14/04/2016 Thursday in Parliament


14/04/2016

Highlights of Thursday 14 April in Parliament, presented by Alicia McCarthy.


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Transcript


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Hello there and welcome to Thursday in Parliament.

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Coming up on this programme: MPs are told they'll have to wait

:00:16.:00:18.

a little longer for publication of the Chilcot report.

:00:19.:00:22.

Peers hold their first debate on the Ways and Means that

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And there's a call for a ban on the tiny plastic beads

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They're flush to the sewage system and into the sea.

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But first, the Iraq Inquiry report is still not expected to be

:00:40.:00:42.

published before summer, even though national

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security vetting will be completed by next month,

:00:44.:00:45.

John Penrose said the Chilcot report into the Iraq War should be handed

:00:46.:00:51.

to the Government for security checks next week.

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There has been much criticism of the time it's taking to write

:00:55.:01:00.

Sir John Chilcot has himself has indicated that he expects

:01:01.:01:07.

publication in June or July this year.

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But in a Commons debate MPs lined up to demand an end to the delays.

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Because we were misled on the matter, Parliament voted

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So there were very good reasons for setting up the inquiry

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The war led to the deaths of 4,800 allied soldiers,

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The lowest estimate of Iraqi civilian casualties was 134,000,

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but plausible estimates put the number up to four times higher.

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The war immediately created 3.4 million refugees,

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It cost the British taxpayer ?9.6 billion,

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and it cost the American taxpayer $1,100 billion.

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It was he said the greatest foreign policy failure of this generation.

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The public ought to expect the report to be published

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That should be the reasonable conclusion, but that

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There are now reports that the publication of the report

:02:23.:02:25.

will be postponed until after the EU referendum at the end of June.

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The report is already in electronic format. It has already been

:02:35.:02:58.

repeatedly checked for accuracy. It will be checked against security

:02:59.:03:06.

services. It will be read more than some newspapers will be read. We are

:03:07.:03:12.

on the 21st-century, not de-wrap of hot lead typesetting -- the era.

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Someone said this morning I might have said that more quickly by

:03:25.:03:28.

saying you can simply press send. Never in our wildest nightmares did

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anyone believe that the loved ones of those who had fallen would have

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to suffer a period of seven years of not knowing whether their loved

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ones were sent to a battle that was based on the vanity

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of politicians and not on the real The right hon gentleman

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is absolutely right. There is no excuse for

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delaying this any further - The conclusion of the Chilcot

:03:59.:04:01.

inquiry should be a chance for the Government to draw a line

:04:02.:04:04.

under the Iraq adventure-perhaps It is an opportunity to understand

:04:05.:04:07.

where it went wrong, why we fell down this particular

:04:08.:04:14.

rabbit hole and why the UK's strategy in the Middle East

:04:15.:04:18.

was so feckless that the Blair-Brown Government felt that they had no

:04:19.:04:21.

choice but to follow the United States down

:04:22.:04:23.

that rabbit hole. Chilcot has become

:04:24.:04:27.

something of a "corpse in a cupboard" as the hon member

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for Penrith and The Border We must face up to Chilcot and learn

:04:41.:04:43.

the lessons that it may offer. We need to get on with understanding

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what the UK wants and what our Otherwise, we will be condemned

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to continue living with that corpse in the cupboard and, worse still,

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an ineffective foreign policy. We expect the inquiry's report to be

:04:57.:04:59.

ready for national security checking in the week beginning 18 April -

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that is, some time next week. Once Sir John indicates

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that that is the case, As the Prime Minister

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promised, it will take no Once that is done, the inquiry team

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will prepare the report I should make it clear that at that

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stage, even when the national security checking process

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is complete, the report will still be in Sir John Chilcot's

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hands and will not be released to the Government until

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everything is ready. A new high-speed rail line

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was proposed by Labour back in 2010. The billto construct

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the first phase, from London to the West Midlands,

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has been slowly making its way It's finally made its way

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to the Lords where peers have held their first debate -

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and where a Government minister set out the now

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familiar case for HS2. Patchwork and sticking plasters will

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work for a period but are not the answer. This will not help us create

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the capacity country's connections. It will not

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maximise opportunities for our northern cities and Scottish cities

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to grow and prosper. To allow our economy to grow and to compete on an

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international level, we need a step change in capacity. That is why this

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Government is committed to delivering HS2. There was concern

