Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 7 February, presented by Mandy Baker.
Browse content similar to 07/02/2018. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Hello and welcome to the programme.
Coming up, the Brexit
debate gets a bit shouty.
Standup! Let's get on with leaving
Labour mocks Government plans
to help gig economy workers.
We see the creation of a website
about and be self-employed to talk
to each other. Well, bravo.
And who just can't
wait for his birthday?
I don't celebrate things like that.
I don't think you should celebrate
I know this isn't the first time
I've said this and it won't be
the last, but it's a big
week for Brexit.
Theresa May has chaired the first
of two key meetings with her senior
Ministers as the Government faces
more calls to clarify
the UK's position.
On Wednesday the Brexit cabinet
committee sketched out
what the future relationship
between the UK and EU
might look like.
What conclusion they came to,
we don't know but the issue came up
several times in the Commons.
First, in a spirited
intervention by one DUP MP,
echoing of the words of his father
during the Troubles.
Does the Minister agree with me that
it is about time the Government
demonstrated a no surrender attitude
to the European bureaucrats who try
to blackmail us and over -- standup
for stand up to the EU and let's get
on with leaving the EU!
Well, that plea came
moments before the start
of Prime Minister's Questions
during which the chair
of the Brexit Committee
raised the matter again.
The prime Minister will be aware
that all free trade agreements
involve some customs checks and
therefore infrastructure at
frontiers which would be completely
incompatible with maintaining an
open border between Northern Ireland
and the Republic. As the Cabinet
subcommittee is finally getting
around to discussing this, could the
Prime Minister explain to the House
why she is so opposed to the UK
remaining any customs with the EU
when not only would this be better
for the British economy, but what
also helped to ensure that that
border remains as it is today which
is what all of us want?
Kingdom is leaving the European unit
that means we are leaving the single
market, the customs union because if
we were full numbers of the customs
union we would not be able to do
trade to the gas trade unions around
the rest of the world. We will have
an independent trade policy and do
those deals. He asked about those
originals, I suggested he will at
the paper that was published by the
Government last summer.
And from the other end
of the Brexit spectrum,
a different question.
I want her about ultimatums from the
EU last summer. Again last week,
which she'd be good enough to be
very robust when discussing these
messages in the committees. I'm sure
she will be in order to ensure that
we repudiate any of these EU
As a separate from the very
beginning we will hear noises off
and also to things being said about
positions being taken. What matters
is the positions we take in
negotiations as we sit down and
negotiate the best deal. We're shown
we can do that. We did it in
December we will do it again.
The head of the Parole Board has
said action is needed to make
the reasons for its decisions public
and its judgements
easier to challenge.
Nick Hardwick's comments come
in the wake of controversy over
the decision to release John
Worboys was jailed
indefinitely in 2009
with a minimum term of eight years
for drugging and sexually
Two of his victims have
been given the go-ahead
to challenge his release
at a judicial review next month.
The Government has ordered
a review of the transparency
of Parole Board decisions.
Professor Hardwick told
the Justice Committee that people
didn't really understand
what the parole board did:
We could do much more than we do at
present to explain individual
decisions. There are risks to doing
that. And they need to be carefully
explored and considered stop with
its an awareness and education
programme. For proposals can you
second yourself? There are number of
different steps that we are in the
process of taking. I think there
I think we need to have accessible
information about the process and
the number of different formats and
the number of different platforms.
We can't do and we're absolutely
is explaining anything about
an individual case. Even the most
basic of things. Talking about
completely different cases, you will
have victims ask for information
about licence commissions. We have
information about licence
commissions that would reassure
them. They would find comforting.
And we can't tell them. We can go
much further, much further in
explaining our decisions to people
so that they have a real sense of
what we're doing. They may like what
we are doing, they may not agree
with us. But at least they will have
some basis to know. As related thing
about there could be a change and it
can make a challenge to the process
puzzle. You can judge you because
they don't know how to -- they deny
we make decisions.
we make decisions.
That he said needed to change:
It seems to me that it is
undignified things and go and find a
review. That is our situation. But
we can't do is make every decision
But victims needed
One of the things we should look at
his victims getting... Victims who
wants to get one, getting a summary
of the parole board's decisions. And
I think they should get that. Let's
may change, but think big change but
let's think it through carefully and
not do it in a hasty gut reaction.
in a hasty gut reaction.
A report by the Chief
Inspector of Probation
found the correct procedures had
been followed, but victims found out
about his release from the media.
