21/03/2016 Business Questions


21/03/2016

Recorded coverage of the announcement of Commons business for the week ahead and questions to leader of the Commons Chris Grayling, from Thursday 17 March.


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future business, please? The business for next week, on Monday

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the 21st of March, we have the continuation of the budget of eight.

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On Tuesday we have the conclusion of the budget they'd. On Wednesday

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proceedings on the high-speed rail London to West Midlands bill,

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followed by consideration of Lords amendments, followed by a motion of

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the European communities amendments act, followed by a motion related to

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short money. On Thursday there will be a debate relating to court

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closures, followed by a debate on matters to be decided before the

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forthcoming Easter recess adjournment, and I might also say

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that next Thursday we will be told... We look forward to that. The

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business for the week commencing the 11th of April, when we return from

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the Easter recess, Monday the 11th of April will be the second reading

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of the Finance Bill. Tuesday the 12th will be a debate on reform and

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support arrangements for people with contaminated blood, a subject

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determined by the backbench business committee, and the chairman of ways

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and Means is expected to name a proposed Private business for

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consideration. Wednesday will be an opposition day, and Thursday will be

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a further day nominated by the backbench business committee. Friday

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the 15th of April we are not sitting. The business in Westminster

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Hall for the 24th of March will be a general debate on the NHS in London.

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He means that I'm not going to be here next week, so my eminently

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capable deputy will be taking this up on our behalf. What a dreadful

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two fingers budget. Two fingers up to the most vulnerable in the land,

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those who cannot dress clean themselves, and two fingers crossed

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behind our back in the hope that the black hole will come right by the

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end of the Parliament. What a turnaround. Only weeks ago the

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Chancellor told us that the future was sunny. Now he says that storm

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clouds are on this horizon. That is a routine that Dame Edna haired wage

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would be proud of. Every single target missed. He's no William Tell

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either! Growth figures, wrong, product over the, wrong. The deficit

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was meant to be abolished by 2015, and now he hopes beyond hope to have

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a surplus by 2020. Does anyone really believe this? Isn't this

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another pledge not worth development is not printed on? More leaks than

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Wales, more spin than a whirling dervish in a washing machine. He

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boasted yesterday about extra money for school sports, when he cut it in

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the first place. That is like a burglar going to the police and

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begging for a reward for turning himself in. Frankly, burglars can't

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be choosers! Can the leader explained for us the commitment to

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turn every school into an academy? There are 15,632 schools in England,

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which are not yet academies. The cost for the conversion is ?44,837,

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which comes to ?700 million. But the Chancellor wrongly allocated ?140

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million to academy changing. Where is the shortfall of ?560 million

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coming from? I have to say that there were some things to rejoice

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about. I am glad that the Severn Bridge tolls will be cut in half,

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thanks to the campaign by my honourable friend for Newport East.

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Last week, I'm sure you will I announced that the obesity strategy

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will be out soon, and now we have it, or at least part of it, the

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sugar tax. I am delighted that finally the Chancellor has realised

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the dangers of Cork. LAUGHTER -- Coke.

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It is just a shame that he could not have said call -- cola instead.

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Regarding independence payments, how can he tell us how they will be

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brought in? Surely they should be in primary legislation. Surely the

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changes should be brought in in primary legislation so there can be

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proper scrutiny in both houses. Give another recent cuts to disability

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benefits, will the government produced an impact assessment? There

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is something deeply distasteful about a cut per person to the

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200,000 most vulnerable people in our country, while the richest get a

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?200 tax hand-out. I am not surprised that Graham Ellis, a

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disability campaigner, has resigned from the Tory party. We will fight

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these changes, but I warned the leader before not to try to pull a

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fast one on working tax credits by using secondary legislation that

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cannot be amended, and I do it again now. Yesterday saw the government

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defeated three times in the House of Lords. By big majorities as well.

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Nearly two to one in every case. There is more to come. Isn't it time

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the government gave up on this didn't it than piece of legislation?

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I have told to become. -- be more calm. We have the debate for short

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money next week. Our usual discussions have been productive,

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and I thank the leader for the part he has played. I am hopeful that

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these will be published soon, this afternoon, or on Monday? Many

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members have had real difficulties recently, with banks which have in

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dealing with money laundering in a disproportionately. We all want to

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tackle money-laundering, but it must be crazy that people are being

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denied bank accounts simply because they are connected to a politically

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exposed person. Can the government ensure there will be a debate on

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this in government times we can get the balance right and tell the banks

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where to go. Holy Week starts on Sunday, so I wish all members and

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families a happy Easter. Next week Jewish people remember the attempt

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of Jews to be killed in Persia. That was not the last annihilation of

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them. 74 years ago today the first Polish Jews were gassed in an

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extermination camp. Anti-Semitism is still alive today, and we must do

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everything in our power to stop religious intolerance and racial

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hatred affecting our political parties. That means calling out

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anti-Semitism wherever we find it, even if it is inconvenient to

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ourselves, and expelling those who continue these file arguments from

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our political parties. I hope the leader would also agree that all

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religious prejudice is equally despicable, and would frankly this

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on the Tory campaign against Labour's candidate for Mayor of

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London, which is the most desperate, divisive and racially charged

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campaign London has ever seen. They should the ashamed. Can I also echo

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the words that the Shadow leader has said about wishing happy Easter

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period to all of those who work in this House. Can I start by

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addressing the issue of member security. There were a number of

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incidents following a recent vote. This will always be completely

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unacceptable. I hope the police will deal with them strongly. Can I

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remind members that the new security packages available to them and their

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staff, if any member experiences teething problems with this new

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package, with the police tell myself or the chairman of ways and Means,

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and we will address these issues. We have heard a lot about the budget.

