BBC Parliament's programme looking back at the week in Westminster presented by Alicia McCarthy.
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Hello and Welcome to the Week In Parliament.
Coming up, after the Prime Minister's big Brexit speech
the Labour leader challenges Theresa May on her EU exit plan.
Can I urge her to stop her threat of a bargain basement Brexit. I
consider the issue, I set out my plan and I stick to it. It's called
leadership. He should try it some time.
With the Supreme Court due to rule on whether MPs and Peers should
have a say in triggering our formal exit from the EU, we talk
to a Brexiteer and a Remainer about Parliament and Brexit laws.
And, there's no decision yet on whether to move everyone out
of the Palace of Westminster which needs essential repairs.
The Chairman of the Treasury Committee tells us why he's decided
The big question is whether we need to spend ?3.5 to ?4 billion and
pretty quickly. But first, there'd been mutterings
in the Commons on Tuesday after Theresa May decided
to make her big Brexit speech not in the Chamber
but to an outside audience. So Prime Minister's Questions
was the first chance for MPs to grille her directly
on her 12-point plan. In her speech, Theresa May made
clear that the UK would not stay in the single market,
that MPs and peers would get a vote on the final exit deal and insisted
no deal was better than a bad The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
began with a swipe at the Prime Minister for not setting
out her plans in Parliament. Restoring Parliamentary democracy
whilst sidelining Parliament. Not so... Mr Speaker, it's not so much
the Iron Lady as the irony lady. Yesterday, Mr Speaker, the Prime
Minister finally provided some detail. Request I urge her -- can I
urge her to stop her threat of a bargain basement Brexit. Low pay tax
hive none Europe won't necessarily damage the EU but it will certainly
damage this country. Businesses, jobs and public service. She demeans
herself and her office and our country's standing by making these
kind of threats. Well, I set out yesterday a plan for
a global Britain, bringing prosperity to this country and jobs
to people and spreading economic growth across the country. But
actually yesterday, we also learnt a little more of the Right Honourable
gentleman's thinking on this issue. What he said was the following: She
has said that leave the single market, then at same time says she
wants to have access to the single market. I'm not quite sure how
that's going to go down in Europe. I think we have to have a deal that
ensures we have access to the market.
I've got a plan. He doesn't have a clue.
Jeremy Corbyn said Theresa May had talked about the pressure migration
put on public services but tens of thousands of EU citizens worked
Instead of threatening to turn Britain into an off shore tax haven,
let's look after those who fund our Public Services properly so that we
do have the fully functioning NHS that we all need and deserve.
Theresa May accepted, said there were difference
between her approach and Jeremy Corbyn's.
I set out my plan and stuck to it. It's called leadership. He should
try it some time. at Westminster, Angus Robertson,
said Theresa May's plans for leaving the European Union would lead
to job losses in Scotland. The forecast for people's income is
that it's likely to drop by ?2,000 and that... Mr Speaker, that 80,000
people may lose their jobs in Scotland as a result of the hard
Tory Brexit plan off the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister
believe that this is a price worth paying for her Little Britain
Brexit? The Right Honourable gentleman, once
again, talks about the possibility of negative impacts on Scotland if
Scotland were not part of the single market. His party is dedicated to
taking Scotland out of the single market by taking it out of the
United Kingdom. It was quite clear from the Prime Minister's speech
yesterday that she seeks to build a Brexit consensus and to bring our
country back together and I thank her for that. To that end and indeed
to strengthen the Prime Minister's negotiating hand before article 50
is triggered, would she please consider at least publishing all
those 12 objectives in a White Paper so that we can debate them here in
this place behalf of all our constituents?
