08/02/2017 Politics Scotland


08/02/2017

Coverage of some of the day's debates in the Scottish Parliament.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 08/02/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to Politics Scotland.

:00:14.:00:14.

MPs vote later on the Article 50 bill - a day after Holyrood rejected

:00:15.:00:19.

triggering the process to leave the EU.

:00:20.:00:23.

And the proposed Jobcentre closures in Scotland go under the spotlight.

:00:24.:00:29.

And, here at Westminster, after the debate,

:00:30.:00:30.

MPs will have their final vote on UK Government legislation

:00:31.:00:33.

MPs will vote again later on the bill that could see

:00:34.:00:42.

the formal start of the UK's exit from the EU.

:00:43.:00:45.

They'll consider a number of changes, including protecting

:00:46.:00:47.

the rights of EU citizens living in Britain.

:00:48.:00:49.

The bill will then pass to the House of Lords.

:00:50.:00:52.

It follows a vote at Holyrood yesterday where MSPs voted

:00:53.:00:54.

overwhelmingly to reject the triggering of Article 50.

:00:55.:00:58.

Today, Scotland's Brexit minister, Mike Russell, has held talks

:00:59.:01:01.

with his UK counterpart, David Davis.

:01:02.:01:04.

Let's talk now to our Westminster Correspondent, David Porter,

:01:05.:01:07.

and our Political Editor, Brian Taylor.

:01:08.:01:18.

David, first, just bring us up-to-date on the contortions of

:01:19.:01:24.

this. The bill being voted through today, are there any concessions by

:01:25.:01:29.

the government in it? It depends who you talk to. Yesterday, the Brexit

:01:30.:01:35.

minister, David Jones, got up in the House of Commons and said that MPs

:01:36.:01:39.

would be given a vote on the deal that had been agreed, when it is

:01:40.:01:43.

agreed, that the House of Commons and the Lords would get to vote on

:01:44.:01:47.

it before it goes to the European Parliament for them to say yes or

:01:48.:01:52.

no. Some people saw that as a concession, and then they thought a

:01:53.:01:55.

little harder about it and they thought, well, that was what Theresa

:01:56.:02:00.

May was saying anyway. Because what became evident was that MPs will get

:02:01.:02:05.

a vote on the final deal that is done, but if they reject that vote,

:02:06.:02:09.

then the UK will leave the European Union without any deal and will fall

:02:10.:02:16.

back on what is known as the World Trade Organisation rules, which

:02:17.:02:18.

basically would be worse probably than any deal that had been struck.

:02:19.:02:24.

In effect, what Theresa May is doing, rather than conceding, is

:02:25.:02:28.

metaphorically putting a gun to some MPs' heads and saying, of course you

:02:29.:02:33.

can have a vote on the deal but, if you reject it, we are still leaving

:02:34.:02:37.

the EU and they will not be any deal on the table, we will have to be out

:02:38.:02:42.

in the cold, so to speak, with the heart, cliff edge Brexit. -- hard.

:02:43.:02:48.

So I don't think you can regard that as a concession. To make it clear,

:02:49.:02:52.

some MPs wanted a vote that meant that, should they vote against the

:02:53.:02:57.

final deal, that meant the British government had to go back to

:02:58.:03:00.

Brussels and say, they don't like that, we'll have to negotiate

:03:01.:03:06.

something else. That is what is not going to happen? Yes, also the UK

:03:07.:03:10.

Government says at the moment. They explicitly say, if MPs reject the

:03:11.:03:16.

deal, that deal will not go ahead, but there will be no deal. She will

:03:17.:03:21.

not be going back for a second set of negotiations saying, look,

:03:22.:03:24.

frankly, the guys and girls don't agree with that, can we have another

:03:25.:03:28.

go? She says that will not be the case. A number of amendments and

:03:29.:03:33.

changes have been put forward in the House of Commons in the three days

:03:34.:03:37.

they have been debating this bill in committee, going through the

:03:38.:03:41.

nitty-gritty. So far, none of the changes or amendments have been

:03:42.:03:46.

backed. I think Theresa May and her ministers are fairly confident they

:03:47.:03:49.

will get it through tonight with a large majority and, so far, they do

:03:50.:03:54.

not think they have to compromise too much on this. Much talk again

:03:55.:04:00.

today, Brian, about the independence referendum 2, as it's called. The

:04:01.:04:05.

revelation that the British government might be thinking there

:04:06.:04:08.

might be won is hardly a revelation, is it? No, they have been thoughts

:04:09.:04:14.

that the government is preparing for the possibility of a second

:04:15.:04:19.

independence referendum. Well, of course they are, it is what

:04:20.:04:23.

governments do, preparing for every potential process that might impact

:04:24.:04:29.

upon them. So of course the UK Government are preparing. Are they

:04:30.:04:34.

preparing for the eventuality of independence? No, they are not. Just

:04:35.:04:39.

as it is fairly evident they didn't prepare for the eventuality of

:04:40.:04:42.

Britain leaving the EU. But they are preparing for the process. In

:04:43.:04:46.

Scotland, things have been choreographed. There is choreography

:04:47.:04:51.

going to match the developments at Westminster. The Scottish cup would

:04:52.:04:54.

have put forward what they regard as compromise proposals on Scottish

:04:55.:05:00.

membership of the EU single market by the EEA. You have a succession of

:05:01.:05:05.

votes at Holyrood, including the one last night, in which, by 3-1, MSPs

:05:06.:05:11.

said, don't go ahead with the trigger of Article 50. It is a

:05:12.:05:18.

series of challenges. Brian, I'm interested on your take on this.

:05:19.:05:22.

