08/12/2016 Business Questions


08/12/2016

Live coverage of the announcement of Commons business for the week ahead and questions to the Leader of the Commons David Lidington.


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friend the Leader of the House the honourable gentleman's comments.

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THE SPEAKER: Business question. Could the Leader of the House give

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us the business. Mr Speaker, the us the business. Mr Speaker, the

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business for the next week will be as follows, Monday, 12th December,

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remaining stages of the savings Government contributions Bill.

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Followed by a debate on a motion relating to the welfare cap.

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Tuesday, 13th December, remaining stages of the neighbourhood planning

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Bill. Wednesday, 14th December, an opposition day. 16th allotted day.

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There will be two debates, the first entitled the disproportionate

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negative effect of the Government's Autumn Statement and budgetary

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measures on women. Followed by a debate on homelessness. Both debates

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will arise on opposition motions. Followed by a motion to approve a

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statutory instrument relating to counter-terrorism. Thursday, 15th

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December, a debate on a motion on the creation of a commercial

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financial dispute resolution platform. Followed by a general

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debate on broadband Universal Service Obligation. The subjects for

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both these debates were determined by the backbench Business Committee.

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Friday, 16th December, Private Members' Bills. The provisional

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business for the week commencing 19th December, will include Monday,

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19th December, a general debate on exiting the EU and science and

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research. Tuesday, 20th December, a debate on a backbench business

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motion subject to be confirmed by the committee. Followed by a general

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debate on matters to be raised before the forthcoming adjournment.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can I thank the Leader of the House for coming

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to the House today. He had a very busy week. It almost reminds me of

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what Margaret Thatcher said that everyone needs a Willie Whitelaw and

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he is rapidly becoming the Willie Whitelaw of this Government. He is

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there when everyone needs him. The Leader of the House published the

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dates for Easter May Day and Whitsun. Can I push him for one more

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date? He failed to say when the House was going to rise on the final

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recess, the summer recess. Some people are suggesting it is 20th

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July, but I'm not sure if it is or not. Yesterday, Mr Speaker, the

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Government finally accepted they needed a plan, a strategy, a

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framework. The Leader of the House may have

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said that the Opposition were quarrelling like mutiny on the

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team, a genre I'm sure the British team, a genre I'm sure the British

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Film Institute are thinking where Film Institute are thinking where

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does this fall? Can I remind the Leader of the House it was 40

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Government MPs who were going to vote on the Opposition motion which

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then resulted in the Prime Minister from Bahrain to concede to the

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Labour motion and where was the Terrence la and the spider was

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missing too! As ever, Mr Speaker the message is confused. We have the

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Chancellor saying we're going to be out of Europe, but actually we're

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going to be in Europe, but we're paying for it, so we're out and then

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we're in. In sounds like Government hokey-cokey and it is con excusing

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for earn. Even our farmers so could we have a debate on the effect of

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exiting the EU which is causing concern to our farmers? In 2014 the

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UK exported ?12.8 billion of products to the EU which is 73% of

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our total agri food exports. Could we have a response to the letter to

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the Prime Minister signed by 75 organisations asking for the

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tariff-free access to the single market and a competent, reliable

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workforce? They want protection. For food safety, security and hygiene

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and proper Stewartship of our countryside and they say affordable

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food is at risk if ministers fail to deliver access to labour and best

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possible single market access. Could we have a debate on the report into

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opportunity and integration? If this Government is serious about

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opportunity integration in this country, they would reverse the ?45

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million cuts to ESOL. I know of a learner under ESOL who learned

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English and learnt to drive and became a driving instructor and oh,

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she just happened to be a Muslim woman. Members can find examples

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where people have taken their opportunities under ESOL. Could the

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Leader of the House ensure the Government restores grants to local

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authorities so libraries, community facilities, the provision of skills,

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training, prevention work with families are not cut and restore the

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migration impact fund set-up by the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

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That was cut by the coalition Government in 2010. The Conservative

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manifesto put it in in 2015 called controlling migration fund. OK, they

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can change the name, but they have not introduced it. We need to

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support our schools and ensure that the equalities and Human Rights

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Commission remains funded. Independent and is able to

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scrutinise the equality impact of policies and legislation.

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As we celebrate Human Rights Day, Mr Speaker, on 10th December, could we

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have a debate on protecting the Human Rights Act? It is an important

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piece of legislation. The United Nations declaration became the

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European Convention on Human Rights and some argued it was a moral code,

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but had no legal obligations, but the Human Rights Act gives it that.

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It gives it legal force. Because every right that was incorporated Mr

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Speaker into the Human Rights Act was systematically violated during

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the Second World Warment could I ask the lead are of the House to follow

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up on the PM's request to my honourable friend for Hampstead and

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kill burn to secure the release of a British national who is imprisoned

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in Iran. If the Foreign Secretary is too busy trying to learn who his

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counterparts are, perhaps we can ask for the help of the United States

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who signed that agreement. That's why we need to the Human Rights Act

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to protect basic freedoms every day, everywhere. I understand there were

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two near misses on the electrical overload on the site. We cannot turn

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off the lights and it is to the down to our fault. I wonder if the leader

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can update us on that? The member for Strangford and your chaplain,

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both received awards this week. The whole Parliamentary family

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acknowledges and congratulates them. Mr Speaker, as for hrge's op s, yes

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we will be carrying on. We will be carrying on regardless, trying to

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secure, wait for it, trying to secure economic and social justice

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on behalf of all the British people. THE SPEAKER: The Leader of the

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House. Can I first of all join in the congratulations to you and to

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the chaplain for the recent awards? Can I wish the honourable lady

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opposite many happy returns of yesterday. We will try and give the

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summer recess dates as soon as we can, but it is not usual for those

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to be announced at this stage in the Parliamentary year.

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And I did look into the question of the lights after her question last

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week. My understanding from the House authorities is that there was

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a serious fault in what is frankly an obsolete electrical circuit

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system there. They hoped to have had the repairs done during the course

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of this week, but I will ask the relevant executive in the House

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service to write to the honourable lady to let her know the latest

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details on that. Now, in terms of the other matters. I mean, when she

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said carry on regardless, she did rather sort of provide the

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description herself. I'm tempted to sort of indicate the cast list that

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I have in mind! I'm going to astew that particular temptation. If I can

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turn to the policy questions that she put to me. I mean, I think, what

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was very striking about the vote last night was that for the first

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time the Opposition frontbench and most, but not all of Labour members

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of Parliament, accepted the Prime Minister's timetable to trigger

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Article 50 by the end of March 2017. And given that the Shadow Foreign

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Secretary had said as recently as September that we ought to go back

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to the people before taking a final decision to leave the EU, that

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suggests a possibly welcome change of heart on the part of the

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Opposition. I hope it is genuine and sustained. On her points about the

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impact of leaving the EU on the food and farming sector, I mean, this is

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indeed a very important aspect of the forthcoming negotiation. The

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food and farming sector is a major employer, a major contribution to

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the United Kingdom GDP and many of its chief export markets are in

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other EU countries. So the Government is consulting very

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closely with the NFU and the CLA and other organisations, the Food and

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Drink Federation and so on about the approach that will ensure their

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interests are strongly represented in those negotiations.

