Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 25 January, presented by Alicia McCarthy.
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Hello there and welcome
to Thursday in Parliament.
On this programme: Coming up:
A former Labour minister tells
of her battle with a brain tumour
and calls for more
working to tackle cancer.
So that we can do live well together
with cancer. Not just dying of it.
The Defence Secretary announces
a new review of the Armed Forces
and faces calls for more spending.
Could he please ensure that we do
not repeat the nonsense of when
people say, you can modernise but
what they mean is you cut.
And: the government's told to do
more to stop the revolving door
of former ministers and civil
servants moving into lucrative jobs
in the private sector.
If nothing is done by government to
strengthen business rules we risk of
further undermining trust and
integrity in politics.
But first: There was
a prolonged standing ovation
in the Lords for Tessa -
now Lady Jowell - as she called
for greater global cooperation
to help beat cancer.
Lady Jowell was diagnosed
with a brain tumour.
On the 24th of May last year I was
on my way to talk not for the first
time in East London. I rot into a
taxi but I couldn't speak. I had two
powerful seizures. I was taken to
hospital. Two days later, I was told
that I had a brain tumour. A week
later, the tumour was removed by an
outstanding surgeon at the national
Hospital in Queens Square. I then
had the standard treatment of radio
She told peers what had happened:
Now she was backing a scheme called
the eliminate cancer initiative
-- or ECI.
It aims to do three main things. The
first, link patients and doctors
across the world through a clinical
trial network. Secondly, speed up
the use of active trials. Thirdly,
build a global database to improve
research and patient care.
It was she said about sharing
knowledge at every level --
and quoting Seamus Heaney she said
she was not afraid
So many cancer patients collaborate
and support each other every day.
They create the community of love
and determination that they find
each other every day. All we now ask
is that doctors and health systems
learn to do the same and for us to
work together. To learn from each
other. In the end, what gives life
meaning? Is not only how it is left.
But how it draws to a close. I hope
that this debate will give hope to
other cancer patients like me so
that we can live well together with
cancer. Not just dying of it. All of
us for longer. Thank you.
To a packed public gallery
and with MPs crowding at the bar
of the lords a fellow former cabinet
minister paid tribute
to his friend of 40 years.
We are all of us privileged to be
here this afternoon and to have
heard her speak and to give us a
clarion call to pick up the cudgel
into work tirelessly to ensure words
she seeks is carried forward for
others and the future and that our
NHS, scientists, innovators,
consultants, can jot down and
experience from across the world and
can remember Tessa giallo is the all
well and we are privileged to have
heard this afternoon.
The minister praised
Lady Jowell's speech.
I would like to praise the normal
lady for the determination she has
shown. I think it's fair to say she
is inspired us all and many cancer
sufferers as well. I suppose we
should expect nothing less from the
women who brought us the most
wonderful Olympic and her Olympic
Games in 2012. On of the wonderful
things about the NHS is is here for
all of us all the time. One of the
quirks is that it has an unrivaled
data set on patient's medical
experiences and that is invaluable
to the research community. We all
know that we have a God policy rate
in this area always or brought the
public with us about the benefits of
sharing data but the earth keep
decisions coming up so that we can
access and create a data set for
research purposes. The noble lady
has offered hope. With her ever for
tile mind making suggestions for how
we can improve cancer care she races
our sites and demands that
collectively we work harder to offer
hope to people affected by the
terrible disease she suffers with
such dignity. It is the right
challenge and one I'm prepared to
accept on behalf of the government.
In doing so, I promise her that our
efforts will not waver until the
scourge of cancer no longer robs us
of the ones we love.
The Defence Secretary has hinted
he'll ask for more money
for the UK's Armed Forces
when he carries out
a defence review.
Making a statement to MPs he said it
would not be "fiscally neutral'
There's been much
speculation in recent weeks
that there could be cuts
on the horizon, specifically
the potential loss of amphibious
assault ships and reports that
full-time army numbers could fall
from their current level
of about 78,000 to 70,000 -
well below the government's
target of 82,000.
