29/01/2018 Newsnight


29/01/2018

A £4 billion benefits u-turn. Is the PM in danger of being toppled? The Reunion Island children scandal. With Emily Maitlis.


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Tonight, a £4 billion U-turn

is underway as the government

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accepts it may have acted unlawfully

on disability benefits.

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Everyone on PIPs payments

will have their claim reviewed

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after a High Court ruling.

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The regulations were blatantly

discriminatory and it begs the

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question, what is any government

doing introducing regulations that

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are blatantly discriminatory?

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We'll hear from a father whose

autistic son had his payments cut

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overnight and a campaigner.

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What does the government

say to that?

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Are May's wobbles getting worse?

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As Europe sets out its rules for

Brexit, we ask if the Prime Minister

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is still trusted by her own party.

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We'll be joined by two

senior Tory backbenchers.

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Also tonight - why did the French

government move thousands

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of children from their home

in the Indian Ocean to rural France?

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Some never saw their families again.

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What happened to them next?

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We're with Marlene as she finally

returns home half a century later.

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Good evening.

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Every single person

on the government's main disability

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Personal Independence Payment

benefit programme will have

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their claim reviewed

after what is being seen as a major

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U-turn tonight.

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A total of 1.6 million people

will be part of the review

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which ministers have admitted

is necessary after a High Court

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judge ruled the changes "blatantly

discriminate" against people

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with mental health issues.

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Last week Work and Pensions

Secretary Esther McVey confirmed

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the government would not

appeal the judgment.

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This evening Sarah Newton,

the disabilities minister,

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went further, confirming details

of the massive review, which could

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cost £3.7 billion by 2023.

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Here's Nick Watt.

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Storm clouds never appear to be that

far away from Theresa May

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these days.

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But in welfare, an area that has

bedevilled this government for

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years, the Tories hope they may be

moving to calmer climes.

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Today's announcement

that every single person

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receiving Personal Independence

Payments will have their claim

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reviewed, was not of course,

born out of government thinking.

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Ministers are simply complying

with a High Court ruling

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and I understand the Treasury

is unamused about the

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potential cost.

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But, Tory backbenchers

do hope that today's

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announcement will allow

the government to tell a more upbeat

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story about welfare reform.

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I think it is unfair

to say that all Tories

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ever want to do is cut,

because I wouldn't be a member

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of the Tory party if I thought

that was what

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they were about.

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But do I think we are seeing,

I guess a more balanced approach?

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We had some tight fiscal

decisions to make to keep our

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debt and deficit under control.

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We've done a lot of the hard

lifting on that and

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now it's time perhaps

to be a little bit more

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reflective and think

about

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the smaller detail in government

that makes a difference in

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people's lives and that's

what we are doing with

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this decision today.

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So what is PIP?

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Personal Independence Payments

are paid to people with

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disabilities to help meet extra

costs they may have.

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PIP is replacing

the disability living

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allowance.

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In March, the government said people

who could not travel

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independently on the grounds

of psychological distress, were not

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entitled to a higher PIP payment.

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In December, the High

Court ruled the

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government regulations

were blatantly discriminatory.

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Last week, the new Work

and Pensions Secretary,

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Esther McVey, said the government

would not challenge the court

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ruling, leading to

today's announcement.

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A former minister responsible

for PIP acknowledges the

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policy was designed

to save money, but,

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policy was designed to save money,

but, in its original form,

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it was meant to help people

with mental health conditions.

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Let's not beat about

the bush, there are savings

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that was made when PIP

was introduced.

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There are people perhaps

in the lower area that only just

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about qualify for DLA,

don't qualify now for PIP.

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I don't deny that,

but what is absolutely undeniable is

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that when I was working and bringing

PIP through, I wanted a complete

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level playing field for people that

had physical disabilities,

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psychiatric and mental health

issues, to be treated exactly

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the same.

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What happened with this

is the government

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challenged it saying

they didn't fit the criteria.

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I think that was wrong

and I think the

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judge's decision is right and we're

now somewhere close to where I

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wanted PIP to be.

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For us, we are pretty

appalled and outraged the

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mess the government have found

themselves in and this is all of

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own doing.

