A look back at events at Parliament since January, including the terror attack, Brexit legislation, the u-turn Budget and Labour losing a long-held seat at a by-election.
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Hello and welcome to Westminster In Review,
our look at the last three months here at Parliament, a term dominated
by arguments over Brexit, a budget that backfired
and an unpredictable American president.
It is the Brexit debate that has taken up the most time and stirred
the strongest passions.
And you emerge in Wonderland where suddenly countries throughout
the world are queueing up to give us trading advantages.
Once again we become a sovereign nation state in command
of our own destiny and I am absolutely delighted about that.
Embarrassment for the Chancellor, forced to drop part of his budget
almost as soon as he delivered it.
It is shocking and humiliating that the Chancellor has been forced
to come here to reverse a key budget decision.
The British Prime Minister met the new US President,
but there was an explosive reaction from the Commons Speaker.
After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump I am even
more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump.
And there were other changes of direction as a scheme allowing
child refugees from Europe into the UK was suddenly stopped.
How does she live with herself leaving thousands of children
subject to disease, people trafficking, squalor?
What many will remember most about Westminster's spring term had
nothing to do with arguments over Europe.
The ancient home of Britain's democracy was at the centre
of an attack for which the terror group IS claimed responsibility.
In the space of 90 terrifying seconds, Khalid Masood ploughed
a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge,
killing three before storming into the precinct of Parliament.
He fatally stabbed a police officer, PC Keith Palmer.
52-year-old Masood was then shot dead by armed police.
The incident did not last long, but its extreme violence
and suddenness shocked and bewildered Parliament.
Order, I am now going to suspend the sitting of the house.
This house is now suspended, but please wait here.
For several hours MPs and parliamentary workers
were under lockdown.
There has been a serious incident within the estate.
It is clear that the advice from the police and director
of security is still that the chamber should
remain in lockdown.
I hope the house would agree that in the current circumstances it
would not be right to continue with today's business.
The following morning the Prime Minister addressed
a sombre House of Commons.
Yesterday an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy.
But today we meet as normal, as generations have done before us
and as future generations will continue to do,
to deliver a simple message.
We are not afraid.
And our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.
Mr Speaker, yesterday we saw the worst of humanity,
but we will remember the best.
We will remember the extraordinary efforts to save the life of PC
Keith Palmer, including those by my right honourable friend
the member for Bournemouth East.
And we will remember the exceptional bravery of our police,
security and emergency services.
And as the Prime Minister said, when dangerous and violent incidents
take place we all instinctively run away from them for our own safety.
The police and emergency services run towards them.
We are grateful for the public servants yesterday, today and every
day that they pull on their uniforms to protect us all.
This democracy is strong and this parliament is robust.
This was an horrific crime, but as an act
of terror it has failed.
Those who attacked us hate our freedom, our peaceful democracy,
our love of country, our tolerance, our
openness and our unity.
As we work to unravel how this unspeakable attack happened,
would she agree with me that we must not, either in our laws or by our
actions, curtail these values?
Indeed we should have more of them.
One man cannot shut down the city and one man
cannot lockdown democracy.
No terrorist outrage is representative of any faith
or of any faith community and we recommit ourselves
to strengthening the bonds of tolerance and understanding.
This attacker and people like him are not of my religion,
nor are they of our community and we should condemn all of them
who pretend to be of a particular religion because they are not
of a religion.
If they were of a religion, they would not be carrying
out acts like this.
We have to stay united and show them that they cannot win on these
grounds and we are here to stay.
One MP thought it surprising Westminster hadn't
been attacked before.
Those of us who are privy to the information and background
of these matters know very well that it has been little short
of a miracle that over the course of the last few years we have
escaped so lightly from the evil that is I am afraid present
in our society and manifests itself in the senseless, hideous acts
of violence and evil.
Reaction also in the House of Lords.
Where we do what is right, where we behave properly,
where that generosity and extraordinary sense of duty that
leads people to treat a terrorist in shame,
where that bravery of somebody like PC Keith Palmer is demonstrated,
that there is a victory for what is right and good over
what is evil, despairing and bad.
When the roads were reopened around Westminster, the public were quick
to place flowers as a tribute to those who had been killed
and the tributes continued to grow in the succeeding days.
Undoubtedly the biggest day-to-day political story
of the term was Brexit.
Oddly, though, at the start of the year politicians were not
where the focus lay.
The ten men and one woman who make up the UK's Supreme Court
were the centre of attention.
They were deciding if Parliament should pass an act to start
the process of the UK leaving the EU, or could it be done by prime
ministerial edict alone?
Strangely the case was not brought by a politician,
but by a businesswoman, Gina Miller, who was
a Remain supporter.
For five days the country had been enthralled by the court hearing
with the politicians looking on anxiously whichever
side they backed.
Some saw it as a debate over the entire governance of Britain.
Finally on January the 24th, the president of the Supreme Court
announced its judgment.
Today by a majority of 8-3 the Supreme Court ruled
that the government cannot trigger Article 50 without an act of
Parliament authorising it to do so.
Less than a week later a bill was drawn up
notable for its brevity.
It was just 170 words long.
Its title, The EU Notification of Withdrawal Bill.
