27/04/2017 Thursday in Parliament


Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 27 April, presented by Alicia McCarthy.

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Hello and welcome to the programme, on the last day of this Parliament


before the general election and June the 8th. Coming up, condemnation


from Labour on the government's Brexit strategy.


Is not the truth that, far from uniting this country, this Tory


government and its ministers have been dividing it since they took


office? But the Brexit secretary says, out


in the country, there is huge support for Theresa May's approach.


Massive respect for our Prime Minister, and a belief that she will


deliver the best outcome in bracts in negotiations.


The government faces more questions over taking child refugees, and


Parliament comes to a close with the traditional ceremony of pro-rich in.


As the last two pieces of legislation finish their passage


through Parliament. But first, Theresa May called the


election arguing she needed a strong hand in the UK's Brexit


negotiations. EU ministers are due to meet in Luxembourg over the


weekend to hammer out their final negotiating position. On Wednesday,


Theresa May met the European Commission president, Jean-Claude


Juncker, for talks in Downing Street added that crucial summit of the


remaining 27 members. Downing Street said Mrs May reiterated the UK's aim


of building a deep and special partnership after Brexit. In the


Commons, Labour focused on the rights of EU nationals living in the


UK. As the Secretary of State knows,


around 3 million EU nationals are very anxious about their status


when we leave the EU. Labour would unilaterally


guarantee their status from day one. Under this government,


all they could do is apply for consideration


for permanent residency. But as the Brexit committee warned


in March, the current process for consideration of permanent


residency applications The Secretary of State knows


how important it is. Well, the thing I'd say


to the honourable gentleman, and I respect his concern in this


area, let me be clear about that, but the thing I'd say to him is,


the system that's there now is not designed to deal with 3 million


people, and it's been made plain. In fact, if you go


on the Home Office website, you'll see them saying,


don't make an application now, you don't need to,


and when we actually move the primary legislation, it'll be


a matter for the Home Office, but I believe that it will be very


simple when we come to that point. Because as the Financial Times


reported yesterday, the Home Office is now


saying, don't apply. Is that the official government


position for EU nationals, "don't apply for


permanent residency"? Is that how they are going


to deal with the anxiety? What that is about


is the Home Office. It's a reflection of what's


on the website, which is essentially pointing out that they don't need


to apply for their rights to be underpinned, and that's


the approach we're taking. Bear in mind, for the next two


years, irrespective of anything the government does,


all of the existing rights There will be no change


in that respect. Before we come to the point


of accident from the European Union, Before we come to the point of exit


from the European Union, we will have made this very clear


in primary legislation. The Prime Minister called


the general election in the name of building unity


to strengthen her EU But this is the Prime Minister


who sent Go Home vans around parts of urban Britain


with high immigrant populations. This is the Prime Minister who aided


and abetted the most disgraceful campaign against the first Muslim


mayor of our capital city, and this is the government who,


with its hard Brexit allies, seeks to call anyone who calls


into question their negotiating Is not the truth that far


from uniting this country, this Tory government


and its ministers have been dividing If the honourable gentleman


wants an answer to that, I think the first place he should


start is on the streets of Britain, where he will find a massive support


for our Prime Minister, a massive respect for our


Prime Minister, and a belief that she will deliver the best


outcome in the Brexit negotiations. Will he agree with me that we cannot


pretend to be a global player without running an open economy,


with an orderly, and bureaucratic without running an open economy,


with an orderly, unbureaucratic immigration policy,


which will allow our businesses and our public services the people


and skills they need? The balance that any


government strikes when it controls its own immigration policy,


controls its own borders, something which he has


fought for down the years, is one which provides proper


security and proper policy in terms of delivery of social services


and delivering housing, but at the same time,


allows our businesses, our universities, our research


centres, our financial centres, all to take part in the battle


for talent which actually makes our country one


of the greatest in the world. A conservative said if there was no


deal, trading and so-called favoured nation terms would be second best.


