07/07/2016 Thursday in Parliament


07/07/2016

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament from Thursday 7 July, 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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Should the foreign office have had a plan

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in the event of the UK voting to leave the EU?

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A committee of MPs certainly thinks so.

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Don't you think at an offichal level you should have been carrying out

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some kind of preparation? In the Lords, there's a call

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for a second referendum It does sometimes taken in ly better

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way, Mr Speaker, shocked my family and reduce me to tears, the

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vitriolic and criminal levels of personal abuse and I and colleagues

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across this house have faced. Philip Hammond, for a lack

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of contingency planning to deal with a Leave vote

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in the EU referendum. The UK voted by 52%

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to 48% to leave the EU, a result that had not been predicted

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by many politicians, In the fortnight since,

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financial markets have tumbled and the pound has reached a new low

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against other currencies. Appearing before the committee

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which scrutinises his department, the foreign secretary was asked

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if his office had been This committee, in its report on the

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implications of the referendum, in April, were pointing out th`t there

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would be immediate challengds for the office. And yet, the office

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appears to have sat there whth the political instruction to do nothing.

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Mr German throughout the referendum campaign, I drew attention, as did

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others in the campaign to lhkely consequences of a leave votd, and

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the reaction that I heard w`s that this was scaremongering. Don't you

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think at an official level xou should have been carrying ott some

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kind of preparation within the department? The civil service,

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including the dramatic servhce, works to the government of the DUP.

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Gentleman I can assure you ht was not an oversight -- 's Mr Gdrman I

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can assure you was not an oversight. We discussed whether there should be

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contingency planning, and concluded it was not appropriate to continue

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planning continues these other than planning focused on the verx

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immediate pressures that might come on the gradual markets.

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The committee moved on to whether the department

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It is the view of this commhttee there is going to need to bd a step

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change in the office of the budget, doubling or tripling it to deal with

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the challenge of dealing with the EU and the advancement of all the

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opportunities that will fit the United Kingdom outside the Duropean

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Union. What are you doing about bidding for extra resources for the

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office, and what is your sense of the scale at which the office would

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need to be stepped up to actually really take advantage of thd

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situation that the office is now presented with?

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But the minister didn't think there was a prospect of mord money.

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I think our economy will face a difficult period, at least hn the

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during which government revdnues are likely to fall, and we will face

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significant constraints. I do not think it is remotely realistic to

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talk about... To talk about budget doubling. The budget of the Foreign

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Office is a minute proportion of overall government expendittre. It

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is your view that the Foreign Office should continue to suffer that level

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of austerity, despite the f`ct that our diplomatic position and role in

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the world has completely ch`nged, and the scale of the challenge

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facing the United Kingdom democratically has just gond off the

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cell? We may indeed need to bid for additional resources, to de`l with

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the specific pressures around us. What I'm saying to the commhttee

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that I don't think, if the dconomic and fiscal circumstances th`t the

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country is like to face, ovdr the coming few years, that talk of

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doubling or trebling departlental budgets is remotely realisthc.

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So when did Philip Hammond think the UK would begin

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the official withdrawal process known as article 50?

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My judgment is that it would not be in the best interest of the UK to

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trigger article 50 immediatdly, article 50 set the clock ticking.

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And I don't think that at the moment, for various reasons, not

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least of which, we don't have a new Prime Minister in post, for the

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moment, we are not in a poshtion to begin that negotiation immediately,

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and therefore it would be unwise to start the process ticking bx

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triggering article 50 full stop although the Brussels institutions

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may not like that coming in conversations, bilateral

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conversations, I detect a considerable understanding of our

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position amongst our EU partners. What about the rights of EU

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citizens living in the UK? I would like to see us being able to

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reach an early solution that gives reassurance to those people, but I

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would not recommend a unilateral commitment by the British Government

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before we received any assurance about a reciprocal approach to the

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position of UK nationals in other European Union countries. It sounds

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awful lot like people were right to live and work, people who h`ve made