Well, my right honourable friend is right, I absolutely understand the
point that she raised about Parliament's desire to be able to
debate the objectives which I set out very clearly in the plan that I
set out yesterday. One of the objectives, one of the principles I
set was about certainty and clarity and it continues to be the
Government's intention that we will provide clarity whenever it's
possible and we will ensure that at appropriate times, both the public
and Parliament are kept informed and are able to consider and properly
scrutinise the issues. Theresa May and Anna Soubry
on Parliament and Brexit. And the role of MPs and Peers
will be in the spotlight The Supreme Court is due to rule
on Tuesday on whether or not the Government will have to put
a Bill through Parliament triggering Article 50,
beginning the formal start While in the spring ministers
are due to put forward the Great Repeal Bill incorporating
EU laws into UK legislation. In both cases there have already
been suggestions that peers, particularly the pro-EU Lib Dems
could seek to put down amendments making the whole complicated process
that bit more tricky. So to discuss what MPs and Peers
could and should be doing I spoke to Conservative MP Sir Bill Cash
and Lib Dem former MEP I began by asking her if Peers
were going to cause trouble I wouldn't call it trouble if the
Lords does its proper job of scrutinising legislation. After all
if take back control, it meant Parliamentary sovereignty. This is
triggering Brexit so how can you object? I think it's perfectly
within her view of the Lord's to scrutinise very carefully what the
Government's plans and negotiating objectives are and the Prime
Minister spelled out 12 points, and to put them through the normal kind
of scrutiny. If it's a Bill, legislation, then we have every
right to pin the Government down on what exactly its plans are. Sir Bill
cache, any article 50 Bill, let's call it that, will have to go
through the Commons too. What do you think will happen there -- Sir Bill
Cash? The indications are clear what the Commons will put it through. No
doubt about that. We have had lots of indications from the Labour Party
and other Members of Parliament on the other side of the House. I think
it will go through the House of Commons. As to the House of Lords, I
think it's, as you indicated at the beginning, pretty inKong ruous and
pretty disgraceful I would say, so suggest that when you have a
sovereign Act of Parliament that's decided on the referendum itself, an
Act of Parliament passed by 6-1 in the House of Commons and passed by
the House of Lords to have a referendum on simple questions you
want to remain in or leave and then to start quibbling about the manner
in which that would be done, subject only to the question of whether the
Supreme Court actually makes a decision, which in itself is not -
because we already had a vote on article 50 - is not going to alter
the voting in the House of Commons which is the elected chamber. Let's
assume the article 50 Bill goes through. The next thing we'll
probably get would be the great repeal act as it's being called, due
to come up in the Queen's speech. There are suggestions that the
Lord's might try to block this too because this would be the
legislation that puts all EU laws into our laws so it can be amended?
The Lord's has traditionally objected to Henry VIII classes
whereby the Government aboutry Kates to itself a great deal of the
decision-making. I mean, it's going to be the most enormous exercise,
but again, the Lords will be subjecting it to close analysis and
not just writing blank cheques to the Government. Bill Cash, doesn't
Sarah have a basic point here, the Government's going to have to change
a lot of rules and regulations that will be done by ministers, secondary
legislation - isn't that giving the Government an awful lot of power,
isn't she right that the Lord's should scrutinise it? I drafted the
Repeal Bill in May because I had a feeling we were going to get the
right result and I drafted it based on five principles which were that
we'd withdraw, repeal the European communities act, transpose the
legislation now in Europe into UK Westminster jurisdiction so that it
would be UK law and that we would effectively deal with the treaties
at the same time. Now, the bottom line is, that will be redrafted, I'm
sure, by Parliamentary council, so the question of the scope of the
Bill is something which also applies to the article 50 Bill. I think it
will be drafted too tightly because the principle has been established
by the outcome of the referendum which is terribly simple which is,
do you want to remain in or do you want to leave. Sarah, you've
obviously got reservations, you have got things about this you want to
change but many watching will say look, the majority of the British
public voted for Brexit and with the best will in the world, nobody voted
for you? That is absolutely right. We are very conscious of the
conventions and the constraints on the role of the Lord's and of
course, the main constitutional role is for the House of Commons which is
why we are saying, the ultimate sovereignty lies with the people.
