23/03/2017 Thursday in Parliament


23/03/2017

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 23 March, presented by Alicia McCarthy.


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Transcript


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Hello, and welcome to Thursday in Parliament, as MPs and peers

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declare their defiance after Wednesday's terror attack.

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Let this be the message from this House, and this nation today,

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The Archbishop of Canterbury praises those who stepped in to help.

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There is a victory for what is right and good, over what is evil,

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Members of the Scottish Parliament also joined together to send

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And as Westminster returns to work, MPs debate how

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One study found that children in low income households hear up

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to 30 million fewer words by the age of three.

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But first, Parliament gathered fewer than 24 hours after the terror

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attack that left a police officer and two pedestrians dead,

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and ended with the attacker being shot and killed

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At around 2:40pm on Wednesday the man drove a car at high speed

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across Westminster Bridge before trying to enter Parliament.

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He was shot dead by a protection officer, after he stabbed

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More than 40 people from 12 different countries

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Anti-terror police arrested eight people in overnight raids,

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but believe the attacker was acting alone.

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MPs and staff had been locked down inside Parliament's

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boundaries for several hours, eventually being released

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When they reassembled on Thursday morning,

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they began with their day with a minute's silence, to remember

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Colleagues, in respectful memory of those who lost their lives

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in yesterday's attack, and of all of the casualties of that

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attack, we shall now observer a minute's silence.

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A little later, the Commons Speaker John Bercow offered condolences

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He said, in time Parliament would look to see a security lessons

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needed to be learned, but he added...

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Let the security personnel who protect us, police,

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security officers, and door keepers, be in no doubt whatsoever

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as to our profound appreciation of the way in which they discharged

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That means that this morning, the House has been able

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Mr Speaker, yesterday an act of terrorism tried

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As generations have done before us, and as future generations

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A terrorist came to the place where people of all nationalities

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and cultures gather to celebrate what it means to be free.

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And he took out his rage indiscriminately against innocent

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Mr Speaker, this was an attack on free people everywhere.

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And on behalf of the British people, I would like to thank our friends

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and allies around the world, who have made it clear that they

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She said the victims had included three police officers and people

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from countries around the world, including France, Germany

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She paid tribute to PC Keith Palmer, who died protecting Parliament.

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PC Palmer has devoted his life to the service of his country.

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He had been a member of the Parliamentary and diplomatic

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And a soldier in the Royal Artillery before that.

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He was every inch a hero, and his actions will never be forgotten.

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She turned to the British-born attacker, later named

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Some years ago, he was once investigated by MI5,

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in relation to concerns about violent extremism.

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He was not part of the current intelligence picture.

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There was no prior intelligence of his intent, or of the plot.

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Theresa May said the threat from Islamist terrorism was real,

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but the public should not be cowed by that threat.

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And she paid tribute to Bournemouth East MP

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Tobias Ellwood, who tried to say PC Keith Palmer.

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Mr Speaker, yesterday we saw the worst of humanity,

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We will remember the extraordinary efforts to save the life of PC

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Keith Palmer, including those by my right honourable friend,

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And we will remember the exceptional bravery of our police,

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And she said the greatest response lay not in the words of politicians,

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but in the everyday actions of ordinary people.

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The offices full, the coffee shops and cafes bustling.

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As I speak, millions will be boarding trains and aeroplanes

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to travel to London and to see for themselves the

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It is in these actions, millions of acts of normality,

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that we find the best response to terrorism.

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A response that denies our enemies their victory,

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A response driven by that same spirit that drove a husband

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and father to put himself between us and our attacker, and to pay

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A response that says to the men and women

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who propagate this hate and evil, you will not defeat us.

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Mr Speaker, let this be the message from this House,

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and this nation today, our values will prevail.

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And I commend this statement to the House.

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I express my condolences to the family and friends

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of Police Officer Keith Palmer, who gave his life yesterday

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in defence of the public, and of our democracy.

