02/11/2017 Thursday in Parliament


02/11/2017

Highlights of Thursday in Parliament presented by Mandy Baker.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 02/11/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello, and welcome to Thursday

in Parliament, our look at the best

0:00:210:00:24

of the day in the Commons

and the Lords.

0:00:240:00:26

Once again, the issue of harassment

looms large in Westminster.

0:00:260:00:33

We will work with any colleagues

across the House to make sure that

0:00:330:00:36

we seize this opportunity to get it

right once and for all.

0:00:360:00:41

MPs are told the Brexit impact

studies, which were the centre

0:00:410:00:43

of debate on Wednesday,

will be made available

0:00:430:00:45

as soon as conceivable.

0:00:450:00:46

And are you desperate

for a copy of the bible

0:00:460:00:49

of parliamentary procedure?

0:00:490:00:55

The people of this country are

demanding it be made available

0:00:550:00:58

without having to buy a copy of the

book.

0:00:580:01:03

But first, MPs were back

at Westminster a little over 12

0:01:030:01:05

hours after the surprise news

that the Defence

0:01:050:01:07

Secretary had resigned.

0:01:070:01:08

Sir Michael Fallon said his past

behaviour may have "fallen short"

0:01:080:01:11

of the standards expected

by the British armed forces.

0:01:110:01:13

The new Defence Secretary was named

0:01:130:01:15

as Gavin Williamson,

who had been in charge of party

0:01:150:01:17

discipline as Chief Whip.

0:01:170:01:18

He's been described as a rising

star, who's trusted by Number Ten.

0:01:180:01:22

As Gavin Williamson was settling

himself in at the Ministry

0:01:220:01:24

of Defence, in the Commons the issue

of harassment was still

0:01:240:01:27

a main talking point.

0:01:270:01:29

At her weekly question session,

the Leader of the House again

0:01:290:01:32

broached the subject.

0:01:320:01:33

This has been a difficult

week for Parliament.

0:01:330:01:36

But it has been even harder

for those who have come

0:01:360:01:40

forward to report their experiences

of inappropriate behaviour,

0:01:400:01:42

harassment or abuse.

0:01:420:01:46

Their experiences are

why we need to change.

0:01:460:01:49

As I said on Monday,

it is a right, not

0:01:490:01:52

a privilege, to work

in

0:01:520:01:54

a safe and respectful environment.

0:01:540:01:58

The Prime Minister has written

to all party leaders,

0:01:580:02:03

and I'm pleased to say they have

all agreed to meet

0:02:030:02:06

to discuss a common,

transparent and independent

0:02:060:02:16

But a change of culture

could take longer.

0:02:200:02:22

That must be done by

education and training.

0:02:220:02:24

Every member, every employee,

should go on an equality

0:02:240:02:26

training course.

0:02:260:02:27

For new MPs it could be part

of the induction process.

0:02:270:02:30

Existing members of staff

should also undergo this.

0:02:300:02:32

There are outside

organisations who do this.

0:02:320:02:38

Will the Leader

of the House confirm

0:02:380:02:40

measures for the House and ensure

that the equalities and human rights

0:02:400:02:43

commission have the resources to

support this education and training?

0:02:430:02:53

Can I congratulate the Leader

of the House for her

0:02:530:02:55

leadership that she has shown

on the sexual harassment issue?

0:02:550:02:58

We will work with her

to put together this

0:02:580:03:00

independent grievance procedure

so that everybody will have a safe

0:03:000:03:02

place to raise these complaints.

0:03:020:03:03

It is encouraging to see

people now coming forward,

0:03:030:03:05

and firm and decisive

0:03:060:03:07

action being taken.

0:03:070:03:08

Does she agree with me this

is a real opportunity

0:03:080:03:10

to effectively tackle the in-built

patriarchal hierarchy in this

0:03:100:03:12

institution and the unsavoury

entitlement culture that still

0:03:120:03:14

pervades these corridors of power?

