02/02/2017 Thursday in Parliament


02/02/2017

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 2 February, presented by Alicia McCarthy.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Thursday in Parliament.

:00:15.:00:16.

The Government sets out its Brexit policy paper.

:00:17.:00:21.

The Transport Secretary says expanding Heathrow

:00:22.:00:23.

will be good for Britain post-Brexit.

:00:24.:00:26.

a former minister talks about growing up

:00:27.:00:30.

I know what it's like to feel that cold nausea

:00:31.:00:36.

when you find the empty bottles hidden around the house.

:00:37.:00:41.

But first, the Government has published its 75-page

:00:42.:00:43.

Brexit policy document, laying out what its objectives

:00:44.:00:47.

are in the forthcoming negotiations on extracting the UK

:00:48.:00:50.

The principles were contained in the Prime Minister's

:00:51.:00:55.

keynote speech last month, so there were few surprises.

:00:56.:00:59.

The Secretary of State, David Davis, said it confirmed

:01:00.:01:02.

the Prime Minister's vision of an independent, truly global UK.

:01:03.:01:07.

The Government recognised the need for clarity and certainty.

:01:08.:01:11.

The white paper also sets out we will take control of our own laws

:01:12.:01:14.

so they are made in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast,

:01:15.:01:18.

and ensure that we will control the number of people coming

:01:19.:01:21.

And the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice

:01:22.:01:27.

It will be for Parliament and the devolved legislatures

:01:28.:01:32.

to determine significant changes to reflect our new position.

:01:33.:01:36.

I've said this at the dispatch box before, there will be

:01:37.:01:39.

any number of votes on substantive policy choices.

:01:40.:01:42.

To that end, the white paper makes clear that we expect to bring

:01:43.:01:47.

forward separate legislation in areas such as customs

:01:48.:01:49.

Delivering smooth, mutually beneficial exit, avoiding

:01:50.:01:53.

a destructive cliff edge will be the key.

:01:54.:01:57.

Whatever the outcome of our negotiations,

:01:58.:01:59.

we seek a more open, output looking, confident and fairer UK

:02:00.:02:03.

The white paper is available on the Government website,

:02:04.:02:09.

and I've arranged for copies to be available in the libraries

:02:10.:02:12.

Mr Speaker, I would normally thank the Secretary of State

:02:13.:02:18.

A week ago, at Prime Minister's Questions,

:02:19.:02:25.

the Prime Minister said there would be a white paper.

:02:26.:02:27.

Yesterday, she said there would be a white paper tomorrow.

:02:28.:02:30.

The Secretary of State now makes a statement,

:02:31.:02:32.

But the white paper has not been delivered until a few minutes ago

:02:33.:02:37.

so that we can meaningfully actually ask him questions about it.

:02:38.:02:41.

He repeated a demand for a vote in the commons on the final deal

:02:42.:02:44.

Otherwise, all honourable members will have to watch on their screens

:02:45.:02:51.

as the European Parliament debates our deal

:02:52.:02:54.

before we get to express any views on it.

:02:55.:02:58.

That is completely unacceptable, and it's demeaning of this House.

:02:59.:03:02.

There's no point in having a vote after he's already signed it off

:03:03.:03:05.

treating Parliament as some sort of afterthought.

:03:06.:03:11.

So can he rule out now the Government

:03:12.:03:13.

showing such contempt for Parliament?

:03:14.:03:18.

This is now my sixth statement in this House

:03:19.:03:21.

The House will have the opportunity to vote on any number of pieces

:03:22.:03:32.

of legislation before we get there, and it will have the vote at the end

:03:33.:03:37.

to decide whether or not it is acceptable.

:03:38.:03:39.

I can't see how you can make it more meaningful than that.

:03:40.:03:42.

Mr Speaker, the Secretary of State is more experienced

:03:43.:03:44.

It's very striking that we get a white paper after the second

:03:45.:03:51.

reading, and two sitting days before the committee stage.

:03:52.:03:53.

Now, we have just got this before he got on his feet.

:03:54.:03:58.

Is that respectful to Parliament, to be able to question him on it,

:03:59.:04:01.

when it only goes out just as he goes on?

:04:02.:04:04.

I find that an astonishing disrespect of Parliament.

:04:05.:04:07.

It's going to have an impact on each and every one of us,

:04:08.:04:13.

On page 49 of this white paper, the Government said, and I quote,

:04:14.:04:18.

