30/06/2016 Thursday in Parliament


Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 30 June, presented by Alicia McCarthy.

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Hello there, and welcome to Thursday in Parliament.


Still in a holding pattern - the Transport Secretary says there'll


be no decision on airport expansion before the summer.


Fresh calls for a second referendum on our EU membership.


And fury in the Commons at the performance


I'm getting people writing to me who are being late for work every day,


and their bosses are giving them written warnings now.


But first - outside the Commons chamber, it was another day full


of surprises as the Conservative leadership challengers


announced their intention to stand for the top job.


The Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb had


There was confirmation from former Defence Secretary


Liam Fox and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom.


The Home Secretary Theresa May had long been touted as a contender,


But the big surprise was that this man, Michael Gove,


currently the Justice Secretary, was launching a bid -


and that this man, Boris Johnson, was not.


Inside the Commons, as MPs chatted and absorbed


the somewhat unexpected line-up, the Transport Secretary had


an announcement of his own to make about the airport expansion


I had hoped that we would be able to announce a decision on airport


Clearly any announcement on airport capacity


would have to be made when the House is


in session, and being realistic, given recent events,


I cannot now foresee an announcement until at least October.


Heathrow and Gatwick have been vying to get approval


Last July, the Airport Commission recommended Heathrow be expanded


with a third runway at an estimated cost of ?18.6 billion.


But in December, the Government delayed its decision,


saying further work on noise, pollution and compensation


MPs on all sides lined up to condemn the further delay.


It's another boring day at Westminster.


I was rather hoping that the Secretary of


State might inject some excitement into it for me.


No one can accuse the Secretary of State of rushing this decision.


But post-Brexit, with a number of countries now banging on the door


of the UK to do trade deals, doesn't he agree with me that


increasing airport capacity both at London City,


London Heathrow and Gatwick is going to be vitally important


to British businesses throughout the whole of United Kingdom?


Well, Mr Speaker, I can say I would have liked to have been


in a position of asking the House to make a decision and


We are not going to be in that position.


He may regard this a boring day in the House of Commons,


but it's certainly not a boring day in Westminster.


Yet more dithering on a decision on whether to expand Hub capacity


at Heathrow will harm the regions of this country and


What recommendation will be Secretary of State be making


Well, I think one step at a time, Mr Speaker, if I don't mind saying


to the honourable lady she's assuming a number of events


But what I would say to the honourable lady


in all seriousness as chairman of the Transport Select Committee


is that I think this is a very important and the decision


for the United Kingdom, and it is not an easy one.


The simple fact is, whichever options we choose will impact


a number of people's lives, and therefore it is right to make


sure that we do all the work and the preparation for this,


all around air quality and the other issues.


But I very much hope a decision can be made later this year.


His answer is exacerbating the profound uncertainty


about the future of essential transport projects, including HS2


Hundreds of thousands of jobs and apprenticeships


Does he not understand that delaying these plans adds to the wider


economic shock that was triggered last week, and that public


and private investment in our transport networks


When she talks about airport capacity, there was an airport


capacity issue for 30 years of which her party


was in Government, of which they did nothing.


Can the Secretary of State not accept that kicking this decision


into the long grass yet again is simply and utterly unacceptable?


Well, Mr Speaker, we are accused of kicking something


I've said that I hope to see a decision by the end of the year.


What we've not seen yet is a position which has been


expanded from the opposition benches as to which of the options


On airport expansion, he has achieved one thing.


He's made the Leader of the Opposition look


Does he not believe that he owes the select committee,


this House and businesses across the UK an apology


for the fudge that has become a farce?


Well, Mr Speaker, I have often thought the members of the SNP


If he thinks I've made the Leader of the Opposition look decisive,


he has proved that this morning in spades.


I stand by the statement I made earlier on.


I would have liked to have been in the position to do it,


but realistically that is not possible at a time when the House


is not sitting, and therefore I have informed the House this morning,


While another MP thought there'd be repercussions well


The third runway for Heathrow would allow some 16 billion


of private investment at a time that the economy needs it most.


