Highlights of Wednesday 3 February in Parliament, presented by Alicia McCarthy.
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Hello there, welcome to the programme.
Coming up: David Cameron sets out his plan to change Britain's
relationship with the EU - to a very mixed response.
In the parts of Europe that work for us and out the parts that don't.
I suggest that he stops pretending at having won
His negotiation in reality is a Tory party drama.
There's a plea for more help for foster carers.
And a Labour MP says changing the way we register to vote has had
A staggering 800,000 people have dropped off the register.
But first: David Cameron has asked MPs to support his draft deal
on reforms to the UK's relationship with the European Union,
describing it as an "important milestone".
On Tuesday the terms of the deal were agreed in principle
and set out by David Cameron in a speech in Wiltshire.
The proposals will need to be approved by all 27
and then there'll be a referendum here.
Labour criticised David Cameron for not making the announcement
to the House, but he argued MPs needed time to read the documents.
So 24 hours on - after PMQs - David Cameron stayed
on at the Despatch Box to set out the changes.
Starting with the subject of sovereignty.
In keeping Britain out of ever closer union,
I also wanted to strengthen the role of this House and all national
Parliaments, so we now have a proposal in the texts that
if Brussels comes up with legislation that we do not
want, we can get together with other Parliaments and block it
We have also proposed a new mechanism to finally enforce
the principle of subsidiarity-a principle dear to this
House-which states that, as far as possible, powers should
sit here in this Parliament, not in Brussels.
So every year the European Union has got to go through the powers
they exercise and work out which are no longer needed
and should be returned to nation states.
Moving on, he said he'd asked for commitments
competitiveness and on reducing the burdens on business,
and third a commitment that the single market would be
protected for Britain even it permanently stayed out
Then he moved on to the subject of immigration.
The draft texts represent the strongest package we have ever
had on tackling the abuse of free movement and closing down
It includes greater freedoms for Britain to act against fraud
and prevent those who pose a genuine and serious threat from
It includes a new law to overturn a decision by the European Court
which has allowed thousands of illegal migrants to marry other
EU nationals and acquire the right to stay in our country.
It has been a source of perpetual frustration that we cannot
impose our own immigration rules on third-country nationals coming
from the European Union, but now, after the hard work
of the Home Secretary, we have a proposal to
And he turned to reducing what he called the "pull factor
David Cameron said there were four areas the Government
We had already delivered on two of them within months
Already, EU migrants will no longer be able to claim universal
credit-the new unemployment benefit-while looking for work.
And if those coming from the EU have not found work within six months,
In these texts, we have secured proposals for the other two areas.
If someone comes from another country in Europe, leaving
their family at home, they will have their child benefit
paid at the local rate, not at the generous British rate.
And crucially, we have made progress on reducing the draw
People said that it would be impossible to end the idea
of something for nothing and that a four-year restriction on benefits
was completely out of the question, but that is now what is in
the text-an emergency brake that will mean people coming to Britain
from within the EU will have to wait four years until they have full
The European Commission has said very clearly that Britain qualifies
already to use this mechanism, so, with the necessary legislation,
David Cameron stressed that there was still much to do
to secure the changes and that he ruled nothing out.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn was dismissive of the deal.
But in truth-in reality-this negotiation is a Tory party drama
that is being played out in front of us, as we see at the moment.
The Labour Party is committed to keeping Britain in
Don't get too excited; let me tell
you the rest of it: because we believe it is the best
framework for European trade and co-operation in the 21st
century, and in the best interests of people in this country.
We believe that the Prime Minister has been negotiating the wrong goals
in the wrong way for the wrong reasons.
For all the sound and fury, the Prime Minister has ended up
exactly where he knew he would be: making the case to remain in Europe,
which was what he always intended, despite a renegotiation spectacle
choreographed for television cameras over the whole continent.
The crucial detail of the emergency brake on workers' benefits for EU
When is that information going to be made available?
In any case, what the Prime Minister calls the strongest package ever
on the abuse of free movement does not actually begin to tackle
the real problems around the impact of migration on jobs,
The Prime Minister says that he has secured Britain's exclusion
from Schengen, a European army and a European superstate.