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You can tell when the opposition are maddest. Normally it is easy to

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catch the eye of the Shadow leader, he is always chatting across the

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chamber. But yesterday I could not catch his eye for the moment because

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he knew just how bad it was. Next week, we will see a continuation of

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the budget debate. I could not make head nor tail of what the Leader of

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the Opposition was saying he would do yesterday, but at least this week

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we had another insight into Labour's economic policy. It turns out that

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the Shadow Chancellor draws his inspiration from Marks, Trotsky and

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-- to. Labour's policies would crush the middle classes and working class

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people. This morning the Shadow Chancellor could not even said he

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supported capitalism. That is where they have got to as a party. He

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raised a question about the changes to independence payments. We will

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publish details in due course. All members are produced with an impact

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assessment. He mentioned the trade union bill in the Lords, I would

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remind the House that we are seeking to give trade union members the

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choice about whether they contribute to the Labour Party or not. Two

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nations to our party are from people who choose to donate to our side of

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the political spectrum. They have to depend on people who are obliged to.

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That is what has the change. I am also grateful for the

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collaborative discussions that have taken place on the short money

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motion. The motion will be published before next week. On the

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money-laundering points, I agree with him. This concern is shared on

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all sides of the House. We cannot have a situation, not just when

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individual members, but members of their families are affected by a

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change that is unacceptable. We have discussed it with the Treasury and

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have received assurances that they believe people should not be

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affected, but clearly, they are. I therefore will treat this as a

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matter of great importance and I think we all should. He made a point

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about anti-Semitism. Of course, anti-Semitism has featured recently

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in a number of political activities, and that is unacceptable and should

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always be so. But I should remind him. He makes a comment about the

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election in London today. I would also remind him that anti-Semitism

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was also present in elections a year ago in the general election in

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London, and not from our side of the political spectrum. I hope he takes

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the words he has said today and makes sure they are properly put

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into route in his party. It is not acceptable in any part of life. It

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should not happen. Finally, this week we had the revelation that the

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shadow leader doesn't want to be shadow leader. He wants to be

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Speaker, so much so that he appears to be even preparing a campaign

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team. Of course, there is not a vacancy for your job. But I did have

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an idea for him. This week is apprenticeship week, and I wondered

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if you might consider taking him on as an apprentice Speaker. But there

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is one small problem. If the honourable gentleman wants to be the

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next Speaker, he needs to remember one thing. You need to be popular

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and respected across the House, and he still has some work to do.

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Could we have a debate on the TUC's dying to work campaign, which

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focuses on strengthening legal protections for terminally ill

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employees like my constituents Jackie Woodcock, who has been

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treated badly by her employer, which tried to force her to resign? Mr

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Speaker, my honourable friend raised this issue yesterday. She's right to

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bring forward a case like this. I would hope every employer would

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treat with respect and care anybody in such a terrible situation,

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whether in the public or private sector. We expect decency from

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employers in this country. Can I also thank the Leader of the House

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for announcing next week's business. It is the usual day after the Budget

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night before, and already, the wheels are coming off and the

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smattering of fiscal fairy dust is wearing thin, revealing the useless

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old banger underneath. I think all of us who listened to the Today

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programme this morning enjoyed greatly the evisceration of the

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Chancellor of the Exchequer when he was asked, to gentle enquiring from

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John Humphrys, what does it take to get sacked from his job? As he

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defiantly tried to defend his own targets. We also have to commend

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some of the conservative disabled activists who have made their voices

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heard in the last 24 hours, particularly with that website. Even

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conservative members are recognising in this Budget the redistribution

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aspect of it from the poorest to the wealthiest. That is what

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characterises this Budget more than anything else. The Leader of the

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House often talks about him and I wandering through the same lobby.

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Maybe next week, we will have this opportunity with the tampon tax. I

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opposed this because of women being taxed for their biology. Leader of

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the House, come on. You and I can much through the lobby together to

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oppose the Chancellor and his EU politicised Budget. Regulations that

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deprive overseas pensioners of the operating to the pension has been

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forced through this House without any debate. Some 550,000 pensioners

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will be included in this with so many people involved, half a

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million, surely you have to have some sort of statement from the

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government about their intent in this regard and I hope the Leader of

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the House will give with this. Last week, my constituents got in touch

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with my office, watching the spectacle in this place. They were

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appalled at the behaviour of a small number of politically motivated,

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predominantly conservative members filibustering on private members'

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bills, just to stop consideration of bills that they don't personally

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like. We saw an almost destructive glory in the way they filibuster

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against the NHS bill. Of course, they are entitled to do this

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according to the rules and boy, did they take advantage. But why is it

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only private members' bills that this applies to? The rest of the

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debates in this House are properly timetabled and regulated. This has

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to end. Our constituents are taking an increasing interest in these

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private members' bills. There is a procedural committee looking at

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this, I accept that. A strong we worded message from the leader of

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saying this cannot go on would be helpful. Lastly, tugged away in the

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Budget statement yesterday were plans to extend English modes for

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English law to income tax. But apparently, legislation is quiet for

