18/04/2017 House of Commons


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18/04/2017

Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons including a business statement, a statement on Syria and North Korea and a Ten Minute Rule Bill.


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they are saying about having an enterprise zone? As it happens, I

:00:00.:00:00.

was planning my domestic travel arrangements for the next five weeks

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and I will take the request in mind when I do that. The law president of

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the Council and the Leader of the House will -- House of Commons. With

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permission I would like to make a short statement about the business

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for tomorrow. On Wednesday the 19th of April, the House will be asked to

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approve a motion that allows the Prime Minister to seek an early

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Parliamentary general election under the fixed term Parliaments act 2011.

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This will be followed by consideration of the Lords

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amendments to the technical and further education Bill followed by a

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debate on the motion related to the section five of the European

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Communities Act Amendment act 1993. The business Thursday the 20th of

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April remains backbench Committee business as I have previously

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announced. I will make a further commitment for future business in

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the usual way on Thursday. Dressed by thanking the Leader of the House

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for her statement and for coming to the House to inform us of this

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change of business and the motion calling for the general election. I

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understand why it was so difficult to get leader out of the dash to get

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the date out of the leader for the date. The U-turn by the Prime

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Minister has been a long time in planning. I am also concerned that

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the Prime Minister chose to make a statement outside of Number Ten

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rather than to come to the House. This is a massive U-turn. At least

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seven times recently, on March the 20th, the Prime Minister has ruled

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out an early general election. The Prime Minister said I will not be

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calling a snap election and I am clear that we need a period of time,

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that stability to be able to do with the edges that the country is facing

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and have that election in 2020. Clearly, this Government cannot be

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trusted. Given that the general election is on the 8th of June and

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there are 25 working days until Parliament can be the salt can the

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Leader of the House let us know the exact date for the dissolution of

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Parliament? The statement of such importance could have been made to

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the House of Commons given the nature of this massive U-turn. Her

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Majesty 's opposition will make sure we promote stability and that there

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is an alternative and favour vision for this country. The honourable

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lady asked about the date for the dissolution. That is laid down in

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statute at hand to take place 25 days before the proposed date of

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Poland, the date of dissolution would be one minute past midnight on

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Wednesday the 3rd of May. I have to say, I do not recollect any previous

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Labour Prime Minister announcing a general election on the floor of the

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House of Commons. My right honourable friend this morning went

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about things in the time honoured fashion. What she is putting to the

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country is the case for this Government to go forward on the

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basis of a clear mandate to provide clarity and the stability that the

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entire United Kingdom needs. As we approach the historic task of

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implementing the referendum decision taken by the British people and

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forging the new, deep and special partnership with our friends and

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allies in the European Union that we all want to see. They pray Mr was

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made an announcement that was not linked to the media in advance. Can

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he confirm it is not the gift of the Prime Minister to decide if there is

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a general election, it is this House. If Her Majesty 's opposition

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does not want it, can't face it or are worried about annihilation, they

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will not vote for it tomorrow. I agree with my honourable friend. We

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were believing on these benches that this was not the time for these type

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of... The focus of this Government should be on. Brexit This is one of

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the most extraordinary U-turns and political history. The fixed term

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Parliaments act is the biggest waste of this House's time possible. The

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calling of a general election there returns to a Prime Minister and the

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interest of Party comes before the interest of country. In this

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election we will make sure that Scotland is fully protected from

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this Tory Government, taking us off the cliff edge of a hard Brexit. The

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Tories might play the petty Party political games, coming up against a

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woeful Labour Party but we on these benches will make sure that Scotland

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is fully protected from the worst of it. One of the friends, Mr Speaker,

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that the Prime Minister and the Party she leads will be taking to

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the people will be the case for the union of the four nations of our

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United Kingdom and our belief that those four nations are better off

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working together in that unique, injured in partnership of the United

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Kingdom. I would say to the honourable gentleman that the Prime

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Minister took our decision, a decision which she herself said this

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morning, she took with some reluctance because it is in the

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interests of the people of this country. It is in the interests of

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the entire nation that we have clarity and stability, and constancy

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of purpose as we move forward. Does the Lord President agree with me

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that this is one of the rare occasions where it is absolutely

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right that the statement was first made to the British people, not to

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this House, because it is they who are being asked to use the sovereign

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power to determine the composition of the new House? My honourable

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friend makes a cogent point. It will be for this House in the first place

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to decide whether to approve the motion that we debate tomorrow. And

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then if the Government's motion is carried, we will put our case to the

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people. The Prime Minister was not for calling a snap general election

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but now she is, perhaps sensing a political opportunity. The choice to

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go for an election now is horrors and horrors alone as was the choice

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of a hard Brexit. -- was for herself alone. Though the House be able to

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discuss the Party of Government's failure of NHS, tackling violent

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crime and dealing with people with disability and the benefits? I am

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astonished that the right honourable gentleman on the part of the Liberal

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Democrats was able to talk about opportunism with a straight face. It

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was a decision that the Prime Minister alone has to take to put

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forward the motion tomorrow. It would be a decision for every member

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of the House of Commons tomorrow when we meet to decide whether that

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is approved. Could my right honourable friend at the leader

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confirm, he confirmed his statement when Parliament will be the salts,

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when will Parliaments be...? The usual discussions are underway

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between the usual channels about the handling of business. On the

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assumption that the motion is carried by the House tomorrow, those

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discussions will intensify and I hope I can provide the clarity as

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soon as possible. The Leader of the House has given us an image of the

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Prime Minister being dragged kicking and screaming into calling a general

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election when she did not want one. Can we find time in what is left of

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this Parliament to have a debate about why she decided to trigger

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Article 50 and then throw the entire planet into doubt by then calling a

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general election which will waste at least three minds of the precious

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small amount of time we have to get the best deal for Britain? Far from

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throwing things into doubt, what the Prime Minister's decision has done

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is to provide, assuming that the people return the Government, and it

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will be a choice for the people, that they will be the clarity of

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having a mandate behind the Prime Minister and her Government to

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deliver a successful negotiation over the course, and he implemented

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over the course of a five-year term. Some members of this House, are

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labouring under the impression that the next general election will be a

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rerun of the referendum. Can the Leader of the House confirm that

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Article 50 will be triggered regardless of who wins at the next

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election, that there is no turning back?

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The wording of Article 50 is clear, and it is clear that any change from

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the two-year time table can only happen if it is agreed unanimously

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by all member states, including the departing member state. As my right

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honourable friend has made it clear, we must respect, whatever side we

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took in the referendum campaign, we must respect the sovereign decision

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that the British people took. Thank you Mr Speaker. Can I thank

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the leader of the House for his statement today. And assure him that

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the Democratic Unionist Party with support the motion tomorrow. We say

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bring it on. Bring on the election and let people support the union and

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the Unionist cause in Northern Ireland. Could I ask him also

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tomorrow if he will clarify the last date for those people who wish to

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register to vote, so there's clarity and certainty about the registration

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process, especially in Northern Ireland? Mr Speaker, clearly I don't

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want to pre-empt the decision that this House will take tomorrow. But I

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will try, assuming the motion is carried, I will try to provide that

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clarity as rapidly as possible. Mr Speaker, as the leader of the House

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says he doesn't want to pre-empt the decision tomorrow by this House. So

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wasn't the Prime Minister attempting to do that in naming June 8th? What

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the Prime Minister was doing this morning was making her ambition

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clear about the time frame for the general election. I have to say to

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the honourable lady that the date would have been the first question

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put to the Prime Minister in the House and outside had she not named

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a specific date. Mr Speaker, in January 2000, you may remember a

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debate which went on all night, seeing as you took an active part in

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it, the next day's business therefore didn't exist. Given the

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finance bill can sit until any hour tonight, what will the Government do

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in the event of theme not existing? You know, Mr Speaker, from that last

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intervention, I suspect that the honourable lady and his colleagues

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are a bunch of (inaudible) as far as the election is concerned.

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Mr Speaker, the leader of the House will agree with me, I'm sure, that

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the prime responsibility of this House is holding the Government to

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account. Doesn't he think that many not just in this chamber, but

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outside in the country, will receive the Prime Minister's rush to an

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early general election as being a strategy to evade responsibility for

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the chaos we've had in this country since the last Government arranged a

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referendum which they actually lost? The Prime Minister's decision is

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about inviting the British people in the national interest to return her

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to provide the leadership, the sense of direction and the clarity which

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this country needs and which the right honourable gentleman's party

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is so clearly unable to provide themselves. Will the leader confirm

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that should the legislation pass tomorrow, what we're doing is not

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voting for a new Prime Minister for just two years over Brexit, but for

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a new Prime Minister for the duration of a Parliament of five

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years? Many of us are expecting therefore that either the current

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Prime Minister or the leader of the Labour Party will walk through the

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door of Number Ten post June 8th, could he encourage my right

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honourable friend, the Prime Minister, to go head to head in as

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many TV debates with the leader of the Opposition as possible before

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June #th? -- 8th? Mr Speaker, I suspect that the electorate would be

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fascinated to see the outcome of such a debate. Could the leader of

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the House confirm to the House that in the event of the two thirds

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majority not being agreed tomorrow, that the only way the Government can

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call a general election was to table a vote of no confidence in itself.

