In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Mark Urban.
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Yesterday this programme revealed
a culture of abuse and bullying that
has gone largely unchallenged
in the House of Commons.
Tonight, we hear from more
Westminster staff who fear
that the muted response
to our revelations shows that
nothing will change.
They are known bullies walking
around the place and the house seems
to think they've sorted everything
So what - do we just wait
until they do it again and
report them ad infinitum?
The investigation intensifies
into the poisoning of
Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
If the finger points
at Moscow, what action can
the British Government take,
and would Russia even care?
We ask a former Russian MP and
We understand that you don't
like Vladimir Putin
as president of Russia,
because he is making Russia great
again, as Donald Trump tried to do
with the United States of America.
And as it's announced that the US
President will meet the supreme
leader of North Korea,
we get the exclusive
reaction from Donald Trump.
Or at least somebody
who sounds a lot like him.
It's such an important meeting,
usually my pout is here.
For this meeting
it's going to be here.
I've got to bring my A game.
Downing Street today backed calls
for an investigation into complaints
of bullying made against
the Commons speaker John Bercow.
The Prime Minister,
we are told, retains
confidence in the Speaker,
though a spokesman says
That's because last night
Newsnight revealed complaints
against Mr Bercow and two other MPs.
And tonight it's emerged an MP
is planning to ask an urgent
question in Parliament on Monday
about those allegations.
The Green Party's Caroline Lucas
believes there's cross-party support
for a change in the way
Parliament deals with complaints
from its staffers.
Chris Cook and Lucinda Day reported
yesterday, on the frustrations
of Commons clerks who believe
parliament turns a blind eye
to bad behaviour from MPs.
Today, they've been hearing
from staff at Westminster, who say
the reaction to last night's report
shows nothing's changed.
The MP exploded at me
so aggressively that my colleagues
stood between us to physically
shield him from me.
I didn't feel that there
was anywhere for me to go
to talk about it.
He was particularly nasty to those
he felt were below him.
He went mad at me.
It got very personal.
yesterday that there is a
serious rot in Westminster.
Bullying and harassment by MPs.
And it's directed a shocking
amount at clerks.
The apolitical staff who umpire
and run the lower house.
And women clerks in particular.
Last night Newsnight
reported that three MPs
have been accused
of bullying clerks.
Mark Pritchard, Paul
Farrelly and John Bercow.
All of them deny the claims
made against them.
There's more interest in John Bercow
than the other two, because he
is in effect the boss
of the clerks and it's
his job in part to fix
the culture of Westminster.
As it happens today
was a training day for
clerks, an opportunity for managers
to win back worried staff.
They didn't do very well.
The house management did
send out an e-mail to
staff though, saying that harassment
and bullying of any kind is
They reassured staff
that the current system, introduced
in 2014, means things are very
different now to the way they
used to be.
Here, though, is what serving
staff think of that.
We have been sent written testimony
from them this evening.
After that e-mail went out,
and after today's training day.
As a Commons employee, I'm
disappointed although not surprised
at the House's dismissal
of the issues raised in your report.
The house's response means I've lost
any favour may have had for
a complaint made under the current
respect policy would achieve
anything positive for the staff
Since 2014, 17 cases have been
raised under the new HR policy.
None has got as far
as workplace mediation.
No MPs have been sanctioned.
Any process has to demonstrate
an MP being disciplined
in a meaningful way.
Remember lots of clerks
have had reason for
complaints about lots of MPs.
This topic is not going away.
There this political
whether specific MPs are bullied.
And Chris is here.
Chris, we'll come
to you in a moment.
But first, we're also
joined by Amy Leversidge.
She's the Assistant General
Secretary of the First
which is the union which represents
many of the civil servants
who work inside parliament.
Let's start off with, what is your
view of the situation? Your union
hears things, too. How bad is it
compare to a Whitehall department?
That is an interesting question. As
trade union officials we hear
stories about bullying and
harassment across the piece. What's
different about the House of Commons
is that it is a completely different
employer. You have got the employer
and the staff, but you have also got
MPs who are not employees, they are
elected. That is the difference die
mention about the House of Commons.
-- dimension. You have got people
doing the bullying and MPs who are
not employees of the house.
their reserve onto themselves the
right to be the final judges. You've
helped, along with the others
involved in the process, to try and
reform the system. 2007, 2011, 2014,
the so-called respect policy. Why
has that not stopped the problem of
In 2014, we work really
hard on the respect policy in the
House. The unions at the time worked
as hard as they could to get the
best deal possible. But the policy
still is flawed fundamentally
because there is no independent body
that oversees what happens with the
MPs. That is the problem. Obviously
it's really important that staff
have trust and confidence in any
system. They will only have trust
and confidence if there is an
independent oversight into what
happens with MPs.
