10/01/2017 House of Commons

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Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons, including an urgent question on HMRC and the remaining stages of the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill.

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proposition might be substantial support for it. I tried to expand


the envelope but there are limits, if we don't have a longer session,


people will have to be brief in questions and answers. Urgent


question. John McDonnell. I would support two hours, Mr Speaker. To


ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make a statement on the National


Audit Office report into the government's management of the HMRC


estate as published today. Minister. Thank you, Mr Speaker. The


transformation plans of HMRC will allow it to become efficient and


effective tax collector said for the digital age. The large estate is


ageing and not delivering the best value for money for the taxpayer.


The audit office has confirmed that savings of ?80,000,000 a year will


be made by 2025. The size of the estate has been reducing since 2006,


the report published today shows some effective changes have been


made since 2010 while reducing staff numbers by a quarter and saving the


taxpayer over ?300,000,000. But HMRC wants to keep up the momentum to


provide better service at a reduced cost. They announced in 2015 at


means taking forward big reforms to have the estate works which will see


over 170 small offices consolidated into 13 larger regional offices, an


approach used across government. This brings a range of advantages


from efficient sharing of resources and quality digital infrastructure


to better support and career opportunities for staff who can


effectively share expertise and for the public it means a better and


bolder in service, run by fewer staff, costing around ?80,000,000 a


year less by the time changes take effect. The report today suggests


the cost of bringing this transformation are likely to be


higher than was 1st forecast. Certain aspects of the programme


could not be definitively made at the start. There are a wide range of


factors behind that from rising property costs and changes made to


the programme, for example to help staff the just and ensures smooth


transition for customers and the programme costs are updated to


reflect that. I thank the National Audit Office for their timely report


of the strategy to modernise the HMRC service is the right approach


and reflects the way taxpayers into rack with it. It's a plant is a good


IT manual processing of casks that can be done more easily with


technology. In short, we remain fully committed to taking forward


the changes to the HMRC estate that will help us bring a bad tax service


with the people of this country. -- a better tax service. In reality,


the report is damning of the government plans to close offices.


Be warned consistently but the government proposals will have a


detrimental impact on the HMRC ability to provide advice and tackle


tax evasion and avoidance. The report confirms our fears. Firstly


it calls the original closure van unrealistic at the estimate of the


costs of the move increased by 22%, ?600,000,000 extra, forecasting a


further 5000 job losses, finding the cost of redundancy and travel have


tripled from 17,000,000 2 54 million and says HMRC can demonstrate how


services can be improved. It hasn't even produced a clear programme


business case for the closures. As we predicted this is an emerging


disaster. Even the government accepts there is a gap of at least


36,000,000,000, these plans will do nothing but hinder tackling tax


evasion and avoidance. 73% of staff in the survey said it will undermine


their ability in terms of providing tax collection services, 50% saying


it will undermine their ability to clamp down on evasion and avoidance.


On the Minister Colet halt to the plant closures, and the job cuts at


HMRC and come back with a realistic plan to fully resource HMRC. In its


vitally important tax collection role. Of course the Shadow


Chancellor is right to say it's a vitally important role and at the


heart of the lot of the changes that have been made since the original


estimates and planning for this part of the transformation, at the heart


of that, a lot of it is about supporting staff that and putting


more things in place to support their move. It's interesting that


the Shadow Chancellor makes no mood of the potential benefits to staff


of this move. Of course some people will not be able to make the move


but the vast majority will live an average journey and will be


supported, 1-to-1 conversations happen with staff at head of moves.


And I think actually what he just said does not represent actually --


accurately what the National audit says, recognising that the move to


regional offices is central to aims to increase tax revenue, improve


customer service and make cost savings. The move to regional


centres has never been just about cost savings or buildings, it's


about the way they work in those buildings. Ultimately we have an


opportunity to change the way we work. 1982 my 1st job after going to


school was in an old tax office, some of those officers are over 100


years old and some of them haven't changed since I worked in them as a


school either. It's right we commit to making sure staff can work in a


modern environment. Staff will be offered the chance to move and for


those who cannot, there is 1-to-1 support, bespoke support and indeed


some of those staff will go to other government departments. That is


absolute nonsense. A lot of chuntering from the front bench but


they are not listening to the facts and they haven't read what BN AO


said. This is a major programme, right that the periodic overall


costs are reviewed but HMRC is not looking to make significant changes


to its overall strategy. We wanted staff to work closer together in


regional centres and specialist sites in a modern, flexible, high


quality working space and lastly on the subject of tax evasion and the


tax gap, no government has done more than this. It's absolute nonsense to


say that HMRC capacity to tackle those issues is diminished, far from


it. The tax gap in the UK is 1 of the lowest in the world, at its


lowest level ever, and in the summer budget we gave HMRC an extra


?800,000,000 to tackle tax evasion which it's done extremely well and


once again, we've reached record levels of compliance with regard to


money from measures against tax evasion. I read but entirely the


point is the Shadow Chancellor made in that regard. Sir Nicholas Soames.


With my honourable friend take it from me that in my own experience


dealing with constituents and with corporations in my own constituency


who have had enquiries with HMRC, in my judgement, their response time


and the way they handled the cases has immensely improved over the last


few years. In respect of them seeking to deal with tax evasion and


avoidance, there is absolutely no doubt they've raised the game very


considerably indeed. I thank my right honourable friend for those


comments and I think, I'm glad that he's put on board his pre- CH and


for a start. He is absolutely right. For the past 6 months, waiting times


have been less than 5 minutes on average and in fact customer service


has improved to the best service levels in years. This is something


management keep under review, it's right we seek to provide the best


service possible but we cannot do that in an modernised offices.


Recognising and failing to invest in digital technology... We need to


bring people together in an environment that is that for the


future both for staff and customers. The National Audit Office actually


said, the original plan proved unrealistic, suitable property will


not be available within the time frame set out, the revenue estimates


it may lose up to 5000 staff, simultaneously requiring recruitment


while carrying out redundancies. The plans were overly optimistic and


they carried too high a risk of disruption. Very similar warnings to


the turned failings of the step programme. Given how there and start


the warnings actually are, would it not simply make more sense to cause


this, rip it up and start again? No, I don't think that's right. I really


can't agree with that. Because the reasons that are driving this


programme, the reasons we want to transform HMRC into the most modern


digital tax authority in the world all still stand. It is right that of


course in any major programme and there are a number of them running


at the same time, we've always been open, this is an ambitious


transformation and it's right that it slip that regularly and of course


HMRC will respond in detail to the report. But the principle that


drives it stands absolutely good for all the reasons I've talked about,


but ever customers, Verstappen, but the taxpayer. With regard to the


right honourable gentleman who mentioned the step programme, the


National Audit Office report noted the fact that HMRC has managed the


programme better, the programme initiated under the last Labour


government but the report is complimentary about the way HMRC is


managing that and has got some of those PFI costs under control but


it's right that we constantly re-evaluate programmes of this


importance but I don't agree with the central thrust of this question


and it was not involve Scotland is 8% of the UK population, 12% of the


HMRC workforce will remain in Scotland is a Scotland remains a


very important part of the HMRC estate. Anne-Marie Trevelyan. Thank


you. It's good to hear the Minister raising the point that the telephone


answering is improving. On the Public Accounts Committee we looked


at this on an ongoing basis and it's been probably the biggest part of


our information coming through from MPs across the House. With the


digital world moving forward and we support this programme, could the


Minister said out how we are going to make sure staff who are on the


end of the phone will have the right qualifications to be able to support


businesses and individuals who need information? Again I thank my


honourable friend and important for her as a member of the Public


Accounts Committee to have the record that a lot of effort has gone


into improving customer service levels and they are good at the


moment and improving, that remains a key focus. Supporting staff, to


cover the point she makes about supporting staff as training will be


so much easier in regional centres. For example, at the moment, you have


large numbers of officers, it's not possible because of the nature of


the tasks and the volume, the number of people there, it's not possible


to have easy, effective training programmes, to plan career


progression, in the same way it will be when you get a larger number of


people together. If something reflect did across government and


the private sector, that you can do a lot more for people when you're


able to concentrate on a different range of skills so that people have


a chance to plot a career within the same office and I think that goes to


the heart of how we intend to prove the service to customers. -- to


improve. Chris Bryant. The trouble with this talk of regional centres


is that this is exactly what happened in every other department,


in constituencies like mine and for that matter across the South Wales


valleys of fields as a government has said, no we're not interested,


everything is going to forget about it. Can I urge her to think again,


the Treasury and the whole of government has a social


responsibility, in particular to areas like the Rhondda valleys and


the valleys, to make sure it has a local presence. It's certainly the


case that we want to, I can't agree with what he says, but the


honourable gentleman says about the motivation but equally, as I said


before, there is a balance to be struck between the service,


customers, the way we support staff, and how we serve the wider taxpayer


interest. And you see across government, yes, there has been a


move towards more modern, perhaps in some cases more centralised


services. There is a balance to be struck but there is a really robust


programme of support in place for staff who can't move and for those


who can move and extra money has been put into transitional costs


associated with transport, for example. But HMRC is also working


with other government departments to make sure thing we can we take


advantage of the high skills they have to move people into other


government departments were those skills can be used. The Minister


noted in the report there were some compliments about how HMRC has moved


to a more realistic plan for the project and is managing the existing


provider that they stay better than it had been. But she said out how


they will build on the progress to make sure skills are in Hampstead?


Of course he is quite right to say that and as I said before, obviously


HMRC will be responding in detail to this in a report and I will be


looking to discuss that with them. One of the NA's commendations is


just that that he has drawn our attention to that there should be a


process from learning from every part of the move and making sure the


first regional centre opens and it is reviewed and we've learnt


lessons. It is a long programme and not an overnight situation. We need


to review it at every stage and learn as we go along. In Workington


and you are proposing to close a modern office and the NAO says that


the distance between regional offices is 18 miles. Workington has


been paired with Liverpool. It will take three hours. It is


unacceptable. The workers in the Workington cannot transfer to


Liverpool. I don't know how they can be re-skill to work in equivalent


jobs in Workington. I would love to know what your suggestions. To me,


this is unacceptable. I have no plans to close that office. To my


very great life impoverishment I have two admit that I am not aware


to date of having been to Workington. I certainly would not


take it upon myself to close something that I have not even


visited. We recognise that you are busy enough without taking charge of


HMRC's transformation programme as well. The honourable lady has


written to me about this and I said I am happy to make with her. Whilst


the average that is cited in the report, we accept that the move will


be impossible for some people. The move will be supported, hopefully


where they will be other jobs in other departments. There is a lot of


work going into supporting staff and helping them into other jobs. I have


written to her before, but I will write to her again on the more


specific points. HMRC are planning a regional centre in Leeds. They have


not identified any site. Any site they do come up with will be


expensive and it will crowd out private sector investment in Leeds.


A few miles up the road in Bradford, a site is readily available. It


would be cheaper for the taxpayer than it would be in Leeds and it


would help the economy in the Bradford district. Can I urge the


Minister to use the NAO report, pause and look again and make sure


the regional centre in Yorkshire is not in Leeds, but in Bradford where


many people in HMRC already work. As much honourable friend knows, I am


familiar with all the localities he describes and it is fair to say, I


mean Bradford was disappointed not to be the chosen site for the


regional centre, but it is equally true that his constituents, the


railway station of Shipley is merely ten minutes from Leeds on the train.


I hope for his constituents that will be quite a realistic move, for


those who wish to move. I will reflect on what he said and if I can


provide further detail I will write to him, but HMRC have provided


detailed responses, explaining the criteria and wine leads -- and a


wide Leeds was chosen over Bradford. The Minister will be aware that some


HMRC offices have already closed in Northern Ireland is causing


consternation to employees who have to be redirected to Belfast. It has


also caused problems for all very people dealing with the taxation


affairs. But the Minister please put a pause on any further closures as


they simply cause chaos and upheaval. I am not entirely sure


that I recognise the description of chaos and upheaval, bearing in mind


what I have said about average customer service times at the moment


and the fact that the standards are being achieved at the moment. I


don't think that aligns with what she said, but I recognise that


changes of this scale can be a truly difficult for the people affected by


them. If I could just pick up one thing she said about people, the way


they interact at HMRC. It is a different world to the last time the


estates were looked at. The boss amount of taxpayers who interacts


with HMRC do so digitally or on the phone and we have to adjust to the


way the world is now and not to what it was like some decades ago. I want


to see my constituents get the best possible service from HMRC when they


have a problem, particularly when things go wrong. As HMRC have around


58,000 employees, would my honourable friend at least consider


the feasibility of HMRC allocating at least one named employee for


every constituency so that each MP has someone permanent they can


contact within the HMRC? Obviously over the course of working through


the recent challenges around the concentric 's contract and the


fallout from that, I have looked personally at the issue of how HMRC


interacts with members of Parliament. I have looked at that


specific ideal and I will reflect on what my honourable friend has said,


but I am looking to make sure that resources allocated to members of


Parliament were very effective and results are gotten quickly. HMRC


should be serving colleagues on all side of the house effectively. The


modernisation and improvement in Northern Ireland has led to closures


in towns with already high employment. There is frustration


with difficult cases and the loss of expertise in border cases where the


evasion of tax is widespread. How does this fit in with the


government's commitment to spread economic growth, give better service


to customers and reduce tax evasion? On a broader point, Mr Speaker, it's


worth noting that employment in our country is at an all-time high. We


would always want to retain expertise within HMRC, but within


any large organisation, you will always simultaneously have people


leaving and people you are recruiting and training up. I


referred the honourable gentleman to what I said earlier that for people


who want to join an organisation, become highly skilled and


professional and then plot a career through HMRC, it is going to be much


easier to support people to have those long-term fulfilling careers


in a variety of different areas of HMRC in the new modernised


structures. The Minister said a number of times that there will be


better service customers in these regional centres, but I note from


the NAO report it says the HMRC have not demonstrated that. Can the


Minister just reassure me how do she reach a conclusion there will be a


better service and it will be more efficient and effective the


customers? I noted that. I'm not sure I quite agree with how it was


expressed, but I noted the point she made. Let me give her one example.


Many of the buildings inhabited by HMRC are very old. If you look at


the latest digital infrastructure and many, many more taxpayers are


interacting digitally. We have over 7 million personal tax accounts now.


It is difficult as anybody knows to bring an old office up to modern


standards in terms of giving it the right digital infrastructure. If we


want to make sure that staff can make the most of modern computer


systems and put those at the service of customers who increasingly


interact digitally it is much better to do that in newer buildings which


have been bought for the purpose will be planned from the start for


that sort arrangement. The minister speaks about saving money and having


modern offices. In my constituency the HMRC offices are high tech with


high school star. There is plenty more space. It will save the


government ?70 million to keep it and develop it. Will she meet with


me to consider keeping the harbour in West Lothian rather than moving


it to the city centre where rents will be more expensive? I have had a


number of conversations, particularly with some of her


colleagues based in Scotland. I'm always happy to meet any


Parliamentary colleagues to discuss anything. No change to that regional


centre is envisaged. I'm happy to have a conversation, but we don't


envisage a plan of change. Sheffield staff are already commuting


considerably distances to the HMRC office because of previous office


closures. HMRC can ill afford to lose 5000 experienced that this


time? Given that HMRC have struggled to find suitable properties in the


location suggested, could she reassess property locations based on


cost and the ability to retain experienced staff and customer


service. You shouldn't be about where is easiest for Whitehall civil


servants to get to in those regions. The latter points she makes is not


the Russian now as to have the sites were chosen. Of course, I'm going to


read the report and reflect on it and as I say, HMRC will be looking


to respond in detail, but a lot of thought has gone into choosing


regional centres. I acknowledged some people will not be able to make


a move because the travel will be too far. It is very much a case that


we want to retain experienced staff. The people who can't move with HMRC


will be a variety of different levels of experience within the


organisation but where we can keep their skills at the service of the


tax payer to other government departments we office we will try


to. As I say, HMRC will respond in detail to the report, but I don't


quite recognise the characterisation she gives a choosing locations. In


likelihood the Welsh language unit will be centralised in Cardiff in


our region. 71% of the population can speak Welsh and it is the


working language of county administration. We have looked at


this issue and in part we are looking to what with other


government departments. I'm happy to have a conversation with colleagues


about this, not in Welsh! I will write to her about the detail


because this issue of the Welsh language has been raised with me


before and I know it has been taught in some detail. It is not that often


the honourable member for Shipley and I are on the same page, but on


this occasion we certainly are and he makes an excellent point in


defending Bradford. Additionally, Mr Speaker, by closing offices in


Bradford, HMRC will be turning their back on the skilled and diverse


workforce, access to building universities on one of the best MBA


programmes in the UK, all of which will help them to achieve their aim.


But the Minister reconsider and take a more sensible approach? Mr


Speaker, I can give the house and the honourable gentleman might


assurances that as a Bradford girl I would not do anything to harm


Bradford, but equally as a Bradford girl I make many times a year the


very, very short commute between Bradford and Leeds and I think


therefore that we would not wish to lose any expertise, but of all the


possible moves, Bradford to Leeds is the shortest commute that any HMRC


staff transferring war have to make and we want to retain all the


experienced staff we can. Can the Minister tell us if an equality


impact process has begun through? The loss of expertise does not only


applied to tax evasion, but the noncompliance of the national


minimum wage, a statistic that is On the latter point as the


honourable member will know, we have been tackling noncompliance on the


national minimum wage in the Autumn Statement and there's been a


considerable stepping up of that activity. I think I answered a


Parliamentary question on that this week if the honourable jazzman would


like to refer to Hansard for statistics. We want to make sure as


much as possible we support people to move and it takes a long time for


people to get to the highest level of skill and we want to make sure we


retain people for me are at their peak professionalism. On the issue


of the equality impact assessment I will write to him. Mr Speaker will


the Minister look again at the Wales tax Centre and 30s and instead of


putting it in Cardiff in Swansea Bay, city region, on the grounds


that property prices and other costs are lower, urban deprivation is much


lower in terms of the skills or abundant, we have two universities


and that was the logic of putting the DVLA there, we need all the


support we can get is the biggest urban footprint in Wales. And it's


costly in Cardiff. Mr Speaker, the honourable gentleman neatly


illustrates the challenge in deciding on locations as part of a


programme like this. He makes the case for Swansea, other members make


the case of their area. It's always the case you need a set of objective


criteria to be able to assess against. I will write 10 on the


specifics of the choice of location in Wales but it goes to neatly


illustrate the fact that you need to assess against a set of objective


criteria because every area will rightly have its advocates in


Parliament. Gregory Campbell. Is the Minister aware of the concerns that


exist across the United Kingdom particularly in Northern Ireland


that a policy that the Minister has outlined of regionalisation will


become centralisation and a very small number of officers with large


and bus of implies won't adequately service the needs of the community?


At the heart of the wider transformation of HMRC to become the


best digital tax authority in the world is the desire to do better for


customers, to collect smaller tax, to serve people better, to


constantly bear down on customer waiting times. -- to collect tax.


These programmes are designed to that end. I am aware of that. Does


the Minister accept that the closures will have a devastating


impact on some communities up and down the country, there is going to


be ?150,000,000 less to tackle tax avoidance as a result of the HMRC


failure to plan the move properly and they are even less effective at


saving money as they are at collecting it from slippery global


corporations? For the most part that was just a political point scorer.


In fact, as I've already mentioned, the facts do not bear out the point


from the honourable gentleman. Since 2010 HMRC has secured over


?130,000,000,000 in additional compliance revenue and as I said


before the UK tax gap fell in 201415 to its lowest ever level of 6 1/2


percent. Ian Lucas. In Wales, the facts are that this government is


creating a national centre in the most expensive site in the country


in Cardiff. The facts are that there isn't a small office in Wrexham, it


employs 350 people and the alternative site put forward by HMRC


in Liverpool which has not been identified yet. This is a shambolic


policy, ill-conceived, been badly implemented and the Minister,


listening to my colleagues from Wales, she's heard from many of


them, Jiri Vesely is policy and reconsider. It's very bad indeed. I


know the honourable gentleman and his criticisms and I can't agree


with the thrust of his points. HMRC will respond in detail to this


report but also, this is a programme over a period of time and we will


learn from each move but I don't recognise the description he just


gave... Well I might just do that, but I do understand the point that


he's been making especially around some of the larger offices and I


realise until the side in Liverpool is identified it's a bit more


unsettling for his constituency workers than it might otherwise be.


Stuart MacDonald. Cumbernauld tax office takes the boxes in terms of


what HMRC 6 in a regional centre, the right size, experienced staff,


excellent locations of what America is the point closing at, disrupting


staff and damaging communities? I've had a number of conversations


specifically about this site, I will write to the honourable gentleman


with the detail of that but there are a lot of different factors that


go into choosing where to centre it and some of them I've touched on in


my statement and my response to the urgent question. Inevitably I can't


touch on all of them and much of that will come out in our response


to the report. I think the Minister would be outraged if people living


in villages, towns and small cities all suddenly stopped paying tax. And


yet, suddenly the civil service is being centralised in a few cities.


Can she please reconsider these points, it's totally outrageous for


people in North Wales? I'm not entirely sure I recognise the point


being made, most of our taxpayers now whether businesses or


individuals into rappers HMRC on the phone or digitally. The number of


people making personal visits and expects to be able to make a


personal visit to a local office is to radically different audible is a


generation or two ago. I do think it's right that we pursue this


modernisation but it's also right, as the National Audit Office reminds


us that we review the programme at every stage to make sure we are


getting everything right and that we learn from each iteration of it.


Chris Evans. Thank you. I'm sorry I have to disagree with the Minister


on customer service. Why wife waited for 30 minutes for someone to answer


the phone in HMRC over Christmas and in a previous National Audit Office


report shows 3 in 10 people giving up before a call is answered. She


will know this was only resolved when HMRC recruited an additional 2


1/2 thousand members of staff to deal with this crisis at the end of


2015. Is she confident even know report says for every pound saved by


this change for pounds will go on telephone bills, she confident this


change will not see any decline in customer service? The focus on


customer service is absolutely vital. It's at the heart of this


wider transformation programme, not just the estate transformation. Is


the desire to make sure that HMRC is both the most effective tax


collector it can be but also dealing with customer service. That is


central to all the questions I ask of HMRC and the questions they ask


of themselves. On the specific point I'm sorry to hear his wife waited


for that long, I'm concerned about the number of people who while a


small proportion of the customers who ring wait for that length of


time because of the large numbers who ring HMRC, that's still quite a


lot of people that an issue I've been specifically discussing with


senior customer service managers within HMRC with a view to


addressing it further. Patrick Grady. Given that the DWP is


conducting an estate reviewed and threatening to close a job centres


in Glasgow for discussions is she having with colleagues about the


cumulative impact of the governments ranking its estate and what impact


is that going to have, how many HMRC employees will find themselves


without a job and without a local job centre to go to? This to speak


at the last question is difficult to answer because ultimately


individuals will decide what's right for them at a time when the facts of


a possible move are known. I know a great deal of support has been put


in place to help them, help them make the choice about moving or help


them to move to other jobs and I've had the chance to speak to not only


managers who are managing this programme but also to people


affected by front line services, when some of them came for an event


in London a few months ago. Specifically, the HR department of


HMRC are working closely with DWP because there are opportunities


there to have people move between departments. For the specifics at


his local office I'm afraid it's not easy to say or answer that until


more is known about what the actual move will be and the numbers


affected. Tom Elliott. Thank you. The vast majority of staff in HMRC


in my constituency in Enniskillen will be closer to 2 1st journey than


1 hour. Does the Minister not see merit in the audit office report


suggesting she should step back from the proposals? As I've said the


nature of responding to an urgent question is that it is 1 has not had


the chance to look at the whole report and reflect on it and HMRC


will respond to that. Know the Chief Executive is also coming to the


Public Accounts Committee Furley imminently, I imagine this is likely


to be raised by them so of course we are going to look at this. It's an


important report, we will look at what it says, but the central reason


for driving these plans still stands in terms of being able to modernise


the estate and provide a service to the customer that reflects modern


life and to make sure the working environment for staff and the career


progression open to them is the best it can be. Order. Statement, the


Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Secretary James


Brokenshire. With permission Mr Speaker I would like to make a


statement about the political situation in Northern Ireland. As


the House will be aware yesterday Martin McGuinness submitted his


resignation as Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. This also means


the First Minister Arlene Foster also ceases to hold office though


she is able to carry out some limited functions. Under the terms


of the Northern Ireland act 1998 as amended ID St Andrews Agreement to


thousands 7, the position is clear. Should the offices of 1st and Deputy


First Minister not be filled within 7 days from the resignation of Mr


McGuinness then it falls to me as Secretary of State to set a date for


an Assembly election. -- 2007. While there is no fixed timetable in the


legislation for me to do this, it needs to be within a reasonable


period. In his resignation letter Mr McGuinness said in the available


period Sinn Fein will not nominate to the position of Deputy First


Minister. I am very clear that in the event of the offices not been


filled, I have an obligation to follow the legislation. As things


stand, therefore, an early Assembly election looks highly likely. I


should add that once an election has been held, the rules state that the


Assembly must meet again within 1 week with a further two week period


to form a new Executive. Should this not be achieved, as things currently


stand, I am obliged to call another election. So right honourable and


honourable member should be in no doubt, the situation we face in


Northern Ireland today is greater. And the government treats it with


the up most seriousness. It is worth reflecting for a moment on how we


have reached this point. The immediate cause of the situation we


now face is the fallout from the development and operation of the


Northern Ireland Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. Under this scheme


launched by the Northern Ireland Department for enterprise trade and


investment in 2012 and equivalent to a scheme in Great Britain,


businesses and other nondomestic users were offered financial


incentive to install renewable heat systems on the premises. The scheme


was finally shut down to new applicants from February last year


when it became clear that the lack of an upper limit on payments,


unlike the GBA Cleveland meant the scheme was open to serious abuse. In


recent weeks there has been sustained media focus and widespread


public concern about how this situation developed. The renewable


heat initiative scheme was and remains an entirely to vault matter


in which the UK Government has no direct role. -- devolved matter. Its


primary responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive and Cindy


to take the necessary action to address concerns expressed about it.


