Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 25 October, presented by Mandy Baker.
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Hello and welcome to our look back
at the day here at Westminster.
Coming up in the next half hour:
The Brexit Secretary says a vote
in Parliament on any Brexit
deal might come after
the UK leaves the EU.
MPs are confused.
Can the Prime Minister explain how
it is possible to have a meaningful
vote on something that has already
And the Prime Minister
gives her reaction to
the suspension of a Labour MP.
All of us in this house should have
care and attention to the way in
which we refer to other people.
But first, the Brexit Secretary,
David Davis, says a vote
in Parliament on any Brexit deal
might not come before
the UK leaves the EU.
He was appearing in front
of a committee of MPs
where he predicted the talks
could go right up to the wire.
The UK is due to leave
the EU in March 2019,
but ministers hope that in the next
few months they'll be able
to secure a transitional
arrangement that would apply
temporarily after Brexit.
David Davis said there
were three reasons for wanting
an implementation period.
Number one, in order to give the UK
Government longer to put in place in
the changes it needs. We think we
can put in place all the critical
ones by March 2019 but it would give
them longer and therefore make it
more reliable. Secondly, critically,
give European countries time to put
in place any structure is the meat
meat, whether that is new customs
arrangements, new data exchanges
and, thirdly, the point Chancellor
is making, to give businesses time
after the decision is made on what
the final outcome will be, in order
to make any subsequent changes to
their own dispositions.
A Conservative Brexiteer suggested
that sorting out a transition
sounded rather difficult.
Why not just extended now membership
of the EU until March 2021?
We did have a referendum, you
properly missed it. -- properly
Another Brexit supporting
Conservative, asked if the UK
would have to pay a so called
divorce bill for leaving the EU,
if there were no deal.
Is the Prime Minister's commitment
to pay an unconditional one or is
conditional on agreement?
We have not got into the speculative
outcomes of the no deal and let me
see why it for a second. Much of the
arguments about a deal or a zero
deal are phrased in polemical rather
than... Rephrase crash out. There is
a no deal which we go to WTO or
arrangements but happy bare-bones
Deal on other elements such as
aviation, data, nuclear, maybe. And
then there is a complete failure to
agree and hostile, now, I think that
is so incredible it is off the
probability scale but under those
circumstances it is conceivable that
will be no deal of any sort.
And if that is we pay nothing.
could imagine the country paying
nothing. It is no secret the way the
union makes this decision is tends
to be at the 11th minute, the 59th
minute of the 11th hour of the 11th
day and that is what I would expect
Labour MPs asked when the UK
Parliament would get
to vote on the deal.
Could it be after March 2019?
could be. It depends when it
Sorry, the vote of our parliaments
could be after March 2019?
The Labour MP who chairs
the committee gave his summary.
If I may say so you have made two
very significant observations, the
first is your answer a moment ago
when you miss -- you said it is
possible parliament might not vote
on the deal until after the end of
That is correct. In the
event we do not do a deal until
And secondly, being absolutely
clear, it is Government policy,
despite the recent uncertainty, that
it wishes to pursue and sort out the
nature of the implementation period
as swiftly as possible because I
think that would provide reassurance
to many people for whom the
implementation period and
transitional arrangement is very
Well, the main talking point
following that committee session
was David Davis's remarks
about whether the Commons would get
a vote on a Brexit deal in time
for it to make any difference.
News of the comments soon
reached the Commons.
In March 2017, the Prime Minister
told the House that Parliament
would be given a meaningful vote
on the terms of the Withdrawal
from the European Union
Article 50 Bill.
This morning, in the Select
Committee on Exiting
the European Union, the Secretary
of State told us that
that vote might not take
place until March 2019.
Will the Prime Minister please
explain how it is possible
to have a meaningful vote
on something that has
already taken place?
As the honourable
we are in negotiations
with the European Union.
The timetable under the Lisbon
treaty allows the negotiations
to take place until March 2019,
but, because it is in the interests
of both sides, and it is not just
this Parliament that wants
to have a vote on the deal.
There will be ratification
by other Parliaments.
I am confident that we will be
able to achieve that
agreement and that negotiation
in time for Parliament
to have the vote to which we
And the matter didn't rest there.
After PMQs a Labour MP took it
up with the Speaker.
It seems to me that this House,
on behalf of the people
we represent, cannot take back
control unless we have that vote.
