own the?
Prime Minister made clear she was
aware of the financial system was
It is clear the
Russians were retaliating. We have
to say resolutely and strongly, we
are not backing down. This is an act
of terrorism and all members of
Parliament should stand together.
Can I say to the honourable
gentleman, he is absolutely right.
When we take action, we must ensure
that its action will continue to
The Kremlin has denied any
involvement in the incident
and released a statement saying
Theresa May's comments were a circus
show and "another information
and political campaign
based on provocation".
The Leader of the Commons says she's
recommending an independent inquiry
into allegations of bullying
of Parliamentary staff.
It comes after accusations
on the BBC's newsnight
about the Speaker John Bercow
and two other MPs.
All three deny the claims.
Answering an urgent question,
Andrea Leadsom said
she was committed to stamping out
all kinds of bullying
and harassment in Westminster.
The House commission next meets on
Monday the 19th of March, next
Monday. I have even noticed my
fellow members that I will be
recommending a short independently
led inquiry by the House commission
looking into allegations of systemic
bullying of Parliamentary staff. I
will propose that the inquiry should
hear from past and current staff
members about their experiences and
help to provide them with closure
wherever possible. I am more
determined than ever that we banish
all kinds of harassment and bullying
from this place, because make no
mistake, there is a need for change.
The House of Commons
commission is chaired
by the Speaker John Bercow,
leading the MP who'd put down
the urgent question to ask.
Will she acknowledged that the
positive work she has let the date
risks being undermined if it
intended to allow stations to be
determined by committee on which MPs
effectively hold all the power. Will
she agree the whole process,
including sanctions, must be handled
by an independent body?
led by the House commission cannot
be independent which is why my work
and the nation would be should be
independently into allegations of
Is it appropriate for Mr
Speaker to remain in his place when
there are allegations against him,
which him is trying to suppress
using taxpayer-funded money through
sending out letters through speakers
The Leader of the House.
think it is vital that all
colleagues joined together in
supporting the efforts being made by
this House to stamp out all bullying
and harassment wherever we see it.
This is all just part of the
normalisation of bullying and
harassment continues to poisoned our
politics. The grandeur and the
subservience to which we conduct our
roles as members of Parliament.
Paul Farrelley was named
in the Newsnight film.
He denies any wrongdoing and spoke
out the about the claims
that had been made.
I can assure you I have great
respect for all staff I work with
but I also was the guinea pig in
2012 after a difficult report for
the original respect policy. I was
delayed by selective leaking then,
six years ago, and it has happened
again now. So I would ask the Leader
of the House amp members before they
jump to judgement after what was a
very one-sided BBC broadcast that
they approach the case is being
raised in a more balanced wine and
they also consider the reasons why
the original respect policy was
scrapped in the first place and not
fit for purpose. But they also give
consideration to the disparities of
MPs who are complaint against
especially when complaints have been
backing of the resource form First
Division Association in particular.
And perhaps I might say for the
House to consider why his store:
allegations like this are being
recycled now and by whom because
whatever is at play, this is not a
game for petitions or families.
You're watching Monday
in Parliament with me, Lucy Grey.
After counter-terrorism police said
they were treating letters
encouraging people to take part
in a "Punish a Muslim" day as a hate
crime, MPs asked what the Government
was doing to tackle such crimes.
The letters were put
through people's letter boxes
in cities across England and Wales,
including Bradford, Leicester,
London, Cardiff and Sheffield.
They encouraged recipients to carry
out violent acts on a day in April.
The Home Office Minister said
the letters were part
of an ongoing investigation
so she couldn't
But said they were being taken
The Government condemns the content
of these letters as clearly
unwarranted with no place in decent
society. This government takes hate
crime and photophobia extremely
seriously, and the UK has a robust
framework to respond to it.
A Labour MP gave more
details about the letters.
The letter calling for an attack on
Muslims on April three offer ten
points for verbal abuse, up 50
points for throwing acid, 1000
points for bombing a mosque, and
2500 points to nuke Mecca. Can I
remind the House that millions of
Muslims fought for us in the two
world wars? Including members of my
own family. Figures show the is
homophobia and hate crime has
increased by 40%. -- is photophobia.
1678 anti-Muslim hate crimes
reported in London just up to
January of this year. Can I has to
Minister if she can explain why no
Government Minister of the last
eight years has ever made a speech
on the right of Muslim hatred.
issue of anti-Muslim and far right
action is of course a focus for the
Government. The present strategy,
which tackles extremism does not
tackle him Muslim extremism in and
of itself, it tackles extremism. .