But I do believe it's imperative that a comprehensive, transparent


and impartial inquiry into the development and meditation of the


scheme needs to be established as quickly as possible. In addition,


effective action needs to be taken by the Executive and the Assembly to


control costs. While the RHI might have been the catalyst for the


situation we now face, it has, however, expressed a number of


deeper tensions in the relationship tween the parties within the


Northern Ireland Executive. This has led to a break down in the trust and


co-operation that is necessary that the power-sharing institutions to


function effectively. Over the coming hours and days I will


continue to explore whether any basis exists to resolve these issues


prior to me having to fulfil my statutory duty to call an election.


I have been in regular contact with the leadership of the DUP and Sinn


Fein and also with the Justice Minister Claire Sugden, an


independent unionist. Yesterday evening I had a round of calls with


the main opposition parties at Stormont. I am in close contact with


the Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan. Immediately after the


statement I will return to Northern Ireland and I will continue to do


whatever I can to find a way forward. Both the UK and Irish


governments will continue to provide every possible support and


assistance to the Executive parties. We do however have to be realistic.


The clock is ticking. If there is no resolution in an election is


inevitable. Despite the widely held view that this election may deepen


divisions and threaten the continuity of the devolved


institutions. Mr Speaker, over recent decades Northern Ireland's


politicians have rightly earned plaudits from across the globe for


their ability to overcome difference and work together for the good of


the whole community. It is required courage and risk on all sides. We


are currently in the longest period of unbroken devolved government


since the 1960s. This political stability has been hard gained and


it should not be lightly thrown away. In the 14 months since the


fresh start agreement significant advances have been made in areas


such as addressing paramilitary activities, supporting shared and


integrated education and putting the Executive finances on a footing.


This parading season passed off peacefully and a long-running


dispute North resolved. We've also been working intensively to build


the necessary consensus to bring forward the bodies to address the


legacy of the past set out in the Stormont house agreement.


What Northern Ireland needs is strong stable government, not the


collapse of the institution. Northern Ireland deserves fair and


effective government. To continue implementing the Belfast agreement,


to strengthen the economy and ensure Northern Ireland response to the


challenges of an EU exit. There needs to be respect for everyone and


they need to address the legacy of the past that will allow Northern


Ireland to move forward. We must not put this at risk without every


effort to resolve differences. We must continue to do all that we can


to continue to build a brighter more secure Northern Ireland that works


for everyone. I therefore urge Northern Ireland Pozner political


leaders to work together, to come together to find a way forward from


the current position in the best interests of Northern Ireland and I


commend this statement to the house. If only we won here today, but we


are. Can I thank the secretary of State for the advance notice of his


statement. We've made it clear from the start that we in the Labour


Party will support him and his endeavours to maintain political


stability in Northern Ireland. Those of us with long memories can


remember a time when there was not the piece we see today and any


damage on our watch should provoke shame. The issues are many.


Including how do we deal with Northern Ireland and its legacy, how


do we help people in poverty and how do we handle the impending exit from


the European Union? We must remember that Northern Ireland has the only


land border with an EU region. It is that these reasons any division now


will be most damaging for Northern Ireland and we should all be


focusing on coming together to combat the common problems faced by


us all. This impasse does not help victims families or the economy and


these are the reasons why we in this house must come together, all of us,


put aside partisan concerns and try and support those in Northern


Ireland in order to maintain an enduring and peaceful devolution


settlement. The issues surrounding the RHI scheme have come to impasse


after many weeks of development and now it seems we may inevitably move


towards an election. An election that will see constituency numbers


reduced from six to five seats and we may see the loss of the many


voices in the Assembly. We could be back to square one with the


underlying issues unresolved. Potentially there could be more


polarised position than we face. If we have an election what will it be


for Tom? It should be who could deliver the best for Northern


Ireland, for the schools, for hospitals. We look forward to


progress and not backwards division. With so much at stake, surely it is


time for moderation. Lines in the sand are needed. I do not believe


from the feed that we are getting for the people on the ground in


Northern Ireland that the population want an election. -- from the


feedback that we are getting. It is not just about us, it is about the


world. The world is watching us and there is a huge amount of goodwill


towards Northern Ireland and admiration for the success we have


seen after decades of despair. They look to the Assembly to lead and the


responsibility is on them and this house. They don't want us to fail,


they want us to rise to hard challenges and work through them and


not just walk away when things get tough. We know from some experience


that the worst thing that you can do in Northern Ireland is leave a


vacuum. Six weeks of campaigning will not move the RHI campaign


forward one inch. For these reasons we ask that the Secretary of State


to convene around the table in Northern Ireland to discuss ways to


avoid this impasse. I'm glad to say he has been engaging with his


counterparts in the Irish government and with politicians in Northern


Ireland. Let's keep up and not give to despair. Regarding the RHI, what


will the effect of the projected overspend have Northern Ireland? We


thank the Secretary of State the coming to the house today. We in the


Labour Party will do all we can to ensure the devolved institutions


remain for many years. I am grateful for the support of the right


Honourable gentleman and his comments and I think he underlines


the significance of the issues here and why it is important that we have


a strong working functioning Executive to be able to take


Northern Ireland forward. There is so much to be positive about. When


you look at the jobs that have been created, the incredible businesses


that have been established and the really positive sense that I always


get in terms of that spirit and that believe in terms of what Northern


Ireland can be and what Northern Ireland will be and


how I think it does have a bright future to look forward to, but


clearly we need parties to come together, to work together as I have


said. A message that he himself has underlined in his comments. I can


certainly say to him that my intent over this short period is to


continue to engage with the parties to see what support we can provide


as the UK Government to find a way forward, to find a solution, to find


a way to pull back from the current situation we find ourselves commonly


in if things do not change. Certainly I will permit to do all I


can in my role to be able to support that activity. In terms of the cost


to the Northern Ireland budget, I know that the Executive itself has


given an estimate of around ?490 million over a 20 year period.


That's if no mitigation takes place, but I think one of the key issues to


take forward is to see what mitigation can be put in place to


see and support what proposals may come forward to be to mitigate that


in the best interests of taxpayers in Northern Ireland and certainly we


stand ready to work with the Executive to see if we can play a


role if necessary to assist. It is that focus that we have. As I say,


time is short in terms of that period before which I have to


consider my responsibilities to call that election and again, it is why


we need to work together. Unsurprisingly, a significant number


of colleagues are seeking to catch my eye and I would like to


accommodate most if not indeed all of them. By prospects of doing so


will be greatly enhanced if colleagues who are customarily


addicted too long or multifaceted questions today will contain


themselves and the will be minimal preamble. Given that new elections


would probably return the party is more or less in the same numbers as


they are now, does he agree with me that repeated callings of elections


were really address the fundamental issue? Don't we therefore need to


look closely at how the institutions are actually constructed and


formulated so that we can move away from this constant threats of those


very institutions collapsing or being collapsed? I think the chair


of the select committee, and I welcome his comments on the need for


focus on the issues that hands. Our attention now has to be on this


period between now and next week on seeking to establish whether there


is a way forward between the parties to encourage that, but that has to


be the immediate focus. Various points and questions have been


raised, but my responsibility at this time is to seek some form of


resolution to see if that is possible and obviously to take stock


of circumstances as they develop. As the Secretary of State alluded to in


his statement and this has been coming down the line for a couple of


months, it is deeply regrettable to see the Assembly stumble, it may


need a job to get it going again. There is limited room to manoeuvre


after the resignation of Mr McGuinness. What steps are being


taken to ensure that public confidence remains in the


institutions of Northern Ireland? Will democracy remain at the centre


of the debate in Northern Ireland? It is clear that the relationship in


the Executive has broken down. As he said in his statement, the clock is


ticking and it is unlikely to all parties will get back around the


table. His opportunities to affect Brexit negotiations appear as


limited as the Scottish Minister's. Northern Ireland voted to remain.


What is he doing to ensure the interests of the people of Northern


Ireland will be looked after? Finally, will you tell us about his


discussions with the leader of the UUP about suspending the Assembly


until an investigation into RHI is completed? One of the primary roles


of the UK Government is to provide political stability. We take our


responsibilities seriously in that regard and as I have already


indicated to the house, if the time period it lapses and the First


Minister and that a diverse minister are not in place, I have the duty


and obligation to move in the appropriate way to call the


election. -- Deputy First Minister. Obviously she highlights the issue


of confidence in the Northern Ireland political institutions. That


is why it is incumbent on me to use the period to work with the


different parties to see how that can be injected because it still


remains the best outcome that a resolution is found. If that way can


be found in the days ahead and that is where my focus will be. She also


highlights on the issue of Brexit and speaking of Northern Ireland. I


can assure her that is precisely what I have done and continue to do


with the regular meetings I have across Northern Ireland. Even


earlier this week I continue to do so and I'm ensuring the voice will


be heard. Having a strong Executive in place and remaining in place is


important and therefore the ability for the Executive to make points to


the UK Government I think underlines the need for us to find out -- find


our way forward to make sure Northern Ireland's voice is heard to


that mechanism as well as the strong voice that I will continue to give


in that regard. Does the Secretary of State agree that whilst the


election looks likely, it should be possible to come up with a


comprehensive and rigorous weight to investigate the overspent of the RHI


that will not lead to the break-up of the coalition all of the First


Minister standing down? I certainly believe that there should be


opportunities to find a way forward. That is precisely what I intend to


use the days ahead to do, to see if we can find that agreement. It is


that sense of establishing some form of enquiry and I think that there is


indication from all of the parties as the ways in which that could come


forward and also to give that sense of accountability and confidence in


what happens next and I'll certainly be using my influence to see what


can be done to achieve that. Will the Secretary of State and the


House except that we share the deep regret of the responsibility or Sinn


Fein to single-handedly cause the elapse of the present Executive and


precipitate what the Secretary of State calls a threat to the


continuity of devolved institutions and it's clear from what Sinn Fein


said in a resignation letter, it's not about RHI, had this continued we


would have had the investigation and according to them, they are not


getting their own way in a series of demands including rewriting the


past, more soldiers and security forces in the dock. We had just


agreed a programme of government in Northern Ireland. The Secretary of


State and the House needs to be assured we want a full investigation


into RHI, we have proposals to mitigate costs, this mustn't be


blocked by the actions of Sinn Fein which is the ironic outcome of what


they are planning to do and overall, he can be assured that we in this


party will continue to work with him and other parties to ensure a stable


Northern Ireland moving forward, based on good government. We want to


see institutions continue and we will do everything in our power to


make this process work. We deeply regret that Sinn Fein have decided


to walk away. Aluko many indications as to the parties working together


and I think we need to take this opportunity to establish what


arrangements can be put in place and therefore I will be continuing my


discussions with all of the political parties in the days ahead


and I think the right honourable gentleman highlights the issues that


are at stake. The need for a continued strong governance within


Northern Ireland to be able to take those issues forward. That is what I


want to see and I think that is what the whole house wants to see,


establishing further there is a way for it to be able to achieve that


end. Many hard working people across Northern Ireland to want to get on


with their lives will be exasperated by recent events and will welcome


the Secretary of State's measured tone and the comments of shadow


Secretary of State. In his discussions will he remind all


parties of the huge effort and immensely difficult compromises that


brought about the current settlement and will he stressed the enormously


valued long-term benefits must not be jeopardised for short term


political motives. I thank my right honourable friend and thank him and


by right honourable friend the Member for Chipping Barnet for all


the work they've done over many years to provide that stability and


security. The hard effort that's gone into achieving the games we see


today and I think it's with that focus we need to approach the days


ahead to see what resolution can be found. If there were to be an


election does the Secretary of State expect a government to be formed


after it and can he can burn that it is the government's intention that


under no circumstances will emergency legislation be introduced


into this House to introduce or reintroduce direct rule. I think it


is an helpful to talk about either the suspension of devolution or


direct rule, I think that's entirely premature and an helpful and I think


that's the tone and way in which the right honourable gentleman has made


his point. The next stage is if we are not able to reach a resolution


over the course of the next 7 days for an election to be called, as


I've indicated it is likely that election will be divisive,


difficult, tough and therefore the ability to reach resolution at the


end of that point may be challenging which is why I think we need to use


this time now to address a number of the points raised. The Secretary of


State touched in his statement on the possibility of an impartial


inquiry into the energy deal. Could he give more information about that,


the timescale and with that happen quickly with the result and a


possible election looming? Ultimately that will depend on the


Executive and the parties in Northern Ireland reaching a


resolution in relation to that. This is entirely within the double space


and therefore I think it's right and proper that a solution for this


should be created within that environment. But equally, I think it


underlines the need for us to get on with this were possible, to give a


sense of assurance, to respond to concerns raised and to show where


accountability may or may not rest, depending on the evidence that


emerges. Doctor Whittaker was 1 of the constant voices for peace and


reconciliation in Ireland between North and South and between Ireland


and Britain over his outstanding lifetime of public service. Doctor


Whittaker died last night for weeks after his hundredth birthday. The


Secretary of State join with the offering sympathy and condolences to


the family and friends of Ross Trevor Horn Doctor Whittaker who was


a major driver and creator of modern Ireland. He bestrode the narrow


world like a colossus. But Mr Speaker could I welcome the


Secretary of State's statement and his reference to the view that a


comprehensive inquiry is needed urgently. There are deep tensions


there in the government. Does the Secretary of State except that while


RHI may have been the last straw is at work, the major factor in the


current crisis was the UK but for Brexit against the wishes of the


people of Northern Ireland and Scotland, leading to considerable


political confusion and damage to the Northern Ireland economy and has


in turn played a significant part in compounding political difficulties?


I admire the honourable gentleman enormously that I hope you won't


take offence if I say he is an incorrigible fellow. I thought his


question had concluded that it was only the 1st 3rd that I heard about


point. Secretary of State! Can I thank the honourable gentleman for


highlighting the news of the sad passing of Doctor Whittaker. At this


time I think it's worth reflecting on those who have contributed so


much to see the advancement of political stability, the strength of


the economy and why I passed my condolences to all who will mourn


the passing of TK Whitaker and to join the honourable gentleman in


that way. Where I have difference with him, I don't share his analysis


in relation to Brexit, I think there are opportunities that can come


through for Northern Ireland in relation to what it can be and will


be, following the departure of the United Kingdom from the European


Union but I am in no doubt of the special circumstances and factors


that are very relevant here and while -- why I will continue to


advocate agree strongly in the interests of Northern Ireland to get


the best possible outcome. I was going to Astro Mr Speaker for an


urgent question today relating to the investigation and prosecution of


veterans but I was to rid because of the events of last night. But with


the Secretary of State informed the House about what measures he thinks


will happen now is the result of this, to stop this very 1-sided


judicial process? I'm grateful to my honourable friend for his point and


I am absolutely clear as to the huge contribution that our Armed Forces


and the RUC played to see that we have seen the games in Northern


Ireland in recent years and he makes a point that some of the ways in


which the system operates within the moment, I think there is a need for


greater proportionality, greater balance within the system and that


is precisely what I think the Stormont House Agreement and bodies


will provide. Not withstanding current events, I remain committed


in terms of taking that forward and leading to a public face in relation


to that work which I judge is the right next step. There has to be an


independent investigation and transparent investigation into the


failings of RHI but is this not a symptom of a wider problem? Which is


a breakdown of mutual trust and respect between the majority parties


in Northern Ireland. Leaders do not have to be friends. But in the


nature of the constitutional arrangements in Northern Ireland


there has to be mutual respect and trust and is in this purely a


symptom of a breakdown of that, do not need to see leaders who are


committed to putting personal differences aside in the interests


of the institutions? I say to the honourable gentleman and he may have


noticed what I said in my statement that obviously the focus has been an


RHI but there are other issues that have come through from this and


indeed in the letter that Mr McGuinness published yesterday he


highlighted a number of those things. That's why I make the point


at this time of parties coming together, working together in the


best interests of Northern Ireland, given so much opportunity that


reside there and having that focus on the big issues that are in the


best interests of Northern Ireland. If there are constructive talks in


the next few days with the Secretary of State be willing to extend the


7-day period before an election is called? As I've indicated below is


quite clear in terms of the 7-day time period and I must act within a


reasonable period following that. Obviously if the time period lapses


I will need to consider the position very carefully at that point in


time. But I am under that statutory duty and I will follow through on


that. Alistair Carmichael. This is not the 1st time the institutions


have been brought to the brink. Each time it requires the leadership to


bring them back. Principally that leadership has to come from the


parties in Northern Ireland themselves but there is a role from


leadership from the government here and the Secretary of State. He has


the power under the 2005 act to constitute a public inquiry into the


handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive itself and will he do so


and as he fights his way through this was he give an undertaking that


he will speak to all parties in Northern Ireland not adjust to the


DUP and Sinn Fein? On the last point I said to the right honourable


gentleman that I had a round of calls yesterday evening to the


opposition parties, the main opposition parties in Northern


Ireland and will continue to maintain that contact with parties


at Stormont. In respect to this point in relation to RHI and the


nature of an inquiry, I absolutely remain of the view that the best


solution that a way forward for this be found within Northern Ireland.


Taking his point in relation to issues of leadership, actually


showing that the devolved institutions are able to deal with


the challenges that are there and that is where my focus will be in


the days ahead. My honourable and gallant friend for Newbury has ably


expressed the dismay at the grotesquely partisan and inequitable


decision to instruct Police Service of Northern Ireland to start


receiving retired British service personnel whilst amnestied former


terrorists freely walk the streets. On the government bring forward


legislation urgently to offer them at least the same protection as the


amnestied terrorists undeservedly enjoy? I can say to my honourable


friend that there are no amnesties. We have been very clear on this in


relation to Fort was the on the run scheme as it was known and Lady


Justice Hallett's report in 2014 concluded they never amounted to an


immunity from prosecution but my honourable friend makes a broader


point in relation to the need for a proportionate alert approach between


legacy to ensure that all aspects are investigated properly, rather


than looking at 1 side rather than the other side. That is precisely


the approach I think be taken forward. Thank you Mr Speaker, we


have a debate later on the serious subject. And can I say to the


Secretary of State we are going to have more talks, let's deal with


this issue once and for all, it's unacceptable that veterans of the


armed Forces who served the Crown are waiting on the knock at the door


whilst the terrorists walk free. I say to the honourable gentleman I


know the interests he has taken in this issue on legacy over many, many


years. And I agree it's totally unfair that the alleged mistakes of


soldiers and former police officers should be investigated while at the


same time, perpetrators of terrorist atrocities are ignored and their


victims forgotten. It is precisely that part that was reflected into


the proportionate, balanced, fair and equitable stance taken in


relation to the Stormont House Agreement while we continue


discussions around the agreement and why are you a wee will move to a


public face to take that forward. The historic investigations unit,


had not been structured as it was, tour but has agreed that would have


failed at the Executive. Now that it has failed to does he share my


sadness that the unit was set up as it was and had to investigate


chronologically but that servicemen were bound to be at the point of


most of its investigations into terrorist sadly don't keep records


and they don't respond to letters from the MoD inviting them to


unburden themselves. I say to my honourable friend that


the historical enquiries unit has not been established a chronological


approach he highlights is not in place. Is why I think there is a


need for reform and change that was reflected through Stormont house and


that is precisely why it is necessary to take this forward and


notwithstanding and I believe there is still that opportunity for us to


move forward with the parties to see that we can get that political


stability in order that these issues can be taken forward precisely for


the cross community that resides around us. Does the secretary of


State not recognise that it is the hubris of the outgoing First


Minister that has brought about the humiliation for our institutions of


him now having to contemplate the sort of options he has discussed


today? Does he also note that Sinn Fein are saying they have called


time on the DUP status quo which now seems to be the description for a


fresh start. Will a real fresh start not involve a return to the key


precept of the Good Friday agreement that the First Minister and Deputy


First Minister are jointly elected by an Assembly and then they might


act accordingly and we will avoid these difficulties? I say to the


honourable gentleman that where we need to focus at the moment is to


use the time available over the course of these coming days to see


what resolution can be found. To see how people can work together in the


best interests of Northern Ireland because I think there are so many


issues at stake here and part of that is how we can move forward and


get an enquiry in place and accountability based on the outcome


of the enquiry is allowed to happen. Like so many members in the house I


have grave concerns at the seems to be a disproportionate and


politically motivated investigation of those who believe they were just


doing their job. I'm sure my right honourable friend is aware of the


concerns but he should know that as the MP representing many members of


the serving British Army it is having a measurable effect on


recruiting to our Armed Forces. This period of uncertainty could provide


an opportunity to set the record straight about what is with and --


what is within the enquiry? I underlie the points I have made


about how I think we need to see a change in the system. That the way


in which the attention of the state means that cases where for example


those who have been murdered as a consequence of terrorist activity is


not being pursued. I think there are mechanisms that provide for that. I


am intent to take that forward and notwithstanding the current issues,


that remains a priority. Could the Secretary of State confirmed that


other ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive remain in post and


can govern the Northern Ireland Assembly as now and therefore could


he exercise maximum discretion to make sure the objectives of the


Stormont house agreement are met? I appreciate the viewpoint the right


honourable gentleman makes from that direct experience when he served as


a minister in Northern Ireland. He is right that the relevant Northern


Ireland ministers remain in place in the Executive. There is this


situation we find ourselves in, but stability can be maintained through


this period, albeit that their actions will be limited. Nonetheless


that stability remains we need to continue to work with the Executive


at this time to find a solution. I serve twice in Northern Ireland


during my time in the Army so I know about the challenges faced. I must


echo the contributions of colleagues who have discouraged the Secretary


of State from allowing investigations of British troops. No


matter how well designed, these investigations break the covenant of


those who are serving and who have served in our Armed Forces. Can I


encourage my honourable friend to block these investigations right


away? I'm not able to intervene. The wall of law issues here and there


for the prosecutorial and other aspects that sit around this come


into play. I am concerned about the balance of effort and the need to


ensure that there are proper investigations. They are following


the evidence rather than anything else and therefore reform is needed.