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this. With the Leader of the House explain how this will be progressed

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what type of legislation will be put in place, and will it give us the

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opportunity to properly scrutinise this dog's breakfast that is Evel? I

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would love to hear the leader's remarks on that. First up, the

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honourable gentleman talked about evisceration is in interviews. I

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presume he heard the interview with Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First

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Minister, on the Sunday Politics last week, which could not expect

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how her sums added up she could not explain how it was possible for

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Scotland to carry on spending the same amount of money without tax

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increases or how she would deal with the huge Budget deficit without

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spending cuts. So if we are talking about people with no idea how to

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manage an economy, no idea how to manage finances, we just have to

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look to Edinburgh. He talked about the Budget more broadly. He talked

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about people on low incomes. Our policy since 2010 has taken the

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lives of people back into work and lifted more than half a million

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children out of households where no one works into an environment where

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people get up in the morning and go to work and bring a sense of

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responsibility to their lives. By 2019, the top 20% of our population

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will pay 50% of all taxes. This is a government that is proud of its

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record, that has made a difference to this country. All we hear from

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the party opposite is carping about success. He talked about the bill

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last Friday. I find it baffling that he is complaining about the handling

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in this house of an NHS bill. The last time I looked, the NHS in

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Scotland was devolved. So why is the SNP so concerned about debates in

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this House about the National Health Service, when this House has nothing

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to do with the National Health Service in Scotland? Surely it is

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another example of SNP opportunism. And he talks about English votes for

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in just laws. -- English votes for English laws. We were clear that

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this would apply to tax measures which do not apply in Scotland. It

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seems not fair to me that the SNP should be able to impose increased

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taxes upon the English if they gang up with others to do so. That is

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what we sought to avoid. That is what our reforms will make sure

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cannot happen in future. Can I follow up with my right honourable

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friend his response on money-laundering? When are we going

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to have a debate about this? Will the government commit to voting

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against these proposals, and does my right honourable friend agree that

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the current proposals show that we are being contaminated in our public

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life by the corruption in the rest of the European Union? This is an

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important point. I am looking into this as a matter of urgency. It is

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important not just for people in this House, but for members of

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families as well. We will need to discuss this on a cross-party basis.

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We want to make sure this cannot affect our only members, our

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parents, children and siblings as well as ourselves. The Leader of the

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House and myself are becoming very good pen friends, writing to each

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other on a regular basis. Following our recent correspondence, I welcome

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the leader's commitment to ensuring sufficient chamber time to be found

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for the number of days allocated to the backbench business committee.

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That is provided for in standing order 14. However, I note our views

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are not aligned on the nub of days that are to be allocated this

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session. Standing order 14 is clear that only days when backbench

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business have presidents should count towards the allocation. I

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think there is a dispute about the number of days that remain to us.

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Might I suggest that there might be merit, touting the clerks of our

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committee to make sure there is clarity on the amount of backbench

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time remaining so that the government does not find itself in

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the unfortunate position of falling short of the amount of time required

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to provide the backbench community on the floor of the house? I did not

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realise they have so much influence. Last week, when I spoke in my

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exasperation about Newcastle United, within 24 hours, there was a change

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of management! Office chair of the backbench business committee.

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Exercises and influence beyond what we previously knew! The Leader of

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the House. I hope for his sake that the result of a change is that his

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team marches to survival in the Premier League, although I notice

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they did not manage it last week in their match against Leicester. But I

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suspect that most of us who support other teams, perhaps not Tottenham

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supporters, but the rest of us, for at least the last eight weeks have

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been Leicester City supporters. We wish them well for the remainder of

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the season. I hope the honourable gentleman manages to turn up at St

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James' Park next season cheering on a Premier League team. In terms of

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the allocation of time, the difference between us is that there

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was a period of time at the start of this session after the general

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election before the backbench business committee could be formed,

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so a number of days were set aside for general debates. I am happy to

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meet him to talk about that, but if the backbench committee is only

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there for a part of a session, there are time pressures that we have to

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cater for. I remember making sure there was time for general debates

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in that period before his committee was formed and I am happy to talk to

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him about it. Would my right honourable friend find time for a

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debate on the erecting of statues in the centre of London? I find it

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extraordinary that in Westminster Square, there is no statue of the

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first female Prime Minister and more pertinently, that there is no statue

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of Her Majesty The Queen, the longest reigning monarch ever and

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about to celebrate her 90th birthday. First of all, on the

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Queen, I think we all look forward to celebrating her 90th birthday. We

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look forward to activities up and down the country and of course, we

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should all be thankful to my honourable friend the Mayor of

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London and the Secretary of State for Transport for deciding that

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Crossrail should be named the Elizabeth line, a fitting tribute to

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the Queen. On the subject of a statue of Margaret Thatcher, I know

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the shadow leader, a champion of equality and opportunities for

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women, would join me in thinking it is appropriate for Britain's first

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female Prime Minister to be celebrated in such a way. Didn't the

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House reach a historic low in political opportunism yesterday,

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when the Prime Minister defended himself and his lamb a double record

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on air pollution by claiming credit for the clean air act, which was

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passed by this House ten years before he was born? The subject is a

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serious one and I recently had a debate that was pulled because the

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government didn't have us suitable blister available. -- did not have a

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suitable minister available. 9000 people die every year because of

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abolition, 70 in the city I represent -- because of air

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pollution, and there are no plans to make our policies even legal. This

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is a scandal that should be addressed. I would make two points.