It was critical of the "victim
To my mind of every victim whether
they opted in or not should know
what the parole board hearing is
happening. Know if the decisions are
made and given a chance to observe
that before it becomes general
release. We need to set up this
principle speaking with those who
represent victims to get this right.
Had even given a time frame?
comfortable that we can give a
report by Easter. We will specific
-- we will focus on four specific
issues, whether we should ask to
reconsider one of its decisions we
will be doing some work around that.
We will be looking at transparency
and parole Board decisions that need
to have a more transparency system
so that victims know more about
licence conditions and knowing about
whether we can create an online
register or some ways and that we
can... This is only the came across
very strongly from the report is how
we communicate with the victims. We
need to use the latest technology to
make sure that happens in a much
more reliable and expedient and
You're watching Wednesday
in Parliament with me, Mandy Baker.
Now Jeremy Corbyn's battleground
of choice for this week's
Prime Minister's Questions
was crime figures.
Last month the Office
for National Statistics said
the number of violent crimes and sex
offences recorded by police
in England and Wales has risen
sharply over the past year.
But the separate Crime Survey, based
on people's experiences, suggested
crime was continuing to fall.
And with that in mind,
with a particularly pithy question.
With crime rising, does the Prime
Minister regret cutting 21,000
What we have
actually seen from the crime survey
is that crime is not down at record
low levels. That is what has been
achieved and it has been achieved by
conservative government that at the
same time has been protecting police
Mr Speaker, recorded crime
is up by one fifth since 2010,
violent crime up by 20%, and during
the period that the premise or was
home Secretary, £2.3 billion was cut
from police budgets. Her Majesty
posited Inspectorate of constabulary
was at neighbourhood policing rest
of being eroded and the shortage of
detectives is at a national crisis.
Does the Prime Minister think the
inspector is scaremongering?
right honourable German pages the
issue about crime. -- gentlemen. One
of the things we're seeing in recent
years is ensuring we get a proper
recording of certain types of crime
and I am pleased to say that we have
seen improvements over the last
seven to eight years in the recorded
types of crimes. He also talks about
the issue of police budgets. As I
have said this is a government that
has detected police budgets.
chief Constable of Bedfordshire says
we do not have the resources to keep
residents safe, the position is a
scandal. Too many people don't feel
safe and too many people are safe.
We have just seen the highest rise
in recorded crime for a quarter of a
century. The chief counsel of
Lancashire says the Government's
police cuts have that much more
difficult to keep people safe. Is he
Can I say to the right
honourable gentleman, he mentions
the constabulary because what I was
hoser Jerry I asked H MIC to look at
the recording of these crimes. To
make sure that police forces were
doing it properly. And indeed some
changes were made as a result of
that. We now see the better
recording of crime. We also see £450
million extra being made available
to the police. But what have we also
seen over the last two years? The
creation of the national crime
agency, our police forces taking
more notice of helping the support
vulnerable victims, doing more on
modern slavery, doing more on
domestic violence. Taking issues
seriously that they weren't taking
Mr Speaker, if you
ask the instructor to look at
unrecorded crime and they tell you
what is going on in the least you
can do is act on what they tell you.
One study but two very
The Taylor review examined
modern working practises,
especially the employment rights
of people in what's known as the gig
economy, where workers are paid
for each job they do.
The Business Minister set
out the government's
response to its findings.
We will support employers to give
individuals the correct employment
rights. But we will prevent
undercutting who try to game the
system by clearly defining who is
employed and who is not. We will
extend the rights to receive a pay
set to all workers including stating
the hours that they work, to set a
written terms, and extending us to
all workers. We are taking forward
this or Speaker 52 of the figure
three recommendations in the Taylor
review. For workers on zero our
contrast, we are creating a right to
request a simple contract. For the
first time, Mr Speaker, for the
first time, the state will take
responsibility for enforcing a wider
set of employment rights including
sick pay and holiday pay for the
most vulnerable of workers.
But Labour's shadow business
secretary was scathing
about the government's plans.
Many of these workers
faced a precarious and
unstable working life.
They needed to do something bold
today but it appears
that they are simply papering over
these weak realities with rhetoric.
Launching four consultations,
merely considering proposals,
and tweaking the law
here and there is not good enough.
We need clarity on workers
being paid when they are logged
into apps waiting to receive jobs.
As well as clear and urgent
direction on the legal
status of gig workers.
Why was there not even one mention,
not one mention of trade unions?
And on the genuinely self-employed,
we see the creation of a website
allowing the self-employed
to talk to each other.
Why was there no system
of support, no recognition
of the precariousness
of the situation?
Mr Speaker, this is
simply window dressing.