The review was being overseen
by the National Security Council -
the NSC, but Gavin Williamson
successfully argued for it to be
carried out within the MOD.
The world is becoming a more
dangerous place. We cannot afford to
shy away from this reality. Nor can
we take our security for granted.
But even more than back, and a post
Brexit world, pretend must continue
to champion the global good. It must
continue to reach out to seize
global opportunities in deal with
If this review
identifies additional spending is
necessary for the security of our
nation, will the government step up
to the plate? Surely he must agree
that it would be pointless to have a
review that finds we need additional
equipment or increase personnel only
for the government to ignore that
recommendation. You cannot do
security on the cheap and it's high
time that the government recognise
this. And yet, this statement makes
reference to further efficiencies
being carried out as part of this
review. Raising the spectre of you
The honourable lady
asked if this is aiming to be
fiscally neutral. No, it isn't. It's
looking at how we can actually get
the Armed Forces that we need in
order to deal with the threats that
Could he ensure that we do
not repeat the nonsense of when
people say, you can modernise but
what they actually mean is you
If it is not to be fiscally
neutral, Kenny confirm that the
departure... If not, can members of
the armed forces expect a pay rise?
Gavin Willliamson repeated
it was not aiming to
be fiscally neutral.
He will have the second part of that
whole house if he manages to secure
additional funding. But then put the
defence budget on a more sustainable
footing that allows our armed forces
to tackle the increased threats that
they face without these demoralising
rumours of deep cuts. The words here
are interesting and they are
important. But what matters in the
end is money.
We have seen rumour
after rumour and speculation
undermining not only our global
reputation but the confidence of our
serving personnel about their
futures. Rumours about the parachute
Regiment merging with the rail
Marines, all of this has been
There'd been much criticism
during the statement
of the way it was made,
with the timings being
But a Conservative reckoned
he understood the pressures.
I have every sympathy with the
Secretary of State in terms of over
the last two days when this was
going to be announced.
The minister said the aim of
the review was for the Armed Forces
to set out their case
for the resources that they needed.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled
that the law which has allowed
people to be convicted of murder
even if they did not inflict
the fatal blow has been wrongly
interpreted for more than 30 years.
In recent years, what's known
as Joint enterprise has been used
to convict people in gang-related
cases if defendants "could" have
foreseen violent acts
by their associates.
But it's very controversial because,
many believe, it lowers the burden
of proof and allows people to be
swept up in a prosecution
and convicted on the basis
that they were all "in it together".
With hundreds of what's known as
lifers in prison convict did
underwent the Supreme Court viewed
as a wrong application of the law,
this is potentially one of the
biggest and most widespread
miscarriages of justice ever to face
our justice system. As such, I fear
that the cosy club of the criminal
justice establishment is closing in
on itself to prevent this from fully
ever being exposed.
If you look at
statistics, 37% of those were
serving long sentences for joint
enterprise are black. That is 11
times the proportion of black people
the population. I think it
underlines why it's absolutely
essential that we have the review
that my honourable friend has called
for which I fully support. Secondly,
surely we're seeing a case given the
uncertainty here where the courts
are in effect acting as legislators.
That is wrong. Where there's
uncertainty in the law it is for
this host to tidy and cleared up
particularly when it's visiting in
on people the way we're seeing.
There's been a failure to
distinguish between gangs and
groups. The house will understand
that not all members of groups have
a criminal purpose and not all
members of or groups join in when
there's an incident. Humans are by
nature social animals. People hang
around and groups or sports teams.
It doesn't mean if an incident
occurs that everyone in the group
intended whatever happened to
We know of this harassment
honourable members have picked up
the maze. Former leader of the SMP,
the honourable member Lord
Haseltine, if you picked up the mace
and an older member of Parliament
got the mace was coming towards them
and had a heart attack and died, he
would be in serious Thomas serious
trouble. But if you discussed it
with your colleagues beforehand, you
two would be in serious, serious
trouble. At the whole political
party. And this occasion, the S and
P that might have been heading.
