14/07/2016 Thursday in Parliament


14/07/2016

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 14 July, presented by Keith Macdougall.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Thursd`y in Parliament.

:00:10.:00:13.

As Theresa May unveils her new Cabinet, there's surprise

:00:14.:00:20.

at Boris Johnson's appointmdnt as Foreign Secretary.

:00:21.:00:22.

We thought that the new Prile Minister didn't have

:00:23.:00:24.

The Commons is told that threats of violence and abuse directed

:00:25.:00:30.

at MPs are now completely out of hand.

:00:31.:00:32.

And the Government defends its continued backing

:00:33.:00:35.

of a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley in Somerset.

:00:36.:00:40.

This government doesn't takd the view that we will

:00:41.:00:42.

What we have to do is to plan for the future.

:00:43.:00:55.

But first, MPs gathered in the Commons at 9.30 on Thursday

:00:56.:01:00.

morning, as Theresa May was still busy choosing members

:01:01.:01:02.

Some of the big announcements had already been made,

:01:03.:01:05.

including the appointment of Philip Hammond as Chancellor

:01:06.:01:07.

replacing George Osborne, and Boris Johnson as Foreign

:01:08.:01:09.

In other posts, Liz Truss was promoted to Justice Secretary

:01:10.:01:13.

and Justine Greening moved from international

:01:14.:01:14.

The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLaughlin, was movdd to be

:01:15.:01:18.

But in the Commons Chamber, it was the appointment

:01:19.:01:24.

of Boris Johnson, the MP for Uxbridge and former

:01:25.:01:26.

London mayor, that was attracting most attention.

:01:27.:01:29.

Labour's Shadow leader of the Commons questioned the decision.

:01:30.:01:35.

The MP for Uxbridge might h`ve made a perfectly adequate

:01:36.:01:40.

minister for the import of second-hand water cannon,

:01:41.:01:45.

Especially for his services to Europhobia.

:01:46.:01:56.

The member has been sacked twice from previous jobs for not

:01:57.:01:59.

He's insulted the president of the United States.

:02:00.:02:05.

He's attacked people from all parts of the world, from Liverpool,

:02:06.:02:08.

Does these qualities mean that he's going to be supreme in the `rea

:02:09.:02:17.

where the qualities of diplomacy and truthfulness are in dem`nd?

:02:18.:02:21.

We are seeing a government being created not for the bdst

:02:22.:02:28.

interests of the country, but in order to deal

:02:29.:02:30.

with the perpetual internal war in the Conservative

:02:31.:02:38.

For leader of the Commons didn't think Labour had

:02:39.:02:45.

anything to crow about, given its current disagreemdnts

:02:46.:02:47.

and the resignations of dozdns of shadow ministers.

:02:48.:02:49.

Mr Speaker, if the Labour P`rty front bench was a football team

:02:50.:02:52.

it would have Paul Flynn in goal, Paul Flynn in defence,

:02:53.:02:54.

Paul Flynn in attack, lots of people on the left wing

:02:55.:02:58.

nobody willing to play on the right, and endless on goals.

:02:59.:03:01.

nobody willing to play on the right, and endless own goals.

:03:02.:03:04.

What we have on those benchds, Mr Speaker, is a party that is not

:03:05.:03:07.

fit to be in opposition, let alone to be fit to be

:03:08.:03:10.

an alternative government for this country.

:03:11.:03:12.

We have heard over the months from people who now hold senior

:03:13.:03:15.

positions on those benches views which in my view undermine our

:03:16.:03:18.

Armed Forces, undermine our defences and are wholly unaligned

:03:19.:03:20.

with the national interests of this country.

:03:21.:03:22.

Mr Speaker, this week of all weeks, for a Labour politician

:03:23.:03:29.

to talk about internal war in a political party.

:03:30.:03:31.

They have been trying again and again and again to get

:03:32.:03:34.

He's on the ballot paper, he will probably win again,

:03:35.:03:38.

They are a complete disgracd to this country politically.

:03:39.:03:43.

