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Now on BBC News,
Wednesday in Parliament.
Hello and welcome to the programme.
Coming up, Theresa May says 23
Russian diplomats will be expelled
after Moscow failed to explain
the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
They have treated the use of a
military grade nerve agent in Europe
with sarcasm, content and defiance.
But the Labour leader
has more questions.
How has she responded to the request
for a sample of the agents used in
the Salisbury at tack to run its own
And the Communities
Secretary sets out a plan
to improve social cohesion.
Everyone, regardless of whether they
are a new arrival or they can trace
their ancestry back to the Norman
conquest feels proud to call this
country there are home.
But first, for the second time
in a week, the Prime Minister has
addressed MPs about the attempted
murder of a former Russian spy
and his daughter in Salisbury.
On Monday, there'd been an outcry
after Jeremy Corbyn was felt to have
abandoned the consensus that's usual
in Parliament when the UK
is under threat.
On Wednesday, Theresa May's midnight
deadline had passed and Moscow had
failed to explain the involvement
of a Russian-made nerve agent.
The Prime Minister
outlined her response.
It was right to offer Russia the
opportunity to provide an
explanation. Their response has
demonstrated complete disdain for
the gravity of these events. They
have provided no credible
explanation that could suggest they
lost control of their nerve agent.
No explanation as to how this agent
came to be used in the -- the United
Kingdom. No explanation as to why
Russia has an undeclared chemical
weapons programme in contravention
of international law. Instead, they
have treated the use of military
grade nerve agent in Europe sarcasm,
contempt and defiance. So, Mr
Speaker, there is no alternative
conclusion other than that the
Russian state was culpable for the
attempted murder of Mr Scrip role on
his daughter -- Mr Skripal.
She spelt out what measures
the Government would now be taking.
We will expel 23 diplomats who have
been declared as offices. They have
one week to leave. This will be the
single biggest expulsion for over 30
years and it reflect the fact that
this is not the first time that the
Russian state have acted against our
country. Through these expulsions,
we will fundamentally degrade
Russian intelligence capability in
the UK for years to come, we will
freeze Russian state assets were
over we have the evidence that they
may be used to threaten the life or
property of UK nationals or
residence, and led by the National
crime agency, we will continue to
bring all the capabilities of UK law
enforcement to bear against serious
criminals and corrupt elites. There
is no place for these people or
their money in our country.
In response, the opposition leader
condemned the attack in Salisbury.
He wondered if it was still possible
that Russia had lost
control of a nerve agent.
Has the Prime Minister taken the
necessary steps under the chemical
weapons Convention to make a formal
request for evidence on the Russian
government under article 9.2? How
has she responded to the Russian
government's request for a sample of
the agents used in the Salisbury
attacker to run it own tests? Has
high resolution trace analysis being
run on a sample of the nerve agent,
and has that revealed any evidence
as to the location of its product
shouldn't or the identity of its
Jeering began when Mr Corbyn
in diplomatic staff.
The Speaker interrupted to call
for order as Conservative MPs,
including those on the frontbench,
continued to heckle.
I couldn't understand a word of what
the Foreign Secretary just said, Mr
Speaker, but his Hager demeans his
office. -- is behaviour.
There was a terse response
to Jeremy Corbyn's stance
from the Prime Minister.
It was clear from the remarks that
were made by backbenchers across the
whole of this house on Monday that
there is a consensus across the back
benches of the South. I am only
sorry that the consensus does not go
as far as the right honourable
Who... Who could... Who could have
taken the opportunity as the UK
government has done to condemn the
culpability of the Russian state.
Many on the Labour backbenches
spoke out in support
of Theresa May's action,
including one MP who explicitly
condemned his own leader's response.
Responding with strength and resolve
when your country is under threat is
an essential component of political
leadership. There is labour
tradition that understands that and
it is understood by all parties who
have stood there.
Spokesmen from other parties
with the Government.
There has to be a robust response to
the use of terror on our streets. We
must act in a measured way to show
that we will simply not tolerate
this behaviour, and in this regard,
I will --, an associate with those
of these on these benches with the
measures contained in a statement.
We welcome the decisive action which
has been taken by the Prime Minister
today, and it sits in contrast with
the policy of appeasement that we
have heard from the front bench of
the Labour Party. I'm sure the
people of the UK are pleased that it
is a Prime Minister who is standing
behind that dispatch box today,
defending the rule of law and the
citizens of this country.