That's how ridiculous this has come
and why we need urgent review.
August 2013, Alex Henry went
shopping with three friends. A
confrontation took place that lasted
just over 40 seconds. It's not clear
why the confrontation took place. It
may have been triggered by a stare.
One young man used a knife from
within a bag and stop two brothers
one of whom tragically lost his
life. On the sixth day of the trial,
the man with a knife pleaded guilty
to murder and was sentenced to 20
years. While Alex Henry received 19
years. Despite never touching the
knife or even being aware of its
existence. Only four years class.
can seek to actually bring an end to
this rent is, a disproportionate
nightmare, this and British
jurisprudence and this appalling
situation in which 40 seconds and
laid to 12 years. For someone who
happens to be with a group of people
can find themselves facing the best
part of their young life in prison
for something that they cannot stop
even they wanted to. And it is often
said that the house is at its worst
when it's unanimous but I think this
is the exception to that.
recognise the importance of the law
and joint enterprise. The impact
that it can have on those such as
the constituents of the honourable
member for Manchester Centura and
others who have come before the
house today. Up for the reasons set
out, the government does not believe
that time is currently writes for
any changes to the law and joint
enterprise. It is for the courts to
interpret the law as laid down by
the Supreme Court. I very much hope
that the revised guidance on
secondary liability will provide a
clear direction and guidance for
prosecutors on this area of law. I'm
happy to keep the matter under
You're watching Thursday
in Parliament, with me,
A senior Conservative,
has made a stinging criticism
of the "revolving door" which allows
former ministers, to take up
highly-paid jobs linked
to their previous ministerial
There was criticism
of the Conservative former
Chancellor, George Osborne,
who took a job with the financial
firm BlackRock shortly after leaving
office and later took
on the editorship of
London's Evening Standard Newspaper.
Bernard Jenkin, who chairs
the Public Administration and
Constitutional Affairs Committee,
also said he was disappointed
in the government had responded
"evasively" to his committee's
report on the issue.
For example, it includes every
department. The will finish up
working in the industry. A similar
situation occurs in our departments.
No one should assume that there is
automatically anything wrong with
this. That there needs to be an
adequate system of assurance. That
there is indeed nothing wrong, and
that we are not fostering it commits
He described the official watchdog,
ACOBA, as a toothless regulator,
which had failed to change
the environment around
If personal observation, the
magazine Private Eye, frequently
appears to be doing a better job
than the advisory committee itself.
The SNP, said the government's
response smacked of complacency
and self interest.
Alison Thewliss pointed to the
former Chancellor, George Osborne.
The actions of the former
Chancellor, had respected, if
nothing is done, buy this house, the
risk further undermining trust and
Our port does mention,
George Osborne as, first of all, dad
it was striking in starkly, the fact
that he appeared to give a blank
check to the former Chancellor to
join at a very inflated salary. So
shortly after he had left his
office. George Osborne also
completely bypassed the appointment
as editor of the evening standard,
prior to accepting his appointment.
And a very glaring example, not
necessarily of a particularly his
honour of an individual, but --
A Labour mp, said George Osborne had
been invited to give evidence to
the public administration committee.
To explain why had five meanings, he
altered the law in their favour and
when he lost his office, took a job
with them for £650,000 for a one day
a week of work. If that is not an
egregious example of the abuse of
the revolving door, it is hard to
see what is.
If they have not
already done so, to take a look at
the government response that has
been laid to the committee, in which
we clearly stated, to maintain the
highest standards of conduct,
including special advisers under the
rules and procedures we have in
place. We look forward to work with
the committee to do more though.
A response Bernard Jenkin
described as disappointing.