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Firstly, it is an issue that we are dressing, for example through the

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work we have put in to incentivise hybrid and electric cars and looking

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at ways to cut emissions from power stations. We have done as much as

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any previous government. The point that and macro misses that we on

0:25:040:25:07

this side of the House are proud to be part of a party that over the

0:25:080:25:10

last 200 years has been responsible for most of this country's great

0:25:110:25:15

social reforms. That is a track record but we regard as a foundation

0:25:160:25:18

upon which we should build for the future.

0:25:190:25:23

Cross Cani Chase there are many voluntary groups supporting families

0:25:240:25:41

with dementia. -- cannot chase. Will my right honourable friend join me

0:25:420:25:44

in commending the work of this group as well as the others who provide

0:25:450:25:49

this incredibly valuable support, and can we have a debate in

0:25:500:25:54

government time to discuss what further support will be provided to

0:25:550:26:01

those families affected by dementia? As my honourable friend may know,

0:26:020:26:04

members of the Cabinet went through the training module to be a dementia

0:26:050:26:10

friend couple of years ago, and it was enlightening. I have experienced

0:26:110:26:14

dementia and my family and it taught me things I did not previously now,

0:26:150:26:17

so the work that is done by these groups make a real difference to

0:26:180:26:23

those who are suffering and also to those who are helping those who are

0:26:240:26:27

suffering. I commend her, her colleagues and those involved in

0:26:280:26:35

this area of the work. While I welcome the budget news regarding

0:26:360:26:37

further small business rate relief, I am concerned with the impact this

0:26:380:26:44

will have on local authorities, such as my own. Can we have a debate to

0:26:450:26:47

discuss what measures will be put in place to ease the burden on

0:26:480:26:54

cash-strapped councils, many of whom are already struggling to balance

0:26:550:27:01

books? First of all, as we heard last week there have been people on

0:27:020:27:04

those benches who say that we need to do something about the business

0:27:050:27:10

rate impact on small businesses. I am delighted the Chancellor did that

0:27:110:27:12

in his budget statements. I did not notice I mentioned to that in the

0:27:130:27:18

remarks earlier. Next Monday and Tuesday she will have the

0:27:190:27:25

opportunity to put those discussions in place. The front page of the

0:27:260:27:32

Jewish Chronicle today gives a litany of the anti-Semitism that

0:27:330:27:35

sadly we are beginning to see more and more frequently in the ranks of

0:27:360:27:41

the Labour Party, and in other institutions like universities in

0:27:420:27:45

this country. Can we have a debate on the subject of the increasing

0:27:460:27:51

anti-Semitism in public bodies and institutions? This is an important

0:27:520:27:58

point, where I agree with the Shadow leader and my honourable friend,

0:27:590:28:02

anti-Semitism has no place in our society, and when we hear words from

0:28:030:28:06

the parties opposite, we have heard of too many occasions in the past 12

0:28:070:28:11

months where they have tolerated tolerated anti-Semitism in their

0:28:120:28:17

ranks. That is unacceptable and something they should change.

0:28:180:28:23

I was shocked to learn the House has still been using Betamax tapes for

0:28:240:28:34

parliamentary recordings, and they now have to stop because they are

0:28:350:28:36

not being produced any longer. Technological adaptation is slow,

0:28:370:28:41

can he do this and update on steps being taken to update this?

0:28:420:28:48

Honourable members will be aware that trials have been taking place

0:28:490:28:56

on the use of tablets in division lobbies. Those trials are now

0:28:570:28:58

beginning to show distinct improvements, which is likely to be

0:28:590:29:00

the way we record in the future, which allows us to publish things

0:29:010:29:10

quickly. I do not support going further on swipe cards, as the

0:29:110:29:13

opportunities we have to go through the division lobby... HMS

0:29:140:29:26

Shropshire, a heavy cruiser, was completed for the Royal Navy and

0:29:270:29:32

served with distinction until 1942. Can we have a debate on when the

0:29:330:29:40

Royal Navy will once again name and naval ship after Shropshire? He

0:29:410:29:48

makes his point in his customary way, and I'm sure the Ministry of

0:29:490:29:55

Defence will have noted his comments. There will be plenty of

0:29:560:30:03

opportunities for ships to carry the name of his county. Could the leader

0:30:040:30:09

help honourable members who are keen to meet the young constituents

0:30:100:30:15

coming to the excellent new education centre, but find getting

0:30:160:30:17

into the education centre quite a trial. It is easier to get into Fort

0:30:180:30:23

Knox and it is to get into the education centre with the level of

0:30:240:30:29

security. As you know this is a subject which is of concern to me.

0:30:300:30:34

This is a matter that is subject to discussion. We have to take

0:30:350:30:37

appropriate steps for child protection and make sure common

0:30:380:30:45

sense applies. Sometimes with the budget you have to read the redbrick

0:30:460:30:51

to see what it was really about and to see what the Chancellor meant, --

0:30:520:30:57

the Redbook. There was a lot of loading of debt reduction, and I

0:30:580:31:05

understand that on the 24th of June, when we come out of the EU, he will

0:31:060:31:10

have ?15 billion a year to reduce the public debt. So in regard to

0:31:110:31:16

that, we had a tie produced for him with his initials on it. I think it

0:31:170:31:23

does to jobs. That the Chancellor wants to come out of the EU, and he

0:31:240:31:29

can promote it himself. Could we have a written statement on that?

