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.