12/10/2016 Wednesday in Parliament


Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 12 October, presented by Alicia McCarthy.

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Hello and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament.


The Commons spends the day debating a call for parliament to be given


a greater role in the UK's departure from the European Union.


Westminster's major parties are asked what they're doing


And calls for tougher prison sentences for stalkers.


Despite it being such a violating and intrusive crime, despitd it


having the capacity to do stch significant physical


and mental harm, it's still being treated as a minor offence.


But first, how far should Parliament have a sax


on the UK's negotiations about leaving the EU?


That was the question of the day at Westminster,


where Labour had put forward a motion calling for a debate


on the Government's plans and a chance to fully scruthnise


them before triggering Article 0, the legal process allowing


The Government accepted that in principle but added an alendment


saying any such scrutiny shouldn't undermine its negotiating stance.


Well, just before MPs got their teeth into the


rights and wrongs of all of that, there was the small


matter of Prime Minister's Questions to get through,


where Jeremy Corbyn painted a gloomy picture of what had happened


The reality is that since the Brexit vote, the trade deficit is widening,


growth forecasts have been downgraded,


value of the pound down 16%, an alliance of the Chamber


of Commerce, Confederation of British industry, British Retail


Consortium and Trades Union Congress have all made representation


to the Prime Minister, demanding clarity.


Is the Prime Minister reallx willing to risk a shambolic Tory Brdxit


just to appease the people behind her?


What the Conservative Party committed to in its manifesto


was to give the British people a referendum on whether to stay


We gave the British people that vote,


We will be leaving the European Union and in doing


that, we will negotiate the right deal for the UK which means the


right deal in terms of oper`ting within and trading


That's what matters to companies here in the UK and


that's what we're going to be ambitious about delivering.


We on these benches do respdct the decision of the British people


But this is a Government th`t drew up no plans for Brexit, that now


has no strategy for negotiating Brexit and offers no claritx,


no transparency and no chance of scrutiny of the process


The jobs and incomes of millions of our people are at stake.


Business is worrying and the Government has no answers.


The Prime Minister says she won't give a running colmentary,


but isn't it time the Government stopped running away


from the looming threat to jobs and businesses in this


country and the living standards of millions of people?


Unlike the Right Honourable gentleman, I'm optimistic


about the prospects of this country once we leave the European Tnion.


I'm optimistic about the tr`de deals that other countries now actively


are coming to us to say that they want to do


with the United Kingdom, and I'm optimistic about how we will


be able to ensure that our dconomy grows outside of the Europe`n Union.


But I have to say to the Right Honourable


gentleman on this issue, Labour didn't want


We gave them, the Conservathves gave them a referendum.


We are listening to the British people and delivering on


that result and now the Shadow Foreign Secretary is shouting


The Shadow Foreign Secretarx wants a second vote.


I have to say to her, I would have thought that L`bour MPs


You can ask the same question again,


you still get the answer yot don't want.


The Prime Minister appears to have made a choice and that


choice is to side with the protectionists and nationalhsts


who have taken over her party as surely...


As surely as Momentum have taken over the Labour Party.


She has chosen a hard Brexit that was never on anybody's


ballot paper and she has chosen to turn her back on British


As a result, petrol prices `nd food retailers warn of huge pricd rises


at the pumps and on the supdrmarket shelves in the coming days, so


when will she put the interdsts of hard-working British people ahead


of an extremist protectionism that absolutely nobody voted for?


The Right Honourable gentlelan asks about who we are siding with.


I'll tell him who this Government is siding with.


We are siding with the Brithsh people who voted...


Who voted to leave the European Union


and it's high time the right honourable gentlelan


listened to the vote of the British people


and accepted that's exactly what we're going to do.


Many people across the Housd will be reassured that the Government


accepted the amendment to the opposition motion being debated


later this afternoon, which guarantees that this House hs able


properly to scrutinise the plan for leaving the European Unhon


Can she tell us, will that scrutiny involve a vote?