Mr Speaker, can you advise
on what we, as a House of Commons,
can do about the, at best,
contradiction or, at worst,
false impression given to the House
during the debate on 7th February?
A Conservative MP thought
David Davis's intention.
The question the Secretary of State
had was whether or not he thought
there would be an agreement before
midnight on 29th March 2019
and he indicated that he thought it
might be reached a nanosecond before
midnight on that day.
He was then asked whether that meant
this House would not be able to vote
on such an agreement
until after 29th March,
and he said that obviously
will not be able to
vote on an agreement
until after 29th March
if there has not been
an agreement until 29th March.
That was the point he was making,
and it was a perfectly sensible one.
But another Labour MP said that
wasn't what he'd said.
As somebody who was also
in attendance at the Select
Committee meeting -
indeed, I was the person who asked
the question of the Secretary
of State - my understanding is that
which has been reflected
by my Labour colleagues.
If the Government had
changed their position on something
of such constitutional significance,
would it not be in order that that
change should be brought before this
House in a ministerial statement?
In response - the Speaker said
everyone would just have to read
what it said in Hansard,
the official report of proceedings.
Later the Brexit Department issued
a clarification: they expected
and intended to give Parliament
a vote on the Brexit deal
before the UK's departure.
You're watching Wednesday
in Parliament with me, Mandy Baker.
If you want to catch
up with all the news
from Westminster on the go,
don't forget our sister programme,
Today in Parliament,
is available as a download
via the BBC Radio 4 Website.
It was the issue of benefits that
dominated the main exchanges at this
week's Prime Minister's Questions.
If you haven't been
following the long-running saga
of Universal Credit,
allow me to explain.
Last week the Labour Party initiated
a debate on the issue,
unhappy that claimants were having
to wait up to six weeks
to get their first payment.
The Conservatives abstained
in the vote that followed -
a vote which was won by Labour.
Then with cries that the Government
was ignoring Parliament
ringing in his ears,
the Speaker granted an emergency
debate which took place on Tuesday.
So the scene was set for PMQs.
Will the Prime Minister respect the
will of the house?
As I have said before, we
acknowledge the fact that there are
concerns people have raised with
Universal Credit and we have been
listening and changes have been
made. Perhaps I could update the
house on where we are on the
roll-out of Universal Credit.
Currently, of people claiming
benefits, 8% are Universal Credit
and by next January that will rise
to 10%. The roll-out is being
conducted in three phases and the
intention is it will be completed by
2022. It is being done in a measured
way and I am pleased to say four out
of five people are satisfied or very
satisfied with the service they are
receiving. Universal... Universal
Credit helps people into the
workplace and make sure work pays
and that is what the welfare system
I would have thought that if only 8%
of the roll-out has taken place, and
20% of the people in receipt of an
dissatisfied that is a cause for
thoughts, maybe a pause in the
process. A Conservative member of
the Welsh Assembly Angela Byrne
said, "For the life of me I cannot
understand why a six or four week
gap is deemed acceptable." She
called Universal Credit calloused at
best and downright cruel at worst
and concluded by saying she is
ashamed of her Government. Can the
Prime Minister ease colic's shame by
pausing and fixing Universal Credit?
We introduced it as a more
straightforward system that ensures
work pays and helps people into the
workplace. Under Labour, let's look
at what happened in the benefit
system. Under Labour the low paid
paid tax and then had it paid back
to them in benefits. Under Labour
people were trapped on a life of
benefits for years. Under Labour,
the number of workless household
doubled and Labour's benefit system
cost households that extra £3000 a
year. What the Conservatives have
done is given the low paid a given
the work as a tax cut and ensure we
have the benefit system that helps
people into work.
Mr Speaker, under Labour, 1 million
children were lifted out of poverty.
Under Labour we introduced the
principle of the national minimum
wage, posed by all Tories over
there. Can. This Government does not
know if it is coming or going. They
say... Mr Speaker, the Conservative
Party and the Government says they
have full confidence in Universal
Credit. But they will not vote for
it. They say they will and the NHS
pay cap but will not allocate any
money to pay for it. The Communities
Secretary backs £50 billion of
bordering on housing but the
Chancellor says it is not policy.
The Brexit secretary says they are
planning for a no deal Brexit and
the Chancellor says they are not.
