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tv   Tuesday in Parliament  BBC News  June 17, 2020 2:30am-3:01am BST

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this is bbc news, the headlines: chinese and indian troops have clashed along the disputed himalayan border between their countries — the most serious in several decades. the indian army said twenty of its soldiers were killed in the confrontation. beijing acknowledged that it had also suffered casualties, but did not say how many. the world health organisation has hailed the discovery by scientists in the uk that a widely available steroid can dramatically lower the risk of death for the most seriously ill covid—19 patients. the who called the research on the drug — dexamethasone — a lifesaving scientific breakthrough. the trump administration is suing the former national security advisorjohn bolton to block the release of a book about his time in office. the justice department said the memoir contained classified information. mr bolton argues the president committed impeachable offences, which mr trump denies. now on bbc news,
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tuesday in parliament. hello again, and welcome to tuesday in parliament, as a footballer forces the government into a u—turn on free school meals. i'd like to extend my particular thanks to marcus rashford, for using his public position to amplify the voices of those who must — and should — be heard. the prime minister announces a shake—up in the way the uk delivers aid. for too long, frankly, uk overseas aid has been treated as some giant cash point in the sky! but then finds himself accused of trying to deflect attention from his government's troubles. we should see this statement for what it is — the tactics of pure distraction. all that to come, and more. but first: it was a battle
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of two number 10s — marcus rashford of manchester united and england, and borisjohnson of downing street. and there was only one winner. on monday, the star striker spoke to the bbc about the importance of free school meals to him as a child growing up in a single—parent family. ministers rejected his call for a scheme used in the easter holidays in england to continue for the poorest children in the summer. but on tuesday, as rashford stepped up his campaign, the prime minister changed his mind — a u—turn of two halves. ministers announced an extra £120 million to pay for meal vouchers for the poorest children in england who'd normally get a free school meal. scotland and wales already have their own schemes. more on that in a moment — but when borisjohnson came to the commons to announce a shake—up of the way government works, he was accused of trying to distract from the government's troubles. we must now strengthen our position in an intensely competitive world
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by making sensible changes. and so, i have decided to merge dfid with the foreign and commonwealth office to create a new department, a new department — the foreign commonwealth and development office. and this will unite our aid with our diplomacy and bring them together in our international effort. mr speaker, we should see this statement for what it is — the tactics of pure distraction. jo cox would've seen right through this. a few hours ago, the ons figures showed a fall of 600,000 people on the payroll. the economy contracted by 20% in april. and we could be on the verge of a return to mass unemployment — something we've not seen for a generation. we've also one of the highest death tolls from covid—19 in the world — at least 41,700 deaths, and likely to be far greater than that.
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and in the last hour, the government has u—turned on free school meals. can i put on record my thanks to marcus rashford for the part he has played on this issue, and the victory for the 1.3 million children affected. mr speaker, this statement is intended to deflect attention from all of that. and can i assure the prime minister, it will not work. several conservative mps backed the change. can he confirm that this is a merger, not a takeover? and that actually, this has the potential of enhancing the role of international development in our foreign policy, and will he also confirm that this government's commitment to investing in support the poorest parts of our world remains as strong as ever? yes, it certainly does. and what is actually happening, of course, is that dfid and the fco are nowjoining together to become
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a new whitehall super department for international affairs, which will be of huge benefit to our ability to project britain's sense of mission about overseas aid. and for too long, frankly, uk overseas aid been treated as some giant cash point in the sky that arrives without any reverence to uk interests or to the values that the uk wishes to express, or the priorities — diplomatic, political, or commercial — of the government of the uk. but other opposition leaders also saw it as a distraction. at a time when we should be standing with the world's poorest, acting as a beacon of hope, the prime minister is playing politics. let me be clear — the government are blatantly using challenging domestic circumstances as an excuse to wind down essential aid for the world's poorest. this is shameful and is not in our name, mr speaker.
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when the world's poorest are exposed to the worst pandemic for a century, why has the prime minister chosen this moment to step back from britain's leadership in the fight against global poverty? isn't the leader of the opposition right — this is an appalling version of distraction politics? absolutely not, mr speaker, because now is exactly the moment when we need to intensify and to magnify britain's voice abroad, and to make sure that, when we make our points in other countries about tackling poverty, that we are listened to, that her majesty's ambassador in that country is listened to with the attention that is due to the person who commands the whole panoply of our foreign policy. that is absolutely vital for our success, and that's what we will achieve. the prime minister's answers today have got me massively concerned. will the priority of the new department be to help the most vulnerable people in the world, or will it be to increase the uk's voice abroad?
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of course, it will do both! and let me just explain to the honourable lady that it is no use, a british diplomat one day going in to see the leader ofa country and urging him not to cut the head off his opponent... ..and to do something for democracy in his country if the next day, another part of the british government is going to arrive with a cheque for £250 billion. we have to speak with one voice, we must project the uk overseas in a consistent and powerful way. and that is what we are going to do. while the prime minister was speaking, one of his predecessors was tweeting. i'm wondering what the prime minister's thoughts are to the previous prime minister, david cameron's comments that "the decision to merge the departments is a mistake," and that he believes the end of dfid will mean less expertise, less voice for development at the top table, and ultimately less respect for the uk overseas. does he agree with the
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former prime minister? no, i profoundly disagree with that. in all my experiences, alas there is an incoherence in uk foreign policy which we can now rectify and have a better, more powerful, more positive voice for this country overseas, which puts the idealism of development aid professionals at the heart of our foreign policy. and that's what we're going to do. the prime minister. the climb—down on free school meals in england came just a few hours before labour had planned to force a vote on the issue in the commons — raising the prospect of a rebellion by some conservative backbenchers. labour's shadow education secretary called the u—turn a "small win" when she opened the opposition—led debate. this is an issue which has gained significant traction over the last few days, with a chorus of charities, legal campaigners, and the good law project, members across this house, good people tweeting all over the country and,
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of course, manchester united star marcus rashford. i'm not only proud to be a man united fan, that one of our own in greater manchester never forgot where he came from and used his profile to help those without a voice. but i'm proud that he and those who havejoined him have shown the very best that our country can be. and i have to say, i'm delighted to say that the government seems to have heard these cries, and they do appear to have done a u—turn on their decision to end the free school meal voucher scheme over the summer holidays. and of course, i do have questions for the secretary to address, not least confirmation that this is concrete in guaranteeing that free school meal vouchers will be provided over the summer holidays. but, as he will appreciate, this small win will be bittersweet overall if we do not now set about tackling the root cause of why many children are forced to rely
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upon free school meals in the first place — poverty. marcus‘s heartfelt letter asked one important question yesterday — can we all agree no child should be going to bed hungry? if we could all agree on this principal, mr deputy speaker, there would be no debate to be had today. we are not yet out of this crisis. in schools, homes, workplaces and, above all, the nhs, people up and down the country are still making extraordinary sacrifices to overcome this deadly disease. free school meals have always been a term—time position, and that is what it should be. but while we are in extraordinary times, we must not be bound by the constraints of what normally happens. a government should always listen
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to the people who need it most. and i'd like to extend my particular thanks to marcus rashford for using his public position to amplify the voices of those who must — and should — be heard. by speaking out for the less fortunate and in raising the phenomenal total of over £20 million in just a few days, he represents the best of britain and is a role model for all of those children who look up to him for inspiration. we should never be ashamed to listen, and i'm pleased to announce that we will provide additional funding for a covid summer food fund to enable children who are eligible for free school meals to claim a six—week voucher. as we prepare for schools to fully reopen in september, we will ensure that no child goes hungry. gavin williamson.
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you're watching tuesday in parliament with me, david cornock. still to come: mps get an update on eastenders storylines. labour has called on the government to deliver a "back to work budget" next month, with a focus on jobs and kick—starting the economy following the coronavirus lockdown. the call came as official figures showed the number of workers on uk payrolls had dropped by more than 600,000 since march, while the numbers claiming out of work benefits had more than doubled. in the commons, labour used an urgent question to press ministers to do more to boost employment. it seems a slow and confuseed health response is being followed by a slow and confused response to saving jobs despite the huge long—term costs of unemployment. rather than a limited budget statement in july, will the government set out the back to work budget we need with a focus on jobs, jobs, jobs? the government has adopted a more differentiated approach than she gives us credit for as witnessed all over the work
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we have done with the hospitality and leisure industries. so i'm a little confused but i do think it is important to focus on the positive achievements of the job retention scheme and the self—employment scheme which as she rightly notes have presented a much worse alternative and i think have been brought into place with great speed and ability by her majesty's revenue and customs. i do recognise the very considerable approach the government has taken to support people through these difficult times. however, there remain over one million people who should qualify for furlough or self—employed support who are not receiving it. will he now accept winding the furlough scheme and putting the costs onto employers is a significant risk and will put people out ofjobs? will he extend beyond october for the sectors that are pressed? will he look at the self—employed support scheme? many of those people will still require support on an ongoing basis.
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i willjust remind her that the job retention scheme so far has supported nearly nine million people. 8.9 million people. and 1.1 million businesses. and the self—employed scheme has supported 2.3 million individuals and a cost of 6.8 billion, both of these schemes were brought in at record speed and this was done in order precisely to address the critical needs to get the vast majority of people support. preserving as many of those jobs as possible when those schemes are withdrawn is a central and difficult economic tax for the government and to that end, can i urge him to put the full weight of the treasury behind moves as soon it's it is safe as possible to move from a two metre to a one metre gap because that will be the single act we can take to preserve those jobs? the provisions the government has made is welcome but we need a focus and commitment to support the new starters, the self—employed
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and the freelancers as identified by the treasury select committee felt that we need a commitment today. it would be absurd for me to offer any response from the despatch box to a treasury select committee report that was filed yesterday. we will look to the chairman very carefully and also at the issues that are raised. to stormont now, where northern ireland's first minister has been answering questions from mlas. arlene foster told them she was upset about hold—ups to the new government payment scheme for people who were injured during the troubles through no fault of their own. the scheme has been delayed by a dispute over who is eligible for payments and who should fund it. i know the first minister will share my disgust and anger at the continued blockade by some members of a victims pension here in northern ireland and while i except that the executive in the assembly is the best route to deliver such a victims pension, but in light of delay, would the minister and the first minister be opposed to looking at westminster is potentially the best route to deliver this scheme to ensure innocent victims and survivors receive the pension that they rightly deserve?
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i thank the member for his question and indeed the office and myself in particular are particularly upset that the scheme has not proceeded as it was meant to do. we do not have agreement on a designated department as of yet. i certainly hope that will change and that we can get agreement on a designated department as you know, deputy speaker, the department ofjustice have offered to be that designated department, therefore it is important that we proceed because it is wrong that innocent victims are not receiving what they are legally entitled to receive. and i think we should recognise the hurt that has been caused by this not coming into operation on the date that it was to come into operation. and work to try and make sure we have agreement on the designated department as soon as possible. but if that is not possible, then given this came from westminster through the executive formation act originally and then through the regulations, ofjanuary of this year, i think the westminster government have an obligation to look to other ways to deal with this issue.
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does the minister agreed that 22 years on from the good friday agreement that it is obscene that are citizens who have been brutally mamed by their fellow countrymen are still in a state of limbo regarding their pension payments? lam ashamed. are you? i think i have already said to the member that we very much should recognised the hurt and the pain that has been caused by the fact that this pension is not in place. i think we all have a duty to acknowledge that. i certainly acknowledge that. but there is no point in acknowledging it unless we try and make sure that it happens quickly. i am certainly committed to trying to do that. it is legally in place now and therefore there is an obligation on us to make sure that this pension payment comes forward as quickly as possible so that we can help
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those people who were dreadfully injured during that period of time called the troubles. arlene foster. back at westminster, the government has told mps there's still time to "bring home a deal" with the european union. on monday, borisjohnson took part in a video conference with the eu commission president, ursula van der leyen. in a joint statement issued afterwards, the uk and eu "welcomed the constructive discussions on the future relationship that had taken place". in the commons, the cabinet office minister, michael gove, said the tempo of the talks had been escalated, and he repeated the words of the prime minister that they were putting a "tiger in the tank." meetings will take place every week injuly with a keen focus on finding an early understanding on the principles that will underpin a broad agreement. as the prime minister said yesterday, the faster we can do this, the better.
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we are looking to get things done in july. we do not want to see this process going on into the autumn and in the winter. we all need certainty and that is what we're aiming to provide. the prime minister states his own authority on having an oven ready deal. but today in minister questions said that we want to intensify talks in july and to find if possible and early understanding of principles underlying in the agreement. that doesn't sound like an oven ready deal to me. and is a cause of great concern to all of us. the snp, which wants the transition period extended beyond the end of the year, complained that the nations of the uk were being ignored. what is the point? what is the point of the devolved demonstrations engaging with him and his government any more? a tiger has been put in a tank. but that tiger, that tank, is labelled scottish independence. the government decision to abandon the introduction of full custom checks and control on eu imports from the ist ofjanuary
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is a recognition that firms are simply not ready. yet he knows that regardless of whether or not an agreement is reached with the eu, british businesses will face full checks, controls, red tape on exports to the european union from january. given his decision and coronavirus, why does he think that british businesses are going to be able to cope with that? it is the case that british businesses responded warmly to the announcement that we made on friday as a pragmatic and flexible approach. in the alternative approach that we outline, it would be to extend the transition period. will my honourable friend ensure my fantastic business community in watford in the chamber of commerce we speak with regularly that we are in fact trying to get the best that we possibly can and it is not the case where trying to chase a new deal. we are working incredibly hard to make sure we get the best deal for this country. my friend is right. one of the reasons why the prime minister wanted
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to have the high—level meeting yesterday was precisely in order to accelerate progress toward securing a deal. we are ready for life outside the single market and the customs union but it is our intent to secure a deal. michael gove. now the pandemic has certainly had an impact on our tv schedules. before the outbreak, viewers of eastenders could enjoy a trip to the queen vic four times a week. but with filming cut short by coronavirus, the soap is now down to two episodes a week. so what does the future hold for eastenders and other popular shows? the chair of the culture committee has been trying to find out. what will this mean for viewers and listeners? will we see repeats in the autumn? obviously not fawlty towers, but will we see repeats as a result? i really hope not but i think you are right to say the schedule is going to be mixed and for example, we have shown in this period that actually you can do great innovation even now,
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so for example we have talking heads coming soon, we have done spring watch really innovatively with four presenters from different places. but coming up this sunday is the luminaires. we've had some great drama, we have some great drama coming through in the autumn as well, but i think you will see that mixture of shows that we can innovate easily in this period and other things which will take more time. eastenders is coming back into production at the end of this month. although we have run out fairly shortly and we will introduce a few classics, so what we are doing is a mixed schedule. and taking into account this crisis. i think for us it will get thinner next year because of the way production falls but at the moment we are doing everything we can to both innovate and then use some of that catalogue that will come through. ok, so all classics is repeats, isn't it? i think in that sense for eastenders coming up shortly, we will be able to revisit angie and den and some of the classics. 0k. repeats.
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julian knight answering his own question there. i've always wondered what happened to den and angie. i suspect it didn't end well. now, if a week is a long time in politics, then six months is almost a lifetime. a lot has happened since the conservatives won the general election back in december, and some members of the house of lords suggested it was time to re—think some of the manifesto promises made before cororonavirus struck. but a government minister was reluctant to go back to the drawing board. my lords, the coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented crisis. and the government's rightly been focused on providing stability and support to the people, families and organisations most affected by the outbreak. however, as the prime minister confirmed at the end of may, in is evidence to the liaison committee of another place, this government is still fully committed to meeting all commitments made in the 2019 manifesto. one of the commitments
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in the manifesto said, "we will not borrow to fund day—to—day spending." another promise that national debt will be lower at the end of the parliament. sticking to these commitments in circumstances such as my noble friend has said, and no one could have foreseen that actually prevent the government to continuing on its commendable path of doing what it takes to mitigate the recession. so will my friend encouraged the prime minister to modify that statement? my lords, as my noble friend recognises, certainly we are living in the moment through an unprecedented crisis. as he knows and the chancellor of exchequer has said himself, there will be a budget statement later this year which will address a number of the concerns raised by my noble friend. in addition to promising not to borrow to fund day—to—day spending, the government manifesto promised not to raise the rate of income tax, vat or national insurance. not to increase any taxes on small businesses. and to keep the triple
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lock on pensions. can i ask the noble minister if he is able to guarantee that these commitments remain unchanged in light of the covid—19 pandemic? my lords, i am delighted that the noble lord is such an avid reader of conservative manifesto and i hope he found it improving reading. i will repeat that my honourable friend the chancellor of exchequer will be making a financial statement later this year. lord true. on 16june, 2016, the labour mp for batley and spen, jo cox, was killed by a far—right extremist in her constituency. on the fourth anniversary of her murder, her sister has asked people to "pull together with compasssion and kindness". in the commons, the speaker, sir lindsay hoyle, said the fact that she was murdered while on her way to meet her constituents made her death all the more shocking. she was doing what so many of us do as constituency mps. and that was what made her death
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all the more shocking. may i express on behalf of the whole house our sympathy with the family, friends and colleagues on this sad anniversary? we will never forget jo or her legacy. we remember her wise words that we have far more in common than that which divides us. sir lindsay hoyle. and that was tuesday in parliament, thank you for watching. i do hope you canjoin me at the same time tomorrow for wednesday in parliament, featuring question times at westminster, holyrood, and cardiff bay. until then, bye for now. hello there. expect a stormy spell of
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weather over the next few days. not just for the uk, across much of central and eastern europe. we've seen some sharp, thundery downpours. we start off quite promising but then showers are likely to develop in the uk as we go through the day. after a sunny start, afternoon thunderstorms could be an issue and because we have light winds, it could be slow—moving. so localised flooding not out of the question. we could start off with low cloud, mist, and fog. that burns its way back to the east coast where it may well linger, but elsewhere, lovely spells of sunshine but as the heat builds, the showers will arrive. they should be few and far between across scotland and northern ireland. the most frequent ones through wednesday will be across england and wales. so through the afternoon — this is a snapshot — you can see just a brighter colour denoting the intensity of those showers. slow—moving, a lot of heavy rain and some hail and thunder and lightning. it will be quite warm and humid out there. temperatures likely 22 degrees, 72 fahrenheit. the showers will continue for a while through the early evening, hopefully starting to ease away before during the night, we could see more persistent rain pushing in through east anglia and moving through northern
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england. as we go through the day on thursday, rain to the north of england, then that's going to be replaced by some pretty intense thundery downpours across england and wales. in the space of two or three hours, we could see a couple of inches of rain. so, weather warnings have been issued by the met office, certainly worth bearing in mind if you're going out and about. a slightly quieter day in scotland 17—22 degrees the high. as we go into friday, england and wales will see the quietest of the weather. fewer showers around, but more frequent showers are likely through northern ireland and scotland. again, some of these will be heavy and thundery. 17—23 degrees as the high. we could do with some slightly quieter weather. we may well get it between england and wales for the start of the weekend as high—pressure builds, but this area of low pressure could spoil the story a little bit further north and west. so there's a chance this weekend of more rain to come
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across scotland and northern ireland, but it's drier elsewhere with the heat set to build across england and wales as we go into next week. take care.
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a very warm welcome to bbc news. i'm mike embley with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. clashes high in the himalayas, on the india—china border, leave 20 indian soldiers dead. after weeks of rising tension, both sides have deployed thousands of extra troops. the trump administration has taken legal action to prevent the publication of a memoir by the president's former national security advisorjohn bolton. a breakthrough for patients seriously ill with covid—19 — a steroid drug which is cheap and already widely available. we return to wuhan, the chinese city where the pandemic started, to see what lessons have been learned.

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