21/03/2018 Wednesday in Parliament


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21/03/2018

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 21 March, presented by Mandy Baker.


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Hello and welcome to the programme.

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Coming up,

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the Foreign Secretary compares

President Putin's approach

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to the World Cup in

Russia to Hitler's use

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of the 1936 Olympic Games.

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The comparison with the 1936 is

certainly right.

It is a medic

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prospect frankly.

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How is the Health Secretary

going to fund pay rises for more

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than a million NHS staff in England?

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How is the Prime Minister is "The

skills grown a set magic money tree?

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-- cinematic skills.

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And Theresa May says claims that

a British company harvested personal

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data from Facebook users must

be properly examined.

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The allegations are clearly very

concerning as it is right. They

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should be properly investigated.

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But first, the UK's relationship

with Moscow has been under

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the spotlight since the poisoning

of the former Russian double

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agent and his daughter

in Salisbury earlier this month.

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A complicating factor is of course

that Russia is hosting

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the World Cup this summer.

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Facing the Foreign Affairs

Committee, Boris Johnson was asked

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about the safety of those travelling

to the tournament and indeed

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whether the England

squad should go at all.

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On balance, it would be wrong to

punish them or the team who worked

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on this for a long time incredibly

hard, given up their lives to it, I

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think it would be a pity for them.

But your point about the safety of

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bands as well-made and taken. This

is of crucial importance to us. Can

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we do indeed need to have an urgent

conversation with the Russians about

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how they propose to fulfil their

obligations under their feet the

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contractor look after all fans. --

their Fifa contract.

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A Labour MP was dubious

about the championships

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being staged in Russia.

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They got the right. Putin will use

it the way he they used the Nokia 36

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Olympics. The idea that Putin

handing over a World Cup to the

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captain of the winning team is...

I

think you characterisation of what

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is going to happen into Moscow's at

the World Cup, I think the

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comparison with 1936 is certainly

right. I think it is a big prospect

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to think of Putin glorying in this

sporting event.

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The Foreign Secretary

said the safety of fans

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was uppermost in his mind.

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One of the consequences of the

expulsions that we had from Moscow.

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We lost our officer who was going to

be responsible for the fans. You can

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imagine anything more

counterproductive than the UK's

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ability to help fans in Russia.

There is an issue. I will not hide

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it from this committee. There is a

discussion. We need to consider that

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issue and at the moment as I say the

numbers of applicants for tickets

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are well down where we were at Brio,

and a considerable amount of fans to

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want to go and we have to think of

the welfare.

There are fans who will

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be gone to places like Rome, which

they will be exposed to hotbeds of

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Russian nationalism. That's not

going to places where they will be

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exposed. Those journeys...

Mr Austin

has a good point. That is featured.

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Are right. We are thinking about all

of this.

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Boris Johnson was also asked

about the Salisbury attack itself.

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Why do you think Putin and Russia

felt able to undertake such a

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brazen, despicable, illegal attack

on British soil?

It was a sign that

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President Putin or a Russian state

wanted to give to potential

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defectors in their own agency,

saying this is what happens to you

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if you decide that you support a

country with a different set of

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values, such as our own. You can

expect to be assassinated. And I

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think the reason they picked the

United Kingdom is very simple. It is

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because this is a country that does

have that particular set of values

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and belief and freedom and an

democracy and in the rule of law.

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And a half time and again called out

Russia over its abuses of those

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values. You could argue there aren't

saying this as being weak.

And we

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are desperate to look the other way.

Rather than seeing bin Asia Russia's

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precedents in other countries. --

Saint Russia's depressants another

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country.

Regardless would happen 12

years ago after the living echo

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assassination, most people I think

both sides of the comments, all

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backbenches that I listen to last

Wednesday overwhelmingly approved by

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the response the UK is issuing this

time. And it's been a mixture of

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Burma, diplomatic responses. The

biggest expulsion of undeclared

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Russian agencies since the 1980s.

Coupled with a series of measures,

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designed to push back on the Russia

and all sorts of ways.

What are your

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plans in terms of communication in

light of what has happened?

Things

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will be very difficult politically

for a while to come. But that does

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not mean the whole contact must be

stopped and all engagement must be

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stopped.

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Boris Johnson gave his

assessment of the UK's

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relationship with Russia now.

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We do not wish to engage in a new

Cold War. I remember the old Cold

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War. It was a pretty miserable time.

