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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  July 9, 2021 2:30am-3:01am BST

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this is bbc news, the headlines: as the olympic torch arrives in tokyo, the japanese government has said that spectators will not be allowed to attend events at venues in the capital. the government is placing tokyo under a new state of emergency from next week because of rising coronavirus infections. president biden has defended the withdrawal of us forces from afghanistan at the end of august, saying he could not send another generation of americans to fight there. mr biden said washington had achieved its initial goal of punishing the perpetrators of the september 11th attacks. but he admitted there was uncertainty with the taliban continuing to gain ground. a row has broken out in spain over meat consumption after one spanish government minister suggested his fellow countrymen should eat less meat for their own health — and the planet's. the feud has exposed political differences between parties within spain's ruling coalition. now on bbc news,
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the week in parliament. hello and welcome to the week in parliament. the week ministers decided to change england's covid rules. we will revoke all social distancing guidance inc. including the two metre rule. hallelujah! but labour refused to join in the hallelujah chorus. once again, instead of a careful, controlled approach we are heading for a summer of chaos and confusion. also in this programme a call for more women lorry drivers. it is a very white male sector, and i think there are huge opportunities for the sector to diversify. and could brexit save the british hedgehog? an mp says a new farming policy...
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should aim to secure and restore hedgerows and habitats to give our hedgehogs a bit of a brexit dividend. but first. it had been trailed as england's "freedom day" the day people could throw away their masks, party with more than five friends and even perhaps plan a foreign holiday. but with infections continuing to rise, and predictions they could reach 100,000 a day, labour said the decision to lift most restrictions on one dayjuly the 19th was reckless. borisjohnson confirmed the changes in a downing street news conference. it was left to the health secretary, sajid javid, to explain the new approach to mps. he told them we had to learn to live with covid. we know that with covid—19 the situation can change, and it can change quickly. but we cannot put our lives on hold forever. he said rules and regulations would be replaced by guidance and good sense.
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we will revoke all social distancing guidance including the two metre rule. hallelujah! except... laughter. ..for in specific settings such as ports of entry and medical settings where of course it will continue to make sense. it will no longer be a legal requirement to wearface coverings in any setting including public transport. sajid javid was back 2a hours later to announce changes to the self isolation rules. from the 16th of august, when even more people will have the protection of both doses and when modelling suggests the risks from the virus will be even lower, anyone who is a close contact of a positive case will no longer have to self—isolate if they have been fully vaccinated. now, getting back to normal, which we all want to do, depends on people feeling safe. so does he appreciate that those who are immunocompromised, or for whom the vaccination
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is less effective, will have their freedoms curtailed by ditching masks on public transport? so let's have a u—turn on mask wearing. yes, let's have freedom, but not a high risk free—for—all. keep masks for now, fix sick pay, and let's unlock in a safe and sustainable way. hear, hear! there is a role for masks in dealing with a pandemic. in particular when you have a pandemic with no wall of defence against that pandemic. when you have a vaccine, and when that vaccine works, and when you have got the best facts roll—out programme in the world then you need to start moving away from these restrictions including on masks. those changes apply only in england. scotland's first minister, nicola sturgeon, is expected to announce her plans for the easing of restrictions at a special sitting of holyrood on tuesday. the welsh government is also expected to say more about its thinking in the coming days. there are new covid rules for schools in england too.