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From introducing these regulations

last February which actually was

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going to restrict the numbers of

individuals that would qualify for

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PIP and specifically those with

psychological distress, and it begs

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the question what is any government

in doing introducing revelations

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that are blatantly does good

military to particular groups and

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also what quality impact assessments

were carried out. We are pretty

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outraged at it.

Theresa May has a

reputation for being something of a

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plodding Prime Minister but on

Personal Independence Payments, the

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government has shown rare fleet of

foot. Tory backbenchers hope that at

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the very least ministers are making

a virtue out of necessity.

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Joining us now, Alistair Rolfe,

who's son Nick is autistic.

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Chris Philip, Conservative MP

who works for the Communities

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Secretary and is a strong supporter

of the government's welfare policy,

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and Ellen Clifford, a campaigner

from the organisation Disabled

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People Against Cuts.

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I will come to you a bit later. With

Nick, how does the autism show

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itself, what Bercy struggle with? --

what does he struggle with.

It is a

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social and communication disorder

which means he struggled in any

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social situation to act like another

normal child. He finds all kinds of

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things difficult we would take for

granted around the house, going out,

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public transport, and the chance of

him earning a living wage at the

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moment are very slim.

And during his

school years, he was fully

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supported, statement did, had

learning assistants?

That's correct,

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he was diagnosed at the age of three

with full-blown autism. We put in

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place and early intervention

programme which enabled him to go to

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mainstream school and at that point

he had a statement of special needs

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which enabled him to have the full

amount of support with a learning

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support assistant. He was then

assessed and reviewed, reassessed

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every year for the next 15 years by

experts who knew what the problem

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was and it time they came back and

said they needed to continue with

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the same level of support. About the

same time when he went to school, he

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started receiving visibility living

allowance which was a small amount

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but enough to help with certain

things. As he left school around the

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time that the disability living

allowance change to become the

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personal independence payment and he

had to be completely reassessed from

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scratch. After 15 years of being

reassessed and acknowledged by the

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government that he had this need for

financial support, in an interview

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with 15 minutes, the government

decided that he deserved absolutely

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no money whatsoever.

What was he

asked in the interview?

The

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questions that were asked in the

interview were completely inadequate

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and not designed to capture the

issues that lie behind his autism.

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He was asked questions like, can you

dress yourself? Can you cook a meal?

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Can you go on a bus journey? His

answers were yes, I can do all of

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those things, but the amount of work

that goes behind just getting him to

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the point where he can make a bus

journey is enormous on our part and

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he might get on the bus and then he

would lose his ticket or forget

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where to get off, there might be

noise on the bus.

So he should not

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have answered yes but he was trying

to say the right answer?

That's

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right he did not possibly understand

the question, can you dress yourself

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or cook a meal, it was to tick a

box. But if they have come to the

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home and watched him, he might cook

a meal but leave the cooker on and

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start a fire. We have to be very

careful.

The assessment itself was

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flawed?

It was completely inadequate

and when we got the news back that

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he was no longer entitled to any

form of payment, we concluded that

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this was prejudicial against people

with mental health disabilities.

I'm

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really sorry to hear the problem is

that Nick experienced, nobody should

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be without support that they clearly

need. I am not sure how closely that

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case relates to the PIP position we

heard about any piece but I'm

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pleased the government has responded

to the High Court decision not by

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trying to challenge it in the Appeal

Court or Supreme Court but excepting

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it.

You put your hands up and say

this was badly wrong and badly

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judged and despite everybody saying

to the contrary, you went ahead with

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it and it was the wrong decision?

Clearly there was a difference of

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opinion on this measure, the High

Court judge made a ruling in

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December.

What do you mean a

difference of opinion?

The

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government felt that the mental

health limits of Tabernacle were

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covered separately. The High Court

had said they were wrong and the

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government had accepted that

immediately and it will not appeal

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and it will backdate the claims to

the beginning. And it will write the

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people concerned...

Why should

anybody trust your government to get

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it right if you have done so much

damage? Listen to this case, going

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from being completely helped through

his childhood and left with nothing.

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There are clearly individual cases

like the one we heard about when the

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assessments need to be improved but

the allowance has gone from

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13,000,000,020 ten at 216 billion so

when people say there have been cut

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to payment that is not true from £13

billion to £16 billion. There are

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600,000 more disabled people in work

now than there were four years ago.

