Madeleine Moon

Labour Candidate for Bridgend

This Week in Parliament, 1st-4th February

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1st-4th February

I got back from the US on Friday night after a busy week of conferences and meetings in the US with a NATO Parliamentary delegation. Following a busy Monday in Westminster I travelled to Devon to observe the Royal Marine commando selection process as part of a Defence Committee inquiry I am chairing. Next it was down to Bridgend for school visits and a meeting with South Wales Police.

 

 <h2 class="null" style="margin: 0;padding: 0;display: block;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 26px;font-style: normal;font-weight: bold;line-height: 125%;letter-spacing: -.75px;text-align: left;color: #404040 !important;"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><span style="color:#FF0000"><strong>MONDAY</strong></span></span></h2>
                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnTextBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td valign="top" class="mcnTextBlockInner" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnTextContentContainer">                    <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" class="mcnTextContent" style="padding: 9px 18px;line-height: 125%;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;text-align: left;">                                                    <div style="text-align: left;"><strong style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:14px"><span style="color:#000000">Defence Sub-Committee</span></strong><br><br><font color="#000000" style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">On Monday morning I chaired an <a href="http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/fae8f304-a2ef-4461-bff0-c3860f3d0bfa" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-weight: normal;text-decoration: underline;">evidence session</a> of the 'Beyond-Endurance' Inquiry into </font><font color="#000000" face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:13.75px">military exercises and the duty of care owed to service personnel. The purpose of this inquiry is to examine the overarching policies, practices and guidance of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces in respect of the health and safety of Service personnel during training, exercises and selection events.</span></font></div>
<div style="text-align: left;"><br><span style="color: #333333;font-family: arial,verdana,sans-serif;font-size: 14px;line-height: 1.6em;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color: #000000;line-height: 13.75px;">This week we took evidence from the Chief Coroner, Peter Thornton QC. I asked him to assess how 'the </span></span></span><span style="color: #000000;font-family: arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size: 14px;line-height: normal;text-align: justify;text-indent: 0pt;">approach to service deaths has evolved since the Coroners and Justice Act 2009', which gave the Chief Coroner responsibility to oversee investigations into the deaths of service personnel. Judge </span><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:normal; text-align:justify; text-indent:0pt"><font color="#000000" face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif">Thornton</font></span><span style="color: #000000;font-family: arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size: 14px;line-height: normal;text-align: justify;text-indent: 0pt;"> replied:</span></div>
<p style="color: #000000;font-family: 'Times New Roman';font-size: medium;line-height: 125%;text-indent: 0pt;margin: 0pt 0pt 10pt;text-align: left;padding: 0;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><br><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12px">I think the difference since the Act came into force in July 2013 is that there is oversight of the Chief Coroner, and closer monitoring of every case, not just by the coroner, but by the Chief Coroner as well. There is of course the special cadre and there is training for that cadre. As I said earlier, there is compulsory general training now for all cadres, so there is greater awareness of what best practice is and should be. Since 2013, there have been particularly good relations with the DIU. That is very important. Coroners tell me that they have good relations with the DIU and that there is good disclosure: in the first instance to the coroner; then the coroner decides what can be disclosed to the family and what can be disclosed publicly, so there are three stages. I think that that has worked particularly well since 2013.<br><br>I have laid great emphasis since 2013 on families really understanding the process. That has got through and they are getting better at explanation. As we develop, the inquests are thorough, full, public, and, of course, independent investigations. That is important, too.</span></span></p>
<p style="text-indent: 0pt;margin: 0pt 0pt 10pt;text-align: left;line-height: 125%;padding: 0;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;"><font color="#000000" face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:normal">I followed up by asking Judge Thorton if he could, </span></font><br><br><span style="color: #000000;font-family: arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size: 12px;line-height: normal;">... say a little about the relationship with the family and whether there is an increasing role for the coroner to provide information during the whole process of the investigation and inquest? Do coroners explain the process, the terms used and the information and evidence that they have received.</span><br><br><font color="#000000" face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:normal">He replied,</span></font><br><br><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><font color="#000000"><span style="line-height:normal">Every coroner has a duty to explain the process and to engage with the families, usually through the coroner’s officer who is allocated to the case and therefore becomes familiar to the family and will be there at the inquest. Every coroner has a duty to provide sufficient disclosure of materials to a family along the way. That is an important process. For example, some things may not be given publicly in evidence; I do not mean they are given privately, but there will be reference to voice recordings or something of that kind. The family, if they wish—not if they do not wish, obviously—may be shown the material or the transcript of the voice recording. They can listen to the voice recording and see some camera or video work, if they want to see it. It is important that they have that opportunity.</span></font></span></span><br><br><font color="#000000"><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:normal">Later on in the evidence session, I asked the Chief Coroner to describe any trends that he has identified in the cases of service deaths that he has investigated since 2013. He replied,</span></font></font><br><br><span style="color: #000000;font-family: arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size: 12px;line-height: normal;text-align: justify;">To be quite honest, the cases have been, on the whole, so different, so fact-specific, that it would not be right to say that there are trends. I get more deaths in custody, and there are the usual trends, which is a lack of training, a lack of understanding about protocols—all the right protocols are in place, they are just not sufficiently trained about or understood, or the records are not usually in the right place at the right time, particularly as somebody enters prison. For my purposes at present, there are no </span><span style="text-align:justify"><font color="#000000" face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12px; line-height:normal">such similar trends that I would wish to emphasise. Obviously, with training inquests recently, one cannot say that there are trends, but there are important issues there which I think are being addressed. With Reservists, and how much Reservists should be treated as Regulars in certain aspects of the training and how they should be kept different, is not a matter for me: it is a matter for the military. They have heard what the coroners have said in specific cases.</span></font><br><br><span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><font color="#000000"><span style="line-height:normal">I finished by thanking Judge Thorton both for agreeing to give evidence to our committee and for his hard work in an important job. </span></font></span></span></span></p>
                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnImageBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnImageBlockOuter">            <tr>                <td valign="top" style="padding: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnImageBlockInner">                    <table align="left" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="mcnImageContentContainer" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                        <tbody><tr>                            <td class="mcnImageContent" valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-left: 9px;padding-top: 0;padding-bottom: 0;text-align: center;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                                                            <img align="center" alt="" src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/7eeefcb8e9c33334bcfa07422/images/770e7fb5-4688-4442-96fc-857fc3db6a84.png" width="564" style="max-width: 817px;padding-bottom: 0;display: inline !important;vertical-align: bottom;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" class="mcnImage">                                                                                                </td>                        </tr>                    </tbody></table>                </td>            </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnTextBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td valign="top" class="mcnTextBlockInner" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnTextContentContainer">                    <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" class="mcnTextContent" style="padding: 9px 18px;line-height: 125%;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;text-align: left;">                                                    <span style="color: #000000;font-size: 14px;"><strong>Death of Journalists: Conflict Zones</strong></span><br><br><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif" style="color: #000000;"><span style="font-size:14px">On Monday evening, Nusrat Ghani, </span></font><span style="color: #000000;font-family: arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size: 14px;line-height: 20.8px;">the Conservative MP for Wealden,</span><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><font color="#000000"><span style="font-size:14px"> led an <a href="http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/010f27f7-8fc3-44b4-9a63-b59a1f176e90?in=22:01:11" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-weight: normal;text-decoration: underline;">Adjournment Debate</a> on the death of journalists in conflict zones and expressed her concern that journalists are increasingly being seen as enemies who can challenge 'the propaganda machine' of groups such as Daesh. She paid tribute to the men and women who put themselves in extraordinary danger to ascertain and report otherwise unobtainable facts about wars and conflicts around the world.  