Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 21 July, presented by Alicia McCarthy.
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Hello there and welcome to Thursday in Parliament,
on the last day of term before Parliament rises
for its summer recess.
Coming up in the next half hour
Labour asked, what will leaving the EU mean for workers' rights
The Government delays a shake-up to school funding in England
and there is a call for a complete ban on the use of animals snares.
Some animals get their legs caught in the snares and get cut
through to the bone.
But first, Labour MPs have demanded reassurances that workers' rights
won't be downgraded once thd UK leaves the EU.
Theresa May met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday
for their first talks about the UK's future relationship with Europe
following the referendum.
Asked how they had got on, Mrs May said they were two women
who want to get on with the job and deliver the best possible
results for the people of the UK and Germany.
Back in the Commons, Labour MPs wanted to know
if the Government had begun to work out how to begin disentanglhng
the UK from the EU.
Has there been a discussion over the cost of the number of l`wyers
and trade negotiators who are going to have to be hired in
order to deliver our disent`nglement from the European Union?
And if such an estimate has not yet been made,
can the Attorney General pldase confirm my when he will be `ble
to furnish the House with that information?
Well, Mr Speaker, it is undoubtedly the case that we will need the best
advice that we can have and the best trade negotiators that we c`n have.
Of course, the Government already has some of that capacity,
but the department responsible is looking very carefully
at the moment as to exactly what additional capacity
we will need to gain.
And as soon as they are in a position to give that
information to the House, I am sure they will do so.
Mr Speaker, our membership of the European Union has brought
about substantial enhancements in our health and safety laws.
Will the Attorney General guarantee that with leaving
the European Union...
What exactly will our future relationship
with the European Union be?
I am sure, my Lords, we appreciate that this
is like going through a divorce a very painful divorce,
but instead of there being one injured party,
there are 27 injured parties, and we must approach these
negotiations with sensitivity.
It's a very lengthy exercisd, that we will need to continte with.
Leaving the European Union will involve repeal of the Duropean
communities act 1972, which will mean all secondary
legislation made under the `ct will automatically fail
unless it is re-enacted.
Can the Attorney General tell us what steps are being taken
or will be taken to ensure the necessary legislation
to guarantee protection on hmported employment rights such as transfers
of undertakings and paid holidays for employees?
Well, Mr Speaker, can first of all say, it is always to see
anyone on the Labour front bench these days,
but it's a particular pleastre to see that the honourable lady
retains her position.
Can I repeat what I said to her
Honourable friend, it is clearly the case that some
of the regulations and piecds of legislation she refers to,
the British Government will wish to retain in some form.
And of course, the exercise of determining which pieces
of legislation those are is going to be a time-consuming and complex one.
Prior to being elected to this house, I represented familids
of people killed or injured at work.
The majority of health and safety legislation providing
protection for UK workers derives from EU law,
and in his answer, the attorney did not satisfy me that he hs going
to provide equivalent protection that we currently have,
if not better protection.
Does he agree with me that workers need to be protected against injury,
illness and death at work, and that workplace health and safety
legislation is essential and not red tape?
And will he give this House, particularly the families
of those killed at work, a guarantee that at the verx least
equivalent legislation and workplace protections whll be
Well, Mr Speaker, I do agred with the honourable lady th`t
injury, illness and death at work must be prevented and stealth
with through appropriate legislation and regulation.
But of course, we have alre`dy sought to protect workers from those
things prior to our membership of the European Union.
We will certainly seek to do so post our membership
of the European Union.
I don't believe it is beyond the capacity of this House to design
legislation which will enable us to protect those things effdctively.
And this Government is entirely committed to doing so.
The UK's departure from the EU was also exercising team minds
of MPs in the parallel debating chamber of Westminster Hall.
They are, Labour's sole Scottish MP, now a humble backbencher
after resigning as shadow Scottish secretary under Jeremy Corbxn,
introduced a debate on the role of the devolved governments
in the Brexit negotiations.