There is clearly a debate going on in the SNP or the broader Yes

:05:23.:05:27.

campaign about what they say if they have another referendum. Some people

:05:28.:05:30.

would say, what they should say is not Scotland in Europe but an

:05:31.:05:37.

independent Scotland which would join Efta but not be in the customs

:05:38.:05:41.

union, so there wouldn't have to be a border with England. Alex Salmond

:05:42.:05:44.

seems to be saying that isn't it. What is your take? Bearing in mind

:05:45.:05:50.

what is happening, Britain withdrawing from the European Union

:05:51.:05:54.

and, according to the Prime Minister, the single market, the

:05:55.:05:56.

proposal from the Scottish Government is that Scotland stays in

:05:57.:06:02.

the single market via the EA with the agreement in support of the UK.

:06:03.:06:05.

That might be, if the Scottish Government get their way, where we

:06:06.:06:09.

are just prior to a referendum on independence. That is confusing that

:06:10.:06:13.

with the ultimate objective, which would still be Scottish membership

:06:14.:06:19.

of the EU. David, we will be back with you later. I was going to say

:06:20.:06:24.

that I hope it doesn't start raining, but that means that it

:06:25.:06:25.

will! I'm joined by the Daily Record's

:06:26.:06:25.

Political Editor, David Clegg. What do you make of all this? As we

:06:26.:06:36.

were saying, it's hardly surprising. It would be more amazing if the

:06:37.:06:40.

British government was not aware there might be another referendum.

:06:41.:06:45.

Nicola Sturgeon said every day that she is on the cusp of another

:06:46.:06:48.

referendum. If they were not considering that, it would be

:06:49.:06:52.

surprising. I think we are getting to a level of rhetoric now where we

:06:53.:06:56.

are almost passed the point of no return. The SNP conference is on

:06:57.:07:03.

March 17. All of the assembled SNP grassroots supporters will be there

:07:04.:07:06.

and they will want to hear something significant from Nicola Sturgeon

:07:07.:07:10.

about independence, and she won't be able to get out of conference

:07:11.:07:12.

without giving them something. She has already said not this year. The

:07:13.:07:20.

most obvious thing she could do is, as we know, it requires the

:07:21.:07:24.

permission of the UK Government for the Scottish Parliament to hold a

:07:25.:07:28.

referendum through a section 30 order, so I would expect at some

:07:29.:07:32.

point in the next few weeks Nicola Sturgeon will specifically ask for

:07:33.:07:36.

that. That does not commit heard anything. The referendum bill would

:07:37.:07:40.

still have to pass and set it down the road. There has been some

:07:41.:07:44.

suggestion from Michael Fallon, among others, that the British

:07:45.:07:48.

government might say, look, you have the right to have a referendum, just

:07:49.:07:53.

not while we are negotiating Brexit. You had one, you have decided. They

:07:54.:07:57.

could actually stop the SNP holding one before the final Brexit steel

:07:58.:08:00.

was done and the British government would presumably say,, the polls

:08:01.:08:06.

show that people don't want a referendum. Politically, would that

:08:07.:08:12.

be suicide? That would be difficult. The discussions going on between the

:08:13.:08:16.

SNP and the UK Government are about how they respond. On the one hand,

:08:17.:08:21.

among Conservative voters in Scotland, it would probably be

:08:22.:08:24.

pretty popular to block a referendum, but how does it leave

:08:25.:08:28.

the general mood of the country? Clearly, at some point, if Nicola

:08:29.:08:32.

Sturgeon continues to be the most popular politician with the most

:08:33.:08:36.

popular party, at some point you will have to quit her. I think we

:08:37.:08:43.

all have great experience of referendums. -- you will have to

:08:44.:08:50.

give it to her. A mood is important. Comments by David Mundell and

:08:51.:08:53.

Theresa May, they are floating this one, rather than taking a hard line?

:08:54.:08:57.

There was an idea that Michael Fallon when he had shot his mouth

:08:58.:09:03.

off when he said, you're not going to get it. I think there was

:09:04.:09:07.

probably tactics, sending him out to fly a kite and see what the response

:09:08.:09:12.

was. What they have decided about that is probably another question.

:09:13.:09:18.

Yes, seeing it full of bullet holes! The UK Government have an equally

:09:19.:09:22.

difficult decision about how to deal with it if she pulls the trigger.

:09:23.:09:25.

Plans to close a number of Jobcentres across Scotland

:09:26.:09:27.

are being scrutinised by politicians at both Holyrood and Westminster.

:09:28.:09:29.

Unions say the proposals will see around 10% of centres

:09:30.:09:31.

Opponents say those searching for work will suffer,

:09:32.:09:35.

but the UK government argues more people are finding help

:09:36.:09:37.

Joining me now to discuss the implications of the move

:09:38.:09:40.

is Martin Bright from the employment charity The Creative Society.

:09:41.:09:50.

Martin, can you hear me? Hello, Martin Bright? Hello? No, I'm... I'm

:09:51.:10:05.

afraid he can't hear me. We will come back to that interview, if we

:10:06.:10:08.

manage to get Martin Bright in sound as well as vision. In the meantime,

:10:09.:10:12.

what we were talking about there, do you think it would be... As I say, I

:10:13.:10:18.

can see the British government saying, OK, you can have a

:10:19.:10:22.

referendum, we don't want to stand, but just not while we are doing the

:10:23.:10:26.

negotiations. Would that be seem up here, do you think, as common sense

:10:27.:10:33.

or a great infringement on our right to do this? Like everything else, I

:10:34.:10:38.

suspect it would split opinion. Clearly, it makes logistical sense,

:10:39.:10:43.

given the nature of the difficulty and complications that the UK

:10:44.:10:46.