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The police and security staff lost a colleague yesterday, and continued

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to fulfil their duties, despite their shock and their grief

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for their fallen colleague, which many expressed to me late last

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We see the police and security every day, they're our colleagues,

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they're fellow workers they're friends, they're neighbours,

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and as the Prime Minister said, when dangerous and violent incidents

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take place, we all instinctively run away from them for our own safety.

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The police and emergency services run towards them.

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We are grateful for the public service yesterday, today,

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and every day that they pull on their uniforms to protect us all.

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No terrorist outrage is representative of any faith,

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or of any faith community, and we recommit ourselves

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to strengthening the bonds of tolerance and understanding.

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And finally, is it not best to follow the advice of Brendan Cox,

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the husband of our murdered MP colleague Jo Cox, who has said,

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"In the days to come, I hope we will remember the love

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and bravery of the victims, not just the hatred

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Those who attack us hate our freedom, our peaceful democracy,

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our love of country, our tolerance, our

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As we work to unravel how this unspeakable attack happened,

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will he agree with me that we must not, either in our laws or by our

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actions, curtail these values - indeed we should have more of them.

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It has failed because we are here, and we are going to go

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It's failed because despite the trauma they witnessed

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outside their windows, our staff are here,

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and they are getting on with their work.

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It failed because, as the Prime Minister so rightly said,

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we are not going to allow this to be used as a pretext for division,

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This was a horrific crime, but as an act

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We have learned in Northern Ireland that the way to overcome terrorism

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is by working together, politically and in every other way,

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to ensure that our democratic values, the rule of law,

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human rights are all upheld in every way they can.

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We must rededicate ourselves to that in the future.

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This attacker and people like him are not of my religion.

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And we should condemn all of them who pretend to be

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of particular religion, because they're not of religion.

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If they were of religion, they wouldn't be carrying

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We have to stay united and show them they can't win on these grounds,

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A Conservative MP remembered his friend, PC Palmer.

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I would like to turn for just a moment to PC Keith Palmer,

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who I first met 25 years ago as Gunner Keith Palmer,

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at Headquarters Battery 100 Regiment, Royal Artillery.

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He was a strong, professional public servant.

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And it was a delight to meet him here again, only a few months

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Would my right honourable friend the Prime Minister,

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in recognition of the work that he did, and the other police

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officers and public servants here in the House do,

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consider recognising his gallantry and sacrifice formally,

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Theresa May said it was something that would be

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While the Prime Minister was still speaking in the Commons,

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the House of Lords held a minute's silence before the leader

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of the Lords, Lady Evans, led the tributes to those who died

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Her voice cracking with emotion, she said the horror of the attack

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would be felt not just in this country but across the globe.

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Yesterday was a shocking day, for everyone who works

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But what shone through has been the support and care that members

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And I would like to thank all noble Lords for their patience

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My Lords, all of us join together to extend our heartfelt sympathy

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to those who have tragically lost their lives, those

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who have been injured, and to their families.

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The thoughts of the whole country will be with them.

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Last night, as we returned home, we were very grateful,

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not just because of the shocking tragic events of the day, but simply

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because we could return home, and others would never do so.

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As the noble Lady said, those injured and killed

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on Westminster Bridge were both visitors and locals

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They were just going about their every day business

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For many, those survivors, life will never be the same.

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Our thoughts from these benches and prayers are also

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with the families of those who lost their lives yesterday.

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And our profound sympathies are also with those innocent victims,

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members of the public, who were on Westminster Bridge,

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and who were also subject to this senseless attack.

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My Lords, I would, of course like to pay tribute to PC

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Keith Palmer, who lost his life yesterday, an extremely brave man.

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And to all the police and security staff, who do so much every day,

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to protect all who come to Parliament, to

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We stand together against those who want to diminish our

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We are an open, tolerant country, and we will never let those

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We on these benches join with everyone else in this House

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in expressing our deepest sympathy to the family of PC Keith Palmer,

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so tragically taken from us as he sought to deter the attacker.

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We remember too, the friends and families, the families

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and friends of the members of the public who were killed,

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Including the students from France, whose visit to our city

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The Archbishop of Canterbury highlighted how the attacker had

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received treatment from the very people he had been seeking to kill.