0:03:140:03:21

Any review should carefully consider

0:03:210:03:23

other legislatures and what the HR

processes, hiring processes, and

0:03:230:03:26

staff grievance processes of other

legislatures around the world are

0:03:260:03:28

and we can maybe learn from them?

0:03:280:03:30

My honourable friend

is raising a very

0:03:300:03:32

interesting point and of course as

we look at how best we can improve

0:03:320:03:39

taxpayers' value for money, at

the same time as using best practice

0:03:390:03:43

from around the world in HR

processes, we will of course look at

0:03:430:03:47

other legislatures,

and in particular

0:03:470:03:48

regard to resolving

the

0:03:480:03:51

issue around keeping

people safe at work

0:03:510:03:54

it would be essential

that we

0:03:540:03:55

look at what is done elsewhere.

0:03:550:03:57

On the issue of

standards, I am deeply

0:03:570:03:59

concerned about the bullying

culture within Parliament.

0:03:590:04:02

It is an issue that was

dismissed by Mr Speaker

0:04:020:04:06

when I previously have raised it

with him, determining it

0:04:060:04:09

to be a woman's issue.

0:04:090:04:11

It clearly isn't.

0:04:110:04:15

This is vital that in this

opportunity that we address the

0:04:150:04:18

issue of bullying and that we bring

forward mandatory training for

0:04:180:04:20

everyone in this House.

0:04:200:04:24

Can I say I absolutely

agree with the honourable

0:04:240:04:27

lady, and will happily work with any

colleagues across the House in

0:04:270:04:32

making sure that we seize this

opportunity to put things right and

0:04:320:04:37

get it right, once and for all,

and that there is nobody left out of

0:04:370:04:41

that.

0:04:410:04:42

So all political parties,

those with no political party, all

0:04:420:04:46

those who work in this place,

and who come here to help us,

0:04:460:04:49

as perhaps temporary work

placements,

0:04:490:04:52

interns, and so on, so that we get

this right, once for all.

0:04:520:04:59

The Brexit Secretary David Davis has

said the Government intends to be

0:04:590:05:02

"as open as we can be" over

the release of its

0:05:020:05:05

Brexit impact studies.

0:05:050:05:08

On Wednesday Labour used an arcane

parliamentary procedure to pass

0:05:080:05:13

a motion calling for them to be

released to the Commons

0:05:130:05:15

committee on exiting the EU.

0:05:150:05:18

The 58 studies show the potential

effects of Brexit on different

0:05:180:05:20

industrial sectors.

0:05:200:05:30

When will the papers be handed over?

The Right honourable gentleman was

0:05:360:05:45

present for yesterday's debate. I

said that we would respond

0:05:450:05:49

appropriately and we will do as soon

as possible.

0:05:490:05:58

A Labour MP raised the issue

0:05:580:05:59

with the Brexit Secretary.

0:05:590:06:00

Quoting Conservative

backbencher, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

0:06:000:06:05

Does he agree that the papers must

be given to the Select Committee, or

0:06:050:06:09

does he not trust the Select

Committee?

I missed a very good

0:06:090:06:13

debate yesterday. I have already

spoken to the chairman of the Select

0:06:130:06:21

Committee. He sends his apologies

for not being here today. I am

0:06:210:06:27

organising to talk to him about how

we handle confidentiality of the

0:06:270:06:32

documentation or handover. I will

reiterate what was said by my

0:06:320:06:36

honourable friend, these documents

are not some sort of grand plan,

0:06:360:06:41

they are data about regulations and

markets of individual sectors, and

0:06:410:06:45

of course we will be as open as we

can be with the Select Committee.

0:06:450:06:51

But later the shadow Leader

of the Commons pressed

0:06:510:06:53

for a definite date

for the release of the studies.

0:06:530:06:58

The minister yesterday said members

of the Government are first and

0:06:590:07:02

foremost parliamentarians, but they

don't want to listen to Parliament.

