Victoria Atkins

Lincolnshire MP remains positive over Brexit talks

UK and EU negotiating teams will meet later as efforts to reach a Brexit deal before a crunch summit this week continue.

Victoria Atkins
PA Media

After talks in Brussels this weekend, EU ambassadors were told the UK would make concessions to its post-Brexit plan for the Northern Irish border.

But the bloc's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said a "a big gap" remained over customs arrangements.

Victoria Atkins, Home Office minister and Conservative MP for Louth and Horncastle, said she believed a deal could be reached by the 31 October deadline.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "[In] the last few days, we've seen a real shift in approach from the EU - and in Ireland in particular - for which we're extremely grateful and appreciative.

"I think with the negotiations ongoing...I'm an optimist, I do believe that we can get a deal by 31 October."

Lincolnshire MP backs new domestic abuse laws

New laws to protect survivors of domestic abuse in England and Wales have been introduced in Parliament.

Victoria Atkins
UK Parliament

The Domestic Abuse Bill would place a legal duty on councils to offer secure homes for those fleeing violence and their children, and proposes creating a dedicated domestic abuse commissioner.

Victims Minister Victoria Atkins said it addressed "an injustice that has long needed to be tackled".

But Women's Aid said victims' services were operating "on a shoestring".

It is estimated that almost two million adults in England and Wales are victims of domestic abuse every year.

Ms Atkins, MP for Louth and Horncastle, told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire: "Domestic abuse takes many forms, including emotional, economic and sexual abuse, and we're reflecting that in the definition.

"And that's important because that then has repercussion in terms of how services are commissioned locally to support victims and survivors."

Firms fail to report gender pay gap

Gender pay gap: Firms failing to report figures
Since 2017, companies which employ at least 250 people have to report their gender pay gap at the end of each financial year.  

But with the deadline looming, thousands of firms are yet to submit their figures.  

The shadow minister for Women and Equalities, Dawn Butler used an urgent question to find what the government was doing about it, as Jennifer Scott reports.

You can hear more from Today in Parliament each weeknight at 23:30 on BBC Radio 4 or via the BBC Sounds app
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