And it sadly, over a quarter of
referrals in the prevent strategy in
2015-2016 concerned a far right
activism. This tournament and in
particular this Prime Minister with
all the experience she brings to her
position following her experience in
the Home Office, all of this
experience is focused on tackling
extremism and a radicalisation, how
it affects any part of our
community, which is precisely why we
are refreshing the hate crime action
plan this year.
The Minister added that
the Government had committed more
than £3 million to protect places
of worship and support
victims of hate crimes.
The Labour chair of the home affairs
committee wanted to know
what the Home Office had done to get
social media companies to remove
illegal propaganda videos.
We know that the former
counterterror chief has warned of on
-- online medicalization of the rise
of far right extremism and our
select committee has heard in our
inquiry about the serious issues
around Islamophobia and hate crime.
She one know that we are allowing
social media companies to collude
with these far right extremists if
action is not taken to take this
kind of file, you little propaganda
The Minister said the Government
was working with large technology
companies to ensure they remove
offensive material more quickly.
The International Trade Secretary
has criticised President Trump's
decision to impose tariffs
on imports of steel and aluminium
into the United States.
Liam Fox told MPs he would be
working with the European Union
to win an exemption from the tariffs
which he said had a "weak
foundation in law".
Labour accused Donald
Trump of "bullying"
and a "protection racket".
Mr Fox said the 25% duties
could harm US industries
as well as those in other countries.
That we do disagree with the US
decision to implement tariffs on
steel and aluminium imports based on
national security considerations.
These unilateral trade measures have
weak foundations and international
law, and they are not consistent
with the Department of defence own
judgement and an investigation that
was conducted on the basis of
national security. We are clear that
it is right to seek to defend our
domestic industries from the direct
and indirect impact of these US
tariffs, protecting jobs and
capacity. We will also any response
from the EU be measured and
proportionate, it is important that
the UK and EU response works within
the boundaries of the rule space
international trading system.
application of 25% tariff on steel
and 10% on aluminium imports and US
is unjust and unjustifiable! The
suggestion that such tariffs are
necessary under section 232 to
mitigate a threat to American
national security is patently false!
Petitioning for exemptions from them
is to act as if they have a
legitimacy. This is precisely the
trap that President Trump asset.
Negotiate with us and we will not
believe you further. And that part
of Glasgow where I grew up, it was
called a protection racket.
House conservative government
decimating 1200 jobs and livelihoods
and it was the SNP government in
Scotland who brought those still
works and the aluminium back into
production. We are fed up in
Scotland of clearing up this
The free trade is
about being free to trade with and
the agreed rules, not about a
free-for-all. Can I strongly
encourage him to reiterate that
message both to the United States
I will be concerned that
the Government is putting all of his
hopes on exemption, I do for the UK
or European Union. There will still
be substantial knock on effects of
dumping on our shores by those
countries was to behave badly when
they are set out in the US. Ask the
Secretary of State then a assessment
of the knock on effects of further
global overcapacity as a result of
The Government has
been slow to act in the recent parts
during the still crisis, the
secondary state assured my still
working constituents that they would
do everything they can to fight for
Can they commit to
support given that the core products
produced there, Caterpillar, an
American firm are not producing the
US market in prose no threats to US
My honourable friend makes an
important points. The exports from
skin roasted Caterpillar, about 25%
of the/ output, is quite right that
the US produces very capabilities in
this product. Therefore, the
application of tariffs is likely to
result in a rising input costs,
which is not really in anybody's
The Northern Ireland Secretary Karen
Bradley has been accused
of 'dithering' over the issue
of the salaries that continue
to be paid to Members
of the Northern Ireland Assembly,
a body that's been suspended
since January last year.
The MLAs, as they're known,
receive annual salaries
She said it was time to address
what she called 'the public
concern' over the issue.
I think Trevor Rini, was instructed
by my predecessor to produce an
independent view and recommended a
2000 and half percent reduction to
MLA pay. I will seek to introduce
legislation to take a power to very
MLA pay. Further to that I will
reduce Pate in line with the
recommendation but I will welcome
full and final representation for
the Northern Ireland parties before
I make a final decision.
actually disappointed that the
Secretary of State continues to
dither about cutting the salaries of
MLAs. Doesn't the Secretary of State
accept and recognise that it is
merely indefensible that MLAs should
continue to receive their full
salary in the absence of a function
assembly for 14 months?
indefensible. Mrs. McDivitt
honourable ladies sums up the
comments that have been made by
members of the public. But I do want
to make sure that everybody has the
chance to make representation about
this matter. So that the power that
we can legislate forward and
Westminster is used to
Can I say it is a
very good move in terms of going to
consultation about the MLA salary
issue at the office cost allowance?
