08/09/2017 The Week in Parliament

Download Subtitles




BBC Parliament's programme looking back at the week in Westminster presented by Alicia McCarthy.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 08/09/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Hello and welcome to the Week In Parliament.


MPs return to Westminster after their summer break and begin


debating a bill transferring EU laws into UK legislation.


The Brexit Secretary says it's vital for an orderly Brexit,


but Labour accuses the government of a power grab.


Let me be clear, this bill does only what is necessary for a smooth exit


and... The combined effect of the provisions of this bill would reduce


MPs to the position of spectators as power pours into the hands of the


vicarage. -- of the executive. Jeremy Corbyn calls for an end


to the pay cap for nurses - the Prime Minister reckons


he's being profligate... As a result of the decisions taken


by Labour, we have to spend more on debt interest than on NHS pay.


And a Labour peer tries again to end hereditary


We had a by-election last year where there was an electorate of three and


there were seven candidates. It was no surprise that the first


week back after the summer break Talks on the terms of the UK leaving


the EU had continued over the summer, with both sides


expressing frustration over In the Commons, David Davis provoked


laughter in the chamber on Monday when he told MPs that no-one had


ever said the negotiations While on Wednesday,


at Prime Minister's Questions, a Conservative MP tackled


Theresa May over the powers contained in the EU Withdrawal bill,


which MPs were due to begin debating The Bill repeals the European


Communities Act of 1972 and also transfers EU laws


into UK legislation. Whilst some rules and regulations


will simply transfer across, many will have to be changed


so that they remain However, many MPs are concerned


that the Withdrawal Bill gives ministers the ability to make


sweeping use of powers, known as Henry VII powers,


to change legislation without full Could my right honourable friend


assure me that she will look in particular at those amendments which


seek to change the EU withdrawal bill so it does not become an


unprecedented and unnecessary government power grab? Minister. I'm


grateful for my right honourable friend for raising this is you and I


know that like me, she wants an orderly exit from the European Union


and will be supporting this bill which enables us not just to leave


the EU but you do so in an orderly manner with a functioning statute


book. We will require certain powers to make corrections to the statute


book after the bill becomes law, because negotiations are ongoing. We


will do them via secondary legislation which will receive


parliamentary scrutiny. An approach that has been endorsed by the House


of Lords Constitution committee. Well, the next day that committee


released an updated report which was rather less helpful


to the government, and we'll be hearing from two of its members


later in the programme. When the first day of debate began


on Thursday, the Brexit Secretary sought to reassure MPs


about its aims. Put simply, this bill is an


essential step. Whilst it does not take us out of the European Union,


it does ensure that on the day we leave, businesses know where they


stand. Workers' rights are held and consumers remain protected. This


bill is essential to ensure that when really, we do so in an orderly


manner. This bill does only what is this is


very for a smooth exit and to provide stability. That we are


leaving is settled. How we are leaving is not. This bill encourages


us to surrender all power and influence to the government and


ministers. That would betray everything we were sent here to do.


We have got to make sure that on the day of exit, the statute book works.


The only way we can achieve it in the timescale with which we are


constrained and which are set out in Article 50, is to have a flexible,


pragmatic system such as the system laid out in the draft Bill. If you


look at the amendments put forward, the very powerful reasons that MPs


from different parties have come up with for rejecting this bill, that


shows there is something seriously and fundamentally flawed in the bill


and it cannot be allowed to go forward in its present form. If that


gives a problem for government timetable is, tough. We do not need


to legislate in this fashion to carry out the technical task of


leaving the EU. I remain bemused as to why the legislation has been


drafted in this form. Parliament has a job to hold the government to


account and this bill as drafted stocks are standing up for democracy


in this House and stops us making sure the government doesn't screw up


Brexit in the process as it takes through and its decisions. This bill


was always going to be a sows ear because the government started the


negotiation without clear objectives or outcomes. Therefore the bill had


to take into account any scenario, Deal or no Deal. The government


claimed the bill will restore some of the two Parliament and secure


certainty post Brexit. That is not the case. It transfers huge powers


to ministers, not members of this House over matters that are vital to


this House. Like maternity and paternity leave, holidays, and all


sorts of other issues. I think the bill could increase uncertainty,


including the likelihood of judicial review because the powers in the


bill also broadly drawn. You can love Parliament and wanted jealously


guard its rights and privileges, but still show pragmatism in the


national interest when the times demand it. Because that is politics,


that is the job we are sent to hear -- here to do. That is poetry and


pragmatism. MPs will conclude that debate


and hold their first votes on the bill at around


midnight on Monday. Well, to discuss all that


I was joined a little earlier by the Conservative peer and member


of the Lords constitution Ann Taylor - now Lady Taylor,


who was a Labour whip during her party's turbulent time


in office in the late '70s. She's also now chair of that


constitution committee which released its latest report


on the EU Withdrawal And Pete Wishart,


the SNP's spokesman I began by asking him, given


that the UK was leaving the EU - My view is that there functionality


of the repeal bill, the way it applies across the nations of the


United Kingdom, suggest this is not the means to deliver it. I have just


come from the debate and my sense is that some of the themes of the bill


are starting to be set, a sense from the back bench of the Conservative


Party and the front bench of the labour and two others of us, there


could be progress made on all this. With respect, you haven't answered


my question, what would you do differently? The key debate is going


to come around the Henry VII powers. To give his government all these


powers when it comes to legislation. And I think it was a means to deal


with all of these big powers. And less unpalatable of that. Even if


the SNP had a bill that dealt with the worst aspects of the Henry VIII


powers, I was still be troubled. The idea from us that it is a power


grab. Let's pick up on this power grab. It's a real concern. The


committee described it as breathtaking in its scope and


potential. Doesn't the government have to this? It is not challenging


the principle of the bill, if you have withdrawal, you have to get the


mechanisms and right. We are focusing on what is the mechanism,


and the government has introduced into the bill some provisions which


are moving in the right direction but there is still an awful long way


to go to ensure the relationship between Parliament and the executive


is right and enabling Parliament to be involved in scrutiny and approval


of the measures. The way it is done at the moment, it is complex and


confers on ministers exceptional powers. Ann Taylor, whether you like


it or not, Henry VIII powers are perfect the legitimate, they are


used all the time? There has been an increase in the use of Henry VIII


powers and we have been experts in concern about that. This is on a


totally different level. Call 17 more less says that government


ministers can make themselves any act of Parliament that Parliament


would normally make. This is giving totally different powers. Let's put


your whip's hat on. If you were in the government whips' office and you


were facing no majority at all in the Commons, what would you be


doing? How would you be trying to keep your team onside? Is not just


your team, is the whole of Parliament. If you alienate


Parliament, you will run into more and more difficulty. What we have


done on the House of Lords Constitution committee its router


provides mechanisms which would help Parliament to deal with a situation


which could end up as a crisis if we are not careful. We have said that


with the Henry VIII powers and the delegated legislation, every measure


that the government rings forward should have a certificate saying


whether it is any change to current law. And if it is, we should have


special measures to give it more scrutiny than if it is just a


straightforward transition. That is a very simple thing but we have to


make sure that Parliament has the power and committee and


parliamentary time to deal with this. The key thing about this is


that we normally have eight days in the -- we only have eight days...


But the government's counterargument is that this is technical. Treated


like Maastricht were changing the law. This is changing the whole of


UK law. Disentangling us from an institution. Pretending that you can


do this in a days when there will be thousands of is nonsense. But the


clock is ticking. Maastricht took many days. To have eight days for


just -- is just bizarre. If the government suffered defeats in the


Commons and Lords, how serious is that? Is that something that will be


the end of the government? Because it's not an issue of a policy, it's


a principle and people have voted in a referendum. The task of both


houses is to improve the bill. There are two elements to it. One is to


ensure that there is proper Parliamentary scrutiny of the


process and the other is certainty in law once it is enacted. We have


to get the bill right, and the government doesn't accept it, it is


defeated. I don't see a problem with that and the government should be


looking to itself to ensure the outcome is a bill that actually


achieves those objectives. I am sure this is something we will return to.


Where will see what happens on Monday. But for the moment, thank


you very much for coming into the programme.


And if you'd like to see a longer version of that interview it's


available on our website, bbc.co.uk/parliaments.


Now let's go back to Wednesday and Prime Minister's Questions.


Jeremy Corbyn used the first session since the summer break


With nurses protesting outside, he stepped


up his calls for an end to the public sector pay cap.


Today, thousands of nursing and other health care staff are outside


Parliament. They are demanding that this government scrapped the 1% pay


cap. Wolpe means experienced staff are leaving and fewer people are


training to become nurses. There is already a shortage of 40,000 nurses


across the UK. Will the Prime Minister see sense and any public


sector pay cap and ensure our NHS staff are properly paid.


Theresa May said pay guidelines would be published later in the year


but it was balance between those being paid


He asks consistently for money to be spent. He can do that in opposition


because he knows he doesn't have to pay for it. The problem with Labour


is that they do it in government as well. As a result of the decisions


Labour Party took in government, we now have to pay more on debt


interest than on NHS pay. That is the result of Labour!


The SNP's Westminster leader turned to a leaked document suggesting


the Government would take a much tougher line on EU


Does the Prime Minister agree with me that immigration is essential to


the strength of the UK as well as enhancing our cultural and diversity


fabric. As I have said many times before, immigration has been good


for the UK. But what people want to see is control of that immigration.


Meanwhile, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has


outlined her programme for Government - pledging to scrap


the 1% cap on public sector pay rises.


Our Scotland political correspondent, Glenn


Having lost seats in the UK general election, this was a chance for


Nicola Sturgeon to refresh, if not we launch, the SNP government.


Independents got just one mention. Instead the blizzard of


announcements on devolved topics. Education, she said, was her top


priority with school reform and more power for head teachers. On just she


wants to do away with short jail terms of less than one year in most


cases. On the environment she wants to end the sale of petrol and diesel


cars in Scotland by 2032, eight years ahead of the UK. The First


Minister also proposes to lift the 1% cap on public sector pay rises,


prompting some to speculate she might be prepared to raise income


tax to pay for it. She has committed to a fuller debate on that topic. In


order to get anything done as leader of a minority government the First


Minister has been careful to choose a programme that will avoid uniting


all the opposition against her. Now let's take a look


at some other news Boris Johnson updated MPs


on North Korea's missile tests. The country has fired a missile over


Japan and claims to have Boris Johnson set out


the gravity of the situation The House must be under no illusion


that this is another advance in North Korea's clear ambitions. In a


country blighted by economic failure where hundreds of thousands people


died of starvation or reduced to eating grass and leaves to survive,


the regime has squandered its resources on building an illegal


armoury of nuclear bombs. The house will wish to join me in condemning a


nuclear test that poses a grave threat to the security of every


country in East Asia and the wider world.


The British Government has promised urgent assistance to territories


and Commonwealth countries hit by Hurricane Irma.


Believed to be one of the most powerful storms on record, it's


Among the islands - hit by winds of more than 180mph -


were British overseas territories and members of the Commonwealth,


including Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands.


The United Nations says the number of Rohingya refugees


crossing from Myanmar - also known as Burma -


into Bangladesh has surged in recent days.


The Rohingya are a stateless, mostly Muslim, ethnic


minority who have faced persecution in Myanmar.


More than 123,000 are now said to have fled violence


This is one of the worst outbreaks of violence in decades and the


international community is effectively staying silent.


Peers also wanted to know what the UK government was doing to help.


The minister there insisted its concerns had been made clear.


We do condemn this violence and we're trying to look to ways to


assist Burma and to assist those who are directly affected.


Twelve weeks after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Communities


Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs that just two families had moved


Of the 196 households affected, 29 more had moved


One reason for the low take-up of temporary home offices some


residents do not want to move twice. They have said it is Tuesday where


they are until a permanent home becomes available. I don't want to


see anyone living in emergency, a -- accommodation for longer than is


necessary. Nor do I want to see families make snap decisions simply


because I have better numbers to report at the dispatch box.


The Government says it has no plans to review the new law banning


psychoactive substances - formerly known as "legal highs" -


following the collapse of a prosecution last month.


The Crown Prosecution Service is reviewing two cases


after a judge said nitrous oxide, better known as "laughing gas",


was exempt from the ban, as it's used by doctors for pain-relief.


It has not taken long for the courts to expose the vulnerability are part


of the legislation. Based with the pressing problem of psychoactive


substances will the Government seem reason and accept that prohibition,


orthodoxy of the last century and reiterated on a crude model in the


20 16th act has failed with disastrous consequences in terms of


the growth of crime, the blighting of innumerable lives were not to


mention chaos in our prisons? From this month, all three


and four-year-olds in England are entitled to 30 hours of free


childcare a week, up from 15 hours. But Labour says parents


are in "limbo" because of failings This childcare has been advertised


as free but it will be subsidised by carers or providers. Will he now


listen and commit to re-evaluating the policy's funding? As we are only


six days into September, 152,829 parents have secured a place. That


is 71%. Now there's a row brewing over


the make up of a handful Public bill - or standing


committees - scrutinise The Government wants


to have a majority on the committees in this session of Parliament,


even though it doesn't This government has no means to


expect a majority. They do not command the majority. This is a


House of minorities. That has to be reflected into the Parliamentary


standing committees of this house. The make-up of those committees is


due to be voted by MPs next weeks will stop -- next week.


Now to the Lords where, although most hereditary peers


were kicked out of the House of Lords in 1999,


Vacancies in their ranks are filled by a system


A bill to scrap the system was talked out by opponents last year.


Now its author, Labour life peer Lord Grocott,


is trying again and his bill had its second reading


We had a by-election last year. I'll have to say this slowly because it


was unbelievable. There was an electorate of three and 07


candidates. I don't know of any electoral system anywhere on the


planet or in history where you have twice as many candidates as they our


electorates will stop I have no doubt that 90% of peers in the House


of Lords would actively like to see this by-election system scrapped all


at least are indifferent to its whole continuation. It was blocked


last year by a handful, a very small number, largely hereditary peers.


That go on forever. They may think it can but you can only be King


Canute was so long. Be very nice if the Government said, yes, this is an


indefensible system which they know it is and we will give you full


backing. The Government is or is able to say we have far more


important things to do, which is true. This is a two year session.


Mine is a two clause bill. It would take a day maximum if people were


sensible about it. It is only a small improvement but it is an


improvement in our parliamentary system and just time you got on and


did it. And Lord Grocott's Bill will now


move on to scrutiny by a committee Let's take a look at some


of the other stories making Here's Richard Morris


with our countdown. Five, four, three, two, one. Over


the summer Big Ben fell silent for repair work. That has caused upset


in the Commons where one MP had the question. If Big Ben's bonds are


silent, they are loved by the community and international


visitors, could we please have a debate as to why this has happened


and is it beyond the rich man manful silencers to be worn by the workers?


First week back in the first defeat for the Government in the Lords.


There was surprise in the Commons on Thursday after Labour's and fluid


revealed she had missed a vote because she was stuck in a lift. The


leader of the Has promised to elevate the issue. I hope she won't


take it out of good humour if I say I am rather surprised the lift


dared. Protest descended on Parliament to oppose the Henry VIII


powers which could be used under the EU withdrawal bill. Protesters claim


it could amount to a ministerial power grab. In Brussels, a fire


alarm interrupted the chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on


Thursday. It is the monthly drill. Was this a sign of a swift and


orderly exit? I was talking about something quite important.


And that's it from me for now, but do join Keith Mcdougall on BBC


Parliament on Monday night at 11 for a full round up


of the day at Westminster, including the second day of debate


But for now from me, Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.