20/04/2017 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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fellow, we can hear from him later. There will be some anticipation in


the House over what he's planning to raise! Business question. Thank you.


Could the Leader of the House give us the forthcoming business for next


week? The business for next week will be as follows. Monday 24th of


April, consideration of a business of the House motion followed by all


stages of the Northern Ireland ministerial appointments and


regional rates bill, followed by, if necessary, consideration of Lords


amendments. Tuesday the 25th of April, committee of the whole House


and the finance number two bill, followed by consideration of Lords


amendments to the health service medical supplies costs bill,


followed by, if necessary, consideration of Lords amendments.


Wednesday 26th of April, a motion to approve a ways and means resolution


on the digital economy Bill, followed by consideration of Lords


amendments to this. Followed by, consideration of Lords amendments to


the criminal of finances Bill, followed by, if necessary,


consideration of Lords amendments. Thursday 27 people, consideration of


Lords amendments. A House may also be asked to consider any Lords


messages that may be received. The House will not adjourn until Royal


assent has been received to all acts. Since this is probably going


to be the last regular weekly business statement in this


parliament, could I simply take the opportunity to thank first of all


the staff of the House for the service they provide every one of us


throughout the course of Parliament, and wish them a happy opportunity to


put their feet up a little bit over the forthcoming weeks, and secondly,


to wish particular good fortune to those honourable members on all


sides who have decided that they will not seek election. Each of them


in their own way has striven to represent the interests of their


constituents during the years here. Each of them has brought particular


experiences, particular political commitments, to the causes for which


they have fought, and all of them have contributed to the building of


democracy in this country, and I would like to place our banks on


record. Can I thank the Leader of the House for the business of the


last week, and I will save my thanks to the end of my response. It was an


eventful parliament not least because of the death of PC Keith


Palmer, Lesley Rhodes, and now Andrea Christie, and others who were


cathedral said at the memorial injured. As


service, a clock that counts the service, a clock that counts the


minutes, hours and years of lives. And of course, our beloved colleague


Jo Cox, who should be fighting this election. We need to remember them


as we campaign for a country that is tolerant and just. The Prime


Minister wants stability and to strengthen her hand in negotiations,


but blames the opposition parties for calling a general election. But


it is her dithering and confusion and watching her back, firstly what


an arrogant statement she should presume to know the outcome of an


election. Secondly, what has her government been doing for the last


nine months, and thirdly can the Leader of the House confirmed that


if the government wins, we're entering into a rolling programme of


snap during rogue ... We live under the rule of law, and parliament


should have a say. This is democracy. Then there was silence


from the government since July 2016. Her Majesty's opposition called for


a report on Brexit, silence and a speech to Lancaster House. But not


to this House. I found you very personable, but I think others are


scared of making a statement in this House!


