24/01/2017 Tuesday in Parliament


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Hello and welcome to choose day in Parliament. The main news in


Westminster, the judges have spoken. It's up to Parliament to make a


decision on triggering Brexit. I can announce today that we will shortly


introduce legislation allowing the Government to move ahead with


invoking Article 50, which starts the formal process of withdrawing


from the European Union. Some MPs want to be clear about what they are


voting for. I would like a white Paper which we can debate. It will


bring us together, I would say to my right honourable friend. What does


my right honourable friend have to lose with a debate on it? Also on


the programme, the Government is refusing to talk about a failed


Trident missile test, but there are other sources. I could phone up Mr


Putin can I did a favour for him once rescuing his submariners when


they were drowning and I'm sure he would tell me. I surely would know


the date... But first, the Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament


would need formal approval before leaving the European Union.


Explaining the decision of a 96 page judgment, the president of the


Supreme Court said withdrawal from the EU would effect a fundamental


change and altar legal rights. He said that such changes to the UK's


constitutional arrangements should be clearly authorised by Parliament.


Having lost the court case, the Government was quick off the mark


with its next move. Brexit secretary David Davis said a bill would be


introduced within days. This Government is determined to deliver


on a decision taken by the people of the United Kingdom in the referendum


granted by this house to leave the European Union. So we will move


swiftly to do just that. I can announce today that we will


introduce legislation allowing the Government to move ahead with


invoking Article 50, which starts the formal process of withdrawing


from the European Union. He said the bill would be straightforward. It's


not about whether or not the UK should leave the European Union,


that decision has already been made by the people of the United Kingdom.


We will work with colleagues in both houses to ensure this bill is passed


in good time for us to invoke Article 50 by the end of March this


year. This is a good day for Parliamentary sovereignty. The


Supreme Court has ruled that we shall have a say in this house on


the Article 50 issue. Given the issues involved, that is quite right


and the Prime Minister was wrong to have attempted to sideline


Parliament in this process. This bill is only to be introduced


because the Prime Minister has been ordered to do so. He said it was a


question of substance, not process. Last week the Prime Minister


committed herself to swapping the known benefits of single market


membership of the customs union for the hoped-for benefits of a


agreement. With a fallback position of breaking our economic model. --


of the free trade agreement. That is high risk. There are big gaps in


consistency is an unanswered questions in the Prime Minister's


approach. Mr Speaker, if the Prime Minister fails in her endeavour, the


cost will be borne by families, working people and communities


throughout the UK. The stakes are high and the role of this house in


holding the Prime Minister and the Government to account throughout the


process is crucial. The Supreme Court ruled that the administrations


in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales do not need to be consulted


before Brexit is triggered, but the SNP is still welcomed the main


judgments. There was a time when the Secretary of State himself was a


great champion of parliamentary sovereignty, in the distant past...