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their families and lives thdre, they are part of your negotiating

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process. I voted remain. I voted remain too. I wanted to continue

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that. Are you saying that your saying your rights are part of the

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negotiating process? So long as the part of the EU those rights are

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guaranteed as of right by the terms of an ownership of the U. As we

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cease to be a member, the rhghts of our citizens, and the citizdns of

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other countries to live, to work, to establish, to invest in bushnesses,

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to own property, we'll all have to be agreed. I believe they should be

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agreed on a fully reciprocal basis, and I hope they will be, and I

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expect they will be. MPs have been sharing some `ppalling

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examples of abuse they and their constituents have

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encountered from people on social media sites such

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as Facebook and Twitter. The Commons was debating how to deal

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with the bullies who use the anonymity available onlhne

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to hurl abuse and make thre`ts. One MP described how she'd been

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reduced to tears I came here with the full knowledge

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and expectation that my words and actions would be held up to public

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scrutiny, and that is right. But it has sometimes taken my breath away,

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though, Madam Deputy Speaker. What has sometimes taken my breath

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away, shocked my family, and reduced me to tears,

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is the vitriolic, hateful, and sometimes criminal levels

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of personal abuse that I and colleagues across the House

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have faced. But the greatest tragedy of this new

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technology fall has been thd advancement in online bullyhng

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abuse, and threats, and I know this horrific experience is not just

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confined to those buzz across this chamber, so I want to save directly

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to those watching from outshde Parliament who have been victims of

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online abuse, from all of us here today, that we stand right beside

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you, because we know how it feels. We understand the pain you've been

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through, and you can guarantee that we will do our best to addrdss this

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list you. For the past 14 months I've been called and receivd

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messages calling for immedi`te shot as a traitor, strangers havd

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attacked my father. This debate today is about enabling Parliament

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to send a clear message to the industry, to social media and do

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online worlds to say enough is enough. I think we need to be clear

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to online providers, in our country, that if they fail to take sdnsible

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measures to reduce online abuse that we ever Parliament shotld be

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considering putting in placd a levy to cover the costs of polichng that

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are being incurred purely as a result of online abuse and crimes.

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This is something done in other areas and I think here about the

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payments made by football tdams to have policing football stadhum full

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stop this is nothing new idda, but certainly an idea that my

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concentrates the mind when ht comes to online abuse in future. Lany

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members have a spirit of thhs online, nothing that is affdcted me

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terribly, but on one occasion which I simply posted online some comments

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about some boy racers causing anti-social behaviour, withhn about

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one hour I was being abused from all round the globe by boy racers who

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had obviously noticed I defhcit in my sex life and were offering a wide

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range... Of suggestions to hmprove this, some of this would actually

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end in certain death. I had to take the post down not because I was

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personally offended all concerned, but because I could simply not

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monitor it that the level of foul language of abuse left on mx

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Facebook page was for everyone to see.

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I vividly recall my daughter's transition to secondary school when

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her head teacher got parents together to talk about the perils of

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Facebook will do at that tile social media was growing in popularity but

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was still is small, not the multitude of platforms that there

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are today. And the phrase that you use which will always stick with me,

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is that to be quite frank, children are losing the ability to elpathise,

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because, in her view, there were making their unpleasant comlents

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online, and unlike in the playground, when you do it on your

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smartphone, use and you don't see the reaction on somebody's phase, so

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you will not learn about thd hurt, you simply bang out a message which

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can have a terrible impact, but that ability to understand, comprehends

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the hurt you have caused, is disappearing. My issues with

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particular reference to Twitter and Facebook are the apparent l`ck of a

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coherent policy on what acttally constitutes online abuse. I would

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like to give a few examples. Twitter policy states: and I quote: we do

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not tolerate behaviour crossing the line into abuse, including behaviour

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that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence and other user's

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voice. So, with this in mind, when I received a threat on Twitter during

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the referendum debate, saying, and I quote: we'll see what you s`y when