They must decide whether they accept the outcome of these negotiations or
whether they want to choose to remain in the EU. The answer is
implicit in what Sarah's just said. The answer lies in the decision of
the referendum, do you want to remain in or to leave. That was the
sovereign decision of the people, that's what we stick to as the
direction, as the remainers themselves have accepted, let alone
respected, that this is the outcome and that has to be implemented, it
will be implemented and it's been agreed there will be a final vote in
the House of Commons and in the House of Lords on the outcome of the
treaty. The bottom line is that therefore the discussions that take
place which she's asking for will take place, but at the same time,
the outcome of that will be put to a vote in Parliament and so you get
both. You get the sovereign decision of the people in the referendum
which has taken place and the vote of Parliament at the end. I don't
think any reasonable democratic person could argue otherwise but
then, if I may say with respect, Sarah, as you were just asked, you
are not exactly in the best position, you got 110 appointed
peers in the House of Lords following your line. You have over
more, double that. And keep appointing many more, your party.
With which is the problem. The real... No, you have to let Bill
Cash finish. The will of the people, as expressed in the referendum
itself demonstrates point one and point two, that that referendum
itself, a sovereign act was passed by 6-1 of the House of Commons who
are elected. That is the bottom line and I don't think it's up to the
House of Lords or indeed for that small part of the unelected body
which represents the Liberal Democrats to stand in the way of the
will of the British people. We can talk about this a lot longer
but we're out of time. Sarah Ludford and back -- Bill Cash, thank you.
Now, let's take a look at some more news from around
A bill which aims to speed up house building in England
with neighbourhood plans received a mixed welcome in
Many peers liked the idea of consultation with local
people about how best to develop their area.
But others warned of a top down system.
The minister said home ownership was becoming harder.
Millions of young people live with their parents until in their 30s or
struggling to save for a deposit while they rent. Too many cannot
afford a roof over their head at all. This is a profound social
failure. In spite of the general consensus about the urgent need for
new homes, there is always that tendency within every group, even
MPs in the debates, to say yes but. We must make an exception for this
valley, this village, etc. I do hope we don't have an outbreak of yes but
and I hope that every amendment will be looked at in terms of Will this
reduce or increase the number of homes available to the younger
today. The Northern Ireland Secretary James
Brokenshire says he hopes campaigning for Assembly elections
does not "exacerbate Northern Ireland is going
to the polls on March the second following the collapse
of the Executive in Belfast. The Deputy First Minister
Martin McGuinness resigned - in protest at the handling
of a renewable energy scheme. His decision meant
the First Minister - the Democratic Unionists Arlene
Foster - was also out of a job - bringing the Northern Ireland
Executive to a halt. This election is about the future of
Northern Ireland and its political institutions. Not just the assembly
but all the arrangements that have been put in place to reflect
relationships through these islands. That is why it will be vital that
the campaign to be conducted respectfully and in ways that do not
simply exacerbate tensions and division.
Around eight million tonnes of food is wasted each year in the UK.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
is investigating and heard from the big supermarkets.
A Conservative questioned the policy on selling misshapen fruit and veg.
I just wondered why you bought these vegetables were less than perfect.
They are perfect, they are just a different shape. I wonder if you are
contributing to the problem as referring them to buy products,
wouldn't it be better to sell them as they are? Why don't you do that?
I think it helps our customers to work out what they are buying
in-store. Soap for example, if you were to buy onions from our wonky
range, they may be more dirty, the sizes may be different. If the
customer isn't aware they are buying something different from what they
ordinarily would buy, typically they will come back and question what we
are selling them. What we are trying to do is speak clear about what it
is they buying and providing the choice.
MPs have been told that staffing is the biggest problem facing
The Health Committee heard that enough midwives
are being trained but they are not necessarily being employed.
The committee's hearing followed a report from
the National Childbirth Trust which blamed a shortage of midwives
for women feeling like they had been treated "like cattle".
The number has been granted of 2600 of the gap, if that figure you
would... Our current figure is we are 3500 full-time with white short.
There are various issues. We are seeing a rapidly increasing number
of midwives retiring from the service so the number of midwives
now over 50 is very significant so there is a need to replace, as
midwives to leave and the number going out is now pretty much
equating to the number coming in so you are getting flat-lining of the
workforce. As Donald Trump prepared to take
over as US President, a Conservative peer lambasted his predecessor
Barack Obama as "the most "useless American
president in my lifetime". Lord Blencathra was taking part
in a debate on the rise of populism He made clear he'd be pleased to see
the end of the Obama era. Tomorrow we will be rid of the most
useless American president I have ever seen in my entire lifetime
whose only legacy is rhetoric. He has withdrawn America from the world
stage and left a disastrous back Hume which has been filled by Putin
and China. -- he laid down laws in Syria did nothing to enforce them
they were reached. She turned up line guide to Russian hacking for
seven years and nine months but suddenly became conservator when
Hillary lost the election. But never mind, he has his face in history,
the next time I visit the US, I will be able to use transgender toilets.