Quite. Under the
current laws, and MP has to cause
damage to get the reputation of the
House as a whole. It is a pretty
high bar. Has any MP been charged
with causing damage to the House as
This is one of the
fundamental problems. It is a very
No is the answer.
do you give it the independents, how
do you change the machinery in order
to create that independent
We want to work with the
employers and the other trade unions
to sort out this and find solutions
to the problems. We need to have a
policy that has got the trust and
confidence of the staff. As you
report shows, it cannot be right,
absolutely inappropriate that we
have got dedicated public servants
who leave their jobs rather than
raising these issues. That's not
good for the House of Commons
either. They are losing these
experienced staff. We can't come up
with those solutions on our own in
the time with God. So what we need
to do is work together. They need to
involve the trade unions. They need
to involve ourselves and the others
to work together to find those
Do you think it'll end up
with an outside panel being the
That is what we would like
to see. An independent body that
allows their to be proper scrutiny
and proper redress for people. It
can't be right that MPs are
basically marking their own
Absolutely. That is a
proposal. Where does this actually
go from here, Chris, in terms of
bringing about any real change?
big thing next week as Parliament
coming back. We published last
night. The House wasn't around
today. MPs were in their
constituencies. We are expecting an
urgent question on Monday from
Caroline Lucas. There seems to be a
lot of focus on John Bercow
personally partly because the
Speaker of the House has a tricky
reputation with some members of the
House. He is perceived by Tory MPs
as being April Labour speaker. What
we are expecting next week is a lot
of his existing critics, who have
cold frame to resign over a series
of things before, to use this as
another opportunity to call to
resign. We spoke to one of those MPs
who has previously called for him to
Well, I think next week lots
of members of Parliament will be
wanting to ask questions
in the chamber, wherever they can
into these allegations.
The Speaker needs
to be above the fray.
the clerks and these are very,
very serious allegations.
I think one of the questions about
this is going to be about the
interesting the horse race politics
of individual MPs being revealed to
be unpleasant individuals, that
might derail what is being done, and
attempts to fix the workplace.
sure you will keep us posted. Thank
Police investigating the poisoning
of Sergei and Yulia Skripal have
expanded their search in Salisbury,
and called the military
in for good measure.
Officers in protective clothing
have sealed off the graves
of Skripal's wife and son.
The Army has gone to pick up
ambulances that were used
to take those affected
by the poisons to hospital.
Tomorrow the Home Secretary will
share an emergency meeting of Cobra.
While all this activity goes on,
scientists just a few miles up
the road at Porton Down have begun
the business of analysing nerve
agent samples, in the hope
of finding out where
the chemicals were produced.
If the finger points at Russia,
the pressure for some sort
of response will be intense.
Are you considering measures against
As the foreign trip -- Foreign
Secretary suggested earlier this
week Britain's participation in the
World Cup could get dragged into
Thinking ahead to the World
Cup this summer, I think it would be
very difficult to imagine that UK
representation at that event could
go ahead in the normal way. We would
certainly have to consider that.
However, the Kremlin is hardly going
to lose sleep at the prospect of
losing a few British officials from
its World Cup. Meanwhile, in
Salisbury things have moved on.
Scientists at Porton down have no
established details of the nerve
agent used on British streets.
Listening to Amber Rudd this
morning, it's clear they are no
moving on to where it came from.
the moment our priority is going to
be the incident, which is why I'm
here in Salisbury today, making sure
that everybody is protected around
here, around the incident. Making
sure the emergency services have had
the support they need and will
continue to get it on going. It has
been great to hear that is the case.
In terms of further options, that
will have to wait until we are
absolutely clear what the
consequences could be and what the
actual source of this nerve agent
With the military
deploying onto the streets of
Salisbury to help the police with
decontamination, there's no doubt
about the seriousness of the
situation. But if Downing Street is
preparing to point the finger at
Russia, what are they thinking of
doing about it? There has been
discussion of further economic
sanctions. Suggestions also that the
UK should enact a so-called law.
This kind of legislation has been
used in the US to target Russian
officials suspected of human rights
violations. Britain could target for
asset freezes and target bands --
travel bans Russians it holds
responsible for the Salisbury
attack. It may go beyond that. With
the UK officials sharing with allies
their preliminary assessment of
where the nerve agent came from, it
may be a bigger sporting boycott
reminiscent of Olympic ones in which
allies would be asked to join us.
Earlier, I spoke with Sergei Markov.
He was an MP in Vladimir Putin's
party, United Russia.
He's now director of the Institute
for Political Studies in Moscow,
and retains close
ties to the Kremlin.
I asked him how news of Mr Skripal's
poisoning had gone down in Russia.
