23/03/2016 Wednesday in Parliament


Highlights of Wednesday 23 March in Parliament, presented by Keith Macdougall.

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Hello, and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament,


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


More reaction to the terrorist outrage in Brussels.


The terrorists aim to instil fear and divide us, and destroy our


freedoms and civil liberties, and we must not give in to that narrative.


David Cameron keeps the Commons entertained with an internal party


document, placing Labour MPs in different categories.


The hostile, you shout, the neutral but not hostile, you have to be


quiet, I think. Hold on! And a committee room plays host


in the ongoing battle between "Remain In"


or "Get Out" of the EU. It's very kind of you, Boris... I


just thought I would bring it up! Never say never! Time for common


sense on the euro. The message of the Home Secretary,


Theresa May, in the wake of Tuesday's suicide bombings


in Brussels, which claimed more So-called Islamic State, or Daesh,


has said it was behind the acts of terrorism at the city's


international airport At least four Britons


were caught up in the bombings. Belgium is observing three days


of national mourning. A minute's silence was held


across the country at 12 noon, which was also observed


in Westminster. In the Commons, David Cameron


was asked about the attacks. Bombers as everywhere and every


time, aim for publicity, public reaction and is unity. Can we


disappoint them by uniting to Hope not hate? My honourable friend is


absolutely right to say that. These people packed their explosives with


nails in order to kill as many innocent people, women and children,


as they possibly could, and we should unite in condemnation, stand


with the people and government of Belgium and all countries afflicted


by this appalling terrorist menace, and say they shall never win.


Later, the Home Secretary spoke about the casualties.


These were ordinary people simply going about their daily lives.


Families going on holiday, tourists visiting the city, workers making


their way to their offices. They have been attacked in the most


brutal and cowardly way, and I'm sure the Whole House will want to


join me in sending sorts and prayers to the victims and families of those


affected by the events. She said it was the 14th attack


in Europe since the start Since 2010, the Government has


undertaken significant work to bolster our efforts to contract the


threat. We extended our ability to refuse airlines the authority to


carry people to the UK who pose a risk, and we introduced a new power


to temporarily seize the passports of those suspected of travelling to


engage in terrorism. This power has now been used on more than 20


occasions. The terrorists sought to strike at the heart of Europe, they


seek to attack our values and want to destroy our way of life, but they


will not succeed. These attacks occurred away from the shores of the


UK, but we should not forget that our own threat level remains at


Sevilla, which means that an attack is highly likely. We will remain


vigilant. The police and security services will remain dedicated to


keeping people safe, and the public should remain alert. Together we


will defeat the terrorists. This is the challenge of our generation, and


is the challenge we will win. I commend this statement to the House.


People will have seen reports suggesting that the suspects were


linked to the attacks in Paris and known to Belgian police. This does


raise the question of whether the Belgian authorities have sufficient


capability to deal with the extent of this problem. Is there more that


can be done to support them all along the term basis, more broadly,


can I say that given the global nature of this threat, the Home


Secretary was entirely writers talk about deepening our collaboration


with all European partners. Watches of the upmost importance when faced


with such serious criminal and terrorist attacks is to ensure that


our response is proportionate, targeted and effective. The


terrorists aim to instil fear and to divide us and destroy our freedoms


and civil liberties, we must not give that narrative. Regrettably I


stand again to condemn these attacks and say that these people are not of


my faith and nor should they can be considered by anybody to be linked


to that faith. At least two of the Paris attackers had gone to Syria to


fight and returned to Europe. 800 British citizens have now gone


abroad, 400 have returned. I accept her assurances about the borders


between our countries and that you countries, but my concern is the


external border of the EU. The anecdotal evidence suggests they


come from Turkey into Greece. Wilshere assure the House that the


Greek government is given all the support it needs in order to be able


to track people when they return to Europe in the first place. Wilshere


Institute of vehicle checks, checks on all vehicles entering the United


Kingdom from Continental ports? Will all passports of people entering our


airports all ports be checked against intelligence sources,


whether or not they have European passports? I say to my are more


friends but as I indicated in my statement, Border Force has


increased the checks it is making at certain ports, but I think there is


a misunderstanding in the question that he asks me, because we do have


checks at our borders, we are able to check passports of people at the


Borders when they come through. Theresa May. And reaction to the


latest act of terrorism then followed over in the House of Lords.


