24/01/2017 House of Commons


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Houses of Parliament at 11 o'clock tonight. First, questions to the


Justice Secretary, Liz Truss. The House will be aware of Jenny Swift


in Doncaster prison and mice somebody's with her family as all


deaths in custody, there would be an investigation by the prison and


probation 's ombudsman. We want to assure transgender offenders are


treated fairly, lawfully and decently with their rights and


safety are respected. I cautiously welcomed the new guidance regarding


the management of transgender prisoners and I'm sure we will all


be keen to see all transgender people treated with respect and


dignity. Can the minister assure the House that the new guidance also


applies to transgender people held in immigration detention centres as


well as those held in general prison systems? I thank the honourable lady


fair question. The new guidelines to staff she has mentioned following a


review into the management and care of transgender offenders, the review


involved oversight in closing the Prison Reform Trust. We had 70


people in this position in the estate which reflects broadly with


the population. Specifically with regards to the question you asked,


if you write to me, I will reply. The non-guidance is welcome indeed.


Can the Minister outlined what this applies to in terms of non-binary


people who are in prisons because it is not just about those defining


themselves as men or women, it is about non-binary people as well.


Again to put it in perspective, we have four people who are in that


position currently in the estate. The new guidelines state all


transgender prisoners should be expressed ink -- should be allowed


to express their gender in of prison location. Quickly confirm that is no


longer a requirement for gender recognition certificates and could


he tell us how confident he is that these guidelines are being applied


across the whole of the estate and will he expect to do an assessment


of the impact? People are cared for and managed in the agenda with which


they identify rather than this being based on their legally recognise


gender. The guidelines were brought about with the interaction of


various independent organisations. Staff are being trained in this area


will stop I think some perspective is required. We have a prison system


that is traditionally male and female and we are seeing relatively


small numbers. With regards to recent tragic events come I'm


looking at each case. The prison and Courts Bill will set


out the reform of offenders as well as the punishment of offenders is a


keep purpose of prison. We need to make sure the whole system is


focused on getting prisoners the education they need, getting them


off drugs and into jobs so we can reduce the ?15 billion cost of


reoffending. I commend my honourable friend for the work she is doing.


Could she set out the standards she is laying down so prison


improvements and offender outcomes can be properly measured? We need


standards so it can hold prison governors to account on what they


are achieving. We will be starting to introduce those standards from


April 20 17th. They will include measures like prison safety,


progress made in English and maths, progress on getting an offenders


into employment and measuring the time-out of cell in prisons. The


Secretary of State will know that good rehabilitation depends on two


things. A good probation service but secondly good partnerships with the


business community and employers that will give them appropriate


employment to steer them on their way. We have had some good


experience at Reading and other jails and will he back that -- will


she backed that partnership? We know when someone gets into work, they


are much less likely to reoffend. We will be launching an employment


strategy later this year encouraging more employers like Timpson 's, who


do a good job to participate and we want to get the third sector


involved in that rehabilitation programme. You're going to be


announcing reforms to the probation system and one of the key focus is


would be on how the probation service gets people into employment.


