07/02/2018 Wednesday in Parliament


07/02/2018

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 7 February, presented by Mandy Baker.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to the programme.

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Coming up, the Brexit

debate gets a bit shouty.

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Standup! Let's get on with leaving

the EU.

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Labour mocks Government plans

to help gig economy workers.

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We see the creation of a website

about and be self-employed to talk

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to each other. Well, bravo.

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And who just can't

wait for his birthday?

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I don't celebrate things like that.

I don't think you should celebrate

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age.

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I know this isn't the first time

I've said this and it won't be

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the last, but it's a big

week for Brexit.

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Theresa May has chaired the first

of two key meetings with her senior

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Ministers as the Government faces

more calls to clarify

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the UK's position.

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On Wednesday the Brexit cabinet

committee sketched out

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what the future relationship

between the UK and EU

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might look like.

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What conclusion they came to,

we don't know but the issue came up

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several times in the Commons.

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First, in a spirited

intervention by one DUP MP,

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echoing of the words of his father

during the Troubles.

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Does the Minister agree with me that

it is about time the Government

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demonstrated a no surrender attitude

to the European bureaucrats who try

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to blackmail us and over -- standup

for stand up to the EU and let's get

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on with leaving the EU!

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Well, that plea came

moments before the start

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of Prime Minister's Questions

during which the chair

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of the Brexit Committee

raised the matter again.

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The prime Minister will be aware

that all free trade agreements

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involve some customs checks and

therefore infrastructure at

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frontiers which would be completely

incompatible with maintaining an

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open border between Northern Ireland

and the Republic. As the Cabinet

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subcommittee is finally getting

around to discussing this, could the

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Prime Minister explain to the House

why she is so opposed to the UK

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remaining any customs with the EU

when not only would this be better

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for the British economy, but what

also helped to ensure that that

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border remains as it is today which

is what all of us want?

The United

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Kingdom is leaving the European unit

that means we are leaving the single

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market, the customs union because if

we were full numbers of the customs

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union we would not be able to do

trade to the gas trade unions around

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the rest of the world. We will have

an independent trade policy and do

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those deals. He asked about those

originals, I suggested he will at

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the paper that was published by the

Government last summer.

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And from the other end

of the Brexit spectrum,

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a different question.

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I want her about ultimatums from the

EU last summer. Again last week,

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which she'd be good enough to be

very robust when discussing these

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messages in the committees. I'm sure

she will be in order to ensure that

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we repudiate any of these EU

threats?

As a separate from the very

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beginning we will hear noises off

and also to things being said about

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positions being taken. What matters

is the positions we take in

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negotiations as we sit down and

negotiate the best deal. We're shown

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we can do that. We did it in

December we will do it again.

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The head of the Parole Board has

said action is needed to make

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the reasons for its decisions public

and its judgements

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easier to challenge.

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Nick Hardwick's comments come

in the wake of controversy over

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the decision to release John

Worboys.

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Worboys was jailed

indefinitely in 2009

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with a minimum term of eight years

for drugging and sexually

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assaulting women.

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Two of his victims have

been given the go-ahead

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to challenge his release

at a judicial review next month.

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The Government has ordered

a review of the transparency

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of Parole Board decisions.

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Professor Hardwick told

the Justice Committee that people

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didn't really understand

what the parole board did:

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We could do much more than we do at

present to explain individual

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decisions. There are risks to doing

that. And they need to be carefully

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explored and considered stop with

its an awareness and education

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programme. For proposals can you

second yourself? There are number of

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different steps that we are in the

process of taking. I think there

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I think we need to have accessible

information about the process and

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the number of different formats and

the number of different platforms.

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We can't do and we're absolutely

printed

is explaining anything about

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an individual case. Even the most

basic of things. Talking about

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completely different cases, you will

have victims ask for information

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about licence commissions. We have

information about licence

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commissions that would reassure

them. They would find comforting.