It would be relatively small beer. Compared with the 15% improvement


in competitiveness because of the exchange rate,


and saving ?10 billion a year which is equivalent to a 7%


tariff on our exports. Well, Mr Speaker, let me say quite


clearly that the ambition and the intention of the government


is to achieve the best possible free-trade agreement


with our EU partners. However, our position also is this:


We expect to negotiate toughly, and unlike the opposition,


our position will be made clear to the European Union,


that we are prepared to walk away from the negotiating table


if it is not possible to achieve What kind of deal does the Secretary


of State think he is likely to get if he and his government refuses


to pay their dues in Europe? Surely, Mr Speaker, negotiations


are about give and take. It is interesting,


the Scottish National Party David Davies. Meanwhile, in the


Scottish Parliament, the Conservative leader asked what the


SNP's policy was on European union membership, and the Common Fisheries


Policy. Nicola Sturgeon's stated position is


to be a full member of the EU. Their MPs' stated position is to leave the


Common Fisheries Policy. But full membership of the European Union


means full membership of the Common Fisheries Policy. Isn't that the


case, First Minister? Well, Ruth Davidson has clearly not


been paying attention. They SNP has been consistent over many, many


years in our criticisms of the Common Fisheries Policy. And very


clear about our intentions to see it fundamentally reformed. Our 2007


manifesto, continue to work for withdrawal of the CFP. 2011, the


CFP, well past its sell by date. The 2014 white paper on independence,


independence for Scotland would allow us to take a leadership role


in reforming the Common Fisheries Policy. So the reality here is, the


SNP that always stands up for Scottish fishing, and always will


stand up for Scottish fishing. But Ruth Davidson thought the SNP


was facing in several different directions.


The SNP, saying they are in favour of joining the European Union, but


the First Minister not confirming whether the first -- SNP will back


that in their manifesto. They say they are in favour of the Common


Fisheries Policy, except for MPs in fishing constituencies, who are


against it. Then we have the real whopper. In Scotland, Nicola


Sturgeon saying the coming election has nothing to do whatever with


independence, but from the broadcast studios of London, up pops Alex


Salmond to confirm that they will use this to demand a referendum that


the rest of us don't want. So the First Minister thinks it on fishing,


and EU membership and on the election, she conveys both ways and


promise all things to all people. Isn't it the case she is treating


the electorate as pools? What is a mean when the UK


Government say they want a deal that works with EU's fishing communities?


That can only mean that the Tories are preparing to sell-out Scottish


fishermen a grant other European countries access to fishing waters,


and treat that vital Scottish industry as expendable once again.


First Minister has done nothing in the last 20 years to avoid her party


looking shifty in Europe and independence. -- 20 minutes. The


First Minister said on Monday, this election is not about independence.


Yesterday, we see her sitting on a Iestyn Independence branded


motorbike, in the shadow of the Wallace Monument, on the B road to


Bannockburn. Can the First Minister tell me, what is her position today?


Well, my position is as it has always been, so Willie Rennie should


maybe listen carefully, because he seems to be struggling to understand


it. I support Scotland being independent and an independent


member of the European Union. There you go.


A Labour leader turned to a domestic issue.


After ten years SNP government, Scottish education is challenges


like never before. Since the SNP took office, there are 4000 fewer


teachers, 1000 fewer support staff, and class sizes are bigger.


International studies show that Scotland is declining in maths,


reading, and science. John Swinney's response to this was to publish a


mini manifesto, repeating the very promises he has been making every


year since 2007. So can the First Minister tell teachers, parents and


pupils why they should believe the SNP this time around?


Well, education is my top buyer at it. That is why... -- top priority.


Kezia Dugdale does not like to hear this, but this is why right now


across Scotland, head teachers and teachers have in their hands, ?120


million of additional funding. And she said Labour had not a shred


of credibility left and funding services.