"we have an open mind on how we can implement new customs

:04:19.:04:21.

Just for the avoidance of doubt, because it I think it is important

:04:22.:04:25.

to be clear so that everyone knows where we stand,

:04:26.:04:28.

will the Secretary of State confirm today

:04:29.:04:30.

that we are not only leaving the EU and single market,

:04:31.:04:34.

we are definitely leaving the customs union?

:04:35.:04:36.

If he reads the rest of that chapter, he will see we exclude

:04:37.:04:39.

ourselves from the common commercial policy and the common external

:04:40.:04:42.

tariff, which amounts to exactly what he said.

:04:43.:04:45.

A former Defence Minister has welcomed the decision

:04:46.:04:49.

of a disciplinary tribunal which has struck off a human rights lawyer

:04:50.:04:53.

who brought claims of murder and torture against British soldiers

:04:54.:04:57.

It found that Phil Shiner had acted dishonestly

:04:58.:05:00.

and upheld 12 charges of misconduct against him.

:05:01.:05:05.

He'd admitted acting without integrity at an earlier hearing.

:05:06.:05:10.

Phil Shiner - who founded the firm, Public Interest Lawyers -

:05:11.:05:14.

was accused of drumming up false abuse claims,

:05:15.:05:16.

and paying thousands of pounds to a fixer to find Iraqi clients.

:05:17.:05:19.

Speaking in the Commons during a debate on the armed forces,

:05:20.:05:22.

the MP for Aldershot and a former defence minister,

:05:23.:05:24.

Sir Gerald Howarth, gave his reaction.

:05:25.:05:30.

I felt at the time that that man, Phil Shiner, was a disgrace.

:05:31.:05:34.

He was a dreadful man, engaged in a cowardly

:05:35.:05:39.

and unacceptable activity of trying to find people

:05:40.:05:44.

who would stand up and accuse his fellow countrymen

:05:45.:05:47.

who had gone to relieve the people of Iraq from their suffering,

:05:48.:05:53.

and he went to try and do down those people.

:05:54.:05:55.

I'm very pleased to hear today he has been struck off.

:05:56.:05:58.

Frankly, I don't think that's enough.

:05:59.:06:00.

But then I always was a supporter of capital punishment.

:06:01.:06:05.

We need to do more to protect those who have done the most for us.

:06:06.:06:13.

Because what the covenant should be about is to ensure

:06:14.:06:16.

that those who have served, who have risked all,

:06:17.:06:18.

safe in the knowledge that they are safe

:06:19.:06:23.

and they are not going to be pursued by charlatans

:06:24.:06:26.

and liars like Philip Shiner, who has been struck off today

:06:27.:06:30.

by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority for his deceit,

:06:31.:06:32.

dishonesty and absolute treason to this country,

:06:33.:06:38.

in the way he has pursued fine people.

:06:39.:06:42.

If people like that had been around

:06:43.:06:44.

in the aftermath of the Second World War,

:06:45.:06:47.

and if our troops in the Second World War

:06:48.:06:49.

had known that they would have to face the duplicity

:06:50.:06:52.

and the manoeuvrings and the outrages perpetrated

:06:53.:06:55.

on a subsequent generations of soldiers by people like that,

:06:56.:07:00.

then I do not think they could possibly have fought

:07:01.:07:02.

with the valour that they did, in the defeat of Nazism and fascism.

:07:03.:07:09.

A third runway for Heathrow Airport was approved by the Government

:07:10.:07:12.

in October, but we've still not had the very final decision.

:07:13.:07:16.

to actually build the runway is now underway.

:07:17.:07:20.

The Transport Secretary has launched a four-month consultation

:07:21.:07:22.

and set out planning and infrastructure proposals.

:07:23.:07:24.

a staunch supporter of leaving the EU -

:07:25.:07:31.

couldn't resist making a connection with Brexit.

:07:32.:07:34.

By backing the north-west runway at Heathrow airport,

:07:35.:07:37.

and publishing our proposals today, we are sending a clear signal

:07:38.:07:40.

that when we leave the EU, Britain is open for business.

:07:41.:07:42.

So, Mr Speaker, today I lay before Parliament

:07:43.:07:44.

a draft Airports National Policy Statement

:07:45.:07:46.

and begin a period of extensive public consultation

:07:47.:07:49.

