25/10/2017 Wednesday in Parliament


25/10/2017

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 25 October, presented by Mandy Baker.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to our look back

at the day here at Westminster.

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Coming up in the next half hour:

The Brexit Secretary says a vote

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in Parliament on any Brexit

deal might come after

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the UK leaves the EU.

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MPs are confused.

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Can the Prime Minister explain how

it is possible to have a meaningful

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vote on something that has already

taken place?

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And the Prime Minister

gives her reaction to

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the suspension of a Labour MP.

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All of us in this house should have

care and attention to the way in

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which we refer to other people.

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But first, the Brexit Secretary,

David Davis, says a vote

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in Parliament on any Brexit deal

might not come before

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the UK leaves the EU.

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He was appearing in front

of a committee of MPs

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where he predicted the talks

could go right up to the wire.

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The UK is due to leave

the EU in March 2019,

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but ministers hope that in the next

few months they'll be able

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to secure a transitional

arrangement that would apply

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temporarily after Brexit.

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David Davis said there

were three reasons for wanting

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an implementation period.

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Number one, in order to give the UK

Government longer to put in place in

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the changes it needs. We think we

can put in place all the critical

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ones by March 2019 but it would give

them longer and therefore make it

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more reliable. Secondly, critically,

give European countries time to put

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in place any structure is the meat

meat, whether that is new customs

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arrangements, new data exchanges

and, thirdly, the point Chancellor

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is making, to give businesses time

after the decision is made on what

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the final outcome will be, in order

to make any subsequent changes to

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their own dispositions.

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A Conservative Brexiteer suggested

that sorting out a transition

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sounded rather difficult.

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Why not just extended now membership

of the EU until March 2021?

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We did have a referendum, you

properly missed it. -- properly

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missed it.

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Another Brexit supporting

Conservative, asked if the UK

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would have to pay a so called

divorce bill for leaving the EU,

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if there were no deal.

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Is the Prime Minister's commitment

to pay an unconditional one or is

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conditional on agreement?

We have not got into the speculative

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outcomes of the no deal and let me

see why it for a second. Much of the

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arguments about a deal or a zero

deal are phrased in polemical rather

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than... Rephrase crash out. There is

a no deal which we go to WTO or

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arrangements but happy bare-bones

Deal on other elements such as

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aviation, data, nuclear, maybe. And

then there is a complete failure to

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agree and hostile, now, I think that

is so incredible it is off the

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probability scale but under those

circumstances it is conceivable that

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will be no deal of any sort.

And if that is we pay nothing.

You

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could imagine the country paying

nothing. It is no secret the way the

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union makes this decision is tends

to be at the 11th minute, the 59th

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minute of the 11th hour of the 11th

day and that is what I would expect

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to happen.

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Labour MPs asked when the UK

Parliament would get

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to vote on the deal.

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Could it be after March 2019?

It

could be. It depends when it

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concludes.

Sorry, the vote of our parliaments

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could be after March 2019?

Yes.

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The Labour MP who chairs

the committee gave his summary.

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If I may say so you have made two

very significant observations, the

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first is your answer a moment ago

when you miss -- you said it is

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possible parliament might not vote

on the deal until after the end of

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March 2019.

That is correct. In the

event we do not do a deal until

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then.

And secondly, being absolutely

clear, it is Government policy,

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despite the recent uncertainty, that

it wishes to pursue and sort out the

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nature of the implementation period

as swiftly as possible because I

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think that would provide reassurance

to many people for whom the

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implementation period and

transitional arrangement is very

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important.

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Hilary Benn.

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Well, the main talking point

following that committee session

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was David Davis's remarks

about whether the Commons would get

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a vote on a Brexit deal in time

for it to make any difference.

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News of the comments soon

reached the Commons.

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In March 2017, the Prime Minister

told the House that Parliament

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would be given a meaningful vote

on the terms of the Withdrawal

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from the European Union

Article 50 Bill.

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This morning, in the Select

Committee on Exiting

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the European Union, the Secretary

of State told us that

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that vote might not take

place until March 2019.

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Will the Prime Minister please

explain how it is possible

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to have a meaningful vote

on something that has

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already taken place?