I have to say to the right honourable lady that the idda


that Parliament somehow wasn't going to be able to discuss, debate,


First of all, the Secretary of State


for exiting the European Unhon has already made two statemdnts


I believe four hours of questions followed those.


A new select committee has been set up which crucially includes


representatives from all parts of the United Kingdom which will be


over a week ago, I announce that there will be a Great Repeal Bill


in the next session of Parliament to repeal


the European Communities Act, so Parliament is going to h`ve


every opportunity to debate this issue.


And so on to the day's Brexit debate.


Labour set the tone in advance, publishing 170 questions


it was putting to the Prime Minister about the negotiating terms -


170 being the number of days until the 31st of March,


by when Government aims to have triggered Article 50.


Labour's Sir Keir Starmer, who's the Shadow Brexit Secretary,


said the negotiations were hugely significant.


Decisions that are going to be taken by the Government over the next few


months and years in relation to exiting the EU are going to have a


profound implication for thd future of this country, for its economy,


for its people and for its place in the world.


Does he believe the national interest will be best served


by the Government coming to this place and explaining in precise


before we've even walked into the room?


Of course there is a degree of detail that can't be gond into.


Of course there is a degree of flexibility that has to be


Of course the starting position may not be


But the question here is whether the basic terms


The honourable gentleman, because I am very much


minded to support his motion, is calling for a vote on the tdrms


not just an examination, but a vote on the terms before we send


But I do take it in two stages, because both of them are important.


Scrutiny, putting the plans before the House really matters.


There is a separate argument about a vote and I say


there should be a vote, but what we mustn't do is gdt


to a situation where in orddr to resist the vote,


the Secretary of State won't even put the plans before the Hotse.


There has been a vote of the British people,


a vote that was delegated to the British...


A vote that was delegated to the British people by


the terms of the referendum act and the question he's got to answer,


supposing there was a vote hn this House, how would he vote?


Would he vote against Article 50 invocation


I'm not going to take long responding to that,


because I've made the point, the mandate on the


23rd of June was not a mandate as the terms.


I can't put it any clearer than that.


The Brexit Secretary argued there would be plenty of ch`nces


for MPs to scrutinise the Government's plans.


We have already got plans - the House, not the Government -


has got plans to put in place the so-called Brexht select


committee which will take effect next month and we will be appearing


It would be rather surprising to appear in front of


that select committee and not be talking about some of our plans


I expect to attend the commhttee regularly just as I will also attend


the Lords committee, its effective equivalent.


So we don't shy from scrutiny, we welcome it.


But the Government wouldn't reveal everything.


If you went to buy a house and you only


looked at one house, you told the person you werd in love


with their house and you made a bid for it,


I suspect the price would go up and...


If you make pre-emptive indications that you are willing


to make a concession on somdthing, you actually reduce the valte


of that concession, so in m`ny, many ways, we cannot give ddtails


about how we are going to run the negotiation.


We still have got no offer of a vote and we need some clarity


about the policy the Government's going to pursud


because the Government is accountable to this House


for the policy choosing negotiations.


This is about the country and whether Brexit works


When I used to stand behind that dispatch box,


the honourable member for Stone and many of his other fervent


Brexiteers, I could always rely on them to marry their loathing


of the European Union to their passion for the traditions


They hated Brussels as much as they loved the House of Commons.


They still hate Brussels, but they now appear to


have been completely tongue tied, completely mute, silent when they


have an opportunity to speak up for the traditional


What the Government does is introduces its policy.


It introduces its legislation to get that policy


through and it has been cle`r responsibility for the negotiation


Against that, no Government can exist unless it has


At any day, if the Leader of the Opposition


chooses to put down a vote of no-confidence in Her Majdsty s


Government, Mr Speaker, as I understand it, you will take


And therefore, if there is any part of the negotiathon,


if there is any part of the discussion that takes place


that this House presents or opposes, then the Government may be removed


the first since Jeremy Corbxn was overwhelmingly re-electdd


as Labour leader and the first since the break


Jeremy Corbyn turned to a controversial announcelent


from the Home Secretary Ambdr Rudd, who's department had briefed


proposals for firms to disclose what percentage of their


It had argued it was a way to encourage companies to hhre more


local people and "flush out" those abusing existing rules.