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Clearly the issue of Labour is going to be part of that as well as the

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access to markets. I would see that I do think the opposition has to

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acknowledge, as one or two of their banks, who served in ministerial

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office in the past, have said publicly, that it is hard to see the

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vote on June the 23rd is being evoked that would allow the

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continuation of free movement of Labour as it currently exists. It

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seemed to me from my experience, both looking at opinion polls and

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talking to people during the campaign, that that question of

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migration was very much in the forefront of their minds when they

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came to vote in the referendum. On the other points she made, she

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alluded to the KC report earlier this week about integration. I think

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it highlighted some important and deep-seated social challenges. I can

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trade statistics about money spent on teaching English as a second

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language, and I don't want to dig drive the importance of making sure

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that people who arrive in this country learn English as a matter of

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priority, because without that, you cannot really play a full part in

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the mainstream of society, but what I hope to see coming out of the

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report will be a conversation and a growing, shared understanding a

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cross-party political lines and around the country, about the fact

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that these problems are not ones that are capable of solution by an

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act of Parliament or a ministerial speech or a tweak to spending

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programme here and there. We are talking about the problem of self

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segregation of communities that have quite deep cultural roots. And we

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have to work out locally and nationally how those can best be

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addressed. She made a few points about other items of spending. I

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have to say to the opposition that they cannot both attacked the

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government for not moving quickly enough to reduce the deficit, while

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at the same time criticising every action that is designed to obtain

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savings and pay that deficit down. And frankly, we are having to take

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tough decisions now because of the feeling of housekeeping of Labour

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ministers when they were in charge here. On human rights, we have the

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proud tradition in deed of human rights in this country. But that

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tradition was strong and existed long before the Human Rights Act of

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1988. There was no magic to that piece of legislation. This

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government is committed to keeping human rights at the forefront of all

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our policies. I agree on the importance of that particular case

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mentioned and I hope the government in Iran will show mercy towards

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higher and bear in mind the fact that her little daughter has been

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separated from her parents for so long. British ministers and British

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officials are doing everything they can on behalf of the family to try

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and bring this case to the outcome we all wish to see. The Royal Bank

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of Scotland have announced their latest round of NatWest branch

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closures, which will have an impact in my constituency, along with many

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of my colleagues. In Rochester alone, this commercial town will be

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left with only one bank remaining in the centre. This has been a running

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theme across the country, in which we have seen half the number of bank

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branches reduced. Will the government make time for a debate on

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the wider impact of these closures on the elderly, disabled, small

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businesses and retailers, who rely on these very important services. I

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completely understand why she is speaking out so strongly on behalf

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of both domestic bank customers and businesses in her constituency. Of

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course, what the banks will say is that more and more of us, both as

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individuals and businesses, are moving to online banking services,

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which therefore reduces the viability of the branch network.

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These are ultimately commercial decisions for the banks, but I hope

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very much that when bank directors and managers think about the impact

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of a closure on a particular time, that they will take very carefully

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into account the wider question of the impact on communities and

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particularly on those people and businesses who cannot simply go to

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an online service to provide them with banking services which are

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essential to their needs. Can I thank the leader of the house for

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announcing business for next week? It is good to see him back in his

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more familiar habitat of business questions after his exertions

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yesterday at Prime Minister's Questions. Such was his stellar

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performance, several of us were thinking of him as a future Prime

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Minister. Now we have the red, white and blue Brexit. After the killing

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in of the Labour Party yesterday, meekly following the government

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agenda, it will be the red, white and blue Brexit versus the tartan

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Remain. After the Labour Party more or less caving in to article 50, why

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does Jeremy not just bring through a proper vote. -- why does he not just

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bring through a proper vote. The government's top legal officer in

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Scotland told us that the convention was merely a political act and that

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this house can't simply override the views of Scotland. I remember

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speaking on it at length and the Tories 40 against every single

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amendment be put forward. But I recall a debate that said the

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convention would be in statute. This shows a massive disrespect to the

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views of Scotland. Let me hear the government views on this. This week,

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the House of Lords had a debate on the size of the House of Lords. It

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was like watching turkeys voting on the size of the Christmas pens. When

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will we have a similar opportunity? I think I'm grateful to him for his

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opening remarks. I always think it's very dangerous territory when you

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are being praised by a senior opposition spokesman in that way. I

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would just say to him on the point is that he makes about Europe, that

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we must not forget that 40% of the population in Scotland did actually

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bought to leave. I can assure him that the government is going to be,

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yes, looking for a Brexit that is red, white and blue, but that

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pattern includes the flag of Saint Andrew, and the saltire's interests

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will be very much in our minds throughout those negotiations. We

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have just established a new government committee along with the

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three devolved administrations, cheered by the Secretary of State

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for exiting the EU, to make sure the three devolved administrations have

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access regularly and access it misses a level to those leading the

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negotiations on behalf of of the UK, and their interests are fully taken

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into account and understood. He questioned me about the court case.

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I'm not going to comment on ongoing judicial proceedings, but simply to

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see this, that the High Court Judgment Day to raise important

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questions about the scope of prerogative powers and the

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relationship between the executive and the legislature, which we

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believe needs to be decided through the appeal to the Supreme Court. And

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the High Court decision required not just a resolution to be passed by

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both Houses of Parliament, but it should wired primary legislation. As

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I've said before, we have two week the Supreme Court's decision, but

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the ministerial code and the civil service code or oblige the

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government at all times to obey the rule of law. Thank you for giving me

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two bites at the Cherry and apologies were standing at the wrong

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time earlier, which goes to show this place is quite confusing to get

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used to, but thank you very much for being so generous. The floods of

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2013 were absolutely devastating in Somerset, and my constituency

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covered half of the area. The Somerset Rivers Authority was

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established to do with flood resilience. David Cameron and his

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secretary for the environment gave assurances that this authority would

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be funded with the preset to go on the council tax bills. Could he give

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me a assurances that the legal framework for this is being

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established? I think anyone who remembers the TV coverage of those

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dreadful floods in Somerset will understand why this was such a

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searing experience, honourable friend's constituents. The

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government house, of course, given additional funding to the local

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authorities directly affected, so that they can make the necessary

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provision for future flood management. What she now calls for

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is for that sum of money to be ring fenced and handed over to the

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precept be new statutory Rivers authority. We would intend to

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legislate as soon as Parliamentary time is available. The leader will

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be aware that on Monday and Tuesday of this week, the house rose

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somewhat earlier than scheduled, as business had come to an end. I know

:21:45.:21:48.

the reader does not have a crystal ball. I wonder if we can work

:21:49.:21:52.

together to possibly schedule reserve backbench business debates

:21:53.:21:58.

in the future. Members would accept that if government business run to

:21:59.:22:02.

time, that those reserved matters would fall, but it would be useful

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to have reserve backbench business debates for such eventualities in

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the future. One of my constituents came from Pakistan, where he had

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witnessed a double murder for which the perpetrator was imprisoned in

:22:21.:22:25.

2004. The murderer was released after six years and my constituents

:22:26.:22:29.

led to this country in 2012, when other witnesses to the original

:22:30.:22:34.

crime were themselves murdered. The perpetrator had then become the

:22:35.:22:40.

mayor of the region. Since 2012, my constituent has been wrongfully

:22:41.:22:43.

accused and convicted in absentia of crimes he couldn't have committed

:22:44.:22:46.

because he was using this country. The Home Office accept all of this

:22:47.:22:53.

as fact, but have determined to send him back to face almost certain

:22:54.:22:58.

death in Pakistan. Can I employed the leader of the house to urge Home

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Office ministers to urgently review this case, in the name of British

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values of fairness, justice and mercy. -- can I implore. I am happy

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to have a discussion with him about that possibility, though it is

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acknowledged in the way he framed the question, it's very difficult

:23:17.:23:21.

for government business managers to understand in advance how much time

:23:22.:23:26.

members from different opposition parties or our own backbenchers, are

:23:27.:23:31.

going to want to spend debating particular amendments on report

:23:32.:23:34.

dated how many divisions they will seek. As far as the constituency

:23:35.:23:39.

cases concerned, I don't know the details of the individual case, I

:23:40.:23:42.

will ask the Home Secretary to look into it, as he asks. In secondary

:23:43.:23:51.

schools, the ones that are good or outstanding in the north-west has

:23:52.:23:57.

increased by 3% in comparison to the national increase of 13%. Can we

:23:58.:24:01.

have a debate to ask which measures we can put in place to support nor

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the working-class boys and girls so that they can achieve their full

:24:06.:24:11.

potential? I'd put him towards education questions on the 19th of

:24:12.:24:17.

