Highlights of Thursday 4 February in Parliament presented by Alicia McCarthy.
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After David Cameron unveils his proposed EU deal,
MPs become poetic about Parliamentary sovereignty...
Methinks I see in my mind, a noble and puissant nation.
Rousing herself like a strong man after
There's derision and anger over attempts by an American anth
And as the anti EU groups jockey for position, Labour's Chris Bryant
wonders if one cabinet minister will be taking tips
Will he just sign up to the People's Front of Judaea
and the Popular Front of Judea at the same
Find out exactly what Chris Bryant is talking about at the end
But first: Conservative Eurosceptics have used a Commons debate
to denounce the scope of thd Prime Minister's European Union ddal.
David Cameron spent part of the day with the President
of the European Union, Donald Tusk, to discuss the draft deal ftrther.
The proposals cover parliamdntary sovereignty, migration,
If the plans are approved by all the 27 other member states
they'll be put to British voters in a referendum.
In the Commons, a Conservathve, opened a debate on the sovereignty
There can be no greater isste for this Parliament to debate
and defend than the country's sovereignty.
It goes to the heart of everything we do.
Without it we cannot truly have final say on a host of issuds,
including the primacy of our laws, the integrity of our borders
And yet as the EU negotiations proceed, it appears that little
effort is being made to truly restore Parliamentary
We appear to have a system which has more holes in it
So much so, it is more like something that has been
The idea is we club together and form a majority with other
national parliaments to stop unwanted EU taxes and laws,
but this would not enable otr Parliament by itself to rejdct
If we cannot get rid of the people that are in an institution
I want to come to the so-called shared social
Europe which I believe is a complete sham.
It is used as a lever to persuade Social Democratic and socialist
parties to say yes to the European union.
When it comes to the crunch, they find always...
Free movement is not about being benign,
it is about keeping wages down, making sure they are kept down
When you cut through all the appearances,
He is right to raise this above mere technicalities.
He will remember that he was told that
the blood of the martyrs is the seed of his church,
is not the blood of all those parliamentarians who died in defence
This is not just a point of no return.
That is the position, I do not need to say any more.
This is about the liberties of this country.
It is about the liberties of men, from GK Chesterton and John Gower,
smile at us, pay us and pass us but do not quite forget us
because we are the people of England that have never spoken yet.
We are the sovereign people of Scotland and sovereignitx
over our nation is and always will be vested.
For Scotland sovereignty is not resided in this place.
It does not reside in those of us who serve in here but residds
in those who have sent us to serve in this place.
For those who want to hold to the idea,
I genuinely am interested in the concept that the institution
of Parliament is sovereign, even over the people.
Perhaps someone could explahn who decided that Parliament
was sovereign and who gave them the right
to decide that Parliament was sovereign?
I suspect that the people agreed this and therefore the people
retain the right to change that decision.
Not attempting to address now the technicalities of this hssue,
the economic rights and wrongs, let me conclude on a note of freedom
with the words of John Milton himself.
Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation,
rousing herself like a strong man after sleep and shaking
Methinks I see her as an eagle, mewling her mighty
youth and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday
When he spoke those words, he spoke in defence of freedom and truth
Let us believe in the genius of our country.
Geoffrey Cox, with a stirring speech on parliamentary sovereigntx.
Now, ever heard of the group which calls itself
the Return of Kings?
They claim to be standing up for men against feminism.
The group's founder is the @merican, Daryush Valizadeh -
He likes to voice deliberatdly provocative views about rapd
and the superiority of men over women.
It was reported that Return of Kings was going to hold nine meethngs
around the UK - just for men of course.
It now claims to have cancelled the get-togethers.
But in the Commons, MPs urgdd the Home Office to ban Roosh V
Player in the plans of May lac to travel to this country? Has she
considered classifying the return of kings as a prescribed group?
This individual and the proposals by this group are repulsive
and everyone in this hounds will join
her and me in condemning what they have said and this has no
We should ridicule, we should show contempt and show these
The SNP spokesman said thesd views were repugnant.
for this gentleman, I use the word loosely,
kingdom, will she liaise with the Scottish government
and other devolved governments for any plans
Can I start by assuring her I will copy it into the later.
We do want to take all steps that we possibly can.
I will set out in depth the steps that we can take.
On the side of the House, everyone would welcome a proactive
engagement from the Home Secretary and her
department to not only excltde this man who is an embarrassment
to all men and to proscribe his organisation as well.
His planned meetings may well have been at
publicity stunt by an attention seeker, so insecure in his own
masculinity that he goes to this lengths to augment the size
But I have been contacted by many constituents,
men and women, outraged, revulsed but also afraid
Can she reassure them that `nyone meeting in Newcastle or anywhere
or coming to this country to plan and
condone rape would be treatdd in the same way as someone planning
I can assure her that is a criminal offence and they would be to to do
Can I enjoin her for her re`sons as to why this individual is doing
what he is doing, ensuring he is getting
publicity and the way he nedds to do so for other reasons.
Any event which plans to co`ch men how to coerce women
It is an issue of public safety and order.
Would she also join me in condemning the sick minded halfwits
who support these events and were planning to attend
and welcome that they will now be sitting in their
underpants eating cold ravioli from a tin this week.
The Minister replied that hd had conjured up "quite an image there".
You're watching Thursday in Parliament, here on BBC
Parliament, with me, Alicia McCarthy.
The United Nations has set ` target of halving food waste by 2030.
The Government says progress is being made -
since 2009, household food waste has been cut by 17% -
but it seems there's still a long way to go.
The average household in the United Kingdom wastes more
We must ensure that food is not wasted in the first place on its way
from the farm gate to the House and if food cannot be consuled
by humans, we must ensure that it is consumed by anim`ls,
and that it goes to anaerobhc digesters only as a last resort
The Soil Association estimates that between 20% to 40% of UK frtit
and veg is rejected before ht even reaches the shop.
It is deemed as being a kind of wonky veg because it fails
to meet the supermarket's strict cosmetic requirements.
Will the minister ensure th`t supermarkets and manufacturdrs
transparently publish their supply chain waste?
I think Tesco is doing that with food waste hotspots?
That is vital if we are to `chieve a meaningful reduction in w`ste
I absolutely agree that that is vital, and we recently held
a round-table with retailers on that issue.
One solution, although not ` total solution, is being pioneered
by Tesco and Co-operative supermarkets, which are looking
at individual varieties, for example, of potatoes,
that result in much less food waste on the way
My constituents in Kettering, especially those from the w`rtime
generation, are horrified about the amount
How can we get back to the principle that we do not put more food
on our plate than we can eat, and that we consume
My honourable friend has dr`wn attention to one of the central
points of this issue, which is human
Certain things can be done by the Government and others
by retailers, but in the end a lot of responsibility rests on ts
all regarding how much food we buy, how we use it,
MPs moved on to the promotion of British food,
We launched the Great British Food Unit in January.
It brings together expertisd from UK Trade and Investment
and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to create
a team of 40 people in London and teams around the world,
including five people in Chhna, to promote Great British food.
I am pleased to say that food and drink manufacturers havd already
agreed to expand their exports by a third by 2020.
The Great British Food Unit, and the enthusiastic Secret`ry
of State will know that somd of the greatest food on earth comes
from the Gloucester Old Spot pig and from Gloucester cattle,
including the single Gloucester cheese, which is famously used
There is no better place to see these and 130 other great Gloucester
producers than the Gloucestdr services on the M5, describdd
by the Telegraph as probablx the best service station in the UK.
Were she to find herself ne`r the M5 in the near future, my honotrable
friend the Member for Stroud and I would give her a warm welcome
I thank my honourable friend for his extremely kind invitation.
It is one of the best offers I have had all year.
Next time I am driving along the M5, which I frequently am,
I will be very happy to meet him at this amazing service station
The Secretary of State has lade the honourable gentleman's day,
possibly his month and conceivably his year.
The government may not get back any of the money it gave
to the collapsed charity Kids Company.
Ministers handed over ?3 million just a day before
its charismatic founder clahmed on its website that it ran four
centres, a therapy house and worked in more than 40 schools in London,
as well as working with children in Bristol and Liverpool.
In the Commons, the chair of the Commons Public Adminhstration
Committee set out the findings of its report
We found that an extraordin`ry catalogue of failures of governance
and control had taken place in Kids Company.
Bernard Jenkin said the report called for more powers
for the charity commission, and he said there were lessons to be
learned for other charities and for the Government.
Kids Company received more than ?42 million in grants
from central Government across several administrations,
and it has not had to compete for a grant since 2013.
Other charities have voiced bitter discontent
Government will need to work hard to restore faith in the grant-giving
The only conclusion that anxone can reach is that either they dhd not
know or understand the implhcations of what was going on in the charity,
The Charity Commission's guhdance requires trustees to make ddcisions
They should not allow themsdlves to be swayed by personal prdjudices
I am quoting direct from thdir guidance.
That seems to be exactly what happened in Kids Company,
however, and it must be in danger of happening in every large charity
that has been built up by a powerful and influential founder.
The lesson is a universal one for all trustees.
The last tranche of Governmdnt money, ?3 million, was given
to facilitate restructuring, but I was surprised to see
in the television programme aired on BBC One last night the ilpression
given that the management and the chief executive had other
ideas about how that money was going to be spent.
Do we know whether the ?2 mhllion balance of the unspent ?3 mhllion
that was given has been recovered by the Government?
Will there be any further investigations into that money
passing to Kids Company virtually 24 hours before it shut down,
or is this report the end of the matter?
That last question is very interesting.
There is an ongoing investigation by the official receiver,
which should be able to tell us what happened to that money
and if any money is due to be returned to the Government.
I am not a legal expert, but I think that once the Government
handed over the money, it belonged to the charity.
It no longer belonged to the Government and,
although the Government might be a creditor,
they will probably have to pueue up behind other creditors.
I very much hope that the Government might accept that the emploxees
who lost their employment vdry abruptly are entitled to sole
measure of recompense, perhaps out of those funds.
The Government has been challenged in the Lords to make a decision
sooner rather than later on the expansion
An independent report by the Davies Commission has
recommended building a new runway at Heathrow rather than providing
But ministers have delayed `cting on the report until further analysis
of the potential environmental impact has been carried out -
a move that led to accusations of dithering.
The ball has now been kicked firmly into the long grass and every
so often the Transport Secrdtary kicks it further away
If the Government really believe that the decision to increase
airport capacity is urgent and important, how much longer
will they dither over this hssue because they do not want to make
The Government have been quite clear.
The reasons for further consideration included environmental
issues such as air pollution - a subject close to
This is not about keeping things up in the air.
On the contrary, it is about getting those things in the air down
There is some confusion in ly mind, and perhaps in that
of the Government as well, as to whether this airport dxpansion
is primarily to provide extra capacity for the crowded sotth-east
or whether it is to establish an up-to-date hub airport
If it is to establish a first-class, international hub airport,
surely it is better located outside the south-east.
Will the Government not consider Birmingham,
That option presents far fewer problems than those facing
It is much closer to Britain's centre of gravity and is halfway
to the aspirational northern powerhouse.
As far as the expansion of south-east capacity is concerned,
the Government are committed to the findings
That is in no sense to take away from the importance
Indeed, all regional airports, including Birmingham,
mentioned by the noble Lord, are already benefiting
from increased investment and are an important part of UK
plc's competitive global offering across the world.
Airlines cannot be compelled to fly into airports they
Should we not all agree now that the alternatives
to Heathrow are not Birmingham or Stansted, but Schiphol,
Either we can have the business in this country, in London,
My noble friend raises an important point.
On the first element, the commercial decisions on air
slots are very much for the airlines to make.
As for the competitiveness of London vis-a-vis competitors in Europe
that is one reason why the Government are committed
to further expansion of air capacity in the south-east.
Could the minister promise ts faithfully that we will havd
a decision on expansion at Heathrow Airport
after the elections for London Mayor?
I can assure the noble Baroness I speak for all my noble frhends
on the front bench and beyond, that we always seek to give answers
Will the minister confirm that airports policy is now
being co-ordinated by Sir John Chilcot?
Back in the Commons, a Conservative MP has apologised
more than ?400,000 of outside income on time.
The Standards Committee found that Geoffrey Cox,
who's a QC, had committed a "serious" breach of rules,
although it accepted he had not "intended to hide" the paymdnts
The MP was a member of the Standards Committee,
in October after it emerged he had repeatedly missed the 28-dax
In 2009, the House resolved that honourable
members should register all outside earnings within 28 days
of their receipt, whether connected with their parliamentary
For a prolonged period last year, I very much regret that I f`iled
to comply with that rule in respect of my professional
The House has a right to expect of its Members, particularlx those
on the Standards Committee, as I was, that they will uphold
For that reason, I have stepped down from the Standards Committed,
and I hope that the House will accept my sincere
and full-hearted apology for my failure to observe
Finally to business questions, a chance for MPs to ask the Leader
of the House for a debate on a subject of their choicd,
but more often than not a chance for the Shadow Leader to poke
This week, Chris Bryant took aim at the rival groups which h`ve been
set up to campaign for the TK to leave the EU.
The Leader of the House, Chris Grayling, has signalldd he'll
But which group would he join?
So Leave.EU believes that Vote Leave does not really
Vote Leave believes, however, that Leave.EU is a bunch
Leave.EU thinks that Vote Ldave are a bunch of hippy-dippy,
let-it-all-hang-out libertarian lunatics.
Will the Leader of the Housd tell us which group he is going to join
Will it be Grassroots Out, Vote Leave or Leave.EU,
or will he just sign up to the People's Front of Judea,
the Judean Popular People's Front and the Popular Front of Judea
A reference there to Monty Python's Life of Brian.
But Chris Grayling fired back, attacking Labour over comments
from its Shadow Chancellor on the future of Europe.
Once again, we heard nothing of this week's events in the Labour Party
As if using nuclear submarines as troop carriers was not enough,
the Shadow Chancellor now w`nts to get rid of borders.
We would have terrorists crossing borders, organised crime
spreading its nets and more and more migration against the wishes
The Labour Party has been sdized by a madcap ideology,
and the Shadow Leader of thd House is still sitting there
The SNP's Pete Wishart had a different take on
The former keyboard player for the rock group Runrig is now
a member of a band made up of current and ex-MPs called MP ,
Lastly, Mr Speaker, I come to an issue on which we might
all be able to agree - MP4 for Eurovision!
I know you are a fan, Mr Spdaker, as is the Leader of the House.
This is a political contest, as we know, and we have had
all these young starlet acts trying to achieve a win,
but now is the time for grizzled old politicians to get
in there and do their bit for the United Kingdom.
I am sure I will secure the support of the whole Hotse
Chris Grayling said he thought that was a great idea!
Which Euro unity brings us to the end of this edition
of the programme, but do john me on Friday night at 11pm
for a full round-up of the week here at Westminster,
but until then, from me, Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.