28/06/2017 Wednesday in Parliament


Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 28 June, presented by Keith Macdougall.

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Coming up, the government sees off calls for an end to cuts to public


services and the public sector pay cap.


The eyes to the right, 309, the nose to the left, 323.


Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn clash at their first


Prime Minister's Questions of the new parliament over


whether counsel cuts were a factor in the Grenfell fire.


When you cut local authority budgets by 40%, we all pay a price in public


safety. The cladding of tower blocks began under a Tony Blair government.


And the government's told to rethink its approach to trade


The government's Brexit policy is one of trying to fill a swimming


pool with a teaspoon. But first, after a couple of months


away for a general election, which produced a result few had


rejected, it was time which produced a result few had


predicted, it was time for Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn


to face each other for the first prime ministers questions


of the new parliament. Much as happened since MPs last met,


including terrorist attacks in Manchester and London


and the fire at Grenfell Tower, which is thought to have


claimed at least 80 lives. Add in the aftermath of the tower


block fire which dominated the exchanges between Theresa May


and Jeremy Corbyn in the session. PMQs was coming just ahead


of the fifth day of debate on the Queen's speech,


where Labour had down an amendment calling on the government to end


the public service pay cap and to recruit more


police and fire officers. Theresa May began with


an update on cladding tests. As of this morning the cladding from


120 tower blocks across the country in 37 local authority areas had been


tested and had failed the test. Under her predecessor, fire safety


audits and inspections work at by a quarter, Fire Authority budgets were


cut by a quarter, can the Prime Minister give an assurance to the


House that the further 20% cuts to the Fire Service planned by 2020


will now be halted? Can I say to him that in his reference to the


building regulations I think he has missed part of the point in this


which is it is not a question of what laws you have, it is how those


are being applied and that is the issue. We have the building


regulations about compliant materials. The question is, why is


it that despite that, we have seen in local authority area after local


authority area materials being put up that appear not to comply with


those building regulations. When you cut local authority budgets by 40%,


we all pay a price. In public safety. Fewer inspectors, fewer


building control inspectors, fewer planning inspectors, we all pay a


price. And those cuts to the Fire Service have meant there are 11,000


fewer firefighters, the public sector pay cap is hitting


recruitment and retention right across the public sector. What the


tragedy of Grenfell tower has exposed is the disastrous effect of


austerity. I urge the Prime Minister to come up with the resources needed


to test and remove cladding, sprinklers, properly fund the Fire


Service and the police, so that all of our communities can truly feel


safe in their own homes. Mr Speaker, this disaster must be a wake-up


call. The cladding of tower blocks did not start under this government.


It did not start under the previous coalition government. The cladding


of tower blocks began under a Tony Blair government. That is why I say


to him, this should be an issue that across this House we recognise is a


matter that has been developing over decades, is a matter that has


occurred under governments of both colours, under councils of all


political persuasions and is something I would hope we would say


just come together and ensure that we get to the answers of why this


has happened over many years. What has gone wrong and how do we stop it


from happening in the future. A Labour backbencher


turned to policing. Britain's for most senior police


officers, the commission of the Met, heads of counterterrorism, the


National Crime Agency and the police chief's counsel all wrote to the


government saying the counterterrorism policing and


protecting security grant is being cut by 7.2%. We have protected


counterterrorism policing. We have put money end. We have also put


money into an uplift for an uplift in armed policing and the commission


of the Metropolitan Police has made the point that the Metropolitan


Police are well resourced and have a wide diversity of tools they can use


in countering terrorism. Well, when PMQs was over,


it was onto the debate on the Queen's speech,


where Labour had down that amendment demanding an end to 1% pay cut


for public sector staff and an end to cuts in the police


and Fire Service. The question ministers have the


answer is this. How long are they going to continue to peddle hard


line austerity when their own targets for closing the deficit


received ever further away, raising the question as to whether savage


cuts are not counter-productive in terms of encouraging growth and how


long are they going to pursue austerities when any parent who has


a child at school, anybody that uses an accident or emergency


departments, anyone who has an elderly relative in need of social


care, can see for themselves that cuts have consequences and that


there is a human price to pay for Tory austerity.