Jim Shannon, the Democratic Ulster Party MP, referred to statistics produced by the International Federation of Journalists showing that '2,297 journalists and media professionals were killed in the past quarter of a century'. He put pressure on the UK Government to promote 'free speech and liberty across the globe'.</span></font></font><br><br><font color="#000000" face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px">James Duddridge, the Foreign Office Minister, welcomed the debate and applauded the 'work of many organisations dedicated to promoting media freedom and to supporting protecting journalists. The Minister referred to the UN's statistic that 'over 90% of the killings of journalists go unpunished' and reassured the House that the UK Government stands up for the rights of journalists in both bilateral and multilateral forums.</span></font>                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnShareBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnShareBlockOuter">            <tr>                <td valign="top" style="padding: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareBlockInner">                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnShareContentContainer" 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cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*: *|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-twitter-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*: *|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Tweet</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="*|FORWARD|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-forwardtofriend-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="*|FORWARD|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Forward</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="https://plus.google.com/share?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-googleplus-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="https://plus.google.com/share?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">+1</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 0;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*&mini=true&title=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-linkedin-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*&mini=true&title=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Share</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                        <!--[if mso]>                                    </tr>                                    </table>                                    <![endif]-->                                </td>                            </tr>                        </tbody></table>                    </td>                </tr>            </tbody></table>        </td>    </tr></tbody></table>
                </td>            </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnDividerBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnDividerBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td class="mcnDividerBlockInner" style="min-width: 100%;padding: 18px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                <table class="mcnDividerContent" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-top-width: 1px;border-top-style: solid;border-top-color: #999999;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                    <tbody><tr>                        <td style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                            <span></span>                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table><!--                            <td class="mcnDividerBlockInner" style="padding: 18px;">                <hr class="mcnDividerContent" style="border-bottom-color:none; border-left-color:none; border-right-color:none; border-bottom-width:0; border-left-width:0; border-right-width:0; margin-top:0; margin-right:0; margin-bottom:0; margin-left:0;" />-->            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnTextBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td valign="top" class="mcnTextBlockInner" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnTextContentContainer">                    <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" class="mcnTextContent" style="padding: 9px 18px;line-height: 125%;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;text-align: left;">                                                    <h2 class="null" style="margin: 0;padding: 0;display: block;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 26px;font-style: normal;font-weight: bold;line-height: 125%;letter-spacing: -.75px;text-align: left;color: #404040 !important;"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><span style="color:#FF0000"><strong>TUESDAY</strong></span></span></h2>
                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnTextBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td valign="top" class="mcnTextBlockInner" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnTextContentContainer">                    <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" class="mcnTextContent" style="padding: 9px 18px;line-height: 125%;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;text-align: left;">                                                    <span style="color:#000000"><strong style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:14px">Questions to the Secretary of State for Business</strong><br><br><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px">Stephen Doughty, Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, <a href="http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/4158bf1d-1621-4577-a4fa-d42525c79d42?in=11:49:25" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-weight: normal;text-decoration: underline;">put pressure on the Government </a>to commit to using British steel in its defence procurement projects. Mr Doughty reported that he has received the following admission from the Ministry of Defence that it '</span><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:16.64px">does not hold a complete, centralised record of steel procurement for projects and equipment, either in terms of quantity or country of origin, over the past six years'. He questioned why we should trust the Government's promises on procurement when they do not keep adequate records. This followed accusations in the press that the MOD used foreign steel for parts of the Queen Elizabeth II aircraft carrier. In his reply, the Secretary of State denied the allegations:</span></font><br><br><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="line-height:16.64px">We are the first country in the EU to take advantage of new procurement rules. When it comes to defence needs and other infrastructure projects, we should use British steel whenever we can. For example, the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are 94% British steel—that is 77,000 tonnes. Last week I visited Crossrail, the biggest infrastructure project in Europe, and almost all of it is British steel.<br><br><strong><span style="font-size:14px">Zika Virus</span></strong><br><br><span style="font-size:14px">Following Questions to the Business Secretary, Dianne Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, asked an <a href="http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/4158bf1d-1621-4577-a4fa-d42525c79d42?in=11:49:25" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-weight: normal;text-decoration: underline;">Urgent Question</a> to her Government counterpart about the Zika virus crisis in South and Central America. The Minister Nick Hurd confirmed that risk of the virus to the British public remains 'extremely low' and committed '</span></span></span></span><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px"><span style="line-height:16.64px">an additional £6.2 million to the WHO’s contingency fund for emergencies, which can be used for the management of Zika'. Ms Abbott emphasised the importance of research alongside funding: </span></span></span></span><br> <p style="border: 0px;font-family: verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size: 12.8px;margin: 0px 0px 15px;outline: 0px;padding: 0px;vertical-align: baseline;color: #000000;line-height: 125%;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;text-align: left;"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">Does the Minister agree that research is a high priority? We urgently need proof of a causative link between the Zika infection and microcephaly, and then to know how the virus damages the brain of the growing foetus. Developing countries will need support for the mothers of the thousands of deformed babies to be able to take <span style="line-height:16.64px">their family life forward. Does the Minister also agree that diagnostics, antiviral drugs and, above all, a Zika vaccine are essential?<br><br><span style="font-size:14px">The Minister replied:</span></span><br><br><span style="line-height:16.64px">I entirely agree with the hon. Lady that research is very important. We do not know enough about this disease, particularly the links to microcephaly and the other consequences to which she alludes. The UK stands ready to play a full part in upgrading our knowledge. Specifically, we recently announced a £400,000 Newton Fund Zika research project between Glasgow University and Fiocruz in Pernambuco, the hotspot of the outbreak. Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine arrived in Recife last week. We are currently looking at what additional interventions are required to reduce the spread of the disease and its impact on developing countries, particularly countries where DFID is extremely active and where there may be a risk of crossover.</span></span></span></span></p>
                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnShareBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnShareBlockOuter">            <tr>                <td valign="top" style="padding: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareBlockInner">                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnShareContentContainer" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody><tr>        <td align="center" style="padding-top: 0;padding-left: 9px;padding-bottom: 0;padding-right: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">            <table align="center" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border: 1px solid #EEEEEE;background-color: #FAFAFA;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContent">                <tbody><tr>                    <td align="center" valign="top" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer" style="padding-top: 9px;padding-right: 9px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                        <table align="center" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                            <tbody><tr>                                <td align="left" valign="top" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                    <!--[if mso]>                                    <table align="center" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0">                                    <tr>                                    <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-facebook-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Share</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*: *|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-twitter-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*: *|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Tweet</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="*|FORWARD|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-forwardtofriend-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="*|FORWARD|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Forward</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="https://plus.google.com/share?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-googleplus-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="https://plus.google.com/share?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">+1</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 0;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*&mini=true&title=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-linkedin-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*&mini=true&title=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Share</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                        <!--[if mso]>                                    </tr>                                    </table>                                    <![endif]-->                                </td>                            </tr>                        </tbody></table>                    </td>                </tr>            </tbody></table>        </td>    </tr></tbody></table>
