15/09/2016 Thursday in Parliament


15/09/2016

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 15 September presented by Keith Macdougall.


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Hello and welcome to Thursday in Parliament,

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our look at the best of the day in the Commons and the Lords.

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It's the green light for Hinkley.

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But the ?18 billion nuclear power plant doesn't exactly get a ringing

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Does the minister expect EDF to be solvent by the time this project

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The BBC will have to name its presenters earning more

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than ?150,000 a year in the interest of openness.

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If your agent is worth his salt, Mr Speaker, or her salt,

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they will know exactly how much you and all your

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Do we really need a new set of parliamentary

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And with the abolition of all those hard-working MEPs,

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why are we now reducing the number of MPs?

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But first, the Government has finally said yes to Hinkley C.

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The ?18 billion nuclear power plant is to go ahead with what ministers

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are calling significant new safeguards.

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It'll be built on this site in North Somerset and will be

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Britain's first new nuclear plant in 20 years.

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Construction will create 25,000 jobs and will take ten years.

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The plant will be built by the French energy company EDF

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Once complete, Hinkley C will deliver 7% of

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When Theresa May became Prime Minister, she ordered a review

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of the plan, fuelling speculation it might be scrapped.

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But the Energy Secretary said Hinkley was going ahead with a legal

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framework in place to protect the national interest.

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I can announce that the government has decided to proceed

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with the first new nuclear power station for a generation,

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however this decision is made with two important changes.

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The Hinckley Project, the government will be able

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to prevent the sale of EDF's controlling stake prior

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The agreement will be confirmed in an exchange of letters

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Existing legal powers and the new legal framework means

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the government will be able to intervene in the sale of the EDF

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He said the government would take a new approach to the scrutiny

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of who owns critical infrastructure projects.

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These changes will bring Britain's policy framework for ownership

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and control of critical infrastructure into line with major

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economies, allowing the government to take a fair and consistent

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approach to national security implications of critical

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infrastructure, including nuclear energy.

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The changes meanwhile the UK will remain one of the most open

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economies in the world, the public can be confident that

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foreign direct investment works always in the country's best

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The government created a commercial crisis,

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sent shock waves through the industry and unions and risked

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a diplomatic dispute with a future key trading partner and in the end

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all they have done is pretend to give themselves powers

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This statement is window dressing, it is face-saving by

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a government that talked big and eventually backed down.

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I think it unfortunate the government has decided to take

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There are improvements the Secretary of State outlined,

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The 30 billion that it will cost the Bill payer, he may say the risk

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is with EDF and construction companies but as outlined a 25% over

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budget and four years late and it will still make a profit,

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that profit will be at the expense of the Bill payer.

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I welcome proposals to make it more difficult for foreign interests

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Does the Secretary of State agree that future power stations would be

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better financed by private-sector British investors or even

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on occasion by Treasury investment, rather than foreign investors

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who will now be able to take enormous sums of money out

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of our country for 25 years or more while the project is up and running?

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He will be aware that Britain's most respected economy and finance

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publications have come out strongly against Hinkley C on value for money

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and energy policy grounds with the Economist describing it

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as a white elephant before it is built.

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Can he confirm nothing he has announced is an improvement

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on the dreadful deal negotiated by the former Chancellor

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on guaranteed price, absolutely dreadful?

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Having pressed the pause button why is he now pressing

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Does he recognise this project does not represent value for money

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Does he except the cost to consumers has gone to 30 billion from six

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and that now his government are willing to put in public

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subsidy, something they said would not happen, and this

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is happening when the cost of renewables is plummeting.

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Can I thank the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister for making

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the right decision and how important it is to Bridgwater and Somerset

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and I invite him to come down to visit the Hinkley Point power

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station and also say we look with urgency at the nuclear

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college we need to build with urgency at Cannington.

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Can he confirm at the end of its life, this power plant

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will have generated the most expensive energy in the history

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Can he tell us if he agrees with the National Audit Office that

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in its lifetime consumers will have subsidised EDF to the

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And what about the waste it will generate?