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When does he plan to do so? We are intending to go into the debate

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tomorrow with a clear objective of persuading that two thirds majority

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to support the Government's motion. Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister was

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inconsistent about Brexit, now her iron determination not to call a

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general election tells me that she has a determination to have one. Can

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I assure the leader with Labour in a writhing mass, we in Plaid Cymru

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relish the opportunity to provide Welsh alternative to this

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opportunist right-wing Tory Government and will be voting yes

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tomorrowment -- tomorrow. Well, I suppose I

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should express my appreciation for the honourable gentleman's final

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phrase if not for the rest of his remarks. For weeks now, I've had

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constituents e mailing me and telephoning my office demanding

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because they're terrified of the changes to their personal

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independence payments regulations which we were to be finally allowed

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a debate and a vote on tomorrow. I notice that the leader of the House

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has suspended that. Will he guarantee that this House, this

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Parliament will have a chance to vote on and debate those before

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dissolution. The usual channels will discuss the allocation of business

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between the debate concluding tomorrow and the date of

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dissolution. The Liberal Democrats welcome the opportunity to take on

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this divisive, destructive Tory Government and its hard Brexit. Let

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me ask the leader of the House how much this general election will cost

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and why if the Prime Minister wanted to do it, is she not doing is on May

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4th, because the decision not to do so going to cost a lot of taxpayers'

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money. The answer to the honourable gentleman's question is that the

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time table for any general election is laid down by the fixed term

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parliaments act and the political parties that and referendums act and

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to have a general election on the same day as the local elections

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would not be possible given what the law requires. Mr Speaker, inflation

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is rising, real living standards are potentially going to decline, and we

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know that there will be very difficult negotiations with our

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European Union partners. Isn't the real reason the Prime Minister has

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called this so that she can avoid having a general election in 2020,

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which would be very dangerous for her party and she thinks she can win

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now in order to avoid dealing with the consequences of a hard Brexit?

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Well, the country I look at is one in which unemployment is falling,

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employment is at record levels, the deficit is down, and there are

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record levels of spending on key public services, made possible

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because of the strong economy that my right honourable friend the Prime

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Minister and Chancellor have fostered. So I would look forward to

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a general election in making that case to the people for that

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programme of political commitment and the leadership of my right

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honourable friend to continue. Mr Speaker, the Government's ridiculous

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rape clause came into force on April 6 with no Parliamentary scrutiny.

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The usual channels had promised a DL committee would be held to have

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Parliamentary scrutiny of this despicable policy. Will this now

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happen that given is to be dissolved very soon? Any change to the law, of

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course, has to go before Parliament, but I will put the honourable lady's

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point to my colleagues amongst the business managers, but I can't give

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her a immediate promise that she would get the time that she seeks.

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Can the leader of the House confirm was going to happen to the

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Manchester Gorton by-election given that potentially on May 4, there

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will be no Parliament for any candidates to be located to. Mr

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Speaker, there is no statutory provision that provides for the

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cancellation of a by-election when a general election is in progress. It

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is up to the judgment of the acting returning officer, whom one might

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expect to regard the by-election writ as having been superseded. This

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was the course of action taken by the acting returning officer in the

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one precedent that I found, which is dating back to November 1923.

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LAUGHTER Can the leader tell us whether the

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Prime Minister took soundings from the Secretary of State for Northern

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Ireland as to the impact of this announcement on the ongoing

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interparty talks? And does the Secretary of State for Northern

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Ireland still intend to bring legislation through this House and

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the House of Lord's in respect of rates and topping up the mandate for

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the current Assembly to appoint an executive? I mean, my right

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honourable friend the Northern Ireland Secretary is of course

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considering what difference, if any, should be made to his announced

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plans by the Prime Minister's announcement this morning. While I

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would thigh to provide -- try to provide absolute clarity as soon as

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possible, my expectation is that there would continue to be a need

:20:40.:20:44.

for such legislation. Could the leader of the House

:20:45.:20:48.

acknowledge that nonetheless, we will elect a metropolitan mayor who

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will take up office including taking up responsibility for transport.

:20:56.:20:59.

Account Government confirm that the buses bill will complete its

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Parliamentary passage Mr Dissolution? -- before dissolution?

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The passage of any bill through Parliament will depend upon the

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talks between Government and the official Opposition that always take

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place ahead a general election. In calling a snap election, is it

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seriously the view of the British Government that a UK election will

:21:23.:21:27.

really change the EU 27 negotiating position? If so, Mr Speaker, is it

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not guilting of living in a land of fantasy? I think that what will be

:21:33.:21:41.

important is that newly located leaders in France and in Germany

:21:42.:21:48.

will meet a newly re-elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, all

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of them with the confidence that they have money dates from their

:21:55.:21:58.

voters as they approach those negotiations in a constructive

:21:59.:22:04.

spirit. Thank you Mr Speaker, to date the Chancellor's refused to

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share any analysis of the impacts of Brexit with the Parliament. In fact,

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he seems to have refused to share it with the Secretary of State for

:22:13.:22:16.

exiting the EU given his symbolic performance in front of committee.

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This general election is all about clarity. So in the interests of

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clarity, will the analysis showing the impact of a hard Brexit versus

:22:24.:22:28.

Scotland staying in the single market, which is what my

:22:29.:22:34.

constituents voted for? Well, I could make the arguments that the

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honourable gentleman has heard before about the vital importance to

:22:38.:22:42.

Scotland of the United Kingdom sing the market. But what I would --

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single market. What I would say in particular, is that the Prime

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Minister's objectives of delivering a new, deep and special partnership

:22:51.:22:57.

with our friends and allies in the EU 27 will serve the economic and

:22:58.:23:00.

security interests of Scotland well as they will serve the whole of the

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United Kingdom well. Following on from my honourable

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friend, is the leader of the House in a position to confirm or deny if

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the 2017 Tory manifesto will say yes to a single market or will it be

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out? I will put the honourable lady on the priority mailing list for a

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copy of the Conservative Party manifesto. Mr Speaker, the Scottish

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Parliament recently voted by a margin of 69 to 59 in order that we

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could have a referendum. Yet the Prime Minister arrogantly told us

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now is not the time. If now is the time for this Parliament to decide

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shouldn't this Parliament empower the Scottish Parliament to allow the

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Scottish people to have a say on their future? Mr Speaker, the

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honourable gentleman and his Parliamentary colleagues have been

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demanding week after week that the Prime Minister seek a new electoral

:24:08.:24:11.

mandate from the people of the United Kingdom in order to deliver

:24:12.:24:15.

our exit from the European Union. She is doing just that. I think the

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honourable gentleman might welcome that if he's to be consistent rather

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than complain. Following the question from my

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honourable friend from Kilmarnock, he's right to say that the general

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election will be about clarity. So does the leader of the House like

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me, look forward to the clarity that the TV debates will give us and does

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he agree with me that any attempt by any political leader, especially one

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from the Government benches, to shirk from those invitations would

:24:44.:24:44.

be wholly unacceptable? The ahead of a's debate, it is

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premature to speculate for a start on about how the broadcasters will

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determine for election coverage. I will take on the comments as a

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representation. I was not going to speak but like everybody else sat in

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this chamber, and maybe the last time I get a chance. If you will let

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me finish. I came here to speak honestly and plainly and to speak

:25:27.:25:29.

like the people who are outside of this building. What I can not

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understand from what the Leader of the House has said today it is how

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any of this makes things clearer, makes us feel more secure. All I

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ask, how does this look to people outside? As somebody who came from

:25:51.:25:53.

outside, it looks like political opportunism. I think and I hope that

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people outside this building will look at what the Prime Minister said

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on the steps of Number Ten this morning and will believe that she is

:26:09.:26:16.

seeking an electoral mandate and an electoral mandate for herself as a

:26:17.:26:21.

leader of a Government that will then be in a position to carry

:26:22.:26:27.

through extremely challenging and ambitious European negotiations over

:26:28.:26:31.

the next two years and then implement the new partnership that

:26:32.:26:36.

we are seeking with the EU 27 after what's with the confidence to

:26:37.:26:42.

arriving from the fact, I hope, that the Government will enjoy a secure,

:26:43.:26:46.

including parliamentary majority for those measures from -- for an entire

:26:47.:26:55.

five-year term. The Secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth

:26:56.:27:01.

affairs, Boris Johnson. With your permission, I should like to begin

:27:02.:27:05.

by paying tribute to the Britons that were killed in tragic

:27:06.:27:10.

circumstances in Stockholm and Jerusalem. Chris Pettit and was

:27:11.:27:14.

amongst four people who died in Sweden where the truck was driven

:27:15.:27:20.

into pedestrians. Hannah was stabbed to death in Jerusalem on Good Friday

:27:21.:27:26.

in a senseless attack. Our thoughts and players are with their families.