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And we can't tell them. We can go

much further, much further in

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explaining our decisions to people

so that they have a real sense of

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what we're doing. They may like what

we are doing, they may not agree

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with us. But at least they will have

some basis to know. As related thing

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about there could be a change and it

can make a challenge to the process

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puzzle. You can judge you because

they don't know how to -- they deny

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we make decisions.

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we make decisions.

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That he said needed to change:

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It seems to me that it is

undignified things and go and find a

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review. That is our situation. But

we can't do is make every decision

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twice.

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twice.

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But victims needed

better information:

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One of the things we should look at

his victims getting... Victims who

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wants to get one, getting a summary

of the parole board's decisions. And

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I think they should get that. Let's

may change, but think big change but

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let's think it through carefully and

not do it in a hasty gut reaction.

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in a hasty gut reaction.

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A report by the Chief

Inspector of Probation

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found the correct procedures had

been followed, but victims found out

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about his release from the media.

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It was critical of the "victim

contact scheme":

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To my mind of every victim whether

they opted in or not should know

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what the parole board hearing is

happening. Know if the decisions are

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made and given a chance to observe

that before it becomes general

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release. We need to set up this

principle speaking with those who

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represent victims to get this right.

Had even given a time frame?

We are

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comfortable that we can give a

report by Easter. We will specific

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-- we will focus on four specific

issues, whether we should ask to

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reconsider one of its decisions we

will be doing some work around that.

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We will be looking at transparency

and parole Board decisions that need

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to have a more transparency system

so that victims know more about

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licence conditions and knowing about

whether we can create an online

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register or some ways and that we

can... This is only the came across

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very strongly from the report is how

we communicate with the victims. We

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need to use the latest technology to

make sure that happens in a much

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more reliable and expedient and

high-quality way.

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You're watching Wednesday

in Parliament with me, Mandy Baker.

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Now Jeremy Corbyn's battleground

of choice for this week's

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Prime Minister's Questions

was crime figures.

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Last month the Office

for National Statistics said

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the number of violent crimes and sex

offences recorded by police

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in England and Wales has risen

sharply over the past year.

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But the separate Crime Survey, based

on people's experiences, suggested

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crime was continuing to fall.

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And with that in mind,

battle commenced

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with a particularly pithy question.

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With crime rising, does the Prime

Minister regret cutting 21,000

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police officers?

What we have

actually seen from the crime survey

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is that crime is not down at record

low levels. That is what has been

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achieved and it has been achieved by

conservative government that at the

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same time has been protecting police

budgets.

Mr Speaker, recorded crime

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is up by one fifth since 2010,

violent crime up by 20%, and during

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the period that the premise or was

home Secretary, £2.3 billion was cut

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from police budgets. Her Majesty

posited Inspectorate of constabulary

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was at neighbourhood policing rest

of being eroded and the shortage of

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detectives is at a national crisis.

Does the Prime Minister think the

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inspector is scaremongering?

The

right honourable German pages the

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issue about crime. -- gentlemen. One

of the things we're seeing in recent

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years is ensuring we get a proper

recording of certain types of crime

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and I am pleased to say that we have

seen improvements over the last

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seven to eight years in the recorded

types of crimes. He also talks about

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the issue of police budgets. As I

have said this is a government that

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has detected police budgets.

At the

chief Constable of Bedfordshire says

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we do not have the resources to keep

residents safe, the position is a

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scandal. Too many people don't feel

safe and too many people are safe.

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We have just seen the highest rise

in recorded crime for a quarter of a

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century. The chief counsel of

Lancashire says the Government's

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police cuts have that much more

difficult to keep people safe. Is he

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wrong?

Can I say to the right

honourable gentleman, he mentions

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the constabulary because what I was

hoser Jerry I asked H MIC to look at

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the recording of these crimes. To

make sure that police forces were

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doing it properly. And indeed some

changes were made as a result of

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that. We now see the better

recording of crime. We also see £450

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million extra being made available

to the police. But what have we also

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seen over the last two years? The

creation of the national crime

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agency, our police forces taking

more notice of helping the support

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vulnerable victims, doing more on

modern slavery, doing more on

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domestic violence. Taking issues

seriously that they weren't taking

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seriously before.