I say that
I and my party fully support the
Prime Minister's statements. But can
I ask, what is her response to the
brave Leader of the Opposition in
Russia? Who is not allowed to stand
in the presidential election. Who
has said that the most effective
action the British government can
take is to use its legal powers such
as the unexplained wealth orders
against named individuals who are
critical to the Putin operation?
A Labour MP had two
suggestions for cracking down
on Russian money-laundering.
She could bring forward the public
register of ownership properties,
which was promised by her
predecessor in 2015, and has been
delayed by this government, and in
the second place, she could increase
transparency in our corporate
structures so we would know who
forms companies here, where the
money comes from and deal with it if
it is illicit money brought in by
arms they breed people. -- on
slavery. -- unsavoury.
The Prime Minister said
she was looking at those options.
But it was a senior Conservative
who emphasised the seriousness
of the whole situation.
This is actually a serious threat to
the safety of the Western world
unless we do or something together
to actually start getting the
Russians to do something as opposed
to simply ignore us.
Now to Prime Minister's Questions,
where Jeremy Corbyn urged
Theresa May to "get a grip"
on England's NHS.
The session had begun
with both leaders paying
tribute to the physicist
Professor Stephen Hawking,
whose death had been announced
just a few hours earlier.
But when questioning began
in earnest, the Labour leader
turned his attention to the health
service and raised two cases
which he believed highlighted
the problems it faced.
Firstly, he cited a cancer patient
unable to get treatment,
before turning to a letter
he'd received from a pensioner
I am now having to pay for my
thyroid medication because the CCG
needs to save money. I've worked all
my life, paid national Insurance and
this is not fair.
Theresa May asked for the details
of the cases he'd raised.
May I just take this opportunity of
reminding him that I think he raised
the case about Georgina with me last
Hobart and hasn't written to me
And Theresa May went on to defend
the Government's record
on the health service.
Jeremy Corbyn said Georgina's case
had been resolved before he'd had
a chance to bring it
to the Prime Minister,
showing the power of Parliament.
He moved on to funding.
The NHS is clearly in crisis, so why
wasn't there a penny extra for the
NHS in yesterday's statement by the
say to the right honourable
gentlemen, we didn't wait until
yesterday's Spring statement to
announce more money for the NHS. We
are now sit in the budget last
autumn! And as a result of that, the
NHS is getting £2.5 billion more in
the forthcoming financial year, 18,
19, and more to resolve the nurses
A recent reports
suggest that NHS funding will fall
by 0.3% in 2019. People's lives are
at stake. If the Prime Minister
really saying AMD doctors are wrong,
NHS managers are wrong, Royal
colleges are wrong, health unions
are wrong, and actually, it is only
she that knows best about the NHS?
We are putting more money into the
National Health Service, but what
you need in order to be able to do
that is to ensure that you have a
strong economy to provide the money
for the National health service.
What do we know about the policies?
It would cause a run on the pound,
crash our economy, less money for
are dying because of long waits in
hospitals, I think the Prime
Minister should get a grip and
ensure the NHS now has the money
that it needs to deal with the
patient demands. We started with
Professor Stephen Hawking and he
said a few months ago, there is
overwhelming evidence that NHS
funding and the number of doctors
and nurses are inadequate and it's
getting worse. Does she agree with
Once again, I'm very happy to point
out some facts to the right
honourable gentleman. There are
14,900 more doctors working in the
National Health Service. We have
almost 13,900 more nurses working on
how awards. Why don't we put an
emphasis on nurses working in our
wards? Because of what we saw under
the labour government in mid-
The SNP's Westminster leader turned
to a completely different subject.
The row between Westminster
and the Scottish and Welsh
governments over the return
of powers to the UK after Brexit.
Prime Minister famously claimed that
the UK was made up of equal
partners. What an irony. Now that is
overseeing the demolition of the
settlement. I call upon the Prime
Minister once again, stock with
attack on devolution and double your
efforts and working with the
ministrations in finding agreement.
This is the government has given
more powers to the Scottish
government. This is a government
that will be giving more powers to
the Scottish government, significant
extra powers will be given as a
result of the decisions that we are
taking around Brexit.
And there were accusations
of a Whitehall power grab
during Welsh Questions.