There is an increasing concern regarding air-quality,

:07:50.:08:00.

which is linked to 40,000 early deaths a year.

:08:01.:08:03.

David Cameron's former aide, now Baroness Camilla Cavendish,

:08:04.:08:09.

claimed existing policy on air-quality underwhelms

:08:10.:08:10.

Given this inadequacy, what further and stringent measures

:08:11.:08:16.

will be imposed to mitigate expected expansion at Heathrow?

:08:17.:08:20.

Of course, some of the things we are consulting on today,

:08:21.:08:23.

Mr Speaker, for example, smarter use of airspace,

:08:24.:08:27.

one of the things we will be able to achieve through airspace reform

:08:28.:08:33.

and through the technology that's now available to us

:08:34.:08:35.

is to avoid - to anything like the degree we expect

:08:36.:08:38.

at the moment - planes stacking over the south-east of England,

:08:39.:08:41.

emitting additional emissions into the atmosphere,

:08:42.:08:42.

That's one of the benefits that comes from smarter use of airspace

:08:43.:08:46.

that will help contribute, as will cleaner, newer generation,

:08:47.:08:48.

more efficient aircraft that we will see, I think, extensively

:08:49.:08:51.

in this country over the coming years.

:08:52.:08:52.

The Secretary of State will be aware that on the 23rd of January,

:08:53.:08:56.

we had a black alert in air pollution in London,

:08:57.:08:59.

and 12 local authority areas signalled red alerts.

:09:00.:09:02.

That means toxic air, and it is at crisis point in London.

:09:03.:09:07.

So I think if you're going to reassure the people

:09:08.:09:09.

of London to continue to support this decision,

:09:10.:09:12.

we need a much more comprehensive air pollution strategy,

:09:13.:09:16.

not the Government's current plans that the courts have said

:09:17.:09:20.

Will he explain what he will do if the airport cannot be

:09:21.:09:25.

delivered with the legal air obligations limits?

:09:26.:09:29.

Proceed anyway, change the air-quality objectives,

:09:30.:09:33.

Well, Mr Speaker, it's very clear the airport will not be able

:09:34.:09:39.

to secure its development consent order if it cannot demonstrate

:09:40.:09:41.

It is binding, it will have to achieve those.

:09:42.:09:46.

In terms of our broader strategy, after we have

:09:47.:09:49.

left the European Union, the air-quality standards in place

:09:50.:09:52.

this country will be UK air-quality standards,

:09:53.:09:54.

but it is not the intention of the Government to reduce

:09:55.:09:57.

It is our intention to deliver a strategy that cleans up our air.

:09:58.:10:02.

How can you consult on airspace strategy when you don't

:10:03.:10:08.

have a credible policy of how to address

:10:09.:10:10.

How can you offer a consultation National Policy Statement

:10:11.:10:16.

when you have no credible or legal plan of how to reduce air pollution?

:10:17.:10:21.

How can you have consultations ending on the 25th of May

:10:22.:10:25.

with no credible or legal plans of addressing critical noise

:10:26.:10:30.

I know how strongly my honourable friend feels about this,

:10:31.:10:33.

I do know about the concerns in her constituency,

:10:34.:10:36.

and I very much respect her for what she's doing.

:10:37.:10:39.

This is one of the difficulties of a big strategic decision like this.

:10:40.:10:42.

It's impossible to take it without some impacts.

:10:43.:10:44.

I give her simply my assurance that we will take all steps we can

:10:45.:10:47.

inevitable though it is that there will be some.

:10:48.:10:52.

This is going to be an investment of something not far off

:10:53.:10:54.

?20 billion, which is a great boost to post-Brexit Britain,

:10:55.:10:58.

on top of the expansion at London City Airport.

:10:59.:11:00.

Can he give his best estimate as to when he believes

:11:01.:11:04.

the first plane will take off from the north-west runway?

:11:05.:11:09.

Well, Mr Speaker, both of us would share the aspirations to do

:11:10.:11:12.

But the working assumption is that the first plane

:11:13.:11:15.

will take off in the middle of the next decade.

:11:16.:11:23.

Of course, we perhaps should have come to this

:11:24.:11:25.

At the very least, we are doing it now.

:11:26.:11:28.

We will get on with it as soon as possible.

:11:29.:11:31.

We have to do it in the right way, we've got to do it in a sustainable

:11:32.:11:35.

way, and we've got to do it with great care with

:11:36.:11:37.