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on one day, more than 6a1,000 children missed school in england because of covid restrictions. the education secretary told mps that whole bubbles, or classes, of children will no longer be sent home to isolate after one person tests positive. we recognise that the system of bubbles and isolation is causing disruption to many children's education. that is why we will be ending bubbles and transferring contact tracing to the nhs test and trace system for early years settings, schools and colleges. from the 16th of august, children will only need to isolate if they have tested positive for covid—19. labour said ministers couldn't wish away the challenges of the pandemic. today's statement offers no clarity on how the government will stop infections spiralling, the conservatives in adequate testing regime, lack of action on ventilation, and reckless at the border
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have put our children's education at risk. this must not continue. the rules are changing for travel too, opening up the prospect of quarantine free holidays abroad to countries on the "amber list" such as spain, greece and the united states. so i can confirm today that from the 19th ofjuly, uk residents who are fully vaccinated through the uk vaccine roll—out will no longer have to self—isolate when they returned to england. but the snp were concerned about increasing numbers of infections. it's entirely possible that with these case rates on controlled by the uk government, could lead to further curbs on uk travellers abroad. how will the secretary of state's plans announced today accommodate these projected domestic case rates? it is important to note
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that we are in a different phase of this coronavirus now where never before have we had the majority of our population double vaccinated, and everybody is welcome to come forward, and indeed should come forward if they have not been for their vaccinations yet. the rest of the world is not quite in that situation as yet, they will want to get themselves to that position. according to the government's own estimates, infections could rise to 100,000 a day at prime minister's questions the labour leader, sir keir starmer warned of the possible consequences. and let's be clear, let's be clear why the number of cases will surge so quickly, because he is taking all protections off in one go. that is reckless. the sage papers yesterday, mr speaker, make clear that with high infection rates there is a greater chance of new variants emerging, greater pressure on the nhs, more people will get long
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covid, and test and trace will be less effective. we will continue with a balanced and reasonable approach. i have given the reasons that this country has rolled out the fastest vaccination programme anywhere in europe, the vaccines provide more than 90% protection against hospitalisation, both of them, mr speaker, by the 19th ofjuly we will have vaccinated every adult will have been offered one vaccination. everybody over 40, mr speaker, will have been offered to vaccinations. that is an extraordinary achievement. that is allowing us to go ahead. keir starmer said a high infection rate could mean millions of people being "pinged" to self isolate. the financial times estimates this morning that that could be around 2 million people per week. the mail says 3.5 million people a week. eitherway, it's a massive number. it means huge disruption to families and businesses just as the summer holidays begin. borisjohnson said the government would be moving away from self isolation towards testing. and he accused keir starmer of "trying to have it both ways".
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on monday he seems to say he was in favour of opening up onjuly the 19th, now he is saying it's reckless. which is it, mr speaker? maybe i can help a little. just to remind us that it's . prime minister's questions. if we want opposition questions we will need to change - who is standing up. a labour mp reminded the prime minister of the human cost of the pandemic. mr speaker, my grandmother, whom i love dearly, was lying on her hospital deathbed and none of us were allowed to be there to comfort her in herfinal moments. i couldn't even carry her coffin on my shoulders... he said his family had followed the rules unlike the prime minister's then adviser dominic cummings who'd driven to county durham. imagine our collective disgust, when in order to curry favour with the prime minister's chief adviser, we see sycophantic, spineless, hypocritical government ministers lining up to defend the indefensible.
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saying it's time to move on. with some even having the gaul to tell us that they too go for a long drive when the need to get their eyesight tested. what an absolute disgrace, and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. i apologise for the suffering of the people of this country have endured. all i can say is that nothing i can say or do can take back the lost lives, the lost time spent with loved ones that he describes. and i am deeply, deeply sorry for that. a little later, borisjohnson faced questions from senior mps on the liaison committee they too were concerned about the way test and trace is currently working ahead of changes to the self isolation rules in england next month. we are already seeing businesses unable to function, hospitality businesses having to close. if i take nurseries for example, they have to maintain legal ratios of staff to children in order to stay open, and the early
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years sector has a young workforce, many of whom are not double vaccinated. so cases are skyrocketing and nurseries are being put in the position of having to turn families away in order to maintain legal ratios. which families do you think they should be prioritising? we have to make sure that we use the tools we have to, in the form of isolation, to get through this particular phase. it won't last long. is it the case that until we get to that point on the 16th of august people who have been jabbed twice will have to isolate even if they have had a negative covid test? we are asking people to isolate. i know how frustrating it is, but... why? because we have to... i'm afraid this is a highly contagious disease and we have to do what we can
