Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 21 February, presented by Mandy Baker.
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Hello and welcome to the programme.
Jeremy Corbyn muses on David Davis's
assurance that Brexit won't end
in a Mad Max dystopia.
Doesn't the prime Minister feel he
could set the bar just a little bit
Theresa May comes back
with a quip of her own.
And the Health Secretary announces
a review into the way medical
problems caused by NHS
treatments are handled.
Patients and their families has been
too long feeling they are not
listened to. Making a complex
situation even worse.
But first, the exchanges between
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
at Prime Minister's Questions
are usually a Brexit-free zone.
But the Cabinet will be convening
at the PM's country residence,
Chequers, on Thursday to pin down
the UK's future
relationship with the EU.
And so the Opposition Leader
made an exception.
He began with David Davis's
assurance that post-Brexit,
Britain would not descend
into a war-ravaged desert
where society has collapsed.
Yesterday, the Brexit secretary
assured the country that Brexit will
not plunge Britain into a mad Max
style world, borrowed from this post
be a fiction. Doesn't the Prime
Minister feel he could set the bar
just a little bit higher?
As the right honourable
gentleman knows, when we leave the
European Union, we are going to be
able to take control of our borders,
our money, and are lost. And I have
to say to him, the only fiction
around in relation to Brexit and the
European Union, is the Labour Party
putt front bench who cannot even
agree with themselves what is.
also said fears about the regulatory
praise to the bottom were based on
nothing. So, why then, did his own
department exit polemicist State
there could be opportunities for
Britain in the regulating areas such
as environment and employment law.
Can I say to the right honourable
gentleman, he talks what we actually
want to achieve when we leave the
European Union. I'll tell him what
we want to achieve. We want to make
sure this is in a country that can
negotiate free trade deals around
the world. We want to ensure that we
have a good trade agreement with the
European Union, and that is what we
will start to negotiate. We want to
ensure we have a good security
partnership with the European union.
I set out in detail in my speech in
Munich last week.
They were braving
the working Time directive would
this be scrapped, the CBI and unions
are very clear that they are not
looking for a bonfire of
regulations. Quite the opposite. The
only part that wants scrap work are
the property opposite.
I have been
clear since I became prime Minister.
This is a government that will not
only protect workers' rights, but in
hearts workers' rights. Let's look
at the conservative record in
government. Who was it, which
government that was it that took
action? A conservative government.
Which government is it? That got
Matthew Taylor to actually report on
the new economy, so we assure
workers get the right. A
conservative government, not labour.
Which government is it making sure
that voices are heard on the boards
of companies are the conservative
government, not labour.
I do not
know if she has had the chance to
read the daily telegraph today, but
62 of her backbenchers want a
bonfire of regulations. Wants to
destroy workers' rights, in this
country. Halfway through the six
speeches we were told would set out
the Government's negotiating
position. So far, all we have had,
is waffle and empty rhetoric.
Business need to know. People want
to know. Even her backbenchers have
demanded to know. But it is not
clear from today's exchanges, this
government is not on the road to
Brexit, Mr Speaker, it is on the
road to nowhere.
think I have, I think I have
mentioned to the right honourable
gentleman before, that his job is to
ask a question. Not to, but I am
perfectly happy, I am perfectly
happy to respond to the point that
he made. He said that we have not
set out any details. Can I suggest
to him that he needs to think very
carefully about the security
partnership that we want with the
European Union when we have left? I
set out in my speech in Munich last
week, exactly what we want that
security partnership to cover,
because we believe, we believe in
ensuring that we are maintaining the
security and safety of people here
in the UK, but also of people in
And she ended the exchanges
with this jibe.
Young normally he's said that every
week and asked me to sign a blank
check. I know he likes checks, but
really, that is terribly...
Downing Street later clarified
that the Prime Minister
was using what's commonly
known as a 'pun'.
The Health Secretary has announced
a review into the way medical
problems caused by NHS
treatments are handled.
He concentrated on three treatments.