The National Health Service in England is still failing

:11:38.:11:41.

to learning from its mistakes, MPs have heard.

:11:42.:11:43.

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

:11:44.:11:45.

has published a report on how the NHS deals with complaints.

:11:46.:11:48.

It calls on the NHS to move from a culture of blame

:11:49.:11:51.

The committee also urged the Department of Health to build up

:11:52.:11:54.

The purpose of complaints is not just the redress of grievances...

:11:55.:12:00.

Which I have to say in the NHS is extremely unsatisfactory anyway,

:12:01.:12:03.

Complaints are a tool by which public services

:12:04.:12:09.

When medical professionals are forced early to be concerned

:12:10.:12:15.

with avoiding liability and responsibility and are trapped

:12:16.:12:19.

in a culture of blame, there can be no learning.

:12:20.:12:23.

There is an acute need for Government to follow

:12:24.:12:25.

through on its commitment to promote a culture in which staff

:12:26.:12:28.

will be able to speak out and which the emphasis is placed

:12:29.:12:32.

The committee also recommended legislation to ensure

:12:33.:12:41.

the new complaints body is truly independent.

:12:42.:12:57.

Clearly from the candid completion this morning, there is a long way to

:12:58.:13:02.

go before we eradicate the culture of defensiveness that he has

:13:03.:13:03.

described. The Minister said the Healthcare

:13:04.:13:04.

Safety Investigation Branch - or HSIB - would be up

:13:05.:13:06.

and running in April. The committee has called for it to

:13:07.:13:17.

be statutorily independent. We agree that it should be as independent as

:13:18.:13:22.

possible if it is to discharge its functions fully and effectively. We

:13:23.:13:26.

would not rule out the option of legislation. His committee also

:13:27.:13:31.

raised in this week report various recommendations and its role. We

:13:32.:13:37.

will be responding to that in due course. We are committed to making

:13:38.:13:43.

sure that the NHS is committed to learning from its mistakes.

:13:44.:13:45.

You're watching Thursday in Parliament, with me,

:13:46.:13:47.

The Government's been told to rethink its alcohol strategy

:13:48.:13:52.

and bring in a minimum unit price for alcohol in England and Wales.

:13:53.:13:56.

The call came from across the chamber as MPs debated

:13:57.:13:58.

ways to tackle the harm caused by drinking.

:13:59.:14:12.

One MP focused on the damage done when pregnant women drank,

:14:13.:14:15.

revealing his own adopted children were both affected by

:14:16.:14:17.

a condition called foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

:14:18.:14:19.

The debate was opened by the chair of the all-party

:14:20.:14:21.

There are currently over 10 million people drinking at levels

:14:22.:14:26.

which increase their risk of health harm.

:14:27.:14:29.

Among those aged 15-49 in England, alcohol is now the leading risk

:14:30.:14:33.

factor for ill-health, early mortality and disability.

:14:34.:14:44.

In England, the average age of death of those dying

:14:45.:14:48.

More working years of life are lost in England as a result

:14:49.:14:55.

of alcohol-related deaths than from cancers of ?

:14:56.:14:57.

and there are many of these ? the lung, bronchus,

:14:58.:14:59.

trachea, colon, rectum, brain, pancreas, skin,

:15:00.:15:01.

ovary, kidney, stomach, bladder and prostate combined.

:15:02.:15:06.

But she argued the Government had done little since the last

:15:07.:15:08.

In the foreword to the 2012 strategy, the then Prime Minister

:15:09.:15:14.

We're going to set a minimum unit price.

:15:15.:15:20.

But five years on, this has still not been done.

:15:21.:15:25.

Two MPs turned to the impact of drinking during pregnancy -

:15:26.:15:28.

foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD.

:15:29.:15:36.

FASD causes learning disabilities, Balliol problems.

:15:37.:15:43.

FASD also causes learning difficulties, behavioural problems,

:15:44.:15:44.

and a high proportion of people convicted of crimes in our prisons

:15:45.:15:47.

Research by the Medical Research Council has concluded that even

:15:48.:15:51.

moderate cringing in pregnancy has an impact on IQ and

:15:52.:15:53.

If we all knew that 35,000 children were born every year in this country

:15:54.:15:58.

with brain damage that could be prevented completely,

:15:59.:16:00.

we would of course do everything in our power to prevent it.

:16:01.:16:09.