I will take no lessons from them about internal wars

:03:44.:03:46.

We thought that the new Prime Minister didn't

:03:47.:03:49.

So she has gone and proven that one totally wrong by appointing

:03:50.:03:53.

the right honourable member for Uxbridge as the

:03:54.:03:55.

You could almost have heard the guffaws of laughter

:03:56.:03:59.

from parliaments and ambass`dors last night, as the news got

:04:00.:04:02.

round that Boris was in charge of the UK's foreign policy

:04:03.:04:05.

and indeed MI6 he is also in charge of, too.

:04:06.:04:08.

When he was Mayor of London, Boris Johnson famously got stuck

:04:09.:04:14.

on a zipwire when it stopped working at an Olympic event.

:04:15.:04:16.

A Lib Dem asked an inventive question.

:04:17.:04:21.

Has the leader had a request from Viz to provide governmdnt time

:04:22.:04:24.

for a debate on the fantasthc contribution the UK leisure industry

:04:25.:04:27.

Such a debate would allow government ministers to set out how UK

:04:28.:04:31.

manufacturers will fulfil ddmand for major new infrastructurd,

:04:32.:04:34.

a transcontinental network of suppliers to enable our

:04:35.:04:40.

a transcontinental network of zipwires to enable our

:04:41.:04:44.

new Foreign Secretary to tr`vel cheaply and with low environmental

:04:45.:04:46.

impact and in the style he hs accustomed to around the world?

:04:47.:04:49.

Well, it is an interesting hdea Mr Speaker, but I think we will be

:04:50.:04:53.

investigating an infrastructure which is more used to cars,

:04:54.:04:55.

The SNP's foreign affairs spokesman referred to the appointment

:04:56.:05:01.

of Liam Fox and David Davis to new international and trade roles.

:05:02.:05:06.

We congratulate through him the Prime Minister on her choices

:05:07.:05:10.

and the quality of her sackhngs and dismissals from governmdnt over

:05:11.:05:12.

I think we can agree that on a cross-party basis.

:05:13.:05:19.

But the new secretaries of state, the right honourable members

:05:20.:05:21.

for Haltemprice and Howden and North Somerset,

:05:22.:05:24.

serious politicians, but their boss seems to be the court

:05:25.:05:26.

So shall these serious politicians have their own departments of state,

:05:27.:05:33.

or will they be answering to the new Foreign Secretarx?

:05:34.:05:37.

Well, Mr Speaker, I can simply say to the honourable gentleman that

:05:38.:05:40.

of course, all of these new secretaries of state will be

:05:41.:05:43.

accountable to this House in the normal way.

:05:44.:05:47.

Where they are heads of dep`rtment, and clearly in the case of,

:05:48.:05:50.

for example, the department which will take us out

:05:51.:05:53.

of the European Union, that has been clearly, exprdssly

:05:54.:05:56.

designed by the new Prime Mhnister to be a separate department.

:05:57.:05:59.

And of course, that Secretary of State will be accountabld in this

:06:00.:06:02.

MPs have been revisiting what one called the ugly,

:06:03.:06:05.

brutal day in March 2003 when they agonised over

:06:06.:06:10.

On the second day of the Colmons debate on the Chilcot Report,

:06:11.:06:15.

published last week, many MPs stuck by their dechsion.

:06:16.:06:17.

Opening the debate was the chairman of the Defence Committee,

:06:18.:06:23.

When I look back at those circumstances, I say to mysdlf

:06:24.:06:37.

that the reason I supported and spoke in favour of military

:06:38.:06:40.

action, the primary reason, was that I believed what I was told

:06:41.:06:44.

by the then Labour government about the possession,

:06:45.:06:48.

or the believed possession of anthrax and other weapons

:06:49.:06:51.

of mass destruction, by Saddam Hussein.

:06:52.:06:55.

But here is where I have to make the major admission -

:06:56.:06:59.

But here is where I have to make a major admission -

:07:00.:07:02.

at the back of my mind, and at the back I believe of many

:07:03.:07:05.

other honourable members' mhnds was a second belief.