Mr Speaker, if you

ask the instructor to look at

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unrecorded crime and they tell you

what is going on in the least you

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can do is act on what they tell you.

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Jeremy Corbyn.

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One study but two very

different verdicts.

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The Taylor review examined

modern working practises,

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especially the employment rights

of people in what's known as the gig

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economy, where workers are paid

for each job they do.

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The Business Minister set

out the government's

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response to its findings.

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We will support employers to give

individuals the correct employment

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rights. But we will prevent

undercutting who try to game the

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system by clearly defining who is

employed and who is not. We will

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extend the rights to receive a pay

set to all workers including stating

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the hours that they work, to set a

written terms, and extending us to

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all workers. We are taking forward

this or Speaker 52 of the figure

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three recommendations in the Taylor

review. For workers on zero our

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contrast, we are creating a right to

request a simple contract. For the

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first time, Mr Speaker, for the

first time, the state will take

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responsibility for enforcing a wider

set of employment rights including

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sick pay and holiday pay for the

most vulnerable of workers.

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But Labour's shadow business

secretary was scathing

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about the government's plans.

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Many of these workers

faced a precarious and

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unstable working life.

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They needed to do something bold

today but it appears

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that they are simply papering over

these weak realities with rhetoric.

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Launching four consultations,

merely considering proposals,

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and tweaking the law

here and there is not good enough.

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We need clarity on workers

being paid when they are logged

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into apps waiting to receive jobs.

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As well as clear and urgent

direction on the legal

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status of gig workers.

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Why was there not even one mention,

not one mention of trade unions?

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And on the genuinely self-employed,

we see the creation of a website

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allowing the self-employed

to talk to each other.

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Well, bravo!

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Why was there no system

of support, no recognition

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of the precariousness

of the situation?

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Mr Speaker, this is

simply window dressing.

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As a result of the actions set out

in our response to this review,

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as a result of those actions,

millions of workers

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will get greater rights.

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The access to more protection.

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Indeed, I would argue that we can

rightly claim to be leading

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the world in improving the quality

of work for our constituents.

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One of the issues that was not

contained within the scope

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of the Taylor review

was that was that of

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unpaid work trials.

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That is regrettable.

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However, one member from Glasgow has

brought forth a bill on the 16th

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of March to end exploitative,

unpaid work trials.

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Will the Government

the supporting that?

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I think the honourable

gentleman for his question.

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I am very happy to meet with his

colleague and discuss his Bill.

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A Labour MP turns to the issue of

bogus self-employment.

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The DWP and various select

committees have produced a bill

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that the Government can take

through Parliament with cross party

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support to sort this out.

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The country are crying

out for change.

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Can I urge the Government to be

a little bit more ambitious?

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I can reassure the honourable lady

that we are hugely ambitious.

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These proposals will help

millions of workers,

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but she will understand,

because I think Matthew Taylor said

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this in relation to when he gave

evidence to the committee,

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that this is hugely complicated.

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That this is complex,

and we do need to consult further.

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We are not consulting

about whether we should do this.

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We are consulting about how

we do it, so I thank her

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for her contribution

and I reassure her that

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our ambition is strong.

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The Business Minister,

Andrew Griffiths.

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The Northern Ireland Secretary has

struck an optimistic note

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about the restoration

of power-sharing at

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the Stormont Assembly,

saying it could happen imminently.

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Northern Ireland has been

without a functioning administration

0:15:330:15:38

for over a year after

the DUP/Sinn Fein-led

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coalition collapsed in a row

over a controversial

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green energy scheme.

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Over the past weeks,

the political parties,

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particularly the DUP and Sinn Fein,

have engaged in discussions

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on the key issues,

which remain to be resolved.

