26/01/2017 Thursday in Parliament


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26/01/2017

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 26 January, presented by Kristiina Cooper.


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Hello and welcome to Thursday in Parliament.

:00:23.:00:24.

The Brexit Bill has been published, but some MPs say the Government

:00:25.:00:29.

hasn't allowed enough time to debate it.

:00:30.:00:32.

I am astonished at the amount of time that the Leader of the House

:00:33.:00:36.

A new direction for US foreign policy?

:00:37.:00:42.

The Foreign Secretary chooses his words carefully.

:00:43.:00:45.

I don't think we've seen any policy changes, official policy changes

:00:46.:00:50.

And Gordon Brown warns that there's not enough money to educate

:00:51.:00:56.

The children of the world will be without the qualifications they

:00:57.:01:02.

need, and that is indeed a crisis that's got to be dealt with.

:01:03.:01:07.

The day kicked off with questions to David Davis, the Secretary

:01:08.:01:09.

The Prime Minister has announced that there

:01:10.:01:13.

will be a White Paper, setting out the Government's Brexit strategy.

:01:14.:01:17.

Many MPs wanted to know when the document would appear.

:01:18.:01:25.

Can I thank the Secretary of State very much for the part he played,

:01:26.:01:29.

That has been welcomed across the House, and is good news.

:01:30.:01:33.

Can he now tell us, does he know when it might be published,

:01:34.:01:36.

and how much time this place will have to debate it?

:01:37.:01:39.

Of course, this is a decision solely for the Prime Minister,

:01:40.:01:42.

to publish the White Paper, but it's nice to be able to agree

:01:43.:01:45.

In terms of timing, we are going to be...

:01:46.:01:52.

Sorry, my voice and the microphone together.

:01:53.:01:55.

In terms of timing, the Prime Minister said

:01:56.:01:59.

It will be as expeditiously as we can.

:02:00.:02:04.

It takes time, she knows, she's been in Government,

:02:05.:02:06.

these things have a procedure, it takes time to do,

:02:07.:02:08.

but we won't waste time in producing it for the House.

:02:09.:02:11.

I hope the Secretary of State gets his voice back,

:02:12.:02:17.

he'll be needing it over the next couple of weeks.

:02:18.:02:20.

Does he think that we should be able to see the White Paper before

:02:21.:02:23.

Well, with respect to the honourable gentleman,

:02:24.:02:27.

There'll be lots of legislation, I assume - I'm looking

:02:28.:02:33.

to see if he nods - I assume he's referring

:02:34.:02:35.

The Article 50 legislation is about carrying out

:02:36.:02:40.

the will of the British people, the decision

:02:41.:02:43.

There will be much more legislation after that

:02:44.:02:47.

which will relate to policy, the maintenance of European law -

:02:48.:02:53.

that's the Great Repeal Bill, but also the new legislation

:02:54.:02:58.

So it's certainly going to be before all that, and I'll be

:02:59.:03:03.

I'm concerned by some of the responses from the Secretary

:03:04.:03:08.

of State, who seemed to be bursting with entusiasm

:03:09.:03:11.

about this White Paper, now it seems we may not get it

:03:12.:03:16.

Given the level of interest in the legislation and the amendments

:03:17.:03:20.

that are going to be tabled, we need this White Paper before

:03:21.:03:23.

How do you deal with an opposition that won't take yes for an answer?

:03:24.:03:35.

I've said we'll deal with it and I will produce it

:03:36.:03:40.

as expeditiously as possible, as quickly as possible.

:03:41.:03:43.

He can work as fast as he can, I suppose, but we do need it

:03:44.:03:51.

When we get it, will it be a cut and paste of

:03:52.:03:58.

Or instead, will we have assessments of the financial impact on this

:03:59.:04:08.

Let me start, as I said at the beginning,

:04:09.:04:15.

the Prime Minister's speech - one of the clearest expositions

:04:16.:04:19.

of national policy I've heard in many, many years -

:04:20.:04:24.

answered all of the questions that the opposition and

:04:25.:04:28.

Brexit Committee raised, other than those that would actively

:04:29.:04:31.

Labour will be putting down amendments to the Brexit Bill.

:04:32.:04:40.

Now that we have a commitment to a White Paper, the role

:04:41.:04:43.

of Parliament in the Article 50 process needs to be determined.