I grew up genuinely worrying that

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the world, our country was going to

be evaporated and eight

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thermonuclear strike. I don't think

we faced that kind of existential

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threat. But it is a thread

nonetheless. -- it is a thread

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nonetheless.

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The Foreign Secretary.

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The Health Secretary has said a pay

rise for more than a million NHS

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staff in England recognises they're

working harder than ever.

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Nurses, midwives, paramedics,

cleaners and porters will be among

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those receiving at least six

and a half % over

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the next three years.

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Answering an urgent question

about the deal, Jeremy Hunt said

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rarely had a pay rise been

so well deserved.

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The whole House will want to pay

tribute to the hard work of NHS

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staff up and down the country during

one of the most difficult winters in

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living memory. And today's agreement

on a new pay deal reflects public

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appreciation for just how much they

have done and continue to do.

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However, it is much more than that.

The agreement with Woods in a trade

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unions have recommended to the

members today is a something for

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something guilt whisperings and

profound changes in productivity in

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exchange for significant rises in

pay. Staff, trade unions and the

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Labour Party have today been

vindicated in saying a pay rise is

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long overdue.

But one we have seen

nurses and paramedics, midwives

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losing thousands of pounds in the

value of their pay, but we heard

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stories of NHS staff turning to food

banks, we have 100,000 vacancies

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across the service, and more nurses

leaving the profession that had

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rain, wind must have spent billions

on agency staff than this pay cut it

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should have been scrapped years ago.

Then I also write to recognise and

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remember back in 2009, labour's or

depression busting economy into the

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biggest and most of economic charges

we have faced. As a result of our

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stewardship and support of the NHS

through that period, like many other

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countries, and cut their health

spending, we secured 200,000 jobs

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and the NHS and now we can start

rewarding them for their hard work.

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I will come the fact that the NHS

workers in England were finally

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receiving a pay rise they deserve.

Health is the bald to do was

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government and so could the

secretary clarify how much of this

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additional funding is new funding

and also with the consequential will

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be for the was government?

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Jeremy Hunt said the normal

Barnett Formula, which dictates how

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funding from Westminster

is allocated to the devolved

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governments, would apply.

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We have not had a functioning

assembly for 14 months. We've had no

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Health Minister for 14 months! The

how can the hard-working members of

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any NHS staff in Northern Ireland

benefit from this new pay deal? With

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the Secretary of State commit to

speaking to his Cabinet colleague

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who I'm delighted to see on the

bench here today. To make sure that

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NHS staff in Northern Ireland seat

the benefits of this deal today.

The

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rise is deserved. Welcome and

overdue. But without a long-term

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plan for funding health and care,

this is announcement will not be

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trusted. Do that he agreed that we

need a new deal to refresh the

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vision for the 21st-century and

should we be prepared to be honest

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with the British people is a this

will involve a modest but clear

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increase in taxation?

Will need to

find a way of getting more money

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into the NHS and social care system

in the future as we paste pressures

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of an ageing population. And we need

to the best way to do that.

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Jeremy Hunt.

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Now Prime Minister's Question Time

is supposed to be one

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of the highlights of the week.

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But on Wednesday some MPs were very

slow to take their places

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on the green benches and some even

left before the end.

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To top it all, a little boy brought

in as guest of a Labour MP to watch

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democracy in action fell asleep

on his father's lap

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in the visitors' gallery.

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In the chamber below there was more

than a hint of local election

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campaigning in the air.

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Thus the Prime Minister believed

that the collapse in Northampton

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town so that the basalt of the

incompetents at a local level or is

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it conservative incompetents at a

national level?

That has been the

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report into Northamptonshire County

Council but let's look at what we

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see across the board and councils.

Yes, yes. If you look at what is

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happening and councils up and down

this country, there is one message

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for everybody. And that is the

conservative councils costume last!

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Jeremy Corbyn! Mice question was

actually quite specific to

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Northamptonshire, Mr Speaker.

That's

what my question. The tour leader

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said we've been warning the

Government for about 2000 13 and 14,

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we couldn't cope with the level of

cuts we are facing. Three years ago,

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that counsel Brackett was pioneering

an easy council model. It then

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proceeded to outsource 96% of his

council staff, transferred them the

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new service providers, run by

private companies, paying dividends,

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now that counsel has gone bust.

That's the Prime Minister really

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believe that the slash and burn

model for local government is really

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a good one?

Can I say to the right

honourable gentleman, first of all

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it will be helpful if he accurately

reflected the independent statutory

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inspection was concluded last week.