Primados Primodos is a hormone-based
pregnancy test used in the sixties
and seventies, which,
it's claimed, led to
miscarriages and birth defects.
Sodium valproate Sodium
valproate is a drug used
to treat epilepsy which,
if taken during pregnancy,
has been linked to autism
and learning difficulties.
Mesh And vaginal mesh implants used
after complications in childbirth
which some patients complain caused
crippling side effects.
Jeremy Hunt admitted the NHS
hadn't listened to patients.
We must acknowledge that the
response to the issues from those in
authority have not always been good
enough. Sometimes, the reaction is
felt, overly focused on defending
the status quo other than addressing
the needs of patients. As a result,
patients and their families have
spent too long feeling that they
were not being listened to, making
agony of a complex medical school
situation even worse. So, today, in
addition to practical steps for each
of these three cases, it all also
setting out plans to establish a
fairer, quicker and more
compassionate way of addressing
issues when they arise.
Mr Hunt stopped short of announcing
a full public inquiry.
Young we have heard that implants
lead women in pain. This is an
ongoing public health scandal, and
we hope the Government will do much
more to support those affected. Now,
Meche has been suspended in
Scotland, and in other countries
around the world. I understand Meche
has been paused for use in case of
prolapse. Will they consider fully
suspending mashed totally while this
review is carried out?
When it comes
to mash, there is no EU country that
has banned its use, and indeed, Mr
alias and New Zealand, they have
not, in my understanding, introduced
a full band. We have taken very
clear advice. We obviously have a
responsibility to all patients and
medical advice from the chief
medical officer is very clear, that
some women do benefit from Meche, if
it is appropriately used, and so, we
are following that advice.
Several MPs were worried
about the way previous
investigations had been handled,
particularly in relation to the drug
used as a pregnancy test.
Half of my constituents, and I think
the Minister for this step in the
right direction statement. By
announcing another review, can he
reassure the House that one of these
reviews can investigate the cover-up
we know has occurred over decades of
Primodos, and if a crime has been
created, it will be dealt with.
difficulty in the case of Primodos,
and this is important to families
concerned, is the fact that
scientist did not agree about the
issue, and so, because of that, we
do, unfortunately, find ourselves
having to review what has happened,
and the expert working group was the
first attempt to do that. But we are
going to give them a free hand to
look at that, and any other evidence
that has come to light, and draw her
One MP wasn't happy
about the Conservative peer who's
been chosen to lead the review.
Young is the Secretary concerned,
and as a director of the company,
which specialises in introducing
pharmaceutical companies into how
they can most effectively lobby
Parliament, what was that due to
victims who start off being
incredibly suspicious of ourselves
in this House and the NHS
I do not think anyone
has a better track record than her
for campaigning for women's health
issues. She has shown in her career,
absolute willingness to take on the
establishment am a the is scientific
establishment, when she thinks it is
the right things to do. She does it
with a great deal of knowledge and a
huge amount of passion, so I have
every confidence that she will do a
You're watching Wednesday
in Parliament with me, Mandy Baker.
The Defence Secretary,
Gavin Williamson, says the world
'got caught napping' when it came
to the rising threat
from states like Russia.
Mr Williamson was making his first
appearance in front of the committee
that scrutinises the work
of his department.
He was asked about the challenges
facing world security and stability.
The Americans said that since
Christmas, the priority is potential
conflicts. The French, their top
priority is terrorism. We understand
why. Where, on that sort of scale,
where does the UK stand?
probably seek to compromise. We
would highlight a state based
threats as the top priority, and at
the speed of which they are
escalating, but within a hair, it is
followed by the terrorism threat
that comes up straight after that. I
think the world got caught napping
in terms of arise of those state
based threats. We had emerged out of
a Cold War with the belief that
things were just going to get better
and better. You had one superpower
that strode across the world, and
you did not actually have any
challenge that. We are seeing that
change quite dramatically. You are
seeing the rise of the increasing
assertiveness of Russia. You have
seen that there has been a tenfold
increase in the amount of submarine
activity in the North Atlantic on
behalf of the Russians. You are
seeing the Russians being more
interested in the Mediterranean
region. Of course, their involvement
in the conflict in Syria. But then
you are seeing new nations that are
starting to play a greater role in
the world, such as China. You are
seeing the challenges that we face
in terms of North Korea.
