17/01/2017 House of Commons


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in view of the high levels of personal debt? We are looking very


closely at, we will see some progress in the vein of future.


Statement, the Secretary of State for Health man. -- the Secretary of


State for Northern Ireland. Secretary James Brokenshire. Thank


you, Mr Speaker. With permission, I should like to make a statement


regarding forthcoming elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly. As


the House is aware, Martin McGuinness resigned as dippy Defence


Minister of Northern Ireland on Monday. As a result of which, the


First Minister also ceased to hold office. -- Deputy First Minister.


This began a seven-day period in which to fill both positions,


otherwise it would fall to me to fulfil my statutory obligations as


Secretary of State to call a fresh election to the Northern Ireland


Assembly. Over the past week, I having gauged intensively with


Northern Ireland's political parties to establish whether any basis


existed to resolve the tensions within the executive without


triggering an election. I've remained in close contact with the


Irish foreign minister, Charlie Flanagan. In addition, my right


honourable friend the Prime Minister has been kept fully informed and has


had conversations with the former first and deputy first ministers and


the Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Regrettably and despite all of our


collective efforts, it has not proved possible to find an agreed


way forward in the time available. In the Northern Ireland as the


yesterday, the Democratic Unionist Party nominated Arlene Foster as


First Minister whilst Sinn Fein declined to nominate anybody to the


post of Deputy First Minister. While I have some discretion in law over


the setting of a date for an election, given the circumstances in


which we find ourselves in Northern Ireland, I can see no case for


delay. As a result, once the final deadline has passed -- had passed at


5p and yesterday, I proposed Thursday the 2nd of March as the


date of the Assembly election. The Assembly itself will be dissolved


from the 26th of January, meaning the last sitting day will be the


25th of January, allowing time to conduct any urgent remaining


business before the election campaign begins in earnest. I am now


taking forward the process of submitting an order in council for


approval by Her Majesty the Queen on the advice of the Privy Council,


formally setting in law both the dates of the dissolution and the


election. In setting the stakes, I have consulted the chief electoral


officer for Northern Ireland chosen he has given the assurance in


operational matters relating to the running of the election. -- in


setting these dates. The decisions that I've taken have also been


informed by my ongoing discussion with Northern Ireland's political


leadership. All right honourable and honourable members in this House


will understand that elections by their nature are hotly contested.


This is part of the essence of our democracy. And nobody expects the


debates around the key issues in Northern Ireland to be anything less


than robust. I would, however, like to stress the following. This


election is about the future of Northern Ireland and its political


institutions are not just the Assembly, but all of the


arrangements that have been put in place to reflect relationships


through these islands. That is why it will be vital for the


campaign to be conducted respectfully and in ways which do


not simply exacerbate tensions and division. Once the campaign is over,


we need to be in a position to re-establish strong and stable


devolved government in Northern Ireland. And let me be very clear, I


am not contemplating any outcome other than the re-establishment of


strong and stable devolved government. For all the reasons I


set out in my statement last week, devolution remains this government's


strongly preferred option for Northern Ireland. It is about


delivering a better future for the people of Northern Ireland, and


meeting their expectations. For our part, the UK Government will


continue to stand by our commitments under the Belfast agreement and its


successors. We will do all that we can to safeguard political


stability. Over the past decade, Northern Ireland has enjoyed the


longest run of unbroken devolved government since before the demise


of the old Stormont parliament in 1972. It has not always been easy,


with more than a few bumps in the road. But with strong leadership,


issues that might once have brought the institutions down have been


resolved through dialogue. And Northern Ireland has been able to


present itself to the world in a way that would have been unrecognisable


a few years ago. A modern, dynamic and outward looking Northern


Ireland, that is a great place to live, work, invest and to do


business. Mr Speaker, Northern Ireland has come so far. We cannot


allow the games that have been made to be derailed. -- the gains. So,


yes, we have an election but once it is over, we need to be in a position


to continue building in Northern Ireland that works for everyone.


That is the responsibility on all of us and we all need to rise to the


challenge. And in that spirit, Mr Speaker, I commend this statement to


the house. Mr David Andersen. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Can I


thank the Secretary for his statement? Like most of us, I am


saddened we are here today. I know many good people in Northern Ireland


will feel exactly the same, the deep regret we have reached this impasse.


I've personally been involved for almost three Deco Baku -- decade in


Northern Ireland related issues and I have learned one thing, a


political vacuum should be avoided at all gods. I say to the Secretary


of State today, you must make sure that you are not only willing to


fill the vacuum but you must work with all parties to try and seek a


way forward so we avoid the nightmare scenario of six weeks of


increasingly bitter campaigning, which leave us in the same place as


when it started, with no solution in place to heal a huge divide and to


bring together those elected representatives of all the people of


Northern Ireland. I realise that the tension of an election dominates


people's minds and the news agenda may well be focused on other issues.


But Mr Speaker, I would suggest for the sake of all of us on these


islands, we highlight the critical importance of maintaining devolved


and functioning government in Northern Ireland. I want to see


young men and women from Blaydon continue to go to Belfast with


rucksacks on the backs, not back to the days when they went there with


rifles on their shoulders. Anyone who thinks this is some form of


local difficulty in Northern Ireland should think again. I want to see


the continuing peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland that is helping


to grow the economy and the life chances of all who live there. I


want the world to look at Northern Ireland and rightly applaud the


success we have witnessed over the past decades and hope none of us


want to see a divided Northern Ireland that turns itself, as we


have seen so often and so sadly in the past. There are huge issues


facing the people of Northern Ireland. Our exit from the European


Union and the real change it will bring to everybody's everyday lives.


The uncertain position from the government on the UK's land border


with Europe, how we keep improving economic performance, and


critically, how we deal with Northern Ireland's unique and


painful past. And without a stable, workable government, all these


issues will be much harder to progress. Last week, the Secretary


of State and the Prime Minister showed both myself and it out there


will be scope for the Northern Ireland first -- voice to be heard


in the run-up to negotiations on the EU, by the joint ministerial


Council. If that is the case, then secretary of state, I say to you


today, there's no reason for you not to engage with the parties and


communities and begin to resolve the issues that have led to the


breakdown, over the next six weeks, over the next eight weeks, and not


let the election be an excuse for not getting people together. And


let's Biglia, what is happening in Northern Ireland is just about who


is or isn't First Minister or Deputy First Minister or the debacle that


is the RHI scheme. There are real underlying issues. How we support


the victims of the troubles. The women's rights and the equality for


the LGBT communities. The treatment of ethnic minorities and migrant


groups, and above all, how we deal with Northern Ireland's past and the


crucial issue of trust and mutual respect. The Secretary of State has


to face the fact that he has the responsibility to ensure the


government deals with all parties in Northern Ireland on an equal basis


because that clearly is a matter of huge concern to the parties in


Northern Ireland. I wanted you credit to the Secretary of State,


for the common measure Tony is adopted by Robert at the same time,


I won't deny myself the optimism that those love Northern Ireland


still feel, and to that end, I will this house that we will do


everything we can develop but all parties need to look at what they


can do to prevent present impasse degenerating into total collapse let


me be very clear, we need to avoided if at all possible return to direct


rule. We need Northern Ireland politicians to stand up and be


counted, recognise their responsibility and accept that the


vehicle for addressing the needs and concerns of their communities if the


assembly and its executive. The need for continuing with the assembly


should be the number one priority for them and all of us in


Westminster. And the imposition of direct rule will serve no one. In


the weeks to come, no one's personal or political position, posturing


differences should get in the way it operates return to government and


work in Northern Ireland. Secretary of State. Thank you Mr Speaker and


can I welcome the right honourable gentleman's comment added emphasis


on seeing that we return to shared government within Northern Ireland


at the earliest possible opportunity. I welcome it support


and his comets in underlining the focus that we must all have, and the


shared responsibility that I think we all keenly feel in seeking to


achieve that outcome. And indeed, how we use the time ahead as best


and effectively as possible. He is aware that there is a relatively


short period of time following an election, around three weeks, in


order to form an executive. And we do need to use all of the time, up


to polling day and beyond, to see that we bring people together and we


retain the set of dialogue, as difficult and challenging as that


may be during an election period but it is important that we continue to


do so. It is that sense of political stability that obviously is the


primary responsibility of government and we recognise that very firmly.


Indeed, I have had discussions with all parties over the period since my


last statement and have been very focused on engaging widely, seeking


to encourage and promote a way forward, and that is absolutely what


I will continue to do in the time ahead. I don't think anybody should


prejudge the outcome of this election. And therefore, I think it


is right that we are absolutely focused on seeking to get the right


outcome, which is absolutely the continuation of devolved government


in Northern Ireland. That is what I think is in the absolute best


interests of the people of Northern Ireland, that allows things to move


forward. And I think as the honourable gentleman said, we must


all work collectively to that end and approach this in a positive way,


as to what we can achieve. Mr Laurence Robertson. Thank you, Mr


Speaker. Returning from Londonderry this morning, following meetings


yesterday, I detected and witnessed a great sense of frustration about


what is happening, and a great sense of disappointment that the assembly,


yet again, was under threat and indeed, this time, has fallen. Does


the Secretary of State therefore agree with me and indeed, the


proposal made by the shadow Secretary of State, that the coming


weeks should perhaps be used to explore all possibilities? Because


none of us want to see a return to direct rule but the worry is that we


are holding elections, as the secretary of state is indeed


required to do, and the possibility, the strong possibility must be that


those elections deliver the parties back to storm in roughly the same


numbers as they are now. So what is indeed the likelihood of making


progress under the present arrangement? -- back to Stormont.


Surely we should use the coming weeks to put in place a plan B,


where we can continue with some kind of devolved government and not bring


powers back to this house because direct rule is not a satisfactory


way of running Northern Ireland. I'm grateful to my honourable friend for


his comments and as he rightly identifies, the key issue is the


maintenance of devolved government in Northern Ireland. He is also


right, I think, to see how we ensure that we use the time available to


us, that communication lines, the dialogue remains open during the


election period. However difficult that may appear. But equally knowing


that the issues that have been highlighted, in terms of trust and


confidence in the institutions, the ability for parties to be able to


work together in that shared government arrangement, will still


need to be resolved. And therefore, I think it is with that sense of how


we can use this time to bring people together, that must be at the


forefront of our minds. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the Secretary of


State for advance notice of his statement and I support the call is


made yesterday for the election to be conducted in a manner which looks


to the future and anticipates difficult but reasonable


negotiations for the establishment of an effective administration after


the election. No one will get everything they want from this


election or from the formation of the new executive but the people


that politicians serve deserve our best and most faithful efforts. The


victory in this election should belong to the people, not political


parties. This election has been brought about by a set of


circumstances that have their genesis in Belfast and will also


have their solutions in Belfast. And we will be onlookers to a great


extent but there are some areas in which the efforts made here may


actually help. I'm pleased to hear that dialogue between the secretary


of state and the parties in Northern Ireland will continue throughout the


election period so the ground is prepared for the negotiations over


holding office in March. Can he tell us whether he will take those


opportunities to reassure the parties that funding will not be


cut, particularly from the support for addressing the legacy issues.


The assembly suffers from the austerity fetish as much as the rest


of the UK but it carries additional burdens, and it needs those extra


resources. The past couple of months in the assembly have been marked by


some serious allegations. What support will he be able to offer the


assembly to have those allegations properly investigated and


resolutions found? The uncertainty of this election, with the


peculiarities surrounding it, adds to the uncertainty of the Brexit


mess. What support can the government offered to people and


businesses in Northern Ireland to smooth the next few months? And


finally, can you clarify what special arrangements he is putting


in place to consult on the Brexit negotiations while the election is


ongoing? I'm grateful to the honourable lady for highlighting the


issue in relation to the nature of elections, and again, the issues


that I think we all recognise that are at stake here. I can assure her


that we will be doing our part to maintain communication channels, to


maintain that open dialogue, and to again continue to encourage the


parties to think carefully about the nature of the campaign ahead on how


best to be able to bring people back together afterwards, to get on with


devolved government in Northern Ireland. She asks a number of more


detailed questions, and in relation to the issue of legacy, she will


know that it remains this government's intend to give effect


to the Stormont House agreement and the funding commitments that were


made in respect of that remain very firmly in place. In respect of


support to investigation and the enquiry in relation to the


allegations that in many ways have provided the trigger or the catalyst


to the situation that we now find ourselves in, as she indicated, I


continue to believe that the best solution for this lies within


Northern Ireland. This is a devolved matter and therefore, in terms of


the way in which answers are to be provided, it still seems right that


it should come from that direction. But I remain open to work with


parties on a cross community basis to see what support can be given


because ultimately, it is about getting answers to a number of these


issues, that matters so much. On the issue of the UK's departure from the


European Union, well, I think that as honourable and right honourable


members will have heard, the Prime Minister set out a very clear


position in respect of this government's approach and indeed,


emphasising those issues around the Common travel area, and indeed


strengthening the union as well. I know honourable and right honourable


members will have plenty of opportunity to raise further


questions on that later today. Project may I make a fervent plea to


my right honourable friend, that he should protect the interests of


former British soldiers currently being charged by the Sinn


Fein-supporting Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland,


with respect to events which took place more than 40 years ago. It


appears that the Director of Public Prosecutions issued a notice to news


desks, not for publication. Is this not an attempt to muzzle


Parliament and indeed to question the right of this House to support


those soldiers who sought to bring about peace in Northern Ireland? In


my usual way, I have been, as I think the House would acknowledge,


extremely generous to the honourable gentleman. The honourable gentleman


has asked a most interesting question and has delivered it with


his usual eloquence, but it does suffer from one disadvantage, and


that is that it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the


statement the Secretary of State is made. Nevertheless I have indulged


the honourable gentleman, and he can thank me on a daily basis. Secretary


of State... Mr Speaker, my honourable friend raises the


important issue in relation to legacy. As I indicated to this House


last week, I will never tyre of my praise for the work of our armed


forces personnel in actually securing the peace, securing the


stability and securing the arrangements that we see in Northern


Ireland today. Yes, I do have some concerns about imbalance within the


system, and therefore why I believe it is right that we do move forward


with the Stormont agreement and the legacy bodies that are set up there.


I will not comment on any individual decisions, and indeed, justice is


devolved in Northern Ireland and also it has its own processes that


remain in place in an independent way. But I hear very clearly the


very general and firm point that my friend makes in relation to balance


within the overall system trick of it is something I'm very keen to


address. Mr Speaker, this party has worked tirelessly in recent years to


move Northern Ireland forward, to make devolution work and to create


conditions for stable government in Northern Ireland. So we are deeply


disappointed, frustrated and angered by the decision of Sinn Fein to walk


away from devolved government and cause this election. And what is


this election about? It is fairly clear, it is not about the RHI


issue, because had it been, then we could have got on with sorting it


out, and indeed this election will serve to disrupt and delays ordering


those issues out. What it's about is Sinn Fein sinking opportune


political advantage, seeking to overturn the result of the election


held just a few months ago, and seeking to gain a list of


concessions from the Government on legacy issues, such as rewriting the


past and putting more soldiers and police men in the dock, and other


issues, and other concessions from the DUP. Let us be clear, we will


work through this election and afterwards to create devolved


government that is stable in Northern Ireland. But let this House


know and the people of all Ireland know that just as we have not even


into Sinn Fein demands in the past, we will not bow down and give into


Fein 's unreasonable demands going forward, because that is what this


election is all about Mr Speaker, I Recognise That There Are Strongly


Held Views On All Sides, And we do enter into an election period when


I'm sure that these issues will be hotly and keenly contested. What I


do very much welcome from what the right honourable gentleman has said


is that willingness to engage, to work things through, and that desire


to get back into stable, shared, devolved devilment. And I think that


is the focus that we all have in our minds in looking to the future of


Northern Ireland and how we can get on with governing in the best


interests of all in Northern Ireland. Does the Secretary of State


agree with me that all encumbered, unhindered press is absolutely vital


to the future elections? And would he agree that any chilling effect or


threats could actually undermine the very democratic essence of these


elections? We must have a free press. Well, I think the issues


around the election will I'm sure be keenly and hotly contested. From all


of my experience in seeing the experiences in Northern Ireland, the


press is fair and free and open and it has wide debate contained within


it. And so I think those building blocks that we see as a government


on freedom of the press, and indeed the strength of our judiciary and


legal processes as well, and seeing that those pillars of our democracy


are upheld. In truth, Northern Ireland has lurched from one


political crisis to another in recent years. Is it not time that


the Government urgently reviews constitutional arrangements covering


power-sharing, looking at issues like the title of First Minister and


the pity First Minister but also a range of other issues? Is that not


how the Government could add value in terms of long-term stability,


reviewing those Costa to show arrangements? I think we need to be


very careful at the moment as to the approach that we take. We are now


embarking on an election which, as I have said, I do not want to prejudge


the outcome of the election were indeed discussions that take place


during this period and through and beyond the short window of time that


we have after the election period, either. We will do all that we can


as the UK Government, that primary responsibility that we hold in


providing political stability within Northern Ireland. Clearly, the


parties will need to discuss and have that open dialogue which I hope


brings people back together again, but I think at this stage, seeking


to try and widen the debate can I think we need to be very focused on


the task at hand in bringing people back together again. Yes, the UK


Government will play its part in supporting the Belfast agreement and


its successors and bringing that element of stability and getting


devolved government back in Northern Ireland, which is what we all want


to see. Can I congratulate my right honourable friend for his calm and


measured approach during these difficult circumstances? Does he


show my concern that if indeed the resignation of Mr McGinnis was


political and not over the environment in issue, that the


intent of Sinn Fein is to halt these elections and then not to reappoint


afterwards, which would put pressure on my right honourable friends to


resort to direct rule, and all the consequences of that. Does he share


my concern that this is a real possibility? I have said that I am


concerned that an election campaign which seeks to divide and seeks to


make it that much harder to bring people back together again


afterwards clearly is a risk and one which I am concerned about, and one


which I would again remind and encourage people to think about


these issues very, very carefully. It's clear that the issues at stake


here go much wider than simply the renewable heat scheme which perhaps


was the issue which customised this. But I think we need to be very


careful and appreciate quite what is at stake. -- which crystallised


this. It is very important for people to be able to work together,


to maintain communication and dialogue so that we do see the


return of shared government in Northern Ireland for all communities


at the earliest possible opportunity. The Secretary of State


has rightly touched upon the fact that trust and confidence has to be


rebuilt in the suggestions in Northern Ireland. One of the best


ways of doing that is transparency. Transparency around the renewable


heating scheme and also, with the greatest respect to the Secretary of


State transparency around political parties and their donations to


elliptical parties operating in Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein has


precipitated this election. The people in Northern Ireland are


entitled to know, who funds Sinn Fein? Who is funding this Pallo


Jordan Assembly election? And by the same token, who is sponsoring and


funding the other political parties in Northern Ireland? Please don't


tell me he will reflect upon it, what is the Secretary of State going


to do about it? The honourable lady has made the point about political


donations and transparency over a number of weeks and months. And I


have a huge amount of sympathy for the view that she rightly takes the


Government that's why I did write out to all of the party leaders a


very short time ago to ask them for their views, to come back to me by


the end of this month, to be able to move things forward. I think it is


right that we look at that reform and that we actually start to put in


place changes that give that rate transparency to politics in Northern


Ireland. That's why I look forward to receiving those responses so that


we can move forward. Can I commend my right honourable friend's calm


and measured approach? Could he update the House on what he's going


to do to facilitate the voice of Northern Ireland, from politicians,


into the run-up to triggering Article 50? Obviously, the Assembly


will be the move very quickly, there is an election can do very short


period of time before we will trigger Article 50, and we want to


make sure that the voice of Northern Ireland is heard in our approach to


our future. I think it's important to recognise that while an election


has been called, that ministers other than the first and Deputy


First Minister remain in place within the executive, and that


therefore we will continue to issue invitations to the executive, to


send representation to each of the meetings that will continue through


the joint ministerial committee or through other means, and therefore,


it is that approach that will be taken as we look towards the


triggering of Article 50. But obviously, I will continue to have


my broad engagements across community, with business, with the


voluntary and community sector and more broadly, to ensure that we


continue to listen to and reflect upon the views of people in Northern


Ireland, as we look to the negotiations ahead. Could the


Secretary of State share with us something more of his thoughts on


what he expects to happen after an election in Northern Ireland? Does


he accept that the problems will remain, and without him calling a


public enquiries into renewable heat, or if he cannot find a way to


do that, making it clear that he fully supports a public inquiry?


Because without a public inquiry, public confidence in our political


settlement will sink even lower and make restoration of the executive


even more difficult. That's what people are telling me on the streets


over the last few days and the last week, that they basically need to


see clarity. That we are having an election here in a fog. It is quite


clear that the issues surrounding the renewable heat incentive scheme


are very much at the heart of what has led to the election that I have


now called. I think it is right that we do get answered around this. I


think it is absolutely critical in terms of re-establishing trust and


confidence and accountability, giving answers to the public in


relation to what has taken place here. As I've indicated, I think


that it is right for that, as much as it possibly can do, to come from


Northern Ireland itself. This was a devolved issue, this was something


that relates to decisions within Northern Ireland. But I stand ready


to work with and consider options on a cross community basis which will


command support across the community. It is actually how we get


those answers and see that we are injecting those back into the whole


process. I'm sure the Secretary of State and others in the House may


reflect on the irony that this election has been caused by the


resignation of a man who spent a lot of his life trying to use violence


to overcome the democratic will of the people of Northern Ireland to be


part of this United Kingdom. But will he also agree with me that it


is vital that work is done to ensure that in dealing with the past, those


who have put their lives on the line to defend this democracy, are not


unduly hounded by these legal processes? I think it is absolutely


right that we have a system that is fair just, balanced and


proportionate. I've been very clear on that on a number of occasions.


That's why I strongly believe that the framework of Stormont house, the


legacy institutions which are contemplated within that, divider


framework and way forward to achieve that. Because I am concerned that


there is an imbalance in the system with a focus on state -based actors.


And actually getting answers for those who lost loved ones as a


consequence of terrorist atrocities is really, really essential. That's


why I want to see this moving forward, and why we strongly believe


that change is required. We all wish everyone well in Northern Ireland in


trying to resolve these current difficulties. Can I pass the


Secretary of State on what he's doing with respect to the Irish


government, working in partnership with the Irish government? The


British and Irish governments are co-and tours of the Good Friday


Agreement. So what plans has he got to work with the Irish government,


is he planning a summit, is he panning talks, what concrete


measures is the Secretary of State planning to take with the Irish


government, to help resolve these difficulties together? As I've


indicated to the House, I've had regular, ongoing communication with


Charlie Flanagan, the Irish foreign minister, and indeed the


conversations that the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach have had


together. I certainly do intend to meet Charlie Flanagan in the very


near future. So that we can assess the current situation, and determine


how we as two governments can seek to encourage, promote and see that


we are bringing people together in this way, such that, as I've said,


we see the maintenance and continuation of devolved government


in Northern Ireland. What alternative to direct rule


would be available in these elections do not see an immediate


power-sharing government? Mr Speaker, I indicated that it is, I


think it would be premature and wrong to contemplate something other


than devolved government in Northern Ireland. I think that is where we


have to have all of our focus in the weeks ahead. That encouragement to


the parties, the dialogue, the communication that I think is


absolutely necessary. And while I know that others will say what is


this, what if that, what if we don't get to a position where we have


that, well, I'm not contemplating that. I'm contemplating how we use


the time available to us, to maintain devolved government, to get


people back into that power-sharing arrangement, and getting on,


frankly, with what people in Northern Ireland want which is a


settled situation, taking Northern Ireland forward and seeing that


positive, optimistic Northern Ireland I know if parent has so much


more to give. Thank you Mr Speaker. Central to those political


institutions has been the principle of power-sharing. So what efforts


will be Secretary of State and the British government, working with the


Irish government do to ensure that those principles of power-sharing on


a mutual understanding, respect for political difference, which have


been withered away over the last number of months, will be strictly


adhered to following these elections and what work with the Irish


government will actually take place within the next number of weeks to


do just that? Well, I've already indicated to the house the dialogue


and discussion we have had with the Irish government. And the work that


we will continue and the discussions that we will continue to have. But I


would stress as I said in my statement that this government


remains committed to the Belfast agreement and its successors. All of


what that means. Therefore, we will play our part to support the


parties, to support discussion and dialogue, to see that we move to


that stable, devolved government position that I think underpins so


much of the work, so much of the positive work we see in Northern


Ireland. And returning to that period of stability which is what


everybody would wish to see. Foreign direct investment into Northern


Ireland has been a great success in recent years. Will my right


honourable friend reassure me that he had his office will do all they


can to maintain a positive momentum during this period of political


instability? Absolutely, I can give that assurance to my honourable


friend because Northern Ireland has seen so much success in terms of


foreign direct investment. I think the region with the greatest foreign


direct investment outside of the City of London. I think that


underlines the huge potential I see, the huge ability for Northern


Ireland to continue to flourish and do so much more and absolutely yes,


we will continue to underline that message. Jeffrey Donaldson. I echo


the comments made by the honourable member for South Belfast. He and I


and many others in this house have worked hard to bring the peace


process to where it is today and we have taken risks and I despair of


where we are just now. But can I say to the Secretary of State that if he


is going to sit on his hands in the next six weeks and do nothing about


the current crisis, then he can forget three weeks after an election


to get devolution up and running. I support the suggestion made by the


honourable member for South Belfast for which there is cross community


support, that this government get on with holding a public enquiry into


the RHI scheme that Sinn Fein have blocked. -- public inquiry. I can


say to the honourable gentleman that this government will continue to do


all it can to support the parties to find a resolution and the way


through. As I have already indicated in answers the previous questions, I


remain open to consider issues that command cross community support in


order to find answers to be able to get to the root of issues in respect


of the RHI enquiry and therefore, I will continue to hear those points


that are made on that costume unity basis because ultimately, whatever


is done must command confidence and support in Northern Ireland in order


for this to be successful. Alison McGovern. The connection between the


people of Merseyside and the people of Northern Ireland are many and


they run deep. Can I press the Secretary of State on what he's


doing, given the current political situation, the effect on Stormont's


budget, to absolutely make sure the people of Northern Ireland lose out?


The obvious way for the people of Northern Ireland not to lose out is


to see the re-establishment of devolved government at the earliest


popular -- possible opportunities work can continue, but it can get


set and programmes can be put in place to take Northern Ireland


further forward. That is why I make the point in those clear terms, in


the focus and attention and effort that give in working with the


parties to encourage dialogue, discussion, to bring people together


because that is the most powerful and effective way to give effect to


what the honourable lady was saying. Alistair Carmichael. Mr Speaker, we


can have as many elections as we choose to hold but we will only get


the strong and stable devolved government that the secretary of


state says he wants when we have trust between the parties and


transparency in the workings of the executive and in order to get that


now, we need an independent examination of the conduct of the


RHI will stop the secretary of state as the locus under the 2005 act to


order that enquiry. It is surely apparent that nobody else is going


to do it. He must. Well, I agree with the right honourable gentleman


in terms of that sense of trust which has clearly broken down in


Northern Ireland, hence the situation that we now find ourselves


in. I hear the point that he makes clearly in relation to the need to


get answers, the need for that transparency, the need for an


inquiry and as I previously indicated, I strongly believe the


best way to achieve that is by Northern Ireland being able to do


that itself because that is where the issues arose, that is where


devolution holds fire. But as I have already indicated to other parties,


I will listen to and reflect upon suggestions, proposals that come


forward on a costume unity basis because ultimately, it is that cross


community bases -- cross community basis, it is that cross community


basis which command confidence and respect and ensure that any


investigations and inquiries are balanced and ensure they get to the


answer is that people want and that accountability is shown. Mr Speaker,


the Secretary of State... As he charts the course set by the Good


Friday and St Andrews agreement in re-establishing the devolved


institutions but the Prime Minister's commitment to data hard


Brexit will cause widespread concern in Northern Ireland. Can I ask him


to outline how he will work in full partnership with the Irish


government on this matter while the assembly and executive is not


functioning? I welcome the honourable gentleman's support for


our work to ensure the return of stable devolved government, although


I don't recognise his characterisation of what the Prime


Minister has said. I think she has set out a bold, positive vision of


what this country can be and what this country will be outside the


European Union but yes, of course there is a negotiation to come. Of


course we have had initial dialogue and discussion with the Irish


government on how we get the best possible outcome for Northern


Ireland and how that has been reflected in what the Prime Minister


has said today, around the Common travel area and strengthening the


union. That is precisely the approach we will take. Jim Shannon.