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The principle on energy and adversity from him was that

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diversity was the key and I think that is the right approach.

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And there were some forthright views about the new nuclear plant over

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We had some time ago the resignation of the finance director of EDF.

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I noticed, looked at the share price since the announcement,

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My question would be, does he expect EDF to be solvent

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by the time this project should be delivered?

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It is charming in this post Brexit era to throw out a lifeline to EDF

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as the noble lord pointed out, is on the verge of bankruptcy

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and has never ill a power station of this kind.

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Both of which are hopelessly behind schedule and in deep trouble.

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Can I congratulate the government on boosting the national security

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element in future civil procurements but alluding to the contribution can

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I ask the minister the submissions her department receives on small

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module reactors could be placed in the library for the illumination

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Before we go in for these water reactors, maybe the future lies

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The latest thoughts on nuclear power.

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The government has published a draft of the BBC's next Royal Charter -

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an agreement with the government over what the organisation intends

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The Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley, told the Commons

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the BBC will have to name all employees and presenters paid

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Currently, the Corporation reveals the salary details of executives

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Karen Bradley started by saying she was a huge fan of the BBC.

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Our aim is to ensure a strong, distinctive, independent BBC

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And also to improve the BBC where we can.

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A new board will be created to run the BBC, and new rules introduced

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The government-sponsored BBC as open and transparent as possible.

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The charter sets out new obligations in this regard,

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including publishing salaries of those employees and talent

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Would she act set by introducing mid-term reviews of the charter this

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will put pressure on the BBC to look over its shoulder to seek to avoid

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upsetting governments of the day when it should be free to comment

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without fear of what governments do and when governments

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How will viewers and listeners be assured the health check will not

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put undue pressure on the BBC and be interpreted as review in fact.

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Karen Bradley dismissed his concerns - as did her predecessor as Culture

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Will my right honourable friend confirmed this draft charter is not

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as some have said a damp squib nor the brainchild of Rupert Murdoch?

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Dishy agreed the charter makes it difficult to changes,

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including the new structure, requirements, diversity,

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distinctiveness and impartiality, opening up of schedules,

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to competition, and for access to the NAO and these changes

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will ensure the BBC continues to be the best broadcaster in the world?

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The SNP spokesman returned to the issue of pay.

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I wonder if the Secretary of State agrees that the BBC argument this

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will be a charter to poach talent is nonsense?

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If your agent is worth his salt, or her salt, they will know exactly

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how much you and all your competition are paid.

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Watch the danger of this announcement is, perhaps

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the Secretary of State will agree, is the BBC will be forced to reveal

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the salaries of many of its more mediocre but overpaid employees

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and there may be some national teeth gnashing as a result

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when they discover exactly what goes on behind closed doors.

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We've seen the BBC unable increasingly to afford sport events

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and the Great British Bake Off, unable to afford that now,

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we are seeing pressures on services and mergers between News channels.

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Is it the case the government top slices and undermines.

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The BBC has to fund World Service, local TV, and over 75s licenses.

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This government does not care about the BBC.

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I will quote the director-general who said far from being a cut

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the way the financial settlement is shaped gives us

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A lot of us do not share the sentimentality often expressed

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about the BBC especially being at the brunt of its bias

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In terms of transparency, why has this been limited

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to the publication of expenses or salaries over ?150,000?

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Why can it not be brought in line with members of Parliament 's

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expenses and all other expenses including travel and accommodation?

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The honourable gentleman has longer-term issues perhaps is,

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the best way of putting it, with the BBC and his view of bias

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but I am sure he agrees there are many BBC programmes

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It is something we should cherish and really want to protect.

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This is Britain at its best when it is at its best.

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Karen Bradley said the rules would bring the BBC in line

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with the civil service in terms of transparency.