You now see
state based threats as perhaps the
top end of your priorities. That is
a massive change from where we will
use that earlier in 2010, there was
no existential threat to the United
Kingdom. If that is the conclusion
that you have come to, which is to
some extent the conclusion that they
have recently reached in the United
States, do you accept that that has
an important consequence in both
terms of your for structure and your
Yes it does.
We are very
pro what you do, find frustrating,
is on the one hand, we argue for
more resources for defence, but yet
we see you're in, year out examples
of major procurement programmes that
still run late or go very badly over
budget, despite being perennially
told that lessons have been learned
and picked up what went wrong last
time and so on and so forth. Can you
give us any confidence that as part
of this NDP process, you are going
to design a system which will
actually remove a lot of barriers?
The major theme for the programme,
which we have conducted, gets
precisely after that issue. It is
about can we more accurately do the
forecasting, can we make sure that
we derive more stability in the
programme, can we shorten the
process to make sure we are not
institutionally imparting delay,
which in itself drives cost growth.
Now, earlier this week
the Irish Deputy Prime Minister,
accused three leading supporters
of the UK's departure
from the European Union,
among them the Labour MP Kate Hoey,
of being 'reckless'.
The comment came after
the Brexiteers had criticised
the Good Friday Agreement,
also known as the Belfast Agreement.
Well, on Wednesday Kate Hoey
responded during a meeting
of the Northern Ireland Affairs
If anyone says anything, and I have
said it, the best agreement could be
refreshed, saying to kill all babies
at birth, do you think it is quite
possible in Northern Ireland to be
absolutely 100% in favour of peace
and against violence and against all
the things that are spoiling
people's lives, and yet want to have
a look at how we make the
institutions in Northern Ireland
actually work better?
Did score the remember the
Seemed more focused on the get out
my comment had nothing to do with
and I would just, the
warning right there. But the impact
that has on communities is one that
is very destabilising. And I for
one, and the people of Ireland as a
whole, will not have a Good Friday
Agreement, just to facilitate so
that is going on between... I say in
conclusion, tearing up the
agreement, it does not do us any
favours to suggest that is the case.
Well, there was an impassioned plea
for Brexit not to unravel
the Good Friday Agreement
in the Lords, from the former
of Terrorism Legislation.
He said the Agreement
was a remarkable document,
that had had 'stunning' effects.
It has brought together in a
democratic forum, people who used to
kill each other. It has and meant
that people that used to behaving
that way have been prepared to put
aside their very sure wrongly dealt
He was speaking at the start of ten
days of detailed debate
on the controversial EU Bill,
which, as we all know by now,
is the Bill which brings an enormous
raft of laws generated by the EU
over the past 40 years
into UK domestic law.
As in the Commons, peers have put
forward huge numbers
of suggested changes,
but it's not expected that the Lords
will vote very often,
or even at all, on the issues
at this stage.
A Conservative former
chancellor said he wanted
to speak up for leaving
the European Union customs union.
The Government, he said,
was aiming to strike a free trade
agreement with the EU:
What respect what having a
free-trade agreement leave it worse
off than it is that it is now?
He was interrupted by a Lib Dem
who pointed to Treasury forecasts
suggesting that leaving the single
market would make the UK
economy worse off.
The free trade agreement route still
needs an unbelievably damaged
country in every region, especially
in the Northeast. And virtually in
every single industry sector.
Lord Lamont wasn't
I'm not when you were persuaded by
just a piece of paper with a
statistic. What matters, noble
members, are they really going to
say that this piece of paper with a
statistic somehow analyses the
product? What we are talking about,
if the free-trade agreement, to the
noble Baroness, if you have a
free-trade agreement, Yemen access
to the market.
