13/07/2017 Thursday in Parliament


Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 13 July with Alicia McCarthy.

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The bill putting EU legislation into UK law sets out


Should England change the rules on organ donation


And MPs remember one of the bloodiest battles


it is difficult if not impossible to imagine the mud, the blood and the


horror and sheer scale of the losses of Passchendaele.


The government has launched a key part of its Brexit


The Repeal Bill - designed to convert existing EU


legislation into British law - was formally introduced


Opposition parties say they'll fight its passage through Parliament.


At the start of the day the leader of the Commons hailed its arrival.


The EU withdrawal Bill will be presented to the House today, as the


Brexit secretary has said, this is one of the most significant pieces


of legislation that has ever passed through Parliament and it is a major


milestone in the process of our withdrawal. It means we will be able


to exit the European Union with maximum uncertainty, continuity and


control will stop that is what the British people voted for and it is


exactly what we will do. But her Labour shadow reckoned


despite the fanfare for the repeal bill MPs had had little to do


since the general election. I and other opposition members are


appalled, saddened and bewildered in equal measures. We have had the good


citizens of this country to vote for us and they have. And as we are in


the parliamentary democracy they have given their consent to be


governed to enable to form MPs to form a government, as the station


and form pulled members to account. We have not be allowed to do that.


This is not the end of term we have no lessons and a late timetable, or


spending or same singing or whistling. It is a time of critical


importance to this country and the clock is ticking. We have been back


31 days and in that time only had seven votes. A zombie Parliament


makes it sound amusing, but this is serious. It is a threat to our


parliamentary democracy. She is raising some important points about


our parliamentary democracy but I do find it deeply disappointing that


the opposition are trying to make something of what is absolutely


normal situation following a general election...


The government was getting on with business "apace," she said.


I am left to conclude that this is gameplaying. The mean refer back to


what the Prime Minister said on the anniversary of her leadership of


this country. She asked the honourable lady is clearly not


glistening... She asked all members of come together in the interests of


our country to give their ideas and support as we succeed as seek to


fulfil the democratic will of the people of this country to leave the


EU and the opposition ridiculed it. They absolutely reject the concept


of working together in the interests of our country. 13 million people


voted with them and they should actually support those people in


their wish to see the democratic will of this country fulfilled. The


Great Repeal Bill is up to date, and invitation to climb aboard as it


tumbles over the cliff edge. Apparently Labour are going to


oppose it by defiantly agreeing with a Tory hard Brexit support except


that the single market and an the movement. But opposition is being


offered. In the meantime we will continue to look after Scottish


interests and fight for a place in the single market. I think it is a


great shame that he constantly talks about wanting to stay in the single


market which he knows Brad Barritt means not leaving the EU. In other


words they would seek to undermine the will of the United Kingdom and


that is totally undemocratic on the side of the House and I hub on the


opposition benches we will fulfil the will of the people.


Well, a short time later the Bill was formally put before Parliament.


But don't be deceived by that shout of tomorrow -


in parliamentary procedure a Bill is always said to be read tomorrow -


in reality the first big debate on the repeal bill will probably


Southern Rail's parent company has been fined more than ?13 million


following widespread delays and cancellations to services.


Southern, owned by Govia Thameslink, has been embroiled in a bitter


dispute with the unions over driver-only operated trains.


The Department for Transport said a recent report by Chris Gibb -


a non-executive director at Network Rail - made clear that


"the responsibility for disruption was primarily caused by industrial


"action led by RMT and Aslef and exceptional levels


The government says the fine it's imposed on Govia Thameslink will be


used to improve services for passengers hit


The continuing dispute was raised by Labour at Transport Questions.