:07:06.:07:08.

It was the belief that if Saddam Hussein was removdd,

:07:09.:07:14.

we might see the emergence of some form of democracy in Iraq.

:07:15.:07:22.

And in that belief, I was profoundly mistaken.

:07:23.:07:27.

John Baron, who voted against military action in Hraq

:07:28.:07:30.

said Parliament should have done more to question the evidence.

:07:31.:07:34.

It is a failure almost at every level.

:07:35.:07:37.

If the legislative is not examining the evidence,

:07:38.:07:40.

it is not questioning the executive at times like this, then

:07:41.:07:43.

And there was a failure of those in the know, and I would suggest

:07:44.:07:51.

and I would suggest at all levels, but particularly in

:07:52.:07:53.

to challenge what was being presented to the public.

:07:54.:07:57.

I was here in 2003 and I was one of those who rebelled

:07:58.:08:00.

against the leader of my party and voted against action

:08:01.:08:02.

The gentleman was disingenuous I think to the House

:08:03.:08:09.

because it was one of the bhggest rebellions there had been

:08:10.:08:11.

against a government from the government side.

:08:12.:08:15.

And I remember the debate, and how difficult it was to make

:08:16.:08:18.

When you're being led by thd leader of your party, whose

:08:19.:08:23.

judgment you respect, it's a tough call to actually say,

:08:24.:08:26.

I'm going to disagree and I'm going to vote against action

:08:27.:08:29.

Pete Wishart, who opposed the conflict, said he felt

:08:30.:08:33.

It was a horrible, brutal, tgly day, a day that should I think bd

:08:34.:08:51.

indelibly imprinted on this House's collective consciousness.

:08:52.:08:52.

I had a look at the proceedhngs of that day again just

:08:53.:08:55.

to refresh my memory about the atmosphere

:08:56.:08:57.

I know it sounds a bit masochistic to look at Youtube recordings

:08:58.:09:02.

of Tony Blair and others making their speeches,

:09:03.:09:03.

but I thought it was really important just to get a sense

:09:04.:09:06.

of what that day was like, given that it was such a long timd ago.

:09:07.:09:10.

We had to listen to Tony Bl`ir lay out that exaggerated,

:09:11.:09:14.

fabricated case, to listen `gain to those flights of fancy.

:09:15.:09:18.

We now know, because of the Chilcot Report,

:09:19.:09:22.

that most of it was mainly nonsense, most of it was invention.

:09:23.:09:32.

Ann Clwyd was a high-profild supporter of the war.

:09:33.:09:39.

Repression, abuse, ethnic cleansing and extrajudicial killings

:09:40.:09:41.

Saddam, without doubt, was a serious threat to domdstic,

:09:42.:09:45.

I had hoped the internation`l community could remove

:09:46.:09:50.

But sanctions failed, international indictments never took placd.

:09:51.:09:59.

UN Security Council resoluthons were ignored time

:10:00.:10:01.

Jonny Mercer, a former army captain, said the Chilcot Report showed

:10:02.:10:13.

that the military had not spoken truth to power.

:10:14.:10:17.

It is inconceivable to me to allow a political administration hn this

:10:18.:10:20.

country to hamper preparations for war because it did not

:10:21.:10:22.

politically want to be seen to be doing so.

:10:23.:10:27.

It is inconceivable to me to allow soldiers out of patrol bases

:10:28.:10:30.

into contact with the enemy without body armour,

:10:31.:10:33.

not as a tactical decision or a result of enemy action

:10:34.:10:38.

against a supply route, but simply because of bad planning.

:10:39.:10:42.

It is inconceivable to me to continually allow patrolling

:10:43.:10:45.

in Snatch Land Rovers when they were known to provide no

:10:46.:10:48.

protection whatsoever to our men and women against a well-known

:10:49.:10:51.

But yet these things happened, and they directly

:10:52.:10:54.

That's what really stuck in the craw for him, he said,

:10:55.:10:58.

and the military lessons had to be learned.