0:07:020:07:05

He said, in the cool light of

tomorrow we will revisit exactly

0:07:050:07:09

what was said in Hansard. In the

cool later today the Minister got up

0:07:090:07:13

this morning and said, in due

course.

It is accepted that the

0:07:130:07:18

motion passed by the House yesterday

as binding and the information will

0:07:180:07:23

be forthcoming, but as has been made

very clear, it is the case that it

0:07:230:07:26

is difficult to balance the

conflicting obligation to protect

0:07:260:07:33

the public interest through not

disclosing information that could

0:07:330:07:39

harm the national interest and the

public interest, whilst at the same

0:07:390:07:43

time ensuring that the resolution

that the House passed yesterday is

0:07:430:07:46

adhered to.

Deeply unsatisfactory,

that has brought shame on this House

0:07:460:07:56

once again. There is no doubt that

this is binding and I am grateful to

0:07:560:08:00

see the leader of the host

confirming that today. To we

0:08:000:08:03

therefore need today is a clear and

an ambiguous statement from the

0:08:030:08:07

Government that that accepts what

was decided last night, without

0:08:070:08:11

qualification. Just hand the papers

over the committee. If it does not

0:08:110:08:18

do this, as you said, Mr Speaker,

the Government will be in contempt

0:08:180:08:22

of this House. But that happens we

will be bringing proceedings to hold

0:08:220:08:26

them to account on that very basis.

0:08:260:08:28

Well, a short time later,

peers asked if the impact

0:08:280:08:31

assessments would also be made

available to the House of Lords

0:08:310:08:33

European Union Select Committee.

0:08:330:08:39

David Davis has appeared before us

on the European Union Select

0:08:390:08:43

Committee three times since the

Brexit fought and on more than one

0:08:430:08:47

occasion he has promised parity of

information for as and also the

0:08:470:08:51

committee in the House of Commons.

We have now published 20 reports and

0:08:510:08:56

there are more in the pipeline,

therefore we are in a high state of

0:08:560:09:01

knowledge about sectoral issues. Can

I ask the Minister to go further in

0:09:010:09:05

saying he will have a discussion

with our chairman about things, but

0:09:050:09:10

actually to undertake that we will

receive the same information as the

0:09:100:09:14

committee in the House of Commons?

As I said, we still need to have

0:09:140:09:19

further discussions with the

chairman of the Brexit Select

0:09:190:09:23

Committee in another place. We will

of course reflect further following

0:09:230:09:27

those discussions on what

information we will want to provide

0:09:270:09:30

to comply with the motion. I have

undertaken to have a similar

0:09:300:09:34

discussion with the chairman of the

committee in this place. I do not

0:09:340:09:37

want to go further than that at the

moment.

0:09:370:09:39

Lord Callanan.

0:09:390:09:42

You're watching Tuesday

in Parliament, with me, Mandy Baker.

0:09:420:09:44

If you want to catch

up with all the news

0:09:440:09:47

from Westminster on the go,

don't forget our sister programme,

0:09:470:09:49

Today in Parliament,

is available as a download

0:09:490:09:51

via the BBC Radio 4 Website.

0:09:510:09:57

Prosecutors in Madrid have jailed

eight sacked members of Catalonia's

0:09:570:10:00

regional government over their role

in October's disputed

0:10:000:10:02

independence referendum.

0:10:020:10:08

Spain has been gripped

by a constitutional crisis

0:10:080:10:11

since a referendum on independence

was held on October 1st in defiance

0:10:110:10:14

of a constitutional court ruling

that declared it illegal.

0:10:140:10:18

In the Commons, a Plaid Cymru MP

asked an urgent question

0:10:180:10:20

about the situation.

0:10:200:10:25

In this situation the UK Government

has a responsibility and an

0:10:250:10:27

opportunity.

0:10:270:10:28

Firstly it must do all it can

to ensure the safety and

0:10:280:10:31

security of UK citizens

living in Catalonia.