The Prime Minister is living in never-never land.
We have never argued for those things, and we do not intend to.
We need to work with our allies in Europe to achieve the more
progressive reforms that its people need-to build a more democratic
Europe that delivers jobs, prosperity and security
May I suggest that he stops pretending to have won
He has not even secured the treaty change he promised
What is at stake is much bigger than his recent discussions;
it is about whether or not we remain in the EU.
That is what the debate across the UK will be
about in the run-up to the referendum.
A Labour MP turned to the speculation about
whether Conservative Mayor, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip
and potential tory leadership candidate, Boris Johnson
Will the Prime Minister join me in welcoming the launch today
of Environmentalists for Europe, which is co-chaired
by Stanley Johnson, the father of the hon.
Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip -
Will he also welcome the splendid article last week setting out
the importance for science and technology of remaining
in the European Union, which was penned by his Minister
for Universities and Science, who is the brother of the hon.
Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip?
Friend to tell him about the importance of family solidarity
and of joining the swelling ranks of Johnsons for Europe?
Is not the only way to get control of our borders,
our tax revenues and our welfare system to leave, be a good European
and let them get on with their political union?
The thin gruel has been further watered down.
My right honourable friend has a fortnight, I think,
in which to salvage his reputation as a negotiator.
In the words of John Kenneth Galbraith:
"All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common:
it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety
This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership."
Once the EU negotiations are complete, will the Prime Minister
confront people's anxiety, demonstrate strong leadership
and unequivocally come out in favour of our EU membership?
If we can achieve this negotiation, I will work very hard to convince
people that Britain should stay in a reformed European Union.
That would be very much in our national interest.
I am not an expert on JK Galbraith, but when people have serious
concerns-as people in this country do about the levels
of immigration-it is right to try to act to address them,
A plea for more help for those who foster children with mental
health problems has been made in Parliament.
As part of its inquiry into the well-being of looked
after children, the Education committee listened to the first-hand
experiences of two carers, who've fostered children with widely
But first, the committee heard from a 16-year-old girl who's been
I am going to ask you the first question. Can you tell the community
about placement you have had since you have been in care? I have been
in care for the enough years and the longest post and was about ten
months, and I have had 13 placements. Quite a lot of movement.
Very unsettling. 13 places in two and a half years. I gave up
believing in myself. I let people use me as I was used because I felt
that was natural to let people do that. I have had bad relationships
were things have gone wrong, I thought it was normal until I moved
to Christie 's, when I watched I did not understand that I am still
learning, my mum is still horrible and my family is not great and to me
that is still normal. I would rather be back with my family can be in
care because I find it really hard. I have a lot of problems going on, I
am not seeing family members like they should be. The committee then
heard from foster carers. The first three to six weeks of placement is
not the child you will have after the six weeks. They settle in and
then you see the real child. By then you have ticked the box saying they
sleep well, they do not believe, and it is a lot of rubbish. Six weeks
later you have a potential monster in your house. Because you have been
given a child with no diagnosis, no help, what can you do? It is really,
really difficult. I think we should not do it on how long the child is
therefore, the same person who is cancelling them should follow them
around, not wait until now like ten months down the line for Shankly to
get some counselling. She should have had it right from day one
whenever she lived and whoever she was with. And a recollection of what
one foster child had said. I find with children, and how Facebook
about it when he was younger but at the age of nine, when they come into
your home, I remember him saying to me, he has always called be my
husband mum and dad from day one, why doesn't that shout at you? Why
doesn't that hits you? And they find it really, really difficult when
they see people who are actually nice to each other because they have
not experienced that. I was going to ask trees and Christine first of all
what training, if you could outline the training received specifically
on mental health and well-being. Pretty easy though. Did you request
any? Had you actively refuse any? We get sent an e-mail at the beginning
of the year stating what training will be held over the 12 months and
that is it, really. It would be interesting if you could outline
what you see the role of a carer or foster carer is in terms of the
well-being of the child. And you see your role in that area. We are the
in the face punch bags. That is what we are. We don't know. We get a
piece of paper that pops up on the computer and says this is the child
you are getting. You just don't know. We need as carers we need to
have some kind of intense training. The committee later heard from the
minister. I was anxious to make sure that we would very carefully going
back to enough years ago when I took on this role at how we support
foster carers so that they have the skills, the knowledge. The
understanding as to what other types of behaviour we have to deal with
potentially? And what is the best weekend of handling them? Or can
they go to for support? It was about ?36 million I think that be spent on
providing systemic therapy, so that there was a greater prospect of
foster carers feeling positive that the role they were taking on was one
that they were able to cope with because if you go back to the very
first question about stability, one of the reasons placements breakdown
is because foster carers are unable to cope.