LAUGHTER Only when you say or do! Only then setting out 12 points of


principle. Finally, the White Paper in February. Her Majesty is


opposition insisted there should be a final thought on the deal, and


force the government to agree because we are representative


democracy. As the prime ministers sat in front of the great portrait


of Robert Walpole twos signed the letter to Donald Tusk, she forgot to


mention Gibraltar, 96 of whom voted to remain. No wonder she forgot to


mention them. The government seems to be speaking for the 52%, while


Her Majesty's opposition will balance the views of the 52% and to


speak for the country. The confusion lies within her party, not the


opposition. Of course the government wants a general election because it


needs a new manifesto. Everyday the government breaks the manifesto


pledge. Grammar schools, no mention of... In case of National Insurance


contribution for self-employed workers. Ruled out of the manifesto


then became government policy, then a U-turn. The manifesto said nothing


cannot make a decision for the good vulnerable, yet there are cars


looks like? Because we on this side of the country. So, could we have


looks like? Because we on this side of the House... For students, no


increase in tuition fees. For society, an investment in public


services or local government grants are based on needs for local


services, protecting police forces and libraries, not special deals for


special friends. Ensuring small businesses thrive, supporting those


who care for others by an increase in carers allowance, and protecting


pensions and compensating women affected by an increase in the state


pension. Policies for the seven stages of life, that is what the


country needs. No dithering or confusion, but vision and strong


leadership. Her Majesty is opposition and government will work


for a tolerant, fare and dynamic United Kingdom. Finally, to echo


what the Leader of the House said, can I thank all of the House staff


for the brilliant supported me, you, Mr Speaker and your office, the


Leader of the House, his erstwhile deputy and his office blogger help,


my office, and everyone who has made my job easier, including my Chief


Whip, who tells me to stop the jokes! If


enough can I also mention the fact that tomorrow with a Majesty her


Queen's 91st birthday, one that she also shares with the honourable


member for Gateshead. It's a significant day. If he doesn't mind


me saying... If he doesn't mind me saying it, it's his 60th. And can I


say that rights oh, the honourable member as well. I won't say what the


age is, if she doesn't mind. 21! As are we all. And finally, to echo


what the leader of the houses, to all those people who are standing


down, who have given their life to public service, thank them all. And


finally, it's been an absolute privilege to be the Shadow Leader of


the House. Can I associate myself both with the honourable lady's


the tribute she paid at the start of the tribute she paid at the start


colleague Jo Cox and I hope it is her remarks, both to those who lost


colleague Jo Cox and I hope it is not long in the life of the new


parliament before the permanent memorial to Jo Cox can take its


place in the House of Commons, I know that is something that will be


supported by and welcomed by every single member of his house and the


next House Commons as well. I join her, obviously, in wishing that many


happy returns to Her Majesty and also to the honourable member for


Gateshead and my right honourable friend, the Member for animation. I


can say as my right honourable friend's constituency neighbour that


whatever number may be pinned to the years, nothing diminishes her vigour


or commitment to working on behalf of her constituents. And I have


equally, like the honourable lady, always enjoyed and appreciated my


relationship with my other constituency neighbour, The Right


Honourable member for Buckingham and indeed, following the last boundary


change in the Buckingham constituency, I have a particular


interest in the outcome. The honourable lady... I think if the


honourable gentleman peruses Mr Speaker's previous election


material, he may find the answer he is seeking. The honourable lady


asked me a number of questions. I have two say to her that when it


comes to Gibraltar, the front bench really does have a very short


memory. People in Gibraltar have not forgotten how the last Labour


Government tried to sell that territory down the river, how they


sought a joint sovereignty agreement, something that was


rejected by the people of Gibraltar by a margin of well over 90% in a


subsequent referendum. She also made a number of assertions about


policies that will, I'm sure, be debated in the country in the weeks


to come. I would simply say to her this - that I think all of us in the


House, whatever political perspective we bring to these


matters, want to see public services of our kind in which we can all take


pride and which we think and work effectively for our constituents who


are vulnerable and in need of help. It is the belief of this Government


and this party that the foundation for effective public services has to


be a strong and growing economy, and the plans put forward by the right


honourable gentleman, the Leader of the Opposition, would render any


such chaotic Government incapable of funding public services because they


would have bankrupted the British economy, raised taxes on ordinary


working families and piled yet more public debt onto the next


generation, a betrayal of young people. I would say to her finally


this- she said she looked forward to the Leader of the Opposition being


in a position to form a Government and yet we know that three quarters


of her own Parliamentary colleagues had no confidence in his ability to


continue as the leader of the Labour Party. I think that very few Labour


members of this outgoing parliament will be able to stand up and with a


straight face say that they really have confidence that the Leader of


the Opposition should be entrusted with the Government and leadership


of this country. I should just advise the House, pursuant to what


the Leader of the House said about our late and esteemed colleague Jo


Cox, that the memorial to her had been scheduled to be installed in


the chamber next month. That date fell within what will now be the


election campaign and therefore a rescheduling is essential, but I


would want the House to know that this matter was discussed by


relevant colleagues, the Jo Cox foundation and me yesterday and it


is fully intended that the installation will take place very


soon. Mr Speaker, notwithstanding my advanced years, I have appeared to


have gained no more wisdom because I'm going to ask the Leader of the


House for a debate on my favourite subject, and your favourite subject


know that, and the Leader of the House's favourite subject, HS2, but


I do think we need to consider whether we can have an emergency


debate on hay jested next week because the boss of HS2 David


Higgins, in evidence to the transport select committee


yesterday, indicated that their failure to consider conflicts of


interest led to the fiasco of a key contract withdrawing from a ?170


million contract. I want to know who is going to take responsibility for


this, as it is a massive project, the largest infrastructure project


in this country and I also think we need to examine whether senior


management is fit for their role and should be in charge of such large


when we all going to be away from when we all going to be away from


this place and not able to scrutinise it. Could we have an


emergency debate next week, please? My honourable friend is quite right


to pursue this matter that is of great importance to her constituents


and mine and those in other constituency is along the proposed


line of route. Clearly the failures of juju religions that Sir David


Higgins acknowledged had taken place ought not to have happened. I'm


therefore glad that our honourable friend the Secretary of State for


Transport made it very clear in his evidence to the transport select


committee yesterday that he gave a very high priority to the issue of


fair and transparent procurement within HS2 and within all such


projects for which he has responsibility.