December, but the point he makes today is one which echoes the

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argument made a speech earlier this week by Sir Michael Wilshaw, whereby

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the two attention to the gap in achievement between northern and

:24:29.:24:32.

southern England and called for a much more resolute, determined

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exertion of leadership within schools, local authorities and other

:24:40.:24:44.

agencies in the north to drive standards up. And I am sure my

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honourable friend will do all he can to champion that effort.

:24:49.:24:56.

The Secretary of State is doing anything other than making a huge

:24:57.:25:05.

mess of our managing our railways. Southern Thameslink manage great

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northern that affects many thousands of my constituents. This is the

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largest franchise that is let by the Department of Transport and if

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northern franzs is going to go the way of Southern which looks to be

:25:20.:25:22.

the case, then we have a further, even greater disaster on our hands.

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Can we have an urgent debate in this chamber on these train services that

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affect people north and south of this capital city that the Secretary

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of State himself will attend? The Secretary of State for Transport did

:25:44.:25:49.

respond to an urgent question earlier this week on these matters.

:25:50.:25:52.

He has always felt that local authorities and MPs should have an

:25:53.:25:56.

appropriate say in local train service and I understand the point

:25:57.:25:59.

the honourable lady is making, but it is the case that a lot of

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suburban commuter services also serve communities in the Home

:26:07.:26:13.

Counties. My own included and to place the entire lead role in the

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hands of the Mayor of London and TfL would remove from my constituents

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and those elsewhere in the Home Counties any kind of democratic

:26:24.:26:26.

accountability for the management of their train services and the setting

:26:27.:26:32.

of budgetary priority. It is a more complex question than some of the

:26:33.:26:36.

critics of my honourable friend have been prepared to acknowledge. Can I

:26:37.:26:39.

just gunshotly say to the Leader of the House actually the work done by

:26:40.:26:44.

the honourable member for Suffolk Coast I think it is is over this

:26:45.:26:48.

rivers authority is proving fruitful. I think the point that my

:26:49.:26:53.

honourable friend for Taunton Dean who is not in her place, was trying

:26:54.:26:56.

to make, this is not Somerset. This is throughout the United Kingdom. We

:26:57.:27:00.

need to have another look at whole way flooding is administered in this

:27:01.:27:05.

country. It is not synonymous with Somerset or any other part, we do

:27:06.:27:10.

need look at descenting and we need to look at the legislation and I

:27:11.:27:13.

know the Secretary of State is looking at. Would it be possible to

:27:14.:27:18.

have a debate to discuss the whole concept? I can't offer an immediate

:27:19.:27:24.

debate in Government time, but there maybe opportunities for my

:27:25.:27:27.

honourable friend to raise this perhaps in the debate before the

:27:28.:27:31.

Christmas adjournment. But I can only repeat what I said to the

:27:32.:27:36.

honourable member for Taunton Deane that the Government is committed to

:27:37.:27:40.

the changes that my honourable friend is seeking and we will

:27:41.:27:43.

legislate as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

:27:44.:27:50.

In January the Secretary of State promised the then mayor for London

:27:51.:27:55.

that south-eastern's rail services would transfer to Transport for

:27:56.:27:58.

London when the franchise came up for renewal. He told the House that

:27:59.:28:02.

he looked at Transport for London's business case and it wasn't going to

:28:03.:28:05.

provide improvements to passengers in terms of capacity and extra

:28:06.:28:12.

trains both of which were incorrect. We know now his true reason is

:28:13.:28:15.

because he wrote to the former mayor for London in April state that he

:28:16.:28:21.

had changed his mind because he would rather keep suburban rail

:28:22.:28:24.

services out of the clutches of a Labour mayor.

:28:25.:28:30.

That's politically partisan and brings no benefits from my

:28:31.:28:33.

constituents who suffered yet again this morning of delays on that rail

:28:34.:28:38.

service. We need that Secretary of State back here in this House to

:28:39.:28:42.

account for the chaos that is happening on our rail services.

:28:43.:28:50.

I understand why the honourable gentleman as a London member makes

:28:51.:28:55.

that case so vehemently, but as I said a moment ago, there are

:28:56.:29:00.

interests to be borne in mind of communities outside the Greater

:29:01.:29:06.

London area who depend utterly on those same routes for their own

:29:07.:29:11.

journeys to work and the Department for Transport is wanting to work

:29:12.:29:15.

jointly with TfL to get the best deal for passengers both inside and

:29:16.:29:21.

outside London. Thank you mrrks speaker. In recent

:29:22.:29:26.

days there has been further media coverage about the risk of fires in

:29:27.:29:31.

certain models of the Vauxhall Carsa, it is welcomed that the DVSA

:29:32.:29:36.

are looking into this again, but could we have a statement from the

:29:37.:29:39.

Transport Minister as to what the department are doing to co-ordinate

:29:40.:29:45.

activities and reassure owners? I will make sure that my honourable

:29:46.:29:50.

friend's concerns are understood by the appropriate minister at the

:29:51.:29:53.

Department for Transport and should ask the minister to write to him as

:29:54.:29:58.

soon as possible. When can we discuss the injuries suffered in

:29:59.:30:04.

sport? We have a chance then to congratulate the Welsh and English

:30:05.:30:08.

rugby unions who have reacted positively to the new medical

:30:09.:30:13.

knowledge of the deadly long-term effect in early Alzheimer's to those

:30:14.:30:19.

who suffer repeated bruise to the head and could we look at

:30:20.:30:24.

suggestions made last week that what we need is international action

:30:25.:30:28.

throughout the rugby world and the boxing world to recognise that

:30:29.:30:33.

practise has been tolerated for a long time and should no longer may

:30:34.:30:43.

these sports acceptable to younger generations. It is right that it

:30:44.:30:46.

should be for the sport's governing bodies to take the lead on this and

:30:47.:30:55.

I'm sure that they since they are so keen to recruit and young women to

:30:56.:31:01.

those sports want to be able to say confidently that the rules that they

:31:02.:31:06.

have in place do everything that can be done in terms of protecting the

:31:07.:31:13.

safety of competitors. I will ensure that DCMS ministers are aware of his

:31:14.:31:18.

comments and questions DCMS and including to the sports minister are

:31:19.:31:24.

coming up on Thursday, 15th December.

:31:25.:31:37.

