26/04/2017 Wednesday in Parliament


Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 26 April, presented by Alicia McCarthy.

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As Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn face each other in the Commons one


Labour will guarantee the triple lock and treat pensioners with


respect. Unable to defend our country. Determined to raise tax on


ordinary workers, no plan to manage our economy. Even his own supporters


know he's not fit to run this country.


And, how would you define an extremist?


But first, it lasted almost an hour and was full


The last Prime Minister's Questions before the general election


Jeremy Corbyn questioned Theresa May on pensions and the NHS,


I start, Mr Speaker, with Christopher who wrote to me this


week and he says; in the last five years, my husband has had only a 1%


increase in his wages. The cost-of-living has risen each year.


We now have at least 15% less buying power than then. So where is


Christopher and his husband's share in the stronger economy? What we


know and what I can say to Christopher is that he will have a


choice at the next election, a choice between the strong and stable


leadership of the Conservatives which will secure our economy for


the future and a Labour Party which would crash our economy which would


mean less money for Public Services and the ordinary working families


would pay the price. The Labour leader moved


on to the campaign by the so called WASPI women seeking to overturn


pension changes for women Maureen wrote to me this week. If I


was you, I would listen to what Maureen has to say, I really would.


I really would. Because she writes and she writes with a heavy heart:


We have been treated disgustingly, most of us women born in the 1950s


will not be receiving our pension until we are 66 with no notification


of this drastic change. We have worked for 45 years and have accrued


more than enough to be paid our pension. People want what is


rightfully theirs. Maureen asks, what can be done to help the WASPI


women? What I would say to the issue that Maureen's raised is that the


Government's taken steps to help these women. We have put extra


funding in and is available and we have ensured there is a limit to the


period of time that is affected in relation to the changes. But if the


Right Honourable gentleman wants to talk about pensions and pensioners


looking to the future, once again there'll be a very clear choice at


this election, a clear choice between a Labour Party who in


Government saw the increase in basic state pension of 75p in one year and


a Conservative Government whose changes to pensions mean basic state


pensioners are ?1,250 better off. Millions of WASPI women will have


heard that answer, as have the other questions I've put not been answered


today. I simply say this - Labour will guarantee the triple lock.


Labour will treat pensioners with respect and we won't move the


goalposts to people looking forward to retirement. Cybil who witnessed


the Labour founding of the National Health Service which made health


care available for the many, not just the few, wrote to me this week


and she says this: I'm 88 and have had a wonderful service from the


National Health Service. But nowadays, I'm scared at the thought


of going into hospital. With more people waiting more than four hours


in the A, more people waiting on trolleys in corridors, more delayed


discharges, Mr Speaker, thanks to the Tory cuts, isn't Cybil right to


be frightened about the future of her NHS so long as this Government


remains in office? Well, can I just say to the Right Honourable


gentleman on the National Health Service, our National Health Service


is now treating more patients than it ever has before. We are seeing


more people having operations, we are seeing more doctors, more


nurses, more midwives, more GPs and record levels of funding into our


National Health Service. Theresa May said the Government


would be campaigning on its record and she turned to a campaign


she said was being run She has directed her supporters and


followers to a website - I like Corbyn but...


It says, how will he pay for all this? But... I've heard he wants to


increase taxes. But, I've heard he's a terrorist sympathiser. But, his


attitudes about defence worry me. They are right to be worried. Unable


to defend our country, determined to raise tax on ordinary workers, no


plan to manage our economy. Even his own supporters know he's not fit to


run this country. Will the Prime Minister give a clear unambiguous


commitment to maintaining the triple lock on the state pension? I've been


very clear that under this Conservative Government we have seen


pensioners benefit as a result of what we have done to the basic state


pension. To the tune of ?1,250 a year and I am clear that, under a


Conservative Government, pension and incomes would continue to increase.


Pensioners right across this land are right to conclude that this Tory


Prime Minister plans to ditch the triple lock on the state pension. Mr


Speaker, too many women already face pensions inequality and the Tories


now won't even guarantee the pensions triple lock and the only


reason that they'll not guarantee it is because they want to cut


pensions. Is not the message to pensioners, you cannot trust this


Prime Minister, you cannot trust the Tories on your pension.