:27:27.:27:32.

I wish to update the House on significant foreign policy events in

:27:33.:27:36.

the last fortnight, in Syria and North Korea. These disparate

:27:37.:27:42.

challenges in comp is one common theme. In each case, hereditary

:27:43.:27:49.

dictators presiding over cruel tyrannies have challenged essential

:27:50.:27:55.

rules that underpin our world peace. The United States had responded with

:27:56.:28:00.

strength and resolve and in accordance with its traditional role

:28:01.:28:05.

as the guarantor of the rules -based system. In both cases the US has

:28:06.:28:09.

acted with the full support of the British Government. Turning first to

:28:10.:28:18.

Syria. At 39 minutes past six on April the fold, there was a chemical

:28:19.:28:24.

weapons attack on the town in a rebel held the province. The House

:28:25.:28:30.

will recall the horrifying aftermath. Adults and children were

:28:31.:28:38.

convulsed in agony, as the bodies were poisoned by nerve gas. Rescue

:28:39.:28:44.

workers tried to decontaminate the casualties and we saw children with

:28:45.:28:49.

oxygen masks clamped to the faces. Even by the standards of the Civil

:28:50.:28:54.

War that has claimed more than 400,000 lives, this was amongst the

:28:55.:28:59.

most shocking incidents. I want to repeat for the benefit of the House

:29:00.:29:03.

exactly what we know about that attack. There has been a concerted

:29:04.:29:10.

attempt to obscure the facts. We know beyond doubt that two aircraft

:29:11.:29:19.

took off from a near field where we know the chemical weapons are

:29:20.:29:30.

overhead when the attack took place. overhead when the attack took place.

:29:31.:29:41.

know that Sarin was used that had the chemical signature of Sarin used

:29:42.:29:54.

by the President Assad regime. The people had been exposed to Sarin gas

:29:55.:30:01.

and it is only one conclusion, that the President Assad regime almost

:30:02.:30:03.

certainly gassed its own people in breach of international law. Showing

:30:04.:30:11.

the emptiness of that agreement reached in 2013 guaranteed by Russia

:30:12.:30:14.

that was meant to read Syria of chemical weapons once and for all.

:30:15.:30:39.

The UN has a joint investigated mechanism with the mandate to

:30:40.:30:45.

determine any Party responsible for the chemical attacks in Syria. The

:30:46.:30:53.

House should be in mind that UN investigators have already found the

:30:54.:30:57.

President Assad regime guilty of using poison gas on three separate

:30:58.:31:06.

occasions in 2014 and 2015. Some members have suggested we arrange

:31:07.:31:09.

President Assad before the International Criminal Court. The

:31:10.:31:13.

only way of bringing Syria before the ICC would be through a referral

:31:14.:31:18.

from the UN Security Council. We tried that option in 2014, only to

:31:19.:31:23.

be thwarted by the Beatles of Russia and China. Sadly, the attack on Khan

:31:24.:31:34.

Sheikhoun, the Russian response has been to support President Assad once

:31:35.:31:40.

again. Russia cast its eighth veto in support of President Assad,

:31:41.:31:46.

blocking a resolution that would have demanded cooperation with the

:31:47.:31:49.

international investigation. On the day after the atrocity. The US was

:31:50.:32:02.

considering a response. The United States did take action, firing 59

:32:03.:32:08.

cruise missiles at the military airbase at which the gas attack was

:32:09.:32:12.

meant to have been launched. We were given advance notice of the

:32:13.:32:17.

operation but at no stage did the US administration asked for UK military

:32:18.:32:22.

help, only for political support. Advanced warning was given to

:32:23.:32:26.

Russian military personnel who were located with the Syrian Air Force at

:32:27.:32:32.

the same airbase to minimise the risk of casualties. The Government

:32:33.:32:38.

believes that the US action was a necessary, appropriate and justified

:32:39.:32:45.

response to an awful crime. As many as 20 Syrian aircraft are believed

:32:46.:32:50.

to have been destroyed. The sheer force of President Assad has been

:32:51.:32:54.

bombing civilians day after day for the last six years. -- the Air

:32:55.:33:01.

Force. The destruction of some of the strike aircraft will in itself

:33:02.:33:06.

save some lives. What is more important is president Trump's

:33:07.:33:14.

emphatic message that the era when President Assad's barbarism was

:33:15.:33:18.

meant with passivity and inaction has finally come to an end.

:33:19.:33:24.

America's determined response creates an opportunity to break the

:33:25.:33:28.

deadlock and pave the way for the political settlement of Syria's

:33:29.:33:35.

tragedy. That will only happen if Russia is prepared to bring

:33:36.:33:38.

President Assad to the negotiating table and begin a transition to a

:33:39.:33:43.

new Government that represents the sole chance of peace in Syria. After

:33:44.:33:50.

the chemical attack and the American strike it was the priority for the

:33:51.:33:57.

US Defence Secretary to convey that message to Russia with the backing

:33:58.:34:01.

of as many countries as possible. The combined weight of the G-7 and

:34:02.:34:07.

the like-minded countries from the region unanimously supported the US

:34:08.:34:12.

military action as a carefully calibrated response to a war crime.

:34:13.:34:23.

The mandated Tillison to go to Russia and to... I want to stress

:34:24.:34:32.

that we in the UK have no intention of dislodging Russian interests in

:34:33.:34:36.

the Syria, on the contrary, we recognise Russia's long connection

:34:37.:34:40.

with that country and the national interest at stake. Russia's position

:34:41.:34:47.

in the Syria does not depend on President Assad. The unmistakable

:34:48.:34:52.

lesson of six years of bloodshed is that President Assad can not deliver

:34:53.:34:56.

what his people and the wider world so desperately need, mainly a

:34:57.:35:02.

peaceful and united Syria. I hope I have the support of everybody in

:35:03.:35:08.

this House. I call on the Russians to end the blind support for

:35:09.:35:12.

President Assad. Stop the gas attacks and the barrel bombs. Allow

:35:13.:35:16.

the delivery of aid to those who need it. Deliver a real ceasefire

:35:17.:35:21.

and begin the political process that will include a transition away from

:35:22.:35:25.

President Assad. That was the message this Secretary to listen

:35:26.:35:32.

delivered on the 12th of April. -- Secretary Tillison. We will do as

:35:33.:35:37.

much as we can in the UK to hold accountable any were responsible for

:35:38.:35:42.

that gas attack. We will work with our American counterparts to create

:35:43.:35:47.

the conditions for Russia to work with us. And to escape its

:35:48.:35:52.

entanglement with the toxic President Assad regime. Which

:35:53.:35:58.

poisons Russia's international reputation just as surely as it

:35:59.:36:04.

poisons its own people. Mr Speaker, turning out to North Korea. The

:36:05.:36:09.

events of last weekend provided further proof of the threat that

:36:10.:36:15.

country poses to international peace and security. On Saturday, North

:36:16.:36:20.

Korea paraded an arsenal of cruise missiles in front of crowds. 24

:36:21.:36:27.

hours later, the region tested another missile although this time

:36:28.:36:32.

the launch failed. Last year alone North Korea tested two nuclear bombs

:36:33.:36:38.

and 24 missiles. I will remind members of all those tests, they

:36:39.:36:45.

break a series of UN resolutions dating back to 2006 when resolution

:36:46.:36:52.

1695 was passed by the Security Council. The North Korean regime

:36:53.:36:59.

threatened further tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.

:37:00.:37:04.

The regime is developing intercontinental missiles which will

:37:05.:37:08.

be capable of delivering a nuclear strike on the mainland United

:37:09.:37:12.

States. These weapons have not been fully tested but no one can be

:37:13.:37:19.

complacent about the potential threat they pose. Yesterday I spoke

:37:20.:37:25.

to my Chinese counterpart. I urged him to use Beijing's unique

:37:26.:37:29.

influence to restrain North Korea and to allow peaceful resolution of

:37:30.:37:36.

this crisis. By suspending the coal imports from North Korea, China has

:37:37.:37:41.

given a welcome signal to exert pressure on the regime. Later this

:37:42.:37:45.

month I will attend a special meeting of the Security Council on

:37:46.:37:53.

