28/06/2017 Wednesday in Parliament


28/06/2017

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

:00:19.:00:23.

services and the public sector pay cap.

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

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Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn clash at their first

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Prime Minister's Questions of the new parliament over

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whether counsel cuts were a factor in the Grenfell fire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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rejected, it was time which produced a result few had

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predicted, it was time for Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

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to face each other for the first prime ministers questions

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

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including terrorist attacks in Manchester and London

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

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

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block fire which dominated the exchanges between Theresa May

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

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

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

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the public service pay cap and to recruit more

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police and fire officers. Theresa May began with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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regulations about compliant materials. The question is, why is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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fewer firefighters, the public sector pay cap is hitting

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recruitment and retention right across the public sector. What the

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tragedy of Grenfell tower has exposed is the disastrous effect of

:03:57.:04:02.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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occurred under governments of both colours, under councils of all

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political persuasions and is something I would hope we would say

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

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

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from happening in the future. A Labour backbencher

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turned to policing. Britain's for most senior police

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

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

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government saying the counterterrorism policing and

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

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

:05:56.:06:01.

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

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of the Metropolitan Police has made the point that the Metropolitan

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

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in countering terrorism. Well, when PMQs was over,

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

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

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

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and Fire Service. The question ministers have the

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

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line austerity when their own targets for closing the deficit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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there is a human price to pay for Tory austerity.

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The Home Secretary tackled claims about cuts the essential

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services and the response to the Grenfell fire.

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

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

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

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

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number of firefighters had fallen by less than 20%.

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She said police budgets had been protected since 2015.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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calling for the scrapping of MI5 and the Metropolitan Police special

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

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outcomes for West Midlands Police was that as police officers are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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dealt incredibly well with it by having mutual aid coming from

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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police and security services have sufficient sources to fight

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

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terrorist activity can already be stopped and searched and people who

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aid terrorists are already imprisoned and those convicted of

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

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

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and to support the government keeping its own jobs but cannot

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support the additional resources that the police and emergency

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

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Apart from the immense complexities and difficulties and grave

:10:13.:10:24.

uncertainties of the Brexit negotiations, this country has more

:10:25.:10:27.

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

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

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

:10:41.:10:45.

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

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

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

:10:56.:10:56.

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

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

:11:00.:11:03.

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

:11:04.:11:10.

to the left, 323. The government winning that

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first vision of this MPs will hold their final

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day of debate and vote You're watching Wednesday In

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

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government in Northern Ireland are continuing as the deadline

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for a deal approaches. Meanwhile, the implications

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of an agreement between the Democratic Unionists

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and the Conservatives to ensure the government has a majority

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

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in funding in return for their support to enable

:11:50.:11:53.

ministers to get key The DUP's leader at

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

:11:57.:12:01.

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

:12:02.:12:09.

billion of public spending would be spent in areas such

:12:10.:12:12.

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

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is the delivery for people all across Northern Ireland, all

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

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vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Northern Ireland and people

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

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

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particular circumstances of Northern Ireland that have arisen as the

:12:45.:12:47.

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

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

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Earlier, the Northern Ireland Secretary was questioned

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about what some see as conflict of interest.

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

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LAUGHTER Does the Secretary of State agree

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

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

:13:27.:13:30.

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

:13:31.:13:35.

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

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

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

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Secretary insisted Scotland would see increased funding if the DUP

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

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

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

:14:04.:14:07.

The Prime Minister receive any representation from a Scottish

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

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

:14:19.:14:21.

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

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honourable friend the Chancellor that aside and infrastructure fund

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

:14:30.:14:34.

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

:14:35.:14:39.

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

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

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million extra going to Scotland. The honourable gentleman complaining

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

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

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

:15:07.:15:22.

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

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

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

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honourable gentleman that the Brexit negotiations have not started

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

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positive start to those negotiations, with my right

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

:15:47.:15:51.

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

:15:52.:15:56.

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

:15:57.:16:00.

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

:16:01.:16:03.

between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is important for

:16:04.:16:06.

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

:16:07.:16:09.

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

:16:10.:16:13.

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

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

:16:17.:16:21.

Brexit is his party. A new Conservative MP raised Jeremy

:16:22.:16:28.

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

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

:16:36.:16:39.

abandon Trident and a Chila undermine the security and safety of

:16:40.:16:42.

our country. Would my right honourable friend the Prime Minister

:16:43.:16:46.

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

:16:47.:16:49.

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

:16:50.:17:00.

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

:17:01.:17:05.

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

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

:17:10.:17:13.

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

:17:14.:17:17.

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

:17:18.:17:27.

Only the Conservative Party that is clear about retaining our nuclear

:17:28.:17:30.

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

:17:31.:17:33.

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

:17:34.:17:39.

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

:17:40.:17:42.

senior figures will be prosecuted over the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

:17:43.:17:47.

96 Liverpool fans were fatally injured in a crush at

:17:48.:17:49.

Today, the Crown Prosecution Service announced charging decisions

:17:50.:17:53.

I know from working closely with the families

:17:54.:17:57.

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

:17:58.:18:01.

But the house will understand that I cannot say anything further

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on matters that are not subject to a criminal prosecution.

:18:05.:18:07.

This prosecution, the enquiry, and this development only happened

:18:08.:18:11.

because of the incredible work done by the Hillsborough Justice

:18:12.:18:15.

Campaign, Andy Burnham, Steve Rotherham and other colleagues

:18:16.:18:17.

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

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

:18:25.:18:29.