We are not cut off from all of this. This is part of our world, and I


find it despicable that the Brexit campaign should try to suggest that


we could cut ourselves off from the world. That what happens 100 miles


from London in Belgium, in Brussels, is no concern of ours. This was


after all an attack by Belgian citizens in Belgium. How much longer


is the British Government going to resist the introduction of national


identity cards, full biometric hater national identity cards, on the same


basis that other, in indeed nearly all European countries have


introduced, I understand even the Japanese are doing the same. All


justifying it on the basis that it improves their national security


arrangements. Why don't we just do it? Surely it is now urgent that the


Border Force officials should be able to scan a British passport and


no what are the passports that person may hold? Otherwise they may


be able to skip out of the country. Although nobody should attempt to


bring these desperately serious issues into the European referendum


debate, should we not recognise that if there is a change on the 23rd of


June, although it is crucially important that cooperation should


continue, we have to recognise that the context of cooperation would be


altered. Reaction to the Brussels attacks.


Senior Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie has told Boris Johnson


that he has a "very partial and busking" approach


Boris Johnson insisted that the British economy would be


But Andrew Tyrie repeatedly challenged him on the evidence


Your Telegraph article the 22nd of February where you say that there


are these ludicrous rules emanating from the EU, and this is a reason of


your decision to leave, and one of the rules that you cite, one of the


ludicrous rules, and I quote, and EU rule says that you can't recycle a


tea bag, and that children under eight can't blow balloons. Can you


tell me which EU regulation of directive says that children under


eight can't blow up balloons? Yes, the European Commission's own


website, I would be happy to give you the number of the press release


in a moment. Adult supervision is required in the case of the use of


an inflated balloons by children under eight. I have to say, in my


household more or less only children under eight are allowed to blow up


balloons. I do think that it is ludicrous to have this kind of


prescription at a European level it is bonkers, and I think you do, to.


I have the toy safety directive requirements in front of me.


Warning: Children under eight can choke or suffocate. It is asking


that this warning be placed on the packaging. It is not requiring or


forbidding... It is requiring it to be placed on the packaging. It is


requiring a warning to be placed on the packaging, it is not prohibiting


children under eight from blowing up balloons. I think even the European


Union would be hard pushed to prohibit people under eight from


blowing up balloons. Jacob Rees-Mogg said


he was on the same side Rules inevitably come with a court


of some kind, we have the European court of justice, and it is said


that is essential to the proper working of the single market,


otherwise people could do what they liked and ignore the rule book. Do


you think that it is possible to have a free trade area without the


European court of justice? Yes, I do, and I'm very grateful that you


raise that point, because I think people don't understand that 70% of


our trade is with countries outside the EU with whom we don't have any


free trade agreement at all, but of the free trade that there are around


the world, not a single one tries to imitate this anachronistic,


old-fashioned system, devised by idealistic French bureaucrats after


the war... Boris Johnson said there was a lot


of scaremongering about Brexit, and he recalled that when Britain


did not join the euro, Back in 1981, there was an


interesting pamphlet -- 1991 suggesting that the single market


couldn't be complete without a single currency. I didn't say that


either! You have also misrepresented it quite badly. If you go further on


in the document, you will find some very interesting passages explaining


why the project of the euro is being formed at a single rather dangerous


moment. It was not a very interesting document, never say


never. Has anybody ever found that. Order. Common sense on the euro.


Order. It is very kind of you, Boris, to read all of my materials.


