08/02/2018 Thursday in Parliament


08/02/2018

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 8 February, presented by Mandy Baker.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to the programme.

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Coming up, MPs guilty of misconduct

could face a by-election under

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new cross-party proposals.

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Hopefully we'll signalled the

beginning of of the end of the

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poisonous patriarchy culture that

has poisoned so many of the

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relationships of this House.

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The Government acknowledges that

patients at a Liverpool Hospital

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suffered unnecessary harm.

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On behalf of the Government, I want

to apologise to them, and I know the

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whole House will want to extend our

sympathies to everyone.

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And Matt Hancock suffers

an identity crisis.

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I look at forward to communicating

with my constituents over Matt

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Hancock for a number of years.

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But first, MPs who are found to have

bullied or harassed their staff

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could be suspended and voters

could force them to

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face a by-election.

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The Leader of the Commons announced

a package of measures to tackle

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misconduct at Westminster.

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The proposals were drawn up

by a cross-party group.

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They include a new behaviour code,

an independent complaints

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procedure, staff helplines

and mandatory training.

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Complainants and those accused

will both be guaranteed anonymity.

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Andrea Leadsom presented

the findings to MPs.

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The working group was formed to

bring about change. It is a right,

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not a privilege, that will be

treated with dignity and respect out

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work. And this ambitious report is a

major step towards a safer and more

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professional environment.

Everyone

and Parliament must be able to walk

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together corporative flea,

respecting beat and expertise of the

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House and balancing our

responsibilities as elected

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representatives and a safe,... And

staff of this House can benefit for

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working for the common good in this

extraordinary place.

This is a

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significant substantial document

that has managed to secure all party

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support and we'll signalled the

beginning of the end of the

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poisonous Patri Arkle Coulter that

has characterised so many of the

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relationships of this House. --

patriarchy. Independent of the

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political parties, and that is

perhaps the key feature of what is

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being designed and delivered today.

The media spotlight can be very

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harsh, indeed, on a member of

Parliament on the basis of an

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accusation made. I -- it can be

harsh on a complainant that we must

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bring that to mind.

That might bring

forth operating evidence and what

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otherwise might be one person's

worked against another. Where should

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that to the cold balance like?

--

where should that difficult by

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balance life. This has been an

incredibly difficult balancing act,

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and what we all made clear, all of

us on the working group is that the

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commitments to protecting the

interests of a complainant would be

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at the heart of this, and that means

very often backed complainant does

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not want and will not come forward

with a complaint if they then run

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the risk of being hounded in the

media and effectively having a trial

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in the full glare of the public

spotlight. But that was one of the

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core areas that we sought to

address. But that does inevitably

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mean that there are compromises.

Where it should become the right

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balance between the public interest

to know about a perpetrator and the

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interest of the complainants to have

their privacy and confidentiality

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respected.

Which he agreed that not

only do we need the consent training

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that you but it there needs to be

sanctions for those who might not be

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persuaded to pick it up because

those numbers are mug likely to be

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resisted and those that need it

most.

The training that we mentioned

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in consent, unconscious by bias, how

to employ people and what

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constitutes bullying and harassment,

all of these things are absolutely

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vital. They will be available as

compulsory sanctions and will be

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seeking means to encourage people

across a estate to take them up

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voluntary is where we can make it

mandatory.

One of the worst forms of

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bullying and a playground is when a

bunch of kids ganged up on another

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child, and that is sort of what we

do every Wednesday afternoon and

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Prime Minister questions, isn't it?

When somebody is called that we

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don't like there are groves for

members across the chambers, it's

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suggest that they are less important

from anybody else. And then all too

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often the whips on either side are

you deliberately trying to shout

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down people on the other side of the

chamber. If we're going to tackle

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bullying, aren't they going to

tackle the whole culture in the way

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that we do our business?

I'm very

sympathetic to what he's saying, and

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what this procedure seeks to do is

to change the culture in this place.

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We all have our own personal

opinions about different activities

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and what's right and what's wrong.

What's very important and how the

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complainant feels. And by having

this independent procedure, it will

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be possible for an individual to go

and talk to somebody to receive

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support and guidance and where

necessary to have an investigation

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if it's felt that it something that

serious and needs to be addressed.

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Once we see the impact that that

have on people, not necessarily

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members of this place, could be

anybody who works in the

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Parliamentary stage, once people

start to see that there are

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consequences I think that will have

a change on the culture in this

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place.