Which was the report was clear that

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Northamptonshire's failure is not a

case of underfunding. So his

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claims... Indeed, no temperature's

core spending power is set to rise

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by 14 and a half million pounds. I

say to the right honourable

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gentleman, the attack that he is

making that this is all about the

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amount of money the Government is

providing is not correct. What we

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are answering, what we are ensuring

is that councils are able to provide

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the services down the country and

that is what we seek with councils,

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conservative councils of and down

the country costing people last than

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labour.

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Jeremy Corbyn said the government

had prioritised tax cuts

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for the super rich and big business

over funding for councils.

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Theresa May hit back.

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We all know what labour it would

mean for council tax payers because

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just this week, the shadow community

Secretary... Oh, he says. LAUGHTER

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Could that be because he doesn't

want people to know what he is

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supporting? Because he has supported

a plan to stop local taxpayers

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having the right to stop tax hikes,

he is supporting a plan to introduce

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a land value tax, a tax on your home

and George garden! And he wants to

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introduce a new hotel tax! We know

what would happen in the labour.

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More taxes and ordinary working

people would pay the price.

This

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conservative government/ public

services. They cut funding and!

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Councils to pick up the pieces. The

result of this is children's centres

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are closing, schools are struggling,

fewer police on the streets, older

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people being left without care or

dignity. And refugees turning women

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away. The Tories own head of local

government says it is unsustainable.

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And doesn't it tell you everything

you need to know about this

0:14:250:14:33

government? That it demands

households and businesses pay more

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to get less!

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The Prime Minister replied

that the economy was strong

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under the Conservatives,

which meant more money for schools

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and hospitals than ever before.

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You're watching Wednesday

in Parliament with me, Mandy Baker.

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Dozens of alleged victims of abuses

by undercover police have walked out

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of a public inquiry

at the High Court.

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They said not enough

officers were being named

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and that they had no confidence

in the inquiry's chairman.

0:15:040:15:09

The review relates to undercover

police officers who formed sexual

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relationships to help them

infiltrate certain groups.

0:15:110:15:14

The concerns were

echoed in the Lords.

0:15:140:15:20

Over a period of 24 years from 1985

to 2009, almost every single year,

0:15:200:15:26

there was a state-sponsored sexual

relationship between a police

0:15:260:15:29

officer and a woman who at no point

was accused of doing anything

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illegal, not arrested, not accused.

0:15:320:15:35

I just don't understand how

the Minister can sit back and think

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that this is all right.

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This strikes at the heart

of the ethics and the integrity

0:15:400:15:44

of our police forces,

and of course, our security

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services, and I must stress

that the cases we know

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about are the only ones

we have heard about

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because they are the only

police names in the public realm.

0:15:550:15:57

We don't know all of them.

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Until we know the police undercover

names, we won't know

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how me victims there were.

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I have been made aware of that

walk-out and I am aware

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that the hearings are still ongoing

and I would encourage

0:16:090:16:11

all core participants and indeed

anyone impacted by undercover

0:16:110:16:13

policing to participate fully

in the inquiry so that we

0:16:130:16:15

can learn the lessons

and get to the truth.

0:16:150:16:18

And the minister was asked

if procedures were now in place

0:16:180:16:20

to make sure similar practices

wouldn't be repeated.

0:16:200:16:26

My Lords, I would love to stand

at this despatch box and say that

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certain things could never happen

again, but nobody can legislate

0:16:290:16:37

for the odd rogue undertaking

or malicious intent of people

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and therefore, one cannot be

absolutely certain it

0:16:410:16:43

will never happen again.

0:16:430:16:47

What one can do is put measures

in place to try and mitigate

0:16:470:16:50

as far as possible that it

never happens again.

0:16:500:16:52

The Minister also thought

it was important for the officers

0:16:520:16:55

to retain their anonymity and said

the Home Secretary had full

0:16:550:16:57

confidence in the chairman

to carry out the inquiry.

0:16:570:17:03

Companies that deliberately put

workers' pensions at risk will face

0:17:030:17:05

fines and even criminal sanctions,

a Cabinet minister has warned.

0:17:050:17:09

The construction firm Carillion

collapsed in January with a pensions

0:17:090:17:13

deficit of almost £600 million

and hundreds of unfinished

0:17:130:17:15

public contracts.

0:17:150:17:18

The Work and Pensions Secretary,

told a joint committee of MPs

0:17:180:17:21

that the pensions regulator

will soon have tougher powers

0:17:210:17:23

to deal with situations like that.