Has there been progress in getting accurate job data Bacon says in the


areas to which prisoners are going to be released in order to focus on


work preparation in prisons as effectively as possible? We are


working with the DWP to get that data and make sure it is much more


linked up but by giving governors more power, we will enable them to


work with their local employers, making sure there are jobs available


so we are training people up in prison, getting them into


apprenticeships so they can continue those apprenticeships and that work


when they leave prison. What steps is the Government taking to ensure


that mental health problems are picked up as part of the


rehabilitation process, not just to reduce suicide rates but also to


ensure that services are streamlined upon release? Mental health is a


major issue. What we are giving governors is more power over the


commissioning of mental health services in prison. What I also want


to see is better diagnosis of mental health issues early in the criminal


justice system, so when people appear in court and when they are


run community sentences as well. Will the Minister said a high


standard for employment projects in prisons along the lines of the


experience in Padua. There was an outstanding exporting bakery


business. I thank her for her comments and I think Mac catering


and bakery is a big area where we do a lot of training already. We are


working with organisations in getting people into employment and


we have the bad boys bakery at Brixton which produces some


excellent cakes. The Secretary of State seems well informed on these


important matters. Getting them into employment is important and the


Secretary of State referred to this. What assessments has heard


department remained of the amount of prisoners that leave prison getting


into employment and staying in it for more than six months? The


honourable gentleman is right to talk about the longevity of that


employment and we are designing those measures that prison governors


and probation services will be held to account on, on the basis of


getting people into sustainable employment. That is an important


measure. Where and offender is at risk of serious harm, they will


receive a standard recall. Thereafter, they will only be


rereleased before the end of their sentence at the risk they pose is


reduced and they can be safely managed in the community. In cases


that are not high risk, a fixed term recall is often more appropriate. It


is bad enough that prisoners are automatically released halfway


through their sentence whether they pose a risk or not but when someone


released on licence from prison Ben reoffend is, surely the least of the


public can expect is the criminals concerned are sent back to prison to


serve the remainder of their prison sentence in full. Instead of the


huge number that we called prison for a 28 days on a fixed term


recall. Sometimes on multiple occasions. How does the Minister


justify this fraud on the British public? Where there is a high risk


posed, the prisoner will not be rereleased before the end of beer --


their sentence. Those were charged in a high risk status. If they are


convicted of a further offence, they get a fresh sentence. Is the


Minister aware of a recent case in Northern Ireland where someone


charged with a serious terrorist offence in connection to the murder


of prison officer David Black Tom abscond when he was on bail and the


police to report that the courts for over weeks. If the Minister aware of


that and whether any discussions to take this matter forward? Betty is


not a question on the order paper. -- that is. I am not aware of that


case and I am willing to dig it up with the honourable member. Someone


in the justice system have raised fears that recall is used to


regularly by rehabilitation companies. This is because the


companies are descent advised from investing time where they will not


be able to complete their committee sentence. What assessment has the


Minister made of the use of recall by community rehabilitation


companies? The honourable member makes a good point in how the


process works. Companies have to justify the grounds to recall to


officials in the National offending management service before going


ahead. Where officials do not found grounds that recall, they will


challenge the community rehabilitation companies. It is


important to recognise that sometimes be calling an offender who


is in breach of their licence allows the offender manager to put in place


the appropriate mechanisms to manage them in the community. We are


recruiting an extra 2500 prison officers and rolling out new body


worn cameras. We are empowering governors in providing extra funding


to enhance the physical security of the prison estate.


If you I appreciate that prison violence has been a problem for


decades. I remember being a GPS several decades ago, and there was a


prison riot being dealt with them, but was it wise to cut the number of


prison officers by 25% given these problems? I would be delighted to


have a conversation with him about his experience looking at these


issues because he is absolutely right, they have been a problem for


a number of years. It will take time to build up the front line the crypt


recruiting doors 2500 additional officers. But we have faced new


challenges were psychoactive substances, drawings, mobile phones,


taking action to deal with those, but it is important we have staff on


the front line who can inform offenders and keep prisons safe. --


drones. Six major incidents and eight weeks


is unprecedented in the 25 years I have been in this House. Following


on from the honourable gentleman from Gainsborough, which he


confirmed the figures to September meant a loss, of 14 hundred is an


officers? And when you have to recruit 2500, don't you mean 4000 to


meet those 2000 500,000 -- 2500, and do you intend to do that? You're


right, we need to recruit 4000 over the next year. I announced initially


we were recruiting officers for ten of the most challenging prisons,


making job offers to those first 400. We have launched the graduate


scheme, and within 24 hours of announcing that scheme, we had


expressions of interest from over 1000 candidates, so there are people


interested in joining the prison service. It is a challenge to


recruit those numbers of officers but the other tournament to do it,


it is what we did to do to turn prisons around and make them places


of safety and reform. Would you accept that the greatest support we


can give two prison officers is to make sure they have the correct


levels of staffing in their prisons? Is she aware that there has been


significant problems highlighted by reports recently in Chelmsford


prison which has been attributed to the understaffing of the prison.


What is being done to get the levels of staff to correct levels? And


would you agree for your Minister for prisons to have a meeting with


me to discuss this? You are absolutely right, we do need to


recruit staff at Chelmsford, in addition to other prisons. I know


the prisons Minister will be meeting him soon. And I am keen to visit


Chelmsford myself, to come and meet the gentleman there and see the


situation on the front line. As well as issues with the


understaffing and morale we still have issues with some old prisons,


which are neither suitable for the caves of rehabilitation needed and


also cause security issues. Can the government update us on what has


been happening to deal with that problem? You are absolutely right.