Government are going to have negotiating a deal, to also be

:10:47.:10:51.

trying to wage a referendum campaign in Scotland would be an absolute

:10:52.:10:54.

nightmare, so they would be very keen to avoid it. Whether that gets

:10:55.:10:59.

them into a position where they say, you can't have this referendum now,

:11:00.:11:05.

but let us get the deal sorted, let the people in Scotland know what the

:11:06.:11:09.

Brexit offer looks like and then you can have one, and they could maybe

:11:10.:11:20.

do that. Generally hostile to independence, but do you think the

:11:21.:11:25.

British government is playing this correctly? There is a perception

:11:26.:11:29.

that they are a bit tin eared. They could have come and said, look, this

:11:30.:11:34.

is a marvellous opportunity, Brexit. We can't wait, we are setting up

:11:35.:11:37.

committees with the Scottish Government to discuss agriculture,

:11:38.:11:42.

tax rates, rather than just saying, oh, we will consult with you and

:11:43.:11:47.

then leaving the Scottish Government too, as far as we can see, not

:11:48.:11:52.

reasonably say, you haven't done any of the things you said you would.

:11:53.:11:59.

The record towards independence is still an issue to be as peshmerga

:12:00.:12:05.

still to be decided maybe. In terms of the UK Government, I think there

:12:06.:12:08.

is a feeling in a suspicion that I certainly share that the advice and

:12:09.:12:13.

the way that the UK Government is directing the Scottish question in

:12:14.:12:19.

the aftermath of Brexit has not been particularly well advised. It has

:12:20.:12:23.

seemed that, almost every point, Scotland's interests have been

:12:24.:12:28.

pretty far down the pecking order, and that obviously leads to

:12:29.:12:31.

resentment, and that can be a problem. You wouldn't need to be the

:12:32.:12:38.

most brilliant special adviser in the world to tell them how to do it

:12:39.:12:43.

better, would you? No. In their defence, they have had it not to

:12:44.:12:47.

deal with, taking over the mess left by the Brexit administration. --

:12:48.:12:54.

Brexit referendum. The news about the discussions that are happening

:12:55.:12:57.

is maybe that they are trying to get on top of it but they have a lot of

:12:58.:13:02.

work to do. I think we can now talk to Martin Bright from The Creative

:13:03.:13:06.

Society, who is interested in the question of Jobcentres. You can now

:13:07.:13:13.

hear me, can you? I can. Do you think Jobcentres are past their sell

:13:14.:13:19.

by date? Do you call them silos of despair or something like that? Yes,

:13:20.:13:25.

I think Jobcentres were a good 20th century solution to the 20th century

:13:26.:13:30.

problem. They are pretty good at providing large numbers of jobs in

:13:31.:13:35.

retail or manufacturing in periods of very high unemployment. The

:13:36.:13:39.

problem now is that they are essentially benefits offices and the

:13:40.:13:44.

function of actually creating jobs is no longer really there. These are

:13:45.:13:51.

places that people do not want to go to, they are unpleasant places and

:13:52.:13:57.

they are not suited to job creation in the 21st century. It isn't all

:13:58.:14:04.

that long ago since the Jobcentre bit was separate from the benefits

:14:05.:14:10.

of this bit, isn't it? Was it not new Labour who merged them? There

:14:11.:14:15.

has been a whole history of back and forward between these functions

:14:16.:14:19.

being merged and separated. It has always been a problem when they've

:14:20.:14:24.

been separate because, if it's just the benefits of this, it's a really

:14:25.:14:27.

unpleasant place to be, and best some logic in attaching a job

:14:28.:14:33.

creation element. -- if it's just the benefits office. The moment you

:14:34.:14:38.

do that, the Jobcentre element becomes poisoned by the benefits

:14:39.:14:44.

office. We just need to rethink it. If someone is genuinely perhaps not

:14:45.:14:49.

even claiming benefits, just genuinely getting a job, does it

:14:50.:14:53.

make it the kind of place you don't want to go into? Yes, particularly

:14:54.:14:59.

in recent years when benefit sanctions have become so severe,

:15:00.:15:04.

NIMBY attempt to stop people becoming part of the benefits

:15:05.:15:09.

culture, -- in the attempt. These are places that people associate

:15:10.:15:14.

with punishment. Could you give us an example. I know that Europe --

:15:15.:15:19.

your organisation is involved in and some councils have effectively been

:15:20.:15:24.

trying to bypass the system and do something else. What are they trying

:15:25.:15:30.

to do? They have been a number of different approaches from local

:15:31.:15:32.

authorities and small charities like us to take the functions of job

:15:33.:15:38.

creation element of the Jobcentres out of the physical buildings

:15:39.:15:41.

themselves and place them elsewhere. You either go to places where young

:15:42.:15:47.

people are, youth centres or further education colleges, or indeed, in

:15:48.:15:52.

our case, we work with the creative sector, so you trying to take these

:15:53.:15:56.

functions into arts institutions. You make a very important point,

:15:57.:16:02.

which I want to make you to make the game, which is that your view is

:16:03.:16:05.

that, in this day and getting a job isn't about going into a government

:16:06.:16:11.

office and sitting behind a desk. If you are a young person, you need

:16:12.:16:17.

informal skills. That is what you are trying to encourage? Our point

:16:18.:16:20.

is that the sort of jobs you want to get in this day and age are not

:16:21.:16:25.

industrialised jobs. These are jobs where you need to use initiative,

:16:26.:16:28.

you need soft skills and you will not pick these up in effectively

:16:29.:16:31.

benefit offices and Jobcentres. Let's cross now to the chamber

:16:32.:16:36.

at Holyrood for the start of that debate on the proposed Jobcentre

:16:37.:16:38.

closures in Scotland. The Employability and Training

:16:39.:16:40.