0:10:310:10:39

Secondly, as a leading

European power, member

0:10:390:10:45

of the Council of Europe, of the EU,

of Nato, and the United Nations

0:10:450:10:49

Security Council, this is happening

in our neighbourhood.

0:10:490:10:50

Thirdly, the UK Government has

recent experience of

0:10:500:10:53

an independence referendum carried

out here in Scotland largely by

0:10:530:10:56

agreement.

0:10:560:10:57

We have some advice to offer.

0:10:570:10:58

And of course, the hard-won peace

agreement in Northern Ireland,

0:10:580:11:08

rests partly on the opportunity

for all to have their say in a

0:11:100:11:13

referendum.

0:11:130:11:14

In the debate on Catalonia

on the 10th of October,

0:11:140:11:16

the minister replying

said that no request

0:11:160:11:18

for advice had been made

by

0:11:180:11:20

the Spanish government and none

offered by the UK Government.

0:11:200:11:22

I ask that that offer be made.

0:11:220:11:24

Mr Speaker, I do not

share the honourable

0:11:240:11:28

gentleman's view of how Britain

should take an interest in the

0:11:280:11:30

internal affairs of Spain.

0:11:300:11:31

It is an internal matter.

0:11:310:11:33

It is a legal matter.

0:11:330:11:38

In the same way as we held

an independence referendum, it was

0:11:380:11:42

within the law, whereas in the case

of Spain it is not.

0:11:420:11:47

In respect of UK citizens,

I believe I am right in saying

0:11:470:11:51

that we have had no reported

consular problems

0:11:510:11:53

and I hope that remains the case.

0:11:530:11:55

We are currently in a very

dangerous position.

0:11:550:11:58

The future of Catalonia

0:11:580:11:59

has been turned

into a binary choice.

0:11:590:12:02

That is a false choice,

an impossible choice, between on the

0:12:020:12:05

one hand, a unilateral declaration

of independence, and on the other,

0:12:050:12:07

direct rule from Madrid.

0:12:070:12:10

I do not believe that either

of these choices offers

0:12:100:12:12

a satisfactory solution

to this

0:12:120:12:14

crisis.

0:12:140:12:15

And I do not believe that either

choice is what the majority

0:12:150:12:18

of Catalans or Spaniards

actually want.

0:12:180:12:20

I believe that what the majority

want to see is a peaceful,

0:12:200:12:23

sensible dialogue

between the parties to try

0:12:230:12:25

and find a resolution.

0:12:250:12:28

That is what the Socialist party of

Catalonia supports and the Socialist

0:12:280:12:31

party of Spain.

0:12:310:12:34

We support our sister

parties in that endeavour.

0:12:340:12:38

But what we are currently seeing,

both in the Government of Spain, and

0:12:380:12:44

the Government of Catalonia,

is far from peaceful and sensible

0:12:440:12:46

dialogue as it is possible to get.

0:12:460:12:48

We call on both sides

to step back, to ease the

0:12:480:12:51

confrontational rhetoric

and heavy-handed tactics, and start

0:12:510:12:52

listening to what the majority

of people in Spain and Catalonia

0:12:520:12:56

actually want, which is peace,

dialogue and an end to division.

0:12:560:13:00

What is the UK Government

doing to promote this?

0:13:000:13:04

Or does Brexit suck such life

from our ability to make

0:13:040:13:07

any influence in Europe

that the honest answer is not a lot?

0:13:070:13:11

I agree with the second

part of the right

0:13:110:13:15

honourable lady's response,

which is as usual, not a lot,

0:13:150:13:21

which is that this was illegal,

and against the

0:13:210:13:23

rule of law.

0:13:230:13:25

But I do however disagree

with her in the way she portrays

0:13:250:13:28

this as a choice.

0:13:280:13:30

This is not a binary

choice, as the right

0:13:300:13:32

honourable lady describes.

0:13:320:13:33

It is a binary choice

between upholding the

0:13:330:13:38

rule of law or not.

