21/07/2016 Thursday in Parliament


21/07/2016

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 21 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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on the last day of term before Parliament rises

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for its summer recess.

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Coming up in the next half hour

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Labour asked, what will leaving the EU mean for workers' rights

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The Government delays a shake-up to school funding in England

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and there is a call for a complete ban on the use of animals snares.

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Some animals get their legs caught in the snares and get cut

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through to the bone.

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But first, Labour MPs have demanded reassurances that workers' rights

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won't be downgraded once thd UK leaves the EU.

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Theresa May met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday

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for their first talks about the UK's future relationship with Europe

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following the referendum.

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Asked how they had got on, Mrs May said they were two women

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who want to get on with the job and deliver the best possible

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results for the people of the UK and Germany.

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Back in the Commons, Labour MPs wanted to know

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if the Government had begun to work out how to begin disentanglhng

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the UK from the EU.

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Has there been a discussion over the cost of the number of l`wyers

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and trade negotiators who are going to have to be hired in

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order to deliver our disent`nglement from the European Union?

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And if such an estimate has not yet been made,

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can the Attorney General pldase confirm my when he will be `ble

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to furnish the House with that information?

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Well, Mr Speaker, it is undoubtedly the case that we will need the best

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advice that we can have and the best trade negotiators that we c`n have.

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Of course, the Government already has some of that capacity,

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but the department responsible is looking very carefully

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at the moment as to exactly what additional capacity

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we will need to gain.

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And as soon as they are in a position to give that

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information to the House, I am sure they will do so.

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Mr Speaker, our membership of the European Union has brought

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about substantial enhancements in our health and safety laws.

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Will the Attorney General guarantee that with leaving

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the European Union...

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What exactly will our future relationship

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with the European Union be?

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I am sure, my Lords, we appreciate that this

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is like going through a divorce a very painful divorce,

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but instead of there being one injured party,

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there are 27 injured parties, and we must approach these

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negotiations with sensitivity.

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It's a very lengthy exercisd, that we will need to continte with.

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Leaving the European Union will involve repeal of the Duropean

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communities act 1972, which will mean all secondary

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legislation made under the `ct will automatically fail

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unless it is re-enacted.

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Can the Attorney General tell us what steps are being taken

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or will be taken to ensure the necessary legislation

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to guarantee protection on hmported employment rights such as transfers

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of undertakings and paid holidays for employees?

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Well, Mr Speaker, can first of all say, it is always to see

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anyone on the Labour front bench these days,

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but it's a particular pleastre to see that the honourable lady

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retains her position.

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Can I repeat what I said to her

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Honourable friend, it is clearly the case that some

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of the regulations and piecds of legislation she refers to,

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the British Government will wish to retain in some form.

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And of course, the exercise of determining which pieces

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of legislation those are is going to be a time-consuming and complex one.

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Prior to being elected to this house, I represented familids

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of people killed or injured at work.

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The majority of health and safety legislation providing

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protection for UK workers derives from EU law,

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and in his answer, the attorney did not satisfy me that he hs going

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to provide equivalent protection that we currently have,

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if not better protection.

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Does he agree with me that workers need to be protected against injury,

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illness and death at work, and that workplace health and safety

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legislation is essential and not red tape?

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And will he give this House, particularly the families

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of those killed at work, a guarantee that at the verx least

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equivalent legislation and workplace protections whll be

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urgently re-enacted?

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Well, Mr Speaker, I do agred with the honourable lady th`t

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injury, illness and death at work must be prevented and stealth

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with through appropriate legislation and regulation.

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But of course, we have alre`dy sought to protect workers from those

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things prior to our membership of the European Union.

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We will certainly seek to do so post our membership

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of the European Union.

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I don't believe it is beyond the capacity of this House to design

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legislation which will enable us to protect those things effdctively.

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And this Government is entirely committed to doing so.

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Jeremy Wright.

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The UK's departure from the EU was also exercising team minds

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of MPs in the parallel debating chamber of Westminster Hall.

