Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 23 March, presented by Alicia McCarthy.
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Hello, and welcome to Thursday in Parliament, as MPs and peers
declare their defiance after Wednesday's terror attack.
Let this be the message from this House, and this nation today,
The Archbishop of Canterbury praises those who stepped in to help.
There is a victory for what is right and good, over what is evil,
Members of the Scottish Parliament also joined together to send
And as Westminster returns to work, MPs debate how
One study found that children in low income households hear up
to 30 million fewer words by the age of three.
But first, Parliament gathered fewer than 24 hours after the terror
attack that left a police officer and two pedestrians dead,
and ended with the attacker being shot and killed
At around 2:40pm on Wednesday the man drove a car at high speed
across Westminster Bridge before trying to enter Parliament.
He was shot dead by a protection officer, after he stabbed
More than 40 people from 12 different countries
Anti-terror police arrested eight people in overnight raids,
but believe the attacker was acting alone.
MPs and staff had been locked down inside Parliament's
boundaries for several hours, eventually being released
When they reassembled on Thursday morning,
they began with their day with a minute's silence, to remember
Colleagues, in respectful memory of those who lost their lives
in yesterday's attack, and of all of the casualties of that
attack, we shall now observer a minute's silence.
A little later, the Commons Speaker John Bercow offered condolences
He said, in time Parliament would look to see a security lessons
needed to be learned, but he added...
Let the security personnel who protect us, police,
security officers, and door keepers, be in no doubt whatsoever
as to our profound appreciation of the way in which they discharged
That means that this morning, the House has been able
Mr Speaker, yesterday an act of terrorism tried
As generations have done before us, and as future generations
A terrorist came to the place where people of all nationalities
and cultures gather to celebrate what it means to be free.
And he took out his rage indiscriminately against innocent
Mr Speaker, this was an attack on free people everywhere.
And on behalf of the British people, I would like to thank our friends
and allies around the world, who have made it clear that they
She said the victims had included three police officers and people
from countries around the world, including France, Germany
She paid tribute to PC Keith Palmer, who died protecting Parliament.
PC Palmer has devoted his life to the service of his country.
He had been a member of the Parliamentary and diplomatic
And a soldier in the Royal Artillery before that.
He was every inch a hero, and his actions will never be forgotten.
She turned to the British-born attacker, later named
Some years ago, he was once investigated by MI5,
in relation to concerns about violent extremism.
He was not part of the current intelligence picture.
There was no prior intelligence of his intent, or of the plot.
Theresa May said the threat from Islamist terrorism was real,
but the public should not be cowed by that threat.
And she paid tribute to Bournemouth East MP
Tobias Ellwood, who tried to say PC Keith Palmer.
Mr Speaker, yesterday we saw the worst of humanity,
We will remember the extraordinary efforts to save the life of PC
Keith Palmer, including those by my right honourable friend,
And we will remember the exceptional bravery of our police,
And she said the greatest response lay not in the words of politicians,
but in the everyday actions of ordinary people.
The offices full, the coffee shops and cafes bustling.
As I speak, millions will be boarding trains and aeroplanes
to travel to London and to see for themselves the
It is in these actions, millions of acts of normality,
that we find the best response to terrorism.
A response that denies our enemies their victory,
A response driven by that same spirit that drove a husband
and father to put himself between us and our attacker, and to pay
A response that says to the men and women
who propagate this hate and evil, you will not defeat us.
Mr Speaker, let this be the message from this House,
and this nation today, our values will prevail.
And I commend this statement to the House.
I express my condolences to the family and friends
of Police Officer Keith Palmer, who gave his life yesterday
in defence of the public, and of our democracy.
The police and security staff lost a colleague yesterday, and continued
to fulfil their duties, despite their shock and their grief
for their fallen colleague, which many expressed to me late last
We see the police and security every day, they're our colleagues,
they're fellow workers they're friends, they're neighbours,
and as the Prime Minister said, when dangerous and violent incidents
take place, we all instinctively run away from them for our own safety.
The police and emergency services run towards them.
We are grateful for the public service yesterday, today,
and every day that they pull on their uniforms to protect us all.
No terrorist outrage is representative of any faith,
or of any faith community, and we recommit ourselves
to strengthening the bonds of tolerance and understanding.
And finally, is it not best to follow the advice of Brendan Cox,
the husband of our murdered MP colleague Jo Cox, who has said,
"In the days to come, I hope we will remember the love
and bravery of the victims, not just the hatred
Those who attack us hate our freedom, our peaceful democracy,
our love of country, our tolerance, our
As we work to unravel how this unspeakable attack happened,
will he agree with me that we must not, either in our laws or by our
actions, curtail these values - indeed we should have more of them.
It has failed because we are here, and we are going to go
It's failed because despite the trauma they witnessed
outside their windows, our staff are here,
and they are getting on with their work.
