Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 8 March, presented by Alicia McCarthy.
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Hello, welcome to
Thursday in Parliament.
On this programme, the Home
Secretary says the government
will take robust action once it's
clear who's responsible
for the attempted murder
of a former Russian spy
and his daughter in Salisbury.
The investigation is moving at pace
and the Government will act without
hesitation as facts become clear.
There's a call for better
support for young people
and children's mental health.
And, as MPs mark
International Women's Day,
one argues there's still sexism
in the House of Commons.
We see it in this House. A juvenile,
grinning idiocy that is so offensive
The Home Secretary has described
the poisoning with nerve gas
of the Russian former double agent
Sergei Skripal and his daughter
Yulia as a "brazen
and reckless act."
The pair were found collapsed
on a bench in Salisbury
city centre on Sunday.
are working to find the origin
of the nerve agent.
In a statement to MPs,
Amber Rudd said it was important
to avoid speculation
about who was responsible,
but added when that became clear,
the UK would respond
in "a robust manner."
She gave MPs a timeline
of the events at the weekend.
I want now to turn to
the speculation, of which there has
been much, around who was
responsible for this
most outrageous crime.
The use of a nerve agent on UK soil
is a brazen and reckless act.
This was attempted murder
in the most cruel and public way.
People are right to want to know
who to hold to account.
But, if we are to be rigorous
in this investigation,
we must avoid speculation and allow
the police to carry
on their investigation.
She said the investigation is
The investigation is moving at pace,
and this Government will
act without hesitation
as the facts become clearer.
As my Right Honourable
Friend the Foreign Secretary
made clear on Tuesday,
we will respond in a robust
and appropriate manner once
we ascertain who was responsible.
We on this side of the House are
appalled that anyone could be
poisoned on the streets of our towns
and be share with the Government the
determination that this case be
brought to a speedy and just
conclusion. And that similar
incidents are prevented in the
How do we affect human
assets in this country, and build
this type of scenario lead to a
review of how we best protect these
people across the United Kingdom?
Considering his background, he was
at high risk, does the Secretary of
State know how the process was able
to slip through the intelligence
service and what sense is she taking
to ensure that those who are at risk
are properly protected?
This is an
investigation that's ongoing. It is
going at pace and in circumstances
where the police and the other
services involved appreciate the
urgency of this. It does not help
their work, which must be our
priority, the speculative at the
moment, on what might happen the
future, when we have an attribution
I have written to ask for a
review of 14 other cases and she
will note that there are many ways
that this will happen and precedents
for doing so. Can I also ask her in
terms of this immediate
investigation, has she considered
going to the UN Security Council to
ask for a statement calling on all
nations to provide assistance,
including willingness to extradite
suspects should that be needed?
think the right honourable Lady and
I have got her letter and I will be
responding. I would gently say that
now is not the time to... Now is the
time to focus on the investigation
proceeding. She makes a suggestion
involving international activity and
I can't say that at some stage, we
will be coming back to the House
with our proposals, but for now, we
are merely preparing and
concentrating on the incident.
Whether or not Russian agents are
shown to be responsible for this
incident, as in the time we got more
realistic about Russia? Kenda Home
Secretary confirm whether or not the
memorandum of understanding between
the UK and the Russian nuclear power
company that was championed by the
former Prime Minister Esther
Cameron, has formally -- Mr Cameron.
Can she make sure it has ended so
that the previous love in with
Russia we saw it years ago is
We should be
cautious about attribute in guilt at
this stage. Thus the Home Secretary
share my anger about the cruel
nature of this crime which could so
easily have resulted in considerably
more collateral damage. Moshe Escher
me and my constituents that the full
force of the law -- will she assure.
Just because we want to approach
this with a cool head in order to
collect the evidence does not mean
that we don't share the outrage that
his constituents and he himself
clearly feels about this. When we
have the evidence, I will return to
Too many children and young people
reach "crisis point"
because services are not working
according to regulators.
The Care Quality Commission has
warned that national,
regional and local action is needed
to ensure services work to support
young people's mental health needs.
