Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 15 September presented by Keith Macdougall.
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Hello and welcome to Thursday in Parliament,
our look at the best of the day in the Commons and the Lords.
It's the green light for Hinkley.
But the ?18 billion nuclear power plant doesn't exactly get a ringing
Does the minister expect EDF to be solvent by the time this project
The BBC will have to name its presenters earning more
than ?150,000 a year in the interest of openness.
If your agent is worth his salt, Mr Speaker, or her salt,
they will know exactly how much you and all your
Do we really need a new set of parliamentary
And with the abolition of all those hard-working MEPs,
why are we now reducing the number of MPs?
But first, the Government has finally said yes to Hinkley C.
The ?18 billion nuclear power plant is to go ahead with what ministers
are calling significant new safeguards.
It'll be built on this site in North Somerset and will be
Britain's first new nuclear plant in 20 years.
Construction will create 25,000 jobs and will take ten years.
The plant will be built by the French energy company EDF
Once complete, Hinkley C will deliver 7% of
When Theresa May became Prime Minister, she ordered a review
of the plan, fuelling speculation it might be scrapped.
But the Energy Secretary said Hinkley was going ahead with a legal
framework in place to protect the national interest.
I can announce that the government has decided to proceed
with the first new nuclear power station for a generation,
however this decision is made with two important changes.
The Hinckley Project, the government will be able
to prevent the sale of EDF's controlling stake prior
The agreement will be confirmed in an exchange of letters
Existing legal powers and the new legal framework means
the government will be able to intervene in the sale of the EDF
He said the government would take a new approach to the scrutiny
of who owns critical infrastructure projects.
These changes will bring Britain's policy framework for ownership
and control of critical infrastructure into line with major
economies, allowing the government to take a fair and consistent
approach to national security implications of critical
infrastructure, including nuclear energy.
The changes meanwhile the UK will remain one of the most open
economies in the world, the public can be confident that
foreign direct investment works always in the country's best
The government created a commercial crisis,
sent shock waves through the industry and unions and risked
a diplomatic dispute with a future key trading partner and in the end
all they have done is pretend to give themselves powers
This statement is window dressing, it is face-saving by
a government that talked big and eventually backed down.
I think it unfortunate the government has decided to take
There are improvements the Secretary of State outlined,
The 30 billion that it will cost the Bill payer, he may say the risk
is with EDF and construction companies but as outlined a 25% over
budget and four years late and it will still make a profit,
that profit will be at the expense of the Bill payer.
I welcome proposals to make it more difficult for foreign interests
Does the Secretary of State agree that future power stations would be
better financed by private-sector British investors or even
on occasion by Treasury investment, rather than foreign investors
who will now be able to take enormous sums of money out
of our country for 25 years or more while the project is up and running?
He will be aware that Britain's most respected economy and finance
publications have come out strongly against Hinkley C on value for money
and energy policy grounds with the Economist describing it
as a white elephant before it is built.
Can he confirm nothing he has announced is an improvement
on the dreadful deal negotiated by the former Chancellor
on guaranteed price, absolutely dreadful?
Having pressed the pause button why is he now pressing
Does he recognise this project does not represent value for money
Does he except the cost to consumers has gone to 30 billion from six
and that now his government are willing to put in public
subsidy, something they said would not happen, and this
is happening when the cost of renewables is plummeting.
Can I thank the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister for making
the right decision and how important it is to Bridgwater and Somerset
and I invite him to come down to visit the Hinkley Point power
station and also say we look with urgency at the nuclear
college we need to build with urgency at Cannington.
Can he confirm at the end of its life, this power plant
will have generated the most expensive energy in the history
Can he tell us if he agrees with the National Audit Office that
in its lifetime consumers will have subsidised EDF to the
And what about the waste it will generate?
The principle on energy and adversity from him was that
diversity was the key and I think that is the right approach.
And there were some forthright views about the new nuclear plant over
We had some time ago the resignation of the finance director of EDF.
I noticed, looked at the share price since the announcement,
My question would be, does he expect EDF to be solvent
by the time this project should be delivered?
It is charming in this post Brexit era to throw out a lifeline to EDF
as the noble lord pointed out, is on the verge of bankruptcy
and has never ill a power station of this kind.
Both of which are hopelessly behind schedule and in deep trouble.
Can I congratulate the government on boosting the national security
element in future civil procurements but alluding to the contribution can
I ask the minister the submissions her department receives on small
module reactors could be placed in the library for the illumination
Before we go in for these water reactors, maybe the future lies
The latest thoughts on nuclear power.
The government has published a draft of the BBC's next Royal Charter -
an agreement with the government over what the organisation intends
The Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley, told the Commons
the BBC will have to name all employees and presenters paid
Currently, the Corporation reveals the salary details of executives
Karen Bradley started by saying she was a huge fan of the BBC.
Our aim is to ensure a strong, distinctive, independent BBC
And also to improve the BBC where we can.