Dementia carers don't have access to blue badges to help their charges K

:31:38.:31:43.

we have a debate on this so carers can park much more clearly and

:31:44.:31:50.

easily? My honourable school friend right to

:31:51.:31:53.

highlight the importance of this issue and I'm sure he would wish to

:31:54.:31:58.

join me in saluting the work of the Alzheimer's Society and the creation

:31:59.:32:02.

of a network of more than one million dementia friends throughout

:32:03.:32:08.

the United Kingdom. The Blue Badge Scheme already allows for carers to

:32:09.:32:13.

use a Blue Badge when accompanying the badge holder so the carer in

:32:14.:32:17.

those circumstances doesn't need a badge in his or her own right. It is

:32:18.:32:22.

then up to local authorities to decide whether to have an additional

:32:23.:32:27.

local permit parking scheme for carers on their own and I think

:32:28.:32:33.

given the very different constraints on car park capacity and patterns of

:32:34.:32:37.

travel between one local authority air why and another, it is right

:32:38.:32:40.

that those decision should be taken locally.

:32:41.:32:43.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Now, that he had a bit of time to think about it,

:32:44.:32:48.

can we have a statement or debate on Jobcentre closures and particularly,

:32:49.:32:51.

the area of the Smith agreement which says the UK Government and the

:32:52.:32:57.

Scottish Government should work together to establish more formal

:32:58.:33:01.

negotiations and perhaps we can explain or the Government can

:33:02.:33:04.

explain to Glasgow's MPs and the Scottish Government why they had to

:33:05.:33:08.

read in the press that our Jobcentres were going to be closed?

:33:09.:33:13.

My understanding is that the existing pattern of provision in

:33:14.:33:20.

Glasgow means that there are significantly more small separate

:33:21.:33:24.

Jobcentres in that city than is the case in other large Scottish cities.

:33:25.:33:31.

And what DWP is proposing to do and the consultation is now underway is

:33:32.:33:38.

to reduce the overall numbers so that services can be concentrated in

:33:39.:33:43.

locations that are still accessible to everyone in the city and provide

:33:44.:33:47.

a better quality service to people who need access to Jobcentres in

:33:48.:33:52.

person. One of the reasons why fewer people have been using individual

:33:53.:33:59.

job Jobcentres in Glasgow is because unemployment has been falling

:34:00.:34:02.

significantly and I would wish sometimes the honourable member

:34:03.:34:04.

would acknowledge that in his question.

:34:05.:34:11.

In a recent surgery two of my constituents described how members

:34:12.:34:14.

of their family had their lives turned around for the better by the

:34:15.:34:19.

work of the Burton Addiction Centre in Staffordshire. Could we have a

:34:20.:34:24.

debate on the provision of drug and alcohol services in Staffordshire

:34:25.:34:29.

which is set to be considerably reduced by reductions in spending

:34:30.:34:37.

next year so that we can ensure that the experiences of constituents are

:34:38.:34:44.

not, will continue to be positive? Well, my honourable friend always is

:34:45.:34:52.

acidous in speaking up for the interests of his constituents in

:34:53.:34:56.

Stafford, but it is local authorities who are responsible for

:34:57.:34:59.

commissioning effective drug and alcohol prevention and treatment

:35:00.:35:05.

services and those decisions are based on the authority's

:35:06.:35:09.

understanding of local needs. We have health questions on Tuesday,

:35:10.:35:12.

20th December which may give my honourable friend the opportunity to

:35:13.:35:16.

raise these concerns directly with the Secretary of State. Thank you Mr

:35:17.:35:22.

Speaker, can I join with others in congratulating the honourable member

:35:23.:35:30.

for Strangford on his award. A fellow Leicester City supporter. Can

:35:31.:35:35.

I congratulate you and Mrs Bercow on your 14th wedding anniversary which

:35:36.:35:40.

was yesterday! I noticed that you were yawning a

:35:41.:35:45.

couple of teumts this morning -- times this morning, so it must have

:35:46.:35:49.

been a very good party and maybe that's why the lights are still on

:35:50.:35:52.

today! Can I ask the Leader of the House

:35:53.:35:55.

the Prime Minister returns or has returned from the Gulf where she met

:35:56.:36:00.

various kings and other heads of state and the issue of Yemen must

:36:01.:36:05.

have been discussed. Would he arrange for an early statement by

:36:06.:36:09.

the Prime Minister on her discussions with the heads of

:36:10.:36:13.

Government on the issue of Yemen where 80% of the population are

:36:14.:36:19.

still in desperate need of humanitarian care and assistance? We

:36:20.:36:22.

hear about Syria and Iraq a great deal in this House, but not enough

:36:23.:36:26.

about Yemen. Could we have that statement, please? I'm happy to add

:36:27.:36:33.

my congratulations to those that the Right Honourable member expressed

:36:34.:36:36.

both to the honourable member for Strangford and to you and Mrs

:36:37.:36:44.

Bercow. I think that anybody who saw ferg app Keane's report on the BBC

:36:45.:36:48.

earlier this week about the situation in Yemen will have been

:36:49.:36:54.

shocked and moved by the plight of so many families who are suffering

:36:55.:37:03.

grievously, the Prime Minister did discuss Yemen amongst many other

:37:04.:37:07.

issues with the Gulf leaders during her visit this week. The Government

:37:08.:37:13.

is, of course, committing significant sums, ?100 million so

:37:14.:37:18.

far committed for this year towards humanitarian relief in Yemen and

:37:19.:37:28.

we're also part funding the office for the United Nations Special Envoy

:37:29.:37:36.

on Yemen because ultimately it is only going to be through a political

:37:37.:37:41.

settlement that we can bring an end to this conflict.

:37:42.:37:45.

THE SPEAKER: We will hear about Yemen in the chamber next week.

:37:46.:37:51.

I was delighted to hear there is to be a debate about broadband, but

:37:52.:37:56.

discussions on broadband tend to focus on rural areas. I have got

:37:57.:38:00.

nothing against rural areas, but there are pockets of urban areas

:38:01.:38:04.

including areas of Cheltenham which are affected. There are specific

:38:05.:38:09.

factors affecting urban areas, can we have a debate on the roll out of

:38:10.:38:13.

super fast broadband in urban areas? I understand the point that my

:38:14.:38:19.

honourable friend makes and the problems he has described in

:38:20.:38:26.

Cheltenham is one that is experienced in spots in other towns

:38:27.:38:32.

and cities. I know how frustrating this is for businesses and houses.

:38:33.:38:39.

The Chancellor did announce in the Autumn Statement some additional

:38:40.:38:45.

funds that are available to try to develop high-speed broadband

:38:46.:38:48.

further. I hope that may provide opportunities for Cheltenham as well

:38:49.:38:54.

as for other places. Mr Speaker, Post Offices play a

:38:55.:38:59.

vital role in many communities across the country particularly in

:39:00.:39:02.

rural constituencies. Can we have a debate about the importance of

:39:03.:39:08.

maintaining shall shops particularly in rural communities so the Post

:39:09.:39:13.

