Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 8 February, presented by Mandy Baker.
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Hello and welcome to the programme.
Coming up, MPs guilty of misconduct
could face a by-election under
new cross-party proposals.
Hopefully we'll signalled the
beginning of of the end of the
poisonous patriarchy culture that
has poisoned so many of the
relationships of this House.
The Government acknowledges that
patients at a Liverpool Hospital
suffered unnecessary harm.
On behalf of the Government, I want
to apologise to them, and I know the
whole House will want to extend our
sympathies to everyone.
And Matt Hancock suffers
an identity crisis.
I look at forward to communicating
with my constituents over Matt
Hancock for a number of years.
But first, MPs who are found to have
bullied or harassed their staff
could be suspended and voters
could force them to
face a by-election.
The Leader of the Commons announced
a package of measures to tackle
misconduct at Westminster.
The proposals were drawn up
by a cross-party group.
They include a new behaviour code,
an independent complaints
procedure, staff helplines
and mandatory training.
Complainants and those accused
will both be guaranteed anonymity.
Andrea Leadsom presented
the findings to MPs.
The working group was formed to
bring about change. It is a right,
not a privilege, that will be
treated with dignity and respect out
work. And this ambitious report is a
major step towards a safer and more
and Parliament must be able to walk
together corporative flea,
respecting beat and expertise of the
House and balancing our
responsibilities as elected
representatives and a safe,... And
staff of this House can benefit for
working for the common good in this
This is a
significant substantial document
that has managed to secure all party
support and we'll signalled the
beginning of the end of the
poisonous Patri Arkle Coulter that
has characterised so many of the
relationships of this House. --
patriarchy. Independent of the
political parties, and that is
perhaps the key feature of what is
being designed and delivered today.
The media spotlight can be very
harsh, indeed, on a member of
Parliament on the basis of an
accusation made. I -- it can be
harsh on a complainant that we must
bring that to mind.
That might bring
forth operating evidence and what
otherwise might be one person's
worked against another. Where should
that to the cold balance like?
where should that difficult by
balance life. This has been an
incredibly difficult balancing act,
and what we all made clear, all of
us on the working group is that the
commitments to protecting the
interests of a complainant would be
at the heart of this, and that means
very often backed complainant does
not want and will not come forward
with a complaint if they then run
the risk of being hounded in the
media and effectively having a trial
in the full glare of the public
spotlight. But that was one of the
core areas that we sought to
address. But that does inevitably
mean that there are compromises.
Where it should become the right
balance between the public interest
to know about a perpetrator and the
interest of the complainants to have
their privacy and confidentiality
Which he agreed that not
only do we need the consent training
that you but it there needs to be
sanctions for those who might not be
persuaded to pick it up because
those numbers are mug likely to be
resisted and those that need it
The training that we mentioned
in consent, unconscious by bias, how
to employ people and what
constitutes bullying and harassment,
all of these things are absolutely
vital. They will be available as
compulsory sanctions and will be
seeking means to encourage people
across a estate to take them up
voluntary is where we can make it
One of the worst forms of
bullying and a playground is when a
bunch of kids ganged up on another
child, and that is sort of what we
do every Wednesday afternoon and
Prime Minister questions, isn't it?
When somebody is called that we
don't like there are groves for
members across the chambers, it's
suggest that they are less important
from anybody else. And then all too
often the whips on either side are
you deliberately trying to shout
down people on the other side of the
chamber. If we're going to tackle
bullying, aren't they going to
tackle the whole culture in the way
that we do our business?
sympathetic to what he's saying, and
what this procedure seeks to do is
to change the culture in this place.
We all have our own personal
opinions about different activities
and what's right and what's wrong.
What's very important and how the
complainant feels. And by having
this independent procedure, it will
be possible for an individual to go
and talk to somebody to receive
support and guidance and where
necessary to have an investigation
if it's felt that it something that
serious and needs to be addressed.
Once we see the impact that that
have on people, not necessarily
members of this place, could be
anybody who works in the
Parliamentary stage, once people
start to see that there are
consequences I think that will have
a change on the culture in this
The Health Minister has apologised
to patients and staff
at Liverpool Community Health NHS
Trust after an investigation
found that patients had
suffered unnecessary harm,
and cost-cutting had led to severe
staff shortages and bullying.
The Government found the Trust to be
dysfunctional from the outset.
What happened to patients of
Liverpool community is before
anything else a terrible, personal
tragedy for all of the families
involved. The report also makes
clear the devastating impact on many
of the front-line staff, as well. On
behalf of the Government, I want to
apologise to them, and I know the
whole House will want to extend our
sympathies to everyone.
reports as they suffered unnecessary
harm because the senior leadership
team was, I quote, out of its death.