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They are, Labour's sole Scottish MP, now a humble backbencher

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after resigning as shadow Scottish secretary under Jeremy Corbxn,

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introduced a debate on the role of the devolved governments

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in the Brexit negotiations.

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Ian Murray welcomed Theresa May s promise not to fire the starting

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gun, otherwise known as Arthcle 50, until what she termed a UK `pproach

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had been agreed.

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But Scotland's position, he said, was exceptional.

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As matters stand, as we are here today, Scotland belongs to two

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unions and gets as bandages, significant advantages, frol both.

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The people of Scotland recognise and have recently voted

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overwhelmingly for both unions to be continued.

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The result of these referendums should be respected but instead

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they are being ignored and the political context

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in Scotland at the moment is thus.

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The Conservatives want Scotland in the UK but out of the new.

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The Scottish National party wants Scotland

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in the EU but out of the UK.

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And it is only the Scottish Labour Party that is clear that we want

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Scotland to remain in the ET and in the UK.

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And the UK and Scottish govdrnments have an obligation to pursud every

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avenue in pursuit of this ottcome.

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I think it was Winston Churchill who said that the problem

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with political suicide is that sometimes you survive.

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And it feels as though we are living through a very long politic`l

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suicide at the moment.

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The Brexit masochists have ttterly ruined politics and

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turned it on its head.

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And I won't allow my countrx and my colleagues to join md

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on these benches won't allow our country to bear the brunt of that.

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Because on the back of the Brexit vote that Scotland did not vote for,

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the political establishment here in London's behaviour

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and response has been shambolic

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Given that the Scottish Parliament has mandated the First Minister

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to negotiate on Scotland's behalf, to secure its place within the EU,

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will the Government specifically respect that?

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And if ultimately we end up in a situation where the Parliament

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in Edinburgh votes for a referendum, will the Government

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in London consent to that?

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My remit in this department does not cover the full breadth

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of constitutional issues, but I can say there is cert`inly

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respect for Scotland's position and the First Minister,

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and the fact that the Prime Minister broke a reshuffle in order to go

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after Scotland, I think it's an indication of that respect.

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I would like to repeat my fhrst commitment, the commitment

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of the Prime Minister and the Government as a whole

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to fully involve the devolvdd administrations in the prep`rations

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for the complex task ahead of us.

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The new Brexit Minister hedging his bets, there,

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on the question of a second Scottish referendum.

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Meanwhile, in the Lords, peers debated the impact

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of our EU exit on farming.

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One peer had reservations about the appointment

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of Andrea Leadsom, the formdr Conservative leadership candidate,

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to the role of Secretary of State for Environment,

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Food Rural Affairs.

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In 2007, Mrs Leadsom demanddd that farm subsidies be abolished.

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That would be good for food production and for

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the environment(!)

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It would lay waste up in Wales.

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Then, in a Guardian debate before the referendum,

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Mrs Leadsom suggested that farmers with, and I quote, big

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fields to the sheep, and those with hill farms

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do the butterflies.

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Hello, sky! Hello, trees!

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Hello, grass! Hello, butterflies!

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The debate had been called by a conservative worried

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about the impact of leaving the EU on farmers.

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What exactly will our futurd relationship with

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the European Union be?

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I am sure, my Lords, we appreciate that this

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is like going through a divorce a very painful divorce,

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but instead of there being one injured party,

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there are 27 injured parties.

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And we must approach these negotiations with sensitivity.

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We are heavily dependent on the farming and

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fruit-growing and vegetable sector on migrant workers.

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Seasonal fruit and vegetabld growers do all the picking,

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the packing and the processhng on a temporary, seasonal basis,

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and there are no obvious substitutes from either the UK

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or Commonwealth countries.

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One crossbencher related a conversation he had had

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with the fruit farmer.

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He, in particular, needs foreign, seasonal labour, that tends to come

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from poorer EU countries, and he puts them on a full

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board basis, as do many other people in the area.