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to stop its spread. the uk wide inquiry into covid won't start work until next year but the snp has called for it to start immediately, accusing the uk government of "ramptant cronyism" over the awarding of contracts during the crisis. the party's westminster leader said the uk had seen "the very best in our society" during these tough times. but the pandemic has led to opportunism, for greed and for covid profits above accountability. because this tory government is guilty of funnelling covid cash from the frontline into the pockets of its rich friends. we are talking about endemic cronyism during a global pandemic. the right honourable member is well aware of the public contract regulations, which existed before the pandemic, which allow the government to procure at speed in times of emergency,
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and there was no need for suspension or relaxation of the procurement rules in order for them to be used. i would very gently say that these were the same systems that happened in scotland and in wales. we had an unprecedented global crisis, and quite rightly, people had to use existing regulation which allows them to flex in order to deliver for their populations. jo churchill. one of the questions the inquiry is likely to ask is how some people who died from covid contracted the virus in hospital. in wales, more than 1008 hundred people did so. the issue dominated first minister's questions in the senedd where the trefnydd or leader of the house, lesley griffiths, stood in for mark drakeford. in some health boards, one in three patients were contracting the covid virus in a hospital setting. these were decisions that were taken here in wales
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by welsh government ministers. surely those decisions need now to be tested and a welsh public inquiry and not lost in a uk wide public inquiry. will you commit to using your energies within government to campaign for a wales wide public inquiry so these very issues can be looked at and remediated here in wales? no, i won't. you have hear the first minister say many times, and i know the first minister's answers to you in chamber has said that he has agreed to four—nation inquiry, a uk four—nation inquiry. he's had discussions with senior ministers, i think the prime minister himself in the uk government. and, you know, if we had our own inquiry, we would not be able to look at so many of the independencies there are across the four countries in relation to covid—19, so if you think about testing, if you think about vaccines, if you think about ppe, if you think about the drugs that have been used in relation to covid. so the first minister has been absolutely clear that he wants to take part in that four—nation inquiry. for over a year now, - plaid cymru he has called for a wales—only public inquiry. . your government and you i confirmed it now has opted to have a welsh chapter —| or chapters — in a uk—wide
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inquiry. i think in all honesty, _ that opens you up to the charge of ducking scrutiny. if you take responsibility, l you have to be ready to be judged on your actions, good and bad. - i do think the inquiry needs to be sooner rather than later. i don't think it's ducking scrutiny. i'm sure the spotlight will be very firmly on all four nations. leslie griffiths. the prime minister has signalled an end to the uk's military involvement in afghanistan telling mps that most british troops have already left. in a statement, borisjohnson praised the sacrifice of all those who had served in that country and said there could "never be a perfect
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moment" to pull out. since the withdrawal of nato, british and us troops there has been an upsurge in fighting with the militant group, the taliban. mrjohnson said many gains had been made over the last 20 years and the uk would work with the afghan government and its international partners to secure peace. it will take combined efforts of many nations, including afghanistan's neighbours to help the afghan people to build their future. but the threat that brought us to afghanistan in the first place has been greatly diminished by the valour and by the sacrifice of the armed forces of britain and many other countries. we are safer because of everything they did. now we must persevere alongside our friends for the same goal of a stable afghanistan but with different tools in our hands.
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0pposition mps joined the tributes to the uk's military, but warned the gains they had made were not secure. the taliban are making gains on the ground and serious questions remain about the future stability of afghanistan. a security threat remains for the wider world, including to the uk. and nobody wants to see british troops permanently stationed in afghanistan, but we simply cannot wash our hands or walk away. it's hard to see a future without bloodier conflict and wider taliban control. mr speaker, it is the stability of the country and the - i humanitarian interest of afghanl people which should be foremost in the minds of the leaders who have had operations. in that country. a situation where violent - extremism and fundamentalism return to the heart of - political life in afghanistan
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would be dire for afghan people as well as our allies _ in the region and beyond. ian blackford. let's have a look at some other news in brief now. millions of poorer families will face a twenty pounds a week cut in their income from the autumn. the work and pensions secretary, therese coffey, told mps the temporary increase to universal credit will be "phrased out". the benefit is claimed by more than 5.5 million households in the uk and six conservative former welfare secretaries have urged ministers not to end the uplift. ahead of october, we will start communicating with the current claimants who receive the £20 to make them aware that that will be being phased out, and they will start to see an adjustment in their payments. i think it really kicks in largely in october, but it will start to kick in, i think towards late september for some people.