And yet, worrying evidence is emerging that that may be

:16:10.:16:13.

what is happening in this country every year and the figures

:16:14.:16:15.

As an adoptive parent, I discovered just how common this

:16:16.:16:22.

Including amongst my own two children.

:16:23.:16:32.

I don't know if he can recall, when we were receiving evidence

:16:33.:16:40.

in our all-party group about the impact of foetal

:16:41.:16:44.

alcohol syndrome on adopted and fostered children,

:16:45.:16:51.

but one survey done indicated that of the cohort of adopted and foster

:16:52.:16:55.

children who were assessed, up to 70% of them were

:16:56.:17:00.

There is now a suggestion that many, many children put up for adoption

:17:01.:17:08.

And we heard a description from one adoptive parent that adoption is now

:17:09.:17:16.

a family finding service for children with foetal

:17:17.:17:18.

An SNP MP moved on to the scale of the problem in Scotland.

:17:19.:17:30.

I have a very personal stake in this debate.

:17:31.:17:33.

By all accounts, my own father, of whom I have no memory,

:17:34.:17:36.

But that was not readily talked about in 1960s working-class

:17:37.:17:41.

I did not witness his heavy drinking because he died

:17:42.:17:46.

Not least because of his heavy drinking.

:17:47.:17:52.

My own husband's father was an alcoholic as well, and that

:17:53.:17:56.

In Glasgow, where both my husband and I grew up, this was not unusual.

:17:57.:18:02.

And even today, it is still more common than you would think.

:18:03.:18:13.

The Scottish Government has lowered the drink-driving unit and is trying

:18:14.:18:16.

to bring in a minimum price. What else could kill 22 people

:18:17.:18:24.

in Scotland each week, cause 600 the hospital admissions

:18:25.:18:26.

each week, cost ?3.6 billion each A Labour MP and former minister had

:18:27.:18:29.

spoken previously about growing up For much of my life,

:18:30.:18:33.

I have grown up with that gnawing insecurity that is all too common

:18:34.:18:40.

for many children of alcoholics. That constant feeling of guilt,

:18:41.:18:43.

constantly asking yourself whether you're doing enough,

:18:44.:18:46.

why is it that you can't do more to stop your mum

:18:47.:18:49.

or dad from drinking? I know what it is like to feel that

:18:50.:18:53.

cold nausea when you find the empty I know what it is like to feel sick

:18:54.:18:57.

when you hear your parent being sick first thing in the morning

:18:58.:19:09.

because they have drunk too much. He said the children of alcoholics

:19:10.:19:14.

often fell through the gaps in provision.

:19:15.:19:15.

The Shadow Health Minister said his alcoholic father had moved

:19:16.:19:19.

to Thailand and not come home for his wedding.

:19:20.:19:25.

His friends that he had made over there told me

:19:26.:19:31.

he was drinking a bottle of whisky a day, over there.

:19:32.:19:33.

They told me he could not come to the wedding because he did not

:19:34.:19:37.

Because we were from a working class family in Salford.

:19:38.:19:40.

You know, I had gone to university, I had become a politician.

:19:41.:19:43.

"Posh people" would be at the wedding.

:19:44.:19:45.

He felt he would embarrass me by being there.

:19:46.:19:47.

And that was... I will always regret that.

:19:48.:19:51.

So, look, I am the Shadow Health Secretary, I am going to do

:19:52.:19:54.

lots of criticising the Tories because that is my job.

:19:55.:19:58.

But can I say to the minister, I will work with Government to put

:19:59.:20:01.

in place a proper strategy for supporting children of

:20:02.:20:03.

Because, quite simply, 2 million children are suffering,

:20:04.:20:13.

let's send them a message that they should no

:20:14.:20:16.

The minister said there were grounds for optimism.

:20:17.:20:24.

People under 18 are drinking less. Attitudes are changing. There has

:20:25.:20:30.

been a steady reduction in alcohol-related road traffic

:20:31.:20:32.

accidents. We are seeing real progress in Government working in

:20:33.:20:36.

partnership with industry. Industry removed 1.3 billion units of alcohol

:20:37.:20:40.

from the market through improving consumer choice of law alcohol

:20:41.:20:43.

products, annually 80% of bottles and cans now his plate unit content

:20:44.:20:49.

and pregnancy warnings on labels. As to minimum pricing... We are

:20:50.:20:54.

considering minimal unit pricing in England and will. But we are waiting

:20:55.:20:59.

for the outcome of the court case in Scotland because until we are the

:21:00.:21:06.

result of the Supreme Court decision, which is still unknown,

:21:07.:21:09.

and we are supporting the process of that case, we cannot proceed with

:21:10.:21:15.

any policy decision in the UK. She had an emotional moment at the end

:21:16.:21:16.

of speech. I do take courage from today's

:21:17.:21:23.

debate, because great social change requires three things,

:21:24.:21:25.

