Chris Grayling responds to urgent question about flight laptop ban – Politics live
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs and David Davis giving evidence to a Lords committee about Brexit
The SNP’s Alan Brown says the announcement implies the government does not trust the security arrangements at airports in the countries affected.
Grayling says he does not want this to be seen as a vote of no confidence in security arrangements in these countries.
Tom Pursglove, a Conservative, asks what consultation there was with airlines before this was announced.
Grayling says the government has been in regular contact with them over recent days.
Grayling says he is not saying to people that they should not travel to the countries affected.
Grayling says he hopes these measures will ultimately prove to be temporary. But decisions will be taken on the basis of passenger safety.
Labour’s Lilian Greenwood asks what discussions Grayling has had with his counterparts in other countries about the rules for transfer passengers.
Grayling says the government has been in contract with other countries. They will take their own decisions.
In the huddle for journalists after PMQs, Downing Street sources doubled down on May’s personal remarks about where Jeremy Corbyn and other members of the shadow cabinet sent their children to school: and indeed where the Labour leader himself was educated.
“She was clearly making the point that there seems to be one rule for the people mentioned, and another rule for the rest of us,” the source said, adding that, “consistency” was important in politics.
Labour’s Derek Twigg asks if Grayling is confident that a terrorist would not be able to get a laptop with a bomb onto a plane leaving a UK airport.
Grayling says he thinks security at UK airports as high as anywhere in the world. He says the government is happy with the rules currently in place, but keeps them under review.
The SNPs’ transport spokesman, Drew Hendry, asks what extra resources will be made to UK airports to help them deal with this.
Grayling says these rules do not apply to UK airports. But the government has asked them to “think ahead” in case that changes.
Sir Desmond Swayne, a Conservative, asks why laptops etc are safer in the hold.
Grayling says he cannot discuss this.
Richard Burden, the shadow transport minister, asks if there is a risk posed by the countries affected.
And why are the US rules different?
Grayling is responding to Shuker.
He says the government responds to evolving threats. He says he will not discuss details. But he says the government has taken this step “for good reasons”.
Labour’s Gavin Shuker says this is a major change.
Can Grayling explain why the US and UK bans are different?
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, is responding to the urgent question.
He says the government will always take steps to protect the travelling public.
The Labour MP Gavin Shuker is now asking an urgent question on the cabin ban on laptops and tablets on inbound flights from six countries announced yesterday.
Here is our story about this.
Labour’s Jack Dromey says 96% of schools in Birmingham will lose £20m under the new schools funding formula. But places like Windsor and Maidenhead will gain. How can this be fair?
May says the current system is unfair. Some schools in London get twice as much as schools in other parts of the country.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Conservative, asks about the Jo Cox commission on loneliness and asks if May will meet women working on this.
May says they are doing very good work.
Labour’s Julie Cooper says shocking pay rises have been given to Liverpool CCG. Will the government investigate failures in Liverpool CCG.
May says NHS England is investigating this.
Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards says in triggering article 50 next week May is the modern day equivalent of Lord Cardigan at the Charge of the Light Brigade.
May says in triggering article 50 she is responding to the will of the British people.
Some of Corbyn’s best PMQs have been on education, and on May’s plans to extend grammar schools, and this was one of his best outings for weeks, although he was probably at his most effective in the first half of the exchange, when he was focusing on school funding, not selection. He put the figures about cuts well, and, for the first time in ages, resorted to the ‘here’s a question from a voter’ tactic (once his hallmark), which today worked effectively. May was bland and unconvincing on the general funding point, although she was right to say that the school funding formula was an issue that governments have dodged for too long. She seemed much more animated defending grammars, the domestic policy initiative to which she seems most personally committed, but Corbyn held his ground well, helped by being able to quote Tories opposed to this. You could tell May was under pressure because resorted to the personal, attacking Corbyn for a decision about this son’s education (which reportedly helped to break up his first marriage – he did not support his wife’s desire to send their son to a grammar), but if you are going to go personal, you probably have to be ruthless to make it decisive, and May did not press her point, with the result that Corbyn was not thrown off his stride. So it was an effective performance by him, if not a decisive win.