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That is a real success in addition

to spending more money.

I'm sorry I

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have left you to the end but give us

the broader picture as you see it,

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is it a good thing that more people

with disabilities are in work?

There

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are a lot of barriers that disabled

people faced at work and anecdotally

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we are seeing less people in work,

people who are struggling because

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they're not getting out of work

benefits. But in terms of the PIP

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ruling, we are happy that the

government has decided not to appeal

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it but they should never have got to

this situation in the first place.

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Disabled people and organisations,

we support of the claimants in the

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court in 2016, it was their ruling

the government try to overturn in

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2017, our organisations,

parliamentarians all spoke out

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against bringing these regulations

and the government did.

Parents and

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campaign is putting this points to

you, why was the government not

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listening to this?

The point we were

hearing is about the assessment

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itself and those cases have to be

this Ducab belief. It is different

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to the court ruling point.

It is the

same larger point that people with

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behavioural disabilities or mental

health disabilities or psychological

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disbelief were being ignored.

But

the answer the point, the proportion

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of people on PIP with mental health

conditions who get the highest level

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is 66%. Under the old DLA it was

only 22% so there is a three-time

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higher recognition of mental health

problems under PIP.

There are 1.6

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million cases to be reviewed.

On

this very specific point about the

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mobility allowance component, but as

I said already, the total amount

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paid under DLA has gone up to £16

billion which is a big increase.

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There was a decision taken a year

ago that the High Court was found to

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be wrong and the government has

accepted that and will not appeal it

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and is putting it right.

Are we on

the right track now in terms of what

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happened here wrong?

I don't think

we should be here anyway. This is

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going to cost untold sums, those

people are going to go through more

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anxiety and distress having been

through enough as it is. The bigger

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picture for disabled people in the

UK is it that the government is

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failing them, the UN has made a

binding of great and systematic

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violations against this government.

They talk about spent on disability

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benefits but as a share of national

wealth it has heart and we see

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people suffering, with nowhere to

turn -- it has halved.

I don't

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accept that because we spent more

than any other G-7 country apart

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from Germany on supporting people

with disability and health problems.

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There are of course problems to be

fixed but we are spending more than

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every other G-7 country apart from

Germany.

If you compare

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like-for-like it is difficult to

compare what is spent on disability

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figures. The amount spent is not

comparable in the way you are

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saying.

Thank you very much.

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Theresa May flies to China tomorrow

on a trade mission seeking to secure

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the sort of deal the government

is hoping to land after Brexit.

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It's possible she might never have

been as happy to leave these green

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and pleasant lands, after yet

another weekend of torrid

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headlines and a growing chorus

of criticism from across her party,

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not least from a band of Brexiteers

who seem to feel distrustful

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of the Prime Minister's

ability to deliver.

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Today Europe's foreign

ministers made a point

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of showing their own unity

on the issue by taking just two

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minutes to agree the hardline terms

on which negotiator Michel Barnier

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can approach the next

round of Brexit talks.

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The EU position is very clear.

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The transition will last

for 21 months, until

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the 31st of December 2020.

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During this limited period of time,

the whole of the EU acquis

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will continue to apply to the UK.

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So how does the state

of Brexit talks affect

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Theresa May's leadership,

despite the growing noise?

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Is there any sense anything

has really changed?

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Nick Watt is here.

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A little bit more movement, what is

your sense?

An interesting interview

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by Liam Fox in the Sun newspaper

tomorrow. He is saying to

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Brexiteers, you will have to learn

to live with disappointment because

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we do not command a majority in the

House of Commons. But he said the

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core Brexit will be delivered out of

the single market and out of the

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customs union. But there are three

people who wanted to remain who said

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the Prime Minister needs to set out

a domestic vision for Britain after

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Brexit. What is going on? I think

what is happening is two forces are

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colliding. The legacy of the recent

reshuffle, lots of resentful

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ex-ministers. Then you have

Brexiteers who are thinking, is this

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Prime Minister going too far in a

soft Brexit direction.

But she's

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going to survive?