And he and all the other
peers continue their work
on the EU Bill next Monday.
The Government has promised
a new immigration system.
This is the procedure EU
citizens would use to apply
for the new settled status,
which will grant those who've spent
five years in the UK equal
rights on health care,
education, benefits and pensions.
The Immigration Minister said a new,
digital system was being
designed from scratch,
and it should go live
from this autumn.
We are currently designing and
testing and working with groups to
make sure that the system is simple
and straightforward as possible. I
think that is critically important.
Must be something that needs to be
done on bone or a tablet, it has to
be something that people find
user-friendly and easy to use. You
have to design them in a
straightforward and intuitive ways
possible, and we very much hope,
that it will be going live, I think
is important to emphasise that.
after Christmas, taking a bit longer
than we thought presumably. It is a
simple question, you sort of touched
on it, but there are are some more
is less technologically literate
There will still be
those for possibilities for those
who cannot utilise it very well. I
sometimes take issue with the
slightly age assumption that those
where order cannot utilise
technology. They my parents for
example they can utilise it as well.
But we got to be mindful,
particularly, and it is important
when designing a digital system to
think of those who may have some
accessibility issues those were
vision impaired, learning
difficulties, and we know from
previous government, that if you
deny something for someone with
learning difficulties, then the
whole population finds its... I
think it is a really important
component yet to make them as
straightforward as he possibly can.
Another Labour MP had
concerns about the number
If, as he expect it hits the
deadline, will be...
I gets very
important point, and I don't think
we should just be considering people
who cannot make an application
because the system failed, but there
may be applicants and for good
reason, have not been able to apply
within the two years due to ill
health. And so, we do not intend to
be very draconian, and obviously, if
there is a sort of problem with us
managing demand, we will have a
proportionate response. To those who
have not been able to respond within
the two years.
The Committee is also looking
into 'reciprocal arrangements',
the rights of UK citizens
who live in EU countries.
We've focused hugely on people from
the 27 coming here, and actually
there has been very little
commentary on British nationals who
choose to go over to the EU. These
are matters of the negotiations to
determine. But I think it is a
really important point and we must
focus not just on the nationals were
here, but also citizens who choose
to go overseas.
Because I have a
direct interest in this, declaring
an interest, if I may. I have three
children, grandchildren, so for
practical purposes I am very
considerable to agree with what you
just that. We need to protect them
and be suitably protective of all
those people who wish to come here
under the rules as they are.
The Committee Chair,
and long-time eurosceptic,
Sir Bill Cash, there.
Labour has said the Government must
assess the impact its economic
policies have on equality.
Speaking during a debate
on the Finance Bill which puts parts
of the budget into law,
the shadow Women and
said the government's actions
were already having a damaging
effect on women and children.
I understand that the Prime Minister
is a little bit preoccupied. She is
a little bit we at the moment,
dealing with a very serious ransom
note at the moment. But I honestly
believe that she will not be pleased
that her legacy will be that of the
hindering of women and their life
chances. More children are homeless,
more children are homeless, or
living in temporary accommodation
that at any other time since 2007,
2008 financial crash.
A Conservative thought it would be
hard to gather the impact
information Labour wanted.
Does the minister agree with me that
to carry out these assessments, that
it would slow down government
business and that is perhaps why the
position was put in the new clause
to make it difficult for us to get
our voices through Rose
a lot of
this information is not available.
The button is not an argument for
not finding information, but some of
it is extremely difficult to
actually generate. I would as far as
my honourable friend was discussing,
is a Machiavellian plan to gum up
And a little later,
Labour's move was defeated
by 304 votes to 265,
a government majority of 39.
Parliamentary procedure can
be a little baffling
but the government's business
managers, the whips,
are expected to know all the rules.
But spare a thought
for Kelly Tollhurst,
promoted to the job just last month
and still getting to know what's
as amended in the public, to be
considered. Very good!
She won't do that again!
And that's all we've got time for.
So from me, Mandy Baker, goodbye.