Back now to Westminster, where the government admitted there had been


an administrative error in the placing of child refugees, with


local authorities in England, which meant that there were 130 more


places available. The Labour peer who successfully secured the


original commitment to take child migrants from Europe welcomed the


news. 130 children will be taken into this


country under Section 67 of the Immigration Act,


even if the reason is the Home Office having


to hang its head in shame because they made an


administrative error as part My Lords, I want to put


this to the minister. Will the government now


re-consult local authorities, because there are many local


authorities, not just in England, but in Scotland, Wales


and Northern Ireland, who've expressed a willingness


to take more child refugees, and is the minister not aware that


many representations have been made recently about the availability


of local authority places? Well, the administrative error


is most unfortunate, I wouldn't want to


see that happening. The good news is that we have


an additional 130 places, and I think we should all be very


pleased about that. And I think the important thing


here is that no child has been disenfranchised -


any eligible child has 200 children have been taken so far,


so we haven't even got to the 350. So I wouldn't want noble Lords


to think that any child had been disenfranchised


because of this Can the minister give us the figure,


what capacity have local authorities told the government they have


for unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the next financial year,


namely this one, 2017-18, on the basis that the current level


of government funding is continuing? Well, my Lords, as my honourable


friend in the other place outlined in the written ministerial statement


yesterday, the capacity In terms of future commitments,


obviously, we are hours from prorogation, and I cannot make


any future declarations at the dispatch box,


much as I would want to. And those figures will be


forthcoming, should we be successful Reading these debates that we have


from time to time on the issue, they focused almost exclusively on local


authority suggesting that they are the best providers. Is that the case


and if so, what is the arrangement by which other providers can link


into the system in order to increase the numbers available? I'm glad my


noble friend asked the question because one thing the Government


have been very keen to promote is the community sponsorship scheme


which the most Reverend, Archbishop of Canterbury has taken part in an


Lambeth Palace to take Syrian families and in fact indeed in my


own local authority in Trafford we have a community sponsorship scheme


and I never let the time pass without me encouraging noble Lords


who might know any community sponsors who might be willing to


come forward to take families. Staying in the laws, peers rejected


a motion criticising the Government on the abolition of bursary for


students on health care courses such as nurses or midwifery in England.


The allowance was paid to help for living expenses during training,


George Osborne announced plans to scrap them in November 2015 and


replacing them with loans. Ministers argue the change would free up


around ?800 million a year in government spending and could create


up to 10,000 new training places. A Labour peer argued that it meant


student nurses would rack up thousands of pounds of debt. In


essence what the Government are insisting and I think this is the


first time for decades, they are insisting that the nurses pay for


working in the health service. They are paying their ?9,000 a year to


work as unpaid nurses. And I think that is scandalous. Absolutely


scandalous. The point the Government are making is that they are prepared


if nurses pay for their own education and this is perhaps the


point the noble Lord was making, if they paid then they would lift the


cap so the universities could train as many students as they wanted. And


that is something I hope works, I want this system to work, but then


we come to the problem that it is easy enough for the universities to


expand their lectures, to provide their library facilities, but the


difficulty comes when the health service has got to provide the


tutors, the mentors, to provide the practical oversight of the students


when they are working on the wards and in clinical situations. Lady


Watkins is a registered nurse and she said there was more than one


route into nursing including a graduate scheme and a scheme like an


advanced apprenticeship. Rather than re-instigate the bursary where we


know that a lot of people applied to go to university because of the


bursary and we had a very high dropout in year one and I was a Dean


when that was happening so I speak from experience or some who


completed the course but never had any intention of working but wanted


to go into hate chart or perhaps become an air stewardess, neither of


which is a bad thing but they had used the bursary structure to get


their degree as an entry into those programmes rather than an intention


to necessarily spend a lifetime caring. So I think it would be


preferable to invest in three methods leading to registration but


seriously considering giving a bursary for the third year of


training when I would agree with the noble Lord that most students give a


huge amount to the NHS in that third share. What the new system does is


that it actually delivers more cash to cover the living costs for nurses


during their education. It delivers more money per nurse for


universities providing education through the fees and loan system.


And it removes the caps and provides the NHS with trained nurses in


total. I believe this motion is misguided, the extension is a


natural development of reform that has received cross-party support.