Can I... This will be the last business arts questions are very


parliament, it has been a pleasure working with the right honourable


gentleman and not extend that to the honourable leader and I will give my


thanks at the end of my contribution. Could we have a big


shout out for all of these members of Parliament that are competing in


the London Marathon on Saturday, particularly my honourable friend,


who has the distinction of being the first SNP member of Parliament to be


competing in the London Marathon. It is on Sunday, he is shouting. This


sometime over the weekend, Mr Speaker. Can I just say, high pity


her political opponents when she laps on the leaflet run during the


general election. We have to have an urgent statement on the status of


all of the Conservative members of Parliament currently under police


investigation for electoral fraud. It seems there may be up to two


dozen Conservative MPs facing the possibility of being prosecuted


while we are in the middle of an election campaign. The public


deserves to know what will happen under these circumstances that will


it be possible for them to continue as candidates in this general


election if that was to pass? A lot of people suspect with the first


charging decision to be made on the 20th of May, this is the real reason


for the snap election and we need to hear from the Government if this


played any feature in the deciding of determining this date of


election. I would like to hear from the Leader of the House on this


issue. And can we have a debate about debates, and particularly our


Prime Minister who seems fair to participate in the television


variety. She unilaterally called this election but will not debate


with other litter colour balance and it is absolutely right that


broadcasters are considering empty chairing the prime ministers a


maximum embarrassment is achieved. And finally, I wish members of


Parliament, nearly all members of parliament, a good election and can


I also pay my tributes to the members of Parliament who will be


standing down. And also to thank the staff who have served us diligently


during the course of these past two years, to you and your office Mr


Speaker and I echo the words of the honourable lady. I think as we leave


today, we all remember Jo Cox and wish she was out there on the stumps


fighting with us for the election and it is so tragic that it has been


taken away from this House. I join the honourable gentleman in wishing


every success both to his colleague, the honourable lady from Livingston,


and to all colleagues from all political parties in the House as


they make their final preparations for the London Marathon on Sunday. I


am sure the honourable gentleman is right in suggesting that the


Marathon training will serve them all in good stead for the seven


weeks that now beckon us all. It may give the rest of us the opportunity


to wear out some shoe leather as well, though not I suspect quite as


well as well have been done by those competing on Sunday. And I hope as


well all those members are successful in raising large sums of


money for the various charities for which they are supporting in the


marathon. The honourable gentleman made a serious point to me about the


police investigations. I want to reiterate, Mr Speaker, what the


Prime Minister said yesterday, that we stand behind all our candidates


at the forthcoming election, who will be out campaigning for a


strong, stable Government in the national interest. A number of


police forces have conducted investigations and many have been


dropped. It is right these matters are investigated properly but the


battle bus was directed by the National party, as was the case with


other political parties, and we are confident that individual colleagues


acted properly. First way I commend my right honourable friend for being


an exemplary Leader of the House. He is widely regarded as someone of


impeccable integrity and he has conducted the office impeccably


during this parliament and I hope nothing will change. May I also just


draw his attention and put down a marker about select committee


staffing. We have one double staff, they work incredibly hard, but the


committee specialists tend to change too often. This doesn't happen in


the library, where specialists sometimes remain in post for a


decade or more and this would strengthen the role of select


committees if we could look at changing the nature of this tapping,


rather than the turbulence we put up with at the moment -- of this


staffing. I appreciate this is for the next parliament but I wonder if


he could leave something on his file to remind him when he gets back. I'm


grateful to my honourable friend for his kind remarks. Clearly there is a


balance to be struck between the value of continuity that my


honourable friend described and also, on the other side of the


balance, the need to ensure that individuals have the opportunity to


develop their careers in service through a variety of different


experiences and occupations, but I will make a note and whether it is


high or somebody else who has these duties when the new parliament


assembles, I'm sure they will want to take a close look at this. I'm


very grateful, Mr Speaker. The backbench business committee in this


Parliament has concluded its business and I'm very grateful to


the Leader of the House as in this last Parliamentary session, we have


had our full allocation of backbench time and we are very grateful for


that. We have offered outstanding debate applications which are lying


unheard and if it is all right with the Leader of the House, I will ask


our committee Clerk to write to his office to seek an airing of those


debates in the new parliament, possibly before the time when the


new backbench business and new parliament is established, because


that happened in the last Parliament, General debates put down


by the Leader of the House and some of those subjects could be debated


in that time. Mr Speaker, could I also place thanks on record to the


members of the committee, the ever presents, the members for Harrow


East, Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Birmingham and Yardley, later


arrivals from Torbay, Hazel Grove and Whitney, members who departed


during the term from Wellingborough and catering and those who had more


than a cameo appearances from Aldwych and Brownhills and Ipswich.


Can I thank you, that is me done for this Parliament. Thank you. Mr


Speaker, can I thank the honourable member for Gateshead and the members


of his committee for the sterling work that they have done during this


Parliament. I think that backbench business does provide members in all


parts of the House to raise issues that are of importance to our


constituents but may well not be the subject of Government legislation at


any particular time. I will take careful note and obviously consider


very carefully the particular point he made to me about the scheduling


of debates, general Today I will desist from illicit


--... I would return to pursue an appalling company here, and I will


be asking you, Mr Speaker, if you received an apology from the company


for misleading myself. But can I turn to the Leader of the House,


does he agree with me that early in the next parliament, the committee


needs to revisit standing order an hundred and 202A, to ensure it


reflects the reality of contested elections for select committee


chairs, and the expectation of the House that those elected into these


roles will serve the full term of the parliament in which they are


elected? I am grateful for giving the notice of this issue, has given


me the unexpected opportunity to study standing order 120 28, and


associated standing orders of the House. I concede that the standing


orders relating to the election of select committees is capable of


being construed in a number of different ways. It seems that the


way forward would be for the committee in the new House of


Commons when that is constituted to take this issue away, examine the


current standing orders, consult across parties and come back with


recommendations in due course. Can I thank members of the House are


making clear we will remember Jo Cox at the earliest opportunity, and


wishes that she could be on the campaign train with us. I shall not


be returning to this House, so can I thank you and everyone here for the


20 years of the privilege to represent them in Edgbaston, it has


been a privilege. The next Parliament has a very difficult


task, the government has to implement the well of the people as


expressed on the 23rd of June last year. -- the will of the people. The


government has two ensure that we get the best deal. Finally, can I


just paraphrase, I shall miss this House, but I shall miss this House


more than the House will miss me. LAUGHTER.


The honourable lady was characteristically self-deprecating


and her remarks. Those of us who have served with her in this House


will remember her and her contributions for a very long time.


Thank you very much. I appreciate that we have very little time left


of this Parliament, but nevertheless I would still like to request that


consideration be given for debate on the additional ?10 billion this


government have committed to the NHS until 2020, that is certainly


starting to see results in my constituency, with the opening of


new units at Crow hospital. -- Crawley Hospital. I am grateful to


my honourable friend for raising this point, and would join him in


welcoming these new units. It seems to me that the commissioning


authorities in his part of the country have taken advantage of the


record government spending on our National Health service, to the


configure services in a way that will provide better services for his


constituents and those in neighbouring constituencies in the


future. Can I try again with the Leader of the House. Is it possible


in the next few days to have an urgent debate about the appalling


state of our roads? In Nottinghamshire, there's a ?320


million bill regarding repairs to roads, and some of the roads are


shocking. The response of the government is to give the Council


?40 million. It would take 30 years to repair all of the roads at that


rate. It is not good enough, the government has to do something about


it. The government set aside ?23 billion but infrastructure in the


Autumn Statement, and we are investing a record ?15 billion on


road schemes. The amount we are spending on roads include


allocations to local authorities, to fill in potholes and carry out other


essential road maintenance, as well as providing for the central


government spending on motorways and trunk roads. But regarding the point


I made to the honourable lady earlier, the ability of any


government to provide for increases in public expenditure, the kind that


the right honourable gentleman is seeking, rests on the capacity of


our economy to create wealth and increase employment. And the


policies, which I'm afraid his party at its pricing in this general


election campaign, will saddle future generations with debt.


we have a debate on hospital services in Shropshire. With the


reader in the Hayes -- the Leader of the House join me in welcoming the


recent comments of the leader of the hospital trusts, that the children


and women's unit in Telford is now safe and indeed new services such as


cancer care patient services will be introduced over the coming months.


