22/02/2018 Thursday in Parliament


22/02/2018

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 22 February, presented by Mandy Baker.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to the programme.

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Coming up.

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The government loses a third court

case over air pollution.

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This is a national health emergency.

Many people dying by

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2020.

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More grilling for Carillion,

this time it's those responsible

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for pensions and auditing.

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Nobody understands, both staggering

out onto the streets. What he comes

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out as a surprise. They're all paid

to go after this.

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And one MP tells

of her cancer tragedy.

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Maybe they can join together across

the house and make this vision a

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reality. And by 2050, no one need

die of breast cancer.

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But first, ministers have been

accused of overseeing

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a public health emergency

after the High Court

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ruled its current plan to tackle air

pollution was unlawful.

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On Wednesday campaigners won a third

victory over the Government.

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The judge in the case said

the current approach in 45 local

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authority areas wasn't sufficient.

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He said steps must be taken

to comply with the law

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as soon as possible.

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The environment minister was asked

an urgent question on the matter.

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While I welcome that the government

can be held, and in Parliament, the

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judgement may be too focused on

compliance when what we need is a

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much more detailed, wide-ranging,

and practical air-quality plan.

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Clean air should be a right, not a

privilege. And we need to hear much

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more from government now, and to

speed up the whole operation of

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cleaning our air.

We are investing

billions of pounds, the uptake of

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vehicles and specifically in regards

to the quality plan, we set aside

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Some on the Labour benches

demanded urgent action.

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this is a national health emergency,

millions of people could probably

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die by recent estimates, by 2040,

this is not good enough. She must

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act now.

Here we find ourselves once

again, sending them to the dispatch

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box, to we know that air pollution

is responsible for many deaths, each

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year with cardiovascular diseases

within Richard deaths.

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Premature. Air pollution in the UK,

resulting in over 20 million and

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economic costs of a year. The UK

exceeding legal limits of tuition,

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the ambient air quality directive.

It poses a serious question, is

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whether this conservative government

can be trusted with our environment

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and dealing with illegal air

pollution after the UK he leaves the

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EU, if that is what we are

witnessing here.

Frankly, we are a

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direct result of what has happened

with the EU spelled an additional

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testing regime. The actions of

certain irresponsible car back to

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-- irresponsible car manufacturers,

they're also breaching the

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air-quality limits. And let us not

forget, as I tried to take, I am fed

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up with the opposition simply not

accepting their part of the

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responsibility. Lastly, become it to

incentivize business, between 2000

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2010, 15% of the vehicle sold. I am

not saying that the previous

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ministers do not do things in good

faith, but as you found out, labour

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and ignored advice at diesel fumes

were toxic.

Clean-air is an

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advantage, we do not want to fall

behind, let's make sure that England

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is in the forefront, socially just,

and globally competitive on this

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issue.

If they lose their role in

monitoring and forcing decent air

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pollution standards, back in

November, the Secretary told the

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committee that he would consult a

new body. Very early in the new

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year. When we see that consultation,

will nobody be in place before

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Brexit date? And will it have higher

environmental standards? Or full

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regulatory alignment with the EU,

which is what the Prime Minister has

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promised her colleagues?

Levi put in

place, the targets for 2020, for key

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pollutants. Parliament, this

government is already enacted

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legislation, and I am pleased that

the endorsement approach. I'm saying

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to the consultation will be

forthcoming soon. I am conscious

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that people are, in the meantime, we

are not relying on the EU to help

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with our air quality.

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Therese Coffey.

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A few weeks ago it was

the executives of the collapsed

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construction firm Carillion

who faced a joint committee of MPs

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to explain themselves.

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On Thursday it was the turn of the

pensions regulator and the auditors.

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CARILLION PIX Carillion provided

services for schools,

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hospitals and prisons.

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It went into liquidation

at the beginning of the year,

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leaving suppliers unpaid.

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And a hole in the company's

pension scheme amounts

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to nearly a billion pounds.

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More than a thousand

people lost their jobs.

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And there was widespread disruption

among sub-contractors and suppliers.

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The Committee began by asking

the pensions regulator

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what lessons had been learnt.