                </td>            </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnDividerBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnDividerBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td class="mcnDividerBlockInner" style="min-width: 100%;padding: 18px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                <table class="mcnDividerContent" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-top-width: 1px;border-top-style: solid;border-top-color: #999999;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                    <tbody><tr>                        <td style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                            <span></span>                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table><!--                            <td class="mcnDividerBlockInner" style="padding: 18px;">                <hr class="mcnDividerContent" style="border-bottom-color:none; border-left-color:none; border-right-color:none; border-bottom-width:0; border-left-width:0; border-right-width:0; margin-top:0; margin-right:0; margin-bottom:0; margin-left:0;" />-->            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnTextBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td valign="top" class="mcnTextBlockInner" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnTextContentContainer">                    <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" class="mcnTextContent" style="padding: 9px 18px;line-height: 125%;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;text-align: left;">                                                    <h2 class="null" style="margin: 0;padding: 0;display: block;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 26px;font-style: normal;font-weight: bold;line-height: 125%;letter-spacing: -.75px;text-align: left;color: #404040 !important;"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><span style="color:#FF0000"><strong>WEDNESDAY</strong></span></span></h2>
                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnTextBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td valign="top" class="mcnTextBlockInner" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnTextContentContainer">                    <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" class="mcnTextContent" style="padding: 9px 18px;line-height: 125%;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;text-align: left;">                                                    <strong style="color: #000000;"><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px">EU 'Re-negotiation'</span></font></strong><br><br><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif" style="color: #000000;"><span style="font-size:14px">On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron and President of the European Council Donald Tusk, jointly announced a series of proposed reforms to Britain’s relationship with the European Union. The proposals form the core of the Prime Ministers ‘renegotiation’, which he has been pursuing in advance of the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU this year. Following PMQs on Wednesday, Mr Cameron made a statement in the Commons on the package of reforms that he has negotiated.</span></font><br><br><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif" style="color: #000000;"><span style="font-size:14px">There will be protections for non-Eurozone member states which respect ‘the competences, rights and obligations of Member States whose currency is not the Euro.’ A commitment will be made to strengthening competition and cutting red tape, by ‘lowering administrative burdens and compliance costs on economic operators, especially small and medium enterprises, and repealing unnecessary legislation.’ The agreement will establish protections against ‘ever closer union’, recognising that ‘the United Kingdom, in the light of the specific situation it has under the Treaties, is not committed to further political integration into the European Union.’ To uphold the autonomy of national Parliaments and strengthen their powers to block unwanted legislation that interfered with their ‘competencies’, a ‘red card’ system will be introduced. In an attempt to appease his backbench MPs, the PM has also secured an agreement that particular member states will be able to request an ‘emergency brake’ on in-work benefits for up to four years, which will then be considered by the EU Council. Finally, the UK Government will be empowered to alter the level of child benefit an EU migrant receives, depending on the living standards in the country from which they came.</span></font><br><br><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><font color="#000000"><span style="font-size:14px">The proposals will be discussed at an EU leader’s summit late this month, when the Prime Minister will seek approval for the plans. If the summit comes to agreement, then it is likely that the timing of the UKs EU referendum will be brought forward. The referendum could go either way, although recent polling suggests that there is strong support for remaining within the EU. </span></font><br><br><font color="#000000"><span style="font-size:14px">The on Wednesday <a href="http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/a8519088-8f4c-4b92-90ab-5bebaf6099e9?in=12:37:49&out=00:00:00" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-weight: normal;text-decoration: underline;">debate</a> which followed the Prime Minister's statement, exposed the tensions in the Conservative Party over Europe. Kenneth Clarke, the Conservative MP for Rushcliffe, recognised that 'feelings are obviously getting roused on this subject'. He welcomed Mr Cameron's statement but acknowledged that he potentially faces</span></font><br><br><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color:#000000">... great difficulty in persuading Governments in central and eastern Europe, in particular, to accept that their citizens lawfully working here alongside English people in key sector such as the health service and the construction industry should have lower take-home pay in the first few years than their English workmates.<br><br><span style="font-size:14px">Angus Robertson, SNP MP for Moray, made a point about the date of the upcoming referendum:</span></span></span></span></font><br> <p style="border: 0px;font-family: verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size: 12.8px;margin: 0px 0px 15px;outline: 0px;padding: 0px;vertical-align: baseline;color: #000000;line-height: 125%;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;text-align: left;"><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">The timing of the referendum really matters to the electorates and the Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as of London, where there are elections in May. This morning, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, the Labour First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster... have written to the Prime Minister today. I think that right hon. and hon. Members should listen to what they say:</span></span></span></p>
<p class="tabletext" style="border: 0px;font-family: verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size: 12.8px;margin: 0px 0px 15px;outline: 0px;padding: 0px;vertical-align: baseline;color: #000000;line-height: 125%;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;text-align: left;"><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">"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- t<span style="line-height:16.64px">he Prime Minister- </span><span style="line-height:16.64px">to commit to deferring the EU referendum at least until later in the year."<br><br><span style="font-size:14px">In his remarks, Alan Johnson, the Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull, played upon the divisions in the Conservative 'family':</span></span></span></span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:12.8px; line-height:16.64px"><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">Will the Prime Minister join me in welcoming the launch today of Environmentalists for Europe, which is co-chaired by Stanley Johnson, the father of the hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson)? Will he also welcome the splendid article last week setting out the importance for science and technology of remaining in the European Union, which was penned by his Minister for Universities and Science, who is the brother of the hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip? Will he have a word with his hon. Friend to tell him about the importance of family solidarity and of joining the swelling ranks of Johnsons for Europe?</span></span></span></p>
<p style="border: 0px;font-family: verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size: 12.8px;margin: 0px 0px 15px;outline: 0px;padding: 0px;vertical-align: baseline;color: #000000;line-height: 125%;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;text-align: left;"><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">Very good. The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that we cannot have too many Johnsons agreeing with each other. There is also Rachel Johnson, the columnist: we will have to go after her and make sure of that. He makes a very important point about grants for universities and schools. We all complain, rightly, about the European budget. That is why it is so important that we have got it under control: it has to fall every year. In the budget negotiations, we did safeguard the money that British universities actually benefit from on a disproportionate basis. As for completing the happy family pack of the Johnsons, we may have to wait a bit longer. </span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:12.8px; line-height:16.64px"><span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">The Speaker had the final word: 'I would call the hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip to ask a question if he were standing, but he isn’t, so I won’t'.</span></span></span></p>