North Korea. All hopes of progress rests on International cooperation,

:37:54.:37:58.

especially between China and the US. And the verifiable disarmament of

:37:59.:38:01.

North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. The crisis in

:38:02.:38:08.

Syria and North Korea represent a challenge to the law -based

:38:09.:38:16.

international order in which this country believes. Britain's role is

:38:17.:38:20.

to stand alongside the United States and our allies as we confront those

:38:21.:38:25.

threats and in that effort we will not tire. I commend the statement to

:38:26.:38:35.

the House. May I thank the Secretary of state for his statement. May I

:38:36.:38:37.

join with him in sending my condolences to the families of those

:38:38.:38:45.

killed. The statement is overshadowed by another statement

:38:46.:38:49.

today. The issues at hand here are more important for the future of our

:38:50.:38:54.

world rather than the Prime Minister's cynical short-term

:38:55.:38:57.

manoeuvres. She talked about the need for stability and is happy to

:38:58.:39:01.

plunge the country into six weeks of uncertainty exactly at the time

:39:02.:39:04.

we're Britain needs to provide stable global leadership on issues

:39:05.:39:09.

like Syria and North Korea. We should not be surprised. The Party

:39:10.:39:17.

opposite is abdicating any effective leadership role for Britain. Turning

:39:18.:39:22.

first to Syria. We were all appalled by the dreadful attacks on civilians

:39:23.:39:27.

witnessed during the Easter recess. There was a horrifying chemical

:39:28.:39:32.

attack on Khan Sheikhoun, killing ordinary villagers and injuring

:39:33.:39:37.

hundreds more. Two days ago, and I was surprised the Foreign Secretary

:39:38.:39:41.

did not see fit to mention this, we saw a suicide bombing with dozens of

:39:42.:39:49.

children amongst those killed. They were lowered to the deaths by the

:39:50.:39:55.

promise of free crisps. A tragic remainder that in this conflict that

:39:56.:39:58.

President Assad does not hold the monopoly when it comes to atrocities

:39:59.:40:03.

against innocent civilians, including children. We need a

:40:04.:40:07.

peaceful settlement in Syria, no more than ever. Lastly, the Foreign

:40:08.:40:13.

Secretary said his priority was to build coordinated international

:40:14.:40:17.

support for the ceasefire and to intensify political process and I

:40:18.:40:22.

agree with him. Quite, rather than looking for coordinated action to

:40:23.:40:27.

properly investigate and punish the use of chemical weapons, is the

:40:28.:40:31.

Foreign Secretary instead to threaten more unilateral air strikes

:40:32.:40:35.

by the US against the President Assad regime, while rather than

:40:36.:40:39.

engaging in that peace process titty instead cancel his proposed talks in

:40:40.:40:46.

Moscow and in the process, -- in the peace process why did he instead

:40:47.:40:51.

cancel his proposed talks in Moscow. And rather than in shooting the G-7

:40:52.:40:54.

spoke with one strong voice in Syria last week, did he present them that

:40:55.:40:59.

they have to beat the bath to sanctions without doing any

:41:00.:41:01.

preparatory work? The only straw he can cling onto, we

:41:02.:41:13.

presume is this: That the United States State Department is still

:41:14.:41:17.

telling him what to say and do and which countries he is allowed to

:41:18.:41:22.

visit. And to that end, can I ask a final question on Syria, based on

:41:23.:41:26.

his close relationship with the Trump administration, can he clarify

:41:27.:41:31.

exactly what their strategy now is? Mr Speaker, turning quickly to north

:41:32.:41:36.

ceeament the Foreign Secretary rightly condemns the ongoing nuclear

:41:37.:41:41.

programmes. I hope he will agree like Syria, this is a crisis which

:41:42.:41:46.

can only be resolved through coordinated international action,

:41:47.:41:49.

through the deescalation of tensions and ultimately through negotiations.

:41:50.:41:54.

So can he assure us that Britain will argue against any unilateral

:41:55.:41:59.

military action taken by the United States and instead urgently back

:42:00.:42:02.

China's call for the resumption of the Six Party Talks? When it comes

:42:03.:42:08.

to North Korea, the world needs statesmanship not brinkmanship. We

:42:09.:42:12.

cannot afford blient loyalty to the Trump administration if they are

:42:13.:42:16.

leading us down the path to war. Peace in Syria and North Korea, our

:42:17.:42:20.

relationship with the Trump administration, these are vital

:42:21.:42:22.

issues for the future of the Britain and the world and as much as the

:42:23.:42:26.

Prime Minister would like the coming election simply to be about Brexit,

:42:27.:42:32.

we must ensure that these and other international concerns are not

:42:33.:42:36.

forgotten. To that end, my final question for the Foreign Secretary

:42:37.:42:40.

is this: Will he commit to join me in a televised debate between all

:42:41.:42:44.

the parties on foreign policy, no ifs, no buts, I'm ready to say yes

:42:45.:42:51.

now. So will he commit today to do like-wise? Announce the first

:42:52.:42:55.

election debate and put the party's promise of stable leadership on the

:42:56.:43:02.

line. Mr Speaker, obviously I'm

:43:03.:43:08.

disappointed that the Shadow Foreign Secretary should choose to intrude

:43:09.:43:13.

into this very, very important consideration, I think relatively

:43:14.:43:17.

separate issues of domestic political policy. We are trying to

:43:18.:43:23.

explain the position of the UK and indeed the West towards the Assad

:43:24.:43:27.

regime. Just to answer her serious point, by the way we're having a

:43:28.:43:31.

televised debate now, in case you haven't noticed. And we should

:43:32.:43:40.

continue in that way. We are engaged in trying to use the opportunity

:43:41.:43:44.

provided by American action to drive forward the political process. It is

:43:45.:43:50.

not easy and I think that in all honesty, the honourable lady should

:43:51.:43:52.

reflect on her approach. Because what we are trying to do does

:43:53.:43:56.

require a very great degree of cross-party support. We want the

:43:57.:44:00.

Russians to face up to the real option before them, which is if they

:44:01.:44:05.

continue to back Assad, they will be backing a regime that has been

:44:06.:44:09.

proved - and I hope the members heard what I said about the use of

:44:10.:44:13.

chemical weapons, proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to have used

:44:14.:44:17.

chemical weapons banned under international law. I would like them

:44:18.:44:23.

to accept there is a deal and that could be that they have an

:44:24.:44:27.

improvement in their reloigss with the Americans -- relations. They

:44:28.:44:34.

work together with the rest of us to tackle the scourge of Daesh. In

:44:35.:44:39.

return, I think what needs to happen is that the Russians need to

:44:40.:44:42.

understand that they must make a serious commitment to a political

:44:43.:44:46.

process. At the moment, they are not. They need to have a proper

:44:47.:44:51.

commitment to a ceasefire and at the moment, they are not making that

:44:52.:44:55.

commitment. They need to stop their client using chemical weapons. They

:44:56.:45:03.

said they would do that in 2013 and rather than simply parroting, I may

:45:04.:45:10.

say, the lines of the Kremlin, she should support the collective action

:45:11.:45:14.

of the West and indeed not just the G 7, but as I said, the like-minded

:45:15.:45:24.

countries. She has said that the West was divided, for instance in

:45:25.:45:29.

its attitude towards sanctions. Let' be absolutely clear, all we are

:45:30.:45:36.

trying to do is follow the evident shall trail where it leads and if

:45:37.:45:43.

the OPCW finds that there are members of the Syrian armed forces

:45:44.:45:46.

who have been responsible for that attack, then I hope she will agree

:45:47.:45:54.

that they should face sanctions. I hope she will agree that they should

:45:55.:45:58.

face sanctions. If she opposes that, I have to say, I find it absolutely

:45:59.:46:04.

extraordinary. The United States has moved to impose sanctions on a

:46:05.:46:10.

further 300 people. There is a very large measure of support from all

:46:11.:46:14.

Western countries for doing exactly that. Further more, it seems to me,

:46:15.:46:23.

unclear really from her account whether she is actually supportive

:46:24.:46:29.

of the American action at all. And I wonder whether she could enlighten

:46:30.:46:33.

the House, is she actually in favour of what the Americans did because

:46:34.:46:38.

for the first time in five years, what the Trump White House has shown

:46:39.:46:44.

is that the West is not prepared to sit by and watch while people are

:46:45.:46:48.

gassed, using weapons that should have been banned -

:46:49.:46:54.