The Home Secretary tackled claims about cuts the essential


services and the response to the Grenfell fire.


The fire crew was on the scene at Grenfell tower within six minutes


and over firefighters 200 responded. Can the Shadow Home Secretary really


suggest the numbers were inexcusably low? We should also a member that


the number of fire incidents has halved in the last decade but the


number of firefighters had fallen by less than 20%.


She said police budgets had been protected since 2015.


The real point is that the party opposite have cut budgets not since


2015 but since 2010. He is right there were cuts between 2010 and


2015 but I would say to him, we must look at what the outcome is and


crime fell by a third during that period. She is presumably not wholly


taken in by the Shadow Home Secretary posturing as a defender of


people safety when in 1989 she famously signed an early day motion


calling for the scrapping of MI5 and the Metropolitan Police special


Branch. I want to hear that outcomes and I know that recently one of the


outcomes for West Midlands Police was that as police officers are


pulled away onto anti-terrorist alerts and more high alert policing


the call-outs on other crimes have to be downgraded and one of the


things that was downgraded and outcome of it not being police the


West Midlands was call-outs on domestic violence. I would say to


her that the past three months have seen an extraordinary series of


attacks that have put pressure on our police and generally they have


dealt incredibly well with it by having mutual aid coming from


different areas to support them. We recognise there has been a


particular struggle. I don't think her point holds water that we need


to operate at this level as if there were this level of attacks every


three months but I do recognise and I will be in gauging with police and


police chief officers to find out whether they have the support we


expect them to have despite the additional work they need to do. In


the SNP we believe that they have sufficient power that their disposal


and the real issue the government should be looking at is whether the


police and security services have sufficient sources to fight


terrorism. It is already a crime to incite violence. People suspected of


terrorist activity can already be stopped and searched and people who


aid terrorists are already imprisoned and those convicted of


plotting an attack can be locked up for life so we have the powers.


Somehow the government can find ?1 billion to support Northern Ireland


and to support the government keeping its own jobs but cannot


support the additional resources that the police and emergency


services need to support their jobs at this difficult time as well.


Apart from the immense complexities and difficulties and grave


uncertainties of the Brexit negotiations, this country has more


than its fair share of major issues with which the government has got to


close. What is it in our system that seems to mean that we cannot arrive


at the same national plan, like Denmark, the Netherlands or Japan,


that deals effectively, humanely and decently with careful the elderly in


all its complexity? I say to the government, just get on and do it


and work across all the parties and all the considerable expertise that


this country has to get this done. Well, at the end of the evening MPs


voted on Labour's amendment to end the public sector pay cap and end


cuts to the police and Fire Service. The eyes to the right, 309. The noes


to the left, 323. The government winning that


first vision of this MPs will hold their final


day of debate and vote You're watching Wednesday In


Parliament with me, Alicia McCarthy. Talks to restore the devolved


government in Northern Ireland are continuing as the deadline


for a deal approaches. Meanwhile, the implications


of an agreement between the Democratic Unionists


and the Conservatives to ensure the government has a majority


at Westminster are becoming clearer. DUP have secured over ?1 billion


in funding in return for their support to enable


ministers to get key The DUP's leader at


Westminster, Nigel Dodds, was anxious to explain that the ?1


billion of havoc spending would be was anxious to explain that the ?1


billion of public spending would be spent in areas such


as mental health. Isn't it time people recognised this


is the delivery for people all across Northern Ireland, all


sections of the community and it will help some of the most


vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Northern Ireland and people


should get behind it and welcome it. P makes a very important point on


this. It is the case as we said in the agreement that we recognise the


particular circumstances of Northern Ireland that have arisen as the


result of Northern Ireland's history and as he says, there will be


mental-health issues that arise as a result of that.


Earlier, the Northern Ireland Secretary was questioned


about what some see as conflict of interest.