Would be secretary of state care to outline exactly what people are


voting for if Sinn Fein refused to work with the DUP or set a possible


criteria or ask for possible concessions? How is the Secretary of


State ensuring that Sinn Fein are not calling the shots, excuse the


pun, on the elected government of Northern Ireland, and the electorate


know their vote will not be ignored by the pithy fascinations of a party


who simply want their own weight and do not like being challenged by a


strong DUP team? Ultimately, this election is about the future of


Northern Ireland, its future direction. In a democracy, I'm quite


sure that these issues will be debated to and fro in the coming


weeks. That is absolutely the whole point of the political and


democratic system that we operate. How much is at stake here. As I said


yesterday, how much I would encourage people to take part and


vote at that election. Karen Smith. Thank you, Mr Speaker. The people of


Northern Ireland are magnificent people and they have got used to


living with a sense of peace over the last 18 years and they need hope


now going forward. I have just listened to the Prime Minister's


speak and she talked about making practical arrangements about the


border, about making it a priority. Those are warm words in this context


today. She has managed a phone call. She should be here. She should have


been there. I've listened to the Secretary of State talk about his


phone call and his activity over the last week and with due respect, I


think it is wholly inadequate. The elections are about the future of


Northern Ireland but they are actually about all our futures, on


the island of Ireland and the island in which we live. What meetings will


he be having with the Irish government with the Taoiseach? What


will those conversations involving the next few weeks? What hope can he


offer today to the people of Northern Ireland? As I have


indicated, it is this government's clear intent and focus on seeing the


return of devolved government in Northern Ireland. That is what I


think is absolutely in the best interests of Northern Ireland. That


is why I will be continuing to do all that I can to bring the


political parties together because ultimately, that has been a part of


the issues at stake here, in terms of some of that political division.


But yes, of course, as I have indicated to the house today, we


have had continued dialogue and discussion with the Irish government


as well. We will continue to keep them closely informed. And as I have


indicated to my right honourable friend, I intend to meet the Irish


Foreign Minister very shortly to discuss the current position, how we


can work together and ultimately, get the re-establishment of the form


of government, that sense of the politics moving forward, and yes,


how we should I think be positive about what we can achieve here. I'm


certainly not going into this in a negative way. It is about how we can


get on with this and make it happen. Sammy Wilson. The secretary of state


has said today that he is committed to any action having cross community


support in Northern Ireland. Since this crisis has been brought about


by Sinn Fein's demand to have more security force personnel placed in


the dock, taken to court and to have politically motivated inquests into


deaths caused by the security forces, will he give a commitment


today that there will be no money for inquests which are politically


motivated, no releasing of security force files which have security --


national security implications and that he will not persuade Sinn Fein


to re-enter government at the expense of soldiers being dragged


through the courts? On the issue of legacy, I think Stormont House,


which all the parties signed up to, provided the right framework and way


forward. I hold very keen responsibilities in relation to


national security and I feel those very starkly in terms of the here


and now of safety on the streets of Northern Ireland and what that means


more broadly. I think it is important that we are able to find a


way forward in relation to the whole issue of legacy. That it is more


balanced, more proportionate, is able to see Northern Ireland looking


to the future rather than looking to the past and I think it is that


framework that we must be focused upon to be able to move things


forward in that way. He will well know the issues that are set out


there, the bodies that are set out their, the weighing gateman has


taken place over many months. I believe there is a way forward in


that but it is having the framework and intent and having the balance


and proportionate approach that I continue to underline. Margaret


Greenwood. What assessment has been made of the effect of the political


instability on potential investment into Northern Ireland? I have


certainly had some discussions with some business representatives. It is


important that we get back into a stable devolved government at the


earliest opportunity. Again, that is the most powerful way to underline


Northern Ireland's moving forward and there is so much we can be


positive about, the jobs that have been created, the foreign direct


investment that has gone in and so many fantastic businesses in


Northern Ireland. That is what we should be celebrating and it is that


positive, optimistic viewpoint of what Northern Ireland's economies


that we should be advancing and taking forward. Mr Speaker, after


the assembly election in March agreement will need to be reached on


a new power-sharing executive. However, if this doesn't happen,


there is a very real possibility of returning to direct rule from


Westminster. Does the secretary think it is acceptable for the


people of Northern Ireland, who voted to remain in the European


Union, to witness the triggering of article 50 while they live in total


political limbo? It underlines my general point on the need to get


back to devolved government at the earliest opportunity. But as I have


indicated, we do intend to trigger Article 50 by no later than the end


of March that is the approach we have taken. That is the work that


continues and indeed, the way in which, as I have said, invitations


will continue to be made to appropriate meetings to the


executive, notwithstanding the current situation.


Further to the comments made by my colleague from East Antrim, there


are concerns within my constituency with the Government's eagerness to


set up an Assembly immediately after the elections, that they could


possibly contemplate some form of side deals with Republicans in order


to get it up and running. Can I gently warm the Secretary of State


that that will be an unacceptable situation to have? Well, I say to


the honourable gentleman that there is a limited period under law in


order to form a new executive. It is around three weeks following a poll.


That's why I make the point about maintaining open dialogue, thinking


about how we can bring parties together. It has to be that sense of


commanding support from across community, which is why we do need


to listen keenly and intently to the voices of his party and other


parties in respect of this process ahead. But I do stress to him that


need for dialogue and discussion and the need to focus on those


principles in the Belfast agreement and its successors, those things


that all parties have signed up to. I think that provides us with the


framework, and that's what we need to get on and do. As we face the


current phase of challenges, I think it is right that we should mourn the


passing of Dermot Gallagher, former bullion of the department of foreign


affairs and one of the linchpins for so much of this process come


bringing us from transfixed to transactions to transformations. We


need to emulate his purposeful ethic in the time ahead. Will the


Secretary of State recognised that after the elections, there will be


negotiations, and will he recognise that those negotiations will have to


be more inclusive, Morecambe free hands of a more fundamental than


what passed for negotiations in Stormont house? And the outcome will


have to be more robust and reliable than what we got with the fresh hour


agreement? I certainly pay tribute to Dermot Gallagher and obviously


send my condolences to all his friends, family, all of those who


remember him and the conjugation that he made. As I've indicated, I


don't want to prejudge the outcome of this election, nor indeed


discussions that take place. I earnestly want to see that through


this election period, however possible that can be achieved. And


equally in terms of discussions that take place there afterwards. But it


has to be a position which creates that stability and sense of shared


power arrangements, which allows Northern Ireland to move on from


where we currently sit. That has to absolutely be our focus and


intention and indeed why I make the points which I do about being


thoughtful and conscious of the nature of the campaign itself, such


that we are able to bring people back together afterwards. Mr


Speaker, can the Secretary of State confirm that post-election, the


framework of a devolved Assembly, of a shared executive, is the settled


framework for moving forward? And that joint authority with the


Republic of Ireland or wholesale renegotiation of the agreements that


are already in place to not form part of his plan for moving forward?


If he does not give expression to that certainty, further drift will


occur, and we've got to net this in the bud now. I can confirm that that


is absolutely my intent, that is absolutely the approach that I take


to this. It's about getting through the election, about seeing the


re-establishment of the executive, seeing the re-establishment of


devolved government in the way that we have seen. And therefore whilst I


hear order of the broader discussions and broader talk,


actually that has to be where we focus, how we re-establish that


trust and confidence in the institutions that we have, such that


Northern Ireland is able to move forward. The Ulster Unionist Party


want to see a strong and stable devolved government that works for


everyone. But this crisis is about trust, relating to the two main


parties in Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State has said that he


is committed to the Belfast agreement and its successors. And


yet this morning on the radio, we heard the DUP executive minister


saying he had no intention to increment the St Andrews agreement


in full. Surely this undermines all agreements, if you're not willing to


tie yourself to what you've agreed? With the minister looked at the


structures of the Belfast agreement and how we get back to the joint


election of the first and Deputy First Minister? I did not hear the


comments this morning when it's difficult for me to comment


directly. For as I've indicated, the UK Government stands by its


commitments under the Belfast agreement. I think it is how we are


able to use the time ahead to look at ways in which we can, which gaps


and in which we can see devolved power-sharing arrangements put in


place at the earliest opportunity. With the Secretary of State agree


with me that in the past months and years, the way in which problems


have been resolved is when all parties dedicated themselves to


working through those problems? Yesterday we had a Sinn Fein Deputy


First Minister refusing to be re-elected, and even after the


election, indicating that they will not nominate then. Walking away is


not the solution, working through the problem is most certainly is. I


think we can look to Northern Ireland's past, where division has


existed and some people have said that it's not possible to breach


that. And yet Northern Ireland has shown what can be done. And I think


we need to reflect on Northern Ireland's past, the political


achievements that have been reached and the strengths of dialogue, of


discussion, of bringing people together in that way as we look to


the future. I hope that we will see that return of devolved Vermont.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. -- devolved government. Belfast politicians


begin a leak quote the dogs on the street, but if they were to


summarise their position on this, it would be barking mad. This is not


the time, Secretary of State, for you to be a bystander in these


discussions. Or to fail to recognise what the Prime Minister last week


recognised, that no-one can or should benefit from their


instability, and for wrecking the progress of the political


institutions that we have fought so hard to attain for Northern Ireland.


I say to the honourable gentleman that I do not and will not be a


bystander in relation to these issues. It is important that the UK


Government plays its role in supporting the parties, in


fulfilling our obligations in relation to providing political


stability in Northern Ireland. That is what we will use the time ahead


to achieve. Because the issues at stake are significant. The issues in


relation to the political future of Northern Ireland are very, very


clear. That's why I make the points that I do about the collective


response River Tees that we all hold and all feel in being able to take


this forward and get back to that positive outlook for Northern


Ireland. -- collective responsibilities. Mr Speaker, the


Secretary of State stated that with strong leadership, issues which


might once have brought their own institutions could be resolved


through dialogue. Could he therefore assure the House that the Prime


Minister will give that strong leadership, and as the vice-chair of


the all-party group on Ireland, I echo the sentiment of my honourable


friend the member for St Helens come in calling the Prime Minister to put


foot to the pedal and get that 100% support. I can underline to the


honourable gentleman the commitment that the Prime Minister gets to


these issues. The way in which she has been kept very closely informed


and updated, the discussions that she has had with the former First


Minister and Deputy First Minister. And indeed, the discussion that she


had with the Taoiseach. We are committed as a government to seeing


the return of devolved government, to seeing a positive outcome after


these elections take place. That is what the people of Northern Ireland


want to see and what we all have that shared and collective drive to


achieve, and we all need to be focused on achieving. Point of order


which relates I gather to the immediate next business. Thank you,


Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in our constitution, Parliament and sure


you will agree is supposed to be sovereign. We need a system which


gives Parliament hours over ministers and restores public trust.


Not my words but the use of the now Prime Minister in 2007. I will be


scrutinising a minister shortly on the applications of Brexit for Wales


- but you share my concern that one of the most fundamental issues


facing this country in a generation, the Prime Minister chose not to


speak to this this morning but to the media and foreign ambassadors?


Churchill would not have done it, a little bit would not have done it,


but when it comes to this House, Mr Speaker, this lady is not for


turning up! I am grateful to the honourable gentleman for his point


of order. I have not got all of the Presidents in front of me but I


think there has been a developing phenomenon in recent decades whereby


under successive governments, important statements have sometimes


been made outside the House, which would have welcomed being made first


inside the House. I am pragmatic in these matters, and what I would say


to the honourable gentleman and two others who might share his concern


is, I heard of the Prime Minister's important speech today, and my first


concern was that a senior member of the government should come to the


House on the same day to address us on the same matter. And I had


contact with the powers that be to make precisely that point. I am


pleased to say that we do have in our midst and indeed in my line of


vision the Secretary of State for Exiting The European Union, whom I


imagine the honourable gentleman will wish to interrogate in due


course. Meanwhile, let's hear from the Secretary of State. I will say


to the honourable gentleman who has just spoken that I have spent many


years sitting on those benches, hoping... We did not have the


opportunity at all to interrogate Mr Tony Blair after he had been on the


radio and television! But today is a Parliamentary day and I wish to


share with Parliament what I think are some important points. I would


like to the House on the Government's plans for exiting the


European Union. Today, the Prime Minister is setting up a plan for


Britain. It is a plan to ensure that we embrace this moment of change to


build a confident global trading nation that seizes the new


opportunities before it and a fairer, stronger society at home and


bracing bold economic and social reform. It is a plan which


recognises that the referendum vote was not one to pull up tall, which


is and retreat from the world, but rather a vote of confidence in the


UK's ability to succeed. It is a plan to build a strong new


partnership with our European partners while reaching beyond the


borders of Europe to forge deeper links with old allies and new ones.


Today, we set out 12 objectives in the negotiation to come. They answer


the questions of those who have been asking what we intend while not


undermining the UK's negotiating position. We are clear what we seek


is that new partnership, not a partial EU membership, not a model


adopted by other countries, not a position which means we're half in


and half-hour. Let me address of our aims in turn. First, we will provide


certainty wherever possible, while recognising we are about to enter a


two sided negotiation. We have already made announcements about


agriculture payments and student funding. Our proposal regarding EU


law and UK law is designed to make the process as smooth as possible.


At the point of exit, the same rules and laws will apply, and it will


then be for this Parliament to determine changes in the country's


interests. For we also intend to take control of our own laws and end


the authority of the European Court of Justice in the UK. Laws have been


made in this Parliament and in the devolved assemblies and interpreted


by our judges, not those in Luxembourg. -- laws will be made. We


will continue to engage with the devolved administrations and ensure


that as powers our return from Brussels to the UK, the right powers


come to Westminster and the right powers are passed to Edinburgh,


Cardiff and Belfast. Another key objective will be to maintain the


Common travel area between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. No-one


wants to see a return to the borders of the past. In terms of


immigration, we will remain an open, tolerant nation. We will continue to


welcome the brightest and the best and ensure that immigration continue


to bring benefits in terms of addressing skill shortages where


they exist. But we will manage our immigration system properly, which


means free movement from the European Union cannot continue as


before. We want to guarantee the rights of European Union citizens


who are already in this country and make such a great contribution to


our society already, and in tandem with that protect the rights of UK


citizens in EU countries. Would like to resolve this issue at


the early possible moment. -- earlier. Already UK law goes further


than EU minimums in many areas but as we shift the UK law, we will


ensure that workers' rights are not just protected but enhanced. In


terms of trade, we want to build a more open, outward looking,


confident nation that is a global champion for free trade. Membership


of the EU's internal market means accepting its four freedoms, in


terms of the movement of goods, services, capital and people, and


complying with the EU's rules and regulations. That would effectively


mean not leaving the European Union at all. So we do not propose to


maintain membership of the EU single market. Instead, we will seek the


broadest possible access to it through a comprehensive free trade


agreement with the EU. We want it to cover goods and services and be as


ambitious as possible. This is not a zero-sum game. It should be in the


interests of both the UK and the European Union. It is in all our


interests, that financial services continue to be provided freely


across borders, that integrated supply chains are not disrupted and


that trade continues in as barrier free away as is possible. While we


will seek the most open and possible market in the European Union, we


also want to further trade links with the rest of the world. So we


will deliver the freedom of the UK to strike trade agreements with


other countries. The Department for International trade has already


started to prepare the ground and it is clear there is enormous interest


around the globe in forging new links to the UK. Full membership of


the EU's Customs union would prohibit new international trade


deals so we do not intend to remain part of the common commercial policy


ought to be bound by the common external tariff. Instead, we will


seek a customs agreement with the European Union with the aim of


ensuring that cross-border trade remains as barrier free as possible.


Clearly, how this is achieved is a matter for negotiation. The UK is


one of the best places in the world for science and innovation, with


some of the best universities in the world. So we must continue to


collaborate with our European allies. When it comes to crime,


terrorism, security, we will aim to further cooperation with EU


countries. We will seek practical arrangements in these areas to


ensure we keep our continent secure and defend our shared values.


Finally in terms of our exit, we have said repeatedly that it would


be no one's interest for it to be disorderly, with any sort of cliff


edge, the word used over there, as we leave the European Union. So we


intend to reach broad agreement about the terms of our new


partnership with the EU by the end of the two-year negotiation


triggered by Article 50. But then we will aim to deliver an orderly


process of implementation. That does not mean an unlimited transitional


period where the destination is not clear but time for both the UK and


EU member states to prepare for new arrangements whether it is in terms


of customs arrangements, regulation of financial services, cooperation


over criminal justice and immigration controls. These are the


aims and objectives we set today for negotiations to come. So our


objectives are clear, to deliver certainty and clarity wherever we


can, to take control of our own laws, to protect and strengthen the


union, to maintain the Common travel area with the Republic of Ireland,


to control immigration, to protect the rights of EU nationals in the UK


and UK nationals in the EU, to protect workers' rights, to allow


free trade with European markets, to forge new trade deals with other


countries, to boost science and innovation, to protect and enhance


cooperation over crime, terrorism and security and to make our exit


smooth and orderly. It is the outline of an ambitious new


partnership between the UK and the countries of the European Union. We


are under no illusions, agreeing terms that work for both the UK and


the 27 nations of the European Union will be challenging and no doubt,


there will be bumps on the road once talks begin. We must embark on a


negotiation clear, however, that no deal is better than a bad deal. As


the Prime Minister made clear today, the UK could not accept a punitive


approach. So let me be clear, we do not expect this outcome. We are


confident that if we approach these talks in the spirit of goodwill, we


can deliver a positive deal which works to the mutual benefit of all.


It is absolutely in our interests that the EU succeeds and in the EU's


interest interests that we succeed, too. We do not want the European


Union to fail. We wanted to prosper politically and economically. We


will seek to convince our eyes that a strong new partnership with the UK


will help them to do so. -- our allies. Our approach is not about


cherry picking but reaching a deal which fits the aims of both sides.


We understand the EU wants to preserve its four freedoms and chart


its own course. That is not a project UK will now be apart of. And


so we will leave the single market and the institutions of the European


Union. We will make our own laws and decisions about immigration. And let


me be crystal clear today, if there was any doubt, the final deal agreed


between the UK and EU will be put to a vote in both Houses of Parliament


before it takes effect. To conclude, we are leaving the European Union


but we're leaving Europe. We will continue to be reliant on partners,


willing allies and close friends to European neighbours. -- we are not


leaving Europe. We anticipate success, not failure but we are


ready for any outcome. The UK will embrace its new place in the world


with optimism, strength and confidence. Thank you Mr Speaker.


Sur Keir Starmer. Thank you Mr Speaker, and can I thank the


secretary of state for giving me an advanced copy of this statement? Mr


Speaker, the Prime Minister's speech which she has just given is the most


important one she has made, it is about the future of our relationship


with the EU and our position in the world. The place for such a speech


is here. At this dispatch box. That is not just a convention. That is so


that MPs across this house can ask the Prime Minister directly on


behalf of their constituents about the plans she has for their future.


There are many questions. For many months, the Labour Party has been


demanding fullest possible access to the single market, emphasising the


risks of leaving the customs union, arguing for a collaborative


relationship with our EU partners, emphasising the need for


transitional arrangements, and the need for entrenchment of workers'


rights. Today, the Prime Minister has rightly accepted these in her


plan and I acknowledge that. She has given little detail about how that


is to be achieved and there are some unanswered questions and some big


gaps. It is, in truth, a half in, half out plan. She has not... Let me


give an example. The Prime Minister says that she doesn't want the


jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. But she wants a


comprehensive trade agreement. Sooner or later, she and others will


have to face the fact that any such agreement will have a dispute


resolution clause and that will have to be independent of this country.


It will not be by reason and resolution in the High Court in


London, according to English law. So there will have to be, as she has


avoided fronting up to some of these essential questions. But if the


Prime Minister achieves all she has set out to achieve, she will fall


short of hard Brexit, that many in business and trade unions have


feared, the Brexit of no deal, their trade agreements, out of any customs


union and at arms length with our EU relations. -- their trade


agreements. It is good she has ruled out hard Brexit at this stage. But


as the Prime Minister knows, setting out ambitions is the easy bit.


Delivery is more difficult, much more difficult. The Prime Minister


has taken the precarious course of taking the UK out of single market


membership and changing the customs arrangements. This will cause


concern to businesses, as the secretary of state knows, and to


trade unions and the Prime Minister should have been more ambitious. But


I accept that form follows function. So let me set out in terms what


Labour will hold the Prime Minister to account for, as far as trade is


concerned. Tariff free access to the single market. Access to the single


market unencumbered by impediment, and I paused there, this is what was


in the exchange of letters with Nissan, it is what all businesses


want, and all trade unions want for those dealing in goods and services.


Alignment of regulatory bodies to avoid dual bureaucracy or worse,


diverted. And a deal that works for goods and services. That is the test


we set out today. It is the test we will return to throughout the


negotiations and it is the test to be applied when the deal is reached.


And that is why the concession on a vote at the end of the negotiations


is significant. We have been demanding that for months. It has


not been given before today. It is significant because it means that we


can ensure that those tests are met throughout the process and at the


end of the process. The sting in the tail in the plan this morning if the


threat to destroy the economic model which has been in place for many


decades if the ambition is not reached. This is a very serious


threat. That model, a shared model, about which there has been consensus


for decades across this house, is designed to share prosperity,


protect workers' rights, and improve living standards. There is no


mandate for reckless disregard of that model and of so much that this


country stands for. The Prime Minister described that model,


resorting to that model, as an act that would be one of self harm for


the EU. It would, Mr Speaker, be an act of huge self harm for the UK to


abandon the economic model that we have had in place for so many years.


It is also totally inconsistent, totally inconsistent with any


meaningful commitment to workers' rights and a fairer society. So that


sting in the tail, that threat undermines the ambition is a plan


that I recognise. Let me touch on wider issues. The UK and EU have


usually benefited from our collaborative work in the field of


criminal Justice, anti-terrorism, research, medicine, science,


technology, arts and culture and much else. We should be seeking to


preserve that collaboration, not destroy it. Yet the Prime Minister


said today, and I quote, "We do not seek to hold onto bits of membership


as we leave". Let me give some examples of the bits she should seek


to retain... Order. No, the honourable gentleman is a learning


and celebrated and cerebrally individual. I don't want to


interrupt him but the convention is that the reply is normally half the


length of the statement so I can indulge the honourable gentleman


modestly. There normally a bit of attitude but I was concerned when he


had some, particularly as he is a lawyer! Mr Speaker, without details,


the European Aviation Safety Agency which deals with safety, the


European medicines agency and of course, Europol, which I worked with


for many years. These are the bits of the EU we should be seeking to


retain and not to throw away. Mr Speaker, I end by saying this. It


was the previous Prime Minister who got us to this place without any


forethought or planning. This Prime Minister has now chosen a risk


implementation plan. She owns the consequences now. She owns them in


2019 and beyond that. Thank you. The secretary of state. When we started


down this route, I said to the house that the government have been given


a national instruction which we would attempt to interpret in the


national interest. It seemed to me that was the right approach to this,


not a 52-48 approach but one that encompassed the interests of


everybody. And I hope today that we had done that today. I mean in terms


of the honourable gentleman's, and he's a very talented man, his


questions were Azarenka as you'd expect, asking us about membership


of the single market and we answer that. We laid out the claims of a


customs union, another of his questions. He asked for detailed to


scrutinise the plans and we will give it. In the context of not


undermining our negotiation, that is entirely what we have tried to do. I


had hoped that we would see support from some members of the benches


opposite for what we think is a responsible, thoughtful, but


realistic plan that takes on board the instructions we have been given


by the British people. -- people, to take us out of the European Union


but in a way which preserve that interest as best we can, whether


they are security, economic interests or whatever. Let me deal


with all the specific points he raised. I will put aside my


disappointment at tone. He says a free trade arrangement will have do


have a dispute resolution procedure. So it will cover they nearly all do


but it does not have to be the European court of justice. We can


agree but he has got the thrust of it wrong. As for other things,


tariff free, I agree, impediment free, I agree, alignment regulation


May be necessary in some aspects and we will see at the negotiating


developments. -- develops. On goods and services, I agree. He's not


putting up any hurdle but frankly we don't intend to cross ourselves.


This question of threats, it is not a threat, this was the Chancellor,


in response to an interview, saying, if you go down the route of a


punitive approach, this is the consequence, what will happen.


Nations defend themselves. No one says what we want to do, it is


specifically what we don't want to do. We want the freest possible


relationship, the most friendly possible we can get and that is what


we will set out to do. You can take it as read that all the


issues he raised, we will be addressing over time in this House


and most particularly we'll be addressing in the negotiating


chamber with the Europeans. I think that they'll have as much interest


as we do. That is what the negotiation is predicated upon. We


are going to do what is in the interests of everyone, ourselves, if


Europeans and owl our neighbours in part of globe -- and our neighbours


and our part of the globe. That's what we intend to do.


I'm sure we'll acknowledge the Prime Minister's speech, it's principled,


reasonable and statesmanlike. Does he agree that, in relation to


what the 27 member states, heads of Government said, only a few weeks


ago, the last counsel sum commitment, that there would be no


access to the single market unless we accepted all the four freedoms --


summit. That this does represent a difficulty. Does he accept therefore


that it's essential that we clear that with the other member states on


the basis of principle, reasonableness and statesmanship?


I have tried throughout the six months so far not to respond to


sometimes the emotional comments we've heard from various people


around the continent. I'm sort of slightly surprised in him, however.


He of all people would pull me up if I confused access to single market


with membership of single market. Pretty much every country in the


world that's not subject to sanctions has access to the single


market. We will have access to the single market. The question that


this is about is the terms. My job, and the job frankly of everybody,


including the opposition, is to persuade our opposite numbers in


Europe that it's in their their interests too that we all have


access to each other's markets. That's what I intend to do.


Thank you Mr Speaker. I thank the secretary for advance sight of the


statement. We have seen the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State


today complete an un-Holy Trinity of Westminster promises to people of


Scotland. They promised to take account of the 62% remain vote in


Scotland. And to consider all options for Scotland's future.


They've broken that promise today. They promised during the referendum


and in the election manifesto that leaving the EU doesn't mean we have


to leave the single market. Today they are making that promise. As for


the promise in 2014 remaining in the United Kingdom guaranteed Scotland's


place in Europe, we all know where that's gone. I have to say to the


Secretary of State, I hope he'll pass the message back to his boss


that if she insists on giving Scotland only one option to remain,


Scotland will take that option. We do have certainty, we know with


certainty that Brexit means hard Tory Brexit. Can I ask the Secretary


of State, even at this late stage, to accept that the promises that he


and the Prime Minister have made must be honoured. Will he tell the


House how he proposes to recognise the 62% Remain vote in Scotland and


the overwhelming unanimous view in Scotland that our free movement of


people is essential for our well-being. Can he tell the House if


he's read the Scottish Government paper on Scotland's place in Europe


and give than he's nodding, will he undertake this paper will be


properly and thoroughly discussed at the joint ministerial council next


week. Will he undertake, that before any non-returnable steps are taken,


that Members of Parliament of all devolved nations will be given a


chance, even on an advisory basis to consider the Government's plans,


even before they are implemented. I thank the honourable gentleman for


his question. It's been my privilege to chair the joint ministerial


committee on European negotiations on which Mike Russell broadly


represents the Scottish Government's position. I gave him an undertaking


that we'd debate that paper at the next JMCEN, as it's known in


Whitehall jargon. That's what we'll do. One of the things I've been very


careful not to do is comment publicly on it because I said we


want to give it the most open debate possible. There are parts of it I


disagree with and parts I agree with. On the question of protection


of workers' rights or maintenance of our terrific universities, I'm


entirely on the side of the paper. On areas of devolution, Mr Russell


may be surprised on how pro-devolution I am. There'll be


nothing taken away and we'll have to decide what passes to them from the


European Union. That will be a rational debate, based around the


interests of the UK and Scotland. So he must take it as read I think


that we will take very, very seriously the idea that we do not


allow any part of the United Kingdom, any nation, Scotland,


Wales, Northern Ireland, England, to lose out by this process. We are


determined of that. THE SPEAKER: Anna Soubry? Thank you


very much. I'll continue to come pain for membership of the single


market and to make the positive case for immigration because I believe in


the free movement of the people from the European Union. But can I make


it very clear that I welcome the - I nearly said Her Majesty - the Prime


Minister's speech and the statement made by my right honourable friend.


I think it's realistic. It's much-needed clarity. I think the


tone is to be hugely welcomed. It marks in that tone, a genuine


desire, to bring about a consensus to reunite our country. So, in that


spirit, would my right honourable friend commit, please, to putting


those 12 objectives, this is not unreasonable, Mr Speaker, into a


White Paper, bringing it into this House so that we can finally,


because we haven't, and many others feel that Parliament's been


deliberately procluded from this, that we can debate the single


market, the customs union and free movement of people. I'll say first


to my right honourable friend about her slip of the tongue, I often make


the same mistake. Probably why I am where I am!


As for her request to the you believe stance of this, I've tried


today and the Prime Minister's tried today to answer all the questions we


are able to answer without undermining the negotiation. But in


terms of debates in the House, I can see in this chamber entirely a part


for debating the very thing she talked about. So that's why I'll


seek to get. THE SPEAKER: Ed Miliband. Thank you,


Mr Speaker. The Secretary of State and the Prime Minister have both


more or less admitted today what's been obvious for months, that it


will take more than two years to have a trade deal with the EU ready


to go. But there then follows a crucial question for many, many


businesses up and down this country which is what the arrangements will


be when we leave the EU and that trade deal is not yet completed. But


listening to the Secretary of State today and indeed reading the Prime


Minister's speech, we are not the wiser what that will be. Can the


Secretary of State now enlighten us on this crucial point which matters


to families and businesses hugely. I'll correct one or two things what


he got wrong. He's wrong to interpret what I said as any


suggestion that we'll not be able to negotiate this outcome in the


timetable in front of us. The issue I said was that we'd look at


implementation issues because I may well take time and I cited the


borders and customs and various other aspects which might take time


to take effect. It will be in the joint interests of the European


Union and ourselves to put that in place. More widely, I cannot think


how I could have been clearer. I've answered every single question with


one exception that his spokesman of the party put to us. I've tried to


answer as many as I can of the ones the Select Committee put to us. We


have been very clear. I don't think out there anybody will believe the


Labour Party now when they say we don't know what the negotiating


strategy is. It's as plain as a pike staff and he should recognise that.