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As the honourable

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Gentleman knows,

we are in negotiations

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with the European Union.

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The timetable under the Lisbon

treaty allows the negotiations

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to take place until March 2019,

but, because it is in the interests

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of both sides, and it is not just

this Parliament that wants

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to have a vote on the deal.

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There will be ratification

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by other Parliaments.

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I am confident that we will be

able to achieve that

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agreement and that negotiation

in time for Parliament

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to have the vote to which we

committed ourselves.

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And the matter didn't rest there.

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After PMQs a Labour MP took it

up with the Speaker.

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It seems to me that this House,

on behalf of the people

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we represent, cannot take back

control unless we have that vote.

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Mr Speaker, can you advise

on what we, as a House of Commons,

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can do about the, at best,

contradiction or, at worst,

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false impression given to the House

during the debate on 7th February?

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A Conservative MP thought

he'd misunderstood

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David Davis's intention.

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The question the Secretary of State

had was whether or not he thought

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there would be an agreement before

midnight on 29th March 2019

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and he indicated that he thought it

might be reached a nanosecond before

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midnight on that day.

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He was then asked whether that meant

this House would not be able to vote

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on such an agreement

until after 29th March,

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and he said that obviously

it

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will not be able to

vote on an agreement

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until after 29th March

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if there has not been

an agreement until 29th March.

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That was the point he was making,

and it was a perfectly sensible one.

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But another Labour MP said that

wasn't what he'd said.

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As somebody who was also

in attendance at the Select

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Committee meeting -

indeed, I was the person who asked

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the question of the Secretary

of State - my understanding is that

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which has been reflected

by my Labour colleagues.

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If the Government had

changed their position on something

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of such constitutional significance,

would it not be in order that that

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change should be brought before this

House in a ministerial statement?

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In response - the Speaker said

everyone would just have to read

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what it said in Hansard,

the official report of proceedings.

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Later the Brexit Department issued

a clarification: they expected

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and intended to give Parliament

a vote on the Brexit deal

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before the UK's departure.

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You're watching Wednesday

in Parliament with me, Mandy Baker.

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If you want to catch

up with all the news

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from Westminster on the go,

don't forget our sister programme,

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Today in Parliament,

is available as a download

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via the BBC Radio 4 Website.

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It was the issue of benefits that

dominated the main exchanges at this

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week's Prime Minister's Questions.

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If you haven't been

following the long-running saga

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of Universal Credit,

allow me to explain.

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Last week the Labour Party initiated

a debate on the issue,

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unhappy that claimants were having

to wait up to six weeks

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to get their first payment.

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The Conservatives abstained

in the vote that followed -

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a vote which was won by Labour.

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Then with cries that the Government

was ignoring Parliament

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ringing in his ears,

the Speaker granted an emergency

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debate which took place on Tuesday.

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So the scene was set for PMQs.

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Will the Prime Minister respect the

will of the house?

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As I have said before, we

acknowledge the fact that there are

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concerns people have raised with

Universal Credit and we have been

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listening and changes have been

made. Perhaps I could update the

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house on where we are on the

roll-out of Universal Credit.

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Currently, of people claiming

benefits, 8% are Universal Credit

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and by next January that will rise

to 10%. The roll-out is being

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conducted in three phases and the

intention is it will be completed by

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2022. It is being done in a measured

way and I am pleased to say four out

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of five people are satisfied or very

satisfied with the service they are

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receiving. Universal... Universal

Credit helps people into the

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workplace and make sure work pays

and that is what the welfare system

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should do.

I would have thought that if only 8%

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of the roll-out has taken place, and

20% of the people in receipt of an

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dissatisfied that is a cause for

thoughts, maybe a pause in the

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process. A Conservative member of

the Welsh Assembly Angela Byrne

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said, "For the life of me I cannot

understand why a six or four week

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gap is deemed acceptable." She

called Universal Credit calloused at

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best and downright cruel at worst

and concluded by saying she is

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ashamed of her Government. Can the

Prime Minister ease colic's shame by

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pausing and fixing Universal Credit?