You are reminded

of Harold Wilson who said, you ask

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what is going on, I am going on. The

quiet ones are still quiet, at the

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noisy ones are noisy. Iain Duncan

Smith that was in trouble when the

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quiet ones stopped been quiet. I

have been talking to other Tories. I

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spoke to one former minister who

said they believe there will be a

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challenge, there should be a

challenge against Theresa May in the

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summer to give a new leader a long

time to bed in the 2022 election and

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this person said

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this person said Theresa May really

isn't working. They say you

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journalists have the wrong end of

the stick. You're looking for these

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48 letters we need for the

no-confidence vote. We are after the

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149 votes we need to get to oust

Theresa May.

A quick word on labour?

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There will be an interesting new

face on the Labour front bench when

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the withdrawal bill stars its

journey and that will be Lord Peter

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Goldsmith. His advice as Tony

Blair's Attorney General meant the

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action was authorised for the UK

forces. What is interesting about

0:17:360:17:41

this, the defining moment Jeremy

Corbyn's career was opposing the

0:17:410:17:46

Iraq war. You could save that is how

he managed to bury New Labour in the

0:17:460:17:51

Labour ship contest for the Labour

Party. But he doesn't represent the

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front bench in the Lords, but I am

told this is more of a guest on the

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front bench, not an actual

frontbencher, so Jeremy Corbyn is

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living with it.

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With us from Westminster

is Nicky Morgan, a former

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Education Secretary

under David Cameron.

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And Jacob Rees-Mogg who now leads

the European Research group

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of Tory Eurosceptics.

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Now, two backbenchers,

if there are grumblings coming

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from both your wings of the party

that probably suggests the PM

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is doing something right.

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Let me start with you, Nicky, Nick

said forget about the letters to

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Graham Brady. Are you hearing of

anyone voicing their unhappiness in

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letter form at the moment or is it

gossip?

Nobody is going around

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saying we have signed this, or sent

this in. I certainly haven't done

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that. It is important. We have seen

the EU talking about the negotiating

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stance. We have a critical nine

months ahead of us and everybody in

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the Conservative Party realises we

will be judged by the success or

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otherwise of these Brexit

negotiations, the final deal we get

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to. The Conservative Party has a

strong reputation for economic

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competence and we must not

jeopardise that in these

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negotiations. The noise about the

leadership doesn't help.

Where do

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you think the instability is coming

from? When you hear Johnny Mercer

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saying the window is closing for the

Prime Minister to meet the

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challenges. Is he right to speak

out, is it a non-helpful

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intervention?

There are the

stations, inevitably. Some of my

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other colleagues are talking about

the need to focus on domestic

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legislation. We have seen a focus on

the environment, for example, it is

0:19:470:19:51

possible to talk about other things

than Brexit. We have just had a

0:19:510:19:56

piece talking about mental health

and personal independence payments.

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We would like to be talking about

that than about Europe.

She got that

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one badly wrong, didn't she?

Actually, a fast reaction from the

0:20:070:20:13

government saying we will not appeal

this, it hasn't been handled right

0:20:130:20:17

in the past, we will get it right

now. Broadly supporting people with

0:20:170:20:22

mental health challenges, looking at

the NHS, rising educational

0:20:220:20:27

standards in our schools. But Brexit

will be central for the next nine

0:20:270:20:31

months. We cannot fall out with each

other, the country doesn't need

0:20:310:20:36

that.

The way you are talking, you

are happy to see her fulfil her

0:20:360:20:42

parliament for five years. You are

happy that she has a game plan, a

0:20:420:20:47

series of things that she is, not

just talking about, but doing, do

0:20:470:20:52

you believe that?

I believe when she

took out the Premiership, she laid

0:20:520:20:58

out a plan, speech...

But is she

doing it?

There is action, but

0:20:580:21:04

trying to get attention on anything

other than Europe at the moment is

0:21:040:21:09

difficult. The Treasury Select

Committee, we know things like the

0:21:090:21:14

budget, productivity and things like

growing the economy are incredibly

0:21:140:21:19

important, but of course the Brexit

negotiations will be influential in

0:21:190:21:22

all of that. It is important, it is

not just about the Prime Minister,

0:21:220:21:26

there is a whole cabinet. If the

Prime Minister is the person going

0:21:260:21:31

to be setting out a plan, the

Cabinet have got to do within their

0:21:310:21:36

own areas, agri- and end state for

Brexit. They have got to stick to

0:21:360:21:41

those lines. But falling out with

each other is not the right thing

0:21:410:21:44

for the country at this particular

time in our history.