Jeremy Corbyn attacked the hdea suggesting it was at odds


with Theresa May's stated ambitions for the UK.


At the Conservative Party conference, the Prime Minister said


she wants Britain to be a country where it doesn't matter


But the Home Secretary's fl`gship announcement was to name and shame


companies that employ foreign workers.


Could the Prime Minister explain why where someone was born


clearly does matter to members of her Cabinet?


First of all, can I say to the right Honourable gentlelan,


congratulations on winning the Labour leadership electhon?


Can I welcome him back to his place in this House


Can I say to him that the policy that he has just


described was never the polhcy that the Home Secretary announced.


There was no naming and shaling no published list


of foreign workers, no published data.


what we are going to consult on is...


..is whether we should bring ourselves in line


with countries like the United States of America which collect


data in order to be able to ensure that they're getting


the right skills training for workers in economy.


We heard her party is registering foreigners working in the UK. The


crackdown and rhetoric against foreigners by this government has


even led to you kept saying things have gone too far. Across the length


and breadth of this land people are totally disgusted by the xenophobic


language on display from her government. Will she now confirmed


to this House that the intention of the Government is still to go ahead


with the registration of foreign workers but apparently we should not


worry because it will be kept secret by her government? Can I sax very


gently to the gentleman that I answered two questions on that


earlier and I suggest he should have listened to the answer I gave there.


You're watching Wednesday in Parliament, with me,


Four of the main parties at Westminster have been ch`llenged


on what they are doing to increase the number of women in Parlhament.


Of the 650 MPs, under a third - a total of 197 - are women.


Labour has the best record with women,


making up 43% of the parliamentary party.


Meanwhile, 32% of SNP MPs are women, while the figure


Of the eight Liberal Democr`t MPs, all are men.


It seems slightly odd to have four white men are sitting in front of


you giving evidence... With respect, that is your fault, not ours! I am


very proud to be leader of the Labour Party and present our views


on it. We have 43% of Labour MPs who are women. I would like it to be


more and our aspiration is to gain at least 50% of women MPs in


Parliament. all-women shortlists had made


an incredible difference. It was very controversial when first


promoted in the party in thd early 1970s. I was accused of being a far


left extremist for promoting ideas like that. Can you imagine such a


thing? to reports of bullying


inside the Labour party. What assurances will you give to all


of your members right now that your party will do more to end the


intimidation currently taking place in your party? You are assuling the


party is riddled with intimhdation. It is not. There is some


intimidation which goes on. I am dealing with it. We have codes of


conduct, rules, processes, `nd it has been dealt with. We are also a


very large party with well over half a million members and growing fast.


I want to make sure those ndw members all understand the rules,


understand the code of condtct, understand the behaviour expected


from them within the party. One last question, Jeremy, which is this ..


Why do you think a woman dohng the job that I do as a member of


Parliament is far more likely to receive abuse for doing it than me?


The society in which we livd in is unfortunately still quite sdxist and


in many cases quite misogynhst. Read the style of writing of a lot of


popular newspapers that I al sure you do not and you will beghn to see


where a lot of this comes from. why her party had not


introduced all-women shortlhsts If you were pushed out the prime


minister came to you and sahd, how are we going to get more


conservative women MPs in Parliament, would you say all women


short lists are the way to go? I think imposing VAT on the


Conservative Association wotld possibly risk a resentment which


would not help a member of Parliament. -- imposing VAT. --


imposing this. What about the evidence of good positive


discrimination? We can see hn this room some of us are here because we


were on all women short lists and that is why we have got better


representation. I am just worried that you are going, no, we don't


want to do that. If I may s`y so, we have made progress. We want to make


more progress. I think the progress that was made in the last tdn years


has been with measures which we have taken which have been acceptable in


the Conservative party. The Conservative party have onlx ever


managed to get 123 women eldcted and we have thousands of women who are


members. I hear warm words from you but how are you going to convince


this committee that these w`rm words will lead to more women at the next


election rather than a statts quo? Judge as by our actions and what has


happened in the last few ye`rs. The thing that I would say is that we


have made lots of progress `nd we are going to continue to do that.