:04:44.:04:45.

That's why Labour will seek to table an amendment to the proposed

:04:46.:04:48.

Article 50 bill to require the Secretary of State to lay periodic

:04:49.:04:51.

reports at intervals of no less than two months on progress

:04:52.:04:54.

of the negotiations under Article 50.

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Will the Secretary of State commit now to the principle

:04:57.:05:00.

Well, from behind me, I hear, "Like he's not going to do that".

:05:01.:05:12.

Since the start of this, since September, nearly five months,

:05:13.:05:19.

I've done five statements in front of this House, ten debates,

:05:20.:05:22.

appeared in front of a number of select committees and that

:05:23.:05:26.

I suspect two months will be a rather unambitious aim.

:05:27.:05:34.

A little later, a Bill paving the way for the UK's exit

:05:35.:05:37.

from the European Union was presented to Parliament.

:05:38.:05:39.

It's called the European Union - Notification of Withdrawal Bill.

:05:40.:05:41.

European Union - Notification of Withdrawal Bill.

:05:42.:05:53.

And the Commons leader, David Lidington announced

:05:54.:06:03.

the timetable for debating the Bill in the Commons.

:06:04.:06:06.

Tuesday the 31st of January, second reading of the

:06:07.:06:09.

European Union - Notification of Withdrawal Bill, day one.

:06:10.:06:15.

Wednesday the first of February, conclusion of second reading

:06:16.:06:19.

of the European Union - Notification of Withdrawal Bill.

:06:20.:06:22.

Monday the 6th of February, consideration in committee

:06:23.:06:26.

of the European Union - Notification of Withdrawal Bill, day one.

:06:27.:06:30.

Tuesday the 7th of February, continuation of consideration

:06:31.:06:34.

in committee of the European Union - Notification of Withdrawal Bill.

:06:35.:06:38.

Wednesday the 8th of February, conclusion of consideration

:06:39.:06:42.

in committee for the European Union - Notification of Withdrawal Bill,

:06:43.:06:45.

followed by remaining stages of the European Union -

:06:46.:06:48.

So that's five days for debating the Brexit Bill.

:06:49.:06:54.

As you can hear from the jeers, some MPs did not think the Government

:06:55.:06:57.

First there was to be no vote, now there's a vote.

:06:58.:07:03.

Then there was to be no bill, now there's a bill.

:07:04.:07:06.

Then there was to be no White Paper, now there's to be a White Paper.

:07:07.:07:09.

We should have chanced our arm and said we should definitely be

:07:10.:07:12.

The second reading will be next Tuesday, but we of course know

:07:13.:07:18.

there will be the committee of the whole House the following

:07:19.:07:21.

week with everything rushed through and concluded

:07:22.:07:23.

As the Leader of the House, as the guardian of this House's

:07:24.:07:31.

procedure and its business, will he now guarantee today

:07:32.:07:34.

and right now there will be a White Paper published in time

:07:35.:07:37.

for the committee of the whole House, so this House can consider

:07:38.:07:39.

that White Paper and a bill of such importance and magnitude.

:07:40.:07:42.

I was astonished at the amount of time that the Leader of the House

:07:43.:07:45.

has given this Parliament to debate it.

:07:46.:07:48.

And he's being very coy about whether the White Paper

:07:49.:07:50.

will be published before the committee stage of the Bill.

:07:51.:07:53.

Can he give us more time and tell us if he's going to publish

:07:54.:07:57.

I think, if you consider that this is a two-clause bill,

:07:58.:08:08.

that the second clause is dealing only with the extent of the Bill

:08:09.:08:11.

to the United Kingdom, there is plenty of time,

:08:12.:08:13.

including two full days at second reading, for all opinions

:08:14.:08:17.

Just three days to debate the detail of the most important issue facing

:08:18.:08:23.

this country in a generation, the repercussions of which will face

:08:24.:08:27.

generations to come, is totally unacceptable.

:08:28.:08:31.

And I would hope that every opposition party in this House

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and every member who cares about parliamentary democracy

:08:35.:08:38.

will vote against this contempt of Parliament when it comes

:08:39.:08:41.

Well, I simply say to the honourable gentleman that his party supported

:08:42.:08:47.

the Referendum Bill, and putting the question

:08:48.:08:51.

to the people, and his party supported the timetable

:08:52.:08:56.

of triggering Article 50 by the end of March.