Jacob Rees

0:21:440:21:50

Mogg, do you trust the Prime

Minister has your best interests at

0:21:500:21:56

heart, your party, Brexit?

Of

course, I completely trust the Prime

0:21:560:22:00

Minister and I agree with what Nicky

Morgan was saying, in relation to

0:22:000:22:04

the need for unity and the

government to set out what it end

0:22:040:22:08

state is going to be. There may be

bits of the end states I don't like,

0:22:080:22:14

there may be bits of the end states

Nicky Morgan doesn't like, but we

0:22:140:22:19

need a proper discussion rather than

the Chancellor saying one thing and

0:22:190:22:23

the collective Cabinet view being

another.

Why does your group in the

0:22:230:22:29

Times tomorrow said they give her a

50-50 chance, it is not a real

0:22:290:22:34

endorsement.

That is not me, I have

not said that.

Is there descent?

0:22:340:22:41

There are always people with

different views in a party.

It is

0:22:410:22:45

not the party, it is the group you

had.

The ERG doesn't have a single

0:22:450:22:53

view. We are interested in the

Lancaster House speech and the

0:22:530:22:57

manifesto and we want to back the

Prime Minister in that. Whether

0:22:570:23:00

individual members speculate on the

party membership or not, is nothing

0:23:000:23:06

to do with me.

When you talk about

the basis of Lancaster House and the

0:23:060:23:11

basis of what she has said, were you

happy with what Michel Barnier had

0:23:110:23:15

to say to the Prime Minister today?

Will you continue to support her if

0:23:150:23:21

she lets that transition deal go

ahead?

The terms laid out today in

0:23:210:23:25

the transition deal are very

bullying from the European Union.

0:23:250:23:30

They are very harsh and they would

continue as to allow free movement

0:23:300:23:36

of people and we would take, for the

first time since 1066, laws imposed

0:23:360:23:43

upon us from a foreign power without

any say on it from ourselves. That

0:23:430:23:47

might be acceptable if we had a

clear idea of what the end point is.

0:23:470:23:51

You would put up with it the two

years if you had an idea of what was

0:23:510:23:55

coming afterwards?

We had talk about

staying in a customs union and not

0:23:550:24:02

get the benefits of Brexit. It means

remaining end EU law taker. Not

0:24:020:24:14

removing tariffs, 21% of the

household economy, had the chance to

0:24:140:24:18

make the country better. It is an

exciting opportunity if we grasp it.

0:24:180:24:23

Your support will remain qualify?

My

support for the Prime Minister will

0:24:230:24:31

remain qualified. I want her to

implement what she has already said.

0:24:310:24:36

As the Prime Minister is a

forthright and clear person, I

0:24:360:24:39

expect she will implement the

policies she has set out.

Let me

0:24:390:24:44

tell you about this story breaking

on bus speed, they have seen the

0:24:440:24:48

impact of Brexit from the

government's own analysis. They say

0:24:480:24:55

under the government's own

assessment, a comprehensive free

0:24:550:24:58

trade agreement with the EU, UK

growth would be 5% lower over the

0:24:580:25:02

next 15 years if there was no deal

scenario and it was WTO rules, it

0:25:020:25:07

would reduce by 8%. They say from

what they have seen, the UK would be

0:25:070:25:13

worse off outside the European Union

under every scenario modelled in

0:25:130:25:16

every part of the UK.

The key

phrases every scenario modelled and

0:25:160:25:22

it depends on the base of the model.

If they use the gravity muddles the

0:25:220:25:28

government used prior to Brexit,

they were wrong. It predicted an

0:25:280:25:32

increase in unemployment just by

voting to read, to 500 to 800,000.

0:25:320:25:38

On the basis of these gravity models

and the key is the assumption of the

0:25:380:25:42

tariffs you apply to goods coming

into the EU. I don't know about

0:25:420:25:46

these models, but the one done

before the Brexit vote assumed we

0:25:460:25:50

would apply the common external

tariff to EU trade with the UK. That

0:25:500:25:56

sort of thing makes these models

speculative and so far, very

0:25:560:26:01

inaccurate.