What lies at the heart of this,
which directly led to patients being
harmed. The report exposes serious
problems about the scale of cost
cutting being imposed upon NHS
Trust. Indicate the Liverpool
community healthy motivation was...
The trust that the plan has
suspended staff who blew the whistle
about poor care and its
controversial plans to / staff in
order to save money. What guarantee
can the Minister offer that trusts
are no longer being allowed to
prioritise patient saving over
patient care? And what has been put
in place for those who raise
concerns about cost cutting?
The Minister said a new regime had
been put in place for hospital
inspections which put more emphasis
on staff and patient surveys.
The report also noted
that the health trust had set
an aggressive cost improvement
plan, as part of efforts
to save £30 million over five years
and achieve foundation status.
The chair of the Commons Health
committee wanted an assurance it
couldn't happen again.
But on the wider issues raised by
this report, clearly, where you
continue to cut staff and funding
from community services there are
terrible consequences for patient
care. Will the Minister assure the
House that he will be working
closely alongside the Care Quality
Commission to identify other trusts
and wish these kinds of issues are
likely to arise because of the
workforce and funding pressures that
are now being faced?
The report Dr Bill Kirkup follows
a long running campaign by one
I'd like to thank Doctor Kirk up as
well, I'm paying tribute to his
thoroughness and independents and
thank him most sincerely on behalf
of the staff and the patients in
Liverpool who suffered really badly
at the hands of this. ... I want is
a dictatorship, regime, but it was
done and our name, done in the name
of the NHS and they do deserve
All organizations and
individuals make mistakes. Where
this is used as an opportunity to
learn and improve, we will do all we
can to provide support. Where,
however, there is any kind of cover
up or a blink of denial about what
has happened, members of this House
and the victims of that wrongdoing
have a right to expect
accountability. The Member for West
Lancashire has done that and just a
great service. I will place a copy
of the Kirkup review in the House of
Commons Library. The Government is
acting in form on the finding.
The financial watchdog,
the National Audit Office,
has been asked by the Government
to investigate the finances
of the charity, Motability.
The company provides vehicles
for disabled people.
The move follows reports that
Motability has reserves of nearly
£2.5 billion and pays its chief
executive 1.7 million a year.
The Work and Pensions Secretary
was concerned about the figures.
Whilst at the renumeration of its
directors and managers is a matter
for Motability to decide, one has to
question from the outside whether
this is really right. And if you
endorsed by the Charity commission
who said yesterday that the trustees
of Motability may wish to consider
the reputation of issues raised by
the salaries being paid to their
commercial partners executives. With
the current focus on corporate
governance issues and the use of
public money, I had today asked the
National Audit Office to give
consideration into an investigation
of matter. I will be keen for the NA
ode to look at how taxpayers money
is being used by Motability.
are interested in Parliament, is it
not, is the finances behind it, and
the excessive profits, and the
scandal that a no risk scheme has
benefited so much and the charity
itself holding 2.4 billion and
reserves quite unnecessarily.
only have the taxpayers been
overpaying over the years, but also
disabled people have been overpaying
from their benefits to pay for this
scheme and surely they could be
getting exactly the same benefits
for lower amounts of money per week
and that that money could be given
back to disabled people to help them
pay for their other living cost.
raised the issue yesterday of my
constituent and a toss-up who was in
receipt of lifetime DLA and that was
removed and she was threatened but
haven't her vehicle taken from her
on Boxing Day. Sorry, Mr Speaker.
This is particularly pertinent for
me. I would like to ask the
Minister, I'm grateful that she's
having an investigation. Will she
pay particular attention to the
conduct of the trustees?
honourable member is right to be
emotional, because for many people
this is an emotional matter
particularly just after Christmas.
And again, those are matters that
need to be pursued and those
trustees need to be held to account.
You're watching Thursday
in Parliament with me, Mandy Baker.
Now, before Christmas,
the Commons passed a motion calling
on the Government to improve
for women born on or after
the 6th of April 1951,
the so-called WASPI women,
who've lost out because of
state pension changes.
The Government had 12 weeks
to respond - and on this,
the last day before the half term
recess, the Pensions Minister,
Guy Opperman, told the Commons that
revoking government pensions
legislation would carry a huge cost
to the public purse.