:08:57.:09:00.

And the Bill is designed to secure that those objectives are met.

:09:01.:09:05.

The UK is in a position to show "international leadership" to end

:09:06.:09:08.

the fighting in Yemen and prevent a famine -

:09:09.:09:11.

that's the view of the SNP's Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh,

:09:12.:09:15.

who called for an urgent statement about the conflict

:09:16.:09:18.

between the forces loyal to the Yemen's President Hadi

:09:19.:09:20.

The Foreign Office Minister set out the UK's position.

:09:21.:09:25.

The UK supports the Saudi Arabian-led coalition

:09:26.:09:28.

military intervention, which came at the request

:09:29.:09:30.

of the legitimate President Hadi, and we are clear through that

:09:31.:09:34.

coalition and the Government of Yemen military gains must be

:09:35.:09:37.

used to drive forward the political process.

:09:38.:09:40.

I last spoke to President Hadi on the 15th of January to discuss

:09:41.:09:53.

the importance of taking measures to prevent economic collapse.

:09:54.:09:55.

We continue to strongly support the tireless efforts

:09:56.:09:57.

of the UN special envoy, in trying to achieve

:09:58.:09:59.

We're providing over ?1 million to the UN special envoy's office

:10:00.:10:03.

to bolster the UN's capacity to facilitate the peace process,

:10:04.:10:08.

and the UN special envoy is due to brief the UN Security Council

:10:09.:10:14.

today in New York on the latest developments on the UN's plans.

:10:15.:10:19.

When the UN Security Council meets this afternoon,

:10:20.:10:22.

it will do so against a backdrop of heavy fighting in the Red Sea,

:10:23.:10:27.

and an increasingly dire humanitarian situation

:10:28.:10:29.

There are already 7 million people starving in Yemen.

:10:30.:10:35.

If these ports are destroyed or besieged, then delivery of vital

:10:36.:10:38.

aid which is required to avert famine in Yemen will become

:10:39.:10:41.

The only way to prevent this unfolding humanitarian disaster

:10:42.:10:46.

deteriorating even further is to agree an immediate ceasefire.

:10:47.:10:51.

Today's meeting of the UN Security Council provides a key

:10:52.:10:53.

The SNP believes that the UK is in a unique position to show

:10:54.:10:59.

positive international readership in order to bring about

:11:00.:11:03.

I understand her desire to want to call for a ceasefire,

:11:04.:11:11.

a cessation of hostilities immediately.

:11:12.:11:13.

We will see what comes out of the meeting today and comes out

:11:14.:11:16.

But I'm absolutely in agreement with her, this is actually

:11:17.:11:21.

Calling for it needs to work in conjunction

:11:22.:11:25.

with the art of the possible, otherwise it simply is just words.

:11:26.:11:29.

In order for us to be able to ensure it will hold,

:11:30.:11:33.

we need to be able to say what happens if one of the sides,

:11:34.:11:36.

either of the sides, actually breaches the

:11:37.:11:38.

He talks about the need for a political solution,

:11:39.:11:52.

when is he going to present our resolution to the United Nations?

:11:53.:11:55.

When we going to get proper investigations

:11:56.:11:56.

into alleged violations of international humanitarian law?

:11:57.:11:58.

Why we continuing to sell Saudi Arabia the arms

:11:59.:12:00.

And, ultimately, when we going to bring the suffering of the people

:12:01.:12:04.

of Yemen to an end and then get the humanitarian aid

:12:05.:12:07.

Every debate, every month, now every year, we ask

:12:08.:12:10.

the same basic questions, and every time the Minister -

:12:11.:12:13.

whose name now is, I'm afraid, synonymous with the Yemen conflict -

:12:14.:12:15.

stands there and gives us the same non-answers.

:12:16.:12:24.

The Minister said that arms were subject to strict controls, and aid

:12:25.:12:30.

was getting to people caught up in this awful conflict.

:12:31.:12:32.

You're watching Thursday in Parliament

:12:33.:12:33.

Now, as the Prime Minister was preparing to meet Donald Trump,

:12:34.:12:40.

the Foreign Secretary was facing a group of peers.

:12:41.:12:44.