Two weeks ago today the High Court of the Secretary of State 14 days to


make a decision over Southern Rail's claims that its appalling service


wasn't their fault but all down to industrial action. With the record


fine imposed today, such nonsense has been totally blown out of the


water after months and months of the Secretary of State and his ministers


coming to the dispatch box and blaming the unions, they have had to


come clean and accept the Southern Rail is not fit for purpose. Does he


know except that continuing to tolerate such an attitude, expecting


a rail service to rely on workers overtime and compromising saving the


accessibility, simply won't wash any longer and he now has to call time


on GTR? He is clearly still not read the judgment two weeks ago, a case


that we actually want. It's because about what has been done today. I


have for months that the problems on this railway are not purely down to


industrial action. There are other reasons. But I am very clear and so


is the Chris Gibb Report that the prime responsibility for the trouble


on that network has come from trade unions fighting the battles of 30


years ago and still they get support from the Labour Party and the


reality is it is the Labour Party and the unions colluding to bring


trouble to passengers and it should stop.


Newly elected chair of the Transport Committee,


The ticketing information passengers are most interested in is the price.


Since 2014 commuter rail fare increases have been capped at RBI


but an acid to me yesterday the Rail Minister said that there is policy


is under review. Next month's inflation figures will determine the


cup for January 2018 and at the Department reverts to the old


formula, there could rise by 5% or more, pricing many off the railways.


Next week when the Secretary of State announces his investment plans


for the control period six, will he pledged that improvements passengers


need will come at a price they can afford? I suppose I should welcome


her to her new position. She now seems to be wondering about what


will be occurring in the future. We have no intention in seeking to


raise there is in the way that she describes and I don't think that


would be appropriate. Is it that passengers first and we continue to


maintain the cup at the moment but we keep ball policies under review


at all times, she shouldn't read more into that and is actually


there. Another Labour MP asked


about provision in the We have heard many flowery words


from the Government benches about understanding the experience of our


constituents in the north-east forced to use crumbling Rolling


stock on Tyne Wear and metro, but flowery words will not get them to


work on time. Unless they are matched by investment. Will he now


commit to investing from the public purse in our rolling stock? She


should know that investment of course is central to what we want to


achieve. We are investing 370 million through an 11 year asset


renewal problem. We are undertaking major track renewals, refurbishing


and modernising stations and vehicles, new Smart style ticketing.


What is not to like about that? You're watching Thursday in


Parliament with me, Alicia McCarthy. The Defence Secretary has


told MPs that a report about civilian casualties in Iraq


by Amnesty International should be The human rights group has alleged


that Iraqi and coalition forces have used unnecessarily powerful weapons


in the battle to retake Mosul from so-called Islamic State -


or Daesh as MPs call it - and had failed to take adequate


measures to protect civilians. The report was raised by the Shadow


Defence Minister, Wayne David. It has been alleged that the actions


of the coalition in Mosul have been I quote, disproportionate and even,


I quote again, unlawful. I know that the deputy commander of the


international anti-Daesh coalition has condemned a report in the


strongest possible terms, saying that it is deeply responsible --


irresponsible and he has emphatically stated that we should


not forget that it is Daesh who are deliberately killing civilians.


Sir Michael Fallon said he had not read the report,


but said RAF airstrikes were lawful and there were robust procedures


designed to minimise the risk of civilians casualties.


I have seen no evidence as of yet that an RAF strike has involved


civilian casualties. I wait to see that evidence being produced and if


anybody has any evidence then it needs to be forwarded to us as


indeed other organisations like air awards have been doing throughout


the conflict and we are ready to investigate, but otherwise I would


urge extreme caution in the handling of the Amnesty report.


An SNP MP voiced concern at what he said had been a dramatic


In June longer has been a 52% increase in comparison to the month


of May's estimated somewhere between 529 744, according to air war is who


he mentions in response to the Shadow Minister, of the 1350 UK


personnel fighting Daesh air war claim there is not one permanently


tasked with monitoring civilian casualties, so can the Minister


outline if he will make a commitment to greater scrutiny and transparency


on that? This is a highly compact city, very densely populated, with


Daesh pushing civilians into buildings, holding them hostage,


shooting them if they try to escape, this is a kind of urban warfare that


we have not seen and not be involved in since probably a Second World


War. A very complex military operation.


Now from the conflicts of today to the conflicts of the past.