Minister, Jamie Hepburn, Indeed this is a UK Government who

:16:41.:16:57.

seems not even to know where Glasgow is, and the House of Commons when

:16:58.:17:03.

asked about the close euros in Glasgow, one MP said the Minister

:17:04.:17:08.

for employment, the UK Minister for employment, was in muscle Borough

:17:09.:17:12.

two weeks ago, that in itself was one example of how far removed the

:17:13.:17:17.

UK Government is from local communities in Scotland. If these

:17:18.:17:22.

proposals were not bad enough, on 26th January it was again with no

:17:23.:17:27.

consultation, there was announced a further raft of closures across the

:17:28.:17:31.

UK and across Scotland. This lack of forewarning came despite myself

:17:32.:17:37.

having raised directly the fear to have provided such previously with

:17:38.:17:43.

Glasgow when I met in January. I wrote to him before that meeting. I

:17:44.:17:47.

have to say by some miraculous coincidence with this being the day

:17:48.:17:51.

of the debate he has replied to that letter today. What stands out at

:17:52.:17:55.

first glance in that letter is that there is not particularly much

:17:56.:17:58.

additional information, there is no commitment to consulting on all the

:17:59.:18:02.

closures and particularly disappointing is the failure by

:18:03.:18:06.

MrHinds to commit to visit the communities and the people who we

:18:07.:18:11.

impacted on the ground to truly understand the real concerns and I

:18:12.:18:16.

would continue to urge him to come and visit those communities. These

:18:17.:18:21.

proposals, these further proposals that were revealed on 26th January,

:18:22.:18:25.

and a further 16 sites on other parts of Scotland, nine Jobcentres

:18:26.:18:31.

six, back offices in one centre for health and disability assessment. It

:18:32.:18:37.

could mean the closure of a further six Jobcentres. We also learned from

:18:38.:18:45.

the press that a Jobcentre not even listed on the planned closure list

:18:46.:18:51.

is planned to move to Falkirk. We continue to find out details from

:18:52.:18:54.

the media rather than directly from the UK Government is a continuing

:18:55.:18:59.

demonstration of the failure to properly communicate these

:19:00.:19:02.

decisions. We know staff and services will move from the current

:19:03.:19:06.

Jobcentre before March 2018, that's a move that involves a distance of

:19:07.:19:10.

2. 9 miles. Had this been judged to be 0. 1 of a mile more a

:19:11.:19:15.

consultation on closure would have been required. It is my view that

:19:16.:19:19.

any proposal for closure should be open to consultation. The UK

:19:20.:19:23.

Government can't just make decisions based on lines of circles on a map

:19:24.:19:27.

which it seems very clear is formed how much of the decisions about

:19:28.:19:31.

sites to be closed has been made. I want to highlight my concerns about

:19:32.:19:35.

these plans, concerns echoed by the First Minister in this chamber last

:19:36.:19:40.

week and concerns I have heard directly from people who will be

:19:41.:19:44.

affected. The fact... Let's speak to some MSPs now.

:19:45.:19:48.

From the SNP, we have Ben Macpherson,

:19:49.:19:50.

Maurice Golden is from the Scottish Conservatives,

:19:51.:19:52.

and, from the Scottish Greens, Alison Johnstone.

:19:53.:19:58.

Well, my apologies, you won't have heard him, we were talking to

:19:59.:20:03.

someone from the Creativity Society talking about alternatives for

:20:04.:20:07.

Jobcentres, making the point that they're entirely 20th century and

:20:08.:20:10.

that not only is there no need for the ones that are going to be

:20:11.:20:14.

closed, arguably we need to think of some alternative to Jobcentres as a

:20:15.:20:19.

whole. Well, as you said I have not been able to hear the conversation

:20:20.:20:24.

you had earlier but the journey of the move from Jobcentres to

:20:25.:20:27.

Jobcentre Plus was obviously something that happened over the

:20:28.:20:32.

Labour Government in Westminster. I think at the moment the way that our

:20:33.:20:36.

benefits system works and the accessibility issues there are

:20:37.:20:40.

around making sure that there are physical assets in communities where

:20:41.:20:46.

people can go and make the claims to social security that they have

:20:47.:20:49.

rights to, that in the here and now in today in the communities that I

:20:50.:20:53.

represent and I am sure many others on the panel will agree, that

:20:54.:20:57.

Jobcentres are absolutely crucial. We do live in an age where there is

:20:58.:21:02.

more digital access but I think some people don't have that capacity. You

:21:03.:21:06.

are concerned about people claiming benefits having to travel. You don't

:21:07.:21:10.

seem to be mentioning somebody looking for a job. Well, of course

:21:11.:21:19.

Jobcentre Plus and that's the distinction combines both those

:21:20.:21:23.

services. So the support that there is in a Jobcentre, I am a member of

:21:24.:21:27.

the social security committee, we visited a Jobcentre recently, I have

:21:28.:21:31.

done so in my own constituency. Provided in terms of supporting

:21:32.:21:35.

individuals to apply for jobs, the work coaches who are there which are

:21:36.:21:39.

new initiatives of universal credit and there is still work to make sure

:21:40.:21:43.

that's delivered more effectively and more compassionately and

:21:44.:21:48.

supportively are essential. So I think as we move into the times

:21:49.:21:51.

ahead, absolutely Jobcentres are crucial, both for helping people to

:21:52.:21:55.

access the benefits that they have an absolute right to under law and

:21:56.:22:01.

in terms of the society that we believe in where we People's Quiz

:22:02.:22:05.

when they're in difficulty and to help them -- where people are in

:22:06.:22:10.

difficulty and to help them into work and the work schemes that the

:22:11.:22:18.