His world view was challenged by a former Liberal Democrat leader
who argued it was time for politicians to abandon
Spare a thought for the lost tribes of Labour and the Tory party. What
you do these days if you are part of that great Tory tradition of
internationalism and now find yourself in a party that has
completely abandoned it? What do you do if you are a Labour member of
Parliament who believes in the free market not as our master but as our
servant and finds your party has expository reject it? It is
extraordinary how much politics has spun away to the extreme and this is
the time for us to get out of our tribes and start working together to
ensure we can help build that moderate, liberal consensus in which
I believe the only chance lies for altering the very dangerous
trajectory of our country. Back in the Commons, an MP raised
concerns about human rights abuses in Myanmar,
also known as Burma. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims
are said to have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh
amid allegations that the Burmese army has carried out
human rights abuses. Troops took control of the region
after armed men raided police posts, It is very difficult to get accurate
information. In order to get to the truth, when he called for full
access to independent observers and journalists to bilges and
displacement camps -- villages? Can I just say that UN led commission
can be established in one of three ways, either by the Security
Council, the human rights Council of the Secretary General. It would
require broad international support which does not exist right now. The
Minister Rather sidestepped the question of action in the UN by
saying that the government opinion wasn't sufficiently consensus at the
present time. Will the government commit to trying to build that
consensus as opposed to remarking that it doesn't exist? Will the
Minister may clear to the Birmingham property is that there are welcome
re-entry into the international community will not be helped if they
failed to protect minorities and particularly the Rohingya community
rushed and Mark Hunt was up being attacked, many are being murdered.
Many been sold into slavery with the complicity of Burmese authorities.
The very authority of which treat the Rohingya as a non-people. And my
honourable friend the Minister has avoided the challenge that it is not
sufficient for the government to cooperate. The government needs to
lead UN support, if these reports are true. Since the security forces
start of the campaign in October, it has been estimated that around
65,000 Rohingya Muslims have Fred come three, according to reports,
and ready groups have been subject to our son, rape, and murder at the
hands of the military. Such allegations are incredibly serious
and for that reason I asked the Minister for the fourth time if he
will continue to call for the establishment of an independent
investigation into these claims. The minister said there
were a number of avenues the Government could pursue and that
included continued work with the UN Now what's been happening
in the wider world With our countdown
here's Simon Vaughan. A good week for Brexit secretary
David Davis. He has revealed he made ?1000 eating on the results of the
EU referendum. Government and opposition whips work-out on
Wednesday, they swapped their House for this House, a play set in the
1970s and posed for photos with the cast.
The House of Lords plans to reupholster the arms of the state in
the next financial year. Big speeches on Brexit from Theresa
May and she has found time to pose for US Vogue.
And, finally, sport. The Speaker interrupted Scottish questions on
Wednesday to update MPs on the tense.
I'm pleased to inform the House I have been informed the House that
Andy Murray has won his second match in Melbourne.
It's one of the most iconic buildings in the world -
but the Palace of Westminster is in need of urgent repairs.
It's not clear yet whether MPs and peers might have to move out
while the work takes place - a vote on that is expected
But the estimated repair bill is substantial.
The Treasury Select Committee is investigating
The Palace of Westminster is in a pure state of repair and certainly a
lot of money will have to be spent to sort it out. The big Western is
whether we need to spend 3.5 to four alien pounds and pretty quickly. So,
both, how long it takes and the amount will need to be carefully
examined. The public will want to be confident that everybody has looked
at this and has made sure all this spending needs to be undertaken and
undertaken now, and that is what the Treasury committee will look at. It
will look at the report produced by Deloittes on which both houses of
the committee came to its comp allusions.
And that's it from me for now, but do join Joanna Shin on Monday
night at 11pm for another round up of the best of the day
But for now, from me, Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.