Because these were the fields where, 100 years ago, more than half


The battle of Passchendaele - through the summer


and autumn of 1917 - is generally regarded


as the bloodiest conflict of the First World War,


with these Belgian fields seeing weeks of heavy military bombardment


and fierce fighting, much of it in atrocious weather.


By October 1917 British and Commonwealth forces had advanced


just a few kilometres with the loss of more than 300,000 men.


Casualties on the German side numbered 200,000.


A special Commons debate has taken place, to mark


It is important to remember that many of those who fought at


Passchendaele were conscripts and that this was a war which had


already led to huge changes around these islands. Women were already


playing a vital role in the war effort, particularly in the


production of munitions but the artillery which was so critical to


the outcome of the fighting. Many of us Passchendaele has come to


epitomise horrors of trench warfare on the Western front. But he


answered a question about the role of the medical profession after


Passchendaele and much of the trench warfare of the First World War given


the fact that we are commemorating those who lost their lives and those


who came home would have suffered many of them from shell-shocked,


some of the advices of psychiatry will end on the front line in


dealing with that on the impacts of armies and will not play any part in


the commemoration of those who survived? Will have those things in


mind. It is very difficult to go back and reinterpret events as they


were at the time and as they were experienced bitter at the time but I


think the honourable gentleman makes a very perceptive and worthwhile


point. Can I share with of photographs that shows Passchendaele


village in June 1917 and in December 1917 and even from a distance it is


possible to seek how entirely the landscape was obliterated by the


bombardment. A Labour MP said his father went


to Passchendaele at the age of 15 We cannot look at this without


remembering that many who lost their lives did not give their lives, they


were told if they went that they would stop the Huns bayoneting


Belgian babies. They went there as result of propaganda. We must


remember that if we learn the lessons of warfare and the immense


loss of life. An MP who's a military historian


read a first hand account The Germans did not have much to


fear from me that morning. There was no fire in my belly, nothing. I


staggered up the hill, I froze and became frightened because of big


shell at first and loading up group of our lads to bits. A terrible


sight, men blown to nothing. I stood there. It was still and misty. I


could taste their blood in the air. I could not move. I stood there,


staring. These men had just been killed. We just had to wade through


them to get on. That is one thing I will never forget. What I saw and


smelt. The battle is notorious not only for the number of casualties,


but conditions in which the battle was fought. The first few days of


the offensive remark by the heaviest rainfall in 30 years. Turning the


field into a quagmire trapping soldiers and horses, immobilising


weaponry. One century on in the safety and grandeur of this place,


it is difficult, if not impossible to imagine the mouth, the blood, and


the horror and sheer scale of the losses of Passchendaele. That is why


it is absolutely right that we do remember. 325,000 Allied casualties


is difficult to comprehend. As is their bravery, valour and sacrifice.


An MP who's a former army officer spoke about the effects


The men could not even get into the shell holes, they were full of


water. So they are absolutely sitting ducks. Covered in filth.


Trying to go forward, absolutely exhausted. And yet, they did. Some


of them sank to their waste in the mud, right down to their waists. It


took six soldiers for them to be pulled out. Stretcher bearers could


not move. There was no chance of stretcher bearers moving in that


mode at all. Our soldiers were not brave, of course they were brave,


what they really experienced was terror.


Theresa May's decision to do a ?1 billion deal with the DUP


to keep her government afloat clearly still rankles with some -


They argue that under what's known as the Barnett Formula -


the system under which money is allocated to Scotland,


Wales and Northern Ireland - if Northern Ireland gets more money


The cause was taken up by a Plaid Cymru peer.


But the minister argued money had also gone


The naval Lord will be aware that 1 billion is being allocated to


schools and roads in Northern nine. Barnett elements. The government has


perceived an extra needed Northern Ireland, however that is defined.


Will they therefore move towards a needs -based former love, for


Scotland, Wales and the regions of England?