We introduced it as a more

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straightforward system that ensures

work pays and helps people into the

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workplace. Under Labour, let's look

at what happened in the benefit

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system. Under Labour the low paid

paid tax and then had it paid back

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to them in benefits. Under Labour

people were trapped on a life of

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benefits for years. Under Labour,

the number of workless household

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doubled and Labour's benefit system

cost households that extra £3000 a

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year. What the Conservatives have

done is given the low paid a given

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the work as a tax cut and ensure we

have the benefit system that helps

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people into work.

Mr Speaker, under Labour, 1 million

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children were lifted out of poverty.

Under Labour we introduced the

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principle of the national minimum

wage, posed by all Tories over

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there. Can. This Government does not

know if it is coming or going. They

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say... Mr Speaker, the Conservative

Party and the Government says they

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have full confidence in Universal

Credit. But they will not vote for

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it. They say they will and the NHS

pay cap but will not allocate any

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money to pay for it. The Communities

Secretary backs £50 billion of

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bordering on housing but the

Chancellor says it is not policy.

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The Brexit secretary says they are

planning for a no deal Brexit and

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the Chancellor says they are not.

Isn't it the case, Mr Speaker, this

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Government is weak, incompetent,

divided and unable to take a

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decision.

Of course we want to see people

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earning higher wages and we want to

ensure we can invest in our public

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services but the wait to have a

higher standard of living and high

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wages and invest in public services

and have a better future for people

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in this country is to build and

continue to build a stronger economy

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and you do not build a stronger

economy by losing control of public

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finances. You do not build a

stronger economy by uncontrolled

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borrowing and you don't build a

stronger economy by hitting people

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with the highest taxes in our

peacetime history. You don't build a

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stronger economy by voting against

progress in our Brexit negotiations.

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And you don't... And you don't build

a stronger economy by planning for

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capital flight and a run on the

pound. That is what Labour would do

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and we will never let it happen.

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Away from Parliament,

the Labour Party announced

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the suspension of one of its MPs

while it investigates misogynistic

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and homophobic comments he's

alleged to have made.

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Jared O'Mara beat

the former Liberal Democrat leader

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Nick Clegg in the constituency

of Sheffield Hallam.

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He's apologised for remarks made

online in 2002 and 2004,

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but he denies some more

recent allegations.

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The situation was

raised in the Commons.

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Next year sees the Centenary of the

first woman member of Parliament,

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would my right honourable friend

Stella is what leadership and

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encouragement to the women and girls

of his constituency to take part in

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public life the member for Sheffield

Hallam as shown in his remarks?

I

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want to see young women and women

actually able to see this house has

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a place they actively want to come

to, that they want to contribute to

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their society, they want to respond

to the needs of local constituents

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and make a real difference to

people's lives, that is what I am in

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it for and why I have encouraged

women to come into this house and I

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am pleased to say we have more women

on benches than ever before. And

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finally, all others -- all of ours

in this house, all of us in this

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house should have due care and

attention to the way in which we

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refer to other people and should

sure women in public life the

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respect they deserve.

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At the general election,

the Conservatives proposed that

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people in England with

assets of over £100,000

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would have to pay for social care.

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They also said for people

receiving care at home,

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the means test would -

for the first time -

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include the value of their home.

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Critics called the measure

a "dementia tax".

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In a debate initiated by Labour,

Ministers were urged

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to abandon the plan.

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After the Battle of the demented

taxpayer has been continuing concern

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that current and future issues over

the funding of social care are not

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being addressed. He worry stirred up

by the party opposite during the

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general election are not going to be

resolved without a better idea about

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what the future now holds for social

care. One place where people were

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expecting to hear some discussion on

this was the party conferences in

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September, but if we thought we

would hear about this in the

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conference speeches of the

secretaries of State responsible for

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social care we were sadly let down.

She said 1.2 million people had an

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Medicare needs and without extra

money that figure would rise.

And a

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lack of publicly funded care means

that the task of meeting care needs.

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Heavily onto unpaid family carers,

many carers have to give up work

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because of the demands of caring but

a real impact on their finances and

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future career prospects.