Robertson focused on two well-rehearsed SNP complaints: May’s failure to reach an agreement with Scotland on Brexit, and her refusal to commit to offering Scotland an independence referendum. Both are relatively easy hits, although, in her second answer, May was able to come back with a particularly well-honed soundbite about how she is honouring the results of the UK’s last two referendums, while the SNP is doing neither.
The SNP’s Angus Robertson also offers condolences to the family and friends of Martin McGuinness.
He says May said she would secure a UK-wide agreement before triggering article 50 on Brexit. Since then May has blocked, been intransigent and lectured. There is no agreement. Will these be May’s tactics with the EU?
Corbyn says the former education secretary criticised grammar schools. Was he wrong?
May says in grammar schools the attainment gap does not apply.
Corbyn says May was elected on a manifesto of no school cuts. But that is what is happening. He itemises things that are being cut. And he reads a letter from Eileen, a teacher, saying teachers are having to pay for pens and other items themselves. This is disgraceful. Does May agree?
May says budgets and the pupil premium have been protected. She says what matters is the quality of education. That is what this government is about. She wants people to get on on the basis of merit, not privilege. That is what she is delivering. Labour has opposed every policy that has improved education.
Jeremy Corbyn starts by echoing what May said about Martin McGuinness. He played an immeasurable role in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland, he says.
He says the schools budget will be cut by 6.5% by 2020. And the new school funding formula will lead to some schools facing further cuts. Why is cutting tax for business more important?
Lucy Allan, a Conservative, asks if May will tell us how Telford will prosper from Brexit.
May says the referendum was a vote not just to leave the EU, but to change the way the country works. That is why her plan for Britain sets out ideas to make a stronger Britain. It will deliver a more united country.
Labour’s John Mann says hospital units in Bassetlaw have been closed or cut back. He is offering to work with the PM to solve this. Will she work with him?
May says the Bassetlaw clinical commissioning group is getting more funding. Mann talks about listening to local people. That is what sustainability and transformation plans are about.
Theresa May says she would like to express her condolences to the family and colleagues of Martin McGuinness. She will not condone what he did in his early life but he played an indispensable role in taking the republican movement away from violence.
This is from the Birmingham Post’s Jonathan Walker.
This is from the SNP’s Pete Wishart.
Got a PMQ today. The first time I’ve been drawn since the last Labour Government. Now what to ask……#PMQs
PMQs starts in about 10 minutes.
Here is the list of MPs down to ask a question.
There will be an urgent question after PMQs about the new restrictions on taking laptops into the cabin on some flights.
YouGov has published its latest opinion poll. It suggests the Tories have a 16-point lead over Labour.
Teachers have voted to merge two unions to form a new super union for education workers, the Press Association reports. Members of the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers backed the link up by more than 2-1.
The National Education Union will be formed later in the year, representing 450,000 teachers and other education workers. It will be the biggest union in Europe for teachers and education professionals and the fourth biggest union in the UK.
Given that Ken Livingstone has a theory on how Jeremy Corbyn can improve relations with the parliamentary Labour party (see 10.05am), perhaps he should apply for a new job that has been advertised on the w4mp website – Labour party “political liaison officer”.
The successful candidate will have to “help support and develop the relationship” between, among others, Corbyn and Labour MPs.
According to a story by Francis Elliott and Sam Coates in the Times (paywall), the plans for a new post-Brexit immigration law being drawn up by the government would involve penalties for employers and landlords who take on people without permission to live and work in the UK.
Here’s an extract.
Businesses have been reassured that they will not face a “cliff edge”, with any changes brought in gradually and allowances made for low-skilled migration such as seasonal agricultural work.