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I am looking backwards with the

benefit of hindsight, to see what

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happened what lessons we can learn

from it. We'll have to do it on the

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situation as well. The fact is why

I'm saying to you, we clearly have

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to be clearer, quicker, and tougher.

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The regulators insisted

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that their work with Carillion had

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resulted in a 16 year recovery plan

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being put together,

and more money being put

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into the pension fund.

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Negotiating a recovery plan that

balances the interests of the

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members and also the ability of the

organisation to address its other

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obligations, and to deal with its

priorities is a key part of this.

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And it does result and difficult

positions, sometimes,.

If you cannot

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answer the questions, how many are

in this position? How many other

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schemes were coming before you, we

need all this extra years, for

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paying dividends? How many in a

position?

I cannot answer that

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question. This is complicated,

numbers over a period of times that

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change constantly. I'll be happy to

send the committee of note, but how

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many schemes are present in that

situation.

Every week, you should

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meet your and say, here is what is

still being paid huge dividends,

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what action have you taken?

Been

identified there but are very

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committed staff.

I do not doubt that

the staff is committed. We expect

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you to be freshly informed.

I can

only apologise if you feel that I

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have not gotten the information

available. But a lot of it is

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complex. And I cannot hold it all in

my head.

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The committee later heard

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from the big firms who'd audited

Carillion's accounts.

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There are a lot of people watching

this. It will be baffled to, two

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major auditors, and the situation

arise as it is. And the company

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collapses,

we are not the financial

accountants, that is not my role as

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an auditor. We are not financial

accountants, we're not pulling the

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together.

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He explained their job was to look

across the business.

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Reports he would look at would be as

broad as a driver, writing in

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Alberta. It is

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a guitar with a house the people. We

would look at a very broad range of

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issues that Carillion based, and I

appreciate the conversations around

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the complex, they're very important,

but that is just one aspect.

We

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would not look at those, nobody

understands why this company went it

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did. Was a surprise, there were all

paid to look after this! And none of

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you... What single act did you do

that you think helps or might have

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saved the company?

If I'm ideal to

come back to this...

What single

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action? Did you take? You think I'm

proud of that?

More of that had been

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followed I am not proud of what the

company has ended up.

I am very

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sorry for what has happened to the

families of those employees who have

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lost their jobs. Of course, and you

can probably tell from my accent, I

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see it on the news everyday, and I

know some of those employees. I am

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not in this state of management, and

depended decisions on behalf of the

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company.

I think it is quite simple,

and to me it comes down to this. I

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would not hire you, because when I

read it, I would not know what is

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actually in my fridge or not. And

that is the point of auditing, isn't

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it? To tell us what is here and what

is not.

72.9%, if I want to do an

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audit of my fridge, I'm going to

tell you my receipts in the

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supermarket. And that is not, yet to

open and see what is in the fridge.

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But Peter Meehan insisted

that was what they had done.

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You're watching Thursday

in Parliament with me, Mandy Baker.

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As 11 senior cabinet

ministers were arriving

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at the Prime Minister's country

residence, Chequers,

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to thrash out the Government's

approach to the UK's future

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relationship with the EU,

the Brexit minister was in the less

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convivial surroundings

of Committee Room eight

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for a grilling by the European

Scrutiny Committee.

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The Government has already promised

to pay a divorce bill of up

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to 39 billion pounds.

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On Wednesday, ministers published

proposals concerning a transition

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period after the UK leaves the EU,

but they failed to say exactly how

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long that period would be.

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If the transition lasts beyond 2020,

this could require payments to be

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made beyond then. Therefore, from

January 2021, they would then be

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paid into the EU's new long-term a

budget. The net result of this is

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that the additional costs could run

into billions of pounds and the

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estimate is between four billion and

5 billion.

Clearly, we are in a

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negotiation. You set out in the UK

Government views in a period around

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it to back years is the right period

to make sure the right arrangements

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could be put into place. As you

know, commission currently is a

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period of 21 months leading up to

December 2020.

There was no sense on

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either side of any unlimited

duration for this implementation

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period. Indeed, the EU's on

documents, I think in the Council

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conclusions of the European town so

and the negotiating directors very

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clear that these be specific, time

limited duration.

