19/03/2018 Monday in Parliament


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19/03/2018

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Monday 19 March, presented by Keith Macdougall.


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bill.

Second reading what date,

Friday 22nd of April, thank you.

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Hello and welcome to Monday

in Parliament, our look at the best

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of the day in the Commons

and the Lords.

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On this programme, Britain

and the EU reach agreement

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on the transitional

period after Brexit.

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Arguments shift to what the future

might hold for the port of Dover.

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There is no degree of customs check

whatsoever that can prevent Dover

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from becoming less of a car park and

in fact most of Kent from becoming a

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car park.

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Labour challenges Ministers to do

more to end the laundering

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of so-called "dirty" Russian money

through Britain.

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What will the Government now do to

ensure that the enforcement agencies

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are fully resourced to tackle this

gorge on our society? -- this

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scored.

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And there are calls for a cystic

fibrosis drug to be made

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available on the NHS.

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There are lots of hard big stories

from people who are six years old

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and younger who are sharing their

frustration with the people I'm

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speaking for today.

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But first, it's been a significant

moment in the long saga of Brexit:

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the UK and the EU have reached

a deal over the almost

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two-year transition period,

due to start in March 2019

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when the UK formally leaves the EU.

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Agreement is still needed

over how Britain's ports

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and borders will operate once

the transition period ends.

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A university study has claimed that

just two extra minutes of checks

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on vehicles could lead

to 29-mile long tailbacks

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on roads around Dover.

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But on the BBC's Question Time

on Thursday, the Transport Secretary

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Chris Grayling insisted

that there would be no

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checks at the border.

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In the Commons, the Labour chair

of the Brexit Committee believed

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this was a change of policy.

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He quoted Mr Grayling.

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We don't check lorries now and we're

not going to be checking lorries

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in Dover in the future.

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Given that the Government

is committed to leaving the customs

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union but that all free-trade

agreements involve some

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checks that borders,

how exactly can this be squared

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with no checks at all?

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Which border crossings will be

covered by the no checks policy?

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Will it just be railroad

ports, for example?

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On the issue, what the Secretary

of State for Transport had

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to say last Thursday,

he said in addition

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to the remarks of the right

honourable gentleman has raised,

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we will not under any circumstances

create a hard border in Dover that

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requires us to stop every lorry

in the port of Dover.

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This, of course, Mr Speaker,

is absolutely right.

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Can the Minister give a single

example of a nation which does not

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rely on either a customs union

agreement or on customs

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enforcement at its border?

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What are the Government's plans

to manage our trade relationships,

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protect our own producers,

or uphold environmental protections

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without either a customs agreement

or border enforcement?

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I am fully familiar with

the importance of a frictionless

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border and of course,

the other important news that we've

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had today, Mr Speaker,

is that we have concluded,

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subject to the European Council

meeting shortly, an implementation

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period for these particular

arrangements, which will of course,

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give us additional, valuable time

to provide certainty to businesses

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but also to make sure we have

all the arrangements in place

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for a successful customs

arrangement going forward.

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The port of Dover reckons that

99% of the traffic goes

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to and from the European Union

and it takes these massive,

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great lorries on average two

minutes to get through.

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The other 1% goes to the rest

of the world and it takes an average

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20 minutes to get through.

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There is no degree of customs check

whatsoever that can prevent Dover

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from becoming less than a car park

and in fact, most of Kant

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from becoming a car park.

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I urge the Minister to reject

the representations in the analogue

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parties opposite that seem

to have a dystopian vision

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for analogue borders where every

single load is stopped.

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And as the constituency

representative for the port

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of Dover, can I urge him to embrace

digital borders

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so that we have frictionless trade,

risk-based stopping of trade

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and inspections where necessary,

and postponement of checks

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to workplaces and audits?

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And in this way, this dystopian

desire of the party opposite

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for Dover and Kent to be turned

into a car can be avoided,

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but only with investment.

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And can I urge him to make

the appropriate investment

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in systems to make that vision

a reality as soon as possible?

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Will my right honourable

friend take as inspiration

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the workings of DP World,

the deepwater port of the south

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of Essex where thousands of lorries'

worth of containers flow

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into the country from outside

the customs union swiftly,

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slickly, and smoothly,

and will he look upon that

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as a potential solution

for our border in Dover?