The present arrangements
he insisted were not adequate.
The Prime Minister says she's
"appalled" by the reports
of the groping and sexual harassment
of women at a men only
Speaking at the World Economic Forum
in Davos, she said "I thought that
sort of approach to women,
of women, was something
we were leaving behind.
The Children and Families minister
Nadhim Zahawi attended the evening
organised by the Presidents Club,
but says he left early.
Mps had expressed their fury
about the women's treatment
in the Commons on Wednesday and kept
up the pressure at
One shadow minister wanted to know.
Was it a official visit, or was a
private visit? Where all the
Presidents men is neck either way,
it is an abuse of power. There is
absolutely no place for that type of
activity. A men only club, abusing
women in this way, is absolutely
It continues to
develop to appal, to be possibly
have a debate about this? Canmore
begun to challenge the laws that
sustain them in the culture that
still thinks that they are
acceptable? We're in an area of zero
tolerance of behaviour, and it has
to be substantial progress to tackle
this pathetic behaviour.
Plastic waste has made the news
again as water companies announced
plans to set up water refill
points across England.
In an attempt to reduce the amount
of plastic bottles sold,
shops, cafes and businesses
will provide the refill points
and public fountains will be found
via an app.
This was welcomed by
the Environment Secretary
in the Commons as he spelled out how
the government is trying
to stick to its twenty-five
year environment plan
We have already banned these
products, single use plastics, and a
return scheme as well as production
of plastic food eyelets by
Can you tell why it is,
that he allowed 20 years for the
elimination of nonessential
plastics. If they're not essential,
surely we can do better than that.
The nature of betrayed five-year
plan was, it covers a wide array,
and they're more ambitious ways to
reduce these plastics which the
government is bringing forward. But
he sadly right to encourage us in
the government and all of us to be
A number of times the
importance of recycling. So I'm very
concerned that the government has
been opposing the new EU targets.
Can they explain why the government
Across the EU that we
have the right targets. One of the
flaws with the EU system is that it
relies on measuring through weight,
sometimes it signifies the wrong
approaches. But our country has gone
further than the European Union as
requested, or suggested on
everything from banning micro
plastics, to indeed introducing a
charge on plastic bags, that all of
these areas, that we've gone further
and faster than the EU. That is the
ambition of this government for a
And away from pollution
and recycling, after being wished
a happy Burns day by a Scottish
colleague, Mr Gove told
the Commons that he was hopeful
of a breakthrough with
the United States over its ban
on haggis from 1971 because of its
key ingredient: sheep's lung.
On the subject of, I've had recent
discussions with the Department of
Agriculture, if he can lift the ban
on haggis. He has one virtue is that
he has, I hope that he may listen
Controversial plans to build a zip
wire tourist attraction
across the Thirlmere Reservoir
in the Lake District have faced
strong opposition in the Lords.
At question time the scheme
was described as a "very bad idea"
and an "inappropriate"
for a National Park
and World Heritage site.
Concerns were also raised over
the potential threat to RAF planes
who use the area for training.
Zip wires across there are a very
bad idea. Intrusion into the
national Park, where fundamental
policies include the conservation of
the landscape. Together with
recreational uses, how would that
Has he nominated the
national Park for heritage site
status. That is primarily about our
cultural landscape in beauty. It
would be inappropriate for the
tourist industry to see it is mainly
a way to create another Disneyland.
I am not in a position to comment on
what is a very light application in
which I think will be considered by
the national Park Authority, on the
7th of March.
The preservation of
natural beauty of this country.
Should properly have a very high
priority. The governments first
obligation is to provide for the
defence of this country. The
proposed zip line would be a highly
dangerous, and pediment of our crews
in low-level flying.
The register of
defence, this will be a matter that
is considered by Lords by the
And that's it from me for now,
but do join me on BBC Parliament
on Friday night at 11 for a look
back at the last week
here at Westminster.
But for now from me, AM goodbye.