A new board will be created to run the BBC, and new rules introduced
The government-sponsored BBC as open and transparent as possible.
The charter sets out new obligations in this regard,
including publishing salaries of those employees and talent
Would she act set by introducing mid-term reviews of the charter this
will put pressure on the BBC to look over its shoulder to seek to avoid
upsetting governments of the day when it should be free to comment
without fear of what governments do and when governments
How will viewers and listeners be assured the health check will not
put undue pressure on the BBC and be interpreted as review in fact.
Karen Bradley dismissed his concerns - as did her predecessor as Culture
Will my right honourable friend confirmed this draft charter is not
as some have said a damp squib nor the brainchild of Rupert Murdoch?
Dishy agreed the charter makes it difficult to changes,
including the new structure, requirements, diversity,
distinctiveness and impartiality, opening up of schedules,
to competition, and for access to the NAO and these changes
will ensure the BBC continues to be the best broadcaster in the world?
The SNP spokesman returned to the issue of pay.
I wonder if the Secretary of State agrees that the BBC argument this
will be a charter to poach talent is nonsense?
If your agent is worth his salt, or her salt, they will know exactly
how much you and all your competition are paid.
Watch the danger of this announcement is, perhaps
the Secretary of State will agree, is the BBC will be forced to reveal
the salaries of many of its more mediocre but overpaid employees
and there may be some national teeth gnashing as a result
when they discover exactly what goes on behind closed doors.
We've seen the BBC unable increasingly to afford sport events
and the Great British Bake Off, unable to afford that now,
we are seeing pressures on services and mergers between News channels.
Is it the case the government top slices and undermines.
The BBC has to fund World Service, local TV, and over 75s licenses.
This government does not care about the BBC.
I will quote the director-general who said far from being a cut
the way the financial settlement is shaped gives us
A lot of us do not share the sentimentality often expressed
about the BBC especially being at the brunt of its bias
In terms of transparency, why has this been limited
to the publication of expenses or salaries over ?150,000?
Why can it not be brought in line with members of Parliament 's
expenses and all other expenses including travel and accommodation?
The honourable gentleman has longer-term issues perhaps is,
the best way of putting it, with the BBC and his view of bias
but I am sure he agrees there are many BBC programmes
It is something we should cherish and really want to protect.
This is Britain at its best when it is at its best.
Karen Bradley said the rules would bring the BBC in line
with the civil service in terms of transparency.
You are watching the round-up of the day in the Commons and Lord's. Still
to come, do we really need a new set of parliamentary constituencies?
Angela Smith has shared with the Commons of the heartbreaking story
of one of her constituents, Claire, whose two sons were killed IVF
rather. She relayed the story as part of a debate on domestic abuse.
She said it supported her view that family courts need to stop believing
man with a history of abusing children could be good fathers. She
read what the victim wrote. It took just 15 minutes for my life
and heart to be broken completely beyond repair. I had warned those
involved with my case that my happy, funny boys would be killed by their
own father. I was right. My boys were both with their father Nat
October day and at around 6:30pm he enticed Paul, nine, and Jack, 12,
both into the attic with the promise of trains. When they were in the
attic he lit 16 separate fires around the house, which he had
barricaded. So my son is could not get out and the firemen could not
get in. Only 15 minutes later the doorbell rang at my mum's. We were
staying there temporarily after the separation. I opened the door, blue
lights were flashing. There has been an incident at your former home, the
boys have been involved in a fire. Running into the hospital the first
thing I saw was Paul receiving CPR. A doctor drenched in sweat and
exhausted told me they were withdrawing treatment. I held Paul
in my arms. I begged them to try to stay, to not leave me. He looked at
me, smiled and the life left his beautiful, blue eyes. His hair was
wet with my tears as I kissed his nose, then, Paul, my boy, was taken
out of my arms and into another room. There was no further chance of
catching him because his body, his little body, was now part of a
serious crime enquiry. Detectives arrived and informed me that my
former husband was responsible for the fire. And that he had also died.
All this time I wasn't allowed to see Jack, as they were still
fighting to save him. Thankfully he never knew that Paul had died. He
had tried to save his little brother. The police later disclosed
that Jack was still conscious when carried out of the fire. He told
them, my dad did this and he did it on purpose. This was his final test
to be. I want to pay tribute to Clare. In my 12 years as an MP I
have never been asked to intervene in a case like this. No other case
I've been presented with has touched me like this. No other constituent
has impressed me so much with her bravery and determination to secure
something positive out of something so dreadful. There is the ongoing
assumption that men who are abusive towards women can nevertheless be
good fathers. This belief, the Smith, is unbelievably in during a
flight in the face of available evidence. There are indications that
there are many into Dell Mac applications for children arising
from domestic abuse. -- many implications. The stories we hear
today have got to go some way to getting change in this area, so this
is now our next point and I think it's a point that the public are
going to get pretty involved with. I think what was said on Friday has
done a huge amount to raise awareness of the issue. We are not
complacent. We know there is room for improvement and we are closely
working with the judiciary to consider what additional protections
may be necessary for vulnerable we them is and witnesses in the family
justice system. Another important point on domestic abuse was recently
published by the parliamentary committee and highlighted a number
of issues of concern and we are examining those carefully.