A quick word from you

Nicky Morgan on the Brexit study and

0:26:010:26:05

do you think the Prime Minister will

be there to see us through Brexit?

0:26:050:26:09

Yes, it is too important to worry

about leadership contests at this

0:26:090:26:13

time. We have to focus. What those

models do, we can argue about the

0:26:130:26:18

underlying basis. What they show is

there is a risk and this is why I

0:26:180:26:24

wanted to remain and our

constituents will not thank us and

0:26:240:26:27

nor will the country if we have

weakened their economic security and

0:26:270:26:30

jobs and livelihoods as a result of

negotiation. It is critical we make

0:26:300:26:35

sure we don't undermine the economy

any more than we are going to bike

0:26:350:26:39

actually leaving in the first place.

Thank you both very much.

0:26:390:26:46

Next month, a French

Government-appointed commission

0:26:460:26:49

will outline what happened to more

than 2000 children at the hands

0:26:490:26:52

of the French state

between 1963 and 1982.

0:26:520:26:54

These children, from

the Indian Ocean island of Reunion,

0:26:540:26:56

a French overseas department,

were resettled in rural

0:26:560:26:58

parts of France where

populations were in decline.

0:26:580:27:00

With France facing up to a scandal

that robbed these children

0:27:000:27:03

of everything they knew,

Katie Razzall travelled to Reunion

0:27:030:27:10

with one of those involved,

in search of the family she lost

0:27:100:27:12

more than five decades earlier.

0:27:120:27:20

Marlene is on her way

home for her first visit

0:27:530:27:57

to the Indian Ocean island

she was taken from as a child,

0:27:570:28:00

her first trip back in 52 years.

0:28:000:28:08

Marlene is in ill health

after a difficult life.

0:28:120:28:16

She has never been able

to afford the long journey

0:28:160:28:18

back to Reunion before.

0:28:180:28:20

Now she's leaving France courtesy

of the French government

0:28:200:28:23

which is paying her airfare and some

expenses, an acknowledgement

0:28:230:28:25

of the state's moral

responsibility for what happened

0:28:250:28:27

to her and 2000 others.

0:28:270:28:35

We first met Marlene in central

France where she has lived

0:28:370:28:41

since she was in her teens.

0:28:410:28:43

Before that she was

in care in Reunion.

0:28:430:28:47

Her mother had died of TB.

0:28:470:28:49

Marlene was persuaded

to resettle across the world.

0:28:490:28:57

Did you ever see your sister again?

0:29:270:29:33

Once a French colony,

Reunion became one of the country's

0:29:420:29:45

overseas department in 1946.

0:29:450:29:53

By the 1960s, with an exploding

birth rate, this desperately poor

0:30:020:30:05

island found its orphanages filling

up with children, many

0:30:050:30:08

of whom were not orphans at all.

0:30:080:30:11

Their families simply

could not provide for them.

0:30:110:30:14

The island's French MP,

Michel Debre, introduced a policy

0:30:140:30:16

he believed would solve the problem.

0:30:160:30:20

From 1963 until 1982,

social services oversaw

0:30:200:30:22

the resettlement of children

to rural parts of mainland France

0:30:220:30:24

where populations were in decline.

0:30:240:30:31

Some were adopted, others put

into children's homes

0:30:310:30:33

and religious institutions.

0:30:330:30:38

Marlene was amongst them,

featured here in a TV report

0:30:380:30:42

which portrays the children as lucky

to be given a new life.

0:30:420:30:45

But in the four years

before this was filmed,

0:30:450:30:49

she said she had minimal schooling.

0:30:490:30:52

Instead she had worked

the land at a convent,

0:30:520:30:54

done factory labour and even been

put in solitary confinement

0:30:540:30:56

when she complained.

0:30:560:30:59

Marlene's story is not a one-off,

as we discovered at a meeting

0:31:510:31:54

near Toulouse in south-west France.

0:31:540:32:01

Marlene is a member of a group

battling to find out what happened

0:32:100:32:13

to 2150 children from Reunion

at the hands of the French state.