THE SPEAKER: Order. Order. We appreciate the Foreign Secretary's

:46:55.:47:06.

enimtab style. I fear -- enimitable style, I think the honourable lady,

:47:07.:47:11.

in waiting to intervene wants a debate. Let us wait for the

:47:12.:47:15.

televised debate. The Foreign Secretary. Mr Speaker, I'm grateful.

:47:16.:47:22.

I was very, I was far from clear in listening to the right honourable

:47:23.:47:27.

lady's response whether she actually supports what the United States has

:47:28.:47:34.

done. I would like some ill loose dags on that. That has shown that

:47:35.:47:39.

the West is willing to stand up to the use of these vile peppons and it

:47:40.:47:45.

has given us a -- weapons, and it has given us a political

:47:46.:47:49.

opportunity. I think her best bet would be to support this Government,

:47:50.:47:52.

the efforts of the Western countries to drive that forward and get the

:47:53.:47:55.

Russians to deliver a genuine political solution.

:47:56.:47:58.

THE SPEAKER: Order. Order. I say to the honourable lady, all sorts of

:47:59.:48:01.

things might be judged by some people to be intolerable. But I'm

:48:02.:48:07.

afraid what is above all intolerable is to depart from the normal

:48:08.:48:10.

process. The honourable lady is a person of very considerable

:48:11.:48:15.

intellect and ingenuity, doubtless through her colleagues and possibly

:48:16.:48:19.

subsequent to the statement, she can find ways of giving expression to

:48:20.:48:23.

her concern, but at this point, if she could assume a Zen-like calm,

:48:24.:48:27.

the House itself would be the beneficiary of that. It is obviously

:48:28.:48:35.

right Mr Speaker, that a diplomatic joint approach in Syria is clearly

:48:36.:48:39.

more important than unilateral action. Will he therefore commit to

:48:40.:48:43.

continue to work very closely with our American allies and other

:48:44.:48:46.

partners and friends to bring an end to this barbaric slaughter in Syria?

:48:47.:48:53.

Mr Speaker, I'm grateful to my right honourable friend. That is exactly

:48:54.:48:57.

what we are engaged in doing. I do not pretend to the House that this

:48:58.:49:01.

will be easy. We have been here before. We have seen the

:49:02.:49:07.

Kerry-Lavrov rigmarole that went on for months and months. But this is

:49:08.:49:11.

an opportunity for Russia to recognise that they are supporting a

:49:12.:49:20.

regime that deserved the odium of the entire world. It is costing

:49:21.:49:24.

Russia friends and support around the world. They have a chance for a

:49:25.:49:26.

different approach and that is what we are collectively urging them to

:49:27.:49:30.

do. Thank you very much Mr Speaker. I thank the Foreign Secretary for

:49:31.:49:41.

advance sight of his statement and I associate myself with the

:49:42.:49:46.

condolences for those families in Sweden and Jerusalem. There should

:49:47.:49:52.

of course, be an international investigation sponsored by the

:49:53.:49:55.

Security Council and if that is blocked, it should be ordered by the

:49:56.:49:58.

general Assembly of the United Nations. The MEP niches exist for

:49:59.:50:01.

this to happen and UK Government must lead the way. The findings

:50:02.:50:05.

should then be taken to the international Criminal Court and

:50:06.:50:07.

those responsible should be arraigned and subjected to the force

:50:08.:50:12.

of international law. The US air strikes on the airfield are a

:50:13.:50:15.

demonstration of the unpredictability of the Trump

:50:16.:50:19.

administration, which many fear will only cause further escalation of the

:50:20.:50:24.

conflict. In their rush to congratulate that administration on

:50:25.:50:30.

its recent strike, do the UK Government consider the

:50:31.:50:33.

repercussions? Until now coalition aircraft have operated with relative

:50:34.:50:36.

freedom against Daesh in Eastern Syria. Now Russia has suspended

:50:37.:50:41.

US-Russia air operation as cord and the Assad regime will likely

:50:42.:50:45.

activate its extensive air defences. The skies above Syria therefore will

:50:46.:50:50.

be much more dangerous for UK pilots, while civilians on the

:50:51.:50:54.

ground will suffer even more. We on these benches have questioned the

:50:55.:50:57.

policy on air strikes from the very beginning. Now we must have answers

:50:58.:51:01.

Mr Speaker. What changes will be made to adopt to the changing

:51:02.:51:07.

situation? And how will this affect the aerial campaign against Daesh?

:51:08.:51:11.

UK bombs will not bring peace in Syria. We call on the UK Government

:51:12.:51:16.

to rethink its tactics and have a revised military strategy in

:51:17.:51:19.

Parliament. While dialogue aimed at ending the conflict is welcome,

:51:20.:51:23.

above all we want hostilities to cease and civilians to receive the

:51:24.:51:27.

basic food, shelter and medical care which they so badly need. Finally,

:51:28.:51:31.

Mr Speaker, on the subject of North Korea, we urge all parties to lower

:51:32.:51:37.

tensions and use diplomatic means to work through disagreements. Yet this

:51:38.:51:43.

is more evidence of the need to implement multilateral disarmament

:51:44.:51:47.

and put an end to the existence of weapons of mass destruction in

:51:48.:51:52.

general and nuclear weapons in particular. Thank you very much Mr

:51:53.:51:57.

Speaker. I would point out that the honourable lady will know that the

:51:58.:52:02.

UK is already the second biggest donor in humanitarian aid to the

:52:03.:52:06.

region. We have a record there that we can be proud of. Just going back

:52:07.:52:11.

though to what she had to say about the American strike itself. I do

:52:12.:52:16.

find it, I must say, I looking at familiar faces here from the

:52:17.:52:21.

statements on Syria - month after month, I come here to update the

:52:22.:52:25.

House on what, how that tragedy has been unfolding. I see people who

:52:26.:52:30.

take a passionate interest in this subject and have called repeatedly

:52:31.:52:34.

for us to do more. Finally the United States has taken what we

:52:35.:52:40.

believe to be action, which I think is entirely appropriate, entirely

:52:41.:52:44.

appropriate, and somehow it fails to find favour with the honourable

:52:45.:52:49.

lady. I think it is a good thing but we should not, as I say, overstate

:52:50.:52:55.

the importance of what has happened from a military point of view. We've

:52:56.:53:01.

got to recognise that this is a political opportunity and it's an

:53:02.:53:05.

opportunity for the Russians to recognise the manner of regime that

:53:06.:53:12.

they are propping up. And that is what, the message that we need to

:53:13.:53:16.

get over loud and clear and unanimously. As for North Korea. She

:53:17.:53:22.

makes a good point about the need to get rid of nuclear weapons. I think

:53:23.:53:26.

it would be foolish, I hope she would agree, it would be foolish for

:53:27.:53:30.

the United States, for instance, to even begin thinking of getting rid

:53:31.:53:33.

of its nuclear weapons before we Shh... Have denuclearised North

:53:34.:53:40.

Korea. I thank the Foreign Secretary for the detailed evidence he has

:53:41.:53:44.

presented to the House about the responsibility for the nerve agent

:53:45.:53:49.

attack in Syria. Can I commend him for giving us the detail and in that

:53:50.:53:57.

sense, also invite him to depersonalise his assessment of the

:53:58.:54:02.

Syrian regime, simply around the personality of its president. We

:54:03.:54:06.

already have in place a mechanism by which that president will be held to

:54:07.:54:09.

account in future by the Syrian people if he wishes to seek that,

:54:10.:54:14.

under the international support group and conclusion in November

:54:15.:54:17.

2015. That process is agreed by 20 nations. We should be relying on

:54:18.:54:22.

that, not using our rhetoric that might make it a more difficult place

:54:23.:54:26.

in order to get into that process. Finally, if I can just ask him about

:54:27.:54:32.

North Korea. Could I invite him to put pressure on the United States to

:54:33.:54:36.

try and dial down the public rhetoric. There is an element in

:54:37.:54:41.

which the North Korea is something like an attention seeking child,

:54:42.:54:44.

that happens to belong to somebody else. In this case China. Whilst the

:54:45.:54:49.

United States has proper responsibilities to the other

:54:50.:54:52.

nations in the area about their security, ratcheting up the rhetoric

:54:53.:54:56.

with North Korea is probably the wrong way of publicly dealing with

:54:57.:54:57.

them. In I agree entirely. Our quarrel is

:54:58.:55:15.

not just with President Assad but with others in his regime. I think

:55:16.:55:23.

it will be possible, a map can be sketched out that can show you how

:55:24.:55:27.

to keep the institutions of Syrian Government and get rid of the most

:55:28.:55:33.

moderate elements of that regime. We need to get that idea across very

:55:34.:55:37.

clearly in the course of the next few weeks and months. On North

:55:38.:55:43.

