27/01/2017 The Week in Parliament

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BBC Parliament's programme looking back at the week in Westminster, presented by Kristiina Cooper.

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Hello and welcome to the Week In Parliament.


The Government loses the Brexit case in the Supreme Court, but seizes


I can confirm to the House that our plan will be set out in a White


Paper, published to this House. Ministers produce a Brexit Bill -


MPs complain about a lack I was astonished at the amount of


time it that the Leader of the House has given this Parliament to debate


it. And doubts over whether Theresa May


can stand up to Donald Trump. How confident is she getting a good


deal for global Britain from a president that wants to put America


first by American and build a wall between his country and Mexico?


It's been a particularly fast-moving week for Brexit.


On Tuesday, the Government lost a legal battle over who should


authorise starting the formal process for leaving


The Government argued that it could use the Royal Prerogative -


a power left over from the days of medieval monarchs.


But the Supreme Court thought otherwise.


The President - Lord Neuberger - said it was a task for Parliament.


Today, by a majority of eight and in the 23, the Supreme Court rules that


the Government cannot trigger Article 50 without a Parliament


motion of to do so. A few hours later,


the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU -


David Davis - promised to publish a Bill seeking Parliament's approval


for triggering Article 50. But some MPs wanted to be clear


about what they were voting for, and asked for a White Paper setting


out the Government's strategy. David Davis batted


away their demands. Will the secretary of state now


agreed to accept the unanimous recommendation of the Brexit Select


Committee, and, in the process, agree with himself, before he got


this job, and now publish a white paper on the Government's


objectives, so these can be considered alongside the legislation


he has just announced? I don't often dispute with myself,


but let me say this to the right honourable gentleman, the speech


given last week by the Prime Minister was the clearest exposition


of a negotiating strategy that I have seen in modern times. It laid


out very clearly what we judge the national interest to be, how we


intend to protect it, what we want to do, what we hope does not happen,


and how we're going to go about avoiding that too.


But on Wednesday, at Prime Minister's Questions,


there was a surprise change of heart.


Directly nice there is an appetite in this House to see that direction


set out in a White Paper. I can confirm to the House that our plan


will be set out in a White Paper published to this House.


This is how the SNP's Pete Wishart saw it.


What a week it's going to be. First there was good to be Nova, now's a


vote. Then there was no bill, neither is going to be a bill. We


should have cancer arm and said we should definitely be staying in the


European Union! -- canst our arm. The timetable was laid out by David


Davis. Presentation of Bill, Mr Secretary,


David Davis. Second reading, what day?


Tomorrow. CHEERING


Tomorrow. There's a


copy of the Bill, and to discuss what it means for parliaments, a


former clerk of the Commons who advised MPs on parliamentary


procedure. And a senior research from the Institute of the


Government. You've seen many bills come and go in your time as a clerk


in House of Commons, what you make of this one?


It's very short bill which the Government will want to get through


as quickly as possible. The opposition and very busy train


to find ways to amend this Bill. Could you just explain to us how


they're going to go about this? How easy it is it to get an amendment


discussed in the Commons? You can say we have an amendment to


negate the purpose of the Bill, that would be out of order. There are two


areas of amendment possible, one is to impose conditions before Article


50 is triggered. And the error when it is going to come into force. At


the moment, there is no commencement provision in the Bill. That means it


will come into force when it was said, but it will be properly


possible to put down amendment is to delay that. The big question is


then, what about selection of amendments? If this goes to the


committee of the whole House, it is the person was once both selecting


amendments is the Chairman of ways and Means. One area which is going


to be really interesting is those who would like to have a


post-negotiation referendum on the deal eventually being reached may do


that by amendment to this Bill. But it's such a narrow bill, it may be


decided that is outside the scope of the Bill.


This is not just about procedure for many MPs, this is about the


substance Brexit. We've been promised a White Paper, would you


think ought to be in that White Paper to satisfy MPs?


The purpose of the white papers should be to give MPs confidence to


start negotiations. That it has thought through those negotiating


principles and has not just, its own way. What we might see is an


evidence base, showing the Government weighed up the cost as


well as opportunities of its different negotiating opportunities.