The leading options include work permits and a five-year working visa with strict curbs on benefit entitlements. Ministers privately admit, however, that businesses and private landlords will be made to shoulder much of the burden of policing the system, whatever is eventually introduced.
The Labour MP Wes Streeting has responded to Ken Livingstone, PoliticsHome’s Kevin Schofield reports.
Wes Streeting: “I won’t be taking any lectures in loyalty from Ken Livingstone. I’m not sure why he hasn’t yet been expelled from Labour.”
Ken Livingstone, the former Labour mayor of London and veteran leftwinger, has been speaking to Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett this morning. There were two news lines.
Those that have been most over the top I think should be suspended. I think the other thing that Jeremy should do is re-introduce automatic re-selection. It’s really ridiculous that MPs in safe seats have a job for life …
I’m particularly talking about Chuka Umunna, Wes Streeting – basically it’s the same group of MPs who were screaming that I’d said Hitler was a Zionist and I was anti-semitic. The moment that issue went on hold, they were then blaming Jeremy for Britain voting to leave. Just endless criticism. It’s only about a dozen of them.
I’m afraid we’ll have to be off to a judicial review in the courts and in the court the issue will be, what was actually said and what is the truth, and the Labour party has got no chance of winning a judicial review.
I’m basically retired. I’m not seeking office. I haven’t asked Jeremy or didn’t ask Ed Miliband to send me to the House of Lords or anything like that. I’m a house husband, but I’m not having my political career defined at the end that I’m anti-semitic.
This is what the government has said in response to the Lords committee report warning that leaving the EU without a trade deal would cause “significant damage” to the services sector. (See 9.11am.) A spokesman said:
The prime minister has been clear that we will pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union as a priority – it should allow for the freest possible trade in services, as well as goods, between Britain and the EU.
On top of that, we believe a phased process of implementation will be in our mutual self interest – allowing UK and EU institutions, member states and businesses to prepare for the new arrangements. The nature of any interim arrangements will be a matter for negotiation.
Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, is in Washington today for the conference about countering Islamic State (Isis). He is due to be meeting senior US officials including secretary of state Rex Tillerson, and as he arrived last night he tweeted a picture of himself with the US national security adviser, HR McMaster.
The Tory MP Julian Knight won’t be happy. He organised the letter signed by 76 mostly pro-leave MP complaining about the BBC giving too much prominence to reports conveying a negative impression of Brexit. Thankfully the duty Today editor isn’t taking much notice because this morning the programme gave a prominent slot to Lord Whitty, chair of the Lords EU internal market sub-committee, which has today published a report saying the businesses in the service sector would face “significant damage” if the UK left the EU without a trade deal. The government wants a trade deal but, as the Guardian reports, some cabinet ministers are saying they are relaxed about crashing out of the EU without a trade deal and instead having to rely on World Trade Organisations terms to trade with the EU.
This is what Whitty said in a statement explaining why this is so important.
The UK is the second largest exporter of services in the world and the EU receives 39% of the UK’s non-financial service exports. This trade is critical to the UK’s economy as it creates employment and supports goods exports – we can’t afford to lose that.
To protect the UK’s status as a global leader of trade in services, the government will need to secure the most comprehensive FTA that has ever been agreed with the EU. Walking away from negotiations without a deal would badly damage UK plc, particularly in sectors such as aviation and broadcasting which have no WTO rules to fall back on.
Trade in services is inherently different from, and in many ways more complex than, trade in goods. Services are intangible and can be traded either online, in person, via a subsidiary business located in another territory or (increasingly) embedded within manufactured goods …
Unlike trade in goods, trade in services is largely unaffected by tariffs, but instead can be restricted by non-tariff barriers. Such barriers may not only increase the cost of trade but can also prohibit trade altogether. For example, without the right qualifications or licence, some UK service providers may not be able to deliver a service abroad …
Source: Guardian Transport