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Andrea Leadsom.

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The Health Minister has apologised

to patients and staff

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at Liverpool Community Health NHS

Trust after an investigation

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found that patients had

suffered unnecessary harm,

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and cost-cutting had led to severe

staff shortages and bullying.

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The Government found the Trust to be

dysfunctional from the outset.

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What happened to patients of

Liverpool community is before

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anything else a terrible, personal

tragedy for all of the families

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involved. The report also makes

clear the devastating impact on many

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of the front-line staff, as well. On

behalf of the Government, I want to

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apologise to them, and I know the

whole House will want to extend our

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sympathies to everyone.

Today's

reports as they suffered unnecessary

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harm because the senior leadership

team was, I quote, out of its death.

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What lies at the heart of this,

which directly led to patients being

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harmed. The report exposes serious

problems about the scale of cost

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cutting being imposed upon NHS

Trust. Indicate the Liverpool

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community healthy motivation was...

The trust that the plan has

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suspended staff who blew the whistle

about poor care and its

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controversial plans to / staff in

order to save money. What guarantee

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can the Minister offer that trusts

are no longer being allowed to

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prioritise patient saving over

patient care? And what has been put

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in place for those who raise

concerns about cost cutting?

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The Minister said a new regime had

been put in place for hospital

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inspections which put more emphasis

on staff and patient surveys.

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The report also noted

that the health trust had set

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an aggressive cost improvement

plan, as part of efforts

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to save £30 million over five years

and achieve foundation status.

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The chair of the Commons Health

committee wanted an assurance it

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couldn't happen again.

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But on the wider issues raised by

this report, clearly, where you

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continue to cut staff and funding

from community services there are

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terrible consequences for patient

care. Will the Minister assure the

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House that he will be working

closely alongside the Care Quality

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Commission to identify other trusts

and wish these kinds of issues are

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likely to arise because of the

workforce and funding pressures that

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are now being faced?

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The report Dr Bill Kirkup follows

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a long running campaign by one

Labour MP.

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I'd like to thank Doctor Kirk up as

well, I'm paying tribute to his

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thoroughness and independents and

thank him most sincerely on behalf

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of the staff and the patients in

Liverpool who suffered really badly

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at the hands of this. ... I want is

a dictatorship, regime, but it was

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done and our name, done in the name

of the NHS and they do deserve

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justice.

All organizations and

individuals make mistakes. Where

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this is used as an opportunity to

learn and improve, we will do all we

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can to provide support. Where,

however, there is any kind of cover

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up or a blink of denial about what

has happened, members of this House

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and the victims of that wrongdoing

have a right to expect

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accountability. The Member for West

Lancashire has done that and just a

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great service. I will place a copy

of the Kirkup review in the House of

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Commons Library. The Government is

acting in form on the finding.

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The financial watchdog,

the National Audit Office,

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has been asked by the Government

to investigate the finances

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of the charity, Motability.

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The company provides vehicles

for disabled people.

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The move follows reports that

Motability has reserves of nearly

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£2.5 billion and pays its chief

executive 1.7 million a year.

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The Work and Pensions Secretary

was concerned about the figures.

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Whilst at the renumeration of its

directors and managers is a matter

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for Motability to decide, one has to

question from the outside whether

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this is really right. And if you

endorsed by the Charity commission

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who said yesterday that the trustees

of Motability may wish to consider

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the reputation of issues raised by

the salaries being paid to their

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commercial partners executives. With

the current focus on corporate

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governance issues and the use of

public money, I had today asked the

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National Audit Office to give

consideration into an investigation

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of matter. I will be keen for the NA

ode to look at how taxpayers money

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is being used by Motability.

What we

are interested in Parliament, is it

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not, is the finances behind it, and

the excessive profits, and the

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scandal that a no risk scheme has

benefited so much and the charity

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itself holding 2.4 billion and

reserves quite unnecessarily.

Not

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only have the taxpayers been

overpaying over the years, but also

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disabled people have been overpaying

from their benefits to pay for this

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scheme and surely they could be

getting exactly the same benefits

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for lower amounts of money per week

and that that money could be given

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back to disabled people to help them

pay for their other living cost.

I

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raised the issue yesterday of my

constituent and a toss-up who was in

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receipt of lifetime DLA and that was

removed and she was threatened but

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haven't her vehicle taken from her

on Boxing Day. Sorry, Mr Speaker.

