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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 4, 2016 3:44am-5:45am EST

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more detail specifically on what happened in that instance that prevented that but i am happy to get back to you. >> please do. it is a broader question of bureaucracy that we have to figure out how to speed that up. we have known cases whether the traffickers here or the one associated with boston bombing where we identified. have we fixed that for the long haul. if you need to get back to me that is great. and i yield back. >> may i add one thing to the question that you asked about what has happened as a result of the review because that was very much a joint operation and we were looking at our piece. i do want to say there have been actions that have been taken. not huge dramatic, but we spoke to the post that handled the largest number of fiance cases, got their s.o.p.s and reviewed
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some of the standard things that they do working on these cases in high volume and have shared the ideas out broadly to other posts and said adopt these ideas. they will make you more efficient and help you ensure you are not overlooking anything in the process. so that is an example of something that has taken place as a result of the review. thank you. chair recognizes the gentle woman from texas. excuse me. >> let me thank the chairman and ranking member and all the witnesses for your presence here today. i know my colleagues have been extensive in their questions. i will partly be engaging in some of my comments. for those of us who have been consistent and untiring supporters of immigration and immigration reform and the values of this nation that from
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my early upbringing centered around the magnificent lady in the new york harbor, statue of liberty. as a child that is what i grew up on and i understood this nation to be a refuge and a land of opportunity. certainly living in the skin i live in i have seen moments of those of whus live here experiencing a separate life and the questions of liberty and justice and opportunity have been a question for americans. so i understand some of the angst that has been exhibited by americans who may feel that jobs have been lost or security has been jeopardized. i have always said the privilege i have serve this congress but in this committee which i take very seriously even more we are the front lines of security of
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this nation and it is our job to counter the negative, the angry and the wrong headedness of some public officials who want to condemn the very entity of what this country has been based, land of immigration and immigrants and a land of laws. you are the holder of this responsibility along with the duty of protecting this nation. so i am going to having been in judiciary committee and leaving for another committee as we speak i'm going to ask all four of you to take the context that i said, that this is the land of immigrant s and the question of recognizing the concern of the security question, i start with you secretary taylor. you are dealing with the social
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media. so each of you will tell me what you are doing for those two points, securing the nation. you may want to weave in the social media context how that we are seriously using that as a tool so that we can do right by those who legitimately come to this country for the values of this nation and get those and i mean get those who come to do us harm. secretary taylor. >> yes, ma'am, i would be happy to start. first and foremost the mission of our department and every person in our department is to stop people who want to come to our country to harm our citizens or our way of life. it is how we have organized our screening and vetting. it is how we have built our partnerships with the intelligence community and law enforcement community. as you mentioned we understand that our use of social media has
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not been as effective as it needs to be which is why i'm leading a task force to add that piece of information to our screening and vetting. one of your other colleagues have asked about how we adjust because the enemy is adjusting as we speak in terms of tactics, techniques and procedures. it is our every day focus on how what we are doing mitigates the risks that we are seeing from intelligence and other activity. that is what we do every day. it is our solemn responsibility to this country, the secretary has announced from the day he started on the 23rd of december 2013 that counter terrorism is the top priority of our department and every official in our department. >> mr. rodriguez? >> we have had a number of robust tools in place and we are fine tuning and finding those
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tools as we go along to ensure that any of the actually millions of people who we screened each year do not pose a threat to national security public safety. we use a series of tools. one of them is the interviews by very highly trained officers, in particular refugee officers. we are always seeking to refine their training and their preparation for the specific environment that they are addressing. if it is a refugee officer that is interviewing syrians we make sure they are steep in the country conditions in syria. that along side all of the intelligence tools that we both use and fine tune as we continue to do our work. >> mr. kubiak? >> thank you for the question. i outlined what we did overseas with the visa security unit earlier.
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the key thing that we bring to our national security strategy is to identify the networks and those criminal organizations that are seeking every day a new way to exploit the security of the nation's borders and working globally to be able to circumvent that security and protocols to move goods and people and finance both into and out of the united states whether to support terrorist finance or groups overseas, to obtain critical technologies or weapons in the united states and export them or to smuggle people and goods into the united states for criminal purposes. our role is to identify those networks for the department, to attack those networks because you can try to stop and defend at the border but the goal is to push the borders out so we protect the homeland by being abroad and we are identifying that entire networks and
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identifying it, disrupting it and dismantling and gaining the intelligence. we can't ensure everything. >> in the course of reviewing and assessing each visa application the officers are part of a team really. we often talk about the officer who does the interview, but that person is not working alone. part of what we do is a very careful prescreening review of applications in order to identify questions in the file and focus the time of the interview in the most valuable way. but in every office we have a unit specifically for fraud prevention. when an officer has a concern about a case they can review that case for what you can call a deeper dive by the fraud prevention team that will be looking into things. we do use social media in cases where we believe that that will give us the information we need to resolve questions that we
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might have and along with our colleagues at dhs looking at how we can make broader and effective use of social media, too. we really invest in the staff to ensure that they are thoroughly trained to take on the responsibility that they have in terms of personally interviewing and assessing the qualifications of every single visa applicant that comes. >> let me thank you and say that i want us to remain a country of immigrants and laws and to keep our values that we have had that have built this country. i yield back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. >> i thank the witnesses for being here today for your testimony and for the work that you do every day to support the primary role of the federal government, that being to provide for the common defense
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and to keep america safe from evolving threats. right now the evolving threats from radical islamist jihaddests are constantly on the minds of the nearly 700,000 texans that i represent and for good reason. the terrorist attacks in paris and san bernardino and other places prove that those extremists intend to exploit, if possible, both refugee and the visa processes to carry out mass killings against innocent people here in the united states and abroad. so i know you agree with me, we need to utilize every tool in our arsenal to ensure people coming to the united states whether through the refugee program or on a visa that they are properly vetted. and in that regard we all fulfill our obligation with respect to the federal government fulfilling its
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primary role to keep our citizens safe. let me start and ask you a question under secretary taylor. following the san bernardino attack there seemed to be a lot of confusion about whether or not under current policy dhs immigration officials are allowed to review open source social media when considering visa applications. your predecessor john cohen was on record as saying during that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of a screening process. following that a spokesperson for dhs came out and said that the department had begun three pilot programs to include social media in vetting. and then following that the president came out and i think in an effort to clarify said that, and i will quote, our law enforcement intelligence professionals are constantly monitoring public posts and it
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is part of the visa review process. help me out. help this committee out here. what is the current policy across the board with respect to dhs, immigration officials' authorization to use social media as part of vetting for visa applicants. >> let me as i mentioned earlier in the hearing, mr. cohen's suggestion that the secretary or any department official had prohibited the use of social media by any official in the department as of 2014 is just not true. we have had a policy in place since 2012. there are 33 instances to date where social media is being used by our components for the purpose of complying with mission requirements. the one thing that we learn
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after san bernardino and why the secretary asked me to take a review of all the social media used within our department was that our efforts were not as robust as they need today be and that we needed a comprehensive methodology within a department for the application of social media, the vetting of social media for our commission. we are involved in that task force today. we made recommendations to the secretary in terms of how we plan to proceed and i have a work stream that i promised to execute that will get us at a better place in terms of where we are. there was no prohibition as of 2014 for any official in the department for the use of social media. >> part of the policy since
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2012. is it allowed or is it required under that policy? >> under the policy from 2012 it set forth a framework established by privacy organization in terms of how components should -- >> is it always used? are we -- is it just a tool -- >> i think what we have learned is that it is not comprehensively used. part of that is the technology. >> don't you think it should be? >> absolutely. >> part of your recommendation is that it is going to be required? >> in a center of excellence for the department to ensure standardized social media use. >> if the chairman will indulge me, i want to follow up with
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respect to the same issue. director testified before the committee that if someone never makes a ripple in the pond in syria we can vet our database until the cows come home but it is not going to help us. >> i understand we have a robust vetting system in place when people are in the database. but secretary johnson and director both testified before this committee that they lack the on the ground intelligence in places like syria to confidently vet individuals. how does u.s. cis incorporate social media as part of vetting into the refugee admission program? >> what we are doing right now in efforts are focussed on syrians is that in those cases
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in which there are elements of concern in a case we do a social media review in those cases to further develop and determine whether there is information in social media which helps us resolve the case, either derogatory information. what we are building towards in very quick order including with the necessary training and linguistic capacity to do this kind of review is to use that across not only all syrians, but also across all iraqis, as well. and that -- we will start deploying that capacity as we start hiring and training folks we will be doing that in very short order. more importantly, we are going to be looking at using social media across all other immigration categories, as well. a lot of that work is done by assistant secretary's folks at
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the consular level. we are looking at using when we see people for example at the time of adjustment there may be opportunities to do that work further at that stage, as well. >> my time is expired. so i'm clear, right now you are saying it is allowed if there is a red flag? >> it is being done. it is allowed in a much broader category and we are authorized to build as quickly as we can do it in much broader categories. i would view it as active and directed rather than merely permissive. >> not required? allowed but not required? >> not in all cases only because we need to bring that capacity online as fast as we can. >> i appreciate your indulgence. >> let me thank the witnesses for what i think was excellent testimony before the committee. mr. rodriguez, one thing that i
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think the record would need to reflect is usis's roll in the refugee program. a lot of questions about it, but in the process of the question i never felt that you got a chance to answer. can you give us the role that you play in this refugee process? >> i think the key starting place is that we are one of a multitude of agencies that are involved in the process. it starts with the u.n. high commission on human rights that first refers to cases to the state department who at that point first round of security checks initiated by state department. both conduct information gathering and interviewing. we do the actual screening
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meaning all that information gathered and also by the state department is reviewed by our officers. we conduct an interview based on our knowledge of the country conditions, of the countries where the individuals are coming from. we sift through the results of those background checks in order to use that for interviewing purposes where we look at social media. we use that as a resource the burden is on the refugee. that is a critical point to demonstrate that they qualify as refugee and are not inad mimisse inadmissible. then the case goes back to the state department that conducts both medical screening and cultural orientation. the database checking is going on a continuous basis from the first time the state department initiates the checks right until and beyond the time that those individuals are admitted to the
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united states. new derogatory information arises about those individuals that pops we learn about it, customs and border protection learn about it, state department learns about it so we can take appropriate action in those cases. we see those individuals assuming they are admitted and not denied for some reason we see them again at the time that they apply for adjustment of status. thank you. >> i thank the ranking member. let me close by saying that i commend the department in the wake of san bernardino for forming this task force in light of 2012 policy. i know general taylor you have taken criticism but moving forward it is the right thing to do to come up with the modern day of social media and make sure that is part of the vetting screening process and to the rest of the witnesses i know it is not always a comfortable
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process and not always painless, but it is our democracy and this is the voice of the american people asking you questions. i want to thank all of you for your patience and for your testimony here today. the record will be open for ten days. members may have additional questions and without objection the committee stands adjourned.
