tv Wednesday in Parliament BBC News October 19, 2017 2:30am-3:00am BST
holds myanmar‘s army accountable for the deepening rohingya refugee crisis in bangladesh. hundreds of thousands of people have left their homes in myanmar, where they'd faced a military offensive after claims that militants were guilty of attacking police checkpoints. president donald trump has denied comments its claimed he made to a widow of a dead us soldier. the mother of the soldier — sergeant la david johnson — has echoed remarks by a democratic congresswoman claiming that president trump treated the widow with a lack of respect. there are fears of food shortages in zimbabwe after it banned fruit and vegetable imports to help preserve its dwindling money reserves. the new orderfollows one injune that banned maize imports. most of the supply of groceries in the capital harare come from neighbouring south africa. now it's time for a look back at the day in parliament. hello and welcome to
the day in parliament. the government announces it's scrapping a 55p a minute charge for its universal credit helpline. but the row over the benefit spills over into pmqs. will the prime minister now pause universal credit and fix the problems before pressing ahead with the roll—out? why have we introduced universal credit? it's a simpler system, it's a system that encourages people to get into the workplace. and labour forces a vote in the commons, calling for the roll out of universal credit to be paused. the ayes to the right 299. the noes to the left, zero. also on this programme:
a minister promises a crackdown on rogue property management agents. and demands for a public inquiry into the use of surgical mesh implants. women in their 30s, 40s, 50s are telling us that they are struggling to walk, they've lost their sex life and suffered from horrendous pain day in, day out. but first: the day began with work and pensions secretary david gauke appearing before mps to give evidence on the roll—out of universal credit. it replaces six existing working age benefits and, after a long trial period, is being extended across the uk. but many mps and charities have expressed concern about the length of time some claimants wait before getting any money, arguing it's pushing them into debt and rent arrears. last week at prime minister's questions, jeremy corbyn urged the government to look at the benefit again and scrap the 55p a minute charge for phoning the government's helpline. well, at the start of the day david gauke told the work and pensions committee ministers had listened and would be changing tack. contrary to some reports,
these are not premium lines, the dwp does not make a profit from these lines. nonetheless, given the recent attention and concern that this could place a burden on claimants, i have decided that this will change to a freephone number over the next month. as you will be aware, it has been the dwp‘s long—standing position to operate local line charges for benefit enquiry lines, but having reviewed this matter more widely i will be extending the freephone numbers to all of the dwp‘s phone lines by the end of the year. david gauke. well, when prime minister's questions rolled around a couple of hours later, the labour leader welcomed that change of heart, but feared the system still had problems. mr speaker, last week i asked the prime minister to scrap the unfair charges on the universal credit helpline. today she has finally bowed to that pressure.
but the fundamental problems of universal credit remain. the six—week wait, rising indebtedness, rent arrears and evictions. will the prime minister now pause universal credit and fix the problems before pressing ahead with the roll—out? prime minister! yes, it is absolutely right... listen to the sentence. theresa may paused until the speaker restored some order. i suggest to honourable members opposite that they listen to the whole sentence that i was going to say. yes, it is absolutely right that we have announced this morning that we are going to change in relation to the telephone charge that is made. i think this is, i said last week that we were listening to a number of proposals that were being made.
we have done that. it is also, i think it is right to have done this now because there is a lot of emphasis, a lot of publicity around universal credit at the moment. i want people to know that they can ring in and they can get their advice and that they can do that without being worried about it, and that is exactly what we are going to do. but the right honourable gentleman talks about universal credit and talks about pausing universal credit. why have we introduced universal credit? it is a simpler system, it is a system that encourages people to get into the workplace. it is a system that is working because more people are getting into work, and pausing universal credit won't help those people who will be helped by going to universal credit, getting into the workplace, and bringing home more pay for theirfamilies. my constituents in north west durham have endured the brunt of posterity for many years. now, the dwp proposes to roll—out the universal credit system
in my constituency over christmas, the toughest financial time for residents. my question to the prime minister is this. is the roll—out a matter of gross incompetence or calculated cruelty? prime minister! the dwp has been rolling out universal credit. as it has done so, it has been listening to people about the concerns that have been raised. i am pleased to say that we are seeing a much better performance from the dwp. it is no good the honourable lady shaking her head. the figures show that the performance in terms of getting payments to people on time has increased substantially, and more people are getting advance payments, and we want to ensure that all those who need those advance payments are, indeed, able to get those payments. the purpose of universals credit is a more straightforward and simpler system that helps people as they earn more and encourages more people into work and that is what it is doing. well, all of that came just a short time before a debate