                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnTextBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td valign="top" class="mcnTextBlockInner" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnTextContentContainer">                    <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" class="mcnTextContent" style="padding-top: 9px;padding-right: 18px;padding-bottom: 9px;padding-left: 18px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;line-height: 125%;text-align: left;">                                                    <strong style="line-height:20.8px"><span style="color: #000000;"><span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">Lympstone Visit, 'Beyond Endurance' Inquiry</span></span></span></strong><br style="line-height: 20.8px;"><br style="line-height: 20.8px;"><font color="#000000" face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:20.8px">We arrived in Lympstone on Tuesday afternoon to observe Royal Marine commando training as </span><span style="font-size:14px">part</span><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:20.8px"> of the Beyond Endurance Inquiry I am chairing. On Tuesday evening we had a series of briefings and meetings from the officers in charge of the exercise we were viewing the following day, including medical staff. This was followed by an enjoyable and informative dinner in the Officer's Mess. On Wednesday morning we were up early with the candidates to observe their gruelling 30 mile march across </span><span style="font-size:14px">Dartmoor</span><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:20.8px">. I was greatly moved by their extraordinary ability and determination and was privileged to witness the presentation of green berets to the </span><span style="font-size:14px">successful</span><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:20.8px"> candidates in a </span><span style="font-size:14px">beautiful</span><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:20.8px"> glen on the moor.</span></font>                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnImageBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnImageBlockOuter">            <tr>                <td valign="top" style="padding: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" 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src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-twitter-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*: *|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Tweet</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="*|FORWARD|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-forwardtofriend-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="*|FORWARD|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Forward</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="https://plus.google.com/share?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-googleplus-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="https://plus.google.com/share?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">+1</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 0;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*&mini=true&title=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-linkedin-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*&mini=true&title=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Share</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                        <!--[if mso]>                                    </tr>                                    </table>                                    <![endif]-->                                </td>                            </tr>                        </tbody></table>                    </td>                </tr>            </tbody></table>        </td>    </tr></tbody></table>
                </td>            </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnDividerBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnDividerBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td class="mcnDividerBlockInner" style="min-width: 100%;padding: 18px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                <table class="mcnDividerContent" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-top-width: 1px;border-top-style: solid;border-top-color: #999999;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                    <tbody><tr>                        <td style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                            <span></span>                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table><!--                            <td class="mcnDividerBlockInner" style="padding: 18px;">                <hr class="mcnDividerContent" style="border-bottom-color:none; border-left-color:none; border-right-color:none; border-bottom-width:0; border-left-width:0; border-right-width:0; margin-top:0; margin-right:0; margin-bottom:0; margin-left:0;" />-->            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnTextBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td valign="top" class="mcnTextBlockInner" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnTextContentContainer">                    <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" class="mcnTextContent" style="padding: 9px 18px;line-height: 125%;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;text-align: left;">                                                    <h2 class="null" style="margin: 0;padding: 0;display: block;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 26px;font-style: normal;font-weight: bold;line-height: 125%;letter-spacing: -.75px;text-align: left;color: #404040 !important;"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><span style="color:#FF0000"><strong>THURSDAY</strong></span></span></h2>
                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table class="mcnTextBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%">    <tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td class="mcnTextBlockInner" valign="top" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                <table style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnTextContentContainer" align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%">                    <tbody><tr>                                                <td class="mcnTextContent" style="padding-top: 9px;padding-right: 18px;padding-bottom: 9px;padding-left: 18px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;line-height: 125%;text-align: left;" valign="top">                                                    <span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><strong style="color: #000000;font-family: arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size: 14px;">'Return of Kings'</strong><br><br><font style="color: #000000;">On Thursday morning the Labour Party called an <a href="http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/92c8f051-bfb5-4459-9464-0bb1185d0fc6?in=10:35:25" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-weight: normal;text-decoration: underline;">Urgent Question</a> about the imminent visit of  the so called 'pick-up artist' Roosh V who runs the group 'Return of Kings'. The group had threatened to hold events on Saturday across the country, including Cardiff, but pulled out at the last minute following widespread criticism of its views towards women</font>; over 80,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to ‘prevent pro-rape Roosh V events in the UK’. Roosh V, real name Daryush Valizadeh, writes a fiercely anti-feminist blog on which he has argued for the legislation of rape on private property.<br><br>In the Chamber, Home Office Minister Karen Bradley made it clear that,</span></span></span><br> <p style="border: 0px;margin: 0px 0px 15px;outline: 0px;padding: 0px;vertical-align: baseline;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;line-height: 125%;text-align: left;"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:12px; line-height:16.64px">The Government condemn in the strongest terms anyone who condones rape and sexual violence or suggests that responsibility for stopping these crimes rests with the victims. Responsibility always unequivocally rests with the perpetrator of these serious crimes. </span><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:16.64px"><span style="font-size:12px">Any form of violence against women or girls is absolutely unacceptable. The impact of domestic and sexual violence on the victims—physically, psychologically and emotionally —cannot be overstated, and the Government are working closely with victims and survivors, support services, the police and criminal justice agencies to end these terrible crimes. If criminal offences have been committed, including incitement of violence against women, the Government would expect local police forces to deal with any offenders appropriately.</span></span><br><br><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:16.64px">Chi Onwurah, the Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, made a particularity pithy intervention:</span></font></span></p>
<p style="border: 0px;font-family: verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size: 12.8px;margin: 0px 0px 15px;outline: 0px;padding: 0px;vertical-align: baseline;color: #000000;line-height: 16.64px;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;text-align: left;"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">These planned meetings may well have been simply a publicity stunt by an attention-seeker so insecure in his own masculinity that he goes to such lengths to augment the size of his—er—following. I have been contacted by many constituents—men and women—who are outraged and revolted and also frightened by the planned meeting in Newcastle, so can the Minister reassure them that anyone meeting in Newcastle or anywhere else, or coming to this country to plan or condone rape, would be treated in the same way as anyone planning or condoning murder, terrorism or any violent act?</span></span></span></p>
<p style="border: 0px;margin: 0px 0px 15px;outline: 0px;padding: 0px;vertical-align: baseline;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;line-height: 125%;text-align: left;"><span style="color:#000000"><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px; line-height:16.64px">The Minister agreed with Ms Onwurah's assessment:</span></font><br><br><span style="font-size:12px"><font face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="line-height:16.64px">I can assure the hon. Lady that that is a criminal offence and such people would be treated in the same way. I join her in her comments about the possible reasons why this individual is doing what he is doing—to ensure that he gets publicity, which he may need for other reasons. I will say no more.</span></font></span></span></p>