It was there to enforce the outcome of last summer's referendum
when the British people voted in favour of EU withdrawal.
Now it is universally known as Brexit.
But what sort of Brexit would it be?
Are we going to get a detailed plan, Prime Minister?
How far from the tentacles of the European Union did
Britain want to get?
Prime Minister Theresa May left no one in any doubt
with a speech in mid-January.
But I want to be clear.
What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market.
I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better
than a bad deal for Britain.
Although Brexit supporting politicians hadn't wanted any bill,
fearing it was really about vetoing the referendum result, a mass of MPs
still piled into the Commons for the Brexit Bill's first debate.
At the core of this bill lies a very simple question.
Do we trust the people or not?
Above all it is our duty to ensure an outcome that is not just
for the 52% or the 48%, but for the 100%.
This is a big deal.
You are not just divvying up the Nana Mouskouri records
here or divvying up the bargain box set, where this has an impact
on each and every one of us.
The British people did not vote to make themselves poorer by pulling
ourselves out of the greatest free trading single market
the world has ever seen.
A veteran pro-European thought the Brexiteers were living
in the world of Lewis Carroll in how they saw the UK's future
Apparently you follow the rabbit down the hole and you emerge
in Wonderland where suddenly countries throughout the world
are queueing up to give us trading advantages and access
to their markets that previously we have never been able to achieve.
I do want the best outcome for the United Kingdom
from this process.
No doubt somewhere there is a Hatter holding a tea party
with a dormouse with a teacup.
We need success in these trading negotiations to recoup
at least some of the losses which we are going to incur
from leaving the single market.
For me this referendum was a massive, peaceful revolution
by consent of historic proportions.
This bill at last endorses that revolution.
I feel I would be abandoning my duty to my constituents who have
overwhelmingly and unwaveringly made their point that they do not
want to leave the European Union.
I campaigned like others on this side for Remain but I accept
the democratic vote and I think we should allow the Article 50
notice to be triggered.
This is the moment we begin to take back control of our laws,
our borders and our money.
Once again we become a sovereign nation state in command
of our own destiny and I am absolutely delighted about that.
For Labour these were difficult times.
Most of their northern MPs had supporters back
in their constituencies who voted in their thousands to leave the EU.
History has its eyes on us today so here is my answer.
I can no more vote for this than I can vote against my conscience.
I can no more vote for this because it is against my values.
I can no more vote for this than I can vote against my own DNA.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, had imposed a three-line whip.
Labour MPs had to back the government and vote for the bill.
That meant a handful of resignations within Labour's shadow team.
For the shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, it meant
a dubious absence from the Commons voting lobbies.
The following week, the Brexit Bill went through all its stages
with no alterations.
One Conservative Remain supporter saw her fervent Brexiteer party
colleagues in a less than favourable way.
I feel sometimes I am sitting along with colleagues who are like jihadis
in their support for a hard Brexit.
No Brexit is hard enough, be gone, you evil Europeans, we never want
you to darken our doors again.
I am afraid I heard speeches last week exactly making that point.
As the bill passed through the Commons the pro-EU SNP claimed
it had all been done in a rush.
The government's refusal to accept a single amendment means
there will be no report stage.
The programme motion means there is no debate on third reading.
I am informed by the library that the last time that combination
happened was the Defence of the Realm Act of 1914
which was about the First World War.
For this to happen in any bill would be an abuse.
To happen on this bill is an outrage.
What is it about the procedures of this place that allow a bill
of this constitutional significance to be railroaded through in this
When the result was declared there was no doubt about
the government's victory.
The ayes to the right 494, the noes to the left, 122.
There was a curious footnote.
While waiting for the vote, the SNP MPs struck a defiant musical
note in the chamber, perhaps like the band playing
on as the Titanic sank.
The SNP sang the European anthem, Beethoven's Ode to Joy.
Until they were told to stop.
Huge political change wasn't confined to Europe.
On January 20th, Donald Trump was sworn in as 45th president
of the United States of America.
I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear...
So who would be the first British politician to meet the new top dog?
The Prime Minister?
The Foreign Secretary?
No, it was this man, Nigel Farage of Ukip,
the man credited in some quarters at least for achieving Brexit.
When news emerged that Theresa May would be
going to meet the new president, the Labour leader thought some
plain talking was needed.
How confident is she of getting a good deal for global Britain
from a president who wants to put America first, buy American
and build a wall between his country and Mexico?
I am not afraid to speak frankly to a president of the United States.
I am able to do that because we have that special relationship,
a special relationship that he would never have
with the United States.
President Trump produced a series of executive orders,
the most controversial being his intended ban
on people travelling to the United States from certain
countries, mainly Muslim.
The Home Secretary was asked to comment.
Do you disagree with Trump's ban?
Yes, and I support the position the government has taken -
the Foreign Secretary spelt out that it is divisive and wrong.
When Theresa May visited President Trump in Washington
at the end of January, not everyone was convinced that
handholding within sight of TV cameras at the White House
was a wise move.
The Prime Minister said the new president was welcome
to come to Britain this year for a state visit.
A protest petition sprang up.
He has threatened to dump international agreements
on climate change.
He's praised the use of torture.
He's incited hatred against Muslims.