It is harder to reform offenders and create safe environments we want in


old prisons that are not fit for purpose. That is why we are building


additional prison places, 1.3 billion allocated, we will open each


MP Bergman in Wales shortly with additional places. But we are


committed and I will announce more about the prison build programme in


due course. In 2011, and confirmed in 2016, there was adjusting the


Delia competition -- the daily accommodation fabric checks. How has


that have maintained order and reduced self harm? You raise a very


important issue. We do need cells that are fit for purpose. And also


that are usable. One of the things my honourable friend, the Prisons


Minister, has been focused on a regular meetings has been making


sure that contractors get cells back to you as unfit for purpose.


Some prisons, including in Birmingham, use prisoner violence


reduction representatives to discourage disorder. These are


prisoners who are paid to monitor other inmates. Stakeholders we have


spoken to suggest that some are ensuring compliance by themselves


meeting out violence to troublesome inmates. What assessment has she


made their use? The honourable lady refers to those valiant reduction


programmes, and I have seen them in place in a number of prisons, where


they can be very effective. Because often it is peer two peer support


that can help turn prisoners around. However, they need to be carefully


managed and monitored. My expectation is that it is the role


of the governor of the prison to make sure all those proper systems


are in place. In December, during her statement to the House on the


riot at one prison in Birmingham, the Justice Secretary suggested that


as many as 13 Tornado teams were deployed to the prison. Such events


deprive other prisons of office numbers. Officer numbers. Does she


have confidence that she had the resources to deal with the


disturbances of this kind? And when will the Sara Payne investigation


into what happened they concluded? Well, be an increasing the number of


Tornado staff to make sure that we do deal with any incidents that are


either cross prison estate, particularly while we are building


up the strength of our front line. Those officers do a fantastic job


and did a fantastic job in resolving the incident at each MP Birmingham.


I can tell her that the investigation being led by Sarah


Paynes on the incident at HMP Birmingham will report back in


February. Amanda Solway. Question number five. I would like to take


question five with nine and 12. The prison safety and reform White Paper


confirms commitment to tackling the supply and demand for drugs and


prisons. It also gives governors get a pilot over services in prison,


devolving control for education and increasing health care provision


including drug testing and rehabilitation. In my role, I have


visited many prisons and one of the most consistent and challenging


problems is not only treating drug addiction but actually preventing


those from entering the prison system. What other plans to prepare


it -- prevent MPS abuse and prisons? Prisons up a range of searching


tools available. We have trained 300 dogs to detect psychoactive


substances and introduce laws to prosecute those who smuggle and


supply drugs. Can you explain what impact legal highs are having inside


prisons and what steps the government is taking to crack down


on this very serious problem? The use of legal highs is undeniably


changing behaviour patterns amongst prisoners. Panorama last night was


quite illustrative of the impact of new psychoactive substances. We have


an innovative testing programme under the testing regime and


continue to work with health partners to reduce the demand.


In light of the increasing pressures on the prison population, do you see


any merit on the suggestions by the Harvard league for penal reform is


suggestions that there is the increased use of community orders,


which work in Southend, and their approach to helping offenders with


drug problems? Thank you for your question. We want to see effective


community orders, so that further crimes are not committed. This


includes better mental health, drugs and alcohol interventions. I am


aware that if we can get to grips with mental health challenges and


substance misuse challenges that crime will go down. Address the


issue of drug addiction, I think you have to address smuggling drugs into


prison. One method is introducing new scanning machines, similar to at


airports. Have you considered doing that in prisons and thereby stopping


drugs being smuggled by people into prison? Thank you for your question.


Yes, consideration has been given to that. There is difficulty of a new


psychoactive substances because the way they are being smuggled in,


sometimes for example being impregnated into paper, it is


difficult to find that via a scanner. But we are desperate to


deal with this because of the adverse impact it is having. The


honourable member has an identical question at number 19 which wasn't


gripped. But the position is clear, if he does stand, I will call him,


but he does, get in there, man! Will you agree that if we are to reduce


reoffending it is vital we get the prisoners of drugs and give them the


skills needed to find work as in the local community on release?


My honourable friend is the same profession I am an fully understands


the importance proper treatment of substance misuse. Part of that also


having successfully got off of the drug is finding purpose in life and


employment would be key to that. I would like to group questions six


with 17th, we are investing significant financial resources,


about 100 million, to recruit 2500 additional dozen officers, investing


in 4 million in marketing campaign and effort, and in addition to the


national recruitment campaign, there are local recruitment schemes


running in 30 of our hardest to recruit prisons. As I am grateful


for that reply. Can I urge him as he begins this recruitment process to


give due process to rural areas, such as North Dorset, we have high


post prices are high, and deployment levels are very low, making the


Governor's is job even harder at a local prison, making it harder to


recruit. I am aware the member takes a keen interest in his local prison.