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They have done so with continuous

support of the UK Government

0:15:540:15:56

accordance with the three-stranded

approach,

0:15:560:15:58

the Irish government.

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Those discussions were built

on the progress that was made

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in previous talks to introduce

further gaps between

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them and accommodation

between the parties,

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Mr Speaker, is yet to be reached,

but there is no doubt

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as to the parties' collective

commitment to restore

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the devolution.

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I firmly believe that

agreement in the coming days,

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while not certain, is achievable,

and and this remains my focus.

0:16:150:16:17

Every party in Northern Ireland says

they want a deal but that

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significant gaps remain.

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Could she outline to the House

what those gaps actually

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are and what she is doing

to try to resolve them

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and bring people together?

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Mr Speaker, can I gently say

to the honourable gentleman,

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who I know is greatly distinguished

in this area and knows

0:16:370:16:39

Northern Ireland politics very well,

that we are we are at a very

0:16:390:16:42

sensitive stage of the discussions,

that I have been committed to no

0:16:420:16:45

running commentary on the talks

while they are ongoing,

0:16:450:16:50

and there have been very intense,

very detailed discussions?

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I believe we can reach an outcome

but I am not going to do

0:16:520:16:55

anything that might jeopardise that.

0:16:560:16:57

Can she at least confirm that one

of the big sticking points

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in the talks right now is rights?

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Not just language rights,

but marriage equality rights,

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and can she tell us

whether she would consider taking

0:17:030:17:06

that issue off the table

by legislating for equal marriage

0:17:060:17:08

rights in Northern Ireland

as they enjoy in Staffordshire?

0:17:080:17:15

The Minister said equal marriage was

a devolved issue. The question moved

0:17:150:17:18

the budget will

0:17:180:17:20

a devolved issue. The question moved

the budget will.

0:17:200:17:23

Would she give a clear commitment

to the people of Northern Ireland

0:17:230:17:27

and this House that the budget

for Northern Ireland will be set

0:17:270:17:30

as soon as possible,

given that the head of the civil

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service said we cannot go much

beyond the beginning of February

0:17:330:17:35

with that clarity about how much

departments and public

0:17:350:17:38

bodies are going to have

to spend next year.

0:17:380:17:40

The lack of a budget

is affecting services, including

0:17:400:17:42

health and social care.

0:17:420:17:43

The current position is intolerable.

0:17:430:17:44

We need a budget and we need it now.

0:17:440:17:48

Karen Bradley assured him she had

had discussions about that issue.

0:17:480:17:52

If you were watching this

programme on Tuesday,

0:17:520:17:54

you'll have seen MPs grilling senior

executives from the failed

0:17:540:17:57

construction company, Carillion.

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Well, on Wednesday it was

the turn of the Government.

0:17:580:18:03

The Liaison Committee, which is made

up of the chairs of all the other

0:18:030:18:06

committees, had summoned

the Cabinet Office Minister.

0:18:060:18:08

But he was being very

cautious in his answers.

0:18:080:18:10

This exchange was typical.

0:18:100:18:20

When we had the directors

of Carillion, past and almost

0:18:210:18:29

When we had the directors of

Carillion, past and almost present,

0:18:290:18:33

in front of our Select Committees

yesterday, one of the things

0:18:330:18:35

we questioned them about was the

changes in the rules

0:18:350:18:38

about the claw-back of bonuses.

0:18:380:18:39

Many of the people

we had in front of us

0:18:390:18:41

yesterday had a big

bonuses in the period

0:18:410:18:43

leading up to the collapse

of the business, the company

0:18:430:18:46

changed its own rules,

which make it harder

0:18:460:18:47

to claw back those bonuses.

0:18:480:18:49

One of the lessons from the global

financial crisis was to have tougher

0:18:490:18:52

rules about being able

to claw-back bonuses

0:18:520:18:55

go wrong at business.

