08/12/2016 Business Questions


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.


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


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


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


remaining stages of the savings Government contributions Bill.


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


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


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


There will be two debates, the first entitled the disproportionate


negative effect of the Government's Autumn Statement and budgetary


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


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


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


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


financial dispute resolution platform. Followed by a general


debate on broadband Universal Service Obligation. The subjects for


both these debates were determined by the backbench Business Committee.


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


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


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


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


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


debate on matters to be raised before the forthcoming adjournment.


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


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


what Margaret Thatcher said that everyone needs a Willie Whitelaw and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


framework. The Leader of the House may have


said that the Opposition were quarrelling like mutiny on the


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


Film Institute are thinking where Film Institute are thinking where


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Prime Minister signed by 75 organisations asking for the


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


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


and proper Stewartship of our countryside and they say affordable


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


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


opportunity and integration? If this Government is serious about


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


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


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


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


where people have taken their opportunities under ESOL. Could the


Leader of the House ensure the Government restores grants to local


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


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


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


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


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


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


support our schools and ensure that the equalities and Human Rights


Commission remains funded. Independent and is able to


scrutinise the equality impact of policies and legislation.


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


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


piece of legislation. The United Nations declaration became the


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


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


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


Speaker into the Human Rights Act was systematically violated during


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


both received awards this week. The whole Parliamentary family


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to be announced at this stage in the Parliamentary year.


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


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


a serious fault in what is frankly an obsolete electrical circuit


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


indeed a very important aspect of the forthcoming negotiation. The


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


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


other EU countries. So the Government is consulting very


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


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


interests are strongly represented in those negotiations.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


talking to people during the campaign, that that question of


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


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


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


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


trade statistics about money spent on teaching English as a second


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


tough decisions now because of the feeling of housekeeping of Labour


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of Scotland have announced their latest round of NatWest branch


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


completely understand why she is speaking out so strongly on behalf


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


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


individuals and businesses, are moving to online banking services,


which therefore reduces the viability of the branch network.


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


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


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


into account the wider question of the impact on communities and


particularly on those people and businesses who cannot simply go to


an online service to provide them with banking services which are


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


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


more familiar habitat of business questions after his exertions


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


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


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


in of the Labour Party yesterday, meekly following the government


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


have just established a new government committee along with the


three devolved administrations, cheered by the Secretary of State


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


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


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


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


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


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


questions about the scope of prerogative powers and the


relationship between the executive and the legislature, which we


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


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


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


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


the ministerial code and the civil service code or oblige the


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


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


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


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


2013 were absolutely devastating in Somerset, and my constituency


covered half of the area. The Somerset Rivers Authority was


established to do with flood resilience. David Cameron and his


secretary for the environment gave assurances that this authority would


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


me a assurances that the legal framework for this is being


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


dreadful floods in Somerset will understand why this was such a


searing experience, honourable friend's constituents. The


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


authorities directly affected, so that they can make the necessary


provision for future flood management. What she now calls for


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


precept be new statutory Rivers authority. We would intend to


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


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


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


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


together to possibly schedule reserve backbench business debates


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


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


to have reserve backbench business debates for such eventualities in


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


witnessed a double murder for which the perpetrator was imprisoned in


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


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


crime were themselves murdered. The perpetrator had then become the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


for government business managers to understand in advance how much time


members from different opposition parties or our own backbenchers, are


going to want to spend debating particular amendments on report


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the two attention to the gap in achievement between northern and


southern England and called for a much more resolute, determined


exertion of leadership within schools, local authorities and other


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


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


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


mess of our managing our railways. Southern Thameslink manage great


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


appropriate say in local train service and I understand the point


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


suburban commuter services also serve communities in the Home


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


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


and those elsewhere in the Home Counties any kind of democratic


accountability for the management of their train services and the setting


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


debate in Government time, but there maybe opportunities for my


honourable friend to raise this perhaps in the debate before the


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


honourable member for Taunton Deane that the Government is committed to


the changes that my honourable friend is seeking and we will


legislate as soon as Parliamentary time allows.


