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tv   Thursday in Parliament  BBC News  September 6, 2019 2:30am-3:01am BST

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the british prime minister, borisjohnson, has insisted that holding an early general election is the only way progress can be made on brexit. at the end of another difficult day, mrjohnson said he'd rather "be dead in a ditch" than ask the european union for another delay. the health minister of the bahamas has said hurricane dorian‘s impact on the country's northern islands has been unimaginable, and the final death toll will be staggering. at least 70,000 people are said to need urgent help. the storm is currently off the east coast of the united states. german chancellor angela merkel is on a three—day visit to china to push for greater access to markets there. over the past year, germany has called on the eu to adopt a tougher line on china, but analysts believe her government may be softening its stance to avoid economic damage. now on bbc news:
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thursday in parliament. hello, and welcome to thursday in parliament. coming up: the government confirms it's to try again to call an early general election. a minister says the date won't be shifted to after brexit day. what i can assure the house about is that the date will be set in the date will be stuck to. and the date will be stuck to. but labour remains sceptical. we simply will not vote for a general election unless and until an extension of article 50 has been secured guaranteeing this country can be dragged out with no deal. also on this programme: peers finally begin debate on the bill extending the brexit deadline. and one mp thinks the review of h52
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should go a whole lot further. i urge him to take a deep breath and look at a comprehensive assessment across car, bus, train and indeed new technologies such as 5g and broadband. but first: what next for boris johnson's government after parliament passed a bill asking him to extend the brexit timetable to stop the uk leaving the eu without a deal and rejected his call for a mid 0ctober general election. well it was down to the leader of the house, jacob rees mogg to set out the next moves and the list of items for mps to deal with on monday. he announced they'd consider any changes the lords had made to the brexit timetable bill and that would be. followed by a motion relating to an early parliamentary general election. the house will not adjourn until it has been received and to all acts.
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those ooohs and ahhs there the reaction to the news that the government was going to have another go at calling an early general election. and that reference to making sure all acts had royal assent was an attempt to counter opposition concerns that the government might try to circumvent the brexit timetable bill and take the uk out of the eu without a deal on october the 31st. jeremy corbyn has said party would back an election after the bill had been passed, but not before. so, several mps tried to clear things up. when the motion is consider on monday, will the bill that the house of commons passed yesterday on ruling out no deal, will that have received royal assent? the reason i ask this is a distantly heard the opposition saying yesterday that once this bill became law he would vote for an early general election. royal assent will be given the once the bill is completed its passage through the house of lords and back to us if necessary with any amendments.
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i cannot predict with their lordships will do but if it completes those stages it will receive royal assent and will receive it speedily. at the house agrees to election day on the 15th of october on monday leader of the house is very knowledgeable about procedural issues, is there any device of the prime minister could use to move that date to be on the 31st of october of the host is paroled to take the country out with no deal? what i can assure the house about is that the date will be set in the date will be stuck to i think everybody in this house wants to see this issue settled. it's the one thing we have agreement about and the best way to settle it is through a general election and a general election before the slst of october. doesn't the leader of the house understand that such is the lack of trust in this government because of its behaviour that we simply will not vote
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for a general election unless and until an extension of article 50 has been secured guaranteeing this country cannot be dragged out with no deal? that's the condition. mr speaker, the condition seems to change because the condition was that the legislation was passed. if enacted and given royal assent, if that is the law of the land then that will be the law of the land. and if members think it through, the government would not want an election after that law had taken effect and we had to ask for an extension. the last thing this government wants to do is to ask for an extension. well all of that came against a backdrop of the news that borisjohnson‘s brotherjo had had decided to quit the government and parliament saying he was "torn between family loyalty and the national interest. labour pounced on that.