Er of course it is awful that this
gentleman and specifically his
daughter can die because of
poisoning. It's awful. Russian
public opinion reacted not to the
Sergei Skripal case but to the great
propagandist atmosphere in the
British atmosphere demonising Russia
again. But we want to ask British
journalists and British politicians,
please, keep professional. Don't
violate freedom of speech. Don't
speed up a propagandist campaign so
highly. Please take into account
that we should establish such a
relationship and of course Sergei
Skripal was a negative figure for
Russia because he betrayed us that
Russia is a 21st century country.
The fact is, actually, the British
government is not yet accusing
Russia of doing it, although we do
see some indications that they are
preparing to do so. But at the same
time, we see commentators on the
first channel, the Russian official
state media and indeed President
Putin himself to some extent hinting
that traitors get their just
rewards. Do you believe that too?
Because at the beginning of this
interview you expressed some
sympathy for Sergei Skripal and his
I expressed sympathy as a
Christian believer who doesn't want
anyone to die. Yet at the same
anyone to die. Yet at the same time,
we were told that the profession of
traitor is very dangerous. It is
even more dangerous than a member of
a drug market or so on. It is true,
everyone knows about this.
everyone knows about this. It is not
to threaten other traitors, but and
has an effect which everybody knows.
I hear your point about, as a
Christian believer, you do not wish
harm on him, but do you think we
will effectively see a Russian
official position that we didn't do
it but he got what he deserved. It
seems to me like an obvious
clear, the Russian position, by
clear, the Russian position, by the
way, we got this gentleman but we
decided to give him to the United
States and to Britain, and it's all
for us. We want to forget about
Sergei Skripal,. He had already
broke his life when he decided to
betray Russia and to cooperate with
British intelligence services. 'S
and that's a victory for the British
intelligence service. It is how we
see this. We see that Sergei
Skripal, he's just a result of the
1990s. What can we do? We cannot
Well let's look
forward specifically to the next few
days and weeks. If the British
government, as seems likely, points
finger at Russia and then starts to
threaten retaliation in different
forms, sanctions, or gay sporting
boycott of the World Cup, for
example, how will that be in Russia?
It will be received in Russia as a
pity, or the next step of a war
against Russia. We understand that
you don't like Vladimir Putin as
President of Russia because he is
making Russia great again. As Donald
Trump is trying to do with the
United States of America. But we are
supporting Vladimir Putin exactly
for this reason. And if you attack
the Russian President Vladimir Putin
and demonise him, we will support
him more. Because we understand very
well and you are criticising Mr
Putin exactly for the things that we
like about them. I want to repeat
again, Sergei Skripal needs a real
investigation. Police, control the
intelligence services. You are
British citizens. You are not
controlling your intelligence
services. Look what happened with
Ukraine. Look at what happened in
Syria when your spies cooperated
We will leave it
Democracy, come back to Great
Britain. Don't leave it to
terrorists to do what they are doing
without controlling the British
Sergei Markov, thank you for
joining us. That was Sergei Markov
speaking earlier from Minsk.
Now, good news if you work
in a certain aircraft
factory in Lancashire -
not so good maybe
if you live in Yemen.
As Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince,
Mohammed bin Salman rounded off
a trip to the UK tonight,
his country has signed a letter
of intent to buy 48 more Typhoon
fighters from BAE Systems.
Britain is under fire
from human rights groups
for arming Saudi Arabia,
at the same time as Mr bin Salman,
one of the architects of the Yemen
war is portrayed by his country's
media as the kingdom's
best hope for human rights,
reform and renewal.
about the planes followed
meetings with Theresa May,
Boris Johnson and the Queen.
Earlier, I spoke to
Sherard Cowper Coles,
formerly British ambassador
to Saudi and former consult to BAE.
I asked him if this deal
was good news for people
in factories across the UK.
Yes, good news for the British
economy, but also good news for
in the Middle East.
Good news for our relationship
with Saudi Arabia.
Good news for a Britain
leaving the European Union,
still to be a player
in this sort of area.
And the question you have to ask is,
if we hadn't gone ahead with
this order, what would have happened
to our relationship?
But also, where else
would they have gone?
But if the UK hadn't gone
ahead, would it in a
sense have cleaner hands,
because Saudi Arabia is now involved
in this war in Yemen?
It's a humanitarian disaster.
They're bombing civilians
with British-made weapons.
It's surely becoming
a bit more toxic for this
country, in that sense?
Well, it is for everyone.
The key is, do we want
to retain influence?
Do we want to help bring
about a peaceful settlement?
Do we want to remain a player?
And selling more weapons helps?
The alternative is not
This is about the world as it is,
not as we would like it to be.
And we could break
off our relationship
with Saudi Arabia.
We could have not had
this week's visit.
But we have had no influence,
no, we wouldn't have been
a player in the Middle East.