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


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


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


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


provide improvements to passengers in terms of capacity and extra


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


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


had changed his mind because he would rather keep suburban rail


services out of the clutches of a Labour mayor.


That's politically partisan and brings no benefits from my


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


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


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


I understand why the honourable gentleman as a London member makes


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


interests to be borne in mind of communities outside the Greater


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


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


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


outside London. Thank you mrrks speaker. In recent


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


rugby unions who have reacted positively to the new medical


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


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


suggestions made last week that what we need is international action


throughout the rugby world and the boxing world to recognise that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


comments and questions DCMS and including to the sports minister are


coming up on Thursday, 15th December.


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


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


easily? My honourable school friend right to


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


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


of a network of more than one million dementia friends throughout


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that those decision should be taken locally.


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


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


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


Scottish Government should work together to establish more formal


negotiations and perhaps we can explain or the Government can


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


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


My understanding is that the existing pattern of provision in


Glasgow means that there are significantly more small separate


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


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


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


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


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


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


job Jobcentres in Glasgow is because unemployment has been falling


significantly and I would wish sometimes the honourable member


would acknowledge that in his question.


In a recent surgery two of my constituents described how members


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


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


debate on the provision of drug and alcohol services in Staffordshire


which is set to be considerably reduced by reductions in spending


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


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


acidous in speaking up for the interests of his constituents in


Stafford, but it is local authorities who are responsible for


commissioning effective drug and alcohol prevention and treatment


services and those decisions are based on the authority's


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


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


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


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


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


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


was yesterday! I noticed that you were yawning a


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


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


today! Can I ask the Leader of the House


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


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


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


the Prime Minister on her discussions with the heads of


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


still in desperate need of humanitarian care and assistance? We


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


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


my congratulations to those that the Right Honourable member expressed


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


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


earlier this week about the situation in Yemen will have been


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


grievously, the Prime Minister did discuss Yemen amongst many other


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


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


far committed for this year towards humanitarian relief in Yemen and


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


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


settlement that we can bring an end to this conflict.


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


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


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


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


including areas of Cheltenham which are affected. There are specific


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


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


honourable friend makes and the problems he has described in


Cheltenham is one that is experienced in spots in other towns


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


The Chancellor did announce in the Autumn Statement some additional


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


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


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


vital role in many communities across the country particularly in


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


maintaining shall shops particularly in rural communities so the Post


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


under a provision that this Government and its predeses --


predecessor brought in. When more people are accessing services and


shopping online, there is an escapable relationship between


customer demand for the services provided by small shops and the


viability of those shops as businesses and the message to our


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


risk losing them. Precept Following a remarkable and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


requirements that govern pension schemes and that give a measure of


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


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


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


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


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


been found to in able steel production to continue at Port


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and other communities in West Yorkshire, and what arrangements are


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


over the Christmas period to ensure a rapid response from all


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


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


coordinating flood management and response to flooding. The government


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


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


earlier stage than has sometimes been the case previously. Spending


on flood management continues, and the recently published each flood


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


have a debate in government time on the disproportionate impact that


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


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


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


local authorities, whether in northern or southern England,


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


some very tough financial decisions about relative priorities. Just as


government departments sensually are having to take some very difficult


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


a debate on how the Westminster government can help the devolved


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


education challenged by digital technology, we need to do everything


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Minister made it clear that government will publish more detail


about its negotiating objectives next year, before we trigger Article


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


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


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


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


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


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


Mark. The humanitarian disaster unfolding suggests that thousands of


becoming refugees in Bangladesh and other parts of Southeast Asia.


Islamic relief are doing their best to cope with this humanitarian


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


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


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


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


discrimination against and persecution of a particular set of


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


Foreign Office officials here, constantly, when talking to their


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


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


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


direct some of our spending programme towards humanitarian


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


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


products and unaffordable for thousands living on the street, an


issue raised by the campaign Homeless Periods. Can we discuss


efforts to relieve the degradation and embarrassment suffered by


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


ministers will want to study and reflect on before announcing any


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


willing to come forward and report instances of domestic abuse before


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


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


police are much readier married to take action and investigate than


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


judgments for police officers, social workers dealing with


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


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


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


properly, and whether there is evidence, that prosecutions will


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


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


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


emerged that William Hague would take over if the coalition Prime


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


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


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


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


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


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


know where everyone stands? I do think my honourable friend


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


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


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


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


from Jobcentres. With the unexpected news yesterday that Glasgow


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


constituency, will he make a statement on the services my


constituents should expect in the new planned super centres?