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thursday a house hearing on the federal budget and economic outlook. we will hear testimony from keith hall, director of the budget office. live coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. eastern time on c-span 3. every weekend on american history tv on c-span 3 we feature programs that tell the american story. some of the highlights for this weekend includes saturday night at 8:00 eastern. historian matthew andrews at the university of north carolina chapel hill talks about how racial tensions of the 1980s were reflected in sports. >> rocky is a heavy under dog. he loses in the first film and loses in a split decision. no one thinks he will do well. he does not win. in rocky 2 he knocks out apollo creed in the most implausible boxing scene filmed.
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these were both very popular movies in 1976 and 1979. these are movies about race. these are movies about american history. >> at 10:45 brooklyn law school professor talks about his book "invented by law" arguing that alexander graham bell is solely remembered as inventor of phone because he produced a patent monopoly. we look back at the 1992 presidential campaign and arkansas governor democrat bill clint clinton's position. >> the evening is young and we don't know yet what the final tally will be. i think we know enough to say with some certainty that new hampshire tonight has made bill
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clinton the comeback kid. >> we'll also feature democratic and republican ads that aired in the granite state including those of bill clinton and george h.w. bush. and at 8:00 p.m. on the presidency university of washington history professor talks about her book pivotal tuesdays and argues that the 20th century was shaped by four elections that occurred during economic and cultural change starting with the election of 1912. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go to in this week's session of question time in the british house of commons prime minister david cameron discussed negotiations and answered members' questions about syrian refugees enring the uk and how the government provides medical care for cancer patients. >> order. questions to the prime minister.
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mr. john >> order. questions to the prime minister. >> question one. >> thank you, mr. speaker. this morning i had meetings with colleagues and others and in addition to my duties i will have further such meetings later today. >> john mann. mr. speaker, is that it? is it the best the prime minister can do? nothing for british pensioners? nothing for british workers. and as the office of budget responsibility and treasury have come firm his long term economic plan is reliance on over a million new migrants entering this country before 2020. as the prime minister got the bottle to confirm this inconvenient truth? >> i tell you what we are doing
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for pensioners and it is a triple lock on pensions. never again the rise that either prices or wages or 2.5%. i can tell you what we are doing for people who want to work hard in britain, that is create 2.3 million more jobs since i became prime minister. i believe we will succeed more as a country if we get a good deal in europe and stay in a reform. that will be good for jobs, good for investment and good for growth. that is what i'm fighting for. >> marcus fish. >> people in my constituency are proud of their contribution to the defense of our country whether through skill and readiness of fleet or the local high tech industry making and maintaining helicopters and equipment for our ships, submarines and aircraft. in the current circumstances of
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increasing security challenges and responsibilities and a worrying lack of commitment to defense in many european countries, i welcome the leadership the government has shown in committing to spend 2% of gdp on defense and ask whether my friend will meet with me to discuss ideas i have to build. >> my audible friends, makes a huge contribution to the defense of our country not least through augusta western which is a great british business. we are committed to spending 178 billion pounds on defense equipment over the next decade, something we are able to do because we have a strong economy. we commit today the 2% and will make sure the money is well spent, making sure we have the right equipment. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
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tomorrow, mr. speaker, is world cancer day. cancer is a disease that almost every family in this country has been affected by in some way or another. 2.5 million people in this country have cancer. members on both side of the house received or are receiving treatment at the present time. 1,000 people a day are diagnosed with cancer and go through a trauma as soon as they are diagnosed. there has been a 36% increase in the number of people waiting beyond six weeks for vital diagnostic tests. could the prime minister do something to bring that down? >> first of all, i completely agree that the fight against cancer is one of the great fights of our time and one we are determined to win. now, when we look at how we treat cancer in our country we are putting an extra 19 billion pounds into our nhs and specifically while he is absolutely right, everyone in this house and every family in
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this country will know somebody affected by cancer we are treating more patients. compared with 2010 over 645,000 more patients with suspected cancers have been seen. that is an increase of 71%. almost 40,000 more patients have been treated for cancer. that is an increase of 17%. we have more doctors, more nurses, more cancer specialists. the fight against cancer is something we need to continue with. >> mr. speaker, early diagnosis is absolutely essential in dealing with cancer. i think on that we all know. we know from personal experience on this. the government's independent task force into cancer reported last year and i quote we currently have a serious shortage of radiologists in england. we need more of them. could the prime minister explain why we are cutting by 5% the number of training places available for therapeutic
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radiographers? >> we need more and we are getting them because we are putting more money into nhs. where he is right is that waiting times -- a minute ago the honorable lady was shouting about waiting times. there are three key targets on waiting times. first people should be seen by specialists within two weeks of an urgent referal and meant to be 93% of occasions where currently are 94.7. we need to make sure the first treatment comes within 31 days of diagnosis. there is a 96% standard we are meeting by 97.7%. when it comes to the first treatment within 62 days the standard's 85% were 83.5. we need to improve our performance. when it comes to training we are increasing training places and discussed nurses last week where we are opening up nurse training by making sure we train an extra 10,000 nurses for the crucial
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point here is the money is there in our nhs because we have a strong economy. 19 billion more money that would never be there if we followed the crazy economic plans. >> mr. speaker, my specific question was on therapeutic radiographers. the prime minister did not answer that. without an improvement in the numbers available there will be a problem over treatment. that must be obvious to absolutely everybody. the cancer task force also asks, and i quote, for a radical upgrade in prevention and public health. programs like stopping smoking and anti-obesity are absolutely essential to stop the spread of cancer and help people lead better lives. if we cut, as he is proposing, 200 million pounds from the public health budget surely that is going to lead to an increase in cancer with all the trauma
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that goes with that and the greater cost for the rest of the community. please explain why he is making the cut. >> let me come back to diagnostic radiographers. there are 1,800 more than when i became prime minister in 2010. the interest of -- that is a 15% increase. and the reason there is an increase is that we said we would put more money into the nhs, a real terms increase, something we were told by the then shadow health secretary was irresponsible. we ignored labor and put money into the health service and as a result a 15% increase. when it comes to the rest of the dancer plan the money is being invested. there is a key difference between england and wales and something he can help with which is a labor government in wales. whereas we have a cancer drug
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fund they have no cancer drug fund in wales. so he needs to sort that out with that labor administration. as for public health, under this government real advances have been made on public health including smoking rules in the backs of cars, including packaging and including ring fencing public health budget all done under the conservatives, not done under >> mr. speaker, the prime minister's responsible for the health service in england. wales is a devolved matter and he must be aware, and -- and he must be aware that cancer survival rates are improving better in wales than in any other part of the uk. but my question -- my question was -- my question, my question
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mr. speaker was about the cut in public health budgets, and the effect that has on cancer care. so, could the prime minister tell us when was the last time that the nhs target the starting cancer treatment was actually met within the 62 days required? >> as i have said, of the three big targets, we're meeting the specialists within two weeks target. we're meeting first treatment within 31 days of diagnosis. we're currently falling short of the 62 days target. something which i actually said in the answer to question two but hasn't got around to it until question five. the cogs need to turn a little bit faster. he cannot wash his hands for the situation in wales. labour run wales. what have labour done in wales? labour have cut the nhs in wales.
