14/12/2017 Thursday in Parliament


14/12/2017

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 14 December, presented by Mandy Baker.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to the programme.

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Coming up in the next half hour:

The morning after the night before.

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That was a humiliating and entirely

avoidable defeat for the government.

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Also on the programme,

damning criticism of government

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reforms which have left probation

officers monitoring 200 offenders

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each, some only by phone.

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And it's six months since

the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower.

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Can the noble Lord Taulbee has what

specific action the government are

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taking to get these families into

accommodation in the new year?

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It was on the seventh amendment

during the seventh day

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at round about seven pm

that the Government suffered

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a defeat on the Brexit Bill.

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On Thursday morning,

along with their Coco Pops,

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MPs were still digesting

what had happened.

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And coincidentally it was

the Brexit Department who were down

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to answer questions in the Commons.

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The session began

with a bit of banter.

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I can understand why the minister a

isn't quite right side this morning.

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It is the extension I am afraid of

the single European cold which is

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having a transition period of its

own.

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But then it was down to business.

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Last night this has voted that

Parliament should have a meaningful

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vote at the end of the process. That

was a humiliating and entirely

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avoidable at the feet for the

government. This has not having

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spoken, have assurance that the

government will not seek to

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undermine or overturn last nights

results at the report stage.

Let me

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first make an observation on last

night's outcome. The effect of it is

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to make the powers available under

section nine, deferred until after

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as we see it... We get oil assents

to the withdrawal agreement and a

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limitation bill which means that it

will be a compressed timetable.

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Those who want to see a smooth and

orderly exit from the European

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Union, hopefully want to see a

working statute book. We will have

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to think about how we respond to it.

But as always we take the House of

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Commons views seriously.

Mr Speaker

that was not the basis upon which

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the debate was conducted yesterday.

We will have to come back to that.

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The next accident waiting to happen

is government amendment 381, which

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seeks to put a fixed exit date on

the face of the bill. Rather than

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repeated last nights debacle, will

be government now commits to

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dropping that ill-conceived gimmick?

Unlike the right honourable

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gentleman I do not of you both as

accidents. Their decisions taken by

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the house and not decision, the

respected as will the next one.

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Nobody on these benches who voted

against the government took any

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pleasure not, nobody drank

champagne. We drink champagne, not

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on these benches. These are serious

matters. It was avoidable if the

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offer that have been made by my

right honourable and learned friend

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from back in field had been taken

up.

Essential to our ambition for a

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excellent deal is preparation for no

deal. Isn't it?

That's one

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perspective, I will say one thing

about no deal. No deal has become

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massively less probable after the

decisions of last Friday. That is a

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good thing because the best to deal

is a terrace of free and a nontariff

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barrier free arrangement with the

European Union. However he is quite

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right, we do continue to prepare for

all contingencies and will continue

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to do so until we are certain that

we have a good free-trade deal with

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the European Union.

The European

Union is estimate is of a wider

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seller of over 42,000 bottles, and

artwork worth more than £13 million.

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Some might say metaphorically looted

from the capitals of Europe. After

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we leave the party will be minister

promised to take back control of our

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fair share of this are to an out

wind and not lead to Mr York to

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enjoy?

First advisory referenda was

conducted in ignorance of the wine

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cellars and almost every thing else

was a choice between operation fear

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and operation lies. As an

appropriate that we listen to all

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those independent bodies who have

looked at the press fax and decided

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it that's Brexit, no Brexit would be

better than any Brexit. Isn't it

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time to think about a second

well-informed confirmation

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referendum?

The answer I give to him

is the same one that I did then. He

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referendum debate that we had to

knock him out of the blue Comet came

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after 30 years of debating in this

country. The government at the time

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went to every country. We should

suck the decision of the British

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people.