For example, to read the customs union, has weighed up the costs and


benefits of that? Other things you might expect to see in that White


Paper and that MPs would want to see, I'd be an expiration of how


they will be able to scrutinise negotiations as they proceed. We


heard, for example, the Government wants MEPs and MPs to have the same


level of information about negotiations. We know that European


Parliament areas tend to get quite a high level of information, they


sometimes have access to private copies of provisional agreements or


private briefings with negotiators. Could that happen for MPs? Access to


private documents? There may be for example reading


rooms but an place in the Palace of Westminster to allow certain MPs to


draft agreement as they're being developed.


What is your assessment of how this will go in the Commons?


It will depend on the numbers. The Government will want to proceed


quickly. In the explanatory notes to this Bill, they said they are going


to past racket, that means, essentially, amendments can be


tabled before the second reading debate. Thereafter, it's hack a


matter of how quickly they want to push on with it. It may be sensible


to programme it quite generously. Timetabling in the Commons, but that


isn't in the Lords. A generous programme would allow a wide


expression of views. That would allow -- draw some of the difficulty


out of the Commons. You are a member of the House of


Lords, there is no time limit, they can talk about any amendment as long


as they like. Giving the Government will have more difficulty in the


House of Lords? It may be that the Government has to


work harder presenting its case, because as in Iran of occasions of


this, even though the Bill is so short. -- the ramifications of this.


It is interesting how many members said the Lords must not be silly


about this, because the Commons is the elected House. The Lords can ask


the Commons to think again, but it would be difficult after a lengthy


consideration in the Commons to identify areas where it would be


reasonable to ask the Commons to think again.


So you believe the Lords will not be silly?


I very much hope they will not be. It has been said this is a great


opportunity for parliaments? It is heartening to see that


Parliament will be involved in the very beginning, but also have a vote


at the end. The other thing to say about Parliament is it's not just an


opportunity for MPs to have their voices heard, it's chance were lots


of other external voices, whether the public, third sector,


businesses, to use Parliament as a channel to have their voices heard


in the negotiations. Oregon to see God in years


Parliament now? I agree I agree with everything


Robyn said, but it hangs on uncertainty.


If things are being decided in the two Chambers, and you can't predict


what happening, and people will not be able to relate what is happening


over the next two years. If Parliament can position itself that


it is taking a central part and that process, it will be a very good time


for Parliament. Thank you very much.


The Government has announced the timetable


There'll be two days for the second reading and three days


for detailed scrutiny - called the committee stage -


Some Labour MPs don't think that's enough.


I was astonished at the amount of time that the Leader of the House


has given this Parliament to get debate it. And he is being very coy


about whether the White Paper will be published before the committee


stage of the Bill. Can he give us more time and tell us whether he's


going to publish the Bill before next week?


I think, if you consider that this is a two-clause bill, in which the


second clause is only dealing with the extent of the Bill to the United


Kingdom, there is by the time, including two full days at second


reading for all opinions to be fully expressed.


As we discussed earlier, the Government could find things


rather more challenging in the House of Lords.


We will, therefore, be seeking to amend the Bill to provide for a


referendum to be held under times of which the Government has been able


to negotiate. The Government may have a mandate to start Brexit


negotiations, it certainly does not have a mandate to impose harsh


Brexit turns on the country. Does my noble friend except that if


Parliament accepted the advice and treated the referendum as advisory


and decided this country should not leave the EU, they would be no


option for those of us who were in the majority and voted to leave


Road, other than to take to the streets and start breaking things?


All I can say is that I very much hope this does not happen. I thank


the Lordships for the constructive positions are to be made through


this process that we will avoid that.


The Prime Minister Theresa May is one of the first foreign leaders


In a speech during her trip to the United States,


she said the UK and US could not return to what she called "failed"


military interventions, "to remake the world in our own image".


not "stand idly by when the threat is real".


Donald Trump has made a series of controversial policy statements


during his first week as President, including saying that waterboarding


- a form of torture - "absolutely works".