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it's emerging what labour's plan is. they want to cut the nhs in wales and they want to put up income tax on hard working people in scotland. that's right. what are they going to do to radiographers in scotland? put up their taxes. what are they going to do to nurses in scotland? put up their taxes. what are they going to do to dentists in scotland? put up their taxes. we know labour's plan. higher taxes. they have learned nothing in the last decade. >> mr. speaker, the last time the two-month target was met was 19 months ago. the prime minister must be aware of that. i'm pleased if he is taking action to make sure that doesn't continue or get any worse. i want to turn to another issue that affects cancer payments -- patients and that's the deleted provisions in the welfare reform and work bill, that would have taken 30 pounds per week in esa claimants in the work-related
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activity group. martin contacted me this week who says, it's very funny for many members opposite, it's not funny for martin. martin has a close friend who has breast cancer. i quote, is too unwell to work and cuts will put her into hardship at a time when she's most vulnerable. there are 3,200 people with cancer hit by the cut. will the prime minister now confirm when that matter returns to the commons he will ensure the lord's position is upheld and people like her do not suffer the cut that he wanted to make in the first place? >> let me explain to the right old gentleman and to the house, the situation. there are two sorts of employment and support allowance. there are the work-related activity group, who are able to train for some work. and then there's the support group who get -- go on getting employment and support allowance indefinitely. that's the situation.
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what we have said in future, the work-related activity group, should be paid at the same rate as jobseeker's allowance. but that's for future claimants, not for existing claimants, who continue to be paid at the same rate. of course, if someone has cancer and can't work, they should be in the support group. we've had this issue looked at again and again and again. they should, if they can't work, they go on getting the welfare payments they need. conservative government does. that is what a compassionate conservative government does. but i have to come back to it. because he cannot wash his hands for the situation in wales. hip operations in england take 75 days waiting times on average. in wales, it's 197 days. diagnosis of pneumonia takes two weeks longer. treatment of cataracts, hernia, heart operations take two months longer than in england. labour are running wales.
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he is responsible for labour. pick up the phone. tell them to stop cutting our nhs. >> mr. speaker, it's very interesting the prime minister did not answer the question i put which is whether or not he will proceed with the cut in esa to 3,200 people with cancer at the present time. i hope he thinks seriously about this and does not proceed with this proposal. he will find that mcmillan cancer support rethink mental health illness, parkinson's uk are all united in opposing this cut ba because of the effect it will have on people with a range of very serious conditions. the prime minister used to say that those with the broadest shoulders should bear a greater load. can it be right that cancer patients and those with disabilities on 102 pounds per week really are those with the
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broadest shoulders who should bear this cut? please, prime minister, think again and don't try and reverse the decision of the house of lords on this important matter. >> the people with the broadest shoulders are the highest earners in this country and they're paying a higher share of tax than they ever did under labour. that money is paying for our nhs. it's paying for our welfare system. and i answer the question very directly. if you are an existing claimant on employment and support allowance, your welfare isn't changing. in future, those people who are able to get back to work, we should help them get back to work. that is what a compassionate country does. it's quite clear what labour's policy is. cut the nhs in wales. put up taxes in scotland to pay for more welfare. that's not the approach that this country needs. >> david war burton. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
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my right honorable friend will know that the west country is becoming ever more the envy and the engine room of the rest of the country, with dozens of companies moving from the dark recesses of london to the bright sunlight of the west. will he keep supporting what they are calling summerset silicon gorge by maintaining investment in our roads, rail and in our digital infrastructure? >> certainly, keen to support silicon gorge. [ laughter ] i thought it said silicon george. i was a bit worried about that. it's essential we have a balanced economy. that means a strong economy in the west of our country, as well as in the south, as well as in the north. we are investing in the vital transport infrastructure, not least the vital roads to the west country and improving rail links as well. as i saw for myself yesterday in
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chippenham. as i saw for myself yesterday. but we also need to make sure that this broadband rollout is really effective across the country and it's a big focus getting to those last 10% of homes in rural areas. >> angus robertson. >> thank you very much. the timing of the forth-coming european union referendum is important. today the first ministers of scotland and wales and of northern ireland have called for a commitment by the uk government not to hold the eu referendum in june, which would clash with the elections to the legislature. will the prime minister give that commitment today? >> first of all, there is no agreement. no date has been fixed for the referendum. we discussed this a lot in this house of commons. we legislated to make sure we wouldn't hold the referendum at the same time as scottish or welsh elections. the former first minister of scotland not in his place today said it would be wrong to hold a referendum within six weeks of that election and i can
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guarantee that won't happen. >> angus robertson. >> mr. speaker, the first ministers of scotland, wales and northern ireland have written saying they believe holding a referendum in june, and i quote, risks confusing issues when clarity is required and call on the prime minister to again, i quote, defer the eu referendum at least until later in the year. why will the prime minister not respect the government of scotland, wales and northern ireland and give that commitment today? >> first of all, i do respect the former first minister of scotland who said that six weeks was what was necessary. i also respect the electorates of england, scotland, wales and northern ireland on the basis that i think people are perfectly capable of making up their minds in a local election, or in a scottish parliamentary election or in a welk assembly election, and then after a period of weeks, making up their
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mind all over again on the vital question of the european union. so no date has been fixed. there must be a six-week gap. i think he is looking for things to complain about. this house has voted for a referendum. it would be odd if we didn't spend ages about not having one. >> thank you. the prime minister will be alarmed to hear that a shop selling illicit tobacco, was making 25,000 pounds. >> excessive -- i appeal to the honorable gentleman again to start his question again. >> thank you, mr. speaker. >> thank you. thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister will be alarmed to hear that a shop selling tobacco was making 25,000 pounds a week.
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damaging the people's health, and this is costing the economy $2. -- $2 billion a year. will the government look at increasing the statutory maximum penalty for this offense to bring it in line with the supply of class c drugs? >> i will look at the issue my friend raises. as far as i can see, hmrc working closely with border force has been highly effective at reducing this tax gap of people selling illegal tobacco and have closed off $1.3 billion of tax gaps since the year 2000. they do have a wide range of sanctions to deal with illicit sales, including seizure, penalty, and criminal prosecutions. they prosecuted element 800 different people i think in the last two years. i think the powers are there. i will have a check and see if more are needed. >> my constituent works for the dwp. he tells me the government is correct when they deny staff have target set for sanctioning benefits. our target is the aspirations. the rollout of any work benefit
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saferppingzs, how many of his own low-paid, colleagues should my constituents aspire to sanction this year? >> sanctions in a benefit system are important. we want a benefit system that's there for people who can't find a job, who need support. it's not -- it shouldn't be a lifestyle choice. if people can work, they should work. that's why we have a sanction system. i believe that sanction system is fairly applied. >> mr. speaker, may i share my right honorable friend's disappointment that despite all his hard work, the european union is forcing him to abandon our manifesto pledge to change the benefit system for migrants? will my honorable friend confirm that sadly the only way in which we're going to be able to regain control over our own borders is by leaving the european union? >> i have great respect for my
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friend, but we don't agree. we said in our manifesto that anyone coming to britain from the eu searching for work should not get unemployment benefit and we have fulfilled that promise. we have said if within six months they don't have a job, they should go home. we fulfilled that promise. we said people should not be able to come here and send british child benefit back to their families, and we have secured that they will only get child benefit at a local rate. we said no more something for nothing. the idea that you could come here, claim immediately from our work benefit system without paying in was not right. and i said we would secure a four-year gap. and we have. people said it would be impossible. but that is what we have put in place. it is a negotiation. these are good proposals that i think will have the backing of the british people because they mean no more something for nothing. that's a vital value for britain. >> thank you.