:06:35.:06:46.

from the bishops' bench. It cannot be down to those living near on the

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line, they face testing years ahead. The Government has an important

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responsibility to continue to listen to their concerns, to seek to work

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with them and those worthy of their trust. It is also a great

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responsibility to see the benefits of this project extent as widely as

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possible, alleviating the pain compassionately unfairly and sharing

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the game imaginatively -- gain, to drive Government policy and the

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final shape of this legislature. High-speed rail is established

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internationally in Japan, Korea, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, the

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Netherlands, Belgium and many other countries. The first major project

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has now started in the United States between Los Angeles and San

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Francisco, roughly the distance between London and Glasgow. I am not

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aware of a single country that has introduced high-speed rail between

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his major cities and now thinks this was a mistake. Of course there are

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major challenges ahead, not least keeping HS2 to time and budget, but

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we are right to be taking HS2 forward. It will change the country

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for the better and it can't come soon enough.

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But the former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott said the North

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of England wasn't going to get anything until 2020.

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We are told to hang on, but you're there, so it's coming to you in the

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North. High-speed one was exactly the same. They even Ways and Means

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betrays to go to the North. They convinced the North to shout for it

:08:34.:08:38.

and it collapsed. We never had the Northern trains that were absolute

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built, we had to sell into Canada. Financial problems at the heart of

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it. If you look at the skilled increase from ?30 billion to ?50

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billion, this is in a few years and will continue for 20 years in this

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period of this territory, I do wonder whether the second part of

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this investment might be poured into saying we can't completely beyond

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Birmingham. Stand by for the mess. As we consider the case for HS2, we

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should look at it in terms of the economy of the country and the

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challenges we face will stop we must about modern engineering and

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infrastructure are crucial, as is money spent on research in

:09:22.:09:28.

technology. Even in these stringent times, investment in new

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infrastructure such as HS2 and money spent on research into new

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technology is money very well spent. The noble Lord and Minister said he

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was proud that HS2 has not demolished a single grade one listed

:09:43.:09:47.

building. Well, ancient woodlands are on the grade one listed

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buildings of the environment, ancient woodlands are the richest

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terrestrial and -- habitat for wildlife. Those undisturbed

:10:03.:10:09.

communities of microorganisms that have been maturing away for between

:10:10.:10:14.

410,000 years, the lost fragments of the wildlife that once covered the

:10:15.:10:20.

entire country after the last ice age.

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You're watching Thursday in Parliament, with me,

:10:21.:10:22.

The European Arrest Warrant was introduced across the EU in 2004

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to replace separate extradition arrangements

:10:29.:10:32.

It was designed to speed up the time it takes to transport suspects

:10:33.:10:38.

to states where they're wanted for crimes.

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But some MPs have warned that, if the UK leaves the EU,

:10:42.:10:43.

criminals may come to regard the UK as a safe haven.

:10:44.:10:46.

But others questioned whether the warrant was as effective

:10:47.:10:49.

The European Arrest Warrant makes it easier to extradite foreign suspects

:10:50.:10:56.

to where they are wanted for crimes and to bring suspects back

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to the UK to face justice for crimes committed here.

:11:00.:11:01.

It is the quickest and most economical way to do these things,

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and other member states would not be bound to co-operate with us

:11:05.:11:07.

The first piece of European legislation that I sat on

:11:08.:11:17.

in a delegated legislation committee was a regulation that

:11:18.:11:24.

enabled us to track paedophiles more easily across

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Why anybody would wish to end that kind of co-operation

:11:27.:11:32.

between European countries is beyond me.

:11:33.:11:35.

Does the Attorney General agree that the Brexit campaign

:11:36.:11:37.

is soft on crime and soft on the causes of crime?

:11:38.:11:42.

I have great respect for those who argue for a British exit

:11:43.:11:47.

from the European Union, but I am afraid that I believe

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For the reasons the honourable gentleman has given,

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there is considerable advantage to Britain and to British citizens

:12:00.:12:01.

in being part of the European Arrest Warrant.

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Just to be clear, does the Attorney General think that

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if we were no longer part of the European Arrest Warrant,

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criminals from the continent would see Britain as a safe haven

:12:09.:12:11.

because of the extradition arrangements and the concern

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that they would not be taken back quickly?