Before her visit, Theresa May insisted that she, too,


pleased that I am able to meet President can't so early in his


Administration. That is a sign of the strength of the relationship


between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. --


President Trump. A special relationship on which he and I


intend to build. And I also say to the Leader of the Opposition, I am


not afraid to use the frankly to a president of the United States. I am


able to do that because we have that special relationship. A special


relationship that he would never have with the United States. Mr


Speaker, we would never allow Britain to be sold on the cheap. How


confident is she getting a good deal for global Britain from a president


who wants put America first, by American and built a wall between


his country and Mexico? -- buy. The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson


was also quizzed - by a Lords Committee -


on the UK's relationship Boris Johnson chose


his words carefully. Do you think it's acceptable on the


international relations shared by the UK and United States to have a


ban on refugees from certain Middle East countries? I don't want to


disappoint the committee by retreating too much into this


formula, but we haven't yet seen the legislation brought forward. Rather


than get into some sort of hypothetical dispute, let's see


exactly what the proposals are. President Trump has been very clear


that he wants to eliminate radical Islamic militancy from the face of


the air and he has been Claire that he is prepared to have a new


approach to vote or dot-mac prioritise the defeat of Isis, would


you support a change of US- UK direction in that... To support


those goals, possibly even joining forces militarily with Russia to do


so? -- clear. We are already engaged in attacking Daesh in Iraq. We


already know of what is sought, we are Are you prepared to see the


lines of forces, including Russia, attack Daesh? To switch sides, to


come in on the side of Assad and the Russians and would be seen as, I


think, a great betrayal of the people of Syria who have opposed


Assad and it would be seen as a betrayal of the moderately armed


opposition that we have supported and it would be a... It would have


grave repercussions in the area. This week sees the centenary


of a report which helped pave At a Speaker's Conference in 1917,


the issue was debated and resolutions were sent


to the Prime Minister Lloyd George. As an exhibition in Parliament


reveals, the key vote Britain during the First World War.


With men sent to the front, women do the jobs they left behind. An


excavation in Parliament shows how, as the war dragged on, the


contribution shared MPs and peers to electoral reform. -- and exhibition.


Of course, here were men in the middle of the war fighting and dying


all over the world and it was politically acceptable to have a


next general election on the basis that member there. They had to give


the vote to more men and because women had been paying a great part


in the war effort, they had to discuss whether to get the better do


some women as well. MPs and pears debated the issue in January 1917 in


a conference. It was Andy Dickinson who came up with this, as is grand


daughter recalls. -- peers. The final one, as you can see that this


is where he made his proposition that women of a certain age, which


was 30, good get it. It only won by nine votes to eight. This accent


into giving the vote to women with a property obligation. Having more


women in Parliament, because in a very good at it in the country, and


particularly bad in the Conservative Party. It's wonderful for this


extraordinary heritage verity my grandmother and her father, Sir


Willoughby. And you can see more


of the Vote 100 exhibition Now for a quick round-up of a few


other stories in Westminster. There was an unusual moment


at the Brexit committee after the Chief Minister


of Gibraltar made some impassioned remarks about the historic links


between the people of Gibraltar We are born British. That rock is


red white and blue for us. There is nothing that we have nine. -- red,


white and blue. The make-up of my understanding of the world is


British. How can I suddenly now do something else? I can seek fluent


conversational Spanish but not professional or political Spanish


anyway I'm might be expected to, should I had to navigate the waters


of the Spanish system. You'll get the Spanish system today, it doesn't


have much to commend it to the people of the world. We criticise


ourselves in the British system so constantly and constructively that


we it stronger. Maxi system we believe in. That's the role of water


we believe in. -- rule of seven law. -- law. My blood is red, but I read,


white and blue inside out and so is that rock. We will never exchange




That was a most passionate argument. Gordon Brown - the former


Prime Minister - was back in Parliament to talk


about his role as the UN's global I was in a village just outside


Dubois and there was this project, the Bangladesh group who do the


smallpox as schools. There are places in that school for only about


20 kids and I remember being in that. -- small huts. In there, there


were 100 kids who could get the education they wanted. One mother


said she had to choose between twins, both eight years old, which


one went to school. And the Wales Bill came to the end


of a rather turbulent The former Welsh Secretary,


the Conservative Stephen Crabb, was a driving force


behind the legislation. The ritual objectives, Madam Deputy


Speaker, that we sought to set out right at the start have not changed.