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over 2,500 people are directly employed by the ceramic industry. these and tens of thousands of manufacturing british jobs are at risk if china is granted market economy stations. that's my first question. the prime minister is happy to sell off the family silver. can you guarantee you wouldn't sell off the family crockery? >> we want to support industry. in the potteries, and that's why we're helping perfectr manufacturing with r & d tax credits, with apprenticeship schemes, and with a whole range of measures, not least the energy intensive measures which are very important for the constituency she represents. that's what we want to see. the issue with market economy status is a separate issue, as i've said before. even if they get that status, they can't dump steel products
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or other things into european markets, and they can be fined. and what we should be doing is making sure we're driving open markets for us to sell to china. they are the ones with the massive growth in the middle class taking place of hundreds of millions of people joining. and there are many great products made in stoke that should be sold in china. >> andrew turner. >> sir the isle of wight council can balance the books this year, but fear they will be unable to do so next year. would my right honorable friend confirm the government's willingness to work with them over coming months to help them to access existing sources of finance or find new ways to address the island's unique circumstances. >> very happy to work with the authorities on the isle of wight. i think i'm right in saying that when it comes to spending power, actually, the spending power is
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increasing slightly in the next year, but what we are doing with this settlement for local government, is because overall it's a relatively flat cash settlement over the five-year period, we're allowing councils to use their reserves and also to sell unwanted property and use that money directly to provide services to bridge over the period of the next five years. very happy to look at the circumstances of the isle of wight, but i believe this is a fair settlement. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister has told us today that more money is going into the nhs. let me tell him that my local hospital trust is spending 1.5 million pounds a week on interest payments alone for its pfi deal. now -- wait for it. come on. the prime minister eventually
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saw sense about the need to deal with the damage that high cost credit was doing to individuals. when will he deal with the legal loan sharks of the public sector? >> sometimes it takes a long time to unwind the damage done by a labour government. >> she's absolutely right. one of the first things we did in government was to launch a review of labor's pfi and begin an initiative to address savings and give better value for money for all of the projects. we're seeing there are more gps in the nhs and in terms of the nhs waltham forest clinical commissioning group, next year they're getting a cash increase of 3.7%. that is money provided because we're putting more money into the nhs. >> mr. speaker, a lone parent in my constituency has described
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her experience of the child maintenance group as appalling, with a lack of communication, a failure to act on evidence and not progressing with enforcement. will the prime minister arrange for the secretary of state to meet with my constituents to discuss the issue says -- issues around the enforcement of child maintenance, when non-resident parents are gaming the system and depriving children of the support they're entitled to? >> i'm happy to help arrange that meeting. my friend speaks as many of us find in our own constituencies about the behavior of the non-resident parent and they give everyone the runaround and don't fulfill their duty by helping to pay for the children that they are responsible for. as she knows, we introduced a new service for parents who are unable to make a family-based arrangement. it should be bringing processing of applications, simpler calculations and faster enforcement action. i will make sure she has the meeting she needs to straighten
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out this case. >> tom elliott. >> mr. speaker, if the prime minister can comment on recent events in northern ireland. will he ensure there are equal investigations into the bombs and other major atrocities by terrorist organizations? >> i will look at carefully. at what he says. he have to make sure that we look at all of these things in a fair and reasonable way and perhaps i can write to him about the issue. >> julian knight. >> thank you, mr. speaker. 38 billion pounds a year is spent on pensions tax relief. with three-quarter going to higher-rate taxpayers who need it the least. would the prime minister agree there will be a huge boost to social justice in this country, if pensions tax relief was
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reformed to a single flat rate which would benefit millions of hard-working britons. >> i know my friend speaks on this issue with expertise because of the career he had before coming to this house. he brings a lot of knowledge about this. he is right that there are great costs related to pension tax relief. that's why the chancellor published a consultation last summer to see whether the system should be reformed. as the saying goes, taxes are a matter for the chancellor and his budget. >> mr. speaker, i welcome the government's announcement of further support for child refugees last week, as far as it goes. a 9-year-old girl who lives in my constituency has asked me what we're doing to help refugee children. what a child refugee needs most is a home. when are we going to offer a home to 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children in europe? >> first of all, let me say to the honorable lady what we have done so far. she knows about the 20,000 relocation scheme where we got 1,000 people in by christmas including many vulnerable children. that's going well. less people -- fewer people are
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aware of the fact that in the last year, through normal asylum processes, we took 2,500 unaccompanied children last year. if you look at kent social services and the pressure they're under, they got something like a thousand children they are looking after and obviously facing great pressures on. another point people don't recognize is unaccompanied children in europe, if they claim asylum in the country they are in under the dublin regulations, if they have family in britain, they can come to britain. we think that's the right approach, taking some more people from the region, but being very cautious, because all the evidence shows that even if it's an orphaned child, they may well have some broader family they're connected to and it's better to keep them with them. >> thank you. birchen the security threats faced by this country, whose policies are most dangerous, those in scotland who want to scrap our nuclear deterrent or those who want to keep trident submarines without nuclear missiles?
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>> it's hard to choose from the wrong or the bizarre. you can take your pick. labour's latest plan is to use trident submarines to transport military personnel around the world. it's the most expensive uber service that anyone has thought of. you really do wonder what on earth will they think of next? >> martin daugherty. >> prime minister, you may be aware of the case of my constituent, lisa brown, whose family were notified by spanish police authorities on the 10th of november 2015, as a missing person, though could have been missing since the 6th of november. lisa's mother, her sister and brother have visited spain several times and have met with spanish authorities and with uk counselor staff. while the spanish authorities
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state they are working on this case, there are have been various pieces of misinformation in the spanish media which we know not to have been helpful. can i call upon the prime minister to seek assurances on behalf of lisa's family, from the spanish authorities, here in london and madrid, as well as the foreign commonwealth office that everything possible is being done to ensure that lisa's family can get the answers they so desperately need. >> i will certainly look into this case and make sure after the honorable gentleman raised it so clearly that the europe minister meets with him to make sure everything is done for lisa's family that's possible. >> thank you. mr. speaker, further to the question from the honorable lady, my hospital trust is wrestling with a disastrous pfi signed under the labour government. luckily, there's light at the end of the tunnel.
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as nottingham and derby trust look to take over. but can the prime minister assist them in in way in solving this enormous mess left by the previous labe our government? >> they are extremely difficult to solve these pfi contracts. of course, they were entered into and signed. my understanding is that monitoring the care quality commission show it needs a long-term partnership. i understand as he says the trust plans to announce his preferred partner in mid february and that will help it to support the services that we need. but i'll look carefully and make sure that the health secretary looks carefully at the suggestion he makes. >> mr. speaker, following the shocking official report into the murder here in london of alexander litvinenko, when will he tackle the dirty money here in london that helps sustain the putin regime? >> the report was shocking. although, as the home secretary
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said at the time, this confirmed that the previous labor government understood to have happened. when you read the report all over again, it is deeply shocking what happened. that is why we have taken action in terms of asset freezes and the other measures described by the home secretary. in terms of the problem of so-called hot money coming into london, i made a speech recently explaining that we are doing more than other countries in terms of transparency. in terms of beneficial ownership, who owns what in terms of companies and we're going to do the same in terms of property. i think that is one of the best ways not just to make sure we don't have illegal russian money but make sure that corrupt money, stolen from african taxpayers and other continents, doesn't end up in london. >> when i came to this house i spoke of the great stain upon this nation when it comes to our care of armed forces veterans and doing our duty by those who have done our bidding. here is a sentence from an e-mail on the weekend. i have not had any letter nor
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any wash -- warning. i was told and not to think about it anymore, but now i dread the post every day. the prime minister has intervened to tighten up the historical allegations process, and for that, i thank him. will my right honorable friend look even more closely at the support we are giving, so that what we want to deliver and what we are actually delivering, are the same thing? >> i'm very happy to look at that specifically. i have been very clear about what went wrong and how unacceptable it was. let me repeat again, we will continue to provide our fullest support to those going through investigations, including providing legal advice. and also, we will crack down on any legal firm that we found is has abused the system. we do, because we have got the military covenant written into law and the covenant group that meets under the excellent chairmanship, the member for west dorset, we have an opportunity not just to raise, but to properly tackle these
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issues in a systematic way. >> mr. speaker, the dumping of chinese steel is crippling the british steel industry. the granting of market economy status to china would dramatically reduce anti-dumping measures. why then is the prime minister supporting market economy status for china? is it because he puts cozying up to beijing ahead of helping british industry? >> i put helping british first. that's why we cut taxes for british industry. we're helping with apprenti apprenticeshi apprenticeships. we're busting open markets abroad. crucially for the steel industry, we're investing in our infrastructure and trying to make sure there's a real forward for british steel. i think the honorable gentleman is wrong. we should take these two issues separately. if there is a illegal dumping, we will support action in the european union. that can be done in spite of the status that a country hahas. we have put those sorts of