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There is no doubt that the quickest and easiest way of deporting

:12:16.:12:18.

criminals who face prosecutions in other European nations

:12:19.:12:25.

is, as I said, to use the European Arrest Warrant.

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Of course, those who argue for exit from the European Union would have

:12:29.:12:31.

to explain what alternative measures they would put in place

:12:32.:12:34.

I am in no doubt that, as I say, the quickest and easiest

:12:35.:12:40.

way to do that is through the European Arrest Warrant,

:12:41.:12:43.

and any delay in that process will have very serious consequences.

:12:44.:12:46.

Does my right honourable and learned friend's position take account

:12:47.:12:48.

of the European Court of Justice ruling on 5th April,

:12:49.:12:51.

which effectively drives a coach and horses through the whole

:12:52.:12:53.

of the arrest warrant procedure because it makes it clear

:12:54.:12:56.

that the European Court of Justice is in charge of whether or not

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a European Arrest Warrant can be applied for?

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I do not think that it is quite as bad

:13:07.:13:08.

In fact, what the European Court of Justice said in that case

:13:09.:13:15.

is broadly consistent with what

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He will know, of course, that in respect of the countries

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mentioned in that judgment, we already succeed in

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One of them is Romania, and my honourable friend might

:13:26.:13:32.

like to know that 268 people have been extradited

:13:33.:13:36.

One Conservative had come across some remarks about the arrest

:13:37.:13:39.

warrant made by David Cameron to his local paper.

:13:40.:13:41.

In the Witney Gazette, the Prime Minister was quoted

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as saying about the European Arrest Warrant:

:13:46.:13:49.

"Some other countries in Europe do not have

:13:50.:13:51.

People can languish in jail for weeks without even being charged.

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I am not sure that the British people realise what is

:13:58.:14:00.

Are we really happy that with one telephone call from the Greek,

:14:01.:14:04.

Spanish or German authorities alleging that we did something wrong

:14:05.:14:06.

on holiday, we can be swept off to a continental prison?

:14:07.:14:10.

Rights and safeguards that we have enjoyed for centuries

:14:11.:14:13.

Does the Attorney General agree with the Prime Minister?

:14:14.:14:18.

I do not know when my right honourable friend

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As my honourable friend may recall, the Prime Minister and other members

:14:21.:14:25.

of the Government successfully negotiated changes to

:14:26.:14:28.

the European Arrest Warrant precisely to deal with

:14:29.:14:33.

the problems that my honourable friend has just outlined.

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Now, UK citizens cannot be extradited unless the case is trial

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ready, and not unless the conduct in question would be a crime here

:14:39.:14:41.

and not unless it is proportionate to do so.

:14:42.:14:47.

The BBC is "hideously white" - the phrase used more than ten years

:14:48.:14:50.

ago by the organisation's boss at the time, Greg Dyke.

:14:51.:14:53.

The Labour MP David Lammy thought not.

:14:54.:14:59.

He was opening a debate on diversity in the BBC.

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What will it take to see a black, Asian or minority ethnic

:15:05.:15:08.

What have we got to do to see a black commissioner

:15:09.:15:18.

in an important area - current affairs,

:15:19.:15:22.

We've just heard it again, that at the end of this month

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the BBC will publish an equality and diversity report.

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Yet another one is coming very shortly, and it is all

:15:37.:15:41.

Another strategy to get our teeth sunk into,

:15:42.:15:53.

If the BBC is genuinely a universal broadcaster,

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This can no longer be about skills training.

:15:57.:15:59.

This is about the institution and the change that is now required.

:16:00.:16:06.

In September 2015, the controller of Radio 5 Live gave a 16-minute

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presentation about his ambitions for the station.

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In it he made no reference to the BME audience

:16:20.:16:22.

The video that went with the presentation showed no BME

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staff or any other BME people on screen.

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The embarrassment continues anecdotally, with many public

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figures commenting on the lack of diversity at the BBC.

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My constituency is one of the most diverse in Scotland,

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My children are proud to have both Scottish and Indian heritage.

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Our society is made up of people with different backgrounds,

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different lives and different perspectives, and our public

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broadcasting system should, surely, reflect and portray us all

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We need producers, writers, technicians and artists

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from all sorts of different backgrounds, with different genders,

:17:10.:17:12.

races, sexual orientations, disabilities and religions.

:17:13.:17:21.

But we need this as a matter of course and not as an add-on.

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The use of tiny plastic beads in everyday products should be banned.