                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnImageBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnImageBlockOuter">            <tr>                <td valign="top" style="padding: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnImageBlockInner">                    <table align="left" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="mcnImageContentContainer" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                        <tbody><tr>                            <td class="mcnImageContent" valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-left: 9px;padding-top: 0;padding-bottom: 0;text-align: center;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                                                            <img align="center" alt="" src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/7eeefcb8e9c33334bcfa07422/images/29fc34c6-9c4e-4aa6-86d7-87ee95902c43.png" width="564" style="max-width: 653px;padding-bottom: 0;display: inline !important;vertical-align: bottom;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" class="mcnImage">                                                                                                </td>                        </tr>                    </tbody></table>                </td>            </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnTextBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter">        <tr>            <td valign="top" class="mcnTextBlockInner" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnTextContentContainer">                    <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" class="mcnTextContent" style="padding: 9px 18px;line-height: 125%;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #606060;font-family: Helvetica;font-size: 11px;text-align: left;">                                                    <span style="color:#000000"><strong><span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">Preventing Violence Against Women: Role of Men</span></span></strong></span><br><br><font color="#000000" face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px">On Thursday afternoon, Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, led a debate on what men can do to prevent violence and abuse against women. Mr Newlands began by explaining the context of the debate:</span></font><br><br><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color: #000000;line-height: 16.64px;">Some 1.4 million women were abused by a partner in 2013-14, and the vast majority of those cases were not reported to the police. In addition, 28% of women report that they have suffered abuse in the home since turning 16. The horrific scale of those figures highlights the size of the problem, so I am grateful to the Backbench Business Committee for granting us the opportunity to bring this important issue to Westminster Hall. I also thank the hon. Members for Birmingham, Yardley (Jess Phillips) and for Brigg and Goole (Andrew Percy) for supporting the application.</span></span></span><br><br><font color="#000000" face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px">He then spoke about his membership of the 'white ribbon campaign':</span></font><br> <p style="border: 0px;font-family: verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size: 12.8px;margin: 0px 0px 15px;outline: 0px;padding: 0px;vertical-align: baseline;color: #000000;line-height: 125%;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;text-align: left;"><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">The campaign concentrates on working with men to speak out and challenge male violence against women. It urges men and boys to wear a white ribbon and sign a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. Some 25,000 men have signed up to that pledge, and last year I tabled an early-day motion calling on all Members to support the work of the white ribbon campaign. I make that call again today and urge all MPs to sign the pledge, but this is not just about increasing the number of pledges; it is about creating positive male role models.</span></span></p>
<p style="border: 0px;font-family: verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size: 12.8px;margin: 0px 0px 15px;outline: 0px;padding: 0px;vertical-align: baseline;color: #000000;line-height: 125%;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;text-align: left;"><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif">Other MPs have been long-standing supporters of the white ribbon campaign, including the hon. Member for Leeds North West (Greg Mulholland), who tabled an early-day motion in November welcoming its 10th anniversary. As MPs, we need to show leadership on this issue. As public figures and representatives, we have a duty to lead by example. Not only should we sign the pledge ourselves, but we should recruit others to the cause. I urge all MPs to go back to their constituency and draw up a list of 20 male figures who are influencers in their local community. They could be faith leaders, community activists, business owners, teachers, sportsmen or celebrities. Target those individuals and urge them to support the white ribbon campaign and to pledge to challenge violence against women in whatever form it takes.</span></span></p><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color: #000000;line-height: 16.64px;">Unfortunately, unlike in Australia, Ireland and Scotland, where central Governments have helped to fund the white ribbon campaign, the UK body receives no state funding. The Government might be interested in learning more about the white ribbon campaign’s work, and I invite the Minister to meet me and representatives of the campaign to learn more about its campaigns and to look at ways in which the UK Government might be able to support that work.</span></span></span><br><br><font color="#000000" face="arial, helvetica neue, helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14px">Jess Philips, the Labour MP for Birmingham for Yardley, made the important point that although women must 'self-advocate', we need the support of male allies: </span></font><br><br><span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica neue,helvetica,sans-serif"><span style="color: #000000;line-height: 16.64px;">When we look at the fight to stop violence against women in the UK, we see protest after protest by women: reclaiming the night; laying down red shoes to signify the women murdered at the hands of their partners; and women with banners and signs. I know from all my work and from endless academic studies that tackling women’s rights issues here and around the world is always best organised and best realised when women self-advocate. We will not be given a break; we will have to take it. I know that men should not lead this fight, but we women will achieve nothing without the world’s men joining in and helping us.</span></span></span>                        </td>                    </tr>                </tbody></table>                            </td>        </tr>    </tbody></table><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnShareBlock" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">    <tbody class="mcnShareBlockOuter">            <tr>                <td valign="top" style="padding: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareBlockInner">                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="mcnShareContentContainer" style="min-width: 100%;border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 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100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-facebook-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Share</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*: *|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-twitter-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*: *|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Tweet</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="*|FORWARD|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-forwardtofriend-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="*|FORWARD|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Forward</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="https://plus.google.com/share?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-googleplus-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="https://plus.google.com/share?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">+1</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                            <!--[if mso]>                                        <td align="center" valign="top">                                        <![endif]-->                                        <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                            <tbody><tr>                                                <td valign="top" style="padding-right: 0;padding-bottom: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;" class="mcnShareContentItemContainer">                                                    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" class="mcnShareContentItem" style="border-collapse: separate;border: 1px groove #CCCCCC;border-radius: 5px;background-color: #FAFAFA;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                        <tbody><tr>                                                            <td align="left" valign="middle" style="padding-top: 5px;padding-right: 9px;padding-bottom: 5px;padding-left: 9px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="" style="border-collapse: collapse;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                    <tbody><tr>                                                                        <td align="center" valign="middle" width="24" class="mcnShareIconContent" style="mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*&mini=true&title=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*" target="_blank" style="word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;"><img src="http://cdn-images.mailchimp.com/icons/social-block-v2/color-linkedin-48.png" style="display: block;border: 0;outline: none;text-decoration: none;-ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic;" height="24" width="24" class=""></a>                                                                        </td>                                                                        <td align="left" valign="middle" class="mcnShareTextContent" style="padding-left: 5px;mso-table-lspace: 0pt;mso-table-rspace: 0pt;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">                                                                            <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?url=*|URL:ARCHIVE_LINK_SHORT|*&mini=true&title=*|URL:MC_SUBJECT|*" target="" style="color: #505050;font-family: Arial;font-size: 12px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;text-align: center;text-decoration: none;word-wrap: break-word;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">Share</a>                                                                        </td>                                                                    </tr>                                                                </tbody></table>                                                            </td>                                                        </tr>                                                    </tbody></table>                                                </td>                                            </tr>                                        </tbody></table>                                        <!--[if mso]>                                        </td>                                        <![endif]-->                                                                        <!--[if mso]>                                    </tr>                                    </table>                                    <![endif]-->                                </td>                            </tr>                        </tbody></table>                    </td>                </tr>            </tbody></table>        </td>    </tr></tbody></table>
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MONDAY