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burdens on america before today. i don't think it's right to connect the two issues in the way he does. >> finally, mary robinson. >> mental health issues take many forms. services for those suffering from eating disorders are often overlooked. yet they cause intolerable distress and suffering. as health devolution takes place, does the prime minister agree with that it's an important opportunity to secure better mental health service provision, particularly for children and young adults? >> i think my friend is right. i don't see any reason why the devolution of resources to greater manchester under this deal will disadvantage mental health. if anything it will probably lead to greater priority being given to mental health as people can see the connections between mental health and holding back opportunity for so many people. we are investing more in terms of children's mental health and giving a greater focus particularly to eating disorders
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where we do see tragically a growth in the problem. the money is there. and the devolution should help. >> order. >> statement, the prime minister. >> with permission, mr. speaker, i'd like to make a statement on progress with our renegotiation. the house has now had the chance to study the documents published by the european council yesterday. i believe this is an important milestone in the process of reform, renegotiation and referendum that we set out in our manifesto, and which this government is delivering. we've legislated for that referendum and we are holding that renegotiation. so let me set out the problems that we are trying to fix and the progress that we have made. first, we don't want to have our country bound up in an ever-closer political union in europe. we are a proud and independent nation with proud, independent
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democratic institutions that have served us well over the centuries. for us, europe is about working together to advance our shared prosperity and our shared security. it's not about being sucked into some kind of european super state, not now, not ever. mr. speaker, the draft text set out in full the special status according to the uk and clearly carves us out a further political integration. and it actually goes further to make clear that eu countries don't even have to aim for a common destination. this is a formal recognition of the flexible europe that britain has long been arguing for. in keeping britain out, i also wanted to strengthen the role of this house and all national parliaments. so we now have a proposal in the text that if brussels comes up with legislation we don't want, we can get together with other parliaments and block it with a red card. and we've also proposed a new mechanism to finally enforce the
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principle of sub sidiator which states that as far as possible, power should sit here in this parliament, not in brussels. so every year, the european union has got to go through the powers they exercise and work out which are no longer needed and should be returned to nation states. now, second, i said we wanted to make europe more competitive. and deal with the rule-making and bureaucracy that can cost jobs in britain and across the european union. we ask for commitments on all the areas central to european competitiveness. we want international trade deals signed, the single market completed and regulations stripped back. all of these things are covered in the draft texts. there is a new proposal for specific targets to reduce the -- this will help small and medium-sized businesses and there's a new mechanism to drive these through and dut the red tape year to year. third, we're slulthss career that britain is going to keep
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the pound, in my view, forever. but we need to be just as clear we can get the pound in a european union that will be fair to our currency. put simply, it must not become a euro only club. if it does, it would not be a club for us. we call for a series of principles to protect the single market for britain. we said there must be no discrimination against the pound, no disadvantage for businesses that use our currency, wherever they're located in the eu, and no option for britain ever again to be forced to bail out eurozone countries. all of these principles are reflected in the draft text which is legally binding. and again, there's a mechanism, britain has the ability to act to uphold these principles and protect our interests. mr. speaker, we should be clear, british jobs depend on being able to trade on a level playing field within the european single market, whether in financial services or cars or anything else. so this plan, if agreed, will provide the strongest possible protection for britain, from
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discrimination and unfair rules and practices. for instance, never again could the eu try its so-called location policy. that the settling of complex trades in euros must only take place in eurozone countries. these principles would outlaw that sort of proposal. now, mr. speaker, these are protections we could not have if britain were outside the european union. now, fourth, we want to deal with the pressures of immigration, which have become too great. of course we need to do more to control migration from outside the european union. we are doing that, and we will be announcing more measures on that front. but we need to control migration from within the eu too. now the draft text represent the strongest package we've ever had on tackling the abusive free movement and closing down the back door routes to britain. great freedoms to act against fraud and prevent those who pose a serious threat from coming to this country, it includes a new law to everyturn a decision by
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the european court. and it has been a source of perpetual frustration that we can't impose our own immigration laws on third country nationals coming from the european union. but now, after the hard work of the home secretary, we have a proposal to put that right. mr. speaker, there are also new proposals to reduce the pool factor that our benefit system exerts across europe, by allowing instant access to welfare from the day someone arrives. people said that europe wouldn't even recognize that we have this problem, but the text explicitly recognizes that welfare systems can act as an unnatural draw to come to this country. mr. speaker, our manifesto set out four objectives to solve this problem. i mentioned these at prime minister's questions. we'd already delivered on two of them within months of the general election. eu if those coming from the eu haven't found work in six
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months, they can be required to leave. in these texts, we've secured proposal says for the other two areas. if someone comes from another country in europe, leaving their family at home, they'll have their child benefit paid at the local rate, not at the generous british rate. and crucially, we've made progress on reducing the draw of our generous in-work benefits. people said it would be impossible to end the idea of something for nothing. and that a four-year restriction on benefits was completely out of the question. but that is now what is in the text. an emergency break that will mean people coming to britain from within the eu will have to wait four years until they have full access to our benefits. and the european commissioner said very clearly that brilliant qualifies already to use this mechanism. so with the necessary legislation, we'd be able to implement it shortly after the referendum. let me be absolutely clear about the legal status of these changes that are now on offer. people said we would never get something that was legally binding. but this plan, if agreed, will
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be exactly that. these changes will be binding in international law and will be deposited at the u.n. they cannot be changed without the unanimous agreement of every eu country, and that includes britain. so when i said i wanted change that is legally binding and irreversible, that is what i've got. and in key areas, treaty changes envisaged in these documents. so i believe we are making real progress in all four areas, but the process is far from over. there are details that still need to be pinned down, and intense negotiations to try and agree the deal with 27 other countries. it will require hard work, determination, and patience to see it through. but i do believe that with these draft texts, and with all the work we've done with our european partners, britain is getting closer to the decision point. it is of course right that this house should debate these issues in detail. so in addition to this statement, and of course a statement following a council later this month, the government would always make time for a
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full day's debate on the floor of this house. mr. speaker, as we approach this choice, let me be clear about two things. first, i'm not arguing and i will never argue that britain couldn't survive outside the european union. we are the fifth largest economy in the world, the biggest defense player in europe, with one of the most extensive and influential diplomatic networks on the planet. the question is not, could britain succeed outside the european union, is it how will we be most successful? how will britain be most prosperous? how will we create the most jobs? how will we have the most influence on the rules that shape the global economy and affect us? how will we be most secure? and i've always said that the best answers to those questions can be found within a reformed european union. but let me say again, if we can't secure these changes, i rule nothing out. >> now, second, even if we secure these changes, this
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organization is not fixed. far from it. there are many things to be reformed. and britain will lead the way. we will work so that brilliant works for the countries of europe and the people of europe. and crucially for the british people, who want to work and have security and get on and make the most of their lives. if we stay, britain will be in there, keeping a lid on the budget, stripping away unnecessary regulation and seeing through the commitments we've secured in this renegotiation. ensuring that britain truly can have the best of both worlds. in the parts of europe that work for us and out of those that don't. in the single market, free to travel around europe, part of an organization where cooperation on security and trade can make britain and its partners safer and more prosperous. but with guarantees that we'll never be part of the euro, never be part of shengen, never be part of a european army, never be forced to bail out the eurozone with our taxpayers
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money. that's the prize on offer. a clear path that can lead to a fresh settlement for britain in a reformed european union. a settlement that will offer the best future for jobs, security, and strength for our country. a settlement which, as our manifesto promised nearly a year ago, will offer families in our country, security at every stage of their lives. that's what we're fighting for and i commend this statement to the house. >> jeremy corbyn. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i'm grateful for the prime minister for sending me a copy of the statement 45 minutes ago -- an hour ago, i'm sorry. and i'm pleased he's decided to update the house. however, it is a bit unfortunate that despite his trumpeting of sovereignty of parliaments, the prime minister didn't think to come and update our own parliament first. i hope he had a good day in chippenham, but i note he spent
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a lot of time answering questions from journalists, when it would be more respectful to come here first and answer questions from members. in truth, mr. speaker, this negotiation and reality is a tory party drama that's being played out in front of us as we see at the moment. the labe our party is commitsed to keeping britain in the european union because we believe it's the best -- don't get too excited. let me tell you the rest of it. because we believe it is in the best framework for european trade and cooperation in the 21st century and in the best interest of people in this country. but we believe the prime minister has been negotiating the wrong goals in the wrong way for the wrong reasons. for all the sound and fury the prime minister's ended up exactly where he knew he would be, making the case to remain in europe, which is what he always intended, despite renegotiated spectacle choreographed for tv cameras over the only continent.