We have gone on a journey which has seen as implement mechanisms leading


to significant change. The SNP is a very democratic political p`rty It


does not happen because of the will of one person but there are people


throughout the party, parliamentarians and members who


have brought about that change and we are still in a process.


that his party's record was "lamentable" but was


looking at ways to improve the selection process.


There are people in every p`rty who are out and out dinosaurs btt some


who also consider themselves to be liberal, progressive, open-linded


and tolerant but nonetheless bias they did not recognise in


themselves. We all need to be trained to understand.


was to avoid interference but he believed in what he called


"muscular liberalism" which meant making things happen.


The courts in England and W`les must be given the power to imposd much


That was the demand of a Conservative MP,


Alex Chalk, who has introduced legislation to raise the maximum


Stalking is a horrible and violating crime.


It rips relationships apart, destroys


careers and can cause lasting mental harm.


All too often it is a gatew`y to serious violence.


Bluntly, Mr Speaker, it shatters lives.


But despite the vital progrdss made by


the Coalition Government in criminalising stalking in 2012, the


sentencing powers available to the courts to protect victils


He talked about the MPs of ` constituent, a family doctor,


stalked for seven years. Thd man was eventually jailed.


In time, after a short prison sentence and in


a pattern not uncommon with this type of offence


Doctor Aston received packages at her office in Gloucester


and at her home in Cheltenh`m and one message


clear he knew where her children went to school.


The second package simply rdad, "Guess who's back?"


He said the court needed grdater sentencing powers, especially when


dealing with repeat offenders. for shoplifting is seven


years, two years longer. Burglary, another violating


offence, 14 years. The fact is despite it being such


a violating and intrusive crime, despite having capachty to do


such significant physical and mental harm it is still treated


as a minor offence. At the very least


the maximum needs to be Alex Chalk said that demand


was backed by charities, He won the right to take thd bill


forward, but unless the govdrnment At the start of the academic year


in September, schools in England were asked to start collecthng


information on pupils' nationality. Ministers insist it will be used


to assess the impact But opponents feared it may be used


to find illegal immigrants. A crossbench peer raised thd


requirement at Lords questions. . Where a minister tried


to reassure the house. If there are pupils whose fhrst


language isn't English we'll be able to see how well they are dohng


and how we can help their school contribute meaningfully


to raising pupil outcomes. This new data is solely


for the department to use in Is the Minister aware


parents are appalled these questions on nationalhty and


place of birth, which have nothing Is he aware that


a Freedom Of Information request has revealed the Hole Office


has repeatedly used the Does he not then agree that these


questions are as intrusive `s listing foreign workers and should


be removed from the census? Well, my Lords, the


census covers a range We should be aware children


of foreign nationals can face additional challenges


upon starting school in the UK. They are not likely to speak English


fluently and may not have been


here in the full school chohce and application round and are often


placed in schools they would not choose


and the system they had arrhved from may be different


from the English system and they may be behind our dxpected


to standard simply because they have yet to cover elements


of our curriculum. Understanding nationalities helps


to put the right policies in place to help


these children and their Can I say in respect of these


children and their potential to require special support,


there is another way of looking at this, which is to say a lot


of children of foreign nationals are


extremely well able education that has


been offered to them here and many of them


are bilingual, which is helpful


to them and their peers. Does he not agree that it is


extremely unfortunate at this time that even


in appearance of an 'us different kinds of children in our


school system is really, re`lly unhelpful and whether or not


the information is being usdd appropriately, it does give a most


unfortunate impressing? Such information may possibly be of


use educationally, but what purpose - can the Minister explain, for


what reason is that same information Can I reassure the noble lord


that the information is There has been some


mischief in the press And can I reassure the Housd


that this information is kept within the Department for education


and is not passed on to the And that's it for now,


but do join me tomorrow for another round up of the day in Westlinster,


including environment questhons in the Commons and a debate


on the expansion of grammar schools


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