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I thank my honourable friend

for that point and I have no doubt

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that that is just one other example

of where facilitations in technology

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can insure the goods move

across a customs

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frontier efficiently.

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Mel Stride on matters of Brexit.

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And there will be more Brexit

later in the programme.

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Strong appeals have been made by MPs

for a cystic fibrosis drug,

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Orkambi, to be made available

on the NHS in England.

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Cystic fibrosis affects

more than ten thousand

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people across the UK.

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It's a genetic condition

affecting mostly the lungs,

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but can also affect other organs.

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The Orkambi drug can slow down

the decline of the lungs.

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It costs, however, around

£100,000 a patient.

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Because there is a restricted amount

of people, fortunately,

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that suffer from this condition,

the research, the development

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still has to go in and it's not

like you are developing the next

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ibuprofen or cancer

drug which is going

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to go out to millions

and millions of people.

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This is going out to 70,000

people in the world

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and so therefore in order

to build their research

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and development budget,

they need to have reasonable costs,

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but nonetheless, of course,

they do need to be reasonable costs.

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On Friday, NHS England has

said, following advice,

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the NHS has asked this particular

drug company to review

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its proposed pricing.

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Unless this happens,

further progress at this time

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is frankly unlikely.

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"Frankly unlikely."

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What sort of hope does a blunt

statement like that give people

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with cystic fibrosis?

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He makes the important

point that actually,

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if people have access to this drug,

they can reduce the number of times

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they had to go to hospital and it

would be very helpful if we had

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an understanding of the cost

of those hospital admissions

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and what that would be,

offset against the drug.

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Wouldn't he agree

with me on that point?

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This is a very important point

and one that I hope the Minister

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will take into account,

because we shouldn't just be looking

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at the cost of providing Orkambi,

we should be looking

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at the savings that is housed

in other areas as well.

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It should be available

to everyone that needs it

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and that is sad that money

is getting in the way

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of people's health improving.

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Can I add the voice of one

of my 6-year-old constituents

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who will not benefit from Orkambi,

but recognises that if we don't get

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this right, the other treatments

that might help her will be subject

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to similar concerns, similar delays?

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She's just six years

old but she doesn't need

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this kind of delay.

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This he agree with me that this

is not just about what can be,

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but how we deal with these

life-changing drugs

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I understand the power of them

to make such a difference?

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I thank the honourable member

for that intervention there.

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I absolutely agree with her

and there are lots of heartbreaking

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stories from people

who are 6-year-olds and even younger

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who share in the frustrations

of the people that I am

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speaking for today.

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But I must now declare

a personal interest,

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as my now 16-month-old granddaughter

was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis

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shortly after she was born.

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On hearing about this debate,

my daughter-in-law enlisted

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all her friends and family

to sign the petition.

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Even though she knows that Orkambi

will not help her daughter,

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but it is Vertex who are developing

new treatments all the time

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and the use of Orkambi can

only hope that research.

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Yes, the NHS is in discussions

with Vertex about Orkambi.

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Vertex has approached the NHS

England with a proposed deal

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to reduce its prices.

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Whilst I can't share the details

of this proposal due

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to the commercial confidentiality

nature of them, believe

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you me, I wish I could.

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I can assure members

that the level that is proposed,

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are still far from cost-effective.

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Therefore, there is

more talking to do.

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Last week, NHS England

made a counter proposal

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which would ensure that the drugs

could be used at a price

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that is cost-effective.

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I understand NHS England has agreed

to meet with Vertex,

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I jolly well hope so.

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Of course it is not over e-mail.

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To discuss this counterproposal.

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Following the poisoning

attack in Salisbury,

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Labour is challenging the Government

to do more to end the laundering

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of so-called "dirty" Russian

money through London.

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Responding to an urgent question,

the Minister said there was a "long

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list" of Government actions -

including measures making it easier

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to confiscate assets and support

for an amendment to legislation

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going through Parliament

which could allow sanctions to be

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imposed on Russians alleged to be

involved in the death

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of the lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky.

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This government has

taken a real steps to

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tackle criminal finance

in

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this country.

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Whoever the cooks are,

wherever they are from, and no

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matter what nationality,

we built pursue them and their cash.

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Despite all the Minister has said,

the national crime agency estimates

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that still £90 billion worth

of money from the rest

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of the world has been laundered

through the city each year,

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while the UN estimates 100 billion

has been lost in British

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overseas territories.