Office and others can see the importance of any social impact of

:39:14.:39:18.

their closures? I can't promise the honourable lady a debate, but there

:39:19.:39:22.

are questions to the Secretary of State for Business on Tuesday, 13th,

:39:23.:39:27.

next week and it seemed to me that this subject falls within that

:39:28.:39:33.

department's responsibilities. There are, of course, provisions in place

:39:34.:39:42.

for communities to take over and operate the last retailer or the

:39:43.:39:47.

last pub in a particular community and I know of examples in my county

:39:48.:39:51.

where local communities have stepped in successfully in that way. That's

:39:52.:40:00.

under a provision that this Government and its predeses --

:40:01.:40:05.

predecessor brought in. When more people are accessing services and

:40:06.:40:11.

shopping online, there is an escapable relationship between

:40:12.:40:14.

customer demand for the services provided by small shops and the

:40:15.:40:17.

viability of those shops as businesses and the message to our

:40:18.:40:23.

constituents has in part to be, you do need to use those services or you

:40:24.:40:25.

risk losing them. Precept Following a remarkable and

:40:26.:40:35.

brief interview on this morning's edition of woman's are, which I

:40:36.:40:39.

commend to listeners to listen to online, may we have a statement

:40:40.:40:47.

about the delayed action of the deadly threat posed to pupils and

:40:48.:40:51.

teachers by the continuing presence of asbestos in schools? I did not

:40:52.:41:01.

hear the interview on Woman's Our this morning, but I will highlight

:41:02.:41:07.

his interest to the relevant minister at Education and ask for a

:41:08.:41:14.

letter to be sent to him. It is welcome news that Tata steel have

:41:15.:41:26.

committed to keep the site open at Port Talbot. Does he agree we ought

:41:27.:41:31.

to have a debate about ensuring that survival was forward for our steel

:41:32.:41:36.

industry and in particular, that the workers, in agreeing this deal,

:41:37.:41:42.

don't lose out on their pensions? There are, of course, some legal

:41:43.:41:46.

requirements that govern pension schemes and that give a measure of

:41:47.:41:57.

protection. It is too accrued rights under the old pension scheme, that

:41:58.:42:04.

is proposed to close, remain reserved. Can I share his welcome

:42:05.:42:10.

for the agreement that was reached yesterday and paid tribute to those

:42:11.:42:16.

in all political parties in Wales, who have fought so hard for such an

:42:17.:42:22.

agreement to be struck. It is good to see that a wave looks to have

:42:23.:42:26.

been found to in able steel production to continue at Port

:42:27.:42:32.

Talbot. I will ask ministers to address a particular point that he

:42:33.:42:37.

has raised, but we have business questions next Tuesday, and it seems

:42:38.:42:41.

to me, he may want to try his luck in raising this question again then.

:42:42.:42:47.

It is almost the first anniversary since the Boxing Day floods which

:42:48.:42:51.

devastated my constituency and large parts of West Yorkshire. Before the

:42:52.:42:57.

recess for the Christmas break, could the leader of the house

:42:58.:43:02.

arrange a statement from death row to explain what has been done over

:43:03.:43:06.

the past year to prevent any such brother flooding in my constituency

:43:07.:43:10.

and other communities in West Yorkshire, and what arrangements are

:43:11.:43:13.

in place if such terrible floods do happen again on the bank holidays

:43:14.:43:17.

over the Christmas period to ensure a rapid response from all

:43:18.:43:28.

authorities? Each area now has a designated local authority, either

:43:29.:43:35.

the County or the unitary authority, that has a lead responsibility for

:43:36.:43:39.

coordinating flood management and response to flooding. The government

:43:40.:43:46.

has also ensured in its response to more recent floods in the north-west

:43:47.:43:54.

of England, and the south-west, that money is being released at a much

:43:55.:43:57.

earlier stage than has sometimes been the case previously. Spending

:43:58.:44:06.

on flood management continues, and the recently published each flood

:44:07.:44:11.

resilience strategy that sets out a plan for the longer term future. But

:44:12.:44:16.

I will make sure the Secretary of State for Defra is aware of his

:44:17.:44:21.

particular concerns about his own area, and she may you wish to reply

:44:22.:44:28.

in more detail about those issues. Liverpool City Council is conducting

:44:29.:44:34.

an online consultation on how to find ?90 million more of cuts in

:44:35.:44:38.

addition to the ?330 million it has already found since 2010, meaning

:44:39.:44:47.

that by 2020, it will have lost 70% of its government support. Can we

:44:48.:44:51.

have a debate in government time on the disproportionate impact that

:44:52.:44:54.

these cuts are having on authorities like Liverpool City Council? And in

:44:55.:45:00.

all fairness, can he come forward and see how the government can help

:45:01.:45:03.

to alleviate this problem it has caused? It is undoubtedly true that

:45:04.:45:13.

local authorities, whether in northern or southern England,

:45:14.:45:17.

whether they are conservative odd Labour councils, art having to take

:45:18.:45:23.

some very tough financial decisions about relative priorities. Just as

:45:24.:45:27.

government departments sensually are having to take some very difficult

:45:28.:45:31.

decisions. These are not decisions that any of us, local or Westminster

:45:32.:45:38.

leaders, relish having to take, but they arise from the fact that in

:45:39.:45:44.

2010, we inherited an economic wasteland, a deficit that was worse

:45:45.:45:49.

than that accumulated by any government in our history, that need

:45:50.:45:54.

to be paid down as a matter of urgency. -- needed to be paid down.

:45:55.:45:59.

It is now good opposition members both saying the government is moving

:46:00.:46:04.

too slowly to cut the deficit and at the same time, resisting each and

:46:05.:46:12.

every measure to cut that deficit. Earlier this week, the results on

:46:13.:46:16.

education standards were released, and sadly, for the 12 year in a row,

:46:17.:46:21.

Wales lags behind the rest of the UK. That is causing the head of

:46:22.:46:25.

Ofsted to say, this result is bringing the UK average down, while

:46:26.:46:29.

the Welsh Liberal education minister said, we can do better. Can we have

:46:30.:46:34.

a debate on how the Westminster government can help the devolved

:46:35.:46:37.

nations to do better and bring the UK average up? He disliked a point

:46:38.:46:45.

to the fact that Wales sadly performed less well than England and

:46:46.:46:50.

also, it is true the results revealed a sharp decline in

:46:51.:46:54.

standards in Scottish schools over the last ten years. The message from

:46:55.:47:01.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, as the head of Ofsted, is that it is the quality of

:47:02.:47:06.

leadership at school level and that local authority level, and the

:47:07.:47:12.

quality of and energy given to the support for those leaders by elected

:47:13.:47:20.

politicians, by business leaders and others, that is critical to driving

:47:21.:47:27.

up the standards of education. If we are serious about tackling this

:47:28.:47:32.

country's long-term economic challenges and our lack of

:47:33.:47:35.

productivity, and addressing the challenge posed to so many forms of

:47:36.:47:42.

education challenged by digital technology, we need to do everything

:47:43.:47:45.

we can to drive up standards in schools so that young people are

:47:46.:47:51.

able to prosper in that rapidly changing environment? The leader of

:47:52.:47:55.

the house has been identified as our next Prime Minister but one. Can he

:47:56.:47:59.

use his new-found authority to insist on a debate on the

:48:00.:48:06.

negotiating strategy on Brexit. Invoking article 50 and going into a

:48:07.:48:12.

time let Ltd negotiation without a broad light glowing of outcomes,.

:48:13.:48:23.

Can we have a debate to avoid his meat being minced? I have been

:48:24.:48:35.

looking at the order paper since we came back after the summer recess,

:48:36.:48:40.

and it seems to me, I think it is right to say, we have had at least

:48:41.:48:48.

one debate on an aspect of EU exit in every week or every week but one

:48:49.:48:52.

since we first game back in September. We had a full day of

:48:53.:48:58.

debate yesterday, at which exactly these issues were aired. The Prime

:48:59.:49:02.

Minister made it clear that government will publish more detail

:49:03.:49:08.

about its negotiating objectives next year, before we trigger Article

:49:09.:49:14.

50 of the treaties. What we will not do and we should not do is to give

:49:15.:49:21.

the sort of details explanation that I fear he is seeking. Bum of the

:49:22.:49:26.

other 27 EU governments is doing anything like that and nor should

:49:27.:49:30.

we. You do not reveal you negotiating hand when you are about

:49:31.:49:36.

to start negotiations. -- none of the other 27 EU countries. The

:49:37.:49:42.

