17/03/2016 Thursday in Parliament


Highlights of Thursday 17 March in Parliament, presented by Keith Macdougall.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 17/03/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Hello and welcome to Thursday in Parliament, our look at the best


of the day in the Commons and the Lords.


Labour keeps up its attack on the Chancellor's Budget.


He kicked the poor and made them cry.


Georgie delivered a tax giveaway.


A review finds no evidence that establishment figures were involved


in the historical abuse of children in care in North Wales.


The victims were torn to shreds in a merciless way and several


of them took their lives as a direct consequence of the abuse


being continued by our court system, and it is still continuing today.


Arguments over the European Union intensify in the Lords.


If the single market is such an economic miracle,


why does he think that the European Union is widely


recognised as being something close to an economic disaster zone?


As the debate on the Budget resumed in the Commons,


Labour claimed the reductions announced for disability benefits


represented a "new low" for the Government.


The Chancellor George Osborne is facing calls from opposition


parties, and some Tory backbenchers, to reverse a planned ?1.3 billion


cut to payments that help people with day-to-day living such


The Shadow Chancellor made an appeal to MPs.


Can I just say this across the house?


This is a very important issue, we will not make party


I say this sincerely, as someone who has campaigned


on disability issues in this house for


I urge you, and all members now, to press the Chancellor


It is cruel, and it is unfortunately, I believe,


dangerous for the well-being of disabled people.


Does he not agree with me that if the


Chancellor does not listen to us on this side about these Draconian


cuts to people who are receiving such


benefits, perhaps he will listen to Graham Ellis, the chair


of the Conservative disability group, who


is now, as a result of these pernicious cuts, cutting all links


In the six years that he's been in charge


of the nation's finances, the Chancellor has missed every


He said he would balance the books by 2015,


but a deficit this year is set to be over ?72 billion.


That Britain would pay its way around the world before it has


overseen the biggest current-account deficit since modern records began.


You know, I want to help the Labour Party in every way that


And I want them to be credible in the next selection.


But the Shadow Chancellor took to the airwaves this morning


and talked about borrowing more money.


Can he give an absolute commitment that if


he was to become Chancellor, he would not borrow more money


The present Chancellor has just borrowed...


?200 billion extra than what he promised.


Let us make it absolutely clear that like any company...


Like any company, UK PLC under us - we will invest.


We will invest in the plant and machinery to create the growth


which can afford our public services.


The Shadow Chancellor proved today that


he is incapable of answering any of the questions put to him


But he is able to tell us a few things.


He's told us he wants to transform capitalism.


He's told us that his heroes are Lenin and Trotsky.


He's told us that he wants to borrow more.