The Prime Minister's given clarity, we are leaving the single market and


customs union. Further to the point that's just been asked, in the


implementation phase of the Prime Minister's proposal after article


50, that period of adjustment to a deal, will all of the detailed terms


already have been finalised or, is the period during which the details


of the so-called bold and ambitious deal, as she put it, to be still


worked out during the phase? My right honourable friend wrote a very


wise paper which I referred to previously in a previous exchange


here and he'd recognise that the negotiating balance changes at the


end of the two-year period, so it's very, very important that we


conclude the deal by then. The implementation is a different


matter, it may take time and it does take time and we can't control


whether we say putting in place a new customs arrangement or whatever


it may be. It's the practicalities of it and that's what will drive it.


Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. While the Prime Minister's made


things clearer today and I welcome in particular the commitment that


Parliament will have a vote on the final deal and that the Government


will seek transitional arrangements, both things the Select Committee


called for in its first report, there is one big issue where there


is still uncertainty for businesses and that is the continuation of


tariff free and barrier free trade. Now, given the Government's


unequivocal commitment today to that goal, can the Secretary of State


tell the House that if remaining in the customs turns out to be the only


way of assuring that that is what we'll get what we asked for, can you


ensure that's what we'll do to honour that commitment to


businesses? Zbloo we'll abide by the instruction given to it by the


British people and the instruction was to leave the European Union.


I'm afraid that is inconsistent with membership of the market. What we


have said in terms, is that we intend to deliver the very thing


that he says British business is uncertain about. That is tariff free


and barrier free access to the European market.


Can I welcome the contribution to increased clarity that the Prime


Minister's brought to the EU debate today. I just hope that the 27


remaining countries in the EU will take this opportunity to embrace the


positive spirit in which this plan's been put forward. But the Prime


Minister actually said in her speech that she was putting the


preservation of our precious union at the heart of everything and, in


that spirit, can I ask the Secretary of State if there is parts of the


country that are net beneficiaries from the EU, such as Wales and


Cornwall, will continue to get that level of funding so they can take


advantage of the great opportunities ahead. The aim of the entire


strategy is to improve the economic prospects of the country and to do


that properly, the Prime Minister has been very forward in terms of


talking about the benefits of that. One of the things which has passed


almost unremarked but was in fact remarkable, was the speed with which


the Treasury stepped in very early on universities and farming and


structural funds. It made a decision in four weeks in the middle of


August, something which I don't think I can remember in my lifetime


in this parent which is quite long. So I think she can take it as read


that we'll do everything possible to make sure that awe parts in the


United Kingdom benefit from this policy.


I applaud the Prime Minister's speech and her vision of a liberal


Brexit. Can the minister confirm that where mutual cooperation is


needed between the EU and UK after we've left such as


intelligence-sharing, that arrangements will be put in place on


the basis of bilateral treaties, rather than us being the supplement?


One of the things the Prime Minister's made plain is that we are


not the supplement here or in what follows afterwards. Britain is the


intelligent super power, we are critical to the fence of Europe from


terrorist threat and we are also critical to the military support of


Europe and dealing with migration, the navy at work -- with the navy at


work. They are often on a bilateral basis now but they'll be done on a


treaty basis equal to both sides. I think we should loyally support


the Government. Hear-hear! LAUGHTER


Will the Secretary of State confirm this, that insist on controlling


your own borders and insisting on doing international trade deals is


inconsistent, not just with membership of the European Union,


but also the customs union and the single market, so I agree after the


welcome turn of today's speech it's not hard Brexit, it's full Brexit.


Well, I will start by saying with respect to his opening remarks, my


health is fragile these days, careful about such assertions of


supporting the Government! But it is plain, I mean, we have endeavoured


to put together the option which gives the best outcome for Britain


whilst obeying the decision of the people. That's what we have done and


it will work. Thank you, MrSpeaker. The Prime


Minister in the first part of her speech made a welcome commitment to


enhance and protect workers' rights but at the end was threatening to


take them away and to undercut the rest of Europe and rip up the


British economic model if we don't get what we want. Can he now


withdraw that threat and be clear that Britain will not do that


because otherwise if the Government is prepared to rip up workers'


rights as soon as the negotiations get difficult, how can we trust them


to ensure that the rest of Britain's interests are protected if the


negotiations get difficult, as well? I will say to her what I said to the


head of the TUC a couple of weeks ago, there is no circumstance under


which we will rip up worksers' rights. That's my commitment from


the beginning in this job and it will be my commitment for as long as


I am in it. The governor of the Bank of England


said the financial stability risks to the eurozone are greater than


those faced by the UK, will he undertake to offer the European


Union a full agreement to ensure that through the withdrawal


agreement the eurozone continues to enjoy access to the City of London?


Well, the governor and my honourable friend make a good point. The City


of London, the existence of the City of London ensures both a pool of


liquidity and a source of almost bottomless source of low cost


finance for most of the industries of Europe. So, I think they've every


interest in doing the deal we described and that again I reiterate


is what we are relying on that's in everybody's interests economically,


socially and in terms of financial stability. As the Secretary of State


knows I support reform of freedom of movement but in a way that does


least damage to the economy and particularly the regional economy. I


see in the Prime Minister's speech she makes specific mention of


protecting the interests of Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, the City of


London, but there is no mention of the north-west of England, Greater


Manchester or indeed any English region. Rather than leaving these


crucial decisions to a London centric click isn't it take to open


up this debate, give Greater Manchester a voice in it and


establish a Brexit committee for the nations and regions?


If he is not very careful, I shall invite him to jump on to the M62 and


visit me at my home in Yorkshire, this right-wing bastion in the north


of England. Firstly, as you he - as he might imagine, I am acutely


conscious of the needs of the north and what I am intending to do, I had


intended to announce it - I hadn't intended to announce it today but I


will as he asked, after the mayoral elections I intend to All Yours the


mayors to have a meeting to talk about precisely that.


It's a makeshift plan but before he is able to negotiate it, can I urge


on him enormous patience because our partners will first want to discuss


the money, the division of the assets and liabilities. I shall


almost reiterate the answer I gave to the previous question. I am from


Yorkshire and we are known to be just like the Scots, but a lot less


generous! Today's speech is a result of what


you get when you allow immigration policy to dictate economic policy,


rather than considering these crucial questions of immigration and


economics together. The Prime Minister set out a plan to leave the


European Union but she did not set out a plan to keep anything like the


current access to our biggest single market for jobs, businesses and


trade and during the referendum campaign she said that pulling out


of the single market would mean a loss of investors and going


backwards on international trade. Let me ask the Secretary of State,


what economic assessment did the Government make on the impact of


today's speech on jobs, trade and prosperity or was the speech made


without any such assetment at all? The first thing I will say to him is


that the outcome of the referendum last year was not principally, it


was a large part about immigration, but not principally about


immigration, it was about control of our country. If you talk to the


people who voted that was what they were concerned about. That's what


this is about. Since I was party to the writing of this speech I can


tell him, we had the economic future of the country, the security of the


country, the sovereignty of the country and our part in the world


all squarely in our sights when we wrote it.


My right honourable friend in his speech made clear that no deal is


better than a bad deal. In the unlikely I am sure event that we


were to get a bad deal and the House were to vote against it, what would


be the impact in terms of our status within the European Union?


Well, the referendum last year set in motion a circumstance where the


UK is going to leave the European Union and it won't change that. What


we want to have is a vote so the House can support the policy which


we are quite sure they will approve of when we get there.


Can I welcome the Prime Minister's speech today in the sense that it


gives certainty to those millions of Labour supporters who voted to leave


and now know that the slogan taking back control is not just a slogan


but actually means something. Could I ask him in the interim period now,


before we actually leave, will he assure us that the negotiations


about trade deals with other countries that may be nearly there,


that we will continue to do that work so we are ready to go when we


actually leave the EU? Of course we will do that. The honourable lady is


entirely right. What we are constrained by is a thing called the


duty of sincere co-operation. It requires us not to do things which


jeopardise actions by the European Union. If the European Union


currently has a trade deal in negotiation we have to be very


careful about how we impact on that. Of course we can't actually sign


until the day we leave. But I have a strong suspicion that there will be


a lot of things ready to sign that very next day.


I apologise for being unavoidably rather late in the chamber. Whilst I


welcome the tone of the Prime Minister's statement today and the


commitments to free trade and internationalism and so on which are


very welcome, does my right honourable friend agree that when he


is negotiating free trade agreements or customses union with any other


country or groups of country, the parties both agree to be bound by


sets of rules which neither of them are going to change and any


agreement involves submitting to some means of resolution of


disputes, be it arbitration or a court of law or the World Trade


Organisation rules. So what I don't understand when reading the Prime


Minister's statement or listening to my right honourable friend is which


country in the world is going to enter into a trade agreement with


this country on the basis that the rules are entirely what the British


say they're going to be on any particular day and if there is any


dispute about the rules it's going to be sorted out by the British


Government? LAUGHTER


Well, those on that side have a very short memory. I can forgive my right


honourable friend, he didn't hear the first question which was on


exactly this point. And I answered it in the same way I am going to


answer this, which is of course there will be agreements between us


and there will they'll be arbitrated by an organisation which we agree


between us, not normally the European Court of justice.


Thank you, MrSpeaker. Can the Secretary of State be absolutely


crystal clear, does his statement and the Prime Minister's speech


represent the totality of the plan promised to parliament and will


there be a White Paper, yes or no? I was asked by the select committee


that we will present the plan as quickly as possible, that's what we


have done. I am very pleased to hear priorities


include allowing the EU citizens to stay here and allowing us to still


access those vital skills we need for science and insroe vasion. I


appreciate the negotiation can't be open for all to see and no running


commentary will be possible. Will the Secretary of State commit -


needs and requirements must be reflected in negotiating aims.


Broadly, yes, the honourable lady is a member for Cambridgeshire? I was


in Cambridge only just before Christmas to speak to a number of


hi-tech organisations, one of them ARM but a number of others, as well,


some pharmaceutical ones, as well, with the direct intention of


informing exactly how we approach some of these complex matters in the


negotiation. The Government took a wise decision


to inform our E. Partners that in the event of intransigence during


our negotiations to establish a new partnership that we would not take


it lying down and would use the fiscal and legislative levers at our


disposal to ensure that Britain's economic case was represented


properly. Is he surprised at the casual way in which the opposition


has dismissed the use of these levers on the basis that it might


start a trade war and would he not accept that the sure way of getting


entrance generals from the EU is to throw away this economic deterrent


we have at our disposal? I am disappointed but not surprised, what


is perhaps spicing -- surprising. This is something in the national


interest, every single member of our nation stands to gain.


Can I welcome the detailed plan set out by the Prime Minister for a


post-Brexit Britain that means that we are a self-governing democracy, a


firm friend to Europe but have a global perspective. Does he agree


that it's vital this is a positive vision because that's the way we can


unite the country and make sure Britain goes from strength to


strength? Well, my honourable friend goes to


the heart of this. The purpose of this and the reason we addressed the


questions that were put by the opposition was because we wanted to


get people behind a vision of Britain which will be in everybody's


interests, everybody, north, south, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern


Ireland, every part of the country, rich and poor and that's what we


intend to do. Thank you, MrSpeaker. In 45 minutes


the Prime Minister hasn't delivered a plan, she's delivered a Pandora's


Box. She said she wants us to leave the common commercial policy and the


common external tariff but to have associate membership of the customs


union. A membership that doesn't yet exist and nobody else has. Can the


Secretary of State tell us exactly what this means now for the deals


like the aniesen deal on which thousands of jobs -- Nissan. Or what


is it he - what cake he wants to eat and have this time? Nissan have


decided to enlarge their investment in Britain, so they are clearly


persuaded of this circumstance. The second thing I would say to her is


that we have said from the beginning the relationship, the new


partnership we want to have with the European Union will be unique T will


be brand new, it is unique in many ways. Let me give one example. In


the trade deal that we are seeking to arrive at we will be at the same


standards of production, same standards applying to all of Britain


that applies to the European Union now. There is no other trade deal in


the world like that. The same thing applies to customs agreements, we


are in a position where currently we have no customs barriers, why should


we not have a frictionless one when we get to the end of the deal?


Does the Secretary of State agree with me that a strong, fair and


global Britain must include showing support for EU nationals currently


living and working in our communities and to that end does he


agree with me that we should unilaterally guarantee their rights


as this would demonstrate our goodwill with a clear statement of


intent? En What we have done is we have


sought at the earliest possible opportunity with the national


governments of those EU nationals to try to establish an agreement which


covers both those EU nationals about which we care deeply, but also those


citizens for whom we have a legal and moral responsibility, that's the


point to remember, we have a legal and moral responsibility for our own


citizens and those nations have not yet taken up the offer.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Further to the point made by the honourable


lady for Twickenham, the speech does contain the words "guarantee", so


there is a commitment from the Government that they want to do


this. However, with 3.5 million citizens living in our country, will


it be 23rd June or the day we trigger. Certainly is extremely


important and work needs to be done on the basis of when people arrived


because the number of EU citizens will have arrived without passports


but with identity cards. He'll know as a long-standing ex-chairman of


the Home Affairs Select Committee which actually published a report on


this and put up three dates, that this is a matter strictly for the


Home Office to initiate and their policy on it.


People came here in good faith to feel fear, concern about the future


and we want to be able to guarantee all the other things that go with


it, the welfare support and so on. That's what we intend to do. He'll


forgive me if I don't pick a date out of the air because he knows what


will happen, it will create an instant problem in terms of concerns


for people who arrived either before or after that date. I don't wish


this to make it any more difficult for the decent people that I want to


help. I also welcome the Prime Minister's


tone and her outlined objectives as she enters into the Brexit


negotiations. I'm pleased she's listened to honourable friends to


putting that vote to Parliament. Does my right honourable friend


agree with me that in order to ensure that the Government is in


tune with the will of Parliament that the single market is


desperately overdue, the debate on it, and also so that Britain can be


a best friend and neighbour to European partners. To do anything


else would make Britain poor and the European partners. He goes to the


heart of the strategy. The non-tariff barriers are as important


in some ways as the 0% tariff and maybe harder to negotiate.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Once the UK's left the EU, there'll


be a ?9 billion in EU finances. Given reduced resources, why does


the Government believe the EU will prioritise negotiating a trade deal


with the UK over more lucrative markets such as the US or China?


Well, I'm afraid she's wrong about the more lucrative market bit. I


mean, we are, once we are outside the European Union, the largest


market for the European Union. They do not want to lose what they


already have, which is a massive trade deficit, as it were, in their


direction, which is very important for many, many millions of jobs.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to warmly welcome the statement by


my right honourable friend and the speech earlier by the Prime


Minister. I'm sure my right honourable friend is aware of the


importance of the British university sector for research, jobs and


growth, and that is challenged, that sector, in terms of the workforce


and also in terms of many of the grants it gets from the European


Union. Will my right honourable friend commit to prioritising with


the university sector to make sure it has a viable and strong future in


a post-Brexit world? We are already at that. As I


mentioned to his honourable friend, I was in Cambridge just before


Christmas with that very much in mind.


Let me just reiterate the point. I know I've made it from despatch box


before. I'll reiterate the point. My job is to bring back control of the


immigration policy to the UK. But do not assume that we'll do anything


other than interpret that immigration policy in the UK's


national interests. We are a university, a science super power


and that science super power status depends on our access to tariffs,


our ability to get people to come and work in our universities with


Nobel Prizes and do what they do very well here and we have got that


very, very square and centre in what we are attempting to achieve. Thank


you very much, Mr Speaker. The Secretary of State was an early


advocate of a White Paper. Downing Street have made it clear that


there'll be no White Paper that the Prime Minister's speech is all we


are going to get. Is he disappointed with that and, will he go back and


ask her to think again so that we can have meaningful debate with


votes ahead of the final agreement? I mean, frankly, she should read it.


It's almost 7,000 words, a closely argued strategy in terms of the


approach to the European Union. It answers all of her questions that we


can answer at this stage and that's what we set out to do, to help


Parliament with its decisions. That's what I think we have done.


The honourable member from hoe burn and St Pancras suggested that the


ECJ would retain the trade deal. Given the Canada trade deal contains


an arbitration clause, does the Secretary of State think this is


absolutely necessary? There is always an arbitration clause in any


trade deal but whoever the organisation that carries out the


arbitration, is a part of that deal. That's what we'll agree. I think


it's incredibly unlikely it will be the ECJ.


Can I suggest to the honourable member that the Government's threat


of turning Britain into a corporate tax haven floating off on the edge


of Europe is not what people voted for on the 23rd June. People also


did not vote to wreck our environmental protections. So will


the Government introduce a new Environmental Protection Act as


advocated by the Environmental Audit Committee so that vital safeguards


for nature are neither quietly dropped through secondary


legislation, nor bargained away in this rush to be able to conclude new


trade deals, for example, with the US.


Well, what I'll say to her is this. The way we have structured this,


very clearly I think, with the great Repeal Bill, so that that all of the


existing protections in law will be put into British law, then anything


thereafter will be for this Parliament to decide, something that


hasn't been true for about 40 years. Mr Speaker, in the Secretary of


State's long and distinguished political career, did he ever think


that in his political lifetime, he would have a British Prime Minister


make such a splendid speech on the EU, totally in line with the British


people? Absolutely not! But sadly that won't


get me a pay increase. Russia. Russia this week has been up


to its usual tricks no trying to stir up trouble between Serbia and


Kosovo and of course is trying to face down the United States of


America and, for that matter, other members of NATO on the border with


Poland and Estonia. Now, I believe that the bedrock of our national


security is NATO. I hope my party does too. But successive Foreign


Secretaries and Home Secretaries and Prime Ministers have come to this


House and said that they are proud when they've come back from the EU,


that they have been able to make sure that the EU keeps strong


sanctions against Russian territorial aggression. How will we


be able to do that in the future when we've left the European Union?


Well, we'll be able to do it by bilateral negotiation. Let me go


back to the fundamental of what he said. I mean, one of the - he's


right, we need to contain Russian expansionism - and he's right that


that's an important part of this country's role in the world. One of


the most important parts of the incredibly important speech was the


Prime Minister making it very plain that we will continue to be a good


global citizen and a good European citizen, particularly on matters of


regional security. I welcome today's statement and the


clarity it brings. In the Black Country and the wider West Midlands


economy, their businesses have driven export growth, particularly


outside of the European Union. Would the Secretary of State agree with me


that whatever we agree in terms of access to the single market, must


not constrain the ability of West Midlands exporters to continue to


ply trade outside of the European Union and grow their exports?


He makes a point which goes to the heart of the approach to the customs


union. The reason we are not going to be a part of the common


commercial policy is to enable us to make the deals which enable the


Black Country industrialists to make the maximum out of international


trade. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. EU


workers in Scotland contribute ?7. 5 billion to our economy, not to


mention the huge contribution they make to our social fabric. What is


he going to do to protect their rights and Scotland's place in


Europe as they voted for by a majority in the EU vote?


I mean, there was a part of the report that was produced by the


Scottish Government which related to this and, as I said to one of my


colleagues earlier, that we will not be managing the immigration policy


or the migration policy in a way which harms the national interest.


That means not causing Labour shortages, shortages of talent and


so on. That applies, not just as it were globally, but to each nation


state of the United Kingdom too. Thank you, Mr Speaker.


I welcome the Prime Minister's plan for Britain and her speech today. I


represent a rural constituency which has a long history and future of


agriculture. Can my right honourable friend assure the House that


agriculture will be central in any trade negotiations and that the high


quality of food standards for which British farming is famed will be a


key principle in those negotiations? The answer very simply is yes. We


are a large market for European agriculture and food production but


they are a large market for us too and we'll keep that in mind.


Mr Speaker, on rethinking immigration policy, will ministers


consider allowing EU citizens to come to the UK if they have a firm


job offer in the UK, as part of the quid pro quo for the barrier free


access to the single market which he said is his goal?


I think if I remember correctly from the speech, the Prime Minister made


the point thats the not a policy to shut out Europeans at all, it's a


policy to deliver the best interests of the United Kingdom and the best


interests of the European Union and therefore we'll keep that in mind,


of course. I welcome the Prime Minister's


speech and her plans. But would my right honourable friend agree his


negotiations will be greatly enhanced by his commitment to


working with Britishth British business and that the Government's


commitment to shaping a modern industrial strategy with British


business will also provide a clear vision for our post-Brexit economic


future? The two policies fit together hand and glove almost, the


industrial policy and the negotiating policy with the European


Union. It's right that we have made an enormous amount of attention to


business, finance and manufacturing, to aviation, energy, every single


sector, 51 different sectors. We have paid a great deal of attention


to them in order to get the best possible deal and we'll continue to


do so. Mr Speaker, trading with the EU


under WTO rules would be vastly inferior to our current arrangements


with 10% tariffs on cars, 13% on clothes, up to 40% tariffs on


agricultural produce that the lady was talking about. For the sake of


clarity, can he be absolutely clear, does the Prime Minister's commitment


to an interim implementation arrangement amount to the Government


ruling out leaving the EU with no deal at all. That would be damaging


for jobs and businesses in this country.


If you walk into a negotiating option with no other option you


won't do very well. Can I welcome the tone of the Prime


Minister this morning in the building formerly known as Stafford


House. Would he agree with me that this issue of no cliff edge of a


really well-worked out implementation plan is incredibly


important, not just for businesses, but for the entire economy and all


of the people of the United Kingdom and indeed of the EU.


I think my right honourable friend is, as ever, right. I would say to


him, of course, the point I tried to make earlier and it was made this


morning, is this is important to us but also important to the European


Union too. Thank you, Mr Speaker. If we are


looking things which unite us and will enable us to exit the European


Union more smoothly, can I suggest the minister starts talking to the


Home Office and to minister who is deal with universities to find a way


where we can properly remove the numbers of international students


from the head count of immigration figures?


Having explained earlier how I got the job, I think answering that


question would lose me the job. It is a matter for the Home Office. But


she can be sure that as I have said earlier, in answer to other


questions, the operation of the immigration policy after we depart


the European Union will be in the national interest, that includes the


interest of our incredibly powerful and effective university sector. As


the Shadow Minister said, this is not a hard Brexit, nor is this a


soft Brexit, this is a plan for Britain on Brexit. The pound is up


almost 3% since the announcement of the Prime Minister this morning.


Could I urge my right honourable friend to not give in to the voices


opposite who want a constant commentary but to carry on the clear


strategy that's been laid out since he took post of making announcements


when there is something to announce because that stability has been


proved on the markets today that it works. Well, I am slightly loath to


pin the entire effectiveness of the strategy on the currency markets,


although I have to say that in two speeches now we managed to move it


by a total of 5% so I have made more money on that than in the entire


rest of my industrial career. But I take the point. This is a very


important issue that we must not give a running commentary on but I


think the opposition have a point that clarity was worthwhile and


that's been demonstrated today. The Prime Minister said in her


speech that we are leaving the single market, that she was going to


negotiate a tree trade agreement with the EU and -- free trade


agreement with the EU. Taking arrangements in certain areas. The


Prime Minister continued, if so, it is reasonable that we should make an


appropriate contribution. Can the Secretary of State say today and


confirm is the Government actually considering continuing to make a


financial contribution on that basis to the EU? I think he should have


listened to the questions as well when she elaborated on that. She


pointed out there are elements of the European Union where it's to our


benefit, some of the research arrangements and so on. We are not


in the business of going into great detail beyond that. I have said


before we are not closing doors, but neither are we committing to things


at this point. Well done the Prime Minister, well done my right


honourable friend. Does he share my optimism that access to the European


markets will not be affected by our departure because of the millions of


European workers who will not allow their politicians or their


bureaucrats to threaten their livelihoods simply to punish the


United Kingdom? I am sure my right honourable friend


is right and I particularly like the opening of his question!


Could I commend the honourable lady for her sanity in her common sense


earlier and the member for Rushcliff for bringing a degree of integrity


to the discussion. Does the Secretary of State for exiting the


EU recognise that I and thousands of others in Northern Ireland won't be


leaving the EU willingly. We recognise the very significant


benefits that have flowed from EU membership. We hold EU passports and


we intend to retain them. But can I ask the Secretary of State what


arrangements he will make to accommodate us? People like myself


and the 70% of my constituents who voted to remain in the EU and intend


to retain the benefits and could he when he tell us how he intends


Northern Ireland to have its voice heard at the GMC meetings that he


has and in the negotiations generally in the next three months?


Let me say to the honourable gentleman. Firstly, since the


beginning of this process, since I took this post, we have put the


preservation of the stability and interests of Northern Ireland pretty


much at the top of the tree of the negotiation, in particular on issues


such as maintaining an open border and indeed on preserving the


economic basis of Northern Ireland which is very dependent on trade


with the Republic of Ireland. In terms of the JMC, I don't think


whether it's gone yesterday but I approved it yesterday for the


Northern Ireland economictive asking them whether they during the interim


period, although the Government doesn't - is now subject to an


election, ministers, most of the ministers are still in place to get


them to send representatives either Ministerial or other


representatives, so that we are always across the interests of


Northern Ireland. He must take it as read, I am absolutely committed to


making sure that the stability we have got used to and the peace we


have got used to and prosperity in the last several years, we intend to


maintain. As the Secretary of State said, if


we are to give up our membership of the European Union and indeed the


single market, this is not incompatible with us negotiating


access to the single market either in whole or in part, I was wondering


if at this stage my honourable friend has considered red lines he


may put down in terms of what we pay for such access? I have considered,


but the idea that I might talk about them is neither here... The simple


truth is, there is a sort of naivety in modern politics that you have to


establish in some sort of butch way red lines. If you establish a red


line what you do is you invite your opposite, your negotiating opposite


to make that red line very expensive to you. So, I do not intend to get


into the business of laying out red lines here, there and everywhere,


because I intend to get the best possible outcome for the country.


The Prime Minister has said that we will be leaving the jurisdiction of


the European Court of justice but can the Secretary of State, who has


been a strong advocate of human rights, confirm that we will not be


leaving the European Convention on Human Rights?


Well as she knows I have history in this area and they're completely


separate entities, nothing to do with this.


I wholeheartedly welcome my right honourable friend's statement and


that of the Prime Minister. Steel production is hugely important in


Northamptonshire, will he consult widely about the future of the steel


industry to make sure we get these arrangements right because this is a


vitally strategic important industry for our country? Yes, the short


answer is yes. The Secretary of State talked about


bumps in the road. But this threatens to be a head of on car


crash for Wales where 200,000 jobs are supported by trade with Europe.


Does he have any idea how many jobs will be lost in Wales as a result of


his Government's chosen path? The intention is none. I will say to


that end the joint Ministerial committee for European negotiation


will be considering a subfrom the Government for Wales I think in the


meeting after next. I actually believe the Prime


Minister's powers are pragmatic plan because it sets out the ambitions


that we have to continue to attract the best talent to continue access


to the single market and to have a phased implementation and that


certainly recognises the ambitions of the financial services industry.


Could my right honourable friend confirm he will follow the Prime


Minister's lead and put the needs at the forefront of his negotiations


and secure mutual recognition and equiff Lance in those negotiations?


Following my earlier comments of course I will follow the Prime


Minister's lead! And yes, of course, national


services is an enormously important industry, plus all the associated


industries that support it. I have to tell him as well it's an industry


that general rates great revenue for the tresh ear, even if I didn't pay


attention I am sure the Chancellor would.


58% of the north-east exports are destined for the EU, 10% more than


the UK average, leaving our region the most exposed from leaving the


single market. Could the Secretary of State confirm what specific


assessment or specific conversations he has had with business


organisations and others in the north-east to ensure that our voice


is heard in these discussions and that those jobs that depend on our


access to the single market are not put at risk.


I am not a southerner, she will understand that I come at this from


a different view from some, and companies like Nissan clearly took a


view too. Let me put this to her clearly, the aim of this strategy is


to deliver absolutely the maximum possible access to the European


Union marketplace, as well as delivering access to other global


marketplaces at the same time. Those two things will be to the benefit of


the north-east just as much as anywhere else.


Nearly 70% of my constituents voted to leave the EU so I very much


welcome the Prime Minister's speech today and my right honourable


friend's statement outlining a plan of how we can deliver this exit. But


just a point on trade. Can my right honourable friend outline in more


detail what the Government is going to do to ensure businesses such as


those in Cannock Chase can make the most of global trade opportunities


as we exit the EU? Strictly this is a question she


should address to the department for international trade because one


element of what they do is negotiating new deals but the other


element is facilitating, particularly for medium sized


businesses, the ones where we underperform, access to those


markets and they'll be doing that, as well.