Any further transitional arrangement
would come at great cost. The
Government has considered many
options, and all of the proposals
will be wrought with substantial
legal problems as well as financial
ones. In the amendment to the
current legislation which creates a
new inequality between men and women
would unquestionably be highly
dubious as a matter of law, causing
younger people to bear a greater
share of the cost of the pensions
system in this way would be unfair
and undermine the principle of
intergenerational fairness that is
integral to our state and German
firm Das reforms.
Topley does nothing to help 1950s
born women. Action, not words are
needed if the Government is to
restore some of the faith and
dignity that many people feel they
have lost as a result of the
Government's refusal to act and
introduce proper transitional
procedures. These are women, the
women of Britain who built this
country. They deserve nothing less.
The original debate, in November,
had been called by the SNP.
There is a clear majority in this
House in support of the 1950s women.
Five conservative backbenchers, six
DUP members voted for the SNP motion
on the 29th of November. That's the
second biggest rebellion in this
Parliament, so perhaps rather than
just bluster and passing... The
Government should look forward to
bringing forward to proposals to
address what the this calls for for
women born on the fifth -- in 1951
and on, that is the will of the
House clearly expressed time and
I can only assume the
Minister really doesn't get this,
because the consequences and the
strength of feeling, not just
amongst the 1950s women but amongst
colleagues is extremely angry. Maybe
I cannot for some help. Maybe if the
honourable gentleman was to meet
with myself and the honourable
member we could share with him the
findings of a consultation we
recently had to take on behalf of
the state pensions and accord for
women because maybe then, Mr Speaker
we could talk into the problem and
encourage him to do the right thing
and acknowledge the problem and come
up with the respectful answer.
the political parties are at fault
here. The Conservatives, labour who
for 13 years did very little for
dumping any of us have clean hands.
Secondly, I would urge the Minister
to address three possible options.
One, Lieber's cost neutral option,
too, gives some indication of
transition and number three, with
the Minister accept if the
Parliamentary ombudsman took some
WASPI cases and concluded the
communication had been shocking by
all the political government.
honourable gentleman walked through
the lobby with myself in about an 11
to pass the 2011 act when the
Liberal party was a party of
financial discipline -- in 2011 to
pass the 2011 act. So I will, with
respect I believe we did the right
decision at that particular time.
The so-called cost neutral option I
can assure the honourable gentleman
is far from that. It is neither
workable nor cost neutral and
certainly it is the case that on an
ongoing basis the Government is
sticking to the put this -- position
at the fourth since 1995. The Labour
government put forward 13 years and
the coalition government took in
The pensions Minister.
There were accusations in the Lords
that conditions in prisons have
never been worse than they are now.
There are currently more than 84,000
people in prison in England
and Wales compared with just under
45 thousand in 1991.
Peers demanded urgent action.
75 of the 119 prisons in England and
Wales have populations in excess of
the 35 normal accommodation
standard. The latest figures show a
12% rise in both assault and self
injury in prison. The chief
executive of the league tells me
that in 30 years in the sector she
has never known conditions so bad.
When is this Brexit paralyse
government going to treat prisoners
and prisons reform as a national
priority? How bad does it have to
get? And will the noble Earl tell us
when he last visited present to see
conditions for himself?
on our prisons are a long-term
issue, not a short-term problem, and
we do intend to address them a
programme of new prisons. I may say
that the question of capacity in our
prisons has been with us for well
over 15 years, and indeed we are not
quite at the same sort of ceiling of
use as we were even ten years ago.
This regards crowding level, I
regret to say that even since 2004
they have remained persistently at
about the same level on a measure in
percentage terms between 24-25%. As
I say we are seeking to address
these issues with our programme of
Government content that we have the
fifth highest incarceration rate in
the EU, exceeded only by Poland,
Hungary, the Czech Republic and
Slovakia, and if not, what does it
propose to do about it?
Government is not content with such
a situation it is addressing more
widely the issue of how and when we
can develop noncustodial sentences
to a greater extent. One of the
pressures on the existing prison
population has been the development
of sentencing with regard to
historic sex abuse where long-term
sentences had been imposed on a
large number of people and that he
has put further pressure on the
There were also concerns
about the high turnover of staff
at the top of the Ministry
of Justice and the impact that
could have on the government's
ability to make improvements.
The Ministers have got to learn
about prisons, which is not an easy
task, and so we get a situation
where good reforms are overlooked
and mistaken reforms are
implemented. Does he have a solution
Speaking from a personal
perspective I hope that there is a
solution in the form of some
consistency and constancy in
ministerial appointments in certain
particular department. But I quite
understand the noble lord's concern.
But I would say is we are pursuing
within the Ministry of Justice A
persistent policy with regard to
Gay marriage is being banned
in Bermuda, just six months
after it was brought in.