Korea, I am sure his words are very wise on the day to avoid ratcheting

:55:44.:55:47.

up the rhetoric and he speaks from experience. In this arena, I believe

:55:48.:55:57.

that the key lies mainly with China. It is very much in the Chinese

:55:58.:56:04.

interest and the Russians, by the way, who share a border with North

:56:05.:56:10.

Korea. It is in the Chinese and Russian interest to rein in Kim Jong

:56:11.:56:16.

ill and to persuade him to abandon what I think is the path of self

:56:17.:56:25.

destruction. In the light of the American Vice President's visit to

:56:26.:56:29.

the region, one hopes to consult South Korea and Japan on the most

:56:30.:56:35.

effective way to contain North Korea's nuclear ambitions, and

:56:36.:56:37.

reflecting on the Foreign Secretary's recent experience at the

:56:38.:56:45.

G-7 summit, does he think there is potential for further economic

:56:46.:56:49.

sanctions directed at North Korea and does he think China would fully

:56:50.:56:57.

support such a step? If I may say so, the crucial thing is for the

:56:58.:57:02.

Chinese and others to implement those current sanctions that we have

:57:03.:57:07.

and to allow them to have full economic impact. There has been some

:57:08.:57:15.

doubt in recent months about the full application of those sanctions.

:57:16.:57:20.

People in North Korea are living in absolute misery and servitude. The

:57:21.:57:28.

trouble is that it can continue to live in that state for a long time

:57:29.:57:32.

to come unless the Government sees sense and we must work with the

:57:33.:57:39.

changes to persuade them. Given the fact that China in a most welcome

:57:40.:57:45.

manner, surprisingly did support sanctions at the UN in 2013, the

:57:46.:57:50.

chances they will come to the Security Council meeting and the

:57:51.:57:53.

positive frame of mind, the Secretary is right that Russia

:57:54.:57:58.

shares a small border with North Korea and it is a permanent member

:57:59.:58:02.

of the UN Security Council Andras Parti to the six Party talks, will

:58:03.:58:07.

my right honourable friend commit to having good discussions with his

:58:08.:58:12.

opposite number in China but also to talk to his Russian counterpart?

:58:13.:58:17.

This is another chance for Russia to rehabilitate its international

:58:18.:58:23.

reputation which is tarnished. He is absolutely right and he has great

:58:24.:58:29.

expertise in this matter. It is perfectly true that the economic

:58:30.:58:33.

relationship is overwhelmingly between China and North Korea.

:58:34.:58:39.

Russia certainly has a role and Russia should not be permitted to

:58:40.:58:44.

hide endlessly behind China's skirts. And that is a point that Rex

:58:45.:58:48.

Tillson made in Moscow on April the 10th. In 1988 etiquette talk --

:58:49.:58:59.

cross-party group from this House to see some survivors. There was a lot

:59:00.:59:02.

of discussion about who was responsible. People like Doctor

:59:03.:59:11.

Alistair Hay went out and brought back soil samples and evidence. I

:59:12.:59:18.

wonder if they use of experts in the UK are being used again to find

:59:19.:59:26.

again were the perpetrators of this terrible suffering on the Syrian

:59:27.:59:35.

people. Has the Foreign Secretary talked to people like that? Because

:59:36.:59:39.

of the experience in dealing with chemical weapons, they could help

:59:40.:59:45.

again. I remember the right honourable lady's efforts in

:59:46.:59:51.

respect. She played a big part in the hardening my own heart against

:59:52.:59:57.

Saddam Hussein many years ago. She campaigned on that matter with great

:59:58.:00:04.

effect and quite rightly. What we are doing today is supporting the

:00:05.:00:12.

OPCW's mission. They are setting up the expert fact-finding mission to

:00:13.:00:17.

try to assemble... I have sketched out all that we know about what

:00:18.:00:21.

happened on the morning of April the 4th, the best evidence we have so

:00:22.:00:28.

far. I believe it is very persuasive indeed. But the fact-finding mission

:00:29.:00:34.

will now do is to go and draw on a variety of sources, samples from the

:00:35.:00:43.

victims, environmental samples, fragments, footage, interviews with

:00:44.:00:47.

survivors and people who were first on the scene, medics and

:00:48.:00:53.

eyewitnesses. They will be able to draw on intelligence, flight

:00:54.:00:56.

tracking, meteorological information, that'll be shared by us

:00:57.:01:03.

and other countries concerned. Their experiences that such fight --

:01:04.:01:10.

fact-finding instances unable to find conclusions under difficult

:01:11.:01:15.

circumstances. It is that information that we need to create

:01:16.:01:18.

the evidential trail to the individuals who were irresponsible.

:01:19.:01:25.

There is good evidence already but we will use what we have where

:01:26.:01:30.

possible, not only to impose sanctions but also prosecutions for

:01:31.:01:39.

war crimes. Russia's position in Syria does not depend on President

:01:40.:01:47.

Assad but his regime in Syria is dependent on Russia, Russia must

:01:48.:01:51.

accept its responsibility for that attack. At its reputation is to be

:01:52.:01:56.

rehabilitated, the most important step would be to help ease the

:01:57.:02:06.

President Assad regime out of Syria. I absolutely agree with my right

:02:07.:02:12.

honourable friend. The crucial thing is for the Russians to understand...

:02:13.:02:18.

They have been three in the past to admit they have no deep spiritual

:02:19.:02:23.

affinity for basher al-Assad. They do not love him. They are ready to

:02:24.:02:30.

him for the time being. There can be no future for Syria with President

:02:31.:02:35.

Assad in power. We have to find a way forward. What we have to do now

:02:36.:02:39.

is to reach out to the Russians to get them to understand that point

:02:40.:02:43.

and to get them to commit to a serious political process and we

:02:44.:02:53.

should not abandon that goal. I regret any of the votes I

:02:54.:02:58.

participated in end preventing military usage in Syria. Is it not

:02:59.:03:07.

the case that there is to be no military retaliation over the

:03:08.:03:11.

chemical attack, it would encourage President Assad to do the same

:03:12.:03:16.

again? I believe he is absolutely right and that is why we have to

:03:17.:03:20.

acknowledge that the United States has changed the terms of trade in

:03:21.:03:24.

Syria and it is now up to us to make the most of that opportunity to get

:03:25.:03:33.

political change. Can I thank my friend for his statement and the

:03:34.:03:37.

tone in which he made it. One of the purposes of the American action the

:03:38.:03:42.

other day was, as it would've been in 2013, to demonstrate to President

:03:43.:03:47.

Assad that he could not military subjugate all his people. It would

:03:48.:03:52.

give to negotiations with he would have to concede something. The

:03:53.:03:58.

difficult question is this, have the Secretary of state for the United

:03:59.:04:02.

States as my honourable friend on that evening in some way, what would

:04:03.:04:08.

his answer have been? Does his Government consider themselves bound

:04:09.:04:11.

by what happened in 2013 and the statement of David Cameron

:04:12.:04:15.

afterwards? Does he intend to return the House to discuss that matter

:04:16.:04:19.

further what made to the United Kingdom be able to do to demonstrate

:04:20.:04:24.

its force and resolve against such actions as we saw from President

:04:25.:04:28.

Assad the other week? We were not asked. We were not asked for

:04:29.:04:37.

specific support. It is my belief but no decision has been taken, it

:04:38.:04:40.

is my belief that were such a request be made in future, whether

:04:41.:04:47.

it a reasonable request in pursuit of similar objectives, I think it

:04:48.:04:50.

would be very difficult for the United Kingdom to say no. Hannah was

:04:51.:05:02.

a student at Birmingham University and our thoughts and prayers are

:05:03.:05:07.

with her family and friends. As the foreigner office changed any travel

:05:08.:05:12.

advice after she was stabbed to death in Jerusalem? I repeat my

:05:13.:05:20.

condolences to her family. All I can say is that although we are offering

:05:21.:05:26.

consular assistance to her family as the moment we are not changing our

:05:27.:05:30.

general advice about travel to Israel. Given the foil propaganda

:05:31.:05:42.

role of President Assad in propping up a war criminal, could the Foreign

:05:43.:05:46.

Secretary update the House on what discussions he has had with the Home

:05:47.:05:50.

Secretary so we can send a very clear message that it is

:05:51.:05:56.

incompatible with British citizen ship? We do not discuss individual

:05:57.:06:05.

citizenship cases. I understand the feelings that she is expressing.

:06:06.:06:19.