United Nations estimate that 240,000 have been displaced from me and

:49:43.:49:49.

Mark. The humanitarian disaster unfolding suggests that thousands of

:49:50.:49:54.

becoming refugees in Bangladesh and other parts of Southeast Asia.

:49:55.:49:59.

Islamic relief are doing their best to cope with this humanitarian

:50:00.:50:04.

disaster, but could we have a statement from whoever it is deemed

:50:05.:50:07.

appropriate on what the government is going to do to help those who are

:50:08.:50:19.

refugees from Myanmar? He knows there is a long and very sad history

:50:20.:50:27.

of communal tension in Myanmar, and in particular, a history of

:50:28.:50:33.

discrimination against and persecution of a particular set of

:50:34.:50:37.

people. British ministers, our embassy in the capital, British

:50:38.:50:46.

Foreign Office officials here, constantly, when talking to their

:50:47.:50:50.

borough mise opposite numbers, raise these issues about the need to

:50:51.:50:57.

observe human rights standards and ensure the well-being of all

:50:58.:51:00.

communities in Myanmar. We will continue to do that, as well as

:51:01.:51:05.

direct some of our spending programme towards humanitarian

:51:06.:51:11.

relief in that country. Periods are an annoyance for every menstruating

:51:12.:51:15.

women, but the whole Muslim, they are far more than that. Sanitary

:51:16.:51:19.

products and unaffordable for thousands living on the street, an

:51:20.:51:24.

issue raised by the campaign Homeless Periods. Can we discuss

:51:25.:51:31.

efforts to relieve the degradation and embarrassment suffered by

:51:32.:51:35.

thousands every day. I can't offer an immediate debate, but she makes a

:51:36.:51:40.

perfectly reasonable case for at this update to be looked up further.

:51:41.:51:43.

I will make sure the relevant Minister does so. The news coming

:51:44.:51:51.

out of Port Talbot yesterday is hugely welcome in Korby after months

:51:52.:51:54.

of uncertainty in the steel industry. The might of that news, I

:51:55.:51:59.

want to pay tribute to ministers and cross-party colleagues and also to

:52:00.:52:02.

the unions for the construct of what we have seen take place to get to

:52:03.:52:09.

this point. Can we have a statement next week, so that we can discuss

:52:10.:52:13.

next steps as we move this forward to reaching final agreement?

:52:14.:52:21.

Throughout his time here since 2015, he has been a formidable spokesman

:52:22.:52:25.

for his constituents in Korby and for the interests of the UK steel

:52:26.:52:30.

industry more generally. I join him in his welcome to all those who made

:52:31.:52:36.

this deal possible. The Secretary of State for this will be here next

:52:37.:52:39.

Tuesday. I'm sure there will be questions to him on the subject. I

:52:40.:52:49.

am sure the leader of the house will remember the report earlier this

:52:50.:52:52.

week which details the case of nearly 1000 women in England and

:52:53.:52:57.

Wales who have been killed by Menson 's 2009. Can we have a statement

:52:58.:53:01.

from the government into response of the report to tell us what they are

:53:02.:53:05.

going to do to stop more women being killed at the hands of men in

:53:06.:53:11.

domestic violence? The report is an important one, and it is one that

:53:12.:53:17.

ministers will want to study and reflect on before announcing any

:53:18.:53:23.

possible policy initiatives. I think it is good that more people now are

:53:24.:53:30.

willing to come forward and report instances of domestic abuse before

:53:31.:53:37.

they get to that really critical stage that he has described, where

:53:38.:53:42.

somebody's life is actually under threat. It's also true that the

:53:43.:53:47.

police are much readier married to take action and investigate than

:53:48.:53:52.

might have been the case some years ago. These are lot was difficult

:53:53.:53:57.

judgments for police officers, social workers dealing with

:53:58.:54:00.

individual families, to take. But the key to this has to be for people

:54:01.:54:06.

who are victims to feel confident that, if they come forward, the

:54:07.:54:11.

allegations they make will be taken very seriously, will be investigated

:54:12.:54:16.

properly, and whether there is evidence, that prosecutions will

:54:17.:54:23.

follow. If you years ago, it emerged that if the then Prime Minister Tony

:54:24.:54:27.

Blair was indisposed or worse, that John Prescott would take over as

:54:28.:54:33.

Prime Minister. I know the nation slept sound because of that. When it

:54:34.:54:37.

emerged that William Hague would take over if the coalition Prime

:54:38.:54:42.

Minister was indisposed or worse. It then it emerged that when David

:54:43.:54:47.

Cameron was here, it would be my right honourable friend for Tatton

:54:48.:54:54.

who would take over. It now emerged yesterday from this superb

:54:55.:54:57.

performance of the leader of the house, that it is clearly he who

:54:58.:55:00.

would take over as Prime Minister if our Prime Minister was indisposed or

:55:01.:55:05.

worse. But could we have a short statement but that on record, so we

:55:06.:55:07.

know where everyone stands? I do think my honourable friend

:55:08.:55:23.

spends time considering this. The Queen's Government will carry on

:55:24.:55:29.

whatever circumstances may arise! Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker,

:55:30.:55:36.

over the last few years, job finding services such as cards displaying

:55:37.:55:40.

real jobs and telephones to call about the jobs have been stripped

:55:41.:55:47.

from Jobcentres. With the unexpected news yesterday that Glasgow

:55:48.:55:53.

Jobcentres will be cut by 50% including Annie's Land in my own

:55:54.:55:56.

constituency, will he make a statement on the services my

:55:57.:56:02.

constituents should expect in the new planned super centres?

:56:03.:56:08.

These are obviously matters that will be primary for the management

:56:09.:56:13.

of Jobcentre Plus, but there will be the full range of Jobcentre Plus

:56:14.:56:19.

services at these larger centres and I would, as said in response to my

:56:20.:56:27.

honourable friend, I hope she and her colleagues will acknowledge that

:56:28.:56:38.

one reason we need to provide a consolation of services, one of the

:56:39.:56:42.

reasons we're doing that is because the number of people overall in

:56:43.:56:45.

Glasgow and elsewhere in Scotland who are out of work has come down

:56:46.:56:53.

very significantly. I do wish sometimes the Scottish Nationalist

:56:54.:56:56.

colleagues here would balance their challenges to the Government with

:56:57.:57:00.

recognition of the fact that there are more people in work in this

:57:01.:57:04.

country than ever before. I was rather disappointed with the answer

:57:05.:57:09.

given to my honourable friend the member for Halewood. Liverpool

:57:10.:57:15.

Council, about Liverpool Council's spending difficulties. Bristol

:57:16.:57:19.

impose add spending freeze as it bids to find ?92 million worth of

:57:20.:57:24.

cuts over the next five years and the mayor has been as transparent

:57:25.:57:28.

and open as possible going out to consultation what this means. Could

:57:29.:57:33.

the Government not emulate that openness by having a debate on the

:57:34.:57:37.

financial difficulties facing our core cities? I'm sure there will be

:57:38.:57:44.

plenty of opportunities in various of the proceedings of the House for

:57:45.:57:49.

these issues to be raised in generic terms or whether it is about local

:57:50.:57:53.

authorities. This is not a challenge confined to Bristol or any other

:57:54.:57:58.

city or any local authority, urban or rural, or are central Government

:57:59.:58:02.

departments exempt from this. We have to live as a country within our

:58:03.:58:08.

means and that means that we have to pay down the deficit that we

:58:09.:58:12.

inherited, get rid of the remaining third that we inherited in 2010

:58:13.:58:17.

because without that we will not be able to pay our way in the world.