Recent polls and I'll show

there is a clear majority in favour

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of a referendum on the deal, and it

is it any wonder this government has

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lost control? Yesterday Parliament

took back control, and now the book

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want to take back control from the

Tory party any DUP. Can the Minister

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please acclaimed my constituents how

a referendum on the deal, the

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first-ever random on the facts,

would be anti-democratic?

I'm very

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tempted to point out the polling

results the Liberal Democrats

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party... No opinion poll comes

anywhere near the votes of 17 and a

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half million people which we will

respect. Following events in the

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timber last night, somehow met

members of your main campaign took

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to Twitter saying this is another

step towards a Barry of preventing

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Brexit. With the Secretary of State

please confirm and reassure the 17.4

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million people who voted to leave

that this government is absolutely

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committed to delivering a positive

Brexit for this country?

That things

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are by saying I do not agree with

the people who tweeted that that was

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the purpose of many of the people

who voted last night. I think they

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did so in good faith. However, he is

right. The aim of this government is

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to take a set of the European Union,

dissected by the European people and

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that is what we will do.

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Several MPs were concerned

about the rights of EU

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nationals living in the UK.

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Unfortunately the 3 million EU 27

citizens living here do not feel

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that certainty because nothing is

agreed until editing is agreed. The

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government not commit now to putting

an amendment on the face of any of

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the forthcoming EU bills to give

that certainty?

The Secretary of

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State claims that the phase

agreement gives security to EU

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nationals, but this is constantly

undermined by the reference to a no

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deal Brexit which would let up. Does

he not accept that there is a need

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to give the legal standing to EU

citizens rights and now? Not put

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them through another year of anxiety

is not the first thing I will say to

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the honourable Lady is that the

government has made clear from the

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beginning that it values the million

citizens who are here, the Prime

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Minister has been to them all.

Or

rather the ones we have records for.

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As it is our clear intention, and it

will be legally binding within the

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with drawl bill that they will have

the right to have laid out.

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Staying with Brexit for a moment,

you may remember the seemingly

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endless debate over the impact

assessments - these were studies

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of 58 sectors of the economy and how

Brexit would affect them.

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Except that they turned out not

to be impact assessments,

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but sectoral analyses.

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It's all coming back isn't it?

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Well, one MP decided

to have a look at them.

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I recently booked an appointment in

the reading room and I thought it

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would be like an N/A circle of hell

that I'll be trapped in there for

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days to read the sectoral analysis.

Others of the honourable Lady

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opposite. In fact there are only

nine pages on health and social care

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and the entire documents relevant to

my/ committee took less than one

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hour to read.

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Several MPs had complained

that the documents released

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were incomplete and also that,

having promised to hand them over,

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the Brexit Secretary then

said impact assessments

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actually didn't exist.

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They complained to the Speaker

that this amounted to

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a contempt of Parliament.

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John Bercow delivered his verdict.

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Ministers could with advantage have

been a considerably clearer in their

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statements. Particularly in the

challenging lines of questioning in

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select committees, which are based

upon a genuine misconception.

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The Speaker said he'd "carefully"

considered the accounts given

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by ministers but he didn't

consider their conduct amounted

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to a contempt of Parliament.

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It's exactly six months

since the horrific fire

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at the Grenfell Tower

block in London.

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A memorial service has

been held in honour

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of the seventy-one people who died.

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Members of the royal family,

Theresa May, survivors and families

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of the victims attended

the multi-faith service

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at St Paul's Cathedral.

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In the Lords, the Government

was asked about new housing

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for those left homeless

and traumatised by the fire.

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Six months is a very long time to be

living in hotel accommodation, and

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in no way to spend Christmas of

honourable, unsettled and

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traumatised. Can the noble Lords

tell the House what specific action

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the government are taking to get

these families into accommodation in

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the new year?