That's exactly

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what we understood, but it does

begin to luck, according to some of

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the noises off, that there is a

suggestion that this could be as

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long as a piece of string and that

we go on. You say, strictly...

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You're shaking your head. I'm glad

to see you are seeking your head,

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but what I'm concerned about is that

we get mixed messages.

I don't think

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the public think there's much

momentum. There seems to be an awful

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lot of dragging feet and

implementation periods being

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discussed in great detail before he

actually got anything to implement

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and I share my colleague's question

about why we are not actually

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getting out there and think what we

want in which we are going to do and

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let the EU make a decision whether

or not they want to work with us.

I

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think we are getting out there. We

had a number of speeches in recent

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weeks and there will be more to

come. I recognise, obviously, we

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want to get on with the prophesies.

-- with the process.

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Concerns have been raised

by some Brexiteers

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that the government's document

on the transition period cast doubt

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on whether the UK would be able

to trade independently of the EU

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during that time.

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What we want to ensure is as per the

Texas today is that Teddy Mike

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during the text yesterday... Brought

into force during the end of the

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documentation period. With the

maximum benefit in the meantime, but

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we have the maximum benefit from

having in independent trade policy.

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The Committee also took issue

with the idea that the UK

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would have to stick to EU laws

during the transition period

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without having a say on them,

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especially if new laws

were brought in.

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The Minister claimed

that the UK would've already

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considered most new laws.

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The ambassador said Britain

wouldn't lose its voice.

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We will continue to express our

views. Impact upon colleagues

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thinking without being a formal

member of the EU. They bought want

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to hear our views as we are big and

important. They and important

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security player. -- big and

important security player. Our views

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don't matter any more and that her

voice fall silent is what we don't

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want.

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The UK's ambassador

to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow.

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One of the 11 members

of the cabinet's Brexit

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sub-committee is Liam Fox.

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But his departure for

Chequers was delayed

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by International Trade Questions

which took place first

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thing in the Commons.

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He told MPs the government intended

to keep the benefits of EU free

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trade deals after Brexit.

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But Labour wanted more details.

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The Secretary of State has told us

he plans to replicate all of the

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provisions of the trade agreement

the UK has as a member of the EU

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with Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

These provisions include free

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movement of people in the cases of

Norway and Switzerland, and a

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customs union with Turkey. Can he

confirm, is it the Government's

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policy to replicate all of these

provisions?

In a deep transition

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arrangements we had, we made it

clear that the key element

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discontinuity. Until we create

bespoke arrangements with these

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countries, then we will continue the

provisions that existed today.

The

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Norwegians have a saying that,

nothing is in as much of a hurry as

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a dead fish on the back of a lorry.

Like Norway,... Take a minute. Like

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Norway, Scotland exports most of the

fish it catches to the European

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Union. And that is why Norway has

chosen to be a member of the single

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market. In particular, to avoid

nontariff barriers to beat fish can

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cross borders quickly. What

assessment has he made of the impact

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of leaving the single market on the

Scottish fishing industry?

First

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thing to point out is of course, the

majority of Scotland's exports go to

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the rest of the UK. Not to the EU.

Before the honourable Lady talks

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about the value of a single market,

it is just worth pointing out that

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despite our membership of the single

market, we have had a growing trade

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deficit with the European Union. We

headed growing traits of a

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submersible. We want to establish

conditions for all of the experts

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from all parts of the United Kingdom

can access the rest of the world.

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90% of global growth in the next few

years will be outside of Europe.

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Liam Fox.

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The Foreign Office minister has

called on the Assad regime in Syria

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to end what he called the "hell

on earth" of Eastern Goota in Syria.

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In recent days, renewed government

airstrikes have killed

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and injured hundreds of people

in the rebel enclave.

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The Syrian military says

it is trying to liberate

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the area from terrorists,

but it has also been accused

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of targeting civilians.

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Lord Ahmad said the Government

was appalled at the siege

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and bombardment.

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People are dying from starvation or

lack of medical treatment. The

0:18:180:18:22

United Kingdom government has

continued to press the regime and

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its enablers to all international

forums to and this unbreakable

0:18:250:18:29

situation and we call on Russia to

agree a UN security council

0:18:290:18:34

resolution for humanitarian access

later today.