The second of the Prime Minister's Brexit principles as leaving the


European Union will mean our laws will be made in Westminster,


Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, in the spirit of principle one that the


Government will provide certainty wherever it can, will the Secretary


now provide details to the House of what further devolution or as he


called it the right powers will go to the devolved administrations


following our exit from the European Union?


The first thing to say to her is that not a single power will come


away from the devolved administrations, not one. If one was


to listen sometimes to people talk being this you would think somehow


we are going to strip the Scottish parliament of powers, which is not


true. Secondly, I will say this to her, my presumption is I can tell


her the principle, I can't give her the details at this stage, but my


presumption is that wherever possible we will devolve so long as


it doesn't undermine the UK single market, for which it is incredibly


important to Scotland, about five times as much as it is to a European


single market is. Secondly, that it preserves the ability of the


Government to do international negotiation because - thirdly, to


meet the international standards. Those are very important. Subject to


that, I am on her side in terms of devolving.


MrSpeaker, I totally agree with my right honourable friend that the UK


is one of the best places for innovation and science and not least


we have many world-class universities just like in my home


town of Huddersfield. Would he agree that's exactly why our European


allies will be eager to build a strong, new relationship?


Of course. If the European negotiators take a rationale


approach to this we will do this deal inside that two years and it


will be good for both sides. No deal may be better than a bad


deal but isn't the reality that no deal means, despite its best


efforts, the British Government has been unable to conclude what it


regards as a satisfactory outcome to the negotiations and therefore we


are left with what the other 27 members want to impose on us,


doesn't that sound like a pretty bad deal?


No, being left to what 27 nations want to impose on sup a definition


of a bad deal. I am sure the Secretary of State


shares my enthusiasm for the clarity of the Prime Minister's speech


today, a global Britain, freedom from the customs union and the


constraints of single market membership. How will my right


honourable friend impart that same enthusiasm amongst our EU friends


and partners as we approach this future realising it's as good for


them as it is good for us and it's a positive sum game? That last point


is the most sper swaysive aspect. It will be to their benefit. The


European Union has had a difficult five years, in economic terms and


they really, if anybody has an appetite for more jobs and business


and more trade it's them and we are their biggest market.


The EU procurement rules have led to privatisation of parts of the health


service, including part of the ambulance service in the East


Midlands. Will the Secretary of State guarantee that when these


negotiations are concluded and put in front of parliament that we will


have the opportunity as parliament if we then choose to renationalise


the entirety of the health service, without EU procurement getting in


the way and if we also choose the rail industry?


The honourable gentleman will understand better than most, that


once we have exited the European Union, every change in law will be


subject to this Parliament's decision.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. I very much welcome the Prime Minister's speech


today and indeed my right my right honourable friend's statement


earlier on. We have seen the New Zealand Prime Minister visiting


London over the weekend expressing a desire for a trade deal and also the


US President Elect Trump wanting a swift deal as well with the UK.


There seems to be some confusion. Can my right honourable friend


confirm that we cannot negotiate global free trade deals if we remain


members of the customs union? Well, he's exactly right. What


that's what the common commercial policy is, it prevents us doing


that, that's why we have come to the conclusion that we have. Thank you


Mr Speaker. The UK is going to do away with free movement, it's going


to come out the customs union and leaving the single market. Yet we


are going to maintain a common free movement deal with Ireland. How can


that work but we are constantly told such a deal would not be possible


between Scotland and England? If I remember correctly, the common


travel area started in 1923 and has nothing to do with the European


Union. Mr Speaker, my right honourable friend is the man with


the plan. They may mock if they wish, Mr Speaker, but will he ensure


that those wanting a running commentary will not get their way in


wrecking the negotiation? Of course. Thank you very much


indeed Mr Speaker. The Secretary of State and indeed


the Prime Minister are very keen to repeat this phrase - no-one wants to


see a return to the border of the past - between Northern Ireland and


the republic. Of course no-one wants to see the return of the borders of


the past with army patrols and that sort of thing. The reality is, we


can't have a return to the border of the past because we don't have the


army watch Towers. They've gone. Dissident Republicans have not gone.


Dissident Republicans have murdered two prison officers in the last four


years in Northern Ireland. This is a really serious issue. So if we are


not going to go back to the border of the past and I don't want to go


back to that very hard type of border, it's a porous border in


south Armargh, 300 miles of it. Is the British Government proposing to


outsource our immigration control to the Irish Government in terms of


lick Rick, Shamrock, Dublin and Shannon? What is the British


Government going to do and please throw some light on this in this


debate in this House today because I'm so tired of hearing that sound


byte, no-one wishes to return to the borders of the past. The first thing


to say is of course there is an open border now and that's the existing


circumstance. I don't wish to give her sound bytes but I'll say this to


her. There are other borders and perhaps not quite the same security


issues are related to them, around Europe, Norway to Sweden for


example, where there is an open border maintained where you've got


Customs and Excise across the border but nevertheless it's frictionless


and that's what we'd aim for. On the security front, it's a question more


for my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern


Ireland. Thank you Mr Speaker. Some 44% of


our exports currently go to the European Union. But does the


Secretary of State agree with me that in many respects that figure is


part of the problem given that just 7% of the world's population lives


in the EU. So does the Secretary of State agree with me that today's


decision to come out of the single market gives us a wonderful


opportunity to be more global and international with our trading


partners. A difficult one. My right honourable friend will know better


than me since, well in the last 16, 17 years, the balance of exports in


this country to Europe and the rest of the world has always turned


around. It was 60-40 in favour of Europe 20 years ago, it's now almost


60-40 the other way. That reflexes the growth rates in global markets


are much higher -- that reflects. That is one of the bonuses of exit


of the European Union. The Prime Minister's come up with a wish list


and a scorched earth policy of slashing taxes and Public Services


if she doesn't get what she wants. Given that many of the Secretary of


State's colleagues would regard that as an ideal snarl yes, it's the


economics model they would love to see implemented here, how is he


going to square that during the negotiations and ensure we homed out


for the best deal, rather than this deal which would be absolutely


terrible for this country? Ink it would help the honourable lady if


she read the speech with an impartial view. It says in terms,


the preferred outcome is that of the freest possible open market with the


European Union as well as the rest of the world and that's what we


intend to achieve. It's a statement of economic fact that a large part


of our economy is heavily dependent on unskilled hard-working migrants


from the European Union. Does he accept there is likely to still be


some unskilled migration in this country after we leave the EU and if


so, will it still be the case if at present that legally unskilled


migrants can only come to the EU or will our migration system be global


too? He's right that the level of unskilled migration is likely to


continue. Where from, how it's controlled, will all be a matter for


the new immigration policy which will be under the control of this


House. I keep returning to - my sgrob is to return the policy here


-- my job. Then it's the job of this house to make the right decision in


the British national interest and I'm sure we will. Thank you Mr


Speaker. My constituency voted stronger than anywhere else to leave


the European Union. I know that many people in Boston and Skegness will


welcome the lardty and tone of the announcement today. Does the


Secretary of State agree with me that when the people of Boston and


Skegness voted for this country to be able to control our immigration


policy and to be able to do our own trade deals, they were voting


knowingly to leave the customs union and the leave the single market? I


don't want to get into trying to interpret the inner thinkings of


this. But the advocates on both sides of the argument during the


campaign made it plain that they thought that leaving the European


Union meant leaving the single market so I can't think it was a


decision made in ignorance. The Secretary of State has said


maintaining the common area in Northern Ireland is important. This


time, for the first time ever, one partner will be a member of the


European Union and one will not be. Can he give some clarity to people


like myself who have a porous border with the Republic of Ireland whether


the common travel area will mean the free movement of people or will it


mean the freedom of movement, people, goods and capital. Because


many people travel with goods and will Welsh ports be subject to


customs? Firstly, he's right, and one of the


things I've discussed is that. The point that came across very clearly


was that the European Union is very proud of its position in the peace


process and does not want to jeopardise that. So I think we've


got a very - it will be treating, as indeed it was a 1949 Act, somebody


will know it, treats Irish citizens the same as British and vice versa.


Thank you Mr Speaker, I'm loathed to disagree with my Parliamentary


neighbour, people trying to build a statue of him in my constituency at


the moment. Stand that to one side, but I can't think of a single treaty


between the EU and another country which uses the ECJ to organise its


dispute issues. Every treaty the EU's ever signed, as far as I'm


aware, either uses an international arbitration system or the World


Trade Organisation. So there is absolutely no reason that the Right


Honourable friend and the Government couldn't achieve that in our own


negotiations. THE SPEAKER: I hope it were a


speaking statue, otherwise it wouldn't fully capture it. My right


honourable friend is right and indeed I cannot imagine most


countries doing deals with the European Union agreeing for the


European Union's own court to make the judgment. It would be an


independent, of course, in general. The Secretary of State's confirmed


that my constituents who're EU nationals will be used as bargaining


chips to secure the rights of EU nationals living in the UK. This is


already impacting our NHS, universities and the construction


sector amongst other sectors of the economy. Why won't he retain the


moral high ground on this issue and confirm the rights of EU nationals


living this the UK and their status as values members of the community


and important contributors to our economy and Public Services and then


seek to hold EU countries to the same high stand ahhed of


decision-making as regards the rights of UK nationals? The point


about doing it as a block is that it makes nobody a bargaining chip. Once


you start separating groups out, you turn the remainder into a bargaining


chip and we mustn't do that. We have a legal responsibility to our own


sit Zibs. -- citizens. Having said that, many times in every public


forum I speak in on this subject, that we are determined to get a good


guaranteed position for them. They should not worry. It needs us to get


all the other countries lined up to agree with us to do it. We tried to


do it, we wanted to do it earlier but we haven't been able to. We'll


do it as soon as we can. Will the minister explain what will


happen to fisheries? Well, with great respect to my right honourable


friend, I'm not going to go into every single sedge for of the --


sector of the negotiation, but it's pretty plain that we have a very


strong hand on fisheries, I'll put it that way. Thank you, Mr Speaker.


It's a pity the Secretary of State was unable to attend the statement


by my right honourable friend, the Right Honourable Secretary of State


for Northern Ireland, for if he did he'd recognise the White Paper is a


catastrophe. That's what he called it in his statement. That is the


White Paper. Therefore to assure members of this House that the


Secretary of State - will the Secretary of State assure us that


the amendment will not be revoked either before or after Brexit and


that the United Kingdom Government will confirm that it will not impose


a hard border with their closest European Union member, Ireland.


I think I've said that many times. Thank you Mr Speaker. When


Switzerland voted in 2014 to restrict immigration, their future


participation in key EU research programmes was thrown into doubt.


Just a few weeks from the deadline they've reached a compromise


allowing them full participation. But this return for free movement


with some tweaks. Our science and research and university sector


demands no less. Today the Prime Minister offered no more than


aspiration, no plan at all for the sector. Two years of uncertainty


will do huge damage. Just how much damage is this Government prepared


to countenance to one of our key sectors? Well, as nonsense questions


go, that pretty much takes the biscuit. We've made it very plain


indeed, very plain indeed what we intend here. We are a dominant


scientific power in European Union, we have worked night and day to


ensure we guarantee the position of students. We will continue to do


that. If he just plays it down, he'll do harm to the very sector


he's supposedly trying to protect. Given almost everything that's been


said by the Prime Minister, and by the Brexit secretary today, is


incompatible with the Scottish Government, Scotland in Europe


compromise document, how does the UK Government plan to honour the


promise to take seriously those proposals, unless the Government now


plans to explore all options to support continuing Scottish


membership of the single market? As I answered earlier, we've got


that paper to appear before us in a few days' time. There is more than


just one component to it, of course. He talks as if it's only about the


so-called opt-out, they call it. But there's also questions in it about


devolution and about the treatment of employment. There's a question


about immigration. All of which we'll discuss at that time and we'll


treat it seriously, as we always have.


At the weekend it was reported that Michelle Barney, the EU negotiator


was prepared to contemplate a special deal for the city and the UK


Government have indicated they might look at special sector of deals for


the city and Nissan. Does the Secretary of State accept that there


is scope for the differentiated deal which the Scottish Government seeks


if he and his Prime Minister have the political will to support it?


Very unusually for the honourable lady she's not quite got Michelle


Barnier's statement right. What he is reported as saying I think he


subsequently denied it, is that he saw there were risks to the


financial stability of the European Union if they did not maintain open


access for the City of London. But she's also wrong in saying that we


have talked about special deals, for any sector, we haven't. The aim of


the British Government is to ensure that the whole economy succeeds as a


result of this policy, not just one part of it and that includes


Scotland too. The Secretary of State says that no


deal is better than a bad deal. But what he is not being clear about is


that no deal is a bad deal. Given the Chancellor told the Treasury


committee that the Prime Minister should enter the negotiations with


the widest possible range of options available, why is the Government


today chosen to rule out the best possible deal with the European


Union, which is membership of the single market, membership of the


customs union and as a result free flowing goods and trade with the


largest single market in the world on our own doorstep and access for


British businesses to half a billion customers?


Well, I don't know where the honourable gentleman was on 23 June


but the British people pretty much rejected that.


Brexit is a bigger factor in the political discolouration in Northern


Ireland at the minute, partly because the Good Friday Agreement


had common membership of the EU absolutely Jermaine to it and its


institutions. The Secretary of State would need to recognise that any


negotiations which follow these elections are going to follow


returning to and renewing fundamentals of the Good Friday


Agreement, that means people are going to be looking in respect of


Strand 2 about ensuring that the island of Ireland can work and be


worked as part of the European economic area into the future. The


question of when rights, when powers over rights are transferred or


devolved after the great repale bill will be a political area because


nobody in Northern Ireland is going to trust this House with diluting


rights before powers are then devolved where any attempt to prove


them with be vet I doed by the DUP as we have seen in the past. It


would be like asking Attila the Hun to mind your horse. Not sure I get


the reference. That's one of the reasons I wrote to the Northern


Ireland executive to make sure that we had representation in a joint


Ministerial committee during the course of this election process. I


don't foresee removal of any rights. As I said to a member in the Labour


Party earlier, my expectation is that this is one area where we


expect a great deal of co-operation from the European Commission to get


an outcome which is beneficial for everybody.


Can the Secretary of State tell the House why the other 27 members of


the European Union should give the UK the Ben fits of single market


membership without the costs with a bespoke deal that gives barrier free


and tariff free access to the single market when it sets a precedent and


an incentive for other EU states to leave the European Union, how is


that good for them? At the risk of repeating myself, to


pick one industry, one country, German car industry sells 800,000


cars a year to the United Kingdom. I think it has every interest in


keeping that market open. The Prime Minister in her speech


this morning ended on a very gracious note. She said that the


victors in the Brexit debate in the UK should be magnanimous towards


those who lost. I put it to the Minister that magnanimous accepting


Scotland wants to stay in the single market and that discussions from now


on should at least leave the door open to that ask from Scotland.


As I said earlier that's - I said this to Mike Russell, that I have


not commented publicly on the report, even though I have read it


in detail, because I want to have an open discussion about it later. But


it does not mean that we are going to agree on everything but we are


going to treat it with respect. The EU is in the process of concluding


international trade deals with, for example, Japan and Canada, which the


UK Government has warmly supported believing they'll be good for the UK


economy, for example in the case of the Japanese deal I understand that


the UK Government estimate that is it could be worth 5 billion annually


to the British economy. How quickly can those deals be replaced when we


leave the European Union and what modelling has the Government done of


the potential cost to our economy if they can't quickly be replaced with


new deals? Little point modelling what's not


going to happen. The expectation is for many of the deals, the most


important ones for us, we will get, as it were, an immediate transfer


and then we will start talking about improving the deals between us. Not


all the European trade deals have actually been that beneficial for


Britain and some of these we could certainly improve.


I know the Secretary of State's assertion to control our own laws


and end the authority of the European Court of justice in the


United Kingdom, and I want to put on record I support that proposal. When


that takes place what will be the authority or standing of any


decision relative to the United Kingdom that has already been taken


by the European Court for the United Kingdom?


If he is talking about the standing of case law, which I assume is what


he means really, that will be frozen at the point that we leave then it's


up to us in this House whether we change that.


Free trade in goods is much easier to achieve than the free flow of


services where non-tariff problems - barriers are the problem. How will


the Government seek to ensure the continued success over time of the


UK financial service exports to Europe when we will no longer get a


say in the regulatory harp Monday ieation that's facilitated that


success so far. City UK which an trr in the area he is talking about,


talking about mutual recognition and an ex-terrible, rather than


passporting. We haven't arrived at a conclusion on that yet. He is quite


right, the goods side of it will be easier than that part lay because


the single market is incomplete any way in services but that


notwithstanding we have been successful in this area and he may


take it as read that we will continue to facilitate that success.


The Secretary of State will know that my constituency was the largest


vote Leave constituency in Northern Ireland, one of the largest vote


Leave constituencies in the United Kingdom. Can he confirm that it will


not fall for some flawed, special status, half-in, half-out


arrangement that's currently being sought by some people, that it will


give my constituents absolute clarity and certainty that the


Brexit deal will apply to all of Northern Ireland in this same way as


apply to the people in his constituency?


Yes, it will apply across the whole of the United Kingdom, as I said I


am trying not to predate other discussions. I will say this is that


in what we are doing in this negotiation, the interests of


Northern Ireland, particularly the interests of his constituency, will


be at the forefront of our thoughts. Three-quarters of my fellow citizens


in the great City of Edinburgh voted not to turn their back on the


European Union. Therefore, you will forgive me if I wholeheartedly do


not welcome today's statements. However, I do welcome the Secretary


of State's now repeated suggestion that he will take seriously the


proposals of the Scottish Government. Let me press him on this


matter. Some in his party have said that there can be no differentential


arrangements in the nations post-Brexit on principle, even when


it can be demonstrated they nr the benefit of the UK as a whole. Does


he share that view or will he consider proposals on their merits?


What I said already is that we will respect the view of the Scottish


Government on this but what I have also said it doesn't mean we agree


with all parts of it. Let me give one practical issue, which I have to


deal with, if nobody else, and that is that the leading Norwegian


members of FEDA have said that aspect he refers to will not work


for them and the Spanish Minister said it would not work for them


either, so we have hurdles to get over before that -- before that


becomes a runner. The new Brit tappic isolation that


the Government now seeks cannot be at the expense of EU nationals in


this country or UK nationals in Europe. The Secretary of State has


said he has tried to resolve this issue, they wanted to do so sometime


ago, so can he tell us exactly what the problem s what's the barrier in


his way from resolving that and how do we best get it lifted?


It requires all the members of the European Union togethers to agree.


The Prime Minister's fixation with leaving the jurisdiction of the


European Court of justice clearly risks jeopardising the extent of our


ongoing co-operation in EU justice in home affairs issue, which she


says also she values. If those ambitions Clwyd surely the Secretary


of State would agree that the issue of security must trump the issue of


leaving the European courts jurisdiction. We have security


arrangements with other allies which do not run into that problem.


America, for a start. So I wouldn't think that's an issue.


No deal is better than a bad deal. I am perplexed by this. How could a


negotiated deal possibly be worse than something that the Secretary of


State refers to as a cliff-edge? Is he really that bad at negotiation?


The honourable gentleman over there referred to a deal in which we had


to take all sorts of penalties from all sorts of European nations, that


would be a bad deal. Of all the laws and regulation that


is will be democratically repatriated to this parliament by


the great Repeal bill, which is the first one that the Secretary of


State himself would like to see reformed or repealed and when the


bill goes through can he guarantee that the rights of this particlement


to scrutinise legislation will be maintained and the bill will not be


the great power grab? The first one to repeal, I don't


have a favourite there. I will tell him the last one, and the last one


is the protection of the employment rights of UK citizens both in


Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, because I made the promise


from the first day in this job that that's one thing we are not going to


change. I am most grateful to the Secretary


of State for the experience of the last one hour and 46 minutes in


which we could - and my understanding is that no fewer than


84 back bench members had the opportunity to question the right


honourable gentleman so I hope that there has been a decent exploration


of the issues. I congratulate the right honourable gentleman on the


strength of his knee muscles. Point of order. Thank you. MrSpeaker, last


week during questions I asked the Minister for disabled people health


and work how people with mental health issues could continue to


receive appropriate support if the Glasgow Jobcentres were closed. The


Minister responded by saying and I quote, my honourable friend the


Minister for welfare reform has met Scottish ministers to discuss the


issue. Firstly, there is currently no Minister for welfare reform and


secondly, I have been informed by Scottish Ministerial colleagues no


such meetings have taken place. Would it be in order for the


Minister to come back to the chamber to clarify the situation? I was


about to respond but I see that the Minister on the Treasury bench is


very anxious to catch my eye and I don't want to disappoint her.


Minister. Thank you. Further to that point of order, in my answer I said


my honourable friend the Minister for employment has met with all the


MPs concerned about those locations across Glasgow and my honourable


friend the Minister for welfare reform has met Scottish ministers to


discuss this issue, referring to the honourable member for Romsey. I


should have said the Minister for welfare delivery. The Minister for


welfare reform is in the House of Lords. For that, I profusely


apologise. On these matters and others, not least devolution of


welfare, our doors are always open to meet with Scottish ministers and


good outcomes are contingent on good dialogue. I would not want this


point of order to give an otherwise contrary impression.


I think that's a very gracious acknowledgement of the situation by


the Minister and I feel the nod of the head confirms she's content with


that outcome. So I thank the Minister on the Treasury bench and


we will leave it there. If there are no further points of


order I think we come to the ten-minute rule motion for which the


honourable gentleman has been so patiently waiting.


I beg to move for leave to be give than I bring in a bill for people to


give his or her instructions for burial matters legally binding on


their personal representative or beneficiary to enable a person to


make provision about the use of a burr ideal space he or she acquired


while living after a person's burial and for connected purposes. It's


been a surprising two months for me in Parliament. I've been talking a


lot about death. We don't talk a lot about it inside or outside


Parliament given we all die though it should be more of a surprise that


we do not talk more about death. Apart from times when we are near to


death or personally affected by it, or when some of us plan for it in a


will, death is not usually on the agenda. There is an opportunity in


the week of the 8th May, death awareness week, to talk more about


death and I commend that to the honourable members.


Let's hope, Mr Speaker, that week will not coincide with the final


moments of our believed Arsenal's champions ambitions. Last month, I


steered through a private Bill which the minister who is present will


recall which gives our local new Southgate cemetery the power to use


old graves which will need to be replicated in the UK to make more


spaces available. There is a distressing case of one of my


constituents watching in the gallery. After Marion's father died


in 2009, her mother gave money to her sister to buy him a plot on her


behalf. Unbeknown to the mother, her daughter registered the grave in her


name and gained exclusive rights to decide who is buried and what


monument is placed on the grave. When Marion's mother died in 2014,


she assumed ownership of her late husband's grave and Marion also


appointed next of kin. Her dying wish was to have her ashes scattered


on her late husband's grave. It was only when Marion contacted the


cemetery to make the necessary arrangements that it came to light


that her sister, now estranged from the rest of the family, was the


grave owner. She's refused to allow her mother's ashes to be scattered


on her father's grave. Or even allow a stone to be erected. Marion's


asked me, along with her family, to change the law so that wishes of


mothers and fathers can be honoured and not thwarted. The most high


profile case stemmed from the remains of Richard III. Descendants


of the King pitted against the less notorious the then Lord Chancellor


my right honourable friend the member for Epsom and York. They


attempted to have their ancestor laid to rest in York Minster to have


plans to have him buried there some 115 years ago. His body remained in


Leicester, in spite of his wishes. When relatives are unable to fulfil


the wishes of a departed loved one. A nan died leaving four daughters


behind, a decision was made to put the deeds of the grave in the name


of the youngest daughter. She became unwell and uncontactable. When the


late nan's sister died and wished to be interned in the family grave,


there were problems. It took six years to sort out and eventually get


an updated headstone on the grave. Grave owners shouldn't be able to


block out other family members from their family grave. I read on


various forums of family disputes arriving from remarriage where say


the father dies and step mother arranges the funeral, pays for the


grave and registers ownership in her name. She gains exclusive rights to


erect a memorial and pass on future use of the grave to her family at


the exclusion of the late husband's family. Or there is the example of


the grave plot being put in the name of the older son on the insistence


of the directors. The aggrieved young sister is now concerned that


if her mother dies is and is buried to a family plot, she the sister


says, I don't know where I'll be buried, I don't have any other


family. There is an issue raised to me in


Sussex where there's refusal to allow internment of ashes to a grave


because a relative moved out of the parish to retirement and lived 0.3


miles from the boundary despite being resident in the former village


for some 50 years. Finally there is the connected issue


of funeral arrangements. They're cases when the deceased, such as for


a religious funeral, may be at odds with the arrangements of the


surviving family. All the cases, as has been mentioned in the House now


on many occasions when funerals cost too much and lead to funeral


property so were highlighted by the experience and campaigning of the


honourable member for Swansea East. Madam Deputy Speaker, arrangements


for burials and funerals have become bureaucratic and expensive and in


some cases contrary to the wishes of the person who's died. We can and


must do Bert. We cannot say we have been warned in this House. Since


2004, the then Home Secretary Deb said, our burial law is out-of-date


and needs reform -- we can do better.


There was a conclusion in 2007, there was public support for reform


but it's not a priority. My burial rights reform Bill today


provides an opportunity to give collar the I to relatives who're


confused and aggrieved by the opaque laws in relation to funeral and


burial arrangements. The law is clear to the extent that dead bodies


have no rights. In common law there is no property in body. The


overriding legal maximum is that the only lawful possession of a corpse


is the earth. Perhaps more surprising, there are no laws


governing funerals but only the disposal of bodies, even a will


setting out our funeral wishes is not legally binding because wills


are about property and not about a dead body. Recent court cases have


tried to apply the Human Rights Act to apply rights on a dead body but


the law is unclear. To follow a theme that we have heard about


today, it's about time Parliament takes control on burial issue rights


or the wishes of a person who's died and their wishes.


Normally these actions take place without concern and is normally done


by the next of kin of the deceased. The problem is this exclusive right


of burial is determined by whoever buys the lease for the grave plot.


If your name is not on the deed, you've got no right to be buried


there or have a memorial or enscription put on that grave. My


Bill will ensure that the wishes of the person are properly carried out


by surviving relatives and that the ownership of graves shouldn't mean


exclusive rights for one family member to use against another. The


only answer when there is a family dispute about grave ownership


currently is to consult a solicitor and conduct expensive litigation.


The issue of respecting the wishes of the deceased commands a less


contentious approach. There should be a requirement for parties to take


greater responsibility for their consideration for the deceased


wishes for burial arrangements and to give greater significance to any


existing will or public register. A proposed Bill is a public burial


register similar to the organs donation register allowing wishes to


be clearly identified without necessarily having a will and


avoiding subsequent family disputes. A clearly expressed binding electric


laration of our final wishes will seek to remove the pressures of


burial issues at such a testing time -- binding declaration. Perhaps


there can be no better way to honour the dead than to give life to the


their final wishes. THE SPEAKER: The question is that


the honourable member have leave to bring in his Bill. Chris Bryant.


Madam Deputy Speaker. I pay tribute to the honourable member for


advancing this cause today but I can't agree with him and I'll


explain why. I've probably conducted more funerals than anybody else in


this chamber when I was a curate in All Saints High Wycombe. The first


funeral I did, the undertaker put his glasses in his top pocket, as he


lent over to let the coffin down into the grave, and the glasses fell


on top of the coffin and he then had to clamber in on top. The second


funeral I conducted was at the crematorium and unfortunately the


organist at the end of the service played, smoke gets in your eyes,


which was everybody else realised was somewhat inappropriate. The last


funeral I conducted, the family was very, very divided and the


ex-husband was not instraighted to the funeral but suddenly appeared in


the middle of the service and started shouting and screaming at me


and the family all shouted "how on earth did you get here, we locked


you in the bathroom" and he said "you didn't lock the bathroom window


so I climbed out and climbed down the ivy".


So I've seen a lot of funerals and I know the pain and difficulty of


which the honourable member speaks. But my beef is not particularly with


the remedy that he's seeking, though I think to be honest burial reform


and funeral reform in general needs to be conducted on the basis of a


Law Commission proposal so that it binds the whole of the legal


profession and takes it out of party political discussion, du it's more


to do with the fact that, as he started, of course, as we start with


every ten-minute rule Bill, he begs leave to introduce his Bill and I


don't think we should give him leave to introduce his Bill. I say so for


a very simple point which is that we have only five more Fridays when


we'll be sitting this session before the end of this session when any


Bill will have to become law. It will have to have gone through all


three stages in this House and in the House of Lords, or will simply


fall. There are 73 Bills private members Bills all ready seeking


second reading on the order paper of future order papers to be considered


on the five days. Plus, there are bills that have been given second


reading, quite a lot of them in fact, one of them is in committee,


that's the homelessness bill honoured by the member for harrow


East and will be coming out of the committee tomorrow. Then in the


normal process, it should be the awards of Valuev ourself Private


Members Bill honoured by the member for Dartford that goes into


committee followed one would have thought by the one for my right


honourable friend for North West Durham which is the Parliamentary


constituency's amendment bill. But so far, the Government has not yet


brought forward a money resolution and is not saying whether it's going


to let that happen at all. In addition to that, the Government


only this week has said it's turned its back on the reforms to the


Private Members Bills process that the procedure committee have called


for in successive years and successive Members of Parliament. So


even if every single element of what the honourable member is proposing


were right, the truth of the matter is, it's an act of deception for the


House to send it into its next process, to allow him to present its


Bill because the truth of the matter is, it has absolutely no chance of


getting anywhere. So I make the speech, madam deputy spiker, for the


simple reason that I think we could use our Friday mornings better. We


should not have a system of private members Bills which mines that we


completely and utterly waste our time and deceive the public about


the true process of what is happening in this House.