To bring me has up to

date, 151 homes were lost in the

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fire. Some of those homes were

overcrowded, others have

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multi-generational households who

now wish to divide. 210 households

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that formerly lived in rental tower

need to be rehoused. Hundred and 44

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households have accepted an offer of

either temporary or permanent

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accommodation. 99 have moved income

of 54 are temporary and 45 are into

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permanent housing. I are into

permanent housing. 111 RN emergency

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accommodations boast up 66 have yet

to accept an option of temporary or

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permanent. We ask what action is

being taken. The Royal Borough of

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Kingston and Chelsea plan by

Christmas to have acquired the good

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homes. They are acquiring to homes a

day. I quite agree that Christmas is

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no time to spend in emergency,

nation, the government is acutely

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aware of that. In the four hotels or

most of the families are, specific

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arrangements are made for the

families have space of their own to

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meet each other and entertain their

wider families that they want to. A

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lot of services are being put on by

voluntary groups and faith groups of

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because his period to help them

support those families. We very much

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hope that by June of next year

everyone will have moved into

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permanent accommodation. But

families need to move in their own

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time. Some are in emergency

accommodation, not wanting to move

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into temporary accommodation because

they might have to move twice. And

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the world Borough of Kensington and

Chelsea is doing intensive work at

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getting along side the families

finding out what accommodation they

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need and where they need it and

sticking to match that with the 300

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houses that they are acquiring.

Could I remind the Minister that the

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government statement on the gun fell

a fire of the 19th of October it was

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said they were expecting to be 300

suitable local, permanent properties

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by Christmas. And yet only 45

households have actually moved in.

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Could I ask the Minister whether he

has confidence in the local council

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to deliver, or whether it may be

time for the government to intervene

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more directly?

The government has no

plans to the commissions into the

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world Borough of Camden and Chelsea,

they have a new leader. They have

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any chief executive. The government

is establishing a task force to make

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sure the world Borough of Kensington

and Chelsea live up to the

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expectation that everyone has of

what they plan to do. Some of those

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in temporary accommodation want that

temporary accommodation to become a

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permanent home. The world Borough of

Kensington and Chelsea is

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approaching the relevant landlords

to see if I can take place. Some of

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those an emergency accommodation

have already accepted permanent

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accommodation, but it takes time to

complete and fit out to the house,

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to put into the goods for the

families to move in. I'm conscious

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that there is an and patients on

behalf of your lordships to make

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progress. I am confident that the

Royal Borough of Kensington and

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Chelsea are planning to spend nearly

a quarter of £1 billion acquiring

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property and Hanau got the message

the formal lack of emotional

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intelligence is behind us and

they're getting on with the job.

Are

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any of those who are claiming now

social housing, work any of those

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tenants of Grenfell Tower who had

moved out and unlawfully left there

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accommodation to more than one

family? I don't think we need have

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too much sympathy for people who

behaved like that.

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Lord Young said the assistance

from the council was for those

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who were living at Grenfell

at the time of the fire.

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He has lived through tragic

circumstances where people have lost

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their life and he will know better

than anyone in this House the trauma

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of those people have been through

and we ought to allow them the time

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and space to allow -- to find

suitable accommodation to move into.

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You're watching Thursday

in Parliament, with me, Mandy Baker.

0:14:270:14:29

Don't forget you can find all our

programmes on the BBC iPlayer.

0:14:290:14:32

Urgent action is needed to help

hundreds of thousands of children

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facing "Dickensian" living

conditions.

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That plea came as peers

debated a report from

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the Children's Commissioner

for England which said

0:14:400:14:43

millions of children

were leading vulnerable lives.

0:14:430:14:46

The Labour peer who opened

the debate described

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the findings as "horrific".

0:14:480:14:51

A little girl of eight called Hannah

lives with her mother

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and younger sister.

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Their father, who has an alcohol

problem, has left the family,

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but when he was drunk

he sometimes returned.

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When he did, Hannah knew

that her responsibility

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was to take her younger sister

upstairs to the bedroom

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and hide under the bed.

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However, that does nothing

to protect them from hearing

0:15:190:15:23

the beating their mother is getting

from their father downstairs.

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When it's over, the little

girls see their mother's

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face pouring blood.