0:18:550:18:57

Do you think we need to look

again at the claw-back

0:18:570:19:00

arrangements for bonuses

so that we can get some

0:19:000:19:02

of that money back?

0:19:020:19:07

Again, sitting here today,

I am open-minded on not

0:19:070:19:09

but there have been serious

allegations of misconduct

0:19:090:19:13

by the board and former board

members of Carillion.

0:19:130:19:18

Those are being independently

investigated by the official

0:19:180:19:24

receiver, and it would be wrong

for a Minister to make any comment

0:19:240:19:27

that could be prejudicial

of the official receiver's

0:19:270:19:29

findings on that.

0:19:290:19:33

David Lidington.

0:19:330:19:35

Now, at the weekend the Conservative

MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg,

0:19:350:19:37

went to the University of the West

of England to give a speech.

0:19:370:19:40

But then, this happened.

0:19:410:19:42

Masked protesters disrupted the

event and there was some pushing.

0:19:420:19:49

Police launched an investigation

into the scenes at the campus in

0:19:490:19:51

Bristol, but no arrests were made.

0:19:520:19:53

The Human Rights Committee

is investigating freedom

0:19:530:19:55

of speech in universities.

0:19:550:19:56

Jacob Rees-Mogg told them

that he wasn't alarmed by the fact

0:19:560:19:58

people were protesting.

0:19:580:20:03

The only thing I think was odd

was that they turned up wearing

0:20:030:20:10

masks, and I think wearing masks

is the one bit that ought

0:20:100:20:13

not to have happened.

0:20:130:20:16

I think people coming along

and charging at you,

0:20:160:20:19

people heckling you is part

of political life and to be

0:20:190:20:23

perfectly honest, as a politician,

a bit of heckling can

0:20:230:20:25

make your speech.

0:20:250:20:26

It can actually be very

good for the Speaker,

0:20:260:20:28

rather than damaging.

0:20:280:20:29

But masks is just

a little bit sinister.

0:20:290:20:33

Suppose that if somebody was 67

with brown hair and had

0:20:330:20:36

been an MP for 35 years,

do you think she would actually be

0:20:360:20:39

prepared to speak at meetings

if somebody was going to come

0:20:390:20:43

bursting in and then she had to go

back on a train on her own?

0:20:430:20:49

I don't think anybody

would ever suggest that

0:20:490:20:51

you weren't quite brave,

but I think there's a really serious

0:20:510:20:54

point and I'm actually much more

concerned about the online

0:20:540:20:57

abuse that particularly

female MPs receive.

0:20:570:21:03

Will people want to go and speak

if there are going to be protests?

0:21:030:21:10

I mean, I'm going to carry

on regardless, but I can see that

0:21:100:21:19

some people would think,

"Is it worth the hassle?"

0:21:190:21:22

and politicians don't have to go

and speak at universities.

0:21:220:21:24

It may be a very good thing

that they do, I happen

0:21:240:21:27

to think that it is.

0:21:270:21:28

But we could just go home

on Thursday nights and Friday nights

0:21:280:21:31

and that can sometimes

be quite tempting.

0:21:310:21:33

Earlier the Universities Minister

told the committee

0:21:330:21:34

there was a "creeping

culture" around censorship.

0:21:340:21:37

What is hard to measure

here is the larger number of events

0:21:370:21:41

that do not happen at all,

either because organisers

0:21:410:21:44

were worried about obstruction

or because of the overzealous

0:21:440:21:49

enforcement of rules made them seem

more trouble than it is worth.

0:21:490:21:54

In my view, these restrictions

and disruptions, are unacceptable.

0:21:540:22:02

On some US campuses,

we've seen a cultural censorship

0:22:020:22:04

that is restriction of free speech

and I do not want

0:22:040:22:07

that to happen here.

0:22:070:22:09

The Universities Minister.

0:22:090:22:11

Over in the Lords,

it was the Government's plans

0:22:110:22:14

for handling the the winter crisis

in the NHS which came under attack.