0:13:380:13:44

MPs have urged the Government

to offer sanctuary to more

0:13:440:13:47

unaccompanied child refugees

in Europe - in time for Christmas.

0:13:470:13:50

Concerns were raised about children

living in the "Jungle"

0:13:500:13:53

migrant camp in Calais,

which has since been cleared.

0:13:530:13:57

Under the Dublin III European

Agreement the UK accepts refugees

0:13:570:14:00

who have relatives in Britain.

0:14:000:14:01

In another scheme,

the UK promised to take

0:14:010:14:04

children who'd arrived

- alone - in places such

0:14:040:14:06

as Greece or Italy.

0:14:060:14:08

MPs had hoped that 3,000

children would be resettled,

0:14:080:14:10

under what's called the Dubs scheme.

0:14:100:14:14

But the figure so far is 200

and ministers say the UK can only

0:14:140:14:18

accept a further 280 youngsters.

0:14:180:14:20

In Calais, still, children

are sleeping outdoors.

0:14:200:14:23

At the mercy of the elements and,

dare I say, the police.

0:14:230:14:27

Because the official shelter

that the French government have

0:14:270:14:29

provided can only have 60.

0:14:290:14:31

In Greece, over 1800

children are waiting

0:14:310:14:33

for space in such a shelter.

0:14:330:14:35

And, when they make it,

they'll actually find

0:14:350:14:41

it is actually a disused prison.

0:14:410:14:43

In Italy, the situation

is even more chaotic.

0:14:430:14:46

Whilst I understand our ability

to influence local arrangements

0:14:460:14:48

in those countries is limited,

we do have a responsibility to set

0:14:480:14:51

clear parameters with our foreign

counterparts to allow them

0:14:510:14:53

to rapidly identify every child

who might be eligible

0:14:530:14:59

for Dubs or Dublin.

0:14:590:15:01

She said the remaining 280 places

under the Dubs scheme should be

0:15:010:15:04

filled as soon as possible.

0:15:040:15:05

Can we aim for the end of the year?

0:15:050:15:07

Call me sentimental,

but can we aim for Christmas?

0:15:070:15:10

But this debate

isn't just about Dubs.

0:15:100:15:12

I'm also seeking reassurance

on what happens to Dublin III once

0:15:120:15:15

we leave the EU and its legislation.

0:15:150:15:18

Despite textbook policy

suggesting our domestic asylum

0:15:180:15:21

legislation should already allow

unaccompanied child refugees to be

0:15:210:15:23

reunited with their wider family,

their grandparents, siblings,

0:15:230:15:26

uncles, aunts, in practice

this is not happening.

0:15:260:15:29

What the concern is today is that

Britain is still falling short

0:15:290:15:34

on what it can do for these children

and it is nine-year-olds sleeping

0:15:340:15:37

in bushes, in Calais,

sleeping without shelters,

0:15:370:15:47

in Greece, in Italy that

are paying the price.

0:15:480:15:50

These are our children

to take responsibility for,

0:15:500:15:52

to work with the Greek authorities

to work with the

0:15:520:15:54

Italian authorities.

0:15:540:15:55

The minister is shaking his head.

0:15:550:15:57

Is he really saying he can be proud

of the country that looks

0:15:570:16:02

at children sleeping under

the bushes without proper shelter

0:16:020:16:04

and care and says it's

somebody's else's problem,

0:16:040:16:08

nothing to do with us.

0:16:080:16:10

I understand that honourable members

of this house who, like me,

0:16:100:16:12

are deeply concerned

about the plight of all refugees

0:16:120:16:14

across the whole wide world,

50 million people have been

0:16:140:16:17

displaced by conflict.

0:16:170:16:18

Yes, we've taken 3000.

0:16:180:16:19

But what is the right number of

children to take if it's not 3000.

0:16:190:16:23

Is it 30,000?

0:16:230:16:24

Is it 300,000?