I'm sure that deep down inside he will be welcoming this judgment as


well. And I'm wondering why they fear parliamentary scrutiny? Is it


because they will be found out? Is it because we will find out the


emperor has no clothes? Because we talk of democracy but let me remind


the Secretary of State of this. When it comes to Scotland, the


Conservatives got their worst ever result at the general election since


1865. You have one MP! Will the Secretary of State now agreed to


accept the unanimous recommendation of the Brexit Select Committee and


in the process, agree with himself before he got this job? And now


publish a White Paper on the Government's objectives, so that


these can be considered alongside the legislation that he has just


announced. Because if the Government does not do so, then I have to say


to him it will be showing a lack of respect for this House of Commons. I


don't often disagree with myself but let me say this to the honourable


, The Right Honourable gentleman. The speech given last week by the


Prime Minister was the clearest exposition of a negotiating strategy


I have seen in modern times. It laid out very clearly what we judge the


national interest to be, how we intend to protect it, what we want


to do, what we hope does not happen, how we're going to go about avoiding


that too. So I don't see that this Government has avoided answering any


question, either from his committee or indeed the front bench. Does the


Minister accept it my view that the public want us to get on with this


and actually carry out what they voted for? Does he also accept too


that the public will not look kindly on amendments brought in by parties


who want another referendum to delay unnecessarily, but do want perhaps a


member and is that clarify and make us all more aware of the


Government's intentions? If someone votes against sending the Article 50


ladder, aren't they voting against restoring the very parliamentary --


Parliamentary sovereignty that they called in aid? Doesn't the British


public want the pattern and answering to Brussels? I would like


a White Paper which we can debate. It will bring us together, I say to


my right honourable friend, what does my right honourable friend have


to lose with a debate? Let me say this, do the honourable lady. She


holds passionately a very well formed a view on the matter, that


firstly in terms of bringing people together, a large part of the Prime


Minister's speech was aimed at creating the sense of this country


which everybody can get behind. David Davis. And later in the


programme, we will hear what the House of Lords had to say about the


Brexit judgment. Now, MPs have been told that the Government's refusal


to confirm reports of a failed Trident missile test may be due to


pressure by the United States. Defence Secretary sur Michael Fallon


refuses to discuss any details of a test reportedly carried out in June.


He told MPs that the Government had absolute confidence in the UK's


nuclear weapons system. Appearing before the defence committee, an


expert suggested there had been a problem with the missile's guidance


system. American sources only now reporting in the American press on


CNN that the missile, quote "Had to be diverted into the ocean to


self-destruct", which suggests that it may have been heading for land if


it had to be diverted into the ocean, if that statement is


technically correct. So it does suggest, if that is true, that there


was a fairly major telemetry failure that the missile may have not just


been uncertain in its flight but may have genuinely been going on the


wrong track. Professor Clarke said the missiles were made by the US


firm Lockheed Martin. There have been 161 successful tests since


1989. There were five failures before 1989, when the missile was in


a bigger testing phase. So in total, there have been six failed tests,


five of them before 1989 and one of them since then, which is the 162nd


test failure. Lockheed Martin are certainly, I think, embarrassed


about this. There has been a certain amount of journalistically reported


pressure from the United States on the UK Government not to say too


much about this because clearly it must worry the Americans as well.


One failure out of 162 is very small but the fact that it has never


failed before may raise questions about the adequacy of the checking


of the manufacturer. Also appearing before the committee was a former


head of the Royal Navy, who has also been a security minister. He said


missile tests were not carried out in secret. First of all we have to


inform all of the aviators, civil airline people. Also we have an


agreement when we do these firings, that we warn Russia so that we don't


-- they don't think we're starting world War three. They are very aware


this is what is to happen. We don't even know what date the tests took


place on but I have heard a suggestion that it was on the 20th


of June. Are you in a position to know... I absolutely don't know. But


I see no reason, I personally can see no reason whatsoever... I could


probably phone up Mr Putin, I did a favour for him once rescuing his sub


Mariners when they were drowning and ask him what it is about sure he


would tell me. He certainly would be able to know the date. Would you


have thought it at all likely that if a missile firing had gone wrong,


as this one apparently did, that such a matter could be kept secret,


given number of observers who would have seen what happened? I think


anyone who thought that could be done was being very stupid and


foolhardy. It's all very well being upfront and transparent about these


things but we have agreed that there is a sort of relative scale of


transparency, certain things that you cannot be transparent about...


Absolutely. All the trials we did with the type 45s, you don't tell


anyone about that, of course you don't. But this is quite a comedian


no, this is a big bonanza occasion, we do this once every four years, it


was inevitably going to come out. If anyone thought it wasn't going to


come out, they were in cloud cuckoo land. And back to Professor Clarke.


Do you think that anything we have discussed in our two sessions today


has in any way undermined the secrecy or security Britain's


nuclear deterrent? Can you think of any good reason why a similar


discussion couldn't have been held before yesterday? Absolutely not,


chairman. There is an old rule in politics that it is not the failure


that does the damage, it is the cover-up or the perception of a


cover-up. In this case I agree with Admiral West, this whole issue is


not in anyway undermining the deterrent. It may be doing damage to


the Government because it has not been handled particularly well. Now,


violence in prisons is an old problem but it has escalated in


recent months. The prison service is on a major recruitment drive,


including a new graduate scheme. Some jails are experimenting with


novel ways to tackle the violence, such as paying some inmates to


monitor the behaviour of others. Violence in prisons has been a


problem for decades. Was it really wise to cut the number of prison


officers by a quarter in the last six years, given these problems? I


would be delighted to have a conversation with my honourable


friend about his experience looking at these issues, because he is aptly


be right. They have been a problem for a number of years and it will


take time to build up the front line and recruit those 2500 additional


officers. But we have faced recently is new challenges, with psychoactive


substances, with drones, with mobile phones. We are taking action to deal


with those but it is vitally important we have staff on the front


who can rear -- reform offenders and also keep


our prisons save. The level is unprecedented in the years I've been


in this house. Following on from the honourable gentleman from


Gainsborough, would she confirmed that the figures to September meant


a loss of 417 prison officers, and when she says she has to recruit


2500, does she not mean that in the next 12 months she has to recruit


4000 to make those 2510 she do that? The honourable gentleman is


absolutely right, we do need to recruit 4000 officers over the next


year. I announced initially that we were recruiting officers for ten of


the most challenging prisons and we have already made job offers to


almost all of those 400, so we are making good progress. We've recently


launched a graduate scheme, Unlock. Within 24 hours of announcing that


scheme, we had expressions of interest from over 1000 candidates.


It is challenging to recruit those numbers of officers but we are


absolutely determined to do it because it is what we need to do, to


be able to determine -- turn our prisons round and make them places


of safety and reform. Some prisons including Her Majesty 's prison in


Birmingham, they are using prisoners who are paid to monitor other


inmates. The stakeholders we have spoken to suggest that somewhere in


care and compliance, themselves meeting out violence and troublesome


inmates, what assessment has she made of their use?


The honourable lady refers to those violence reduction programmes and I


have seen them in place in a number of prisons where they can be very


effective. Because, often it is peer to peer support that can help turn


prisoners around. However, they need to be carefully managed and


monitored and my expectation is that that is the role of the prison


governor to make sure those systems are in place. You are watching


Tuesday in Parliament. Coming up, what may happen if Parliament blocks


Brexit. They'll be no option for those of us who voted to Leave other


than to take to the streets probably breaking things. The home affairs


committee is continuing its investigation into one of the big


factors in the Brexit vote, migration. One Labour committee


member said there was no point in setting net migration targets which


could not be met. Take -- I think there is broad consensus, however


you voted last year, that there is a desire in all parts of the UK for


more control over immigration system. But does not to undermine


the sense of control to persist with a target you continually fail to


meet? Lord Greene, you are asked about that in the past tense. You


supported it when it was introduced. How can you carry on supporting a


target, which, even if you take EU citizens out of the equation, the


Government is not going to meet? Has not met. Yes, we certainly have


supported it and we continue to for these reasons. One is that it is a


very effective means of focusing public opinion on an issue we think


needs attention. Secondly, it introduces an element, if you like,


of democratic accountability. This is now firmly in the public mind.