0:17:230:17:29

Should anybody do anything to weaken

or recklessly put their pension

0:17:290:17:35

scheme into difficulties,

then those people will get either

0:17:350:17:42

either penalties or now, a criminal

sanction for what they have done.

0:17:420:17:44

So this is about

strengthening the regulator.

0:17:440:17:47

It is about giving them powers

to investigate more.

0:17:470:17:50

It is about putting them

on the front foot, and also,

0:17:500:17:56

being able to enforce a funding

standard, and as I said,

0:17:560:17:59

there will be a very

clear message that should you not

0:17:590:18:01

adhere to what you should be doing

for your pensioners,

0:18:010:18:04

then there will be sanctions

and criminal prosecution.

0:18:040:18:08

But MPs suggested that regulators

had not done enough.

0:18:080:18:14

It became a joke, Peter crying wolf.

It worries us that if the industry

0:18:140:18:21

knows that Peter will only ever cry

Wolf

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Lord knows what else is out there,

because they would be

0:18:300:18:32

absolutely toothless.

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I'm going to defend what they didn't

do and I think it's important that

0:18:330:18:37

if you do have powers,

that you should use them.

0:18:370:18:39

I know you can't always judge

what was happening in 2013

0:18:390:18:43

with what was happening in 2018,

and there's always a very fine

0:18:430:18:48

balance that I guess the regulator

was seeking to strike

0:18:480:18:50

between the ongoing

sustainability of a business,

0:18:500:18:55

because everybody would say the best

way to protect their pension scheme

0:18:550:18:58

going forward is to make sure you've

got a viable, strong business.

0:18:580:19:03

However, that balance in those

instances, you're right.

0:19:030:19:05

They said they could have done more.

0:19:050:19:09

Hindsight's a wonderful thing,

but again, moving forward,

0:19:090:19:11

they will need to do more

and they've now got

0:19:110:19:13

stronger powers to do more.

0:19:130:19:18

During the same hearing

the Business Secretary

0:19:180:19:20

was challenged over the dominance

of the big four accounting firms:

0:19:200:19:30

I think it is an important question.

As I say, it has been looked at

0:19:340:19:39

recently.

I would suggest it is not

really working.

0:19:390:19:45

Are you in favour of

breaking them up, Greg?

0:19:450:19:51

I don't want to answer that

without having considered advice

0:19:510:19:53

on the consequences.

0:19:530:19:59

In general, I agree with your fellow

chair that more competition tends

0:19:590:20:05

to act in the interest of consumers

and of innovation, I would say,

0:20:050:20:08

and in general, when you have

concentrated markets,

0:20:080:20:13

that is, that is not a good state

of affairs, but I think it is,

0:20:130:20:23

it would be proper to consider

in your joint committee

0:20:230:20:25

and the select committee may

well want to, as I will,

0:20:250:20:31

take an interest in whether further

reforms are needed, including

0:20:310:20:34

the suggestion you made.

0:20:340:20:35

Greg Clark.

0:20:350:20:36

The Prime Minister has said

allegations that the political

0:20:360:20:38

consultancy, Cambridge Analytica,

misused information

0:20:380:20:40

about millions of Facebook users

are "very concerning".

0:20:400:20:50

They should be

properly investigated.

0:20:500:20:51

It's right that the information

Commissioner is doing exactly that,

0:20:510:20:53

because people need to have

confidence in how their personal

0:20:530:20:56

data is being used.

0:20:560:20:58

And I would expect Facebook,

Cambridge Analytica

0:20:580:21:00

and all organisations

involved to comply fully

0:21:000:21:04

with the investigation

that is taking place.

0:21:040:21:06

She was challenged about her party's

links to Cambridge Analytica

0:21:060:21:08

by the leader of the SNP at

Westminster.

0:21:080:21:14

The parent company of

Cambridge Analytica is Strategic

0:21:140:21:19

is Strategic Communications

Laboratories.

0:21:190:21:24

It has been run by the chairman of

the Oxford Conservative Association.

0:21:240:21:27

Its founding chairman

was a former Conservative MP.

0:21:270:21:30

A director appears to have donated

over £700,000 to the Tory party.

0:21:300:21:34

The former Conservative Party

treasurer is a shareholder.

0:21:340:21:37

We know about the links

to the Conservative Party.

0:21:370:21:39

They go on and on.

0:21:390:21:46

Will the Prime Minister explained

to the House her government's

0:21:460:21:48

connections to the company?

