20/04/2016 Wednesday in Parliament


Highlights of Wednesday 20 April in Parliament, presented by Alicia McCarthy.

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Hello there and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament.


Coming up - the Prime Minister defends plans to force all schools


The Home Secretary is accused of scrabbling around to find


money to patch up holes in the Border Force budget.


And a group campaigning for the UK to leave the EU


is accused of using misleading literature.


Do you think it might be a good idea to think twice about putting out


But first to Prime Minister's Questions where David Cameron


defended his plans to force all schools in England


to become academies free from local authority control.


The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, attacked the idea,


describing it as a "top-down reorganisation" that even senior


Could the Prime Minister explain why he is


intent on forcing good and outstanding schools to become


academies against the wishes of teachers, parents, school governors


The short answer is, because we want schools to be


run by head teachers and teachers, and not by bureaucrats.


But we also support it because of the clear


If you look at converter academies, 88% of them


And you look at schools started by academies, they see a 10%


improvement on average, over the first two years.


The results are better, education is improving.


Every teacher, every parent, every pupil


wants the best they can get for their schools and they want


What many are concerned about is this top-down reorganisation.


If he won't listen to the former chair of the Education


Select Committee, will he listen to his friend the member for


Colchester, who said this, if a school is well governed,


well-run and performing well, it should be left alone


Can the Prime Minister explain why good school leaders should focus


their time and resources not on educating children, but on arbitrary


Let me make two points on the specific issue he raises.


I would say to outstanding or to good schools,


they have nothing to fear from becoming academies but a huge


The truth is, even about outstanding or good schools,


we want them to be even better and the truth is,


academies and greater independence, letting headteachers


run their schools, has been hugely effective.


And this is something started by the Labour government,


given rocket boosters under this government.


We have seen massive improvements in our schools because


of academies and we say let's get on with it,


finish the job and give all our children a great opportunity.


Mr Speaker, we appear to be heading into some kind of fantasyland, here.


The Institute for Fiscal Studies states that school spending is


expected to fall by at least 7% in real terms in the next four years.


So why on earth is the Prime Minister


proposing to spend ?1.3 billion on a top-down reorganisation that


wasn't in his manifesto, teachers don't want it,


parents don't want it, governors don't want it,


headteachers don't want it, even his own MPs


Can't he just think again and support schools and education,


Let me answer his question very directly about spending.


Because we have protected spending per pupil all the way


through the last Parliament and all the way through this Parliament and


we are spending ?7 billion on more school places to make up for the


woeful lack of action under the last Labour government.


I think it is the Labour Party that this week entered


fantasyland where they are now


have selected somebody who sits on platforms


with extremist in London, and they have now decided...


When I read they were going to ban McDonald


it was the first sensible decision they've made!


But it turns out it wasn't the job destroyer they wanted


to keep away from their conference, it was one of Britain's's


Well, David Cameron made reference there to appearing


on platforms with extremists, a jab at Labour's candidate


for Mayor of London - Sadiq Khan - who Mr Cameron accused of appearing


in public alongside an Islamic extremist.


It was an accusation picked up by a Conservative MP.


Does my right honourable friend agree that is the duty of all


members of this House to condemn without caveat, all extremism and


never, never to share a platform with any extremist?


I think my honourable friend is absolutely right.


If we are going to condemn and not just violent


extremism but also the extremism that seeks to justify filers and


it is very important that we do not back these people


and we do not appear on platforms with them.


And I have to say, I am concerned about Labour's candidate for Mayor


of London who has appeared again and again...


Well the leader of the Labour Party is saying it's


Solomon Ghani, the honourable member for Tooting has


appeared on a platform with him nine times.


This man supports IS. He even shared a platform...


Well, Mr Speaker, I think they are shouting


down this point because they don't want to hear the truth.


Anyone can make a mistake about who they appear


We're not always responsible for what our political opponents say.


But if you do it time after time after time, it is right


Mr Cameron faced a wall of noise as he made those accusations.


No Labour MPs stood up to counter them but speaking a short time later


outside the chamber Sadiq Khan said the Tories were "running a nasty,


dog-whistling campaign that is designed to divide London's


He added that he had fought extremism all his life


and would "keep focusing on keeping Londoners safe".