0:31:300:31:35

Yes, far be it from me to comment on the aesthetic virtues or otherwise

0:31:360:31:39

of the tie, but the use of props in this place is generally deprecated.

0:31:400:31:45

The honourable gentleman has got away with it. He is always ingenious

0:31:460:31:54

in a variety of different ways. He makes his point in his effective

0:31:550:31:59

way, and I know he is playing an active part in the campaign to leave

0:32:000:32:03

the European Union. I suspect he may have more of a challenge than he

0:32:040:32:07

thinks to change the Chancellor's mind on this. And maybe more of a

0:32:080:32:14

challenge to ask the Chancellor to a tie of that colour. The Leader of

0:32:150:32:21

the House might not know this, but it is estimated that autism costs

0:32:220:32:26

this country ?23 billion a year. Today after the budget it is worth

0:32:270:32:32

about that some. You're a great supporter of autism charities and

0:32:330:32:39

often host events in your rooms. But isn't it the fact that we have

0:32:400:32:44

recently found we have taken away the educational element of the

0:32:450:32:50

personal allowance by people on the autism spectrum received, which

0:32:510:32:53

means they cannot get education. Can we have a debate on this? First of

0:32:540:33:02

all, I share his understanding and his view on the issue of autism.

0:33:030:33:07

There is some fantastic work done in society to help young people on the

0:33:080:33:12

autistic spectrum, and I pay tribute to a school in my constituency and

0:33:130:33:15

its counterparts around the country that do a fantastic job working with

0:33:160:33:22

young people. I would say to him that as a government we have looked

0:33:230:33:27

more money into education, more money into the support we provide

0:33:280:33:32

for people with disabilities, and there is enormously good work being

0:33:330:33:39

done around the country. The Leader of the House may be aware that the

0:33:400:33:44

new leader furnished hospital in Henley has now reopened and treated

0:33:450:33:49

its first patient. Would he agree to have a debate on the future of

0:33:500:33:52

community and local hospitals will be can reinforce the message that

0:33:530:33:58

this clear is in the best interest of patients? I remember when I was

0:33:590:34:05

helping with the campaign to get my honourable friend elected for the

0:34:060:34:08

first time, so I am the weighted to see that the work he has done since

0:34:090:34:13

then has come to fruition and his town has a great new facility. On

0:34:140:34:17

Tuesday he will have the opportunity to tell the Secretary of State how

0:34:180:34:20

much difference it will make to his constituency. Given that recesses

0:34:210:34:29

approaching, the upcoming regulations that will deprive

0:34:300:34:33

550,000 overseas pensioners will be enacted when we return to this

0:34:340:34:37

House. Will the government bring forward a debate to allow us to

0:34:380:34:44

consider this? This issue has been raised on many occasions, and when

0:34:450:34:52

these pensions were moved, they were aware of the arrangements. It would

0:34:530:34:55

cost many hundreds of millions to sort this out. The government has no

0:34:560:35:09

plans to do so. Could the Leader of the House seek that Treasury

0:35:100:35:18

Minister attends the chamber to discuss the decision about Lloyds

0:35:190:35:24

bank to redeem notes early rather than waiting until they reached

0:35:250:35:30

maturity? We will have the debate over the next three days in the

0:35:310:35:34

budget, -- on the budget, and we will discuss this. The Chief

0:35:350:35:39

secretary will be here on Tuesday to make sure he raises the point. I

0:35:400:35:47

welcomed the Prime Minister's statement about universal superfast

0:35:480:35:53

broadband. That was a few months ago. Can we have a debate in

0:35:540:35:58

government time so we can see the mechanisms for it going forward? We

0:35:590:36:02

are all in favour of it, it should be debated, we should know exactly

0:36:030:36:06

what to do, and I could offer Anglesey as a pilot scheme. It is a

0:36:070:36:12

priority for the government to provide superfast broadband and

0:36:130:36:19

connectivity to all rural areas. I would want to see Anglesey included

0:36:200:36:23

in that. We have made good progress, we have got as far as any other

0:36:240:36:28

country in Europe in developing modern communication networks, but

0:36:290:36:35

there is work to do. In the last Parliament, the government tasked

0:36:360:36:40

the Law Commission with drafting a wildlife Bill. That may -- they have

0:36:410:36:49

done. Could he say when such legislation might come forward? We

0:36:500:36:57

cannot give advanced notice of what will be in the Queens speech in May,

0:36:580:37:03

but I have spoken to the ministers involved, who tell me they are

0:37:040:37:06

looking at the issue carefully and have to respond over the course of

0:37:070:37:10

this year, and Law Commission bills are normally given a parliamentary

0:37:110:37:15

slot, but I cannot commit to an exact timetable. Yesterday the

0:37:160:37:21

government claimed to be on the side of both the workers and the Next

0:37:220:37:24

Generation. Could be there for half action beyond the rhetoric and have

0:37:250:37:28

an urgent debate on the irony that workers aged under 25 are excluded

0:37:290:37:33

from the government's new national living wage? The evidence we are on

0:37:340:37:40

the side of workers and young people is in the number of apprenticeships,

0:37:410:37:46

the deep crease in the number of unemployed junk people, we are

0:37:470:37:48

making real progress. When I took over as employment Minister in 2010,

0:37:490:37:54

I regarded with some trepidation though sessions I had with six

0:37:550:37:57

formers and college students talking about their future prospects. I

0:37:580:38:03

would not have such trepidation today. They have business

0:38:040:38:09

investment, opportunities. It is a transformed picture compared to six