He's directly attacked women's rights.
Just what more does President Trump have to do before the Prime Minister
will listen to the 1.8 million people who have already
called for his state visit invitation to be withdrawn?
The right honourable gentleman's foreign policy is to object
to and insult the democratically-elected head of state
of our most important ally.
The arguments over President Trump's visit also had lighter moments.
Given the Foreign Secretary once famously declared that he wouldn't
go to New York in case he was mistaken for Mr Trump,
is there any chance that President Trump will not come
to London on a state visit in case he is mistaken
for the Foreign Secretary?
I am embarrassed to tell you, Mr Speaker, that not only...
I think I was mistaken for Mr Trump in Newcastle,
which rather took me back.
But also in New York.
A very humbling experience it was, as you can imagine.
I can't tell you who was the exact progenitor of the excellent idea
to accord an invitation to the president to
come on a state visit but the invitation has been issued.
I think it is a wholly appropriate thing.
And what about President Trump coming to Parliament?
The Commons Speaker said an address to MPs and peers by a foreign leader
was not an automatic right.
He spoke about the President's intended travel ban.
Before the imposition of the migrant ban, I would myself have been
strongly opposed to an address by President Trump
in Westminster Hall.
After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump,
I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump
in Westminster Hall.
We value our relationship with the United States.
If a state visit takes place, that is way beyond and above the pay
grade of the Speaker.
However, as far as this place is concerned, I feel very strongly
that our opposition to racism and to sexism, and our support
for equality before the law and an independent judiciary
are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.
Two words: well done.
We shouldn't have clapping in the chamber but sometimes it's
easier just to let it go on than to make a huge fuss about it.
It'd been a remarkably strong intervention by John Bercow.
I asked the BBC's political reporter, Iain Watson,
how surprising it was to hear a Speaker so forthright
in the Commons.
It was very surprising.
It's not something you would expect in Parliament.
You would expect people to abide by certain conventions,
a certain degree of diplomacy, certainly by the historic
role of the Speaker.
That was surprising and it certainly surprised me.
It wouldn't be Westminster if we didn't have conspiracy theories,
gossip and all the rest of it.
Some people were suggesting that what John Bercow was trying to do
was trying to maintain his role as Speaker for a few more years yet
by saying something that would please the opposition benches
- Labour, Liberal Democrat, the Scottish nationals -
people who are not at all keen on Donald Trump and his message.
So to some extent he was getting them onside.
But it was interesting that a Conservative MP soon afterwards,
James Duddridge, tried to get a motion of no confidence
in the Speaker.
So rather than elongating his time in that prestigious chair,
it looked as though, for a short amount of time, that he
might actually be out.
But then it transpired that there was not really much
support for that after all.
So in fact he seems to have got away with what was a very robust
denunciation of a foreign leader, and certainly what he succeeded
in was preventing, whatever else happens with Donald Trump,
preventing him from having the same honour as President Obama
and addressing MPs in Westminster Hall.
Economic austerity has remained in place in the first months of 2017
and looks set to stay for the rest of this Parliament.
Cuts continued across all areas of spending,
including local councils.
Perhaps the most human effect of the squeeze was in the area
of caring for the elderly.
With people living longer, the cost of social care looks
set to keep on rising.
So how can things change?
At a committee session, a minister suggested the way forward
lay with sons and daughters.
I wonder how you plan to fund social care to keep pace
with those growing numbers.
Nobody ever questions the fact that we look after our children.
That's just obvious.
Nobody say it's a caring responsibility -
it's just what you do.
I think some of that logic and some of the way that we think about that
in terms of the sort of volume of numbers that we see
coming down the track, will have to impinge on the way
that we start thinking about how we look after our
Because in a way, it is a responsibility -
in terms of our life-cycle, it's similar.
So should we all be paying for rising social care costs
by shelling out more in our council tax?
A big rise in the tax in Surrey was suddenly called off,
leading to speculation that a secret deal had been done
between the government and the local council.
After all, Surrey is well represented in the Cabinet.
Information had fallen into the lap of the Labour leader.
I have been leaked copies of texts sent by the Tory
leader, David Hodge, intended for somebody called Nick,
who works for ministers in the Department for Communities
and Local Government.
And these text read: "I am advised that DCLG officials have been
working on a solution and that you will be
contacting me to agree a memorandum of understanding."
Will the government now publish this memorandum of understanding?
What the Labour Party fails to understand is that this is not
just a question of looking at money, it is a question of looking
at spreading best practice and finding a sustainable solution.
And I have to say to him that if we look at social care
provision across the entire country, the last thing social care
providers need is another one of Labour's bouncing cheques.
Saving for a rainy day, Chancellor?
So could the Chancellor help with cheques that didn't bounce?
March 8th was budget day.
Time for Philip Hammond, doing his first budget,
to parade the familiar red box.
Grinning and bearing it, Chancellor?
We already knew that the budget was going to be moved
from the spring to the autumn.
In the Commons, Mr Hammond went into reflective mode,
recalling the last time a Chancellor presented a final spring budget.
24 years ago, Norman Lamont also presented what was billed them
as the last spring budget.
He reported on an economy that was growing faster
than any other in the G7 and he committed to continued
restraint in public spending.