Theresa May wants to enhance the UK's special

:12:45.:12:46.

And President Trump has said he wants a quick

:12:47.:12:51.

Boris Johnson, however, had to admit to significant policy

:12:52.:12:56.

differences between Downing Street and the White House.

:12:57.:12:58.

We've had statements from the new president to ABC

:12:59.:13:06.

which showed pretty fundamental disregard for a whole number

:13:07.:13:10.

of the United States international obligations,

:13:11.:13:14.

most specifically under the torture Convention.

:13:15.:13:18.

We have to be very careful with this.

:13:19.:13:23.

I certainly don't think we seen any policy changes,

:13:24.:13:27.

official policy changes, or policy pronouncements and,

:13:28.:13:30.

on the matter of torture, which you rightly draw attention to,

:13:31.:13:37.

I think the Prime Minister made the position of the government

:13:38.:13:39.

very clear yesterday in the House of Commons and that is unchanged.

:13:40.:13:56.

Mrs May says the UK does not sanction torture. What about

:13:57.:14:02.

refugees from certain countries? Do you think it's acceptable under

:14:03.:14:09.

international obligations shared by the UK and the US,

:14:10.:14:11.

to have a ban on refugees I don't want to disappoint

:14:12.:14:14.

the committee by, you know, retreating too much into this

:14:15.:14:17.

formula but we haven't yet seen Rather than get into some sort

:14:18.:14:20.

of hypothetical dispute, let's see And what about the nuclear deal

:14:21.:14:24.

with Iran, resident Trump says it's I assume that is not the view

:14:25.:14:28.

of the government since the government is a party

:14:29.:14:36.

to the deal and doesn't presumably go around making the

:14:37.:14:39.

worst deals ever made. I think we've already

:14:40.:14:41.

made our views very clear to the Trump Administration

:14:42.:14:44.

that we think trying to improve relations

:14:45.:14:46.

with Iran through this deal, you know, it's a pretty cautious

:14:47.:14:48.

thing, is, on the whole, a good thing and we regard that

:14:49.:14:51.

as one of the achievements And then to what may

:14:52.:14:54.

prove one of the most President Trump has been very clear

:14:55.:15:00.

already that he wants to eradicate Islamic militancy from the face

:15:01.:15:05.

of the Earth and he's also been clear that he's prepared

:15:06.:15:08.

to have a new approach to prioritise the defeat of Isis, possibly

:15:09.:15:13.

in collaboration with Russia. Would you support a change in US -

:15:14.:15:17.

UK direction to support those goals, possibly even joining forces,

:15:18.:15:21.

figuratively and militarily, We are already with

:15:22.:15:24.

the United States engaged very The committee will know that

:15:25.:15:33.

more than 1000 sorties have been flown, I think,

:15:34.:15:42.

almost 1200, we are there. Are you prepared to see

:15:43.:15:46.

an alliance of forces, To switch sides, to come

:15:47.:15:50.

in on the side of Assad and the Russians, would be seen,

:15:51.:15:59.

I think, as a great betrayal of the people of Syria

:16:00.:16:05.

who have opposed Assad. It would be seen as a betrayal

:16:06.:16:10.

of the moderate armed opposition that we have supported

:16:11.:16:15.

and it would be... It would have grave

:16:16.:16:23.

repercussions in the area. We might find ourselves

:16:24.:16:27.

in days and weeks to come where the United States

:16:28.:16:32.

is on a different side That would put us on a direct

:16:33.:16:34.

collision, or not on a collision but on two different sides

:16:35.:16:42.

of this argument. With the closest allies

:16:43.:16:46.

that we are trying to forge relationship that it has been

:16:47.:16:48.

over the last decades, If there is a possibility

:16:49.:16:53.

of an arrangement with the Russians that simultaneously allows Assad

:16:54.:17:01.

to move towards the exit and diminishes Iranian influence

:17:02.:17:08.

in the region by getting rid of Assad and allows us to join

:17:09.:17:19.

with the Russians in... attacking Daesh and wiping them off

:17:20.:17:26.

the face of the earth, or whatever the president has said,

:17:27.:17:32.

then that might be a way forward. But there were, he said,

:17:33.:17:35.

no good options. But even if we did achieve the end,

:17:36.:17:38.

this is the real hit, nor is it clear that even if we did

:17:39.:17:43.