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You are watching the round-up of the day in the Commons and Lord's. Still

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to come, do we really need a new set of parliamentary constituencies?

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Angela Smith has shared with the Commons of the heartbreaking story

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of one of her constituents, Claire, whose two sons were killed IVF

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rather. She relayed the story as part of a debate on domestic abuse.

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She said it supported her view that family courts need to stop believing

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man with a history of abusing children could be good fathers. She

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read what the victim wrote. It took just 15 minutes for my life

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and heart to be broken completely beyond repair. I had warned those

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involved with my case that my happy, funny boys would be killed by their

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own father. I was right. My boys were both with their father Nat

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October day and at around 6:30pm he enticed Paul, nine, and Jack, 12,

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both into the attic with the promise of trains. When they were in the

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attic he lit 16 separate fires around the house, which he had

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barricaded. So my son is could not get out and the firemen could not

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get in. Only 15 minutes later the doorbell rang at my mum's. We were

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staying there temporarily after the separation. I opened the door, blue

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lights were flashing. There has been an incident at your former home, the

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boys have been involved in a fire. Running into the hospital the first

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thing I saw was Paul receiving CPR. A doctor drenched in sweat and

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exhausted told me they were withdrawing treatment. I held Paul

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in my arms. I begged them to try to stay, to not leave me. He looked at

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me, smiled and the life left his beautiful, blue eyes. His hair was

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wet with my tears as I kissed his nose, then, Paul, my boy, was taken

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out of my arms and into another room. There was no further chance of

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catching him because his body, his little body, was now part of a

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serious crime enquiry. Detectives arrived and informed me that my

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former husband was responsible for the fire. And that he had also died.

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All this time I wasn't allowed to see Jack, as they were still

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fighting to save him. Thankfully he never knew that Paul had died. He

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had tried to save his little brother. The police later disclosed

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that Jack was still conscious when carried out of the fire. He told

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them, my dad did this and he did it on purpose. This was his final test

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to be. I want to pay tribute to Clare. In my 12 years as an MP I

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have never been asked to intervene in a case like this. No other case

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I've been presented with has touched me like this. No other constituent

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has impressed me so much with her bravery and determination to secure

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something positive out of something so dreadful. There is the ongoing

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assumption that men who are abusive towards women can nevertheless be

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good fathers. This belief, the Smith, is unbelievably in during a

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flight in the face of available evidence. There are indications that

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there are many into Dell Mac applications for children arising

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from domestic abuse. -- many implications. The stories we hear

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today have got to go some way to getting change in this area, so this

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is now our next point and I think it's a point that the public are

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going to get pretty involved with. I think what was said on Friday has

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done a huge amount to raise awareness of the issue. We are not

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complacent. We know there is room for improvement and we are closely

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working with the judiciary to consider what additional protections

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may be necessary for vulnerable we them is and witnesses in the family

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justice system. Another important point on domestic abuse was recently

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published by the parliamentary committee and highlighted a number

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of issues of concern and we are examining those carefully.

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A call for global action to stem the rise in drug-resistant infections

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was made in the House of Lords by a former Health Secretary. Lord

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Lansley has warned that future generations could be vulnerable to

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infections, which people thought were now eradicated. Next week the

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United Nations is meeting to reinvigorate the fight against

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superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. The development of

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increasing antibiotic resistance across a range of bacterial

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infections has outstripped the limited further development of novel

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antibiotics and the extent of the use of those available, the

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antibiotics available, prompted increasingly the development of

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organisms capable of near resistance to all of the drugs available to

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combat them. For so long we have had many effective treatments for

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infectious diseases that we are in danger of being casual about

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infection control. After all, if we get an infection the antimicrobials

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will deal with it, with a? Perhaps not any more. -- won't they? Are

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many factors we have heard about in this debate, to make it easy for

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Michael to develop resistance, make me think the human race has become

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very cavalier about infection, at least in the West. -- microbial. All

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hospital wards and departments I have been in now have little

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machines at the entrance with antimicrobial stuff that you can rob

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on your hands, what do we always use them? I must admit I don't always.