The then-Prime Minister described it as the right budget at the right
time from the right Chancellor.
What they failed to remind me, Mr Deputy Speaker, was that ten
weeks later he was sacked - so wish me luck today.
The joke would come back to bite Mr Hammond.
He failed to spot the massive trouble that lay ahead.
For those worried about the social care crisis,
the Chancellor had some good news.
So today, Mr Deputy Speaker, I am committing additional grant
funding of ?2 billion for social care in England over
the next three years.
But someone's to pay for that ?2 billion injection
and that is where Mr Hammond's budget went seriously wrong.
He explained why self-employed workers, including Britain's army
of tradesmen in their distinctive white vans, were going to pay more
tax in the form of higher national insurance contributions or NICs.
Employed and self-employed alike use our public
services in the same way.
But they are not paying for them in the same way.
The lower national insurance paid by the self-employed is forecast
to cost our public finances over ?5 billion this year alone.
This is not fair to the 85% of workers who are employees.
To be able to support our public services in this budget,
and to improve the fairness of the tax system, I will act
to reduce the gap to better reflect the current differences
in state benefits.
It was a disastrous move, as the Scottish Nationalists soon spotted.
We've seen a scandalous attack on aspiration,
on the self-employed, taxing them more, changes to NICs,
?4.2 billion or so from people.
The 'party of aspiration' taxing those self-employed
putting in active,
real, hard disincentives to starting businesses, to employ people,
for stepping out on one's own.
I think that is a decision which will come back
to haunt this Chancellor.
The next day's headlines were not good news for the Chancellor.
There were stories of a massive falling out in numbers
10 and 11 Downing St between Prime Minister
Then, in an embarrassing U-turn, Philip Hammond dropped
the national insurance rise, and he did it in the Commons,
to the undisguised glee of the opposition.
Since the budget, Parliamentary colleagues and others have
questioned whether the proposed increase in class 4 contributions...
..have questioned whether the proposed increase in class 4
contributions is compatible with the tax lock commitments made
in our 2015 manifesto.
The Chancellor said a 2015 act made clear the government's
tax lock applied only to some self-employed people.
It is clear from discussions with colleagues over the last few
days that this legislative test of the manifesto commitment does
..Mr Speaker, does not meet a wider understanding
of the spirit of that commitment.
Mr Speaker, it is very important, both to me and to my
right honourable friend, the Prime Minister, that we comply
not just with the letter, but also the spirit of the commitments
that were made.
This is chaos.
It is shocking and humiliating that the Chancellor has been forced,
forced to come here to reverse a key budget decision announced
less than a week ago.
If the Chancellor had spent less time writing stale
jokes for his speech and the Prime Minister less time
guffawing like a feeding seal on those benches,
we would not be landed this mess.
Let's be clear, let's be clear.
This was a ?2 billion tax hike for many middle and lower earners.
Loyal conservatives had initially supported the Chancellor's tax rise,
so the about turn had caused one loyal Tory, a New Forest MP,
a spot of embarrassment.
I'm in some difficulty because my article robustly
supporting the Chancellor's early policy in the Forest Journal
is already with the printer.
And I just...
Having been persuaded of the correctness of the course
that he is now following, I merely needed an opportunity
in which to recant.
I asked Iain Watson how bad relations between Prime Minister
and Chancellor have got in the days following the budget.
I suppose if you're doing the scale of disagreements between,
say Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, it'd be at ten.
Between David Cameron and George Osborne, publicly -
their predecessors - that'd probably be around one
or two on the scale.
This was certainly above five, I would say.
There were briefings from either side, none of these,
of course, were official.
Friends of the Prime Minister, friends of the Chancellor,
there were suggestions that the Chancellor found some
people in Downing Street, some people working
with the Prime Minister, to be economically illiterate.
There was also a view from Downing Street that the Cabinet
had not been fully informed of what he intended to do
on national insurance, and just to underline how serious
that was, this wasn't simply about some people paying a bit more
in what is effectively a tax, it was breaching a Conservative
That is what has caused the problems and Downing Street looked as though
they were trying to distance themselves from that very swiftly.
If I was a wealthy investor, should I be buying shares
in Philip Hammond?
I think in the short term, you probably should actually,
because, and this will pop up time and again, and we have
to use the B-word, Brexit, what Theresa May does not want to do
is create any impression of instability, just as very crucial
negotiations have to begin within the European Union.
To lose our Chancellor would be unfortunate,
to say the least.
And I think losing anyone else from the Cabinet
would look like carelessness.
So therefore she wants to hold on to the people
in the key positions, even if he made a bit of a mistake.
I think what we had was really a private rapping of the knuckles.
I think he will stay in place during the Brexit process.
In the longer term, if you're going to say "Is he going to be
Chancellor again at the time of the next General Election
or beyond?", I think perhaps she might be thinking of another
potential role for him by them.
Just as one of Philip Hammond's main budget policies turned to ashes,
there was another burning issue elsewhere in the UK that caused
a political impasse.
With unexpected speed the Northern Ireland Assembly in
Belfast came to an end in January.
Part of the reason was a row over a green energy scheme that had cost
millions of pounds in public money.