0:21:480:21:53

Can I say, the right honourable

gentleman has been talking

0:21:530:21:55

about two companies,

about the parent company, SCL,

0:21:550:21:59

and he also referred

to Cambridge Analytica and I can say

0:21:590:22:05

that as far as I'm aware,

the Government has no contracts

0:22:050:22:09

with Cambridge analytical

or with the SCL group.

0:22:090:22:10

Later, on the committee corridor,

a former operations manager

0:22:100:22:12

for Facebook told MPs he'd raised

concerns about the risk

0:22:120:22:17

of users' data being abused -

but the company didn't tell users.

0:22:170:22:22

Speaking on a rather ropey

video-link to the Culture Committee,

0:22:220:22:24

Sandy Parakilas, described how

a firm like Cambridge Analytica

0:22:240:22:26

could get personal data when people

connected to an app linked

0:22:260:22:29

to Facebook.

0:22:290:22:34

Facebook asks you the user for

permission to give certain kinds of

0:22:340:22:41

information from your Facebook

account and once you agree, Facebook

0:22:410:22:44

passes that data from Facebook's

servers to the developer.

0:22:440:22:50

He explained that they gave

the developer the ability to access

0:22:500:22:55

data relating to the users' friends

- but those people hadn't explicitly

0:22:550:22:58

given their authorisation.

0:22:580:23:00

As a senior manager,

he raised the issue with executives

0:23:000:23:03

who are still at the company now.

0:23:030:23:05

I included lists of bad actors and

potential bad actors, which

0:23:050:23:12

included, for state actors, data

brokers, -- foreign state actors

0:23:120:23:19

will stop I said here are some of

the things they could be doing and

0:23:190:23:22

here are some of the areas that the

company is still exposed and user

0:23:220:23:25

data is still at risk. And I shared

that around with a number of people

0:23:250:23:31

at the time.

0:23:310:23:32

He said he didn't know

if Facebook's chief executive

0:23:320:23:34

Mark Zuckerberg knew,

but it was widely understood

0:23:340:23:37

at the company that there

was a risk in the way Facebook

0:23:370:23:39

was handling data.

0:23:390:23:40

A Conservative asked

about the developer companies.

0:23:400:23:46

Do you think they might have

acquired data illegally from

0:23:460:23:50

Facebook and that might have been

used in an attempt to impact the

0:23:500:23:54

outcome on elections in the UK and

further afield?

That seems very

0:23:540:23:59

likely. The amount of data that was

passed out of the Facebook platform

0:23:590:24:06

in 2010 and 2014 is just fast. There

were in my memory, hundreds of

0:24:060:24:12

thousands of apps on the platform

while I was there.

0:24:120:24:15

Sandy Parakilas.

0:24:150:24:19

In the Lords, it was day nine

of detailed scrutiny of the EU

0:24:190:24:22

Withdrawal Bill and the thorny

issue of devolution.

0:24:220:24:24

The government explained

that its amendments would place

0:24:240:24:26

restrictions on Westminster's

ability to exercise powers returning

0:24:260:24:28

from Brussels after Brexit

where those relate

0:24:280:24:30

to devolved matters.

0:24:300:24:37

Their affect is that by default, on

exit day, any decision-making powers

0:24:370:24:41

currently held by DEQ in areas that

are otherwise devolved, would pass

0:24:410:24:45

directly to our evolved institutions

without first being diverted through

0:24:450:24:49

Westminster.

0:24:490:24:50

He said he wanted to be clear.

0:24:510:24:55

Any decision that the devolved

institutions could take before exit

0:24:550:24:58

day will continue to be a decision

they can take after exit day in

0:24:580:25:02

areas where they have exercised

their powers. There is no

0:25:020:25:07

encroachment into existing devolved

areas.

0:25:070:25:09

Labour described the original

drafting of the bill

0:25:090:25:11

as an "emasculation" of devolution.

0:25:110:25:13

There was "some way to go" before

the government's proposals

0:25:130:25:15

would be satisfactory.

0:25:150:25:20

I must make the point in sorrow

rather than angered that the way in

0:25:200:25:23

which the Government has handled the

whole issue over months of

0:25:230:25:26

inactivity from the autumn onwards,

it leaves much to be desired.

0:25:260:25:34

Indeed, it would not be wholly

inappropriate to describe it as

0:25:340:25:37

lamentable.

0:25:370:25:39

And peers are expected to return

to these issues next week.

0:25:390:25:42

And that's all we've got time for.

0:25:420:25:44

So from me, Mandy Baker, goodbye.

0:25:440:25:51