0:22:140:22:17

Labour wanted to know how it

could be that in some

0:22:170:22:20

hospitals, every bed was full.

0:22:200:22:24

Can I ask the noble lord, the

Minister if that was part of the

0:22:240:22:28

winter plan, or will the Minister

accept that the winter plans have

0:22:280:22:32

now been compromised in the light of

pressure on beds, lack of staff, and

0:22:320:22:37

the fact that at least 23 trusts are

now on black alert, which means they

0:22:370:22:41

are under very severe pressure?

I do

agree with the noble lady that bed

0:22:410:22:48

occupancy is higher than we want to

be and in some particular hospitals

0:22:480:22:53

it is far too high. The question

about what we do about that did

0:22:530:22:57

necessitate the difficult decision

for which the premise or apologised

0:22:570:23:01

which is cancelling elective

surgery. We think a particular with

0:23:010:23:07

flu, at the situation has hopefully

stabilised and that will start to

0:23:070:23:11

relieve the pressure. I do

understand the hard work that staff

0:23:110:23:16

are having to put in under

tremendous pressure and we all

0:23:160:23:18

appreciate that.

Since its inception

in 1948, the NHS spending has arisen

0:23:180:23:25

by an average of 4% each year in

real terms -- has risen. Does this

0:23:250:23:33

government took over in 2010, that

4% increase has fallen to an average

0:23:330:23:37

of between one and one and a half

percent will stop in real terms,

0:23:370:23:46

will the Government and cannot

government accept that some of this

0:23:460:23:52

meanness is one of the causes for

the crisis the NHS find itself in?

I

0:23:520:23:58

totally reject the accusation of

meanness. If you look at the

0:23:580:24:01

spending on a NHS, not only hasn't

gone up in real terms every year

0:24:010:24:06

while a massive retrenchment has had

to take place in order to deal with

0:24:060:24:10

£150 billion of barring bequeathed

by the previous government, NHS

0:24:100:24:13

spending now accounts for the

highest standard of public spending

0:24:130:24:16

that has ever been the case. We have

found the money, in difficult

0:24:160:24:20

circumstances. We all agree that

more was needed and more was found

0:24:200:24:23

in the budget and I'm sure more will

be found in the future.

0:24:230:24:25

Lord O'Shaughnessy.

0:24:250:24:28

Nobody quite fits the

description of "veteran"

0:24:280:24:29

like Labour's Dennis Skinner.

0:24:290:24:30

And with veteranship

comes privilege.

0:24:300:24:33

Few backbenchers would be permitted

to go on for nearly one and a half

0:24:330:24:36

minutes at Prime Minister's

Questions.

0:24:360:24:44

But before he got underway,

the Speaker had a special

0:24:440:24:46

message for him.

0:24:460:24:47

In offering him best wishes

for his birthday on Sunday,

0:24:470:24:50

I call Mr Dennis Skinner.

0:24:500:24:51

I didn't know about that.

0:24:510:24:53

I don't celebrate things like that.

0:24:530:24:56

I don't but you should

celebrate age.

0:24:560:24:59

Anyway.

0:25:000:25:03

And he was off.

0:25:030:25:04

He said the last Labour government

delivered a golden era

0:25:040:25:06

for the health service.

0:25:060:25:07

How?

0:25:070:25:12

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

put 1% on the National

0:25:120:25:22

Insurance and that went directly to

the Health Service and it is called

0:25:220:25:25

long-term stability.

0:25:250:25:27

Under this government,

they don't know whether they

0:25:270:25:29

are coming or going.

0:25:290:25:32

It is high time this

government did the same as

0:25:320:25:37

we did between 1997 and 2010.

0:25:370:25:38

Get weaving.

0:25:380:25:45

And the words "get weaving" bring us

to the end of the programme.

0:25:450:25:48

So for now from me,

Mandy Baker, goodbye.

0:25:480:25:58

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