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the prime minister's own brother cannot take it any more. and the snp‘s spokesperson was even more scathing. can i congratulate the leader of the house on what has been an incredible week, not for becoming an internet sensation with his victorian lying down stuff, but with steady management of the house business has managed to lose every single vote for this prime minister. no prime minister has ever got off to such a terrible start. he has managed to lose his government majority by deselecting decent and honourable members of his own party who have served their country with such distinction. in a few hours we have had the resignation of the right honourable member and his desire to spend less time with his family. mr speaker, there's only one piece of business that the honourable gentleman craves and that's to secure this general election while still being able to get the no deal that they crave.
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and to his great frustration into the brexit cult that occupied these benches that have been enabled to get away with that. his general election is coming but everybody has to be certain that no deal is dead and buried. and the funny thing about that was saying is scottish conservative growth of the lobby in favour of an immediate general election on a day that an opinion poll showed that they had been decimated in scotland. mr speaker, if you want to see a demonstration of loyalty to the no—deal brexit, it look no farther than these honourable gentlemen. it's turkeys lathering themselves in cranberry sauce and shoving the stuffing up their own posterior. what we have seen today, is i think in history unprecedented. unknown, unseen. we have seen a frightened scotsman. that, people who are known for their courage and forthrightness and sturdiness, and they are
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scared of going in front of their own voters. they have run away from an election they are, wasn't it? beast they must be called mr speaker who dare not face their voters, and ijust wonder whether this is because of the narrow majority of the honourable member has. as to jo johnson's resignation, he said many families disagreed on brexit. my enormously distinguished wise and good sister has gone and joined the brexit party, and onlyjoined it but got elected to the european parliament. so we all have within our families these disagreements over an issue that is a fundamental important to ask, thank you mr speaker, is a fundamental importance to us all.
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shortages of fuel, food and medicine, and three months of chaos at uk ports last month's leak of a confidential government report painted a worrying picture of what might happen in the event of a no—deal brexit. the labour chair of the brexit committee today questioned the minister in charge of no deal planning about what progress had been made, starting with the supply of food. last sunday you said there would be no shortages of fresh fruits, as you will be aware of the british retail consortium put out a statement saying, and i quote, it is categorically untrue that the supply of fresh fruit will be unaffected under a no—deal brexit. could you tell the committee why the british retail consortium which actually distributes the food is wrong? well, i can't know exactly why they chose the words they did, but i do know two things which are material. the first is you were kind enough to invite andrew of the group to give evidence yesterday
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and he gave welcome clarity, it's the case that when people talk about shortages they imagine empty shelves and they imagine the standard range of choice which with we have all become familiar will somehow be reduced, the imagine a situation similar to one that might occur in a dreadful extreme weather event record fuel crisis. the point that they made and indeed i worked with him and for others, is that they are talking about likely disruption and indeed there is the potential for disruption, and we will go on to exactly how likely that is, and we can talk about the categories that may be affected by that, it will affect fresh fruit in various ways and potentially
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cost and pressure. the point that i made in the interview is that in the event of a reasonable worst—case scenario what we are likely to see is the price of some food commodities rise, and the price of others fall. there were also questions over a warning about a shortage of wooden palettes after a no—deal brexit because of differing regulations. broadly, of the operators between the uk and the eu over three quarters come from the eu and carry goods into the uk and collect goods in the uk and take them back. almost by definition those themselves will have the appropriate pallets as they come into the uk because they will be eu complaint at that time. that's helpful but it does not quite answer the question, are there enough pallets complying? the specific question their commitment goes to a broader point, is i could be anyone could be asked will there be enough x or y in any scenario, and it all depends by what they mean as enough. any market scenario
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is that the government can obviously seek to see the market operate as effectively as possible and ensure that traffic in freight flow as quickly as possible having been alerted months ago to the situation, this is every step in order to deal with that. it doesn't sound to me from those answers that you know the answer to the question. are there enough? he would accept, because you put out guidance that there could be quite serious consequences for goods. the turn up in the eu not only permitted palette which could ultimately lead to the destruction of the consignment. it was advice you had given. can i ask you one more time and if you don't know the answer that's fine just say i don't know, are there enough of the required pallets, yes or no? i think i would challenge as it's possible to ask a question that appears reasonable but contains an assumption. that is impossible