Scottish Government are going to change and implement without the

:22:19.:22:21.

conditionality within that and that will help provide a more supportive

:22:22.:22:25.

environment. Colin Smith, there you are, yes, we are getting to you. We

:22:26.:22:30.

have got to you. I can see there might be issues for people on some

:22:31.:22:34.

types of benefit but all this row about it's unfair people have to

:22:35.:22:37.

travel three miles, if you are looking for a job and you can't

:22:38.:22:40.

travel three miles to a Jobcentre you are not going to have much

:22:41.:22:45.

chance of getting a job. I live in a rural area and there aren't

:22:46.:22:48.

Jobcentres three miles apart in that particular region, people do have to

:22:49.:22:51.

travel and will have to travel bigger distances as a result of

:22:52.:22:56.

these changes. There are 139,000 skts currently out of work this

:22:57.:23:00.

Scotland. We need to be providing more help to get people into help,

:23:01.:23:04.

not providing less help. The Tory argument... Aren't you missing the

:23:05.:23:08.

point. The argument from the Government and others, including the

:23:09.:23:11.

chap we were talking about the Creative Society, they're not saying

:23:12.:23:16.

they don't want to help people get jobs, they're saying that Jobcentres

:23:17.:23:19.

are a completely 20th century way of doing that. If you want to get a job

:23:20.:23:23.

you can do it on the internet, it's more important particularly with

:23:24.:23:27.

young people to encourage them to use word of mouth and to develop

:23:28.:23:31.

their social skills. The whole idea you get a job by walking into a

:23:32.:23:37.

Government office and sitting behind a desk is outdated. I don't agree

:23:38.:23:40.

that the support provided through Jobcentres is not useful to people.

:23:41.:23:45.

Can you explain why the statistics show that only 36% of the people who

:23:46.:23:51.

go to Jobcentres get a job? 36% is a substantial number of people. The

:23:52.:23:54.

reality is the argument the Tories are putting forward is that the

:23:55.:23:57.

reason for these Jobcentre closures is that unemployment has fallen. The

:23:58.:24:01.

reality is it is 14% higher than it was during the financial crisis. We

:24:02.:24:05.

need to be providing more support for people to get into work, not

:24:06.:24:09.

less. What's important people are losing their jobs as a result of

:24:10.:24:11.

these closures, several hundred people will be out of work in

:24:12.:24:13.

Scotland because they won't have a job to go to in a Jobcentre. There

:24:14.:24:18.

is an area... You are not seriously suggesting keeping Jobcentres open

:24:19.:24:23.

as a job creation programme? One of the proposals in my own

:24:24.:24:27.

constituency, a town with one of the highest levels of unemployment in

:24:28.:24:30.

Scotland, yet they're proposing to move a call centre to somewhere else

:24:31.:24:33.

in Scotland. It's a wrong-headed decision that will take jobs away

:24:34.:24:37.

from that local community and is unrealistic to expect those people

:24:38.:24:40.

to travel across Scotland for that employment. Alison Johnson, can we

:24:41.:24:47.

try you on this, because both the previous people are basically saying

:24:48.:24:51.

we need to help people get jobs. The people who want to close the

:24:52.:24:55.

Jobcentres are not saying they don't want to have people find jobs,

:24:56.:24:59.

they're saying if only a third of people ever go to a Jobcentre

:25:00.:25:03.

actually get a job, there is clearly a problem so we should start

:25:04.:25:05.

thinking about doing this in a different way. Well, I would agree

:25:06.:25:10.

with Colin in that a third of people is a significant number. That's

:25:11.:25:13.

pathetic for a Government agency that's supposed to be getting people

:25:14.:25:18.

jobs. They can always do better, I agree wholeheartedly. Would we

:25:19.:25:21.

consider removing a GP surgery from a heart of a community? This is one

:25:22.:25:24.

of the most important services that we as a society can offer. The lack

:25:25.:25:30.

of consultation is quite, frankly, frightening. You simply can't go

:25:31.:25:35.

about closing Jobcentres willy-nilly. On the social security

:25:36.:25:38.

committee we have been taking evidence from a lot of people who

:25:39.:25:41.

have significant difficulties engaging with technology. We have

:25:42.:25:44.

been hearing from citizens advice and others about how much time

:25:45.:25:48.

they're spending getting people an e-mail account, showing them how to

:25:49.:25:51.

use the internet. So one size will never fit all. I wouldn't suggest

:25:52.:25:55.

for a second that we have too many Jobcentres, I think we should be

:25:56.:25:59.

investing in this if we are serious about having a working participant

:26:00.:26:04.

of society. Even from the way you have described the problem, the this

:26:05.:26:07.

you are suggesting investing in doesn't sound to me very much like a

:26:08.:26:11.

Jobcentre. No one is saying we shouldn't invest money in helping

:26:12.:26:15.

people who can't use e-mail because they're not going to get a job

:26:16.:26:18.

unless they can do that, but you don't need Jobcentres for that. I

:26:19.:26:22.

think we do. We have staff there who are trained and expert at helping

:26:23.:26:27.

find out what would best suit the client and ensuring that the client

:26:28.:26:31.

has a pathway into that work. Do you know the statistics? The statistics

:26:32.:26:36.

may be worse if we remove Jobcentres from our communities. Inclusion

:26:37.:26:40.