The chief executive of George Best Belfast City Airport


has said that the Heathrow Hub is vital in making Northern Ireland


accessible to business and leisure passengers from all


It is really important for Belfast city.


Well, the Davis Report made very clear the importance of collectivity


in the south-east to the regions, the North of England,


to Ulster, Scotland and elsewhere, and we are very mindful of those


issues that have been raised by colleagues from


There have been calls in the House of Lords for a change in the way


allegations of historical child sex abuse are investigated.


Some peers were critical of the way the police and the Church of England


have treated a number of accused individuals.


Conservative Lord Lexden said it was time for a code of conduct


for the police and public authorities, with the presumption


This month has brought a powerful reminder of some of the principle


causes of the disquiet that has arisen.


Sir Cliff Richard has been told that he is not to face charges


arising from the investigation of allegations relating to purported


The allegations were made two years ago,


in a blaze of publicity created by the police


and the BBC, acting in grotesque collusion


before he had even been interviewed.


Such a media circus should never have occurred.


Could it have been the fact that the initial


complainant was under 16 at the time


of the allegation which created the temptation that led


these two public organisations to take action at Sir Cliff's expense?


How can we ensure that nothing of this kind happens again?


He said there were other examples of what he called


The manner in which Field Marshal Lord Bramall


So did the distress inflicted on Lord Brittan


during his final illness, and the additional pain suffered by


The sight of a senior police officer standing outside Sir Edward Heath's


former home in Salisbury and exhorting those who had allegations


Lord Dear is a friend of Lord Bramall, who retired


When it comes to carrying out an investigation,


it surely is totally inappropriate to turn up at his house


in a small market town with marked police cars with 20,


no less than, 20 officers in white scenes of crime


suits to carry out a search


of his property and a blaze of publicity.


It seems that we have lurched as a society from the


extremities of the mishandling of the Savile case into the extremes


identified in the current cases, and we need to


put the balance point back where it belongs.


My Lords, I, too, and very troubled by the ease in


which complaints going back years can trash, tarnish and destroy


Without evidence, in recent years, as we've heard, with the accusations


against Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan, Paul Gambaccini, the DJ, and Sir


Last October, the Church of England settled a claim from a woman


who said she was abused by the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell,


So Bishop George Bell was judged a paedophile


The crushing of his memory and magnificent career


The man described by Ian Kershaw, the leading historian of


the war years, as the most significant English clergyman of


the 20th century, is now being ruined, in the words of supporters


of George Bell, by an anonymous, unpublished claim upheld by


a non-court which won't explain this decision.


The Bishop of Chelmsford defended the church's handling of the case.


The legal advice was that, had the claim been tested by a court,


on the balance of probabilities, Carol would have won her claim.


In those circumstances, the proper thing to do was to settle


the case rather than putting a survivor through


the harrowing process of giving evidence.


A Home Office spokesman, Lord Keen, said it was for the police


to investigate abuse allegations and the College of Policing -


which was independent of Government - issued guidance on best practice.


He said the College did have powers, though, to put that guidance


You're watching Thursday in Parliament with me, Alicia McCarthy.


The mass resignations from Labour's frontbench have thrown up


perhaps none more so than the appearance


of Paul Flynn, serial rebel and veteran backbencher,


speaking as Shadow Leader of the Commons.


He served for a year as shadow health spokesman


You may be a tad surprised to see me in this position, because


for the past 26 years I have been a backbencher by choice.


That wasn't just my choice, it was the choice of


But today, for very positive reasons, as part of a diversity


project in my party of which we have done splendidly,


we have a far more women on the front bench in


but a total absence on the front bench of octogenarians.


post will be a trailblazer which will lead to all


short-listed in the party and lead to the wealth of experience and


wisdom among fellow octogenarians being available to the House.