The Education minister, Edward Timpson.
You're watching Wednesday in Parliament with me,
David Cameron has admitted that the NHS in England is falling
short of its target to treat cancer patients within two months
of their first referral to hospital from a GP.
Speaking at Question Time, the Prime Minister said
the Government must "improve our performance".
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said the 62 days target had not been
met for more than a year and a half, as he focused on the treatment
of cancer patients ahead of World Cancer Day.
Cancer is a disease that almost every family in the country has been
affected by in one way or another: 2.5 million people in the country
have cancer, and Members on both sides of the House have received
cancer treatment or are receiving it at the present time.
A thousand people a day are diagnosed with cancer,
and they go through a trauma as soon as they are diagnosed.
In the last year, however, there has been a 36% increase
in the number of people waiting more than six weeks
Can the Prime Minister do something to bring that down?
First, I completely agree with the right honourable
Every family in this country will know someone affected by cancer. We
are treating more patients and let me give him the figures. Compared to
2010 over 645,000 word patients with suspected cancers have been seen.
That is an increase of 71%. Early diagnosis is absolutely essential. I
think on that we all now, we know from personal experience on this. I
said when it comes to the first treatment with and 65 days, we need
to improve our reformers. And Mr Cameron turned to Labour's
health record in Wales. Treatment of cataracts, hernia
operations, take two months longer in England. Labour are running
Wales. He responsible for Labour. Pick up the phone, tell them to stop
cutting our NHS. Mr Speaker LuPone Brewster is responsible for the
health service in England, Wales is a devolved matter. He must be aware
that cancer survival rates are improving better in Wales than in
any other part of the UK. The Labour leader then appealed to Mr Cameron
not to overturn a large decision to offer a increase the support for
cancer patients. It might be funny for members opposite but it is not
fair for Martin. Martin has a close friend who has breast cancer and I
quote, is obviously too unwell to work and cuts will put her into a
hardship but the tide would she was most vulnerable. There are 3200 more
people with cancer had by this cut to the essay. Will the Prime
Minister confirm when that matter returns to the Commons he will
ensure the large position is upheld and people like her do not suffer
the cut that he wanted to make in the first place. Let me explain to
the Right Honourable gentleman at the house, as everyone knows that
are two sorts of employment and support allowance is, the
work-related activity group who are able to train for some work and then
the support group who get to go on getting employment and support
allowance indefinitely. That is the situation and what we have said is
that in future the work-related activity group should be paid at the
same rate as job-seekers allowance. But that is for future claimants,
not existing claimants who continue to be paid at the same rate. If
someone has cancer and can't work then they should be in the support
group. Talks aimed at ending the conflict
in Syria have continued today. In the Lords, peers asked how many
civilians had been killed in air strikes by the Coalition and Russia.
It has been reported that some 40 civilians or more were killed in
January and is the first two days of this week. Surely we are involved in
a joint enterprise and by long-standing crucibles of English
law we are, all of us, legally and morally responsible for the lives of
those who are killed, innocent civilians, innocent men women and
children, by these bombs. What comment with the Minister have? My
Lords, so far as we're concerned as a member of the Coalition, we take
the possibility and the risk of civilian casualties extremely
seriously. But I said that my initial answer to date there is the
evidence that UK strikes have resulted in civilian casualties. I
think there are three factors that underpin that. Our US first of all
opposition guided weapons, secondly our adhesions to very strict
targeting and planning protocols, and above all, the skill of our
pilots and air crew, where I think it does make a difference whether it
is the RAF for another are taking part. Heavy bombers unloading
unguided bombs in large numbers and killing almost indiscriminately,
doesn't that also have a dramatic effect in driving up the refugee
numbers which also continues to destabilise Europe? Really, just
maybe, we are not taking this seriously enough. The noble Lord is
right, that is no question that Russia is actively targeting
civilians and is almost certainly in breach of international humanitarian
law in the process. That has to stop. Russia cannot continue to sit
at the table as a sponsor of the political process and that the same
time the bombing the civilian areas of the very groups of people that we
believe will form the backbone of the new Syria once Assad has left.