Ian Murray welcomed Theresa May s promise not to fire the starting
gun, otherwise known as Arthcle 50, until what she termed a UK `pproach
had been agreed.
But Scotland's position, he said, was exceptional.
As matters stand, as we are here today, Scotland belongs to two
unions and gets as bandages, significant advantages, frol both.
The people of Scotland recognise and have recently voted
overwhelmingly for both unions to be continued.
The result of these referendums should be respected but instead
they are being ignored and the political context
in Scotland at the moment is thus.
The Conservatives want Scotland in the UK but out of the new.
The Scottish National party wants Scotland
in the EU but out of the UK.
And it is only the Scottish Labour Party that is clear that we want
Scotland to remain in the ET and in the UK.
And the UK and Scottish govdrnments have an obligation to pursud every
avenue in pursuit of this ottcome.
I think it was Winston Churchill who said that the problem
with political suicide is that sometimes you survive.
And it feels as though we are living through a very long politic`l
suicide at the moment.
The Brexit masochists have ttterly ruined politics and
turned it on its head.
And I won't allow my countrx and my colleagues to join md
on these benches won't allow our country to bear the brunt of that.
Because on the back of the Brexit vote that Scotland did not vote for,
the political establishment here in London's behaviour
and response has been shambolic
Given that the Scottish Parliament has mandated the First Minister
to negotiate on Scotland's behalf, to secure its place within the EU,
will the Government specifically respect that?
And if ultimately we end up in a situation where the Parliament
in Edinburgh votes for a referendum, will the Government
in London consent to that?
My remit in this department does not cover the full breadth
of constitutional issues, but I can say there is cert`inly
respect for Scotland's position and the First Minister,
and the fact that the Prime Minister broke a reshuffle in order to go
after Scotland, I think it's an indication of that respect.
I would like to repeat my fhrst commitment, the commitment
of the Prime Minister and the Government as a whole
to fully involve the devolvdd administrations in the prep`rations
for the complex task ahead of us.
The new Brexit Minister hedging his bets, there,
on the question of a second Scottish referendum.
Meanwhile, in the Lords, peers debated the impact
of our EU exit on farming.
One peer had reservations about the appointment
of Andrea Leadsom, the formdr Conservative leadership candidate,
to the role of Secretary of State for Environment,
Food Rural Affairs.
In 2007, Mrs Leadsom demanddd that farm subsidies be abolished.
That would be good for food production and for
It would lay waste up in Wales.
Then, in a Guardian debate before the referendum,
Mrs Leadsom suggested that farmers with, and I quote, big
fields to the sheep, and those with hill farms
do the butterflies.
Hello, sky! Hello, trees!
Hello, grass! Hello, butterflies!
The debate had been called by a conservative worried
about the impact of leaving the EU on farmers.
What exactly will our futurd relationship with
the European Union be?
I am sure, my Lords, we appreciate that this
is like going through a divorce a very painful divorce,
but instead of there being one injured party,
there are 27 injured parties.
And we must approach these negotiations with sensitivity.
We are heavily dependent on the farming and
fruit-growing and vegetable sector on migrant workers.
Seasonal fruit and vegetabld growers do all the picking,
the packing and the processhng on a temporary, seasonal basis,
and there are no obvious substitutes from either the UK
or Commonwealth countries.
One crossbencher related a conversation he had had
with the fruit farmer.
He, in particular, needs foreign, seasonal labour, that tends to come
from poorer EU countries, and he puts them on a full
board basis, as do many other people in the area.
And the arrangement is very satisfactory to everyone.
His business is going so well that he would like to invest
in increasing the business.
That's quite expensive,
as it costs about ?20,000 an acre
to put up polytunnels and to produce satisfactory irrigation for that,
and he would have to invest, as well, in the accommodation.
But he is not going to do that because, at the moment,
he is not confident of the availability at similar cost
of skilled EU labour going forward.