Is it not more evidence that the NHS is safe in Conservative hands


locally and nationally? I very much welcome the news from Telford and


Shrewsbury, I think it is important that these detailed decisions about


the configuration of services are taken at local level and driven by


the assessment of those in charge of our NHS at local level, what is


needed for their particular communities. One particular setup is


not going to work equally well in every part of the country. There


needs to be local sensitivity, and I am pleased that is what seems to be


happening in Shropshire. The reputation of politics was rock


bottom, now it is subterranean. We've done nothing to reform the


deep corruption at the heart of our political system by doing nothing


about the revolving door. What the country needs is a leader of


integrity, a man not mired in corruption and not dedicated to


seeking office in order to gain insider knowledge that they can then


prostitute to the highest bidder when they leave office. We need a


man who is different to what we have had. That is what the country is


looking forward to. When can we investigate the activities between


previous ministers and Blackstone investments? These are unresolved


problems where we have people leaving this House, but they have


the consolation of our salaries of up to ?650,000 for a part-time job.


This does not honour politics, it drags politics down into the gutter.


What we need is a new Prime Minister of integrity. The honourable


gentleman, as always, speaks with passion and in this case on the half


of the 25% of Labour MPs who support the Leader of the Opposition. I say


to him that... Put it this week, I think he may not have meant it in


this fashion, but I think he was being extremely unfair to successive


prime ministers on both the breath -- from both the main political


parties in this country and those who have served in the governments


who have gone on after leaving office and membership of this House,


to work in other capacities in our country. These are men and women,


whether Conservative, Labour road Liberal Democrats, who have things


to offer, and it is right that subject to codes and rules that


applied, but when they leave office and membership of the House of


Commons, they should be free to pursue those new avenues. The


honourable member for Birmingham Edgbaston is wrong. She will be


missed by the House. Will my right honourable friend find time for a


debate on the persecution of Christians throughout the world,


given that we start proceedings each day with prayers, I think if we held


such a debate it will send out an extremely strong message. I cannot


talk my honourable friend the debate, I think every member of the


House will have been shocked by the attacks on Coptic churches in


particular in the jute during holy week, and that will reinforce and


all our minds the importance of the points he has made. -- in particular


in Egypt. The Prime Minister and her Easter message spoke up strongly


about the need to defend religious freedom around the world,


particularly with reference to Christians and religious minorities


we do not -- who do not have the same freedoms we can cherish in the


UK. One month ago I asked the leader for a debate on female


representation in politics. Two weeks from today, the voters of


Renfrewshire will elect a new councillor, and at best will offer


50-50 split among its candidates. Only 29% of Labour, and 17% of


Conservative candidates are women. Flavour is doubly fortunate to


return to the House -- if the leader is fortunate enough to return to his


role, can we have a debate on the subject? I would say, this


government could not have been clearer about our wish to encourage


more women to take part in public life, both in seeking membership of


the House of Commons and local authorities and in many other forms


of public service, and successive leaders of my party have worked very


hard to promote that, not least my right honourable friend the Prime


Minister. I would say to the honourable gentleman, unlike his


party, my party has a woman leader in Holyrood and Westminster. Can I


start that I seeing the honourable member for Edgbaston has been an


outstanding member of Parliament, and her successor has an incredibly


difficult act to follow. Can the Leader of the House confirmed that


the prison and courts Bill has now been abandoned in this Parliament


and will have to start its passage into the House in the next


Parliament, and can he tell us which bills will go through the rather


grubby process of the wash-up, which is an unsatisfactory way to pass


laws? The bills that would introduced to this House quite late


in the current parliamentary session and which received carry-over motion


Sodhi could be debated in what would have been the third session of the


current Parliament, including the prisons and Courts Bill. In my


statement I referred to some of those measures we will be addressing


during the wash-up period next week. As my right honourable friend knows,


there are discussions going on through the usual channels about how


to handle particular pieces of legislation, and I do not want to


prejudice the outcome of those discussions. Can I thank you and the


Leader of the House for your kind remarks about my neighbour and


friend, Jo Cox. She will be an all our minds as we fight the election.


She was a radical underperformer, she cared about their size, but she


was discontent with the House because she thought it was not as


accountable for a modern age as it could be. Could we think about this


during the election period and when we come back could we have an early


debate, whoever is the Leader of the House, I fancy it for myself!


LAUGHTER There is no ageism here. Could we have a serious debate about


we can make this place more accountable. Many of my constituents


find that the call for an early election has gotten the way of


accountability for people like me, who have wanted to stay in the


European Union, accepted the will the people, but are going to fight


like mad to make sure we get a good deal. If we have money for public


services he mentioned, surely we should have a good deal, and this


House will now have a weakened position in terms of making


I simply don't see the connection that he asserts between their being


a general election and this has being in a weak position. I would


have thought the fact that we had a house of Commons charged with a new


mandate from the people to carry through the referendum outcome would


mean that there was greater strength of purpose in this House, as indeed


on the part of the Government in going forward to what will be very


challenging negotiations and I would say to him there is absolutely no


doubt in my mind about my right honourable friend the Prime


Minister's utter determination to secure the best possible deal for


all the people of every part of the United Kingdom at the end of those


negotiations. Would the Government be able to make time for a statement


or North Korea? Whilst security concerns are currently uppermost in


many people's minds, would the Government convey the concern of


many of us in this House at the possibility of the Chinese


Government of returning refugees from North Korea back to the North


Korean regime, to near certain death or lifetime imprisonment, sometimes


going on for three generations of their families. It is not something


many of us as has want to be silent about. My honourable friend makes a


very cogent point the Government is concerned that China continues


regard North -- both Korean refugees as migrants rather than refugees and


as we all know, the scale of human rights abuses in North Korea is too


severe for the international community, including China, to


ignore. We have repeatedly called upon the Chinese authorities to at


the very least is Makovich respect the fundamentals built into the


United Nations conventions and we did this in our recent UK - China


human rights dialogue. I recently met with the father of toddler Harry


Studley who honourable members may remember was shot in the head with


an air rifle in South Bristol last July. Harry's dad has impressed me


with not only his resilience in the face of this adversity, he has told


me Harry is doing well, but also his determination as a nation that we


learn something from this incident. So can we have a debate about what


measures the Government can put in place to improve air rifle safety?