The situation as it is at the moment is wrong and has to change and that


is what I'm committed to doing. The previous Prime Minister intervened


by writing letters which got a lot of people off the hook. Could he


confirmed that in the absence of the Northern Ireland Executive which


will probably now be for a period of months, that the Secretary of State


will assume all responsibility and power in relation to have the Brexit


negotiations applied to Northern Ireland and they will not allow


Northern Ireland to be prejudiced by the petulance of those who have


walked away? I am very clear about my role and response to Article 50.


The work I have done over many months to engage with all aspects of


Northern Ireland and continue to do so and will continue to articulate


firmly and clearly within Whitehall and elsewhere as to the best


interests of Northern Ireland through the Brexit negotiations.


That is strengthened by having a functioning capable Executive to


support that work, to be able to work with the UK Government to


ensure we get the best possible deal for Northern Ireland through those


negotiations. The Secretary of State would have received correspondence


from me recently. He said that... When was his predecessor first made


aware of this abuse? The point to make about this was a -- that it was


a devolved decision and it is not something the UK Government has had


a direct role in and that is why made the point I did and therefore I


think his questions are more directed towards the ongoing enquiry


about getting answers about decisions made around the RHI and I


think it is that poker that needs to be given. -- focus. This is about a


political wish list from Sinn Fein. From the First Minister's to view it


is a red herring. About the legacy issue, will members of Sinn Fein


stands aside and resigned when we are investigating the past? I know


that the honourable gentleman will know that the Stormont house


agreement provides an important framework that was agreed by all of


the parties in relation to how best to respond to these issues of the


past. That is where my focus annotation is and remains. I


will continue to support and encourage that. The Secretary of


State will be aware of the list of issues that the Deputy First


Minister had in his resignation yesterday. Can the Secretary of


State confirm to me and to this house that he will not be weak and


Her Majesty 's government will not be weak in any negotiations with


Sinn Fein to allow the rewriting of history? I will not be party to any


rewriting of history and have said that on a number of occasions in


relation to the issues of the past. What we need to focus on is the time


at hand to see that we are able to find a way forward from the very


difficult situation we are now presented with. We need to see


Northern Ireland moving forward and we use this time to bring people


together rather than looking at things that separate and divide, and


obviously using these days to focus on how that trust and confidence can


be re-established and working with the parties to do that. Fundamental


to the political institutions in Northern Ireland where the


principles of power-sharing, partnership and respect for


political difference. In the last number of weeks we have seen the


disappearing and the withering away of the principle of power-sharing.


You walked away from it! With the Secretary of State ensure in his


discussions with political parties in Northern Ireland that those


principles are adhered to and that everybody comes back to the


principle of power-sharing? I think the important part of the political


settlement within Northern Ireland is that fact that it works for all


communities across Northern Ireland, and that was very much at the heart


of the agreements that have been reached and indeed the work that I


think needs to continue to be taken forward in that respect and


therefore it is why I make the point about the need to look at those


things that bind people together. How we use this time at hand rather


than the risk out what may be a divisive election that six to create


more difference and actually makes that job harder. The Secretary of


State mentioned legacy issues in his statement. Can he give the house on


practical details on how he will progress that and hand dealer-macro


-- and can he talk about the roundtable meeting? I need to engage


with the relevant political parties and establish the right way that we


can facilitate a way forward that can hopefully be achieved without


calling an election. On his bike in relation to legacy, I've underlined


that I want to establish the necessary political consensus to be


able to move forward and the next step on that is a more public phase


of that. An element to bring all of Northern Ireland's and to have their


say over proposals. That is the next point I had to take. That is the


Secretary of State recall that two years ago Sinn Fein plunge the


institutions into crisis over the implementation of welfare reform and


cost the Executive over ?100 million. In a bizarre irony the


decision to resign and walk out of the Northern Ireland Executive means


there will be no Assembly to pass them mitigation measures that were


due from the Stormont House agreement. Sinn Fein will be


delivering the bedroom tax in Northern Ireland in six weeks times.


I'm not sure I detected a question in the stream of consciousness from


the honourable member. Secretary of State. I am in no doubt as to be


tensions that exist at the moment, but I do look back on those days in


relation to welfare where there were differences. They were very strongly


held views and yet a way forward was established and at this time I do


call upon the parties to reflect on that, to reflect on that experience,


to work together and to use this time now to find a solution. Thank


you very much, Mr Speaker. We all want to see a stronger society where


there is respect for everyone, but we need to have a completely new


look at this. Get it back to the Belfast agreement so we don't go


round and round in circles and if I can end by saying can we get back to


that? Please remember that Einstein said that insanity is doing the same


thing over and over again and expecting different results. I know


the honourable gentleman has put down some thoughts and I read his


article at the weekend, but I think the primary focus now is to see how


we can use this short time ahead to work together, to build together, to


see that we are able to get through this current difficulty and ensure


that we can look to a bright, positive prosperous Northern Ireland


because ultimately that is what we are about. That is what is at stake


here and why I will certainly be doing all I can to establish if a


way forward can be found, a solution can be created with that intense.


Point of order Mr Stephen Dowty. I wanted to make a clarification


regarding a question I asked earlier in the Foreign Office questions and


asked advice on the rizz matter. The Foreign Office minister appeared to


be confused over what I was referring to in my question. I was


referring to his own statement on July 2016. Four errors have been


made regarding Parliamentary questions and the issue over whether


the UK Government had assessed violation of human rights in Saudi


Arabia. I'm concerned that the government has tried to prevent


scrutiny over what they know about Saudi Arabia's activities. The


member from Leeds is was told that the ministry had acted immediately.


However a Freedom of information requests released just before


Christmas reveals otherwise. It is important to make you aware, Mr


Speaker, that this information was only released when the government


were ordered as they were in breach of the Freedom of Information Act.


This information reveals that not only did the Minister and indeed the


Foreign Secretary nerd there have been errors in information as early


as the 28th of June 2016, they then took nearly a month to provide that


information to Parliament. They only provided it in the routing statement


on the 21st of July 20 16. It makes clear that they were worried about


the views of Parliament and the courts. This constitutes a potential


breach of the ministerial code and the courtesy of this house over


providing information timely when errors have been made. Can I seek


your guidance on how I might pursue the matter and find out whether a


The ungrateful to the honourable to run for his point of order and has


courtesy in giving me add once at notice of his intention to raise it.


I am grateful. It is the exclusive responsibility of those ministers,


if a minister comes subsequently to realise that he or she has dared in


saying something incorrect or even in giving and inadvertently


misleading impression by failing to include in an answer information


that should have been abolished it is a responsibility of that minister


to correct the record. -- erred. The honourable gentleman asks how he can


best recede in this matter. My instinct is he should if he feels


that there has been a potential breach of the ministerial code,


right directly to the Prime Minister for it is for the Prime Minister


under our existing constitutional arrangements to decide whether to


refer an alleged and claimed breach to the independent adviser on


ministerial interests. That therefore is the course that I


recommend to him. It may avail him, if it does not, and the matter in


his mind or perhaps that of others remains unresolved, and he feels the


House is in the possession of wrong information that hasn't been


corrected, he can always return to the matter by Dave Radzi of means.


We believe that there are for now. -- by a variety of means. We come to


the 10 Minute Rule Motion for which the honourable lady has been


patiently waiting. Christina Rees. Thank you. I beg leave to introduce


a bill to make provision for the creation of mutual guarantee


societies. For the membership is small and BD sized businesses, for


the purpose of lending to and by such business and for the operation


and for connected purposes. Madam Deputy Speaker, I am a Labour and


cooperative member of Parliament, I am proud that I am introducing this


bill at the start of the co-operative party centenary year.


My thanks also to cooperative UK and Philip Ross for their work in


pressing the case for this legislative change. For 100 years


the co-operative party has been putting forward the case for more


co-operation in our country. I believe that correct link the


legislative anomaly of the UK not benefiting from mutual guarantee


societies is not just another step towards expanding co-operation but


it would also importantly ensure that the increase the level of SME


Hank lending. Put simply, my bill seeks to harness the positive power


of co-operation in order to increase SME lending in this country. --


anchor. SMEs are vital to the economy and our major drivers of


employment and wealth for the country. Ensuring they have access


to the right type of finance at the right time is essential to ensure it


they maximise their growth potential. And develop new job


opportunities. An economy which allows for SME investment and


financial system prepared to lend to SMEs is essential. House of Commons


research shows that while SME lending is for the 1st time since


the global economic crisis starting to become net positive, I look at


the broader Bank of England credit conditions survey 2016 makes less


positive reading. It shows the availability of credit remains


static at best and indeed the proportion of loan applications for


small businesses which were improved, approved, declined and


quarter to and caught 3 of 2016. It also shows this decline is


predicated to continue. This trend must be reversed. I believe the


creation of mutual guarantee societies can only be part of the


solution. My bill will allow the creation of mutual guarantee


societies which are private guarantee institutions created by


beneficiary SMEs. Whilst there are different forms of mutual guarantee


societies across Europe, they typically share a cooperative or


mutual status. This means the mutual guarantee society's capital is


provided directly by the SMEs that apply for a loan guarantee, in form


of cooperative or mutual shares. Each member has an equal footing


right and participate in electing the General Assembly and board of


directors of the mutual guarantee society. -- equal voting. SMEs can


negotiate a better deal from banks whilst banks, the underpinning of


the mutual guarantee provides partial security an otherwise


unsecured enterprise lending. The risk is lower, so the price of money


is lower, the deal flow is greater, underpinned by peer review from SME


members so access to capital is easier. A guarantee provided by a


mutual guarantee society on behalf of the SME to the bank, replaces


this collateral, enabling the bank to grant the loan. The guarantee is


a financial commitment by the society to repay a certain


percentage of the loan if the SME member cannot honour its payment. In


many ways this bill is a no-brainer. Mutual guarantee societies provide


access to finance, achieved better credit conditions, provide


assessment of the companies in tangible and on qualitative


elements, serve as a bridge between SMEs and financial entities and can


provide better advice and supervision in financial management.


The creation of these societies in the UK would also be good for the


banks. Among other aspects they read Jews the bank's overall risk,


provide quality of information for the bank, provide more detailed risk


assessment at no cost and allow them to work with supervised and reliable


financial intermediaries. The OECD concluded in 23rd team that mutual


guarantee schemes represent a key policy to to address the SME


financing gap. Whilst limiting the burden on public finances. The UK is


almost unique in not raking use of mutual guarantee societies. In


Europe, estimates are around 2,000,000 guarantees have been made


for a value of ?70,000,000,000 to over 2,000,000 customers. This


represents around 8% of all SMEs in the European Union that have


benefited from the activity of mutual guarantee societies. The UK


has no mutual guarantee market for SMEs to improve access to finance


because of inappropriate regulatory barriers. The provision of mutual


guarantees by SMEs is indicative as requiring the full regulatory burden


of being and approved insurer and other surety guarantee. With far


higher capital requirements and regulatory burdens as a result than


any other EU country. Other countries have been able to specify


mutual guarantee societies in transposing EU directives so bad


they are regulated in a distinct and appropriate way. Because the UK has


no such arrangement, we essentially have regulatory gold plated


blocks... Following work with the cooperative sector in 2012, the FSA


clarified that the best fit for any mutual guarantee society founded in


terms of current regulated activities under current


legislation. But this imposes significantly greater capital


requirements than is the case in counties which have a this book


scheme for mutual guarantee societies. And is not a particularly


good fit anyway. My bill changes this. This bill provides a


definition of the mutual guarantee society and outs mutual guarantees


to the list of regulated activities as set out in the financial services


and markets act, 2000, regulated activities order 2001. Despite the


problems and barriers in the regulatory system there is 1 UK ace


member of the European Association mutual guarantee societies, the


British business bank. This institution created to drive SME


lending may not be the type of mutual which I believe will be


created using the legislative change contained within this bill, however,


I believe it neatly demonstrates the point that mutual guarantee


societies must be part of the answer to the question of how we increase


SME lending. I hope we are pushing at an open door. I know that in


written answers to my honourable friend the Member for Wolverhampton


Southwest, Treasuries ministers stated officials plan to meet with


the SCA to discuss the possible development of mutual guarantee


societies. I believe this bill will create a welcome you chill addition


to the financial services sector and will allow the UK to benefit from


the SME lending in the same way that other countries have done for many


years. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. The question is that the


honourable member have leave to bring in the bill. As many as are of


that opinion say aye. To the contrary no. The ayes habit. You


will prepare and bring in the bill? Gavin sugar, Lucy Powell, Stephen


Dowty, Adrian Bailey. Gareth Thomas. John Woodcock. Jonathan Edwards.


Tristan Matheson. Hannah Borrowdale and myself. Christina Rees.


Mutual guarantee societies built. 2nd reading of what day? The 24th of


February. The 24th of February. The clerk will now proceed to read the


orders of the day. Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill not


amended lips is to be considered. We begin with new clause 1. With which


it will be convenient to consider the other clauses and amendments


grouped together on the selection paper. Kate is more to move. Thank


you. I rise to move new clause 1 and to speak on the new clauses


amendments on which my name is included. We on this side of the


House are unswerving in our belief that the UK must continue to spend 0


points 7% of gross national income on overseas aid. It is imperative


that the government delivers this aid in a way that is accountable,


insurers are you from money and delivers on the UK's development


object is. While we support the aims of the bill given that it is going


into report stage without amendment, we remain concerned about the lack


of safeguards. I speak to new clause two Fritsch asks that no increase of


limit is given without a report or business case. I would like to talk


to new clause 3 and 9 which is I believe at the heart of the work of


David. It leads the UK's work to end extreme poverty. We on the front


bench are asking the government that the Minister must be satisfied that


any new investment enabled by any proposed increase in the limit must


have a significant impact on the reduction in poverty. I said to the


Minister that the department must be at the forefront of tackling double


poverty reduction. It is vital that bolstering CDC


resources does not mean that funds for humanitarian aid in places like


Nigeria, Yemen and Syria and other parts of the world facing grave


humanitarian crises is not reduce. Can the Minister commit to ring


fencing those funds so that those in need receive help. Long-term


investment and establishing an economy to kick-start growth and


jobs are crucial to any credible development programme. But a


development programme should at its core be a coalition of long-term


investment and short-term relief and the consequences of losing sight of


that latter element in the future would be grave indeed. Just as the


UK have a duty to help lay the foundations for secure sustainable


economies in the poorest every is a risk that few are willing to take,


the UK also have a duty to assist those bearing people. Conflict,


climate change and food insecurity. As laid out during the second


reading of the build transparency should be the driving force behind


any shifting focus of the aid budget. I speak to new clause four


and new clause eight. It is vital that taxpayers money is not only


spent effectively but also as transparently as possible. To this


end it is incumbent on the government to put in place


mechanisms that ensure maximum visibility regarding wet aid money


is being spent and that minimises public scepticism. We all know that


transparency is something that defeat does very well indeed. I'm


grateful for you giving way. She was talking about balance. I think it is


fair to make the point isn't it that CDC's proportion of development


budget for its type is an FTI is actually lower than comparable is up


4% compared to the French FTI of 12% and the Dutch at 30%. Just for


proportion's say, even with the increase, the UK are still spending


a large amounts on foreign aid the most of our peers and it will be a


smaller proportion. The honourable member makes a valuable point but it


still needs scrutiny and that is what I am laying out here today. We


all know that transparency is something that is done well. Its


performance in the aid transparency index represents an international


gold standard in this regard but historically the same cannot be said


the CDC and it is the utmost importance that the proportion of


the ODA budget that is channelled through CDCB subject to the same


checks on outcomes and value for money to which defeated holds


itself. That should be an agreed framework that is reached with the


independent commission for a impact and CDC and proper measurements of


outcome on an annual basis will be a welcome addition to the bill. Madame


Devitt is Speaker relating to new clause one new clause eight,


separate financial centres where countries do not have robust... We


on this side of the house know the importance of addressing and


tackling CDC's use of tax havens. This Madame deputies Speaker cannot


be understated. Whilst we may have heard assurances from the chief


Executive CDC that using offshore investors, more is needed to ensure


transparency on this point. We need clear legislative safeguards. That


is why the front bench will take new clause one to the boat. New clause


one with buyers -- requires a thorough analysis of CDC's use...


I'd like to make some headway. Whether countries in question have


robust -- don't have robust centres... Make way. Would she not


agree with me that the changes made to CDC five years ago where CDC was


encouraged to make direct investments in developing countries


contrary to the preceding situation where it was making investments in


funds which were situated offshore were in fact a major step forward in


the regard that she is seeking? The honourable member makes a valid


point and as I go on in my speech I will touch on that but I have two


said that regardless of any development, we must always be


robust and we must also be able to show taxpayers that we have a system


in place which is transparent and accountable and that for me is that


the forefront of this speech and of our objections to the bill itself. I


would like to seek assurances from the Secretary of State that the


Minister will... The minister, not the Secretary of State, will support


such safeguards. It must be applauded that the whole ethos of


CDC has been transformed since it was the subject of widespread


controversy some years ago. It is a testament to the organisation's


willingness to change that bad reaction and criticism to a more


positive institution and an overhaul of the systems in place. These


efforts were praised by the recent NA oh report which assessed CDC's


progress. -- NAO. It was suckling to read that CDC has been successful in


adapting its strategy in accordance with the NAO's recommendations,


including frameworks to limit excessive pay. Rather than -- it was


encouraging to learn that CDC has not only met but exceeded that


targets agreed with DFID and has improved its procedures for the


documented fraud and corruption. Whilst we on the front bench praise


CDC from making the changes we must not forget the recent NAO report was


by no means unequivocally positive and did in fact highlights


significant areas for improvement. Allow me to directly quote from the


report from a passage examining the efficiency of CDC's methods of


capturing development impact. The report says it remains a significant


challenge for CDC to demonstrate its Ottoman objective of creating jobs


are making a lasting difference to people's lies in some of the world's


poorest places. Given the plans to invest further in CDC a clearer


picture of actual deployment impact will help to demonstrate the value


for money for the Department's investment. That's quite some


statement. It's a significant challenge the CDC to demonstrate how


effectively it does the very thing it was setup to do. I'm happy to


give way. The honourable lady refers to a quote which talks about the


challenges of capturing impact. That is an ongoing challenge, but in


terms of efficiency which is what she referred to. The NAO report also


said that the CDC has through tight cost controls and closer alignment


with the departments objectives and now has an efficient and effective


operating model. Would she not agree that that is testament to the


improvements made to CDC's work over the past few years? The comments


honourable member has made, in my opening speech I did say that CDC


has improved, but that same report has said it is still very hard to


know how the impact on development has been demonstrated. That piece of


work still needs to be done. It's not totally scathing, but we have to


see whether or not things are transparent and if they were, those


on this side of the house would not be saying what we are saying now.


There has been an issue of sectors, including fossil fuel and health


care which charge at the point of contact. The building of real


estate, mineral extraction and work in the oil sector. If DFID's


investment in CDC is to increase, the challenge must be urgently


addressed and resolved. In spite of CDC's welcome improvements


recommendation show we should not forget it remains a work in


progress. This organisation to demonstrate transparently and


robustly that it is achieving its objectives and with that in mind we


cannot regard this bill as the end of the process there is no room for


complacency within CDC or DFID over the need to further alter processes.


Given the scale of the increase of the funding proposed by DFID and the


resulting consequences that this will have for the UK development


programme and for the developing countries it supports, it is right


that this bill is robustly challenged and meticulously


scrutinised where it is found lacking and stringent precautions


appended to it when necessary. I speak to new clause ten which lays


out that any proposed increase in the current limit will not only in


any one calendar year constitute more than 5% of total official


development assistance. Happy to give way. I'm grateful to the


honourable lady for giving way. I just want to take her back to the


point where I was trying to intervene where she was listing


remuneration to clause seven and sectors which she feels should be


excluded. Would she not agree in specifically mentioning education


providers that trusty end-user as an exception. -- charge the end-user as


an exception. For many children the only way of getting any education is


provided by these means. The honourable member makes a valid


points, but what I'm talking about his private education where somebody


who has no money has to pay for education and I don't think in a


developing country that should be what we are transported because we


don't have that year. If someone was the pay to go to university, there


are challenges around that. I'm talking about primary education


ideally. I'll give way. The amendment is in my name and I will


speak about it in due course, but would she agreed that there is an


important choice here for DFID. Previously they invested in


promoting free health care and education and making it available to


all people and removing use the -- user fees. The honourable member


makes a valid point. While some decide of the house I need to make


some progress. We remain positive about the bill to achieve its aim to


improve the quality of life of people in some of the least


developed countries in the world, but safeguards need to be in place


so this can be achieved and we need to retain the right to withdraw our


support for the bill if the government has not made sufficient


progress. Thank you. The question is that new clause one B read a second


time. Flip Drummond. Order. It is the beginning of a long-term. It has


been a long Christmas holiday, but may I remind people that if they


want to speak it is really easy. You just have too. Flip Drummond. I was


expecting the minister to respond to the original one. I didn't realise I


was speaking next. There was a complete disconnect between this


side of the house and the other side of the house which is unusual in the


area of overseas development which is broadly consensual. There is a


divide and we have seen it in the amendments tabled. New clause one


and eight would restrict the ability of the Secretary of State to drive


the CDC forward. This bill is that the first stage in a process which


the house will have oversight of the rout of boosting an existing proven


a delivery mechanism. This bill enables DFID to provide it with the


necessary funding. It does not automatically give the CDC any money


and only the first state of checks and balances before money will be


provided. So the target of those new clauses which will restrict the


CDC's ability to use external financial sectors is misplaced. We


will help underdeveloped markets to develop, which is our aim. CDC has


not invested in a particular way to dodge tax or get round regulatory


framework. The financial and revelatory frameworks of developing


countries will never develop if we treat them with suspicion and starve


them of investment. The purpose of the CDC is that going to places


where conventional investors fear to tread. We should not try to prevent


that in legislation and I hope that there will be a time when the


regulatory system will be robust and we won't have to go offshore. We are


not at that point yet. Does she not accept there is a


double point here? The Secretary of State issued a letter... Making it


clear that they shouldn't be investing in tax havens yet appears


unwilling to apply that same to CDC which is in receipt of taxpayer


funding. Isn't there a double standard? Because we are investing


in difficult areas where it may not be robust systems in place already


plus the CDC has clear guidelines as to further money is going, we can


track it more easily than you can track it another aid agency. With my


honourable friend give way? Would she agree that the issue is not so


much the offshore centres that are invested in by funds because you are


getting funds from other D of jurisdictions but the tax paid for


the activity which are undertaken in the country and in that respect, the


investments that CDC makes our excellent and provide major tax


revenues of billions of dollars a year for the country's Treasuries.


Can I thank my honourable friend for a clear explanation of that which


beats up what I said earlier. In the case of raising investment limits,


we have a number of clauses before us which would hamper the CDC. We


have already extensively debated the need to extend the limit and we had


assurances from the Minister and from the CDC itself that the


business case for further capital will be clearly made. We will have


the stroll. The true document this year backed by a CDC analysis on


development impact and we will have those before any additional money


goes through CDC. The focus of spending I agree with the Minister


that it must be delegated to CDC and DFID, specific investments made.


That would give government oversight of it and ensure sustainable


development goals are at the heart of it. Or countries and sectors


limit... I believe it would hamper the CDC. Yes... Does she agree that


supporting the CDC is absolutely vital if we are going to achieve the


global goals with sustainable development by 2013. We need to


mobilise the private sector to fill the annual financing gap of about 2


1/2 trillion dollars every single year. My honourable friend makes an


excellent point, 1 of the reasons why I'm so passionate about the CDC,


we need to build the capacity of developing countries and I think in


my 1st speech on this subject I said if you give a man a fish he deleted,


but if you give him a fishing rod that is a friend for life and that's


the philosophy behind the CDC. There are also circumstances where there


are relatively development countries hosting much poor ones. Misplacing


fears about offshore financial centres we shouldn't close any party


investment and development, new clause 3, four, 6 and 9 fail in that


respect. The amendments before us sure a fundamental weakness and a


misunderstanding of the role of the CDC in the world. We put less of our


development investment through the CDC that other countries do 3 Kudla


bodies as my right honourable friend mentioned. We should be doing more


through CDC if we want to develop mature and robust market economies


in the developing world which is why I welcome this bill. Bar codes are


transparent, flexible and they empower people that take part in


them. The aim of our development policy should always encourage


self-sufficiency and the development of market economies. As I said in my


1st contribution, the CDC is transparent and the ordered report


agreed and I championed the philosophy behind the CDC, enabling


people to build their own businesses rather than handing out grants. This


is an efficient, transparent model and I think we should give this bill


wholehearted support and continue to be a major investor in improving the


lives of fellow citizens in developing countries. Patrick radio.


Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I want to speak to the amendments in


my name and offer support for the opposition party amendments. My


amendments are 3 and a new clause 6. I think it's worth saying at the


start that no 1 here is arguing that the CDC shouldn't exist. We


recognise there is a role for development finance and private


investment and as I noted in the secondary din, the Scottish


Government has set up its own investment mechanism in Malawi. But


even if we did want to change some of the deeper fundamentals, that's


not the scope of the bill. The government probably deliberately has


presented a very narrow bill with the aim of increasing the statutory


limit of its investment and by definition, that's what the


investments have to be focused on. I hope the government will see the


amendments I put forward and I think the Labour ones, we've tried to


respond to concerns expressed in committee about the amount once and


it will at least attempt to take them on board. It's now up to the


government to respond and indicate how it will take our concerns on


board. We all want to work constructively with the government


on this, we want to reckon dies and painting the consensus that exists


on the importance of aid, the commitment to pursue a .7%.


Amendment 3 in my name and 2 and for which are contingent on at get to


the heart of the technical aspect of the bill and what the cap investment


should be. The government has been repeatedly asked for the reasons


behind the figures of 6 billion and 12,000,000,000 in the bill and it


still afraid has come up short. The best we've heard is that this is


roughly what think is needed or can be managed over the coming years and


in the lifetime of this Parliament that could equate to a maximum


?2,000,000,000 a year invested from the budget to the CDC and as he


repeatedly said, every penny invested into CDC is a penny not


investment into other mainstream grassroots, not-for-profit


development projects. That is why in the 2nd reading I asked about the


use of a formula to link the capital for all budgets and I proposed such


a formula in committee. The Minister's 1st concern about the


formula is that it would blur the line between stock and flow but the


aid budget is a flow, going up and can theoretically go down as well.


While I recognise the CDC investment is a stark and wants that is


transferred, that's for its days, what the formula doors is ask the


government each time that it wants to disburse funds to the CDC to


calculate how those funds for the late to its overaged spending in the


coming years. -- to its overall spending. Amendment 3 and the


continuing amendments take a number of things into account. My


calculations based on figures from the House of Commons Library, this


formula would allow the government to invest an extra 3,000,000,000 or


a total of 4 1/2 billion in the CDC by 2021. Even if the government


won't accept this amendment and if we can't persuade enough of its


backbenchers to join us in the lobby in support, I hope it will commit to


recognising the 6,000,000,000 figure in the current legislation is a


maximum and any additional investment will reflect the ebb and


flow of water for all ODA calculations in any given spending


round. A respective of the caps and limits, much concern has been


expressed about the build process overall of how some aspects of CDC


resources have been spent in the past and how they will continue to


be spent in the future and that's what I seek to address with my new


clause 6. I think this is particularly important in the


context of increasing and potentially quadruplet resources


overall available to the CDC. I welcome the range of amendments


brought forward at committee and hear today attempting to place


various conditions on the exercise of the power to increase the limit


and as I said at the start, because of the scope of the build my


amendments and those from honourable friends in the Labour Party have to


relate to the limit of 6,000,000,000 to 12,000,000,000, try as we might


under the terms, it's not been impossible for us to find a way to


attach conditions. The government has indicated its timetable for


using the statutory instrument powers would be suddenly in the


distance so I think it's not unreasonable to suggest they should


be some kind of conditionality and review process before those powers


are used, particularly when we apparently bill has so much time to


prepare. Plus 6 combines conditions that I called for at committee


stage, before the government can increase the limit of its investment


the Secretary of State is required to make an assessment have an


increased limit will contribute to the reduction of poverty which is a


statutory aim under the International development act 2002


and how that increase would help to meet sustainable development goals.


The government has repeatedly argued that the CDC is doing both of these


things here effectively at which case this surely is hardly an owners


request? But the close, putting this into legislation would have the


effect of making it clearer this is the overall purpose of the CDC, the


commercial aim, returns and investment, even raw figures about


jobs created are not an end in themselves, they are only the means


to the end of reducing poverty and building a more stable and secure


world. Again, responsibility is the government, if that doesn't respect


or amendments at least acknowledge the concerns we express and give


commitments to show in any business case publishers for further


investment how poverty reduction and global sustainable development goals


will be advanced. I want to speak briefly in favour and indicate the


SNP support for the range of amendments brought forward by the


Shadow Liberty Mandy honourable member for Cardiff South and Penarth


who sits on the international developer committee. I welcome the


fact has been cross-party support for these amendments, and I suggest


the government pays attention, that there remains consensus in this


House and across the country in support of the principal of aid at


0.7%. What many of the Labour amendments say, it's as King DFID


told CDC to the same standards that it's now demanding of its external


stakeholders. Its recent bilateral and multilateral development reviews


were pretty much in a lateral declarations of everything that was


terrible and wasteful on the part of so many of its stakeholders and


demanding that the highest standards of efficiency impact and


transparency be applied to them and it stands to reason the standard


should be demanded from the CDC. A government that says it wants to


crack and an tax dodging shouldn't be allowing an agency of which it is


the sole stakeholder to be making use of offshore tax havens and the


government that wants value for money should not be afraid to ask


for reporting on exactly those areas. My colleagues and I will be


happy to join the party and other party members, to meet them in the


lobby in support of any amendments they wish to press. By the David is


bigger asset of the 2nd reading I was disappointed the scope is


narrow. The government had the opportunity to widen the scope,


strengthen its transparency and accountability. It also had the


opportunity with a substantial and in some cases creative amendments


proposed by opposition members, if the Minister continues to indicate


an unwillingness to accept amendments and it's disappointing we


didn't bring forward any of their own to reflect concerns raised, but


it must give the strongest possible commitment now in response to the


concerns we have raised. And it must recognise as the Labour front bench


spokesperson said this is the beginning and at the end of the


process. Richard Fuller. Madam PPD speaker. I am taking your suggestion


that we must stand up and we get the chance. I would like to start if I


may, by thanking all of the members of staff at CDC for the work they do


on behalf of British taxpayers and more reportedly on behalf of the


people on whom they depend on to depend on CDC for the claimant in


many of the most troubled and difficult countries in the world.


CDC over the last few weeks has been subject to much ill founded and


hostile criticism, it must make their job much harder and I think


it's important to put on the record the support for the work they do in


helping to achieve our country's development goals. I would also like


to thank the front bench spokesman for the Labour Party. I think she


did a very good job today in putting forward some points of scrutiny and


if I could also say in holding back on perhaps some of the wilder


suggestions that might happen foisted upon her to take up and


batter on this bill. The fact that there has been historically and


continues to be, given what the lady of the front bench said, a


consensus, cross-party consensus about the valuable role of CDC in


achieving the development goals, it's an important board, a


long-standing institution. It's part of the British brand internationally


but I think she's done a great service focusing on 1 amendment, but


pushing back on other ideas that other members


I'm sure he's aware last year the CDC upped its investment pace to


$1.5 billion. The level projected for the next five years. Do you


think this investment rate show as recaptainisation is not about some


supposed new direction for CDC but it's about allowing the good work


they've done under its management to continue? My honourable friend is


right. We have to be clear what is proposed. It is not proposed to do


more than is being done now. It is to enable CDC to continue to do what


it is doing now. If we were to take suggestions proposed from the SNP


and others, that might imply that amount of support should be reduced


in the future. That would be to the detriment of not only those


countries but to the British countries but to the British


taxpayer as well. One does recognise ODA flows can go up and down. If for


some reason GNI were to consider and the ODI budget were to contract it


makes sense for the CDC to contract so more money was available for the


traditional equals? That's his point of view. I'll come to the point


about balance in a minute. I want to talk, the general view in these


amendments is they are seeking to solve problems that don't exist but


may exist. I don't think statute is the right way to approach those


types of circumstances the. That is a matter of oversight and scrutiny


by ministers on behalf of our taxpayers. It is not about putting


things into bills. I oppose any amendment on that basis. There's


some validity if there was a question about this aspect of FDI


being unusually large. There might be something if there was a poor


investment record. She were losing shed loads of taxpayers very


investment or clearly ignoring development goals and being held to


account for doing that. Or if there was a problem in the reporting


oversight that was evidence and explained in various reports. Not


one single one of those conditions pertains to the circumstances of


CDC. Therefore, there is no prior reason for why these amendments


should be put in place. As I was mentioned earlier on, if you look at


the proportion of our development budget that goes to CDC, it is 4% of


our development budget. If you take our development systems over five


years, the usual investment period for a fund. That compares to France


12% of their budget. Germany, 8% of their budget and FMO in Holland, 30%


of their budget. So, we're not unusually large. We're actually


unusually small. We should be looking to these sorts of


initiatives for a measured and slow increase in our ability to invest so


we can play a fuller role in that. I don't think that really holds. The


poor investment record doesn't hold either. The truth of the matter is,


I have the numbers here, the CDC's annual return, commercial returns we


have to understand there is a commercial return was set a target


of 3.5%. The CDC asheaved an 8.7% over the last five years. There


isn't really grounds to say they are performing in terms of their core


function of investing in line with a commercial basis with them being


poor performers or dog something under doored. In terms of missing


development goals. There is a little bit of a laundry list of sectors


that the honourable member wishes to turn his knows up to in -- nose up


to in terms of development goals. Not sure if this is a full list or


things he doesn't like. There are good reasons to support parts of


those things. Clearly, we'll hear from him in a minute, I'm sure he'll


make an excellent case for that laundry list. In the meanwhile, I


would say there isn't really any evidence, is there, for CDC missing


its development goals? Even the NAO, in their report, mentioned the CDC


has met Bolt targets for its financial -- both targets for its


financial and in clause 12, it has exceeded the target for prospected


developmental impact. No basis on those for the amendments either. Is


there and are there concerns about reporting for CDC? There may be. I


haven't heard it. I can't point to something that says there are


concerns. But I don't think in either of second reading or in the


evidence stages, the report stage or today we've heard concerns about the


reporting. There may be additional pieces of information we wish to


have. They are listed in the some of the amendments. There's no real


concern that's been raised they have been available in the past and


therefore we need to ensure they provide those. I think on the issues


of, is there a problem at CDC? The amendments are needed to correct,


there's very limited basis in my case, no justification for them


whatsoever. I think we have to be clear about what the role of tax


havens has been. The honourable lady in her speech was very fair in


pointing out the CDC's Chief Executive had made it clear they do


not use tax havens in its policies. She explained the Chief Executive of


the CDC explained why and why those are used. I'm perfectly happy


resting on the judgment of CDC, its governance structures and the


oversight of the development department to make sure that


continues. I don't see there is an evidence problem at the moment to


see they've wandered off from what they said they would do. If there


was a problem, I would say, OK, maybe the time is now for statute.


The honourable lady hasn't presented a recent concern where that's


happened. Therefore, I can't see the reason for supporting a new clause 1


though I understand she wants to put it to a vote. We broadly accept, and


having a discussion about this is valuable, there is a strong message


from Parliament about the use of tax havens and what is appropriate and


what is not. If that is her intention it is a perfectly


reasonable point for her to make. CDC is a valuable institution. It


holds support from both sides of the House. I look forward to having


further discussion on the amendments and then supporting the bill at


third reading. In July of last year as part of our ongoing inquiry, the


international development committee visited the democratic rob lick of


Congo. We saw a hydroelectric power plant which is part-funned by CDC.


It is reinvesting parts of its earnings into preteching the


environment. It is bringing electricity to a region in which


only 15% of the population has previously had access to power and


has the potential to generate millions of dollars every year and


thousands of jobs for local communities. I cite this because I


believe projects like this are impressive. They demonstrate the


positive impact CDC is already having. We know as other colleagues


on both sides of the House have says... I'm happy to give way. I


also, as he knows, was on that visit. I think that's probably one


of the most impressive projects I have ever seen providing light to so


many people who desperately need it. Those are just the sorts of projects


that we've talked about and said CDC should be investing more in. They


are creating jobs but making life better for so many more people. I'm


grateful to the honourable lady who is a very highly valued member of


the international development committee. The purpose of my remarks


during report stage is to reinforce the points she's just made. These


are positive projects. We want to ensure that high level of the


quality we saw in that particular example in Congo becomes the norm


across all of CDC's investments, particularly as the limit is


increased. I'll come on to that in a moment. We know the private sector


provides nine out of every ten jobs in developing countries. Its


development, its success is vital to helping countries achieve


sustainable and long-term development. Therefore, I think it


does make sense for the CDC's involvement threshold to be in


ceased. Poverty reduction must be at the heart of the Government's


development agenda. That must explicitly include in the work of


the CDC. In 2011, the predecessor international development committee


produced a report entitled the future of CDC as the group


approached its then cap of ?1.5 million set out in the 1999 act. The


report cln colluded the mandate of the CDC should be changed to a


specific focus on poverty alleviation. Given job creation is


one of the Very best ways to reduce poverty, it is important that the


Government has a development investment arm that will help poorer


countries create new and innovative jobs. As has been said on both sides


of the House, the CDC made some significant changes following the


2008 National Audit Office report and the 2011 international


development committee report in line with recommendation to move towards


a focus on the alleviation of poverty. As has been said, these


changes were reviewed recently by a further National Audit Office report


released just before second reading of this bill in November 2016. The


report was mostly positive. It noted in particular that the 2012/16


investment strategy shifted the investment focus of the CDC to


poorest countries. That is welcomed. The it noted the CDC met targets to


#2ki6ed and financial performance and im#35k9. It also said the CDC


should be doing more to measure the development impact of its


investments. This will not only provide a better basis for


investment decisions. But will also increase the transparency of the


CDC. Poverty alleviation is absolutely central if we're going to


make a success of the global goals. The sustainable development goals


agreed in 2015. Africa needs to generate 15 million new jobs every


year if it's to achieve its global goals. That can only be achieved by


working with the private sector, including with organisations like


CDC. CDC has helped create nearly 25,000 jobs in Africa and South Asia


directly. They say over a million indirectly. The businesses in their


portfolio support around 18 million jobs. I'm-y to see the threshold


being raised. However, I have a number of concerns that I want the


minister to respond to when he speaks in report stage this


afternoon. Thanks for giving way. He will know I very much respect hads


passion in this area, more particularly the very balanced way


in which he's dealt with the issues around CDC. Does he share some of my


concerns however, we are risking have a more press scriptive approach


towards this part private sector organisation than we are to a range


of NGOs who are beneficiaries of large scale problems in relation to


Dyfed? That might actually also be somewhat disstoring? He makes valid


points about the concerns, equally, if we're going to hamstring CDC in


the way one or two of these amendments would have us do, that


would be an undesirable outcome for DFID of? I'm not arguing for


prescriptions to the applied to CDC that I wouldn't to other


organisations in DFID. The Secretary of State, shortly before Christmas,


set out a number of conditions for suppliers to the department and I


think he makes a very valid point that should apply to CDC in the same


way that it applies to other suppliers. I'm emphasising my


support for the amendment which says poverty reduction should be at the


heart of the work of CDC. All of us would agree poverty reduction should


be at the heart of the entire development and aid strategy of DFID


and other parts of Government. I can plead not guilty to the charge he's


putting to me. I'm not proposing in any sense to hamstring CDC. I'm


certainly not proposing or the side of the House seek to propose


any restriction on CDC that would be out of step to other Cree


restrictions to other bodies funded through overseas development


assistance. With my honourable friend agree it


is about bringing CDC more in line with other countries and the


restrictions it places on users? Yes, I agree with that and that's


why I think it is very important... why I think it is very important...


I have read what the Minister is written during committee stage, but


I look forward to hearing him again today. The sense that what is a very


substantial increase in the potential money that could be going


through CDC that we make sure this through CDC that we make sure this


money really is geared to poverty reduction wherever it is invested,


and part of that, as my honourable friend rightly points out, is which


parts of the world, which countries will be invested in because


investment in some countries can deliver a lot more both in terms of


jobs and poverty reduction than investment in others. I'm happy with


there being an increase in investment threshold but we have to


make sure the money is spent wisely. The current investment plan has now


expired and we are yet to see the next investment plan for 2017 -


2021. It would have been beneficial for this bill, the Government and


CDC itself if we have seen the plans for the next four years of


investment before parliament was asked to raise the investment


threshold. The amendment from the shadow Secretary of State would


ensure that if the Government brings forward regulations to further


increase the limit, this would have to be preceded by a detailed plan of


investment from CDC which could be scrutinised by Parliament and I


welcome and support that amendment. Successive governments can be very


proud of the role the Department for International of all and has played


in improving the lives and economies of some of the world's poorest


countries but in light of the public debate around International of other


and spending, not only is what my honourable friend said correct in


principle, does he agree with me this is essential for maintaining


and building on public confidence in international development spending.


I absolutely agree with what my honourable friend said and it chimes


with what I will conclude with, which is to talk about the


importance of scrutiny, including scrutiny by this House both of CDC


and the Government. Whilst I have a lot of sympathy for what he says, it


would be useful in the context of this debate to have an idea of the


sort of programmes that the CDC might have in mind for the future, I


hope that whilst this bill goes through the passage in another place


well there might be an opportunity for us to do that at some point.


However, would he also perhaps recognise that given the nature of


CDC's expertise and experience that it might well have to an extent


slightly different goals to other non-governmental organisations who


receive Dyfed money. In other words this absolute predominance for the


alleviation of poverty could in some cases perhaps not entirely apply to


everything they CDC does, given its expertise and experience. I think


the focus, the priority I guess, needs to be on poverty alleviation


and I gave the example when I started, and the honourable member


for Derbyshire reinforced my point, about a project that delivered


things beyond poverty reduction but at the heart of that investment and


the impact of that investment is the reduction in poverty and I think


that always to be kept in mind is a very useful lodestar for Dyfed when


it is approaching the work of CDC. I would need persuading other cases.


The recent N a L report, as was said rightly by the Member for Bedford,


revealed that the development impact score is on average being met but


that is only on average. CDC is making some investments that do fall


below target. 23% of investments since 2013 have fallen below the


target score based on their investment difficulty and propensity


to generate employment. Even that the objectives stated in CDC's


current investment policy is to focus its investments into the


geographies and sectors where there is the most potential for


development impact, it is not clear as to why CDC is investing in


projects that achieve lower scores so I would say to the Minister,


along with the more robust approach to developing impact is highlighted


by the NAL, I would like to see some sort of minimum threshold for impact


implemented in the new investment strategy. As with all Dyfed


spending, the International Development Secretary will


scrutinise very closely CDC's work in the months and years ahead. It is


vital that we make sure the British taxpayer gets value for money for


every pound that is spent on international development. As has


been said on all sides of the House, CDC has become more transparent


following the reports of the committee in 2011 and the NAO in


2008 but more can still be done to make sure money is being spent as


well as possible. One way in which that could be achieved, and I would


ask the Minister to explore this, is to allow the Independent commission


for aid impact to play a bigger role, for example carrying out a


regular assessment of CDC investments, allowing scrutiny so we


can really ensure full effectiveness and value for money for the


programmes in which CDC invests. I think we can say CDC has been a


world leader among the relevant finance institutions in publishing


details of their investments since 2012 under the International aid


transparency initiative and that is very welcome but I would suggest it


would improve transparency further if they published similar details on


their entire active investment portfolio, including those made


prior to 2012. I think this would enable greater scrutiny of CDC's


entire portfolio and hopefully provide assurance to the public that


all CDC investments are being focused where they need to be on the


goal of poverty reduction. In conclusion, I do believe that CDC


has helped the United Kingdom to be a leader in global development, but


as with any area of government spending, we need to make sure that


every penny is going to the places where it can have the greatest


effect, the right places and the right people delivering value for


money for the taxpayer. One of the ways in which we can achieve this is


by regular scrutiny of the CDC, including by Parliament, and I give


a commitment that the international of and select committee will play a


role in making sure we hold to account both the departments and CDC


as the additional money is allocated, but most importantly, as


with all areas of development spending, we need to make sure the


ultimate goal is poverty alleviation and eradication and we never lose


focus on that. I am grateful for your generosity to allow me to


contribute for a short time in this debate this afternoon. The CDC has a


really discreet role in our portfolio. There are few


organisations with the skills and abilities to manage such risks in


the most difficult markets. It has a situation where often, in many


examples, it will actually bring an economically frontier country the


opportunity to risk profile that more established, traditional


investment vehicles can get involved in and that's to be welcomed.


Supporting more than 1200 and 70 developing countries, creating jobs.


When I was serving on the bill committee, we discussed a number of


things. One of them being about the fact they weren't necessarily direct


investments. I know some of the amendments being debated today are


talking about whether that is diverting resources away from the


least developed countries. What I would say however is that sometimes


it is necessary to invest in opportunities in other countries. As


long as the outcomes are those that are going to the most needy, the


least developed countries. That is of the day is what we are trying to


do with our International Development Secretary. It is


important to concentrate on our core goals. I know the Minister in


committee was very specific when he was saying he didn't believe we


needed legislation because those already legislation in the


international assistant development act, and the need to focus on


poverty reduction and SDGs as well. Also Dyfed's processes have that


enshrined in as well so I don't believe we need more primary


legislation repeat that, effectively. In terms of the limits


that were discussed in some of the amendments, we have to remember that


this is effectively an enabling legislation, not an immediate call


to spend, not saying here is ?6 billion tomorrow and we will raise


it further the day after. This is simply enabling to bring CDC up to


similar situation of other organisations that have similar


requests of departments. And I would hope, and again I know the Minister


spoke at committee to save the fact that any request for money, and the


actual request for money would have to be subject to Dyfed's strategy,


have a robust business plan and be considered fully before any money


was handed over. That can easily be done at a departmental level and I


totally agree with my colleague, the chairman of the International do and


committee. As a new member, I will look forward myself to scrutinise


the work of CDC and what it is doing there. I know the CDC has changed. I


agree with my honourable friend, the Member for Bedford, when he spoke


about some of the amendments looking at future problems that may not


occur but also its rehearsing some old problems that occurred before


2010 when the then Secretary of State reorganised CDC and I don't


want to have amendments on primary legislation that is looking at


things that may or may not happen or happened in the past and have been


largely sorted out. That's why the move from the CDC had before 2010,


and a lot of examples when it was looking at high impact programmes to


a far more proactive viewpoint to make sure we do take into account


the SDGs and poverty reduction. I will be scrutinising that with my


colleague and I just do not believe I will be supporting amendments for


those reasons. They can best be done at Department level, committee


level, and so I look forward to this bill becoming an act. I beg to move


amendments in my name and the name of my honourable friend. It is


fantastic today we have a great degree of consensus around the room


on the issue of the 0.7% target and the role Britain plays in the


International of them and, perhaps in contrast to some of the debate


that has gone on in the media in recent weeks. And also it may


surprise some of the honourable members put there is actually an


agreement on a role for CDC. I believe CDC has a role to play. I


made it clear in the committee stage and I'm sure the Minister will


acknowledge that. It plays a vital part in the wider portfolio of


international development efforts this country makes, and indeed the


spending of our official development assistance. Can I thank my fellow


co-operative party MPs on the front bench as well as members from a wide


range of other parties across the House for adding their names to many


of the amendments I've tabled for today's report stage which show the


level of reasonable concerns about the many unanswered questions about


the priorities and operations of the Commonwealth development Corporation


that I believe need to be addressed before we countenance such a large


increase in the official development assistance resources that it


receives from DFID. This isn't about suggesting CDC shouldn't get more


resources. Clearly it has reached the cap that was set in 1999, it


needs to have some had room to expand its activities but it's worth


recognising it has coped well with recycling resources within itself,


partly because of some of the successes it has enjoyed.