In fact, had we carried on with the Labour Party's plans


when they were in government, from 2010,


we would have borrowed ?930 billion more in the course of the last six


The Education Secretary brought the focus of the debate round to


schools. For those who are


saying that we aren't addressing the critical issues,


they could not be further Our white paper published today


is a vision for raising standards in teaching,


and raise them higher than any


government has before. Teachers will be better


qualified and accredited, they will have access to the best


opportunities and command more respect than any generation


of teachers before them. Taking their rightful place among


the great professions. Let me thank the Secretary of State


very much for giving way. Didn't we go through years and years


under Labour where our standards We did our children


absolutely no favours, While most of us would agree


that the extension of the school day is most welcome,


there will be children And therefore finding


it most difficult to benefit from any of the reforms


that any of us may talk about. While one welcomes


the Chancellor's sugar tax, which will give more children


the abilities to start their school with food in their bellies,


might she break convention and lead a cross-party group to her colleague


sitting next to her so that we can lobby for some of that sugar tax


to feed the poorest children I thank the honourable


gentleman very much indeed, my right honourable friend


or I would be very happy to meet One of the announcements that has


not got the attention from yesterday, but I will come


onto it, is the funding, additional funding, significant


additional funding for breakfast We have, as a government,


also committed to continuing the pupil premium,


another way in which schools are able to use that money


to support those children In answer to my honourable


friend for Sheffield Healy showed that 100%


of the Treasury senior civil servants are based in Whitehall,


with 60% of the civil servants being men, apparently the Chancellor


really does think that the man He has a lot of men in Whitehall


making the decisions in this budget. Is that why they have


failed to come up with Let me say to the


honourable lady I had the pleasure of working


in the Treasury with my honourable friend the Chancellor


in the last parliament. You could not find somebody more


supportive of promoting women Let's deal with the issue


of the tampon tax. We hope very much that


we are going to make progress with the EU


in relation to the VAT rate. I think when we try to give people


educations, we also do it in a way that is easier to digest


and remember when people leave. I tend to think if I cannot explain


it to my seven-year-old son, I think that is the way I will pitch


it to my friends across the house Because, it is no more


complicated than this: Georgie Porgie spun a lie, he kicked


the poor and made them cry. And when the rich came out to play,


Georgie delivered a tax giveaway. It's really no more


complicated than that. Taking money from the poorest,


giving it to the richest. I must also stress, moving on,


my support for the sugar tax It is also bold, I believe,


a move that sends a message that will educate and encourage,


with consumers and parents, and children, and


the drinks industry. Given the two tiers,


it will also encourage the drinks industry to cut down


on the amount of sugar in drinks, My own grandmother died


when my father was very She had a complete and


utter addiction to soft Now, although that was a different


era, and we cannot be 100% it was the cause


of her diabetes, it is My family grew up in


a household that was very I often think if we had


that tax then, what Child sexual abuse was endemic


at residential homes in North Wales That was the conclusion


of a shocking report, published in 2000,


by Sir Ronald Waterhouse. That report didn't discover


whether prominent individuals, But in 2012, when allegations


about public figures were coming to light, the Government ordered


a review into the adequacy It was led by Lady Justice Macur,


who has now published her findings. She endorsed the first inquiry


and said she had found no evidence of involvement by


Establishment figures. Let's be clear, we are talking


about dark and shameful events that These were children


in the care of the state because they were vulnerable


and the state let them down. That is why our first thought


will always be with the victims, supporting them and bringing


the perpetrators to justice. Waterhouse's final report,


Lost In Care, published in 2000, concluded that widespread sexual


abuse of boys occurred in children's residential establishments


in Clwyd in 1974 and 1990, and that there was a paedophile ring


operating in the North Wales and Chester areas, but no reference


was made to any abuse being carried out by nationally


prominent individuals. Stephen Crabb said Lady Justice


Macur examined a huge Lady Justice Macur's


main finding is that, and I quote, "I have found no reason


to undermine the conclusions of Waterhouse in respect of


the nature and the scale of abuse." Lady Justice Macur looked closely


at the issue of nationally prominent figures and concluded


that there was, again I quote, "No evidence of the involvement


of nationally prominent individuals in the abuse of children


in care in North Wales Some named in the report


have been removed. Lady Justice Macur urged caution


in relation to releasing names of individuals accused of abuse


or speculated to be involved in abuse who have not been subject


to a police investigation, have not been convicted


of a criminal offence and/or whose name is not in the public domain


in the context of child abuse, whether establishment


figures or not. She argued that to do so would be,


and I quote, "Unfair in two respects The extent of the abuse