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to objectively verify. that was a wonderful sir humphrey answer, but i think as they say we will take that as a no, you can't answer that question. you can take it in any way you think. i will. the two men could at least agree on one thing: the truth of all this is that no one including yourself could know what would happen. would that be a fair assessment? the future is known only to the almighty. well, he is not a witness before the committee today. not today. you're watching thursday in parliament, with me, alicia mccarthy. you can follow me on twitter at @bbcalicia. this week, it was revealed that the first phase of the hs2 high speed railway between london and birmingham will be delayed by up
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to five years. the total cost has also risen from £62 billion to between £81—88 billion. last month, the government said it would review the costs and benefits of the project, with a "go or no—go" decision by the end of the year. the new transport secretary, grant shapps, was called to the commons to answer mps‘ questions about the developments. he was challenged by the former conservative minister, who had acted as theresa may's effective deputy and whose constituency is on the planned rail route. enabling works for hs2 are still being carried out along phase one of the route. ancient woodlands are being felled, productive farmland is being occupied and used by hs2 limited. public money is being spent on these works while the review, as my right honourable friend says, may lead to recommendation to cancel
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or significantly change the project altogether. so will the secretary of state now accept that those works are prejudicial to the outcome of the review that he has established, and order that they cease? 0n the enabling works — look, we are in a position where i have to make a "go or a no—go" decision about this in december. and i know that this won't delight my right honourable friend, but it seemed to me that even to be in that position, if we didn't continue to make the works, i wouldn't be in a "go or no—go" decision. i'm sorry to disappoint him, but that is the current position, and then we can take a decision. we've been consistently told by his predecessors and his then ministerial team that the 2015 figure of {55.7 billion for the entire project was the full cost of h52, and that there was no reason to change it. mr speaker, it is hard to conclude with anything other than it has been plain and obvious for some considerable time that this
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was not accurate. so i asked the transport secretary, when was his predecessor told that the figure of {55.7 billion was inaccurate or sustainable, and when was he first told that the timetable for the delivery could not be adhered to? grant shapps said the first that he had received advice on the scheme was one august. i too would like to welcome the secretary of state to his new position. he must be so thankful to have an inherited another failing grayling legacy. mr speaker, we know that these delays have been covered up since 2016, and while i welcome the review, should there not be an inquiry into the hiding of key information from the house? can ijust say that this opportunity to review entirely this project should be grasped with both hands by the secretary of state, and he should actually review the nationwide transport and communication policy. and i urge him to take a deep breath
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and look at a comprehensive assessment across car, bus, air, train, and indeed, the new technologies such as 56 and broadband — because i think it is essential that we look at the technological advances before we let this project go any further. but supporters of hs2 spoke out, as well. he must understand the huge disappointment in the east midlands that hsz phase 2b, which will transform connectivity as the honourable gentleman hasjust said — right honourable gentlemen, apologies — between birmingham and the economies of the midlands, yorkshire, the northeast, and scotland. it is now facing a delay of up to seven years, or even cancellation. and that is particularly the case when the chancellor yesterday failed to even mention the midlands rail hub in his spending review. and when his predecessor not only repeatedly assured us that hsz would happen, but also cancelled the electrification of the midland mainline. a pleasure to have the question from the transport select committee
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chair. the one thing i can assure is that this £48 billion of other unrelated rail investment over the next few years, so both the midlands in the northern powerhouse rail side of things will certainly have huge, massive investments. grant shapps there. now to the lords, where peers began their debate on the bill extending the brexit deadline which was passed in the commons on wednesday night. it requires the prime minister to write to the eu asking for an extension until the end of january if there's no fresh deal, or parliament has not agreed to accept a no deal exit by 19 0ctober. meanwhile, peers had been having a battle of their own, as brexiteers tried to use a series of votes to take up time in an attempt to stop the bill ever getting to the wicket in the lords. in the end, they backed down, accepting it would be debated. labour's lord rooker spoke first. the prime minister's timetable means we are in no real position, whatever the business arrangements for monday, to ask the commons to think again on this bill.