This is about choices. Choices where we spend those precious, relatively


small amounts of development assistance. We have a wide range of


routes where we can spend that money. Bilaterally, multilateral


agencies, through NGOs, in some cases in joint work with other do


have departments and through vehicles like the CDC. The question


fundamentally for me, is about the balance between those things and the


coherence between them. Are we ensuring we're coherent in the


countries we're operating in, the ways and sectors. And u


financedmently, in that focus on poverty eradication for those people


who most need it. Clearly, madam departmenty speaker, we will not be


able to address all concerns in today's report stage. I don't want


to reiterate too much the arguments mate in the second reading. Some of


these are clearly probing amendments to try to get some clearer answers


from the minister when he stands up as to the plans. He said some


helpful things during the committee stage and I hope he can elaborate on


those further. I want to focus my comments on firstly the volume of


the new investment being proposed by the Government for CDC. Secondly,


the continued use of tax havens by CDC, the third, the continued


investment by CDC in sectors which do not appear to be coherent with


the wider development spending and appear often counter to it. It is


right we should question these things. The CDC only needed ?1.5


billion of capital investment from the UK Government between 1999 and


2016. There in lies my fundamental concern. How can we up to ?6 million


and then ?12 million? The minister made helpful comments saying this


wouldn't happen in one year, it would be spread out over a longer


period. In the explanatory notes to the bill it makes clear this is


about accelerating spending in this spending round in forecast market


demands. I agree with the chair of the select committee t would have


been a lot better had we had a much clearer plan, not a detailed


business plan, but some assessment of the investigators very could be


investing in before we got to the stage of agreeing this new headroom


for CDC. I think another fundamental point is that the Government and CDC


admitted in the evidence we had at the committee stage it was the


Government who came up with the figure, it was not a request from


CDC. This strikes me as somewhat odd if there is this forecast demand and


if CDC is in need of such an injection of resources, ten fold in


comparison to what it's had over the last 16 years, was this plucked out


of the air as a figure? It would have been much more helpful to set


out why that amount reaching ?12 billion with secondly legislation.


There's some very important amendments we have down in this


regard today to the report stage. Firstly, new clause 2 which rightly


calls for a business case. I hope when the minister gets up, can


explain further how this process around a business case will work.


What scrutiny there will be for parboil to understand what is being


proposed before resources are drawn down by CDC, what opportunities


there are for scrutiny, to ask the important questions we've all raised


and, crucially, can CDC absorb this funding? If we were prop Pos this


for an NGO or other multilateral institution, there would be howls,


how can they have the staffing, planning processes in place to cope


with this uplift? It doesn't malter who it is, but if you massively


increase the resources its receiving without that degree of planning and


staffing needed to ensure it's done effectively and transparently and


uses that money in a good way, that you can see resources being skewed


and perhaps not being used in the most effective way. I will happy


give way. Just for the point of clarity, is it not true or the case


that actually the level of investment right now is consistent


with this increase? So, actually, CDC's current level of activity to


be maintained requires this level of increase. So the concerns about it


growing to rapidly perhaps can be overstated? I don't believe that


case has been made. We haven't had it made at any point, the


justification for the figures. To maintain CDC at its current level of


activity, it's managed well with ?1.9 billion. If it was going up by


1.52 billion I could understand. ?6 billion and ?12 billion seems out of


that space. I'm grateful to the honourable gentleman. I think, from


my understanding of the bill and reading through the evidence given


at the committee stage, forgive me for reading this out, no money will


go to CDC until a full business case is written in huge detail which will


be prepared in the summer of 2017. To perhaps give the impression that


we're going to straightaway give this huge chunk of money to CDC is


perhaps creating an unfair impression. The honourable lady


didn't listen clearly to what I was saying. I didn't say that. I said


the minister said clearly it wouldn't be spent in one year. That


was the fear initially when this was proposed. What we're asking for this


this amendment is for that clear business case. I hope the minister,


he was nodding his head earlier on, how that process will occur and


scrutiny. It is only right that does occur. There was very limited


scrutiny of the last amount, quite a significant amount. I'm grateful to


my honourable friend. What he's describing in civil service language


is the ghastly phrase abso tiff capacity. He will know unfortunately


the Department for International Development has allocated some


funding into various World Bank trust funds which have not been


fully spent within the timescale originally envisaged suggesting the


department is struggling to find suitable sources to absorb the money


it wants to. Therefore, he is right, in my view, to worry allowed this is


a huge increase of money without any pro-en capacity to send the upon


money. Indeed. He makes a very important point. I've spoken to


other experts in the sector who suggest that to absorb that amount,


each a doubling would be is a strug. But the struggle. But the levels we


are seeing. That's why it needs to be clear what is the level of this


spending. What is the number of years over which this increase would


be spent before requiring another act to increase it further? I will


give way in a moment. I think also, we've put down some crucial


amendments from the Scottish National Party, clauses 3, 4 and 6


and my own, clause 9, but importance of focusing on the poorest, least


development countries, low income countries. Ensuring we're coherent


with the sustainable dome goals, goals by the UN and poverty


eradication and not other priorities. Thank you very much. I


think my honourable friend is making excellent case. Is it not the case


that divvied has led the world on the importance DFID on transparency


and poverty why I reduction. The problem at the very heart of these


proposals is there is absolutely very little prospect of transparency


in terms of the way these resources are spent and equally, very little


ability for the Government to guarantee that the resources will be


deployed and focussed on poverty why I reduction? Isn't that a matter of


major concern? It is. It gets to the point. There is a lot of information


provided by CDC online. It is important to acknowledge that. You


can see projects and individual spending. When it gets to the will


have, being able to pro-prospective development impact, to show where


that's going, the the the NAO looked at the issue of funding going into


the Health Secretarier in India. Being clear where that was being


spent in a particular hospital group. Was it going to the poorest


or middle-income patients. The NEO told us it was going to middling


income patients. That doesn't strike me as a correct use of CDC's money.


Not to say it is not good. Enabling access to hospitals for people in


general is a thing. But sharply we should be footballing using on the


poorest. When you get into the depths of the figures, the overall


proportion of spending going to the least developed countries rather


than middle-income countries, whilst the proportion has gone up it is


#1iing9ly less than going to the middle-income countries. When we


look into individual countries, if we look at the example of India, and


we look at which states the money is being invested in in India, the


majority of the money is being spent in what are determined to be the


richest states in India. The highest proportion of spend something in


Mumbai. I'm not saying the individual investments being made


there are not good or effective or doing useful things. The question is


the priorities. It was helpful to hear the minister speak in the


committee stage about a cap or restriction on #23u7beding going


into India and South Asia versus Africa. Paul said he shared that


concern. Is CDC spoke using resources enough on the poorest


countries -- focusing resources. I think the wider issue about the


proportion versus other spending routes that has been raised by both


the SNP amendment number 3, our new clause 10, is crucial. Not saying


CDC shouldn't get more money or expand operations but it is about


having it in proportion to other forms of official assistance. It is


important we put safeguards in, in this respect. By 2019, 26% of UK


official development systems will be spent by other Government


departments. We see money going into the prosperity funds and other funds


across Government with far less scrutiny and far less oversight than


is going on in the Department for International Development. It


worries me and others. It is about having a fair balance and ensuring


CDC has that role to play but in proportion to other ways we can


spend that money and ensuring we're pulling all the levers of the


development. In that respect, I would be very inclined to support


amendment 3 were that pushed to a vote at a later stage. I want to


turn briefly to the issue of tax havens. I don't want to go over this


at great length. We discuss it had a lot in the committee and today. It


seems surprising to me, in reference to new clause 1 and 8, that CDC


continues to use tax havens. There's a fair point being made about the


importance of stable financial arrangements for investments and


clearly, in some countries, it is not possible to be setting things up


within the legal structures of those countries to ensure the ride


fiduciary controls are in place. However, what I can't understand is


why we're simply not setting up these vehicles in England or Wales?


Why are so many in the came enisland our Mauritius. I asked parliamentary


questions about this, we are paying fees, management fees to financial


services organisations in Kay men and elsewhere which are supporting


the far less transparent activities or others. We might, indirectly,


whether or not anything untoward, we might be indirectly be supporting


the tax evasion industry which exists in overseas territories and


other places. Is my honourable friend aware of comments that the


Secretary of State made about tax evasion and the use and trying to


limit the use of tax havens when she was a Treasury minister? Why does


the Treasury seem to be concerned about this issuend a the Department


for International Development suddenly not concerned about this


issue? One would have thought it would be joined up on such a crucial


issue as this. It seems a great surprise to me. I mentioned the


letter earlier on. The letter the Secretary of State sent. Clearly


making a point about not using tax avoidance measures, not using tax


havens. There was a whole series of criteria. Most reasonable and things


we should expect from organisations in receipt of our aid spending. Why


are they not being applied to the CDC The sectsry of state implied


they would be. One rule for one and another rule for others. The fact is


whether you look at the research, 118 out of 157 fund investments made


by CDC went through jurisdictions that go through systems of the tax


haven industries. That is not coherent with other statements from


the Government. About cracking down on tax avoidance and tax evasion.


Lastly, I want to return to this issue of coherence. Particularly I


would urge colleagues to support new clause 7. The honourable gentleman


opposite referred to is as a laundry list or a suggestion I was creating


hypothetical straw men out there, that is not the case. I am talking


about things happening now. It is a fact as data revealed to me since


the committee stage in parliamentary questions shows in 2015 alone, CDC


invested 156.9 million it private fee education and ?169 million in


pre-sat health care. The reality, I'm sure honourable health members


will allude to this, there are private, voluntary providers, faith


providers providing health and education in developing countries.


This that is a fact. It is how our health education systems started


out. Where is the priority for our spending of money? Is it in further


supporting and expanding those fee paying health and educational


providers or providing prepublic health care education. Supporting


teacher and nurses salaries, health and education. Removing user fees.


As this country has done in the past, removing user fees to ensure


access for the poorest people. It is a reality even very small user fees


can be a huge disincentive, particularly to those on lowest


incomes. Whether you look at the rainbow's Hospital Trusts in India


or gems Africa which seem to be funding private schools who charge


up to ?10,000 a year in Kenya, it seems to be an incoherence here


between what we say we're doing, our priorities in health and education


and what CDC is doing. The other examples are based on current


examples. Palm oil, we've heard about scandals related to that, a


highly unsustainable product. Concerns about human rights. Whether


or not there have been improvements to that project it seems inCronk


reious to provide taxpayers' money which are not in line with other


objectives. It is important for the CDC to


invest in infrastructure. We have the example earlier on about


excellent investment in infrastructure in Africa but it


seems odd to me that we would be continuing to invest in fossil fuel


led programme when we have our climate change objectives. We should


be setting some bigger standards here and prioritising and shifting


resources to ensure the best practice. I would certainly be keen


to see new clause seven put to a vote. I hope the Minister would be


able to answer some of the concerns raised in this report stage before


we move further with the bill. I think it's right we answer these


questions. It is not a few million here or there, it is potentially


billions of pounds of spending and a significant portion of the budget


and it seems only right that is subject to scrutiny. I want to speak


in support of the number of amendments on the order paper but


before doing that I would like to make a couple of comments about the


political context in which I think this debate is taking place. I


turned on the television over the weekend on the ticker tape on the


screen on the news channel the information the Government had


stopped funding a girl band in Africa. I was shocked by this and


thought I didn't realise we were funding bands of any kind in Africa


and so I looked into it, and it was based on girl effect in Ethiopia,


the huge programme aimed at empowering women in that country. It


has 10,000 participants online and operates in schools around the


country, designed to use performing arts and music to give confidence to


women in those countries so they can take part in the political and


social life of Ethiopia. Undeniable that it is a good thing. It was set


up by DFID, every time DFID has reviewed it it has been given and a


star rating. However it is unusual, it is not the same as handing out


food to people who are starving sewer case needs to be made for it


and we need to be aware of how these things can be caricatured and used


to try and argue against the things we are talking about here today.


That entire project, Girl Effect was described by the Daily Mail as the


British Government funding the Spice Girls. It claimed the taxpayers'


money was not being used to feed the starving but being given to people


to make them pop stars. For many people reading the Daily Mail and


other papers that took it up, reading the ticker tape across the


screen, that's the impression they are given and we have lots of


people, including some in this chamber who ran to the press to make


comments about it, who will use these caricatures in order to try


and denigrate and oppose any foreign aid activity by this country, using


the ridiculous argument that we should be spending money at home


before we spend it abroad, as if the poverty and inequality which we have


in this country which we must tackle, but as if that was on a par


to the hell that is sub Saharan Africa where the poverty and


oppression is the normal way of existence for most people in those


countries. Knowing these caricatures are there and knowing we have to be


careful about how we present these arguments, that brings us back to


the amendments on the order paper before us today. The honourable


gentleman makes a good case but would he not, in considering that a


third of all Ethiopian girls don't actually get to go to school,


wouldn't with regard to female empowerment, wouldn't giving them an


education be more empowering? Of course, but the importance of this


project was that it understood Digital communication was a much


more effective way to reach people in Ethiopia in the bricks and cement


of the formal education establishment. It also understands


that music and lyrics are sometimes a better way to get through to


people and educate them and inspire them than formal text so these


things can contribute to the education of young women in Ethiopia


and DFID itself said it was a project worth supporting. The


importance, I think, of all of these debates is we can win public support


for foreign aid, we can rally the public behind the 0.7% contribution,


providing we are transparent about what we are doing and providing we


demonstrate that at every turn the people who are getting the money are


the people who really need it. Therefore it is important in the


work of the CDC group and others that those criteria are demonstrated


and the evidence is produced. I'm not sure which amendments have been


taken to the vote, but I think all of them have the intention of trying


to strengthen the existing bill. In my 20 months in the chamber this is


the first time at a report stage I have seen a bill come back without a


single government amendment which I find surprising. I know the bill is


concise and brief, but nonetheless, given the concerns expressed in this


chamber about the work of CDC group, I would have thought it could have


been tightened up a little bit but I hope the Government will consider


supporting some of these amendments which will have that effect, the


effect of making the Bill more effective, more efficacious about


doing what its objectives are. The first one of those I want to focus


on is new clause six, which says that before CDC group get major


uplift in funding the case has to be made that that means the sustainable


development goals and it is tackling poverty and inequality in the


country within which it is being employed. If the project is not


tackling poverty and not combating inequality and is not contributing


to achieving the goals, why should we be funding it? When money is


tight, we have to see these things are being spent on what they say


they are being spent on. We've had a discussion about the mistakes of CDC


in the past, we spoke about the luxury hotels and other


inappropriate projects in which the CDC group had invested in the past.


We were assured that those things were in the past, those mistakes


have been learned and they would not be repeated in the future. If that's


the case, what's the difficulty of building this into the bill so that


in future the CDC have an obligation to demonstrate when they get a


budget uplift that the reason they are getting that and what they will


be spending it on will contribute to meeting these goals and fulfilling


these criteria. The other area I think we should look at is in


amendments three and four, to which I put my own name, where there is an


intention to try to uplift the link in CDC group funding to the ODA.


There is an idea abroad that what may be happening here is the


outsourcing of our foreign aid, the privatisation of our foreign aid


activity, the pre-eminence given to market approaches rather than other


things. If that impression is not counted, we would be in problems. Of


course there is a role for spending public money to try and support the


creation of the small-business sector in developing countries, to


try to invest in it and see if we can create jobs, but let's not kid


ourselves. The bulk of our priority aid should be directed directly to


the people who need to combat malnutrition, illiteracy, poverty


and starvation that is happening throughout those countries. That be


done by setting up a small business to do it. That needs to be done by


direct state and NGO intervention and that's why we should be clear


that going forward the vast bulk of our foreign aid effort will remain


in that sphere. Whilst CDC and the market has a contribution to make,


particularly in countries which are along the process of development, it


is not going to be the primary way in which we do things going forward.


Amendments three and four give effect to that and I would commend


them to the House. If we do this we can strengthen the bill and


demonstrated people what our intentions are, which is to make


sure the hard earned taxes they pay and which they will politically


agree a small slice should be deployed for foreign aid, that they


are spent doing the things they want done and that is really combating


poverty and inequality in the developing world and making sure we


get to a more equal world society which is in our long-term interests


as well. I'm particularly pleased to follow the Speaker from Edinburgh


East because I'm here today because of concerns brought to me by


constituents. No NGOs have lobbied me in the making of this


intervention in this debate. Constituents contacted me before the


second reading of the bill, concerned that if it was past we


would run the risk of aid money being spent inappropriately and our


commitment to aid of which we can all be proud Ian on the mind. That


was their concern. So I want to return to that concern, a concern


that I raised at second reading of the bill. I want for me and my


constituents are the core issues. Directing the money to where it is


needed most, scrutiny and transparency. During second reading


I quoted, and I know it's been quoted already today, but it bears


listening to it again. In a recent report of the CDC, its conclusion


that it remains a significant challenge for CDC to achieve its


objectives of creating jobs and making a lasting difference to


people's lives in some of the poorest places in the world.


Basically we are being asked to trust. I


Education, the use of the school in the box model, where large classes


are taught using technology to teach standardised lessons. CDC has


invested in the expansion of such schools in Kenya, Uganda and Liberia


Troubridge International Academy to the tune of between 6 and $15


million. The model however offers no guarantee of quality education.


63 bridge academies in Uganda werersed to close following a court


ruling which found education and legal standards regarding the use of


certified teachers, accredited cripple Lumb and appropriate


teaching models were neglected. Utilities. We heard about a good


example of utility development. CDC established a company called Unema


in 2005 to run Uganda's elect trisity distribution following


privatisation. The company's been highlighted as an example of the


positive impact such an initiative can have. However, Uganda says power


out ages are often and prices high. Research at the University of


Greenwich noted it was one of the most corrupt institutions in the


country by an international survey. Health care. A unison commissioned


study found the majority of CDC health care initiatives in India are


private fee paying hospitals targeting international tourists.


This means public funded health care suffers and low income groups are


denied access. As I've said, we've been told CDC operations have


improved considerably over the last few years. But giving it free reign


to invest with no conditions attached is far from ideal. If we


are to be standard barers of international development we need to


ensure our delivery of aid whether directly or through investments is


traps parent and of tangible benefits of those at the receiving


end. The examples I've mentioned suggest a tendency to invest in


programmes which produce a quick fix rather than create sustainable


regular basis. But increasingly in the last couple of weeks, in


234 in relation to international development, it is an area people


come back to over and over again. Last week, I spoke to Porthcawl's


Newton WI. I took many questions in relation to spending on


international development spending. I hope the amendments here today


will allay many of the fears that my constituents have raised and place


the important work that the Department for International


Development does, the change makes to lives in some of the


poorest countries in the world, absolutely something that our


constituents can all support because they can see it is transparent. They


can see it's scrutinised and see it as accountable. Without that,


we face yet more weeks of negative, often false new reporting, which


undertakes. Thank you. If I can will undermine the


undertakes. Thank you. If I can begin by thanking very much


honourable and Rt Hon Members. This has been a very strict-of-process.


The amendments brought forward reflect a really good committee


stage. Basically, this side of the House, the Government has huge


respect for the intelligence, focus and precision of these amendments.


We hope you will see in the strategy produced all these concerns raised


will be addressed through that strategy. Let me take these


amendments in turn. Before I do that, pay tribute very strongly to


the members of Parliament on all sides of the house who have


demonstrated support for their international development.


Particularly to the member of Edinburgh East, a powerful speech in


the support of international development and the importance of


standing up and supporting complex and innovative projects. I wonder


why in his remarks he can explain why the legislation preceded the


strategy? I'll deal with that in the second group of amendments. If I


could continue in paying tribute to the other members of the Parliament,


both sides of the House and their support of CDC struck by the member


for Liverpool West and Derby for his support for the Orunga project. The


support from the member for Glasgow West and the member for Edmonton


which is getting this balance between long-term investment and


short-term need. Finally, just to recapitulate the extraordinary work


that CDC itself has done and to echo the thanks of the honourable member


for Bedford. It has been a really tough time. We are used, as members


of the Parliament, to being under full public scrutiny and attack. CDC


works very hard. They've delivered some very high quality projects.


This has been a very tough period for them. There are three types of


amendment. First set of amendments basically says yes, we should be


giving more money to CDC but slightly less money to CDC. The


second set of amendments says there should be restrictions on the


Government's ability to give money to CDC. The third set restricts what


CDC itself can do with the money. Essentially the Government's


position here is these are all very good points but are better dealt


with through governance mechanisms than strat trilegislation. Let's


deal with clause 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10. We should give money to CDC but


we should give less money to CDC. Why do we disagree with this? This


was e-Select Committeesly the argument put forward firstly


because, with respect, I still believe the honourable member for


Glasgow North is confusing the stock and the flow. The fact is that the


money put into CDC will be recycled. So, for the sake of argument, if an


investment is 10-12 years in length and CDC had ?12 billion in the pot,


it will be in a position to maintain the current rate of investment


$10-12 years in length and CDC had ?12 billion in the pot, it will be


in a position to maintain the current rate of investment of a


billion a year. It isn't fair to compare what happens in a capital


stock used for equity, death investment with the annual


expenditure of a department. Secondly, the question of demand,


which the member of Cardiff south #25uked about, the demand is almost


limitless. It's calculated 2.5 trillion dollars is going to be


required annually by 2030 to meet the SCGs which is why the relevant


question is not the demand for this money but the question of the


absorptive capacity. Thirdly, this is enable legislation, setting a


ceiling, a maximum limit. This is not saying this is the amount of


money it will get. This money is designed to be a patient, long-term


investment. The three-year review proposed simply will not work for


investments which are intended to be on average ten years in length. I


give way. I thank the minister for giving way. Is it not the case that


if this bill is passed and you add the consequences of that to the fact


over 25% of DFID's spending will be through other Government


departments, the consequences of that is that over 50% of our aid


will no longer be spent through DFID as a Government department. Does


that raise serious questions about the Government's intentions for DFID


to remain as a stand-alone department with a place at the


Cabinet table if over 50% of the department's spending will be spent


by the CDC and other Government departments? No other Government


department would come to this House and ask for over 50% of its


resources to be spent by other means. There are two distinct points


there. The question of DFID's spending and the other spending. CDC


is 100% owned by the development for international development. That's


one of the reasons why a number of these amendments are not


appropriate. In terms of proportion of money spent as the honourable


member for Bedford pointed out, the small increase we'll be talking


about in terms of the annual amount CDC can invest will be much smaller


than comparable organisations in Holland, Germany and France. About a


third of the amount that O PE C, one of the US can investment, only about


a sixth of what the IFC puts out a year. We're not taking


comparatively, globialy about that money. About 8%. That other 92%


would continue to go in the normal way through NG 06789s, through


organisations such as Unicef for the objectives we pursued. One thing


which would be helpful for the minister to clarify is the time


period over which this increase, if granted, would be played out with


CDC, the explanatory notes to the bill say clearly the ?6 billion is


intended to be use in the this Spending Review. Is that his view


and what about the 12 billion? Is this over a ten or 20 year period,


five year period? Give us a ballpark figure. Thank you. In order to


clarify, the six billion represents an additional 4.5 billion. They


already have 1.5 billion. We would anticipate that would cover the next


five-year period. I don't expect them to draw down the max, I expect


it to be lower, to make the kinds of investment they made last year. The


next six billion, not an additional 12, would apply to the next period.


So the next five-year period. We're looking at a steady state allocation


which might at maximum allow them to meet the kind of expenditure levels


they got next year. If I can move on to new clause 2, 5, 4 and amendment


6, these are essentially a series of clauses about restricting the power


of the Government to give money to CDC. Either saying it should not be


able to boost the amount of money that CDC has through delegated


legislation or trying to ask for a strategy to be in place before the


money is dispersed. Again, these are appropriate. The role of Parliament


as PEsified for CDC in the 148 act and 199 act relate to two things.