Scotland are really concerned about the impact on disabled, those using

:26:41.:26:44.

the service who have disabilities. Three miles might be nothing if you

:26:45.:26:47.

are able-bodied and in good health but it can be a significant barrier

:26:48.:26:51.

to those who don't enjoy good health. Maurice Golden, that's a

:26:52.:26:56.

point, if you are disabled it is easy, you might say people who are

:26:57.:27:00.

able-bodied and looking for work as I said earlier, if they can't go

:27:01.:27:03.

three miles to a Jobcentre what's the point of trying to get them a

:27:04.:27:06.

job, but if you are disabled that might be a serious issue. Well, yes,

:27:07.:27:12.

and that's why we need further consultation on any of the proposed

:27:13.:27:15.

closures but I think one thing that you may not have picked up from some

:27:16.:27:21.

of my colleagues is that down in Westminster, both the Labour and SNP

:27:22.:27:24.

have supported a modernisation of the Jobcentres. There is a

:27:25.:27:28.

recognition that, for example, the claimant count in Glasgow has gone

:27:29.:27:35.

down by 44% since 2010. More and more people are accessing Jobcentres

:27:36.:27:38.

online. So that's something that we should all be working towards. Do

:27:39.:27:42.

you think there is a case, again, as I apologise to Colin, I know you

:27:43.:27:46.

didn't hear Martin Bright, the chap from the Creative Society, but one

:27:47.:27:51.

of the points he makes is that while the New Labour's merger of the

:27:52.:27:56.

Benefits Agency with the jobs agency might have been well intentioned,

:27:57.:28:01.

actually the way it's turned out is it makes these places really dismal

:28:02.:28:04.

and there might be an argument for separating the two out again? Well,

:28:05.:28:07.

I know when I have been unemployed in the past I have used Jobcentres,

:28:08.:28:12.

I find them helpful in helping people to find work. They did it for

:28:13.:28:16.

me and I know they're doing it for others. They made you an MSP? They

:28:17.:28:25.

didn't get me this job. Tell us which Jobcentre that is then! Well,

:28:26.:28:34.

I am sure I can point you to it once we finish this conversation, if you

:28:35.:28:37.

are looking for a change in career! All right, we will have to leave it

:28:38.:28:41.

there. Thank you all very much indeed. A quick shot of all you

:28:42.:28:46.

standing looking marvellous, thank you.

:28:47.:28:48.

And now to this week's Prime Minister's Questions,

:28:49.:28:50.

where the subject of health and, especially,

:28:51.:28:52.

Jeremy Corbyn accused the UK Government of arranging

:28:53.:28:55.

a "sweetheart deal" with a Tory-led council to stop a controversial

:28:56.:28:59.

The Labour leader asked Theresa May to "come clean" on how much

:29:00.:29:08.

money had been offered to Surrey County Council.

:29:09.:29:12.

I wonder if it's to do with the fact they both represent Surrey

:29:13.:29:23.

constituencies. MrSpeaker, there was a second text from Surrey County

:29:24.:29:28.

Council leader to Nick and in the second text it says the numbers you

:29:29.:29:34.

indicated are the numbers that I understand are acceptable for me to

:29:35.:29:39.

accept and call off the R. Now I have been reading a bit of John Le

:29:40.:29:44.

Carre and apparently R means referendum. It's very subtle all

:29:45.:29:53.

this. And he goes on to say in his text to Nick, if it is possible for

:29:54.:30:00.

that info to be sent to myself I can then revert back soonest, really

:30:01.:30:07.

want to kill this off. So, how much did the Government offer Surrey to

:30:08.:30:14.

kill this off? And is the same sweetheart deal on offer to every

:30:15.:30:20.

council facing the social care crisis created by her Government? I

:30:21.:30:25.

have made clear to the right honourable gentleman what has been

:30:26.:30:29.

made available to every council, which is the ability to raise the

:30:30.:30:35.

preset. Yet again what we get from Labour are alternative facts. What

:30:36.:30:45.

they really need is an alternative leader. When the Prime Minister was

:30:46.:30:51.

in Edinburgh on 15th July last year she pledged that she would and I

:30:52.:30:56.

quote, not trigger Article 50 until she had an agreed UK-wide approach.

:30:57.:31:03.

So given that the Scottish parliament has voted overwhelmingly

:31:04.:31:08.

against her approach and all bar one MP representing a Scottish

:31:09.:31:10.

constituency in this House of Commons has voted against her

:31:11.:31:17.

approach, she does not have an agreed UK-wide approach.

:31:18.:31:22.

As the Prime Minister knows, a lot of people in Scotland watch Prime

:31:23.:31:29.

Minister's Questions, so will she killed those viewers in Scotland

:31:30.:31:34.

whether she intends to keep her word to people in Scotland or not? --

:31:35.:31:41.

will she tell. We are ensuring that we work closely with the Scottish

:31:42.:31:44.

Government and the other devolved administrations as we take this

:31:45.:31:48.

forward. I would remind the honourable gentleman that the

:31:49.:31:52.

Supreme Court was very clear that the Scottish parliament does not

:31:53.:31:55.

have a veto on the triggering of Article 50. The bill that is going

:31:56.:32:00.

through the house obviously is giving the power to the government

:32:01.:32:04.

to trigger Article 50. I would also remind him of this point, because he

:32:05.:32:09.

constantly refers to the interests of Scotland inside the EU. An

:32:10.:32:14.

independent Scotland would not be in the European Union. Does the Prime

:32:15.:32:21.

Minister agree that, in a 21st century parliament, the rules should

:32:22.:32:25.

not enable any member to speak the 58 minutes in a three-hour debate?

:32:26.:32:30.

Does she agree that the rules should be changed to prevent filibustering

:32:31.:32:33.

and ensure that members from all sides have their share of the time

:32:34.:32:40.

available? I have to say I find that a curious question from the

:32:41.:32:42.

honourable gentleman. Last night, I was out of the house between the two

:32:43.:32:51.

votes. I switched on the BBC Parliamentary channel and I saw the

:32:52.:32:54.

honourable gentleman speaking. I turned over to something else. I

:32:55.:33:05.

switched back. I switched back to the Parliamentary channel. I saw the

:33:06.:33:08.

honourable gentleman still speaking. I switched over to something else. I

:33:09.:33:14.

switched back and the honourable gentleman was still speaking. He is

:33:15.:33:19.

the last person to complain about in this house.