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This is not drama but

real life for Hannah.

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The police are called

and eventually the mother

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and children were told

that they had to move,

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so they went to a homeless refuge.

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That was not the end

of their nightmare.

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In many respects,

it was just the start.

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Councils, she said, were facing

a £2 billion shortfall in funding

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for children's services by 2020.

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This, my lords, is a Dickensian

situation in 2017 with which we must

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come to terms and to which we must

respond in a more considered

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and profound way than

we have done up to now.

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It needs a high-level

response, the highest,

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from the Prime Minister.

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Only by Mrs May expressing her

determination that this scandal,

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for that is what it is,

will now be solved that government

0:16:160:16:18

departments will work together,

pooling ideas and resources.

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Is there any chance that

progress will be made?

0:16:210:16:24

There are around 700,000 hidden

young carers in the UK,

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all of whom are children under

the age of 18.

0:16:300:16:35

One in 12 of these children

are caring for someone at home

0:16:350:16:39

for more than 15 hours a week,

delivering significant caring tasks

0:16:390:16:43

such as administering

medication, toileting,

0:16:430:16:45

bathing, domestic care

and emotional support.

0:16:450:16:51

Around one in plenty of these young

people miss school because of

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their caring responsibilities.

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However, these children are hidden

from view, caring in silence,

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under the radar of social workers

and teachers, carrying a huge

0:16:590:17:04

burden of responsibility,

often without support.

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At the beginning of her report,

the commissioner quotes AA Milne.

0:17:080:17:11

I feel it is only right to start

in a similar manner.

0:17:110:17:15

"Promise me you'll always remember,

you're braver than you believe,

0:17:150:17:19

and stronger than you seem,

and smarter than you think."

0:17:190:17:23

We must try to get vulnerable

children, in particular,

0:17:230:17:25

to think like this.

0:17:250:17:27

When something goes wrong

for a child, there should always be

0:17:270:17:30

someone there to help.

0:17:300:17:32

It is our duty to make sure that

children and families

0:17:320:17:35

have that support.

0:17:350:17:36

He said action was being taken

across government to reform care

0:17:360:17:39

and mental health services

and protect victims of abuse.

0:17:390:17:43

Where local authorities are not

delivering children's social care

0:17:430:17:46

services to the standard we expect,

we have shown that we

0:17:460:17:49

will take tough action.

0:17:490:17:51

We are appointing expert advisers

and challenging progress

0:17:510:17:55

to drive rapid improvement.

0:17:560:17:59

Where it is found that a local

authority does not have the capacity

0:17:590:18:02

to bring about the changes needed,

we will not hesitate

0:18:020:18:06

to remove service control.

0:18:060:18:08

Lady Dean had a warning

for the minister.

0:18:080:18:10

The Children's Commissioner's report

is going to become an annual one,

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so we will be able to watch

and comment rather forensically

0:18:150:18:19

on just how well, or not,

we as a nation are doing,

0:18:190:18:24

through our Government,

for the children of England

0:18:240:18:28

who desperately need help

in so many areas.

0:18:280:18:31

Lady Dean.

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Now, the Committee on Standards

in Public Life revealed this week

0:18:330:18:36

that a third of parliamentary

candidates at the election in June

0:18:360:18:40

had experienced inappropriate

or intimidating behaviour.

0:18:400:18:44

Candidates of all parties

were affected - though Conservatives

0:18:440:18:46

were twice as likely to be abused

as Labour ones.

0:18:460:18:50

And the aggressive behaviour

can intensify

0:18:500:18:52

once a candidate's elected -

as the Conservative Sarah Wollaston

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has found to her cost.

0:18:550:18:57

On one of the busiest

Saturdays in the run-up

0:18:570:19:00

to Christmas in Totnes,

local activists, including, sadly,

0:19:000:19:03

the local Labour Party,

decided to parade with a real coffin

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and leave a large and carefully

constructed model of a coffin

0:19:060:19:11

at my constituency office.