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There was, he said,

still a major problem.

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There is minimal checking

of the UK's own registry

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of company ownership.

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Indeed, it was possible

for a journalist to set up a company

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called Crooked Crook limited.

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634,000 suspicious activity reports

filed since October 2000 15.

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-- 2015.

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What will the Government now do

to ensure that the enforcement

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agencies are fully resourced

to tackle this score

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scourge in our society?

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What we shouldn't forget,

we sought over the weekend

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Mr Speaker, what this really

is about is a distraction

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by the Labour Party from its woeful

response last week, an attempt

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by the Shadow Chancellor to say,

nothing to see here, look over

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there, it is all about oligarchs.

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The Government, he said,

was determined to deal

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with the problem of "dirty money":.

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One of the complaints

was that the unexplained wealth

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order was not used by this

government and it is one

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of their demand that they

made over the weekend.

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The unexplained wealth order

was used in under two weeks of it

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running into legislation

on the 31st of January.

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It was served against an overseas

oligarch on it when £2

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£22 million of property.

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That was action within a fortnight.

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I welcome the Minister said

about the amendment,

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but can I ask them to confirm

to the House that it will be

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genuinely tough and able to allow

the authorities to seize

0:11:420:11:44

money very quickly?

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In congratulating the Government

on its support and moving

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towards the Magnitsky amendment,

and I just point out

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that there are three elements there?

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Firstly, asset seizures, second,

visa bans, and thirdly

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and very importantly,

a public list of named individuals

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which makes it difficult for those

names to access finance

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and encourages others

not to get on the list?

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Has the Government compiled

a list of politically

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exposed people from Russia,

like their own first

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Deputy Prime Minister,

who could be the subject

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of an unexplained wealth orders,

and if they have that list,

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will it be published?

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The right honourable gentleman

will know that individuals who may

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or not be subject of investigation

or operations against them are not

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people that I would come

to the House and publish.

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It could threaten our ability

to have an effect on then.

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Needless to say to the right

honourable member, that it is our

0:12:340:12:38

determination to make sure

that we use intelligence-led

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policing to find money and to deal

with those individuals,

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whether they are from

here or from abroad.

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France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain,

many, many other countries have open

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criminal investigations

into the people who were directly

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responsible for the brutal murder

of Sergei Magnitsky.

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Why is the United Kingdom the only

country not to have done so?

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I want to raise another

issue with the Minister

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and that is the tier one investor

visas, the Golden visas.

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Anybody who gets one of those visas

needs to demonstrate they've

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got £2 million worth,

that they had £2 million

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that they wish to invest in the UK.

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We know that Russia is one

of the two top countries taking

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advantage of these tier

one investor visas.

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What steps is the Minister

going to take so that we understand

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where the £2 million plus comes

from, so that we can be assured

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that it is not dirty money and these

are not unsavoury individuals?

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We do have the powers

in our visa regime already

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to take action and we will,

quite rightly, as she says,

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be looking at that tier to make sure

that we do better to diligence

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-- due diligence, if we need

to on where the money comes from.

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You're watching our round-up of the

day in the Commons and the Lords.

0:13:560:13:59

Still to come: an MP says the number

of school-children carrying knives

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is rising dramatically.

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Now, it's three and a half

years behind schedule,

0:14:050:14:08

costing much more than anticipated

and has had lower

0:14:080:14:11

take-up than predicted.

0:14:110:14:13

The modernisation of

the Home Office's Disclosure

0:14:140:14:17

And Barring Service,

the DBS, is not going well

0:14:170:14:20

in the view of the spending

watchdog, the National Audit Office.

0:14:200:14:22

DBS is the successor organisation

to the Criminal Records Bureau.

0:14:220:14:28

The poor progress of

the modernisation programme has now

0:14:280:14:30

been scrutinised by the Commons

public accounts committee.

0:14:300:14:36

If your view is that this contract

is still recoverable or deliverable,

0:14:360:14:40

my words rather than yours,

but you understand where I'm going,

0:14:400:14:47

where does this contract have to get

in order for you to recommend

0:14:470:14:50

stopping or pausing?

0:14:500:14:51

Because I see a contract

that is 46 months behind

0:14:510:14:55

schedule plus and growing,

a contract that is 200 million,

0:14:550:14:59

or in part £200 million over cost.