put forward by labour, calling for the roll out of universal credit to be paused. among the first backbenchers to speak, the former conservative leader who was the original architect of the scheme. universal credit is the single biggest change to the welfare system and those who really care about this, as i say, and i read out from the joseph rowntree foundation, know that it has within it the capability to dramatically change lives for the better. it is something, i think, my party should be proud of. i, therefore, would not tonight support this motion because it is clearly, in its determination, to stop the roll—out to damage universal credit for shortterm political reasons. a labourmp, turned to the delays in the payment. rents still need paying, food still needs to be put on the table, and the heating bills still need to be paid. i am interested in making sure that working people right up and down
this country can enjoy dignity, fairness and stability in their lives. without reform universal credit promises quite the opposite. it creates instability, uncertainty and injustice. but a conservative rejected the assertion that his party didn't understand what was going on. i went to school at the bottom of a league table. my father died at an early age. we had bailiffs on the doors. there wasn't any support. we absolutely do understand the importance of providing opportunity, that is what drove me in politics, and that is why i support universal credit, and i don't want to see it being paused, because it does offer transformational opportunity for people. i want to genuinely say to the benches opposite, none of us oi'i this side are lying about our experiences here. we are not making things up, we are coming to you with genuine problems here, that the government
is failing to address. the dwp figures show that around one in four new claimants wait longer than six weeks to be paid. that is a 25% failure rate. now, given that this is still in its early days, that is staggeringly alarming. the green mp raised rumours that the government would not vote on the universal credit motion put before mps. i am hearing that political journalists are tweeting that the government is not planning to take part in the vote later tonight. i think that would be an absolute show of contempt for this chamber and for our constituents right around the country. is there really nothing that you can do, madam deputy speaker, to prevent this government from opting out of the democratic procedures of this chamber? but the deputy speaker, eleanor laing said such rumours were not a matter for her. now there was a fuss, you'll remember, at a previous opposition day when the conservatives didn't vote on a labour motion on the public sector pay cap. and during the day it had become clear, as caroline lucas had suggested, the conservatives weren't
going to take part this time either. so a nominal win for labour, although the government isn't bound by that vote. yet again the prime minister command a majority the house of commons. the prime minister is in office but not in power. it is quite clear that what has happened is the behaviour of this government is bringing the working arrangements of this house into disrepute. now, we're not going to get a government minister come to this house to explain why they didn't turn up here today, but what can you do to help this
house compel the leader of the house to come to this house to make a statement about the behaviour about this government and their refusal to participate the democratic arrangements of this house. gentlemen, the short answer, and i must be absolutely explicit response to the honourable gentleman, for his benefit and that of the house, it is not within the powers of the speaker to compel a minister or the leader of the house to do anything in this situation. we very much depend in this house, in this institution, in this great place on conventions, on precedent, and on a sense of respect for the will of the house. you're watching wednesday in parliament with me, alicia mccarthy. the government has rejected calls for the banning of surgical mesh implants. they're offered to patients to treat a number of conditions in women and men, such as internal organ prolapse and incontinence. high numbers of women have begun to come forward, claiming the mesh has twisted
or degraded and left them in debilitating pain. women in their 30s, 40s, 50s are telling us that they are struggling to walk. they have lost their sex lives and suffer from horrendous pain day in and day out. some are even suffering from post—traumatic stress disorder following the horrific impact the mesh has had on their quality of life. many other mps had stories of how their constituents had been affected, whilst others explained it was not easy to have the mesh removed. my constituents, alison, her mesh was put in too tight and she was in appalling, appalling pain. she had to travel all the way to manchester from cumbria to get treatment and now that she has had the partial removal, she is in a worse state than ever. now she has to go back to manchester again and does my honourable friend agree that something has to be done when we are helping people with the removal. i absolutely, completely agree. one consultant has written to explain the problems of mesh removal and she stated that once stuck the mesh is
never fully removed and failure of implanting means that the mesh will fuse, erode, stick and adhere to organs, nerves and blood vessels, creating lifelong injuries. emma hardy had a list of demands. first, commit to a full retrospective and mandatory audit of all interventions using mesh, followed by a full public enquiry. second, suspend prolapse and incontinence mesh operations while this audit is being carried out. third, bring forward the nice guidelines for mesh in stress—related urinary incontinence from 2019 to 2018 and fourth, raise awareness of this with the general public and with gps. the conservative who chairs the health select committee is also a gp. i don't agree that we should ban the mesh because for some women the symptoms of stress urinary incontinence or prolapse can themselves be life altering. so we should retain this as an option.