We are in a odd position where each DUP MP is worth more than Ronaldo.


LAUGHTER Does the Secretary of State agree


that it is now impossible for the UK Government to be evenhanded in


Northern Ireland? No, identical James Brokenshire I. A deal between


the Conservatives and the DUP, which will see an extra ?1 billion go to


Northern Ireland rankled. The new leader of the SNP at Westminster


register at Prime Minister's Questions, asking what the Scottish


Secretary, David Mundell, had known about the deal. The Scottish


Secretary insisted Scotland would see increased funding if the DUP


secured money for Northern Ireland as part of a confidence and supply


deal consisting, I am not going to deal between Gregory to anything


that could be structured as back door funding to Northern Ireland.


The Prime Minister receive any representation from a Scottish


Secretary about the DUP deal either before or after it was signed? Of


course, when we look at what has happened in terms of funding for the


rest of the United Kingdom, in the Autumn Statement last year my right


honourable friend the Chancellor that aside and infrastructure fund


of ?23 billion. We're putting more money into our NHS, more money into


our schools and there is an impact on Scotland as a result of that


Autumn Statement. ?100 billion extra spending is going to Scotland. As a


result of the budget, ?350 million extra going to Scotland -- ?800


million extra going to Scotland. The honourable gentleman complaining


about more money going to Northern Ireland. But of course he is a


nationalist and not a unionist. A Asma MP turned to Brexit. -- a


Labour MP ten to Brexit. People have no confidence in the


ministers in charge of the Brexit deal, and fear that our country is


going to be deeply damaged in terms of our economy and our role in the


world if we do not get our act together. I have to say to the


honourable gentleman that the Brexit negotiations have not started


former, the formal negotiations have not started. And there was a very


positive start to those negotiations, with my right


honourable friend the Secretary of State for exiting the EU and the


appointed negotiator, we have set up three working groups dealing with


key issues initially, including citizens not about rights, I'm very


pleased about that, and started a dialogue on the issue of the border


between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is important for


Northern Ireland but also for the whole of the United Kingdom. We are


published, we have set out our objective, we have published our


white papers, we will break our repeal bill before this house, we


know the plan we have got, the part that doesn't know its plan for


Brexit is his party. A new Conservative MP raised Jeremy


Corbyn's history on Trident. I was deeply alarmed to hear a report made


by the opposition at Glastonbury Festival that in power, she would


abandon Trident and a Chila undermine the security and safety of


our country. Would my right honourable friend the Prime Minister


agree that it is only her Government and the Conservative Party that can


provide the safety and security our country needs? Can I first well,


honourable friend, in this house, I am sure he is going to be a fine


representative of the fine people of the Aldershot constituency. I can I


join with him in saying that I think people were shocked to hear that in


public, the Leader of the Opposition appeared to support Trident, but in


private, said he wanted to scrap it. It's only the Conservative Party...


Only the Conservative Party that is clear about retaining our nuclear


deterrent and in the case of the leader of the position, it appears


he says one thing to the many and another thing to the few. Theresa


May. Well, the session had started just after the news broke that six


senior figures will be prosecuted over the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.


96 Liverpool fans were fatally injured in a crush at


Today, the Crown Prosecution Service announced charging decisions


I know from working closely with the families


when I was Home Secretary that this will be a day of mixed


But the house will understand that I cannot say anything further


on matters that are not subject to a criminal prosecution.


This prosecution, the enquiry, and this development only happened


because of the incredible work done by the Hillsborough Justice


Campaign, Andy Burnham, Steve Rotherham and other colleagues


I think we should pay tribute to all of those that spent a great


deal of time trying to ensure there was justice for those that


Securing trade deals after Brexit will be


like "filling a swimming pool with a teaspoon",


one of the Government's top infrastructure


Labour's Lord Adonis, the head of the National


Infrastructure Commission was moving an amendment to the the Queen's


Speech regretting that it contained no plan for Britain to remain


in the customs union and the single market.