0:19:110:19:14

Does the Leader of the House feel,

particularly in the light

0:19:140:19:17

of the report on intimidation

in public life that was published

0:19:170:19:20

yesterday, that the line

of decency was overstepped?

0:19:200:19:23

There are real dangers

in using the imagery of death

0:19:230:19:26

and directing it against individuals

to whip up hatred.

0:19:260:19:30

Most importantly of all,

this kind of thing deters really

0:19:300:19:33

good candidates from applying

for positions in public life.

0:19:330:19:41

I was disgusted, as I am sure

all right honourable members were,

0:19:410:19:46

to hear about my honourable

friend's awful experience.

0:19:460:19:52

I texted her at the time to say

that I hoped she was OK.

0:19:520:19:55

It must have been

absolutely terrifying.

0:19:550:19:57

It was truly horrible and we should

all condemn this kind of behaviour

0:19:570:20:01

and call it out wherever we see it.

0:20:010:20:04

Lord Bew's report on the abuse

and intimidation of candidates

0:20:040:20:08

highlights that this is not a simple

matter of holding

0:20:080:20:12

politicians to account.

0:20:120:20:14

It goes far beyond that and it

will be a deterrent to diversity

0:20:140:20:19

and the high calibre of candidates

we want to see

0:20:190:20:26

in Parliament.

0:20:260:20:27

We all combine in condemning that

action against my honourable friend.

0:20:270:20:30

Andrea Leadsom.

0:20:300:20:32

The Chief Inspector

of the Probation Service,

0:20:320:20:33

Dame Glenys Stacey, has delivered

a scathing verdict on the use

0:20:330:20:38

of private firms to manage offenders

who are considered

0:20:380:20:40

low to medium risk.

0:20:400:20:42

She said "deep-rooted

problems" meant that

0:20:420:20:44

Community Rehabilitation Companies -

or CRCs - were not transforming

0:20:440:20:48

rehabilitation in the way

ministers had hoped.

0:20:480:20:52

Several peers were especially

alarmed at the use of

0:20:520:20:54

supervision by telephone.

0:20:540:20:56

This well-researched report,

which I commend to the House

0:20:560:21:00

as of interest to us all,

presents a thoroughly dispiriting

0:21:000:21:04

account of just how great has

been the deterioration

0:21:040:21:09

and the effectiveness

of the Probation Service

0:21:090:21:11

in the past three years.

0:21:110:21:14

It is now clear that the so-called

innovative programme has resulted

0:21:140:21:19

in a disjointed and incoherent

system despite

0:21:190:21:23

the hard work of the staff.

0:21:230:21:26

I hope the Minister will agree

that the victims of crime,

0:21:260:21:31

the courts of this country and local

communities deserve better,

0:21:310:21:35

and I hope urgent action will now be

taken to recover what has been lost

0:21:350:21:39

in these recent changes.

0:21:390:21:43

My Lords, we recognise the concerns

identified by the inspectorate

0:21:430:21:48

and are working hard

to address these problems.

0:21:480:21:51

Many of the performance issues

with CRCs stem from the financial

0:21:510:21:54

challenges that providers

are facing, which has meant

0:21:540:21:59

that we have addressed

those contractual terms.

0:21:590:22:02

However, I observe that nearly

two-thirds of CRCs have reduced

0:22:020:22:06

the number of people reoffending.

0:22:060:22:08

One of the important issues

that the Chief Inspector raises

0:22:080:22:11

in her report is the fact that

low-risk people, who are

0:22:110:22:15

supposed to be supervised

by the Probation Service,

0:22:150:22:18

can become high-risk.

0:22:180:22:20

She gave the example

of someone convicted

0:22:200:22:21

of driving while disqualified,

who was receiving

0:22:210:22:25

telephone supervision -

one call every six weeks -

0:22:250:22:29

and who eventually assaulted

a previous partner.