revealed by the Waterhouse It found evidence of widespread


and persistent physical and sexual abuse, including multiple rapes


carried out against young This abuse was allowed to take


place over many years, sometimes decades, in the very homes


where vulnerable children should The scale of the abuse is shocking


but what is also shocking is that many of the enquiries into this


abuse have encountered a reluctance to cooperate with them and a refusal


to publish their conclusions. In short, cover-ups


and missed opportunities. She welcomed the publication


of the Macur review. There may be cases where reductions


are needed, not least to ensure that no ongoing police investigation


is compromised, but these reductions must be as few as possible and they


must be justified to survivors. One MP was concerned


about the removal of names I feel that this will be a matter


that will cause the most concern I fully understand the reasons my


right honourable friend has given, which were made by Lady Justice


Macur, but can he confirm, can he confirm that


Justice Lowell Goddard will have the right to pursue


in her own inquiry the names of those whose names have been


redacted, the identities of those whose names have been redacted


in the report that he has given? A full un-redacted copy has gone


to the Goddard inquiry. He asks whether Goddard will be able


to pursue those names Just bear in mind that one


of the specific recommendations of this Macur review today is that


actually it's the police and the judicial process


that is best placed to go after, in his words, names of people


who might be... where there are specific


allegations, and public or private enquiries aren't the best forum


for doing that. Page 300 of the Waterhouse report


lists the names of 13 young men who couldn't give evidence


to the new report because they Most of them took their lives


following the case where they went before those who were accused,


who were all used to giving evidence in court, some of them


because of their police background. The victims were torn to shreds


in a merciless way and several of them took their lives as a direct


consequence of the abuse being continued by our court system,


and it's still continuing today. The Welsh Secretary said heinous,


horrific acts of abuse took place, and he recognised that the report


would not bring closure to everyone. With 97 days to go in the EU


referendum campaign, Euro-sceptic peers have been


stepping up their arguments over why a British exit, or


Brexit, makes sense. The veteran Ukip peer Lord Pearson


raised in the Lords a recent document from the Civitas


think-tank entitled "How The Trade Benefits Of EU


Membership Have Been Mis-sold". He said he was disappointed


at the way the Government had Which shows that four


smaller non-EU countries, Chile, Korea, Singapore


and Switzerland, have been able to make vastly more free trade deals


than has the EU with its pretended My Lords, can the Government tell us


why, as the world's fifth-largest economy, we couldn't do as well


or better if we left the EU? And second, does the Government


accept that the single market would want to continue


its free trade with us He must recognise the fact that


while half the goods we exported went to the EU, when you look at it


from the EU's point of view, 7% of EU goods came to the UK,


so I hardly think that's a strong negotiating stance to get all 27


countries to agree unanimously Would my noble friend


the Minister please...? My noble friend the Minister


referred to reform of And indeed the European Union has


proved itself to be unreformable. If the single market was such


an economic miracle, why does he think that


the European Union is widely recognised as being something close


to an economic disaster zone Why does he think that in the latest


opinion poll in France, published in Le Monde a few days


ago, 53% of the French people said they would like a referendum


so they could leave My Lords, when he says


that the EU isn't reformed, he ignores the fact we are out


of the parts of Europe which don't work for us, so we won't have


to join the euro, that is agreed, we won't have to be part


of Eurozone bailouts, that is agreed, we won't be


part of a European army, that is agreed, and importantly we


won't be part of an EU superstate. So we have the best of both worlds


and the one thing we do have is a market of 500 million people


on our doorstep without any trade We were told earlier


that it was a remarkable, ground-breaking document but,


my Lords, even the author of the Civitas paper says,


and I quote, "Nonmember countries pay nothing for exporting


to the single market other than the tariffs and trade costs


of individual exporters." Would the Minister not agree,


that is the very reason that the UK needs to be in the single market,


precisely so that our individual exporters are not subject


to the tariffs that members of third The noble Lord spoke of lower prices


in the single market but since this organisation is a protectionist


organisation, isn't it clearly the case that consumers


within the EU are paying higher prices than they would


otherwise be paying? Can I just give the example


of flights, which have come down A former Cabinet Minister asked


about a recent pro-EU letter My Lords, as we are on the subject,


could my noble friend clear up Were those letters which were


published over the names of distinguished former military


personnel and leading industrialists drafted by people who were being


paid by Her Majesty's government who subsequently importuned those


gentlemen for their signatures, My Lords, my briefing


didn't cover that, But what I can do is commend


to the House the speech in the debate on the 2nd of March


from the noble Lord Stirrup, who gave a very clear speech on why


it was preferable to remain You're watching our round-up


of the day in the Commons Still to come: have coffee cups