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mr. speaker, as his own back benches keep telling us, proposals for the european council are on the edges and have little impact for what the eu delivers for workers in britain. we welcome a veto over commission legislation, even if it's heavily qualified, it seems the prime minister has finally moved towards the labour party's view on this issue, and we welcome him. protecting non-eurozone states ise is necessary, but we cannot lead these professionals to hamper efforts to regulate the financial sector, including bankers bonuses. the crucial detail on workers benefits for eu migrants is entirely absent. when is that information going to be made available? in any case, the prime minister calls the strongest package ever on the abuse of free movement
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doesn't tackle the real problems around the impact of migration on jobs, wages and community. those demand action to support public services in areas of high population growth and regulation to prevent the subsidizing of low pay and the grotesque exploitation of migrant workers by some very unscrupulous employers. it's the same with competitiveness. is the prime minister really out to strengthen genuinely competitive markets, or is this proposal a fig leaf for increasing pressure to privatize our public services, reduction of consumer standards, environmental protection, or workers rights? this is why labor will continue to oppose the threats to services and rights from the tea-tip negotiations. we need to reform to ensure all european governments have the right to intervene, to protect
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publicly owned industries and services. this side of the house is delighted the prime minister has been forced to back down on his hopes to water down workers' rights. however, mr. speaker, we want to see workers rights further protected and extended within the european union. we need a strengthening of workers rights in a really social europe. and we want to see a democratic reform to make the european union decision-making more accountable to its people. we must drive economic reform to put jobs and sustainable growth at the center of european policy. and work with partners in europe to bring tax-avoidance under control so that we can get a far better deal than the chancellor managed with google last week. but, mr. speaker, to extend -- to keep and extend these employment protections, we have to remain within the european
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union, or leave the field, the conservative party, to make a bonfire of workers rights. the prime minister says he's secured britain's exclusion from shengen, a european army and a european super state. the prime minister is living in a never neverland. we've never argued for those things and don't intend to. we need to work with our allies in europe to achieve the more progressive reforms its people need, to build a more democratic europe, that delivers jobs, prosperity, and security for all of its people. we must do this together, that's why when the referendum is finally held, we'll be campaigning to remain a member. but i end by asking the question to the prime minister, does he now agree that once this smoke and mirrors side show deal is finally done, we'll get on with
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it, end the uncertainty and the referendum will be held on june 23rd, 2016? >> prime minister. >> can i thank the right old gentleman for his questions. first of all, on the issue of making a statement today rather than yesterday, i felt yesterday i was in possession of all the documents, but i didn't think every member of this house would be, so i thought better to give honorable members a day to read the documents and have the debate today. it gave me the added advantage of being able to visit chippenham which of course is the town of the right old gentleman's birth, and i was able therefore to thank them for putting him on earth and for delivering him safely to this place. [ laughter ] now, in terms of the questions, first of all, he criticizes the issues we put on the table, getting out of ever closer union, waiting times for welfare, guarantees for fairness
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between ins and outs. i know he didn't read the labor manifesto, but i did, and all of those things were in the labor manifesto. they wanted a two-year welfare wait, rather than four years, but the other elements, many were supported by labor. so honorable members can feel they have a mandate for backing these measures. he asked about the detail on the emergency migration break because there are gaps in the text. he's right about that, we need to secure the best possible outcome at the february council. he asked about the danger of exploitation of migrant workers, this is an area where he and i agree, that's why we've boosted the gangmaster's licensing authority, we with put in place better coordination between them and the national crime agency. we're making sure there are more investigations and more prosecutions. now on tea tip which is an area where we profoundly disagree. and other socialist governments
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in europe take my view which is tea tip will be good for jobs, good for growth, good for businesses. i'm not sure i ought to advise him to spend more time with trade unions, but actually he spends time with trade unions in sweden and other countries in northern europe, he may find they too support tea tip because they want jobs for members. in the end, what i would say to all members across this house, this is an important moment for our country. so, yes, there will be areas of disagreements but we're involved in getting the best deal for britain. so i would urge all honorable members, if you want to have no more something for nothing, if you want to get britain out of ever closer union, if you want fairness between those in the euro, and those out of the euro, and you want a more competitive and successful europe, let's fight this together. >> mr. kenneth clarke.
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>> are you persuaded, kent? >> mr. speaker, the prime minister has achieved more on the big issues in this negotiation than i ever expected. and i suspect more than hardline euro skeptics ever expected, which is why they're denouncing it so fiercely. but as he says, he still have to deliver it. does he accept that he's going to have great difficulty persuading governments in central and eastern europe in particular, to accept that their citizens, lawfully working here, alongside english people in key sectors like the health service, and the construction industry, should have lower take-home pay in the first few years than their english work mates? and so if he has to offer something in exchange for that, could he perhaps consider underlining our nato commitment to those countries, as their biggest concern is future
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military adventures by putin russia? and to underline our role if not the leading military contributor through nato to the european alliance, will be a very good offer to make by deploying more troops, perhaps, in order to get what is a difficult, difficult concession for our partners to make in those countries? >> prime minister. >> to my right honorable friend, he has huge experience of european negotiations, both treaty negotiations and also ongoing negotiations in the council of ministers. so i'm grateful for what he says. he's absolutely right, these are difficult issues. my argument is that while we have the free movement of people, that many british people take advantage of, we don't have harmonized welfare and benefit system, nor should we. and the second point, when countries in europe have problems that they believe affect their key national interests, we've got to be flexible enough to deal with them. and i think that's what this agreement is showing.
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the advantage, of course, of the proposals put forward is that they will have the support of the european commission. and i think that will reassure some of the states in europe who have misgivings. he's absolutely right, we can also reassure them about our investment in their security, because i think that is a very important issue with putin, as it were, to our east, with isil to our south, this is a moment where we need to make sure we're working together. >> angus robertson. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. we in the scottish national party warmly welcome to make the positive case for the european union. it really matters that we're part of the world's largest single market. it really matters that we can help determine the rules and laws that apply to us and it really matters that we have a social europe with rights and protections for citizens and workers. will the prime minister first off commit to a positive campaign to remain in the european union and not resort to the negative tactics of
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prestigious fear. on the prime minister's negotiations, can i suggest that he stops pretending having won some major victory. he's not even secured treaty change he promised and much else asides. what is at stake is much bigger than recent discussions. it's about whether we are in the eu or not. and that is what the debate across the uk will be in the run-up to the referendum. the timing of the referendum really matters to the electorates and the governments of scotland, wales, and northern ireland. as well as london, where there are elections in may. and this morning, mr. speaker, the first minister of scotland, nicholas sturgeon, the labor first minister of wales, the first minister of northern ireland, i think the first ministers of northern ireland, wales, and scotland, deserve a little bit more respect. the first minister of northern
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ireland, arlene foster, and the deputy first minister of northern ireland, martin mcguinness have written to the prime minister today. they say the following and i think that honorable and right honorable members should listen to what they say. we believe that holding a referendum as early as june will mean that a significant part of the referendum campaign will necessarily run in parallel with those elections and risks confusing issues at a moment when clarity is required. we believe that the european referendum is of vital importance to the future of the whole united kingdom and the debate leading up to it should therefore be free of other campaigning distraction. we believe it would be better for you, for the prime minister to commit to deferring the eu referendum at least until later in the year. so will the prime minister take the opportunity and confirm that he will be respectful of the views of the governments of scotland, wales, and northern
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ireland, and defer the referendum beyond june? and finally, mr. speaker, may i take the opportunity yet again to ask the prime minister to answer this question, which he has singly failed to do so thus far. will he confirm that there are still no safe guards in place which would stop scotland being taken out of the e uagainst the will of the scottish electorate? >> first of all, let me say, yes, of course, i think that when this campaign comes and we need first an agreement and recommended position by the british government and all the rest of it, but when this campaign comes, yes, of course, it should be a positive campaign. in terms of what he says about treaty change and whether this is legally binding, as i explained, it is legally binding and it does envisage treaty -- >> the house debated and ruled out coinciding with the scottish, welsh, and london elections, but the house did not
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rule out holding a referendum at another time, and specifically, the former first minister said that six weeks was the appropriate gap. look, obviously we have to wait to see whether an agreement is reached. but where i disagree with him, i don't believe that somehow this is confusing issues. i think people are perfectly capable six or more weeks after one set of elections to consider another election and i note that the leadership of the opposition, whose party is in control of wales, was actually pressing me to hold the referendum on the 23rd of june. so there's obviously a range of opinions out there, i think the best thing to do is get the deal done and then hold a referendum. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, this is all about trust. why has my right honorable friend in order to stay in, bibassed so many promises and
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principles. our national parliament he said at bloomberg is the root of our democracy, not a majority of red cards in other parliaments. that we would have full-on treaty change, not the arrangements that we now have had announced to us today. we were promised a fundamental change in our relationship with the eu. we were promised that we would deal with the excessive immigrant numbers which has now been whittled down to an issue about in-work benefits controlled by the european court of justice. above all, this entire package, mr. speaker, we were told and promised would be both legally binding and also irreversible. but now, it will be stitched up by political decision, by the european council, and not by a guaranteed treaty change at the right time, and this, i have to
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say to the prime minister, is a wholly inappropriate way of dealing with this matter. >> great respect for my honorable friend, but i have to say, on this issue of whether it is legally binding, i really do believe he's wrong. if this document is agreed, it would be an international law decision, and as an international law decision, the european court of justice have to take it into account. i would make the point to him because he follows these things very closely. denmark negotiated the same sort of legal opt-outs and 23 years on, they clearly stand and are legally binding. those are the facts. now he asks whether we are meeting what we set out in terms of the promises we made. we made very clear promises in our manifesto. get britain out of ever closer union. that's a promise we kept. make sure we restrict immigrants' welfare benefits. that's a promise we're keeping. real fairness between euro ins and euro outs. that's a promise we're keeping. in every area, more
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competitiveness. we've met the promises that we've set out. i understand there will be those who say we didn't ask for enough, or we need more reform. i believe these are the reforms that go to the heart of the concerns of the british people, people who feel this organization is too much of a political union, it's too bureaucratic, not fair for non-euro countries, and we want more control of immigration. those four things are largely delivered through this negotiation. i would just ask also, colleagues on all sides of the house, i've sat on benches this side, that side. i've heard about the mast strict treaty, the lisbon treaty, the amber dam treaty, but i've never seen a prime minister standing at this dispatch box with a unilaterally achieved declaration of bringing powers back to our country. that's what we've got. that's what's within our grasp. >> mr. allen johnston. >> will the prime minister join me in welcoming the launch for environmentalists for europe
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today by the father for the right honorable member in uxbridge. an article last week, setting out the importance for science and technology of remaining in the european union, penned by the brother of the right honorable member, will he have a word with his right honorable friend and tell him the importance of family solidarity and joining the swelling ranks of -- [ inaudible ] >> very good. we can't have too many johnsons agreeing with each other. he's absolutely right. there's also rachel johnson, the columnist, we'll have to go after her and make sure -- look, he makes a very important point about universities because we all complain rightly about the european budget and that's why it's so important we've got it under control and it has to fall every year. but we did safeguard in those budget negotiations the monies that british universities benefit for on a
