20/01/2016 Wednesday in Parliament


Highlights of Wednesday 20 January in Parliament, presented by Keith Macdougall.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 20/01/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Hello and welcome to Wednesday In Parliament,


our look at the best of the day in the Commons and the Lords.


The party leaders clash over the move to turn


Why are they abolishing those maintenance grants?


If you want to be on the side of more university students,


if you want to want to help people make the most of their lives,


the system we've got is one that's working.


Outrage in the Commons about the red paint applied to front doors that


housed asylum seekers in Middlesbrough.


If there is an acceptance that these doors were


painted in a certain colour, that is appalling.


And the outgoing Chief Inspector of Prisons says the independence


When Mr Grayling was Secretary of State, we had some


pretty robust discussions about the content of what I was saying.


But first, the replacement of grants with loans for less well-off


students in England has dominated the weekly round of


The Chancellor announced the change last summer,


saying the ending of maintenance grants represented a good deal


for the taxpayer, as well as being fairer to students.


The grants were costing the Government ?1.6 billion a year,


but Labour has criticised the move and say Ministers have brought it


The party leader Jeremy Corbyn told David Cameron the policy hadn't


featured in the Conservative election manifesto.


This proposal will affect 500,000 students -


I have a question from a student by the name


of Liam, who says, I am training to be a mathematics teacher,


and will now come out at the end of my course


to debts in excess of ?50,000, which is roughly twice as much


What I would say to Liam is that he is now in a country


with a university system with more people going to university than ever


before, and more people from low-income backgrounds


going to university than ever before.


In addition, what I'd say to Liam, and I wish him well,


is that he will not pay back a penny of his loan


I'm pleased to say, Mr Speaker, that Liam is actually trying to be


a maths teacher, which might be able to help the Prime Minister,


because he did say he was earning ?25,000, which is more than ?21,000,


In 2010, Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister's Government


trebled tuition fees to ?9,000, defending it by saying they would be


increasing maintenance grants for students


They're now scrapping those very same grants -


they used to boast about them being increased.


Why are they abolishing those maintenance grants?


The sense in doing this is we want to uncap university


places, so as many young people in our children...


In our country, who want to go to university, can go to university,


And before too much shouting from the party opposite,


when they were in Government, it was Labour


that introduced the fees and loans system.


If you want to be on the side of aspiration, if you want to be


on the side of more university students, if you want to help people


make the most of their lives, the system we've got is one that's


Mr Speaker, that is from the very same Prime Minister who is taking


away the grants that are designed to help the poorest


within our society, and give them access to higher education.


Then on to plans to axe bursaries for student nurses.


The Prime Minister and I would probably agree that we need to be


spending more and directing more resources in dealing with


the mental health crisis in this country.


And I've got a question, from somebody


who wants to help us get through this crisis,


by becoming a mental health nurse, and it's a woman


called Vicky from York, and she's got a very real problem.


I would not have been able to, or chosen to study to be


a mental-health nurse, without a bursary,


I've got debts from a previous degree.


I would not take on further debts, which


would be impossible for me to pay back, and be fair on my daughter.


She is somebody who we need in our NHS.


We are losing her skill, her dedication, her aspiration


Two out of three Vickys that turn up wanting to be nurses are sent away


So we're bringing people in from Bulgaria or Romania,


or the other side of the world, to do nursing jobs -


we should be training British people who want to do it.


The Prime Minister will be aware that nine out of ten hospitals


Isn't what he is proposing for the nurse bursary scheme


going to exacerbate the crisis, make it worse


for everybody and make our NHS less effective, not more effective?


I'll give him a very direct answer, which is we are going to see 10,000


extra nurse degree places, because of this policy.


Because we are effectively uncapping the numbers


that can go into nursing, and I have to say, Mr Speaker,


a retreat of the Labour Party into the past.


We've seen it with wanting to bring back secondary picketing.


