13/07/2017 Thursday in Parliament


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13/07/2017

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

:00:19.:00:25.

Should England change the rules on organ donation

:00:26.:00:37.

And MPs remember one of the bloodiest battles

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

:00:42.:00:53.

horror and sheer scale of the losses of Passchendaele.

:00:54.:00:55.

The government has launched a key part of its Brexit

:00:56.:00:58.

The Repeal Bill - designed to convert existing EU

:00:59.:01:01.

legislation into British law - was formally introduced

:01:02.:01:03.

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

:01:04.:01:08.

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

:01:09.:01:17.

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

:01:18.:01:24.

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

:01:25.:01:29.

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

:01:30.:01:33.

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

:01:34.:01:38.

to exit the European Union with maximum uncertainty, continuity and

:01:39.:01:42.

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

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exactly what we will do. But her Labour shadow reckoned

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

:01:47.:01:48.

since the general election. I and other opposition members are

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

:02:02.:02:04.

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

:02:05.:02:09.

the parliamentary democracy they have given their consent to be

:02:10.:02:13.

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

:02:14.:02:17.

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

:02:18.:02:21.

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

:02:22.:02:26.

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

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

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

:02:36.:02:40.

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

:02:41.:02:45.

parliamentary democracy. She is raising some important points about

:02:46.:02:49.

our parliamentary democracy but I do find it deeply disappointing that

:02:50.:02:52.

the opposition are trying to make something of what is absolutely

:02:53.:02:57.

normal situation following a general election...

:02:58.:03:02.

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

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

:03:08.:03:13.

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

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this country. She asked the honourable lady is clearly not

:03:17.:03:25.

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

:03:26.:03:30.

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

:03:31.:03:34.

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

:03:35.:03:39.

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

:03:40.:03:44.

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

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voted with them and they should actually support those people in

:03:52.:03:54.

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

:03:55.:04:03.

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

:04:04.:04:09.

tumbles over the cliff edge. Apparently Labour are going to

:04:10.:04:14.

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

:04:15.:04:17.

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

:04:18.:04:23.

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

:04:24.:04:25.

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

:04:26.:04:29.

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

:04:30.:04:34.

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

:04:35.:04:42.

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

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

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opposition benches we will fulfil the will of the people.

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

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

:05:01.:05:07.

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

:05:08.:05:10.

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

:05:11.:05:13.

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

:05:14.:05:22.

following widespread delays and cancellations to services.

:05:23.:05:26.

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

:05:27.:05:30.

dispute with the unions over driver-only operated trains.

:05:31.:05:35.

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

:05:36.:05:39.

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

:05:40.:05:43.

"the responsibility for disruption was primarily caused by industrial

:05:44.:05:48.

"action led by RMT and Aslef and exceptional levels

:05:49.:05:51.

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

:05:52.:05:58.

used to improve services for passengers hit

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The continuing dispute was raised by Labour at Transport Questions.

:06:02.:06:10.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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know except that continuing to tolerate such an attitude, expecting

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

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

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

:07:00.:07:02.

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

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

:07:08.:07:10.

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

:07:11.:07:15.

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

:07:16.:07:19.

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

:07:20.:07:23.

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

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

:07:27.:07:28.

trouble to passengers and it should stop.

:07:29.:07:29.

Newly elected chair of the Transport Committee,

:07:30.:07:30.

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

:07:31.:07:42.

Since 2014 commuter rail fare increases have been capped at RBI

:07:43.:07:46.

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

:07:47.:07:51.

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

:07:52.:07:55.

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

:07:56.:08:00.

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

:08:01.:08:04.

Next week when the Secretary of State announces his investment plans

:08:05.:08:08.

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

:08:09.:08:11.

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

:08:12.:08:17.

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

:08:18.:08:24.

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

:08:25.:08:28.

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

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

:08:33.:08:36.

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

:08:37.:08:39.

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

:08:40.:08:40.

there. Another Labour MP asked

:08:41.:08:41.

about provision in the We have heard many flowery words

:08:42.:08:51.

from the Government benches about understanding the experience of our

:08:52.:08:54.

constituents in the north-east forced to use crumbling Rolling

:08:55.:08:57.

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

:08:58.:09:01.

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

:09:02.:09:07.

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

:09:08.:09:12.

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

:09:13.:09:17.

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

:09:18.:09:26.

renewal problem. We are undertaking major track renewals, refurbishing

:09:27.:09:32.

and modernising stations and vehicles, new Smart style ticketing.

:09:33.:09:33.

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

:09:34.:09:35.

