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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  July 12, 2021 2:30am-3:01am BST

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footballs fans across italy are celebrating in the streets after the team won the euro 2020 championship in a hard—fought match against england in london. the game finished 1—1 after extra time but england crumbled during the penalties as their last three penalty takers all failed to score. america's west is being scorched by heat as california and nevada brace themselves for even more record breaking temperatures. they have already endured the hottestjune on record. forecasters are warning that some places including california and nevada will remain dangerously hot, fuelling fears of even more wildfires. the british billionaire, richard branson, has successfully flown to the edge of space in his virgin galactic rocket plane. he described the flight as the "magical" and said it marked the dawn of a new space age. the six people on board experienced zero gravity
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now on bbc news, it's the highlights of the week's proceedings 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, including the two metre rule. minister: hallelujah! ..but labour refused to join in the hallelujah chorus. once again, instead of a careful, controlled approach, we're heading for a summer of chaos and confusion. also in this programme, a minister calls 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... should aim to secure and restore hedgerows
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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 restrictions onjuly 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—i9, 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. we will revoke all social
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distancing guidance including the two metre rule. minister: hallelujah! except... laughter. ..for in specific settings, such as ports of entry and medical settings where, of course, it would 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,
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or for whom the vaccination 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. 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've got the best vaccine rollout 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.
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there are new covid rules for schools in england, too. on one day, more than 6ai,000 children missed school 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'll 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—i9. 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' inadequate testing regime, lack of action
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on ventilation and their recklessness at the border 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 — places like 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 rollout will no longer have to self—isolate when they return to england. but the snp were concerned about the increasing number of infections. it's entirely possible that with these case rates, uncontrolled 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's important to know that we're in a different phase
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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 haven't been for their vaccinations yet. the rest of the world isn't quite in that situation as yet. they will want to get themselves to that position. well, with the government's own estimates suggesting that 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's a greater chance of new variants emerging, greater pressure on the nhs, more people will get long covid, and test and trace will be less effective.
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we will continue with a balanced and reasonable approach and i've given the reasons — 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 two vaccinations. that is an extraordinary achievement. that's 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
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towards testing, and he accused keir starmer of "trying to have it both ways". on monday, he seemed to say — he seemed 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'll need to change who's standing up. a labour mp reminded the prime minister of the human cost of the pandemic. 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
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adviser, we see sycophantic, spineless, hypocritical government ministers lining up to defend the indefensible, saying it's time to move on, with some even having the gall to tell us that they, too, go for a long drive when they need to get their eyesight tested. what an absolute disgrace, and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves! i apologise for the suffering that the people of this country have endured and 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'm 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 those self—isolation rules in england next month. we're already seeing businesses unable to function, hospitality businesses having to close. if i take nurseries, for example, they have
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to maintain legal ratios of staff to children in order to stay open, and the early years sector has a very 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 beenjabbed twice will have to isolate, - even if they've had a negative covid test? we're 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 to stop its spread.
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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 "rampant 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
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at speed in times of emergency, and there was no need for suspension or relaxation of the procurement rules in order for them to be used. and i would very gently say this was — 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. now, one of the questions the inquiry�*s likely to ask is how some people who died from covid contracted the virus in hospital. in wales, more than 1,800 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.
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now, these were decisions that were taken here in wales by welsh government ministers. surely those decisions need now to be tested at 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 heard the first minister say many times — and i know the first minister, in his answers to you in the 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 wouldn't be able to look at so many of the independencies that there are across the four countries in relation to covid, 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's been absolutely clear that he wants to take part in that
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four—nation inquiry. for over a year now, l plaid cymru has called for a wales—only public inquiry. . your government — - and you confirmed it now — has opted to have a welsh chapter — or chapters — . in a uk—wide 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 moment" to pull out. since the withdrawal of nato,
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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 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.
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millions of poorer families will face a £20 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. 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
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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 be 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 the parliament of 2017—2019, we actually saw parliamentarians frustrating the will of the people both in attempting to overturn
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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 year preventing training
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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. 1a minutes, madam deputy speaker. i just wonder what she can
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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
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in upcoming zoom meetings. 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 and poorly planned roads and the use of pesticides.
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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.
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britain's newest mp has taken her seat in the house 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
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a special welcome. and will members opposite forgive me if ijust turn around to look at the new member for batley and spen 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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well, it's a mixed bag out there at the moment with some rain around. and we've some showers in the forecast for monday too. some of the showers could be particularly heavy across southeastern areas of the country. and here, we could have some thunderstorms as well. so this is what it looks like early hours of the morning. you can see where the heavy rain is, particularly in the south and the southeast. dry weather across most of scotland and most of northern ireland. and really quite mild in the morning — around 16 degrees, for example, in liverpool. so on that heavy rain, then, in the south, it'll come and go through the course of the morning. in fact, there might even be some sunshine around for a time. but then through the afternoon, showers will brew across parts of scotland, the north of england, but the heaviest ones probably in the southeast here. and these are the ones that could turn thundery and linger through the afternoon, into the evening hours. best sunshine on monday, i think some of these western areas of the uk — certainly western parts of wales,
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maybe cornwall and devon too. now, low pressure is still fairly close by on tuesday. you can see it's actually centred around, well, the western half of europe in the alps, but it's just about influencing the weather around the near continent, so there could be one or two showers around in the southeast. the best of the sunshine, i think across western and northern areas on tuesday. in fact, from plymouth through cardiff, liverpool, belfast, glasgow, should be a relatively sunny day, and the temperatures are starting to recover as well. in fact, by the time we get to wednesday, it should be a dry day across the uk. high pressure is slowly building from the azores. there could be a weak weather frontjust about nudging into the western isles, giving a few spots of rain. but on the whole, it's a fine day for most of us. and then from thursday onwards, we are expecting that high pressure to build right across the country. the winds will fall light. and given some sunshine, we'll see those temperatures recovering. in fact, we're expecting the mid—20s quite widely across the uk, but it really does depend where the winds
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going to be blowing from. for example, if it's coming in from the north, the north sea coasts could be a little bit chilly, but further inland, certainly around 25 or so. so here's the outlook, with monday and those showers there, maybe even one or two thunderstorms in the southeast, and then a steady climb in the temperatures as we head towards the weekend. that's it from me. bye—bye.
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welcome to bbc news. our top stories: celebrations in rome as italy's footballers are crowned champions of europe for the first time since 1968. the 2020 final finished 1—1 after extra time, but the italians beat england in a tense penalty shootout as england's last three penalty takers all failed to score. across england, hope turned to bitter disappointment after their team had made a spectacular start in the final. america's west is scorched by heat as california and nevada brace themselves for even more record breaking temperatures. and richard branson, billionaire founder of virgin galactic has flown to the edge of space
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on the company's first ever passenger flight.

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