In December, the Government
published a plan, or green paper,
aimed at improving children
and young people's access to mental
health support in schools
and colleges in England.
The Government has committed to
making available an addition £1.4
billion to improve children suspect
mental health services to deliver
two commitments... Spend is reaching
the front line, it's an issue I know
the honourable Lady and members have
concerns about. By 2020, ...
report, we see evidence of services
actively putting up barriers to
treatment. Resulting in children and
young people reaching crisis point
before being able to get access to
the right treatment. Children are
suffering because of those high
eligibility thresholds. We know that
50% of mental health problems
develop before the age of 14 and
that 75% develop before the age of
18. Does the Minister recognise that
imposing high eligibility thresholds
means that children and young people
are treated only when their
condition becomes more serious?
are the first government to
introduce waiting time standards,
and have to make relevant... They
are both either meeting are on track
to meet their target at the moment.
We will also be piloting the full
week waiting time for specialist
waiting times as outlined, we are
considering the report that the
responses to that.
It is shocking
that some children are receiving
assistance after attempting suicide,
I note that the national mental
health director has stated that
child and adolescent mental health
services are now proving that from a
stopping point, a historic
underfunding and the legacy
understaffing. This report is surely
an example of the latest reports in
recent years demonstrating the
impact that this government's
austerity driven agenda...
next few weeks, workbook...
Something that is long overdue and
much anticipated, a clear sign that
this government is investing in
mental health and young people but
we continue to have a problem with
our CCJA in delivering front-line
services even though the Government
are providing -- our CCG.
that the money has fallen short,
well short of what was committed to-
three years ago. Of the Minister
absolutely commit to making sure the
shortfall of money getting through
to children's mental health
Will the Minister listened
more closely to the voice of
parents? What parents want, if they
think there something wrong with
their child, whether it's mental
health or autism, they want early
diagnosis and treatment.
the report highlighted... I
completely agree with him.
The Prime Minister has
said that after Brexit,
the UK will be leaving
the Common Fisheries Policy,
the rules which give all European
fishing fleets equal
access to EU waters.
But on Wednesday, there
were two developments
which worried the UK industry.
First, the draft EU guidelines
for trade talks with the UK stated
that existing reciprocal access
to fishing waters and resources
should be maintained.
Then, the Chancellor Philip Hammond
said the Government would be open
to discussing appropriate
arrangements for access for British
fishermen to EU waters and for EU
fishermen to British waters.
With those factors in mind,
several MPs had questions
for the Environment Minister.
Can the Minister give an absolute
We have been clear that
when we leave the European Union, we
leave the common fisheries policy.
That means that under international
law, the UN convention of the law of
the sea, we become an independent
coastal state that we will manage
the fisheries resources in our
exclusive economic zone and manage
access to our own waters.
Minister agree that leaving the
European Union provides fishermen
with a sea of opportunity and part
of that will include protecting
I wonder if we can get an
answer with no Dodge, given all the
Mr Speaker, the Government
is still seeking a trade deal in the
future, but he should also be aware
that other countries like Norway and
Iceland have control of their
waters, they grant access and the
other that we will continue to be
part of that negotiation.
A Conservative MP wondered
whether the UK would leave before
the proposed transition period
began next year.
When not far -- one of our... Can
the Minister confirm that we are
leaving it in March up next year and
that he won't trade away our newly
we want sovereignty over fishing in
the interest of a wider trade deal?
To agree an approach on the
management of shared stocks and we
envisage that such meetings will
continue. But I can confirm that the
UK Government's view is that there
is a trade discussion to take place
and we want a free trade agreement
and the fisheries discussion to take
place, where we want to take control
of our waters.
position on the other that they
state, existing reciprocal access
should be maintained. They also
suggest that any future deal should
be... This position is cooked
unacceptable for the fishing
communities around the UK. Can my
honourable friend confirm that this
Yes, I simply say to my friend that
this is an EU position. They current
-- currently benefit from access to
it UK. They currently access 100,000
tonnes of fish in EU waters, and the
EU Access 700000 tonnes of fish.