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it amounts to almost a national emergency in terms of legislation. he is taking back control from parliament in action, rather than an empty rhetoric. so i applaud... will the noble lady to give way, please? she has talked about the coalition of people who have grouped together to propose this bill, which essentially delays brexit for a minimum of three months. can she tell us please what the coalition of people intend to do with those three months? we are perfectly open about the fact they've coalesced on a specific, narrow purpose to prevent massive harm to the people of this country. beyond that, there will be further discussion about how to proceed. this bill will of course go through, but any ideas that it will solve all our problems can been dismissed here. those dilemmas ahead will be not only for my own party and the government, but for the labour party,
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as well, as the morning newspapers and morning broadcasts make very clear. these are very difficult questions for labour to have to resolve. he turned to the problem of how to stop a hard border on the island of ireland. there are massive alternatives which have been worked out with huge authority by a vast array of people by consulting on border operations throughout the world, by taking examples everywhere, by drawing back into the history of the northern ireland border in immense detail by analysing precisely the kind of traffic going across every day, by taking into account that we remain with a republic in the common travel area and outside. these details do exist. could he name anywhere in the world where there are different customs unions sharing a border without the sort of hard border which is of concern to everyone?
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the only way, if we leave the customs union and single market, of solving the problem in ireland is to have a border down the irish sea and cut northern ireland off. is that wiwhat the conservative and unionist party wishes to do? that statement brings forth a manichaean approach. there are other controls in line already on animal and weapons down the irish sea. parliament has, i regret to say, sought to thwart at every turn the interpretation of the implementation of that decision of the british people. this bill is but the latest instalment of that said endeavour. it of course gets us nowhere. and the failure of the noble baroness to answer the question
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posed by the noble lord was eloquent in its admission that those who came together to support the bill before your lordships, both in the other place and in this house, are not in any sense in agreement about the next steps and about what ought to be done. now mps have been told that the uk government will take direct powers over northern ireland "at the earliest opportunity" if the stormont assembly can't be restored before britain leaves the eu. northern ireland has been without a devolved government for 2.5 years. stormont was suspended in january 2017, following a row between the main power sharing parties, the dup and sinn fein. since the collapse of devolution, civil servants have been taking day—to—day decisions. the northern ireland secretary told mps he would do everything he could to restore power sharing.
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democratically—elected politicians in northern ireland are best placed to take the decisions needed to support hospitals, schools, and the police. i've seen the excellent work of civil servants in northern ireland over the last few weeks, but they cannot of course take the proactive decisions that are needed on public services or the economy in the run—up to 310ctober. if we cannot secure the restoration of an executive, we will pursue the decision—making powers that are needed at the earliest opportunity. julian smith was answering an urgent question from his labour shadow, who said some form of "direct governance" would be needed if there's a no—deal brexit. mr speaker, if this were your constituency, whether it be wales or scotland, this situation would not be allowed to happen. hopefully the secretary of state shares with me the view that this cannot be allowed to frustrate and put northern ireland into a position of discomfort or worse. the honourable gentleman asks about dangers —
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i mean, i think i've been very honest with the house. powers are needed not only to ensure that the current situation where civil servants across northern ireland are making difficult decisions without political direction, but obviously in the run—up to either a deal or no deal, that the very tricky decisions can be made, and i'm sure those will have to be made at pace. the impact of no deal on the devolved nations has been documented, with northern ireland in particular — it's trying to row back from its 2017joint. does the uk government not see that this particular game of brinkmanship that the prime minister is playing could have catastrophic consequences for the people of northern ireland? and will he now commit to ensure that no deal is taken off the table? does he agree that the actions of labour party yesterday in forcing