:58:18.:58:24.

Can I join with my honourable friends in asking for a debate in

:58:25.:58:29.

Government time on Jobcentre closures in Glasgow and the effects

:58:30.:58:33.

this measure will have on Social Security claimants? Can the Leader

:58:34.:58:37.

of the House confirm a quality and impact statement will be published

:58:38.:58:42.

so that all honourable members can provide their response to the

:58:43.:58:45.

closures and the effects it will have on claimants. The DWP will

:58:46.:58:53.

comply with all the regulations. They have had initial consultations

:58:54.:58:57.

with the briefing of the trade unions hold be consulting their

:58:58.:59:02.

members about DWP's proposal, but again, I would just say to the

:59:03.:59:05.

honourable member, one reason for this consolidation is not just

:59:06.:59:12.

Glasgow has at the moment more small individual Jobcentres than other

:59:13.:59:16.

cities in Scotland, but unemployment in Scotland has come down. If we

:59:17.:59:21.

look at what is happening, employment in Scotland since 2010

:59:22.:59:29.

has gone up by 166,000 and the youth claimantsant count has gone down by

:59:30.:59:39.

18200. Can we have a debate about environmental protection following

:59:40.:59:41.

leaving the European Union? Because I'm concerned in the rush towards a

:59:42.:59:47.

red, white and blue Brexit we will simply get rid of the green. The

:59:48.:59:55.

Government remains very committed indeed to our climate change

:59:56.:00:00.

objectives and to improving the United Kingdom's environmental

:00:01.:00:04.

performance overall. That's why the Home Secretary played a leading role

:00:05.:00:09.

with the French Foreign Minister last year in getting agreement on

:00:10.:00:15.

the Paris deal, the first ever binding global agreement on carbon

:00:16.:00:20.

reduction and climate change and why the Government is delivering through

:00:21.:00:24.

its investment in renewable technologies, through its

:00:25.:00:26.

investment, additional measures that were in the Autumn Statement on

:00:27.:00:32.

electric and other ultra low emission vehicles to ensure we

:00:33.:00:36.

maintain the green policies that will give us economic and commercial

:00:37.:00:40.

opportunities as well as an improved environment.

:00:41.:00:46.

Does the Leader of the House agree that the boundary review should be

:00:47.:00:49.

carried out using the most up-to-date information? So

:00:50.:00:55.

therefore, can he set out what is delaying the Parliamentary

:00:56.:00:56.

constituencies Amendment Bill going into committee?

:00:57.:01:03.

The fact was that the honourable lady, the sponsor of the Bill did

:01:04.:01:09.

not produce a text to the Bill until it was three days before the Bill

:01:10.:01:14.

was laid down for second reading. There was no memorandum or other

:01:15.:01:18.

estimate of the costs that would be associated with that Bill. The

:01:19.:01:24.

Government is therefore, in dealing with the request for a money

:01:25.:01:31.

resolution to go through its own analysis of what the costs of

:01:32.:01:36.

implementing the Bill would be, but I say to the honourable member

:01:37.:01:41.

opposite, but for any boundary review there has to be a cut off

:01:42.:01:44.

point at which you say the commission then gets on with its job

:01:45.:01:50.

and if we were to follow the Labour Party's advice and simply abort the

:01:51.:01:54.

current overdue boundary review we would be going into a 2020 election

:01:55.:01:59.

on constituencies that differed vastly in the size of their

:02:00.:02:05.

electorate and on the basis of population figures deriving from a

:02:06.:02:09.

centre sis that would be by then 20 years old.

:02:10.:02:18.

An unfortunate situation which maybe an unintended consequence of

:02:19.:02:22.

legislation has been brought to my attention by a constituent regarding

:02:23.:02:27.

a protracted period of unmroult, but being desperate for work he found

:02:28.:02:31.

employment on a short-term contract basis abroad only to return home he

:02:32.:02:35.

was ineligible for GSA. Maybe therefore have a debate on

:02:36.:02:42.

Government time on the impact of the Jobseeker's Allowance and in

:02:43.:02:47.

particular to the three months rule of UK nationals returning after

:02:48.:02:50.

short-term contracts. If the honourable gentleman would like to

:02:51.:02:55.

give me details of the constituency case, I will ask the minister to

:02:56.:03:01.

look into that in more detail. Our state run nursery schools employ

:03:02.:03:04.

fully qualified teachers and headteachers and they do a brilliant

:03:05.:03:09.

job often in deprived areas, I have a number in my constituency. But

:03:10.:03:14.

proposed Government funding changes are putting their very future at

:03:15.:03:19.

risk. Can we have a statement from the Edication secretary and a debate

:03:20.:03:25.

for these services? The Government, of course, is not cutting nursery

:03:26.:03:29.

education, the Government is expanding the provision of nursery

:03:30.:03:34.

and other early years education. There are education questions on

:03:35.:03:39.

Monday, 19th December when the honourable member will be able to

:03:40.:03:46.

raise the points with ministers. May we have a debate on pan cre

:03:47.:03:53.

attic cancer. We had pancreatic cancer awareness month. This year I

:03:54.:03:57.

lost my own uncle to this disease and my family like many others

:03:58.:04:01.

across the United Kingdom are only too aware of how intractable it is

:04:02.:04:05.

and that further funding, research and treatment developments are so

:04:06.:04:12.

badly needed. The honourable lady makes a very

:04:13.:04:16.

good point and one of the real challenges with pancreatic cancer is

:04:17.:04:20.

the symptoms are not rock niced until it is too late for any kind of

:04:21.:04:24.

effective treatment to be given to the patient. She will have noted

:04:25.:04:32.

that in my statement I announced time for backbench committee

:04:33.:04:35.

business which is as yet unassigned so she may want to take this up with

:04:36.:04:38.

the chairman of the backbench Business Committee.

:04:39.:04:43.

Mr Speaker could we please have a statement or a debate in Government

:04:44.:04:48.

time on consultation periods? The Government announced two very

:04:49.:04:51.

important consultations and both last over the Christmas period.

:04:52.:04:56.

Reforming the soft tissue claims process opened on 17th November and

:04:57.:05:00.

closes on 6th January. That's a day over seven weeks and reform in

:05:01.:05:06.

employment tribunal system opened on 5th December and close on 21st

:05:07.:05:10.

January, one day less than seven weeks and Christmas surely knocks

:05:11.:05:13.

out two weeks of that, so we're down to five weeks. The last Labour

:05:14.:05:18.

Government guidance stated a minimum of 12 weeks and if it is over

:05:19.:05:22.

Christmas, it should be longer, but this Government aMPeded this to a

:05:23.:05:26.

proportionate amount of time. Surely five weeks is very little time to

:05:27.:05:32.

respond to this crucial consultation and both should be extended to over

:05:33.:05:36.

12 weeks because the Leader of the House, you know, the results of a

:05:37.:05:39.

consultation is for life, not just for Christmas.

:05:40.:05:46.

There is a balance to be struck in any consultation period between

:05:47.:05:50.

allowing sufficient time for representations, but also ensuring

:05:51.:05:55.

that we have a timetable in which decisions can be taken and policy

:05:56.:06:00.

brought forward. I have to say that the honourable lady suggests that we

:06:01.:06:06.

should simply write off two weeks over Christmas and the New Year

:06:07.:06:11.

seems to me to be somewhat extraordinary. The two timetables

:06:12.:06:19.

shao that she described allow for several weeks in case well apart

:06:20.:06:22.

from the Christmas and New Year period and even at a time when

:06:23.:06:28.

postal services are perhaps, you know, not running normally, all

:06:29.:06:32.

these consultations invite responses online so it is not at all difficult

:06:33.:06:36.

for people to take representations without relying on the post.