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And the arrangement is very satisfactory to everyone.

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His business is going so well that he would like to invest

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in increasing the business.

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That's quite expensive,

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as it costs about ?20,000 an acre

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to put up polytunnels and to produce satisfactory irrigation for that,

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and he would have to invest, as well, in the accommodation.

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But he is not going to do that because, at the moment,

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he is not confident of the availability at similar cost

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of skilled EU labour going forward.

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Whilst a Lib Dem was worried about what the withdrawal of EU

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subsidies might mean for the wider rural communities

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The ?3 billion that flows into our rule areas from thd EU

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is not something I believe that the Treasury will naturally

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want to continue.

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I think they will look to that pot of ?3 billion to start fundhng

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their other priorities.

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The minister struck a posithve tone.

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We are determined to strike a good and positive trade deals

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with the EU, accelerating otr international trade negotiations.

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Our food and rig exports have increased by over 6% since 2010

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and we wish to advance on these

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-- food and drink.

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Also, particularly in non-ET countries, where exports

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have been increasing steadily from 34% in 2010,

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to 40% in 2015.

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Surely, my Lords, with the global population growth to reach

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8.1 billion by 2025, the demand for food will increase

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and that means there will shortly be enormous market opportunitids

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for us here.

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We will forge the strongest economic links with our European neighbours,

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as well as our close friends in North America,

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the Commonwealth and countrhes such as Japan and China, where export

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opportunities are endless.

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Lord Gardiner of Kimble.

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

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The Education Secretary Justine Greening has announced

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that she will not be introdtcing a new school funding system

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for England until 2018.

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The expectation was that it would begin in 2017 but Ms Greening

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said it was important not to "rush into" any changes.

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The 40 councils in England with the lowest education btdgets

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have been campaigning for a fairer system for 20 years.

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Labour called the Government's attitude to funding "woeful"

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and said schools were struggling to cope.

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This is a once in a generathon opportunity for an

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historic change, and therefore we have got to make sure we take time

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to get that final approach right.

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We will run a full consultation and make final decisions

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early in the New Year.

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Given the importance of the consulting widely

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and fully with the sector, and getting implementation right,

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the new system will apply from 2018-19 and I will set

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out our full pact for a national funding formula

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for early years shortly.

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This Government's attitude to school funding is woeful.

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Talk about last minute.

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These schools are struggling to cope with the 5% funding shortagd

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already that was announced from the Chancellor's decishon

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to increase national insurance and teacher

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pensions contributions.

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Will the minister recognise the issues of the

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pupil numbers that are rising and we have a growing teacher shortage

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Will she help schools within this new formula?

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Only this Government, Mr Speaker, could have the `udacity

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to deliver real term cuts to school budgets across the board and

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claim this represents fair funding.

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Schools in Staffordshire ard some of the lowest funded in the country,

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and this has been of great concern to heads that I met last wedk.

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We had understood that we wdre moving to a fairer funding

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formula from 2017-18, it now seems it's going

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to be a year later.

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Will she make absolutely cldar that there could possibly bd

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transitional funding for 2007-1 , for those authorities

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which are in a desperate position at the moment,

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as Staffordshire is?

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I recognise the pressures that he has just set out,

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and I think this now gives ts a time to look at how we can deal

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with those effectively.

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We should also recognise th`t whilst there are those schools

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that are disadvantaged by their current formula,

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there is also going to be changes for schools under the new formula.

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I think it also gives us a chance to work effectively with those,

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to ensure that there is a sdnsible and measured transition

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from the historic approach that we are currently under,

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to the new approach, the sensible, fairer one

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that we will be introducing.

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The noises coming out of the Department for Education

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suggested that London schools in particular would be

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seriously hit by any changes to the funding formula.

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Schools in Harrow have been advised that they face potentially ` 3% 8%

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cut in real terms to their budgets, as a result of the changes

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that her department are considering.

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Can she offer any reassurance to the headteachers and pardnts

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in my constituency that that isn't going to be the case?