This will dramatically improve the participation of disadvantaged


groups and will provide a fair distribution of the cost of funding


for higher education, the true source of regret is the opposition


has used this to run scare stories about both the impact of sensible


funding changes and the impact of leaving the European Union on the


NHS workforce. I urge all members of this house to vote against the


motion. When it came to the voter peers backed the Government by a


majority of 38. You are watching Thursday in Parliament. On the last


day at Westminster ahead of the general election. Now when you think


of the suffragettes who probably think of the women who took part in


direct action to try to win the vote, but a new exhibition in


Parliament reveals the role that men played in the campaign. Suffragettes


on the streets of London, the names of campaigners like Emily Pankhurst


and her daughter have passed into history. Less well-known is the fact


that some of the suffragettes were men. A new exhibition in Parliament


highlights the role some men played campaigning for votes for women,


suffragettes in trousers. This was a phrase coined in 1907 by a Member of


the men's league for women's suffrage and essentially this


exhibition is telling the story of those men, especially the men in


Parliament who supported the long campaign for women's suffrage and in


Britain. Frederick Pedro and Lawrence later an MP and when the


ordeal of force-feeding in jail. He was imprisoned for his supports and


there were attempts to bankrupt him and make him liable for the damage


that some protests had caused. He was vilified, he had all things


Castres masculinity, he was missing is a traitor to the male


establishment. George Lansbury stepped down as an MP to force a


by-election on votes for women. He decided to stand not as a Labour


candidate but as a women's candidate, it was extraordinary at


the time. A great opportunity for the Suffrage Society as they'll


descended on East London and campaigned on his behalf, day and


night to get him re-elected. It doesn't have a happy ending, he was


deleted by a few hundred votes by the Conservative and Unionist


candidates. He ended up in prison in 1913 for his efforts, quickly


released thanks to his former colleagues who campaigned for his


release but, he was one of those MPs who really really put their beliefs


in women's equality. Although individual MPs backed change, it


took until 1917 for Parliament to agree for votes for women in the


following year. That is similar to now, there are controversial causes


which come up in Parliament brought up by private members of both houses


and don't seem to get anywhere which is really frustrating for people who


support the change. Perhaps assisted dying and what happens is that you


do gets you get movements that say something should change but if the


Government of the day is not in favour it is hard to get a


controversial measure through. That was the end of a long campaign both


in and outside Parliament said people should take courage that if


your support gets a majority support it'll happen by or crook. And you


can see more on that exhibition at the vote 100 section of the


parliament .uk website. Now as is always the way when a parliament


comes to a close there are some last-minute bartering between the


Government and the opposition to get a handful of bills into law before


the election. The controversial higher education and research bill


cleared the North of some peers were disappointed that they failed in the


end to use it to exclude overseas students from the immigration


figures in the UK. The Digital economy Bill was passed by the Lords


to, it dealt with broadband services, the BBC and public sector


broadcasters and protection for children from online pornography.


And that last bit of legislation meant there was one job for


Parliament to do. Make sure the bills passed received Royal assent


and bring Parliamentary proceedings formally to a close, the ceremony


known as prorogation. MPs were summoned to the House of Lords by


the parliamentary official Black Rod. The rout.


MPs trooped to the Lords for a ceremony led by a five Lords


Commissioners. They appeared from various parties who have the


ceremonial role of representing the Queen. They were resplendent in red


robes and Black tricorn hats which they were required to Duff at


various points. Lady Evans the Leader of the Lords is one of the


Commissioners. Her Majesty not thinking fit to be personally


present here at this time has been pleased to cause a commission to be


issued under the great Seal and thereby given her Royal assent


diverse acts which have been agreed upon by both Houses of Parliament.


Royal assent was given to a number of new laws, the title was read out


by the Lord clacks, first name of each bill and then the replies


signalling the monarchs approval in the traditional Norman French.


Neighbourhood planning act. MPs then made their way slowly back to the


Commons where they form an orderly queue to shake the speaker 's hand


and make their way out of the chamber. Some of them knowing it is


for the final time and awaiting the verdict of the voters. And that


brings us to the end of this edition of the programme and this


Parliament. We will be back with the new government and the new batch of


MPs when they arrive at Westminster after the general election on June


the 8th. In the meantime BBC Parliament will have the key


speeches from the election in fall and uncut as well as all the big


campaign events. But for now from all of us Cabaye.


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