The Scottish and Welsh governments
are working on their own legislation
as a backstop in the event
that agreement is not reached
with ministers over
the EU Withdrawal Bill,
the so-called "continuity bills".
Plaid Cymru's leader at Westminster
said the Welsh EU Continuity Bill
was set to pass its first stage
in the Welsh Assembly.
If it passes, debates will be forced
out of this chamber and into the
court. Will the Secretary of State
confirm when the continuity bill
passes, whether he intends to fight
us in the courts?
The Wales Secretary
didn't think bills were necessary.
The 64 areas, we have already said
that 30 would pass without any need
for any further agreement or at the
very most, an informal agreement
between the UK government and the
administrations. There are 24 areas
whereby it is in the interests of
businesses in Wales, Scotland and
northern England and to have common
practices that we can predict the UK
market. 80% of Welsh output is sold
to the rest of the world.
The other question taxing MPs
with Welsh constituencies
was the proposed introduction of US
tariffs on steel.
If the Secretary of State aware of
the tax -- are aware of when George
Bush introduced tariffs, it led to
200,000 job losses.
What steps are
being taken to ensure American
politicians and employers and trade
unions up pushing President Trump to
drop these utterly self-defeating
The Minister said the Government
was deeply disappointed by the move.
This is such a priority to this
government. Across government action
to support it. As someone whose
father was a world in steel I
recognise the importance of this
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.
Mistrust, anxiety and prejudice
are characterising too many
parts of the country,
the Communities Secretary has said.
He told MPs there was a "lack
of meaningful mixing" between people
from different backgrounds,
as he set out a government
consultation paper on how
to improve integration.
None of these measures dilutes the
government's commitment to project
legitimate rights to free speech and
practising religion within the law.
Indeed the green paper reaffirms
this commitment. But we cannot and
will not shy away from challenging
cultural practices that are harmful,
particularly for women and girls.
Recent news about the abuses in
Telford highlights how important
this is. Parents who work hard to
get on and give something back. I
want everyone in Britain to enjoy
opportunities. Playing a full and
proper role in British society. To
see people from all backgrounds
mixing really without fear to ensure
that everyone, regardless of whether
they are a new arrival or can trace
their ancestry back to the Norman
conquest, feels proud to call this
country it's home.
Labour said the strategy
needed to be ambitious
and backed by serious money.
So we welcome the Broads cost of the
strategy as an overdue first step
but despite the fact it lacks some
of the ambition, we would like the
strategy to be deeper and wider in
its approach. There are some
positive ideas to the statement. The
true test will be whether there is a
rigourous evaluation or any
successful strategy is given the
backing to be expanded to all areas.
Can I urge the government to make
sure its ambitions are matched by
sufficient funding to make a reality
and also to the Secretary of State
to recognise the route cause is a
lack of opportunity. There are two
feelgood jobs, low levels of
education and many people living in
This parliament has
pandered to the tabloids. They
should apologise. This is a
government of go home fans, hostile
environments, making asylum seekers
destitute, preventing them from
working. Dealing highly skilled
migrants a threat to national
security. Of the Brexit shambles
which makes EU nationals feel so
Despite the attitude
taken, we stand ready to work with
the Scottish Government to further
joint goals of having a more
MPs spent much of the afternoon
on the first of two days
general debate on Brexit.
Discussion ranged from trade
to devolution to the Irish border.
A Labour MP meanwhile was highly
critical of the government's
handling of the Brexit negotiations.
This whole Brexit catastrophe is
like watching a car crash in slow
motion except that the fact that as
the driver, the Prime Minister is
holding her hands over her eyes and
tried to convince the passengers,
that is her own party and the
public, that everything will turn
out fine. There is a hit at it and
hope attitude from the government.
Completely ignoring the realities of
the modern world. The UK government
tells us it is all going to be well
and we are supposed to take it on
trust but through this entire
process to date, they have sought to
A Conservative former MEP said
a transition arrangement
needed to be agreed now.
She gave an example of why
it was so important.
On the back of my mobile phone is a
CE mark on every product which is
placed in the market in Europe has
this mark in anything that has been
imported to the UK has to have this
mark put on it and the mark is
offered with a 12- month certificate
and so if you are importing your
mobile home from elsewhere, you need
someone who can issue a certificate
which takes you notice to the end of
this march but next March and unless
we resolve transition this month,
what happens to CE is a good place
on the market and it will not be
resolved. Actually, there are not
enough notified bodies to take the
place of the British notified bodies
And that debate
continues on Thursday.