It failed because, as the Prime Minister so rightly said,
we are not going to allow this to be used as a pretext for division,
This was a horrific crime, but as an act
We have learned in Northern Ireland that the way to overcome terrorism
is by working together, politically and in every other way,
to ensure that our democratic values, the rule of law,
human rights are all upheld in every way they can.
We must rededicate ourselves to that in the future.
This attacker and people like him are not of my religion.
And we should condemn all of them who pretend to be
of particular religion, because they're not of religion.
If they were of religion, they wouldn't be carrying
We have to stay united and show them they can't win on these grounds,
A Conservative MP remembered his friend, PC Palmer.
I would like to turn for just a moment to PC Keith Palmer,
who I first met 25 years ago as Gunner Keith Palmer,
at Headquarters Battery 100 Regiment, Royal Artillery.
He was a strong, professional public servant.
And it was a delight to meet him here again, only a few months
Would my right honourable friend the Prime Minister,
in recognition of the work that he did, and the other police
officers and public servants here in the House do,
consider recognising his gallantry and sacrifice formally,
Theresa May said it was something that would be
While the Prime Minister was still speaking in the Commons,
the House of Lords held a minute's silence before the leader
of the Lords, Lady Evans, led the tributes to those who died
Her voice cracking with emotion, she said the horror of the attack
would be felt not just in this country but across the globe.
Yesterday was a shocking day, for everyone who works
But what shone through has been the support and care that members
And I would like to thank all noble Lords for their patience
My Lords, all of us join together to extend our heartfelt sympathy
to those who have tragically lost their lives, those
who have been injured, and to their families.
The thoughts of the whole country will be with them.
Last night, as we returned home, we were very grateful,
not just because of the shocking tragic events of the day, but simply
because we could return home, and others would never do so.
As the noble Lady said, those injured and killed
on Westminster Bridge were both visitors and locals
They were just going about their every day business
For many, those survivors, life will never be the same.
Our thoughts from these benches and prayers are also
with the families of those who lost their lives yesterday.
And our profound sympathies are also with those innocent victims,
members of the public, who were on Westminster Bridge,
and who were also subject to this senseless attack.
My Lords, I would, of course like to pay tribute to PC
Keith Palmer, who lost his life yesterday, an extremely brave man.
And to all the police and security staff, who do so much every day,
to protect all who come to Parliament, to
We stand together against those who want to diminish our
We are an open, tolerant country, and we will never let those
We on these benches join with everyone else in this House
in expressing our deepest sympathy to the family of PC Keith Palmer,
so tragically taken from us as he sought to deter the attacker.
We remember too, the friends and families, the families
and friends of the members of the public who were killed,
Including the students from France, whose visit to our city
The Archbishop of Canterbury highlighted how the attacker had
received treatment from the very people he had been seeking to kill.
Where we do what is right, where we behave properly,
where that generosity and extraordinary sense of duty that
leads people to treat a terrorist is shown,
where that bravery of someone like PC Keith Palmer is demonstrated,
that there is a victory for what is right and good, over
That is shown not just in our expression of values,
but in our practises which define those values.
And that is the mood we must show in the future.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby.
You're watching Thursday in Parliament
At the start of the day and after the one-minute silence,
MPs returned to work and questions and on international trade.
The Secretary of State, Dr Liam Fox, was asked about
the World Trade Organisation's trade facilitation agreement.
This was agreed in Bali and came into force last month.
It is intended to cut red tape and speed up imports and
This is a very significant event. Once fully implemented the agreement
could add ?70 billion to the global economy and of this we expect the
benefit to the UK of up to ?1 billion. We don't want to fall back
on WTO rules but if we did what would happen to airlines, digital
data flows and trading services if we had to do that? There is a
difference between some of the agreements mentioned which are
bilateral agreements and WTO tariffs which largely apply to goods. What
we hope that we'll get a full and comprehensive agreement with our
European Union partners across all of these sectors he mentions so that
we will see no interruption to business as we have it today. For
well over a century the UK has never had security of supply and has
relied on imports. What, then, will WTO tariffs of up to 40% do for
hard-working families already squeezed by Tory government
policies? The honourable gentleman, perhaps unintentionally, raises an
important point which is that where we have genuinely free trade, that
benefits consumers, and where we can have, in open global trading
environment it is likely to make the incomes of those particularly on low
incomes go further and we should welcome an open trading environment
which I hope the party opposite does. Now that the Secretary of
State has revealed to the Sun newspaper 's plans for a trade bill
in the Queen's speech will he do Parliament called issy are
publishing a trade white paper that sets out clearly what markets he
wishes to liberalise, what measures he will take in future trade
agreements to protect and enhance International Labour Organisation
principles, sustainable development, human rights, environmental
protection, intellectual property rights, food standards and future
options on state owned enterprises and ability to nationalise
particular enterprises. If he develops a full and consultative