Wanting to bring back flying pickets.


We have seen it with the idea of stopping


businesses paying dividends, and with the absurd idea that


nuclear submarines should go to sea


Anyone watching this Labour Party - and it is not now just


the leader, the whole Labour Party - they are a risk to our national


security, a risk to our economic security, a risk to our health


service and to the security of every family in our country.


A Tory backbencher used music titles to


Does my right honourable friend agree with me that our nuclear


deterrent only works against our nation's enemies


if our nuclear submarines are actually equipped


And that those, such as the Leader of the


Opposition, who do not believe this, have a defence policy inspired


And shows that while the members opposite may Twist And Shout,


their current leader certainly needs Help.


Well, I congratulate my honourable friend on his ingenious question.


There is a comic element to sending submarines to sea


but, in fact, it is absolutely serious, because the deterrent has


been, on a cross-party basis, an absolutely key part


of our defence, and making sure we've got the...


We've got the ultimate insurance policy, which we support on this


side, and we should vote on in this House, and all I can say when it


I suspect that the Leader of the Opposition


David Cameron using a Beatles approach to attack Labour.


Well, the third-biggest party in the Commons is,


of course, the Scottish National Party.


Its leader at Westminster often takes up an international


matter with David Cameron, and did so again this time,


Thousands of civilians have been killed in Yemen,


including a large number by the Saudi Air Force.


They have done that using British-built planes,


with pilots who are trained by British instructors,


who are dropping British-made bombs and are coordinated by the Saudis


in the presence of British military advisers.


Isn't it time for the Prime Minister to admit that Britain


is effectively taking part in a war in Yemen that is costing thousands


of civilian lives, and he has not sought


I think the right honourable gentleman started in a serious place


It is in our interest that we back the legitimate government of Yemen,


We have some of the most stringent arms measures


of any country anywhere in the world, but just to be


absolutely clear about our role, we are not a member


British military personnel are not directly involved


in the Saudi-led coalition's operations.


The Government has been defeated in the House of Lords over


Labour believes it that it will lose as much as ?6 million in its income


each year as a result of alterations the bill makes.


Under the bill, each trade union member would have to agree


in writing every five years to opt in to paying what's called


the "political levy", as opposed to opting out.


The new rules would apply to all 4 million political levy-payers


in the unions that are affiliated to the party.


In the Lords, the leader of the Labour peers said the whole


issue of the future funding of parties should be handed over


Our genuinely-held concern is that this aspect of the bill


will have a significant impact on the resources of one major


political party - my party, the Labour Party -


and in doing so, it will both disrupt the political balance


in the UK and have a damaging effect on the electoral


But whatever our views are, I hope we would be able to find agreement


that it would be totally wrong for any Government,


any Goverment of any colour, to use its power to attack the funding


of any political party, other political parties,


My Lords, we now have, in this measure presented


as a technical change to make union members'


donations to political parties more transparent,


an extraordinary attempt to fully stymie


I believe that it is wrong to single out one political party,


if we are looking at the funding of parties in this country,


and, frankly, to suggest that this bill is not


singling out a political party is disingenuous.


Here today, we have a proposition that this...


These clauses have no impact, they are related to the trade unions


and nothing to do with political parties, and yet we know


the practical effect on one political party


We have to reconcile and resolve those issues


and have them debated in a committee, where they can be


To attack the funding, I think, is misguided,


The people will say, well, let's have a look at the Tory party.


And we will get into a war of mutual destruction,


and in so doing, I do not think this will help to enhance the reputation


of Parliament or of the political parties.


And those who support this bill will actually say,


that certain supervisions are actually designed to enhance


and freedom of choice of trade union members, etc.


I understand that that is a possible argument,


but, Lords, matters will not start here.


We are in a different place and the way that these matters


It is impossible that wider questions about the big donor


culture, and the role of business, will go away.


My Lords, this bill is a package of


measures, and it is disappointing


that the party opposite have chosen


We would merely be adding confusion if


Our reforms in this bill look at how trade union members choose


to contribute to trade union and political funds.


We are not looking at how trade unions fund political parties.


Opt-ins and opt-outs for trade union political funds have always been


a matter for trade union legislation.


Party funding and its regulation have always been a matter


Party funding is rightly outside the scope


of this bill and I call on the House to reject this motion.


At the end of the debate, Labour peers won the day.


My Lords, they have voted:


Contents - 327. Not contents - 234.


You're watching our round-up of the day in the Commons


An MP tells the Commons he's a popper-user.


The front doors of houses used by asylum seekers in Middlesbrough


are to be repainted, after claims they were targeted


because nearly all of the doors were red.


Asylum seekers in the town told The Times newspaper that


eggs and stones had been thrown at their houses because the doors


The newspaper visited 168 houses in Middlesbrough owned by Jomast,


a subcontractor for the global security firm G4S.


In the Commons, a Minister was summoned to explain


Anything which identifies asylum seeker accommodation for those


who may wish to harm those accommodated in the properties


I have spoken to the Chief Executive of G4S this morning,


and he has assured me that neither they, nor Jomast,


their subcontractor in Middlesbrough, have a policy


which states that asylum seeker property should be identified


Although, Jomast does accept that the company uses


red paint across its portfolio of properties.


The local MP questioned how long the sub-contractor was going to take


At the moment, Jomast is saying that they are acknowledging it now,


and will do it over a three to six months.


I just suggest to the Minister that that is simply not acceptable.


This must be done as a matter of supreme urgency.


I had more in mind of a timescale of three to six weeks,


And if the Minister concludes that this is discriminatory action,


a discriminatory action on their behalf,


In short, if you could outline what penalties he has available


to him to make sure that this contractor G4S,


who, quite frankly, have suffered a great deal of reputational damage


over recent times, and Jomast, are held to account?


If what is required in the short term is to repaint 150 front doors


then frankly this should not be taking three months,


the painters should be out now and it should be done


I hope the minister can assure the house that will be shown.


It's extraordinary with all these inspections that have occurred it


took a journalist as distinguished as Andrew Norfolk to expose


Though I accept what the minister says, he has acted with speed to put


measures in place, the fact remains the home affairs committee has


written to ministers in the past worrying and concerned


What ministers have done is given contracts to big companies like G4S


and Serco who are removed from the real providers.


And G4S, as this house knows, are serial offenders in respect


And with the greatest will the world and his commitment to make sure


something is done, I don't believe an audit will be sufficient.


If there is an acceptance the doors were painted


in a certain colour, that is appalling and it should have


My understanding is that concerns of painting doors read was raised


in 2012 by the Lib Dem colleague and Middlesbrough councillor.


She has pursued the issue doggedly ever since and it is largely due


to her influence the matter has come to light today.


She was told by G4S that they had received no complaints


That could manifestly not be the case.


Now, the Government has faced calls from MPs to order a fresh


investigation into the case of Poppi Worthington.


A family court judge ruled that 13-month-old Poppi had been sexually


assaulted by her father, Paul Worthington, at the family home


in Barrow, in Cumbria, shortly before her sudden


and still unexplained death back in 2012.


Paul Worthington denies any wrong-doing.


The area's MP tabled an urgent question about the case.


Justice Jackson was clear in the judgment yesterday that


Paul Worthington raped the child and she died soon afterwards.


Yet it was a full eight months later that the parents were first


questioned by the police despite a pathologist saying,


raising at the time the death was caused


By this time, crucial evidence had been lost by the police such


as her nappy she was wearing and her bedding.