Isn't it the case, Mr Speaker, this
Government is weak, incompetent,
divided and unable to take a
Of course we want to see people
earning higher wages and we want to
ensure we can invest in our public
services but the wait to have a
higher standard of living and high
wages and invest in public services
and have a better future for people
in this country is to build and
continue to build a stronger economy
and you do not build a stronger
economy by losing control of public
finances. You do not build a
stronger economy by uncontrolled
borrowing and you don't build a
stronger economy by hitting people
with the highest taxes in our
peacetime history. You don't build a
stronger economy by voting against
progress in our Brexit negotiations.
And you don't... And you don't build
a stronger economy by planning for
capital flight and a run on the
pound. That is what Labour would do
and we will never let it happen.
Away from Parliament,
the Labour Party announced
the suspension of one of its MPs
while it investigates misogynistic
and homophobic comments he's
alleged to have made.
Jared O'Mara beat
the former Liberal Democrat leader
Nick Clegg in the constituency
of Sheffield Hallam.
He's apologised for remarks made
online in 2002 and 2004,
but he denies some more
The situation was
raised in the Commons.
Next year sees the Centenary of the
first woman member of Parliament,
would my right honourable friend
Stella is what leadership and
encouragement to the women and girls
of his constituency to take part in
public life the member for Sheffield
Hallam as shown in his remarks?
want to see young women and women
actually able to see this house has
a place they actively want to come
to, that they want to contribute to
their society, they want to respond
to the needs of local constituents
and make a real difference to
people's lives, that is what I am in
it for and why I have encouraged
women to come into this house and I
am pleased to say we have more women
on benches than ever before. And
finally, all others -- all of ours
in this house, all of us in this
house should have due care and
attention to the way in which we
refer to other people and should
sure women in public life the
respect they deserve.
At the general election,
the Conservatives proposed that
people in England with
assets of over £100,000
would have to pay for social care.
They also said for people
receiving care at home,
the means test would -
for the first time -
include the value of their home.
Critics called the measure
a "dementia tax".
In a debate initiated by Labour,
Ministers were urged
to abandon the plan.
After the Battle of the demented
taxpayer has been continuing concern
that current and future issues over
the funding of social care are not
being addressed. He worry stirred up
by the party opposite during the
general election are not going to be
resolved without a better idea about
what the future now holds for social
care. One place where people were
expecting to hear some discussion on
this was the party conferences in
September, but if we thought we
would hear about this in the
conference speeches of the
secretaries of State responsible for
social care we were sadly let down.
She said 1.2 million people had an
Medicare needs and without extra
money that figure would rise.
lack of publicly funded care means
that the task of meeting care needs.
Heavily onto unpaid family carers,
many carers have to give up work
because of the demands of caring but
a real impact on their finances and
future career prospects.
debates are helpful for educating
people about the difficult issues,
the disappointing thing about the
motion and I am happy to accept that
we did not handle this issue well in
the general election, but what we
did not do, the mistake we made was
not being clear about the current
system and that is why her
referencing here to what we propose
without setting at the current
system where people could
potentially lose all but £20,000 of
assets, is something that would help
contribute to the public debate.
Speaker we will come onto that but
if the honourable member wants to
get into the mess that his party
made of this the truth is we
legislated, we legislated a number
of years ago to lift the asset for
two 118,000, what his party did
during the general election is
dropped that to 100,000 from the
118,000 that it was at and in fact
we learn that the weekend that there
was an intention to make it only
50,000 so I think he should be clear
and perhaps speak to his front bench
colleagues, what were they trying to
do? And since then we have heard
that a deafening silence.
their -- talks about there being a
squeeze on funding, on that basis
would she agree that it would be
right to ask those who have the
means to contribute more towards
their social care in the home?
don't agree with that and I think
that is one of the reasons why his
party's policy or the demented tax
policy failed so badly, suddenly to
bring hundreds of thousands of
people into means testing using
their homes was actually I can say
to the honourable gentleman one of
the biggest flaws in the policy that
his party floated. The King 's fund,
the health foundation and Nuffield
trust that estimated a funding gap
in the social health care budget of
£1.9 billion this year, but the
extra funding in the budget was only
1 billion so we still have a funding
gap of £900 million this year. This
is why Labour pledged an extra
billion pounds for social care this
year to start to deal with that
I am grateful for
the opportunity to answer this
debate because I think it gives the
government an opportunity to set out
exactly where we are in this space
and it is not as has been
characterised by the honourable lady
in her opening marks, she is as ever
characteristically challenging and I
hope to answer some of the issues
she has raised today. We announced
in the Queen's Speech that we will
work to address challenges of social
care for our ageing population, and
we will bring forth proposals for
consultation to build way to put
support for future provision.