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so the current proposal is that we will be recognising that this was brought in in—line with the temporary measures to support people during the covid pandemic. it's being phased out in line with all the other temporary measures that are also being removed. it was a law introduced to keep the conservative coalition with the liberal democrats together. but mps have now given their initial approval to a plan to scrap the fixed term parliaments act which deprived a prime minister of the power to call a general election at a time of their choosing. the dissolution and calling of parliament bill will return things to how they were. michael gove said it would a timely and democratic reform labour disagreed. could he give us a definition of democratic in the light that it's moving power from this chamber, democratically elected as to call general elections, to royal prerogative? well, it gives power to the people, and fundamentally all of us sit here at the pleasure of and at the disposal of our electorates. and fundamentally, as we saw from the paralysed parliament or whatever you want to call
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the parliament of 2017—2019, we actually saw parliamentarians frustrating the will of the people both in attempting to overturn brexit and also in attempting to sustain and empower a government which needed to seek confidence both from the electorate and for the maintenance of its programme. and so, for that reason, what we're doing is restoring power to the people which had been taken away by the ftpa. where have all the lorry drivers gone? a shortage of drivers has been blamed by — among others — the german confectionery giant haribo for problems delivering its sweets to shops in the uk. the haulage industry has blamed the pandemic and brexit for thousands of unfilled hgv driverjobs. ministers have announced a temporary extension of the rules on drivers hours and ramped up the number of driving tests available. brexit and covid combined have in part led to the crisis that we face as well as the closure of test centres during the covid pandemic last
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year preventing training of new drivers. the industry is stepping up to the plate by agreeing to pay drivers more. will the government look very carefully at encouraging women drivers to take up lorry driving? it is a very white, male sector, and i think there are huge opportunities for the sector to diversify, and when they come up with plans to do so, for example, the logistics uk, the year of logistics, which i hope we will get under way soon, i will be very happy to support them. there was a ticking off for liz truss, the international trade secretary, for failing to follow the commons conventions. on friday, the secretary of state for international trade visited airbus at broughton in my seat. her office gave me 1a minutes' notice before the meeting was due to take place.
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1a minutes, madam deputy speaker. i just wonder what she can advise we can do to ensure that the rules that apply to the rest of us also apply to government ministers. it is discourteous for a minister to behave in this fashion. i'm quite sure that an apology will be forthcoming. a rather miffed dame eleanor laing. now, the plight of the british hedgehog has been troubling campaigners, who created a petition to call for more protections for the prickly creatures. during a debate on their appeal in westminster hall, mps of all stripes had stories to tell about their love of hedgehogs with one appearing to catch the heart of a nation. as some of my twitter followers may have seen, we recently welcomed a new tenant to the halfon household. horace the hedgehog moved into our garden earlier this year and he's very much made himself at home. and given these modern times, although we have called him horace, he clearly is a he/him or she/her hedgehog. he's even been brave enough to approach the back door to try and watch netflix through the window, particularly sons of anarchy, and he's risen to dizzying heights of fame on our social media page. and i've had individuals write to my office, whether horace will be making an appearance in upcoming zoom meetings.