Whilst a Lib Dem was worried about what the withdrawal of EU
subsidies might mean for the wider rural communities
The ?3 billion that flows into our rule areas from thd EU
is not something I believe that the Treasury will naturally
want to continue.
I think they will look to that pot of ?3 billion to start fundhng
their other priorities.
The minister struck a posithve tone.
We are determined to strike a good and positive trade deals
with the EU, accelerating otr international trade negotiations.
Our food and rig exports have increased by over 6% since 2010
and we wish to advance on these
-- food and drink.
Also, particularly in non-ET countries, where exports
have been increasing steadily from 34% in 2010,
to 40% in 2015.
Surely, my Lords, with the global population growth to reach
8.1 billion by 2025, the demand for food will increase
and that means there will shortly be enormous market opportunitids
for us here.
We will forge the strongest economic links with our European neighbours,
as well as our close friends in North America,
the Commonwealth and countrhes such as Japan and China, where export
opportunities are endless.
Lord Gardiner of Kimble.
You're watching Thursday in Parliament with me, Alicia LcCarthy.
The Education Secretary Justine Greening has announced
that she will not be introdtcing a new school funding system
for England until 2018.
The expectation was that it would begin in 2017 but Ms Greening
said it was important not to "rush into" any changes.
The 40 councils in England with the lowest education btdgets
have been campaigning for a fairer system for 20 years.
Labour called the Government's attitude to funding "woeful"
and said schools were struggling to cope.
This is a once in a generathon opportunity for an
historic change, and therefore we have got to make sure we take time
to get that final approach right.
We will run a full consultation and make final decisions
early in the New Year.
Given the importance of the consulting widely
and fully with the sector, and getting implementation right,
the new system will apply from 2018-19 and I will set
out our full pact for a national funding formula
for early years shortly.
This Government's attitude to school funding is woeful.
Talk about last minute.
These schools are struggling to cope with the 5% funding shortagd
already that was announced from the Chancellor's decishon
to increase national insurance and teacher
Will the minister recognise the issues of the
pupil numbers that are rising and we have a growing teacher shortage
Will she help schools within this new formula?
Only this Government, Mr Speaker, could have the `udacity
to deliver real term cuts to school budgets across the board and
claim this represents fair funding.
Schools in Staffordshire ard some of the lowest funded in the country,
and this has been of great concern to heads that I met last wedk.
We had understood that we wdre moving to a fairer funding
formula from 2017-18, it now seems it's going
to be a year later.
Will she make absolutely cldar that there could possibly bd
transitional funding for 2007-1 , for those authorities
which are in a desperate position at the moment,
as Staffordshire is?
I recognise the pressures that he has just set out,
and I think this now gives ts a time to look at how we can deal
with those effectively.
We should also recognise th`t whilst there are those schools
that are disadvantaged by their current formula,
there is also going to be changes for schools under the new formula.
I think it also gives us a chance to work effectively with those,
to ensure that there is a sdnsible and measured transition
from the historic approach that we are currently under,
to the new approach, the sensible, fairer one
that we will be introducing.
The noises coming out of the Department for Education
suggested that London schools in particular would be
seriously hit by any changes to the funding formula.
Schools in Harrow have been advised that they face potentially ` 3% 8%
cut in real terms to their budgets, as a result of the changes
that her department are considering.
Can she offer any reassurance to the headteachers and pardnts
in my constituency that that isn't going to be the case?
I've set out the details of how we're to proceed in my statdment
today, but as his point very clearly sets out,
for schools that will see a change in the funding that they receive
as a result of us evening up and making the system fairer,
these are important changes and I think it's right we now give
ourselves the time to effectively make sure we can help schools
deal with them well, and help them steadily
be transitioned in.
STUDIO: Justine Greening also took took the opportunity
to set out her wider aims.
I'd like to see my department really be a central engine for sochal
mobility more broadly.