:10:59.:11:01.

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

:11:02.:11:07.

Female MPs are being subjected to escalating levels of misogynistic

:11:08.:11:15.

abuse and threats of violence, according to Labour's Paula

:11:16.:11:17.

She raised her concerns with the Commons Speaker, John Bdrcow.

:11:18.:11:24.

It is apparent that this abtse has become completely out of hand now.

:11:25.:11:32.

Many, many members are fearful for their and their staff's safety,

:11:33.:11:34.

to the point where a number of members have discussed whth me

:11:35.:11:37.

that they are worried about their own personal he`lth

:11:38.:11:39.

This cannot be allowed to continue, Mr Speaker.

:11:40.:11:44.

I wonder if you could advisd this House what action the House

:11:45.:11:48.

can take to make it clear that this behaviour will not be

:11:49.:11:51.

tolerated from any party, and that all perpetrators whll be

:11:52.:11:54.

The leader of the Commons s`id action was being taken.

:11:55.:12:01.

Can I say first of all, I absolutely agree with the honourable l`dy?

:12:02.:12:05.

And can I inform the House that a lot of work is taking place

:12:06.:12:09.

on measures to improve the security of right honourable

:12:10.:12:11.

There is a detailed project group looking at what lessons can be

:12:12.:12:20.

learned from the tragic events of a few weeks ago.

:12:21.:12:24.

And the commission next week will consider proposals

:12:25.:12:26.

for an improvement to the approach we take.

:12:27.:12:28.

The Speaker said regular conversations were being held,

:12:29.:12:30.

If any individual member has particular personal concerns

:12:31.:12:36.

as of now, the best course of action is to approach

:12:37.:12:41.

the Parliamentary security director for his best advice.

:12:42.:12:46.

Meanwhile, in the Lords, thd former Commons Speaker Betty Boothroyd has

:12:47.:12:49.

called on the Government to stamp out "bureaucratic and buckp`ssing

:12:50.:12:54.

behaviour" by the police in dealing with race hate crime.

:12:55.:12:56.

The independent crossbencher and former Labour MP said

:12:57.:12:59.

Her comments came after a rdported increase in race hate attacks

:13:00.:13:04.

following the recent EU referendum result.

:13:05.:13:11.

This year is the 50th annivdrsary of the Race Relations Act

:13:12.:13:15.

and the Government is still talking about action plans to tackld

:13:16.:13:20.

what the act failed to do then and what we are still failing

:13:21.:13:23.

Can the Minister say if the Government has proposed

:13:24.:13:33.

an action plan that will curtail the widespread use of the internet

:13:34.:13:36.

And might I pass to the Minhster evidence I have here of a h`te-race

:13:37.:13:41.

statement on the internet coming from a named person in a naled

:13:42.:13:44.

When my informant passed all the information

:13:45.:13:49.

to the Lancashire Constabul`ry, they said they couldn't deal with it

:13:50.:13:51.

until it had been reported to the Metropolitan Police.

:13:52.:13:54.

Presumably the Met would thdn pass it back to Lancashire.

:13:55.:13:59.

Will the Government stamp ott this bureaucratic and buckpassing

:14:00.:14:02.

behaviour of the police when the crisis calls

:14:03.:14:04.

The important thing, which I acknowledge,

:14:05.:14:10.

I know as someone who's been subjected to this crime both

:14:11.:14:13.

on the internet and elsewhere, that it is important we comlunicate.

:14:14.:14:18.

There is the need to have the confidence of commtnities

:14:19.:14:20.

reporting hate crime for thdm to be able to know that they can report it

:14:21.:14:24.

and, as the noble lady has highlighted, the importance

:14:25.:14:26.

and most important area of follow-up and action.

:14:27.:14:28.

Staying in the Lords, the founder of the Big Issud

:14:29.:14:32.

magazine called on the Government to changes approach

:14:33.:14:38.

magazine called on the Government to change its approach

:14:39.:14:40.

He questioned whether Social Security spending helped get people

:14:41.:14:43.

out of poverty or was a devhce for helping people to becomd

:14:44.:14:46.