When the Northern Ireland first Minister, Arlene Foster
of the DUP, didn't stand down because of the scandal,
the Deputy first Minister, Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein,
did resign, meaning the assembly couldn't continue.
Mr McGuinness was known to be in declining health.
His death was announced on March the 21st.
The elections for a new Stormont Assembly produced
a remarkable result.
Sinn Fein won 27 seats, one behind the Democratic Unionist
tally of 28 seats.
For the first time the Unionists did not have a majority on the assembly.
Talks began on power-sharing, but several weeks later
the future of devolution in Northern Ireland
Voting in other parts of the UK was meanwhile producing some
traditional by-election excitement.
A one-time member of the Shadow Cabinet, Tristram Hunt,
announced he was leaving Parliament and taking up a top
job at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
It meant a by-election in Stoke-on-Trent Central.
The Ukip candidate was its newly elected leader, Paul Nuttall,
but when stories emerged that he had been making some exaggerated
claims about his past, Mr Nuttall's campaign ran
out of steam.
Stoke Central was retained for Labour.
200 miles further north in scenic West Cumbria,
it was a different story when Trudy Harrison gained Copeland
for the Conservatives.
Will the member wishing to take her seat please come to the table.
It was the first time in 35 years that a governing party had
made a by-election gain.
Trudy Harrison enjoyed a rapturous welcome
into the Commons chamber a few days later.
But what about the reasons for the by-elections?
I asked Ian Watson why two Labour MPs had simply walked
away from Westminster.
One thing that united the pair of them, they were basically
Blairite if you like, they were people who were not
regarded as modernisers within the Labour Party,
in the not too distant past people who were seen
as ministerial material.
In fact Tristram Hunt was even seen as a potential Labour leader at one
stage and considered standing in the leadership election
after the 2015 general election.
But I think from private conversations I had with one of them
there was a feeling they wanted to put Jeremy Corbyn to the test.
He was saying effectively that in some other electoral tests Labour
was never expected to win certain by-elections where Conservatives
were up against Liberal Democrats.
They were saying, here is two Labour seats.
If your left-wing brand of Labour politics is really going to triumph,
you should win in those seats.
What actually happened of course is Labour lost Copeland rather
disastrously and even had a fall in share of the vote in Stoke
at a time when usually governments are losing votes
and losing seats midterm.
There has been a lot of talk of coup attempts
and manoeuvrings by the Unite union.
What is going on?
What I think we have is a kind of proxy coup going
on if you like in the Unite union.
It is the country's largest union, it is also the biggest single donor
to the Labour Party.
It is currently run by an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, Len McCluskey,
who is up for re-election at the moment.
He has given money directly to Jeremy Corbyn's re-election
campaign, so not just giving money to the party, but to someone
he believes will keep the party on the left of British politics,
some would say the far left of British politics.
At the moment Labour is somewhere in the region of 19-20 points behind
the Conservatives in the polls and those who oppose
Jeremy Corbyn within the party and here at Westminster believe
the only way Labour can recover, it would be a huge job to do,
but the only way it can recover is by first removing
an unpopular leader.
Their way of doing that is to try to remove another leader,
a leader of a trade union who is seen as his bulwark his
funder and his greatest supporter.
Westminster's committees had another good time,
Westminster's committees had another good term,
probing deeper into issues and shedding new light
on national scandals.
Some big reputations took a hammering.
The credibility of Britain's speed cyclists was hanging by a thread
when hearings continued into the doping allegations that
have surrounded the sport.
Damning evidence was given about the absence of any record
keeping into exactly what was given to riders and when it was given.
The extent of our investigation is confined to this particular race
for which there are zero records by Doctor Freeman.
What excuse has British Cycling given to you for this woeful
lack of record-keeping?
We haven't had an excuse from them.
There is just an acknowledgement that there was no
policy and no records.
And the same for Team Sky as well?
Team Sky did have a policy, it is just that not everybody
was adhering to it.
There was a pasting too for the Internet giants Google,
Facebook and Twitter.
MPs on the Home Affairs Committee accused them of doing too little
to remove online content that was either objectionable,
exploitative or racist.
You are providing a platform which has acted as a moneymaking
machine for the peddlers of hate, extremism, supporters of ISIS,
for supporters of neo-Nazi groups.
That is happening on your platform and the way
in which you are prevaricating and dancing around
this is disturbing.
If I am honest with you, Mr Barron, all you need to do is say, "Yes,
that has happened and this is what we are doing."
We have no interest in making money from that.
It has happened, we work very hard to make sure that doesn't happen
and we work with advertisers to give us more transparency so they do not
appear next to political content but it is worth pointing out that
some of the videos you are referring to were not those that
break our guidelines.
There are not many business activities where somebody openly
would come and give evidence to this committee and have to admit,
no matter how many times they danced around, have to admit
that they are making money and people who use their platform
are making money out of hate.
That is happening on your platform.
We never want to make money out of hate.
You as an outfit, you are not working nearly hard
enough to deal with this.
We are looking very hard in this area.
Does the Prime Minister know what she is doing?
Also getting the Westminster committee treatment was,
yes, the Brexit process.
MPs grilled this man, Sir Ivan Rogers, who resigned
as Britain's ambassador to the European Union
in January, claiming ministers were suffering muddled thinking.