As a result of the actions set out
in our response to this review,
as a result of those actions,
millions of workers
will get greater rights.
The access to more protection.
Indeed, I would argue that we can
rightly claim to be leading
the world in improving the quality
of work for our constituents.
One of the issues that was not
contained within the scope
of the Taylor review
was that was that of
unpaid work trials.
That is regrettable.
However, one member from Glasgow has
brought forth a bill on the 16th
of March to end exploitative,
unpaid work trials.
Will the Government
the supporting that?
I think the honourable
gentleman for his question.
I am very happy to meet with his
colleague and discuss his Bill.
A Labour MP turns to the issue of
The DWP and various select
committees have produced a bill
that the Government can take
through Parliament with cross party
support to sort this out.
The country are crying
out for change.
Can I urge the Government to be
a little bit more ambitious?
I can reassure the honourable lady
that we are hugely ambitious.
These proposals will help
millions of workers,
but she will understand,
because I think Matthew Taylor said
this in relation to when he gave
evidence to the committee,
that this is hugely complicated.
That this is complex,
and we do need to consult further.
We are not consulting
about whether we should do this.
We are consulting about how
we do it, so I thank her
for her contribution
and I reassure her that
our ambition is strong.
The Business Minister,
The Northern Ireland Secretary has
struck an optimistic note
about the restoration
of power-sharing at
the Stormont Assembly,
saying it could happen imminently.
Northern Ireland has been
without a functioning administration
for over a year after
the DUP/Sinn Fein-led
coalition collapsed in a row
over a controversial
green energy scheme.
Over the past weeks,
the political parties,
particularly the DUP and Sinn Fein,
have engaged in discussions
on the key issues,
which remain to be resolved.
They have done so with continuous
support of the UK Government
accordance with the three-stranded
the Irish government.
Those discussions were built
on the progress that was made
in previous talks to introduce
further gaps between
them and accommodation
between the parties,
Mr Speaker, is yet to be reached,
but there is no doubt
as to the parties' collective
commitment to restore
I firmly believe that
agreement in the coming days,
while not certain, is achievable,
and and this remains my focus.
Every party in Northern Ireland says
they want a deal but that
significant gaps remain.
Could she outline to the House
what those gaps actually
are and what she is doing
to try to resolve them
and bring people together?
Mr Speaker, can I gently say
to the honourable gentleman,
who I know is greatly distinguished
in this area and knows
Northern Ireland politics very well,
that we are we are at a very
sensitive stage of the discussions,
that I have been committed to no
running commentary on the talks
while they are ongoing,
and there have been very intense,
very detailed discussions?
I believe we can reach an outcome
but I am not going to do
anything that might jeopardise that.
Can she at least confirm that one
of the big sticking points
in the talks right now is rights?
Not just language rights,
but marriage equality rights,
and can she tell us
whether she would consider taking
that issue off the table
by legislating for equal marriage
rights in Northern Ireland
as they enjoy in Staffordshire?
The Minister said equal marriage was
a devolved issue. The question moved
the budget will
a devolved issue. The question moved
the budget will.
Would she give a clear commitment
to the people of Northern Ireland
and this House that the budget
for Northern Ireland will be set
as soon as possible,
given that the head of the civil
service said we cannot go much
beyond the beginning of February
with that clarity about how much
departments and public
bodies are going to have
to spend next year.
The lack of a budget
is affecting services, including
health and social care.
The current position is intolerable.
We need a budget and we need it now.
Karen Bradley assured him she had
had discussions about that issue.
If you were watching this
programme on Tuesday,
you'll have seen MPs grilling senior
executives from the failed
construction company, Carillion.
Well, on Wednesday it was
the turn of the Government.
The Liaison Committee, which is made
up of the chairs of all the other
committees, had summoned
the Cabinet Office Minister.
But he was being very
cautious in his answers.
This exchange was typical.
When we had the directors
of Carillion, past and almost
When we had the directors of
Carillion, past and almost present,
in front of our Select Committees
yesterday, one of the things
we questioned them about was the
changes in the rules
about the claw-back of bonuses.
Many of the people
we had in front of us
yesterday had a big
bonuses in the period
leading up to the collapse
of the business, the company
changed its own rules,
which make it harder
to claw back those bonuses.
One of the lessons from the global
financial crisis was to have tougher
rules about being able
to claw-back bonuses
go wrong at business.
Do you think we need to look
again at the claw-back
arrangements for bonuses
so that we can get some
of that money back?
Again, sitting here today,
I am open-minded on not
but there have been serious
allegations of misconduct
by the board and former board
members of Carillion.