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an immigrant rates you or one of your kids. I reported it to Twitter

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using their online pro form`. Surely this racist, violent and targeted

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abuse crossed that line into behaviour that harasses and

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intimidates, which pretty policy claims to be against. But no, the

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response I received from twhtter was: it's not currently violently --

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violating the twitter rules. The Minister said social media

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platforms had to work In terms of the online world will

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suddenly have these companids which in many respects are bigger and more

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influential than many nation states. I mean, Facebook has a population of

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1.2 billion. That has a poptlation of 300 million. And yes, thdy are to

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a certain extent left to thdir own devices, to create their own rules,

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their own society and regul`tion. You're watching Thursday in

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Parliament with me, Alicia LcCarthy Let's go back to the impact

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of the UK's vote to leave the EU. In the Lords, peers were worried

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about what it might Specifically they wanted to know

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about the impact on millions of pounds of research funding under

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a scheme called Horizon 2020 and the possible consequencds

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for a project known as Eraslus, which enables the exchange of EU

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students between nations. The referendum result has no

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immediate effect on the right of researchers to apply and participate

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in Horizon 2020 nor on thosd currently participating

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in or about to embark The future of UK access

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to European research and innovation funding

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and to the Erasmus programme will be

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part of wider discussions whth Is she aware that in spite

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of similar reassurances givdn by ministers of state for univdrsities

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and science in the other pl`ce that there is already anecdotal dvidence

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of researchers being asked to stand down from European programmds

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particularly when they are lead It was particularly

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difficult for those Is the Minister aware of thdse

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difficulties that are likely to arise and how the Swiss

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example means that associatd status, unless we keep freedom of movement,

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would be of no value? The Vice Chancellor

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of Ruskin tells me as I understand it that they are doing

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important research with a University in Portugal

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on earthquake studies. Perhaps an analogy that

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is This funding, this

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research could be in jeopardy and so I would ask the

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Minister to give us some assurance of the attention of the soft power

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and soft diplomacy that needs to be sustained into the future

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and how such research importance to vulnerable

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communities, is going to be sustained into

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the Of course the Government and I

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entirely understand the concerns We have a world class higher

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education sector and we want to support it and make sure that

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going forward it is able to still be taking its position as the best

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in the world and that is whx with the sector throughout the

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coming months and years in order to make sure we provide the support

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that their voice is heard and that we can try and do all we can to make

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sure that we maintain the Lady Evans Staying in the Lords

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a Labour peer called for a second Lady King, formerly the Labour MP,

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Oona King, said she didn't want that vote now, but once the UK h`d

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negotiated the terms of It is fair to say that most people

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did not realise that the EU referendum and a Brexit votd

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would trigger the chain of dvents We have got our economy in crisis,

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major companies lining up at this moment right here right

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now to leave Britain. We have got jobs moving out

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right here right now. People does not realise those

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consequences and I think thd main thing is they did not know

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because the architects of their campaign themselves did not

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know what the final deal In the interests of democracy

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the British people must be given the chance to vote on a deal

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to leave the EU once we finally know what that ddal

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is and what that deal costs. In terms of our economy,

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our costs, our pensions, our future, our influence,

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our geographical borders and last but not least our precious hdentity

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as a tolerant open facing n`tion. The only way that we can

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have a second bite at this cherry is to have a political partx

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with its main manifesto comlitment not to break with the EU and test

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that at a general election. I am something of an expert

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on losing elections. And I know the feeling having fought

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eight general elections, won four, lost four,

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the feelings you go When you lose your opponent lied,

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your opponent made promises he could not

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possibly keep. Probably you opponent had more money

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than you and the place were on the side of your opponent.

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I have to say it was a triulph for British democracy.

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I simply say to the House, particularly I say to this House,

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this is essentially an advisory House.

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The public is not an advisory public.

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And for this House, particularly as I said to my friends at the other

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end, amongst whom there is no appetite for a referendum

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whatsoever, but I do say to my friends in this House,

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it is not our job to thwart the will of the British people.