Consequently I say, I disagree with the honourable gentleman, though I


applaud his motives. THE SPEAKER: Hm! The question is


that the honourable member have leave to bring in the Bill while the


House has a big decision to make. As many are of that opinion say aye. As


many of the contrary say no. I think the ayes have it. The ayes have it.


Who will prepare and bring in the Bill?


(Reads out the list of those who'll bring in the Bill)


THE SPEAKER: Burial Rights Reform Bill. Second reading what day? 24th


March. 24th March. 24th March. Order. We now come to the opposition


day. Motion in the name of the leader of the Scottish National


Party on the effect of the UK leaving the EU, on the rural


economy. The amendment in the name of the Prime Minister.


Thank you very much. I beg to move that this House is concerned at the


impact on the rural economy of the United Kingdom leaving the European


Union. We want to use this debate today to consider the significant


and tangible benefits the EU membership has afforded the Scottish


rural community through funding, trade and freedom of movement. These


benefits must be acknowledged and the Government must offer a clear


statement prior to triggering Article 50 on how they intend to


mitigate the impact of leaving the EU when it comes to rural areas.


They must do so now because the combined threat of the loss of


direct funding, end to tariff free trading and the abolition of free


movement of people could have devastating consequences for rural


communities across Scotland and indeed the rest of the UK. The Prime


Minister puts forward 12 points today but people in my constituency


are not reassured because it lacks detail and certainty. We are told


that Brexit is about a more global Britain and that this process will


represent a clean break. Well let me be absolutely clear in stating how


far removed from reality that rhetoric is. Under the Government's


current direction of travel Brexit will not be a clear break for the


sheep farmers in my constituency whose produce could face prohibitive


tariffs and whose direct support payments could be wiped out. It will


not and clean break for the fish processors in Shetland where more


fish was landed than in the entirety of England and Wales in 2015 but


whose access to the largest seafood market in the world is now under


question. Nor will there be a clean break for the soft fruit farmer in


Angus when the plug is pulled on seasonal labour, his business needs


to function. It will not be a clean break for the most remote highland


communities that are now contemplating the loss of hundreds


of millions of pounds in European regional development funding. We


find ourselves facing a combination once again of Tory indifference to


the needs of the Scottish economy and a dramatic democratic deficit. I


will give way. I am very grateful to the honourable gentleman for giving


way and he and his party are optimistic people and rays of


sunshine in this House, I wonder if he can't see any possible benefit to


the Scottish rural economy, particularly fisheries, the European


policy on which decimated the Scottish fishing industry. I thank


the honourable member. You will find that we are optimists at heart. But


what this debate is about is the reality, it's about the implications


for the rural economy and I will with great delight return to the


matter of fishing. I would like to make more progress and I promise I


will give way in a little bit more time. Nowhere - I apologise. As with


many complex challenges of Brexit pile-up, we knead to remember that


real political leadership is about finding solutions, not soundbites.


Our debate is necessary - one moment. Our debate is necessary to


ensure that the Government does not overlook or downplay all the


possible outcomes of Brexit, they must not walk away from the policy


vacuum that is opening up before our eyes. I will give way. I am


grateful. If we devolve more agricultural policy powers to the


Scottish nationalists, they cannot think of a single way on which they


could improve policy to help their farmers. The right honourable


gentleman usually makes excellent contributions, I am afraid that was


a poor one, because actually there are many ways in which we will be


delighted to improve agricultural policy, so long as his Government


don't do a power grab as powers return from Brussels. I would be


delighted. I will happenive give way. Would my honourable friend also


agree that 70% of farmers' incomes comes through CAP which is not


subject to Barnet, but if it comes back to the UK it may be subject to


Barnet which would leave to a significant reduction in funds


available to roar Scotland? I thank my honourable friend for that


excellent contribution. It brings me on to one of the first areas I want


to look at, nowhere is the policy vacuum more apparent than on the


issue of farm payments. Whatever the flaws, and there are flaws - I will


give way. Could I thank my honourable friend for giving way and


congratulate him on making some very compelling points. In the Northern


Ireland context, we have a similar situation where 80% of farm incomes


are dependent on European resources. There is a fear and would he agree


with me that sort of funding is not likely to come from the Treasury,


thus undermining our local rural economy and our agricultural


enterprises? I thank the honourable lady for that contribution. I


wholeheartedly agree and it's something I would like us to focus


on in this debate, the importance of these support payments to the


prosperity, not just of fafrming but of the whole rural community. We


have two debates squeezed in time today. So, as I say, nowhere is the


policy vacuum more apparent, because wherever its flaws, money invested


in Scotland and throughout the UK and rural communities through the


common agricultural policy are absolutely vital in underpinning the


rural economy. As my honourable friend mentioned farm payments


account for two-thirds of total net farm income in Scotland. And as has


mentioned, we have 8. 4% of the population, but 32. 5% of the land


mass and Scotland received 16. 5% of UKCAP funds. I will give way. I


thank the honourable gentleman. Many farmers in Scotland like Lancashire


will be involved in upland sheep farming which I am sure all sides of


the House would acknowledge is often a difficult business for farmers.


Does he not think if we leave the European Union this is an


opportunity for the Government to refocus support on those most


marginal of farms he is talking about, specifically the uphill farms


in Lancashire and Scotland, because farmers in Lancashire are hoping for


more from Brexit just as farmers in Scotland will be hoping for more. I


thank him for that intervention. Sheep farm something one of our most


fragile industries and I have deep concerns about the support going


forward. What we must do and the point I want to make here is about


the level of funding because we need the Government to step up and I


would like to also come back to lamb when we look at trade because it is


one of the most threatened trade areas. I will give way. I thank my


honourable friend. He is being most generous in giving way. Addressing


the point he made earlier in the lack of detail in the Prime


Minister's statement would my honourable friend agree that the


Government should have taken the report as summarised in a letter


which I have here to the Secretary of State for environment, by the


British ecological society, the chartered institute of ecology and


environment, the institution of environmental science, these are the


people we should be listening to and these are details the Government


should be including in their letters. I thank my honourable


friend for his intervention and it's a point well made. Agriculture is


already devolved area, so as powers are repatriated from Brussels it's


essential that they go directly to the Scottish Government. Any power


grab from a Westminster Government would be totally unacceptable. We


absolutely understand the need for levels of commonality but that is


not a justification for a power grab by Westminster. We need a commitment


from this Government that the existing allocation of funds will


not be tampered with once the convergence is added to the 16. 5%,


that is the starting point in terms of funds that should be delivered to


Scotland. Now throughout last year's referendum campaign both the


Secretary of State and the farming Minister who I understand is in


Scotland argued for Brexit and it's now incumbent upon them to take


responsibility for the commitments made during that campaign. In March


last year, the farming Minister said, and I wrote, the UK Government


will continue to give farmers and the environment as much support or


perhaps even more as they - yet this commitment appears already to have


been abandoned. Earlier this month the Secretary of State, the farming


Minister and I were at the Oxford conference and both the Secretary of


State and the farming Minister refused to confirm that funding


would at least match levels current levels beyond 2020. Now will the


Secretary of State take this opportunity today to make a clear


commitment that Brexit as the farming Minister promised, will not


result in a reduction in the level of funding available for farmers or


is this another Brexit broken promise? Now we acknowledge that CAP


is far from perfect and we recognise that there is now an opportunity to


design a new and better system. We also accept that there must be a


route to sustainable farming without direct income support but this must


be an evolution that takes great care over the fragility of the rural


economy. CAP is about much more than just farming. In Scotland, EU


funding has helped to support the rollout of superfast broadband,


business development, housing investment and measures to address


rural fuel poverty, in addition to improvements in infrastructure and


transport through regional development funds. We need the


Government to explain whether it will match this kind of programme,


the funding and, if so, more detail the better, please, Secretary of


State. Another area where the rural economy has benefitted massively


from EU membership is freedom of movement. For significant portions


of the Scottish rural economy access to seasonal workforce is a vital


factor in keeping their operations sustainable. At any one time between


five and 15,000 non-UKEU workers are employed in Scottish agriculture


alone. So we support continued freedom of movement because it's a


system that works, not just for farming, and food production, but a


range of sectors in rural Scotland, especially in these fragile and


often ageing populations. I happily give way. I represent Angus which


along with my honourable friends in Perthshire, has the most of the


numbers of economic migrants into Scotland because they work in the


horticultural industry. Many of these industries could not survive


without that labour. Members talk about the unemployed taking the


jobs, there are more migrant workers working in that industry alone than


there are unemployed in our areas. Even if all those unemployed people


could take up these jobs, so we do need these people and the Government


need to take that into account. I notice the Secretary of State at the


recent Oxford conference hinted there might be some relaxation of


this and could she give more details when she comes to speak. I thank my


honourable friend for -- it emphasises the point I was making.


We must have powers over imI gos devolved in order to pursue our own


distinct policy. Members opposite may laugh. Can I respectfully


suggest that they read Scotland's place in Europe, because this is


what a plan for Brexit actually looks like. Now in the meantime,


though, I know the Secretary of State understands the importance of


seasonal workers in particular in the rural economy, so I would like


to hear today what steps DEFRA is taking to ensure the rural economy


doesn't grind to a halt because seasonal workers are already


beginning to look elsewhere. Now one area where members opposite get very


animated and excited of course because there is an opportunity, is


fishing. We welcome the chance to move beyond the common fisheries


policy but we will not forget, we on these benches will not forget the


circumstances in which this was all... Ted Heath, a Conservative


Prime Minister, sacrificed the expendable Scottish fishing industry


to gain entry to the European Economic Community. They may not


like that, but that's why we are in the position we are in. We won't


take lectures from any members opposite. The legacy of that deal


means today that over half of the fish in our waters are caught by


foreign vessels. Brexit clearly will mean the re-establishment of our


exclusive economic zones but the process here is key. I hope he


enjoyed his visit to Scotland. Hopefully ofs learning about the


importance of honouring the level of payments that is currently received


in Scottish communities. Access to the EEZ should be


negotiated on an annual basis and led by Scottish ministers. These


negotiations must not form part of Brexit talks. Scottish fishermen


want to hear a clear commitment from the Secretary of State to the


Scottish fishing industry, indeed the UK fishing industry, that it


will not just be another pawn in a Brexit negotiation. Finally I would


like to turn to the issue of trade. In particular the important question


of access to the single market. The numbers speak for themselves. Worth


?724 million in 2015. I'll give way. Just on the issue of trade and


figures, in circumstances where two thirds of Scottish exports go to the


UK and only 15 go to other country, why is the SNP suggesting we stay in


Europe but we come out of the UK? I don't understand why members of zit


don't get this. It was as though if we were to go independent we'd be


cut off and float off into the Atlantic. It's not what happens. Are


you seeing the Ireland Brexit minister said it would be able to


trade freely with the UK but Scotland wouldn't. We buy more from


you than you buy from us. THE SPEAKER: I can't let the


honourable gentleman away with it. I know what he meant but maybe he


could just say it the right way just to keep me happy? Apologies, Madam


Deputy Speaker, I get a bit excited. I'll always be passionate defending


my constituency in rural Scotland against those that want to do it


harm based on hard right Tory Brexit. Thank you to my right


honourable friend for giving way, he's very generous. On the subject


of trade, will my right honourable friend agree with me that the EU is


Scotland's growth market area where we have seen an increase in exports


of 20% since 2007 in relation to goods. I thank the honourable lady,


she makes an excellent point. If you look at the numbers, in terms of


different industries, for fishing, 68% of Scottish seafood exports that


leave the UK go to EU countries. 80% of beef and lamb exports from


Scotland are destined for the EU. Now, I'm with the EU as we hear the


Government try to carve out a policy. These will be at risk of


tariffs. I want to just look at the risk this poses. If we take one


example, red meat. Quality meat Scotland has conducted analysis that


shows if we were subject to the current tariffs that apply to non-EU


countries, there would be an on average 50% increase in cost for


importers to buy our products. At the Oxford farming conference, the


Secretary of State spoke of fields of opportunity that in the press


conference afterwards admitted that the UK exports would decline if they


were erected. There is the prospect that exporters in Scotland and


indeed the whole UK are facing. We call upon the Secretary of State to


outline what products the department thinks should be prioritised in


upcoming negotiations. At the end of the day, there is no


easy way to withdraw from the world's largest trading block and


the search for alternative markets and compromises too. Let me give you


an example. The current standing of beef, it currently stands at 26.5%.


South Africa's currently 40%. Does the Government really think that


alternative markets, many with lower costs of production than our own,


can compensate for restricted access to the EU? The recent success of


Scotland's 14 billion - I was slightly taken by that figure - ?14


billion food and drink sector shows that we are already an exporting


global country. New tablings cannot mitigate the economic vandalism of


cutting off access to a market of 500 million people on your doorstep.


Madam Deputy Speaker, if all the tangible benefits of single market


membership end up being frittered away in a pursuit of red, white and


blue Brexit, global Brexit, the Scottish people who've shown that


they want to build, not sever their links with Europe, will recognise a


familiar pattern. They'll recall the sacrifice of the Scottish fisheries


when we joined the EU, that the Thatcher Government decimated the


industry in the '80s, and they'll conclude this Tory Government with


no mandate for the damage it may cause will wreck Scotland's rural


economy and ignore our overwhelming wish to the trade links with Europe.


If this Government's already made a calculation that rural Scotland is


expendable in order to engineer a clean break with Europe, they can


never again turn to us, turn to the people of Scotland and claim the


union is a partnership of equals. Will the Government take this


opportunity to recognise the potentially devastating impact that


a hard Brexit could have on the Scottish rural economy? Or will they


be content to make a desert or rural Scotland in the name of Brexit?


THE SPEAKER: The question is as on the order paper to move the


amendment in the name of the Prime Minister, Secretary of State Andrea


Leadsom. Thank you. It won't surprise the honourable gentleman to


know that I don't quite see it the same way he does, so I beg to move


the amendment in my name and those of my right honourable friends on


the order paper. I would like to start by thanking the honourable


member for giving us the opportunity to debate the rural economy, a vital


part of our national economy. While members on all sides of the House


will know how diverse the rural economy is, much of it is


underpinned by our food, farming and fisheries sectors. These industries


have shaped all four parts of the UK and continue to do so. They're


central to our heritage, landscapes and economic well-being. They


generate ?110 billion for the economy each year and they employ


one in eight of us in all parts of the UK. So we should all be proud of


the world class food and drink these industries produce and the role they


play in our national life. The rural economy matters enormously. So


whilst leaving the EU offers huge opportunities to the farming and


fisheries sector, it's vital that we provide the industry with as much


continuity and certainty as we can. That's why we've already provided


reassurance to all farmers across the UK that they'll receive the same


level of financial support under pillar 1 until 2020 and for Rural


Development Programmes, agry environment schemes and the maritime


and fisheries fund, we'll guarantee projects signed before the EU for


their lifetime, even when this stretch is beyond our departure from


the EU. The Government will also ensure the


devolved administrations are funded to meet the commitments they've made


under current EU budget allocations. Given that the administration of EU


funding is devolved, it will be for those administrations to decide the


criteria used to assess projects. I'll give way. I thank the


honourable lady for giving way. I would like to believe the promises


this Government is making but of course the Government's - if we go


back to the convergence uplifting criteria - Scotland wouldth was


supposed to be rewarded by the funds coming from the EU, yet we are only


getting 16%. We were promised a review would take place in 2016, it


hasn't happened. When will that happen and when will crofters and


farmers get what is due to them? The real question about devolution of


agriculture to the Scottish Government and Parliament is to make


sure that we get the correct funding. It's not about up to 2020,


it's about what happens after that. Well, I do recognise the honourable


gentleman's point and it is something that I continue to look


closely at in my department and I will keep him up-to-date with


progress on it. But Madam Deputy Speaker, I believe that leaving the


EU will give us the chance to develop policies for the rural


economy that are bespoke to the needs of this country, rather than


the different approaches and circumstances of 278 different


member states. As Secretary of State for DEFRA, I've made very clear my


two long-term ambitions. Firstly, to make a resounding success of our


world leading food and farming and fisheries industry, producing more,


selling more and exporting more of our Great British food. And


secondly, to become the first generation to leave the environment


in a better state than we found it. These ambitions look far beyond


tomorrow. They're about long-lasting change and real reform. They form


the bedrock of a balanced approach to policy and the success of one is


integral to the success of the other. I thank manufacture for


giving way. She'll be aware that one of the difficulties under the


current legislation which the sector faces is honest food labelling -- I


thank my right honourable friend for giving way. It may well have been


grown or farmed a long way overseas. This is a real opportunity, leaving


the European Union, one real opportunity here, to have honest


food labelling so we know British food is genuinely farmed and grown


and produced in this country. Well, I share my right honourable


friend's concerns and I can tell him that it's something we have improved


on greatly through voluntary and compulsory schemes through labelling


and he's right, particularly as we leave the EU.


So this brings me to the mechanics of our departure from the EU. The


great Repeal Bill will transpose the body of EU legislation into UK law.


As UK law, we'll then be annual basis able to change or amend it at


our leisure and we'll soon be publishing a Green Party consulting


on a framework for the plan for the environment -- green paper. This


will help inform our decisions, better connect current and future


generations to the environment and ensure that investment is directed


to where it will have the biggest impact on the environment.


I'm sure all honourable members will agree that our constituents want


clean beaches, clean air, clean water, good soil and healthy


biodiversity, whether we are a member of the EU or not, and I can


assure you of my full commitment to that. Will my right honourable


friend make it a priority to publish proposals for the fishing industry


where we can catch more of our own fish and protect our fishing grounds


for the future. I'm grate. To my right honourable friend who makes a


very good point about the potential for all UK fishing and I do hope


that our policies, when we come to them, after consultation, will


enable us to deliver exactly as he asks for.


I will give way to the honourable lady.


Today, the Prime Minister made a passing reference to Spanish


fishermen and their interests when she was talking about doing a deal


with the EU. That suggests that fishing is already in play in these


negotiations so can the Secretary of State clarify, what is the Prime


Minister offering to Spanish fishermen and why are they being


used as pawns in this process already? Well, I can assure the


honourable lady that we are not entering into any negotiations, as


she will appreciate, until we have triggered Article 50. We are


consulting widely with our colleagues in the devolved


administrations and any negotiating positions will be discussed with


them. So I don't think she needs to worry about that. However, I would


like to point out to honourable members that a healthier environment


will enable our world leading food, farming and fishing industry to go


from strength-to-strength. As pledged in the manifesto, our


upcoming green paper on food, farming and fisheries, will set out


a framework for the future of the industries over the next 25 years


and we'll also be consulting widely on that green paper.


Auto I thank my honourable friend for giving way. With farming in


Lancashire we have decisions made in Europe that damage our industry, a


perfect example of this is movement of cattle between Commons counts as


movement, ensuring that a farmer may have 15 movements in the life of


just his herd which reduces the price that he gets at market. Will


she commit to make sure that this is altered? Yes There is a lengthy


answer to that but a much shorter answer which is that opportunities


that arise from leaving the EU do include such points as the one he


raises and in consulting on our food farming and fisheries Green Paper


there will be the opportunity to make those points and seek recommend


tees, I want to give a few examples of how our departure gives us


specific opportunities. Firstly to design a domestic successor to the


common agricultural policy that meets our needs, rather than those


of farmers across the entire European Union. Secondly, to ensure


our fisheries industries are competitive, sustainable and


profitable. Thirdly, to make our environment cleaner, healthier and


more productive. Ours will be a system that is fit for the 2 ist


century, tailored to our priorities and those of our farmers, fishermen


and our environment. The UK guarantee on funding was my first


priority on arriving at DEFRA in the summer, it provides crucial


certainty to farmers and the wider rural economy but I am conscious


that many farmers and rural businesses plan much further ahead


and work to much longer investment cycles so it's vital that we start


planning now for life beyond 2020. So it's important that we think


carefully about what happens next and develop the ideas and solutions


for a world leading food and farming industry and an environment that's


left in a better state than we inherited it. That will involve


focussing on the industry's resilience, unlocking further


productivity and building environmental considerations into


our policies from the outset. I believe that the fundamentals of our


food and farming sectors are strong. Food and drink is the largest


manufacturing sector in the UK, bigger than cars and aerospace


combined. Leaving the EU will provide more opportunities for the


sector to thrive. It's important to take stock of how much we already


export to outside the EU. 69% of exports of scotch whisky go to


non-EU countries. Salmon exports, predominantly from Scotland, go to


non-EU countries and non-EU dairy exports are up by over 90%. Leaving


the EU will allow us to shape our own trade and investment


opportunities, encourage even greater openness with partners in


Europe and beyond. I sign seerly hope that keeps shouting will read


this in Hansard, they're not interested. I will give way once


they listen to me in a moment. We will shape our own trade and


investment opportunities, encourage even greater openness with partners


in Europe and beyond and put Britain firmly at the forefront of global


trade and investment. The recent launch of our international action


plan for exports with nine campaigns across a number of global markets


demonstrates our ambition in this area, an ambition that builds on our


strength as a great outward looking trading nation. Now turning to


Scotland. Scotland has always been at the - only for good behaviour.


Has always been at the heart of this success. Accounting for 30% of the


UK's total exports of food, feed and drink in 2015. One of the highlights


of my trip to Vietnam last year was a lunch to promote fabulous Scottish


smoked salmon and Aberdeen Angus beef to Vietnamese food importers. I


will give way. She mentioned planning and going forward. Will she


tell me what planning and careful thinking have been doing for farmers


in croft farmers and what 2020 will mean for them and their futures? My


honourable friend met with the national farming union for Scotland


yesterday and I met with them recently. We have been taking


informal advice but at the same time as I have made very clear,


unfortunately he wasn't listening, that our consultation on our Green


Paper for the future, the long-term future of food, farming and


fisheries is the perfect opportunity for him to represent his own


crofters' interests and for them to feed back to that consultation which


we will welcome that opportunity. Order. Honourable members ought to


have the courtesy to listen to the Secretary of State. Secretary of


State. Thank you. Scotland has a rich and varied agricultural


heritage, including the grain producing lowlands in the east and


beef and lamb in the uplands. It's no surprise that Scotland has a


number of world beating brands, including scotch beef, lamb, black


pudding and Orkney Cheddar. On my last trip to Scotland I met


representatives from key industries and trade bodies vital to the


Scottish rural economy, including NFU Scotland and Scotland food and


drink. I was given a guided tour of one of Scotland's best known


independent food companies with a turnover of almost ?24 million in


2015. I was also fortunate to be shown around a bottling plant,


whisky is a phenomenal global success and accounts for around one


fifth of all UK food and drink exports, worth ?3. 9 billion in


2015. So working with the devolved administrations I regularly meet my


Ministerial counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland


and I look forward to welcoming them to London for further discussions


next week. I am determined that we secure a deal on leaving the EU that


works for all parts of the UK and recognises the contribution that all


corners of this country make to our economic success. Now leaving the EU


is DEFRA's biggest focus as it is the Whitehall department most


affected by the EU but alongside this the day photograph day work


continues to focus on the right conditions for a thriving rural


economy. While much of rural policy is devolved, in August 2015 we


published the rural productivity plan for England to set the right


conditions for businesses in rural areas in England to prosper and


grow. Across the board Government policies will help rural communities


and industrial strategy that works for all areas, delivering three


million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020, including trebling


the number in food, farming and agriculturetech and building more


homes and providing better access to services. I thank my honourable


friend for giving way. Does she believe there are huge opportunities


for rural diversification that will strengthen on rural communities not


least of which with outdoor recreational activities that create


meaningful experiences for people to help the rural economy and physical


health and well-being? Yes, that's exactly right. Reconnecting with


nature, with the outdoors is incredibly good for well-being. Of


course, we expect and anticipate that tourism, rural success will


continue as we seek to become a more outward looking nation. I will give


way. She's making a very powerful point. Would the Minister agree that


there are huge opportunities in the rural industries in renewable


energy, many of which are based in rural economies to build on this and


to sell our technology and our innovation on the world stage which


will help with climate change across the globe as well? Yes, my


honourable friend is quite right. The UK is the scene of incredibly


successful renewable energy schemes and many of the offshore wind


projects are in Scotland which has brought prosperity to some key areas


in that nation. Increasing connectivity right across the UK is


vital both for businesses to be competitive and for communities to


thrive. We are investing over ?780 million to make superfast broadband


of at least 24 megabits per second available to 95% of UK premises by


2017. But reaching the 5% this figure does not cover is absolutely


key and that's why I welcome the better broadband scheme. Under this


scheme those who can't get a broadband speed of at least 2


megabits per second qualify for a subsidised connection with a grant


available and I really do encourage anyone who is eligible for that to


contact their local authority. We are also working to introduce a


broadband universal service obligation by 2020 at a minimum of


10 megabits per second. An additional ?442 million will make


superfast broadband available to a further 2% of premises in the UK.


This will be complemented by a further infrastructure investment as


announced in the autumn statement. For areas with poor mobile coverage


planning reforms came into force in November to facilitate the building


of taller masts and make upgrading and sharing of infrastructure


easier. I would like to assure members across the House that better


connectivity, the key to unlocking the full potential and productivity


of rural areas, will remain a priority for this Government. To


conclude, our goal is to secure a deal that works for all parts of the


UK. And promoting our great British food at the same time as improving


our environment is central to building a strong economy that works


for everyone. Thank you. Order. Before I call the spokesman


for the opposition, it will be obvious that a great many people


wish to speak and that we have a very short time for this debate so I


warn honourable members that there will be initially a time limit of


four minutes and that is likely to reduce to three minutes and if


people make lots of sper ventions then they will find they will be


called later in the debate than they otherwise would have been. But no


time limit applies to Rachel Maskell. Thank you. If I may before


I begin today, this is my first opportunity, I would like to pay my


personal respects to Katie Ravel, Katie lived in my constituency and


died tragically in York just over a week ago. The whole city has been


shocked and so saddened by the loss of such a precious little life.


Yesterday would have been Katie's 8th birthday and I join with her


community in Westfield to celebrate her life alongside her parents and


friends and I am sure the whole House would want to wish Alison and


Paul and to let them know that they very much are in our thoughts and


prayers. May Katie rest in peace. We live in challenging times. One where


it is often difficult to see over the horizon. Yet we have a duty to


steer a steady path to achieve the best outcome for our nation. The


country voted to leave the European Union on 23 June so we now have a


responsibility to take the whole country forward together. The 100%,


to provide economic and national security for all and to cut deals


with the EU and others to ensure that our export focus remains


robust. Seven months have passed since the vote and negotiations


begin in just a couple of months' time. So where is the DEFRA plan? I


have heard plenty of platitudes from the party opposite and listened to


ideology about cutting red tape. There have been utterances about


aspiration and the fantastic opportunity before us but all is


meaningless without even a sled of a DEFRA plan being shared. These words


no longer wash with farmers. Farmers don't work in eteric concepts. They


live in a world where straight talk something what matters. Where is the


DEFRA plan we have been promised? We should have had it before the


referendum and we continue to hear talk of the two seriously delayed


25-year plans. Farmers need a plan now so that they can shape their


agricultural businesses and give them the best possible chance to


succeed. 2020 is just around the corner and provides little security


to so many. The whole food and farming sector needs security now,


security through transition, and security for the long-term. It is


challenging enough for the farming community at the west of times, that


is why many voted to leave the EU in the hope that surely things couldn't


be worse but by being kept in the dark, not knowing what the


Government plans to do is even more worrying. Farmers at the Oxford


farming conference showed their vote of confidence in the Secretary of


State when only the Minister, the member for Cambourne, eventually


came to her rescue by putting the arm in the air to show support for


his boss. Farmers need clarity. The success of the food and farming


industry which we must celebrate has been down to the sheer grit and


determination of farmers to make success of their businesses but


let's not get away from the fact it's tough out there. Incomes are


falling and debts are rising. Incomes were down by a shocking 29%


last year, a fifth of farmers are struggling just to pay their bills.