Never say never. Tyree makes sense on the euro! URL straight exactly


what I began the session with again, which is very partial, and busking,


few -- humorous approach to a serious question for the UK, and


what we really need is a much more balanced... I am not going to deny


that we need a balanced approach. In which people make an effort to


represent the point that they make and each other's views with some


accuracy. At the end of the session,


the chairman said some "very foolish claims" were being made by


the Remain camp and the Leave camp. You're watching our round-up


of the day in the Commons A Lib Dem MP calls for


the legalisation of cannabis. The famous phrase has certainly


been an appropriate one The Budget of last Wednesday


containing cuts to disability benefits led to Friday's


resignation of Iain Duncan Smith, a U-turn on the benefit changes,


speculation of internal conflict in the Cabinet, and the


subsequent appointment of a new A group of disability rights


campaigners had gathered in Westminster's Central Lobby


as the minutes ticked by to the weekly session


of Prime Ministers Questions. So, would the Labour leader make


the most of this turbulent week? Jeremy Corbyn said the situation


in the Cabinet had been Canada's Prime Minister now


absolutely categorically rule out any further cuts to offer spending


in the lifetime of this Parliament? Simply yes or no.


This is a government committed to supporting the disabled, but it is


worth making the point that in the last two years there are extra 293


extra -- 200 93,000 extra disabled people who've got into work. We want


to continue to close that disability gap. As for the question about


further welfare reduction, let me repeat the statement that the new


welfare secretary made on Monday and the Chancellor made on Tuesday. I


dealt with these issues on Monday. If he doesn't ask the questions, he


can't say I turned up and gave the answers even though he hadn't given


the questions. We are clear, we're not planning additional welfare


savings other than the ones set out in our manifesto.


If it is also fine and dandy, the question has to be asked why did the


member for Chingford feel it necessary to resign as Work and


Pensions Secretary, complaining that the cuts being announced were to fit


arbitrary fiscal targets? You said they were distinctly political,


rather than in the national economic interests. If the initial -- in the


initial announcement, he proposed cuts and then changed his mind,


isn't the honourable member for Chingford right when he says this


was a political decision, rather than one made in the interests


people in this country? What is dressed up from compassion


just means putting off our decisions are making the children to pay the


debt -- making our children repay the debts they went prepared to pay


ourselves stop hiding why the shadow leader of the house shouting at me.


We have a very interesting documents, the spreadsheet of which


Labour MP is on which died. The honourable lady shouting, but it


says here... No, no. She is neutral, but not hostile. Right. The Chief


Whip, on the other hand, is being a bit quiet. Look, Mr Speaker... Mr


Speaker, there are five categories. We've got caught support... I've got


all day, Mr Speaker. We've got core supports. I think you can include


Iain in that. We have core plus. The Chief Whip is being quiet because


she is in hostile. Mr Speaker, I thought I had problems.


Mr Speaker, if I could invite the Prime Minister to leave the theatre


and return to reality. The reality is that he has presided over a


budget that unravelled in two days and now contains a ?4.4 billion


black hole in it. He may wish to consult the Chancellor on yet


another change of heart on this matter. Could he now consult the


Chancellor and tell the country who is going to pay for this black hole?


Is it going to be cuts or tax rises? Where will be cuts fall, where


would-be tax rises take place? 4.4 billion house to be found from


somewhere. -- hast to be found.


Suddenly became a fiscal rectitude speaks. He may have noticed, the


budget passed last night. It is a budget which cut the deficit in


every year of this Parliament. It delivers a surplus by the end of


this Parliament. None of that is going to change. He talks about this


budget. I will tell him... Hold on. The hostile, you shout, hostile


shout, that's right. The neutral but hostile, you have to be quiet, I


think. Hold on. I want to know. Hands up, who is core support plus?


Anyone else? I'll tell you what this budget did, it took 1 million people


out of income tax. It's all more money for our schools. It helped the


poorest people in our country to save, it cut taxes for small


businesses, and the self-employed. It made our economy stronger and our


country fairer. It's a budget that will help this country do better.


Mr Speaker, the truth is it with a budget that followed part in two


days. The truth is, many people with disabilities went through the most


unbelievable levels of stress and trauma after the announcement was


made. There are many people who are still going through stress and


trauma in our society. There are many people who are still... I'm not


sure that those members... I'm not sure, Mr Speaker, those members


opposite about shouting so loudly at the moment have any idea what it is


like to try and balance their budget at home when you don't have enough


money coming in, the rent is going on, and the children need clothes.