It is a negotiation on the scale that we haven't experienced
probably ever, but certainly since the Second World War.
This is going to be on a humongous scale.
We are going to have enormous amounts of business running up
various different channels and they involve difficult
trade-offs for her Majesty's government and different trade-offs
trade-offs for her Majesty's government and difficult trade-offs
for the other 27 on the other side of the table.
A month later the minister known as the Brexit Secretary gave some
remarkably frank views about whether Britain
had a plan B if no deal with the EU was ever reached.
Can you tell the committee whether the government has
undertaken an economic assessment of the implications for the British
economy and for British businesses of there being no deal?
Well, in May an estimate during the Leave campaign,
during the referendum campaign, I think one of the issues that has
arisen is those forecasts do not appear to have been very
robust since then.
Not since then?
Under my time, no.
So you are saying there has been no further assessment
of the implications of no deal at all since before the referendum?
Is that correct?
No, that's not correct.
You are putting words in my mouth.
Yes, you are.
One of the difficulties about your sort of style of yes,
no answers and questions is you don't deal with what we can
do to mitigate and much of this is about mitigation.
Any forecast that you make, any forecast that you make depends
on the mitigation you undertake.
David Davis was one of several Cabinet ministers to look
in on the House of Lords from time to time.
The Prime Minister was watching as well.
The passage of the Brexit Bill in the upper house.
A record 184 members of the Lords spoke in the initial two-day debate.
But the real drama came in the following two weeks.
The government suffered two heavy defeats on the bill
at the hands of their Lordships.
Firstly, peers wanted guarantees to be given to EU nationals living
and working in the UK.
We have over 3 million people living in this country
who are European Union nationals.
But it is not just them who are experiencing anguish,
it is also their family members, their employers.
These people are not bargaining chips, they actually...
If we say quite freely that they are free to stay,
that actually does give the moral high ground to our government
and its negotiations.
It is quite clear to everyone in this house that there is no
chance parliament would approve the expulsion of EU citizens legally
resident in this country.
I think that the government ought to accept that the weight
of opinion is in favour of that unilateral guarantee.
Why is everybody here today so excited about an amendment
which looks after the foreigners and not the British?
My Lords, this is a matter of principle.
It is a simple matter of principle, of being prepared to do the right
thing because it is the right thing, and being prepared to say so.
These amendments are at the wrong time in the wrong bill on the wrong
subject and we should support the rights of British
citizens living in Europe.
Peers voted for the guarantee for EU workers.
A week after that another riposte for the government.
A week after that another reverse for the government.
Peers demanded a meaningful parliamentary vote in two years'
time on the final EU exit deal.
My Lords, the essence of this amendment is very clear,
it has been clear from the start.
It simply seeks to ensure that Parliament and not ministers have
control over the terms of our withdrawal at the end
of the negotiating process.
We now face the most momentous, peace time decision of our time
and this amendment, as my noble lord has so clearly set out, secures
in law the government's commitment, already made to another place,
to ensure that Parliament is the ultimate custodian
of our national sovereignty.
So we get to the final hour at midnight when the deal has been
done and the Prime Minister says, "Hang on a second, I can't agree
a deal, I've got to go and consult the House of Commons."
It is ridiculous.
Can it honestly be imagined that if one or other house,
whether it is approval or an act of Parliament, goes back
to Europe in just under two years' time and says,
"We don't like the deal," that the other 27 will say, "Oh,
dear, here is a much better one?"
I ask your Lordships to rest on the long contested principle
that this country's future should rest with Parliament
and not with ministers.
And it is in that spirit that I commend this new clause
to your Lordships' house.
The government cannot possibly accept an amendment
which is so unclear on an issue of this importance on what the Prime
Minister is to do if Parliament votes against leaving
with no agreement.
With that risk, my Lords, let us remember the first
principle I stated.
The government is intent on delivering the result
of the referendum.
Having been altered twice by peers, the bill, following strict
Westminster procedures, had to return to the Commons.
MPs rejected the Lords' alterations.
But when the two issues returned to the Lords there was,
surprisingly, little or no appetite for a protracted battle.
The Lords caved in.
It is now time for this house to give way to the House
of Commons on this matter.
And so with all final opposition voted down,
the Brexit Bill became law.
The next stage in the Brexit drama took place many
miles from Westminster.
At a news conference at her stately residence in Edinburgh,
the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, announced her
intention to ask for a second independence referendum to take
place sometime between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2019.
What Scotland deserves in the light of the material change
of circumstances brought about by the Brexit vote
is the chance to decide our future in a fair, free and democratic way.
When Theresa May declared now is not the time for a referendum,
the party's Westminster leader stepped up the pressure.
The Prime Minister can wag her finger as much as she likes.
If she is not prepared to negotiate on behalf of the Scottish government
and secure membership of the single European market, people in Scotland
will have a referendum and we will have our say.
He is comparing membership of an organisation that we have been
a member of for 40 years with our country.
We have been one country for over 300 years.
We have fought together, we have worked together,
we have achieved together and constitutional gameplaying must
not be allowed to break the deep bonds of our shared history
and our future to.
At Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament was soon debating
the First Minister's call for an independence referendum.