They would say that, wouldn't they
quiz map that is not a position UK
You're watching Thursday
in Parliament, with me,
Earlier this week, MPs voted
to bring Northern Ireland in line
with the rest of the UK by requiring
political parties there
to reveal who funds them.
It means that all donations of more
than £7,500 made after July last
year will have to be made public.
But the decision not to backdate
the publication of donations means
details of those made during the EU
will not be listed.
That includes a controversial
donation of more than £400,000
to the DUP from a group of pro-union
business people called
the Constitutional Research Council.
That angered a Labour
former Cabinet minister.
Following the disgraceful decision
by the Government yesterday to keep
secret the source of the 425 of
hundred thousand pounds donation to
the Leave campaign via the DUP,
meeting the public have no idea
where this money came from, what
more can she be in the Electoral
Commission do to ensure we have full
transparency in our democratic
The commission welcomes the
existing order which will provide
for the first time information about
donations and loans received by
parties in Northern Ireland. But the
commission also builds as the
transparency back to 2014 as
Parliament envisaged and would
support the third order to provide a
full transparency back to 2014.
There are more than 500,000 miles
of underwater cables that carry much
of the world's web traffic.
At the end of last year,
the head of the armed forces
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach,
said the military had prioritised
the protection of the UK's cables
because of the threat
posed by Russia.
This was after warnings that any
attack would be a "crippling
blow" to the country's
security and economy.
A Labour Peer wondered
if the government took
the issue seriously enough.
Journalist walk into a farmhouse in
Cornwell through an open door and
photographed all the connections to
one of the main submarine cables.
And at last summer, a ship dropped
its anchor on a cable between here
and the mainland and cut the cable.
And nobody has bothered to prosecute
this. So could he explain whether
the Government really is -- takes
seriously the issue of a security on
these cables and what is he going to
do to ensure that these two
instances that I have just mentioned
will not happen again?
lord raises an important point. As
far as the Sunday Times report is
concerned, I can say the reporter
was unable to access any secure
section of the facility. The
essential point about this is that
there is resilience in the system.
There are many cables coming into
the 11 the landing sites for
transatlantic cables in a different
places. Because of the resilience of
the system, when one particular
cable is broken, the system
continues. As far as prosecution is
concerned, most of the breaks in the
cables, and there are a considerable
number each year, about 30-40 each
year, as the result of accidents.
And that is why it is not normally
necessarily -- necessary to
prosecute. But these are similar
actions because the cables locking
individual companies. It is under
them to seek damages.
We were very
concerned about cables in the 1970s
and we built the HMS Challenger grey
cost because we were concerned.
Finally we got rid of her when the
Cold War style. The Russians have
now started investing very heavily
in a nuclear submarines that can go
deep into these attacks on these
cables. At the end of the Cold War,
we're the best anti-submarine
warfare and undersea warfare to
mobility in the world. That hasn't
been eroded. What are we doing to
have ships that will enable us and
platforms that will enable us to go
and check these lines, repair them
and do the work?
Is not just the
Marines nowadays. Any so called a
civilian vessel, which can have
drones on them, can do it. The
issue, the main defence is
resilience, and a lot to different
cables because there are just over
half 1 million miles of cables to
monitoring the world.
Back in the Commons,
MPs held a debate to mark
International Women's Day
and celebrate 100 years
since some women got the vote.
The Labour MP Jess Philips began
by reciting the names of women
killed by men in the last year.
As always, the women are all ages
and were killed in violent episodes
at the hands of men. Violence
against women and girls is an
epidemic. If as many people died
every week at a sporting event or
because they had a particular job,
there'll be a national outcry. These
deserve the same. We must all do
better to hear their stories and to
end the culture of a male violence
that killed them up.
Over the next nearly four minutes,
she read out the names
of all the women who had died
from domestic violence
in the UK since the last
International Women's Day.
Our test should always be given we
do everything we could to protect
all women? There are too many women
in this country, the answer to this
is still simply know. We must do
Another Labour MP fought back tears
as she called for an end to violence
against women in conflict zones.