These

debates are helpful for educating

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people about the difficult issues,

the disappointing thing about the

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motion and I am happy to accept that

we did not handle this issue well in

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the general election, but what we

did not do, the mistake we made was

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not being clear about the current

system and that is why her

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referencing here to what we propose

without setting at the current

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system where people could

potentially lose all but £20,000 of

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assets, is something that would help

contribute to the public debate.

Mr

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Speaker we will come onto that but

if the honourable member wants to

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get into the mess that his party

made of this the truth is we

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legislated, we legislated a number

of years ago to lift the asset for

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two 118,000, what his party did

during the general election is

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dropped that to 100,000 from the

118,000 that it was at and in fact

0:17:460:17:50

we learn that the weekend that there

was an intention to make it only

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50,000 so I think he should be clear

and perhaps speak to his front bench

0:17:530:17:58

colleagues, what were they trying to

do? And since then we have heard

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that a deafening silence.

She talks

their -- talks about there being a

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squeeze on funding, on that basis

would she agree that it would be

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right to ask those who have the

means to contribute more towards

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their social care in the home?

I

don't agree with that and I think

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that is one of the reasons why his

party's policy or the demented tax

0:18:210:18:26

policy failed so badly, suddenly to

bring hundreds of thousands of

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people into means testing using

their homes was actually I can say

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to the honourable gentleman one of

the biggest flaws in the policy that

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his party floated. The King 's fund,

the health foundation and Nuffield

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trust that estimated a funding gap

in the social health care budget of

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£1.9 billion this year, but the

extra funding in the budget was only

0:18:440:18:48

1 billion so we still have a funding

gap of £900 million this year. This

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is why Labour pledged an extra

billion pounds for social care this

0:18:550:18:57

year to start to deal with that

funding crisis.

I am grateful for

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the opportunity to answer this

debate because I think it gives the

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government an opportunity to set out

exactly where we are in this space

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and it is not as has been

characterised by the honourable lady

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in her opening marks, she is as ever

characteristically challenging and I

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hope to answer some of the issues

she has raised today. We announced

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in the Queen's Speech that we will

work to address challenges of social

0:19:230:19:26

care for our ageing population, and

we will bring forth proposals for

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consultation to build way to put

support for future provision.

She

0:19:310:19:36

said the government put an X 2

billion into social care.

For the

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long-term reform is required so we

have a stable system for the future

0:19:410:19:46

equipped to meet the challenges of

the increasing number of people with

0:19:460:19:48

care needs. To address these

questions the government will work

0:19:480:19:51

with partners including those who

use services, those who work to

0:19:510:19:56

provide care, and all other agencies

to bring forward proposals for

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public consultation. The

consultation will consult on a wide

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range of options.

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At the end of the debate,

Labour put the motion to MPs.

0:20:050:20:08

There were no shouts to oppose

it from Conservatives

0:20:080:20:11

so the motion passed unopposed,

without a vote.

0:20:110:20:12

Labour criticised the Conservatives

for abstaining, saying

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they were picking and choosing

which issues to vote on.

0:20:140:20:24

Executives from one of the UK's

largest supermarket chicken

0:20:250:20:29

suppliers have apologised after an

investigation allegedly exposed food

0:20:290:20:32

safety breaches. The hearing

followed an investigation from the

0:20:320:20:36

Guardian and ITV news in which an

undercover reporter claimed to have

0:20:360:20:39

witnessed workers changing the kill

dates on chickens. For the company

0:20:390:20:44

the two sisters from clip they

rejected any suggestion that it

0:20:440:20:47

operated below standards.

Do you

accept that these allegations are

0:20:470:20:53

accurate and that they represent the

practice that went on in your plant

0:20:530:20:58

even though you say you weren't

aware of this situation?