He turned to Brexit - there should be a second


referendum, he said - people had voted on "false agendas".


Where is the emergency budget? The public are rightly outraged by the


missed truth they were told by the propagandists on both sides. It is


not a surprise we have a petition of historic dimensions, as big as the


chartists and suffragettes put before this House. 4 million


signatures and counting of people who say they were deceived by the


vote, the propaganda and which was largely determined by the


proprietors of the daily newspapers rather than a sensible realisation


of the horrors to come. The Commons Leader,


a Leave campaigner, If we have a general election


and our side loses, we do We had a four-month debate,


arguements on both sides, huge amounts of information


for the country and they It is our job to follow


that decision to And I have to say


it is nice after four months of hedging my


bets on these benches, Government to be back in a clear


way, speaking for the whole government in saying that we now


need to get on with the job Scotland will not be taken out of


the European Union against their will. We were forced to choose in a


Referendum, we have given that decision and it is very clear what


Scotland wanted. When will he respect the decision of the Scottish


people? Scotland voted to be part of the United Kingdom. The United


Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. I am afraid that is


democracy. fun at the Tories and Labour


over their leadership troubles. Can we have a week long debate


on political backstabbing? want to take part, but they are rank


amateurs compared to the Right Honourable member for Surrey Heath,


the Lord Macbeth of this today is despatching


the Prime Minister's greatest rival. What makes the leader of the House


think Lord Macbeth's dagger will not soon be turned to him and


the Home Secretary? Chris Grayling is supporting


Theresa May for the leadership - The Right Honourable member


for Surrey Heath has been in my view an excellent


education Secretary, excellent chief whip


and is now doing an excellent job in


the role I used to perform


as Lord Chancellor. He has friends and confidence


on this side of the House. And for the Scottish National Party


he is a formidable adversary. A Labour MP returned


to Paul Flynn's appointment... Can I take leave of the House


that the contribution of my somewhat younger parliamentary


colleague is an illustration of how the army here is always willing


to give whatever assistance is necessary when firm leadership


at the moment is on both sides? The Speaker, John Bercow,


wished Mr Winnick a happy birthday. Could there be health effects


of Britain's departure from the EU? Well, a Labour peer has


suggested the fight to combat Type 2 diabetes develops


when your body can't If untreated, it can cause very


serious health problems. It's long been associated


with being overweight. In the Lords, peers wanted to know


what action the govt was taking. Is it possible he could give


a statement, or at least write about, following Brexit,


the breakdown in the work that is being done across the whole


of the European Union with our United


Kingdom colleagues in research to defeat the obesity and indeed


diabetes, as director of the European Commission


on the Today programme? It is still our intention


to announce the Clearly, other events


have happened which may But we will be announcing that


strategy has soon as possible. I am arranging a meeting


for the noble Lord and Lord Morris to meet the research


community and discuss the outlook for research


for diabetes, and the impact


Brexit might have. People can reduce their weight and


take modest exercise and in a significant number of cases the


effect of diabetes can be put into long-term remission with reduction


on the pressure on the NHS resources and capacity, but less than 10% of


people with diabetes get any such help in reducing their weight and


increasing exercise and having the option and opportunity of turning


off their diabetes. She is clearly right. Weight reduction can reverse


diabetes. My own father, for example. He has lost weight and his


diabetes was effectively put in remission. There is no question it


works. It is very difficult to lose weight. Once you are overweight. I


think the figure is only one out of 210 people who have a BMI above 30


can reduce it down to a normal level, hence the emphasis the


Government is putting on explaining to children, young people, before


they get fat, that is the critical phase to aim but I'm timely agree


that making greater access to structured education programmes is


very important. In endorsing that reply from the Minister, can I ask


into also make sure the guidance includes recognition of emerging


research, that in children if they never become a beast, they have a


different type of fat, a brown fat, which keeps a higher metabolic race


and decreases their diabetes, so the importance of avoiding obesity in


the first place, especially in children and women, in preference


eight and afterwards, means that is the only way we will stop this


ever-growing curve of diabetes associated with adult obesity?