Regular viewers will remember last week the Chair of the Home Affairs


Committee Keith Vaz lost his patience with a senior Home Office


official and dismissed him from his committee hearing.


The subject which so provoked Mr Vaz was whether or not


the UK Border Force had been told what its budget was for


The force is part of the Home Office, responsible


for front-line border control operations at air, sea and rail


It's responsible for checking the immigration status of people


arriving in the UK, searching bags, vehicles and cargo for illegal goods


or immigrants and patrolling the UK coastline, alerting the security


Labour demanded the Home Secretary come to the Commons to tell MPs


Theresa May insisted Border Force spending was being "protected"


compared to the previous financial year,


despite Labour claims of a "revenue cut".


Border Force spending to all intents and purposes is


protected compared to 2015-16 with increased capital investment to


improve the technology at the border, to improve security and


Over the next four years, we will invest ?130 million in


state-of-the-art technology at the border.


Since I became Home Secretary six years ago, we have


pursued an ambitious programme of reform


at the border, to keep this country safe.


She has been furiously backpedalling for the last two


weeks, patching holes in the Border Force budget.


But Mr Speaker, let's be clear about what has just been announced.


She has just announced to this House a cut, a revenue cut to


She has announced a budget of ?558 million.


In 2012-13, the budget was ?617 million.


So the budget is down by over ?50 million on her watch.


That is this Home Secretary's record on border funding.


The question, he said, was whether that was anywhere near enough.


A whistle-blower working at the port of Immingham,


the country's largest freight port,


has been in touch with me to reveal


that the staff of ferry companies who


are carrying out her border exit checks, some


That the passports of lorry drivers are not checked on arrival


by anyone and worst of all, school leavers


are now being recruited to


check passports, replacing experienced board officers.


This is the reality of what is happening at


Britain's borders today under this Home Secretary.


It is the direct consequence of the cuts that she has


already made it to the UK border in her time in office.


And unbelievably, Mr Speaker, she wanted


to make even further cuts to the UK border before we


on the side of the House stopped her.


The Home Secretary has spent the last two weeks running scared,


scrabbling for loose change behind the back of the Home of the sofa.


But worse, she has weakened our borders,


damaged our security and is only now pledging to stop the cuts.


Well, I have to say to the right honourable gentleman that in so much


of what he has said, he simply doesn't know what he's


It was under Labour that we saw the creation of the


dysfunctional UK Borders Agency that we had to abolish and change


It was under the last Labour government


that the border, at the border, there was no operating mandate and


it was under the last Labour government that as people came


through the primary checkpoints, they won't all getting the 100%


We have enhanced security, and will continue to do so.


You're watching Wednesday in Parliament, with me,


The increasingly bitter EU referendum battle has


produced lively scenes at a Commons committee session.


The director of the Vote Leave campaign group, Dominic Cummings,


called the EU institutions in Brussels undemocratic


He faced claims that Vote Leave had used misleading literature,


when he was questioned about leaflets distributed


You are saying, in hospitals, in your literature,


aren't you, that we can give a lot more money to hospitals?


You are distributing leaflets to that effect?


No. We're not.


We are not distributing any literature


So I have a piece of literature here with your logo.


Is this a pirated piece of literature?


It is badged up as your literature, it looks like...


It says "Help protect your local hospital."


And it has got here, at the bottom, Vote Leave.


I'm asking a straightforward, simple question,


we are getting down to very simple questions.


Is this leaflet one from your organisation?


Do you mean that design of leaflet, or do you mean


I'm asking you if this leaflet is one of your organisation's


Yes, it is. Good, we have arrived at a...


Do you think that it is reasonable that somebody might misconstrue


this leaflet at first glance as a leaflet produced by the NHS?


Since it has an NHS logo in the top right-hand corner?


No. It says "Vote Leave,take control" with our logo.


What do you mean, what do I make of it?


Do you think it looks like the logo of the NHS?


It looks roughly like it from here, yes.


Well, it looks roughly like it from any distance.


Here is an NHS document, encouraging you to eat better food.