I can give him the assurance that that prison has been made a priority


prison which means that the governor there is getting the extra resource


in addition to the national campaigns effort to recruit the


staff needed. Many of my constituents work in the prison


service and I was recently contacted by one constituent who has worked in


the prison service for over 23 errors. He was concerned about the


level of morale amongst fellow officers, citing recent riots. What


assurance can the Minister give me to ensure those serving on the front


line can work safely and with appropriate staffing numbers?


You are absolutely right. Prison officers are some of the finest and


bravest public servants. We want them to be able to work in safe


conditions and that is why we are tackling the use of drones, drugs


and phones and prisons, also recruiting more staff to work in a


safe environment. Given the enormous turnover of staff within the prison


estate and the reality the government will need to employ


around 4000 extra staff to meet the net figure of 2500, what can the


Minister jealousy is doing to incentivise the current prison staff


to stay and not what code? The reality is in 75% of prisons


recruitment is not a challenge but in some prisons, particularly London


and the South East, there is a challenge, and what we're doing


there to recruit new is offering market supplements of about ?4000


extra to attract new people and for those that are already in the system


are looking in discussions about professionalising the prison service


more to give them better citizen and more pride. Thank you. The chief


executive officer of the National offender management service, Michael


Souter, told MPs, as we have heard again today, of the need to recruit


8004 prison officers to achieve the increase in 2500, yet existing


prison officers have rejected the latest pay offer, and when Michael


met the POA this week, did the Secretary of State join him and did


she make the necessary commitments to make increased staffing in the


prison service a reality? The Secretary of State and I met the POA


last week, with a very constructive discussion, about talks and more


widely about reform, specialising the officers' jobs and raising their


status. Question number seven. We are determined to use the


opportunities presented by the exit from the EU to build a truly global


Britain. The world leading legal services contributing ?25 billion


per item to the UK economy. My department is leaving work with the


EU uncivil, commercial and family law and on the Office on justice. He


wants to group that question seven with Number 10. With your position,


number 11. Even ten, but we are very grateful. Scott Mann. Thank you, I


like to welcome confirmation by Prime Minister that we will cease of


membership of the single market, thus ending control of the European


courts of this country. Do you look forward to the day when the British


courts are no longer undermined by European judges sitting in


Luxembourg? My honourable friend is absolutely right. We have fantastic


judges here in the UK. Independent and incorruptible. We are going to


be leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, add the


final decision will now be down to British judges. Like all things!, we


facing uncertainty and looking at citizens' rights. -- like all things


Brexit. What about pending cases before the Court of Justice and the


EU? And the time of departure from the EU?


Those types of issues will be resolved in due course and there


will be a statement later today from my honourable friend, the Brexit


secretary. What can my right honourable friend do to ensure the


legal profession that contracts where the choice of law is English


or Welsh law, will continue to be enforceable across Europe even when


we've left the EU? This is a vital issue for our fantastic legal


services profession. Four of the top ten international law firms are


headed in the UK and what I've said this week at a joint meeting with


the Lord Chief Justice and members of the legal profession is that


mutual enforcement of judgments will be a key part of them Brexit


negotiations. Civil and criminal justice are devolved to the Scottish


parliament. Does she agree with the conclusions of the first report of


exiting the EU select committee that the great reform bill must be dealt


with in a way that is consistent with the existing devolution


settlement and she accept that the legislative consent will be required


to the great reform bill. --? I am looking forward to meeting be


honourable lady to discuss the issues. The Prime Minister has been


clear she wants to strike a bespoke Brexit deal that works for the whole


of the UK. Because civil and criminal justice devolved, the


triggering of article 50 will have major implications for the rights


and freedoms of people in Scotland. Does she accept at the Seoul


Convention will be engaged and does she agree with the Supreme Court's


judgment this morning that the sole convention has a important role in


harmonious changes? The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State


that exiting the EU are working closely with the Government on the


issue of exiting the EU. The Government has been clear it will


respect the decision of the court made this morning. We are currently


conducting the competence of review of this system to make sure cutting


crime and preventing future victims. There are a wide number of factors


that impact on the services including the nature of supervision


and we have positive -- and rehab support. In October a report by the


presence and probation Inspectorate found high work loads meant there


was no time to think about cases in prison and that workload for


resettlement workers meant that they spent little time working with


individuals. Isn't this evidence that the Government's mistaken


privatisation of the probation services failing prisoners, failing


to prevent reoffending and therefore failing to protect the wider


community. The ambition we have set for our probation system review due


out at the beginning of April is very clear. That is we want a simple


probation system with very clear outcome measures such as getting


offenders into employment and into housing. Looking at outcomes is the


best way to judge our probation system rather than looking at the


imports. The Government's reforms will


modernise the courts and tribunal system, improve the experience of


everyone who comes in contact with it, particularly victims and


witnesses. We need to make sure the provision of legal support is also


updated to reflect the new way in which the justice system will work.