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This is particularly pertinent for

me. I would like to ask the

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Minister, I'm grateful that she's

having an investigation. Will she

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pay particular attention to the

conduct of the trustees?

The

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honourable member is right to be

emotional, because for many people

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this is an emotional matter

particularly just after Christmas.

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And again, those are matters that

need to be pursued and those

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trustees need to be held to account.

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Esther McVey.

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You're watching Thursday

in Parliament with me, Mandy Baker.

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Now, before Christmas,

the Commons passed a motion calling

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on the Government to improve

transitional arrangements

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for women born on or after

the 6th of April 1951,

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the so-called WASPI women,

who've lost out because of

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state pension changes.

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The Government had 12 weeks

to respond - and on this,

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the last day before the half term

recess, the Pensions Minister,

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Guy Opperman, told the Commons that

revoking government pensions

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legislation would carry a huge cost

to the public purse.

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Any further transitional arrangement

would come at great cost. The

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Government has considered many

options, and all of the proposals

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will be wrought with substantial

legal problems as well as financial

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ones. In the amendment to the

current legislation which creates a

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new inequality between men and women

would unquestionably be highly

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dubious as a matter of law, causing

younger people to bear a greater

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share of the cost of the pensions

system in this way would be unfair

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and undermine the principle of

intergenerational fairness that is

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integral to our state and German

firm Das reforms.

This statement

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Topley does nothing to help 1950s

born women. Action, not words are

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needed if the Government is to

restore some of the faith and

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dignity that many people feel they

have lost as a result of the

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Government's refusal to act and

introduce proper transitional

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procedures. These are women, the

women of Britain who built this

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country. They deserve nothing less.

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The original debate, in November,

had been called by the SNP.

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There is a clear majority in this

House in support of the 1950s women.

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Five conservative backbenchers, six

DUP members voted for the SNP motion

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on the 29th of November. That's the

second biggest rebellion in this

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Parliament, so perhaps rather than

just bluster and passing... The

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Government should look forward to

bringing forward to proposals to

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address what the this calls for for

women born on the fifth -- in 1951

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and on, that is the will of the

House clearly expressed time and

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again.

I can only assume the

Minister really doesn't get this,

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because the consequences and the

strength of feeling, not just

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amongst the 1950s women but amongst

colleagues is extremely angry. Maybe

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I cannot for some help. Maybe if the

honourable gentleman was to meet

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with myself and the honourable

member we could share with him the

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findings of a consultation we

recently had to take on behalf of

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the state pensions and accord for

women because maybe then, Mr Speaker

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we could talk into the problem and

encourage him to do the right thing

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and acknowledge the problem and come

up with the respectful answer.

All

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the political parties are at fault

here. The Conservatives, labour who

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for 13 years did very little for

dumping any of us have clean hands.

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Secondly, I would urge the Minister

to address three possible options.

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One, Lieber's cost neutral option,

too, gives some indication of

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transition and number three, with

the Minister accept if the

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Parliamentary ombudsman took some

WASPI cases and concluded the

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communication had been shocking by

all the political government.

The

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honourable gentleman walked through

the lobby with myself in about an 11

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to pass the 2011 act when the

Liberal party was a party of

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financial discipline -- in 2011 to

pass the 2011 act. So I will, with

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respect I believe we did the right

decision at that particular time.

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The so-called cost neutral option I

can assure the honourable gentleman

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is far from that. It is neither

workable nor cost neutral and

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certainly it is the case that on an

ongoing basis the Government is

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sticking to the put this -- position

at the fourth since 1995. The Labour

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government put forward 13 years and

the coalition government took in

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2011.

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The pensions Minister.

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There were accusations in the Lords

that conditions in prisons have

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never been worse than they are now.

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There are currently more than 84,000

people in prison in England

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and Wales compared with just under

45 thousand in 1991.

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Peers demanded urgent action.

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75 of the 119 prisons in England and

Wales have populations in excess of

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the 35 normal accommodation

standard. The latest figures show a

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12% rise in both assault and self

injury in prison. The chief

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executive of the league tells me

that in 30 years in the sector she

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has never known conditions so bad.

When is this Brexit paralyse

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government going to treat prisoners

and prisons reform as a national

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priority? How bad does it have to

get? And will the noble Earl tell us

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when he last visited present to see

conditions for himself?