But the minister argued money had also gone


There are number of investment is taking place in Wales, outside the


Barnett Formula. The Cardiff capital region city deal. ?500 million. The


Swansea City deal, ?150 million. The Wales great deal. All outside of the


Barnett Formula. Reflected in the particular needs of Wales. As the


deal reflects the particular needs of Northern Ireland. What advice


would the minister give us? What do we in Wales have to do to get an


extra ?1 billion? We spend ?120 in Wales for every ?100 we spend in


England. We continue to be committed to that. That is the reason why we


increased the overall capital borrowing limit to ?1 billion, up


from ?5 million. We continue to look for ways to grow the economy in


Wales within the Barnett Formula and outside it. Is it worth the Minister


noting, Northern Ireland appears to have considerably more disadvantaged


young people as against Scotland. And cannot afford the sort of things


Scotland appears to be affording in social care and tuition fees? Does


the government understand this is an issue of trust. While the Barnett


Formula is not a legal requirement, it is clear to everyone in the House


that the additional 1 billion for Northern Ireland is a pork barrel,


as they would say in America. Politically induced donation. Which


ought to fall within the formula, if one was keeping to the conventions


of Parliament. I think it is wrong for the honourable lady to refer to


it in that way. The details have been made very clearly, published on


the website on the 26th of June. Written ministerial statements. In


terms of saying it is a donation. I will stand by a donation of 100


million extra for health and education, 400 million for


infrastructure, 50 million form as well. 100 million for severely


deprived areas. ?150 million for broadband in one of the most needy


parts of the United Kingdom. In Westminster Hall a Labour MP


called for a change to the rules Dan Jarvis argued there should be


a switch to the same system used in Wales,


where it's presumed that organs are to be donated


after death, unless someone has He said more than 450 people died


every year waiting for a transplant. The truth is there is a common


misconception about how organ donation works. Only a very small


number of people die in such a way that allows for organ donation. The


vast majority of people on the organ donor register will never actually


donate their organs. The figures are startling. Around half a million


people die every year in the UK. Yet last year out of the half a million,


only 5681 people died in circumstances where donation was


possible. That was about 1%, so the simple


fact was there were not enough donors and people were dying


as a result. He accepted there


were sensitivities. That some members of Muslim and


Jewish communities have different interpretations of the Viv


-- the religious legitimacy of donations. I understand their views


and have the most upmost respect and sympathy for them. But I firmly and


wholeheartedly believe that not only do the benefits of an opt out system


far outweigh the risks. But that these risks can be mitigated through


first a public awareness campaign, tailored to different ethnic and


religious communities, and second, the use of in-hospital safeguarding


measures. But one MP raised what she called


some "notes of caution" The minister Doing nothing at all triggers a


consequence, silent action. Quite a major one. That action is that those


organs could be taken at a later date and transplanted. Their consent


is deemed even though they have done nothing at all. The crucial point as


to what affects a donation is the conversation that happens in the


room three medical professionals and bereaved families. We see examples


of families refusing consent, they are convinced their relatives really


wanted to donate it feels selfless to say no. If only we see that being


overruled. What we find is that the highest rates of donation are


achieved where we have specially trained nurses, who have that


conversation with the family in a sensitive way.


But she added the government was interested to see what happened


in Wales and it was something ministers were prepared


Earlier we heard Labour's Shadow Leader of the Commons, Valerie Vaz,


protesting about the way the government was organising


She returned to the issue a later when she applied


Valerie Vaz complained that the government had not given


any opposition parties the chance to organise debates and votes


in the Commons and said the rules needed to be changed to reflect


the fact that this session of Parliament would run for two years -


She had three minutes to make her case, after


which the Deputy Speaker, Eleanor Laing, gave her verdict.


I can tell the House that Mr Speaker is satisfied that the matter raised


by the Honourable member is proper to be discussed understanding order


number 24. I now wish to ascertain whether the honourable member has


the disease of the House. Labour and MPs from other


opposition parties stood up to indicate their support


for Valerie Vaz. The debate will take


place on Monday afternoon And that's it from me for now,


but do join me on Friday night at 11pm for our round-up of the week


here at Westminster when among other things we'll be


talking to the new chair of the Treasury Committee -


Nicky Morgan. And hearing from her fellow


backbencher, Simon Hart on what can be done to counter the abuse


being levelled at MPs and activists but for now from me,


Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.


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