When you were ambassador
in Riyadh, a decade plus
ago, was it more like the world
as one might have wanted it?
Was it an easier, less
I think when I was ambassador
there I was trying to
I remember briefing
British ministers to raise
the need to move forward
on women's rights,
to move forward on social rights,
to move forward on education.
And now we have a leader at last
in Saudi Arabia who is doing
what every friend of Saudi Arabia...
The crown prince is doing
what we have all urged him to do.
Do you think he is for real?
He is definitely for real.
very enthusiastic, very
Very decisive, very young.
Someone who needs friends, needs
supporters, who needs people around
him to help him deliver this vision.
popular in his country.
But there is another
interpretation, isn't there?
Some Western friendly steps,
like allowing women
to drive, allowing cinemas.
But a rate of public executions
that is higher than ever.
And indeed an anti-corruption drive,
which, when you talk to some Saudis,
just seems to be like
a shakedown operation
to bring in a lot of money
from rival princes.
Well, as I say, you take
the world as it is, not
as you'd like it to be.
It is an imperfect world.
But here is somebody
who is delivering reform.
It is not a question
of it being Western
It is people friendly reform.
It is what the young people
of Saudi Arabia want.
And we need to use our influence
with him, administering tough love
in private to get the kinds
of results we want.
And tough love, does that
mean saying to him in
private, "Get out of Yemen,
solve this Yemen problem quickly -
because it is extremely
damaging to the image of
Saudi Arabia and the UK,
providing you with weapons?"
Well, it's not a question
of the image of Saudi Arabia.
It's a question of the right
solution for Yemen, for the
for the region as a whole.
You need to remember, Mark,
that Saudi Arabia is actually
threatened from Yemen.
Rockets have been fired from Yemen.
It is now.
They are firing missiles,
but that was after Saudi began
Those attacks were coming
across the border before
This is part of a perfectly
A lot of people will
tell you that the
Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman,
is the architect of this
Is he therefore the man to get
Saudi Arabia out of it?
He is absolutely someone
we need to work with.
I'm quite sure Yemen
was high on the agenda.
It was not just lecturing
the Saudis just to get out
of Yemen and leave behind chaos,
but work with everyone involved to
produce a solution that delivers
stability, that delivers security
and above all delivers some relief
for the poor suffering people of
Yemen on all sides.
Sherard Cowper Coles,
thank you so much.
That was the former ambassador to
Saudi Arabia. A moment for
tomorrow's papers. Some of you old
school viewers may enjoy it when we
do this. The daily Mirror leading on
the Sergei Skripal story and the
fact that they have now sealed off
the graves of his wife and son. The
Financial Times also promises its
readers a long read on the poisoning
of Sergei Skripal and his daughter
Yulia and the police officer who
went to help them but their lead is
the White House- North Korea summit
plan. The White House trying to deny
the Koreans, a sort of PR win on
that one. The i newspaper has, once
again, the nuclear gamble with North
Korea. I suppose, reflecting the
idea that the talks could promise
much but what will President Trump
say when he gets into the room. And
finally the Daily Mail goes its own
sweet way, council parking charges
soaring. That's all on the front
really has had quite a week.
Few in the White House or even the
Pentagon were expecting his shock
announcement that he is to meet with
Kim Jong-un. We are told the meeting
could take place before May.
Certainly a major gamble so what is
the president thinking of? To help
work out what he might have planned
Newsnight Cordoba earlier with Mr
Trump himself. At least we're pretty
sure was him. Emily is here on
Monday. Have a great weekend.
I thought Mark Urban
was great tonight.
I thought he was really first class.
He's a great rapper, great guy,
very lucky man being
married to Nicole Kidman.
What are we talking about?
This is going to be
a very friendly meeting.
It's going to be very charming.
It's going to be so
bigly convivial you
would not believe it.
We will exchange gifts.
Kim Jong-un will give to me a Korean
piece of vintage pottery.
I will give to Kim Jong-un vintage
American porn star Stormy Daniels.
It's a fair exchange.
It's such an important meeting.
Usually my pout is here.
For this meeting
it's going to be here.
I've gotta bring my A game.
It's going to be a very
We've got a lot to discuss.
It's going to go on for over an hour
- which is longer than most
of my White House communication
chiefs, but there you go.
This will be the perfect
opportunity to invite
Kim Jong-un on a state
visit to America.
Come on the golf course,
let's have some fun.
I'll give you lots
of bowler hats that
you can throw at people,
just like the guy out of Goldfinger.
It's going to be so much fun.
There are bigly big differences
we've got to resolve.
Kim Jong-un wanted
to destroy America.
He's just jealous I got there first.
And thank you for
calling me a dotard.
I don't know what that is,
but if it's good, then I'm in.
Are we done?
Next on the failing BBC,
fake weather or the test card,