0:38:100:38:15

years ago. For the last two decades, the level of transport

0:38:160:38:18

infrastructure spend in London has dwarfed that of the regions. Perhaps

0:38:190:38:23

in the region of ten to one. That the government has come forward to

0:38:240:38:29

build Crossrail two, which so far has received no scrutiny in this

0:38:300:38:34

House. Could we have a debate in government time regarding this? He

0:38:350:38:43

is right to talk about the need to provide balance across the country

0:38:440:38:47

in investment and infrastructure. But if we look back at the years of

0:38:480:38:50

Labour government can do project that sat on the shelf, they are

0:38:510:39:11

being built. -- project that sat on the shelf, they are now being built,

0:39:120:39:13

which I did not see happening when the opposition were in power. Can we

0:39:140:39:21

have a debate on the withdrawal of mobility cars, which is preventing

0:39:220:39:28

disabled people carrying out jobs they have secured. Does it make any

0:39:290:39:32

sense to put disabled people out of work in this way? There will be

0:39:330:39:40

debates on the budget and on any changes in the welfare system, but I

0:39:410:39:44

will remind him that it is important for government to ensure we provide

0:39:450:39:47

support with that is needed, when it is needed, but we also get the best

0:39:480:39:54

value for taxpayers money. Trees are important to us all, some might say

0:39:550:40:01

in transforming much of the hot air that we expend, but particularly

0:40:020:40:13

ancient trees are bio by the, and there are only 2% left in the

0:40:140:40:20

country. Bio diverse. Can we have a debate about the protection of

0:40:210:40:23

ancient woodland? We must protect ancient woodland and

0:40:240:40:31

also create woodlands for the future. One of the most exciting

0:40:320:40:34

developments over the last few years have been the Woodland Trust's plan

0:40:350:40:40

for new forests in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to

0:40:410:40:42

commemorate the centenary of the First World War by turning farmland

0:40:430:40:47

into a Forest that will be enjoyed by generations to come. My

0:40:480:40:51

honourable friend is right, we need to protect what we have got, but we

0:40:520:40:54

need to create the ancient woodlands of the future as well. I have yet to

0:40:550:41:01

hear a satisfactory response to previous pensions questions I have

0:41:020:41:04

asked. So it is no surprise that the government is trying to force

0:41:050:41:07

through operating regulations which will have a devastating impact on

0:41:080:41:11

fully paid-up UK pensioners living overseas. The government cannot keep

0:41:120:41:14

ignoring these groups of people who have done the right thing. Surely we

0:41:150:41:18

must have an urgent debate to allow this to be properly discussed. There

0:41:190:41:24

has just been a debate on the issue of women's pensions. But the

0:41:250:41:27

honourable lady does not accept is that we do not agree with her. My

0:41:280:41:31

view on the issue of women's pensions is that it is a difficult

0:41:320:41:36

one. Putting any transition in place is always difficult because someone

0:41:370:41:40

is always affected by the changes, but if we are to have an affordable

0:41:410:41:44

and fair pension system for the future, we have to put through some

0:41:450:41:48

of these changes and sometimes not make changes, even though people may

0:41:490:41:56

want them. Many of my constituents are concerned about post Office

0:41:570:42:01

plans to move their local branch, despite strong local objections.

0:42:020:42:05

Given that many such changes, good and bad, will be made by the Post

0:42:060:42:09

Office in constituencies across the country in the coming years, can we

0:42:100:42:12

have a debate on the post office's approach to its branch modernisation

0:42:130:42:17

programme and on its approach to consultation and taking into

0:42:180:42:20

consideration the views of local people? This is something that is

0:42:210:42:25

visible to members across the country. As my honourable friend

0:42:260:42:29

says, there has been a range of changes within the post office. I

0:42:300:42:33

would say that at least this is about upgrading post offices. We

0:42:340:42:39

have often battled to save post offices from closures. Now there is

0:42:400:42:43

an opportunity for them. We have seen sadly in the past, the

0:42:440:42:46

disappearance of many local bank branches. Of course, the post office

0:42:470:42:50

offers an alternative to many small businesses and I hope that will help

0:42:510:42:53

secure its future in many communities. This probably does not

0:42:540:42:59

need a debate, but this morning my question to DEFRA was

0:43:000:43:02

unceremoniously dumped by the department. Could the Leader of the

0:43:030:43:07

House looked at the possibility of ensuring that when such a thing

0:43:080:43:14

happens, that the department contact the table office rather than letting

0:43:150:43:17

them know by letter, which I only received yesterday? The honourable

0:43:180:43:25

lady once a statement on the matter. I am happy to give her a short one.

0:43:260:43:29

The question concerned was transferred between departments

0:43:300:43:32

because it was judged to be the best place for the question to be

0:43:330:43:36

answered. I have ensured that her question will be answered today. I

0:43:370:43:40

do think the department concerned did the right thing in telling her

0:43:410:43:43

that, but I will pass on the message that they might consider telling the

0:43:440:43:51

table office as well. Can we have a debate on inward investment? This

0:43:520:43:54

will give the House the opportunity to consider the announcements in the

0:43:550:43:59

past few days from Avon products, who intend to move their worldwide

0:44:000:44:03

headquarters from the United States of America to the UK, and from the

0:44:040:44:08

South African owned company who plan to create 6000 jobs in South Wales.