The demands

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on our prisons are a long-term

issue, not a short-term problem, and

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we do intend to address them a

programme of new prisons. I may say

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that the question of capacity in our

prisons has been with us for well

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over 15 years, and indeed we are not

quite at the same sort of ceiling of

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use as we were even ten years ago.

This regards crowding level, I

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regret to say that even since 2004

they have remained persistently at

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about the same level on a measure in

percentage terms between 24-25%. As

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I say we are seeking to address

these issues with our programme of

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new establishments.

Is the

Government content that we have the

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fifth highest incarceration rate in

the EU, exceeded only by Poland,

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Hungary, the Czech Republic and

Slovakia, and if not, what does it

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propose to do about it?

The

Government is not content with such

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a situation it is addressing more

widely the issue of how and when we

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can develop noncustodial sentences

to a greater extent. One of the

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pressures on the existing prison

population has been the development

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of sentencing with regard to

historic sex abuse where long-term

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sentences had been imposed on a

large number of people and that he

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has put further pressure on the

prison population.

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There were also concerns

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about the high turnover of staff

at the top of the Ministry

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of Justice and the impact that

could have on the government's

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ability to make improvements.

0:18:540:18:57

The Ministers have got to learn

about prisons, which is not an easy

0:18:570:19:02

task, and so we get a situation

where good reforms are overlooked

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and mistaken reforms are

implemented. Does he have a solution

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to this?

Speaking from a personal

perspective I hope that there is a

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solution in the form of some

consistency and constancy in

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ministerial appointments in certain

particular department. But I quite

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understand the noble lord's concern.

But I would say is we are pursuing

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within the Ministry of Justice A

persistent policy with regard to

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prison improvement.

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Lord Keen.

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Gay marriage is being banned

in Bermuda, just six months

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after it was brought in.

0:19:410:19:43

Officials in the British Overseas

Territory voted on Wednesday

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to overturn the law.

0:19:450:19:46

The Foreign Secretary,

Boris Johnson, has decided not

0:19:460:19:48

to intervene to block the move.

0:19:480:19:50

One Labour MP condemned

that as a backwards

0:19:500:19:52

step for LGBT rights.

0:19:520:20:00

Does the Minister not really worry

that when she tells the Russians to

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respect LGBT rights in Chechnya, or

when she tries to convince India or

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Pakistan or Indonesia to drink Talib

change the law and benefit LGBT

0:20:090:20:15

people, those countries will just

laugh at her -- to change the law,

0:20:150:20:20

and say look, the first territory in

the world to repeal same-sex

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marriage is British Bermuda and they

did it with your express permission.

0:20:230:20:29

We are disappointed that the right

to marry has been removed, but we

0:20:290:20:33

also have to recognise that the act

does provide legal recognition of

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same-sex relationships and the

recognition that is required under

0:20:380:20:42

the European Court of Human Rights.

I do respect the right of overseas

0:20:420:20:47

territories to set their own laws

but enter discussions with the

0:20:470:20:50

Bermuda government, will the

Minister communicate that there is

0:20:500:20:53

discomfort with the decision on both

sides of this chamber?

The first

0:20:530:20:58

slaves were brought to Bermuda in

1620. Oppressed, segregated,

0:20:580:21:03

discriminated against, and that is

why leaders like Nelson Mandela,

0:21:030:21:10

Desmond Tutu and Barack Obama have

not just fought for race riots, they

0:21:100:21:14

fought for rights of lesbian, Gay

and bisexual people. This country

0:21:140:21:18

has been one of the world leaders on

this subject. So, if this is not the

0:21:180:21:24

issue on which to refuse assent, I

don't know which is.

Ultimately,

0:21:240:21:31

isn't it the case that it would also

be a profound step is written work

0:21:310:21:36

to take this action in relation to

Bermudian democracy?

I do agree that

0:21:360:21:44

those are the issues which are

needed to be balanced in this

0:21:440:21:51

circumstance, and that to withhold

assent really requires a very

0:21:510:21:55

limited circumstances and obviously

would need to be based on a legal or

0:21:550:22:01

constitutional issue of not having

considered the circumstances very,

0:22:010:22:07

very carefully, the Secretary of

State is to lead and decided that

0:22:070:22:11

these circumstances it would not be

appropriate to use the power.

0:22:110:22:14

Harriett Baldwin.

0:22:140:22:15

And now for something,

well if not completely different,

0:22:150:22:18

a little bit different.