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Where we do what is right, where we behave properly,

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where that generosity and extraordinary sense of duty that

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leads people to treat a terrorist is shown,

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where that bravery of someone like PC Keith Palmer is demonstrated,

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that there is a victory for what is right and good, over

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That is shown not just in our expression of values,

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but in our practises which define those values.

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And that is the mood we must show in the future.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby.

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You're watching Thursday in Parliament

:15:20.:15:20.

At the start of the day and after the one-minute silence,

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MPs returned to work and questions and on international trade.

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The Secretary of State, Dr Liam Fox, was asked about

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the World Trade Organisation's trade facilitation agreement.

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This was agreed in Bali and came into force last month.

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It is intended to cut red tape and speed up imports and

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This is a very significant event. Once fully implemented the agreement

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could add ?70 billion to the global economy and of this we expect the

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benefit to the UK of up to ?1 billion. We don't want to fall back

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on WTO rules but if we did what would happen to airlines, digital

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data flows and trading services if we had to do that? There is a

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difference between some of the agreements mentioned which are

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bilateral agreements and WTO tariffs which largely apply to goods. What

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we hope that we'll get a full and comprehensive agreement with our

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European Union partners across all of these sectors he mentions so that

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we will see no interruption to business as we have it today. For

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well over a century the UK has never had security of supply and has

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relied on imports. What, then, will WTO tariffs of up to 40% do for

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hard-working families already squeezed by Tory government

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policies? The honourable gentleman, perhaps unintentionally, raises an

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important point which is that where we have genuinely free trade, that

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benefits consumers, and where we can have, in open global trading

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environment it is likely to make the incomes of those particularly on low

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incomes go further and we should welcome an open trading environment

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which I hope the party opposite does. Now that the Secretary of

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State has revealed to the Sun newspaper 's plans for a trade bill

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in the Queen's speech will he do Parliament called issy are

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publishing a trade white paper that sets out clearly what markets he

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wishes to liberalise, what measures he will take in future trade

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agreements to protect and enhance International Labour Organisation

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principles, sustainable development, human rights, environmental

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protection, intellectual property rights, food standards and future

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options on state owned enterprises and ability to nationalise

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particular enterprises. If he develops a full and consultative

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international trade policy, and dialogue that are backed by a clear

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and strategic plan. Should the government intend to introduce

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legislation on this issue in the Queen's speech then clearly, we

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would want to have a consultative process so that stakeholders would

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be able to make their views known. It is important that we do that in a

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very collegiate way. A former Education Secretary has

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told MPs that some British parents are more interested in taking

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their children to Disneyland Nicky Morgan was speaking

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in a debate on social mobility opened by

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Labour's Lucy Powell. In today's

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context, social mobility is about everyone being able

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to make economic progress. Unconfined by the disadvantages

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they begin with. With Brexit, automation,

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digitalisation, and huge changes to work,

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this is going to get harder She said the gap between rich

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and poor children By the age of five,

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children from disadvantaged backgrounds are already

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far behind their peers. With the developmental gap as much

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as 15 months between those from advantaged

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and disadvantaged backgrounds. One study found that

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children in low-income households hear up to 30 million

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fewer words by the age of three. Than those in their

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better-off peers. A former Education Secretary

:19:20.:19:20.

pointed to the different It always struck me

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when I was Secretary of State. That, around the world,

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there are young people and their families

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fighting for education this country, parents who are

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fighting to take their kids to That just tells me that, actually,

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parents aren't giving education the importance in

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everybody's lives that it should be. And she was critical

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of the government's plan to allow for the expansion

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of grammar schools. We don't live in a world

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where we only need the top 20% or 30%

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to be highly skilled. We need everyone to have access

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to a knowledge- rich, And a renewed battle

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over selection does distract from what is

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needed in our education system to deal with

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demands of the 21st-century labour market to give everyone a chance

:20:10.:20:13.

to close social divisions, and to build a consistently

:20:14.:20:15.

A former Deputy Prime Minister also condemned

:20:16.:20:18.

He quoted an article in the Times Education

:20:19.:20:25.

In no other sector would this be acceptable.