I say to everybody as I've just said, if you want to know the party


in Government that has improved a lot of pensioners across this


country, it's the Conservative Party and, under a Conservative Government


those pensioner incomes would continue to increase. And, he talks


about inequality for women. It's the change in the structure of the state


pension introduced by this Government that is going to improve


a lot of women, female pensioners in the future, that is going to be much


better for them. In the nine months that the Prime Minister's held her


office, she has closed the door on desperate child refugees, she has


ignored, ignored the plight of those suffering under the crisis of health


and social care and she is responsible for the shameful rape


clause. 20 years ago, she berated the Conservative Party for being the


nasty party, but her party has never been NATSier. The legacy of this


Parliament is the utter abject failure of Her Majesty's official


opposition to effectively hold her Government to account for any of it.


Is it not time that Britain had a strong, decent new opposition?


Ewell, first of all let me pick up the point he made on child refugees.


This Government has a proud record on taking in child refugees. We have


been the second bilateral donor to the region in order to support


millions of refugees, to educate children, as I saw when I visited


Jordan recently. Of course, we've also supported some of the most


vulnerable refugees, including children 3 bringing them here to


make a new life in the United A reference there to the fact


that the Lib Dems had reselected former MP David Ward to fight


the seat of Bradford East. Mr Ward had been accused


of anti-semitism and shortly after PMQs Tim Farron sacked him


as the party's candidate. Well with this Parliament


rapidly coming to a close, there were just a last handful


of bills to deal with. MPs approved changes


to the Criminal Finances Bill which aims to tackle money


laundering and corruption, counter terrorist financing


and recover the proceeds of crime. They also debated final amendments


to the Bill that changes the way higher education is regulated


in England and creates a new body Finally MPs rejected


changes made to the Digital The bill includes a range


of measures to tighten regulation on online pornography,


ticket touts and broadband speeds. The Minister said the Government


couldn't accept an amendment from peers on a code of practice


for social media platform We agree with the spirit of the


amendment that was agreed in the other place. We take harm caused by


online abuse seriously. We offer an alternative clause that we think


would achieve the intended outcome and form part of our work to tackle


serious harms and online threats and improve Internet safety in the next


Parliament. Our amendment in lieu seeks to provide a code of practice


that will help protect users of online services and set out the


behaviour expected of social media companies. The code is intended to


give guidance for how social media providers should respond to harmful


behaviour such as bullying. There's good work being done by some


companies to prevent the use of platforms for illegal purposes and


potential criminal conduct where reported to the police will continue


to be libel to investigation out with any-- as with any other


offence. On the social media conduct, we are delighted the


Government's taken a decisive step in the right direction. This


amendment requires the Secretary of State to issue a code of practise


for online social media platforms in relation to bullying, directing


insults or other behaviour intended to intimidate or humiliate. Whilst


son-in-law media's brought transformative and significant


change for the good, it's facilitated an exponential increase


in bullying -- whilst social media. Seven in ten have experienced cyber


bullying, with 37% experiencing it on a frequent basis. It can lead to


anxiety, depression and suicide. This is the first time social media


providers will be legislated for on this issue and will be required to


have processes in place for reporting and responding to


complaints around bullying. But a senior Conservative thought


there was room to go further. Whether we'd consider the role for a


broader obligation that could be placed in statute on these companies


linked to a failure to act whereby if someone's referred to that


company evidence of harmful content and misleading content, illicit


material that's been distributed on that site, where it's been reported


report and the company failed to act, there's some sort of redress


upon them. This is an important first step looking at the broader


obligations of social media companies and I welcome that.