He said social services allowed the siblings to return to the family


home. Although the failures happened


after the child's death and not before, the combined failure


of several agencies is every bit as serious as if it contributed


to the death of Victoria Climbe Will the government make clear


that they value Poppi Worthington's life by ordering a similarly


thorough independent investigation He knows there was an investigation


by Ofsted in 2015 into Cumbria social services and it was found


to be inadequate and the Department is currently in the process


of intervention into Cumbria social services to ensure child social


services are properly working in Cumbria and all children


in Cumbria have the support We need to learn lessons from this


case but we need to wait for the second inquest,


the attorney general has granted that and until the inquest has


completed, we will not tap the full facts and he knows for the case


to be reopened new evidence will need to come to light which may


or may not be the case depending I urge her to keep pursuing the case


and not to be deterred And also particularly to clarify


what is the situation about the police investigation now


because we don't need to wait for the inquest for the police


investigation to be continuing. The IPCC are verifying


whether the police previously did


the right job or not, investigation now into this case


and could that be done The right honourable lady has


campaigned on these matters for years and I assure her I will


personally take this case and make sure we get to the bottom of it


and we learn the lessons Robust, hard-hitting and forthright,


the adjectives used to describe Nick Hardwick who is stepping down


as HM Inspector of prisons. Since he took over the job,


six years ago, he has published a series of damning reports charting


a growing crisis inside jails. He has been critical


of the arrangement where the Inspectorate receives funds


from the Ministry of Justice. It has or has been my view


since I started that it is not appropriate for us to be sponsored


by the Ministry of Justice. It was considered and


that was not successful. As long as we continue to be


sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, we do need a clear


protocol that sets out how that relationship works and it respects


where we should be independent and it is important there


is a proper distinction that... If it is necessary to make life


uncomfortable for the Department, the Inspectorate feels


it is able to do that. You set out that ideally


the Ministry of Justice would not be the sponsor but in those


circumstances what measures do


you say could be put in place independence or are you


saying it can't be done? You can improve the situation


from how it is now. My experience has been that it has


worked in a very British constitutional way, nothing has been


written down clearly but by and large it has worked,


there has been proper... People understand it and personnel


move and they forget what the relationship should be


and it is we educate chin. It would be possible


to have a protocol that sets some Can you assist the committee


with one or two points you think should be the pillars


of the protocol? Well, it should be clear


for instance and written out that the basic principles


are the reports and findings and the criteria we use


for the inspections are down to the Chief Inspector to decide


and not the ministry so you might


want to consult the Secretary proper notice of what he says


but they should be for Presumably it would reject


the suggestion ministers have exercised any influence over


the content of your policy. I reject they have been


successful in doing that. Isn't that the most important


influence, indicator It is the most important


indicator, I certainly had with when Mr Grayling


was Secretary Of State robust discussions about the content


of what I was saying. So, I think it would be helpful


to make sure those things The Conservative MP Crispin Blunt


has said in the Commons he's a user of the recreational drug known


as poppers and said a ban on its supply would be


"fantastically stupid". Mr Blunt, a former Prisons Minister,


said users of the drug Supply of the drug could be outlawed


under the Pyschoactive Substances The government wants to crack down


on the sale and use of so-called legal highs, substances chemically


designed to mimic drugs that There is sometimes when something


is proposed which becomes personal to you and you realise


the government is doing something fantastically stupid and I think


in those circumstances one has I would be directly affected


by this legislation. And I am astonished to find


it is proposing to be banned. And frankly so are


many other gay men. And if I follow my own mindset


reaction to this, it is simply serving to bring the whole


law into disrepute. Including poppers in the ban may


undermine the bill and make it far more difficult to get


across the vital message that psychoactive substances can be


and often are very dangerous. There is a risk the bill


would become synonymous with a ban on poppers a substance thought to be


relatively harmless. And that as a result the public


will come to believe all the substances banned


by the bill are relatively harmless. Later, MPs voted not to exempt


poppers from a ban on psychoactive Do join me for our


next daily round-up. Until then, from me,


Keith Macdougall, goodbye.


Download Subtitles