:20:26.:20:28.

If the Minister for health proposed to increase state

:20:29.:20:31.

funding for homoeopathy on the basis that it did wonders for his uncle's

:20:32.:20:36.

irritable bowel, back in the 1970s, and must therefore be right

:20:37.:20:38.

for everyone today, there would be an uproar.

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This is a precise metaphor for the expansion

:20:43.:20:44.

of grammar schools. It is educational homoeopathy.

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The minister said the government wanted to harness all expertise.

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Whether it is universities, independent schools, whether it is

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faith schools, whether it is outstanding comprehensive schools,

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or whether it is selective schools, to make sure that we have

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more good school places. That is what we are seeking to do.

:21:06.:21:08.

And there are still problems we have to address.

:21:09.:21:10.

According to the Sutton Trust, just 53% of high ability children

:21:11.:21:13.

eligible for the Pupil Premium take triple science GCSEs.

:21:14.:21:15.

Versus 69% of non-free school meal children.

:21:16.:21:18.

And 20% of high ability free school meal children

:21:19.:21:21.

are at schools where triple science isn't even offered.

:21:22.:21:23.

Those are the issues that we are trying to

:21:24.:21:25.

address, and we are leaving no stone unturned.

:21:26.:21:30.

Now, let's return to the terror attacks

:21:31.:21:32.

The Scottish Parliament had been halfway through a debate

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on a motion that, if approved, would have given First Minister

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Nicola Sturgeon the authority to begin negotiations

:21:42.:21:43.

As the scale of the attack at Westminster became clear,

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MSPs decided to suspend their debates.

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In a show of solidarity, MSPs also held a minutes silence at 9:33am,

:21:52.:22:01.

And they used their weekly round of First Minister's Questions

:22:02.:22:10.

to join in tributes to those killed and injured,

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We know that, at times like these, it can be all too easy to look

:22:13.:22:18.

It is important, therefore, that we are very clear about this.

:22:19.:22:22.

Acts of terrorism are not the responsibility of any one faith

:22:23.:22:25.

The only people to blame for acts of terrorism are the individuals

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Let me end by echoing and endorsing the words of the Prime Minister.

:22:31.:22:40.

Terrorists seek to undermine our values and destroy our way of life.

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Yesterday, a coward killed three innocent people and injured many

:22:44.:22:52.

more, in an attempt to attack the symbol

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His attack on our values failed, as he died while the paramedics

:22:55.:23:01.

demonstrated what a civil society is by trying to save him.

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And his attack on our freedom will fail again today as we show

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as we show our resolve by returning to work and getting

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We know from the Prime Minister's statement just one hour ago

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that those injured yesterday were British, French, Romanian,

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South Korean, Greek, German, Polish and Irish.

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London is an open and multicultural city, home to people of all faiths

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and from many different and diverse nations.

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A city that last year elected Europe's first Muslim mayor.

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So no matter the religion, nationality or identity

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of the attacker or those arrested earlier this morning,

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this cannot and must not turn into a war on any one community.

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The lasting injury that some people wish to inflict upon us

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all is to destroy the empathy and solidarity which our society

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depends upon, so we must all be united in expressing and building

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that empathy and solidarity, in particular, challenging those

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who would seek to blame, stigmatise and alienate people

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For four years I would walk over Kennington Road

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I would look up to Big Ben and then down the Thames.

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Dodging past the tourists taking pictures of this iconic scene,

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I would descend the steps and into the Palace of Westminster.

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Nodding at the police officer, who would nod in return.

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I don't think I would be able to walk that route again

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without thinking of the people run over, the woman in the river,

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The three people who died, perhaps some while tourists

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The officer who stood to defend democracy,

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But I do want to be free to walk that route again.

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Getting the balance right between security and freedom

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Does the First Minister agree with me that we must act,

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based on security, expertise, evidence and intelligence,

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Nicola Sturgeon said she agreed very strongly

:25:24.:25:28.

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

:25:29.:25:37.

a round-up of an extraordinary week here at Westminster.

:25:38.:25:46.

For now, from me, Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.

:25:47.:25:48.

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