said the government put an X 2
billion into social care.
long-term reform is required so we
have a stable system for the future
equipped to meet the challenges of
the increasing number of people with
care needs. To address these
questions the government will work
with partners including those who
use services, those who work to
provide care, and all other agencies
to bring forward proposals for
public consultation. The
consultation will consult on a wide
range of options.
At the end of the debate,
Labour put the motion to MPs.
There were no shouts to oppose
it from Conservatives
so the motion passed unopposed,
without a vote.
Labour criticised the Conservatives
for abstaining, saying
they were picking and choosing
which issues to vote on.
Executives from one of the UK's
largest supermarket chicken
suppliers have apologised after an
investigation allegedly exposed food
safety breaches. The hearing
followed an investigation from the
Guardian and ITV news in which an
undercover reporter claimed to have
witnessed workers changing the kill
dates on chickens. For the company
the two sisters from clip they
rejected any suggestion that it
operated below standards.
accept that these allegations are
accurate and that they represent the
practice that went on in your plant
even though you say you weren't
aware of this situation?
We are very
disappointed and upset when we saw
the footage for the first time,
which was heard by the ITN. The
absolutely apologise for the doubt
this has caused to our customers,
consumers and our employers. We want
to reassure you, we treat food
safety at the highest of standards,
we are continuously committed to
improve food safety everyday. The
signed up across the whole factory,
do not pick a product up off the
floor. There are 400 hygiene people
in these factories that were orange
overalls, they're the only people
who can take product of the forum
still someone did it. Someone has
made a mistake. We have to apologise
for that and take responsible that
if that. So what are we doing about
it? That is more important. What
we're doing his the training that we
do for hours, we're not doing it any
more. We're doing it our training.
Why wear labels being
changed? If it was not wrong, why
did you sack the person that was
It is essential that the
meat reflects the label on the
outside. What we found is that
processes were not robust as they
should be. We have now changed it,
we're not labelling trace any more,
every tree has a plastic liner that
is full that on top of one another
in the liner now has a label across
its when you open the tray you read
the label and it is obvious, it is
put in at the time, sealed at the
time and ripped when open so we have
strengthened our system and made it
foolproof for except with the
reasons you're seeing. We could not
get the worker took an club -- to
collaborate with investigation and
it was not as good as it should have
been a BLT instead.
product be labelled?
The episode as
numbers on the pack you will be able
to tell from.
What will the customer
We have identification
system. We do not have low
standards. There is nothing to say
we have low standards. I invite all
of you to my factory, come announced
or unannounced. We have people who
work there, 850 people in question,
and I can't accept that you say we
have low standards because our
factories don't have low standards.
And finally, in the Lords
peer were once again
considering a matter very dear
to their hearts: themselves.
When a hereditary peer dies
or retires an election
is held for a replacement.
A Labour peer Lord Grocott
bemoaned the lack of women
and ethnic minority people
who were eligible candidates.
Can I just ask him a very simple
question, which if you could just
give a yes to we could move onto
next question. And it is this. Will
the government do something which
will hurt no one and cost nothing?
And back my bill which would scrap
this whole ludicrous system.
grateful to the noble Lord for that.
Moving onto the next question would
tell me at all because I have to
answer that one.
The Minister agreed
the system was difficult to defend.
This opposite number had a cunning
Some of my best friends are
bred at a cunning plan. Some of my
best friends are credit to peers.
This is not about the individuals,
it is about the system. Many
Blackadder fans in your Lordships
house will remember a by-election.
As Blackadder said it was half an
acre of sodden marshland, the
Suffolk fence with an anti-town hall
and a population of three mangy
cals, a dashing cold: in the small
hand in his 40s. Such bottom laws in
real places had larger electorate
and some of hereditary peers
by-elections. They were abolished in
Lord Young reminded her that
his line manager at the Deputy Chief
Whip was also a predatory peer.
And that's it, but do join me
at the same time tomorrow
for another round up of the day
here at Westminster.
For now from me,
Mandy Baker, goodbye.