Parliament with me, Alicia McCarthy. The Defence Secretary has

:09:36.:09:42.

told MPs that a report about civilian casualties in Iraq

:09:43.:09:45.

by Amnesty International should be The human rights group has alleged

:09:46.:09:49.

that Iraqi and coalition forces have used unnecessarily powerful weapons

:09:50.:09:55.

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

:09:56.:09:58.

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

:09:59.:10:04.

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

:10:05.:10:09.

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

:10:10.:10:21.

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

:10:22.:10:29.

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

:10:30.:10:35.

international anti-Daesh coalition has condemned a report in the

:10:36.:10:38.

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

:10:39.:10:43.

irresponsible and he has emphatically stated that we should

:10:44.:10:47.

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

:10:48.:10:48.

Sir Michael Fallon said he had not read the report,

:10:49.:10:51.

but said RAF airstrikes were lawful and there were robust procedures

:10:52.:10:53.

designed to minimise the risk of civilians casualties.

:10:54.:10:59.

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

:11:00.:11:09.

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

:11:10.:11:13.

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

:11:14.:11:17.

indeed other organisations like air awards have been doing throughout

:11:18.:11:22.

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

:11:23.:11:26.

urge extreme caution in the handling of the Amnesty report.

:11:27.:11:27.

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

:11:28.:11:30.

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

:11:31.:11:45.

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

:11:46.:11:52.

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

:11:53.:11:56.

personnel fighting Daesh air war claim there is not one permanently

:11:57.:12:01.

tasked with monitoring civilian casualties, so can the Minister

:12:02.:12:07.

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

:12:08.:12:13.

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

:12:14.:12:18.

Daesh pushing civilians into buildings, holding them hostage,

:12:19.:12:21.

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

:12:22.:12:27.

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

:12:28.:12:30.

War. A very complex military operation.

:12:31.:12:31.

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

:12:32.:12:36.

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

:12:37.:12:40.

The battle of Passchendaele - through the summer

:12:41.:12:44.

and autumn of 1917 - is generally regarded

:12:45.:12:47.

as the bloodiest conflict of the First World War,

:12:48.:12:51.

with these Belgian fields seeing weeks of heavy military bombardment

:12:52.:12:55.

and fierce fighting, much of it in atrocious weather.

:12:56.:12:59.

By October 1917 British and Commonwealth forces had advanced

:13:00.:13:02.

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

:13:03.:13:08.

Casualties on the German side numbered 200,000.

:13:09.:13:12.

A special Commons debate has taken place, to mark

:13:13.:13:16.

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

:13:17.:13:26.

Passchendaele were conscripts and that this was a war which had

:13:27.:13:30.

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

:13:31.:13:36.

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

:13:37.:13:39.

production of munitions but the artillery which was so critical to

:13:40.:13:45.

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

:13:46.:13:48.

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

:13:49.:13:54.

answered a question about the role of the medical profession after

:13:55.:13:57.

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

:13:58.:14:00.

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

:14:01.:14:04.

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

:14:05.:14:07.

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

:14:08.:14:10.

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

:14:11.:14:13.

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

:14:14.:14:19.

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

:14:20.:14:21.

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

:14:22.:14:24.

think the honourable gentleman makes a very perceptive and worthwhile

:14:25.:14:30.

point. Can I share with of photographs that shows Passchendaele

:14:31.:14:35.

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

:14:36.:14:41.

possible to seek how entirely the landscape was obliterated by the

:14:42.:14:42.

bombardment. A Labour MP said his father went

:14:43.:14:45.

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

:14:46.:14:57.

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

:14:58.:15:02.

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

:15:03.:15:08.

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

:15:09.:15:12.

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

:15:13.:15:14.

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

:15:15.:15:16.

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

:15:17.:15:26.

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

:15:27.:15:32.

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

:15:33.:15:36.

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

:15:37.:15:41.

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

:15:42.:15:46.

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

:15:47.:15:51.

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

:15:52.:15:57.

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

:15:58.:16:04.

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

:16:05.:16:07.

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

:16:08.:16:11.

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

:16:12.:16:16.

field into a quagmire trapping soldiers and horses, immobilising

:16:17.:16:23.

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

:16:24.:16:28.

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

:16:29.:16:34.

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

:16:35.:16:39.

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

:16:40.:16:48.

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

:16:49.:16:50.

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

:16:51.:16:52.

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

:16:53.:17:01.

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

:17:02.:17:09.

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

:17:10.:17:21.

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

:17:22.:17:25.

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

:17:26.:17:33.

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

:17:34.:17:41.

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

:17:42.:17:45.

what they really experienced was terror.

:17:46.:17:47.

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

:17:48.:17:51.

to keep her government afloat clearly still rankles with some -

:17:52.:17:54.