And you will see that the logo is strikingly similar.


It takes an expert eye to tell that the one is not the other.


One of them is italicised slightly, one of them is not.


Do you, now that you have had a chance to consider whether you did


in fact produce this leaflet, and you have now agreed that it does


look like an NHS leaflet at any reasonable distance, do you think it


might be a good idea to think twice about


putting literature out as misleading as this?


I think you are confused about what my answer was before.


I thought you were asking me, is the leaflet you are holding


in your hand been put into a hospital, has


that come from cars, and I was saying


no, it hasn't come from us, as in, we did not distribute leaflets


to hospital, we are as baffled as anyone else about the


The questioning moved on to financial services.


If we were to leave the EU, you may get free trade agreements,


so no trade tariffs, but it's hard to see,


given the comments of people like Wolfgang Schauble,


the same sort of trade in services outside the European Union.


I mean, you may think it is a good thing, but would


You see, the most important thing with the City and


financial services is that we control the wideboys


and Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan who drove the economy


Britain has the number one financial centre in Europe.


They want to be here, using our services.


There is a great incentive for them to sort out the


passporting system, same as there is for us.


But my main point is, that's not the most important thing.


The most important thing is, we control the banks,


we don't let the corrupt institutions


Will the Vote Leave campaign be setting out their analysis


of the macroeconomic impact of leaving the European Union?


We will be publishing all sorts of things on the macroeconomic


impact, but we won't be publishing these spuriously


I have heard, Mr Cummings, what you won't be publishing,


analysis about international trade, how we think things will improve.


Macroeconomic impact assessment is not just


about international trade, it is about GDP, inflation,


the currency, productivity, all those range of issues,


so what I am asking, Mr Cummings, and if the answer is no,


you can just tell us that, will the Vote Leave campaign be


setting out their analysis of the macroeconomic


We will set out the analysis of the macroeconomic


impacts of Brexit, but it won't look like these.


I have heard, Mr Cummings, what you won't be doing.


What I am asking is, what will you be publishing?


You have to let me answer the question.


Of course we will be publishing that.


I also asked, Mr Cummings, who will be doing


You will find out when we publish it.


When do you intend to publish it, Mr Cummings?


You will find out when we publish it.


Do you think we should continue with single market access


as we currently, as the United Kingdom currently have?


Definitely not, because single market access as we currently have


Single market access that we currently have forced us


to implement the clinical trials directive, which kills an unknown


number of people every year because we cannot test


We would be much better off going outside things like that.


Do you not see that leaving Europe puts at risk inward investment


Read all of the same stuff on the euro.


Well, staying with the EU referendum, not surprisingly


the subject was raised at PMQS, mostly by David Cameron's


First to question the PM, was veteran EU opponent,


Can I ask my right honourable friend whether he agrees


with the Treasury forecast issued on Monday, which warns that


if we stay in the European Union, there will be 3 million more


Last year, my right honourable friend and I were elected on a clear


manifesto pledge to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands.


How are we going to be able to deliver on that pledge unless we


The point of the Treasury forecast is, it takes the Office


of National Statistics figures and the ORB figures and it


It is trying to make a very clear and pure argument,


backed by the governor of the Bank of England yesterday,


that shows what would happen if Britain leaves the EU.


There is a demand out there for independent


and clear statistics, and that is exactly


Mrs Thatcher used to occasionally organise seminars for ministers


and senior academics for colleagues like myself,


whose knowledge of modern science she thought


Would he contemplate similar seminars for some of his senior


and very respected Cabinet colleagues with businessmen


on the nature of independent international trade,


because some very respected figures appear to believe that you simply


turn up and sell goods and services that comply with British made rules


but don't have to comply with any rules agreed with the country


Back on the Eurosceptic side of the argument,


another Conservative raised the forthcoming visit


Would my right honourable friend point out to President Obama that


in a series of European Court judgements such as Davis


and Schrems, using EU data protection laws and the EU Charter


of Fundamental Rights, the EU has established its jurisdiction


over our intelligence data, and sought to prevent our


intelligence sharing with the United States?


Will he warn the president that if we vote Remain,


far from the US gaining influence in the EU, the United States


is losing control and influence over her closest ally?