Defence Sub-Committee

On Monday morning I chaired an evidence session of the 'Beyond-Endurance' Inquiry into military exercises and the duty of care owed to service personnel. The purpose of this inquiry is to examine the overarching policies, practices and guidance of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces in respect of the health and safety of Service personnel during training, exercises and selection events.

This week we took evidence from the Chief Coroner, Peter Thornton QC. I asked him to assess how 'the approach to service deaths has evolved since the Coroners and Justice Act 2009', which gave the Chief Coroner responsibility to oversee investigations into the deaths of service personnel. Judge Thornton replied:


I think the difference since the Act came into force in July 2013 is that there is oversight of the Chief Coroner, and closer monitoring of every case, not just by the coroner, but by the Chief Coroner as well. There is of course the special cadre and there is training for that cadre. As I said earlier, there is compulsory general training now for all cadres, so there is greater awareness of what best practice is and should be. Since 2013, there have been particularly good relations with the DIU. That is very important. Coroners tell me that they have good relations with the DIU and that there is good disclosure: in the first instance to the coroner; then the coroner decides what can be disclosed to the family and what can be disclosed publicly, so there are three stages. I think that that has worked particularly well since 2013.

I have laid great emphasis since 2013 on families really understanding the process. That has got through and they are getting better at explanation. As we develop, the inquests are thorough, full, public, and, of course, independent investigations. That is important, too.

I followed up by asking Judge Thorton if he could, 

... say a little about the relationship with the family and whether there is an increasing role for the coroner to provide information during the whole process of the investigation and inquest? Do coroners explain the process, the terms used and the information and evidence that they have received.

He replied,

Every coroner has a duty to explain the process and to engage with the families, usually through the coroner’s officer who is allocated to the case and therefore becomes familiar to the family and will be there at the inquest. Every coroner has a duty to provide sufficient disclosure of materials to a family along the way. That is an important process. For example, some things may not be given publicly in evidence; I do not mean they are given privately, but there will be reference to voice recordings or something of that kind. The family, if they wish—not if they do not wish, obviously—may be shown the material or the transcript of the voice recording. They can listen to the voice recording and see some camera or video work, if they want to see it. It is important that they have that opportunity.