We are very

0:20:580:21:04

disappointed and upset when we saw

the footage for the first time,

0:21:040:21:09

which was heard by the ITN. The

absolutely apologise for the doubt

0:21:090:21:16

this has caused to our customers,

consumers and our employers. We want

0:21:160:21:23

to reassure you, we treat food

safety at the highest of standards,

0:21:230:21:31

we are continuously committed to

improve food safety everyday. The

0:21:310:21:37

signed up across the whole factory,

do not pick a product up off the

0:21:370:21:43

floor. There are 400 hygiene people

in these factories that were orange

0:21:430:21:49

overalls, they're the only people

who can take product of the forum

0:21:490:21:53

still someone did it. Someone has

made a mistake. We have to apologise

0:21:530:21:59

for that and take responsible that

if that. So what are we doing about

0:21:590:22:04

it? That is more important. What

we're doing his the training that we

0:22:040:22:09

do for hours, we're not doing it any

more. We're doing it our training.

0:22:090:22:13

Every year.

Why wear labels being

changed? If it was not wrong, why

0:22:130:22:21

did you sack the person that was

doing it?

It is essential that the

0:22:210:22:27

meat reflects the label on the

outside. What we found is that

0:22:270:22:33

processes were not robust as they

should be. We have now changed it,

0:22:330:22:37

we're not labelling trace any more,

every tree has a plastic liner that

0:22:370:22:40

is full that on top of one another

in the liner now has a label across

0:22:400:22:45

its when you open the tray you read

the label and it is obvious, it is

0:22:450:22:49

put in at the time, sealed at the

time and ripped when open so we have

0:22:490:22:53

strengthened our system and made it

foolproof for except with the

0:22:530:22:56

reasons you're seeing. We could not

get the worker took an club -- to

0:22:560:23:03

collaborate with investigation and

it was not as good as it should have

0:23:030:23:06

been a BLT instead.

Shouldn't your

product be labelled?

The episode as

0:23:060:23:16

numbers on the pack you will be able

to tell from.

What will the customer

0:23:160:23:22

thing?

We have identification

system. We do not have low

0:23:220:23:29

standards. There is nothing to say

we have low standards. I invite all

0:23:290:23:33

of you to my factory, come announced

or unannounced. We have people who

0:23:330:23:40

work there, 850 people in question,

and I can't accept that you say we

0:23:400:23:46

have low standards because our

factories don't have low standards.

0:23:460:23:49

And finally, in the Lords

peer were once again

0:23:490:23:51

considering a matter very dear

to their hearts: themselves.

0:23:510:23:53

When a hereditary peer dies

or retires an election

0:23:530:23:55

is held for a replacement.

0:23:550:23:56

A Labour peer Lord Grocott

bemoaned the lack of women

0:23:560:24:00

and ethnic minority people

who were eligible candidates.

0:24:000:24:08

Can I just ask him a very simple

question, which if you could just

0:24:080:24:12

give a yes to we could move onto

next question. And it is this. Will

0:24:120:24:18

the government do something which

will hurt no one and cost nothing?

0:24:180:24:22

And back my bill which would scrap

this whole ludicrous system.

In

0:24:220:24:31

grateful to the noble Lord for that.

Moving onto the next question would

0:24:310:24:37

tell me at all because I have to

answer that one.

The Minister agreed

0:24:370:24:46

the system was difficult to defend.

This opposite number had a cunning

0:24:460:24:50

plan.

Some of my best friends are

bred at a cunning plan. Some of my

0:24:500:24:53

best friends are credit to peers.

This is not about the individuals,

0:24:530:24:58

it is about the system. Many

Blackadder fans in your Lordships

0:24:580:25:02

house will remember a by-election.

As Blackadder said it was half an

0:25:020:25:09

acre of sodden marshland, the

Suffolk fence with an anti-town hall

0:25:090:25:14

and a population of three mangy

cals, a dashing cold: in the small

0:25:140:25:19

hand in his 40s. Such bottom laws in

real places had larger electorate

0:25:190:25:25

and some of hereditary peers

by-elections. They were abolished in

0:25:250:25:30

1832.

Lord Young reminded her that

his line manager at the Deputy Chief

0:25:300:25:36

Whip was also a predatory peer.

0:25:360:25:38

And that's it, but do join me

at the same time tomorrow

0:25:380:25:41

for another round up of the day

here at Westminster.

0:25:410:25:43

For now from me,

Mandy Baker, goodbye.

0:25:430:25:46

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