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I've set out the details of how we're to proceed in my statdment

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today, but as his point very clearly sets out,

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for schools that will see a change in the funding that they receive

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as a result of us evening up and making the system fairer,

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these are important changes and I think it's right we now give

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ourselves the time to effectively make sure we can help schools

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deal with them well, and help them steadily

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be transitioned in.

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STUDIO: Justine Greening also took took the opportunity

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to set out her wider aims.

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I'd like to see my department really be a central engine for sochal

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mobility more broadly.

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I think we need to challengd ourselves across government

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and the DFE has a key role to play in this, in saying that we don't

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just want children to be coling out of our schools better educated,

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we want to make sure that the jobs and the careers are there,

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for them to really be able to make the most of their potential.

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In the end, a country's most important asset is its people.

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That's why she said she was delighted to be givdn

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the job of Education Secret`ry.

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Now Turkey's president has declared a state of emergency for three

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months following Friday night's failed army coup.

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It allows the President and Cabinet to bypass Parliament when drafting

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new laws and to restrict or suspend rights and freedoms.

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Turkey has formally charged 99 generals and admirals

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in connection with the weekdnd's thwarted coup attempt.

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That's just under a third of the country's top military officers.

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The authorities have banned all academics from travelling

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abroad, as the purge of state employees continues.

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More than 50,000 people have been rounded up,

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sacked or suspended.

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In the Lords, peers raised concerns about the purge of the judiciary.

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The mass dismissal of judges and of other public servants

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is extremely worrying, because it is stripping awax

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the last defence against authoritarianism, and the ilposition

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of emergency rule effectively allows the president to rule by decree

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I would hope that the Government can assure me that in conjunction

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with our European allies, while we are still in the ET,

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that we will make strong representations on the need to keep

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an independent judiciary, because this is the only body

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to whom those who may have well have been unfairly dismissed,

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can at the moment apply, to get their rights reinstated.

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Of course, retaining an inddpendent judiciary,

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and an operating on, will require judges, working

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to apply the due process of law and that is absolutely essential

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if we are to see the standards we wish to see upheld in Turkey

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These are views that we hold very publicly the United Kingdom,

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and our views which we are reflecting.

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The speed and the scale of the purge of judges suggdsts

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that there was a plan pre-existing the actual coup, which has now

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been put into effect.

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What does the noble lady, the minister, say about

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the possibility of the reimposition of the death penalty by the Turkish

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president, which will be in breach of Turkey's obligations unddr

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the Council of Europe?

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Which is well-known to Turkdy, because its Foreign Minister

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was a former president of the Council of Europe Assembly.

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The noble lord does make an important point, and I whsh

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to say in relation to the coup it is not yet clear

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who was behind the coup attdmpt

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I think it is unhelpful to speculate on that.

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What I would say to him, in relation to the death penalty,

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is to repeat what I said earlier this week in this chamber.

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That suggestions that the ddath penalty may return are very

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worrying, and the Foreign Sdcretary and other international leaders have

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emphasised the need for call.

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But let me be utterly clear - the UK policy is clear on the death

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penalty: We oppose it in all circumstances.

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What consideration is being given to many Turkish nationals

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who are over here on visas?

0:18:520:18:54

Some of whom have contacted me, and are afraid of what might

0:18:540:18:57

happen if they return, and some may have been crithcal

0:18:570:19:01

of the present government, but some are here on student visas

0:19:010:19:05

and work visas and they are worried.

0:19:050:19:09

The community here needs sole reassurance that the British

0:19:090:19:11

government will have some contact with those people here.

0:19:110:19:14

The United Kingdom is very clear and has reasserted to the Ttrkish

0:19:140:19:18

government our insistence that we expect human rights to be

0:19:180:19:26

observed, we expect freedoms to be respected, we expect the rule

0:19:260:19:29

of law to be applied.

0:19:290:19:30

This is a fluid and fast moving situation, but I think

0:19:300:19:32

it is very encouraging.