achieve the end of the Assad regime, that Syria would

:17:44.:17:47.

be in a better place. The Brexit secretary David Davis

:17:48.:17:49.

also faced questions on President Trump's remarks

:17:50.:17:52.

over the use of torture. The Prime Minister will today meet

:17:53.:17:54.

an American president who champions torture and who is proud

:17:55.:17:57.

to discriminate against Muslims. Would the Secretary of State,

:17:58.:18:01.

therefore, agree with me that it is even more important

:18:02.:18:04.

that his government send a strong moral message,

:18:05.:18:12.

goods and chattels are bargaining Will he confirm the residency

:18:13.:18:14.

rights of EU nationals? The Honourable Lady knows my stance

:18:15.:18:20.

on torture down the years, And the British government's stance

:18:21.:18:23.

on torture is very plain. We don't condone it,

:18:24.:18:30.

we don't agree with it under any The Labour former

:18:31.:18:32.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has returned to Parliament,

:18:33.:18:36.

for a few hours, at least, to talk to a committee of MPs

:18:37.:18:39.

about the challenges he faces in his new job as the UN

:18:40.:18:44.

special envoy for education. He talked about what he'd seen

:18:45.:18:48.

first hand when he visited You go to a place like South Sudan,

:18:49.:18:51.

where I was a few months ago, I don't know if the committee

:18:52.:18:55.

has been there recently. You have been there some years ago,

:18:56.:18:58.

I know that, and you meet mothers who have come across the border

:18:59.:19:01.

from Saddam into South Sudan, The one thing they want

:19:02.:19:04.

for their children is education. We forget that shelter is sometimes

:19:05.:19:11.

secretary to the importance that their child has the best

:19:12.:19:14.

chance in life. I was in a village just outside

:19:15.:19:21.

Djuba and there was this project, the Bangladesh group who do

:19:22.:19:25.

these small huts, as schools, so there were places in the school

:19:26.:19:28.

for only about 20 kids. I remember being in that heart

:19:29.:19:31.

and there was a small portable and looking in on that portal

:19:32.:19:34.

were about a hundred kids who were unable to get the education

:19:35.:19:37.

they wanted and there was another who told me she had to choose

:19:38.:19:40.

between her twins, at eight years A Labour MP quoted

:19:41.:19:43.

the Chief Executive of the global As part of this enquiry

:19:44.:19:49.

in November Alice Albright, I would have liked her to be

:19:50.:19:56.

the Democratic candidate but the chair won't allow me to go

:19:57.:20:01.

there, I don't think, told this committee

:20:02.:20:04.

that there is a funding crisis And it has gone into humanitarian

:20:05.:20:06.

shelter and survival, as infrastructure, agriculture got

:20:07.:20:11.

money, as health has got more money, Unless we now realise that by 2030

:20:12.:20:15.

there will be 800 million children, half the children of the world,

:20:16.:20:24.

800 million children, who will not finish education

:20:25.:20:28.

with any qualification of any value whatsoever, and in 2030 on current

:20:29.:20:32.

trends, 200 million will still be out of school and never

:20:33.:20:37.

finish their primary education, 400 million will only get primary

:20:38.:20:42.

level qualifications, and, as I said, half the children

:20:43.:20:44.

of the world will be without And that is, indeed,

:20:45.:20:47.

a crisis that has to be dealt with. So it's a crisis in terms of we've

:20:48.:20:52.

got a duty to step in when we know that countries will not

:20:53.:20:56.

meet their targets and we know that we've got a duty we've agreed

:20:57.:20:59.

to meet that every child be in education, so we need

:21:00.:21:02.

to do something about I say that 15% of aid, at least,

:21:03.:21:04.

should go to education. He moved on to talk

:21:05.:21:09.

about an initiative In a unique project which is called

:21:10.:21:11.

the double shift school system, we are using the same school

:21:12.:21:21.

in the morning for Lebanese children and in the afternoon

:21:22.:21:24.

for Syrian refugees. They've managed to get almost

:21:25.:21:27.

a quarter of a million children Would you agree that it is vital

:21:28.:21:29.

that we commit money to humanitarian aid and the vital issue of health,

:21:30.:21:43.

given the fact that we are at 0.7% and there is no room for increase,

:21:44.:21:47.