Those are being independently
investigated by the official
receiver, and it would be wrong
for a Minister to make any comment
that could be prejudicial
of the official receiver's
findings on that.
Now, at the weekend the Conservative
MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg,
went to the University of the West
of England to give a speech.
But then, this happened.
Masked protesters disrupted the
event and there was some pushing.
Police launched an investigation
into the scenes at the campus in
Bristol, but no arrests were made.
The Human Rights Committee
is investigating freedom
of speech in universities.
Jacob Rees-Mogg told them
that he wasn't alarmed by the fact
people were protesting.
The only thing I think was odd
was that they turned up wearing
masks, and I think wearing masks
is the one bit that ought
not to have happened.
I think people coming along
and charging at you,
people heckling you is part
of political life and to be
perfectly honest, as a politician,
a bit of heckling can
make your speech.
It can actually be very
good for the Speaker,
rather than damaging.
But masks is just
a little bit sinister.
Suppose that if somebody was 67
with brown hair and had
been an MP for 35 years,
do you think she would actually be
prepared to speak at meetings
if somebody was going to come
bursting in and then she had to go
back on a train on her own?
I don't think anybody
would ever suggest that
you weren't quite brave,
but I think there's a really serious
point and I'm actually much more
concerned about the online
abuse that particularly
female MPs receive.
Will people want to go and speak
if there are going to be protests?
I mean, I'm going to carry
on regardless, but I can see that
some people would think,
"Is it worth the hassle?"
and politicians don't have to go
and speak at universities.
It may be a very good thing
that they do, I happen
to think that it is.
But we could just go home
on Thursday nights and Friday nights
and that can sometimes
be quite tempting.
Earlier the Universities Minister
told the committee
there was a "creeping
culture" around censorship.
What is hard to measure
here is the larger number of events
that do not happen at all,
either because organisers
were worried about obstruction
or because of the overzealous
enforcement of rules made them seem
more trouble than it is worth.
In my view, these restrictions
and disruptions, are unacceptable.
On some US campuses,
we've seen a cultural censorship
that is restriction of free speech
and I do not want
that to happen here.
The Universities Minister.
Over in the Lords,
it was the Government's plans
for handling the the winter crisis
in the NHS which came under attack.
Labour wanted to know how it
could be that in some
hospitals, every bed was full.
Can I ask the noble lord, the
Minister if that was part of the
winter plan, or will the Minister
accept that the winter plans have
now been compromised in the light of
pressure on beds, lack of staff, and
the fact that at least 23 trusts are
now on black alert, which means they
are under very severe pressure?
agree with the noble lady that bed
occupancy is higher than we want to
be and in some particular hospitals
it is far too high. The question
about what we do about that did
necessitate the difficult decision
for which the premise or apologised
which is cancelling elective
surgery. We think a particular with
flu, at the situation has hopefully
stabilised and that will start to
relieve the pressure. I do
understand the hard work that staff
are having to put in under
tremendous pressure and we all
Since its inception
in 1948, the NHS spending has arisen
by an average of 4% each year in
real terms -- has risen. Does this
government took over in 2010, that
4% increase has fallen to an average
of between one and one and a half
percent will stop in real terms,
will the Government and cannot
government accept that some of this
meanness is one of the causes for
the crisis the NHS find itself in?
totally reject the accusation of
meanness. If you look at the
spending on a NHS, not only hasn't
gone up in real terms every year
while a massive retrenchment has had
to take place in order to deal with
£150 billion of barring bequeathed
by the previous government, NHS
spending now accounts for the
highest standard of public spending
that has ever been the case. We have
found the money, in difficult
circumstances. We all agree that
more was needed and more was found
in the budget and I'm sure more will
be found in the future.
Nobody quite fits the
description of "veteran"
like Labour's Dennis Skinner.
And with veteranship
Few backbenchers would be permitted
to go on for nearly one and a half
minutes at Prime Minister's
But before he got underway,
the Speaker had a special
message for him.
In offering him best wishes
for his birthday on Sunday,
I call Mr Dennis Skinner.
I didn't know about that.
I don't celebrate things like that.
I don't but you should
And he was off.
He said the last Labour government
delivered a golden era
for the health service.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
put 1% on the National
Insurance and that went directly to
the Health Service and it is called
Under this government,
they don't know whether they
are coming or going.
It is high time this
government did the same as
we did between 1997 and 2010.
And the words "get weaving" bring us
to the end of the programme.
So for now from me,
Mandy Baker, goodbye.