:33:20.:33:20.

Well, for reaction to that, here's our Westminster correspondent

:33:21.:33:22.

Hopefully still dry and with some MPs put yes, it still dry and I've

:33:23.:33:36.

got MPs, but it is very cold. I've got Alistair Carmichael for the

:33:37.:33:39.

Liberal Democrats, Ian Murray for Labour, Kirsten Oswald for the SNP

:33:40.:33:43.

and Iain Stewart for the Conservatives. You have all said you

:33:44.:33:47.

are desperate to talk about Brexit, and it is my wish to help you in

:33:48.:33:51.

this, because you've been talking about it for five days in the House

:33:52.:33:55.

of Commons. Five days in, the government has not been defeated.

:33:56.:33:59.

You are probably quite glad about that. Is it all been worth it and

:34:00.:34:04.

has anything changed since we started discussing Brexit? The court

:34:05.:34:08.

decision in a few weeks ago were quite parliament to have a debate

:34:09.:34:13.

so, if you are having a debate, you have full consideration of all the

:34:14.:34:16.

issues and we have certainly at that. I am pleased we are keeping

:34:17.:34:19.

the bill is simple. It's the start of the process, not the negotiation

:34:20.:34:25.

itself. It's the authorisation for the government to start it. I hope

:34:26.:34:30.

this goes through so we can get on with the negotiations about the deal

:34:31.:34:34.

that works for the country. The court said it had to happen and

:34:35.:34:37.

therefore it had to happen. Your party seems less than impressed with

:34:38.:34:42.

the way it's gone. Is less than impressive. We have a one line bill,

:34:43.:34:48.

a white Paper that arrived in the middle of the process which, from

:34:49.:34:52.

looking at it, seems to mostly consist of blank space itself. There

:34:53.:34:57.

are some difficulties in persuading me that we've had a full and

:34:58.:35:00.

thorough discussion of it. In the midst of that, we've had a Scottish

:35:01.:35:05.

parliament who have clearly had strong views, in my view is those of

:35:06.:35:09.

the Scottish people, but we have had difficulty making that heard here

:35:10.:35:14.

and are being persuaded that the government is taking that on board.

:35:15.:35:18.

I think much more should be done to persuade people that the government

:35:19.:35:22.

are really taking it on board. Very few issues link you and the SNP, but

:35:23.:35:27.

this is one that does tonight presumably you will again vote

:35:28.:35:32.

against triggering Article 50? I will, because the bill has not been

:35:33.:35:37.

changed or altered. I don't know why the government had to be dragged by

:35:38.:35:40.

the Supreme Court to bring this process because they are just

:35:41.:35:44.

running it through. They could have done that last July and we would

:35:45.:35:47.

have been much further ahead. They fought the process and now they are

:35:48.:35:51.

fighting to be able to amend it. I have never seen as many amendments

:35:52.:35:56.

to a bill as I have seen in this process, but they are all concerned

:35:57.:36:00.

with the big issues about EU nationals, the effect on the

:36:01.:36:03.

economy, parliament having a say, etc. We will not reverse the

:36:04.:36:06.

arguments again. But none of that has been accepted. The key thing

:36:07.:36:12.

here, and it would be interesting to get the government response, every

:36:13.:36:16.

bill that goes through the House of Commons chamber has a report stage,

:36:17.:36:20.

and that is a separate stage to report back to the house a bill that

:36:21.:36:24.

has been amended. There is no report stage, so the government that had no

:36:25.:36:28.

intention of accepting any amendments so the process is a sham

:36:29.:36:32.

and it highlights the fact that Brexit doesn't mean Brexit if it

:36:33.:36:37.

means a Tory Brexit. If it goes through unamended, that is a result

:36:38.:36:42.

of the Parliamentary arithmetic, isn't it? It probably will go

:36:43.:36:45.

through this evening but that doesn't change the politics of it.

:36:46.:36:49.

We have got two years of this still to go and the future of EU nationals

:36:50.:36:55.

living in the UK, for example, our nationals living in other parts of

:36:56.:36:58.

the EU, these are problems that still have to be faced and dealt

:36:59.:37:03.

with. Yes, it's an issue of Parliamentary arithmetic, but for

:37:04.:37:08.

me, the issue is that the reason this bill is almost certain to go

:37:09.:37:12.

through unamended is that the Labour Party has thrown in the towel on

:37:13.:37:15.

just about every significant vote we have had. You know that it only

:37:16.:37:21.

works, parliament only works when the official opposition does the job

:37:22.:37:25.

it is there to do and offers meaningful opposition. When Jeremy

:37:26.:37:33.

Corbyn marches into the division lobby shoulder to shoulder with

:37:34.:37:38.

Theresa May... It is disingenuous to say that we have stopped this

:37:39.:37:43.

bill... Tory rebels, adding them... Simon Petra -- you would have had a

:37:44.:37:54.

chance of getting Tory rebels. Eight Tory rebels yesterday, that was it.

:37:55.:37:58.

You have thrown in the towel at every turn. You are better than

:37:59.:38:03.

that. We know that you like talking about Brexit at every turn. But

:38:04.:38:09.

another idea is that of a second Scottish independence ever read on.

:38:10.:38:16.

