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tv   Thursday in Parliament  BBC News  December 20, 2019 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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record temperatures are continuing to fuel unprecedented bushfires in australia. a state of emergency is in force in new south wales, where more than a hundred fires are burning. the country's prime minister has bowed to pressure to return from holiday, as forecasters say even hotter weather is expected at the weekend. there've been more angry exchanges in the us congress over how to proceed with the impeachment of president trump. republicans want a quick trial in the senate, without witnesses, while democrats are hoping to call key white house officials. mr trump has tweeted that he wants an immediate trial. at least three people have died in india as protests against the new citiczenship law spread across the country. police arrrested thousands of people who defied the ban on demonstrations, which has been imposed in the capital, delhi, and some other states.
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now on bbc news, thursday in parliament. hello, and welcome to thursday in parliament, where it's down to business for mps following last week's general election. the queen comes to westminster for the second time in ten weeks, setting out the government's to—do list for the year. and there's no prizes for guessing what's at the top. my government's priority is to deliver the united kingdom's departed from the european union on the 31st of january. labour says the government has tried to mimic some of its priorities. on austerity, on investment, on inequality and on the national health service and we can see how we force
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the terrain to shift. but boris johnson's predicting a positive future. i do not think it vainglorious or impossible to say that a new golden age for this united kingdom is now in reach. mid—morning, the queen set off from buckingham palace for the state opening of parliament, a ceremony she's more than familiar with, having taken part in it 66 times during her reign. but having done the whole thing just ten weeks ago ahead of the election, this was an altogether more dressed—down affair than usual. instead of a horse—drawn carriage, this time, a waiting car carried the queen the short distance along the mall and down to houses of parliament. arriving with less than the usual pomp at the sovereign‘s entrance. and this time, there was no changing into the state robes and crown. the queen sticking with her day dress and hat for this morning's ceremony. the queen processed through the lords, accompanied as she has been in recent years by prince charles, who will one day take on the role. the queen and prince charles
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took their seats, with the crown placed next to the sovereign. the lords was packed with peers in their ermine robes, and once everyone was in place, black rod, the lords‘ most senior official, was despatched to the commons to summon mps. it's a short walk between the two chambers, and when black rod sarah clarke arrived at the commons, the door was slammed in herface, a show of the house's independence. in one of the most famous parliamentary scenes, she knocked three times, and once allowed in, delivered the message from the queen. mr speaker, the queen commands this honourable house to attend the peers immediately. but there was one thing missing, the cheeky heckle from the veteran labour mp dennis skinner, who lost his seat after nearly 50 years in the commons. then mps left their benches and filed off to the lords, leaving their chamber and crossing central lobby. many took the chance for a chat, butjeremy corbyn and borisjohnson appeared to make
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the walk in silence. and once they'd arrived at the lords, they gathered at the entrance known as "the bar" to finally hear the speech. and there were no surprises about what was top of the list. my government's priority is to deliver united kingdon‘s departure from the european union on the 31st of january. to bring forth the uk's exit on that day and to make the most of the opportunities that this brings for all the people of the united kingdom. there were 30 bills listed in the speech, including measures on the nhs. for the first time some of the national health service's multiyear funding settlement agreed earlier this year will be enshrined in law. steps will be taken to grow and support the national health service's workforce and a new visa will ensure qualified doctors, nurses and health professionals have fast—track entry to the united
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kingdom. hospital car parking charges will be removed for those in greatest need. and there was a promise to act on social care and a plan to bring in a points—based immigration system. changes to the justice system were also set out. new sentencing laws will ensure the most serious violent offenders including terrorists serve longer in custody. new laws will require schools, police, councils and health authorities to work together to prevent serious crime. my government will ensure those charged with night —— knife possession face with the justice and that the courts work better for all those who are engaged with them. including victims of domestic abuse. there'd be cuts to national insurance contributions, changes to business rates and better
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broadband and a bill to improve air quality and ban the export of plastic waste to some countries. with the speech over, the queen left the palace of westminster to return to her palace, from where she'll set off on her annual christmas trip to sandringham. mps and peers took a break for lunch before returning to begin debating what they'd heard. by tradition, the opposition leader has their say ahead of the prime minister, and sojeremy corbyn took to the despatch box. labour suffered its worst defeat since the 1930s last week, reduced to 203 mps, down from the 215 before the election. jeremy corbyn welcomed all new members to the commons. being a member of parliament is a massive achievement. it's a massive honour and i would've thought in witnessing our opening proceedings today many of us might think what on earth am i taking on and the pantomime season has come
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very early this year. but i think that... look behind you. if i may continue, mr speaker. i would also like to pay tribute to those members who lost their seats in the general election because to serve in parliament and fight an election and then not be returned is an amazingly traumatic experience. when they put such huge amount of work into the campaign and the work they have done and the trauma they must all feel is something that i think everyone in this house should just think about on the human side of what it is like to go through that experience. so i pay tribute to them and thank them all. he reminded mps there'd been another queen's speech just a few weeks ago. it is just two months ago that the prime minister made the queen come here in the rain as part of a pre—election stunt. since then, he has made many promises to many different parts of the country. he has promised to address problems that are a result
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of his own party's action in government and their political choice to impose austerity cuts on this country. and there can no longer be any doubt that austerity has caused unnecessary suffering to millions of people all across this country. the communities to whom the prime minister made his promise will now judge him on whether he keeps them. in this queen's speech, the government has tried to mimic some of the priorities and interestingly much of the language of labour policies, but without the substance. on austerity, on investment, on equality, on the national health service, we can see how we forced the terrain to shift. as this queen's speech shows, what the government is actually proposing is woefully inadequate for the scale of the problems that this country faces. our nhs, the country's most precious institution, is on its knees due to this tory government. the government now talks about enshrining the funding settlement in law.
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enough of the gimmicks, just fund it properly. i don't remember the last labour government having to pass a law to force itself to invest in the nhs, yet it increased nhs funding by a rate of 6% per year. and he concluded... as this government ploughs ahead with its programme of gimmicks and false promises, we will be holding them to account every step of the way! and campaigning inside and outside parliament and across this country for the real change that this government sadly will not deliver, but that our country so desperately needs. laughter. jeremy corbyn. the contest to replace him as labour leader is due to begin injanuary. well, for boris johnson, this was an extraordinary day.
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buoyed up by a majority of 80, he was able to set out a very different queen's speech to the one delivered just a few weeks ago, when he was struggling to lead a minority government and setting out plans he knew would not be delivered. this time, he said he'd been able to listen to the people who wanted brexit done and politics moved on. building hospitals, renewing our schools, modernising our infrastructure, making our streets safer, our environment cleaner, our union stronger. and this queen's speech of this people's government sets in motion a vast interlocking programme to unite and level up across the whole united kingdom and unleash the potential of all our people. he said his one nation government would enshrine in law increases in nhs spending, toughen up the justice system, take back control of our borders and protect the environment. i do not think it vainglorious or implausible to say that a new golden age for this united kingdom is now within reach and in spite of the scoffing, in spite of the negativity,
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in spite of the criticism that you will hear from the other side, we will work flat out to deliver it! if he really believes in the people, then people of scotland should have their say in a referendum. mr speaker, i think it was nicola sturgeon herself who said that the referendum in 2014 was a once in a generation... boris johnson promised changes to a law closer to home. we will establish a constitutional rights commission to present proposals to restore trust in our democracy. and as a first step, we will repeal the fixed—term parliaments act. so that never, never again can we have the ludicrous spectacle of an opposition party trying to defy the will of a majority
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of the house and run away, run away from a general election. but he did have some warm words forjeremy corbyn as he comes to the end of his time as labour leader. as our exchanges across these despatch boxes come towards a close, alas, let me say... let me say that our personal relations have always been excellent and as for all our disagreements, i have never doubted that the right honourable gentleman's beliefs are deeply held. and his sincerity is to be admired. and he had this message for the british people. we owe you. we know it. and we will deliver. and we have now the energy, we have the ideas, we have the mandate, we have the people and we will spare no effort to fulfil that mandate. as we engage full—tilt now in this mission of change,
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i am filled with invincible confidence in the ability of this nation, our united kingdom, our united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland, to renew itself in this generation as we have done so many times in the past. and after the dither, after the delay, after the deadlock, after the paralysis and the platitudes, the time has come for change and the time has come for action and it is action the british people will get from this gracious speech, this most gracious speech and i commend it to the house! borisjohnson. of course, the tories weren't the only party to have a good election. the snp picked up 13 seats, meaning they now have 48 of scotland's 59 constituencies. but the chamber began to empty when the snp's westminster leader, ian blackford, stood up. he wasn't impressed by what he'd heard. there was absolutely nothing in that address from the prime minister
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for the people of scotland, and i hope for people that were watching and listening back home that it was led by the announcement "this is not for viewers and listeners in scotland". this morning, scotland's first minister nicola sturgeon has written to the prime minister to demand the transfer of legal powers to the scottish government to hold a second independence referendum under section 30 of the scotland act. mr speaker, as the first minister outlines, there has been a material change of circumstances since the independence referendum of 2014 based on the prospect of scotland leaving the european union against its will. and it is for the prime minister to explain to the people of scotland why he is denying scotland the right to choose our own future.
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the snp got 45% of the vote, a 20% difference to the government. we got 80% of the members of parliament that sit on these benches. some time, someday, the prime minister is going to have to respect democracy. the prime minister can't and will not continue to say no. and he rebuked the prime minister for looking at his phone instead of listening to his speech. the image of the prime minister playing with his phone, not listening to the scottish national party, says it all. mr speaker, the people of scotland did not vote for this prime minister. scotland did not vote for this conservative government. and we certainly did not vote for this con of a tory plan set out today. after the leading actors had had their say, it was onto the supporting cast. first to her feet — borisjohnson‘s predecessor, theresa may.
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i've been in this house for over 22 years, and this is the largest number of conservative members of parliament i have seen in this house. and i would like to congratulate my right honourable friend for leading our party to an overwhelming victory. one thing now is certain. the lobby is going to be rather crowded. but may ijust personally say it's going to be a rather welcome change to see all conservative mps going through the same lobby. i think the big thing that represents a seismic shift in government policy, which i welcome, is the introduction of optimism. the enthusiasm, the belief that this country can achieve great things.
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the belief that we don't have to constantly cut, under the maastricht criteria, and we should no longer make the same objective of economic policy. but there were dissenting voices. who was it, mr speaker, who cut them in the first place? and the prime minister has been very keen to talk about the past as though it was a different country. it i simply will ask him and remind him that he has notjust been the prime minister for a few hundred days, but he has been an mp, the mayor of london. he cannot dodge responsibility. there was no mention of wales whatsoever in the queen's speech. and the promise to england, how will that find its way to wales and finally, asking the same question as me, how much longer do we need the wales office four. looking at the behaviour of this place, there'll be people outside begging the question that surely wells can do a bit better than this. inevitably, brexit was
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a key talking point. with the stronger negotiating position which it has, i would say to the prime minister, use your parliamentary majority. use the fact that you're no longer and europe can no longer rely on the government of the united kingdom to be undermined by actions in this house and by decisions in this house. get changes made that will leave the united kingdom, and that we get brexit done, and we get it done for the whole united kingdom. the prime minister and the conservative party now on brexit. it is their total and complete responsibility. they cannot blame anyone else anymore. they have become the brexit party, from top to bottom. and the question, of course, is this. will the prime minister get brexit done? more precisely, will he get it done by the end of the year, so we can avoid the disaster of a no—deal brexit? well, we shall see.
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well, there are 140 new mps in the commons, and they all have to give their maiden speech. the first to do so was colum eastwood, who is the leader of the social democratic and labour party, the sdlp, a party that until the election had no representation at westminster. we intend to represent nationalists, unionists, and everybody else, and we will do that to the best of our ability. but mr speaker, this prime minister wants to drag us out of the european union against our will. and i know he's got a huge majority, but the only majority that i'm concerned about is the pro—remain majority in northern ireland that has thankfully got its voice back in this place. we may be few in number, mr deputy speaker, but we tend to be very loud in voice. colum eastwood. in the lords, a motion thanking
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the queen for her speech was proposed by the former conservative chancellor, lord lamont, who began by reflecting on the surprise result last week. i spent my teenage years, as did my friend, the noble lord, living in grimsby, a town with dreadful social problems. i often fantasised, and i still do today, that one day grimsby town football club are going to win the cup. but i never fa ntasised that they would never have a conservative mp. lord lamont reflected on the government's top priority, taking the uk out of the eu. i made my maiden speech in the house of commons in 1972, supporting and joining the ec, as it then was. i never imagined that, 45 years later, i should find myself standing in this house, supporting measures to reverse that decision.
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lord hennessy once suggested that my own general scepticism came from the fact that i lived my early years in the islands with connections to norway. the mp once filled in a form asking where his nearest railway station, and he wrote bourbon. shetland was the only place that voted against membership in the 1975 referendum, but this had less to do with links to the vikings, and more to do with the fact that the government distributed to every house a leaflet detailing the advantages of the common market. the leaflet had a map of the uk on the front, but it left shetland off the map completely. not even in the usual insulting little box in the top right—hand corner.
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but, of course, shetland was ahead of its time. labour's leader in the lords turned to plans to make changes to the upper house. i want to see a stronger house. but have to say, it would make being leader of the opposition a lot more enjoyable. they might not welcome that, but what i do want is a responsible house, effective revising chamber. this house here, we support without opposition the noble lord to reduce the size of the house. if mrjohnson's new majority government is serious about reform, there is an opportunity to work across the house with all parties to reduce numbers. with a large majority, the appetite to accept amendments that we pass may initially be very limited. we will have to choose our battles carefully. but that does not, in my view, mean that we should retreat entirely from the field.
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i suspect, for example, that your lordships‘ house will wish to give the very close scrutiny to any constitutional changes that the government may bring forward and in particular, any proposals to tilt the balance of power towards the executive, and away from parliament or the courts. now, by tradition, the motion on the queen's speech in the commons is proposed and seconded by two government backbenchers. one is often an ex—minister, the other a possible rising star. by convention, their speeches are light—hearted and non—controversial. the former sports minister tracey crouch said being asked by the chief whip to propose the motion was possibly the most terrifying thing she had ever done. the speech is usually a gift reserved by the whips for those thought to have had their best times. the chief, a man well—known for his elegance, charm and wit,
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has clearly clocked it's panto season. so asking me to do this is the equivalent of shouting, your career is behind you. oh, no, it isn't! i think we can do a bit better than that. ifeel a bit more reassured if the prime minister could perhaps join in. there was a dig at a high—profile actor who campaigned against the conservatives. i have thought, mr speaker, of continuing the love, actually election theme, by delivering a speech with the choir singing carols in the background. but one, we're not allowed to bring props into the chamber. two, i think hugh grant has suffered enough. and three, it would be simply
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impossible to fit all the names of the new conservative intake. she finished her speech with a nod to a former constituent and parliamentary reporter, charles dickens. chatham's hero, dickens, may have been a great social reformer, but he also observed that there is nothing in this world so irresistible as laughter and good humour. perhaps it would be no bad guide as we repair this house of commons in the coming months. let laughter and good humour and let friendships thrive through adversity, and let us respect our differences, but not let them divide us. and, of course, let tottenham finish above arsenal in the league. seconding the motion, eddie hughes recalled one of his predecessors from the 1970s, and the last time his seat was won from labour by the tories. they only managed to win it at that time because the labour mp faked his own death.
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while on a business trip to miami, he left a pile of clothes on the beach, pretending that he'd gone for his his swim, never to be seen again. well, he was a damn fine swimmer, because five weeks later, he came up 10,000 miles away to melbourne, australia. eddie hughes on the last time the tories had managed to win his seat from the labour party. and that's it from me for now, on the day the new parliament got down to work. we'll be back at the same time tomorrow, as mps hold their first debate and vote on the withdrawal agreement bill, taking the uk out of the eu. but for now, from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye. hello there. for many parts of the uk
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on thursday, the rainjust kept on coming. some places have already had some flooding. low pressure was to the west of the british isles — see that swirl of cloud on the satellite picture — the low pulling various pulses of rain up from the south. it means the ground is now very wet indeed. there is a bit more rain in the forecast through the hours ahead, so especially across parts of england, but also some areas of wales, there is likely to be some further flooding. all the latest weather warnings and flood warnings always updated, of course, on the bbc weather website. so, starting off the morning with some showers across western scotland and northern ireland. could be some dense fog across parts of northern ireland, as well. but a really poor rush hour across central and eastern england. heavy bursts of rain, which will only slowly pull out into the north sea, and even then, some rain likely to be left behind for parts of the midlands, south—east wales and the west country. but generally speaking, it turns into a day of sunny spells and showers, cooler than it has been, and particularly chilly across northern ireland if any areas
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of fog or low cloud linger for a good part of the day. we'll see some more fog forming here, ithink, for a time on friday night. elsewhere, plenty of showers moving from the south—west towards the north—east. some clear spells, as well, on what will be a somewhat chillier night than we've been used to lately. across the northern half of the uk, if you do see clear skies overhead and the winds fall light, well, you could just get a pinch of frost. so low pressure still with us on saturday. quite a complex weather chart, actually, this little front here bringing some showers north—eastwards, a more active frontal system down towards the south—west. so we see these lines of showers pushing north—eastwards through the day, some good sunny spells as well. and then this persistent rain pushes in for the channel islands, the south of england, clipping into the south of wales through the afternoon. brisk winds developing here, as well, and top temperatures between seven and ten degrees. now, that very wet weather will slide across southern counties as we go through saturday night. this little area of low pressure moving its way eastwards should mostly be clear by sunday, but low pressure is still fairly close by, so sunday is shaping up
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to be a day of sunny spells and showers. now, i think the showers willjoin together into lines which will push from the west towards the east. there will be some good spells of sunshine around as well. quite a breezy day, particularly for western and southern coastal areas, and those top temperatures between seven and ten degrees for most of us. and then, into next week, christmas week, of course. well, it's going to get off to a showery start. it will eventually turn drier and colder, but with that, we could have some frost and some fog.
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welcome to bbc news, i'm mike embley our top stories: a state of emergency in new south wales, australia's highest recorded temperatures are fuelling more than a hundred bushfires. another day of bitter division in american politics as republicans and democrats argue over what happens next in the impeachment of president trump. at least three people are killed in protests against the indian government's new citizenship law, we have a special report from delhi. and, it might be one of the most successful stage shows of all time, but the critics aren't so sure about the movie version of cats.


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