The average debt for a farming business is now ?188,000 and too


many have gone out of business all together, including more than 1,000


dairy farmers in the last three years. So not all farmers are


thriving or even There are some regulations that


farmer would happily see the back of the 1200 regular layingses to annal


size of course we'd want to see some go. -- regulations. The Prime


Minister should set out the strategy and test each regulation by the


criteria, not a piecemeal approach with no systematic logic being


applied. A question I've been asking since I was appointed, how will


Government police regulations prosecution those who breach them


outside of the EU framework. Answers are needed, as this will be a matter


for the UK alone. But all of this has little relevance if the big


question is not answered. What will replace the common ago cultural


policy? What succeeds CAP is not subject to any negotiation, so what


has been agreed with the Treasury. With subsidies accounting for over


half the income and investment resource for the farmers, they need


to know what will take its place, what will the criteria be, how will


they access funding and how can they start shaping businesses now,


according to the new criteria so that by 2020, they can be on the


firmest financial footing possible. So what has the Treasury agreed and


the Secretary of State determined? The Labour were in power today, we'd


be launch the rural investment bank, building sustainability for


businesses and sustainability for the environment. Resilience across


farming and giving farming the stability and security they need to


plan their future with the business support they need, as well as the


infrastructure and technological investment to drive forward


productivity. I am happy to give way. May I thank the honourable lady


for giving way. Would she agree with me there are grave concerns


regarding early pest and disease intelligence from Europe which may


become much less accessible alongside investment in research and


development which may fall without access to EU funding. I thank the


honourable lady for her intervention there. She's absolutely right. It's


our cooperation across Europe which has built the resilience of farming


and have built the huge knowledge base we which we all take advantage


of. The relationships we maintain with the science and research base


across the E such going to be absolutely vital to the success of


farming in the future. Of course, our fishermen and women


are searching for answers too. I've always believed that honesty is the


best policy to abide by. It's time the Government clearly set out for


those working across the fishing industry what they can expect to


change after leaving the EU. How we build a sustainable fishing industry


in an international context is vital for the industry to survive. But, as


has always been the case, it is the responsibility of the UK Government


to make sure the small fishing fleets have access to the stock.


Accessing global markets is vital for the future of the UK food and


drinks and farming sectors, but again, I have to ask the Secretary


of State what the strategy is. It surely cannot be her role to conduct


the global auction on every food product promoting her favourite


brands like the Snowdonian cheese or Walker short bred. What is the


approach to help every farmer have access to global free tariff market.


She cannot skip over the EU as though it no longer exists.


Farmers want security in knowing that they will have tariff free


access to this market. This is why Labour's been explicitly clear, we


want you to have access to the single market tariff free trade. I


We must warn the Prime Minister, what she's said today, she mustn't


create more barriers for the ago cultural and food sectors. The other


pressing issue is Labour. Free movement has enabled 98% of the UK


farmers seasonal workers to come from the EU. 80,000 people to pick


our veg and fruit each year. On this point, we must be clear - these are


absolutely not about taking anybody's jobs from anyone. These


are jobs that have failed to recruit locally. Farmers need to know what


they will reap before they sew. So, with seasonal labour, it's already


in short supply. As a result of the vote last June. The fall in the


pound's made other countries more attractive to seasonal workers. The


xenophobia is keeping some away. Xenophobia has no place anywhere in


our country. We owe it to those who come here to make it clear that they


are not only welcome, but we recognise the valuable role they


play in the freedom farming sector and the wider economy. But for those


who've made a decision to work in the UK from the EU, the Government


should grant them the right to stay now. Indecision and delay is


resulting in many leaving and keeping others away. I know the meat


sector have highlighted the serious risk that the dithering over the


rights are causing to their sustainability and they are not


alone. Today the Prime Minister had her


opportunity to provide businesses and workers from the EU. The


stability they need. When she was asked specifically on the point


earlier, she yet again ducked the question.


I am happy to give way. I thank my right honourable friend for giving


way. Does she share my disappointment that apart from a


passing reference to the word agriculture in preamble to the Prime


Minister's speech, there was nothing about the environment, food or


farming in terms of the 12 objectives she set out. Doesn't she


think the Prime Minister ought to be giving it far more importance? I


thank my right honourable friend for the point she's made and I have


scoured the speech to try and find the word environment in there and it


wasn't there, so I have serious concerns that the environmental


protections we currently enjoy from the EU just will not be there for


the future and, of course, as we advance forward and see that the EU


makes more progress on these areas, there is no guarantee given today in


the Prime Minister's contribution that that will be part of her


negotiating 12-point plan - her strategy.


So, as we move forward, I hear that the minister saying that it's


nonnegotiable but we need to see nit the 12-point plan if it's a key


point for us moving forward, so clearly the Prime Minister missed


that opportunity today to make that clear, the importance she would


place on the environment clearly not being stated.


I am happy to give way further. I thank the honourable lady for giving


way. Does she share the concerns that I have that it's staggering


that it appears the Government hasn't incorporated at least some of


the recommendations concerning land management. I suggested in a letter


to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


by the institution of environmental sciences and other professional


bodies into the still foggy post-Brexit plan.


THE SPEAKER: Order. Interventions have been far too long, it simply


isn't fair for the honourable gentleman to take the time of


thethey shall people waiting to take speeches. It's simply not courteous.


No matter how important his point may appear to be. Rachel Maskell? We


have seen the lack of certainty being given, so it's a valid point


that's been made. A further point I want to raise with the Secretary of


State and that's about apprenticeships. I'm sorry,


apprenticeships aren't about filling unskilled labour gaps, they are


about sustaining people in their development, training and skills, so


that they can have a career ahead of them. Certainly suggesting that


they'll fill the post-rich 80,000 workers currently hold is not


appropriate and not what apprenticeships are for. Farmers


need real solutions, so why not introduce the seasonal ago cultural


workers scheme? I know the Government scrapped it in 2013 but


it would provide a lifeline to farmers now, far better than leaving


fruit and veg rotting in fields this summer. On behalf of all farmers,


especially though who may be watching and listening to us speak


here today, I sincerely hope the Secretary of State provides a


solution to this issue. We also have a wider biodiversity system to


protect. Farmers are the great conservationists of our nation.


They, along with many NGOs are the ones investing and restoring natural


habitats leaving in environmental sustainability with more support


they'll go further still. We know there is far more to be achieved and


we cannot return to being the dirty man of Europe, nor can we stand by


and sign trade deals with nations that pollute on our behalf having no


regard for soil, air or water quality. A as responsible global


stewards we must drive forward progressionive environmental


standards and stem pollution. If the Government pin their hope on a deal


with the next US administration, I would urge them to think again.


As we debate rural communities, we cannot ignore all the other needs


that rural communities call for. This Government are still to address


this. Access to Broadband, as the Secretary of State said, is an


important issue, Broadband and mobile connectivity. But it's the


rural communities which are in that 5% that still can't get access.


Access to jobs, housing and transport essential for rural


communities, as well as good Public Services. Our ambition must go


further to halt the urban drift and to rebuild rural communities


sustaining rural business and investing in new businesses, pulling


us back into the countryside and taking to unsustainable strain of


urban Britain. All are important and on these benches, we understand how


vital invest isn't into rural communities. You certainly won't see


a Labour Government cutting the budget to our national pashes by 40%


as the Government has on its watch. So, what will the Secretary of State


do? It's a shame that the Government's amendment today fails


to recognise the unique needs of rural communities and the central


role investment has in strengthening the wider economy. However, the huge


challenges facing rural economies needs clear interventions, not


complacency. And the shocking disparities with urban environments


needs to be addressed. There is not such thing as a single monolithic


rural economy in the UK. There's great diversity, not just between


communities, but within them. I focus much of my time today on


farming because that's where the challenges are most pressing, but we


must remember that there is more to life in rural and coastal


communities than farming and fishing alone. If the Government truly


intends to deliver for rural communities, it will take a far more


sustained everybody than simply addressing immediate short-term


challenges in isolation. We need a proper cross Government strategy.


The abolition of Labour's commission on rural communities by this


Government and establishing the much diminished policy unit in its place


has weakened rural communities to the lack of capacity and expertise.


Madam Deputy Speaker, many of the issues raised today are


long-standing and cannot be blamed on the EU alone. But in saying that,


the turmoil now created by uncertainty by the Government is


escalating risk for the sector. Those who work across the rural


landscape or fish in our sea, did feel left behind, left behind bay


Tory Government that failed to invest in their industry and in


their communities. This has to change. With Labour you would be


confident that it would and farming would become far more stable, secure


and sustainable. Thank you. THE SPEAKER: Order. I already have


to reduce the time limit before I have even imposed it. The time limit


will now be three minutes. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.


It's nice to follow the honourable lady who mentioned her urban drip.


Can I just add that I have a very small farm in north her forkedshire


and raise cattle which the Secretary of State ought to know are the


finest and most popular beef breed in the world. The assumption made in


this motion that Brexit is something for farmers to be scared of is far


too pessimistic. There are risks but also opportunities. The European


Union has for years subsidised farms under the CAP and we have seen our


farmers fall from pole position behind now some of our European


partners in profitability and innovation. Therefore leaving the EU


and thus ending the common ago cultural policy should not be a


cause for concern in itself. Indeed, farmers and research


organisations such as leave have noted that Brexit is far more of an


opportunity than a risk. Instead of a CAP which compromises for 28


states with 12 million farmers with an average farm size of 15 hectares


or 37 acres, compared to the UK which has an average farm size of 84


hectares or 207 acres. So now, we are able to create a uniquely


helpful ago cultural policy for our farmers prioritising the goals we


most want to achieve. It's important that we have an ago


cultural policy which works for our farmers, for we need their


contributions. It must also work for voters, for the environment and for


all of those of us who need a healthy diet. This is particularly


tryth true as the NHS faces pressure from type II diabetes and#24er diet


and exercise related illnesses. It was made clear that ago cultural


support would continue until 2020 and by then we have had enough time


to prepare for a new ago cultural policy which will work for this


country. Already, the Government has indicated that it's keen to cut back


on ridiculous levels of EU bureaucracy. But, we must be aware


that within DEFRA, there are evil individuals who're still rolling out


hideous regulation by increasing the area suppressed by nitrate


vulnerable zones which are EU regulations, they are the nastiest


and most ridiculous rules and need to be frozen or rolled back but


instead they are being increased which is beyond scandalous.


I have been placing on the record in this mousse multiple times the


sensible and straight forward position this country stands to gain


nothing by the Government setting out our negotiating position before


the negotiations are even commencing. The EU negotiation


negotiators would gain the upper hand. And I will stop right there!


I am disappointed that the Prime Minister signalled today she intends


to pull the UK out of the single market as well as out of the EU.


Some of those potentially have the most to lose from this hard Brexit


approach are Scotland's beef and sheep farmers. We have been farming


beef in Aberdeenshire for thousands of years. Farm something a way of


life more than a job and we produce some of the best beef in the world


for premium markets. I am not going to repeat the comments my honourable


friend has made because he made the case well, but I will say this in


response to the Secretary of State. Scotland exported beef and lamb


worth ?73 million to EU countries in 2015. It's important that we realise


that over 90% of Scotland's red meat exports go to EU countries and of


the non-EU countries, Switzerland, nor Which? And Monaco are at the top


of the non-EU destinations. Scotland's food and drink exports


have grown substantially and our biggest growth markets have been in


the EU, a massive 20% of growth over the last decade and a much higher


rate of growth than in other markets including the UK market. That's why


retaining access to the single market is so important to our future


economic security especially in rural areas where livelihoods are so


affected by trade. But the other commodity produced on a large scale


in my constituency is fish. We have a huge catching sector, probably a


quarter of the UK's fish is landed in my constituency but for every job


in the catching sector there are four or five in the processing


industry. That supports thousands of jobs across Scotland in a wider


supply chain. The vast majority of fishermen voted to leave the EU and


given the way they were sold out in 1972 and shoe-horned into who can


blame them. There are many potential gains from being outside the CPC,


however it's a different story for the proetsing sector where those


opportunities are tempered by some significant drawbacks of a hard


Brexit as against a region style deal that keeps our foot in the


door. One of the major employers in my constituency already said


publicly that we need to protect our position in the single market


because we have a market advantage there. Nevertheless, we need to


remember that two-thirds of our fish exports are going to the EU. It's a


huge issue for some employers. We exported fish worth nearly ?450


million to the EU in 2015, we can't afford to jeopardise trade. I think


while tariffs are probably, we can't afford tariffs at this stage, we can


afford non-tariff barriers such as the need for certificates. Those are


adding costs and bureaucracy that we don't need and we leave an open goal


for Norwegian and Icelandic competitors. During the Brexit


campaign when I talked to people in the fishing industry they held up


Norway as the model they wanted to emulate but that's no longer an


option in this post-Brexit situation. The biggest risk now is


the point I made to the Minister where our Government sells us down


the river as was suggested might be happening in the Prime Minister's


speech earlier today. It was my prif ledge both in opposition and in


Government to work with Sir Jim Pace and he and I, although we may well


have voted to remain in the European Union, had deep reservations about


the common agricultural policy and desperately wanted the farming


community to embrace the concept they would have to change the


narrative, change the ask of Government, and to continue to


accept words like subs tees as part of the lexicon of modern


agriculture, it's something we have to deal with, we have to change the


narrative. My message to ministers today is please be bold, what we do


not want out of this is a son of CP, a CAP-plus. What we do not want is a


system that perpetuates what has happened in the past. We want to


look at this as April opportunity to see rural policy that can be an


economic policy and an environmental policy and a social policy, as well.


I would like to speak at great length - yes, certainly. Would he


agree that there will still be need even after Brexit for support for


hill farmers in places like Wales and in Scotland? I will come on to


talk precisely on that. My honourable friend makes a very good


point. I would like to have had the opportunity today to talk about the


innovation that's happening in farming, innovations that see


precision, satellite assisted farming is old news. Now with the


internet of things and the development of incredible changes in


technology we can see huge advances in agriculture and this is the


opportunity for DEFRA to be at the heart of that change and to support


the farming enterprise through that. The impact of globalisation and the


machinations of the CAP has caused the number of smaller farmers to


plummet. This is very bad news for the fabric of rural wrin, rural


communities and the environment. It's a chance for us to avoid some


of the failures that have afflicted rural policy-making for decades,


grants to drain moorlands followed by a decade or two later grants to


fill them in. Grants to rip out hedges followed a decade or two


later by grants to replant them. Incentives to plant thousands of


acres of spruce and pine in areas in northern Scotland. This list of


lamentable policy-making goes on. Please can we get it right and can


we get it right in the uplands? We need to be very worried about what


is happening in the Lake District. Hill farming created the wilderness


and pasture that still defines the Lake District landscape. Those that


shepherd the flocks are as much part of the landscape. That's what


Wordsworth loved about the lakes and what Beatrix Potter to save 14


farms. She, like millions of people today expected us to protect these


fragile social structures in rural landscapes, preserve the skills to


sustain some of them the treasured landscapes. There is a vision that


treats the sheep farmer as an enemy and aims to turn the fells into a


petri dish for nature-free of human intervention. This sees the


replacing of the unique blend of the wild and the pasture which has


defined the Lake District for 2,000 years with something that is,


frankly, shameful. Allowing ministers to recognise that small


farms and particularly those in our uplands are the most economically


fragile, arguably the most socially valuable, should be key to any new


post-Brexit model of rural support. Being mindful to what our


countryside is, seeking to protect and enhance the most stunning


landscapes in the world, whilst assisting the industry to innovate


and market responsive, this has to be the goal. I do urge ministers to


take this opportunity to be bold and create something that's better than


what we have had. Thank you. I rise to talk to the


environmental audit committee's report which is tagged in this


debate. The future of the natural environment after the EU referendum.


I pay tribute both to the members for Bristol east and Taunton Deane


in the chamber today. Our report, cross-party report from a


cross-party group of MPs, found that changes from Brexit could put our


countryside, farming and wildlife at risk. And that protections for


Britain's wildlife and special places which are currently


guaranteed under European law could end up as zombie legislation even


with the so-called great repeal bill. We recommended therefore that


the Government should safeguard protections for Britain's wildlife


in places in a new, UK environmental protection act. And I want to talk a


little bit about that today. I would like to look at the issues around


agriculture and we found that farmers face a triple general tee


from leaving the EU and let's not forget farms and farm businesses


make up 25% of all of the UK's businesses. First, the CAP provides


50-606% on average of UK farming incomes and for certain farmers that


average will be much higher. So the loss of the CAP threatens the


viability of some farms. The second jeopardy is the new trade


agreements, could threaten incomes if they result in tariff or


non-tariff barriers to export. At the moment 95% of lamb exports go to


the EU and if we are exposed to a common EU customs tariff that could


mean charges of up to 30% according to the country, land and business


association. Third, any new trade deals with the rest of the world


such as that proposed yesterday by MrTrump could lead to competition


from countries with lower animal welfare, environmental and food


safety standards. We have heard from the Secretary of State for exiting


the EU that he will do everything necessary to protect the stability


of the financial services sector and we have heard again reassurance to


the car industry in the UK, there have been no such reassurances to


the 25% of the UK's businesses that are classed as rural businesses and


we have heard from the Secretary of State for environment, food and


rural affairs at the Oxford farming conference that farm exports to the


EU will decline post-Brexit. She also didn't give my committee any


clarity over whether there would be future subs tees for farmers after


we leave the EU and we would as a committee would want to see clearly


defined objectives for future subsidies such as promoting


biodiversity, preventing flooding and repairing peat bogs. I give way.


When the Environment Secretary gave evidence to the economy she said up


to a third of environmental legislation would not be covered by


the great repeal act which means a huge vacuum in terms of


environmental protections. ? Yes, my honourable friend is right and our


committee discovered that copying EU legislation into UK law will not


enough for up to a third of the UK's environmental protections so there


is a risk that the legislation is transposed but is no longer updated


because there is nobody to update it. It is not enforced because there


is nobody with the legal duty to enforce it and it can be eroded


through strat Torrey instruments with minimal parliamentary scrutiny


and of course we have had calls from some parts of the Conservative Party


to have a subset clause in the bill and that's again something that the


Secretary of State did not distance herself from when she appeared in


front of our committee which is why we want a new environmental


protection act passed before we leave the European Union. If the


Government's going to achieve its manifesto commitment to be the first


generation to leave the environment in a better sthat tan it found it


the Government must set out how it will provide an equivalent or


helpfully better level of protection when we leave. The role of this


House will be vital in providing clear scrutiny rather than


cheerleaderboarding as that debate goes forward. Thank you. Last year,


I received a letter from a local farmer. He had been informed that he


could no longer grow cabbages because they were considered by the


EU to be too similar to cally flowers for compliance with a rule.


Turnips he was advised would be more acceptable. Agriculture and food and


drink are great British success stories, yet for half a century they


have been held back by this ceaseless meddling of brows sells


self appointed vegetable police. Will there are three simple reasons


why leaving the EU represents an opportunity for the rural economy


and let me touch on CAP to start with. Every year, UK farmers receive


about ?3 billion of payments from the CAP and some people act if this


money is a gift bestowed upon us by Brussels. The truth is this money is


the money of British taxpayers who every year make a net contribution


of ?9 billion to the EU budget and with that money returned we could


fund a British agricultural policy three times over. The difference


will be that we have the freedom to provide funding for British farmers


and the needs of British farmers without smothering them with a


European regulations they don't need. The second benefit will be to


our rural economy for the food industry and trade. Food demand is


projected to grow 70% in the coming decades, a huge opportunity for


British food producers. That demand is driven by China, Brazil, the US,


India, all countries that the EU has entirely failed to sign a free trade


agreement with. With British trade policy back in British hands, we can


sign a new generation of free trade agreements allowing our companies to


fulfil their enormous potential abroad.


Lastly, they will gain enormously from the freedoms Brexit will give


us to invest in infrastructure. After we leave the EU, bad box


ticking bureaucracy, a covenant elected by the British people, will


be able to find that broadband to rural areas with Al having to wait a


DFI compliance with the European Union in flexible state rules. --


that. -- wait for compliance. It is not beyond travails. As dramatic as


Saville's orange groves are, they are not Dartmoor or Exmoor. Our


rural... Seville. Outside of the EU, Legion design policies that work for


our policies and use our new-found freedoms do create a rural economy


more robust than ever before. I'll be as brief as I possibly can. Every


single part of Scotland, bar by guile and beauty constituency, voted


to remain. -- apart from Argyll and Bute. They said they wish the UK


could maintain membership of the European Union to keep our seafood,


whiskey and other groups having access to the biggest and, most


valuable market. In return, we continue to welcome with open arms


citizens of the European Union who wish to come, let and work in Argyll


and Bute. As the guarantor has done with notable success, we would


continue to promote Argyll and Bute as an excellent place of foreign,


multi national companies to invest as they sought to secure entry into


the European single market for their products. That's why we voted to


remain and that is why Brexit would have a profound and damaging impact


of my Argyll and Bute' economy. We boast 14 of the best whiskey


distilleries in the world. I will give value the microwave. I thank


him. We agree that the prospering businesses here are down to our


environment prospering as well? I agree. The Providence and purity are


essential and a great part of what Scotland's produce can offer. As of


mass G8, Scotch Whisky, much of it produced in my constituency,


contributed major lead to the UK economy. Removing us from the


European Union damages that. I'm so surprised that the honourable member


for South Northamptonshire seemed unaware of the fact that a huge


percentage of Scott exported beyond in the EU still benefits from deals


brokered by the EU. Control of Smoke Pollution Act Scotch. There is so


much I like to say. If I make my work included by saying that I


believe membership of the European Union has been good Argyll and Bute,


and has been for Scotland. Our continued membership is vital to


huge economic regeneration of our area. We need people in Argyll and


Bute and the future plan for economic growth would fall by our


council is predicated on attracting inward migration of EU citizens who


want to come and work in our food and drink sector, forestry, farming


and on other seas. We need people to come and work in our rural


communities. We need EU National to come to our diet and Bute. We


welcome EU nationals. -- to Argyll and Bute. There are almost 2000 EU


nationals living in the constituency at the moment and it is a disgrace


that this covenant will not guarantee their right to remain in


the United Kingdom post Brexit. I wish the boot on wreckage -- to put.


That every migrant working in Argyll and Bute is very welcome. -- record.


I will do everything I can to support them staying post Brexit.


Madam Deputy Seagate, I believe Brexit will be bad for the UK and


bad for Scotland. And particularly harmful for rural communities, such


as my own. Being a member of the European Union has been benefit from


a constituency. The beneficial. That's why when asked last June, the


people of Argyll and Bute overwhelmingly voted to remain.


Madam Deputy Speaker, there is an active and very interesting debate


going on in farming and agriculture in our rural communities. I was


reminded of this last Friday when I had the privilege to visit the


Clarence house farm to find out more about the dairy industry issues. We


had a wide debate that captivated as for 90 minutes. I barely got to see


the place that I went to visit. The cakes on the side of the kitchen


table when on tops. These are the sacrifices they make. I recognise


this is a time of uncertainty for farming. -- untouched. It's also a


time of the opportunity. The Prime Minister was clear today that we are


leaving the EU, but not Europe. There are ongoing trade


relationships we have to define with the all but there are new


opportunities in broader markets in this ambitious strategy that will


have positive implications for all industrial sectors and will also


benefit from UK farmers as well. There may be some who will want you


have the relative certainty of the common agricultural policy are few


would argue that it's a perfect system, far from it. Quite the


opposite. All the hallmarks for too long of a system created in the


1950s. Overly bureaucratic and designed for the needs of 28 states


and not the UK National agricultural interests that we have to have in


mind. That is the huge opportunity Brexit to us. The passing of CAP


will not be mourned and we'll create a better approach. The Prime


Minister said there will be protections for pillar one and there


were two of until 2020. The agriculture section the Max factor


is in good place. We can compete with the world. We need to recognise


what is in front of us. It is not all bad Brexit, Brexit you'd be a


spur to action to tackle long-standing action and recognise


opportunities. -- alt Brexit. I have spoken viral -- rural


diversification in my earlier intervention. The economy will be


pivotal. I believe that outdoor recreation have a place in that


particular debate. In my very last few remarks, I want to focus on the


needs of helping young people to build careers in farming. To develop


their livelihood in agriculture. I'm so impressed with the work I see at


young farmers' while in and around Macclesfield and deemed too easy as


they have been due farming. My dream would be, as the Secretary of State


develops a green paper, please don't forget the other opportunities


outside of Brexit. Rural diversification and prospects for


our young farmers as they are pivotal for success in the future.


Thank you. As a member of Kinross, I'm well aware of the policy for


leaving the European Union. After the member for Maidenhead's speech


today, it is now clear that it would be catastrophic. -- case that,


Sutherland and Easter Ross. We must maintain membership of the single


market. That is the best outcome, not just the people of Scotland but


in the national interest of each country the UK. Scotland, in


economic sectors of the economy, agriculture, fishing, manufacturing,


wholesale, retail sectors, in the liberal areas like much of my


constituency, to raise, accommodation and food and drink,


including whiskey and gin, play a vital role also. Infrastructure has


meant mending of new bridges and roads, shortening journey times and


enabling remote communities to sustain themselves. Building on MS


created employment and using them as created a tourist industry that has


continued to thrive. -- them has. We have financial support for our


farmers, access to the single market for goods and products and new


skills and employees through free movement of labour. The Harbour


Brexit announced today will be devastating for Scotland's rural


economies with high target and was a financial support. -- hard Brexit.


Using the projected food names. -- we face losing. Losing food safety,


animal and Plant health standard anti-competitiveness we rely on


through nontariff barriers to trade. -- and the competitiveness. We don't


have the dues between the single market and the UK market. Scotland


is the top destination for exports to the rest of the UK but the single


market of the EU is Scotland's real growth market and eight times bigger


than the UK market alone. As a man of the single market, Scotland


doesn't just contribute to 5 billion people in Europe but we trade with


the rest of the world through Europe as well. Today, we reiterate our


request to seek common ground with the UK Government and to find a


solution that will preserve the Scotland's membership of the


European single market, and for the UK Government to seriously consider


Scotland's place in Europe. Thank you. It's a pleasure to make a


contribution to this debate. As someone who grew up in horticulture


environment in Wiltshire, I see agriculture and horticulture as


absolutely key to the rural economy and this is a time of uncertainty.


If in a business, any business, 50-50% of your current income will


end, we were told to 3-4 years. -- 50-60%. You would feel uncertainty.


Against that, all the conversations I have had over the last five, six


or seven years in and around Salisbury, there is a frustration to


delay the CAP upgraded. Every time I met with farmers. -- operated. There


was a difficulty that had not been ever comes. They wanted to see a


change that was not happening. We must now grasp the opportunities


that exist. -- overcome. Opportunities do exist and we must


make good on them. We have to remember that 60% of all food eaten


in the EU comes from this country. 70% of the UK a land mass is managed


by those working in the rural economy. The rural economy


contributes ?100 billion to the economy each year. These are


significant sums and he have to be ambitious and the of reforms that we


bring to the new funding mechanisms. -- sort of. We have been given


reassurances over the years but we have evolved as Seattle evolved for


the future agriculture to deliver more and demand more. We have to say


to those that are frustrated with underfunding and under delivery of


rural services that we can do more in return for more productive


sector. I just wanted to mention the issue of access to the right skills,


because it is absolutely clear to me when I visit, and I visited last


year a fish gutting plant and none of the -- on the wall were in


English, they were in peril because everyone there was brought up from


Southampton. We need to make sure we do this well because despite great


agricultural colleges in Hampshire and Wiltshire, we are not dividing


the -- providing the skills needed to home-grown youths. We need to


make sure we answer the question that many farmers are asking me of


how to ensure access to the skills needed in this vital sector. They


should be a time of optimism for the industry to release the burden of


all those issues that have been so difficult for farming for so long.


Thank you very much. Can I say, firstly, coming from the rural


constituency, mainly rural constituency of the mana and south


Tyrone in Northern Ireland, the European Union has provided a great


support to the rural community. -- Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Many


fishermen and business recognise this, but we have to ask, at what


cost? Particularly in European regulation directive. I must say the


additional paperwork and regulations, directives coming from


Europe, many farmers and rural businesses are saying, is it worth


it? Minister and serene, no, it is not. Simply because they add to --


nosed are and serene -- most are answering no. I highlight this in a


very proactive way. I thought it was very interesting as a prospect. When


the accident the European Union, and we, and then and that the red tape


and bureaucracy that has currently come with European regulation,


particularly through the Common agricultural policy, is not followed


through by the United Kingdom and indeed the devolved institutions. I


do want to quote a view issues around this, and the most attractive


report I have read comes from the Scottish Government in something


that was published in August 2014. This indicates, we believe the


European Union Commissioner and as a fair culture to be compliant with a


complex set of regulations. That fair culture translates through the


agencies where they hear the sound, the inspectors, where there is a


fear of an fear. And they fear of various and penalties. I commend the


Scottish Government from being so open, honest and true about the


regulations and how it affects their farmers and rural communities, and


it goes on to say... Sorry, it doesn't particularly crowded but


they are hugely critical of the penalties is then that is imposed


the common agricultural policy, mainly due to that fair culture that


is imposed through the European Union commission.


