23/03/2016 Wednesday in Parliament


23/03/2016

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


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Hello, and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament,

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

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More reaction to the terrorist outrage in Brussels.

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

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

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David Cameron keeps the Commons entertained with an internal party

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document, placing Labour MPs in different categories.

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

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

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in the ongoing battle between "Remain In"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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international airport At least four Britons

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

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of national mourning. A minute's silence was held

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across the country at 12 noon, which was also observed

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in Westminster. In the Commons, David Cameron

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was asked about the attacks. Bombers as everywhere and every

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

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

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

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

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

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with the people and government of Belgium and all countries afflicted

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

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Later, the Home Secretary spoke about the casualties.

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These were ordinary people simply going about their daily lives.

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

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

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

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

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

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in Europe since the start Since 2010, the Government has

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undertaken significant work to bolster our efforts to contract the

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

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

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to temporarily seize the passports of those suspected of travelling to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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vigilant. The police and security services will remain dedicated to

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

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

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

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People will have seen reports suggesting that the suspects were

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

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raise the question of whether the Belgian authorities have sufficient

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

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

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

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Secretary was entirely writers talk about deepening our collaboration

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

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with such serious criminal and terrorist attacks is to ensure that

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our response is proportionate, targeted and effective. The

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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external border of the EU. The anecdotal evidence suggests they

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

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

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

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

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

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airports all ports be checked against intelligence sources,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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is the British Government going to resist the introduction of national

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

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basis that other, in indeed nearly all European countries have

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

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justifying it on the basis that it improves their national security

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

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

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

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

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bring these desperately serious issues into the European referendum

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

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June, although it is crucially important that cooperation should

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

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altered. Reaction to the Brussels attacks.

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Senior Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie has told Boris Johnson

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that he has a "very partial and busking" approach

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Boris Johnson insisted that the British economy would be

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But Andrew Tyrie repeatedly challenged him on the evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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tell me which EU regulation of directive says that children under

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Union would be hard pushed to prohibit people under eight from

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blowing up balloons. Jacob Rees-Mogg said

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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old-fashioned system, devised by idealistic French bureaucrats after

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

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of scaremongering about Brexit, and he recalled that when Britain

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

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interesting pamphlet -- 1991 suggesting that the single market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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accuracy. At the end of the session,

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

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

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

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the legalisation of cannabis. The famous phrase has certainly

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been an appropriate one The Budget of last Wednesday

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containing cuts to disability benefits led to Friday's

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

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speculation of internal conflict in the Cabinet, and the

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subsequent appointment of a new A group of disability rights

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campaigners had gathered in Westminster's Central Lobby

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as the minutes ticked by to the weekly session

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

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

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in the Cabinet had been Canada's Prime Minister now

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absolutely categorically rule out any further cuts to offer spending

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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savings other than the ones set out in our manifesto.

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

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member for Chingford feel it necessary to resign as Work and

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

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arbitrary fiscal targets? You said they were distinctly political,

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

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

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

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

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people in this country? What is dressed up from compassion

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

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

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

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We have a very interesting documents, the spreadsheet of which

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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somewhere. -- hast to be found.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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unbelievable levels of stress and trauma after the announcement was

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Stop it! The Chancellor has failed on debt

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

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The fiscal rule is quite simply failing.

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

:20:29.:20:32.

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

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disabled, including the most disabled children in our country.

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For more Work and Pensions Secretary described the cuts to personal

:20:41.:20:45.

independence payments for the disabled as divisive, and found

:20:46.:20:47.

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

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

:20:52.:20:56.

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

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

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

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

:21:10.:21:14.

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

:21:15.:21:19.

disabled people into work in the last three years.

:21:20.:21:20.

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

:21:21.:21:22.

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

:21:23.:21:26.

who are involved in high risk operations around the world.

:21:27.:21:34.

A defining characteristic of a democratic society is our trust in

:21:35.:21:40.

our institutions and democratic oversight by parliamentarians of

:21:41.:21:43.

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

:21:44.:21:49.

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

:21:50.:21:53.

with UK special forces under the intelligence and Security committee,

:21:54.:21:56.

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

:21:57.:22:03.

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

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

:22:08.:22:12.

arrangements for intelligence and security services, they do a

:22:13.:22:16.

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

:22:17.:22:19.

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

:22:20.:22:24.

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

:22:25.:22:29.

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

:22:30.:22:32.

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

:22:33.:22:37.

these incredibly brave men. Just before PMQs, Scottish Question

:22:38.:22:38.

Time also focused on issues arising A Treasury Minister was quizzed

:22:39.:22:41.

about changes to funding. I congratulate the Minister on

:22:42.:22:49.

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

:22:50.:22:56.

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

:22:57.:23:01.

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

:23:02.:23:07.

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

:23:08.:23:09.

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

:23:10.:23:13.

putting a good read for the English as well?

:23:14.:23:19.

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

:23:20.:23:23.

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

:23:24.:23:28.

oil and gas industry. That is exactly what the Chancellor

:23:29.:23:29.

delivered. But a question from the SNP

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

:23:31.:23:38.

bench colleagues committed to taking action to ensure that companies in

:23:39.:23:41.

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

:23:42.:23:45.

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

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

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where Scotland became independent, it would face a very substantial

:23:56.:24:02.

loss of revenue and have great difficulties in absorbing that.

:24:03.:24:03.

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

:24:04.:24:06.

Lib Dem MP and former Health Minister Norman Lamb set out

:24:07.:24:09.

plans to establish a legal market for the production and sale

:24:10.:24:11.

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

:24:12.:24:16.

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

:24:17.:24:30.

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

:24:31.:24:36.

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

:24:37.:24:39.

Columbia have all legalised cannabis. They have done the same

:24:40.:24:43.

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

:24:44.:24:48.

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

:24:49.:24:53.

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

:24:54.:24:58.

transmitted diseases due to drug use have dramatically decreased as a

:24:59.:25:03.

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

:25:04.:25:06.

smoked cannabis? Whilst maintaining their support for the conviction of

:25:07.:25:13.

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

:25:14.:25:17.

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

:25:18.:25:20.

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

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approval of the House. But without the backing

:25:22.:25:24.

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

:25:25.:25:26.

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

:25:27.:25:33.

Keith Macdougall, goodbye.

:25:34.:25:37.

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