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So how many millions more does

a contract have to be over cost

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or how much longer does the contract

have to be undelivered before

0:15:100:15:15

somebody goes "That's it,

we can't do it"?

0:15:150:15:17

In terms of the functionalities

required for the remainder,

0:15:170:15:19

a large part of the functionalities

have been developed.

0:15:190:15:21

There is very little

that is required to be

0:15:210:15:24

built into the system.

0:15:240:15:26

There is going to be a lot more

testing required to take place,

0:15:260:15:30

so I don't believe that this

contract requires to be stopped.

0:15:300:15:32

It is recoverable,

it is implementable.

0:15:320:15:34

Can I just move on, then,

to you, Sir Philip?

0:15:340:15:38

You have, as Mr Rowley

said, disavowed yourself

0:15:380:15:40

of the 2012 contract.

0:15:400:15:41

You've just acknowledged the 2014

contract was a problem.

0:15:410:15:44

You look a little embarrassed

about the failure of this contract.

0:15:440:15:54

It's another IT project failure

in a department that you became

0:15:540:15:56

permanent secretary of less

than a year ago.

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Aren't you rather worried

about the capability

0:15:580:16:02

of your department to let

these large contracts,

0:16:020:16:08

ESN, for example, as other examples

0:16:080:16:10

of contracts from the Home Office.

0:16:100:16:12

I think there are many,

many excellent projects

0:16:120:16:14

which are being delivered

by the Home Office and are delivered

0:16:140:16:17

in a way that fits in

a framework of to time,

0:16:170:16:19

to cost, good engagement...

0:16:190:16:20

OK, you're talking

about the good ones.

0:16:200:16:23

Of course you want to.

0:16:230:16:27

I could get waylaid and

ask you to detail them,

0:16:270:16:29

but what I am talking about today

is this particular contract.

0:16:290:16:32

And I think Mr Rowley has

highlighted very effectively

0:16:320:16:34

that there were a number

of problems, and you've agreed

0:16:340:16:36

with a lot of that concern.

0:16:360:16:40

Don't think anyone's saying

that the NOE is wrong and didn't

0:16:400:16:43

things go wrong here,

but this is on top of ESN,

0:16:430:16:45

which we have seen you about

now a number of times,

0:16:450:16:48

and other contracts.

0:16:480:16:49

Aren't you concerned

about the capability

0:16:490:16:57

of the Home Office to let these

large IT contracts effectively?

0:16:570:17:00

The governance is stronger

in the Home Office, the government

0:17:000:17:02

scrutiny is stronger of major

programmes now than it was

0:17:020:17:05

in 2012, markedly so.

0:17:050:17:06

So can I ask sort of specifically

what you have personally done,

0:17:060:17:14

what have you personally done to try

and stop this happening again?

0:17:140:17:17

Have you implemented any

changes since you arrived?

0:17:170:17:18

Yes.

0:17:180:17:19

So I would, without...

0:17:190:17:22

I put additional emphasis

on developing the programme

0:17:220:17:24

project management profession,

I have strengthened and simplified

0:17:240:17:30

governance within the department,

I have strengthened the management

0:17:300:17:34

information and

management reporting.

0:17:340:17:38

I have done a number

of things to make very clear

0:17:380:17:41

within the department the importance

of getting our major

0:17:410:17:43

change programmes right.

0:17:430:17:44

It is a work in progress.

0:17:440:17:47

Sir Philip Rutnam.

0:17:470:17:49

Back to Brexit now.

0:17:490:17:52

Because fears that human trafficking

victims and female victims

0:17:520:17:55

of violence could be left

without protection once the UK

0:17:550:17:57

is out of the EU have been

voiced in the Lords.

0:17:570:18:01

Peers have had completed

their eighth day of debate

0:18:010:18:03

on the details of the EU

Withdrawal Bill, the legislation

0:18:030:18:08

designed to stop Britain being left

in a legal limbo when the country

0:18:080:18:11

exits this time next year.

0:18:110:18:13

A human rights lawyer

saw a series of dangers,

0:18:130:18:16

facing women particularly,

after March 2019.