We will work closely with the legal sector, victims and witnesses and


others to review across the board the types of support needed in but


nice justice system and produce a Green paper in the spring of 2018.


Technology can mean courthouses that have closed can allow constituents


to get access to justice. Can the Minister confirm that at Skegness


courthouse, it is going to receive the kind of technology solution that


will allow my constituents to still get access to justice and that this


will not come at a cost to the local police? We're working to establish a


video link facility at the Skegness and this will allow victims and


witnesses to give evidence without travelling to Boston. Yesterday the


British Parliamentary Association showed how well the PSNI and Garda


are working together. With the Minister ensure that we are in


either the same place or a better place? He meant to refer to the


modernisation of the core system. It was purely an error.


I would be happy to discuss it with the honourable gentleman and pass


his remarks through to the Secretary of State for Air exiting the EU so


he is aware of the concerns. Three Magistrates' Courts have been closed


in Gloucester and the probation service divided. The Crown Court in


Gloucester and the Magistrates' Court in Cheltenham continue to leak


well disabled access is poor. Could you confirm today that action will


be taken both on the physical condition of the courts and also


annus mess and of the rehabilitation company's work. -- on the assessment


of the rehabilitation company's work? I am particularly keen to get


that skylight fixed for him and I am working hard on that. In the reply,


the minister Doctor modernising the tribunal system. Part of that


modernisation should be getting rid of employment Tribunal fees, the


introduction of those fees has led to a cut in the number of employment


tribunal cases by two thirds and a cut of over 80% in sex


discrimination cases. Can the Minister announced that they will be


abolished as part of access to justice and modernising the system?


We have been reviewing employment tribunal fees and I can say to him


that the publication of that review is imminent. Having said that, I


would say to him that their raise a difference of opinion across the


Chamber on this because we do think it right that individuals should


contribute to the costs of the tribunal 's and it is worth bearing


in mind that ACAS has increased its workload in employment cases from


23,000 cases a year to 92,000 now. The result has been a very large


increase in the number of cases that do not then proceed to the tribunal.


If the UK is to remain at the forefront of legal services


worldwide and for the sector to continue, it is vital our court


system is modern, flexible and fit the 21st-century. I agree with that


and we have the best legal system in the world but we need also to have


the most modern. And so to get as many things out of court that don't


need to be there, to apply the full force of judge and court room for


the difficult and complex issues, strip away unnecessary hearings,


duplication, it is important and I can report to the House that whereas


two hearings ago, there was a saving of a shard load of paper as a result


of these reports, it has now gone up to three shard loads. We have saved


people of that height which would be a pile of paper as high as the


largest building in the world. What a well-informed fellow he is. The


new chairman of the bar Council has warned about relying too heavily on


delivering justice online. Yesterday the President of the family courts


complained that facilities in his courts are a disgrace to stop prone


to the video link failing and desperate and poor video signals.


Does the Minister understand that some cases just on suitable for


video links and is he prepared to properly resourced those which are?


It is very important that the courts should have the facilities they need


it -- which is the reason for our modernisation programme. As far as


the concerns about open justice, it is very important to realise that it


will all work on the basis that there is access to see what's


happening in a virtual hearing. People will be able to see that and


it isn't going to be secret justice at all. It is important that we


reduce the 15 billion cost of reoffending and all the misery that


causes our -- that it causes in our society. They should go on to


employment when they leave prison and our new standards are there to


make sure governors are held to account for that. My private members


bill is aimed at reducing homelessness and it returns to the


House on Friday. One of the key provisions within that is the duty


on the prison service to help and assist people who are leaving prison


to find homes which are stable. What measures can my right honourable


friend take to ensure prison governors use the four two-hour


workshops that are to prepare prisoners for a life outside prison?