international trade policy, and dialogue that are backed by a clear
and strategic plan. Should the government intend to introduce
legislation on this issue in the Queen's speech then clearly, we
would want to have a consultative process so that stakeholders would
be able to make their views known. It is important that we do that in a
very collegiate way. A former Education Secretary has
told MPs that some British parents are more interested in taking
their children to Disneyland Nicky Morgan was speaking
in a debate on social mobility opened by
Labour's Lucy Powell. In today's
context, social mobility is about everyone being able
to make economic progress. Unconfined by the disadvantages
they begin with. With Brexit, automation,
digitalisation, and huge changes to work,
this is going to get harder She said the gap between rich
and poor children By the age of five,
children from disadvantaged backgrounds are already
far behind their peers. With the developmental gap as much
as 15 months between those from advantaged
and disadvantaged backgrounds. One study found that
children in low-income households hear up to 30 million
fewer words by the age of three. Than those in their
better-off peers. A former Education Secretary
pointed to the different It always struck me
when I was Secretary of State. That, around the world,
there are young people and their families
fighting for education this country, parents who are
fighting to take their kids to That just tells me that, actually,
parents aren't giving education the importance in
everybody's lives that it should be. And she was critical
of the government's plan to allow for the expansion
of grammar schools. We don't live in a world
where we only need the top 20% or 30%
to be highly skilled. We need everyone to have access
to a knowledge- rich, And a renewed battle
over selection does distract from what is
needed in our education system to deal with
demands of the 21st-century labour market to give everyone a chance
to close social divisions, and to build a consistently
A former Deputy Prime Minister also condemned
He quoted an article in the Times Education
In no other sector would this be acceptable.
If the Minister for health proposed to increase state
funding for homoeopathy on the basis that it did wonders for his uncle's
irritable bowel, back in the 1970s, and must therefore be right
for everyone today, there would be an uproar.
This is a precise metaphor for the expansion
of grammar schools. It is educational homoeopathy.
The minister said the government wanted to harness all expertise.
Whether it is universities, independent schools, whether it is
faith schools, whether it is outstanding comprehensive schools,
or whether it is selective schools, to make sure that we have
more good school places. That is what we are seeking to do.
And there are still problems we have to address.
According to the Sutton Trust, just 53% of high ability children
eligible for the Pupil Premium take triple science GCSEs.
Versus 69% of non-free school meal children.
And 20% of high ability free school meal children
are at schools where triple science isn't even offered.
Those are the issues that we are trying to
address, and we are leaving no stone unturned.
Now, let's return to the terror attacks
The Scottish Parliament had been halfway through a debate
on a motion that, if approved, would have given First Minister
Nicola Sturgeon the authority to begin negotiations
As the scale of the attack at Westminster became clear,
MSPs decided to suspend their debates.
In a show of solidarity, MSPs also held a minutes silence at 9:33am,
And they used their weekly round of First Minister's Questions
to join in tributes to those killed and injured,
We know that, at times like these, it can be all too easy to look
It is important, therefore, that we are very clear about this.
Acts of terrorism are not the responsibility of any one faith
The only people to blame for acts of terrorism are the individuals
Let me end by echoing and endorsing the words of the Prime Minister.
Terrorists seek to undermine our values and destroy our way of life.
Yesterday, a coward killed three innocent people and injured many
more, in an attempt to attack the symbol
His attack on our values failed, as he died while the paramedics
demonstrated what a civil society is by trying to save him.
And his attack on our freedom will fail again today as we show
as we show our resolve by returning to work and getting
We know from the Prime Minister's statement just one hour ago
that those injured yesterday were British, French, Romanian,
South Korean, Greek, German, Polish and Irish.
London is an open and multicultural city, home to people of all faiths
and from many different and diverse nations.
A city that last year elected Europe's first Muslim mayor.
So no matter the religion, nationality or identity
of the attacker or those arrested earlier this morning,
this cannot and must not turn into a war on any one community.
The lasting injury that some people wish to inflict upon us
all is to destroy the empathy and solidarity which our society
depends upon, so we must all be united in expressing and building
that empathy and solidarity, in particular, challenging those
who would seek to blame, stigmatise and alienate people
For four years I would walk over Kennington Road
I would look up to Big Ben and then down the Thames.
Dodging past the tourists taking pictures of this iconic scene,
I would descend the steps and into the Palace of Westminster.
Nodding at the police officer, who would nod in return.
I don't think I would be able to walk that route again
without thinking of the people run over, the woman in the river,
The three people who died, perhaps some while tourists
The officer who stood to defend democracy,
But I do want to be free to walk that route again.
Getting the balance right between security and freedom
Does the First Minister agree with me that we must act,
based on security, expertise, evidence and intelligence,
Nicola Sturgeon said she agreed very strongly
And that's it from me, but do join me on Friday night at 11pm for
a round-up of an extraordinary week here at Westminster.
For now, from me, Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.