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but while horace may be well looked after, the shocking reality of the declining number of his species focused minds. but while horace may be well looked after, the shocking reality of the declining number of his species focused minds. before this debate, i had the pleasure of meeting with representatives from the british hedgehog preservation society, and they told me that since 2000, we've lost half of all of our rural hedgehogs and a third of our urban ones. sadly, they were recently added to the iucn red list for britain as vulnerable. that is having appreciable risk of extinction in the next ten years. a number of factors are thought to be to blame. according to the rspca, the main reasons for the decline is destruction of their shelters and habitats, increased levels of traffic
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and poorly planned roads and the use of pesticides. these are all things that we can — and should — work to prevent. there can be little doubt that some modern farming practices have made survival more difficult for this country's favourite prickly mammal, so the elm schemes which will replace the european union's common agricultural policy should aim to secure and restore hedgerows and habitats, to give our hedgehogs a bit of a brexit dividend. there were more suggestions from mps on how to help the species thrive. we absolutely need | biodiversity targets, and they should be ambitious. we shouldn'tjust halt. the decline of hedgehogs and other nature. we should reverse it. but the minister pledged that hedgehogs were at the heart of her remit. this government is absolutely committed to ensuring that our native species thrive, as we take action to address the declines that we're all so sad about. rebecca powell. britain's newest mp has taken her seat in the house
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of commons after a bruising by election campaign. kim leadbeater is the sister ofjo cox, the former mp for batley and spen who was murdered five years ago. kim leadbeater held her sister's old seat for labour at the recent by election. i do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that i will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her majesty, queen elizabeth, her heirs and successors according to law. hear, hear! the new mp was in such a hurry she forgot to sign in. you've just got to sign in. two days later, she had a ringside seat for prime minister's questions. the labour leader, sir keir starmer, said he wanted to give her a special welcome. will members opposite forgive me if ijust turn around to look at the new member for batley and spen
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as she sits there on these benches beneath the plaque to jo cox, her sister. and that is a special and emotional moment for all of us on these benches and i think for everybody across this house. it takes incredible courage and bravery to stand in that constituency and to sit on these benches beneath that plaque. hear, hear! keir starmer remembering jo cox in the week her sister arrived in the commons. that was the week in parliament. thank you for watching. i do hope you canjoin me on bbc parliament at 11 o'clock on monday evening for the latest from westminster. until then, from me, david cornock, bye for now.
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hello there. the next few days look pretty unsettled, with low pressure always nearby, so we're likely to see sunshine and showers notjust for friday, but into the weekend and into the start of next week, too. so, for today, these showers will be heavy, much like they were on thursday, and you'll see on the pressure charts we're in between systems, and there's barely any isobars, so the winds are light and the showers will be slow—moving again. so, quite a bit of cloud to start this morning, particularly across scotland, where we'll see some patchy rain in the northeast. the sunshine will get going, though, the best of it in central and eastern areas — and this is where we'll see most of the heavy showers into the afternoon, again, some with hail and thunder mixed in. now, for wimbledon for friday and into the weekend,
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there'll be a lot of dry weather around with some sunshine, but there's always the chance of catching a heavy shower. now, as we move through friday night, those heavy showers across central and eastern areas will tend to fade away, many places will turn dry with variable cloud and clear spells. but this weather front will bring in persistent rain to south wales and the southwest of england, slowly moving its way eastwards. temperature—wise, most places sticking in double figures. so, for this weekend, again, it's one of sunny spells and scattered showers, though we'll have that area of rain across southern areas for a while, but that will clear away during the course of saturday, then all areas will see sunny spells and showers. that area of rain could bring some persistent, fairly heavy rain to central and southern england through the morning, eventually clearing away. elsewhere, after a rather cloudy start, the sunshine will appear, and then, these showers will get going — and again, some of them will be heavy with some hail and thunder, they'll be relatively slow—moving. as we move out of saturday into sunday, a new area of low pressure pushes into western parts of the uk — that'll bring enhanced showers to the northern and western areas in particular. probably the better area to see
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the driest conditions will be central and eastern parts of england, where we'll see the best temperatures, 22—23 celsius — otherwise, the high teens further north and west. very unsettled into the start of next week, as well, particularly england and wales could see some very wet weatherfor a while. then from midweek onwards, it looks like high pressure wants to build in. that'll settle things down with increasing sunshine.
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judged on your actions, good and bad. - welcome to bbc news. i'm maryam moshiri. our top stories: the olympic torch arrives in tokyo, two weeks before the games but no spectators are allowed. president biden says he won't send another generation of americans to afghanistan as he confirms the us will end its mission next month, even as the taliban gains ground. nearly 20 years of experience has shown us that the current security situation only confirms thatjust one more year fighting in afghanistan is not a solution. a plea to eat less meat causes beef in spain, as a minister suggests spaniards should cut their meat consumption and help save the planet. and it was women's semi finals day at wimbledon —

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