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.