As well as getting into a job, having suitable houses is also


important to reducing reoffending. As well as measuring employment


rates, we are also measuring housing rates and prison governors will be


held to account on how well they are doing in terms of facilitating those


offenders to get into housing. Once a person has been to prison, they


pay their debt to society and contributing to society through work


is a key part of rehabilitation. Does my right honourable friend


agree that the declaration of a criminal record at the beginning of


a job application creates an unnecessary barrier to work? I


entirely agree that it is important that we help people get into work.


I'm supportive of the band the box initiative and we are exploring


options for promoting it. We will be publishing our employment strategy


and we want to encourage more employers like Halfords, Greggs and


DHL who work with ex-offenders to get involved because once they get


into jobs, they can prove loyal and effective employees once in work. We


are committed to reforming our domestic human rights framework and


will return to consider our proposals was we know the


arrangements for our exit from the EU. The Secretary of State said in


September last year that she was anticipating meeting the Scottish


Justice Minister to discover -- discuss their repeal of the Human


Rights Act in Scotland. How do she planned to guarantee the proposed


British Bill of Rights will not compromise the economy of the


Scottish legal system? The Secretary of State has offered some days and I


hope you will be possible for that meeting to take place with the


Justice Minister. Certainly there will be some time for that now


because we are going to return to our proposals was winnow the


arrangements for exit from the EU. While it is right that our


commitment to replace the Human Rights Act remains on the Government


agenda, does my right honourable friend agree with me that leaving


the European Union and freeing the United Kingdom from being bound by


the Charter of fundamental rights, must be the absolute top priority


for this Government? I do agree with that. It is important that we sort


out the EU side of matters and the exit from the EU before we return to


this subject. Scotland there is strong parties of the ECHR and the


Human Rights Act in both Parliament and across civil society. Can he


then agree that any attempt to repeal existing rights will be


likely to provoke a constitutional crisis? Certainly I don't accept


that the sort of changes that we are proposing to consider once the


situation is known about our exit from the EU, that they would be a


crisis making compilation. This country has always had a problem


respect human rights. It predates the Human Rights Act and I think we


can agree on that. Question 15.


There were 6688 serving custodial sentences, foreign nationals are


also being held on remand, or immigration detention centres. We


are increasing the number of foreign National offenders removed from


prisons, whether under the prisoner transfer agreement or through early


removal scheme. In 2015-16, 5810 for a national offenders were removed,


this is the highest summer since records began, and since 2010, 30


3000 have been removed. Poland has one of the biggest national groups


of foreign national offenders and prisons, their delegation from the


transfer of directive of the EU was due to expire in 2016. Are we in a


position to send these Polish prisoners back to prison in their


own country? All eligible Polish nationals have been identified and


deportation orders sought. We have referred cases to the Polish courts


and transfers will take place once Polish legal procedures have been


completed. Can the Minister say whether he thinks the number of


prisoner transfers will go up or down after we leave the EU? We have


already been in touch with the Department for exiting the EU on


prisoner transfer agreements. But as I said in my opening answer that is


one way of removing prisoners from this country. The early removal


scheme is another way as we have been successful at removing a lot of


prisoners to that scheme. Has the Ministry of Justice made an


assessment of how many British offenders are held in foreign


prisons? That is a number available but I don't have that to hand, I'm


willing to provide that. Put the details in the library, it will be


helpful to us all. Paul Blomfield. Number 22. Imminently.


Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister claims she wants to protect workers'


rights. Isn't the fear that publishing this report as it


demonstrates the introduction of fees has negated that process? The


Minister earlier said that publication is imminent. His


predecessor said last July it was soon. Can you define the terms and


give a date? He will not have long to wait, it is genuinely imminent.


LAUGHTER But can I say that that has taken


longer than we'd hoped. Topical questions. Number one.


Today the Supreme Court issued its judgment on Article 50. The 11


justices of the Supreme Court heard evidence over four days in December


before handing down their judgment today. Our independent judiciary is


the cornerstone of the rule of law and vital to the constitution and


freedoms. The reputation of it is unrivalled world over. Supreme Court


justices are people of integrity and impartiality. Whilst we may not


agree with judgments it is a fundamental part of any thriving


democracy that legal process is followed. The government is clear


that it will respect the decision of the court. Thank you. The Secretary


of State has been gallivanting but City of London law firm of late,


most recently thirsty on Fleet Street, one thing to put English law


at the forefront of attempts to create a global Britain. Does she


think this law is superior to Scots law? What is she to promote the


international interests of law firms from across the UK and law firms not


in the City of London? Will they get the same consideration? Thank you


for your question. I want to promote both English and Scots Law


internationally, I think they are both huge assets to our country. And


very important parts of commerce and business and the trust people have


in our system. When I meet the Scottish Justice Minister, I will be


delighted to meet some law firms up in Scotland. I welcome the


government commitment to creating the status of Guardian for property


and affairs of a missing person this is much wanted and needed by


families. Can you tell us when this legislation will be brought before


the House? We do well, my honourable friend for Thirsk Malton's bill on


the subject. We are wanting to help families of a person left behind. We


want to introduce legislation but we also now look forward to responding


to my honourable friend's bill at its second reading.