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I can't believe that people want another one.

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The British people were not deceived.

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We should not just scorn the decision.

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We should not deride the re`sons they did it for.

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We should accept what they said and get on with being

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At the end of the formal negotiations there will

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But that will surely requird further authorisation

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whether popular, parliament`ry, or more probably both.

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But today is not the day for that debate.

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Let us have negotiations, a full negotiation package, and put

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My concern then is if the ptblic said they did not agree

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with that there would be an attempt to rerun and rerun and rerun.

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There is this issue we have to be worried about.

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As politicians we must re-engage with the public.

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They have shown that they h`ve got distrust in the political elite

:18:56.:19:04.

We can increase that distrust if we say to people keep on voting

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I know what is not what the noble lady wants.

:19:08.:19:12.

Back in the Commons, the new Shadow Environment Secretary

:19:13.:19:15.

Rachael Maskell raised the importance of EU migrant

:19:16.:19:17.

How will the Secretary of State ensure our crops

:19:18.:19:26.

are harvested in this uncertain period through securing

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I thank the honourable lady for her question and I welcome her

:19:29.:19:33.

She was a fantastic advocatd for her constituents during the very

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I look forward to working with her very much.

:19:38.:19:42.

In terms of the issue of agricultural workers,

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my constituency is a great producer of salad vegetables, onions.

:19:56.:19:57.

I understand the importance of those workers to our

:19:58.:20:00.

It will be one of the key things we are working on at Defra,

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and putting the case across Government to make

:20:05.:20:06.

sure we continue to have that supply of workers.

:20:07.:20:08.

Mr Speaker, it is evident in the responses from the Government

:20:09.:20:11.

that her department has not made contingency plans for a Leave vote.

:20:12.:20:15.

Failing in its duty in government to not only fully protect one

:20:16.:20:18.

of our major industries but also those who work on it.

:20:19.:20:21.

In the light of this can shd now say what actions she has taken

:20:22.:20:24.

to confirm that all EU citizens working in farming can remahn

:20:25.:20:27.

in the EU as yesterday's vote called for and that she has

:20:28.:20:30.

already made representation to the Home Office on this?

:20:31.:20:36.

It is absolutely clear that whilst we remain members of the EU

:20:37.:20:39.

Those workers will continue to work in those areas.

:20:40.:20:45.

But the reality is that I cannot make decisions

:20:46.:20:47.

Scotland's food and drink industry exports ?725 million worth

:20:48.:20:57.

Given the disastrous Brexit vote what impact does the Ministdr

:20:58.:21:02.

believe any restrictions on seasonal workforce will have on the hndustry

:21:03.:21:04.

I thank the honourable gentleman for his question.

:21:05.:21:14.

That is why we are turbo-ch`rging the work of the Great British Food

:21:15.:21:17.

Unit to make sure that we open up new markets and get more

:21:18.:21:20.

of our products out into thd world as well as the European Union.

:21:21.:21:25.

And I am very clear that agriculture and food has got major export

:21:26.:21:30.

potential and that is why I am having a meeting today

:21:31.:21:34.

with the Business Secretary to talk about our trade negotiations

:21:35.:21:37.

and making sure that food is a very key part of those.

:21:38.:21:47.

I congratulate my honourabld friend for the energy and enthusiasm

:21:48.:21:49.

and intelligence he brought to the Leave campaign.

:21:50.:21:55.

Having met farmers in my constituency in Kettering bdfore

:21:56.:21:57.

the vote it was clear that the senior leadership

:21:58.:21:59.

of the National Farmers' Unhon had signed up to Project Fear

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and was trying to scare farmers and rural dwellers

:22:03.:22:05.

Now that the result has been decided, and overwhelmingly

:22:06.:22:10.

in Kettering they have voted to leave, can we make sure that

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everyone involved in rural communities and farming talks up

:22:21.:22:24.

the rural communities and f`rming because we have got a very

:22:25.:22:26.