The refugee tragedy is caused largely by the evil Islamic State,
which we are united states, our allies, could destroy on the ground
in a few months. He's the reason we do not do so because we have lost
our nerve after her disastrous invasions of Iraq elsewhere? And
hasn't the time, perhaps to think again because we clearly cannot
solve the problem with air power alone. White House aide air strikes
on military action alone would not defeat Daesh, also known as the
Islamic State grip. It is a question of defeating their ideology. He also
added that he was against putting British troops on the ground in
either Iraq or Syria. The Chancellor and his team have been accused of
not getting it in the row over Google's tax affairs. Last month the
company agreed to pay ?130 million in tax hitting back to 2005. George
Osborne described the deal as a great success but he and Google were
immediately criticised. Labour's Dame Margaret Hodge the former chair
of the Commons Public Accounts Committee said that Google have been
arrogant and the government hopeless. I think the reason the
Chancellor and his team do not get it is the, because the people they
talk to about tax and there is a small army of tax professionals and
multinational companies are the only people with whom they conversed. I
have to say to the ministers, there is a difference between good working
relationships, which I applaud, and Anju influence. There is a good
thing about talking to stakeholders, there is a bad thing about being
captured by stakeholders. In the debate I was very keen to see some
facts about the cover of's records so I turned to a study published by
the Oxford Centre for business taxation which is probably the most
academically reputable institution in the area of corporation tax and
the reportedly published in the body of last year identifies 42 separate
measures, that the government has taken since 2010, to clamp down on
corporation tax avoidance and evasion, which are forecast to raise
?34 billion. There is widespread scepticism and lack of confidence
from the public, it means they have no confidence in the government
handling of this affair and in dealing with tax avoidance and tax
evasion. Just a smattering of the backbenchers taking part in the
opposition debate. Now a Labour MP is calling for a change in the rules
to make it easier for people to register to vote. He said there has
been a dramatic drop in numbers on the electoral roll since the
introduction of individual electoral registration. Since its introduction
a staggering 8000 people have dropped off the register, that is
1.8% nationwide. Liverpool has seen a drop in intelligible register of
14,000. Birmingham 17000 and Lewisham 6000. And these are all
areas which have seen an increase in population. She said the research
should pensioners in the shires had a 90% chance of being on the
register. But a young man in an inner city from an ethnic minority
background had a less than 10% chance. So she proposed a change so
that people could be registered automatically when they came into
contact with the government agency. Whether it is when they pay tax,
receive a benefit, use the NHS claim a pension. A similar model operate
in Australia with huge success. For instance the state of Victoria has a
population of the half-million people and has a 95% accuracy in its
registration process. It does this at low employing five members of
staff who maintain the rolling register. Rolling out this reform in
the UK is timely for so many reasons. Greater Manchester will
submit to the Cabinet Office next week it plans to pioneer of this
system of automatic electoral registration and its proposals for a
pilot scheme. Siobhan McDonagh who won the right to take her bill
forward of all it stands little chance of becoming law. Finally back
to the statement from David Cameron on his EU negotiations. There are
already groups campaigning hard for the UK to stay in the EU and its
campaigning for us to leave. Among the latter a group called grassroots
out, and now it even has a tie to make it easier to identify its
members. One of its keenest invaders David Cameron to join the campaign.
Kitty come along to a goal conference, if he does not get what
he wants, and with it be possible for me to drop off a tie? My
honourable friend is always very generous with his time, with his
advice is now also with his clothing. The tie is here, I feel
the Blazer is soon to follow. And that's not a problem brings us to
the end of this edition of the programme. Thanks for watching. I am
back at this time tomorrow. Until then, from the, goodbye.