For example, the introduction of compulsory trigger locks on these


lethal weapons. Well, first of all, can I wish Harry a full recovery and


express my best wishes to those caring for him and those who are


treating his injuries. The Government keeps the legislation and


At present, we have -- at present, At


using those weapons do so we have no plans to license or


using those weapons do so responsibly and safely. High-powered


air weapons do require a firearms licence and even low powered air


weapons are subject to a range of controls, including restrictions


around their sale. I mean, the problem about introducing further


restrictions on low powered air weapons is that it would involve a


small minority of people who misuse, sometimes tragically, this use of


air weapons in England and Wales and it would, by introducing a further


set of controls, divert police resources from controlling the other


higher risk firearms such as rifles and shotguns, where we think the


police ought to give priority. I am sometimes asked by constituents,


when they have seen our proceedings on television, do you really hate


one another? They see as shouting at one another over the dispatch box


and they say, what are they like after you have done battle with


them? And then I is when the reality, that I had difficulty


sometimes more with people on my own side than the people opposite. They


know who they are. And they know who they are! But the reality is of


course we build a lasting and enduring friendships with members of


Parliament from all parties and none more so than the honourable member


for Edgbaston. She will leave an enduring legacy in the work that she


did on Brexit and I am grateful to her and with your end of term


latitude, Mr Speaker, I will say I will miss you, Gisela and I will


issue in the future and it wouldn't be business questions if I didn't


say, there is an issue with potholes in the Ribble Valley. I'm going to


spend the next seven weeks driving around looking at them as I visit


towns, hamlets and villages and I do hope that as part of our imaginative


manifesto for the future that we can think of ways whereby district


authorities are able to bid for some of that money made available by


central Government in order that we can fill those holes. Mr Speaker, I


wish you and all the parliamentary staff well for the dissolution and


also for preparation for the hard work that will come ahead in the new


parliament. I think my honourable friend makes a point of that it is


sometimes quite hard for people outside this House, who only see the


moments of high drama on their TV screens, to understand that actually


we all come into this phase with equal electoral mandate, we all come


in with passionately held political views about how best to make things


better for the people who we represent, but actually, there is a


certain amount of camaraderie that transcends party political


differences and friendships that can be built up across party lines over


very many years. On his policy point about the Ribble Valley, the idea of


having a system for bids, additional bits from local authorities, is an


interesting one and I will make sure that that is passed on and placed in


the in tray for the incoming transport minister after the


election. The Leader of the House didn't clarify, the 2nd of May? I


wondered if we could have some information about that but what I


really wanted to ask, is the Leader of the House aware that the families


of the victims of the Hyde Park bombings have been denied Legal Aid


to fund their pursuit in the civil action against the chief suspect?


Could the Minister look at meeting with the members and peers who


support the victims' campaign, in order to consider the Government


making exceptional funding available so the justice they have been denied


for 35 years can be delivered? As a Ulster Unionist Party may I


associate myself with all the remarks everyone else has made and


thanking all of those who have helped us over the period we have


been here and it is good to hear that we are marking the Jo Cox but


also the strength of her husband has been quite fantastic, the same time,


and may I wish all the best to those who standing down and may I just


share with you, because it is such good wording, from an Irish


blessing, for all of you when you are knocking on the doors, made a


road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, made the


sunshine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields and


until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. Thank


you. The whole house warmed to the honourable gentleman's concluding


comments. And I join him in his salute to Brendan Cox, who has shown


the most inspiring courage and fortitude over the months since Jo's


murder. But who has also spoken out fearlessly in defence of democracy


and human rights and against extremism at a time when he must


have been under the most appalling personal stress. The honourable


gentleman asked me two specific questions. On his point about Legal


Aid, I think implicit in his question to me was the fact that


these decisions are taking at arms length from ministers but I will ask


the minister responsible for Legal Aid to make contact with him and


other interested colleagues in both houses. On his point about Tuesday


the second, the... While the working assumption at the moment is that the


House will not sit then, that data is available should it be needed, to


ensure that business is completed. By law, the dissolution of


Parliament must take place at one minute past midnight on the third,


so Tuesday will be the last day on which members of this parliament


will have access to their offices in the House of Commons. I was somewhat


disappointed and dismayed to hear that Walsall Borough Council has


declined to take part in the Government's pilot scheme on voter


ID at polling stations. Is the Leader of the House aware of any


advice for presiding officers at the forthcoming local mayoral elections


and the general election to deter impersonation at polling stations?