Order, order. There is too much shouting on both sides of the house.


Stop it! The Chancellor has failed on debt


targets, failed in deficit targets, as the official figures have shown.


The fiscal rule is quite simply failing.


This is a government spending more on the disabled than in any year


under the last Labour government. We are spending more on the most


disabled, including the most disabled children in our country.


For more Work and Pensions Secretary described the cuts to personal


independence payments for the disabled as divisive, and found


against the national interest. The Chancellor's U-turn suggests he now


agrees. Can the Prime Minister explain how on earth he allowed this


to happen in the first base? It is good to have an intervention


from somebody who is neutral, but not hostile. I'm sure if she keeps


going, she could join core group plus, with the rest of this. She


would be very welcome. I tell you what this government has done, it


has increased spending on disability benefits. It has seen 293,000 more


disabled people into work in the last three years.


The SNP's Westminster leader, meanwhile, took the Prime Minister


He raised the issue of the scrutiny of Britain's special forces,


who are involved in high risk operations around the world.


A defining characteristic of a democratic society is our trust in


our institutions and democratic oversight by parliamentarians of


those who work so hard to keep us safe. We have that oversight without


police. And with our security services. We don't yet have that


with UK special forces under the intelligence and Security committee,


or the Defence Select Committee. Will the Prime Minister addresses?


I'm afraid I just part company with the right honourable gentleman on


this one. We have put in place some of the most extensive oversight


arrangements for intelligence and security services, they do a


remarkable job and, of course, the police are regularly called to


account locally and nationally. I think the work our special forces do


is absolutely vital for our country. They are subject to international


law, as everyone else's in our country. I do not propose to change


the arrangements under which leaving credibly brave men work. -- which of


these incredibly brave men. Just before PMQs, Scottish Question


Time also focused on issues arising A Treasury Minister was quizzed


about changes to funding. I congratulate the Minister on


finding the Chancellor to have those discussions. Earlier this week, we


thought he'd gone walkabout. The budget had ?1 billion worth of cuts


to the Scottish budget, and ?650 million worth of cuts to the English


NHS. Given the vote for us on Social Security cuts, does he think you


might persuade the Chancellor to reverse the Scotland's cuts and


putting a good read for the English as well?


Can I just remind the house that there were three asks coming from


the SNP. Freezing whiskey duty, freezing fuel duty, and helping the


oil and gas industry. That is exactly what the Chancellor


delivered. But a question from the SNP


reflected the falling oil price. Will the Minister and his front


bench colleagues committed to taking action to ensure that companies in


the oil and gas sector have got appropriate access to finance?


We are able to take action in this area and support the oil and gas


actor, because we are ready night in and had we been in the position


where Scotland became independent, it would face a very substantial


loss of revenue and have great difficulties in absorbing that.


Another bid's been made to legalise cannabis in the UK.


Lib Dem MP and former Health Minister Norman Lamb set out


plans to establish a legal market for the production and sale


He said there should be an end to the "war on drugs" which he said


There is an urgent and compelling case for a more rational approach.


Thankfully, around the world, sense is breaking out. In the United


States, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington and the District of


Columbia have all legalised cannabis. They have done the same


thing in Uruguay. In Portugal, they have decriminalised drug use, a move


which now has cross-party support from right to left. Instead, they


take a health -based approach. Drug-related deaths and sexually


transmitted diseases due to drug use have dramatically decreased as a


result of that change. How many members of this government have


smoked cannabis? Whilst maintaining their support for the conviction of


their fellow citizens. The Prime Minister was a reformer. It was also


reported that he and others were caught smoking cannabis at Eton.


He's gone on to do quite well. Mr Lamb's Bill gained the initial


approval of the House. But without the backing


of the Government, it's very Do join me next time for our final


daily round-up programme before For now, from me,


Keith Macdougall, goodbye.


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