Setting up this body and creating a cap on the amount of money that this


body is given. It is not normal for Parliament to get involved in the


detailed implementation of specialist business cases. That is


true in everything that the ledge Is hatture does in its relationship to


the executive. The money allocated through the budget is then delegated


to civil servants and to the Government to determine how that


money is spent. The same will be true here. But, the strategy that


will come forward will reflect very closely the argument the that have


been made in committee stage that have been made in report stage, we


will continue to remain in very close touch with members of


Parliament and we will be judged by our ability to deliver through that


strategy something that will address those concerns. Above all, through


the development impact grid and the development impact assessments on


the individual business cases which will address these particular cases.


Yes? The minister specifically commented on the use of tax havens


by CDC and whether he and other ministers in the department will


echo previous statements by the Secretary of State and instruct CDC


to desist from using tax havens for future investments? This is an


invitation to move on to the last group of amendments, new clause 8,


9, 3 and 7, one of which relates to the question of offshore financial


centres. These are restrictions op what CDC itself can do. There is a


suggestion there should be an annual obligation to produce reports on CDC


and restrictions on the routes through which CDC can put its money


and restrict the investment in which CDC, can invest. On the question of


IKI CDC has been scrutinised by the National Audit Office, by Public


Accounts Committee, we expect it to be Krout knewed in that way and we


welcome scrutiny from Ikai. We do not think it is the position of the


Government to impose obligations on an independent regulator. It should


be for Ikai to determine its priorities where it thinks the


problems are and be able to apply that Krout any accordingly. It may


not determine an annual scrutiny of ten year investments does not make


sense and do it more trick wently. But that should be for Ikai. Not for


this House. We do not put our money through tax haveence if by that you


mean that CDC is ever attempting to avoid tax or to conceal its


activities. CDC is not involved in that. CDC only invests in offshore


financial centres approved by the OECD at its highest level. We take


on board the points made, the honourable member for Cardiff south


and others, we will be pushing EOCD to improve those standards further.


We will focus on those offshore financial centres and we will only


use them for two reasons. One, because occasionally, we we are


investing in the Central African Republic, it may be necessary to


protect UK taxpayers' money by not putting all the as sets of CDC into


jury Is tickses where we can secure that money. Secondly, we may do so


in order to pool money from other investors. That relates to the


suggestion that we should only operate through London. It would be


very difficult to convince other African investors to invest in funds


in London. They would face a triple taxation. Taxation in country of


origin, in country of business and in London. We hope, through CDC's


operations, to ensure every dollar we spend brings in $3, $5 or even


$30 of additional money. That brings me to the last


restrictions proposed by the House, one of those is the number of


countries in which CDC should invest. We don't think appropriate


for primary legislation to restrict what the parliament can do to


respond to a flexible, changing world. We would not have imagined in


2010 for example that there would have been needed in Syria. If we


stipulated only lower-income countries or least developed


countries could receive the money, the suggestion from the chairman for


the international development committee and its members that CDC


work in Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon would be impossible. We need


the flexibility for a changing world, and the world affected by


conflict. We also need to allow for conflict. We also need to allow for


the possibility another government may take a different view on very


poor people in countries like India. A lot of the very poorest people in


the world live in countries like India and it's a perfectly valid


discussion for a government and its department to have and not be


restricted by primary legislation to decide whether to put money in that


country. Finally we have to think about the cross-border


possibilities, again a restriction that prevented us putting money into


South Africa for example would mean we couldn't put money into Brindrod,


the great South African company, because we could not do cross-border


negotiations. Finally, it is not appropriate for individual members


to ensure that we restrict those members, those sectors indefinitely.


It needs to be at the discretion of the department to determine what


those sectors are. In particular, private health care, I have seen


myself and many other members have seen the way in which private health


care providers are able to reach some of the most needy people in the


world who are not able to access public health care. Minerals can be


in environments such as Afghanistan almost the only drivers of decent


economic growth and there are very few other options available. Real


estate, we need to look at the people who construct the buildings.


Not the people who use them. Those investments in the construction


industry are benefiting the people who build them and that's why CDC


makes those investments. On palm oil, many jobs are secured by that


investment and decent investment in infrastructure and health as well.


In renewable energy would be a great pity if the only investments we


could make in energy in Africa in renewables, that would not be


acceptable in this country. In Africa where they have struggled to


build six megawatts of generating capacity, 6000 megawatts of


generating capacity over a decade period, to rule out investments in


natural gas would have a fundamental event on the economic future of


Africa which is why to conclude this has been an extremely thoughtful


analysis for which we are very grateful. The strategy will


demonstrate we have listened hard to all the points in the second


reading, the points in the committee stage, but we believe this simple


legislation sets the right balance between economic development and


above all makes a significant contribution to the lives of the


world's poorest people and with that I would ask these amendments be


withdrawn. The question is that new clause won't be read a second time.


Aye? No? Clear the lobbies. The question is that new clause one


be read a second time. As many of that opinion say aye? No?


DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Order! The ayes to the right 246. The ins to


the left, 293. -- the nos to the left, 293. The nos have it. Unlock!


We now come to amendment 3. The question is that amendment 3 be


made. As many of that opinion say aye, the contrary, no. Clear the


lobbies. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order. The question


is that amindment 3 be made, as many of that opinion say aye, the


contrary, no. For the nos, Chris Eden Harris and Steve Brian. Thanks,


folks. Ayes, 244. Noes, 299. The noes have


it. The question is the bill now be read a third time. I beg to move


that this bill be read a third time. If I could just begin again by


reiterating my thanks and the tribute we owe to right honourable


members on every side of the House for their shared belief in the


importance of international and. At the core of this Bill is our moral


obligation to some of the most vulnerable and poorest people in the


world. Also pay tribute to the important points raised, which will


be reflected in the new strategy as it comes forward. If I could just


very briefly just lay out once more why we believe this is a good piece


of legislation. The core of this is our understanding there is extreme


poverty in the world, that there is extreme suffering in the world, and


that economic develop meant is going to be a very important part of


addressing that. There's an enormous demand in the poorest countries of


the world for well-paid jobs. It's one of the first things any one


discovers when we go to Africa or any other developing country, and


indeed as the chairman of the International of element committee


pointed out in his speech, currently 90% of the growth, 90% of the


employment in the poorest countries of the world is driven by the


private sector. 15 million more jobs a year are required in Africa. Every


one of those well-paid jobs is an opportunity for that family to


deliver the stuff we all care about. That is their opportunity to provide


education for their children, provide the health care therefore


Molly needs, and through the revenue that these jobs generate for the


Government, above all that is the long-term sustainable future. That's


what allows the Government to pay for its education system. It allows


it to pay for its health care system. It allows the Government, if


there is an earthquake or natural disaster, to have the resources to


address it. So in the end the only long-term, sustainable path will be


to generate that growth. Why CDC? Because CDC brings together two


important things - the rigour of the private sector, in other words the


ability of the private sector to work out whether these investments


make sense, are there genuinely markets for these goods? Can these


jobs really be sustained the one hand? And on the other hand the


values of the public sector, making sure we are going into the hardest


countries in the world, making sure we are renewable energy in the


Central African Republic, making sure we are getting into Sierra


Leone when Ebola happens, and above all making sure these investments


are not short-term commercial returns but patients, long-term


investments that the commercial sector often will not deliver. Why


CDC? Since 1948 it has not only been the longest serving but the best


development finance institution in the world, proven in the 1960s in


its investments in Kenya, but it has improved its much more recently with


the fantastic reforms that have been introduced, reforms we have talked


about at all stages of this Bill. Reforms on salary, transparency,


offshore financial centres, reforms on the geography in which we invest,


reforms in the sector in which we have invested, and all of this


summed up in the development impact great. That's what answers a lot of


the points made in the discussion today. That's what allows us to make


sure every investment focuses on areas that generate the most jobs,


that are in the countries where investment is the most difficult,


where the least capital is available and where the GDP per capita is


lowest. You can see this in the real world, in the indirect jobs created


by CDC. You can see it in the investments they are making, in


places like Blondie on the Central African Republic. You can see it in


the hydroelectric investment. You can see it actually in the global


investment, where CDC's investment will help to generate 5000 megawatts


of power in Africa over the next decade, and putting that in context,


Africa only managed 6000 megawatts over the previous decade. That's


almost the entire generation of Africa over the previous decade


which will be driven by single company supported by CDC. The value


for money is there for the taxpayer because it is recycled. The need is


there. We can see this in the fact that we need $2.5 trillion of


investment by 2030. So in conclusion, there are many other


things that our department will do other than CDC, much of the money


will continue to go through NGOs such as Oxfam, a lot of our


investments will be with valued partners such as Unicef. More than


90% of the money we will spend through overseas assistance will be


on humanitarian assistance, and within that not all the money and


economic develop it will go through CDC. It will also go through our


investments that take place through support to governments, technical


assistance. But that CDC investment combining the rigour of the private


sector, the focus on markets, the values of the public sector reflect


the values of the British public, the British public that cares about


poverty, that shows in their own philanthropic giving how much they


care about some of the most vulnerable people in the world and


we are showing our respect of the British people by pushing forward


with a proven model that will provide the sustainable growth


required to address some of the most vulnerable and poorest people in the


world. This is our moral obligation. The question is the bill now be read


a third time. Can I firstly association myself with the


Minister's comments in particular to pay thanks to all the honourable and


right honourable members across the House that have taken part in what I


believe has been very constructive debate in which I believe we have


furthered certainly whether or not the amendments today of the new


clauses have gone through, certainly I believe it has been utilised in


the best possible way and we have heard from Honourable members across


the House that have forwarded some very important point. Can I also


offer my thanks to all of the NGOs that supported us throughout this


process, to those that came before us to present written and oral


evidence at committee stage, and the staff whose assistance has been


invaluable, as it always is. I would further like to thank my honourable


friends who have spoken with great concern and passion about this bill,


particularly my honourable friend, the Member for Cardiff South and


Penarth whose experience is widely respected and visibly expressed here


today in the debate again. My honourable friend, the Member for


Wills South, who isn't in her place, both served outstandingly on the


public bill committee and I do not want their valued contributions to


go unnoticed this afternoon and indeed the honourable friend for


Liverpool West Derby, the chair of the International Development Select


Committee, who has always made a passionate case and has, I believe,


a very informed stance on the matter is before us today. Mr Deputy


Speaker, let me be clear. I think in this constructive debate today,


members on either side of the benches have been very clear. Nobody


has opposed the principal or the spirit of the CDC itself. Nobody has


criticised the role of the CDC and the commission statement behind the


CDC. The point that members on all sides of the House, and in


particular from these benches, have made time and time again is that


what cannot be lost within this is the founding principle behind the


CDC, which is poverty alleviation, which has been quite rightly stated


on all sides of the House. As I said, we have had a constructive


debate, both at committee stage and here, and all the amendments that


have been put in have had support from across the House. And the


amendments were there, partly probing amendments but also as


amendments to strengthen. Mr Deputy Speaker, for the passage of this


bill, we outlined a number of concerns that we held over the


provisions within it, including on the accountability and scrutiny of


the investments that are made by the CDC on the need of the CDC to focus


their investments on efforts to alleviate poverty and on the


necessity of a business case from the CDC. These are concerns that


have been fundamental in our position on this Bill and they are


concerns we have sought strong assurances on from the Government.


On the issue of accountability and scrutiny, we had concerns, as


illustrated in our amendments, over the fact the investments made by the


CDC are not independently assessed on a frequent and regular basis.


When such assessments do not take place, it undermines the credibility


of the CDC and be investments and it weakens public confidence that


taxpayers' money is being spent by the CDC on efforts to alleviate


poverty and help the poorest in the world. It is vital that every pound,


every penny of development assistance, goes towards this goal


on strong, independent scrutiny of the impact of assessments would


assure this. We have had assurances today from


the Minister and we had assurances at the committee stage that he would


welcome further independent assessment of this from the


Independent commission for aid impact and I feel that the Minister


has listened and has come forward with that and I am very grateful to


him. Further, we are assured that the annual reports and accounts


provided by the CDC contain ample information and if there are


discrepancies they will be held to account by the either the Public


Accounts Committee or the International development committee


who I am sure will make such discrepancies are available as they


have done in the past. It is vitally important that we ensure that the


CDC is focused on alleviating poverty. The Department's legal aim


and purpose, with investments involved in constructing luxury


hotels and shopping centres in well-developed areas in the past,


there have been real concerns on this side of the House that the CDC


would use this additional financing to return to a similar position.


However, the report published just before the second reading makes


clear that this is no longer the case following the important


reforms, second motion by the right honourable member for Sutton


Coldfield who is in his place today. It is fair to say, Mr Deputy


Speaker, that the number of concerns that have been raised today, the


Minister has been kind enough to give assurances to some of those and


therefore, we will not be opposing this bill in its third reading


today. Thank you. Whether you live in the UK or in Tanzania or in


Colombia, the most important route out of poverty is to have a job, a


good job or a good likelihood. That is why I fundamentally support the


work of CDC, it has done excellent work over the last nearly 70 years,


right across the world and in recent years, it has concentrated


particularly on the most needy countries, those places where there


is the highest level of unemployment, where there is the


greatest level of poverty and I welcome the fact that the government


is going to invest more through CDC in the coming years. But I think the


debates today and in committee and at other times have highlighted that


their CDC has got to be careful, it has got to invest in those things


which commercial investors would not normally invest in, otherwise it


should be the commercial sector that invests in them. It needs to invest


in areas that create the highest number of jobs for the investment


made and often that will be agriculture and often that will be


investments which are difficult. It is not easy to invest in agriculture


in remote areas, but that is what the CDC is therefore, it is not


therefore an easy life. But I know, that under the management it has had


recently and with the calibre of staff it has, it is up to those


challenges and I welcome the bill. Patrick Grady. Thank you. Can I add


my thanks to all the stakeholders and staff who have contributed to


the build process? This is the first piece of legislation I have worked


on as a spokesperson and I am particularly grateful to him for his


advice to my own team who provided input and I would like to rank sum


of my honourable friends for their input. I would also recognise the


commitment and hard work of the staff at the CDC itself and there


are positive engagement with the opposition parties as the bill has


been progressed. This has been the first piece of legislation in this


Parliament, but I wonder if it will be the last. The minister might be


aware that I tabled a question to the Secretary of State about the


applicability of the 2006 act, now that it is required and been


replaced by the sustainable development goals. She will know


that the committee proposed a consolidated act to bring together


all the different pieces of legislation passed over recent years


and perhaps that is not such a bad idea, especially as the debate about


the purpose of development seems to be getting louder. As my honourable


friend said, throughout the Christmas recess, there seems to


have been a drip feed of very negative stories about aid spending


particularly in the gutter press and it is absolutely right that examples


of waste and inefficiency are exposed and questions asked about


value for money, but the answer is to improve transparency and


efficiency and to measure impact, especially over the longer term and


not simply to cut off the supply or take heavy-handed, but ultimately


counter-productive action. The debate on the CDC bill has


capitalised on a broader debate about aid and the government can be


assured in the coming months that the SNP will be happy to support a


cross-party and public consensus about our moral duty to help people


in need around the world and the symbolism and impact of meeting the


0.7% aid target. As we have just heard in the report stage, if the


higher standards of transparency and effectiveness are going to be


demanded, then they must equally be applied across government and to


arm's-length agency starting with the CDC in this bill. The government


did not accept amendments, but I do welcome, as the opposition front


bench has done, the commitments it has given and they will hold to


account these commitments. There is a consensus behind the need for


continued improvement of the CDC we want to maintain that consensus. The


government will see this legislation passed today and it is unlikely due


to the nature of the bill that the House of Lords will have any


opportunity to amend or delay its progress to the statute book. The


government has been given a significant responsibility, it is


asking for the power to quadruple the budget of an agency which has


chequered history, the CDC has had significant success but it has also


had significant concerns that have been raised and do remain. If its


resource base is to be scaled up, so must its accountability and the


standards it is held to and I hope that the Secretary of State and her


ministers will confirm that they are prepared for the CDC and the


Department and themselves as ministers to be held to account.


Three sensors, can I say that I think both the moral and practical


responsibility and opportunity to aid other countries, if I look back


to Christian Aid, set up after the war to develop Europe, the success


of the next 20 years was fantastic and I think the same thing can apply


to Africa and other parts of the country as well and the CDC has the


opportunity with infrastructure and education to do that. My final point


is that we have to go and reduce barriers, provide opportunities and


try to welcome other countries having the same aspirations and


achievements that we have had ourselves. Thank you. I want to


place on record by thanks to the clerk of bills and my colleagues who


have taken part and give an excellent contributions on all sides


of the House to what has been an informative and useful process of


scrutiny of this bill. I wish to make a few final brief points as we


approach this stage. I was pleased to hear at the ministers setting out


a bit more detail on the kind of time period that we can expect the


CDC can be drawing down money is over and his suggestion that it is a


five or ten year period is much more reassuring than some of the


suggestions that were earlier in the process. I would say that the


temptation will exist to draw that down at a faster rate because in the


reporting of how our aid is calculated and what proportion their


CDC counts towards that. Will I take what the minister said with great


sincerity, I would urge him to take against those who suggest dumping


money into CDC as a way of artificially meeting the target, he


should only go there with a clear plan and a business case and a clear


understanding of how that is going to contribute to poverty


eradication. I'm concerned that we are not going far enough on tax


havens. I listen to what the minister said and I will look at


with interest to that strategy. I wholeheartedly agree with the point


that my honourable friend made about what role CDC should be playing. It


should not be going for an easy live ongoing work commercial resources


would already go. There were some suggestions that it was the only


source of funding for some of these investments, that is patently not


the case and not only with our development spending overruled, but


with CDC we should be acting as a catalyst for the very best in


poverty eradication, the very best focus on some of those difficult


sectors, difficult areas where others will not go, but also for the


highest standards in sustainability, human rights and all those other


issues, we ought to act as a catalyst, not just going for an easy


return and an easy life. The thing that I still cannot quite understand


and I hope the ministers will reflect on this is that the


Secretary of State laid out some good principles in her letter on


December the 16th about transparency and open breakdowns of salaries and


tenders, material costs and due diligence in supply chains and


compliance, disclosures of conflicts of interest and I do not see why


those cannot be applied equally to CDC as they will be applied to other


spenders of our aid spending and I would urge the ministers to look


carefully at this. I don't see why those can be applied, it is a


reasonable set of requirements and I think it would be helpful to CDC.


Finally, the issue around the country is that CDC focuses on,


there is a shift, CDC is investing more in the poorest countries but it


needs to go further and I would urge ministers not to have any poverty of


ambition in the kind of framework and parameters that they set for


CDC, particularly in future disbursements ensuring that the


money goes to the poorest countries and not middle income countries who


can draw down on other sources of funding and resources of finance. I


will conclude by saying one final thing, it was reassuring in the


course of this debate to hear many positive voices making that case for


our wider role in international development, wider support for the


aid target and it was good to hear the Prime Minister rejecting the


more shrill views that have come from some of the other forces on her


own adventures and from the likes of the Daily Mail suggesting that we


should scrap the aid target. She rejected that, this is not a zero


sum game, if we ignore gross poverty and instability and insecurity, it


is not only morally wrong, but it is fundamentally going against our own


national interest and national security and global security and


stability and those are good reasons about why we need to maintain with


reasonable scrutiny, reasonable questions asked about all areas of


our development spending, that wider commitment to the poorest people and


countries in the world. The question is that the bill go on the third


time. The question is as on the order paper. As many as are of the


opinion, say "aye". To the contrary, no. . The ayes habit. We now come to


the programme motion to be mood formally. The question is as on the


order paper. As many as are of the opinion, say "aye". To the contrary,


no. . The ayes habit. We now come to the next one. Consideration of Lord


members. I must draw attention to the fact... I must draw attention to


the fact that financial privilege engaged by the Lords amendments. I


also remind the House that certain of the motions relating to those


amendments will be certified as relating exclusively to England or


to England and Wales or to England and England and Wales as set out on


the selection paper. If the House divides on the certification motion,


a double or triple majority will be required for the motion to be


passed. We will begin with a government motion to disagree with


the Lords amendment 24 on which we will consider it the other


amendments and motions listed on the selection paper. I call the minister


to move to disagree with the Lords amendments 24. Thank you Mr Deputy


Speaker, I do beg to move that this house disagrees with the amendment


20 four. This first group of amendments include ten new clauses


added to the bill in the House of Lords against the advice of the


government. They cover four separate issues, the funding of legal


representation for bereaved families at inquests were the police are


uninterested person, the maximum sentence for the offence of stalking


including fear of violence or serious alarm or distress and the


rights and entitlements of victims of crime. The government has


reflected carefully on the debates in all of the amendments in the


House of Lords, in relation to Lords amendment 13 forwards to increase


from a five to ten years of his bid to the maximum sentence for the most


serious stalking offence with the person is in fear of violence. This


government is determined to do everything it can to protect victims


of what can be a terrifying crime. The House will recall that only last


month we announce plans to introduce a new stalking protection order


which will provide a new precharge option to the police to help them


protect victims of strangers stopping in a similar way to orders


protecting victims of domestic violence and abuse.


They are to be much commended for their campaign, including their


pursuit of a bill on behalf of a Cheltenham GP, who was stalked the


seven years by a former patient. Each case must of course be


considered by the courts on the facts of that case. But given the


harm that can be caused by the most serious talking cases, we are


persuaded in such cases, judges should have greater latitude to pass


a higher sentence that affords greater protection for victims. The


government amendment will therefore do three things. Firstly, it will


increase from five to ten years imprisonment, the maximum sentence


and offensive stalking involving fear of violence or distress.


Second, it will increase the maximum sentence for the equivalent


harassment offences are putting a person in fear of violence. This


will help retain the consistency of approach to the most serious


harassment offences. Thirdly, it will increase from seven to 14 years


imprisonment the maximum sentence for the racially or religiously


aggravated a version of the section for offences. In the normal way,


these increases in penalties will only apply to offences committed on


or after the date of commencement. But I trust this amendment will have


the support of my honourable friend and indeed this House. Turning to


the other amendment in this group, the government remains firmly of the


view that however well-intentioned the motives behind them, they do


pre-empt the proper consideration of what our complex issues, and


accordingly this how should disagree with the amendments. That we take


each of the issues in turn. Number 24 would require the Prime Minister


to proceed with what is commonly known as 11 syn enquiry into the


relationships between the police and the media -- 11 syn enquiry. It is


vital please appalled higher standards, whether in their dealings


with the media or for that matter anyone else. Given the extent that


criminal investigations into phone hacking and other illegal practices


by the press that have taken place since the Levenson enquiry, and


given the implementation of the inquiry, given reforms in the


police, the government must consider whether proceeding were part two is


appropriate, proportionate and in the public interest. As honourable


members will be aware, the government has been seeking the


views of the public and parties, including those victims of abuse,


through a consultation which closes today. I will give way. It closed 17


minutes ago. The truth is that the government promised that there was


one enquiry with two parts. As far as I can see now, the government


minister at the dispatch box is effectively saying, nudge, nudge, we


aren't going to proceed with part two. If that is the case, he should


be straightforward and tell us so now. I would say do the honourable


gentleman, he should have a look again at Hansford, that is not what


I said. I was clear, we will seek the views of the public, and we've


got to look at what is appropriate, proportionate and in the public


interest. The consultation sought views on whether proceeding with


part two is still appropriate. As the last of the criminal cases has


only recently concluded, we do believe it is a appropriate time to


take stock, as the Secretary of State herself outlined. Submissions


received from this consultation will therefore be important in helping


inform the government's thinking. You may also be aware and


application has been made to review that consultation. Whilst I cannot


comment on the current legal proceedings, the government has


committed not to take any final decisions relating to the


consultation until these legal proceedings have concluded. Given


this consultation and ongoing related legal proceedings, I will


therefore suggest to the House this is not an appropriate matter for


further legislation at this moment. I hope the government will not be


intimidated by a campaign which the press are waiting at the moment. To


try to deter the government from implementing the Levenson


recommendations. Can I tell him, yesterday I submitted my monthly


article for the Aldershot News, as I have been invited to do. Very good


reading, normally, if I may so. And it was about press freedom. And I


got an e-mail yesterday evening saying that sorry, there would not


be a punishment of it, because it is contradictory to their stance on


free press. Extraordinary that the Aldershot News, owned by the daily


Mirror group, feels that it is so vulnerable they can't accept an


article by myself and my colleague for North East Hampshire, he is the


other contributed. Can I make this point? Apart from my criticism of


the Aldershot News. It does illustrate that is a real paranoia


in the media about this, and that it is our responsibility to be


absolutely straightforward about this and recognise what we are


seeking to do is not protect ourselves, but to protect ordinary


people. My honourable friend, he makes an important point, but I want


to be clear, the government will make a decision on this once we have


a chance to review the outcome, and in light of the outcome of the legal


proceedings, and not before they have concluded. Won't be awkward for


the government if they completely ignore the press recognition panel


's submission? The independently press regulation was what they were


set up to do, and they are calling for section 40 to be implemented.