become an environmental hazard? MPs have called for a proper


investigation into the potential health threats from contaminated air


on passenger planes. Concerns have been raised


in particular about so-called aerotoxic syndrome, the name given


to illnesses caused by exposure A debate in Westminster Hall was led


by Labour's Jonathan Reynolds, The key factor here is the use


of bleed air to provide a pressurised air supply


in the cabin during flights. It is compressed air from the jet


engines and is used by the vast majority of passenger


aircraft in operation today. The problem arises when faults


with engine seals cause seepage into the cockpit and cabin,


which in turn can lead to contaminated fumes containing


toxins being digested by people Aerotoxic syndrome is something


which affects the peripheral central Symptoms include migraines, fatigue,


difficulty thinking, numbness, aches and pains, breathing


problems and digestive problems. Furthermore, there has been


a significant rise in the number of cases, which simply


cannot be ignored. I think it is very significant


that the Unite trade union have been able to tell me they are


currently acting on behalf There is evidence here pointing


to this being an illness cabin crew may be exposed to, not


to mention passengers also, and I think that must


be treated seriously. It seems to me, in the research


I have done on this issue, it is highly likely that aerotoxic


syndrome is a real result, a health outcome of prolonged


exposure to toxic air and therefore this issue deserves the attention


of Parliament and deserves the attention of the


Department for Transport. Does the honourable member agree


with me that some of the symptoms could be confused with other


illnesses and therefore Worryingly, for short exposures


effects are usually reversible, but for cabin crew who may be


exposed on a more regular basis, permanent neurological


damage could occur and, Yes, I think that is indeed


a distinct possibility. The industry, including regulators,


are relying on a system of denial rather than fitting detection


systems required to collect the evidence on the true number


and concentration of fume events. I don't believe the industry,


or the Government for that matter, would deny the existence of fume


events, and again the Minister can correct me if I'm wrong


but I believe they would also accept fume events are detrimental


to health and, while possibly disagreeing on the extent


of the impact, I would like to ask the Minister to support calls


for an independent inquiry. This issue is taken seriously


by all parties involved but also it is a complex issue with little


evidence to show that change is needed, but it will take time


to find new and innovative solutions We certainly need to coordinate


international research and I will certainly raise this


with the CAA at my next I'll also discuss it with Balpa


when I meet with them. Although I have to say this has not


necessarily been very high on their agenda at some


of the meetings I have heard, but maybe debates like this


will further raise awareness amongst Last year's introduction of a 5p


charge on shopping bags in England and Wales, in the interests


of tidying up the environment, has been a success, in the view


of the Environment Minister, Fewer bags are


cluttering the streets. Because they're a combination


of plastic and paper, they can't be recycled,


and too many are being discarded. A Labour MP believes


it's time for action. Could the Government have a look


at the problem with the wretched number of plastic lined paper


takeaway coffee cups? The overwhelming majority


of which never get recycled because of the difficulties


of ripping out the plastic lining It is a huge problem


and there are tens of millions of these things being produced


and thrown away and, as the honourable member pointed


out, many of these things cannot be recycled either by the way


they are disposed of or because of Having tackled plastic bags,


which I hope everybody in the House would agree the plastic bag


tax has been a success, coffee cups seems to be a very good


thing to look at next. Another Labour MP thought credit


for recycling lay with Europe. Would he not accept that if it


hadn't been for the European Union we would be nowhere in terms


of dealing with the waste, we would still be throwing


all our waste in holes in the ground in this country if it hadn't


been for the stimulation The honourable member tempts me


into a much bigger political conversation, but it is true that EU


has played a constructive role in this, has shown real leadership


on recycling and there are certainly things we can learn from other


European countries, particularly Denmark on the success


they have had on landfill. I was litter picking over


the Clean For The Queen weekend, outside a local primary school,


and I was dismayed to find that most What could the Government do


to encourage the next generation to recycle more and not miss


the opportunity to forge If half her colleagues


are as virtuous as the right honourable lady, she's set a very


high and exacting standard. Mr Speaker, if I could join


with you in paying tribute to the virtue of the


right honourable lady. The answer is, of course,


that we need to work on educating people, and this is a German model,


right the way from school upwards on the importance of protecting


resources and recycling, but I believe we could also do more


to harmonise the system so it's more straightforward wherever you live


in the country to know exactly what needs to be recycled


and where to put your recycling. Do join me for the Week


In Parliament, when we not only look back over the last few days


at Westminster but also try to assess whether we're entering


a new era of personality politics. Until then, from me,


Keith Macdougall, goodbye.


Download Subtitles