The Foreign Secretary's original statement was comprehensive and

:06:20.:06:25.

measured but it had won significant omission, there was no mention

:06:26.:06:31.

whatsoever of Turkey. There are 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey

:06:32.:06:37.

and as he knows, the Turkish Government had called for the no-fly

:06:38.:06:41.

zone. Others including myself had called for the no-fly zone. What

:06:42.:06:47.

discussions are the ongoing at this moment about how to protect

:06:48.:06:51.

civilians in Syria, not just from chemical weapons but also from

:06:52.:06:59.

barrel bombs? He is right to draw attention to the cardinal role of

:07:00.:07:04.

Turkey in this crisis. Turkey has borne the brunt of the huge tide of

:07:05.:07:09.

refugees. I agree with what he says about no-fly zones. It is something

:07:10.:07:15.

strongly supported by Rex Iverson and the US. They cannot deliver them

:07:16.:07:21.

without a ceasefire. This is why I returned this challenge we are

:07:22.:07:25.

making to the Russians. It is up to them not just to stop the barrel

:07:26.:07:28.

bombs but to deliver a real ceasefire. The Foreign Secretary

:07:29.:07:34.

dealt at length with the chemical attack but I was surprised he did

:07:35.:07:39.

not take the opportunity to condemn also the appalling attack on Shia

:07:40.:07:44.

civilians, 126 killed, 68 children that were fleeing. This illustrates

:07:45.:07:55.

the problem of being a Shia or Christian in Syria, how much can you

:07:56.:07:58.

rely on President Assad to protect you? We tried to engage regime

:07:59.:08:08.

change, removing Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein. We should protect

:08:09.:08:13.

minorities in the Middle East. I appreciate the point that he makes

:08:14.:08:17.

and he's perfectly right that our thoughts should equally be with the

:08:18.:08:22.

126 victims of that appalling attack, many of them also children.

:08:23.:08:30.

There are many victims in this conflict. Of the 400,000 that have

:08:31.:08:37.

died, in the last 5-6 years, I think we are now in the seventh year of

:08:38.:08:42.

this war, the overwhelming majority have been victims of the President

:08:43.:08:48.

Assad regime. And its supporters. It is for that reason that I must say

:08:49.:08:53.

that I understand his hesitations. They are shared by many people who

:08:54.:08:57.

think instinctively that it would be better to stay with the devil that

:08:58.:09:03.

we know. He is a very odious devil indeed. I am afraid that when I look

:09:04.:09:12.

ahead, I cannot see how President Assad can remain in power in Syria

:09:13.:09:16.

in the long-term. We have to go back a long way in history to find

:09:17.:09:20.

somebody who has murdered quite so many of his population and retained

:09:21.:09:28.

office. I thank the Foreign Secretary for his statement. It is

:09:29.:09:33.

not for any of us to choose who runs Syria, that is for the Syrian

:09:34.:09:39.

people. Can I say to the Foreign Secretary we should judge at recent

:09:40.:09:44.

events in Syria and they will be successful if and only effort they

:09:45.:09:48.

form part of the comprehensive strategy to protect civilian life.

:09:49.:09:56.

In that regard, can I asked him what conversations he has had with the

:09:57.:10:05.

Secretary of state for getting the aid to those people in Syria who

:10:06.:10:13.

needed. We failed in Aleppo. I know people are being targeted as we

:10:14.:10:17.

discussed previously. Though the Foreign Secretary say what strategy

:10:18.:10:21.

do we have now to save civilian life, to get aid in and to get

:10:22.:10:26.

people who need to come out of Syria to seek medical attention out of

:10:27.:10:29.

Syria, and to help save every life that we can?

:10:30.:10:32.

I pay tribute to the consistent campaigning the honourable lady has

:10:33.:10:37.

done over the years. She's right to draw attention to the appalling

:10:38.:10:40.

humanitarian situation. There are still 1. 5 million people being

:10:41.:10:46.

besieged by Assad's regime and they're using starvation as an

:10:47.:10:52.

instrument of warfare. What we are trying to do is, going back to the

:10:53.:10:57.

earlier points, there must be a ceasefire and the Russians must make

:10:58.:11:01.

it possible for the humanitarian aid convoys to have access to those

:11:02.:11:08.

regimes. That is what we are trying to promote, Just Can't Get Enough in

:11:09.:11:12.

gentlemen Niamh ya, but at the talks as well. As I say, it is

:11:13.:11:27.

up to the -- They have their interests in Syria protected in the

:11:28.:11:34.

long-term. They can have a political role in the future of Syria, but

:11:35.:11:39.

what they've got to ensure is that there is a ceasefire, an end to the

:11:40.:11:42.

barrel bombs and a proper political process. Can the Foreign Secretary

:11:43.:11:52.

tell us what the outcome of this proper political process would be

:11:53.:11:57.

given that even common Tators who absurdly used to claim that there

:11:58.:12:02.

were 70,000 moderate fighters against Assad in Syria now accept

:12:03.:12:08.

that the overwhelming majority of the armed opposition are run by

:12:09.:12:14.

Islamists. Whilst accepting that Assad is a monster in the tradition

:12:15.:12:29.

of Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein, to replace him with a virulent Islamist

:12:30.:12:35.

regime? I must say I strongly agree with the wisdom of that remark. The

:12:36.:12:41.

essential thing will be to have a political process that preserves the

:12:42.:12:45.

institutions of the Syrian state whilst decapitating the monster.

:12:46.:12:52.

Thank you Mr Speaker. The international community failed in

:12:53.:12:58.

Syria for too long. We echo the comments made by the Foreign

:12:59.:13:03.

Secretary that some action was, indeed, needed and may be needed

:13:04.:13:08.

into future. Can I ask him, though, his statement was very firm, quite

:13:09.:13:12.

rightly, on Russia, but it didn't give a sense of how the Peace Talks

:13:13.:13:17.

will go forward, which clearly is also essential as well as Russia

:13:18.:13:25.

changing their position. As has been said by several honourable members,

:13:26.:13:30.

in the end the new constitution and arrangements for Syria will be a

:13:31.:13:33.

matter for the Syrian people. There are certainly people on either side

:13:34.:13:36.

of the debate in Syria who could come together to form a new federal

:13:37.:13:39.

government for that country and take it forward to a much brighter

:13:40.:13:47.

future. Russia's propped up the Assad regime

:13:48.:13:51.

for far too long. When I met the Russian ambassador a year ago, I

:13:52.:13:54.

urged him and asked him to request his government to find a new home

:13:55.:13:58.

for Assad outside of Syria to enable the political process to move

:13:59.:14:01.

forward and create peace in that country. He declined. Does my right

:14:02.:14:05.

honourable friend agree it's time for Russia to change its mind on

:14:06.:14:11.

that matter in -- matter? The Russian president actually suggested

:14:12.:14:15.

that Bashar al-Assad should find refuge in some Gulf country, which I

:14:16.:14:21.

won't upset by naming. Mr Speaker, the Foreign Secretary

:14:22.:14:25.

said in his statement I stress that we have no intention of dislodging

:14:26.:14:30.

Russia from Syria, well, we would be fools to think that we could, and

:14:31.:14:33.

then went on to say, but Russia's position in Syria does not depend on

:14:34.:14:39.

Assad. Now for the last seven years, Putin has supported Assad through

:14:40.:14:42.

thick and thin. He's not suddenly going to develop a conscience as

:14:43.:14:45.

we've seen with his actions over the years in Chechnya and elsewhere.

:14:46.:14:49.

Therefore, we're left in a position with the UN Security Council where

:14:50.:14:55.

Russia has a seat will constantly block any military attempts and

:14:56.:15:00.

therefore we're left with a scenario where Trump could take unilateral

:15:01.:15:03.

action as they've done on the airfield. I support that action. But

:15:04.:15:09.

how far are we supposed to support Trump without the support of the

:15:10.:15:12.

Security Council? Clearly, he could do that to Assad and he could do

:15:13.:15:17.

that to President Kim in North Korea. I disagree we strongly. I do

:15:18.:15:21.

think, of course, it's difficult, of course the Russians have been

:15:22.:15:24.

backing Assad for many years, but this is an opportunity now for them

:15:25.:15:28.

to have a new bargain, a bargain in which they have a ceasefire, a real

:15:29.:15:35.

political solution and in exchange they get a genuine relationship with

:15:36.:15:37.

the United States, they join the rest of the world in the war against

:15:38.:15:44.

Daesh and they have acknowledgement - yes I do - they have

:15:45.:15:48.

acknowledgement that they have a way out of the quagmire of Syria and the

:15:49.:15:53.