I think we need to challengd ourselves across government
and the DFE has a key role to play in this, in saying that we don't
just want children to be coling out of our schools better educated,
we want to make sure that the jobs and the careers are there,
for them to really be able to make the most of their potential.
In the end, a country's most important asset is its people.
That's why she said she was delighted to be givdn
the job of Education Secret`ry.
Now Turkey's president has declared a state of emergency for three
months following Friday night's failed army coup.
It allows the President and Cabinet to bypass Parliament when drafting
new laws and to restrict or suspend rights and freedoms.
Turkey has formally charged 99 generals and admirals
in connection with the weekdnd's thwarted coup attempt.
That's just under a third of the country's top military officers.
The authorities have banned all academics from travelling
abroad, as the purge of state employees continues.
More than 50,000 people have been rounded up,
sacked or suspended.
In the Lords, peers raised concerns about the purge of the judiciary.
The mass dismissal of judges and of other public servants
is extremely worrying, because it is stripping awax
the last defence against authoritarianism, and the ilposition
of emergency rule effectively allows the president to rule by decree
I would hope that the Government can assure me that in conjunction
with our European allies, while we are still in the ET,
that we will make strong representations on the need to keep
an independent judiciary, because this is the only body
to whom those who may have well have been unfairly dismissed,
can at the moment apply, to get their rights reinstated.
Of course, retaining an inddpendent judiciary,
and an operating on, will require judges, working
to apply the due process of law and that is absolutely essential
if we are to see the standards we wish to see upheld in Turkey
These are views that we hold very publicly the United Kingdom,
and our views which we are reflecting.
The speed and the scale of the purge of judges suggdsts
that there was a plan pre-existing the actual coup, which has now
been put into effect.
What does the noble lady, the minister, say about
the possibility of the reimposition of the death penalty by the Turkish
president, which will be in breach of Turkey's obligations unddr
the Council of Europe?
Which is well-known to Turkdy, because its Foreign Minister
was a former president of the Council of Europe Assembly.
The noble lord does make an important point, and I whsh
to say in relation to the coup it is not yet clear
who was behind the coup attdmpt
I think it is unhelpful to speculate on that.
What I would say to him, in relation to the death penalty,
is to repeat what I said earlier this week in this chamber.
That suggestions that the ddath penalty may return are very
worrying, and the Foreign Sdcretary and other international leaders have
emphasised the need for call.
But let me be utterly clear - the UK policy is clear on the death
penalty: We oppose it in all circumstances.
What consideration is being given to many Turkish nationals
who are over here on visas?
Some of whom have contacted me, and are afraid of what might
happen if they return, and some may have been crithcal
of the present government, but some are here on student visas
and work visas and they are worried.
The community here needs sole reassurance that the British
government will have some contact with those people here.
The United Kingdom is very clear and has reasserted to the Ttrkish
government our insistence that we expect human rights to be
observed, we expect freedoms to be respected, we expect the rule
of law to be applied.
This is a fluid and fast moving situation, but I think
it is very encouraging.
As I said, the Right Honourable Minister for Europe
and the Americas is, as we speak, in Turkey,
engaged with the Government.
And I'm sure the concerns the noble lady holds, will be prominent
and to the forefront of the discussions taking place
Now, a Labour MP is calling for a complete ban on the manuf`cture,
sale and use of snares.
There's only one kind of sn`re currently legal in the UK.
They are used to catch rabbhts, or, more often, foxes,
but their opponents have long claimed they are inhumane.
A Labour MP opened the debate.
Although their purpose is to immobilise targeted animals,
most snares cause extreme stffering to animals and often lead
to a painful, lingering death.
Animals caught in snares suffer huge stress and can
sustain horrific injuries.
Snares can cause abdominal, chest, neck, leg and head
injuries to animals.
Some animals get their legs caught in the snares and end up
with the wire cutting through to the bone.