I think. It requires long-term

:21:26.:21:27.

political will, it requires nonpartisan partnership,

:21:28.:21:28.

and it requires bravery. And I have heard all

:21:29.:21:30.

three of those today. And I hope that each member who has

:21:31.:21:43.

spoken here today will continue to work with me as we fight

:21:44.:21:48.

on to tackle this social injustice. The Health Minister, Nicola

:21:49.:21:51.

Blackwood. The Government's being urged to do

:21:52.:22:02.

more to secure the release of a British-Iranian woman

:22:03.:22:04.

being held in Iran. A court there has rejected an appeal

:22:05.:22:06.

against a five-year prison sentence given to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe,

:22:07.:22:12.

who has dual British The charity worker has been accused

:22:13.:22:14.

of security offences and was detained while trying

:22:15.:22:19.

to leave the country with her baby daughter

:22:20.:22:21.

after visiting relatives in April. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe,

:22:22.:22:26.

who is from London, said his wife's detention was a "stain" on Iran

:22:27.:22:29.

and her family denies Mr Ratcliffe was in the Lords

:22:30.:22:33.

gallery as the Foreign Office minister explained

:22:34.:22:38.

what the Government Officials are in regular contact

:22:39.:22:47.

with her family and we continue to do everything we can for the family.

:22:48.:22:55.

I thank the noble lady. Unlike Mr Trump, we seek improved relations

:22:56.:23:00.

with Iran. Here we have a mother, British Iranian citizen imprisoned

:23:01.:23:03.

after visiting her family there with her daughter. And her daughter is

:23:04.:23:07.

solely a British citizen. Surely the time has come for the UK to call for

:23:08.:23:13.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release before she, her little daughter and

:23:14.:23:16.

her husband, yet today with his own mother, suffer any more. The

:23:17.:23:25.

suffering of the family can barely be imagined. And regardless of some

:23:26.:23:31.

of the extraordinary claims made on the internet, we should remember

:23:32.:23:35.

this is a loving father who simply wants his family to be reunited. I

:23:36.:23:42.

wholly respect that. That is why, my Lords, we are urgently seeking

:23:43.:23:45.

information on what further legal actions are available to Nazanin

:23:46.:23:51.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe. We will continue to offer support to the family both

:23:52.:24:05.

here in London and Iran. I am a Government trade envoy to Iran. Is

:24:06.:24:14.

she aware they have raised this issue with the Iranian government

:24:15.:24:16.

and they associate wholly with the question asked? Has the Minister

:24:17.:24:21.

noticed the statement by the president of Iran, the moderate

:24:22.:24:29.

president there who has said that if Iran is to attract more investment

:24:30.:24:32.

and commercial engagement with the wider world, it needs to make people

:24:33.:24:36.

who visit Iran both welcome and safe?

:24:37.:24:40.

Does the noble Baroness understand the disappointment felt by those who

:24:41.:24:46.

supported the nuclear agreement and have welcomed the improving

:24:47.:24:49.

relations between Iran and the United Kingdom? Would it not be

:24:50.:24:54.

unfortunate, to say the least, if the fact this matter is not resolved

:24:55.:25:01.

should sully or undermine that improving relationship. The child, I

:25:02.:25:07.

understand, is entirely British. What is the Government doing about a

:25:08.:25:14.

British subject being held in Iran? We have made it clear, here in this

:25:15.:25:22.

dispatch box and colleagues in other places, we are ready to facilitate

:25:23.:25:25.

the return of Gabriela to this country. She is solely a British

:25:26.:25:28.

citizen and we stand ready to assist in the family ask us to do so.

:25:29.:25:33.

And that's it from me for now, but do join me on Friday night at 11

:25:34.:25:37.

for a round-up of a busy week here at Westminster that's been

:25:38.:25:40.

dominated by Brexit and the UK's relationships with the US.

:25:41.:25:42.

But for now, from me, Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.

:25:43.:25:50.