The future of Scotland should not be imposed upon us,
it should be the choice of the people of Scotland.
Most people in Scotland are sick to death of the games.
Most people in Scotland don't want another referendum any time soon.
Just three years after the last one.
And most people in Scotland see the plain common
sense in our own position.
The Parliament went on to vote in favour of the demand for a second
The motion as amended is therefore agreed.
12:28pm, Wednesday March 29th, and in Brussels, Sir Tim Barrow,
Britain's ambassador to the EU, hands over a letter to the European
Council President, Donald Tusk.
The endlessly talked about triggering of Article 50
of the Lisbon Treaty had finally happened.
The letter had been drawn up in the Prime Minister's office.
Its delivery confirmed Britain was deadly serious
about leaving the EU.
Donald Tusk sounded unimpressed.
There is no reason to pretend that this is a happy day,
neither in Brussels, nor in London.
Britain's EU membership wasn't ended but it did represent
the beginning of the end or, as a Prime Minister
put it in the Commons:
This is an historic moment from which there can
be no turning back.
A few minutes ago in Brussels, the United Kingdom's permanent
representative to the EU handed a letter to the president
of the European Council on my behalf, confirming
the government's decision to invoke Article 50
of the Treaty on European Union.
The Article 50 process is now underway and,
in accordance with the wishes of the British people,
the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.
I know that this is a day of celebration for some
and disappointment for others.
The referendum last June was divisive at times.
Not everyone shared the same point of view or voted the same way.
The arguments on both sides were passionate.
Let us come together and work together.
Let us together choose to believe in Britain with optimism and hope.
For if we do, we can make the most of the opportunities ahead.
We can together make a success of this moment.
And we can together build a stronger, fairer, better Britain.
Labour will not give this government a free hand to use
Brexit to attack rights, protections and cut services.
Or create a tax dodger's paradise.
So let's be clear, Mr Speaker.
The Prime Minister says that no deal is better than a bad deal
but the reality is no deal is a bad deal.
The Prime Minister says that she thinks that
Brexit will bring unity to the United Kingdom.
It will not.
On this issue, it is not a United Kingdom.
And the Prime Minister needs to respect
the differences across the nations of the United Kingdom.
I am determined that I will look my children in the eye
and be able to say that I did everything to prevent this
calamity that the Prime Minister has today chosen.
I wish my right honourable friend good fortune in her negotiations
until she comes to true glory and is welcomed back to this House
as a 21st-century Gloriana.
I asked Iain Watson, as the mammoth EU negotiations now begin,
what are the potential risks for the Prime Minister?
I think there are huge risks for Theresa May and that may seem
a strange thing to say because at the moment her personal
ratings are extremely positive.
The party, as we have been discussing, is about 20 points clear
in some polls, of the Labour opposition, but to some extent
she may have reached a high watermark of her popularity
because negotiations are only really beginning.
At the moment it has been easy to keep the coalition, if you like,
of Conservatives in her party, the Remainers and Leavers,
and so on, together, because she has a simple message,
which is that she is carrying out the will of the British people,
the 52% who voted to leave the European Union
in the referendum.
How you carry that out becomes the tricky bit for her.
So, for example, were she to concede that Britain had to pay an exit
bill, a kind of divorce settlement with the rest of the European Union,
then currently perhaps somewhere in the region of 70 or 80
of her own MPs, who at the moment are cheering her to the rafters,
would start to question whether she should be walking away
from the European Union without paying a penny or by paying
a smaller sum.
So at the moment she's looking unassailable but that phrase,
when it's used in politics, usually unravels rather quickly
and people are 'sailable'.
And as if the whole EU negotiations were not enough of a headache,
Theresa May has that additional problem of a Scottish Parliament
vote in favour of holding a second independence referendum north
of the border.
Do you think it's just a fact that big political change always brings
about unintended consequences?
Referendums are all the go here at the moment, aren't they?
The Liberal Democrats are actually going for a second
referendum on the EU.
They are saying, let people see the final deal,
then have another vote.
In Scotland, the Scottish National Party and their allies,
the Greens, are saying, let's have a second
And although it looks like an unintended
consequence, to be fair this
has been flagged up, the danger has been
flagged up for a long time because in their election manifesto,
the SNP said they would call a second referendum if one
of two things happened.
If there was sustained support for independence or, secondly,
if there was a material change in circumstances.
And they specified, "Such as Scotland being dragged out
of the EU against its will."
Because that has happened, the Scottish Parliament has now
voted for that second referendum.
But the decision rests here at Westminster to the SNP
will be putting pressure on the Conservative government
to try to concede that.
I think they have no chance of doing that
during the Brexit negotiations.
So to what extent do you think this demand for a referendum is simply
a counterpoint to the SNP's own domestic difficulties
To some extent, calling for a second referendum will be a rallying cry
for SNP supporters ahead of crucial local elections in Scotland in May,
that is certainly true.
But equally, I think there is a feeling that they might
have missed their moment if they don't push
for a referendum now.
What they are hoping to do is to pick up some
who voted to stay in the UK in the 2014 Scotland
referendum but now are worried about leaving the European Union.