0:16:240:16:25

Should we take all the children

across the whole of Europe?

0:16:250:16:27

Or just children who have

a connection to Britain?

0:16:270:16:29

And I think the right policy,

is that we should do our bit

0:16:290:16:33

particularly on reunification.

0:16:330:16:34

I don't agree that we can be

responsible for all the refugees,

0:16:340:16:38

all the children

across the whole of Europe.

0:16:380:16:40

We can't take in every child.

0:16:400:16:42

I'll tell you why.

0:16:420:16:47

I get complaints from my

constituents in Kent that we have

0:16:470:16:50

about a quarter of the unaccompanied

asylum seeking children

0:16:500:16:52

in the whole of this country.

0:16:520:16:55

And they are concerned

about the pressure on public

0:16:550:16:57

services that that places on Kent.

0:16:570:16:59

The Minister said the UK

was working with France

0:16:590:17:01

to implement the Dubs scheme.

0:17:010:17:06

We do work closely with France

to deliver and transfer 480

0:17:060:17:09

unaccompanied children from Europe

to the UK under section 67

0:17:090:17:13

of the 2016 immigration act,

quite the opposite of what some

0:17:130:17:16

members this afternoon said

about that process having stopped.

0:17:160:17:18

It hasn't.

0:17:180:17:21

It never has.

0:17:210:17:22

It is still open.

0:17:220:17:31

Will he then agree now to contact

local councils across the country

0:17:310:17:38

and ask them what further places

they could provide under the Dubs

0:17:380:17:42

scheme for next year.

As I've just

said, the court has outlined that

0:17:420:17:49

the process used is lawful. Children

have arrived in recent weeks from

0:17:490:17:54

France and we've been working with

Greece as well for that safe

0:17:540:18:00

transfer of eligible children to the

UK and Rishi expect further

0:18:000:18:04

referrals in the coming weeks.

0:18:040:18:06

He added that the UK couldn't

0:18:060:18:08

simply remove children

0:18:080:18:09

from other countries -

it had to respect their sovereignty

0:18:090:18:11

and child protection laws.

0:18:110:18:13

Next year it will be the centenary

of the first British

0:18:130:18:16

women to get the vote.

0:18:160:18:18

It was in 1918 the Representation

of the People Act was passed,

0:18:180:18:21

allowing women over the age of 30

who met a property qualification

0:18:210:18:24

to have a say in General Elections.

0:18:240:18:26

The Government has already

established a five million pound

0:18:260:18:29

fund to support projects

to mark the anniversary.

0:18:290:18:31

Have the government got

any more broad ideas,

0:18:310:18:37

both here in Parliament about how

they will celebrate the role

0:18:370:18:40

of women in public life

over the last 100 years,

0:18:400:18:43

perhaps to encourage

more to come forward.

0:18:430:18:47

Well, on that last point

the government will certainly be

0:18:470:18:53

thinking about how they can

celebrate the role of women

0:18:530:18:55

both in Parliament and more

broadly in public life.

0:18:550:19:01

A former Conservative cabinet

minister was in mischievious mood.

0:19:010:19:05

Would we take the opportunity

of the centenary to reflect

0:19:050:19:07

on the fact that the bending

government refuse to give women

0:19:070:19:10

the vote because they were worried

that they would lose the votes

0:19:100:19:14

the votes of the men.

0:19:140:19:16

My noble friend is

absolutely correct.

0:19:160:19:19

Lady Williams.

0:19:190:19:21

The Shadow Northern Ireland

Secretary has criticised

0:19:210:19:23

the Prime Minister for not taking

a greater role in brokering

0:19:230:19:26

a deal to restore

power-sharing at Stormont.

0:19:260:19:29

Northern Ireland's executive

collapsed in January over

0:19:290:19:32

the handling of a botched

renewable energy scheme.

0:19:320:19:35

Since then, talks between

the Democratic Unionist Party

0:19:350:19:39

and Sinn Fein have failed to reach

an agreement on the restoration

0:19:390:19:42

of devolved government.