If we are leaving the EU, we should not jeopardise our trade with the EU


because upon it depends the jobs and prosperity


because upon it depends the jobs and prosperity of tens


In total, more than 60% of, 60% of our trade is with the


EU or third countries where we enjoy free


of the customs union and single market membership.


My Lords, the Government's Brexit policy is


basically one of trying to fill a swimming pool with a teaspoon.


It is an interesting and very challenging


idea, but don't jump in for about three centuries.


Taking back our own control over our own affairs, includes regaining


control of our borders and setting our own immigration policies.


It is also clear that to respect the referendum outcome,


we cannot end up being half in and half out of the EU.


So, my Lords, we will be leaving the single market and Customs union.


I would approach her job with immense trepidation.


She is carrying an invaluable Ming vase across a


In the Government's hands is the future our


economy and thus the well-being of our people.


How the Government negotiates our future with the EU


will have immense consequences for the nation.


Our businesses, workers, consumers, young people,


Every time the minister attacks those who ask questions about the


details of Brexit as unpatriotic, people on the continent as well as


here become more suspicious that the Government


still does not know the answers.


To those who want to stop Brexit, and I heard one


or two speeches that seem to say they would like to, we must listen


to the democratic decision of the people.


I was particularly struck by Lord Adonis, who made a very good


speech, but it seemed to me that he was ignoring


the fact that we had a referendum.


The public recognise the need to control our borders.


Not least at a time when you publish an


increased last year about 580,000 people.


Of course we will still, with control, be able to


import into this, have come as immigrants into this country people


with the necessary skills or the necessary on skilled people


with the necessary skills or the necessary unskilled people


But the public have made it very clear that they wanted


Once one has accepted that, once one has


also accepted free trade, the logic is inescapable that one must leave


What I believe, and my nose which is close to the


ground, is that in the future there will be blood on the streets because


at the level that we are, we cannot give the benefit of the doubt, we


cannot go to people who we know are not doing


as well as we could and say to them, "Let's work together."


And when it was said earlier that in fact the poor


are going to pay for Brexit, I say, OK.


How can the House of Lords and House of Commons stop


Back now to the Commons, where Labour's Dame Rosie Winterton


has been elected as one of the Commons Deputy Speakers.


She'll join Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle and Conservative Eleanor Laing


Meanwhile, new MPs have continued making their first


There are 84 brand new MPs, here's a smattering of those


who spoke in the Queen's speech debate.


I come to this house with no gilded lineage, but


My mother, born in Britain but grew up in Nigeria,


My father, born and bred in Nigeria,


Both came to this country in the 1980s in


In particular, Mr Deputy Speaker, they believed that a good


quality education is the key, not just for giving a child,


an individual, a decent start in life, but being


future health and prosperity of our society as a whole.


As a family doctor, everyday, I have seen too


many people who have been left behind.


People battling mental health problems, besieged by


loneliness and people with learning disabilities


This holds people back and it drains their potential.


Not only is it unjust, but it is damaging


When a person's health becomes so poor that they can't


work, or someone's father dies a premature death, we all lose.


made on the doorsteps of Edinburgh West last


to stand up for the constituents' view,


clearly expressed now in two referendums and


in the recent general election that while it's overwhelming


preference is to remain a part of the EU,


they will have no truck with independence


will be as part of this United Kingdom.


Gordon is an outward-looking constituency.


A confident area, an area of optimism and


growth, ready to embrace opportunities, including Brexit.


Through the democratic process, Gordon has fiercely defended its


Madam Deputy Speaker, I would suggest to the


honourable members opposite, this country needs to talk up its


opportunities, talk up its position in the world and be positive about


A new Conservative use to teach medieval history.


I see a great many resonances between that


You might want to take the Peasants' Revolt, 1381,


which started on the high street in Brentwood.


A rebellion against vexatious taxation, levied by a


I would warn the house that my constituents' attitude


to taxation has changed very little in the intervening 636 years.


And that's it from me for now, but do join us at the same time


tomorrow for another round-up of the day here at Westminster.


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