They will review it, the Secretary of State will look carefully at it.


We are committed not to make decisions early. This speaker has


certified this amendment is engaging financial privilege. Our view is


amendment 24 is necessary, inappropriate and ill timed. Turning


to 96, the government understands the reasoning behind it. We seek to


provide public funding legal representation for families at


inquests. It may now be almost seven months since 's house mass debated


this issue at report stage of this bill. But the position has not


changed. Our view remains we should await the report expected this


spring from Bishop James Jones, into the experiences of the Hillsborough


families. The opposition has argued it goes beyond Hillsboro, and I


don't dispute that. The experience the families will have significant


relevance for other families facing different tragic circumstances. The


issue of legal representation at inquests will undoubtedly be one


aspect of those experiences. This is James's report will provide


learning, so it is right we do not seek to pre-empt his review --


Bishop James. For this reason, I predicted the House this amendment


is at this point premature. As with other advancements, we must take


into account the potential significant financial implications


of amendment 90 six. The resource implications are just one


consideration, and can't be ignored. The Speaker has certified this


amendment as engaging financial privilege. Finally, 1362142, the


seek to make further provision in respect to victims rights -- 136 to


142. We will protect burnable victims and witnesses, and spare


them the ordeal of going to court, through video links and pre-recorded


cross exam nation. These amendments would result in an unstructured


framework of rights and entitlements that is not founded on evidence of


gaps or deficiencies, or even of what victims of crime want and need.


Some amendments are necessary because a duplicate provisions which


have been acting on by the government already. Could the


Minister tell the House when the Green paper considering the need for


a victim role, which was first mooted last year, will be published?


I would say we are committed to getting measures to strengthen


further the rights of victims, we need to take the time to get it


right. We will announce plans in due course. It is quite important be


clear 138 and 139 similarly unnecessary, as the training of all


staff is taken very seriously. In relation to 141 on quality


standards, the victims commissioners role encompasses good practice, and


the operation of the victims code, which is a detailed set of victims


entitlements. In addition, Police and Crime Commissioners enter into


grant funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Justice to


receive the funds to do so. Those agreements set out a range of


minimal standards for the services. We are reviewing existing standards


to make sure we have the best possible framework in place. These


amendments individually and taken together are uncosted, vague and


duplicative. They could impose significant obligations of financial


burdens on the criminal justice system. In relation to amendment


142, it is not clear what the purpose of directing a homicide


report would be. It is unnecessary. There is already a requirement for a


review to identify lessons to be learned from the death in domestic


homicide cases. Putting aside the many difficulties we have with a


detail of this, government is looking at what is required to


strengthen further the right of victims of crime. We are looking at


available information about: clients and look and how it can be improved.


We are focused on making sure we get this work right. We will ensure any


future reform proposals are evidence base, fully costed, effective and


proportionate. Mr Deputy Speaker, as I've indicated, the intention behind


these amendments is laudable but is in relation to amendment 134, we are


persuaded the case has been well made to increase the maximum


sentence for the more serious stalking and harassment offences. As


for other Lords amendments, as responsible governments, we do not


want to adopt a scatter-gun approach. Nor can we afford to be


free and easy with taxpayers money by incurring substantial new


spending commitments without offering any indication as to where


the additional resources will come from. In relation to victims in


particular, they have got to give evidence in court. What would the


government do about strengthening, protecting these witnesses? Very


often they are elderly people frightened to go and give witness


against the person accuse. We are looking to strengthen their rights,


but in a proper, proportionate and appropriate way. Taken at face value


the criticisms he levels with regard to provisions for victims of crime,


can he tell the House why it is the government have not brought forward


amendments in lieu, instead of as asking to disagree with these


amendments? This was, after all, something in the Conservative


manifesto at the last election. How long do we have to wait? As I have


said, we do want to look at doing is, we want to do it correctly and


proportionately. I want to do the work, and in due course will come


forward. We will make sure we are doing it in a proper way, and given


this, 24, 96 amendments are premature and confuse, and focus and


unnecessary. As such, I argue they should be rejected by this House.


Does the House disagree with these amendments? Happy New Year to you


and to the Minister. Mr Speaker, we support amendments 24, 96, 100 to


142, along with the consequential amendments 159, 302, framed and


seven -- 307. We support consequential amendments 305, and


are glad to see the government has chosen to accept these. We won not


therefore oppose the position on amendment one 34. I would like to


take the opportunity to thank those who have worked to bring these


issues to our attention, in particular the noble ladies Baroness


O'Neill and Baroness Brinton, and let me congratulate my noble friend


's, whose determination and outstanding advocacy for the most


vulnerable in our society has led to the government accepting our


amendments to the stalking code. Each of these issues before is is


deserving of a full debate in its own right. But we have a short


amount of time and I will deal with each of the amendment in turn.


Amendment 24 with consequential amendment 159, insert new clause


which requires the government to commission an independent enquiry


into the way the police handle complaints relating to allegations


of corruption between the police and newspaper organisations. It is


commonly known as the leathers and to amendment because it is similar


in scope to the proposed second part of the leather is an inquiry --


Levenson. As proposed by Judge Levinson in 2011. This is a proposed


examination into, and I quote, whether the police received corrupt


payments or were otherwise competent in misconduct and into any failure


of the police and others to properly investigate allegations relating to


News International and other news organisations. And let us not forget


what the former Prime Minister, the right honourable David Cameron,


said, and I quote, when I set up this enquiry, I also said there


would be a second part to investigate wrongdoing in the press


and the police, including the conduct of the first police


investigation. The consultation could be seen as a


weakening of that commitment. This underlines the need for the clarity


that this amendment would provide. Part one of the Leveson Inquiry


found unhealthy links between senior Metropolitan Police officers and


newspaper executives, links which led to high-level resignations.


There are also issues around the relationship between the police and


the press at a more local level where prior information appears to


be provided about particular people to be arrested or a particular


search to be carried out. All of these serious breaches speak to a


fundamental need for us as a nation to assess the proper relationship


between the police, the press, the public and the system of complaints.


The proposed second stage of the Leveson Inquiry would have answered


these sorts of questions and Labour has consistently supported it but


sadly, real doubts are emerging about the government's commitment to


the second stage of this enquiry. No timetable has been announced and the


government has stated that it will not take place until all criminal


investigations and trials related to part one are concluded. I will give


way. Isn't the government's position sensible? There have been a


succession of criminal trials looking at this matter and those


have gone through in a proper judicial way, that most of the


information we need is already available and that to go on in


acquiring and enquiry is merely adding caused to the already ?50


million cost that there has been for the taxpayer? I am really sorry that


the honourable gentleman continues to plough this path because as I


have said, it was quite clearly the second part of this enquiry was


quite clearly in the mind of his Prime Minister when he made the


statements, when he made the statements to this House about a


part too. If we cannot accept the words of his Prime Minister, his


Prime Minister, a guarantee by his Prime Minister. Oh really. I have


let him put his concern on the record. The Prime Minister is to the


sovereign and not to me. I have heard some specious arguments in


this place... Anyway. Mr Speaker, the amendment before us today, I


hope is acceptable to the benches opposite and the Minister, because


is explicit that the enquiry should not begin until the Attorney General


determines that the enquiry would not be prejudicial to any ongoing


criminal investigation -- investigations are core cases. To


oppose this amendment is tantamount to admitting that the government is


no longer committed to an investigation into corruption


between news organisations and the police and that they are not


prepared to investigate how allegations of corruption are dealt


with. If the government block amendment 24 today, the public


really can have no option but to draw the conclusion that this


government has no commitment to ask in the important and hard questions


of our national institutions. I now turn to amendment 96 with


consequential amendment 302 proposed in the other place. The purpose of


this amendment is to establish the principle of parity of legal funding


for bereaved families at inquest involving the police. Many


honourable members and friends have championed this caused during the


passage of this bill and elsewhere and I pay particular tribute to the


tireless campaigning and a personal commitment of my right honourable


friend, the member for relief. An equal funding at inquest and the


associated injustices are highlighted by the sorrow saga of


the Hillsborough hearings, the scales of justice were weighted


against the families of those who had lost their lives. Public money


was not used to discover the truth, but instead to defend an untenable


narrative perpetuated by the South Yorkshire Police. The coroner,


dealing with the first pre-inquest hearings into the 21 victims of the


1974 Birmingham pub bombings backed applications for their bereaved


families to get legal funding for proper representation. He commended


their application but he did not have the power to authorise the


funds. These are major cases which have attracted considerable public


interest. But inquest in which the police are legally represented are


not confined to major tragedies such as Hillsborough. Far more common are


inquest into the deaths of individuals who are little known.


Many bereaved families can find themselves in and add the soil and


aggressive environment when they go to in inquest, many are not in a


position to match the spending of the police or other parts of the


public sector when it comes to their own legal representation. If --


bereaved families have to try if at all possible to find their own money


to have any sort of legal representation. We on the opposition


benches believe that the overwhelming public interest at


these inquests lies in discovering the truth. It follows public money


should be there to establish the truth and not just protect public


institutions and that must mean equal funding. In the Other Place,


the government accepted that many would sympathise with the attention


of this amendment, the former Home Secretary has commissioned the


former Bishop of Liverpool, Bishop James Jones, to rip compile a report


on the experiences of the Hillsborough families and we are


encouraged to wait for his report before considering the issues


further. But we already know that a system of unequal funding at inquest


is wrong, public funds are being denied and are being used to deny


justice and hide the truth. The government needs to act now to


change a process that appears to be geared more towards trying to grind


down breed families than enabling them to get out the truth. The


government should really accept this amendment today. She makes a very


strong point and I urge the government front bench to listen


closely to the point the honourable lady is making. It is too often the


case that people who die while in the care of the state and in a


detained environment go up against the might of the state and that is


simply not fair and it shouldn't be tolerated. I am really grateful to


the honourable member for that point. Mr Speaker, we also support


amendment one 36-142, proposed in the Other Place by Baroness Brinton.


These amendments are designed to improve the way that the criminal


justice system interacts with the victims of crime and they are based


on the work of my honourable friend, the member for Holborn and Saint


pancreas. I presume that these amendments will be acceptable to the


benches opposite, because as we have heard, they had the effect of


enacting the 2015 Conservative manifesto commitment to introduce a


victims bill of rights. Let me remind my honourable friend, the


minister, and quote to him the manifesto. It says, we will


strengthen victims rights further with a new victims law that will


enshrine key rights for victims. I understand that the minister, the


member for Hemel Hempstead, has already committed to a Green paper


on this issue, in a private meeting with the campaign group, voice for


victims last year, but we have yet to see sight of it. The legislation


before us is the ideal opportunity for them to take the matter forward,


so I encourage the government, even at this late stage, to think again


and not oppose this amendment today. Mr Speaker, the House will know that


victims rights are currently protected in the victims code which


was introduced in 2005 by a Labour government and which we still


support. However, the right included in this code are not legally binding


and in the last few years, it has become clear that a firmer legal


basis is required to give distressed and vulnerable victims the


protection that they need. Can the honourable member giveaway? Thank


you. I wonder would she agree with me that the European directive on


victims rights of 2012, if that was put on a statutory footing in


England and Wales it would be following the lead that happens in


Scotland already? She is absolutely right. I think that talking about


Europe might be too much of a red flag in this chamber today!


Moreover, if we passed these amendments today, they would create


a statutory duty on selected police leadership to produce an area 's


victims plan, depending on local needs and would require the


commissioner for victims and witnesses to assess the ankle --


adequacy of these plans and finally they would empower the Secretary of


State to order a homicide review and that is basically a cold case review


when nobody has been charged with a crime. Taken together, these


measures would allow the victims code to be better in forced and to


ensure that our criminal justice system works better for the victims


of crime and that the government will, I hope, offer their


wholehearted support to these amendments. And finally, I turned to


amendment 134 with consequential amendment 305 proposed by my noble


friend Aaron Harris Royale, which increases the maximum penalty for


those found guilty of stalking from 5-10 years and in cases where the


offence is racially or religiously aggravated, between 7-14. We are


delighted that the government has chosen to accept our case and I


congratulate my noble friend, who has pursued this campaign. Home


Office data suggest that as many as one in five women and one in ten men


will be stalked at some point in their lives, but just because


stalking is common, it doesn't mean it is not a serious matter. It


destroys lives, it violates an individual's right to privacy and


therefore destroys their personal freedoms. It causes fear and rightly


so, since too often it is a precursor to violent confrontation.


I know that sentencing guidelines and specific sentences are the


responsibility of the sentencing council, and the judges


respectively, but extending the maximum penalty will allow for


greater flexibility in the most serious cases and make it clear that


stalking is a serious offence. It is the Labour Party which has provided


the government with the opportunity to give judges the necessary


flexibility to hand out appropriate sentences to what our serious


criminals. I am delighted that the government has seen this need and


responded so appropriately. I rise to support the government's


amendment on stalking. This is a momentous day, because these


proposed measures which would have the effect of significantly


strengthening protections for victims of stalking represent the


culmination of a 16 month campaign. What began with a meeting with my GP


constituent in 2015, I truly hope ends here today. Because in doubling


the maximum sentences for stalking, the government's proposals


emphatically and decidedly do two things. First, they recognise that


stalking is not a minor offence, instead it is a horrible, violating,


destructive tribe that rips apart relationships, ruins careers and can


cause lasting mental harm and all too often it is the gateway to


serious violence. Second, the government's amendments ensure that


the courts will have the tools they need to do with the most serious


cases, accordingly. Most crucially of all, it will give them powers to


truly protect victims and put their needs front and centre in a criminal


justice system. Let me be clear, one we are talking about stalking


victims, we are not simply referring to the rich and famous, instead but


this campaign has made crystal clear, it is ordinary men and women


who can fall victim just as readily and just as severely as those in the


public eye. The context... Before the honourable gentleman continues,


can I say, I want to mention the work he has done on this and I want


to congratulate him for it. Very gracious and I am grateful for it.


The context briefly for these proposals was the horrific


seven-year ordeal suffered by my constituent at the hands of her


former patient and I will not go through all the detail now, but some


of the details. He turned up at her surgery over 100 times, he posted


fowl items through the letterbox and followed her on patient visits,


slashed tyres and sent threatening male, appeared at a children's


birthday party attended by her daughter and caused anxiety and fear


and after serving a short prison sentence, he restarted his campaign.


She received packages at her surgery and at home, one was threatening and


abusive and made sure that she knew that he knew what school and her


children attended. A search on his computer revealed a search for how


long after a person dispirit issue presumed dead?


The judge went on to say, I'm frustrated the maximum sentence as


five years, I would if I could give you longer. These proposals mean


instead of the maximum sentence being lower than the shoplifting,


the maximum would be put on a par with another of setting crime,


burglary. It means we no longer have the completely unsatisfactory


situation where the maximum a stalker could serve in prison on


entering a guilty plea, even for the worse manageable offence, is just 20


months. I should make clear what it is not about. It is not about saying


all stalking cases should suddenly lead to longer sentences, that is


for the courts. It is about ensuring in the most serious cases where


victims are truly at risk of serious harm, physical or mental, that the


court have the tools they need to protect the innocent. Nor is it


about throwing away the key and giving up on offenders. I and others


want to see prison sentences which reform the offender and address and


aligning obsession in an effective way. The reality is in fact that


longer sentences in appropriate cases can provide the prison system


were a great opportunity to rehabilitate and trade. In closing I


want to thank those parliamentarians from all sides, including the


Baroness who back these measures. And in both... In this place and in


their support for the detailed report I co-authored with my


honourable friend, the MP for Gloucester. I want to page should be


to this government. I am proud that more has been done by this


government since 2015 and in Coalition to recognise the


seriousness of this type of offending. In just a decade stalking


has gone from being treated as almost a joke to be recognised the


serious offence it is. This step today builds on vital work that has


gone before, from creating the offence in 2012 to enacting stalking


protection orders. And it can be seen in the context of other vital


measures relevant to this subject, not least Clare's Law. Can I just


enlighten him, he wasn't in the House when the stalking bill was


introduced by a Labour government as a result of a private members bill


against a lot of opposition by his party at the time. I am very sure,


but it was a Coalition, Conservative led government that made it get on.


In the spirit of being entirely conservatory, I do recognise a lot


of people have made 11. Can close by saying I'm grateful to the victims,


typically but not exclusively women, I have spoken to many charities.


But above all, and finally, I want to page should be to my concert and


Doctor Aston. It was her ordeal which triggered -- triggered this --


paid tribute to my constituent Doctor Aston. Her greatest wish, I


know, is that future victims can receive the full measure of justice.


If these proposals are carried out that would be precisely the result.


I commend the amendments to the House. I had not intended to come


along today, and it is a pleasure to follow the honourable member from


Cheltenham, who rightly speaks of real progress being made in the


stalking Bill, and that actually there is no need to have some sort


of pimping over Houston more overt domestic violence, sexual violence


and stalking, because we should be trying to do everything we can. I


don't care who does it, as long as it gets done. The issue I think the


build today, it will mean nothing if in practice legislation is not


realised and I'm afraid to say that as somebody who has worked on the


front line, so after that we make brilliant rules in this place


beautiful, fancy written rules on all the fancy goat skins, and means


absolutely nothing to people living in the places. Because of resources,


because of issues around is housing. And that is why I want to stand and


talk about the victims code and the amendments around the victims Bill


that was put forward by my honourable friend from St Pancras


and urged the government to consider the amendments and make a more


robust framework. The victims code is brilliant, it is... I have no


doubt everyone here is committed to making things better for victims. I


don't sign up to the idea you are baddies and we are goodies, we all


come here because we want to make something better. At the moment, as


somebody who was the victims champing at the Birmingham and at a


huge piece of work on victims, and victims code, with the government's


commissioner, what I found is that if you could find the victim that


knew what the victims code was, I will give you some cash now. Because


people don't realise they've got this many days you ask for this,


people don't realise they have that many, that they can have a


statement. Only 30% of people remembered being asked for one. If I


ask members here to think back to the day the murderer of our friend


and colleague Jo Cox was sentenced, the thing we don't remember from


that day is that man. The thing we remember is Brendan Cox standing and


making the victims statement outside the court, that he had made inside


the court, because he knew he had the rights to do it. That is rare,


but it was so powerful in that case. It is imperative that we look at the


amendments around the Victim's Law and see how we can strengthen them


because I am telling you now, from my experience, not you, Mr Speaker,


I am telling all that people, the victims code is a hope as far as


people are concerned. And the amendments that have been put down


today, the opposition amendments, would definitely make it stronger


and definitely the victims of stalking, definitely for victims of


sexual violence. So I would ask the government to think again. I also


just want to make a quick point about the amendments around is


inequality of arms in cases where the state is an actor in, I stand


and speak with a victims of the Birmingham pub bombings who are not


just my constituents, they are my friends. Their plight at the moment,


we have a matter of weeks to answer their plight. Currently the coroner,


the chief coroner agrees with them they have not been provided with an


equality of arms, so an adjournment has taken place before their inquest


can be reopened, and we have until February to right that wrong, and at


the moment I see nothing that is telling me that is going to change.


And I would ask the government again to look at these amendments and


think, how would you feel if it was the constituencies, the families in


your constituency? As the families of the Hillsborough... With regard


to the Birmingham situation I would consider, I'm happy to have a


conservation outside. I think she's not understood what has happened. I


will give her more information. I am only too aware the Minister will


almost silly tell meet the legal aid has been granted, that legal aid --


almost certainly tell me. Whilst I am more than happy to meet with the


Minister out of here, I will wager I know a bit more about it. And


perhaps leaders. I would be delighted to be proven wrong -- than


perhaps he does. I will be delighted and stand on every single platform I


can to say how I was wrong and the Minister knew more than me, if


that's what he has to tell me. I will look forward to that. I will


conclude by saying that I think we will want something better, we all


want victims be treated better, and the honourable member from


Cheltenham has shown with passion how that can be realise, but what we


do in this place, unless we make sure our regulations are enacted,


you know, it is slightly from nothing. So I would ask them to look


again at the amendments around victims rights. Mr Speaker, in the


last parliament I was politically incontinent, voting against the


government, and I tried to make sure in this Parliament I was only in one


lobby and that was a government lobby. I've managed, I've managed


that. For the past 18 months, and I've just so disappointed on this


occasion the government isn't willing to accept amendment 96


because quality of representation is critical. I spoken in this place in


previous comments about the terrible tragedy of deaths in custody, deaths


in detained environments. Let us look at specifically deaths whilst


in police custody. If a person dies whilst in police custody, there is a


coroner's enquiry, and you have a total inequality of representation


at that enquiry, you have a family of the deceased up against the


state, the police and legal representation. That legal


representation is given to the police without question, it is


funded without question, where the families of the deceased, at a time


of huge emotional turmoil, have their finances poured through with a


fine tooth comb. Not just the finances are parents, but those of


siblings, the finances of uncles and even cousins, to see if the family


can bear the cost of the legal representation. That is entirely


unfair, it is not just, and I do think the Lords amendment is very


sensible in its scope, and I would hope even at this late stage, if no


other reason to keep me out of a lobby I don't really want to be in,


the government might consider accepting this Lords amendment so we


can all finished the evening on a very happy and unified note. Thank


you very much, Mr Speaker. I don't think it'll be a unified note by the


end of the date, and there was an element of irony in his contribution


there. I want to pay tribute to the November chanter men for --


honourable member for Cheltenham. The legislation has changed since


1997. It is Gerdes this is now recognise for the terrible harm it


is done to many victims. I want to talk about, because this is a


smorgasbord debate, I went to go back to the Levenson issues and to


amendment number 24. Which I wish wasn't necessary. It is only


necessary, it has only been put on the order paper because their


lordships and a large number of us are distrustful of the government 's


intention in relation to what happened over Levenson. The truth


is, I believe it is necessary to have the full Levenson, that is on


two levels of enquiries, it is a one enquiry, some of which could be done


before the criminal investigations were completed and some of which


which could not be done until they were completed. That was always the


promise, it was never, we will think about having two before the criminal


investigation, it was always from the very beginning, there will be


one enquiry with two parts and the second part will happen. In fact,


the Prime Minister in the quotes given by my right honourable friend


the West Ham earlier, he said those words, the day after Levenson one


had been produced. So there is no excuse for ministers to turn around


now and say, no, we never intended to proceed with it, and why does it


matter, why is it important? The truth is we are talking about


corruption in one of the organisations of the state that


matters most to our constituents and to the rule of law in this country.


The police. There was a time, I'm sure the vast majority of us agree,


from the little bit of pieces we've managed to glean from number one,


that the Metropolitan Police to all intents and purposes was a partially


owned subsidiary of News International. Members of staff from


the Metropolitan Police went to work when News International and when


they had finished there, they went back to work for the Metropolitan


Police, there was a revolving door. On the very day that the police


decided not to continue with the investigation into what had happened


at the News of the World 's, the leading investigator was having


dinner with Rebekah Brooks. Now, we don't know all the facts the cars


Lord Justice Levenson quite rightly said, I cannot investigate all these


elements of the corruption in the Metropolitan Police, and what went


on at the News of the World until such time as could not


investigations have completed. They are now complete. I would reiterate,


it wasn't just the Prime Minister, David Cameron, who made these


promises, it was the then Home Secretary, who repeatedly, time time


said in his house there would be Levenson to, not if it proves


necessary, not perhaps there would be lovers and two, there would be


Levenson two and it would be proceeded with, as is necessary in


according with the law. Now, I would just say to the


government who seem, from the way they have conducted themselves,


since the new government came in to post, that they need to listen to


some of the other members on their own site, like the honourable member


from Aldershot and the member for North Herefordshire who have quite


rightly made the point that the government is walking itself into a


cul-de-sac here. The truth of the batteries, this House and the Other


Place agreed legislation, section 40 of the act which has yet to be


implemented, this House and the other House agreed nearly


unanimously, that we would set up a Royal Charter to put a body in place


that was going to decide on the independent regulation of the press.