As we progress towards Brexit, are we moving towards one? I don't think

:38:17.:38:20.

so. There is clear evidence that Scotland and the people of Scotland

:38:21.:38:24.

don't want one. Frankly, I think the Scottish Government should engage

:38:25.:38:26.

constructively in the Brexit process. Looking at the additional

:38:27.:38:31.

powers that potentially could be devolved to Scotland, and working

:38:32.:38:34.

with the government on this, rather than creating uncertainty for

:38:35.:38:39.

everyone by keeping this threat of another referendum alive. Tell us

:38:40.:38:43.

when the second referendum is going to be. I think it is these gentlemen

:38:44.:38:49.

to look to to discover where we are with this. Some of the things that

:38:50.:38:53.

Ian said were extraordinary. The Scottish Cabinet has been engaging

:38:54.:38:56.

constructively with the UK Government throughout the process.

:38:57.:39:02.

The missing link... So take the independence referendum of the

:39:03.:39:07.

table. The missing link is that the UK Government seems unwilling to

:39:08.:39:10.

engage in compromise. If I can finish, it is unacceptable to the

:39:11.:39:15.

people that are watching all this, with some astonishment, I would

:39:16.:39:20.

think, to see the way that the Scottish representatives are being

:39:21.:39:23.

dealt with and to see that their government in Scotland is not being

:39:24.:39:26.

listened to. In terms of the GMC, I think it's pretty clear that the

:39:27.:39:31.

Scottish reference -- Scottish representatives are not being

:39:32.:39:34.

listened to either. Are we moving towards Indyref 2? I don't think so,

:39:35.:39:42.

because I don't think Nicola Sturgeon wants a second referendum,

:39:43.:39:45.

and I think we should quickly get this off the table so it doesn't

:39:46.:39:50.

confuse Brexit so we can work towards a Brexit that works for the

:39:51.:39:53.

whole UK, including Scotland. The bill is going through tonight and we

:39:54.:39:59.

are leaving the EU. We have to do all that we can to get the best

:40:00.:40:02.

deal. And the best deal for Scotland. Alistair Carmichael, you

:40:03.:40:09.

are a former Scottish secretary. We hear reports today that the Scottish

:40:10.:40:12.

office of the UK Government is planning for a second independence

:40:13.:40:16.

referendum. Does that ring true for you? I'm not going to second-guess

:40:17.:40:23.

that. The difficulty for Chryston and the SNP is that they are using

:40:24.:40:32.

this, the Brexit issue, as a lever to get Scotland out of the UK. Now,

:40:33.:40:38.

really, what they should be doing if they are sincere in their commitment

:40:39.:40:42.

to the EU, they should be working with other people in other parts of

:40:43.:40:48.

the UK who share their views and focusing on that, rather than seeing

:40:49.:40:51.

everything through the prism of Scottish independence. Much though

:40:52.:40:56.

it pains me to agree with Ian on this occasion, it's right, you do

:40:57.:40:59.

really need to take the Indyref off the table on this occasion. We'll

:41:00.:41:06.

have to leave it there. They have to go back in the House of Commons.

:41:07.:41:11.

They have some voting at 5pm. There are something like ten separate

:41:12.:41:14.

votes, so they are going to go back and prepare for that, but at least

:41:15.:41:23.

they will be in the warm. Big issues, Brexit, Indyref 2. Let's

:41:24.:41:27.

narrow it down to Labour. Is there any sense of them getting it

:41:28.:41:30.

together? What Ian Murray was arguing there flatly contradicts

:41:31.:41:36.

what his party leader is arguing. I don't think there is, frankly. The

:41:37.:41:40.

debate we are having that will there be another independence referendum,

:41:41.:41:44.

what discussions are the government having, the Labour Party are nowhere

:41:45.:41:48.

near that. The last independence referendum on the known site was

:41:49.:41:53.

almost entirely a label one. Anything that... The Labour Party at

:41:54.:41:59.

the moment doesn't seem to know what day it is. Or what, I mean, they

:42:00.:42:05.

would say they had a line on independence, they are against a

:42:06.:42:09.

referendum, but we have had varying suggestions they might not be

:42:10.:42:12.

institutionally in favour of independence but some might campaign

:42:13.:42:15.

for it and then they can't do that... They have learnt... What is

:42:16.:42:22.

hoped this is the fact that, as I say, you have just had Ian Murray,

:42:23.:42:26.

the only Labour MP in Scotland, and what he is saying is, he is

:42:27.:42:33.

justifying voting against the way that his party leader is ordered

:42:34.:42:38.

them to vote in a three line whip. While defending the approach his

:42:39.:42:42.

party is taking, which is astonishing. Yesterday, at the

:42:43.:42:44.

Scottish Parliament, we had a trio of rebels that are considered to be

:42:45.:42:50.

Jeremy Corbyn supporters but then voted against the way Kezia Dugdale

:42:51.:42:54.

was instructing her MSPs. They are completely at sea. The problem for

:42:55.:43:00.

them is that all parties tend to have a field Mavericks. Jeremy

:43:01.:43:02.

Corbyn was a maverick in the Labour Party. But this is right down the

:43:03.:43:11.

middle. -- a feud mavericks. In the next essential problem with the SNP,

:43:12.:43:15.

their sole purpose is to agitate for independence. The Labour has all

:43:16.:43:19.

been -- always been about something else but in a political environment

:43:20.:43:27.

across the UK entirely defined by constitutional attrition. It is

:43:28.:43:32.

almost like the pop charts are sewn up and Labour are saying, actually,

:43:33.:43:37.

we are into jazz. And nobody is listening to jazz right now. I have

:43:38.:43:41.

a pet theory, which is that the party which stands to benefit most

:43:42.:43:45.

from the second referendum is Labour, because it might end up for

:43:46.:43:52.

them. Do you mean if it is a yes vote? Or a no vote.

:43:53.:43:53.

FMQs is on BBC Two Scotland at midday tomorrow.

:43:54.:43:57.

See how he turned his life around from being the Scottish bad boy...

:43:58.:44:11.