0:44:090:44:18

Those are two really good announcements which we welcome.

0:44:190:44:24

Given all the pressures in the steel industry, we want to see as many new

0:44:250:44:27

investments in Wales as possible. The honourable gentleman says it is

0:44:280:44:32

labour. Actually, it is because this government made the UK a strong

0:44:330:44:35

place for international businesses to invest. We also saw the decision

0:44:360:44:41

to build a new factory to build Aston Martin cars in south Wales. It

0:44:420:44:46

is reassuring to see that even in a difficult time internationally, the

0:44:470:44:52

UK is still seen as a strong place for international investment in the

0:44:530:45:00

long term. As of today, 78 members of this house, from seven parties

0:45:010:45:06

including the government party, have signed an EDM seeking to know a

0:45:070:45:08

statutory instrument freezing pensions. Regulations that deprive

0:45:090:45:16

overseas pensioners of blue uprating adjustment to their state pension

0:45:170:45:19

have been forced through this House without a debate. Will the

0:45:200:45:22

government hid the cross-party initiative to annul this revelation

0:45:230:45:25

and bring forward a debate urgently to assess the devastating impact

0:45:260:45:29

these changes will have on UK pensioners living abroad and perhaps

0:45:300:45:32

this time, he might answer the question. I have answered the

0:45:330:45:38

question. I have been the work and pensions minister and have looked at

0:45:390:45:41

this issue before. The government has no intention of changing the

0:45:420:45:45

current situation. The cost of doing so would be enormous and the

0:45:460:45:48

situation these pensioners face has been in place for decades. Horlick

0:45:490:45:54

nationwide Limited are a recruitment business in rugby who have developed

0:45:550:46:00

IT software to much HGV drivers with haulage contractors. Last year, the

0:46:010:46:05

NHS spent 3.3 billion on agency staff and ministers are working to

0:46:060:46:09

reduce this figure. The owner of Katmai College believes he can match

0:46:100:46:12

available medical staff with hospital trusts and has outed

0:46:130:46:16

talking to the NHS innovations team. May we have a debate to consider how

0:46:170:46:20

companies in the private sector can share innovative ideas with the

0:46:210:46:24

public sector? My honourable friend talks about what sounds like a very

0:46:250:46:29

interesting opportunity. One of the tragedies of the argument that comes

0:46:300:46:33

particularly from those benches about removing the private sector

0:46:340:46:37

from the NHS is that we would lose the opportunity to see that kind of

0:46:380:46:49

innovation. People in my constituency of Halifax are under

0:46:500:46:53

pressure and facing hospital reconfiguration. We understand that

0:46:540:46:57

pharmacies are facing a cut of 6%, which the government expects will

0:46:580:47:01

see up to 3000 closed nationally. Can we have a debate to discuss the

0:47:020:47:05

role of pharmacies, the role they play in alleviating the pressures on

0:47:060:47:09

GP surgeries and our A departments and how those pressures would get

0:47:100:47:12

worse if we saw up to 3000 closed nationwide? I know this is an issue

0:47:130:47:19

of concern. The government is sticking to ensure we use the money

0:47:200:47:22

we have as effectively as possible, that we are funding the right mix of

0:47:230:47:27

pharmacies. We want to see pharmacies in all those communities

0:47:280:47:31

where they are required. I have no doubt this will be brought before

0:47:320:47:35

the House in due course. The minister responsible, my honourable

0:47:360:47:40

friend for North East Bedfordshire, is sensitive to the concerns she has

0:47:410:47:43

raised and he will seek to do the right thing in making sure we have a

0:47:440:47:47

balance between spending money wisely and maintaining the right mix

0:47:480:47:53

of pharmacy services. Will the Leader of the House make time for a

0:47:540:47:56

debate on the effect of sodium valproate, a drug given to treat

0:47:570:48:01

epilepsy and other neurological conditions, but which has an impact

0:48:020:48:06

on unborn babies? My constituent is campaigning for years following the

0:48:070:48:12

birth of her two sons, who were affected by this drug, which is

0:48:130:48:17

still being prescribed today. This is obviously a difficult and

0:48:180:48:20

sensitive issue. I don't know enough about the drug, but I will make sure

0:48:210:48:25

the Health Secretary is aware of the concerns she has raised. He is here

0:48:260:48:28

next week and I would ask her to consider bringing it up with health

0:48:290:48:36

minister is then as well. I previously asked the Leader of the

0:48:370:48:39

House if this House would have a debate on the disproportionate size

0:48:400:48:42

of the House of Lords compared to the House of Commons, but it was

0:48:430:48:45

dismissed, so I will try again. Can we have a debate on the role of a

0:48:460:48:50

bicameral parliament in a representative moxie in the 21st

0:48:510:48:53

century in order to consider whether it is appropriate that more than

0:48:540:48:57

half of the members of the UK Parliament are appointed by the

0:48:580:49:00

Prime Minister, rather than elected by the people? Last week, I remember

0:49:010:49:05

that the party opposite were praising the House of Lords for one

0:49:060:49:08

of the votes they had passed through. Right now, this country has

0:49:090:49:15

greater priorities than sorting out changing and reforming the House of

0:49:160:49:23

Lords. The Leader of the House didn't and so one of the points

0:49:240:49:27