These are obviously matters that will be primary for the management


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


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


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


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


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


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


very significantly. I do wish sometimes the Scottish Nationalist


colleagues here would balance their challenges to the Government with


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


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


given to my honourable friend the member for Halewood. Liverpool


Council, about Liverpool Council's spending difficulties. Bristol


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Government time on Jobcentre closures in Glasgow and the effects


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


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


so that all honourable members can provide their response to the


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


comply with all the regulations. They have had initial consultations


with the briefing of the trade unions hold be consulting their


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


honourable member, one reason for this consolidation is not just


Glasgow has at the moment more small individual Jobcentres than other


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


look at what is happening, employment in Scotland since 2010


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


18200. Can we have a debate about environmental protection following


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


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


Government remains very committed indeed to our climate change


objectives and to improving the United Kingdom's environmental


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


with the French Foreign Minister last year in getting agreement on


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


reduction and climate change and why the Government is delivering through


its investment in renewable technologies, through its


investment, additional measures that were in the Autumn Statement on


electric and other ultra low emission vehicles to ensure we


maintain the green policies that will give us economic and commercial


opportunities as well as an improved environment.


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


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


therefore, can he set out what is delaying the Parliamentary


constituencies Amendment Bill going into committee?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


on constituencies that differed vastly in the size of their


electorate and on the basis of population figures deriving from a


centre sis that would be by then 20 years old.


An unfortunate situation which maybe an unintended consequence of


legislation has been brought to my attention by a constituent regarding


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


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


was ineligible for GSA. Maybe therefore have a debate on


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


particular to the three months rule of UK nationals returning after


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


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


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


fully qualified teachers and headteachers and they do a brilliant


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


proposed Government funding changes are putting their very future at


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


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


education, the Government is expanding the provision of nursery


and other early years education. There are education questions on


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


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


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


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


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


and that further funding, research and treatment developments are so


badly needed. The honourable lady makes a very


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


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


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


that in my statement I announced time for backbench committee


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


the chairman of the backbench Business Committee.


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


time on consultation periods? The Government announced two very


important consultations and both last over the Christmas period.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


consultation is for life, not just for Christmas.


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


allowing sufficient time for representations, but also ensuring


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


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


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


seems to me to be somewhat extraordinary. The two timetables


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


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


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


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


for people to take representations without relying on the post.


Yesterday the Government's announcement on Jobcentres will take


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


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


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


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


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


accessibility between closing Jobcentres and remaining, tell me


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


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


State for Work and pensions is propose something to bring the


distribution of Jobcentres in Glasgow in line with the pattern


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


is no outcry from those benches opposite to open additional


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


proposing is entirely reasonable and its objective is to provide an


enhanced service to those people who need help from Jobcentres.


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


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


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


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


engage in detailed discussions about how to work much more closely


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


those routes do not serve just London constituencies and


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


arrangements for tens of thousands of people living outside the Greater


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


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


people responsible for taking decisions about their railway.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that is still too high. My constituents Mr Singleton


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


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


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


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


It is totally unacceptable these payments have been delayed for so


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


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


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


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


to switch between different suppliers is that it does enable


people to move their energy accounts around to suppliers which they


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


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


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


have Saudi Arabia, Iran and everybody moving in and profiteering


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


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


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


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


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


against terrorism because of the close cooperation that we have with


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


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


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


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


for freedom, they are concerned about laws from the Pakistani


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


ministers and officials from this government reads constantly in our


conversations with Pakistani counterparts.


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


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


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


detailed statement, with a detailed explanation, White now Parlett


consequentials arise from the contribution of over ?300 million


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


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


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


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


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


first those


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