Whenever you open a bank account, book a flight online or perform


many other common tasks, you hand over vital


A Committee of Peers is investigating the sharing


and protection of data between the UK and


Do you have any concerns that are domestic legislation will affect our


ability to share data with the EU after we leave and, are we going to


find that there are restrictions on the way in which we can share data


or they will accept the data? Is it going to be an area of friction


afterwards or do you see it being straightforward? The Government's


been clear that while we remain a member of the EU we are subject to


the rite and obligations that that brings. At the point that we leave


the EU, our domestic legislation, as I've said, will be compliant with EU


law and should therefore not impede our ability the share data with the


EU. Should the Government decide post-exit to amend our domestic


legislation then of course we'll need to consider whether any of the


proposed changes will impact on our relationship with the EU, including


on issues such as data-sharing. I suppose the question there is, and


it's very hard to say now what we'd do afterwards, but we clearly need


to - the question is, would the need to share data be a factor in


deciding on a sort of way in which our legislation might develop after


we've left? I think it's very clear that we need to share data for


reasons to keep the public safe. Yes, good. And that is a high


priority and the Prime Minister's articulated that as well. On a


number of occasions. You are watching Wednesday in Parliament


with me Alicia McCarthy. Now, let's go back to that final


Prime Minister's Questions. One reason the Speaker let


the session run for so long was to allow MPs who were standing


down to put one last question But before we get to them,


there was one MP who got a very warm welcome from all sides of the House


on his return to Westminster after a life-threatening


bout of the potentially It's good to be back and, to be


honest, it's good to be anywhere! Doctors and nurses at


Russells Hall Hospital saved my life in January,


but each year in the UK 44,000 Will my right honourable friend look


at how we can take the measures we can take to reduce deaths


from sepsis, including awareness-raising, including


a national registry to properly record the burden of sepsis


and effective commissioning levers The UK Sepsis Trust estimates that


measures like these will save 50,000 Can I say to my honourable friend


that it's fantastic to see him back in his place and I hope he will have


noted the welcome he got from across the House


for being back in his place. But he's absolutely right to bring


a focus on this issue of this devastating condition of sepsis


and every death from it But, as we know, something


like 10,000 deaths per year could be avoided through prevention,


early diagnosis and treatment. So we do need to get better


at spotting sepsis across the NHS. The Department of Health


is already beginning work We're having a new public awareness


campaign and we expect a Nice quality standard to be published


later this year. For other MPs, it was


time to say goodbye. What assurances can


the Prime Minister give to the 3.8 million people that voted


Ukip at the last election, that if she is Prime Minister


after the 8th June, the United Kingdom will become


a sovereign country again, living under our own parliament,


making our own laws? I will give an assurance


to all those people who voted for the United Kingdom to leave


the European Union and for all people across the country,


regardless of how they voted, who now want to see this Government


getting on with the job of Brexit That we want to see control


of our borders, control of our laws, control of our money and this's


what we'll deliver. A departing Labour MP paid tribute


to his colleagues who'd stood up Doesn't the Prime Minister agree


that their ongoing presence in this place is vital for the future


of our British steel industry? Can I just say to the honourable


gentleman that I believe he's standing down at the election,


having said that that was to his significant and irreconcilable


differences with the leadership This Conservative Government has


taken steps to support the steel Mr Speaker, it's been an immense


privilege to serve the people of Cannock and Burntwood


and Aldershot for the past 34 years. I arrived in 1983 when one


formidable and determined female Conservative Prime Minister


was transforming the country's economic fortunes and I depart


as another is determined to restore to this country the status


of a sovereign nation state, As I too bid my right honourable


friend, the Prime Minister, Godspeed for a resounding victory


on the 8th June, may Aldershot just make one final plea


in these troubled times. Please will she ensure


that Her Majesty's armed forces are properly funded,


manned, equipped and housed to defend and protect the people


of this glorious sceptred isle, the United Kingdom of Great Britain


and Northern Ireland. Three years ago, the Green Party


peer and London Assembly member, Lady Jones, discovered her name


featured on a Metropolitan Police database of people deemed


"domestic extremists." Lady Jones had taken part


in environmental protests and spoken At Question Time in the Lords,


Lady Jones criticised the compiling of such a database,


believing police resources The definition of domestic extremism