We are witnessing a

0:18:340:18:39

crisis unfold in front of us with

more than 300 people already killed

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in the last few hours. A much larger

numbers of innocent civilians who

0:18:440:18:48

have been injured and the mentor.

Hospitals taken deliberately bide

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targets. If the cease-fire is agreed

and implemented, what plans does the

0:18:550:19:01

Government have to help with the

evacuation of those who have been

0:19:010:19:06

injured in the provision of

humanitarian aid? If this cease fire

0:19:060:19:10

is not agreed or implemented, what

plans does the Government have to

0:19:100:19:14

put further pressure on the Assad

regime to stop this terrible

0:19:140:19:18

suffering that has been going on?

0:19:180:19:19

Lord Ahmad said UN agencies

0:19:190:19:20

were ready to evacuate people

0:19:200:19:23

if a ceasefire were to be agreed,

but if it were not.

0:19:230:19:29

Let me assure all noble lords we

will continue to press and not just

0:19:290:19:33

the Syrian regime, abolishes. Russia

has a role in this. Their backers of

0:19:330:19:40

the Assad regime. We will continue

to press Russia for an early

0:19:400:19:45

resolution.

There is no doubt that

some of the opposition are not

0:19:450:19:50

Democratic opposition parties.

They're far from it. Some of them

0:19:500:19:54

worse than Daesh. They are really

bad, some of them. Does that

0:19:540:19:58

Minister not agree you have to be

very careful in making judgements?

0:19:580:20:02

There are no good guys and us. There

are victims, but there are no good

0:20:020:20:06

guys. Both sides are horrible and we

need to be very careful about making

0:20:060:20:10

judgements. We've got to try and get

a balanced answer to help the

0:20:100:20:13

victims.

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A former Liberal Democrat leader

0:20:130:20:14

said Syrian civilians

were being subjected to war crimes.

0:20:140:20:21

Isn't it right now to remember that

based on the Nuremberg principle

0:20:210:20:24

that those who preside over the

commission of war crimes or are

0:20:240:20:30

complicit in their being used are as

guilty as those who actually commit

0:20:300:20:33

them?

I think the noble lord is

right to raise the issue. History

0:20:330:20:41

resets us many lessons. Anyone who

has responsibility in bringing about

0:20:410:20:45

the end or cessation of the violence

in Syria or the Civil War should

0:20:450:20:49

make every effort to do so. I

totally agree. There are good guys,

0:20:490:20:54

it is the civilians of Syria and we

must bring peace for their sake.

0:20:540:20:58

Lord Ahmad.

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Last year, a new legal requirement

was agreed to make companies

0:21:000:21:05

with more than 250 employees

publish data showing any

0:21:050:21:07

gender pay gap they have.

0:21:070:21:10

Employers were given 12 months

to get their ducks in a row,

0:21:100:21:12

but with only a matter of weeks

to go, it seems many firms

0:21:120:21:16

are dragging their heels.

0:21:160:21:17

The Minister for Women

and Equalities updated the Commons

0:21:170:21:19

on the progress that had been made.

0:21:190:21:21

So far, more than seven and half

thousand employers have registered

0:21:210:21:24

their intention... Others have

published their data. There are

0:21:240:21:37

still over a month until the public

and private sector deadlines and we

0:21:370:21:41

expect reporting activity to

increase significantly in the run-up

0:21:410:21:43

to the states.

I'll leave some have

-- only some companies have

0:21:430:21:56

published the data. How are we going

to make sure the Government...

As

0:21:560:22:03

been introduced by conservative

government. We will be contacting

0:22:030:22:07

private sector companies and public

sector organisations to make sure

0:22:070:22:09

they do report. This is an important

first step. Only a thousand so far,

0:22:090:22:12

more to go to be deadly. I would

urge the honourable gentleman not to

0:22:120:22:16

make the perfect again amending of

the good. -- not to make the perfect

0:22:160:22:22

the enemy of the good.

There have

been some in breast to give

0:22:220:22:28

journalism that some businesses have

filed incorrect data. If this is

0:22:280:22:32

done deliberately, what will my

right honourable friend you? -- what

0:22:320:22:40

will my right honourable friend do?

0:22:400:22:41

Her right honourable friend said

0:22:410:22:42

she would be talking to the Equality

and Human Rights Commission,

0:22:420:22:45

which has the power to enforce rules

around the reporting.

0:22:450:22:47

But other MPs were concerned

about submissions.

0:22:470:22:49

One challenge that we face is

employers and sometimes deliberately

0:22:490:22:52

conflating fair pay with equal pay

to avoid scrutiny of their conduct.

0:22:520:22:56

A prime offender is the BBC. 70 MPs

over to the Secretary of State for

0:22:560:23:02

culture to ask him to use his power

to ensure in equal opportunity for

0:23:020:23:05

both men and women at the

corporation to be heard on this

0:23:050:23:09

subject. Given he has refused, we'll

see exercise her freedom of speech

0:23:090:23:13

and have a word?

When the Minister

has a word with the BBC, will it be

0:23:130:23:18

her contention that it is the men

that are overpaid or though women

0:23:180:23:21

that are underpaid?

With reference

to the BBC and the gender pay gap, I

0:23:210:23:24

have also been looking at the

diversity and backgrounds the senior

0:23:240:23:28

management at the Corporation and

fortunately, they won't tell you and

0:23:280:23:34

unfortunately, they won't play ball

ingredient first -- the information.

0:23:340:23:37

Will the Secretary of State have a

word?

It looks like I'm going to

0:23:370:23:43

have a few things to take forward

with them. I look forward to coming

0:23:430:23:46

back and setting out to what those

conversations have revealed.

0:23:460:23:49

Amber Rudd in her role as Minister

for Women and Equalities.

0:23:490:23:52

And finally, there were moving

scenes in the Commons as MPs

0:23:520:23:55

discussed cancer strategy.

0:23:550:23:58

As in all walks of life,

many politicians have

0:23:580:24:01

been affected by cancer.

0:24:010:24:02

And one of them was

Labour's Karen Lee.

0:24:020:24:06

By Lindsay was diagnosed with triple

negative breast Cancer in April 20

0:24:060:24:13

ten. She died 13 months later. She

was very bright. She had a degree in

0:24:130:24:20

politics. She worked with

underprivileged children. She had a

0:24:200:24:21

husband and three small children.

They were two, four and seven. She

0:24:210:24:27

was treated at Nottingham City

Hospital. Should chemotherapy,

0:24:270:24:32

radiotherapy and a vasectomy. Her

treatment was amazing. They couldn't

0:24:320:24:35

have been better. -- and a

mastectomy. The unqualified team

0:24:350:24:42

that came in to support me and mock

her husband were amazing. I can

0:24:420:24:47

never thank him enough. My daughter

used to say to me because I used to

0:24:470:24:50

say to her, I had so much of my

life, more than you. I wish it could

0:24:500:24:54

be me. She used to say, mum, I wish

it could be no one. I think his

0:24:540:25:00

parliamentarians we have the power

to influence this and change it and

0:25:000:25:03

maybe we can join together across

this House and make breast cancer...

0:25:030:25:10

By 2050, nobody need a diet breast

cancer.

-- Anita Addae of

0:25:100:25:17

And as the next speaker rose, MPs

rushed over to comfort Karen Lee,

0:25:180:25:21

sitting on the second row

of the Labour benches

0:25:210:25:24

on the right of the picture.

0:25:240:25:25

Something the health minister noted.

0:25:250:25:26

There's always one person that

leaves not a dry eye in the House

0:25:260:25:29

and that today was the honourable

leader from Lincoln. I knows she's

0:25:290:25:31

not in her place now and I don't

blame her, but I think the whole

0:25:310:25:35

House wanted to run over and give

her a hug and maybe -- many of the

0:25:350:25:39

Labour member State. Listen for

doing that. It's house in its own

0:25:390:25:42

individual way to give her

collective hug.

0:25:420:25:45

And that touching note brings us

to the ned of the programme.

0:25:450:25:48

So from me, Mandy Baker, goodbye.

0:25:480:25:49

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