So I say, members and deputy Speaker, whatever happens when we


exit with Brexit, the one thing I plea is to not follow through on


those regulations and directives other countries in the European


Union do not impose but we here in the United Kingdom have to impose


them. Thank you. Thank you, Madame Deputy Speaker. It is a pleasure to


make a contribution to this debate. It is clear from my perspective that


our rural economy has not fared well during our time as a member of the


EU. But there is one thing I would say that has been even worse for the


rural economy than being part of the EU and that is 13 years of Labour


Government, and it is quite laughable the front bench


spokesperson on the other side suggested that rural Britain has


something to fear from a Tory Government. I can tell you from


Cornwall that 13 years of Labour did no favours for our rural economy


whatsoever. You know, we need to understand leaving the EU presents


us with some great opportunities for rural Britain. As has already been


touched on, much of our rural economy is dominated by agriculture


and indeed fishing and neither have been able to thrive the way I


believe they are able to whilst we have been part of the EU. The "One


size fits all" Common agricultural and fishing policy where we have to


take into consideration all 28 member states simply does not work


for Britain. The British countryside is unique. There is nowhere else


like it in the EU, and leaving allows others to develop policies


for agriculture, fisheries, and manage and invest in our countryside


that will make it fit for the British countryside and rural


communities and I believe that is a great opportunity we face now that


we have decided to leave and we can make the most of that. One question


I am often asked in terms of Cornwall, what will replace the


European funding we have had? The hundreds of millions of pounds we


have had from EU are not or should I say through the EU, that has come to


Cornwall? Let's remember that money is British taxpayers' money recycled


through the European Union and it comes with strings attached and a


heavy bureaucracy we are not able to invest -- that means they cannot


invest in the things we need to invest in. We will have a regional


development fund set for the UK, fit for Cornwall, so we can spend on the


things we want to spend on and the things Cornwall needs us to spend it


on without the box ticking and bureaucratic form filling so many


businesses find they have to do just to qualify for the grant. I am


confident Cornwall and rural communities across Britain will have


the opportunity to thrive, to trade with the world once again. You know,


we seem to think when we leave you suddenly the EU. Wanting to buy our


world-class produce. Of course the EU will still want Cornish clotted


cream! And Cornish seafood, but it will give us the opportunity to


trade with emerging markets around the world such as China where there


is a growing demand so I am confident. I will happily give way.


Order. The end of the three minutes. Thank you, Madam Speaker. The


hardest of hide Brexits, and what will be remembered as perhaps the


biggest act of economic self flagellation ever inflicted upon our


nation, that is what this is. It will practically crucify the rural


economy. If we are indulging in this hard Brexit as some sort of lofty


ideal, tackling global injustice, trying to improve the conditions of


the poorest in the world, I think we could just about -- I could just


about stomach it. But, no, we are indulging in this self harm because


the UK does not like immigrants. It is the one issue, the dominant


issue, and it takes precedent over all others when it comes to exiting


the European Union. We live in a global interconnected world where


the movement of peoples has never been so profound, but the new global


Britain is about to raise the drawbridge and ensure nobody comes


in here. It is the Nigel Farages and the hard right of the Tory party,


there are few and fishing, that we'll now inform this place about


how the country will progress. And I am so proud that my nation voted


overwhelmingly to remain within the European Union. I will do absolutely


everything that I can to ensure that my nation's decision on that is


respected and progressed, and I am proud of the people of North


Perthshire who also voted overwhelmingly to remain within the


EU. My constituency is practically totally rural. Some fine hill


farming in Perthshire, some of Scotland's finest arable land, and


Perth city was once the centre of the agricultural administration of


Scotland. All of these activities are reliant on support from the EU,


all of these industries depend upon international trade and European


support. Farmers in my constituency have come to me very concerned about


what is going to happen with their future, and the news that one in


five Scottish farmers and crofters are intending to quit farming


because of the concerns over Brexit should alarm and greatly concerned


this House. I have the world renowned pressure dairy sector in my


constituency, with no better strawberries raspberries or just


anywhere in the world -- Purser Berry Sector. My fair for is to be


put at ease by announcing the renewal of this team. I went around


my hotel industry in Pitlochry, all of which are dependent on European


workers to maintain their business and all are under severe threat and


concerned about what will happen now. If England wants to indulge in


this economic self harm, that is it to them. Our country in Scotland now


has to be listened to. We have decided something else. Our view now


has to be respected and listened to. We have alternatives, Madame Deputy


Speaker, and I encourage the people of Scotland to have a close look at


them now. Thank you, Madam Speaker. Looking at the statistics of the


referendum it is evident the vast number of rural areas voted to leave


the EU. A decision those of us in this place must respect, but we


should also ask why that was, although I feel that is for another


day. Now on the cost of triggering Article 50, I welcome the debate


called by the members opposite. It indeed even agree with certain


areas, that we must do all we can to support our vitally important rural


areas -- I indeed even agree. We agree the rural economy is vital to


the UK economy at large, that security is key, along with the


rural way of life. But sadly it is here our past diverse. I read the


motion tabled by the SNP and take umbrage literally at the first word


of the title. What does it say about an opposition party that uses the


word of friends when speaking about Brexit and the rural economy rather


than the opportunities Brexit presents. It seems to want to do


down the rural areas from the start -- the word offence. If nothing else


Brexit presents opportunities for our rural economy and forestry -- on


forestry, tourism, and other areas. A major issue I hear travelling


around my constituency is the effect on the single farm payment of


leaving the EU, but I cannot help but think there is a great


opportunity here for Britain. Clearly, and I am sure the whole


House agrees on this, that one thing is sure, there is nothing comment


about the Common Agricultural Policy. So, Madame Deputy Speaker,


time is against us and it is clear there are two sides to this debate


and two alone. Those who want to do down our farmers as nothing more


than a subsidy, and those who believe our farmers have the


capacity to be more... To be the most innovative in the world. There


are those who want to do down our rural areas as wholly reliant on the


EU, and there are those who want to do it our rural areas as areas that


can flourish, there are those who seek nothing but their own


self-created negativity towards Brexit and there are those who see


nothing else but the opportunity it will provide. Madame Deputy Speaker,


after the Brexit vote last year, we are now in the possession of the


ambition our American countries have held for over 300 years, but we can


truly state Great Britain is the land of opportunity, and now is the


time to capitalise on that. All that matters is we go into our


negotiations with the right attitude and we protect our rural economy for


the long-term. The Government amendment speaks of continuity and


certainty, the 2020. That is two years away. People fear uncertainty


and the rural communities I represent are afraid the certainty


underpinning their way of life are to be swept away. -- the


certainties. Farming is difficult, very difficult profession, requiring


commitment to a lifestyle that is almost unmatched and yet the


economic impact of farming in my communities is far wider than quite


possibly appreciative. In Wales, upland farm profits fell last year


to ?21,900. Meaning around 60% of farms either made a loss would have


done so without support. Despite this last year, the 10,000 or so


farmed businesses in Wales paid employees and other businesses are


around three times as much as they made. Many Welsh communities are


dependent on the rural economy for their year-round existence. The


Welsh language and the culture and traditions of Wales are rigid in


these communities -- are rooted in these communities, and their future


is at risk. It brings me to my next point. The much maligned EU Common


Agricultural Policy. Undoubtedly this financial support mechanism is


not perfect. It's mechanism and a demonstration could clearly be


improved but what we have heard so far from the Government does not


offer us much hope of an improved model. Of course farmers do not want


to have to rely on direct payments but a legacy of 60 years of


policy-making in at cultivating a plentiful and secure food supply


means the returns from the market are simply too low to sustain


livestock businesses. If we slash and burn the support mechanisms we


afford our already struggling farms we are not only risking our food


supply but the future of our rural communities and the industries they


support. Wales is around 5% of the UK population but the seas around


12% of the EU funds flowing to the UK. Not only is this a result of its


considerably more of rural society because of the less profitable


livestock hill farming of wheels receiving a far greater share of CAP


compared to southern England -- but it receives around 12%. They must


receive guarantees now they will not suffer any loss of support. I would


like to call on the Government to do something radical. I want them to


slow down and think. Too close, policies must be evidence -based


rather than the product of idealistic aspirations and clever


sounding buzzwords. A clean Brexit chimes with a clean break but no


rhetorical flourish chimes with those who will end up broken. I am


therefore calling on the Government to maintain direct payments and


budgets and ring fence the monies until we have found a realistic way


of replacing them, and to guarantee there will be no power grab from the


nation of Wales, as I was told recently if they want to do to the


rural communities what they did to the minors, let them do so with


their eyes open. -- the miners. My constituency voted more than any


other to leave the European Union but what was not said in this debate


is it is the rural parts of Wales that overwhelmingly voted to take


back control. These are the parts of the country for whom democracy today


is working. What the rural UK voted for, it is getting. If you remain a


Remain, behind the times, it may be, it is appropriate to ask first what


rural Britain voted for -- if you remain a Remainer. There are three


things. Although rural committees have been powered by workers from


the EU or Eastern Europe, the consensus of the British people was


a key factor. By some estimates the third-largest population there is


Eastern Europe, hard-working men and women in the main paying taxes and


working hard in all weathers but that is not a change there then


Labour Government plan for or that the constituency ever voted for, a


key impact of voting to leave the EU should not make any individual feel


unwelcome, as I have said many times in this House, but it should be the


restoration partly in the rural economy of simple self determination


for environment, regulation or the workforce. No party went to the


country on a manifesto that said market towns across the East of


England would see huge changes in numbers that would result in serious


pressures on public services, and if they had they might not have won.


Immigration was a key issue in my constituency but I hope one impact


of Brexit will be the restoration of some form of seasonal work Visa


scheme that replicates that which we had until relatively recently, that


means people are able to come, work and pay taxes if the job is already


lined up. Secondly, we should point out there has been an impact on the


supply of labour already in constituencies such as mine. Already


in my error there is not the abundance of minimum wage labour


there once was -- in my area. I would beg to submit this will


combine with the more than laudable impact of the national living wage


to create a third condition, and that, I suspect, will be a renewed


push for further mechanisation and automation as labour supply changes


and technology gets more powerful. If you will forgive me, the Brussels


sprouts in my constituency will become guinea pigs, for new research


into how we make growing and picking them even more affordable for


businesses often working on the Russia sleep tight margins thanks in


part to our supermarkets. We will see a rise of the rural but -- rise


of the rural robots. We have a huge potential to seize that industrial


revolution and to take back the control my constituents voted for.


Thank you for the opportunity. The one gallantry I think we can assume


is that we will return to the issues again, again and again. Not least


those of us who represent rural constituencies because I don't think


anyone would down the passion on this debate of the issues, concerns


and not least the issue of the hard Brexit we have heard about today.


Farming is critical to the local economy and the sustainability of


our rural communities. Live honourable friend, and the point


from the SNP benches and that the loss of trade, the a lot of business


on the broader, wider community should not be lost. Farming is


crucial to Wales at' a colony. It is described as Wales' Alaska great


economy. -- lasts. -- economy. 13% of the people in my constituency are


employed in the land. It has a hugely significant effect on the


broader economy. The UK's food and bring sector as a whole, the fourth


largest in our country with over ?12 billion the year to our economy. 72%


of exports go to the EU. The Welsh figures are somewhat higher. One


thing to say, the Government will keep negotiating cards close to


their chest, but this doesn't mean that we should not know the


long-term plans. Some businesses need to plan for years and have a


time. The concern and anxiety is order of the day amongst the small


hill farmers I represent in my constituency operating on margins, a


support regime. Not something they want to exist in the duty but they


are concerned that they could be on the edge of a cliff face if the rod


is pulled from believe their feet with huge impact. I could go in


Roberts, he said careful precise statements are needed now more than


ever. . Glynn Roberts. Yes, guarantees about funding until 2020


but a three-year window to plan your business is inadequate. They need to


be greater. We need far greater certainty is than that. Further to


the crowd from Glynn Roberts, the livestock which makes up the vast


majority of Welsh farmers rely on exports to the continent as we have


made clear since the referendum that full, unfettered access is essential


to Wales. He goes onto say that a deal being flouted with expediency


and gaining a martyr with 4.5 billion -- gaining a market with 4.5


million... Food and farming are central to our national identity and


a key part of the UK's economy, generating ?10 billion per year and


employing one in eight people across the country. Some of those are


employed on the small but none the less any less important number of


farms. -- none the less important. When debating farming and fisheries,


in what is set out today before us, I think it's important that we


recognise all farmers, the role that they play as a managing the


countryside wherever that is in the UK and the way that they do. I come


from a farming background. My dad worked in farming for about 40 years


and he's probably never had a mention in this place before.


Farming China is not a 9-5 job, Monday to Friday, for many. -- The


farming I know. And it can be challenging. That's why the


Government preparing tea leave the EU and guaranteeing that during


levels of agricultural support will be maintained until 2020 is... I'm


grateful. Does my honourable friend join me in being very pleased that


agriculture will be at the centre future trade negotiations with the


EU and US the world? Thank you. My hands it to that is short and


simple. Yes. Going onto my point of agricultural support being


maintained until 2020. -- answer. While a new agricultural policy is


being developed, and by guaranteeing for their lifetime, any environment


dealings in place already are agreed in the future, even if they run


beyond our departure from the EU. Scheme. Anything we can do to help


build a sense of fidelity will be good for the industry. One of the


issues... I'm going to continue because I know we are short of time.


One of the issues that local farmers have raised with me is that of


workforce will not a need to attract the next generation which is why the


stability matters. Although ensuring the agriculture sector has the


workforce it need for delay and that is why it's so important to


recognise what the PM has said in that she was to protect the stages


of EU national already living here. Turning more directly to the nation


in front of our today from the opposition, I do feel, mandated


beauties DJ, that it is disappointing to read that the


primary focus is on farming and fisheries. -- Madam Deputy Speaker.


It is vital that the comments even today, let's not forget there is


also true is in a rural economy. The many, many SMEes and sector is come


together to form the backbone of our economy. -- SMEs. It is a part of


economy as a whole and we, on the file house, continue to build and


strengthen it further. In the Brexit a rare, I accept there will be


challenges. -- on this side. Also there will be opportunities. Let's


go out and find them. Can I just say, before I bring in NXT agenda


after the next DJ, there a limit of two minutes. If does make


intervention, obviously the last few remaining speakers and a not


actually get in. Asthma after the next -- after the next. I was firmly


out. I have been in families of fishing for generations. All that


was what made me revolt against the EU. I've been jailed that we are


seeing massive schools of fish but there is no fish by the Census for


birds to ensure because they didn't meet EU standards. -- boats. This


did not aid our crews to do their jobs. I've had a lot of British


fishermen be prevented from working to ease the European and out fishing


at will. There has not been a problem any sea, but in Europe. A


decline from my counsel that a representative. Can I commend our


negotiators, the Secretary of State and Minister of State, to have every


faith in their ability to view the job we want and look forward to


supporting them in their entirety. When the Brexit to take place, I the


agri-food in our area and discussed a post Brexit market with them. The


Minister knows it, I met and I want to put it on record. When the


minister visited Northern Ireland, we stick about expanding with much


success beyond our shores. Signing new contract again, an indication of


how much they look forward to the future. Increasing market value,


profits. All things from my area that may have had concerned, the ice


cream parlour, places that will do well. The impact on rural economy


will come down to our trading power and the fact that the import so much


from the EU surely gives strength to ensure a fair return on our trade.


The good things we will have when leaving the EU, when it comes to


fishing and farming as well, these are the issues that will affect our


rule economy. These are the factors they might consider and most


importantly, the Brexit team must consider them as well. I know the


team is under no illusion about the difficulty of finding the right plan


for the majority of fishermen, farmers, producers, but this is an


opportunity and it is one, whenever really the EU, that cannot be


wasted, we can't look back and say we should have done it in a


different way. Let us do right way now. The people have spoken across


the United Kingdom collectively to leave the EU. We must now work on


their behalf to bring a strong, rural community that benefits from


the decision taken. This is our challenge. And we are two X? I


believe we are. -- are really up to it? . Great market towns, the


beautiful seaside, old-fashioned seaside towns. The stunning North


York Moors National Park Llinos and beautiful in the land, I say. There


is magnificent in landscapes Dimsdale farming, of course, but


also foods and Malton festivals. -- conceal. Superb jazz to ice cream.


Take and pork producers. -- gelato. Other businesses you may not expect,


like precision engineering run by Christopher Shaw. Silotech. These


people get up early, travelled the world, they are not lazy, they are


hard-working and confident of taking their products to the world. The one


thing they do want across the world is a level playing field. They are


excited by the future but we need to be realistic in this country. Quite


rightly, we have strong regulations on our businesses in terms of


workplace, comment on the environment animal welfare. If we do


trade deals elsewhere, we must feel that we are on a level playing field


with businesses in other nations to make sure that our businesses are


not at a competitive disadvantage. Also a level playing field in the


United Kingdom. Our rural areas in North Yorkshire do not get the level


of investment and infrastructure we see another part of the country.


Around half on transport project and broadband. All I would ask, and a


half of my constituents, they see the world as an opportunity but what


a level playing field. -- wants. That is where any agreement with my


Scottish colleagues ends, talking about the stuff that was made there.


I represent Taunton Deane, a rule constituency, where farmers,


umbrellas, rural businesses are the backbone of our economy. The farm


business brings in ?7 million and 2200 people work in the food and


drink trade. There was also the old aborted trade as well. Leaving the


EU an enormous opportunity for all of these businesses, providing we


have the framework and the right backing from this Government. I


believe in the Prime Minister's statement today about 70, the new,


global Britain and that we have been set on the right track. The


south-west is perfectly placed to take advantage of these


opportunities. Which region wins on exporting the mayors and having the


next contract? Well, it is the south west. We are fully set to take


advantage of leaving Europe. We will build on this. I agree, Madam Deputy


Speaker, we must not... We must not re-form the CAP. The affiliates and


a better place than we found it. We must build a framework at home that


enables all businesses to be strong in this world aside from leaving


Europe, if we can do that, we can build on a global market, which is


why I applaud this Government's pouring money into infrastructure


for Taunton Deane, the A358, rail projects, digital services. All of


these things will help us to build an environment that works for


everyone on a farm economy that works for everyone and a rural


industry that, contrary to what we hear from the opposite benches, will


thrive. I wanted to make a couple of


remarks. I've sat through this whole debate and how the contributions but


nobody on the SNP side actually thought that leaving the EU would a


good thing, and that seems very interesting, because one of the


curiosities of first past the post is that 38% of Scotland actually


voted to leave the EU but because we have that process, which I have


defended, the SNP were entirely negative about the prospect of


leaving the EU, and they have and I think in Zimbabwe they would be very


proud of. They are simply not representing the full range of


Scottish opinion. In my brief time I want to make a very obvious point.


For every pound we receive from the EU we put ?2 in, that is what being


a net contributor means. Any basis on which leaving the EU is a bad


thing in terms of subsidies, we can more than compensate from our own


budget, and the point about that is that that is something we can decide


for ourselves in this UK Parliament. The other thing I would say, the


last comment, you would think British industry never had a British


agricultural policy, that it never had a future before or really a


thriving successful past before we joined the EEC in 1975. There was a


British farming industry and business for a thousand years before


that and actually if the party 's opposite knew their history, and I


am surprised the Labour Party has not mention this, the Labour Party


brought in an agriculture act in 1947 which actually was the


underpinning of British agriculture, very successful act, before we


joined the EEC, yet none of this is remembered and we just have doom and


gloom from the Party brought in and agriculture act in 1947 which


actually was the underpinning of British agriculture, very successful


act, before we joined the EEC, yet none of this is remembered and we


just have doom and gloom from the parties opposite. Thank you, Madam


Speaker. I am delighted to represent a beautiful part of the constituency


but it is incumbent on us all to remember although the country is


beautiful it is not a museum. There are a very real jobs there, people's


very real livelihoods, and that is extremely important. In the very


brief time available to me I would like to make one point. The minister


will no doubt remember there is a pioneering work going on in my


constituency at Sunnydale farm she has visited with me, and only


recently I went to visit a little bit in Milton under Wychwood which


is taking this scheme to a very real and practical end. A partnership of


local landowners, the community and the Environment Agency working


together on upstream flood storage in the valley, and these measures


include tree-planting, re-routing of streams to follow their natural


causes, and I turned to this point for one good and clear purpose.


There is an economic benefit to this as well as environmental. Fruit


trees create the fruit industry, they create word that can be


harvested for the local community, it enables local sustainable


businesses to create jobs and money. Little stock book is essentially an


open-air laboratory and the reason I mention it is because of the way the


CAP is funded it makes it difficult for small community endeavours such


as this to gain the funding they need because they tend to favour a


very big schemes and land owners. Leaving the CAP gives us a golden


opportunity to rework these schemes so it works for all. So the


landowners in our communities are easily able to access the funding


they need rather than having environmental schemes packed on as


an afterthought. As the minister said earlier, these schemes can be


at the heart of it from the very beginning. Thank you. Thank you,


Madam Speaker. Before I begin I should declare an interest as an


active crofter. Can I congratulate all of my honourable friends who


have spoken so passionately about the threats to our rural economies.


It is a real concern, about what the future holds for many of us. For us,


Europe and the Single Market is about opportunities for growth,


investment and jobs. It is about the best opportunity to create


sustainable economic growth, playing to our strengths, to benefit from


the Single Market. Our opportunity to create a vibrant prosperous


economy hinges on access to the Single Market. It is a foundation


stone of our desire to enhance our productive potential and deliver


strong sustainable growth. For Scotland to succeed, we need


additional labour. This is no more so than in the Highlands. We need


people who want to be part of our story and help us deliver that


modern vibrant economy to stop we want free movement of people. Why


would we want to remove ourselves from this opportunity? Sadly, I must


apologise. I do not have time. What the Prime Minister should come clean


about is that a hard Brexit means uncertainty for investment, it means


a threat to jobs and for trading -- for those trading with the EU, it


means a threat to that. Madame Deputy Speaker, sterling is down as


a consequence of Brexit. Make no mistake. Inflation is on the rise


and it is driven by a fall in sterling. We will have higher


inflation as the cost of imports reflects the fall in the value of


the pound. Inflation rose to 1.6%, the highest level since July 2014.


Having seen real wages rise over the last couple of years, rising


inflation is going to choke off any rise in real wage growth. The Prime


Minister speaks of one thing to trade with Europe, but as a simple


answer that the best route to trade with Europe is by retaining access


to the Single Market. You cannot walk away from market access and


expect to put a solution back on the table again quickly. There will be a


cost, and that cost will be higher costs of participation and lost


jobs. Let me take an industry that is important in Ross, Skye and


Lochaber, salmon farming. As members of the Single Market we have tariff


free access. At five of 2% and salmon sold into the Single Market


as a consequence, but guitarist for nonmembers is 8% for access to


Europe. That is the threat for our fish farming sector, if we're to see


the ending of access to the single -- but a tariff for nonmembers. In


2015 exports to the EU represented 69% of Scotland's overall food


exports. There is clearly a threat to Paris to these exports. That is a


price that is simply not worth paying. Why would we willingly seek


to disadvantage Scottish seafood producers and farmers and crofters?


-- a threat to tariffs. We have a plan to keep Scotland in the Single


Market even if the rest of the UK weaves. The options brought forward


by the devolved administrations, acknowledging Scotland delivered a


clear message against leaving the EU and recognise that in our case we


are demonstrating the importance of free movement and the Single Market


to Scotland's economy. Our Government in Edinburgh is outward


looking, internationalist and secure in seeing our destiny for Scotland


as being part of the family in nations -- of nations in Europe was


open, looking for people who stick to come to Scotland to work, study


and invest, but critically to enrich our society from the contribution


they can make as new Scots. Scotland looking outward whilst the UK wants


to pull up the drawbridge. A UK where the welcome mat is no longer


put out. I UK which is closed to Europe and European migration.


Madame Deputy Speaker, it reminds me of the newspaper headline from the


past. Fog in the Channel, continent cut off. The reality from hard


Brexit is it will be the UK cut off, cut off from the Single Market, from


European trade. Look at what the Prime Minister has said today and,


you know, for the benches opposite it is a laughing matter, but there


is a real threat to jobs and prosperity for people in Scotland.


No access to the Single Market, it is the road to self-destruction.


Contrast the inward looking turning your back on Europe message from the


UK Government with the forward-looking document published


by the Scottish Government in December. Scotland's place in


Europe. A road map allowing us to work with the UK to achieve a


settlement that respects the vote taken in the UK but seeks to protect


our economic interests. A road map that respects the UK has voted to


leave, but seeks an appreciation of our position that Scotland voted to


remain. That is why when we see a UK Government that is so driven to take


us out of the Single Market and to damage our rural economy that we


say, not in our name. Let me be clear. Europe has been good for the


Highlands and Islands. Europe recognised the importance of


investing in the Highlands. Take the convergence funds, put in place in


recognition of our more level support for Scottish farmers and


crofters than was the case in most of Europe. Madame Deputy Speaker,


223 million euros of extra funding are fair your period, granted to the


UK, on a clear understanding -- a four year period. Understanding this


would help Scottish crofters and farmers, but sadly the farming


minister took a different view in 2014 and 2015. Scotland would only


get a pro rata share, 16% of the total. Put simply, Scottish farmers


and crofters were done out of funds by a Westminster Government that


they failed to pass on, and the EU had met this to come to Scotland. It


is not the Westminster Government, but it is fairness from Europe we


were done out of. Europe wanted to help Scottish crofters and farmers


but Westminster once again short-change them. They then farming


Minister Owen Paterson promised a review of how the funds were to be


allocated, and it was to take place in 2016. The honourable member, the


current minister, confirmed this would take place after the devolved


elections last May. Madame Deputy Speaker there has been no review. We


need to say to the people of Scotland, you can contrast the


behaviour of Europe and that sought by the Scottish crofters and


farmers, that they were denied funds, not from Europe, but from


Westminster. We were promised a review. It has not happened. It is


little wonder we worry as to what will happen to our crofters and


farmers post Brexit. Will the Minister guarantee to protect the


existing CAP funding for Scottish farmers post 2020? Support from the


CAP are meant to two third of total net farm income in Scotland. Between


2014 and 2020 Scotland will receive around 4.6 billion euros in funding.


We need an assurance that funding for farming and crofting will be


ring fenced. In Scotland, 85% of our land is designated as less favoured


areas, with a reliance on livestock production. We need to reassure


farmers and crofters that active farming and crofting will be


supported. Powers over farming and fishing must be devolved to the


Scottish Parliament but it must come with a commitment to funding. We


cannot be short-changed again. Creating sustainable communities,


empowering communities of the Highlands and Islands, takes hard


work. Our region is full of signs products ended by the EU -- project


funded by the EU. Much infrastructure has benefited from


the funding. The revival of the Gaelic language has been aided by EU


funding, not least the college in sky. The Highlands Leader Funding


Programme, ready to make contributions of 6.6 million into


the Highlands this year. We need to know that will be supported. In


summing up I should remind the Prime Minister the people of Scotland are


sovereign. That has been the historic context for us. It is not


parliamentary sovereignty but the sovereignty of our people. Will the


Prime Minister work with us to protect Scotland's interests in


retaining access to the Single Market? Let me say that. Failure to


do so will mean the Union you cherish will be put to a fresh


question. Respect Scotland, risk of the consequence that we will seize


the day. A referendum on Scotland's future may be our only alternative


if we are to protect Scotland from a hard Brexit.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. It's been an interesting debate and I'm grateful


for the contributions from the ruble members. I hope to cover all points.


Currently, ?200 billion of contributed to the economy. The


contribution of the sector is as big as it is in the urban economy. As


highlighted today, the sectors of food farming, fishing and tourism


play a huge role in building rural community and preserving and


protecting the environment. In particular, in the countryside,


there are very many small businesses which cover all sorts of industries,


says we hired proportionally than other areas. The rural economy is


vibrant and diverse, but not without its challenges. Productivity in


predominantly rural areas is bigger than urban areas. While saffron's


responsibilities lie with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland


face similar challenges. -- Defra. That would be gay in the European


Union and that is why we address them just now. We are trying to


improve life opportunities for those living in rural areas. We have done


much to support and who's the rural economy. Nine represent the mac


enterprise zones were set up and more will be in April. This will get


answers. -- enterprise zones. Funding development anyone got


error. In the Autumn we doubled rural rate relief to 8% and little


give a much-needed boost to 8% and little give a much-needed obesity


businesses, saving them every year. We are... Many premises can now


access to grow fat and broadband and it'll reach a higher level by next


year. In addition to that, our universal service obligation of


every premises and receiving 10 megabytes will be particularly


important for the rural unity. Reform of the telecommunications


Jerry is a key part of the Digital economy Bill going through


Parliament and this is going to help increase rural coverage of mobile


phones but also the provision of fibre. This will enable our industry


to existing maths, grading and sharing equipment which will benefit


mobile coverage in rural and the area is full of making it easier to


work in rural areas. There are pilot programmes in Northumberland and


Staffordshire providing 30 hours every child care for toddlers with a


further roll-out set this year. Also through 30 hours free childcare, we


will receive free funding raids, benefiting many rural areas. As my


honourable friend from Macclesfield and Salisbury pointed out, there is


a need to work on future skills and career farming is an attractive


industry and provide the skills for employees. I can assure them of our


Redmond to travel the number of apprenticeships to -- commitment to


treble. Mr Speaker, my honourable friend, the Prime Minister, was


clear today that we will pursue an ambitious devolved free-trade


agreement with the European Union. It is important, she stated, that we


are not seeking membership of the single market by the greatest


possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold agreements. That


Northern Ireland and England to make Northern Ireland and England to make


sure they take full advantage of the economic opportunities we have


today. There is been considerable discussion about devolution and, as


the Prime Minister reiterated, this is important that the joint


ministerial committee in EU negotiations has been established so


ministers from each devolved administration can contribute to the


process of planning our departure from the EU. As it has already been


referred to, we have received a paper from the Scottish Government


and will draw the receiving wantonly from the welsh common. Both will be


considered. It's important to stress that our guiding principle is to


ensure that, as the leave the EU, no barriers within our union are


created and that means maintaining the necessary framework for our


domestic markets, empowering the UK as an open, trading nation to strike


the best trade deals around the world and protect our islands. As


they do this, the Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that no


decisions to be taken by the devolved administrations will be


removed from them. It is very clear there will be no power grabbed. With


regard to migrant workers, rated eight, as they drop plans to leave


the EU, we are harnessing the industry's knowledge and experience,


ensuring their voice is heard. As my honourable friend, the Secretary of


State, indicated, access to labour is an important part of our


discussions and we are committed to working in your industry to make


sure they have the right people with the right skills. Arab EU nationals,


rated by Scottish members, the Prime Minister reiterated again today he


desired he this issue resolved. -- around. To see this issue. Regarding


CAP payments, we want farmers to have that certainty and we have said


they will receive the same level of financial trouble until 2020. I love


the double of many honourable and right honourable members on the


opportunities brought on agricultural policy, this led to the


needs of this nation. There will be a Green paper published in due


course, which will give everyone the opportunity to offer people on our


future design. I like the thought of my honourable friend from Newbury,


Right Honourable friend, who I would expect to get a good thoughts on as


my predecessor, his three pronged approach of thinking of the


agricultural and social objectives on small farmers will get a lot of


support. With regards to CAP pellet two, the Government will also


continue to guarantee funding for structural investment fund projects


at before we leave and continuing after we have left. This includes


the rural development programme and the maritime fisheries programme.