I'm not sure it can be helpful for a Government to abandon it. With the


greatest respect, Lord Greene, what it is is an effective means of


undermining the confidence of people in the system. It is ludicrous to


suggest that somehow it has helped achieve the targets, because the


target has never been met thus far. Well, it it certainly underline the


failure to reach the target, that is clear. What organisation sets itself


up to fail year after year, surely that is stupid? Yes, if that's was


the case, which I'm not sure it is. So they haven't failed? I'm saying


in the future that may not be the case, for a number of reasons. One


is the proposal we make to reduce net migration by 100,000 a year for


a start. Please explain why the Government maintains this ludicrous


target. I'm not the position to do that, because we've criticised the


target ever since was introduced. We acknowledge the fact that, you know,


it helps public accountability and the Government understand the


objective. However, it's created a whole set of quite perverse


incentives. A Conservative said Poland had one of the best education


systems in the EU and received EU funds. We have the observed


situation in which we are paying money to the Polish people to


educate to a high level their students in order for a lot of them,


the high skilled ones, to then leave Poland in a brain drain and come to


the UK, where, by and large, they are employed below their skill


level. That may be good for us, although having somebody picking


turnips in Norfolk with a Ph.D. Is a huge waste of human skills, but it


is a net detriment, surely, to Poland? So free movements from


Labour -- of labour from Poland, surely this is completely


unsustainable for that country? I think what you've described is


pretty accurate. It was entirely this European fixation with free


movement of goods, capital and labour that they were not prepared


to shift. I'm particularly not prepared to shift they were certain


the British were going to stay anywhere. They were wrong. The child


poverty unit was set up some 20 years ago by the previous Labour


Government. It was run across three Government departments, work and


pensions, education and the Treasury. Now it is part of the


Department for Work and Pensions, prompting claims the political focus


on reducing child poverty has diminished. The abolition of the


cross departmentally unit is widely seen as downgrading and weakening.


The Government machinery dedicated to the eradication of child poverty.


The Minister explain how the abolition of a cross departmentally


unit, co-sponsored by the Department for Education is consistent with the


Government's own analysis of the root causes of poverty as parlour


lying in children's education and achievement? Surely it is -- a's own


approach to reject what it calls a narrow, income -based approach


strengthens rather than weakens a case for a cross departmental unit.


The purpose of the child poverty unit was to measure those income


related target set up by the previous Government. Those targets


are a waste of time and we got rid of them. We have now set up


something better, and that is the social mobility commission, based on


the Department for Education and as I said in my original and so, the


appropriate measure for these things should be parental responsibility


and children's educational attainment and those of the two we


will look out. The last Labour Government lift the 1 million


children out of poverty and that record is unarguable. The resolution


foundation has estimated that in 2060 alone, 1 million children extra


will be forced into poverty, mostly from working households. How on


earth can any Government be proud of such a record? Particularly one that


says it is in favour of those who were just about managing? On the


measures the previous Labour Government sets forth, we found that


in a recession, the number of children in poverty went down and


when incomes are rising, it went up. It wasn't measuring the correct


thing. We end where we started, with the Supreme Court's ruling that


Parliament must give formal approval before the UK Government can start


the Brexit process. The Government will soon be producing a Bill which


must be approved by the Commons on the laws. This was a completely


unnecessary legal procedure. If the Government are brought forward a


bill which the court has forced upon them shortly after the referendum,


it would now be safely enacted, and much time and effort and cost would


have been saved. It is of course a sign of the robustness of our


constitutional arrangement, that a private citizen can require the


Government against its will to play by the rules. But it's greatly to


the Government's discredit that this was ever necessary. He explains what


action the Lib Dems would be taking. We will therefore be seeking to


amend the bill to provide for a referendum to be held and we know


the terms which the Government has been able to negotiate. The


Government may have a mandate to stop Brexit negotiations, it


certainly does not have a mandate to impose harsh Brexit terms on the


country. In referring to the Government's commitment to work with


the devolved administrations, there's an opportunity arising from


the white paper published here in London yesterday morning by the


Welsh First Minister, with support from Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems,


based on the possibility of a single market. This may well be the


difficulties being faced in both Scotland and Northern Ireland and


will he give a firm assurance that the details of these proposals will


be carefully considered. It gives me an opportunity to say yes, if he


would like to meet, he can, I can also take this opportunity to say


the proposals issued by the Scottish Government also been giving careful


consideration and we will continue to cooperate and consult with those


representatives of the Northern Irish Assembly and devolved


administrations in Scotland and Wales. Does my noble friend except


that if the Parliament accepted the advice of the labour Lord, Lord


Harris and trees of the referendum as adviser and decided this country


should not leave the EU, And that advice from the Archbishop


of Canterbury on how to achieve a peaceful Brexit brings us to the end


of Tuesday in Parliament. Join us again for another round-up of the


news in Westminster. Until then, from me, Christina Cooper, goodbye.


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