:17:26.:17:29.

That was the call in the House of Lords where peers wanted action

:17:30.:17:32.

They wanted a ban on things called microbeads, used in everyday

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toiletries such as face washes and shower gels.

:17:37.:17:39.

Water treatment systems cannot filter them so they eventually

:17:40.:17:42.

flow into the oceans where they damage marine life.

:17:43.:17:47.

He will know that there are an estimated five trillion

:17:48.:17:49.

pieces of plastic afloat in the world's oceans.

:17:50.:17:53.

They are frequently toxic and are being eaten by aquatic life

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at all stages in the food chain, from plankton right

:17:58.:17:59.

Inevitably, they are therefore finding their way into

:18:00.:18:03.

Obviously, we need to take action on this on a number of fronts.

:18:04.:18:09.

One thing the Government could do now is to ban the millions

:18:10.:18:12.

of plastic microbeads found in everyday cosmetics that

:18:13.:18:15.

are flushed through the sewerage system and into the sea.

:18:16.:18:21.

Countries such as the USA and Canada are already doing this.

:18:22.:18:24.

Can the minister confirm that the Government are prepared

:18:25.:18:26.

to take this crucial first step to clean up the world's oceans?

:18:27.:18:33.

My Lords, I am aware of the volume of pollution

:18:34.:18:36.

The US ban will be phased in gradually, with the final bans

:18:37.:18:45.

We are currently working with industry on a voluntary

:18:46.:18:50.

phase-out, which we believe will have the same effect.

:18:51.:18:57.

Indeed, this approach is yielding results and it is predicted

:18:58.:19:00.

that the majority of microbead use in UK cosmetics will cease

:19:01.:19:02.

I emphasise that should this approach not work, we support other

:19:03.:19:10.

countries in calling on the European Commission

:19:11.:19:12.

to develop proposals to ban the use of microbeads in cosmetics

:19:13.:19:15.

Steaming across the Southern Ocean some 50 years ago as a young

:19:16.:19:19.

officer, it was pristine, but in the mid-1990s,

:19:20.:19:22.

while I was there with a battle group, the amount of plastic

:19:23.:19:25.

Going around Cape Horn a year ago, I was appalled to find

:19:26.:19:29.

As a nation, we are responsible for more areas of ocean than almost

:19:30.:19:33.

any other country in the world, because of our dependencies.

:19:34.:19:36.

I understand that we have done quite a lot to look after them.

:19:37.:19:41.

What is being done to make sure that that pollution is not there?

:19:42.:19:45.

I add as a proviso that to enforce things, you need ships,

:19:46.:19:49.

I must observe that the noble Lord is most tenacious in his support

:19:50.:20:02.

The United Kingdom works closely with the Governments

:20:03.:20:08.

of the British Overseas Territories to ensure effective marine

:20:09.:20:10.

management, and the record on marine conservation zones

:20:11.:20:21.

Beach-littering monitoring and data-collection programmes

:20:22.:20:23.

are being carried out around South Georgia

:20:24.:20:25.

This was expanded last year to cover the British Antarctic Territory

:20:26.:20:29.

but clearly, there are other overseas territories.

:20:30.:20:31.

The MOD's vehicles have a long history of prohibiting the disposal

:20:32.:20:33.

My Lords, further to the noble Baroness's Question in respect

:20:34.:20:43.

of microbeads in cosmetics, why does my noble friend have

:20:44.:20:47.

I do not think that my noble friend quite understood what I was saying.

:20:48.:20:57.

We are working with industry on a voluntary basis

:20:58.:21:00.

to phase out microbeads, and that is working.

:21:01.:21:02.

All I said was that because pollution is a transboundary matter,

:21:03.:21:08.

it is not just for the UK but for the whole

:21:09.:21:11.

We will deal with it with whichever organisations and

:21:12.:21:15.

As a trustee of WRAP and a borderline obsessive

:21:16.:21:23.

when it comes to litter-picking, especially of plastic off beaches,

:21:24.:21:27.

can my noble friend tell us how British products compare with those

:21:28.:21:30.

My Lords, I think I am permitted to say that Unilever,

:21:31.:21:36.

Boots and Colgate-Palmolive have already phased out microbeads.

:21:37.:21:41.

The L'Oreal group will phase them out by 2017.

:21:42.:21:44.

There is a website which shows which products have microbeads.