I was more in the country,
Bangladesh, that was born out of
compliment were millions lost their
lives. Where rape and violence was
used as a weapon of war. And that
continues in many other countries
today. We must all continue to work
hard to make sure that we bring an
end to sexual violence in the
An SNP MP argued sexism was deeply
embedded in our culture.
We see it in this House, a juvenile,
grinning idiocy that is so offensive
that sometimes, the smugness of a
minority of men who think that
supposedly clever point scoring
Peru's something. And
anti-intellectual nonsense that
makes this continuing debate so
tiring. There are men in this House
who have a record of opposing
progressive politics without
substantiated argument but with
plenty of bluster and filibuster,
imposing a quality as a playground
joke. I, and I am sure others, are
tired of engaging with men who have
it so very little to offer, and I am
pleased that they represent a very
tiny percentage of the men I
Other MPs spoke of encouraging more
women into politics and Westminster.
We must put forward a very positive
view of the women's role in this
House because the most important
thing is to encourage young women to
look at this as a potential career
and if they are always complaining
and pointing out downsides of the
jar, that is not going to be very
The best thing we are
doing at the moment is having a
female Prime Minister. Because
certainly for me, it was when I saw
Margaret Thatcher become Prime
Minister and leader of the party,
that made politics relevant for me.
It turned to politics from being
frankly a lot of old men in grey
raincoats into something which was a
Technicolor, relevant issue for me
to be involved in as a 14-year-old
girl living in South Wales, where
there were not too Tories around.
And I could see an amazing role
model on the television.
important that we in his house take
responsibility for inspiring our
women and daughters. But I think we
should also remember that many of
inspiration to our mothers and
grandmothers, and Parliament in our
lives. My own grandmother did not
have the right to vote when she was
bored. I wear her wedding ring to
this chamber every day up and
occasionally it serves as a reminder
to generations paid fast -- of past.
The tech firms YouTube and Google
could be called in front of MPs
after claims they've failed
to honour a pledge to take
down extremist videos.
The companies told the Home Affairs
Committee in December that they'd
remove content from illegal
far-right group National Action.
But the chair of the committee,
raising a point of order
in the Commons, told MPs the videos
were still widely
available this week.
Can you advise on the course of
action when a private company gives
commitments and assurances to select
committees on issues that affect
national security and public safety
and then fails to meet them? Mr
Speaker, there is widely available
on YouTube this week, the band in
illegal propaganda videos from the
extremist prescribed organisation
national action that, despite the
fact that this video has been raised
with YouTube and Google seven times
by a select committee over the last
12 months. Despite the fact that
they have promised us that that
video is illegal and will be taken
down and they had the technology to
prevent that being put back up. Have
you had any indication the
Government will look into this? And
do you share my immense concern that
this was one of the richest
companies in the world and is
failing to meet its basic
responsibility to tackle extremism
and protect public safety in this
Grateful for your point of
order and I share her intense
concern on the matter. National
Action is a despicable fascist
neo-Nazi organisation. And my
understanding is that it has been
prescribed, by the Home Secretary.
If they are having commitments may,
they must be honoured. It is open to
committee but it should not be
necessary for the committee to
demand as a matter of urgency the
appearance of representatives of one
or more of those companies before it
to explain itself.
The Home Secretary,
who was still in the chamber
following her earlier statement
on Sergei Skripal stepped in.
They are right to raise this issue.
National Action, as you rightly say,
is a prescribed group, I prescribed
it myself. It is a terrorist
organisation. The fact is that
Internet companies have made good
progress in taking down the Aiesh
focused material. Now we hadn't --
demonstrated they can take that with
our own system 94% of material that
goes up from Daesh type
organisation. But we must see more
focused in areas of extreme
right-wing groups like my right
honourable lady hasn't raced. I hope
the lady and I can work together to
make sure that we hold the more to
And that's it from me for now,
but do join me on BBC Parliament
on Friday night at 11pm
for a round up of the week
here at Westminster,
when, among other things,
I'll be finding out why not
all petitions to MPs get debated
and whether they have any impact
when they do.
But for now from me,
Alicia McCarthy, goodbye.