That body, if the Royal Charter is to be withdrawn is going to get a


two thirds majority in this house and a two thirds majority in the


House of Lords, that is not going to happen, this is a cul-de-sac that


the government is walking into unless it chooses to act and act


swiftly. Now, I believe that the government should already have


implemented section 40 and I would just say that the honourable member


for Aldershot is absolutely right when he comments on the wholly


exaggerated campaign being run by the press at the moment. It is


something very simple, that the victims of press intrusion where


promised and the honourable member for North Herefordshire gain is


right to say it is not about us, it is not about celebrities, I don't


give much of a fig about what happens in relation to them, we put


ourselves in the public domain and to some degree we have it coming.


However, what really upsets and some others have done it more than


others, however, what really upsets me, is the victims of crime when


they had their phones hacked, it is a victims of crime, the people of


so, why do we originally do our investigation back then? It is


because the people of so felt that all of their privacy was invaded,


they had no means of saying go away, leave us alone and they were the


victims, they were not the perpetrators of crime. What we want


is something very very simple, a genuinely independent system of


self-regulation and those who say that the new ipso, it is no better.


And it is exactly the same as the Press Complaints Commission, it has


no more teeth than the previous organisation, it has some of the


same staff and virtually the same code of conduct, it is not


independent. We want a code of conduct that can be relied upon so


that the intrusion into the victims of crime stops. We want a right of


apology and the correction that is in a newspaper given the same


prominence as the original offending article. I would have thought that


it was in the interests of all the press at a really difficult time for


them, that there should be a cheap system of rectification. Mr Speaker,


the only reason that this amendment is on the order paper is because we


want the government to stand by the promises it made and I see the


Secretary of State for culture, Olympics, media and sport and I say


to her, I hope she is Quetta walkers any further down this cul-de-sac,


because it will do the victims of crime Knowles favour. It will look


as if should we have simply caved in to a nasty, tawdry little campaign


by the press. Sir Peter Bottomley. Can I say that I think that article


40 should not be introduced? I think that to say to 90% of the local,


regional and national press there will be forced into a grip they do


not want to join, is bullying of the worst kind and if that Council of


Europe looked at this and saw it, they would say it is interference in


the free media. William Holm, who has been described, defied the law


over criminal libel and we have to remember that our press basically


got their freedom from that moment when ordinary people in this country


on juries refused to connect because they said that the media did not


have the right to lampoon, be rude or investigate. People ought to ask


the question, what with the effect of the article the? Wooded enquiries


investigative journalism? It would not. It would be a good idea if


those who were backing this idea would give a list of the cases for


defamation cases were successful and wrong, including politicians who


denied that they were drunk overseas and various other criminals who


later turned out to be guilty of the things they were accused by the


media. We rely on the media to find the things that few people know


about, to make them available... And the whole effect of Article 40 is to


chill the opportunity for the media to investigate and report. That is


why, I believe that this House would be wrong to force government to


bring in Article 40 and a hope we do not and I hope those in favour of it


will find other ways of pursuing their own names. He has concluded


his speech. Mr Richard Graham. Mr Speaker, thank you for calling me to


speak today. And I speak to support the government amendment 24 as


strongly as I possibly can do. It recognises the force of the


arguments laid out in the report by my honourable friend, the member for


Cheltenham in March last year about stalking, the case for extending the


maximum sentence. This report summarised work by our researchers,


through them we met victims, stalking charities, academics and


police specialists and everything we learned confirmed our initial


instinct that there are a small number of very dangerous stalkers,


like, I am afraid, my constituent, Raymond Knight who pursued Doctor


Ellner Aston to the point of nervous breakdown. Mr Speaker, today,


therefore, I want to pay tribute to the government. For accepting our


report and its single recommendation of doubling the maximum sentence


from stalking from five to ten years, amending appropriate sections


in the act about religious and racial harassment. And also for


outlining in correspondence and additional training that will be


part of dealing with the mental health issues of the serious


stalkers. I know that the Home Office and the Department of Justice


have worked closely on this together and I am grateful to both ministers


here today for their actions. I also want to thank Gloucestershire -based


Baroness Royale in the Lords for her commitment and contribution. All


those who informed us and shared some harrowing experiences,


including a constituent and her family and I would like to quote


from her 16-year-old daughter, if members would like to hear what she


said. 16-year-old daughter of my constituent who was so egregious Lee


stalked told us, he, the stalker, broke into my house one night, all


the knives in the nice standard were gone, I was sure, she said, I was


going to die. In this particular case, my constituent and her family


preferred to remain anonymous, not least because my constituent has


been moved by the police to a safe house, far from her home and her own


children. For all those who informed us, educated us and motivated us, I


am extremely grateful. Mr Speaker, the work that I have had with my


neighbour, the MP for Cheltenham, I suspect means that the neighbouring


constituencies of Cheltenham and Gloucester have not worked so


closely since the creation of the Cheltenham and Gloucester building


society, now, alas, long since gone. It is on a good cause that we come


together in supporting the government's change of law today.


The amendment, amendment 24 means that judges will have the


flexibility they need, victims will, as Dr Eleanor Aston said will be


able to sleep more easily with the worst stalkers are sentence and the


stalkers understand better, on the one hand the seriousness of their


crime, and on the other, receive more help in resolving what is a


severe obsession and mental health issue. Of course, this is not, as


the member for Birmingham Yardley pointed out, this is not in itself


going to stop stalking. But it shows that victims and judges are heard,


and MPs and ultimately the government listens and that laws can


be changed, so that sentences better reflect what a particular crime can


inflict on innocent victims, most of whom, and particularly in the


instance that inspired my neighbour and I, are women. Ultimately,


justice is only as good as the laws that we adapt and how these and


fermented. And Mr Speaker, in this context, can I pay tribute also to


the Prime Minister, who made stalking a crime on the statue of


big when she was Home Secretary and to the current Home Secretary who


introduced protection orders against stalkers. Let me finish by coming


back to where this campaign started. The judge and the victim in


Gloucester Crown Court. Thank you to Dr Eleanor Aston for inspiring us,


being strong and for having faith, two other victims, for opening their


hearts and sharing their stories, to the stalking charities and to the


trust which is a leader in this sad area. This part of the journey for


justice for victims of stalking is now close to over. Even if the


member for Birmingham Yardley has reminded us that there will always


be other issues to be raised and resolved, but today's amendment,


however, deserves all of our support. Thank you. Sir Gerald


Howarth. Thank you for calling me and if I may say, I think the whole


House has listened with great respect to my honourable friend from


Cheltenham and my honourable friend from Gloucester, for bringing to the


attention of the whole House and the country, the appalling consequences


of stalking and I joined others in saluting the efforts that they have


made in persuading the government to recognise the gravity of this crime


and reaching this result tonight, which we can all applaud. I thank


the honourable member for pointing out my contribution and earlier


intervention to the Minister about section 40 and Amendment 24. I am


not going to vote for Amendment 24 tonight, because the government has


agreed to have a consultation process and I think it is right that


that consultation process should run and as I said to the minister


earlier, I do hope the government will not be intimidated by what was


called, the campaign by the newspapers, who seemed to me to be


struck by an extraordinary sense of paranoia and a feeling of


vulnerability, when we all know, from the many cases that have


appeared, that they are the ones who really are in the driving seat and


they have power without a lot of responsibility. And therefore, I


think that after having gone through all the Levenson report and enquiry


and the subsequent report and not paying attention to that very


detailed and considered piece of work, that we should follow what the


Prime Minister then, David Cameron, said that Parliament should do.


Since the Aldershot news were unwilling to publish my article


from, today, perhaps I could give the has the benefit of the article


which will no longer appear in the paper. Since it is my honourable and


learned friend suggest, I put it in the lobby, but I think he might be


better informed, if not wiser, if I do it. He is a great man, anyway!


LAUGHTER. What I said is this, I believe in a free press, but I'll is


a believer in a responsible press and sadly the newspapers are


becoming increasingly paranoid about what they see as an attack on them


and refusing to accept the recommendation of the latest enquiry


under Lord Justice Leveson that an independent regulator be


established. That was set up after an appalling series of intrusions


into the private lives of people which included phone hacking on an


industrial scale. The Dowler's body was found 200 yards from the


boundary of my constituency and back case really did strike at the heart


-- Millie Dowler. Phone hacking is brought up again and again by


colleagues in this house, who want to make sense of the press in my


view. Phone hacking is a criminal offence and people have gone to jail


for it. There is no need for any further laws.


The fact is the inquiry would not have taken place if it wasn't for


the fact phone hacking was discovered as an industrial scale.


They were engaging in it, it was immoral, some went to prison


following legal action. I think it is hard for those who have not


experienced an assault by the media to appreciate the level of distress


it causes. I know because some 30 years ago, together with my then


colleague Neil Hamilton, I had to see the BBC panorama programme for


libel, which we weren't and had a director-general of the BBC fired,


but at the risk of bankruptcy and my seat in this place. If we had lost


the case. And for the record, our costs were something like ?273,000,


so I say to my right on boyfriend of Worthing -- right honourable friend.


It is all well for those who have money, they can access justice, but


this is all about providing remedy for those who do not have money and


cannot afford to undertake that sort of action. Since 1945 there have


been no less than five Royal commissions and enquiries to secure


a better and cheaper form of justice for those maligned by powerful media


barons. It is worth bearing in mind my legal costs, when it came too


soon the Metropolitan Police to try and make sure they gave me


information about what happened to me, was framed and ?83,000. My legal


costs in relation to suing Rupert Murdoch -- 380 ?3000. I didn't pay


anything. Those arrangements of no-win, no fee and no longer


available in these cases. He makes...


Time and again the reporter threatened new laws of the industry


failed to sort itself out, the industry failed. In his 1983 report,


it was said it is not an effective regulator of the press, it is set by


the industry, financed by the industry, dominated by it and


operating in a code of practice devised by the industry, which is


over federal to wait. In 2012, Leveson recommended newspapers


should be self regulated and the government should have no power over


what they publish. He oversaw propose a new press standards body


created by the industry. The new self regulated body should be


underpinned by a law to recognise the new body and ensure it meets


certain requirements, to also enshrined a legal duty to protect


the freedom of the press. And, I quote, to provide a fair, quick and


inexpensive service to deal with any complaints about its publications.


So, here we have it, there is a proposal on the table which it so is


perfectly at liberty to take up. But they should not be dominated by


former press people, and that is exactly what it is all about. I am


not advocating it, but I see no reason why they should organise


themselves in a way in which they are compliant. Instead they set of


body dominated by former editors, which does not beat the Leveson


conditions. In a moment. The government is right to consult, but


I do not believe the newspapers have anything to fear from these


proposals, I believe that they will be in the interest of the press,


above all they will provide a remedy for those who cannot afford to seek


a remedy to date, and surely the responsibility of the sows is to


remedy injustice. And before I sit down and give way... He knows how


much I return his respect. And how much normally I would regard him as


an infallible guide to almost everything on the planet, but in


this case to suggest ipso is dominated by editors, and an


independent judge, is over emphasising the point. I'm grateful


for his belief in my infallibility and I can ensure him he won't be


misguided on this one, for I am infallible on this one as well. To


make my point is, in answer to his, it may be that as a judge in the


driving seat, but it is dominated, the majority are press and former


press people. It is true that seven of the 12 former press people. And


this does not need the Leveson conditions. If they need them, we


will all be happy. It is a pleasure to be called,


physically following some of the passionate contributions we've had.


Whilst my focus will be on amendments 136142, having had the


comments we've already had about matters relating to the press, my


thoughts are drawn to the fact we've heard about the Aldershot News. In


Torbay is to read thousands of homes receive a publication which talks


about local news, talks about local issues, gives the odd opinion on


them. It is called my weekly e-mail update. Subject only to libel laws,


subject to only what I'm happy to talk about and defend as a local


member of Parliament. That thing that needs to be borne in mind with


the debate we are having. We are now in a different era for the knee


jerk, where more and more as moving online -- for the media. There is no


such thing as a press regulator for someone who does not have a press,


where websites can be based across the world and are difficult to track


down and are liable levels, let alone to try and regulate. We have


to remember the era when people just walk down the news agent each


morning and then each evening to buy a local newspaper have pretty much


come to an end. And actually there is a whole Grove, when we talk about


fake news stories in relation to local elections, it wasn't


newspapers putting them out, it wasn't print media, it was various


people online, particularly websites which work as Clerc parade, with


misleading headlines which people share, or doesn't get to the centre


of it. There has been simmering secluded online that is misleading,


if you know the facts, but if you read the headline. Will be affected


by press regulation? No, it is nothing to do with press regulation


because it is not a printed material. It is why we need to be


conscious that the area where merely a print publication could circulate


something is disappearing, and what we do in terms of having a special


system that puts them at a disadvantage will increasingly make


them not as dominant as they were. We will see more local newspapers


close, as find themselves being the arbiters of all opinion. Unless


people... Most constituents can make the own common sense and a pinch of


salt with many of the claims they receive online and in the media, but


we have libel laws, and we need to remember that. You see, I've had


this argument many times that the libel laws are there and that's all


very fine and dandy. But the truth is people of Hillsborough had no


opportunity, no legal remedy at all whatsoever to be able to return the


lies, not libel is because the people were dead, the lies said


about them for many years. That is why we need a proper independent


press regulator, which is independent and governed,


independent of politics and the proprietors. The reality is if


someone wants to spread mistruths they will do it on the Internet, in


a similar manner, which would not be covered by Ivor of these proposed


systems. This is where we see that type of story circulated. In the


1980s, the Internet was something that a few universities used and the


world wide web was something the US military had developed in terms of


its own communications in the event of World War III. It was not, as we


saw today. We need to be conscious of what the position is to date, in


terms of how we have legislation, and that we don't set out with an


industry which in many cases are struggling to survive and in


decline, and actually end up with a situation we throw the baby the bath


water. In terms of my main thrust of the comments I wish to make, was in


relation to amendments 136 to 142. I have listened to the honourable


member for Birmingham, G has a valid point when he says it is easy to put


things on a goat skins. They sound marvellous, fantastic but when you


look at it on the ground, what different it makes isn't there. I


will agree with the government's motion to disagree with the Lord's


in amendments. It is the fact that when I look at Lord amendments 137,


some of it is relatively vague. What is adequate notice, not defined.


Also when we look at making the police and other authorities liable


for... There must be unnecessary delay, which, again, how can they be


held liable if it is the defence which decides to engage and delay?


It is the judiciary have the role to prevent court cases being delayed.


The whole point of all of these amendments is that actually in the


criminal justice system, all of those actors have a responsibility,


whether that is to courts, the CPS, the defence, whether it is the


police. The pointers, it would make it more robust about how we would


monitor how well they were doing on those things. So it doesn't matter


who is to blame, what we want is for the victim to be given the


information. Just to be clear, it talks about how they must ensure


they are not subject to unnecessary delay, it does not talk about


monitoring it. This is putting something onto the face of the


statute which says must ensure, it does not say monitor. It would be


more about having worked to ensure victims of crime were supported with


a court process that would be more beneficial than having this


amendment put onto the act, and in addition people now have a Police


and Crime Commissioners they can hold to account for the work they


do. There are other aspects, and I'm conscious of this has been a


grouping of amendments. We could be here this time. I don't believe that


putting these on the face of the bill is right way forward, looking


in the future at what does not have consequences. I would agree with the


government motions to disagree with the Lords and their amendments. I


won't delay the House long. I wanted to heap praise on the Secretary of


State for not giving in to the pressure of the media moguls and


although putting a consultation out, we are determined no grasp shall


grow. I wanted to be very clear that we truly appreciate what she's done.


For colleagues who are unhappy about amendment 24, they really ought to


pay more attention to the brilliance of the right honourable member for


West Dorset, who has put together such a fantastic plan for dealing


with this thorny issue, that if they gave at their full attention, they


would, like me, want to see section 40 implement it. The press


recognition panel is independent, and given amendment 24 and the


concerns being shown by the lordships, particularly... I would


be delighted to give way. I'm sorry to disagree, the recognition panel


is not independent, it is the creation under a Royal Charter,


ultimately the ground, and therefore the state. It is still independent


because it doesn't choose who and what is a regulator, it only


determines that the regulator is independent. It is vividly


acceptable, and I know -- perfectly acceptable. This whole instrument


does exactly that. My honourable friend, the Member for all


emphasised the point that local press, physically, will be


vulnerable if they are not regulated. As I said, yes, they


will. The regulator protects them from having to pay the costs. I


think this is why college should really study what the right


honourable member for West Dorset put together, it is much, much


better than their initial thoughts may be. The claims from the


Hillsborough victims fought section, amendment 24th are deeply touching.


I wish the way in which that amendment we are discussing was


worded was easier to support, because my instincts, and they


weren't touched on before, are to support the victims of Hillsborough.


The way in which this amendment is not adequate, given the government a


month is not good enough. That does not been it and here. And I implore


the government to keep on with the good work they are doing to ensure


we do protect the freedoms of the press, that we do protect local


press and most of all we have that low-cost arbitration system, which


ultimately will benefit everybody. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I hadn't


intended to take part in this debate and I don't want to say very much. I


want to say a word about Lords' amendment 24. A lot of the debate


seems to be about whether or not section 40 should be implemented


which of course is not actually anything to do with clause 24, which


is specifically about whether or not there should be a further inquiry


looking at the behaviour and performance of the police in


relation to their dealings with news organisations. Now, Leveson 2, as


it is now known... And it is recognised that it would be wholly


wrong to have any kind of inquiry that might risk or jeopardise


criminal prosecutions but of course most of the criminal prosecutions


have now been concluded and it is actually worth just looking at the


out-Cox those criminal prosecutions, which deciding whether or not there


is a case for proceedings. And it is the case, that Operation Elveden,


which was the police investigation into corrupt payment from newspaper


organisations, overwhelmingly resulted in the acquittal of the


journalists who were charged with offences, under Operation Elveden. I


think there were only two journalists who were actually


convicted. The vast majority were actually acquitted. And that is


something which we need to bear in mind and does suggest that perhaps


the suggestion that there was this massive corrupt relationship was not


actually proven to be the case. Now, the honourable gentleman for Rhondda


talks about the importance of weeding out police corruption and


how it is important to have confidence in an institution of the


state r state and I completely agree with him. I wanted just to refer to


the case made by the relatives of Daniel Morgan, as to why there


should be a further inquiry. Now I have every sympathy with the family


of the Daniel Morgan who was murdered and where there was


considerable evidence that there was police corruption and I can be


entirelip understand their wish to have the killers of Daniel Morgan


brought to justice. Now the Home Office has a panel at the moment,


which is examining that and we await the conclusion and it may well be


that there needs to be further action taken to deal with police


corruption and I await to see what the panel concludes but bear in mind


the Leveson Inquiry was about the conducts of the press, not about


police corruption. Now, on the main issue which has dominated this


debate, the implementation of section 40, it is not covered by


that I mendment, I personally very much share the views which have been


extremely well-expressed Miyamoto honourable friend the member for


worthing and indeed my honourable friend, the member for Torbay but


the Secretary of State has set off a consultation. That consultation has


concluded today but it'll take some considerable time because I believe


there has been a very substantial response to the consultation, so I


don't expect the Government to be in a position to announce any


conclusion either about whether or not section 40 should be implemented


or whether or not there should be any further inquiry until that work


has been done, which I suspect is going to take several weeks, if not


months and for that reason, it seems to me, entirely premature to have an


amendment to rirt Government to commit now to have a further


inquiry, bhen we are, they have not even gone assess the results of the


consultation. And so, for that reason, I strongly oppose the Lords'


amendment today. Thank you, Mr Speaker, I rise to


speak to two amendments, first to support the Government's amend


inspect lieu of Lords' amendment 134 and I think everyone would agree


having heard the hard-hitting accounts by my honourable friend for


Cheltenham and Gloucester in their reports on stalking that no-one will


be left in any doubt whatsoever, that this amendment should be


carried this evening. Next to Lords' amendment 137, and I should say,


having represented the police and prosecutorial authorities as


barrister but also victims, both as a barrister and Member of


Parliament, I hope I can see this from both angles. I'm entirely


supportive of the victims' code and victims have generally been


empowered since it came into force as a results of steps taken by the


last Labour Government and the beefing up under the Coalition


Government and the Government of today but my concern with new clause


137 is that it'll make the police and prosecutorial authorities


responsible and in some cases financially liable, for breaches of


the victims' code, even for things they are not directly responsible


for. And if we look at new clause 137 (3) A, for instance, the police


or the CPS could become responsible to a victim for delays caused not by


them but a third party such as a defendant. We if look at 137 (3) B,


there could be another party, over whom they have no control, treats a


victim with a lack of dignity or respect. I'm afraid that often


happens in the courtroom when a defendant gives evidence or even how


they instruct their lawyer to persuade their case. But that's a


matter for the judge to control, not the prosecutor. Clause 137 (10) is


more concerning because it would require the Home Secretary to take


steps to ensure victims of crime have access to financial


compensation from public funds, for any detriment arising from the


criminal case concerned. Not necessarily a detriment caused by


the prosecuting authority. No requirement of bad faith or


recklessness or negligence on behalf of that authority. This is a very


big step, both in principle and practice. A big step in principle


because it appears to impose a layability on oner party for the


actions of a third party over whom they may have no control and a big


step in practice, because it exposes the police and prosecuting


authorities to a significant financial burden at a time when we


regularly have debates in this house on the need for greater funding for


the police and the CPS and paragraph 128 of the explanatory notes to


these amendment does explain that there are potentially significant


financial burdens attaching. So, in conclusion, whilst I'm an


enthusiastic supporter of the victims' code and the need to give


victims the very best support, I do not think that imposing a very


broadly defined liability and indeed a financial liability, on the police


and the CPS, is the right way to go about it, without more thought to


further the aims of the code. More thought is needed and I'm pleased


that the Government will be bringing forward its own proposal, giving


effect to our manifesto commitment for a victims' bill of rights and


I'm sure that that work will take into account the excellent work done


by the honourable member for Holborn and St Pancras and his Commission


and I pay tribute to his work and all the people that were involved in


that, including a number of my constituents.


THE SPEAKER: Order. The question is that this House disagree wts Lords


in their acommendment 24. As many of that opinion say ah. To the contrary


no. Shouts.


THE SPEAKER:. Division, clear the lobby.


The question is that this House disagrees with the ah mendment of


the Lord's' 24. As many of that opinion say ah. Contrary no. Tellers


for the ayes, Steve brine and Chris. And tellers for the noes (are


listed) I remind the House that the motion relates exclusively to


England and Wales. A double majority is therefore required. Thank you.


The eyes to the right 299, the noes 196. For those representing England


and Wales, the ayes were 216, the Lords Amendment 24 to the Policing


and Crime Bill 190. -- the noes 190. The ayes 299, of


those honourable members representing England and Wales the


ayes to the right to hunch and 96, the noes to the left 190 so the ayes


have it, the ayes have it. Minister to move to disagree to Lords


amendment 96 formerly, the question is this disagrees with the Lords in


amendment 90 six. As many say iron. On the contrary noes. Division,


clear the lobby. The question is the House disagrees,


as many say ayes. On the contrary, noes. Steve Bryan and Chris Heaton


Harris for the ayes. I must remind the House that the motion relates


exclusively to England and Wales, a double majority is therefore




Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons including an urgent question on HMRC, a statement on political developments in Northern Ireland, a Ten Minute Rule Bill on Mutual Guarantee Societies, the remaining stages of the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill and the Consideration of Lords amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill.