03/03/2016 Thursday in Parliament


03/03/2016

Highlights of Thursday 3 March in Parliament, presented by Alicia McCarthy.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Thursday in Parliament.

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Hello and welcome to Thursday in Parliament.

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Coming up a Labour MP says the UK is ignoring the murders

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of teenage gang members.

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The Government is accused of wanting to eviscerate the BBC.

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And in the Lords and there is a cooling tips to save the planet.

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I now use laddered tights, clean ones to filter through piths

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and pips when making marmalade.

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But first it is time for a cross-party commission

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into stopping young people being drawn into gangs.

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They warned gangs are widening their net into provincial towns.

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That the level of violence is getting worse and gang members

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are getting younger.

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MPs spoke about some of the grim cases in their constituencies

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and called for a new understanding of a problem that involved many

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complex social issues.

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Deprivation, domestic abuse and fear.

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Just two weeks ago, I was notified by police of gun shots being fired

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on a Friday in a location in the north of my constituency.

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On the Saturday after there was a multiple stabbing of a young

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man in the south of my constituency and then just outside my

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constituency on the Sunday after that Saturday,

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there was a drive-by shooting.

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I will give way shortly.

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On Monday this week at 530 PM in the afternoon a teenager

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was stabbed in the north of my borough in Oval after a fight

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in a chicken shop and so it goes on.

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He examined some of the reasons for youth violence.

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Some of the violence is carried out by young people from dysfunctional,

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often chaotic families with a history of domestic violence.

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Very often, a lot of young people who get wrapped up in this,

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come from quite stable families, sometimes there is an issue

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because you may have two parents who are struggling to make ends

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meet, holding down two jobs to pay the bills and there is a link

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to that because often, I was hearing from some young people

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this morning, there is a desire to help, provide for your family

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and your mum.

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And you end up getting wrapped up in this kind of activity as a way

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of making money to help pay the bills.

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I don't care if the usual suspects are saying,

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you are excusing, we are not providing excuses today.

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But unless we look at why this is happening and the extra nation

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then we will not stop it.

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It is not fear the real reason why people join groups.

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If you are a young person living on an estate in an area

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where these groups operate, and you are not a member of that

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group then you will be very fearful that this group were set

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upon you and do you great damage.

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In my view, in my limited understanding of this problem,

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it seems to me that fear is the spur for young people

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to join such groups.

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I think Mr Speaker, the honourable gentleman has made

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an important intervention.

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I agree with him and think this is a major factor.

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David Lammy said worries about gangs were not new.

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What is new?

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I think the level of violence is new.

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I think the age profile is worrying.

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And the geographic spread feels out of control.

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And he said gang violence was spreading out of the big cities.

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Last year we had Basildon, Grimsby, Harrow, High Wycombe,

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Southampton, Swindon and what is going on here.

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Something that was urban, that was in a city has now become

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incredibly suburban.

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Murders that were traditionally black have become white.

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Actually, it is the whole reflection of our young people that

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are being caught up in the violence, the picture is not unique

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to particular communities.

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It is spreading so there is a geographical spread.

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I come back to is it worth an eight page strategy of very anodyne,

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we will continue to prioritise the reduction of gang related

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violence including knife crime.

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How?

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What?

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When.

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Two days before Christmas a young man I know who did working spread

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to my office was surrounded by a group of 20 young people

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and stabbed in the chest.

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The knife entered the fat each issue of his heart,

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he was extremely lucky to survive.

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You can live in these communities and be unaware.

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As a middle-aged woman, I can walk the streets and live

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As a middle-aged woman, I can walk the streets and live

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in a different world.

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And the world that our young people living, in the cities

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are increasingly towns to is different and their experience

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of it is different.

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Replying to the debate to the Home Office, Karen Bradley

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reassured MPs that tackling youth violence was a priority.

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She admitted that by the time young people came into conflict

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with public authorities, usually at hospital,

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it was too late.

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Now Labour say that those at the top of government wants

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to eviscerate the BBC.

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The accusation came during culture questions.

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The corporation's future is up for discussion after the Government

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published a paper in July.

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In the Commons, the Shadow Culture Secretary said the renewal

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was being used to diminish the broadcaster and boost

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its competitors.

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Mr Speaker 80% of the 192,000 responses that were in

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the consultation say the BBC serves

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is audience well or very well,

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the majority believe its content is high quality and distinctive

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from other broadcasters.

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The Secretary of State reports to be a supporter of the BBC so why

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is he using the renewal to restrict what the BBC can do rather

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than help

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it to compete in a rapidly changing increasingly global

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broadcasting environment?

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I was not surprised to find the responses show that the vast

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majority of people value the BBC, as I have said, I value it.

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The right Honourable lady will have two away the publication

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of the white paper but it is not a question of trying to cut back

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on its output, nevertheless there is a case I believe

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which is borne out by responses and other surveys we have conducted

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that the BBC needs to be more distinctive and that is something

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that the director-general himself has said when he set

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out his own plans for a chance renewal.

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The Secretary of State speech yesterday was more

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about bashing the BBC rather than anything else

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and that is what the chair of the BBC trust said.

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Bashing the BBC is the one thing the secretary of state

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and the Prime Minister and the Chancellor agree on these

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on these days.

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To eviscerate the BBC, to do its competitors FA that rather

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than delivering what the licence fee paying public want to see.

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They just don't seem to accept that the British people like the BBC

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and wanted to continue what it's doing so when will the secretary

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of state except that charter renewal should be about making

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the BBC fit for the future, rather than trying to diminish

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it for the commercial convenience of competitors?

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I think the honourable lady must have looked at a different speech

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to the one I delivered.

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It certainly wasn't about bashing the BBC and indeed as soon as I have

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finished making the speech I had a good meeting with the chairman

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of a BBC trust who didn't mention anything about bashing

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the BBC

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and indeed welcomed what I had said.

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As for the charter renewal, it is precisely about making the BBC

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fit for the future and I do intend to try to bring forward

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the publication as soon as possible.

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As the honourable lady knows, there are a number of very important

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contributions including 192,000 consultations which we want to take

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fully into account.

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I have had representations from hundreds of constituents

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in Cambridge concerned about the future of the BBC.

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Overwhelmingly supportive and positive I must say.

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Now we have the results and over three fifths are in favour

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of the current funding system, can we have an assurance

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that there will be no further top slicing of the licence fee?

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Well I do hope to be able to update the House on our progress

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with the renewal of the charter in due course.

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But we are taking all the responsibilities we have

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received very seriously, we are fully taking them

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into account, but I would like to point out that we have

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already agreed with the BBC that one of the top slices,

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that is the additional amount taking for broadband will come

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to end in 2020.

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I know my right honourable friend will have noted the forthcoming BBC

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Shakespeare season held in collaboration with many other

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bodies including the Royal Shakespeare Company,

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designed to bring Shakespeare to life new generation using not

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just TV but radio and online services as well.

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Does he agree with me that this is exactly the sort of thing the BBC

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ought to be doing and something that only the BBC can do?

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I do agree with my right honourable friend strongly.

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Another conservative turn to the findings of the recent report

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into the abuse by the former BBC DJ and television presenter Jimmy

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Savile.

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This four-year ?6 million enquiry confirmed that Jimmy Savile molested

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72 victims, raped a youngster as young as eight and attacks

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occurred in the corridors and dressing rooms of every BBC

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premises over a period of 47 years and yet no senior manager past

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or present has accepted individual responsibility.

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Does the secretary of state believe this is an adequate response

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for the leading public service broadcaster?

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Well I would say to my right honourable friend that I hope

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he will read in full the statement by the director-general which makes

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clear that the BBC does take this matter very seriously,

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that it offers a full apology and that it fully accept

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the recommendations of Dame Janet Smith.

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The important thing is measures are put in place to ensure this

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never happens again.

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A lot has been done by the BBC but I welcome the fact the BBC have

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accepted the recommendations of a further review to be carried

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out to make sure that everything possible is being done to stop this

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kind of abuse ever happening again.

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John Whittingdale.

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Staying with culture questions there was also a call for

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the Government to do cyber bullying.

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One in 5, 10-12-year-olds with a social media account has

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been bullied online.

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According to a BBC Newsround survey.

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The survey found most 10-12 -year-olds have at least one

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social media accounts.

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Despite the fact that many networks say you must be 13 to join.

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The survey asked over a thousand 10-18 year olds in the UK

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about their experiences on social media.

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Will the Minister agree with me in roundly welcoming

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the consultation starting today which has commenced in taking action

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on Internet trolls to create fake social media profiles to bully,

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harass

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and menace others online,

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in particular taking real action on children affected

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by this online bullying?

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I entirely share my honourable friend's concern on this matter,

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it is a very distressing matter when this happens.

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I discovered that somebody had set up a profile of me

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without my knowledge a few weeks ago which I swiftly had removed.

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It is clear that we do need to tighten the law in this area

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were people are using these profiles to cause distress and in some cases

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breaching the law and therefore I absolutely welcomed

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the new guidelines should the CPS are coming out with.

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You are watching Thursday in Parliament, here on BBC

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Parliament with me, Alicia McCarthy.

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What can be done to promote public awareness of Parliament?

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In the Commons, MPs had plenty of ideas, including getting more

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children to visit.

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There was also a suggestion that more use should be made

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of modern technology.

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Does the Deputy Leader of the House agree with me that use

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of the internet and in particular developments such

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as Parliamentlive.tv has the potential to hugely increase

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the engagement of the public in the proceedings of this place?

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The internet is a marvellous form of communication,

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whether it is social media, whether it is Parliamentlive.tv.

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Of course, people can also watch us on BBC Parliament channel,

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if they so desire and I'm sure my mother is watching right now.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

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It will be of great concern to everybody in the House that more

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and more people think Westminster politics is remote,

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corrupt, boring - inexplicably - and unclear.

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A third of eligible voters in Britain chose not to go down

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the road and cast a ballot in last year's general election.

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What does she believe are the main problems with Parliament that

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are putting people off and what is the Government

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doing about it?

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Voter engagement, in terms of general election turnout,

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collapsed in the 2001 election after four years of the Blair

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Government.

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But I am pleased to say that voter turnout has increased.

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She talks about this institution potentially being corrupt.

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I do not believe that is the case.

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I believe we have high levels of integrity but where MPs have been

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found to break the law, they have been sent to jail

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and that is where they belonged.

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Down the corridor in the Lords, there was concern that some Muslims

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might be missing out on further education because their opposition

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to interest-bearing loans prevented them from taking student loans.

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Peers were told the Government had consulted an a Sharia-conmpliant

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finance scheme for the students and hoped to introduce a product

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based on Takaful - a form of Islamic insurance.

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I ask the Minister the question because the head teacher

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of the Preston Muslim Girls School asked me the question

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and I could not answer it.

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I'm not sure the head teacher and his students will find

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much present comfort in the Minister's reply.

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Every year that passes without a solution, thousands

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of Muslim students are disadvantaged.

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The Government, as the Minister said, identified the solution two

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years ago and still can't say when it is going to be delivered.

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Will the Minister agree to meet with me so we can discuss how

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to have a Sharia-compliant system in place without further delay?

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As I said, the Government did a consultation in 2014

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and we are continuing to work closely with experts in Islamic

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finance to develop the product.

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But at the moment, the Secretary of State does not have power to just

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introduce this product, we do need primary legislation

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which is why we are hoping and looking for a suitable

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opportunity to bring it forward.

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Given that the student maintenance grants are now going to be ended,

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this is going to be far more urgent because it means there is a whole

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swathe of students now that will not have grants available to them,

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so it really isn't any good saying they have been doing this for two

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and a half years now, it has to be in place by the time

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the grants are withdrawn.

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Can we have that commitment from the Government?

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As I said, we will be looking for a suitable vehicle

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with which to attempt to introduce the system.

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There is strong interest in it and the consultation responses -

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94% believed there would be demand for such a system and 81% thought

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that the proposed scheme which is being developed

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was acceptable, so we want of course to assure access to all students

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to our education which is why we would be the first Government

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to introduce such a scheme but we need primary legislation

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to do so.

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Can the Minister tell me, will this product be available

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to persons of all religions or none?

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Yes, this will be a product that is open to everybody.

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It is 45 years ago today, the first British nuclear submarine

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reached the North Pole...

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LAUGHTER

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It only did that courtesy of the engineers and the skill

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of those engineers and in the interest of helping out any

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of the Muslims who wish to join the Navy as engineers,

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will get their courses paid for.

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LAUGHTER

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I thank the noble Lord for his comments and

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add my congratulations for this important occasion.

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As I said, what we do want to do is try and ensure that access

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to university, all young people who wish to and have the ability

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to go to university have so and that is why

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we are looking forward.

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We would be the first Government to introduce such a product.

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Labour has urged the Government to do more to promote the circular

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economy, cutting waste by repairing and recycling products rather

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than throwing them away.

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The opposition called on ministers to encourage consumers to reject

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the throwaway society and cut landfill mountains.

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Peers said radical new thinking was needed to prevent

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the unsustainable use of resources such as precious metals which ended

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up in rubbish tips when products broke down or were no longer wanted.

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Current consumption is linear - companies use raw materials to make

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products, they are sold to consumers, who then discard them

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when they are no longer valuable or useful.

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The circular economy replaces that model with a virtuous circle

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which replaces the concept of waste with the concept of disassembly

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and re-use so that materials are used again and again.

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The global population is set to increase from 7 billion

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to 9 billion by 2050, many of whom will be joining

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the new middle classes with new levels of consumption.

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In the next 20 years, we will need 40% more energy

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and water and three times more material resources.

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Ways of doing things which may come naturally to us need to be shared

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with the new generation, who find it easier to chuck

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than to reuse.

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When I was a girl growing up, before tights were invented,

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we were taught to darn our own stockings -

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that is his circular economy.

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I now use laddered tights - clean ones - to filter

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through the pith and pips when making marmalade and of course

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then to recycle the residue into my compost bin.

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Again, my own personal, household circular economy.

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There are standards for how you deal with food waste but we have yet

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to get to the situation where the food industry itself

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is changing the way in which it operates.

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The food chain needs to be circular and not linear.

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It is estimated, there are probably 125 million old mobile phones

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languishing in the top drawers of British households at the moment,

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many of which contain metals that are becoming increasingly scarce

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in the natural world.

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We still generate roughly 200 million tonnes of waste

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annually across the UK. We must reduce this.

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We must do more to ensure that waste that cannot be prevented

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is reused and the noble lady, Lady Jones of Whitchurch,

0:19:570:20:01

highlighted challenges there are in increasing

0:20:010:20:04

levels of recycling.

0:20:040:20:08

Currently we recycle 44.9% of waste from households and we are indeed

0:20:080:20:12

committed to meeting the EU target of 50% by 2020.

0:20:120:20:16

But we need to go further of course and Government continue to work

0:20:160:20:20

with local authorities and businesses to promote best practice.

0:20:200:20:26

Lord Gardiner.

0:20:260:20:29

You might feel as though you have already heard plenty about June's

0:20:290:20:31

referendum on our EU membership, but in the Commons

0:20:310:20:34

at Business Questions, several MPs thought there was a need

0:20:340:20:37

for plenty more debate, with one suggesting the subject

0:20:370:20:41

should come up for discussion very, very regularly.

0:20:410:20:45

Every week, we should have, surely, a major debate,

0:20:450:20:48

and could we start with one on the dreadful impact that

0:20:480:20:52

leaving the EU would have on our universities,

0:20:520:20:55

for most of us in university towns, our biggest employers,

0:20:550:20:58

vital to our future, not one vice Chancellor has come out

0:20:580:21:02

in favour of Brexit.

0:21:020:21:04

Could we have an early debate, a regular debate?

0:21:040:21:07

I am sure that we will have plenty of opportunities to debate

0:21:070:21:10

European Union matters.

0:21:100:21:13

We have just had a series of statements and debates

0:21:130:21:15

on these issues.

0:21:150:21:18

I'm sure the future of universities will be a matter of debate

0:21:180:21:21

and discussion in those at which the means of funding,

0:21:210:21:24

either direct or indirect via Brussels, will be a regular

0:21:240:21:26

subject for a debate.

0:21:260:21:28

Can we have a debate about positive campaigning and can

0:21:280:21:30

we encourage everyone, when we are debating our place

0:21:300:21:33

in Europe, that this is done as positively as possible?

0:21:330:21:35

One of the major issues to be debated during the EU referendum

0:21:350:21:38

campaign will be the size of the UK's net contribution.

0:21:380:21:42

Could the Leader find time for a debate so that those in favour

0:21:420:21:45

of leaving the EU can outline the infrastructure projects

0:21:450:21:49

and improvements to public services we could spend that money on?

0:21:490:21:53

And it would also give an opportunity for those to try

0:21:530:21:58

and defend why the money should go to Europe rather than be spent

0:21:580:22:01

in their own constituency.

0:22:010:22:05

Some French Minister has apparently been saying today that if we had

0:22:050:22:08

the nerve to come out of the EU, all the 4,000 people in Calais

0:22:080:22:12

would be put in rubber boats and come across to Britain

0:22:120:22:15

because the French don't want anything to do with it.

0:22:150:22:17

If I was a Frenchman, I would be hugely embarrassed

0:22:170:22:20

by my Government.

0:22:200:22:23

A country that is two and a half size of this country,

0:22:230:22:26

and roughly the same population cannot disperse 4,000 people

0:22:260:22:28

and look after them. They should be ashamed.

0:22:280:22:32

Could we have a statement from the Foreign Secretary next week

0:22:320:22:36

letting this House know whether it is the Government's

0:22:360:22:42

position that if we came out of the EU, we would have more

0:22:420:22:46

immigration to this country, rather than less?

0:22:460:22:48

Chris Grayling, who favours leaving the EU, said he was certain

0:22:480:22:51

that the Foreign Secretary would be back in front

0:22:510:22:54

of the Commons very shortly.

0:22:540:22:58

The fallout from the EU referendum was also on the mind

0:22:580:23:02

of the Shadow Leader of the Commons Chris Bryant.

0:23:020:23:05

He pressed Chris Grayling to give the date of the Queen's Speech -

0:23:050:23:10

the day when the Government sets out the bills it wants to put into law

0:23:100:23:14

over the next year.

0:23:140:23:15

Mr Bryant wondered if the Government was putting this off

0:23:150:23:18

because of the referendum.

0:23:180:23:20

He suggested that perhaps MPs would run out of things to do

0:23:200:23:23

in this session if it did not end soon.

0:23:230:23:25

Downing Street has also said there is going to be a re-shuffle

0:23:250:23:28

after the referendum and that the Leader of the House

0:23:280:23:30

tops the list of those who will be sacked.

0:23:300:23:33

I for one am beginning to feel very sorry for him so I have been

0:23:330:23:36

searching the job pages for him.

0:23:360:23:39

Sadly, the only thing that seemed even vaguely suitable

0:23:390:23:41

was working as an unpaid, voluntary intern for

0:23:410:23:44

the honourable member for Bath.

0:23:440:23:46

But unfortunately, he says in the job description,

0:23:460:23:50

that he wants someone who is a good team player so that rules

0:23:500:23:53

the Leader out.

0:23:530:23:54

And all the other jobs say they want someone with a good sense of humour.

0:23:540:23:58

LAUGHTER Need I say more?

0:23:580:24:01

Don't worry though, I'm sure the Prime Minister will give

0:24:010:24:04

the Leader of the House a glowing reference.

0:24:040:24:06

The last Parliament was the 'zombie Parliament', as we know.

0:24:060:24:09

For months on end, the House had no proper business.

0:24:090:24:12

Now, we have the return of the living dead.

0:24:120:24:14

They walk amongst us, they look like ministers,

0:24:140:24:17

they are paid like ministers but they are doomed.

0:24:170:24:20

They hate the Prime Minister, they think he is damaging

0:24:200:24:22

the economy and putting our security at risk.

0:24:220:24:24

Frankly, the only thing that is keeping them

0:24:240:24:27

in the Government is the ?23,570.89 extra salary they will get by

0:24:270:24:31

23rd June.

0:24:310:24:35

So how does the Government intend to fill the business

0:24:350:24:37

between now and then?

0:24:380:24:40

We will announce the date of the Queen's Speech when we have

0:24:400:24:43

decided the date of the Queen's Speech and as always,

0:24:430:24:45

the honourable gentleman makes the mistake of believing that

0:24:450:24:47

what he reads the papers is what is actually going to happen.

0:24:470:24:50

I haven't seen the papers.

0:24:500:24:53

We will take a decision on the Queen's Speech

0:24:530:24:55

and we will announce it to this House as always.

0:24:550:24:59

And of course, we have to be mindful of the needs to ensure

0:24:590:25:02

the progress of business.

0:25:020:25:04

I think it somewhat ironic, actually, he can't really

0:25:040:25:07

have it both ways.

0:25:070:25:09

On the one hand, he is saying, where are the recess dates

0:25:090:25:12

and on the other hand, he is saying it is a zombie

0:25:120:25:14

Parliament, with no serious business.

0:25:140:25:16

Actually, he is completely wrong.

0:25:160:25:18

I have just set out plans for a second reading of the Policing

0:25:180:25:21

and Crime Bill next week, a really important measure that

0:25:210:25:24

will, I think, restore a sensible balance to many aspects

0:25:240:25:26

of our policing and justice system.

0:25:260:25:29

I announced the Investigatory Powers Bill, a crucial bill to enable us

0:25:290:25:32

to defend our country.

0:25:320:25:33

If he thinks that is a feature of a zombie Parliament,

0:25:330:25:36

then frankly, he doesn't know what the word zombie means.

0:25:360:25:38

Chris Grayling on how you define a zombie.

0:25:380:25:40

And that is it for now but do join me on Friday night at 11pm

0:25:400:25:44

for a full round-up of the week here at Westminster,

0:25:440:25:46

including a round-up of this week's arguments on Europe

0:25:460:25:49

and an explanation of why the Government has paused plans

0:25:490:25:51

to devolve more powers to Wales.

0:25:510:25:55

But for now, from me, Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.

0:25:550:26:01

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