where would you see additional funds I do regret the fact that DFed has

:21:48.:21:54.

reduced the share for education in saved budget from something

:21:55.:22:01.

like 12 to 15%, I think, I do understand that some

:22:02.:22:04.

of that is for humanitarian aid but I think that there is money

:22:05.:22:11.

to be found for education in other parts of the budget

:22:12.:22:14.

without affecting health, for example, which I know you

:22:15.:22:18.

and I think is important, as well. Making a brief appearance

:22:19.:22:22.

back in Parliament. Now, the Supreme Court ruled

:22:23.:22:28.

against the government on Tuesday, saying that Parliament

:22:29.:22:34.

should authorise the That followed a lengthy

:22:35.:22:35.

and complex court case. Some Peers want to know

:22:36.:22:43.

how much it all cost. My Lords, the figures for the total

:22:44.:22:46.

costs associated with the case I had hoped that the welcome

:22:47.:22:48.

announcement yesterday of a White Paper might have tempted

:22:49.:22:59.

the noble Lord into answering my question in another

:23:00.:23:06.

welcome U-turn today. But can I put a serious

:23:07.:23:08.

issue to him. The Prime Minister has been clear

:23:09.:23:10.

that she would invoke Article 50 Given that is her deadline

:23:11.:23:13.

of her choosing, does he accept that it would be more open

:23:14.:23:19.

and democratic if the past two months were used for Parliamentary

:23:20.:23:22.

debate rather than the rushed process we have now

:23:23.:23:26.

during a delay to be considered Well, I dispute, I'm sorry

:23:27.:23:29.

the premise on which that question is founded,

:23:30.:23:36.

I'm sorry to say. The government believed,

:23:37.:23:38.

as did a number of others, including the Leader

:23:39.:23:42.

of the Opposition straight after the referendum,

:23:43.:23:44.

that the triggering of Article 50 was a matter for the Royal

:23:45.:23:46.

prerogative, that was disputed, as I said yesterday,

:23:47.:23:48.

people have a right to be able That battle was taken for court

:23:49.:23:51.

and a judgment has been passed. My Lords, I would also dispute

:23:52.:23:55.

that the last few months have not I have very much enjoyed coming

:23:56.:23:59.

to this house and answering questions and giving statements

:24:00.:24:03.

and doing other things and I'm sure Does my right honourable friend not

:24:04.:24:06.

think it extraordinary to have had that question when the Leader

:24:07.:24:14.

of the Opposition wanted to move Article 50 the week

:24:15.:24:16.

after the referendum result? My Lords, it was the day

:24:17.:24:19.

after the referendum result he said this

:24:20.:24:23.

and that is absolutely the case. We were not alone, therefore,

:24:24.:24:26.

in assuming that we would be able to use the Royal prerogative

:24:27.:24:29.

on the triggering of Article 50. My Lords, the courts have required

:24:30.:24:32.

the government to come to Parliament to trigger the negotiating process,

:24:33.:24:35.

the government have said that Parliament will have a vote

:24:36.:24:39.

at the end of it but what plans does the government have two involve

:24:40.:24:43.

Parliament and consult parliament during the course

:24:44.:24:45.

of the negotiations, or is it the case that

:24:46.:24:49.

for the entire negotiating process, Parliament will actually have no

:24:50.:24:53.

significant role in influencing I'm very sorry to say,

:24:54.:24:57.

the noble Lord, I don't know whether I have been somewhere else

:24:58.:25:04.

or he has been somewhere else but I've been answering questions

:25:05.:25:07.

here, giving statements and taking part in debates and this

:25:08.:25:10.

will continue, my Lords, We are absolutely committed

:25:11.:25:12.

to ensuring that this house and the other place will have ample

:25:13.:25:20.

opportunity to scrutinise Furthermore, as I have set out

:25:21.:25:22.

on a number of occasions, there will also be the great repeal

:25:23.:25:28.

bill and the legislation that will flow from that

:25:29.:25:31.

which will give your Lordships, I can assure you, a great amount

:25:32.:25:34.

of legislative fodder But do join me on Friday night at 11

:25:35.:25:36.

for a round-up of a fast-moving week But, until then, from me,

:25:37.:25:47.

Kristiina Cooper, goodbye.

:25:48.:25:55.