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.