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Resistance -- resistant trains a rise due to uncontrolled use of

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antibiotics anywhere in the world and can arrive in the UK within

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hours. Something like 60 million people per year travel through

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Heathrow Airport alone, each carrying millions of microbes on two

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legs, many of which may have been acquired only hours previously. Our

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aim is to halve by 2020 the number of inappropriate antibiotic

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prescriptions within the NHS. We are also taking steps to halve the

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number of the healthcare associated infections, like E. Coli, that

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caused the biggest threat to human health. Is Dahmer this is not to say

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the NHS has had already made progress. -- this is not to say. In

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2050 2 million fewer prescriptions were dispensed in two months,

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compared to the same period in 2014. This is a reduction of a little over

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7%. The House of Commons is shrinking,

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or at least it will come in the time of the next general election, as in

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the containing 650 MPs there will be 600. To achieve that almost all

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parliamentary constituencies are being withdrawn and the new map came

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out at the start of the week. -- we drawn. This could mean furious

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battles as MPs slugged it out for who gets what seat. At one Tory

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backbencher suggested events have overtaken the constituency shakeup.

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When the boundary changes were announced and we had the debating

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this House, we didn't know we were going to leave the EU ad with 75% of

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our laws made in EU, and with the abolition of all of those

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hard-working MEPs, why are we now reducing the number of MPs? The

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Prime Minister perhaps should look at this again. Could we have a

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statement next week? That is a decision which the House took when

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it passed the legislation that set out the reduction of members of

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Parliament and the framework with which the ground we commission would

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operate. -- boundary. The shadow of the Commons criticised the new

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periods set about by David Cameron. The Speaker of the House of Lords

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said there were 200 unnecessary people prancing around on the other

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end of the corridor and these changes introduced by the private

:22:32.:22:36.

investor would involve a spending of ?34 million. The exchanges that have

:22:37.:22:43.

taken place over the years. This is a waste of public money at a time

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when the Prime Minister said that his justification for the massive

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disruption amongst elected members by the changes in the boundaries

:22:52.:22:57.

will save peanuts. Will The Leader of the House and some -- add some

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new lustre to his parliamentary halo and not be just a leader, and take

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on real reforms? I find it a -- interesting that he renounces things

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today when so many of his right honourable friends have been in a

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rush to go and serve there. And only earlier this week a new Keogh, sent

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there by the current Leader of the Opposition, took her seat. I think

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the honourable gentleman needs to have some words with his own leader

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about this. Underlining the point made by Paul

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Flynn, the House of Lords has carried on expanding. Two new peers

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have been added. One is a conservative leader of Westminster

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City Council, by profession she is an investment banker and was a

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director of Citigroup. She entered politics in 2006 and once attempted

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to be the Conservative candidate for the Mayor of London.

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At the start of the day, in line with legal tradition of custom, the

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writ was moved. It triggers a parliamentary by-election. I beg to

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move that Mr Speaker do issue his warrant to the clerk of the Crown to

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make out a new writ for the electing of a member to serve in this present

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Parliament for the borough constituency of Batley and Spen.

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And that by-election in Batley and Spen, following the killing in June

:24:48.:24:54.

of the Labour MP Jo Cox, will be held on Thursday, October 20.

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Candidates won't be there. A 52-year-old man is the child -- is

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charged with of Jo Cox and is due to be on trial in November. Also on

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October 20, a by-election will be held in Oxfordshire following this

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week's departure of David Cameron from the Commons. That's it. MPs and

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peers are now off for the party conferences, for three weeks. They

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return to Westminster on Monday, October ten. Join me for the Week in

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Parliament when we talk about the redrawing of Cabinet constituencies.

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And we have an interview with the new Speaker of the House of Lords.

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They did to deal with. -- to deal with. From me, goodbye.

:25:51.:25:53.

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