These 'no Remainers', if you like, are seen as a happy hunting ground
for the SNP and if they leave the demands for a referendum much
beyond Brexit, perhaps that vote will no longer be interested
in coming their way and perhaps by then people might see
the details of the Brexit deal and it'll all settle down.
They want to exploit this when they can.
I think that is the overwhelming reason for calling for this
at the moment, rather than simply trying to distract people
from what they have been doing in government.
For many the issue of Brexit has been inextricably
linked with immigration.
And that issue has itself been given an added edge by the sight
of the thousands of refugees from Syria and other war zones
making their way to safe havens across Europe.
Last year, largely thanks to the efforts of this man,
the Labour peer Lord Dubs, the government agreed that the UK
would take in some 3000 unaccompanied child
refugees from Europe.
But the scheme, known as the Dubs Scheme,
was wound up in February.
When the Home Secretary said it was acting too much
as an incentive for people to make dangerous sea crossings.
The abrupt ending angered opposition MPs.
There are still so many children in need of help.
She knows there are thousands in Greece in overcrowded
accommodation or homeless, or in Italy, still at risk
of human trafficking.
Or teenagers in French centres which are being closed down now
and they have nowhere left to go.
These are children who need looking after over a period.
When we accept them here, it is not job done, it is making
sure that we work with local authorities, that we have the right
safeguarding in place.
It seems that the government tried to sneak out what they knew would be
a very unpopular announcement when they were busy avoiding
scrutiny in this House about the Brexit deal.
Is this the shape of things to come?
And is this what comes of cosying up to President Trump?
How does she live with herself?
Leaving thousands of people, leaving thousands -
and members opposite can jeer - how does she live with herself,
leaving thousands of children subject to disease, people
trafficking, squalor and hopelessness?
She describes how she doubts that the children in
France are looked after.
But I can say to the right honourable lady, the children
who are most vulnerable are the ones in the camps out in
Jordan, out in Lebanon.
These are the ones who are really vulnerable.
And those are the ones that we are determined
to bring over here.
In all, 350 children were accepted into the UK under the Dubs Scheme.
Now, leave or remain?
That's very definitely the big issue here at Westminster but no,
I'm not talking about the EU.
Parliamentarians have to decide whether they are going to leave this
place, the Palace of Westminster, while it undergoes a massive
And there's no doubt the work is urgently needed.
The masonry's crumbling, the ageing electrics and plumbing
needs serious upgrading.
It's a mammoth programme that could take six years.
The cost, some ?3 billion.
MPs argued over whether the work could go on around them.
Much of our infrastructure is well past - in some cases decades past -
its life expectancy.
And the risk of catastrophic failure is such as a fire or a flood rises
exponentially every five years that we delay.
We should be in absolutely no doubt, there will be a fire.
There was a fire a fortnight ago.
There are regularly fires and people patrol the building 24
hours a day to make sure that we catch these fires.
As during the Second World War, the House of Commons debating
chamber should at all times retain a presence in the old
Palace of Westminster.
Instead of building what I would deem to be a folly costing
?85 million of a replica chamber in the courtyard of Richmond House,
we should, as in the war, use the House of Lords chamber.
But still no timetable has been agreed for Parliament's restoration.
Now spring is with us in winter is left for behind.
But adverse wintry conditions left their mark on the supermarket
shelves of the nation in February as freezing temperatures gripped
the growing areas of the continent.
In particular, courgettes disappeared for weeks on end.
When the shortage was brought to the attention of the House
of Lords, a minister said now was the time for British growers
to step up to the plate.
In a very real sense.
He will have seen the news reports of empty shelves in supermarkets,
with the crisis expected to last until the spring.
And meanwhile, prices have tripled, in part because it costs more to fly
vegetables from the USA and from Egypt than it does to bring
them overland from Spain.
I was seeking to be courteous to the noble Baroness
but it is certainly no crisis.
The only shortage will be of iceberg lettuce which we think will be
for about a few months and there is a wonderful variety
called cos, which is even better.
I think it is only fair that we hear from the Greens
on this particular subject.
I produced a report on how to make London more sustainable
in its food supplies and part of that was actually
shortening supply chains.
Half the vegetables that we eat in this country are imported,
including native crops like cauliflowers and onions.
Isn't it time that the government's forthcoming Green Paper on food
and farming seeks to tackle this decline in home-grown veg?
Very much so.
In fact I was pleased only this morning to hear that cauliflowers
from Cornwall are coming onto the market.
So we have a great opportunity again to buy some British vegetables.
Some food for thought from the appropriately-named Lord Gardiner.
And that's it for this term.
MPs are back straight after Easter Monday,
so do join us for our daily round-up each evening at 11 o'clock
on BBC Parliament.
Until then, from me, goodbye.
Whoo! This is what I call a proper playground.
This is the real deal.
She's going to kill it. You're not going to make it.
Whoa, the acceleration is enormous!
For decade after decade,
Keith Macdougall looks back on the events at Parliament since January, including the terror attack, Brexit legislation, the u-turn Budget, Labour losing a long-held seat at a by-election, the House of Lords starring in its own series, the collapse of the Northern Ireland executive, the Scottish government demanding a new referendum on independence and the speaker telling Donald Trump he's not welcome at Westminster.