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through the pro—eu, anti—democratic surrender bill will make it more difficult for the government to reach an agreement with the eu, and therefore produce a situation in which direct rule is likely? and will he give us an assurance that he will not shy away from the decision which should have, quite frankly, been made a long time ago? julian smith said his focus was on getting a deal, but mps were concerned he wasn't involved in the decision to suspend or prorogue parliament, in which they won't return to westminster until the middle of october. given the unique challenges that prorogation or dissolution presents the northern ireland office, why wasn't the secretary of state consulted by the prime minister or dominic cummings before the prorogation plan was agreed? as i said, the cabinet was updated immediately before the decision, you would have to ask others on the first part of your question. and the minister's predecessor raised concerns about the impact of closing parliament. but can he ensure that while prorogation is in place, the government does not stop working for those that need it? and by that i mean the victims
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of historical institutional sexual abuse, and those that were severely physically and psychologically disabled in the troubles through no fault of their own? they need redressing urgently, can the minister assured me he will deliver that? julian smith said he hoped a new law to help victims would be in the queen's speech when parliament returns. and that's it from me for now, but dojoin me on bbc parliament on friday night at 11pm for our look back at an astonishing parliamentary week, filled with historic votes, resignations, and defections. but for now from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye.
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hello there. this week has been very changeable up—and—down temperatures, one day sunny and the next day windy and wet. it looks like we are ending the week in fact on friday with wetter and windier weather for many but as a band of rain slips southwards we will see return to sunshine with blustery showers as well. it's courtesy of this next area of low pressure moving in. to the north of scotland where the isobars are closer together. windy conditions through friday and this band of rain first thing friday morning will be across more central areas, spreading slowly southwards and eastwards as the day wears on. eventually becomes confined to southern counties of england, and behind that the skies brighten up. plenty of sunshine around but also blustery showers and some will be heavy in the north—west and it will feel cool once again with temperatures in the mid to high teens celsius. it stays breezy as we head on into friday evening. that weather front clears away from the south, skies clear and for many. a couple of showers across coastal areas otherwise sunny spells
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and with the cool air in place it will be a fairly chilly start to saturday. and temperatures in single figures for many, particularly out of town in the north. high pressure builds into weekend for both saturday and sunday it looks like we should be mainly dry thanks to this big ridge of high pressure. light winds as well but the air will be on the cool side. we start saturday off on a chilly note with plenty of sunshine around. still breezy and windy down the eastern coastal areas with feeding in a couple of showers otherwise for most, apart from an isolated shower, should be dry through the afternoon. sunny spells and temperatures in the low to mid teens in the north, 18—20 across the south. high pressure still with us on into sunday. the weather front may bring a bit more cloud to the north—west corner of scotland but most places will be under the influence of this high but it will be a chilly start on sunday up and down the country.
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bright with plenty of sunshine around. it could bring thicker cloud and more of a breeze to the far north—west, most places shall see sunny spells. fairweather cloud during the day. again, temperatures after a chilly start reaching the mid— high teens celsius. as we head on into monday it looks like we have another weather system pushing in from the north—west. that will bring a band of rain and the wind will pick up once again so a messy picture for monday with outbreaks of rain, some of it heavy moving across scotland and then into england and wales. it brightens up behind the rain band again, blustery showers following on. cooler air as well, 14—16 degrees.
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welcome to bbc news, i'm duncan golestani. our top stories: britain's prime minister says he'd rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask the european union for a further delay to brexit. it costs £1 billion a month, it achieves absolutely nothing, what on earth is the point of further delay. the devastation of hurricane dorian in the bahamas — at least 70,000 people need urgent help a special report fom alaska, where developers want president trump to remove environmental protections in america's largest national forest. and the first female rapper to officially sell 100 million albums and singles, nicki minaj, has announced her retirement from music.

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