0:19:330:19:33

As I said, the Right Honourable Minister for Europe

0:19:330:19:36

and the Americas is, as we speak, in Turkey,

0:19:360:19:38

engaged with the Government.

0:19:380:19:44

And I'm sure the concerns the noble lady holds, will be prominent

0:19:440:19:47

and to the forefront of the discussions taking place

0:19:470:19:49

Lady Goldie.

0:19:490:19:50

Now, a Labour MP is calling for a complete ban on the manuf`cture,

0:19:500:19:53

sale and use of snares.

0:19:530:19:54

There's only one kind of sn`re currently legal in the UK.

0:19:540:19:58

They are used to catch rabbhts, or, more often, foxes,

0:19:580:20:01

but their opponents have long claimed they are inhumane.

0:20:010:20:04

A Labour MP opened the debate.

0:20:040:20:08

Although their purpose is to immobilise targeted animals,

0:20:080:20:12

most snares cause extreme stffering to animals and often lead

0:20:120:20:15

to a painful, lingering death.

0:20:150:20:17

Animals caught in snares suffer huge stress and can

0:20:170:20:19

sustain horrific injuries.

0:20:190:20:21

Snares can cause abdominal, chest, neck, leg and head

0:20:210:20:24

injuries to animals.

0:20:250:20:28

Some animals get their legs caught in the snares and end up

0:20:280:20:31

with the wire cutting through to the bone.

0:20:310:20:33

The number and diversity of animals that fall victim

0:20:330:20:35

to snares is immense.

0:20:350:20:38

It's simply not possible to control which animals

0:20:380:20:41

will be caught in a snare.

0:20:410:20:43

A snare set to catch a fox is just as capable

0:20:430:20:47

of catching other species, cats, dogs, badgers, otters, deer,

0:20:470:20:52

hares, and livestock, who all suffer terrible injtries

0:20:520:20:56

or can be killed by snares.

0:20:560:21:00

In 2012, DEFRA produced an extensive report on snarhng

0:21:000:21:03

in England and Wales, which suggests that up

0:21:030:21:07

to 1.7 million animals are trapped in these primitive devices dvery

0:21:070:21:11

year - which equates to almost 00 animals caught each and every hour.

0:21:110:21:16

But a Conservative MP, who is a farmer, argued

0:21:160:21:18

there was a place for snares.

0:21:180:21:22

He quoted the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

0:21:220:21:26

Foxes kill young lambs and piglets being reared outdoors and free range

0:21:260:21:29

and domestic poultry.

0:21:290:21:30

Foxes also prey on vulnerable wildlife, ground nesting birds

0:21:300:21:34

like black grouse, partridge, lapwing, curlew

0:21:340:21:37

and stone-curlews and brown hare.

0:21:370:21:40

Several of these are species of conservation concern.

0:21:400:21:42

There are several methods to control foxes, but none of them

0:21:420:21:45

are effective in all circumstances.

0:21:450:21:48

One method widely used for foxes is snaring.

0:21:480:21:51

Snares are particularly effdctive for foxes in places and at times

0:21:510:21:55

of year when rifle shooting is not possible because of the dense cover,

0:21:550:21:59

but when fox control may be critical for wildlife prey.

0:21:590:22:03

Nobody goes out and sets a snare with any sense of glee or pleasure.

0:22:030:22:07

This is a practical requirelent for people whose job it is to manage

0:22:070:22:10

wildlife populations, for the protection either of game

0:22:100:22:12

birds or agricultural animals.

0:22:120:22:18

Everybody who does it, does it to the best of their abilitx,

0:22:180:22:21

nobody derives a pleasure from it and if it was as inefficient

0:22:210:22:26

as the honourable gentleman claimed it was in his opening remarks,

0:22:260:22:29

then the fact is, these people wouldn't use it.

0:22:290:22:32

The minister said a new codd of practice was being drawn up.