The electoral commission does provide such guidance to returning


officers and their staff, including those running polling stations, and


the handbooks from the commission specifically include a procedure for


dealing with impersonation and guidance in how to deal with


particular issues. I'm disappointed to hear my honourable friend say


that Walsall Council does not wish to follow best practice and I hope


that they might reconsider, following her representation. The


coalition Government introduced a fund of 173.5 million for public


transport in Leeds for a modern mass transit system. I was delighted that


this Government has stuck to that commitment. Of course now, with the


election, that is thrown into the air so can I ask the Minister what


will happen and can he assure me there will be proper scrutiny of


Leeds City Council's frankly unambitious and very poor plans for


spending that money, when actually, this place is not sitting? Of


course, first of all, there will be some election going on in Yorkshire,


certainly the greater Leeds area, this year but the processes for the


auditing and scrutiny of expenditure within Government continue,


ministers remain in office. What they will not become until the new


Parliament assembles, is the opportunity for members of


Parliament in this House to raise matters where they think that money


has not been spent to best effect. But we are talking only about a


matter of seven weeks, so I think it will not be long before members


representing Leeds and every other part of the country are able to


raise all these points. Can I echo what was said earlier by my


honourable friend in welcoming the Government's increased investment in


the NHS and also in acknowledging what the Leader of the House said


earlier about the need for local decision-making on Health Service


matters. Can nonetheless seek his reassurance that in the next


Parliament, we will have the opportunity properly to scrutinise


any proposed changes that come forward as a result of NHS England's


sustainability and transformation plans? There is, as he will know


because I have raised it in the House before, considerable concern


about services at North Devon hospital in my constituency, but the


concern is any proposed changes might be hastily imposed by the


local Health Service managers. Will he be able to reassure me that we


will have an opportunity to scrutinise those matters? And before


I take my seat, because it seems I have the privilege of being the last


member on this side of the House to ask a business question in this


parliament, can I echo all of the comments made about our colleague Jo


Cox. Mr Speaker, I thank you and your staff and the staff of this


House to help run the business of this has so smoothly and long may it


continue. I am grateful to my honourable friend. I can assure him


that the next House of Commons, both in the chamber, in Westminster Hall,


and through the Health Select Committee, when that is


re-established, will have the opportunity to consider


sustainability and transformation plans as they come forward in all


parts of the country, but any such plan has two major four tests for


service change. They must be supported by GP commissioners, be


based on clinical evidence, demonstrate public and patient


engagement and consider patient choice. And the NHS organisations


involved are obliged to consult the local authority's health overview


and scrutiny committees, so any proposed changes to substantial


changes on health services. Those committees can make a formal


objection to such a substantial service change and referred the


decision to the Secretary of State for a decision and the Secretary of


State, local ministers, is accountable to this House. With your


indulgence, just before I ask my question, I would like to put on


record my sincere thanks for the honourable members of it we've about


and Glasgow North West for assisting me when I was unwell yesterday. I


would also like to extend my thanks to the wonderful staff and medics


for their excellent usual care. In the culture, media and sport


questions on the 16th of March, myself and the honourable member for


North Ayrshire and Arran asked the undersecretary of state about a long


campaign on betting terminals. We were promised a long-standing


announcement by the Government would be made in the spring. Can the


Leader of the House committed a that this firm commitment will be kept


before the dissolution of Parliament?


I cannot promise that for the reason that once the general election has


been announced, the normal rules on government purdah start to apply


fairly promptly, certainly from the end of this week. This is a matter


to the Cabinet Secretary, rather than for ministers. And while


ministers will be free in the next 24 hours to make a number of


statements, as soon as the purdah rules come into play, which I expect


to happen tomorrow, then the government machine is prohibited


because it must maintain impartiality during an election


period from making such announcements. We all know that to


ensure constituents can get better paid better quality jobs and that


businesses can compete better abroad, we must ensure our people


have the skills. It is a disgrace therefore that in my area we are


facing further savage cuts of beyond ?20 million per year to our local


schools. So before the House is dissolved, can we have a statement


from the Education Secretary on why this government is pulling the rug


from under our young people and taking us back to mid-19 90s levels


of Tory underinvestment in our schools? Our young people deserve


better. I would point out first that the number of pupils attending


schools which are rated as good or outstanding has risen since 2010 to


the highest level ever. Some 89% of pupils attend such schools, and the


number of individual schools that meet those Ofsted standards is also


at a record high. He also chose not to mention this government's


commitment to 3 million good apprenticeship starts, nor did he


mention this government's renewed focus on technical and vocational


education, which is something that is essential if we are to give young


men and women the opportunities that he, like high, wishes to see them


enjoy. His question was an attack on the proposed new funding for


schools, but it has long been argued on both sides of this House that it


was not tolerable to continue with the situation in which schools and


almost geographical identical areas could receive almost half the money


per pupil than the other comparable school was receiving. As the


honourable gentleman knows, it is the subject of a public consultation


that has just closed. The Secretary of State is considering her response


to that and she will come forward with proposals. The Leader of the


House referred to Gibraltar. Can I remind him Gibraltar have a Labour


government and we know that any Labour government is always better


than Tory Government. But I wasn't going to ask about that. I want to


ask about why the government has broken its promise because Minister


after minister has said in reference to secondary legislation that if the


opposition demands a debate and vote, there will be a debate and


vote. But for the last two years, successive leaders of the House have


refused to allow us this. In particular, after dozens of


constituents are worried about changes to independent payments,


many of them with severe mental health problems concerned this will


go through without any debate or vote, why will the government


minister not say yes, we're going to have a debate and vote next week? He


knows an election has been called which makes a difference to the


allocation of time for business, particularly as we have to make


provision, and I think this is appointed leader across the House.


We have to make provision for emergency legislation in relation to


Northern Ireland, which will take time that might otherwise have been


available for other purposes. Regarding Personal


Payment is, if you looks at what he Payment is, if you looks at what he


is actually -- what is actually going on, the number of successful


appeals against this is only 3% of cases that have reached a decision.