0:19:420:19:43

The Northern Ireland Secretary,

James Brokenshire, said the impasse

0:19:430:19:46

meant the Government would have

to set a budget

0:19:460:19:48

for Northern Ireland.

0:19:480:19:50

While important progress has been

made, the parties have not yet

0:19:500:19:53

reached an agreement.

0:19:530:19:56

I'm not in a position to bring

before the house the legislation

0:19:560:20:00

necessary for an executive to be

formed this week.

0:20:000:20:03

The consequence of this

is that it is now highly unlikely

0:20:030:20:06

that an executive could be in place

within a timetable to be insured

0:20:060:20:09

of passing a budget before

the end of November.

0:20:090:20:14

Which is the point at

which we and the Northern Ireland

0:20:140:20:17

civil service assessed that

Northern Ireland will begin

0:20:170:20:19

to run out of resources.

0:20:190:20:23

No government could simply stand

by and allow that to happen

0:20:230:20:26

and we would you shirking our

responsibilities to the people of

0:20:260:20:28

Northern Ireland were we to do so.

0:20:280:20:32

James Brokenshire's opposite number

used the opportunity

0:20:320:20:34

to attack Theresa May.

0:20:340:20:37

We believe that the Prime

Minister of Great Britain

0:20:370:20:41

and Northern Ireland could get stuck

into this problem and try and bring

0:20:410:20:44

about a resolution over the impasse.

0:20:440:20:47

It is, in my view,

inexcusable and completely

0:20:470:20:53

inexplicable that she's

0:20:530:20:57

only visited Northern Ireland once

during her 15 months in office and

0:20:570:21:00

that for a 15 minute photocall

during the elections at an

0:21:000:21:03

agricultural show.

0:21:030:21:05

James Brokenshire insisted

Theresa May had been

0:21:050:21:07

talking to the parties.

0:21:070:21:08

The DUP's deputy leader predicted

that direct rule wasn't far off.

0:21:080:21:11

We would set the

government up tomorrow.

0:21:110:21:12

Sinn Fein are blocking it.

0:21:120:21:13

So, the Secretary of State

is perfectly right to come

0:21:130:21:16

to this house, as we have been

urging, to get the budget set and I

0:21:160:21:19

would also say to them

that we cannot allow

0:21:190:21:22

the drift to continue.

0:21:220:21:23

That, at some point in the very

near future, we will need to have

0:21:230:21:26

ministers and if they are not

Northern Ireland executive

0:21:260:21:28

ministers, which is what we want and

other parties want, but Sinn Fein

0:21:280:21:31

are blocking that, then it will have

to be ministers from here.

0:21:310:21:40

Earlier this week ,

the Justice Secretary,

0:21:400:21:42

David Lidington, indicated

that the government

0:21:420:21:44

was about to make a concession

on prisoner voting and bring

0:21:440:21:46

to an end a long

running legal battle.

0:21:460:21:48

In 2005 the European Court

of Human Rights ruled

0:21:480:21:50

against the UK's blanket ban

on allowing prisoners to vote.

0:21:500:21:53

David Lidington returned to

the Commons to announce his plans.

0:21:530:21:58

We will amend guidance to address

an anomaly in the current system

0:21:580:22:01

where offenders who are released

back in the community on licence

0:22:010:22:06

using an electronic tag,

under the home detention curfew

0:22:060:22:10

scheme, can vote under the present

arrangements but those

0:22:100:22:14

who are in the community

on temporary licence cannot vote.

0:22:140:22:19

Release on temporary licence

is a tool typically used to allow

0:22:190:22:23

offenders to commute from prison

to employment in the community

0:22:230:22:28

and so prepare themselves

for their return to society.

0:22:280:22:34

We believe that reinstating

the civic rights of voting

0:22:340:22:37

at this point is consistent

with that approach.