:21:45.:21:49.

I very much encourage people to go for the microbead-free products.

:21:50.:21:54.

The Government is locked in a continuing dispute with junior

:21:55.:21:59.

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said he'll impose the new terms

:22:00.:22:04.

At women and equality questions, MPs wanted to know if the Government

:22:05.:22:11.

had taken into account the impact the changes

:22:12.:22:13.

By next year the majority of doctors working in our NHS will be women,

:22:14.:22:21.

yet the Government have freely admitted in their own equality

:22:22.:22:23.

impact assessment of the new junior doctor contract that aspects of it

:22:24.:22:28.

will disproportionately hit female doctors, so how can the women

:22:29.:22:33.

and equalities department possibly condone this shocking

:22:34.:22:35.

I thank the honourable lady for bringing this important matter

:22:36.:22:42.

I know that she will want to read the full equality impact

:22:43.:22:46.

assessment over the weekend, and she will find if she does

:22:47.:22:49.

so that it makes it clear that this contract is good for women,

:22:50.:22:54.

that it is a fairer contract and that it does not

:22:55.:22:56.

directly or indirectly discriminate against women.

:22:57.:23:00.

That is why I am very keen to see it implemented as fast as possible.

:23:01.:23:12.

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for ruling my question in order.

:23:13.:23:15.

What estimate has been made of the expected drop in the number

:23:16.:23:18.

of women doctors five years after the contract has

:23:19.:23:20.

been imposed, and how will the skills gap be filled?

:23:21.:23:22.

We anticipate that this contract is better for women in a series

:23:23.:23:25.

of different ways and we expect women to be able to engage more

:23:26.:23:28.

easily with the workforce than they have under

:23:29.:23:30.

We believe that it is better for working mothers and better

:23:31.:23:34.

for women who are taking time out for maternity leave.

:23:35.:23:36.

For those reasons, we hope that it will reinforce the continued

:23:37.:23:39.

progression of women in the medical workforce,

:23:40.:23:41.

of which we are very proud in the Department of Health.

:23:42.:23:47.

Can the minister confirm that the new contract will mean

:23:48.:23:49.

that those who work the most intense and unsocial hours will

:23:50.:23:52.

It will also ensure that women will not be subjected

:23:53.:23:58.

to the enormously onerous hours enforced under the current contract,

:23:59.:24:04.

which make the balance between work and family life

:24:05.:24:07.

It surprised me to hear both the minister today

:24:08.:24:11.

and the Prime Minister, during Prime Minister's Questions

:24:12.:24:14.

yesterday, claiming that the contract is good for women,

:24:15.:24:17.

when the equality impact assessment provided by the Minister's

:24:18.:24:20.

own officials specifically says that it will have a disproportionate

:24:21.:24:24.

impact on women - an equality impact assessment that the minister

:24:25.:24:27.

will not be at all surprised to hear that I have read in detail.

:24:28.:24:31.

How can it be right to introduce a contract, announce its imposition

:24:32.:24:36.

in Parliament in February and then only sneak out the equality impact

:24:37.:24:41.

assessment six weeks later during recess?

:24:42.:24:44.

Will he and his colleagues get back to the negotiating table

:24:45.:24:47.

and negotiate a contract that is good for patients and good

:24:48.:24:51.

Through the entirety of the process, the Secretary

:24:52.:24:57.

of State has been mindful of his duties under the act,

:24:58.:24:59.

He is very keen to ensure that this contract is good for women,

:25:00.:25:04.

which is why at every single stage, both in negotiations with the BMA

:25:05.:25:08.

and in internal discussions, he has been mindful of his duties

:25:09.:25:11.

while trying to ensure that the contract is an improvement

:25:12.:25:13.

To be frank, we cannot return to negotiations with a party that

:25:14.:25:17.

does not wish to talk, and I urge the honourable lady

:25:18.:25:21.

to get her colleagues to condemn the completely unnecessary

:25:22.:25:24.

action taken by the BMA, which put patients in danger.

:25:25.:25:33.

That is it for now but join me on Friday night at 11pm for the week in

:25:34.:25:41.

Parliament when I will look back at the last few days in Westminster,

:25:42.:25:46.

and chatting to the only MP still in the Commons who was first elected in

:25:47.:25:48.

1966. Until then, from me,

:25:49.:25:49.

Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.

:25:50.:25:55.

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