And the number of people with mental health conditions who are getting


additional help under PIP compared with DLA is significantly higher. So


PIP represents a big improvement upon the situation that existed


previously. Finally I will say this, he is on very dangerous ground


regarding the Chief Minister of Gibraltar. One thing I know if at


all political parties in Gibraltar detested and resented the previous


Labour government's proposals. And I echo comments made about Jo Cox. She


was a huge champion of International development, and while I am pleased


to see the proposals going ahead for a memorial to her here in the


Commons, I think one of the greatest memorials would be to see all


parties recommitting to the cross-party agreement on 0.7% of


international development. It would be a tragedy if that was abandoned.


She was also a champion of the situation of older people in this


country, and we have a surprise general election, I wonder if we


might see a surprise statement from the government in the next few days


about correcting the historical injustice regarding pensioners


across this country, including mine workers who have been let down and


not received what they were expected to lose even the retirement. It is


going to be important as we leave the European Union that the United


Kingdom is more outward looking in the world even than it is already. I


am certainly proud of the way in which we use are very generous aid


programme to bring humanitarian assistance to people in need at the


moment in parts of central and eastern Africa, and to people inside


Syria and those who have taken refuge in neighbouring countries.


This point about the state pension age increase for women, transitional


arrangements are already in place, and the last government committed


more than ?1 billion to lessen the impact of those changes. No one will


see their pension age change by more than 18 months compared with the


previous timetable. The problem with what the honourable gentleman is


seeking a fact to reverse the pensions act 2011 would cost more


than ?30 billion, and neither he his party have any plan as to how they


would find that money. Six innocent UK military veterans, including


Billy Urban remain in jail in India. The Foreign Secretary has still not


met with families. This government has been in a tizzy over Brexit and


not focusing on these men. Now the selection means their perilous


situation slips even further down the priority list. These military


veterans deserve better. What is his government going to do to get Billy


and his colleagues home where they belong with their families? She has


raised this case before. But she knows therefore that the Prime


Minister has raised the case with the Prime Minister of India. That


Foreign Office ministers and our High Commissioner in New Delhi have


raised this issue many times with their Indian counterparts, and


representations continue to be made to the Indian High Commissioner here


in London. The case is with the judicial system within India, which


is a mature democracy, and we will continue to make or representations


we can, and we're not giving up. It is wrong to suggest we have done.


South Tees clinical commissioning group announced a fortnight ago that


they medical Centre serving over 5000 people in the village, many of


whom are elderly, will close at the end of June. NHS England provided


emergency GP cover for the last year after the previous company went into


liquidation. But not a single bed has been received, which are damning


indictment of this government's approach to health care. I have


written to the Secretary of State to step in urgently on the half of


those patients who rely on the GP service. But can he bring this of


the -- to the urgent attention... I will refer the particular case to


the Secretary of State for health and his team. But I would say in


respect of her strictures about the use of private sector contractors,


that it was actually under the previous Labour government that


there was a significant increase of four and a half percent of NHS


spending being delivered through contracting out services. The


proportion has grown only slightly since 2010. I return once again to


the issue of the National shipbuilding strategy, which have


been told since last summer is Imagen. -- is imminent. This


parliament was ensured it would be published in the spring of 2017. So


can the Leader of the House confirmed today that the


shipbuilding strategy will not be published before the end of this


Parliament, and does he accept that that will be seen by the shipyard


workers on the Clyde and elsewhere as a complete betrayal and another


gross dereliction of duty by this Conservative Government? We're not


going to be shy, Mr Speaker, publishing the National shipbuilding


strategy, but I would refer him to the answer he gave to his honourable


friend about the impact of purdah rules, and I suspect the honourable


gentleman and his party would be the first on the feet to complain if


during a general election campaign we had announcements coming out of


Whitehall which he would then argue work to help win the general


election. The Conservative government in London has spent


?7,000 per person on transport projects in the south-east for every


?1 per person spent in the North. Meanwhile, schools in Sefton face a


cut of ?518 per child and the loss of nearly 500 teachers, so before


the election, can we have a statement about whether the people


of Sefton Central have been let down by the government and why they have


had such appalling treatment? The honourable gentleman looks back --


if you looks back to the Autumn Statement, he will see there was ?13


billion reserved for Northern England, and I could list some of


the projects, improvements to Manchester Airport, 300 million for


the time Wear Metro, benefiting northern cities and regions


directly. In his question to me, he also ignored the fact that


investment in London can bring direct benefit to centres outside


the London -- outside London. Crossrail trains are being built in


Derby and providing jobs there. Components for London buses are made


in Falkirk and Ballymena. All parts of the United Kingdom are benefiting


from this programme. On a similar point, can we have a statement on


the procurement of type 26 frigates? The best shipbuilders in the world


have waited now for two years for work to start on these frigates, and


that the minimum, if we are not to receive a statement, to team sure


the Ministry of Defence could write to me with an update? As I think I


have said this dispatch box before, the government hopes that steel


cutting can begin on that programme as soon as possible, and he will


know that the two biggest warships ever built for the Royal Navy are


being constructed in Scotland as we speak. Following the official


opening of the power station in my constituency last month, attended by


the Minister for South Herefordshire, a number of


north-west businesses remain unpaid following the liquidation of the


project contractor by its massive Spanish parent. It is disgraceful


that our local businesses should lose out on major infrastructure


projects that is contributing to our national energy security. With the


leader arrange an urgent statement next week on a report made available


to these businesses during the period of dissolution.


It's clearly important, particularly for small businesses, that they are


paid in full and on time within the terms of their respective contracts.


As the honourable lady will know, if there is a liquidation involved,


then a particular legal regime does kick in. If she would like to let me


have some details, I will send those on directly to the energy minister.