0:32:130:32:19

Not everyone had a bad experience

but many suffered terribly.

0:32:190:32:23

There was racism, sexual abuse

and violence, as well as the loss

0:32:230:32:26

of their culture and identity.

0:32:260:32:29

Jessie Moenner and her younger

brother and sister were in the first

0:32:430:32:47

resettled group from Reunion

to arrive at this children's

0:32:470:32:51

home in rural Gers in

south-western France in 1967.

0:32:510:32:58

Jessie has spent years trying

to discover the background

0:33:330:33:36

to her family story but her care

files from the children's

0:33:360:33:38

home have disappeared.

0:33:380:33:44

Do you think you can judge

what happened back then

0:33:440:33:46

through modern eyes?

0:33:460:33:53

Jessie and her siblings

are traumatised by what happened

0:34:130:34:15

to them in France.

0:34:150:34:17

She said they were adopted

into a violent family and she holds

0:34:170:34:20

Michel Debre responsible

for their suffering.

0:34:200:34:27

I came to Paris to find out how

the French government

0:34:460:34:49

views the scandal now.

0:34:490:34:51

Those who were exiled hope

President Macron will apologise

0:34:510:34:53

for what happened once

the investigating commission

0:34:530:34:54

delivers its report.

0:34:540:35:02

It's a big moment for

Marlene, arriving on her

0:35:410:35:44

island after 52 years.

0:35:440:35:52

She has brought her daughter,

Aurore, for support.

0:36:010:36:05

Marlene has had 52 years

to dream of this moment,

0:36:050:36:09

and now she is here with a fanfare.

0:36:090:36:11

The French media has increasingly

been covering the story.

0:36:110:36:15

The publicity, mixed in with five

decades of expectation,

0:36:150:36:17

means Marlene hopes a long lost

family member might be

0:36:170:36:20

at the airport to greet her.

0:36:200:36:23

But there's nobody there.

0:36:230:36:31

But they are searching for Marlene's

other sister, Marianique,

0:37:090:37:12

who she last saw as a child.

0:37:120:37:19

Marlene is not giving up.

0:37:280:37:30

She does not know if Marie-Annique

is alive or dead but finding her

0:37:300:37:33

is the focus of this trip.

0:37:330:37:39

The next day we went to the town

hall looking for information

0:37:390:37:42

and came away with good news.

0:37:420:37:44

So you have an address

for your sister?

0:37:440:37:46

Their fortunes were changing.

0:37:460:37:48

After we left, the town hall

official got in touch with Marlene's

0:37:480:37:51

sister and two hours later came

the phone call they had longed

0:37:510:37:55

for from Marie-Annique herself.

0:37:550:38:03

So what is it like to see her now?

0:38:390:38:42

But the joy of finding

Marie-Annique is bittersweet.

0:39:040:39:09

Marlene is returning to France

knowing she may not see her sister

0:39:090:39:12

again until the next time

the government funds a trip.

0:39:120:39:20

In March, after a two-year

investigation, a commission

0:40:310:40:34

will present its 500-page report

to the French government

0:40:340:40:38

detailing what happened

to Marlene and 2000 others.

0:40:380:40:40

Many are demanding an apology

from the French president.

0:40:400:40:48

Katie Razzall there.

0:40:490:40:53

Her film was produced

by Maya Rostowska and you can see

0:40:530:40:56

a longer version on Our World,

this Saturday and Sunday at 9:30pm

0:40:560:40:59

on the BBC News Channel

and also on iPlayer.

0:40:590:41:02

That's it for tonight.

0:41:020:41:05

But before we go, if you happen

to be passing the Bruce Museum

0:41:050:41:08

in Greenwich, Connecticut,

you could do worse than pop

0:41:080:41:10

in and see their exhibition

of patriotic posters

0:41:100:41:13

from the First World War, and

witness how the American government

0:41:130:41:16

used to handle its communications.

0:41:160:41:19

As you can see, unlike now,

sensitivity wasn't

0:41:190:41:21

a big part of the sell.

0:41:210:41:22

Goodnight.

0:41:220:41:25

MUSIC: "Creep" by Radiohead.

0:41:280:41:36

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