0:18:160:18:24

After exit day, women

subject to violence could

0:18:240:18:26

lose significant legal

rights and protections,

0:18:260:18:27

such as European production orders

0:18:270:18:32

as well as a whole host

of other majors aimed

0:18:320:18:35

at tackling human trafficking,

female genital mutilation

0:18:350:18:36

and other crimes which

disproportionately affect women.

0:18:360:18:38

Given the gravity of what we're

discussing, namely how to protect

0:18:380:18:41

abused women fleeing the country

in which they live to escape

0:18:410:18:44

an abuser, I hope to hear how

the Government is expecting

0:18:440:18:47

to continue protection for

these women and girls post-Brexit.

0:18:470:18:52

But violence against women

and girls, it has not featured

0:18:520:18:55

in any Brexit-related papers.

0:18:550:19:01

So could the noble lady,

the Minister, please tell us

0:19:010:19:04

what provisions are being made

to continue cooperation and data

0:19:040:19:08

sharing on known and suspected

perpetrators of human trafficking,

0:19:080:19:18

FGM, sexual exploitation of children

and a whole host of benefits

0:19:200:19:23

which cross-EU cooperation

has brought us until now?

0:19:230:19:27

I support this amendment and am

concerned about a number of matters,

0:19:270:19:31

particularly the European protection

order and European arrest warrants,

0:19:310:19:38

both of which are important weapons

in the issues in relation

0:19:380:19:41

to domestic violence.

0:19:410:19:44

The situation of a person that has

been trafficked is desperate,

0:19:440:19:48

stripped of agency, power

and dignity, often in an unfamiliar

0:19:480:19:50

country with little way out.

0:19:500:19:54

This is an issue which significantly

affects women and girls.

0:19:540:19:59

Of all the victims of

human trafficking in Europe,

0:19:590:20:02

70% are women and 11% girls.

0:20:020:20:06

So a focus on tackling violence

against women rightly seeks

0:20:060:20:10

to address human trafficking.

0:20:100:20:13

Information sharing is the key

to safety and security

0:20:130:20:16

across the EU, and it is essential

that we maintain our current access

0:20:160:20:21

to exchange law enforcement

intelligence from other

0:20:210:20:23

European nations.

0:20:230:20:28

We know, too, though that this

is possible outside of the EU

0:20:280:20:30

as a number of countries,

such as Norway, Switzerland

0:20:300:20:33

and the US, have operational

agreements with Europol.

0:20:330:20:38

We are wholly committed to working

with local commissioners to deliver

0:20:380:20:42

a secure future for violence

against women and girls services.

0:20:420:20:47

Now as part of the negotiations,

we will discuss with the EU member

0:20:470:20:50

states how best to continue

cooperation on a range of issues,

0:20:500:20:56

including the European

arrest warrant and Europol.

0:20:560:21:04

An appeal has been made

for the Government to take seriously

0:21:040:21:06

the issue of young people

taking knives to school.

0:21:060:21:08

The number of knives being carried

by school children has reached

0:21:080:21:11

epidemic proportions,

in the words of a Labour MP.

0:21:110:21:14

She's fearful that efforts to combat

the rise could be hampered

0:21:140:21:17

by cuts to school budgets.

0:21:170:21:19

The matter came up at Education

question-time in the Commons.

0:21:190:21:25

Knife carrying in schools

across the UK is up 42%,

0:21:250:21:29

and yet in my constituency

in Croydon, and I expect

0:21:290:21:32

across the country, at least three

quarters of head teachers have had

0:21:320:21:36

to cut staff, special needs

provision and support life

0:21:360:21:38

mentoring, which are all crucial

in preventing crime.

0:21:380:21:41

Now that this epidemic has

infiltrated our schools,

0:21:410:21:45

will he admit that school

cuts are threatening

0:21:450:21:47

our childrens' safety?

0:21:470:21:50

You've heard the Secretary of State

regarding school finance.

0:21:500:21:54

All I would say to the honourable

lady is that the department

0:21:540:22:01

is working with the Home Office,

and of course other

0:22:010:22:07

police, Ofsted and health

and safety, etc, on updating

0:22:070:22:09

our school security

guidance to make clear the risks

0:22:090:22:11

carrying knives and provide advice

on dealing with this

0:22:110:22:13

really important issue.

0:22:140:22:15

It is unacceptable to actually

carry a knife in school.