What we wanted to do was create a stronger devolution settlement for


Wales. A clearer devolution settlement to end the constant


arguing that resulted in the UK governments and Welsh gelding and


trotting off to the Supreme Court to argue about which administration is


responsible for what aspect of policy. It is ridiculous.


But he didn't think it was the end of the book - as he put it -


But I think that we do need a prolonged periods now where the


Welsh Government actually learns to really deploy its powers and used


its competence in a way that benefits the people of Wales.


At the start of the week, the Defence Secretary Sir Michael


Fallon was summoned to the Commons to answer questions about newspaper


reports of an unarmed Trident missile going off-course


Sir Michael refused to give much away.


In June last year, the Royal Navy conducted a demonstration and


shakedown operation designed to certify eight M S Vengeance and her


crew prior to their return to operation. -- HMS Vengeance. This


included a Trident missile test launch. Prior to this, HMS Vengeance


and her crew were successfully tested and certified as ready to


rejoin the operational cycle. We do not comment on the detail of a


submarine operations. The Secretary of State has advised us not to


believe everything we read any Sunday newspapers but should be


believe the White house official who, while we've been sitting here


debating, has confirmed to CNN that the missile did or to self-destruct


off the coast of Florida? If that is the case, why is the British


Parliament and British public the last people to know -- auto


self-destruct. We do not in this house, nor has any previous comment,


given any operational details of the demonstration and shakedown


operation of one of our sub dreams, conducting a test with one of our


Trident missiles. The Defence Committee took up


the issue, inviting Lord West - who was once head of the navy -


to give evidence. He briefed MPs about nuclear missile


tests and said finding out the details was easy -


if you knew who to ask. First of all, we have two in falls


all the aviators, aviator lines got across the Atlantic. -- in form.


Also, whether it's an American firing or not, we won't rush so they


don't think we are starting will walk free. We are very aware this


all happen. We don't even know which date the guests to place on, but I


have heard a suggestion that it was on the 20th of June. Are you in a


position...? I absolutely don't know. I don't know the date and I


don't know why, I can see no reason whatsoever... I can tell you, I


could phone up Mr Putin because I did him a favour, rescuing some sub


Mariners when they were drowning, and he could tell me. He would


certainly know the date. Now let's take a look at what's been


happening in the wider world Ed Miliband begs the time at Prime


Minister's Questions since he was at the dispatch box and MPs were more


than happy to welcome him back. It brings back memories, actually. What


do you give the man who has everything? A traditional Scottish


ornament was given to President Trump by Theresa May. Make dumb


Michael Gove got a vote of confidence when discussing the arts


and downs of political life. -- Michael Gove. Speaker John doco was


the victim of a Mike gaffe when he offered advice to Michael Fallon on


how to deal with the legionnaires. -- Bercow. And old habits die hard,


as this baroness found herself using an old technique to calm the


chamber. Order! We end with some worries


about housekeeping. There are a host of problems


with the Palace of Westminster. The plumbing fails regularly


and the electrical system is faulty, And, there's a lot of asbestos


that needs removing. There are strongly-held views


on whether MPs should move out or stay while the work


is carried out. Labour's Chris Bryant says


the best - and cheapest - Our predecessors got it it is the


wrong 19th-century. They get underlain necessary work. At


delaying. That meant the fire in 1834 was not only possible but


inevitable. Think even the chapel and the most set of beautiful


medieval buildings renewal, they were then sends insisting on staying


on-site in early new building was built around them and chronically


complained about the noise and the design. The result was more long


delays and a massive budget overrun. But a Conservative is on the


ringside. As during the Second World War, the House of Commons debating


chamber shoots at all sides be maintained in the Palace of


Westminster. It is known that this was alluded to by Jennifer Ronda.


There is an alternative expert review. Instead of building what I


believe to be a fully costing ?85 million of a replica Chamberlain in


the courtyard of which would house, that we should use the House of


Lords chamber. -- chamber. What the two MPs do agree on,


though, is that Parliament needs to make a decision


as soon as possible. But the Government hasn't set a date


for debating an issue that's almost as controversial


as whether to And that's it from me for now,


but do join Joanna Shinn on Monday night at 11 for another round up


of the day at Westminster. But for now, from me,


Kristiina Cooper, goodbye.