In the remaining days that we have of this parliament, can we please


have a debate about the Northern Powerhouse? Particularly because


London gets ten times as much per head of population to spend on


transport than Yorkshire and the Humber. Schools in my patch of


facing cuts of up to ?400 per pupil. The NHS, under the sustainability


and transformation plan, are said to see cuts of 328 million. The council


budget has been slashed by 50% and we have the lowest number of police


officers since the 1970s in Humberside. So can we please have a


debate about what the your Mac to lead Tories have against Yorkshire


and Hull in particular? Is she looks at the record, she will see large


sums of money and that money mentioned in the Autumn Statement


being used in Yorkshire, the Humber and northern England and she will


see that more than 60% of the increase in private sector


employment since the 2010 general election has been in parts of the


United Kingdom outside London and the south-east, so I think if she


looks at the record, she will say that Yorkshire and Humberside are


benefiting from the sound economic policies the Government are


pursuing. Yesterday, the Prime Minister said she would be out there


campaigning in every part of the United Kingdom in the coming


election. Can I help police suggest she visits the Stirling


constituency, where the presence of a hard Brexit, hard right,


pro-restorative touristy Prime Minister will do nothing but good to


determine winning the SNP campaign. I know my right honourable friend


the Prime Minister is looking forward with relish to coming to


Scotland and making the positive case for a Conservative Government


and also pointing out that after ten years of SNP stewardship, we see a


decline in the national Health Service in Scotland and standards in


Scottish schools overtaken by those in England, in Wales, in Poland and


in Stonier. -- in Estonia. I am proud to be part of a final


Caledonian flush in this last business questions although


hopefully on Sunday, it will be more of a Caledonian flash and all of you


are in a sprint to the election, but some of us have a marathon to run


and I wish the other 30 members of the House of Commons well in their


endeavours. It is in one of those occasions where politics aside, we


stand together and run together for those local charities first and


foremost as members of Parliament, we are there to stand up for our


local charities and organisations. I will be representing money in --


raising money for Jack Truman, who died from a rare form of cancer in


2015, his mother and family do a huge amount of work in our community


and Michelle Henderson, who was in the year below me at school and died


and it will be a proud moment for me running those grid that marathon and


I wish all of those well who are also running it. I reared charade


the wishes I gave to those earlier to those running in a marathon and


salute the work of the charity she is supporting. Many of my


constituents will be affected by recent changes to welfare policy


brought about by this Government. Considering we will soon be left


without a member of Parliament for over a month due to purdah, will the


Leader of the House make provision for urgent business next week to


reverse these iniquitous changes until after the general election?


No, Mr Speaker, the changes to welfare policies that the Government


has brought in have contributed towards a significant growth in


employment, which is at record levels in this country, including a


big increase in the number of disabled people who are now in work


and gaining the dignity, the self-respect, that they want to have


through participating in the Labour market, while at the same time, we


have increased and protected those benefits that are received by the


most disabled people in the United Kingdom. Can I thirsty echo the


comments the backbench business committee and as for some clarity


about whether or not there will be debates in Westminster Hall next


Thursday and your business will be carried over? He said a few moments


ago that we are elected with an equal mandate. Even Margaret


Thatcher recognise that the return of a majority of SNP MPs from


Scotland would be a mandate to take forward our policies on independence


and yet the current Prime Minister doesn't seem to respect the mandate


of the Scottish Parliament to give Scotland a choice, so could we


perhaps have a debate on which Prime Minister was right? I think that the


mandate that was given by the people of Scotland in 2014 was that


Scotland should remain in the United Kingdom. I wish the honourable


gentleman and his party would respect that. Mr Speaker, our


families sacrificed a lot for all of us to be in this House and over this


parliament, the family of Jo Cox gave the ultimate sacrifice. I know


personally that I couldn't undertake this role without the love and


support of my husband John and also my family and I'm sure that is the


same for every member of this House with families, partners and spouses.


On the 27th of March this year, the Prime Minister stated to the staff


of the International development team in a school bride "Because of


what you do every day, the United Kingdom and the values at its heart


is one of the greatest forces for good in the world today." Put the


Leader of the House intimate if they will be having a debate after the


general election in this House to ensure that this Government and any


future Government retain its commitment to 057% of GDP on


international aid and do not push it into budget headings of other


departments. The honourable gentleman knows that the 0.7% is


coveted by the OECD's definition of overseas development expenditure,


which is not confined purely to expenditure programmes controlled by


the Department for International development, but to Government


spending that meet those criteria. What I can assure him of is that


there will continue to be, if is re-elected, a strong United Kingdom


commitment to an active and generous fallacy of international


development, because it is right that we continue to help the


poorest, most vulnerable people in the world and Wright also that we


contribute also towards better governance and the long-term


stability of countries that are at risk, because that helps us to


tackle some of the broader international problems that we in


the United Kingdom and our European neighbours face. To follow an answer


to Arthur Scargill, Mr Speaker, with a bit of Glasgow fitness, no less.


It has been two years since getting elected this parliament and I have


to say at the start of it, I didn't think that two using, we would have


left the European Union, I would be on my second Prime Minister and


hopefully in a few weeks, my third Government but they say a week is a


long time in politics. All of the time he has been Leader of the


House, I have asked about many issues before the last six months, I


have consistently raise the issue of job centre closures in Glasgow.


Given what he has said two other colleagues on other announcements,


would I be right in thinking he expects Glaswegians to go to the


pool is not -- the poll not knowing which job centres his Government


intends to close? I see that he is wishing for a change in Government


and confirms that his party wishes to prop up the Right Honourable


member for Islington North as a leader of a putative coalition or


minority Government, and it is good to have that confirmation on the


record. On the point he makes on the provision of job centres in Glasgow,


as he has heard me say before, Glasgow had a greater concentration


of offices, of job centres, than any other major city in Scotland, what


we have seen is a proposal from the DWP to rationalise the estate in


Glasgow, so that his constituents and others in Glasgow can have a


better quality service in future, because all of the expert staff who


are needed will be concentrated on a smaller number of locations, but


which will be fully accessible to his


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