Funding for these programmes of the honoured where they provide good


value for money and are in line with the nitty-gritty priorities. These


conditions will be applied in such a way that the current pipeline --


strategic. Environment schemes beginning this month. The devolved


administrations will sign of the investment fund under the current EU


allocation. The Government will make sure they are funded to meet these


commitments. On the issue of fisheries, we are continued them are


committed to acting on the common fisheries policy and putting in


place a new regime. We want users opportunity to make sure our


industry is competitive and profitable, and that the environment


is improved for future relations. The Government will continue to


deliver this. Working closely with indices on deciding future rules. --


on delivering this. Including the law on EC and the UN agreement. In


terms of leaving the EU, we want to make our own decisions about how to


deliver the policy objectives previously targeted by EU funding.


As pointed out by several honourable members today, we have to make sure


that the EU funding is UK taxpayer funding and how that is spent in due


course. We will consult closely with stakeholders to reveal all EU


funding schemes and ensure that any ongoing commitment to best serve the


national interest while having appropriate investor certainty. City


deals and evolution have been a feature of improving local economies


and we are seeing more rural economy is being business. In Scotland, the


Government has given considerable support, ?2.3 billion worth, to the


oil and gas industry in year alone. We guess that independence was made


by the Scottish Government on the base of a high oil prices above the


economy. It's a good job the union has also bought for the industry in


the challenging times. -- pulled together to support. This has been


an important debate, highlighting the importance of the rural economy.


What can I say, Mr Speaker, what we heard from the honourable gentleman


from Ross, Skye and Lochaber is that we are all doomed. Far from it. As


the Prime Minister has said, Brexit means Brexit and we will make a


success of it. We are determined to get the best deal on leaving the EU


for the British people. We want a world leading food and farming


industry and the healthiest environment for generations. We are


clear that, when leaving the EU law into UK law, that is non-negotiable


and we will make sure that the environment is protected, not


enhanced for future generations. -- if not enhanced. I support the


amendment. The question is that the original words and part of it. As


many as are of the opinion, say "aye". To the contrary, "no".


Division. Click the lobby. -- clear. As many as are of the opinion, say


"aye". To the contrary, "no". The tellers for the eyes, Alan Johnson


and Marion Fellows. Tellers for the noes, the Brian. -- ayes. -- Steve


Brian. The ayes to the right, 212. The noes


to the left, 287. The ayes to the right, 212. The noes to the left,


287, so the noes have it. The noes have it. Unlock. Order. We now come


to the question that the proposed words be there added. As many as are


of the opinion, say 'aye'. To the contrary, 'no'. I think the ayes


have it. The ayes have it. The situation is I declare the question


as amended to be agreed to. We now come to the second opposition Day


motion in the name of the leader of the SNP. Point of order, indeed. I


inadvertently referred to the my remarks in the last debate the


registry and I hope this is a means of drawing the House's attention to


that fact and drawing attention to my mission. I am grateful to the


honourable gentleman both for his good grace and pettiness in


communicating the point which I think we'll have been warmly


received by colleagues across the House. We now come to the second


opposition day motion in the name of the leader of the Scottish National


Party and the effect for the Department for Environment, Food


Rural Affairs policies on low income households. I informed the House has


selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister. I also take


this opportunity to remind the House that this debate can run only until


beta clock. -- until 8pm. There are 17 colleagues were -- wishing to


speak from the backbenches and I know those speaking from the front


bench will jealously guard the rights and interests of those


wishing to speak from the back, therefore the frontbenchers should


absolutely not exceed ten minutes each in their speeches, and if they


can speak for less time than that they will be addressing a grateful


nation. As many as are of the opinion, say 'aye'. To the contrary,


'no'. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I stand to move the motion in my name and


that of my honourable friend. According to the UK Government


universal credit was supposed to bring fairness and simplicity and I


ask you to hold that thought and share the experiences of some of my


constituents, the experiences of people trying to help them, and even


those of DUP staff trying to negotiate through the -- navigate


them through universal credit. We are suffering the better effects and


chaos of the full service roll-out earlier in other areas. It is


hurting people who need help the most, and I know if honourable


member is the chamber could see the grief it causes at first hand they


would understand why I am passionate about this. Mr Speaker, before I


sure some of the experiences of my constituents I want to tell


honourable members of my recent meetings with their Citizens Advice


officers, who have experience dealing with some of the most


challenging situations we could imagine. Fork at the end of their


tether and sometimes even at the end their lives -- folk at. When I met


with them last week, they were moved to tears telling me about their


universal credit caseload. They told me of the suffering they were


witnessing, they told me this roll-out is a shambles and that


nobody in the system communicate with each other. Mr Speaker, they


told me the process simply does not work. They see neither fairness nor


simplicity. The transitional protection is limited and will not


protect new claimants. It also will be lost if the household undergoes


changes in circumstances and it does not protect people against the


anguish and suffering that lengthy delays are causing people. Once


again, the disabled are some of the hardest hit by the move to universal


credit. The loss of the Severe Disability Premium has taken almost


62... I will make some progress because other members wish to take


part. The loss of the Severe Disability Premium has taken almost


?62 per week out of the pockets of the most critically disabled. Cuts


to the disabled child admission mean 100,000 disabled children stand to


lose up to ?29 per week. Severe disability cuts mean disabled


parents with young carers stand to lose ?50 a week, and around ?30 a


week will be lost to those -- ?58 a week, and around ?38 a week will be


lost to those... I will give way, very briefly. Thanks for giving way.


I wonder if he shares my concern at the lack of information and data at


the DWP have on their own activities, particularly with the


most vulnerable claimants. I asked the department on the 10th of


January to give me the number of people who have had their benefits


withdrawn or suspended in the process of transforming leader


transferring -- transferring, and they go back and said they did not


know. Is that not shocking? it is, and once again disabled people have


been found unfit for work and I still expected to take steps towards


finding work. This group includes those who have suffered serious


injuries. In the early stages of progressive conditions such as


multiple sclerosis and those with learning difficulties. Disability


employment is a long-standing unique issue of the process of universal


credit is creating more barriers for them in the workplace. The Prime


Minister has been speaking about Jam, the so-called just about


managing. Thanks to universal credit, for many families their


income is about to be tossed. I suggest the Prime Minister comes to


Inverness and speaks to my constituents about our shared


society, those families with children up ?236 per -- ?230 per


year worse off according to the Children's Society. To the Lone


parents, losing ?15 a week. To that young people and their families who


will be pushed further into poverty because of reductions in the


standard allowances. The four-year freeze on support for children will


see the value of the children's benefits cut by 12% by the end of


the decade. Universal credit will not only failed to lift children out


of poverty. It will push them further into poverty. Citizens


Advice has said universal credit is failing to live up to its promise.


From the outset, people have experienced problems. Delays to


claims and errors to payments. The Public Accounts Committee found the


systems were underdeveloped and said there was increasing pressure on DWP


staff. My team and I see it every day, day in, day out. Only yesterday


a constituent Laura Shepherd got in touch, at the end of her tether. Her


20-year-old son Douglas has severe autism and has been on the waiting


list for a work capability assessment since the end of


September. During this time they have had no disability support. Just


the minimum level of universal credit, only ?200 a month. Quite


understandably the family are trying to get this sorted out, get their


claim backdated to cover a period when they were incorrectly given


child tax credits instead of universal credit. Universal credit


team cannot even give her dates for disability work assessment for her


son. His assessment of that nature are done by an external contractor.


They actually told her, in writing, to contact me as her MP because they


were at a loss of what to do. The wife of an officer serving in our


army has now been waiting five months for assistance with childcare


costs. Five months with no payments. Suffering a catalogue of errors and


very sporadic communication, she could not get her problems sorted


out because even the DWP staff on universal credit are not allowed to


speak to the service centre or claims manager. Everything has to be


duplicated by e-mail, leading to confusion and lost information.


Also, this so-called helpline. Who Also, this so-called helpline. Who


on earth thought it was a great idea to make this a premium calling? It


is shameful that people with no money are being made to spend their


last pennies on premium wines. What do they do if they have no credit on


their mobile phones? That is if it has not had to be pondered to make


up for the money they are not getting through waiting for their


payments. -- if it has to be pawned. When they call the helpline they are


left on hold whilst DWP staff try to sort out errors for more than 20


minutes. We asked them to monitor calls and they found none were under


the Government's stated waiting time of three minutes 27 seconds. In fact


all 36 the logs were for longer. The longest, a staggering 54 minutes and


17 seconds. Sometimes they are offered a Colback, and if they are


lucky and get to their telephone on time, if it happens at all they will


get it -- offered a call back. But they only get one shot at that. It


is like a universal credit version of Catch-22. The transfer to the


Digital has already been halted and the halfway house emerging is right


for confusion. People can make online claims some of the time get


me to take the original copy of letters to the job centre at their


own cost. A report detailing the impact of the new scheme in Glasgow


not only that claimants are struggling but that the


controversial scheme is putting services and jobs at risk as well.


There is a lack of and explanation as to the general reasons for a


claim and those with special needs are often left to struggle and face


the sanctions following. Where is the furnace, where is the


simplicity? The system is manufacturing debt and despondency


-- where is the fairness? Am ?25 per night at ?100 per week.


One of my constituents, Gavin, has been living in homeless


accommodations. He would have been awarded ?168 housing benefits,


leaving him ?7 to pay out of his other entitlement. Under Universal


Credit, he has the same housing cost but have yet ?63 per week. Meaning


you have to pay ?115 per week promised allowances. Only doesn't


get ?115 per week. Even if he gave up food, heat, light and everything


else and that everything Penny, he would still be short. Of course,


Gavin and others will always be in arrears. It is flawed by design.


Very briefly. Does he not agree with me that the rise in inflation will


hit poorest families hardest and the Government you tried to counter the


effects given the fall in sterling following the Brexit strategy?


Absolutely. I have people on waiting three with three months Universal


Credit. It is a hound council left carrying the death of money Gavin


and others simply don't have. -- Ireland. The Government has accrued


extra debt of ?180,000 from Universal Credit. According to a


City Council, 73 homeless people in Glasgow are now on the benefit. The


City Council. And have racked up thousands of pounds of arrears


between them. A management organisation and the ordination in


relation for candle housing, representing Haslam homes in


England. There are people in readily is. -- Council homes. -- rent


arrears. Who don't receive Universal Credit. The average arrears total is


now increased to ?616. The SNP Scottish Government have done


everything it can to mitigate Tory welfare cuts. New devolved powers


will include disability benefits. With these wanted new palace, we


will seek to build a Scottish social tissue releases them with dignity


and respect at its heart. -- social security system. It is wrong that


the Government and the council should foot the bill in the cup.


It's also true that the proposal to cut 50% of job centres in Glasgow is


a bad idea. A subject I know my colleagues will speak again shortly.


That's not get, these proposals come on the back of last year's


announcement drew close 108 M RC offices across the UK. Several HMRC


offices. With job losses. There is a college in the in the indignity and


a crushing drive towards increased poverty in the Universal Credit


system. Long delays in payment, what payments, value to respond, mixed


signals, confusion between departments, crushing morale for the


poor job centre plus staph and inability to respond to common sense


are rife. -- staff. We have to think about those he need our help rather


than those who stand to profit from austerity. The questionnaires as on


the order paper. -- the question Thank you. As the Prime Minister has


said, the Prime Minister wants to build a country that works for


everyone, not just the privileged few. There is a key role in


delivering this job centre. We want to deliver a modern and effective


welfare system. Providing professional, tailored support. For


those hundreds of thousands of people already in receipt of


Universal Credit, we ensure they work and progressing of work will


always pay. What we have had to make difficult decisions on his welfare


spending, but we have never lost sight of the fact that the most


sustainable route out of poverty and just managing to get into work.


Universal Credit lies at the heart of this. Transforming the welfare


system to make sure with holidays, it pays to participate, and to


progress. This, in contrast to the system before 2010, of which in work


poverty increased between 1998 and 2010 between wealth are, despite


wealth are increasing. We are building a fairer system that will


mirror the world of work and we eradicate the complexities in the


old system. There are no Alice, rules or cliff edges in Universal


Credit as there are in tax credits. . On occasion, working working


again. Universal Credit also have the need to switch between the


benefit of claimants switched to and on in work. Sybil Viney says and


ensuring for claimants. Our approach is working. The claimant count has


dropped from 1.5 million to around 800,000 from 2010. We are at near


record levels of employment across the country. Once fully rolled out,


leaving Universal Credit will generate ?7 billion we benefit every


year and boost employment by up to 300,000. We are not done yet. We


believe that making work pay and opening up opportunities for people


to realise their potential are essential to building an economy


that works for all. By reducing Universal Credit, further improving


the incentive, households. It is an clear that many disabled people, the


barriers to work are still too high. We need to continue to review and


reform our support given what we know works. We will build on the


success of Universal Credit and provide more personalised employment


support by consulting on further reform for the workplace mobility


assessment. Our green pepper on work. Catherine Green paper. We'll


go further in marching -- Green paper will govern enlarging this. It


is designed to encourage and support claimants to return to work. We have


allocated ?330 million for new ones abroad for people with limited


capability for work over 40 years, starting from April 2017 and an


extra ?50 million to top up the existing flexible support for the


Indo 2018, 2018 -- 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. Looking at our benefit


reforms in isolation, failure to appreciate the wider work of the


Government in providing support for those on lower income, the thing


single most important thing has been what it has facilitated. People are


sharing in their proceeds. Average as all incomes are at an all-time


high, incoming equality has fallen and paying bottom 5% in society is


up 6.2% year-on-year. The higher rise since the series began in the


year 1997. I do not have time to list all the other advances we've


made because time is short but we must acknowledge the most


transformational. We've introduced the national living wage. Increased


the best of all backgrounds to ?11,000. The Didcot taxpayer pays


less tax than 2010. We've we've introduced the triple lock so


pensioners with a full state pension received over ?1100 a year more than


at the start of the last Parliament. -- typical taxpayer. We want to hear


the SNP's opinion on this. Free childcare from 15 hours up to 30


hours as well as introducing 15 hours of free childcare for


disadvantaged two-year-old as well as free school meals for all


infants. Tackling child poverty and disadvantage, delivering real social


reform, is a key priority for the Government. Only by tackling the


root causes, not just the symptoms, Willie Mae gaining even though --


will we make a meaningful difference. For these reasons that


we introduced two new statutory measures. Tackling children's


education attainment. We know that can make a big difference to


disadvantaged children. The forthcoming Green paper on social


Justice will build on these measures and set out how we identified and


tackle the root causes of property. Alongside our policy targeted at


helping people progress in that and potential, we are also committed to


continuing to modernising and professional writing the services


and supporting our job centre's of. -- that our job centres offer. We


need to make the most of the opportunities offered. I'm pleased


that the honourable members cabaret star plans for the job centre is


made as they are one of the best examples of how we are in fact doing


this. After 20 years, Labour's PFI contract covering many DWP offices


is nearing an end and expires at the end of March 20 18. This gives us an


opportunity to review how the department delivers modern services


and ensure that gets the best deal. As I've already mentioned, revolves


like Universal Credit, our universe revolutionising this. This better


suits to the of claimants. I give away. Thank you. I wonder if he


would comment regarding the disability employment gap because


surely closing job centres actually makes obtaining employment less


accessible people with disability and increases the hurdles they face


in doing so. As you know, at the house knows, reducing the disability


employment gap is absolute priority for the Government and I'm pleased


to see that it is now narrowing and we're making progress but there is a


great deal more to do. Nvidia denies that. We have to make sure there are


more opportunities available to people with disabilities, including


through our network. Nobody denies that. We have to make sure we have


the resort is in place to have all the people, facilities and causes


that can help support those people. -- courses. The paint has dropped


from 1.5 million to 800,000 now. We are using only a small percent of


the floor space. That's 20% of the value of 100% of the. Every penny we


spend on space under this Labour PFI is money that could be back in the


public purse helping to protect vital services and... I have to ask


his forgiveness. Those services and the board include our own because


they are expanding what region. We expect to have over 2000 more were


cages in 201890 to date. In deciding what changes it is reasonable to


make the VSA, we consider the impact on claimants, including travel time.


We think it's reasonable to ask somebody to attend a new job centre


less than three miles, 20 minutes by public transport, Wayne. Many


claimants -- away. Many travel considerably further, as the many


people in work. The UK, and has devolved powers were ?2.7 billion to


the Scottish Government. Scotland can top up benefits and it can


create new benefits. With that comes the corresponding responsibility and


accountability and I was interested to note that the guy Scottish


Government is to return to fortnightly payments and direct


payments to landlords. We believe we should minimise the difference


between the out of work welfare support system and the will of work


to facilitate people's transition into work. Few employers paid


fortnightly and even fewer have a direct relationship with your


landlord. We need to arrange alternative payment arrangements and


that is not the right approach was that we appreciate the Scottish


Government has a different view and it'll be interesting to see how the


duo deliver. This Government's record speaks for itself. Poverty is


down, child poverty is down, the deficit is down. The fastest growing


G7 economy in 2016 and there are more people in work. The welfare


system is supported and effective. Work for those who can, help for


those who coo, care for those who can't. Taking together Universal


Credit and our reform of jobs in the past to provide the modern,


effective and compassionate welfare system we need to be able to


continue to deliver on this promise. An economy and society which works


fall. The question was as on the order


paper, since when an amendment was proposed as on the order paper. The


question is that the original words stand part of the question. Before I


call the Labour spokesperson, I inform the House formerly, and some


colleagues have been notified privately, that there will be a time


limit on backbench speeches of three minutes in my attempt to ensure...


And if the honourable gentleman listens he will learn... That


everyone who sought to speak has the opportunity to do so. Fairness and


equality, Mr McDonald. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. The Minister


paints such a rosy picture, and yet we had the SNP spokesmen giving his


cases from what he has experience and I could give cases, and I am


sure members on the Government benches can also give cases they


have been dealing with, whether in relation to work capability


assessment, whether in relation to other cuts they have experienced. It


is absolutely right we debate this very important point. The minister


started expressing the commitment that the Prime Minister has made to


a country that works for everyone. We need to scrutinise exactly those


words. And, more to the point, if they are actually true. In


particular, in relation to the Social Security policies and their


impact on low income households, but, Mr Speaker, to understand the


Government's attacks on the poor, and how they are so damaging, it is


not just to understand how the experienced this but it is also


about how damaging it is to the country as a whole, and we need to


understand that in the context of inequalities. Now, I worked on this


for over 20 years before I entered this House six years ago and I


particularly focused on the effects of inequalities in income and wealth


and on our health, and there is overwhelming evidence from the last


30 years that shows the risk of prove health and lower life


expectancy increases from high to low income groups -- the risk of


poorer health. My dear friend Frank Dobson said there is no greater


inequality, than knowing you will die sooner because you are badly


off. This pattern of illness is systematically produced and


universal. It is not about the individual, or biological factors.


It is about this inherent systematic socially reproduced inequality. They


are not inevitable. They can be changed, and for that we should all


have hope. We know from pioneering work from professors Richard Wilson


is in Chapecoense -- Richard Wilkinson and call that these do not


affect... The also affect mental health, crime, happiness, and even


trust between communities. The simple truth is the smaller the gap


between rich and poor the better we all do. So when the Prime Minister


claims she wants to tackle these burning injustices I have to ask


her, where has she been? These injustices have been burning while


she was a senior member of Government. Now she is Prime


Minister, what is she doing to address them? And again I will go on


to say, not a lot. This week, as the World Economic Forum gets underway


in Davos, we hear the same warnings we heard from the IMF in 2015, that


widening inequalities is the most defining challenge of our time. Last


week we heard yet again of obscene pay ratios with top executives now


earning 130 times more than the average employee takes on.


Yesterday, Oxfam published the breathtaking figure that eight


individuals have a combined wealth of more than half - half of the


bottom... And the publishing of inequalities in the UK showed that


pre-tax pay between high and low earners has risen. Since 2010


working people on low incomes, particularly families with children,


have lost proportionally more of their income than any other group.


As a net result of tax and social security changes. This Government


has glossed over this problem with the use of divisive rhetoric.


Repeatedly they have fled poverty and inequality are the pathology of


the individual rather than the result of structural flaws of their


economic and public policies, particularly their social security


policies. We have heard from the Minister that work is the route out


of poverty. Contrary to this diverse of -- divisive narrative, why is it


we more have people -- why is it we have more people in work in poverty


than ever before? 7.4 million people. Three out of the four


million children are living in families where they are working. How


can this be a success story of this Government? When will the Government


start to look at the structural issues in the labour market and the


productivity crisis rather than victimising the poorest. Four out of


the five people on low income now will still be on low income ten


years later. What has this Government done about that? The


motion raised some important questions hanging over the


Government's flagship programme, universal credit. We supported the


original principles of universal credit to make sure were always


pays, by allowing people to work more hours without fear of being


made worse off. Universal Credit had the potential to address inequality


by targeting employment to support to those on low pay, reducing the


cliff edge associated with other supports, such as tax credits, as


the Minister said. We are a world away from the project initially


lauded by this Government. We have been through seven delays in


implementation, reset by the major authority, criticism from the


National Audit Office, and costs spiralling out of control. Despite


this, many practical issues of the programme, they have yet to be


sorted out and a full working delivery is still a distant


prospectors of our key flaws in the design. -- a distant prospect. There


are key flaws in the design. As you can imagine, many people do not know


how to reapply so it comes as a rather unpleasant surprise when the


department then refuses them support. Can the Minister update us


on progress and dealing with the issue of weekly payments? Perhaps we


should look at the impact of Universal Credit's so-called long


hello. The Guardian showed the weight of a shocking 42 days to


receive the first payment said claimants to the banks, and in terms


of the bank use, that was spiralling. One survey of landlords


responsible for 3000 households and universal credit friend eight out of


ten credits were in arrears. Will the minister commit to immediately


reducing this waiting can? -- found that eight out of ten tenants were


in arrears. And see to reducing the two-week delay. On sanctions, I am


pleased the Government is finally seeing all the evidence for what it


is, how damaging it is and its impact in getting people off. The


impact on sanctions cannot be underestimated. But for the


regulations for 2014, the Government is able to sanction people in work


on low pay. We are now starting to see more people who are already


working, doing the right thing, are being sanction because they are not


working hard enough. They are on zero our contracts, the million


people and zero our contracts, who are potentially under threat by


this, -- zero-hour contract. I am happy to take it outside, gentle


men, but people will not get enough time to speak so it... For a lower


income families, most important has been the slashing by this


Government, significantly undermining the principle that work


will always pay under the scheme. Cuts to work allowances will mean an


average claimants receive ?2000 a year less than if they were on


universal credit. There was no impact in terms of the Autumn


Statement on this. The gentle man, the honourable gentleman, has


already mentioned about the impact of this Government's horrendous cuts


to disabled people. Almost ?30 billion of cuts to people...


Definitely going to see more than the 5 million people pushed into


poverty, the 5 million disabled people. We also heard about the job


centre closures as well. But what I would like to say, it seems, Mr


Speaker, universal credit programme will no longer make work pay. It was


built by a Government who believes the best we can help people into


work is by shutting job centres. We believe that like our NHS the Social


Security system should be based on principles of dignity, inclusion and


support and Labour will do this. Thank you. Three minute limit now to


apply. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Given it to the minute I will not take any


interventions, so I shall continue. I stood on a platform of getting


Britain working again, reforming the welfare system. That is failing some


of the most vulnerable people in this country and in my constituency.


For too long people were on welfare and remained on it and it is worth


noting that long-term unemployment doubled between 2008 and 2010. Major


changes to things that sold directly affect people in their day-to-day


lives are never easy, or necessarily popular. But our welfare system


needed changing and I am delighted that our Government is taking it so


seriously. I am determined to make sure those who want work, and those


who cannot work as well, are supported, and that is what we need,


and that help is at hand from this Government. So far we have seen


monumental change. It is not easy. As a former member of the work and


pensions committee are always welcome the Department's attitude to


universal credit, in terms of rolling it out then considering the


changes and seeing the impact, then changing and adapting and rolling it


out again, and I welcome the pace of delivery of Universal Credit,


because we are listening, looking at evidence and performing as we go,


the correct way to do it in my opinion. The single best thing any


Government can do for low income families is to ensure we have a


strong economy. Since that 2010 election I am delighted this


Government has put that at the heart of what we are doing. Unemployment


is now at the joint lowest rate of 4.8% over the ten years. With 2.7


million more people in work over the last six years. With more women,


older workers and ethnic minorities in work than ever before. The annual


average income of the poorest fifth of households has risen in real


terms compared to 2007 and 2008, that is the bottom fifth of


households income up ?700. This House has heard on many occasions


the benefit of work and improved our social networks, with the increasing


happiness and health. I am proud of the Government's achievement in


getting more and work. And this is in stark contrast to the Opposition


and their rhetoric. And part of this change in Universal Credits, the


biggest change in welfare in this country for a generation, it has


been welfare claimants become much more likely to move into work,


compared to those on jobseeker's allowance. I would like to end, Mr


Speaker, given I will be timed, and that is that working age adults in


working families are four times more likely to be living on low income.


The report in 2015 found that 74% of workless families moving into


full-time employment exited poverty, and that is terrific. Mr Speaker, I


will know sit down. Thank you. Before we proceed to the next


Speaker, we come to the seven o'clock motion. I beg to move, Mr


Speaker. Thank you. You have indeed Julie moved. Thank you, Mr Speaker


-- you have indeed duly moved. The question is as the order paper. As


many as are of the opinion, say 'aye'. To the contrary, 'no'. I


think that ayes have it. Stuart McDonald... That is way above my pay


grade, but I thank you nonetheless, Mr Speaker. I have to take my hat


off to the Minister and his colleagues at the Department of Work


and Pensions because he has managed to do something I never thought


possible, he has managed to unite Scottish Labour politicians and SNP


politicians against the job centre closure plan, which will be the


focus of my remarks. If he will listen, I will educate him. Can I


say to the Minister has plan has gone down like a bucket of cold sick


not just amongst my constituents, but amongst trade unions, the


Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland and in Glasgow City


Council. The city I represent that has the highest unemployment rate in


Scotland, and that is not a bad I am proud of. I would want to work with


the Minister to improve that, but I do not see how you can improve that,


Madame Deputy Speaker, by reducing the number of job centres from 16 to


eight, a 50% cut in what is supposed to be a 20% reduction elsewhere.


Glasgow being targeted by the Tories yet again. I will take no muttering


from the backbenches of the Tories either. Let me invite each and every


one of them who will vote for the Government to come to Castlemilk.


They will meet some of my constituents who will be expected to


do an eight mile round trip, opted three buses. But of course ministers


would not know about any of this because they have relied on Google


maps in order to put this proposal together. Google, is not the new


Britannic isolation I would have expected. But let me say this. Let


me add this. Where is the Scottish secretary on these plans? Why have


we not heard anything from our Secretary of State in fighting for


Glasgow and standing up for Scotland against these proposals? And let me


say that the honourable lady muttering from a sedentary position,


the Minister was asked by me, how many people in Langside and


Castlemilk job centre in my constituency claim disability living


allowance? The answer back was that they do not know. Jobseeker's


allowance, they do not know. How many people are disabled that use


Glasgow job centres across the city? They do not know. So what of the


public sector equality duty? How confident is the Minister that he is


not going to breach the obligations he has under the 2010 equality act,


because we still have no equality impact assessment?


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