Securing trade deals after Brexit will be

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like "filling a swimming pool with a teaspoon",

:18:44.:18:45.

one of the Government's top infrastructure

:18:46.:18:46.

Labour's Lord Adonis, the head of the National

:18:47.:18:49.

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

:18:50.:18:52.

Speech regretting that it contained no plan for Britain to remain

:18:53.:18:54.

in the customs union and the single market.

:18:55.:18:59.

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

:19:00.:19:04.

because upon it depends the jobs and prosperity

:19:05.:19:10.

because upon it depends the jobs and prosperity of tens

:19:11.:19:13.

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

:19:14.:19:17.

EU or third countries where we enjoy free

:19:18.:19:20.

of the customs union and single market membership.

:19:21.:19:27.

My Lords, the Government's Brexit policy is

:19:28.:19:32.

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

:19:33.:19:35.

It is an interesting and very challenging

:19:36.:19:39.

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

:19:40.:19:41.

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

:19:42.:19:46.

control of our borders and setting our own immigration policies.

:19:47.:19:50.

It is also clear that to respect the referendum outcome,

:19:51.:19:54.

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

:19:55.:20:00.

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

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I would approach her job with immense trepidation.

:20:05.:20:08.

She is carrying an invaluable Ming vase across a

:20:09.:20:10.

In the Government's hands is the future our

:20:11.:20:17.

economy and thus the well-being of our people.

:20:18.:20:20.

How the Government negotiates our future with the EU

:20:21.:20:22.

will have immense consequences for the nation.

:20:23.:20:25.

Our businesses, workers, consumers, young people,

:20:26.:20:27.

Every time the minister attacks those who ask questions about the

:20:28.:20:37.

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

:20:38.:20:40.

here become more suspicious that the Government

:20:41.:20:42.

still does not know the answers.

:20:43.:20:47.

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

:20:48.:20:50.

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

:20:51.:20:53.

to the democratic decision of the people.

:20:54.:20:55.

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

:20:56.:20:58.

speech, but it seemed to me that he was ignoring

:20:59.:21:00.

the fact that we had a referendum.

:21:01.:21:02.

The public recognise the need to control our borders.

:21:03.:21:06.

Not least at a time when you publish an

:21:07.:21:10.

increased last year about 580,000 people.

:21:11.:21:20.

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

:21:21.:21:23.

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

:21:24.:21:25.

with the necessary skills or the necessary on skilled people

:21:26.:21:29.

with the necessary skills or the necessary unskilled people

:21:30.:21:33.

But the public have made it very clear that they wanted

:21:34.:21:37.

Once one has accepted that, once one has

:21:38.:21:41.

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

:21:42.:21:44.

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

:21:45.:21:49.

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

:21:50.:21:54.

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

:21:55.:21:59.

cannot go to people who we know are not doing

:22:00.:22:02.

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

:22:03.:22:08.

And when it was said earlier that in fact the poor

:22:09.:22:11.

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

:22:12.:22:14.

How can the House of Lords and House of Commons stop

:22:15.:22:17.

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

:22:18.:22:26.

has been elected as one of the Commons Deputy Speakers.

:22:27.:22:30.

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

:22:31.:22:34.

Meanwhile, new MPs have continued making their first

:22:35.:22:40.

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

:22:41.:22:46.

who spoke in the Queen's speech debate.

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I come to this house with no gilded lineage, but

:22:53.:22:55.

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

:22:56.:23:00.

My father, born and bred in Nigeria,

:23:01.:23:04.

Both came to this country in the 1980s in

:23:05.:23:08.

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

:23:09.:23:18.

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

:23:19.:23:23.

an individual, a decent start in life, but being

:23:24.:23:27.

future health and prosperity of our society as a whole.

:23:28.:23:34.

As a family doctor, everyday, I have seen too

:23:35.:23:36.

many people who have been left behind.

:23:37.:23:39.

People battling mental health problems, besieged by

:23:40.:23:45.

loneliness and people with learning disabilities

:23:46.:23:47.

This holds people back and it drains their potential.

:23:48.:23:51.

Not only is it unjust, but it is damaging

:23:52.:23:53.

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

:23:54.:23:59.

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

:24:00.:24:09.

made on the doorsteps of Edinburgh West last

:24:10.:24:17.

to stand up for the constituents' view,

:24:18.:24:20.

clearly expressed now in two referendums and

:24:21.:24:24.

in the recent general election that while it's overwhelming

:24:25.:24:26.

preference is to remain a part of the EU,

:24:27.:24:29.

they will have no truck with independence

:24:30.:24:32.

will be as part of this United Kingdom.

:24:33.:24:35.

Gordon is an outward-looking constituency.

:24:36.:24:37.

A confident area, an area of optimism and

:24:38.:24:39.

growth, ready to embrace opportunities, including Brexit.

:24:40.:24:40.

Through the democratic process, Gordon has fiercely defended its

:24:41.:24:42.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I would suggest to the

:24:43.:24:49.

honourable members opposite, this country needs to talk up its

:24:50.:24:51.

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

:24:52.:24:55.

A new Conservative use to teach medieval history.

:24:56.:25:07.

I see a great many resonances between that

:25:08.:25:08.

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

:25:09.:25:12.

which started on the high street in Brentwood.

:25:13.:25:14.

A rebellion against vexatious taxation, levied by a

:25:15.:25:16.

I would warn the house that my constituents' attitude

:25:17.:25:25.

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

:25:26.:25:31.

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

:25:32.:25:35.

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

:25:36.:25:38.

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