I thank the honourable gentleman for his kind comments

:22:27.:22:30.

although I think it is important now that the debate has concluded

:22:31.:22:36.

and the decision of the country is made that we move on and focus

:22:37.:22:39.

on next steps and focus on the future.

:22:40.:22:44.

This week I have been at the livestock event alre`dy

:22:45.:22:47.

I have had meetings with many farmers and what I have found

:22:48.:22:54.

you get past initial shock of this decision for some and they hndeed

:22:55.:22:58.

in the detail of what might be possible in the future actu`lly

:22:59.:23:01.

people become more excited about the potential for us

:23:02.:23:04.

The final two in the Conservative leadership contest have been

:23:05.:23:08.

revealed The Home Secretary Theresa May will face the Energy Minister,

:23:09.:23:11.

Andrea Leadsom in the run-off - after the justice secretary

:23:12.:23:13.

Michael Gove was eliminated from the contest.

:23:14.:23:15.

On Wednesday Westminster had heard the unguarded opinions of two senior

:23:16.:23:18.

Conservatives who were chatting in a Sky News TV studio.

:23:19.:23:20.

Talking to Sir Malcolm Rifkhnd, veteran Tory MP, Ken Clarke

:23:21.:23:23.

described the Home Secretarx, Theresa May, as a bloody difficult

:23:24.:23:28.

woman, suggested Andrea Leadsom didn't really want to leave the EU,

:23:29.:23:31.

His comments were picked up by the Shadow leader of the Commons,

:23:32.:23:38.

who paid tribute to Ken Clarke the MP for Rushcliffe

:23:39.:23:40.

The House is grateful as evdr to the member for Rushcliffd

:23:41.:23:48.

who is a rarity on the Government backbenches as a man

:23:49.:23:51.

who is occasionally caught in possession of an intelligent

:23:52.:23:56.

thought and who speaks real English, at least the kind of language

:23:57.:23:59.

But this week we were very grateful to him for giving us the vital

:24:00.:24:09.

intelligence that the three remaining candidates

:24:10.:24:11.

for the leadership of the Tory party, that one of them was bloody

:24:12.:24:14.

difficult, and one does not expect to deliver on the extremely stupid

:24:15.:24:17.

things she has been saying, and one would declare war

:24:18.:24:19.

Mr Flynn suggested that as the new leader was going

:24:20.:24:33.

to become Prime Minister there should be a vote open

:24:34.:24:35.

to those who weren't members of the Conservative party.

:24:36.:24:39.

It would be wonderful if we could have the chance

:24:40.:24:42.

of having a write in candid`te who would certainly be someone

:24:43.:24:44.

like the member for Rushcliffe, who happily at his time of life has

:24:45.:24:47.

passed beyond the stages of ambition and vanity that afflict

:24:48.:24:50.

Could I perhaps suggest to him if the member for Rushcliffd is

:24:51.:24:54.

reluctant because he is of ` certain age of returning to the dispatch

:24:55.:24:57.

box, may I remind him what I have discovered,

:24:58.:24:59.

that the dispatch box is a vital support and a wonderful

:25:00.:25:02.

But the leader of the Commons thought he detected

:25:03.:25:10.

I suspect that the Home Secretary will not be impressed at behng

:25:11.:25:21.

Can I also say I understand his enthusiasm for taking part hn this

:25:22.:25:25.

election campaign for being able to express a view on who our next

:25:26.:25:28.

If I was on their benches I would want to take part

:25:29.:25:32.

in our leadership contest as well because try as they may,

:25:33.:25:34.

however hard they struggle, they just don't seem to be `ble

:25:35.:25:37.

And that's it for now, but do join me again on Friday night

:25:38.:25:42.

at 11 for a full round up of another busy week here at Westminstdr.

:25:43.:25:46.

Including the continuing fall-out from the EU referendum and reaction

:25:47.:25:49.

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