This decision is a decision for the British people


We are sovereign in making this decision.


Personally, I believe we should listen to advice from friends


and other countries, and I struggle to find the leader


of any friendly country who thinks we should leave.


The so-called Islamic State group is guilty of genocide


against Christian, Yazidi and other ethnic groups in Syria and Iraq.


That was the view of MPs who have voted overwhelmingly


in support of a motion calling on the Government to


ensure the United Nations and the International Criminal Court


In a backbench debate, every speaker condemned the group -


also known as Daesh - for its brutality.


Many set out in shocking and emotional detail atrocities


Several quoted the testimony of a young Yazidi girl


My father and brothers were killed in front of me.


He grabbed my arm and my leg and then he raped me.


He was 32 years old, I was 15.


After they raped me, they took my friend and they raped her.


I could hear her shouting, "Where is the mercy?


"There must be some mercy in their hearts."


We also heard from another woman, Yvette, who had come directly


She spoke of Christians being killed and tortured,


of children being beheaded in front of their parents.


She showed us recent film footage of her talking with mothers,


and more than one who had seen her own children crucified.


We know that those who are perpetrating this these crimes


are doing so to exterminate and extinguish a people.


We know that they mean what they are doing


We know that those who are suffering these terrible crimes know


that it is genocide and know that it is meant as genocide.


Why should we hesitate to say as a chamber?


We know what the word genocide means and we know it is being committed


The word that describes the ultimate crime, only that one,


single word accurately describes the full horror of what is happening


here to these communities in Syria and Iraq.


Madam Deputy Speaker, we all know what that word is.


Let us be united, here in this House, and hopefully outside


as well, and to say what is happening is genocide


Here is the chance for the United Kingdom to show


leadership and to take action, to stand up before, to respond


leadership and to take action, to stand up, to respond


to her plea for help, for all of those who have suffered.


Show that, like in 1942, we will do the right thing in 2016.


Or are we just going to stand back, wring our hands and watch as Daesh


My honourable friend the Minister is sitting there,


He is now going to give a really strong and powerful speech,


he is going to condemn Daesh, he is going to say, yes,


we have listened to the debate, we will listen to the House


of Commons, we are going to act, and we are going to refer this


But the Minister would not give that promise, but did pledge


We will do everything we can to help gather evidence that could be used


by the judicial bodies who are the appropriate people


to judge these to make a judgement on this matter.


It is vital that this is done now, before evidence is lost


or indeed destroyed, because ultimately, this


is a question for the courts to decide.


It is not for governments to be the prosecutor, the judge


or indeed of the jury, and we are playing a leading role


in defeating Daesh on the battlefield,


and we are also holding Daesh to


In the courts, no matter how long it takes.


The government has agreed to a plan put forward by Labour


and the Lib Dems to protect tenants' and landlords' money in England


Some letting agents don't keep deposit money in a separate,


protected client account - meaning the letting agents can use


the money themselves, or it can be lost if the agent goes bust.


The government's been defeated a number of times on the Housing and


Labour's spokeswoman explained what the compromise was that had


To require every leading agent to have money they hold belonging


either to the tenant, by way of advanced rent,


or to a landlord as rent is received, to be protected,


so thats even if the letting agent disappeared or went bankrupt,


such money would be safe and made available to the landlord.


Another peer explained that it was often the most


Because they are vulnerable, credit checks, they do not


satisfy credit checks, and so, they cannot give


the guarantees that banks would very often offer,


so agents often are something like four year rent in advance.


Many tenants had to borrow to pay that much in advance.


And even if it isn't a client's account, which internally,


they make all the clients accounts, if it is not recognised


as such by the bank, then those monies can and often


are used by the agent for one purpose, and very often


because the agent is over trading and spends more money


than they should do, and they use that money.


Replying to the debate the minister said the amendment would allow


ministers to make regulations requiring letting and property


agents to belong to a client money scheme, and set out an enforcement


mechanism to ensure the changes had teeth!


Which brings us to the end of this edition of the programme,


but do join me at the same time tomorrow, when MPs and peers pay


tribute to the Queen on her 90th birthday.


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