Back in the Commons proposals that could lead


to the privatisation of the Land Registry have faced


The registry records and keeps details of property ownership


The Labour MP, David Lammy, who had secured a backbench debate


on the future of the Land Registry, said ministers were selling off


the family silver in a bid to make their sums add up.


There is no economic rationale for the privatisation.


If the Land Registry were making a loss


and being subsidised by the taxpayer, I could


understand the Government's enthusiasm for privatisation.


But it has made a surplus in 19 of the last 20


years and returned over 100 million to the Treasury last year alone.


Any doubts over it or the possibility of


conflict of interest or misuse of information could affect


what is a central part of our capitalist system.


We must also recognise the Land Registry is a natural monopoly.


Like the police and other such institutions, which do not lend


Such monopolies which are of such importance


to the very fabric of the


system must be treated with great care.


Public ownership has been ruled out from the start.


If the Government is foolish enough to press ahead with


this privatisation, it must be defeated.


This delicate and vital work must be entrusted to


civil servants, working for our public service, where trust and


It is right that as a responsible government we


do keep under review the questions about


whether and how we have, we


can take those functions currently the monopoly and responsibility of


the state and see if they can be financed better, if they could be


liberated and thrive better under new freedoms and to see whether


indeed, I will give way in a moment, whether indeed we could in so doing


put the public finances on a stronger footing.


Back to transport questions, where MPs claimed


commuters are being given written warnings by their bosses


because they are consistently late for work as a result


of the "shameful" service provided by Southern Rail.


Southern Railway services, including those


into London Victoria, have been disrupted for weeks


because of industrial action and high levels of staff sickness.


The Transport Minister was asked what economic impact


There is no formal economic assessment, surprisingly.


But I am in no doubt, I would agree that a


disrupted railway is not good for the economy and passengers.


That is why we are committed to returning it


This shambles we have seen is turning into a crisis.


People are writing to me and they are late for work


every day and their bosses are giving them written warnings.


The government seems to expect people to


turn to their bosses and say, do not worry,


Can the Minister tell us when this crisis will


end and people can go to


their bosses and say things will get better?


The honourable gentleman and I talk about this a lot.


He knows there was disruption because of this


investment, that things were getting better.


In April we were getting up to an 84, 83.8% PPM.


bosses, may I suggest they write to the union bosses involved, who I


think are doing their members a grave disservice by bringing them


This is about who presses the buttons


operating the doors and the change in the role of the second member.


There are no job losses and changes in terms and conditions.


This shameful performance is affecting commuters.


Across the south coast, going to the airport


and heading up to Gatwick, flights are being missed and jobs are


Can the Minister say the big impact this failing franchise is


Again, everybody understands this railway


That is why the money is being spent and so much


much work is going on but I say again that there are ?2 billion of


new trains coming from the production line now which the


company would like to be running on these routes


and the introduction of


those trains is being held up and it is not just on GTR,


it is the same in Scotland, it is a nationwide


dispute about who presses the buttons opening the doors.


It is no good having more rolling stock if they


It isn't good enough blaming the unions on


Her department has got to get a grip.


They are paying through the nose for an appalling service


threatening jobs, robbing them of time with their family and the CEO


of Go Ahead is on a pay deal rising to over ?2 million last year.


Will she get a grip, stop defending the


failing private sector, remove the franchise


and put the service into


transparent and accountable public hands now?


She accepted a very large donation from the RMT before


the last election and the union have awarded themselves a 16% pay


They need to stop objecting to the introduction of new


technology which benefits constituents and constituents right


Which brings us to our final stop for this edition of the programme,


but do join me on Friday night at 11 for The Week in Parliament


when we look back at a tumultuous few days,


as MPs, peers and the UK's other legislators get


And we hear from a former Clerk of the Commons


will start to unpick British laws from the EU.


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