:06:37.:06:43.

Yesterday the Government's announcement on Jobcentres will take

:06:44.:06:47.

Glasgow's Jobcentres from 16 to eight. They will only consult on two

:06:48.:06:51.

of those closures across the city. Members of Parliament had to read

:06:52.:06:55.

about this in the press and it took seven hours after that story

:06:56.:06:58.

breaking before a minister bothered to contact us. Given that, does he

:06:59.:07:03.

not agree we do need a statement and if he is so confident about the

:07:04.:07:10.

accessibility between closing Jobcentres and remaining, tell me

:07:11.:07:14.

how far it is from Castle Milk to Newlands and how long it would take

:07:15.:07:20.

him on a bus? What my Right Honourable friend the Secretary of

:07:21.:07:25.

State for Work and pensions is propose something to bring the

:07:26.:07:29.

distribution of Jobcentres in Glasgow in line with the pattern

:07:30.:07:32.

that already applies in other Scottish cities. I note that there

:07:33.:07:39.

is no outcry from those benches opposite to open additional

:07:40.:07:42.

Jobcentres in other cities. It seems to me that what the department is

:07:43.:07:49.

proposing is entirely reasonable and its objective is to provide an

:07:50.:07:53.

enhanced service to those people who need help from Jobcentres.

:07:54.:08:03.

As my honourable friend for Eltham set out, we know that the Transport

:08:04.:08:09.

Secretary's own words that his decision not to pass the rail

:08:10.:08:19.

franchise to the Mayor of London was party politics. As the Secretary of

:08:20.:08:28.

State said on Monday, he has invited the Mayor of London and TfL to

:08:29.:08:35.

engage in detailed discussions about how to work much more closely

:08:36.:08:39.

together in the management of commuter routes, but I repeat again,

:08:40.:08:46.

those routes do not serve just London constituencies and

:08:47.:08:50.

communities. They serve and are critical to the travel to work

:08:51.:08:54.

arrangements for tens of thousands of people living outside the Greater

:08:55.:08:58.

London area. It is only right that those people too should have some

:08:59.:09:03.

democratic route through which to challenge and to hold to account the

:09:04.:09:06.

people responsible for taking decisions about their railway.

:09:07.:09:16.

During the summer I carried out a consultation on VAT reduction for

:09:17.:09:20.

tourism and it was very clear that we could create more jobs and get

:09:21.:09:25.

more money into the local economy and the national exchequer if we

:09:26.:09:28.

were to target a reduction in VAT. I got a letter from the Treasury which

:09:29.:09:41.

can be summarised as non. I'm delighted if the honourable

:09:42.:09:44.

gentleman has become a convert to the cause of lower taxation, but he

:09:45.:09:51.

may have a job of work to do to persuade others in his party. But

:09:52.:09:57.

there is also the necessity for any Government to raise revenue in order

:09:58.:10:02.

to pay for services which he and his colleagues keep arguing to me should

:10:03.:10:06.

receive additional spending, not less. The Government is committed to

:10:07.:10:12.

trying to reduce taxation wherever and whenever it is able to do so,

:10:13.:10:16.

but we have to live within our means as a country and that means raising

:10:17.:10:20.

the revenue to pay for public services and to pay down the deficit

:10:21.:10:22.

that is still too high. My constituents Mr Singleton

:10:23.:10:33.

approached me recently because he had been told by his energy supplier

:10:34.:10:37.

that has warm home discount would not reach until the month of May.

:10:38.:10:41.

Happily, we now have assurances this payment will arrive early, but the

:10:42.:10:47.

company has said other customers would get their payments before me.

:10:48.:10:52.

It is totally unacceptable these payments have been delayed for so

:10:53.:10:56.

long. Can we have an urgent debate on this issue? I hope the company

:10:57.:11:01.

management will have heard the criticisms he is making on behalf of

:11:02.:11:05.

his constituents, and that they will do what ever they can to speed up

:11:06.:11:10.

those payments. One reason for a welcoming the ability of customers

:11:11.:11:15.

to switch between different suppliers is that it does enable

:11:16.:11:20.

people to move their energy accounts around to suppliers which they

:11:21.:11:23.

believe will provide them with a better and speedier servers, but as

:11:24.:11:27.

I say, I hope that the company will take note of the case he has

:11:28.:11:34.

described, which I suspect will apply to other people as well. You

:11:35.:11:42.

have Saudi Arabia, Iran and everybody moving in and profiteering

:11:43.:11:47.

and playing proxy wars. It's a tragedy to watch it. Not my words,

:11:48.:11:52.

but those of our Foreign Secretary, in footage released by the garden

:11:53.:11:56.

yesterday evening. May we have a debate in government time on the

:11:57.:12:00.

role but we are playing in this tragedy, not as innocent bystanders,

:12:01.:12:12.

but as arms trading partners? People in this country are laissez faire

:12:13.:12:22.

against terrorism because of the close cooperation that we have with

:12:23.:12:27.

Saudi Arabia and the other states of the Gulf cooperation Council. They

:12:28.:12:31.

are critical allies in that work and it is right that we should continue

:12:32.:12:36.

that strong alliance, which the Prime Minister was seeking to cement

:12:37.:12:44.

in visiting the summit last week. The all-party Parliamentary group

:12:45.:12:57.

for freedom, they are concerned about laws from the Pakistani

:12:58.:13:08.

government. They have gate-crashed the publications office, they have

:13:09.:13:13.

raided a press and seized a magazine. It reflects that the

:13:14.:13:20.

Pakistan authorities are attacking a group on the grounds of their faith.

:13:21.:13:24.

Could ask the leader of the house for a debate on this issue?

:13:25.:13:29.

Pakistan, like many other countries, faces a genuine challenge from

:13:30.:13:36.

ruthless, organised terrorist groups. And there is always a tricky

:13:37.:13:44.

balance to be sought between having an exercise in Paris that will be

:13:45.:13:49.

effective against a real threat from terrorists, but at the same time

:13:50.:13:54.

making sure that you do not trample upon basic civil rights. This

:13:55.:14:01.

balance, and the complaints about abuse of human rights in Pakistan

:14:02.:14:04.

through the application of anti-terrorist laws, are issues that

:14:05.:14:10.

ministers and officials from this government reads constantly in our

:14:11.:14:13.

conversations with Pakistani counterparts.

:14:14.:14:25.

In we all agree the National Audit Office does a great job of scrutiny,

:14:26.:14:33.

but last year, out of 108 investigations and reviews, 60% of

:14:34.:14:40.

these will in Scotland. Can the leader of the house gave me a

:14:41.:14:45.

detailed statement, with a detailed explanation, White now Parlett

:14:46.:14:50.

consequentials arise from the contribution of over ?300 million

:14:51.:14:52.

towards the National Audit Office's work? The National Audit Office is

:14:53.:15:03.

not directed by the government, it is an independent body that sets its

:15:04.:15:13.

own priorities. I will refer his question to the controller and

:15:14.:15:15.

auditor General, asking him to write to the gentleman with the

:15:16.:15:23.

information he is seeking. There are various points of order. I will take

:15:24.:15:25.

first those

:15:26.:15:27.

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