where in fact alternative procedures may give worse outcomes or potentially worse complications, but there must be adequate consultation with women about the risks, so that they can weigh up those risks. fundamentally, at the heart of this, there is an absence of data, and i am afraid there has been cavalier practice, we cannot allow this to continue in the future and i think the women that have been affected deserve an apology, they deserve recognition of the extent of this and the delays in which this has been recognised and is taken forward. but i think the most important aspect of this debate are the women who are suffering themselves and the most important thing we can do and my priority is to make sure that we are ensuring that they get the support and care and treatment that they need to alleviate a debilitating condition. but there was unhappiness in the chamber when the minister told mps the advice she had been given. mesh still is the best product for treating stress incontinence. booing.
but the evidence regarding prolapse is rather more mixed. but i can give that advice to members today, but we will await the nice guidelines at the end of the year. and she rejected calls for a public enquiry, provoking an angry response from emma hardy as she wound up the debate. the reaction you have just given is simply not good enough at all. and i am extremely disappointed, because i completely disagree with you, it is notjust about the procedure, it is also about the product and i hope that the weight of evidence from all the women we can see there, all the women that have emailed, all the constituents, all the people who have contacted regarding the mesh, have enough evidence to show you that this is more thanjust procedural, this is about the product and i also disagree that this is not the best treatment for women with urinary incontinence. and i urge you to please look again and i urge nationally women and men around the country
to send their letters and explain this to the minister so that hopefully the weight of e—mails and letters coming through her doorstep will show that this needs to be looked at again. so, thank you to all the brave women and men who have raised this issue. i want to reassure you that i will continue to be your voice in this debate and so will all the rest of the members of the appg and the tireless campaigning that the memberfor pontypridd has done on this issue and we will not let you down and we will keep pushing until we get a much more satisfactory answer to all the problems you have been suffering. hear, hear. now the government has announced plans to crack down on rogue property management agencies. in a commons statement, the housing minister alok sharma said the near total lack of regulation in the current system has led to a market where standards and safety come second to the pursuit of profit. but labour reckoned the statement was being made to waste parliamentary time as mps were due to start that debate on universal credit. the housing minister gave examples of the type of abuses
the government wanted to tackle. we have seen reports of broken windows being repaired with cardboard and sticky tape and of damp and mould simply being painted over. one landlord was billed £500 by his agent for repairing a shower door. whilst a group of leaseholders were charged ten times the market rate to have a new fire escape fitted. with a £30,000 contract, mr speaker, for the work being handed to the property owner's brother. he said you didn't need any qualifications or a criminal records check to call yourself an agent. so it is no surprise that some experts believe such agents are overcharging by as much as eli; billion every year. today we are setting out plans for fixing the problems in property management. we are publishing a call for evidence that outlines the challenges facing the sector, proposes some possible solutions and asks for the views of the people who know the market best. but labour said it was a big housing
crisis and small thinking from the government. my goodness, mr speaker! the government really is now scraping the bottom of the barrel. an oral statement on a call for evidence about property managing agents. not a statement on the grenfell tower fire and why only 14 of 200 surviving families yet have a new permanent home four months on, not a statement about bold government action in the face of homeownership hitting a 30 year low, rough sleeping doubling or the lowest level in new affordable house—building for 24 years. mr speaker, more than 80 members on all sides are wanting to speak in labour's next debate on universal credit. and yet we hear the house held up by the minister telling us he wants to create a fairer property management system that works for everyone. if he were a football
referee, the speaker would book the minister for time wasting! laughter. now the football association has apologised to two players after the former england women's boss mark sampson was found to have made discriminatory remarks to them. the apology came as one of the players involved appeared before the digital culture media and sport committee. the chair of the committee began the session by reading out the conclusions of the barrister katherine newton's reopened investigation into the claims. i have concluded that on two separate occasions, mark sampson made illjudged attempts at humour which as a matter of law were discriminatory on grounds of race within the meaning of the equality act 2010. what that refers to directly is that in katherine newton's opinion, mark sampson did use the term ebola when referring to eni aluko's family and that he did make the comment to drew spence suggesting
that she had been arrested four times and that on both grounds, katherine newton believes that the use of the language was discriminatory and a breach of the equalities act. the report found that mark sampson who has denied any wrongdoing was not racist, so what did eni aluko, who accused mark sampson of making racist remarks towards her and team—mate drew spence think of the findings? my overwhelming emotion really isjust relief, because it has been a long process of getting to this point. i say it in my statement that i am not the architect or engineer of any of the circumstances, i have pretty much been put in this situation but i was always honest and truthful about those comments and about other comments that i had raised and about the culture of the team under mark sampson and so i feel vindicated in that honesty and that truth and i am a human being and i feel relieved because it suggests that it was kind of all worth it to go through that trouble to now sort