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

:17:55.:18:01.

the system under which money is allocated to Scotland,

:18:02.:18:03.

Wales and Northern Ireland - if Northern Ireland gets more money

:18:04.:18:09.

The cause was taken up by a Plaid Cymru peer.

:18:10.:18:12.

But the minister argued money had also gone

:18:13.:18:18.

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

:18:19.:18:28.

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

:18:29.:18:34.

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

:18:35.:18:39.

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

:18:40.:18:43.

Scotland, Wales and the regions of England?

:18:44.:18:44.

But the minister argued money had also gone

:18:45.:18:46.

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

:18:47.:18:57.

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

:18:58.:19:05.

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

:19:06.:19:09.

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

:19:10.:19:15.

deal reflects the particular needs of Northern Ireland. What advice

:19:16.:19:20.

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

:19:21.:19:28.

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

:19:29.:19:32.

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

:19:33.:19:37.

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

:19:38.:19:44.

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

:19:45.:19:48.

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

:19:49.:19:54.

noting, Northern Ireland appears to have considerably more disadvantaged

:19:55.:19:59.

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

:20:00.:20:03.

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

:20:04.:20:08.

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

:20:09.:20:13.

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

:20:14.:20:21.

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

:20:22.:20:25.

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

:20:26.:20:32.

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

:20:33.:20:39.

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

:20:40.:20:43.

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

:20:44.:20:46.

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

:20:47.:20:53.

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

:20:54.:20:59.

million extra for health and education, 400 million for

:21:00.:21:02.

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

:21:03.:21:07.

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

:21:08.:21:09.

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

:21:10.:21:10.

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

:21:11.:21:14.

a switch to the same system used in Wales,

:21:15.:21:17.

where it's presumed that organs are to be donated

:21:18.:21:19.

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

:21:20.:21:22.

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

:21:23.:21:38.

misconception about how organ donation works. Only a very small

:21:39.:21:43.

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

:21:44.:21:49.

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

:21:50.:21:54.

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

:21:55.:21:58.

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

:21:59.:22:05.

only 5681 people died in circumstances where donation was

:22:06.:22:05.

possible. That was about 1%, so the simple

:22:06.:22:07.

fact was there were not enough donors and people were dying

:22:08.:22:10.

as a result. He accepted there

:22:11.:22:12.

were sensitivities. That some members of Muslim and

:22:13.:22:23.

Jewish communities have different interpretations of the Viv

:22:24.:22:30.

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

:22:31.:22:36.

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

:22:37.:22:42.

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

:22:43.:22:47.

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

:22:48.:22:53.

first a public awareness campaign, tailored to different ethnic and

:22:54.:22:56.

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

:22:57.:23:00.

measures. But one MP raised what she called

:23:01.:23:03.

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

:23:04.:23:15.

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

:23:16.:23:24.

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

:23:25.:23:27.

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

:23:28.:23:33.

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

:23:34.:23:37.

room three medical professionals and bereaved families. We see examples

:23:38.:23:41.

of families refusing consent, they are convinced their relatives really

:23:42.:23:46.

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

:23:47.:23:51.

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

:23:52.:23:55.

achieved where we have specially trained nurses, who have that

:23:56.:23:58.

conversation with the family in a sensitive way.

:23:59.:24:00.

But she added the government was interested to see what happened

:24:01.:24:02.

in Wales and it was something ministers were prepared

:24:03.:24:05.

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

:24:06.:24:11.

protesting about the way the government was organising

:24:12.:24:13.

She returned to the issue a later when she applied

:24:14.:24:18.

Valerie Vaz complained that the government had not given

:24:19.:24:26.

any opposition parties the chance to organise debates and votes

:24:27.:24:30.

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

:24:31.:24:33.

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

:24:34.:24:36.

She had three minutes to make her case, after

:24:37.:24:41.

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

:24:42.:24:47.

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

:24:48.:24:56.

by the Honourable member is proper to be discussed understanding order

:24:57.:25:04.

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

:25:05.:25:08.

the disease of the House. Labour and MPs from other

:25:09.:25:12.

opposition parties stood up to indicate their support

:25:13.:25:16.

for Valerie Vaz. The debate will take

:25:17.:25:18.

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

:25:19.:25:20.

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

:25:21.:25:25.

here at Westminster when among other things we'll be

:25:26.:25:28.

talking to the new chair of the Treasury Committee -

:25:29.:25:30.

Nicky Morgan. And hearing from her fellow

:25:31.:25:33.

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

:25:34.:25:35.

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

:25:36.:25:41.

Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.

:25:42.:25:48.