There are two micro things dented as four double Chris Eakin are


attempting to ignore the referendum -- two dangerous things, ignoring


the referendum and when the judiciary comes under attack. Whilst


I welcome the progress the Secretary of State has today, under pressure,


made in speaking up for the independence of our judiciary, it


hasn't deterred those attacks from continuing. Though she now, once and


for all, condemned the attacks on our judiciary? I'm delighted to hear


that the Labour Party wants to support the will of the British


people. That is a welcome development. As I've said, I'm


intensely proud of our independent judiciary, they are equal part of


our democracy. But I'm also proud to live in a country that has a press.


-- free press. Can a decision when giving fair access to children, give


fair access to both parents, because there are occasions where fathers do


not get fair access which they deserve question is my friend and I


have discussed this informally. The welfare of the child is always


paramount in court decisions. But you will remember that parental


involvement provisions were inserted into the children act in 2014,


requiring the court now presumes that a parent's involvement in the


child's life will further that child's welfare, unless the contrary


can be shown. All members will have been appalled by the recent inquest


findings into the tragic death of Dean Saunders at Chelmsford prison.


This is a man in a mental health crisis who should never have been


sent to prison, failed by everyone who should have been there to


protect him. According to the charity inquest he is one of a


prisoners to take their life last year. When will the Secretary of


State provided Phil Anne Frank responds to why he died? -- to


provide a full and frank response. This is a dreadful case, I am


seeking the details of all these cases to see if there is a pattern


and hope to come forward later in the year with any suggestions with


the regards to policy change in regards to prisons. Figures released


last month show that women are twice as likely to be prosecuted and seven


times more likely to face the maximum ?1000 fine than men for


nonpayment of the TV licence. Additionally, figures show that in


2015 and number of women jailed for offences relating to this matter


doubled. Can you explain to the House by women seem so


disproportionately falling foul of the TV tax? Thank you for your


question, and of course sentencing in individual cases is a matter for


the courts. By the government are concerned that women and indeed men


are not sent to custody if they do not need to be there. Sentencing for


nonpayment of TV licence has new guidelines announced today, with


possible factors to do the seriousness of TV licence evasion,


including whether the culprit was experiencing significant financial


hardship. The proposed closure of Camberwell Magistrates' Court would


require my constituents, whether victims, witnesses defendants, to


make long bus journeys to Croydon and Wimbledon to attend court. What


assessment had you made on the implications of this proposed


closure for access to justice for my constituents? Thank you for your


response to the consultation, which has now closed, and we will announce


the decision into course. But as made clear in the consultation there


is excess capacity at London Magistrates' Court, Camberwell Green


has significant outstanding maintenance of over ?1 million, so


the consultation is about ensuring modern and efficient courts and


improved arrangements for everyone. Assisting victims of crime is


clearly at the centre of the government attempts to modernise the


court system. What steps can you take to ensure that victims of


sexual crime is assisted in their rights and preserved in the court


system question that is an important point. We are seeing a record number


of people prosecuted now for sexual crime, but I want to make it clear


that victims and witnesses should be able to come forward, we are having


more pre-trial cross-examination, so that people don't have the


difficulty of appearing in court. I have spoken to victims organisations


to see what more we can do to protect vulnerable victims. Does the


Secretary of State recognised in relation to the Human Rights Act


that the Good Friday Agreement requires that the European


Convention on Human Rights to be directly enforceable in Northern


Ireland? As you know, it is important that all matters to do


with the devolved arrangements are fully considered in this context.