of have that vindicated. and later in this session, the fa's chief executive apologised in person. one thing i want to reiterate, is that we want to offer a full and unreserved apology... excuse me, to drew and eniola. an independent report has found that they were subjected to discriminatory remarks, which is both against the equality act 2010 but to us every bit as important, against the values of the fa. now, let's go back to pmq's. the labour leaderjeremy corbyn focused the bulk of his questions not on universal credit, but on the government's handling of the economy. under this prime minister we have a weak economy. uk growth is currently the worst amongst the ten largest eu economies. we are the only major economy where wages are lower today
than they were ten years ago. even without the risks posed by this government's bungled brexit negotiations! it is very interesting that the home secretary is necessary to keep the two protagonists apart! laughter. mr speaker, we now have weak growth, falling productivity, falling investment, falling wages, how does the prime minister have the nerve to come here and talk about a strong economy when the figures show the exact opposite? prime minister! i have to say to the right honourable gentleman, the oecd says about the united kingdom, we have the most efficient, accessible health care system, fiscal sustainability has improved, important steps have been taken to improve educational outcomes and jobs and earnings are good. that is what the oecd says about the strong economy under this
conservative government. the way to get a weak economy is to borrow £500 billion like the labour party is proposing, the way to get a weak economy is to ensure that you are promising spending after spending after spending and people are going to have to pay for that. the only way you get money to put into public services, the only way we can give people tax cuts to help them with the cost of living is to ensure we deal with the deficit, get our debts down and deal with labour's great recession which put us into this position in the first place! the snp westminster group leader turned to brexit and questioned what the home secretary amber rudd had said the day before about brexit. that no deal is unthinkable.
i agree with the home secretary. exactly. mr speaker, brexit has contributed to a fall in the pound and the subsequent rise in inflation, squeezing household budgets. folk are getting poorer in britain today. hear, hear. it has been reported that government analysis showed that scotland and the north—east of england would lose from breakfast... brexit. well, that brexit — breakfast slip produced uproar in the chamber. ian black pressed on before the speaker hauled him up for taking too long to ask his question. but the honourable gentleman must help himself by asking a brief question, i think... order! i think the honourable gentleman has completed his question. no? well... last sentence... order! last sentence and it has be very brief. very last sentence. far too long. come on, quickly! what is the government's analysis on the impact of brexit in a no deal? i am sorry that in his rather lengthy question, he did not make any reference to the fact that since 2010, nearly a quarter of a million more people in scotland are in work. that is as a result of the actions
of this government. a backbencher raised the news that the conservative mp douglas ross was to miss the debate on universal credit to be an assistant referee at a champions league match! mr ross is in spain for the barcelona versus olympiakos game. does the prime minister notice i am wearing a red card in my pocket today? she will be aware that the honourable member for moray is not in his place. indeed he is in barcelona, doing his otherjob, today of all days. what signal does she think this sends to hard—working members of the public who are expected to turn up for their day jobs or face sanctions? i have to say to the honourable gentleman that i think the constituents of moray will be very pleased that they have a conservative member of parliament who is seeing their interests here in this house.
jeering. and i can say... and i can say to the honourable gentleman that the conservatives, the scottish conservative members are doing more for the interests of scotland in this parliament than the scottish nationalists have ever done! theresa may. and that is it from me for now. but do tune in at the same time tomorrow for another round—up of the day here at westminster when among other things, mps will put questions to the transport secretary chris grayling and then hold a debate on smoking. over in the lords, ministers will face questions on fuel poverty and then discuss commemorating the battle of passchendaele. but for now, from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye. hello. if you want to see what the weather
has in store for the british isles in the coming days, you basically just have to take a look towards the atlantic, because low pressures are queueing up. temperatures, 12— 13 first thing. rain with the cloud in central and southern england, the midlands, the north—east of england. the east, bright skies. sunshine for a time. rain is piling into the south—west of england and wales by the afternoon. strong winds for southern and western coasts thursday and friday. a risk of gales around the cornish coast. wet and windy. a great improvement as the day goes on. the wind will fall light. rain clears. cloud, but what a difference. highs of 15 — 16
degrees. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm duncan golestani. our top stories: you'll be held accountable — the us warns myanmar‘s army over the deepening rohingya refugee crisis in bangladesh. donald trump denies a congresswoman‘s claims that he was insensitive during a phone call to the widow of a soldier killed in action. fears of food shortages in cash—strapped zimbabwe after it bans fruit and vegetable imports. and the dark arts under the spotlight at a museum in milan.