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disproportionate basis. as for completing the happy family pack of the johnsons, we may have to wait a little bit longer. >> i would call the right honorable gentleman to ask a question if he were standing, but he isn't. you can't have it all. >> as we are driven in the new vehicle towards ever closer union and to political union, how does it help to try and fit a couple of emergency breaks that lie within the control of the eu and not us? isn't the only way to get control of our borders, our tax revenues, and our welfare system, to leave and be a good european and let them get on with their political union? >> prime minister. >> i don't agree with that. i think actually what we're doing here is making sure that it's very clear, britain is carved out of ever closer union. i think that's a real advance. indeed it's something that he and other colleagues have been asking for, quite rightly and i've always believed is right. because our view, about europe,
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is that we're not there for political union. we're there for cooperation, we're there for trade, for working together on the things that matter. and look, of course, these documents can change. this is all in draft, but one of the issues on ever closer union is that actually the european union has gone further than i thought they would and have said this, which i think colleagues will find interesting. the references to an ever closer union do not offer a basis for extending the scope of any provision of the treaties or of eu's secondary legislation. they should not be used either to support an extensive interpretation of the competence of the union or the power of its constitutions as set out in the treaty. now, that's never been said before in those ways. and those of us who care about ever closer union and getting out of ever closer union, this actually goes a long way to achieving in many ways, more than what we asked for. >> stewart. >> the european continent has seen flows of people and refugees larger since the end of
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world war ii. the balkans are becoming ever more volatile, and turkey is not behaving in a way which is as helpful as it could have been. have any of the negotiations the prime minister has been involved in actually increased the security of the european continent, or the security of the united kingdom? >> i would argue both. when it comes to the security of the continent, we recognize that europe's external border, although it's not our external border, because we're not in shengen, it does matter. that's why we sent more representatives to go and help with the asylum and immigration support office than any other country. and why we're happy to do even more, working with the greeks, indeed, working with the turks. but there's an important change in all of this which does increase the security of britain going forward. first of all, because we're not in shengen, foreign nationals coming to other european countries, we don't have to let them into britain. long may that be the case. but the key changes that the home secretary and i have
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managed to secure about protecting our immigration system from fraudsters, from sham marriages, from criminals, from people who get married to try to get into our country, frankly, they've become even more important. and the fact is, we're going to secure those, if this goes ahead, from within the eu. >> mr. boris johnson. >> since you've been so kind as to call me, perhaps i can ask the prime minister how these changes as a result of this negotiation will restrict the volume of negotiation, legislation coming from brussels will change the treaty so as to assert the sovereignty of this house of commons and of these houses of parliament. >> let me take those issues in turn, because i think he's right to raise them. first of all, in terms of asserting the sovereignty of this house, that is something we did in 2010 through our european
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referendum act, but something i'm keen to do even more on, to put beyond doubt that this house of commons is sovereign and that is something we'll look to do at the same time as concluding these negotiations. in terms of what are we doing to restrict the flow of legislation from brussels, for the first time ever in here, is a commitment not only that europe has to examine all its competencies and worked out what should be returned to nation states, but there's also the proposal to cut brussels regulation with these bureaucracy capped targets. that's never been there before. i would argue, if you look across this, you can see you have welfare power coming back, immigration power coming back, bail-out powers coming back, and of course the massive return of power we achieved, the biggest return of power from brussels to britain since we joined the eu. we've absolutely nailed that down in these discussions to
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make sure they can't get around it. these were all key objectives. i'm not saying this is perfect. i'm not saying the european union will be perfect after this deal. it certainly won't. but will the british position be better and stronger? yes, it will. >> nigel dods. >> mr. speaker, since assuming office in 2010, the prime minister has on occasion tried to his credit, to limit the increases in the contributions by the united kingdom to the european union budget. varying degrees of success on that front. can he now tell us as a result of this agreement, given that the uk pays 9 billion pounds and more net into the eu every single year, will he tell us how much our contribution is going to go down in net terms each year as a result of this agreement? >> well, we've already done the european budget agreement, which was for the first time, when you look at the seven-year financial perspective, that's the budget over the next seven years, that is going to be lower over this
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seven years than the last seven years. so that actually makes a -- there's a real terms cut, something no one thought would be possible to achieve. now the exact amount of money we give does depend sometimes on the growth and success of our economy. and one of the consequences of our strong growth and the difficult times in the eurozone, that's meant a little bit more has been contributed. but the overall financial perspective is coming down and that's good news for britain. >> mr. dominic grieve. >> mr. speaker, my right honorable friend has achieved, i believe, quite remarkable results because of the legally binding nature of the document which he brings back, if it is accepted by the european council. in that context, he will know that one of the principled problems that has bedeviled the relationship with the european union has been the capricious interpretation of the treaties, sometimes to circumvent what the
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united kingdom has believed to be its true treaty obligations. in view of the remarkable specificity of this document, does he agree with me that this will be a very powerful tool in preventing that happening in future? >> i think my right old friend makes a very important point. if we stand back for a moment and ask ourselves how is it that powers have been taken from this house to brussels, it's really happened in two ways. one, you've had a successive range of treaties, passing competencies from britain to brusselse brusse brussels. that can't happen anymore. me or any subsequent prime minister signed up to a treaty to pass powers, they couldn't. there would be a referendum. the second way that powers get passed is through the judgment of the european court of justice. that's why what's been secured on ever closer union is important because it's saying that in terms, if we can get this agreed, you can't use that
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clause to drive a ratchet of competencies going from britain to brussels. so the two routes for further integration where britain is concerned, i think, have been effectively blocked off. >> liz kendall. >> thank you, mr. speaker. can the prime minister confirm that nothing in this renegotiation waters down important security cooperation at the eu level, like intelligence sharing, joint investigations and the eu arrest warrant and that when a deal is done finally, that he will join members on this side of the house, making a strong case that our membership of the eu helps bring criminals to justice and keep britain safe? >> i want this deal to be done. and i think the security argument is an important one. i think there was, when my honorable friend the europe minister was answering questions yesterday, the point was made, is it consistent to say, as we do secure in this document, that
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national security is a national competence? is it consistent to say that, but also to argue that europe is important for security? i believe it is. it's very important that we're clear that when it comes to our policing, when it comes to our intelligence services, the core competences, they're for this house. they're for government decisions. but of course there are ways we can cooperate in europe to make yourself safer, making sure we know when criminals are crossing borders, making sure we exchange passenger name records and the rest, to keep us safe. which is why, when we opted out of the justice and home affairs area, we stayed in the ones that really matter for keeping us safe. and so i think that's very important in demonstrating we're both maintaining national security as a national competence, but working with our partners to keep our people safe. >> dr. liam fox. >> when i first said to the leader of the opposition that i prefer what he describes as the drama of the conservative party
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to the tragedy of his labour party. mr. speaker, whether or not an emergency brake kicks in is ultimately the decision of the european union, not the uk. the level of immigration at which it kicks in is a decision by the european union, not the uk. even the benefit sunday abroad. we don't have independent control over these areas and isn't ultimately the decision in the referendum on areas of our own laws and borders, whether we want them to be determined here by ourselves or overseas by someone else? >> prime minister. >> great respect for my right old friend and i thought he explained very clearly on the radio this morning that he would be for leaving the eu, even without the renegotiation, he was very honest and frank about this. in terms of drama and tragedies, i'm sure we'll join me in saying
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we shouldn't turn a drama into a crisis. i think that would be the right approach. but what i say to him about the emergency breake, the commissio have been clear. they consider the kind of information provided by the uk knumpt shows the precise situation that the mechanism is intended to cover, exists today. so i'm all for maximizing the sovereignty of this house, of this government, for our ability to do something. but we want no more something for nothing, we want a welfare. >> doctor alastair macdonald. >> could i reassure the prime minister that they the prime minister that in my commission notes that for most of those agree with him that we would be much more successful in the european union and out? and could we urge that the revenue be held later than june so that all aspects could be fully discussed? could i ask him if and when the
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negotiations, when the negotiators completed, the deposits result of the referendum next can be see the uk take and much more positive and engaged role within the structures of the european union? >> what i would say to the honorable gentleman is were there to be agreement in february, i don't actually think a four month period before a referendum would be too sure that i think from what is a good amount of time to duplicate across the key arguments and facts and figures of both sides to be able to make the point i think i will be be equally important in northern ireland and i get him to guarantee that if there is to be a great but i will make sure i personally spent time in northern ireland making the point that i think are most important. as for the rest of the eu in helping to bring about the successful transmission of northern ireland, i think there've been positive moves in
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terms of grants and structural and other funds to build a strong economy in northern ireland that we need. >> could i ask my right honorable friend to clarify the status of agreement on migrants benefits? the eu has -- no benefits rose in member states. unless they conflict with freedom of movement in the treaty. so if the proposed changes do not conflict with the treaty, we could've introduced to them immediately without using up our negotiating clout on this issue. but if the changes do not conflict with the treaty, they will be struck down by the eu court unless the treaty is changed first. >> what i would say is that the view is that this emergency brake can be brought in under the existing treaties but only
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with legislation to the european parliament. on an accelerated timetable, the leader of one of the major parties said it could take one, two, or three much. that is what makes it clear that you could act in this way legally and crucially come in mighty big and i think in the view of the british public not just legally but quickly. >> will the prime minister when he meets the various leaders of the eu over the next two months make it quite clear to them that the result of this referendum is to be decided by the british people an that they should not e trying to interfere in any way in these peoples of you? woody particularly say to the irish tea shops it was not -- and effective very, very i'm complementary to the people of northern ireland that it's the british people, united kingdom decide to leave the european union that it would threaten the peace process? >> i counsel thee agree with the
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honorable lady that this is a decision for the british people and the british people alone. i think that they surely don't want to hear lectures from other people about that. i think look, because this does affect britain's relations with the rest of the world and other issues, that there may well be people who want to make a positive contribution and that's a matter for them. the only thing i would say about the peace process, i think it is secure and we must keep going on the. the other thing i would say is that i do believe he is a friend of the united kingdom. he spoke out very strongly for britain at the european council and i think was quite influential in trying to build goodwill in saying we should all in the european union recognize that if a country has a national interest that is at stake and needs things fixed, we've got to be inflexible in of organization because otherwise we will not be able to sort these things out. >> the prime minister has said that if we vote to leave the eu
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it wants to continue as prime minister, combination i would fully support. and he certainly found himself as a negotiated. and so given that we have a net contribution feature to the eu of 19 in pounds, given that we have a trade deficit with the european union of 62 billion pounds, that if we were to leave we will be the single it is export markets of the european union, does he think he has the ability to negotiate the free trade agreement from outside of the you without handing over 19 million pounds a year of? >> i have great respect to my friend who i think wanted to leave the eu, whatever came out of the negotiations, and i'm sure he will make his art was probably. obviously, you have to look at all of the issues and i think once this debate starts we want to look at all the alternatives.