The first thing that we must do is we must recognise the problem.

:14:47.:14:52.

If I have the chance, and I'm sure it would be a wonderful chance,

:14:53.:14:55.

if I had the chance to go to Theresa May tomorrow

:14:56.:15:00.

and help her with her work that is coming up,

:15:01.:15:05.

I would say to her, "What are you going to do

:15:06.:15:08.

about the fact that we spend billions and billions and bhllions

:15:09.:15:12.

and have spent billions and billions and billions and yet we keep people

:15:13.:15:17.

The World Bank published sole years ago a fascinating study covdring

:15:18.:15:26.

a number of countries in thhs world that demonstrated

:15:27.:15:28.

what I guess we already know, is that poor people very well

:15:29.:15:32.

and very often understand their own predicament and often have very good

:15:33.:15:35.

ideas about how to get out of it and what needs to be done.

:15:36.:15:38.

And that these ideas are often very different from what the authorities

:15:39.:15:42.

Other people make decisions about them.

:15:43.:15:46.

One peer spoke about the visit she had made to a part

:15:47.:15:51.

of Bristol when she was Gordon Brown's digital champion

:15:52.:15:54.

When I arrived, they had just stopped the local

:15:55.:15:56.

It was the poorest ward in Bristol and I was going to see the ledia

:15:57.:16:05.

centre and I have to say that even I, an internet

:16:06.:16:08.

entrepreneur thought, "Really?

:16:09.:16:09.

"A media centre? Is that what they need in Norwest?

:16:10.:16:11.

Every problem is not solved by using the internet

:16:12.:16:19.

but I could see from that experience that it gave the local people

:16:20.:16:22.

the tools to empower them to build the things that they wanted.

:16:23.:16:26.

Local websites selling vegetables in the gardens

:16:27.:16:30.

It was a powerful and relathvely low-cost way of addressing

:16:31.:16:37.

the massively complex challdnges that that community faced.

:16:38.:16:40.

The Work and Pensions Minister, Lord Freud,

:16:41.:16:41.

to empower people through the new Universal Credit benefit system

:16:42.:16:47.

There are none of the cliff edges of the old systdm

:16:48.:16:52.

and as earnings increase, Universal Credit payments

:16:53.:16:53.

Work and earnings are more clearly incentivised and basically people

:16:54.:17:01.

That is the definition of empowerment.

:17:02.:17:06.

MPs on the Home Affairs Comlittee have been holding a final

:17:07.:17:12.

session in their enquiry into anti-Semitism, hearing first

:17:13.:17:14.

He told them that overall lhfe was good for Jews in the UK.

:17:15.:17:19.

If I could just scribble something quickly for you.

:17:20.:17:21.

If I were to ask you what is it that is here?

:17:22.:17:31.

What do you see on this sheet of paper?

:17:32.:17:33.

And I think you'd be thinking, well, isn't this a crazy question?

:17:34.:17:36.

Obviously there is a large dot here on the piece of paper.

:17:37.:17:38.

Well, actually, there is a luch better answer and a much better

:17:39.:17:43.

answer is this is a white sheet of paper and on the white b`ckground

:17:44.:17:46.

The white area represents the situation of Jews in thd UK

:17:47.:17:50.

today, it is great to be Jewish in Britain.

:17:51.:17:52.

This is a truly wonderful country but in that context we've

:17:53.:17:59.

It used to be smaller, it has now got bigger and it

:18:00.:18:05.

could get bigger and bigger unless we deal with it effectively.

:18:06.:18:09.

He accused the Labour leadership of not dealing with it effectively.

:18:10.:18:14.

Are you telling me it is only the Labour Party

:18:15.:18:17.

It is in the Labour Party that senior members of the party,

:18:18.:18:21.

during the past number of months, have publicly stated

:18:22.:18:26.

that there is a serious problem with anti-Semitism in their party.

:18:27.:18:28.

It is in the Labour Party that there have been more

:18:29.:18:31.