0:22:150:22:17

Youth violence is up,

mental health issues

0:22:170:22:19

among young people is up,

yet the number of qualified

0:22:190:22:21

school nurses is down.

0:22:210:22:22

The evidence shows that this can be

part of addressing the root

0:22:220:22:25

causes of youth violence.

0:22:250:22:30

Can we have qualified school nurses

in every school as one step

0:22:300:22:33

to tackling this issue?

0:22:330:22:43

We are making further

investment in mental health

0:22:430:22:47

We are making further investment

in mental health in schools to make

0:22:510:22:54

sure that every school is able

to deal

0:22:540:22:56

with that issue in a way

that is appropriate.

0:22:560:22:58

NHS officials were accused

of being woefully ignorant

0:22:580:23:00

of the dangers of over dependence

on prescription drugs.

0:23:000:23:02

Peers called for the government

to provide a network of support

0:23:020:23:04

for people affected.

0:23:050:23:06

Opioids, like morphine,

tramadol and fentanyl,

0:23:060:23:07

are super-strength painkillers,

which can be highly addictive

0:23:070:23:09

and can even kill if misused.

0:23:090:23:10

GPs in England prescribed nearly

24 million opioid-based

0:23:100:23:13

painkillers in 2017,

according to data from NHS Digital.

0:23:130:23:18

Many, many patients are

suffering huge damage as a result

0:23:180:23:24

of overdependence often

because they've been prescribed

0:23:240:23:26

a particular medicine for

too long a period.

0:23:260:23:32

My Lords, there appears to be woeful

ignorance amongst many people

0:23:320:23:35

in the health service about

this impact of dependence.

0:23:350:23:37

There are no national programmes

for supporting people.

0:23:370:23:42

Instead, people rely

on local charities who are

0:23:420:23:44

grossly underfunded.

0:23:440:23:46

Doesn't he think it's time

for a national action plan,

0:23:460:23:50

a national help line,

support for local charities

0:23:500:23:52

and getting the NHS to start

taking this seriously?

0:23:520:23:55

The Health Minister said

the government had ordered

0:23:550:23:57

Public Health England to conduct

a review into prescription levels.

0:23:570:24:06

There's been a doubling of the use

of serious painkillers and indeed,

0:24:060:24:10

deaths due to opiates of all kinds

rising about two thirds

0:24:100:24:13

in the last five years.

0:24:130:24:14

Of course, that's illegal.

0:24:140:24:15

We do agree.

0:24:150:24:17

That is why the review

is taking place.

0:24:170:24:18

I think it's premature

to say what the outcome

0:24:180:24:20

of that review will be,

but it is undoubtedly the case

0:24:200:24:24

that we do need a review...

0:24:240:24:28

So with the shortage of mental

health service in the NHS,

0:24:280:24:30

GPs often have no alternative

but to prescribe drugs.

0:24:300:24:35

Doesn't the Government have

to address that shortage

0:24:350:24:36

in both of those areas?

0:24:360:24:39

I think the link between mental

illness and GP prescribing will be

0:24:390:24:42

one of the things investigated

in the review.

0:24:420:24:45

We do know we need better mental

health services in this country,

0:24:450:24:49

but I think it is worth pointing out

that are we increasing investment

0:24:490:24:53

introducing new waiting time

standards and services

0:24:530:24:55

are getting better.

0:24:550:24:57

Is the noble Minister aware

of the very powerful evidence

0:24:570:25:03

from the United States

that one of the most

0:25:030:25:05

effective ways of reducing

dependency on opioids is in fact

0:25:050:25:08

to legalize cannabis

for the relief of pain?

0:25:080:25:10

Cannabis is of course far less

addictive, far less dangerous

0:25:100:25:12

and yet incredibly effective

for large numbers of patients.

0:25:120:25:18

Well, I would definitely be

straying into Home Office

0:25:180:25:20

territory by commenting.

0:25:200:25:25

I would point that cannabis

remains illegal in this

0:25:250:25:32

country and the PHE review's...

0:25:320:25:38

The review by Public Health England

into prescription levels is due

0:25:380:25:41

to report in spring next year.

0:25:410:25:42

And that's it for this programme.

0:25:420:25:44

Mandy Baker will be here

for the rest of the week.

0:25:440:25:46

But for now, from me,

Keith Macdougall, goodbye.

0:25:460:25:56