But in the light of the announcement I've made today, there will be more


time for that. Could the Minister outline what support has been


provided to Lewes prison since it went into special measures at the


end of last year and update on the progress made tackling some of those


key issues that put it on special measures in the first place? The


champion Lewis went into special measures on the 12th of December,


and a package of support has been developed, for the newly appointed


governor who took his post on the 9th of January. I would be happy to


meet the member to discuss this support in detail. The consultation


on driving offences and penalties relating to causing death or serious


injury closes on February the 1st. When does the Minister expect the


report on the outcome of consultation to be available? Is I


understand we have received thousands of responses to that


consultation and we will analyse results and once we are in a


position we can bring forward for the proposals. What is the


department doing to recruit high-quality graduates to the prison


service? Thank you for your question, we have launched the


programme which is like teacher first for prisons, encouraging the


brightest and best graduates, we have had a huge response, more than


1000 expressions of interest within 24 hours, and I look forward to them


joining our fantastic prison service. It is two years this month


since the government signed the prisoner transfer agreement with


Nigeria, could the Minister tell me how many prisoners have been removed


to a Nigeria since that agreement? Again I am happy to provide that


information and put it in the library of the House. Following the


announcement last week by the Prime Minister that Britain intends to


leave the European Court of Justice, which you outline what preparations


for department is making to have the UK court system to take out balls


and accountabilities previously taken out by the European Court?


Once believed the European Union, British judges will once again be


the final decision makers in our courts. I am sure that are


world-renowned traditionally will rise to the challenge and I am


working closely with them on arrangements. The government has


signalled its intention to remain a member of Europol after we leave the


European Union. Is there also a similar resolve to continue the


Bishop of Eurojust? Thank you for your question, I am working with


arrangements for criminal justice after leaving the European Union, as


well as the Secretary of State for exiting the EU. The Justice


Secretary has already said that four out of the ten biggest legal firms


are based in the United Kingdom. What steps are you taking, given the


similarity between English law and law in New York State and Australia


and New Zealand, to promote petition firms opportunities after we leave


the European Union? Last week, I hosted a meeting with the Lord Chief


Justice in leading legal firms, talking about mutual recognition and


enforcement of contracts, and later on in the spring we will hold a


global Britain legal services Summit to promote the fantastic


capabilities we have in the law. When leaving prison, we need to


ensure that those addicted to drugs or alcohol have the best start away


from the dependency, so that their loved ones can be protected from


that harm. Does the Minister agree with me that former prisoners who


are addicted to substances who may then come back to course of the


control their families to get to that substance can be managed


better? I think it is important they receive


treatment in the community and it is something I am looking at very


closely. A crab Laura Berry? Ministers will be aware of an


incident that took place where a defendant while in the dock was able


to use a sharp object to take part in a serious act of violence against


themselves. Will the Secretary of State look into what went wrong with


the security arrangements at the court? No one should be in a


position to do harm to themselves or others in a court in England or


Wales. He makes an important point about an extremely concerning


incident. I have been briefed already but I have asked for a


further report from Her Majesty's Courts service on what happened and


what measures are necessary to ensure it doesn't happen again.


Meeting Lancashire Police Federation last Friday, they said to me they


believed the sentencing guidelines dealing with an assault on a police


officer are adequate. In some cases, they are not properly fought by the


court. What will the Secretary of State do to make sure an attack on a


police officer is always an aggravating factor because an attack


the law enforcers is an attack on society itself? I thank my


honourable friend for his comment and he is right about attacks on


police officers. Also on prison officers. What we are doing is


strengthening the law in those areas and I have regular discussions with


the sentencing council. The use of psychoactive substances such as


spies, commerce secretary of state tells me what links they can


highlight in the rise of psychoactive substances and the


levels of violence in prisons? He is right that psychoactive substances


have an effect on our prisons. We have now rolled out testing to deal


with those substances and we have extra sniffer dogs to deal with them


and we are making progress. Recognising the consequences of


crimes on victims must be at the forefront of offender's minds as


they leave prison. What steps are ministers taking and the probation


service taking to ensure this is the case? The honourable gentleman is


right. Victims have to be at the centre of the justice system. That


is what our court reforms will help deliver and also restorative Justice


programmes led by our Police and Crime Commissioner 's can help


restore justice to victims. Statement, the Secretary of State


that the European Union. David Davis. I will make a statement on


the Government's responds to today's judgment by the Supreme Court. This


Government is determined to deliver on a decision taken by the people of


the UK in the referendum to lead the European Union. We will move swiftly


to do just that. I can announce today that we will surely need to do


is legislation allowing the Government to move ahead with


invoking article 50 which starts the formal process of withdrawing from


the European Union. We received the lengthy 96 page judgment a few hours


ago and Government lawyers are assessing it carefully. This would


be a straightforward bill. It is not about whether or not the


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