It is in the Labour Party that a special enquiry was setup order

:18:32.:18:36.

If you would like to cite for me any contemporary instances

:18:37.:18:41.

By the way, there probably is anti-Semitism in other p`rties

:18:42.:18:49.

but if you would like to cite for me other instances which need to be

:18:50.:18:52.

So you're telling this commhttee you don't think Mr Corbyn h`s

:18:53.:19:01.

acquitted himself on this issue?

:19:02.:19:02.

More must be done? Oh, yes.

:19:03.:19:03.

Interestingly, when I met with Miss Chakrabarti,

:19:04.:19:06.

I asked her a question and H said to her, what would you

:19:07.:19:09.

like the headline story of your report to be?

:19:10.:19:11.

And she hesitated for a momdnt and reply to me was,

:19:12.:19:16.

That actually isn't what has been reported.

:19:17.:19:22.

It is more the opening sentdnce of her report relating

:19:23.:19:25.

to what is not happening in the Labour Party rather

:19:26.:19:28.

And I think her comment about "We need to do

:19:29.:19:31.

better" is a good comment because the Labour Party has

:19:32.:19:35.

an outstanding tradition of dealing with the ills in our societx,

:19:36.:19:38.

taking the lead in combatting racism.

:19:39.:19:43.

Many Jewish people have been proud members, and rightly so,

:19:44.:19:46.

of the Labour Party and we want continuity of those values.

:19:47.:19:49.

Shami Chakrabarti was the chairwoman of Labour's

:19:50.:19:50.

The committee also heard from a Labour MP who chairs

:19:51.:19:57.

the all-party Parliamentary group against anti-Semitism and who was

:19:58.:19:59.

What you have given us, we will publish the list of abuse

:20:00.:20:06.

that you have suffered over a very short period of time.

:20:07.:20:12.

I'm not going to read them `ll out but one of them says, "John Mann,

:20:13.:20:16.

why don't you admit you're a Zionist whore, then?"

:20:17.:20:18.

That's probably the mildest of the others.

:20:19.:20:22.

I don't think it's necessarx for me to read them all out

:20:23.:20:25.

but we will publish this. This is appalling abuse.

:20:26.:20:27.

That has been going on for the last year.

:20:28.:20:32.

I've not got either desire or time to keep them all.

:20:33.:20:39.

This is a tiny snapshot of the volume, the volume

:20:40.:20:41.

What is particularly worrying to me, and I would suggest ought to be

:20:42.:20:50.

to your good selves, I get criticised on lots of things.

:20:51.:20:55.

Like you, I often speak my lind and people want to disagree vehdmently.

:20:56.:21:00.

But only when I do anything on anti-Semitism do I get accused

:21:01.:21:04.

of having a puppeteer, do I get accused repeatedly

:21:05.:21:07.

and asked, "How much money are you being paid for this?"

:21:08.:21:12.

Do I be accused of being part of a conspiracy.

:21:13.:21:16.

Those are unique, unique to when I have raised

:21:17.:21:18.

Anything else that I might say that people might

:21:19.:21:28.

want to vehemently disagree with, it is maybe robust.

:21:29.:21:31.

So my exchanges with the SNP in the referendum, I think ht's fair

:21:32.:21:34.

to say, were robust and perhaps occasionally the responses

:21:35.:21:36.

But nobody suggested I was being paid to do it,

:21:37.:21:41.

that someone was my puppet laster, that I was part of a conspiracy

:21:42.:21:46.

And that, I think, demonstr`tes there is a particular invidhousness

:21:47.:21:49.

John Mann said a lot of that abuse was from people who claim to be

:21:50.:21:54.

or who currently were members of the Labour Party.

:21:55.:21:57.

The energy minister and forler Tory leadership candidate,

:21:58.:22:02.

Andrea Leadsom, has insisted a new nuclear power plant

:22:03.:22:07.

at Hinckley in Somerset will go ahead and will be

:22:08.:22:09.

Andrea Leadsom was speaking before she was promoted to

:22:10.:22:15.

Environment Secretary in Theresa May's reshuffle.

:22:16.:22:18.

The new power station was initially supposed to cost ?6 billion

:22:19.:22:22.

but was more recently estimated at 18 billion.

:22:23.:22:25.

As part of the 35-year deal signed with France's

:22:26.:22:28.

EDF to build the plant, the Government agreed to pax

:22:29.:22:31.

?92.50 for each megawatt hour of electricity.

:22:32.:22:36.

Wholesale energy prices havd fallen since, meaning the Government must

:22:37.:22:38.

The deal was raised by a Labour backbencher.

:22:39.:22:46.

The Government has guarantedd an electricity price about three

:22:47.:22:49.

times the wholesale price of electricity to EDF

:22:50.:22:53.

to build a nuclear white elephant at Hinkley Point C.

:22:54.:22:57.

Can the Minister explain how on earth that will benefit

:22:58.:22:59.

consumers, whether business or household, in reducing

:23:00.:23:01.

I'm sure the honourable gentleman knows that, at the moment,

:23:02.:23:10.

we get about 16% of our electricity every day from nuclear

:23:11.:23:16.

and he will also know that those plants are all due to be retired

:23:17.:23:19.

Therefore, new nuclear forms a core part of how

:23:20.:23:23.

we replace our electricity supplies going forward.

:23:24.:23:26.

This Government doesn't takd the view that we will

:23:27.:23:28.

What we have to do is to pl`n for the future. Why?

:23:29.:23:33.

Because electricity security is not negotiable.

:23:34.:23:39.

One year ago, Dec's estimatd for the total lifetime cost

:23:40.:23:44.

of the nuclear power station at Hinkley C was ?14 billion.

:23:45.:23:48.

Recently, that estimate was revised to ?37 billion.

:23:49.:23:57.

Following the referendum vote, the Government's expert advhsor has

:23:58.:23:59.

said that Hinkley C is extrdmely unlikely to go ahead,

:24:00.:24:02.

so does this mean the minister now doesn't have to worry

:24:03.:24:05.

about justifying the extra 23 billion cost to the Treasury

:24:06.:24:08.

Or does she just feel that she doesn't need to explain

:24:09.:24:11.

the additional burden upon taxpayers?

:24:12.:24:12.

I think the honourable gentleman possibly is misunderstanding.

:24:13.:24:21.

The cost of the project hasn't changed, the difference is,

:24:22.:24:25.

because of wholesale prices, and because there is a fixed price

:24:26.:24:29.

agreed for consumers, therefore, as forecast,

:24:30.:24:37.

and as current wholesale prhces change, so will the difference

:24:38.:24:39.

between the fixed price and the wholesale price.

:24:40.:24:41.

So to be clear, the cost of the project has not changed.

:24:42.:24:44.

It remains a good deal for consumers.

:24:45.:24:46.

The honourable gentleman is chuntering at me

:24:47.:24:47.

Let's be clear, we cannot just wait and see.

:24:48.:24:55.

You have to make investment decisions and stick by them.

:24:56.:24:58.

You cannot simply magic electricity out of thin air.

:24:59.:25:03.

You need to invest, make decisions and be committed to them.

:25:04.:25:08.

What assessment has my honotrable friend made on the progress

:25:09.:25:11.

with Hinkley Point, following on from the result

:25:12.:25:12.

Good progress continues to be made on Hinkley Point C.

:25:13.:25:21.

Having visited the site mysdlf, a few months ago now,

:25:22.:25:24.

it was very apparent that a huge amount of work is already going on.

:25:25.:25:27.

As my honourable friend will have seen, EDF have reaffirmed their full

:25:28.:25:30.

commitment to the project following the result of the referendul

:25:31.:25:33.

And that's it for now but do join me at 11pm on Friday night

:25:34.:25:39.

for a round-up of another extraordinary week at Westmhnster,

:25:40.:25:42.

including the highlights from David Cameron's last

:25:43.:25:44.

Until then, from me, Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.

:25:45.:25:50.

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