The question of how to deal
with Russia came up again
on the Committee corridor.
The Culture Secretary Matt Hancock
was asked whether the regulator
Ofcom should conduct a fit
and proper person test
on Russia Today, or RT,
the Russian Federation's news
channel which operates in the UK.
In a statement yesterday, of Com
said that should the UK
investigating authorities determine
there was an unlawful use of force,
we will consider this to be
satisfied that RT is fit and proper.
Has that condition be met? They said
that should the UK authorities
determine there was in what will use
force, they will consider this
relevant in their ongoing duty to be
satisfied that RT is fit and proper.
We do consider there was an unlawful
use of force by the Russian state
against the UK. It's a question four
of Com on how to react to that.
very important bits is a matter for
Com. That is the structure of
regulation that was put in place and
has strong cross-party support and
one of the other things the Prime
Minister said, we must respond to
this threat from Russia appropriate
to our values and one of our values
is that politicians and the
government don't interfere.
Prime Minister has talked about
hostile state activity in general.
TUC disinformation emanating from
the Russian state through the
distribution of fake news or
incidents were Russian state
broadcasters have breached UK code.
DC mitigations as part of that
Yes, we've clearly seen
activity from Russia directed that
all Western democracies. And that
includes here in the UK and the
committee has done excellent work in
ensuring that we get to the bottom
of the quantum of that. And there is
But he said that in the UK
the impact of this
disinformation had been minimal.
For instance, when it comes to the
referendum, there is no evidence the
outcome of the referendum has been
affected. If you look at the scale
of activity, on the evidence that we
have so far seen, there is no
evidence of an impact on the overall
result, not least because the margin
was over a million votes in the
scale of the impact that we have
evidence for as much more.
Matt Hancock also said he'd
commissioned independent research
on the effects of fake
news and disinformation.
He was then asked what more social
media platforms should do to stop
foreign intervention in elections,
particularly when it's sometimes
impossible to trace the person
responsible for a post.
There are some ways that we have
tackled that and some of them using
the law and some not. In not using
the law, when Daesh were using
Twitter aggressively, we set up UK
against Daesh and a series of
Twitter accounts which make the
argument in the opposite direction
in that campaign was very
Owners of dogs with behavioural
problems can buy collars which give
the animal an electric shock.
The idea is help train them,
but campaigners argue
the devices are cruel.
MPs have called for their use to be
banned in England and they debated
the issue in Westminster Hall.
A Conservative MP described the case
of Ostarra Langridge in Brighton
who used an electric collar
on her dogs.
The first time that all got a shock
was when they were buying stake.
From then on, her pets associated
the shocks with small dogs and
therefore became afraid of them. So
when Mr language -- language
described the day when her dogs
turned on a shiatsu, she had tears
in arise, they connected the pain of
the electric shock with dogs because
the first time I used the collar,
the day that machine came in this
house, I regret.
The Environment Minister said he'd
heard cases both good and bad.
There are often quoted reactions to
colours such as people using
hand-held devices is the strongest
sitting in the first use. Another
example is in relation to
containment fences and when a dog
chases something beyond the boundary
line, they are often too scared to
return. The stories of dogs who
might be alive today were it not for
these collars. This consultation
obviously provides supporters of the
colours and opponents of such
devices to express their views on
The Minister said it was already
an offence to cause unnecessary
suffering to an animal,
but a ban would give
clarity on the issue.
And finally, MPs are always anxious
to get in a good word
about their constituency
and the ideal time to do this
is Prime Minister's Questions.
So in the very dying minutes,
one Conservative seized his chance.
The inspirational music man project
in Southend that works with people
who have learning difficulties has
now set a world record for tinkling
the most number of triangles of.
Does my right honourable friend
agree with me that that is yet
another reason why Southend should
be made a city?
The Prime Minister seemed unwilling
to commit to Southend becoming
a city on just the strength
of that, but...
I am very happy to congratulate the
music man project in Southend for
the record they have achieved in
Now there's a phrase you don't hear
a Prime Minister say every day.
And that's all.
So from me, Mandy Baker, goodbye.