0:22:370:22:41

I think we need to know

what these discussions

0:22:410:22:44

and what assurances the Minister,

Secretary of State, has had

0:22:440:22:49

with lawyers to ensure

that his proposal today does bring

0:22:490:22:51

us in line with human rights law

because the last thing

0:22:510:22:58

that his house wants is a Secretary

of State having to come back

0:22:580:23:05

to the house at some point

in the future and explain that,

0:23:050:23:08

unfortunately, this hasn't satisfied

the test and isn't fulfilling our

0:23:080:23:11

international obligations.

0:23:110:23:12

May I add my congratulations

to my right honourable friend who,

0:23:120:23:14

after many years, has arrived

at what I think is an elegant

0:23:140:23:17

and sensible solution.

0:23:170:23:18

He will be aware that in the Council

of Europe it caused great

0:23:180:23:21

consternation that the UK was unable

to comply with these judgments

0:23:210:23:24

and it led to talk of the UK even

leaving the Council of Europe,

0:23:240:23:27

which after all we were a founding

member of by the Treaty of London.

0:23:270:23:31

Can he just confirm

that we now leave the company

0:23:310:23:36

of the countries of Armenia,

Bulgaria, Estonia, Jordan,

0:23:360:23:43

Hungary and Russia that

remain the only countries

0:23:430:23:45

in the Council of Europe that

still have a blanket ban.

0:23:450:23:48

The government has instituted

a system of Universal Credit

0:23:480:23:50

on the basis that it mirrors

the world of work so, why then,

0:23:500:23:53

not use the same logic and consider

that prisoners should be prepared

0:23:530:23:56

for life outside of prison

by maintaining their

0:23:560:23:58

civic right to a vote?

0:23:580:24:04

A very tiny concession

by the government is the bare

0:24:040:24:07

minimum it could get away

with and I believe that

0:24:070:24:10

when you imprison somebody,

you deprive them of their liberty,

0:24:100:24:12

you don't deprive

them of their rights.

0:24:120:24:19

I don't understand, perhaps

the Minister can tell me why

0:24:190:24:22

he feels so threatened by that.

0:24:220:24:23

The act of depriving someone

of his or her liberty

0:24:230:24:26

when they are sentenced to custody,

I would have thought by definition,

0:24:260:24:28

deprives them of some

absolutely vital civic rights.

0:24:280:24:31

I think giving the vote to any

prisoners is idiotic, unjustifiable,

0:24:310:24:35

and is about as popular

with the general public as finding

0:24:350:24:38

a rattlesnake in a lucky dip.

0:24:380:24:41

Philip Davies,

not mincing his words.

0:24:410:24:44

And finally, you may not have heard

of Erskine May but -

0:24:440:24:48

and you can trust me on this -

it is considered to be the most

0:24:480:24:51

authoritative reference book

on parliamentary procedure.

0:24:510:24:54

The question exercising MPs was -

is it available online?

0:24:540:24:58

One Labour MP -

who's interested in this sort

0:24:580:25:00

of thing - had the answer.

0:25:000:25:02

It is available on the intranet

in a 1000 page PDF which expresses

0:25:020:25:08

that it is not to be used

for the public.

0:25:080:25:12

What I'm asking, and I hope

that the commitment from the leader

0:25:120:25:14

of the house is clear,

that we will now be making it

0:25:140:25:17

available to the whole

of the country because the people

0:25:170:25:22

of this country are demanding

Erskine May be made available

0:25:220:25:24

to them without having to buy a copy

of the book.

0:25:240:25:27

And the good news is the Leader

of the House is looking into it

0:25:270:25:30

and perhaps in the not too distant

future we'll all be able

0:25:300:25:33

to read up on parliamentary

procedure on the go.

0:25:330:25:35

That's all we've time for,

but do join me on Friday night

0:25:350:25:38

at 11, for our round up

of the week at Westminster.

0:25:380:25:41

But for now from me,

Mandy Baker, goodbye.

0:25:410:25:45

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS