04/11/2015 Wednesday in Parliament


04/11/2015

Georgina Pattinson presents highlights of Wednesday 4 November in Parliament.


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This is Wednesday in Parliament, our look at the day at Westminster.

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On the programme, the Government unveils proposals to help combat

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It will give the men and women of hours security and intelligence

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agencies and our law enforcement agencies who do so much to keep a

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safe and secure the powers they need to protect our country.

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The Prime Minister tackles questions on tax credit cuts and the NHS

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We suffered a defeat in the House of Lords, so we have taken the tax

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credit proposals are away and are looking at them.

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And MPs expressed concern about the future of policing.

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I believe this government is about to cause serious damage to our

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police service. But first, the Government has

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unveiled its latest proposals to help the police and security

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services tackle criminal and terrorist activity

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online. The draft Investigatory Powers Bill

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contains more safeguards, after a previous attempt to update

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the law in 2012 was dubbed who argued it was too intrusive

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and had to be abandoned. The Home Secretary said law

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enforcement and intelligence gathering had become a lot more

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difficult in the digital age. It is right, therefore, that those

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who are charged with protecting us should have the powers they need to

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do so, but it is the role of Government and Parliament to ensure

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that there are limits to those powers. Let me be clear: the draft

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Bill we are publishing today is not a return to the draft communications

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data Bill of 2012. It will not include powers to force UK companies

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to capture and retain third party internet traffic from companies

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based overseas; it will not compel overseas communications service

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providers to meet our domestic retention obligations for

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communications data; and it will not ban encryption or do anything to

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undermine the security of people's The Home Secretary said law

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enforcement agencies would not have access to people's full internet

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browsing history, and an internet connection record

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would only demonstrate which social media sites

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had been accessed. And for communications to be

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intercepted, there would need to be a warrant from the Home Secretary

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formally approved by a judge. It will provide safeguarding

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powers. It will give the men and women of our intelligence agencies

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and our line force and agencies who do so much to keep us safe and

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secure the powers they need to protect our country.

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The issues the proposed legislation seeks to tackle go way beyond party

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politics. Any Government will face a difficult task in balancing the

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security of the nation with the privacy and liberties of individual

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citizens. As someone who was in the Home Office on 7/7, I know that that

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challenge has got harder in recent years. We will examine carefully the

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detail of the draft Bill and seek to improve the safeguards to build

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trust. Having listened carefully to what the Home Secretary has said

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today, I believe that she has responded to legitimate concerns and

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broadly got that difficult balance right.

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Her last Bill on this fraught but important subject hit the buffers.

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The current Bill is a much improved model, although I have the feeling

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that, under the bonnet, it retains some of the flaws of its

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predecessor. The Home Office has clearly put in a lot of work, which

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I welcome, as I do the dropping of some of the key provisions on

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We are concerned that a hybrid system-involving both political and

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judicial authorisation-might add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and

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lead to error and delay in urgent situations. Can she give us any

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We have every confidence that the process will not add greater

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bureaucracy, but will add the necessary independent judicial

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authorisation. In emergency warrant cases, the Secretary of State will

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be able to authorise a warrant immediately, but that will be

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followed by a speedy review by the judge to ensure there is still

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However much we all agree that action is necessary to combat

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terrorism and other forms of criminality, I remain concerned,

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even if I am one of only a few who do, about the excessive powers that

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will be given to the security authorities in addition to what they

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already have, although judicial involvement is better than no

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The Home Secretary said the bill strengthens safeguards.

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The bill is still in draft form and can be amended,

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even before it begins its journey through Parliament.

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At PMQs this week, both the Prime Minister and the Labour Leader

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began their stint at the dispatch box by marking Remembrance Sunday,

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paying tribute to those who lost their lives in conflict.

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Last week, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn used all of his allotted

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Last week I asked him the same question six times. Now he has had a

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week to think about it. Canny guarantee that next April nobody

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will be worse off as a result of cuts to working tax credits. Let me

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be clear. There lobby and 11,000 personal allowance, so you can earn

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?11,000 before you pay tax. There will be a national living wage of ?7

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20, giving the lowest paid in our country at ?20 per week pay rise. We

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suffered the defeat in the House of Lords, so we have taken the

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proposals away, we're looking at them, we will come forward with new

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proposals in the Autumn Statement. At that point in three weeks' time I

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will be able to answer his question. The Prime Minister said that if

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the Labour Leader wanted to ask the he was sure he would find that

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very entertaining and interesting. This isn't about entertainment, Mr

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Speaker. A serving soldier, a private in the Army with two

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children and a partner with us over ?2000 next April. I ask a question,

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surely that is the whole point of our Parliament, that we are able to

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put questions to those in authority? So I have a question from Kieran, a

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veteran of the first Gulf War. His family are set to lose out. He

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writes, it is a worry to the family, this fear and trepidation,

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about whether we are going to be able to get by. Is this how the

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government treats veterans of the armed services? All soldiers will

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benefit from the ?11,000 personal allowance, so they will be able to

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earn more money before they even start paying tax. What I say to the

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serving soldier is that he is now dealing with an opposition party the

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leader of which said he couldn't see any use for UK forces anywhere in

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the world at any time. That serving soldier wouldn't have a job if the

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honourable gentleman ever got anywhere near power. We remember all

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sacrifices from the past and present conflict. We sure our respect to

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service men and women and their families. Many service widows

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continue to be deprived of their forces pensions if there is a change

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in their personal circumstances. Does he agree this is a clear breach

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in the spirit of the military covenant? We made a big change last

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who had remarried were able to get who had remarried were able to get

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their pensions. That was a big step forward, welcomed by the British

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Legion. If there are further steps we need to look at, I am happy to

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look at them and see what can be done.

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The Prime Minister answering SNP's

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Did he use all the questions on the issue of tax credits?

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No, he moved on to ask the prime about the NHS.

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I quote Doctor Clive Mantle, the president of the Royal College of

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emergency medicine, who said this winter will be worse than last

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winter. Last winter was the worst winter we have ever had in the NHS.

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Can the Prime Minister guarantee there will be no winter crisis in

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the NHS this year? Jeremy Corbyn began

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his questions saying he was awaiting details on the proposals for pay

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for junior doctors. When it comes to the Royal College

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of Emergency Medicine, the support what we're saying a 7 day NHS and

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the junior doctor. I would urge all junior doctors who are watching this

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to go on the Department of Health website and look at the pay

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calculator, because they will be able to see there that no one

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working legal hours will lose out in any way at all. This is only 11%

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basic pay rise and pottable deliver is a stronger and safer NHS.

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As for the state of our NHS more generally, it is benefiting from the

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?10 billion that we are putting in-money that the Labour party at

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the last election said it did not support. I believe the NHS has the

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resources that it needs, and that is why we are seeing it treating more

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patients, with more treatments, more drugs being delivered and more tests

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being carried out. It is a much stronger NHS, and the reason is

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You are watching Wednesday in Parliament.

:10:54.:10:54.

The Home Secretary announces ways to tackle online crime

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Still to come... There is no place like home.

:10:58.:11:00.

Could prefab buildings provide the houses of the future?

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Now, when are three runways quieter than two?

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A committee of MPs found the answer when they met

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Heathrow Airport bosses and Sir Howard Davies,

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the man who chaired the commission which backed the idea of building

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a new third runway at Heathrow. Sir Howard was giving evidence

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to the Environmental Audit Committee, when Labour's

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Geraint Davies posed the question, how could a third runway

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On some noise measures, a new three-runway airport would,

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in fact, be less irritating than an existing two-runway

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airport, partly because of the different configuration

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of the flights. You could put them further to the north and over-flying

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fewer people. You have got flights coming in at a higher level.

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Some of the flights coming in low over central London in the

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morning would not be coming in low over central London

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in the morning. They would be coming in over the less-populated areas

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a bit further to the north and they would be higher.

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So, for some of the measures, a three-runway airport

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is less noisy than a two-runway airport, at that time.

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Earlier in the session, Heathrow chief executive,

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John Holland-Kaye, outlined to the committee how successful

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he believed the airport can be at limiting sound pollution.

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And he was pushed on limiting night flights

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It is something we need to keep working on. We need to discuss it

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with airlines and the government. We will make our statement on that in

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due course. When is that? When we have concluded the agreement. We are

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not in a position to do that at the moment. With regard to what John

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said about Nate flakes, the fourth runway as a matter for government. I

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realise this is an easy of great controversy, but I have to as people

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watching in the public gallery not to intervene. Please, beer weathers,

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listen to the evidence. My apologies. I am interested in your

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views on the fourth runway. The session last year, you said the

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succession of a third runway would pave the way for the campaign for a

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fourth runway. What we have said is that Heathrow is capable of

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expanding, if that were the case. That is entirely a question for the

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future. On the specific question, this is for the government to

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decide. The government has said it

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will make a decision on whether to go ahead with expansion

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at Heathrow At Lords' Question Time,

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Liberal Democrat peer Lord Marks asked a question on the current

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policy towards the treatment of transgender individuals

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In the criminal justice system. Prison rules say that prisoners

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should be placed according to their gender,

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as recognised by UK law, usually, as stated on

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their birth certificate or, if a person has a gender

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recognition certificate, giving them a new birth certificate

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in their acquired gender. The National Offender Management

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Service Policy on the care and management of transexual

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prisoners states that prisoners are normally placed

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according to their legally-recognised gender.

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The guidelines allow, however, some room for discretion and,

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in such cases, senior prison management will review

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the circumstances with relevant experts,

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to protect the prisoner's safety and well-being and that

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of other prisoners. Tara Hudson, a woman after

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six years of gender reconstruction, was originally imprisoned

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at HMP Bristol - a tough prison for 600 men,

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causing her great distress. She was moved to a women's

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prison only after the judges considering her case appeal

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suggested that the prison service reconsider. How can prison

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allocation be so insensitive to transgender offenders,

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particularly in light of the noble lord's answer?

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And will the noble lord's department ensure that,

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in the future, if a transgender offender

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is at risk of a custodial sentence, then full and careful

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thought should be given to allocation before sentence,

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rather than after placement? It is the policy of the Ministry

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of Justice Executive Agency But I can, however, without

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breaching any of the obligations, assure the House that she is being

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held in an appropriate environment and is receiving the care

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that she needs. There is deep concern about

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treatments within the criminal justice system.

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There are, however, good works being undertaken,

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such as at HMP Stafford. Will he commit and reassure

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the House that there is ongoing training and awareness-raising

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on the issue of transsexuality, particularly when the criminal

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justice aspects are outsourced? There is an emphasis on the prison

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officer training, which has been extended in its length

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and its content refreshed. It is all about respecting the needs

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and the rights of each individual prisoner in their care

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and there is a component of the mandatory training which

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addresses the Equality Act, and the nine characteristics

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protected under that legislation. The minister seem to suggest that it

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was at the point of prison Surely, when a person is

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leaving court, they need to be in the right van to go to the correct

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person. So, should the decision not be taken earlier, before they leave

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court? And can he assure us that the staff there are properly trained

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and a decision is taken My noble lady makes an

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important point. The National Offender Management

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Service is currently looking at ways of facilitating the proper

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recording of this information, through the introduction of an

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equalities self-declaration form, to be completed by all defendants

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who are adjourned for Labour has predicted

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a dangerous future for policing if the government proceeds with

:17:32.:17:33.

funding cuts. Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham

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warned that, if cuts went beyond 10%, public

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safety would be put at risk and some But Home Secretary Theresa May

:17:37.:17:40.

insisted that communities in England and Wales were safer than ever

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and accused Labour When the Home Secretary gets it

:17:44.:17:46.

right, she will have my support. I have just offered her that

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on the Investigatory Powers Bill. But where she

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and the government get it wrong, then, Madam Deputy Speaker,

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I am not going to hold back from saying so, particularly where public

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and community safety is at risk. I believe this government is

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about to cause serious damage to I spoke to my Police

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Crime Commissioner yesterday. He confirmed to me, and I quote,

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"We are in a strong position to face future financial challenges, whilst

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maintaining frontline services." Does he agree with me, that many

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factors influence performance, That may well be the case,

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Madam Deputy Speaker. But could I gently point out to her

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that it is not the case everywhere. I would refer her to

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the comments made by the Chief Constable of Lancashire

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yesterday, before the Home Affairs Select Committee, when he said,

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"Going forward, if the cuts come through, people in Lancashire will

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not be as safe as they are now." Three weeks from now,

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the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be standing at the dispatch box

:19:05.:19:13.

announcing his spending review. If he follows through

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on what he said at the Budget, the country will soon have

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a very different police force, providing a much-reduced service

:19:19.:19:20.

from the one he has just described. As it stands, like other unprotected

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departments, the Home Office is in line for cuts over the next five

:19:24.:19:25.

years of between 25-40%. If we assume the government are

:19:26.:19:32.

working towards keeping it at the lower end of that spectrum, that is

:19:33.:19:35.

still a massive hit on resources. As I understand his position,

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he is saying that cuts of up to 10% could safely be made now, because

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he accepts, in the terms of this motion, that further efficiencies

:19:45.:19:50.

could be made in the police budget. Therefore, by definition,

:19:51.:19:53.

he has accepted the efficiencies that have been made so far have not

:19:54.:19:55.

damaged policing - by definition. If further cuts can be made,

:19:56.:20:01.

up to 10%, he therefore accepts that the reductions which have been made

:20:02.:20:08.

to date have not damaged policing. Is it not, therefore,

:20:09.:20:13.

not extraordinarily that the Labour Party opposed those

:20:14.:20:16.