A call for global action to stem the rise in drug-resistant infections
was made in the House of Lords by a former Health Secretary. Lord
Lansley has warned that future generations could be vulnerable to
infections, which people thought were now eradicated. Next week the
United Nations is meeting to reinvigorate the fight against
superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. The development of
increasing antibiotic resistance across a range of bacterial
infections has outstripped the limited further development of novel
antibiotics and the extent of the use of those available, the
antibiotics available, prompted increasingly the development of
organisms capable of near resistance to all of the drugs available to
combat them. For so long we have had many effective treatments for
infectious diseases that we are in danger of being casual about
infection control. After all, if we get an infection the antimicrobials
will deal with it, with a? Perhaps not any more. -- won't they? Are
many factors we have heard about in this debate, to make it easy for
Michael to develop resistance, make me think the human race has become
very cavalier about infection, at least in the West. -- microbial. All
hospital wards and departments I have been in now have little
machines at the entrance with antimicrobial stuff that you can rob
on your hands, what do we always use them? I must admit I don't always.
Resistance -- resistant trains a rise due to uncontrolled use of
antibiotics anywhere in the world and can arrive in the UK within
hours. Something like 60 million people per year travel through
Heathrow Airport alone, each carrying millions of microbes on two
legs, many of which may have been acquired only hours previously. Our
aim is to halve by 2020 the number of inappropriate antibiotic
prescriptions within the NHS. We are also taking steps to halve the
number of the healthcare associated infections, like E. Coli, that
caused the biggest threat to human health. Is Dahmer this is not to say
the NHS has had already made progress. -- this is not to say. In
2050 2 million fewer prescriptions were dispensed in two months,
compared to the same period in 2014. This is a reduction of a little over
7%. The House of Commons is shrinking,
or at least it will come in the time of the next general election, as in
the containing 650 MPs there will be 600. To achieve that almost all
parliamentary constituencies are being withdrawn and the new map came
out at the start of the week. -- we drawn. This could mean furious
battles as MPs slugged it out for who gets what seat. At one Tory
backbencher suggested events have overtaken the constituency shakeup.
When the boundary changes were announced and we had the debating
this House, we didn't know we were going to leave the EU ad with 75% of
our laws made in EU, and with the abolition of all of those
hard-working MEPs, why are we now reducing the number of MPs? The
Prime Minister perhaps should look at this again. Could we have a
statement next week? That is a decision which the House took when
it passed the legislation that set out the reduction of members of
Parliament and the framework with which the ground we commission would
operate. -- boundary. The shadow of the Commons criticised the new
periods set about by David Cameron. The Speaker of the House of Lords
said there were 200 unnecessary people prancing around on the other
end of the corridor and these changes introduced by the private
investor would involve a spending of ?34 million. The exchanges that have
taken place over the years. This is a waste of public money at a time
when the Prime Minister said that his justification for the massive
disruption amongst elected members by the changes in the boundaries
will save peanuts. Will The Leader of the House and some -- add some
new lustre to his parliamentary halo and not be just a leader, and take
on real reforms? I find it a -- interesting that he renounces things
today when so many of his right honourable friends have been in a
rush to go and serve there. And only earlier this week a new Keogh, sent
there by the current Leader of the Opposition, took her seat. I think
the honourable gentleman needs to have some words with his own leader
about this. Underlining the point made by Paul
Flynn, the House of Lords has carried on expanding. Two new peers
have been added. One is a conservative leader of Westminster
City Council, by profession she is an investment banker and was a
director of Citigroup. She entered politics in 2006 and once attempted
to be the Conservative candidate for the Mayor of London.
At the start of the day, in line with legal tradition of custom, the
writ was moved. It triggers a parliamentary by-election. I beg to
move that Mr Speaker do issue his warrant to the clerk of the Crown to
make out a new writ for the electing of a member to serve in this present
Parliament for the borough constituency of Batley and Spen.
And that by-election in Batley and Spen, following the killing in June
of the Labour MP Jo Cox, will be held on Thursday, October 20.
Candidates won't be there. A 52-year-old man is the child -- is
charged with of Jo Cox and is due to be on trial in November. Also on
October 20, a by-election will be held in Oxfordshire following this
week's departure of David Cameron from the Commons. That's it. MPs and
peers are now off for the party conferences, for three weeks. They
return to Westminster on Monday, October ten. Join me for the Week in
Parliament when we talk about the redrawing of Cabinet constituencies.
And we have an interview with the new Speaker of the House of Lords.
They did to deal with. -- to deal with. From me, goodbye.