Later on in the evidence session, I asked the Chief Coroner to describe any trends that he has identified in the cases of service deaths that he has investigated since 2013. He replied,

To be quite honest, the cases have been, on the whole, so different, so fact-specific, that it would not be right to say that there are trends. I get more deaths in custody, and there are the usual trends, which is a lack of training, a lack of understanding about protocols—all the right protocols are in place, they are just not sufficiently trained about or understood, or the records are not usually in the right place at the right time, particularly as somebody enters prison. For my purposes at present, there are no such similar trends that I would wish to emphasise. Obviously, with training inquests recently, one cannot say that there are trends, but there are important issues there which I think are being addressed. With Reservists, and how much Reservists should be treated as Regulars in certain aspects of the training and how they should be kept different, is not a matter for me: it is a matter for the military. They have heard what the coroners have said in specific cases.

I finished by thanking Judge Thorton both for agreeing to give evidence to our committee and for his hard work in an important job. 

Death of Journalists: Conflict Zones

On Monday evening, Nusrat Ghani, the Conservative MP for Wealden, led an Adjournment Debate on the death of journalists in conflict zones and expressed her concern that journalists are increasingly being seen as enemies who can challenge 'the propaganda machine' of groups such as Daesh. She paid tribute to the men and women who put themselves in extraordinary danger to ascertain and report otherwise unobtainable facts about wars and conflicts around the world.  Jim Shannon, the Democratic Ulster Party MP, referred to statistics produced by the International Federation of Journalists showing that '2,297 journalists and media professionals were killed in the past quarter of a century'. He put pressure on the UK Government to promote 'free speech and liberty across the globe'.

James Duddridge, the Foreign Office Minister, welcomed the debate and applauded the 'work of many organisations dedicated to promoting media freedom and to supporting protecting journalists. The Minister referred to the UN's statistic that 'over 90% of the killings of journalists go unpunished' and reassured the House that the UK Government stands up for the rights of journalists in both bilateral and multilateral forums.
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TUESDAY

Questions to the Secretary of State for Business

Stephen Doughty, Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, put pressure on the Government to commit to using British steel in its defence procurement projects. Mr Doughty reported that he has received the following admission from the Ministry of Defence that it 'does not hold a complete, centralised record of steel procurement for projects and equipment, either in terms of quantity or country of origin, over the past six years'. He questioned why we should trust the Government's promises on procurement when they do not keep adequate records. This followed accusations in the press that the MOD used foreign steel for parts of the Queen Elizabeth II aircraft carrier. In his reply, the Secretary of State denied the allegations:

We are the first country in the EU to take advantage of new procurement rules. When it comes to defence needs and other infrastructure projects, we should use British steel whenever we can. For example, the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are 94% British steel—that is 77,000 tonnes. Last week I visited Crossrail, the biggest infrastructure project in Europe, and almost all of it is British steel.

Zika Virus

Following Questions to the Business Secretary, Dianne Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, asked an Urgent Question to her Government counterpart about the Zika virus crisis in South and Central America. The Minister Nick Hurd confirmed that risk of the virus to the British public remains 'extremely low' and committed '
an additional £6.2 million to the WHO’s contingency fund for emergencies, which can be used for the management of Zika'. Ms Abbott emphasised the importance of research alongside funding: 

 

Does the Minister agree that research is a high priority? We urgently need proof of a causative link between the Zika infection and microcephaly, and then to know how the virus damages the brain of the growing foetus. Developing countries will need support for the mothers of the thousands of deformed babies to be able to take their family life forward. Does the Minister also agree that diagnostics, antiviral drugs and, above all, a Zika vaccine are essential?

The Minister replied:


I entirely agree with the hon. Lady that research is very important. We do not know enough about this disease, particularly the links to microcephaly and the other consequences to which she alludes. The UK stands ready to play a full part in upgrading our knowledge. Specifically, we recently announced a £400,000 Newton Fund Zika research project between Glasgow University and Fiocruz in Pernambuco, the hotspot of the outbreak. Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine arrived in Recife last week. We are currently looking at what additional interventions are required to reduce the spread of the disease and its impact on developing countries, particularly countries where DFID is extremely active and where there may be a risk of crossover.

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WEDNESDAY

EU 'Re-negotiation'

On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron and President of the European Council Donald Tusk, jointly announced a series of proposed reforms to Britain’s relationship with the European Union. The proposals form the core of the Prime Ministers ‘renegotiation’, which he has been pursuing in advance of the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU this year. Following PMQs on Wednesday, Mr Cameron made a statement in the Commons on the package of reforms that he has negotiated.

There will be protections for non-Eurozone member states which respect ‘the competences, rights and obligations of Member States whose currency is not the Euro.’ A commitment will be made to strengthening competition and cutting red tape, by ‘lowering administrative burdens and compliance costs on economic operators, especially small and medium enterprises, and repealing unnecessary legislation.’ The agreement will establish protections against ‘ever closer union’, recognising that ‘the United Kingdom, in the light of the specific situation it has under the Treaties, is not committed to further political integration into the European Union.’ To uphold the autonomy of national Parliaments and strengthen their powers to block unwanted legislation that interfered with their ‘competencies’, a ‘red card’ system will be introduced. In an attempt to appease his backbench MPs, the PM has also secured an agreement that particular member states will be able to request an ‘emergency brake’ on in-work benefits for up to four years, which will then be considered by the EU Council. Finally, the UK Government will be empowered to alter the level of child benefit an EU migrant receives, depending on the living standards in the country from which they came.

The proposals will be discussed at an EU leader’s summit late this month, when the Prime Minister will seek approval for the plans. If the summit comes to agreement, then it is likely that the timing of the UKs EU referendum will be brought forward. The referendum could go either way, although recent polling suggests that there is strong support for remaining within the EU. 

The on Wednesday debate which followed the Prime Minister's statement, exposed the tensions in the Conservative Party over Europe. Kenneth Clarke, the Conservative MP for Rushcliffe, recognised that 'feelings are obviously getting roused on this subject'. He welcomed Mr Cameron's statement but acknowledged that he potentially faces

... great difficulty in persuading Governments in central and eastern Europe, in particular, to accept that their citizens lawfully working here alongside English people in key sector such as the health service and the construction industry should have lower take-home pay in the first few years than their English workmates.

Angus Robertson, SNP MP for Moray, made a point about the date of the upcoming referendum:

 

The timing of the referendum really matters to the electorates and the Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as of London, where there are elections in May. This morning, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, the Labour First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster... have written to the Prime Minister today. I think that right hon. and hon. 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- the Prime Minister- to commit to deferring the EU referendum at least until later in the year."