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would bring be better off in our customs union arrangement like turkey? would we be better off any free trade agreement like canada? would we be better off in a situation like norway and iceland? i've started to talk with some of those. i think the norway example is not a strong example because they are contribute more per head than we get we should take all of the legislation proper. i'm sure this'll be an important part of the debate too. >> so far a lease in exchange is he doesn't seem to have persuaded any of the critics on his side over the virgins of this negotiation but he may have persuaded the home secretary for reasons we understand but apparently none of the other critics. >> is that it? >> maybe he can help me out, i don't know. [laughter] look, this is a very important issue for our country but in the
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and it's not going to be decided in this chamber. all of us want to read your own conclusion and the only thing i would say is if you passionate belief in your art britain is better off than you should go that way. if you think even if it's on balance i think britain is better off then, go with what you think. don't take a view because of what your constituency association might say or you're worried about a boundary review or you think might be advantageous this way or that way. do what's in your heart. if you think it's right for britain, can do that. >> since no one else has done it so far for new an hour, and as my mom always said, say thank you. can i say thank you to the premise or for giving us a choice in the first place? and is a weather question we asked in this referendum --
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referent of what is the point of having an emergency brake on your card is the backseat driver name of european commission has the power to tell you when and for how long you should put your foot on the brake pedal? >> this is rather different, where they're telling us in advance but because of the pressures we face this is a brake that we can use them to break we can use relatively rapidly after a referendum. i think it would make a difference. the facts are these, 40% of the eu migrants coming to britain at accessing the in work benefit system that the average payment per family is 6000 pounds. don't tell me 6000 pounds isn't a quite major financial inducement or i think it's over 10,000 people are getting over 10,000 pounds a year. our benefit system because you get instant access to it is an unnatural brought to her country into one of the things we should do to fix immigration into our country is changing and that's
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we are passionate and that's what we are going to agree. >> which he acknowledged the referendum will be won or lost on big issues? not least the greatest challenges facing us are better solved when countries work together? can i invite him again to join me in welcoming establishment of our mentalist for your which recognizes cause border problems a choir solutions and -- protecting our wildlife and nature in this country? >> i think where you have genuine cross-border problems you need to work across borders to try and make sure you have a strong solution. i think the key issue is our prosperity and security but within security comes environmental security. britain at the accord was able to play a strong role because to our example of getting carbon emissions down and having a strong plan for the future we encouraged other countries in europe to do the same thing. that leverage -- that brought about a better deal for the rest
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of the world. [inaudible] should the prime minister succeed in negotiations, he will have achieved not only -- also the spirit. perhaps most important of all it will give the british people a chance to vote for a reform bureau or to vote for the uncertainty of leaving. >> here, here. >> i am very grateful to my honorable friend. i do think we are delivering the manifesto not least by doing something many people thought would never deliver on which is to hold the referendum. i remember sitting over there when tony blair stood here and said that battle commenced to let referendum begin over the constitutional treaty. that referendum was never held or i think in many ways poisoned
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a lot of the debate in britain. that's what the manifesto is so clear about the referendum and about the renegotiation. some people will say a better approach is to go in, take over the table, walk out the door and say i'm not going to come back in a less you give me the list of impossible demands. that was never the plan we set out. the plan was to address specifically the biggest concerns of the british people about competitiveness, about an ever closer union, about fairness and about migration. that's what this negotiation if we can complete it, that's what i believe it will do. >> thanks very much mr. speaker. can i congratulate the prime minister on the progress he has made? kind of ask the prime minister if we left the european union with this but it missed out cooperation with the french
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authorities to protect uk borders? >> i'm very grateful to what she says. i think you raise an important point. there's no doubt in my mind but that agreement that we have is incredibly beneficial. it works well but i think for both countries but for britain, being able to our border controls in france and make sure we do with people there, that is something i think that we should be very proud of into everything we can to sustain. it is part of european cooperation that we have the. >> given the difficulty by giving it a change to eu membership approved by the other 27 countries, what we've got is as good as anyone i think might have expected and more. i congratulate the prime minister on his achievement. but will my right honorable friend confirm that once the european council has made
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decision, he will respect the views of those ministers who might publicly expressed the opinion that the united kingdom should now leave the eu, and that the careers of those ministers in his government won't be jeopardized or threatened as a consequence? >> i can certainly get my honorable friend that assurance. we are still in the process of negotiation and the manifesto we all stood on said that we wanted to get the best possible deal for britain and we would all work on it together. that's exactly what we are doing. once the deal, if it is agreed whether february or later if it takes more time, then will be a meeting of the cabinet to decide whether we can take a recommend a position to the british people. if that position is recommend we stayed in a reform european union and yes at that point ministers who have long-standing views and want to campaign in another direction are able to do that. the government will still have a position. this is not a free for all.
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it would be a clear government position from which ministers can depart. and yes, as i said they should suffer disadvantage because they want to take that view. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister has -- [inaudible] in the spirit of his very own one nation respected in wilderness in defense of government in the default of parliament of the united kingdom? unilateral and abilities, -- [inaudible] is disrespectful and wrong. >> in terms of the respect agenda, my rideable print has had a number of conversations with his of the administration to think outside the entrance of the referendum date i don't think we should get ahead of ourselves. we need an agreement but it'll be late a four-month period, a good six weeks or more between
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one set of elections and another set i don't believe in any way that is disrespectful. i have great respect for the electorate of our countries that are able to separate these issues and make a decision. >> i commend my friend for sticking to his commitment to offer the british people a choice on this matter. i also support what he said about maximizing the sovereignty of this parliament. would you not agree other proposals to acquire united kingdom to secure the support of many continental parliament to block any eu directive which this parliament opposes does not constitute a fundamental reform that he seeks? >> what i would argue, that is something new, something that didn't previously exist. of course, it will take a lot of coordination between the parliaments but what i think it's more powerful than the previous proposals of yellow cards and what have you is that this would be an absolute block. if you get the right number
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together over an issue, the council and the commission would not go ahead with it. i think it goes alongside the subsidiarity test that takes was and the accommodating britain out of ever closer union, reaffirming the sovereignty apartment as we have been able to again. it is one more measure the demonstrate we believe in national parliaments. [inaudible] >> based on jobs, our economic, collective security and the places in the world. does the prime minister except that if we vote to leave the european union but then found ourselves still having to accept all the rules of a single market, that would be to swap our position as a rule maker for that of being a rule take her? that is not control and it is not the right future.
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>> the right honorable member speaks very, very clearly and powerfully. of course, he's right. that are much bigger apartments that are going to take place over the coming months and i'm not over claiming about the four areas where we've made progress. i merely say they relate to for other things that most concern the british people about europe and we are somewhere down the road of fixing the. i think the point in exhibiting a rule maker and not a rule take it is vital. britain is a major international economy, huge car industry, huge aerospace industry and for import financial service, service industry. we need to make sure we are about the table making the rules. because otherwise that's the danger you are not just a rule taker at the rules are made against you and that's what we need to avoid. >> amongst the other important measures negotiate by my right honorable friend the prime minister, i welcome in particular the rni


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