0:22:180:22:19

It's not compulsory for committees

to spend all their time

0:22:190:22:21

on the Committee corridor

of the Palace of Westminster.

0:22:210:22:23

They can travel around taking

evidence from other parts

0:22:230:22:25

of the UK or even abroad.

0:22:250:22:27

The Digital, Culture Media

and Sport Committee have been

0:22:270:22:30

investigating fake news

and they decided to take

0:22:300:22:32

a trip to a bastion

of the genre - Washington DC.

0:22:320:22:37

There, a huge cast had assembled -

among them representatives

0:22:370:22:40

of Google, Facebook,

the New York Times and CNN.

0:22:400:22:43

Youtube was asked about

the Brexit referendum.

0:22:430:22:51

We found no evidence of our service

is being used to interfere in the

0:22:510:22:55

Brexit referendum and we are happy

to walk -- to co-operate with any

0:22:550:22:58

further efforts.

0:22:580:22:58

And what about fake news?

0:22:580:23:03

Identifying and managing content on

YouTube is the number one priority

0:23:030:23:06

for us this year. Mission-critical

for the business. Critical to our

0:23:060:23:11

users, our creators, our advertisers

and to us as a company. So we invest

0:23:110:23:16

tremendous resources, both in terms

of technology and the people working

0:23:160:23:19

on these issues, our executive team,

is absolutely engaged. We meet for

0:23:190:23:23

hours every week to figure out how

we can improve our systems to make

0:23:230:23:27

sure that the policies on YouTube

are followed. That we are quickly

0:23:270:23:32

identifying content that violates

those policies and removing it. So

0:23:320:23:37

this is a top priority for the

business.

0:23:370:23:38

Juniper Downs of YouTube.

0:23:380:23:39

And finally, the recently-appointed

Secretary of State for Digital,

0:23:390:23:41

Culture, Media and Sport fully

embraced the Digital

0:23:410:23:43

part of his new brief

by launching his very own smartphone

0:23:430:23:46

app - the first MP to do so.

0:23:460:23:49

The Matt Hancock App

features picture galleries

0:23:490:23:51

and videos of the him.

0:23:510:23:53

It also allows users to sign up

as friends and chat with other fans

0:23:530:23:56

of the Matt Hancock app.

0:23:560:23:59

But there have been concerns

about the app's privacy policy

0:23:590:24:01

and whether it complies

with the Data Protection Act.

0:24:010:24:05

So the shadow Culture

Secretary had a question.

0:24:050:24:13

What action does the Secretary of

State and should be taken against an

0:24:130:24:17

app which breaches key provisions of

the data protection act and the

0:24:170:24:20

privacy of communication regulations

and is not GDP are compliant.

I

0:24:200:24:27

think that all should become client

with the law and I'm delighted to

0:24:270:24:30

say that the Matt Hancock app is.

Exactly because the app I'm talking

0:24:300:24:37

about is not just belonging to him,

it is named after him. The general

0:24:370:24:44

public need protecting, Mr Speaker,

from their privacy being invaded --

0:24:440:24:48

invaded by Matt Hancock -- Matt

Hancock, their personal information

0:24:480:24:52

being shared by third parties and

their private functions being

0:24:520:24:56

accessed by Matt Hancock. Lilly

undertake to make sure Matt Hancock

0:24:560:24:58

complies fully with all data

protection rest -- regulations in

0:24:580:25:02

future and explain why he thinks

other people should abide by their

0:25:020:25:05

legal obligations with regard to

take the protection if Matt Hancock

0:25:050:25:08

does not stop live of course he does

comply.

Were poorly I think we

0:25:080:25:16

should use digital communications,

Mr Speaker, to communicate with our

0:25:160:25:19

constituents in all their modern

form and I'm frankly delighted by

0:25:190:25:22

the response that the app has had

far bigger than I could possibly

0:25:220:25:26

have imagined and I look forward to

communicating with my constituents

0:25:260:25:31

over Matt Hancock for many years to

come.

0:25:310:25:33

Matt Hancock delighted with.

0:25:330:25:34

Matt Hancock.

0:25:340:25:35

And that's all we've got time for.

0:25:350:25:36

But do join me at the same time

tomorrow for a round up of the whole

0:25:360:25:40

week here at Westminster.

0:25:400:25:41

But for now from me,

Mandy Baker, goodbye.

0:25:410:25:45

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