In his remarks, Alan Johnson, the Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull, played upon the divisions in the Conservative 'family':


Will the Prime Minister join me in welcoming the launch today of Environmentalists for Europe, which is co-chaired by Stanley Johnson, the father of the hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson)? Will he also welcome the splendid article last week setting out the importance for science and technology of remaining in the European Union, which was penned by his Minister for Universities and Science, who is the brother of the hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip? Will he have a word with his hon. Friend to tell him about the importance of family solidarity and of joining the swelling ranks of Johnsons for Europe?

Very good. The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that we cannot have too many Johnsons agreeing with each other. There is also Rachel Johnson, the columnist: we will have to go after her and make sure of that. He makes a very important point about grants for universities and schools. We all complain, rightly, about the European budget. That is why it is so important that we have got it under control: it has to fall every year. In the budget negotiations, we did safeguard the money that British universities actually benefit from on a disproportionate basis. As for completing the happy family pack of the Johnsons, we may have to wait a bit longer. 

The Speaker had the final word: 'I would call the hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip to ask a question if he were standing, but he isn’t, so I won’t'.

Lympstone Visit, 'Beyond Endurance' Inquiry

We arrived in Lympstone on Tuesday afternoon to observe Royal Marine commando training as part of the Beyond Endurance Inquiry I am chairing. On Tuesday evening we had a series of briefings and meetings from the officers in charge of the exercise we were viewing the following day, including medical staff. This was followed by an enjoyable and informative dinner in the Officer's Mess. On Wednesday morning we were up early with the candidates to observe their gruelling 30 mile march across Dartmoor. I was greatly moved by their extraordinary ability and determination and was privileged to witness the presentation of green berets to the successful candidates in a beautiful glen on the moor.
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THURSDAY

'Return of Kings'

On Thursday morning the Labour Party called an Urgent Question about the imminent visit of  the so called 'pick-up artist' Roosh V who runs the group 'Return of Kings'. The group had threatened to hold events on Saturday across the country, including Cardiff, but pulled out at the last minute following widespread criticism of its views towards women; over 80,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to ‘prevent pro-rape Roosh V events in the UK’. Roosh V, real name Daryush Valizadeh, writes a fiercely anti-feminist blog on which he has argued for the legislation of rape on private property.

In the Chamber, Home Office Minister Karen Bradley made it clear that,

 

The Government condemn in the strongest terms anyone who condones rape and sexual violence or suggests that responsibility for stopping these crimes rests with the victims. Responsibility always unequivocally rests with the perpetrator of these serious crimes. Any form of violence against women or girls is absolutely unacceptable. The impact of domestic and sexual violence on the victims—physically, psychologically and emotionally —cannot be overstated, and the Government are working closely with victims and survivors, support services, the police and criminal justice agencies to end these terrible crimes. If criminal offences have been committed, including incitement of violence against women, the Government would expect local police forces to deal with any offenders appropriately.

Chi Onwurah, the Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, made a particularity pithy intervention:

These planned meetings may well have been simply a publicity stunt by an attention-seeker so insecure in his own masculinity that he goes to such lengths to augment the size of his—er—following. I have been contacted by many constituents—men and women—who are outraged and revolted and also frightened by the planned meeting in Newcastle, so can the Minister reassure them that anyone meeting in Newcastle or anywhere else, or coming to this country to plan or condone rape, would be treated in the same way as anyone planning or condoning murder, terrorism or any violent act?

The Minister agreed with Ms Onwurah's assessment:

I can assure the hon. Lady that that is a criminal offence and such people would be treated in the same way. I join her in her comments about the possible reasons why this individual is doing what he is doing—to ensure that he gets publicity, which he may need for other reasons. I will say no more.

Preventing Violence Against Women: Role of Men

On Thursday afternoon, Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, led a debate on what men can do to prevent violence and abuse against women. Mr Newlands began by explaining the context of the debate:

Some 1.4 million women were abused by a partner in 2013-14, and the vast majority of those cases were not reported to the police. In addition, 28% of women report that they have suffered abuse in the home since turning 16. The horrific scale of those figures highlights the size of the problem, so I am grateful to the Backbench Business Committee for granting us the opportunity to bring this important issue to Westminster Hall. I also thank the hon. Members for Birmingham, Yardley (Jess Phillips) and for Brigg and Goole (Andrew Percy) for supporting the application.

He then spoke about his membership of the 'white ribbon campaign':
 

The campaign concentrates on working with men to speak out and challenge male violence against women. It urges men and boys to wear a white ribbon and sign a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. Some 25,000 men have signed up to that pledge, and last year I tabled an early-day motion calling on all Members to support the work of the white ribbon campaign. I make that call again today and urge all MPs to sign the pledge, but this is not just about increasing the number of pledges; it is about creating positive male role models.

Other MPs have been long-standing supporters of the white ribbon campaign, including the hon. Member for Leeds North West (Greg Mulholland), who tabled an early-day motion in November welcoming its 10th anniversary. As MPs, we need to show leadership on this issue. As public figures and representatives, we have a duty to lead by example. Not only should we sign the pledge ourselves, but we should recruit others to the cause. I urge all MPs to go back to their constituency and draw up a list of 20 male figures who are influencers in their local community. They could be faith leaders, community activists, business owners, teachers, sportsmen or celebrities. Target those individuals and urge them to support the white ribbon campaign and to pledge to challenge violence against women in whatever form it takes.

Unfortunately, unlike in Australia, Ireland and Scotland, where central Governments have helped to fund the white ribbon campaign, the UK body receives no state funding. The Government might be interested in learning more about the white ribbon campaign’s work, and I invite the Minister to meet me and representatives of the campaign to learn more about its campaigns and to look at ways in which the UK Government might be able to support that work.

Jess Philips, the Labour MP for Birmingham for Yardley, made the important point that although women must 'self-advocate', we need the support of male allies: 

When we look at the fight to stop violence against women in the UK, we see protest after protest by women: reclaiming the night; laying down red shoes to signify the women murdered at the hands of their partners; and women with banners and signs. I know from all my work and from endless academic studies that tackling women’s rights issues here and around the world is always best organised and best realised when women self-advocate. We will not be given a break; we will have to take it. I know that men should not lead this fight, but we women will achieve nothing without the world’s men joining in and helping us.
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