Officials in the British Overseas
Territory voted on Wednesday
to overturn the law.
The Foreign Secretary,
Boris Johnson, has decided not
to intervene to block the move.
One Labour MP condemned
that as a backwards
step for LGBT rights.
Does the Minister not really worry
that when she tells the Russians to
respect LGBT rights in Chechnya, or
when she tries to convince India or
Pakistan or Indonesia to drink Talib
change the law and benefit LGBT
people, those countries will just
laugh at her -- to change the law,
and say look, the first territory in
the world to repeal same-sex
marriage is British Bermuda and they
did it with your express permission.
We are disappointed that the right
to marry has been removed, but we
also have to recognise that the act
does provide legal recognition of
same-sex relationships and the
recognition that is required under
the European Court of Human Rights.
I do respect the right of overseas
territories to set their own laws
but enter discussions with the
Bermuda government, will the
Minister communicate that there is
discomfort with the decision on both
sides of this chamber?
slaves were brought to Bermuda in
1620. Oppressed, segregated,
discriminated against, and that is
why leaders like Nelson Mandela,
Desmond Tutu and Barack Obama have
not just fought for race riots, they
fought for rights of lesbian, Gay
and bisexual people. This country
has been one of the world leaders on
this subject. So, if this is not the
issue on which to refuse assent, I
don't know which is.
isn't it the case that it would also
be a profound step is written work
to take this action in relation to
I do agree that
those are the issues which are
needed to be balanced in this
circumstance, and that to withhold
assent really requires a very
limited circumstances and obviously
would need to be based on a legal or
constitutional issue of not having
considered the circumstances very,
very carefully, the Secretary of
State is to lead and decided that
these circumstances it would not be
appropriate to use the power.
And now for something,
well if not completely different,
a little bit different.
It's not compulsory for committees
to spend all their time
on the Committee corridor
of the Palace of Westminster.
They can travel around taking
evidence from other parts
of the UK or even abroad.
The Digital, Culture Media
and Sport Committee have been
investigating fake news
and they decided to take
a trip to a bastion
of the genre - Washington DC.
There, a huge cast had assembled -
among them representatives
of Google, Facebook,
the New York Times and CNN.
Youtube was asked about
the Brexit referendum.
We found no evidence of our service
is being used to interfere in the
Brexit referendum and we are happy
to walk -- to co-operate with any
And what about fake news?
Identifying and managing content on
YouTube is the number one priority
for us this year. Mission-critical
for the business. Critical to our
users, our creators, our advertisers
and to us as a company. So we invest
tremendous resources, both in terms
of technology and the people working
on these issues, our executive team,
is absolutely engaged. We meet for
hours every week to figure out how
we can improve our systems to make
sure that the policies on YouTube
are followed. That we are quickly
identifying content that violates
those policies and removing it. So
this is a top priority for the
Juniper Downs of YouTube.
And finally, the recently-appointed
Secretary of State for Digital,
Culture, Media and Sport fully
embraced the Digital
part of his new brief
by launching his very own smartphone
app - the first MP to do so.
The Matt Hancock App
features picture galleries
and videos of the him.
It also allows users to sign up
as friends and chat with other fans
of the Matt Hancock app.
But there have been concerns
and whether it complies
with the Data Protection Act.
So the shadow Culture
Secretary had a question.
What action does the Secretary of
State and should be taken against an
app which breaches key provisions of
the data protection act and the
privacy of communication regulations
and is not GDP are compliant.
think that all should become client
with the law and I'm delighted to
say that the Matt Hancock app is.
Exactly because the app I'm talking
about is not just belonging to him,
it is named after him. The general
public need protecting, Mr Speaker,
from their privacy being invaded --
invaded by Matt Hancock -- Matt
Hancock, their personal information
being shared by third parties and
their private functions being
accessed by Matt Hancock. Lilly
undertake to make sure Matt Hancock
complies fully with all data
protection rest -- regulations in
future and explain why he thinks
other people should abide by their
legal obligations with regard to
take the protection if Matt Hancock
does not stop live of course he does
Were poorly I think we
should use digital communications,
Mr Speaker, to communicate with our
constituents in all their modern
form and I'm frankly delighted by
the response that the app has had
far bigger than I could possibly
have imagined and I look forward to
communicating with my constituents
over Matt Hancock for many years to
Matt Hancock delighted with.
And that's all we've got time for.
But do join me at the same time
tomorrow for a round up of the whole
week here at Westminster.
But for now from me,
Mandy Baker, goodbye.