Which he agreed it would be
intolerable to move on that if the
house were not also to move on the
issue of MP's from Sinn Fein who
deliberately boycott this House
rather than MLAs who are prevented
from doing a full job?
Am sure none
of us want to be here again but here
we are, behind-the-scenes machinery
of government thinking still I. --
keep the lights on. We must at all
times keep in mind that the
restoration of the ball government
in Northern Ireland is the
The gravity of the issue
at hand and the scale of the
decisions being taken really serve
to underline what a grave crisis we
face now in Northern Ireland. After
14 months of the Executive
collapsing and power-sharing and
big. I welcome very much the
commitment the Secretary of State
reiterated today to the Belfast
agreement and the principles of
consent and power-sharing that are
independent in the light of the
recent attempts by some to undermine
I welcome the series
of measures that she has announced,
and also welcome very warmly with
her willingness to look at
arrangements provided for local
decision-making across community
basis in the meantime, she can be
assured of our full support and
engagement in that process. We want
devolution up and running, she knows
we will form the Executive to mile
on the basis of the agreed programme
for government with Sinn Fein and we
welcome all efforts to return proper
decision-making to Northern Ireland.
In the Lords, the Government
was asked to urgently approve
the use of medicinal cannabis
to prevent the suffering
of thousands of people in the UK
who could allegedly be helped by it.
It was a Cabinet office Minister,
not a Health Minister,
taking the questions.
And first of all he admitted it
wasn't his area of expertise.
This is a bit like mastermind behind
somebody else's specialist subjects.
LAUGHTER -- mastermind's but on
But one veteran campaigner for drugs
law reform wasn't deterred.
When most of the Western world, and
I recognise that cannabis does have
significant medicinal value, and
when Germany has just recently
legalized cannabis for 57
indications, no less, in this
country the UK, Miles behind
everybody else, we have cannabis and
schedule one and defined as a
dangerous drug, with no outlined
medicinal value. What will the
Minister do in terms of working with
his colleagues to bring this matter
forward as a matter of urgency
rather than waiting years for the
WHO report? I know them somewhat and
they do take a little time and order
to save the incredible suffering, I
have met so many people now
suffering, tens of thousands if not
hundreds of thousands of people up
and down this country.
last week and I didn't press him
very hard on the medical advice and
I have to say that the professional
advice of medical experts in this
country is that cannabis in its raw
form has no medicinal value. And
that is why it's a schedule one
drug. Subject to strict rules. I'm
reluctant to second-guess those
Some 15 years ago, the
technology and secretary which I was
chairman at the time at a six-month
inquiry on the use of medicinal
cannabis. We found and reported
overwhelming evidence that there was
proof of a value of cannabis and
that people who were taking cannabis
do not get high on the stroke, they
were not actually dependent on the
job but it is their symptoms with
neurological conditions and other
result, we did get at least one drug
which was licensed for market. I
agree with the local lady come a
great deal of urgency, or 15 years
and it's about time the Government
did something about this.
The Minister said he would report
back to the Home Office on the views
raised and said he was awaiting
a report from the World Health
Organisation due next year.
I welcome the fact the noble lord,
the Minister, except that perhaps it
should be a Health Minister Stanek
at the despatch box, but even so, is
the noble lord aware that in the UK,
doctors are allowed to prescribe
heroin to addicts under certain
circumstances? So how does he square
that with the fact that they are not
permitted to prescribe most
effectively cannabis medicines to
patients in pain, even though these
are available legally in many other
countries in the world? Isn't it
time we stop criminalizing patients?
On the specific issue, the noble
baroness raises, the Home Office
would consider issuing a licence to
enable trials of a new medicine
including cannabis, subject to
appropriate ethical approvals. There
is a possibility of a specific
licence indicates the noble baroness
Ashton just raised. If necessary,
the timetable could be expedited.
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,
the Chancellor will present his
spring statement to the Commons
at lunchtime, which of course isn't
a full-scale budget,
but it should provide an insight
into the current state
of the nation's finances.
Afterwards Philip Hammond
will answer questions from MPs.
But for now from me,
Lucy Grey, goodbye.