0:22:290:22:33

Does the noble and learned Lord

accept that a phone call every six

0:22:330:22:36

weeks is no way to supervise people

who are supposed to be

0:22:360:22:40

under the supervision

of the Probation Service?

0:22:400:22:43

My Lords, supervision of offenders

needs to be proportionate

0:22:430:22:46

to the risk they present.

0:22:460:22:48

In some cases, remote contact may be

appropriate for lower-risk offenders

0:22:480:22:51

who are complying with their orders.

0:22:510:22:53

However, we recognise that best

practice is for probation officers

0:22:530:22:57

to work with offenders face to face.

0:22:570:22:59

Listening to the Minister,

he has been meticulous in not

0:22:590:23:03

thanking or supporting the inspector

for her report.

0:23:030:23:07

I invite him to do so.

0:23:070:23:09

During my 12 years in government

I came across Dame Glenys Stacey,

0:23:090:23:14

and she is one of the finest public

servants I had contact

0:23:140:23:18

with during my time as a Minister.

0:23:180:23:21

She deserves incredible

support and the thanks

0:23:210:23:24

of the House for the report,

and I should like to hear

0:23:240:23:27

it from the Minister.

0:23:270:23:29

My Lords, I am perfectly happy

to endorse the observations

0:23:290:23:31

made by the noble Lord.

0:23:310:23:33

Had I been asked about that point

earlier, I would have

0:23:330:23:35

responded in the same way.

0:23:360:23:45

Is the Minister really

saying that the Government

0:23:450:23:47

are satisfied with a telephone form

of probation, because I do not

0:23:470:23:49

believe anybody in this House is?

0:23:500:23:51

My Lords, we are not

satisfied with the telephone

0:23:510:23:53

form of probation but,

as I said, contact with offenders

0:23:530:23:56

has to be proportionate

to the risk they present.

0:23:560:24:00

My Lords, I assure the Minister that

when these proposals were put

0:24:000:24:04

through by the Coalition Government

they were ideologically driven,

0:24:040:24:10

and some of the flaws that have

emerged reveal the kind

0:24:100:24:17

of compromises that were created

in the Probation Service.

0:24:170:24:21

Before these reforms,

the Probation Service had

0:24:210:24:27

an excellent report.

0:24:270:24:29

We now have this disastrous report.

0:24:290:24:33

If the Minister is approaching this

ideologically, I put it to him

0:24:330:24:38

that there is now a strong case

for handing probation over wholly

0:24:380:24:43

to the National Probation Service.

0:24:430:24:46

My Lords, I am not approaching this

matter as an ideologue.

0:24:460:24:50

I am approaching it as a Minister

with responsibility

0:24:500:24:53

for the implementation

of the existing system of probation,

0:24:530:24:56

in which we continue to have faith.

0:24:560:24:59

Lord Keen.

0:24:590:25:00

Just before I go, misleading

the House of Commons is considered

0:25:000:25:03

a very serious offence

by the Parliamentary authorities,

0:25:030:25:07

so one MP was anxious to set

the record straight.

0:25:070:25:10

Point of order, Mr Speaker.

0:25:100:25:15

I fear that I inadvertently misled

the House during business questions,

0:25:150:25:18

when I suggested that honourable

and right honourable members

0:25:180:25:22

could enjoy the pantomime

of Dick Whittington at the Millfield

0:25:220:25:24

theatre this Christmas.

0:25:240:25:26

In fact, that was the last

pantomime that I saw there.

0:25:260:25:29

If honourable members wish to attend

the Millfield theatre this year,

0:25:290:25:32

it will be to enjoy Jack

and the Beanstalk.

0:25:320:25:35

LAUGHTER.

0:25:350:25:37

Oh, no, it won't.

0:25:370:25:38

And that's it, but do

join me at the same time

0:25:380:25:41

tomorrow for our round-up

of the week at Westminster.

0:25:410:25:43

But for now, from me,

Mandy Baker, goodbye.

0:25:430:25:48

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