26/11/2015 Thursday in Parliament


Georgina Pattinson presents highlights of Thursday 26 November in Parliament.

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Hello and welcome to Thursday in Parliament.


The Prime Minister outlines the case for bombing the terror


If we will not act now when our friend and ally France has been


struck in this way our allies could be forgiven for asking if not now,


Jeremy Corbyn questions whether the proposed air strikes would succeed


Does the Prime Minister accept that UK bombing of Syria food cause more


of what the US President called unintended consequences?


And peers warn about the future of Syria.


Whatever piece we achieve will be even more messy. It will be a


fractured peace. In the Commons, the Prime Minister


laid out a detailed case for He told MPs he believed Britain had


to strike at the heartlands of the so-called Islamic State,


also known as Isil, in Syria to David Cameron began his statement


by outlining the questions that Where are the ground troops to


help us meet our objectives? What is the strategy that brings


together everything that we are Is there an end to this conflict and


is there a plan for what follows? He went on to address each


of those concerns, In the last 12 months our police


and security services have disrupted no fewer than seven terrorist plots


to attack the UK. Every one of


which was either linked to Isil or I am in no doubt that it is


in our national interest for action to be taken to stop them


and stopping them means taking Mr Cameron said


the UK's allies were looking for help and that British forces had


the unique capability to carry out We should not be content with


outsourcing our security to If we believe that action can help


protect us then, with our allies we should be part of that


action, not standing aside from it. And from this moral point comes


a fundamental question. If we won't act now when


our friend and ally France has been struck in this way then our allies


in the world could be forgiven The Prime Minister also laid out


the legal basis of the move to carry out air strikes in Syria, citing


the UN Security Council resolution. And he turned to the issue


of ground forces. We believe


there are around 70,000 Syrian opposition fighters, principally the


Free Syrian Army, who do not belong to extremist groups and with whom


we can coordinate attacks on Isil. In addition there are the Kurdish


armed groups who have also shown themselves capable


of taking territory, holding And crucially relieving


the suffering that the civilian population had endured


under Isil control. We can't defeat Isil simply


from the air or through military It requires


a full political settlement but the question is can we wait for that


settlement before we take action? The Prime Minister said there would


be no vote in the House of Commons unless there was a clear majority


as he did not want to hand Some hours after the statement,


the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced - in a letter to his MPs -


that he could not support the Prime Minister's position


and vote for air strikes. But in the Commons, he restricted


himself to asking a number On the question about whether


extending the UK bombing from Iraq to Syria is likely to reduce or


increase that threat, and whether it will counter or spread the terror


campaign Isil is waging in the Middle East, with that


in mind is it his view that the air campaign against Isil areas can be


successful without ground forces? If not does he believe that


the Kurdish forces or the relatively marginal Free Syrian


Army would be in a position to back up Isil-held territory,


to take back Isil-held territory, if Does the Prime Minister think an


extension of the UK bombing would contribute towards a comprehensive


political settlement of the Syrian civil war which is widely believed


to be the only way to ensure The Vienna conference last weekend


was a good step forward In the light of the record


of Western military intervention in recent years including Iraq,


Afghanistan and Libya does the Prime Minister accept that UK


bombing of Syria could risk more of what President Obama called


unintended consequences? It is now my personal view that on


balance the country would be best served by this House supporting his


judgment that the United Kingdom should play a full role in the


coalition to best support and shape the politics thus enabling the


earliest military and eventually We strongly support


the international initiative on Syria agreed in Vienna to secure


a ceasefire in Syria, the transition to stable representative


Government, and countering terrorist We believe that these gains


will only be secured through agreement and a serious


long-term commitment to Syria. May I ask the Prime Minister is


the UK supporting the international Syria support initiative and other


diplomatic efforts to secure that ceasefire in Syria, the political


transition and combating terrorists like Daesh and planning


for the long-term reconstruction Air strikes alone will


not be effective. They have got to be in coordination


with credible ground forces. The suggestion that there are 70,000


non-Islamist moderate credible ground forces I have to say is


a revelation to me and I suspect Adequate ground forces


in my view depend on the So if the dictator Assad refuses


to resign, which is the greater Syria under him or


the continued existence Because you may have to choose


between one and the other. Air strikes alone will


not defeat Isil. The Prime Minister has already


heard that he will need to give much more evidence to this House to


convince it that the ground operations are sufficient, have the


capability and the credibility to deliver on the ground, which is what


he knows needs to be delivered. And what role could Saudi Arabia,


the UAE, Qatar and other Gulf States play


in delivering this victory if that is the direction in which we choose


to go as a country, as a House? What a pivotal moment was that


United Nations Security Council Can he confirm that it doesn't


just permit all necessary steps Does it not just allow all


necessary steps but that it actually calls upon member states


to take all necessary steps? What would it say about our judgment


if we failed to take heed of We on these benches know


from long experience the consequences of appeasing and


indulging terrorism for too long. Will the Prime Minister confirm


today that unlike last time the action foreshadowed today is against


Isil terrorists and nobody else? I ask the Prime Minister


before he comes to this House again to put the case for more war to


the vote that he should examine his conscience, that he should examine


all choices short of bombing. It is a case of life and death


and eventually for all I agree this is a matter


of integrity and there is no part of me that wants to take part


in any military action that I don't believe this 100% necessary


for our own safety and security. Now, is expansion at


Heathrow Airport in London vital Or would it be


an environmental disaster? Heathrow is already running


at 98% capacity. No fewer than 73 million passengers


used the airport in the last year. A third runway, built to


the north of the existing airport, is the central recommendation


of the lengthy report drawn up It would cost ?18 billion to build


and would create tens But not everyone wants the third


runway, and in a Commons debate, There is no current trust between


Heathrow Airport and the community. Why would


a third runway increase the trust? The report talks of a


noise levy. But for my residents they are


not interested in a noise levy. They are interested


in a good night's sleep. I therefore believe that it is


impossible to have too many runways. I live about 300 or 400 yards north


of the extended runway and so I see And I have to say that if you choose


to live in Twickenham you have to take into account the airport which


was there a long time before you And I am afraid the same


applies to people in Richmond. Sadiq Khan is the Labour candidate


to be the next Mayor of London. That joke came from the Conservative


candidate for London Mayor. And to remind ourselves


of the challenges we face in London last year alone almost 10,000


Londoners died as a direct result There are children whose lungs are


underdeveloped in parts of London And a couple of months ago the


UK Supreme Court held that are there was in breach of the EU and UK


air quality directive. In those circumstances I don't see


how a new runway at Heathrow addresses the requirement we have to


meet the Supreme Court's judgment. I do have to say that


the honourable member for Tooting's position on this issue seems to ebb


and flow with the weather. He seems to say one thing to one


audience, His position on Heathrow is about as


authentic as Donald Trump's hair. That joke came from the Conservative


candidate for London Mayor. How do you accommodate 25


million extra road passenger The Commission put the cost


at ?6 billion. Heathrow puts the cost


at ?1 billion. Transport for London has put


the cost at around ?20 billion. And that is just some


of the downside. You may consider accepting


that downside if the economic But what is amazing about the report


is that it makes the economic case There is a giant gap


between the report itself Heathrow is absolutely vital to


areas such as mine in Chesham, Amersham and in Buckinghamshire,


where in Buckinghamshire we have over 700 companies headquartered


in the region. And my constituents quite frankly


would rather see an expansion at Heathrow which would benefit


them economically than the building of HS2


which does nothing for the economy. Even if it were built and could be


full at the point of completion. And it does not deliver the extra


connectivity that we all want. That does not hook up British business


with those destinations in China and Latin America. According to the


figures the number of new long-haul destinations would only increase by


seven. Heathrow Airport Ltd may be winning


on the amount spent on PR but this Parliament has a duty to assess what


is the optimum solution and not be How long does she think


that we can assess this? This is a debate that has


been running for 20 years. How many more years do we need to


debate this Will there ever be


a conclusion to this debate? There will be if the Prime Minister


considers the quicker, less costly You're watching Thursday


in Parliament, with me, Will you give up your salary,


Minister? the possibility of UK air strikes


on Syria. The House of Lords won't be asked to


vote on potential military action but with so much political and


military experience between them, peers are keen for their voices


to be heard. So David Cameron's statement


was read out and debated For the first time


in almost 300 years, we are facing a conflict that has a distinct


theological and religious element We must realise that facing this


conflict there must be an ideological response that is not


only national in dealing with the threat of extremism here but is


global in challenging the doctrines that draw so many people to


support Isis internationally. Other people are already doing


plenty of things. If one believes military action


is counter-productive, But if one believes it is necessary


for our own security, to suggest we should not employ


that military capability because others already are


is not only wrong but shameful. The intention is to improve


our effectiveness against Daesh We cannot should our responsibility


here. We see this ISAs force as a threat to our own way of life. -- IS


force. The intention is to improve


our effectiveness against Daesh and not pursue the Government's


vendetta against Bashar al-Assad. It can't make the slightest sense


while we are engaged in an involuntary and unavoidable war


against Daesh, which we must win, to be fighting on the same


territory another voluntary war I have to say that the Government's


predictions, which I assume is part of their policy, they have made


consistently over three years that Bashar al-Assad's regime


is about to collapse I spent last weekend in Damascus


and I was struck by the health of the economy and the resolution


and morale of the regime. I fear the Government


were very misconceived I hope now they will be able to


focus on the real enemy What we achieve, I hope we do,


in Syria, will be even more messy. This will not be


a comfortable pace, it will be a fractured peace, and the best we


can say about it is that fraction and uncertain and unsatisfying


though it is, it is better than


continuing this terrible war. If that is the case,


that's good enough for me. What contact do we actually have


a day to day with the Russians, the Iranians and, most particularly,


I'm afraid the answer to this must that we are talking about


military action on. Now, ministers are used to getting


requests and suggestions from MPs. But the Education Secretary,


Nicky Morgan, She was asked to give up her salary


for the rest of the year to improve her understanding


of the gender pay gap. Would the Secretary of State,


who I know cares about this issue, symbolically forego her salary


from 9th of November until the end of the calendar year so she knows


from personal experience what it feels like to do the work of a male


colleague but for 20% less salary? Wouldn't she say that all


governments have failed in this field and now the time is


not of declarations about change over a generation but to seize


the legislative agenda for which she would have massive


support across the House to finally bring equality


to women in our country? The honourable gentleman


can give up his salary if he feels so strongly about it


and wants to make a statement. The important thing is that this


government is taking action on an issue his party


did not take action on for 13 years


whilst they were in government. The honourable gentleman is right to


say that this does now need to be tackled by legislation,


which is why this government is going to be publishing regulation


shortly to make that happen. What specific policies


does the minister have Can I thank the chairman of the


Select Committee very much indeed. I know this is an area the Select


Committee will be looking at. She may be interested to know that


in the latest gender pay gap figures published earlier this month,


women aged between 40 and 49, saw a 1.6% drop


in the gender pay gap and that is repeated in the other


age gaps of over 50s and over 60s. But she is right to say that


this does need to be tackled. And the Chancellor's announcement


that VAT receipts from sanitary products would be used for


women's causes came under review. The women's sector is under


enormous pressure, especially specialist


organisations which, for example, The charity Eaves was forced


to close earlier this month. A body reported 67% of their


members are uncertain about the future sustainability


of their funding and generic providers


are increasingly being commissioned Isn't it time for a proper


sustainable funding strategy for services for victims of domestic


and sexual violence rather than gimmicky short-term fixes like the


tampon tax that only women pay for? I think it is a shame that


the honourable lady While we are in the position


where we have to pay this VAT, And I congratulate my honourable


friend from Colchester for coming up with the idea, that we use this to


provide additional support to those services and she is quite right that


we need those additional services. Back to the Lords and the Government


has faced renewed calls to introduce national identity cards in the wake


of the Paris terror attacks. The National Identity Card scheme,


which was set up by Labour, There were calls


for the government to look again. But particularly


in regard to the national security and the protection of all


of our citizens in counterterrorism and the assurance that we can give


this to them that the Government will consider again their position


on this before it is too late. I welcome the fact


the Government is not averse to U-turns, including very big ones,


and I hope on this one that they can reconsider and no-one will score


any political points because it is If it was a question


of the effectiveness of this, our view is that it was not going to


be effective because the very people you would want to catch would


not be the people who would comply. That is the reason spending


the money on better security, better surveillance, better use


of intelligence, the investments we have announced in national security,


the improvements to the funding of the police


and cyber security are the right way Nearly all European countries now


have national identity cards. Germany's latest card,


which is highly secure, includes a photo, a digital photo,


an electronic data function and biometric data


which can include a fingerprint. In these difficult circumstances,


when identity is at the heart of our problems, shouldn't all the


political parties now reconsider their positions on national identity


cards introduction. If other European


countries can have confidence in their ID card systems,


why can't we do the same? Times are changing,


the world is very different. The decision was taken to


abolish the national identity register and identity cards


introduced by the last Labour It was ?85 million to run and nearly


?1 billion to maintain the register. The second one was in terms


of effectiveness. The very people we might want


to have the identity of would be the last people to comply


with that. That is not to say we are not


doing anything about that. We are simply saying it is


a different approach. We have passports, we have driving


licences, passports at 84%, driving licenses at over 60%, and for all


people who come from outside the UK to be in the UK for a period in


excess of six months, they are also required to have a biometric


permit in order to do so. Would it not have been better to


have corrected the faults in the Labour Party proposals,


put that under operation so that now we would have


a system which was working? And isn't it odd that we are the


only country in Europe that thinks that this system without identity


cards is somehow or other superior? Should we not learn


from others just occasionally? At a time when the principal concern


we have is of national security, we have said we will choose to spend


the investment required to put in place ID into better equipping our


security forces, better securing our borders to make ensure we can


keep people secure and safe. I welcome the minister saying there


will be no rethink on identity cards because often the knee jerk reaction


is the one that leads to massive I don't see why we should


not try identity cards. Those of us who drive


have to carry a driving licence, Otherwise there's difficulties


with the police if you are stopped. I don't know why we shouldn't


see whether it actually works. And finally, former Foreign


Secretary William Hague has taken his seat


in the House of Lords. Lord Hague of Richmond,


as he will now be known, He stood down at this year's


General Election after a year He is one of 45 new peers whose


appointments were announced I, William, Lord Haig of Richmond,


do swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear


true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth,


her heirs and successors, The latest addition to


the red benches. I'll be back with the look at


the week's events in Westminster tomorrow but, until then, from me,


Georgina Pattinson, goodbye.


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