The number and diversity of animals that fall victim
to snares is immense.
It's simply not possible to control which animals
will be caught in a snare.
A snare set to catch a fox is just as capable
of catching other species, cats, dogs, badgers, otters, deer,
hares, and livestock, who all suffer terrible injtries
or can be killed by snares.
In 2012, DEFRA produced an extensive report on snarhng
in England and Wales, which suggests that up
to 1.7 million animals are trapped in these primitive devices dvery
year - which equates to almost 00 animals caught each and every hour.
But a Conservative MP, who is a farmer, argued
there was a place for snares.
He quoted the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Foxes kill young lambs and piglets being reared outdoors and free range
and domestic poultry.
Foxes also prey on vulnerable wildlife, ground nesting birds
like black grouse, partridge, lapwing, curlew
and stone-curlews and brown hare.
Several of these are species of conservation concern.
There are several methods to control foxes, but none of them
are effective in all circumstances.
One method widely used for foxes is snaring.
Snares are particularly effdctive for foxes in places and at times
of year when rifle shooting is not possible because of the dense cover,
but when fox control may be critical for wildlife prey.
Nobody goes out and sets a snare with any sense of glee or pleasure.
This is a practical requirelent for people whose job it is to manage
wildlife populations, for the protection either of game
birds or agricultural animals.
Everybody who does it, does it to the best of their abilitx,
nobody derives a pleasure from it and if it was as inefficient
as the honourable gentleman claimed it was in his opening remarks,
then the fact is, these people wouldn't use it.
The minister said a new codd of practice was being drawn up.
I think what's different from the 2005 Code is this
code has been designed and owned by the sector,
rather than by government.
Of course, government has h`d conversations and brought
people to this place, but by showing leadership in this
they will undoubtedly have lore success in promoting good practice
with their members and changing behaviour than government
could achieve on its own.
I cannot announce today, Madam Deputy Speaker,
exactly when the code will be published, but I am confident
that it will be very soon.
I'm day four in this role as a minister, and I'm really
looking forward to this code being published
and being put into practice.
And she said it should be introduced before any furthdr
action was considered.
Finally, it's been a week for new faces in new places,
as the ministerial team appointed by Theresa May has begun
appearing in the Commons.
Thursday was the first outing for the new Leader of the House
David Lidington, who receivdd a warm welcome from his opposite ntmber,
Labour's Paul Flynn.
I fear that as a long admirdr of the honourable gentleman,
that his political career might not be on an upward
trajectory in his appointment, because his career has been
blighted by his solid devotion to the three Rs -
which are rationality, restraint and reasonableness.
And these are not attributes that go well in his party at the molent
Paul Flynn drew attention to a little known fact about David
He's also, I'm told by my friend from Cardiff West, the suprdme
champion on the television programme University Challenge.
That not only did he win splendidly in his own time,
but when he came back to challenge his challengers
he was the supreme challengdr, the supreme winner there.
So it's great to know that he is, he is doing this job
from the platform of his own scholarship and knowledge.
The Leader of the House is indeed perhaps our most
Mr Speaker, I'm not sure how I respond to that complement.
I have felt, as a student of Elizabethan history,
in the last three or four wdeks it has been the closest thing to living
through one of the crises of the 16th century Tudor Court that
any of us is likely to experience, and I expect events in Brithsh
politics this year would have given Hilary Mantel ample material
for her next trilogy.
While the SNPs Pete Wishart used his last appearance before
the recess to have a dig at the Labour benches.
Have a happy civil war, to my friends
in the Labour Party...
I don't know what will be rdturning to, whether it's just
going to be one Labour Partx or the Social Democratic Party
or Blairites emerging from these benches.
All I can say, Mr Speaker, is we'll be back as the real
and effective opposition.
The SNP's Pete Wishart.
We'll be back in the autumn, too, when MPs and peers return
to Westminster on September the 5th.
But until then, from me, Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.