used by the police is not statutory. Questions about the police


definition and their work on domestic extremism are matters


for the police. I thank the noble Lady and Minister


for her evasive answer. Quite honestly, of course it's


a matter for the Home Office as to whether the police


are misusing their time. There's now incontrovertible


and huge amounts of evidence that says that the police are watching


peaceful, non-violent campaigners, environmental campaigners, and,


therefore, they are utterly wasting their time and not


concentrating on the people who can this responsibility seriously


about preventing serious crime and make sure that the police


actually follow some reasonable guidelines


on what a domestic extremist is. Well, my Lords, in terms


of the police misusing their time, And, in terms of the question


and the misleading answer, "To ask Her Majesty's Government


whether they intend to refine the definition


of domestic extremism." In the last Queen's Speech -


I appreciate we're towards the end of this parliamentary session,


so the opportunity to do something about what was in last


Queen's Speech is diminishing - promised a Bill to look


at preventing extremism. I understand that's been festering


in the long grass ever since because of the difficulty


in defining extremism. Perhaps the noble Lady could tell us


whether it's going to carry on festering in the long grass


or whether the Government is planning, if it manages to be


re-elected, to bring forward proposals which will define


extremism and which might then define whether or not the noble Lady


is an extremist or indeed quite a number of us might be


deemed by other colleagues in your Lordships'


house as extremists. So how will the Government address


that question because it told us it was going to in the Queen's


Speech? Well, my Lords, clearly


events have overtaken us. Tomorrow, we will pirogue and it


will be in the hands of the next government,


and should that government be a Labour Government,


to decide whether to But, yes, that was,


at the time of the last In the 1980s when Sheikhs


were being persecuted throughout India and blamed and called


terrorists and extremists. I was asked by the BBC,


"Am I a moderate or an extremists?" We must get beyond these smear


definitions and look Well, I don't - as someone


who is extremely moderate as well - I don't disagree with the noble


Lord. The point that I was making,


in answer to the question, is that this definition


was a definition that was actually The Prime Minister has said


she wants to open up new markets for Welsh


businesses following Brexit. During a campaign visit to Wales,


Theresa May said she wanted But in the Commons, opposition MPs


accused her of "playing fast The Prime Minister has said that


she's prepared to walk away from the negotiating table


without a trade deal with the EU. The Foreign Secretary has said that


no deal would be no problem. And yet no deal, as we've heard,


could see tariffs of 30% to 40% on Welsh dairy farmers and meat


producers and 10% tariffs So could I ask the Secretary


of State, isn't it the case that this Tory Government


is prepared to play fast and loose with the Welsh economy


with an extreme Tory vision of Brexit that would push and put


Welsh jobs and livelihoods at risk? Mr Speaker, I don't recognise


the basis of the honourable We want the freest, most open


trading agreement and, it seems to me, that the real


investors, creating real jobs, We've seen a major investment


from Nissan in Sunderland. We've seen a major investment


from Toyota in Derbyshire. We've seen a major investment in my


constituency with Aston Martin. That demonstrates their confidence


in our vision as we leave Wales has a number of technological


hotspots, particularly around Does he not think that they will


benefit after Brexit from bilateral trade deals that we'll be able


to make with the United States, Canada as well as


the European Union? In leaving the European customs


union, Welsh manufacturers and farmers will lose the solid


protections offered by the bloc. Why doesn't he come clean today


and admit it os the intention of the Tories to sell Welsh


producers down the rivers in order to open up markets


with the bankers of London? Well, the honourable member


will recognise that exports from Wales have grown over the last


year, they've grown He will also recognise the data


I highlighted earlier about record levels of employment and low


levels of unemployment. On that basis, he will recognise


we want the freest, open trading arrangements that we can in support


of Welsh farmers because we maintain How does he respond


to their requests for a full assessment on the impact of Welsh


agriculture should we be in a position of falling back


on World Trade Organisation tariffs? Isn't it obvious that 40% tariffs


would destroy Welsh agriculture? Mr Speaker, I'm disappointed


with the approach the honourable I mean, he is assuming


the worst-case scenario. We're having this general election


in order to have strong and stable leadership


in the challenging There are 27 EU nations that will be


challenging everything as we negotiate to leave


the European Union. Strong and stable leadership


is needed now more than ever before. That's it from me for now,


but do join me at the same time tomorrow for the last day that this


parliament sits before But for now from me,


Alicia McCarthy.


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