0:22:320:22:35

I think what's different from the 2005 Code is this

0:22:350:22:39

code has been designed and owned by the sector,

0:22:390:22:41

rather than by government.

0:22:410:22:43

Of course, government has h`d conversations and brought

0:22:430:22:47

people to this place, but by showing leadership in this

0:22:470:22:55

they will undoubtedly have lore success in promoting good practice

0:22:550:22:57

with their members and changing behaviour than government

0:22:570:22:59

could achieve on its own.

0:22:590:23:00

I cannot announce today, Madam Deputy Speaker,

0:23:000:23:02

exactly when the code will be published, but I am confident

0:23:020:23:05

that it will be very soon.

0:23:050:23:06

I'm day four in this role as a minister, and I'm really

0:23:060:23:09

looking forward to this code being published

0:23:090:23:11

and being put into practice.

0:23:110:23:13

And she said it should be introduced before any furthdr

0:23:130:23:16

action was considered.

0:23:160:23:19

Finally, it's been a week for new faces in new places,

0:23:190:23:23

as the ministerial team appointed by Theresa May has begun

0:23:230:23:25

appearing in the Commons.

0:23:250:23:28

Thursday was the first outing for the new Leader of the House

0:23:280:23:32

David Lidington, who receivdd a warm welcome from his opposite ntmber,

0:23:320:23:35

Labour's Paul Flynn.

0:23:350:23:37

I fear that as a long admirdr of the honourable gentleman,

0:23:370:23:41

that his political career might not be on an upward

0:23:410:23:44

trajectory in his appointment, because his career has been

0:23:440:23:51

blighted by his solid devotion to the three Rs -

0:23:510:23:56

which are rationality, restraint and reasonableness.

0:23:560:24:01

And these are not attributes that go well in his party at the molent

0:24:010:24:07

Paul Flynn drew attention to a little known fact about David

0:24:070:24:09

Lidington.

0:24:090:24:11

He's also, I'm told by my friend from Cardiff West, the suprdme

0:24:110:24:17

champion on the television programme University Challenge.

0:24:170:24:23

That not only did he win splendidly in his own time,

0:24:230:24:26

but when he came back to challenge his challengers

0:24:260:24:29

he was the supreme challengdr, the supreme winner there.

0:24:290:24:34

So it's great to know that he is, he is doing this job

0:24:340:24:39

from the platform of his own scholarship and knowledge.

0:24:390:24:43

The Leader of the House is indeed perhaps our most

0:24:430:24:45

illustrious egghead!

0:24:450:24:46

LAUGHTER.

0:24:460:24:49

Mr Speaker, I'm not sure how I respond to that complement.

0:24:490:24:54

I have felt, as a student of Elizabethan history,

0:24:540:25:01

in the last three or four wdeks it has been the closest thing to living

0:25:010:25:05

through one of the crises of the 16th century Tudor Court that

0:25:050:25:08

any of us is likely to experience, and I expect events in Brithsh

0:25:080:25:11

politics this year would have given Hilary Mantel ample material

0:25:110:25:14

for her next trilogy.

0:25:140:25:16

While the SNPs Pete Wishart used his last appearance before

0:25:160:25:20

the recess to have a dig at the Labour benches.

0:25:200:25:23

Have a happy civil war, to my friends

0:25:230:25:25

in the Labour Party...

0:25:250:25:26

LAUGHTER.

0:25:260:25:27

I don't know what will be rdturning to, whether it's just

0:25:270:25:33

going to be one Labour Partx or the Social Democratic Party

0:25:330:25:36

or Blairites emerging from these benches.

0:25:360:25:37

All I can say, Mr Speaker, is we'll be back as the real

0:25:370:25:40

and effective opposition.

0:25:400:25:41

The SNP's Pete Wishart.

0:25:410:25:42

We'll be back in the autumn, too, when MPs and peers return

0:25:420:25:45

to Westminster on September the 5th.

0:25:450:25:47

But until then, from me, Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.

0:25:470:25:50

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