reductions in spending, said that Is it not the case that they are

:20:17.:20:18.

saying exactly the same thing now? I am glad the honourable

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gentleman has intervened. I am not saying anything

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of the kind. I am not saying that

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the cuts they have managed, to date, I have just been describing how

:20:35.:20:37.

functions as important as I have also pointed to

:20:38.:20:40.

the fact that crime is rising. These reforms are working

:20:41.:20:48.

and crime is falling. This government has achieved

:20:49.:20:51.

something that no other We have proved that it is possible

:20:52.:20:53.

to improve services and maintain public trust and confidence, whilst

:20:54.:21:00.

saving money for the taxpayer. It is with some dismay that I see

:21:01.:21:02.

the party opposite making exactly the same mistakes as they did

:21:03.:21:05.

in 2010 - misusing statistics, worrying decent members of the

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public and wilfully ignoring the I am really surprised to hear

:21:09.:21:11.

her say that crime is falling. In Cleveland, we have seen

:21:12.:21:17.

an increasing in crime of 21% - that includes a 77% increase

:21:18.:21:21.

in violence against the person. That does not accord with what

:21:22.:21:25.

she says about crime falling. Under the last Labour government,

:21:26.:21:28.

crime fell by 43%. We are very proud of that record

:21:29.:21:31.

and it is disappointing to see this I think I am right in saying that

:21:32.:21:35.

the figures she quotes for crime falling under the last Labour

:21:36.:21:45.

government were from exactly the same basis as the figures I have

:21:46.:21:47.

quoted for crime falling over the last five years -

:21:48.:21:51.

namely the Independent Crime Survey. Now, could prefab buildings be

:21:52.:21:53.

the solution to Britain's housing They were the answer to many

:21:54.:21:58.

of the housing problems after World War II and they conjure up

:21:59.:22:02.

images of flat-roofed, wooden-clad, In Westminster Hall,

:22:03.:22:04.

Conservative MP Damian Collins said new techniques and technologies

:22:05.:22:10.

for building homes and factories While the number

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of finished new homes was increasing at 130,000 per year, he says it

:22:13.:22:21.

remains below the target figure. Modern prefabrication could be

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the solution. The warrant prefabrication conjures

:22:28.:22:45.

up images for many overs of the post-World War II situation, brought

:22:46.:22:52.

into solve the huge housing need we were faced with. But on-site

:22:53.:23:02.

manufacturer assembly have transformed the application for a

:23:03.:23:12.

modern housing. A project in Islington Manchester can pre-order

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and design their own home before it is assembled. It can be assembled

:23:17.:23:21.

on-site at a lower cost than would normally be the cost for standard

:23:22.:23:30.

construction. Other companies will have similar schemes. I think we are

:23:31.:23:36.

having an exciting new technology which will revolutionise

:23:37.:23:36.

house-building in this country. The Local Government minister,

:23:37.:23:38.

Brandon Lewis, was similarly optimistic

:23:39.:23:39.

about the possible solutions offered We need to build more homes in our

:23:40.:23:50.

country. We need to build them in our communities. We all appreciate

:23:51.:23:59.

the high quality, thoughtful design and built quickly in the right

:24:00.:24:05.

places. Fast housing manufacturer can achieve all this. It has a

:24:06.:24:11.

normal potential for new growth as the factory industry. I would

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recommend that we look at this more often. And finally, what do you do

:24:16.:24:24.

in the absence of the front bench spokesman? This was faced by the

:24:25.:24:31.

Melbourne-based Deputy Speaker. We now come, I am purposely speaking

:24:32.:24:39.

rather slowly. We know come to the opposition Day motion in the name of

:24:40.:24:47.

the leader, I cannot go much more slowly than this. Some filling and

:24:48.:24:53.

was provided by an honourable member from the Conservative benches. On a

:24:54.:25:04.

point of order, obviously, the house is in anticipation of important

:25:05.:25:08.

papers. What procedures are in place if someone does not cannot? The

:25:09.:25:17.

honourable gentleman makes an excellent and most immediate point.

:25:18.:25:24.

All is well that ends well. Just as I was looking for a solution, the

:25:25.:25:33.

passion of a certain member of a person appearing at the door, I no

:25:34.:25:37.

longer need to consider that solution. We know come to the

:25:38.:25:47.

opposition day motion, to be moved. Thank you very much and I beg to

:25:48.:25:52.

move the motion in my name and those of my right honourable and

:25:53.:25:58.

honourable friends. Why see a little out of breath? That is all for me.

:25:59.:26:02.

Thank you for watching. Goodbye.

:26:03.:26:04.

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