raised by the honourable member for Perth and North Perthshire. There is

0:49:280:49:30

an amendment on the order paper today timetabled by colleagues from

0:49:310:49:37

Berwick-upon-Tweed, asking as a Budget amendment to remove the

0:49:380:49:41

tampon tax. Will he support this in solidarity with members Brexit women

0:49:420:49:48

across the country? Of course, the imposition of VAT on women's

0:49:490:49:51

sanitary products is a matter for the European Commission. We have

0:49:520:49:54

made representations as a government and are expecting a response

0:49:550:49:57

shortly. I hope the commission will agree with every person in this

0:49:580:50:01

House that this tax is inappropriate. If no one has yet

0:50:020:50:10

done so, may I wish you, Mr Speaker, with a certain amount of Irish blood

0:50:110:50:17

in me, a happy St Patrick's Day to you and a whole House? Mr Speaker,

0:50:180:50:21

it is unacceptable that this government should choose to do

0:50:220:50:25

nothing, not even allow a debate on the hugely important issue of the

0:50:260:50:28

uprating regulations of state pensions. It will affect half a

0:50:290:50:36

million or more overseas pensioners and will lead to them having their

0:50:370:50:40

pensions frozen. The Leader of the House is aware that this is due in

0:50:410:50:44

to come into force while this House is in recess, and given the depth of

0:50:450:50:50

feeling across this House, surely this is an issue worthy of an urgent

0:50:510:50:55

debate? This issue has been considered many times over the

0:50:560:50:58

years. The government position on it has not changed. The First Minister

0:50:590:51:08

of Scotland is committed to not 95 or any other figure, but 100%

0:51:090:51:12

coverage for superfast broadband for Scotland. Given that the UK controls

0:51:130:51:17

the regulations over mobile signals, can we have a debate on how the UK

0:51:180:51:21

Government might achieve that for mobile signals across the UK? We are

0:51:220:51:28

working to achieve that and we are looking ahead to the reduction of

0:51:290:51:32

five GN this country. I wait with interest to see how successful the

0:51:330:51:38

First Minister of Scotland is, having made a substantial promise.

0:51:390:51:42

Some of her promises in the past have not come to fruition. This

0:51:430:51:49

House rightly celebrates community champions. One group organised a

0:51:500:51:58

lunch for disabled people who would otherwise have spent Christmas Day

0:51:590:52:02

on their own. Isolation affects millions. Can I ask if we can debate

0:52:030:52:10

this serious issue? It is clearly a big challenge for our society and

0:52:110:52:14

something that can only be dealt with in local communities and by the

0:52:150:52:17

kind of work he has described, which I praise. As he will know, I have

0:52:180:52:23

suggested to the backbench business community that they might set aside

0:52:240:52:29

a day for the whole House to debate the work of voluntary sector groups

0:52:300:52:32

that can make such a difference to people like those he describes.

0:52:330:52:40

Given the well-known views of the Leader of the House on matters

0:52:410:52:44

European, can I urge him to come to the aid of the thousands of UK

0:52:450:52:49

citizens living in the EU who face being deprived of their pension

0:52:500:52:56

upgrade, a move which is not even going to be discussed in this House?

0:52:570:53:01

And I urge him to overcome the European democratic deficit and

0:53:020:53:09

organise such a debate? That does not apply in the EU. On that same

0:53:100:53:16

theme, apart from the general unfairness of the frozen pensions,

0:53:170:53:19

analysis has shown that the frozen pensions prevent some pensioners

0:53:200:53:25

from emigrating and forces others to return to the country. So reversing

0:53:260:53:30

that would save money on health, welfare and housing, which should

0:53:310:53:34

appeal to the Leader of the House. Therefore, I will try again. Can we

0:53:350:53:39

have a debate on this? I am not of the view that government policy

0:53:400:53:43

should be about getting pensioners to move to other countries. The

0:53:440:53:51

Leader of the House wrote to me on the 24th of February in relation to

0:53:520:53:58

the issue of the pension fund of employees of the Commonwealth War

0:53:590:54:02

Graves Commission and said to me on the 24th of February that no

0:54:030:54:06

decision had been made. Yet on the 29th of February, ministers had said

0:54:070:54:09

a final decision was made in September. Could the Leader of the

0:54:100:54:14

House provide a statement as to why he gave such inaccurate information?

0:54:150:54:18

I would not have made that comment without having been told by the

0:54:190:54:21

Ministry of Defence that that was the case, so I will have to ask them

0:54:220:54:27

to respond to him. Order. Statement, the Secretary of State for Wales.

0:54:280:54:36

Secretary Stephen Crabb. I will make a statement on the publication of

0:54:370:54:40

the report of the mercury view. On the 5th of November 2012, the Prime

0:54:410:54:45

Minister announced the stubs of an independent review into the scope

0:54:460:54:49

and conduct of Sir Ronald Waterhouse inquiry into allegations of child

0:54:500:54:53

abuse in care homes include between 1974 and 1990. We are talking about

0:54:540:55:01

dark and shameful events that are stain on our nation. These were

0:55:020:55:05

children in the care of the state because they were vulnerable and the

0:55:060:55:06

state let them down. Our first thought will always be the

0:55:070:55:19

victims, supporting them in bringing the perpetrators to justice. A

0:55:200:55:21

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