West will step in, once it's possible, to pay for the

:15:54.:15:58.

reconstruction of that country. Mr Speaker, Iran has committed

:15:59.:16:03.

hundreds of troops and billions of dollars in Syria, also in living

:16:04.:16:07.

memory many Iranians have suffered chemical attacks. They have been

:16:08.:16:11.

victims of it. Can my right honourable friend reassure the House

:16:12.:16:14.

that his department is taking advantage of the full diplomatic

:16:15.:16:17.

relations with Iran to put pressure on the Assad regime? Yes, we

:16:18.:16:23.

certainly are and I think one of the important points to make to the

:16:24.:16:27.

Russians is that in the end, it is the Iranians who are benefitting

:16:28.:16:33.

from any progress that the Assad regime makes. It is the Iranians who

:16:34.:16:37.

are the whip holders in that relationship and in the end, the

:16:38.:16:41.

Russians need to detach themselves from the Iranians as well as from

:16:42.:16:46.

Assad. Thank you Mr Speaker. I hear that

:16:47.:16:51.

the Secretary of State is saying, however a new report from Human

:16:52.:16:55.

Rights Watch suggest that US forces last month failed to properly

:16:56.:17:00.

confirm targets before launching a missile strike in Aleppo, killing

:17:01.:17:03.

dozens of civilians and as we've heard, including lots of children.

:17:04.:17:08.

They even destroyed a building they had even is stab lished was a

:17:09.:17:14.

mosque. As the UK Government cheer leads more US strikes in Syria what

:17:15.:17:18.

steps will the Secretary of State take to avoid more civilian deaths

:17:19.:17:21.

in Syria? I must say that obviously we deplore any civilian deaths in

:17:22.:17:29.

Syria. I do deplore any falls equiff lent of American actions and the

:17:30.:17:34.

dropping of barbaric weapons by the regime, banned in 1925. Can I

:17:35.:17:38.

welcome my right honourable friend's call for a peaceful and united

:17:39.:17:43.

Syria, who would disagree with that? And especially the need for

:17:44.:17:47.

humanitarian protection of civilians but would my right honourable friend

:17:48.:17:51.

agree that putting down shutters is never a productive way forward and

:17:52.:17:56.

in this light, can he confirm that he remains in regular contact with

:17:57.:18:03.

his Russian counterparts? Of course. Thank you Mr Speaker. I appreciate

:18:04.:18:07.

the statement from the Foreign Secretary, and we extend our

:18:08.:18:16.

sympathy and thoughts to the Bebing ton and Bladen families. Some of the

:18:17.:18:19.

devils that the Government has to deal with are home grown and this

:18:20.:18:22.

Government has been able to deal with them in the past. It seems

:18:23.:18:29.

attractive to remove one leader from power in terms of a regime change,

:18:30.:18:33.

does he accept that the real linchpin in Syria is Russia? And

:18:34.:18:38.

what are the true, what is the true state of his relationship with

:18:39.:18:43.

Russian officials between Her Majesty's Government and the Putin's

:18:44.:18:46.

regime? The honourable gentleman is absolutely right. In the end it was

:18:47.:18:51.

the Russian intervention that saved Assad's regime. It is now the

:18:52.:18:56.

Russians have it in their hands to chaining the out-- change the

:18:57.:19:00.

outcome in sear yar for the benefit -- Syria for the benefit of the

:19:01.:19:04.

Syrian people but for the benefit of Russia as well. I thank my right

:19:05.:19:08.

honourable friend for his statement. To echo the question from my

:19:09.:19:12.

honourable friend from Gainsborough, others are concerned about the

:19:13.:19:16.

phrase regime change and any policy that moves in that direction. Can he

:19:17.:19:20.

confirm if the US moves towards a more explicit regime change policy

:19:21.:19:23.

in regard to Assad that we would only support them after a vote in

:19:24.:19:28.

this House endorsing such a policy? The policy of the Government is

:19:29.:19:33.

spelt out clearly in resolution 2254, which calls for a political

:19:34.:19:37.

process leading to a transition away from Assad regime. I think the

:19:38.:19:40.

honourable gentleman will agree that is the right way forward. Thank you

:19:41.:19:51.

Mr Speaker. The Foreign Secretary confirmed that the regime has been

:19:52.:19:55.

responsible for three previous chemical attacks on their civilians.

:19:56.:20:00.

Given that, can he confirm whether or not there is international

:20:01.:20:05.

support for targeted sanctions against military commanders, despite

:20:06.:20:08.

the way that the negotiations went earlier? I should thank - I'm

:20:09.:20:13.

grateful for that. Because there was never a proposition to have general

:20:14.:20:17.

sanctions against Russia, for instance. That was a piece, a media

:20:18.:20:26.

ectoplax if you like. -- plasm, if you like, what we have is strong

:20:27.:20:32.

support for the idea of taking the evidence that the fact finding

:20:33.:20:37.

mission is going to be accumulating, using that to isolate the

:20:38.:20:39.

individuals who may have been responsible and by the way, there

:20:40.:20:44.

may be Russian military advisors who are already complicit in this and

:20:45.:20:49.

not only imposing sanctions on them, which I hope she will agree will be

:20:50.:20:52.

the right thing, I know she will agree will be the right thing to do,

:20:53.:21:00.

but also arraign them for war crimes. What role does the Foreign

:21:01.:21:05.

Secretary see the UK play in terms of the actions by the North Korean

:21:06.:21:09.

regime? The most important and useful thing we can do is to

:21:10.:21:15.

intercede with our Chinese friends to stress to them the huge influence

:21:16.:21:20.

they have in this matter, get them to use their economic weight to try

:21:21.:21:25.

to get Pyongyang to see sense. THE SPEAKER: Order. Point of order,

:21:26.:21:32.

Emily thornberry. Whilst refusing to answer the challenge of a televised

:21:33.:21:36.

debate by the Secretary of State to use the statement to make the most

:21:37.:21:41.

extraordinary claims. He's unaware of Labour's position in relation to

:21:42.:21:45.

this. We have made it abundantly clear that the way to proceed was

:21:46.:21:50.

for UN inspectors to establish who was responsible and challenge the

:21:51.:21:52.

international community, including the Russians, to take multilateral

:21:53.:21:57.

action against the perpetrator who is presumably Mr Assad.

:21:58.:22:03.

THE SPEAKER: What I would say to the honourable lady off the top of my

:22:04.:22:10.

head, unawareness whether real or proclaimed is not disorderly.

:22:11.:22:14.

Proceedings have been orderly. Some people may feel better informed

:22:15.:22:19.

others may not. But the honourable lady, who has very considerable

:22:20.:22:23.

experience both of this place and of pleading her case in the courts, has

:22:24.:22:29.

made her own point, with her own eloquence in her own way and it's on

:22:30.:22:37.

the record. Point of order. On Sunday, April 2, and again on Sunday

:22:38.:22:42.

9 April, the former Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Prescott claimed that

:22:43.:22:45.

my father, when a member of Parliament for North Antrim, had

:22:46.:22:49.

contrary to the Wilson doctrine, his phone tapped by the Security

:22:50.:22:54.

Services. This infringes on the rights and liberties of all 650

:22:55.:22:57.

members of this House and more importantly, on the rights and

:22:58.:23:01.

liberties of our constituents. What steps can be taken to verify Lord

:23:02.:23:06.

Prescott's claims and to hold to account those who failed to inform

:23:07.:23:11.

the Speaker at that time about this breaking of the Wilson doctrine? And

:23:12.:23:15.

what course is now open to Parliament to uncover the truth in

:23:16.:23:17.

this affair? THE SPEAKER: I'm very grateful to

:23:18.:23:20.

the honourable gentleman both for his point of order and

:23:21.:23:23.

characteristic courtesy of giving me advance notice of his intention to

:23:24.:23:28.

raise it. I would advise the honourable gentleman that if he

:23:29.:23:34.

believes that the privileges of this House have been infringed, the

:23:35.:23:37.

proper course of action is for him to write to me, setting out the

:23:38.:23:43.

facts of the matter. There is a very specific reason for my request to

:23:44.:23:49.

him in this particular circumstance to write. That is that he is

:23:50.:23:55.

essentially raising a matter of privilege. Traditionally, in such

:23:56.:24:01.

circumstances, the chair always advises a member to write to the

:24:02.:24:06.

Speaker. If the honourable gentleman does so, I would then make a

:24:07.:24:10.

decision on whether this should be per sued as a matter of privilege.

:24:11.:24:16.

We'll leave it there for now. I'm grateful to the honourable

:24:17.:24:19.

gentleman. If there are no further points of order... We come now to

:24:20.:24:22.

the ten minute rule motion. On here, Mr Speaker.

:24:23.:24:31.

I beg to move that leave be given for me to bring in a bill to make

:24:32.:24:35.

provision for the governance and operation of parish councils in

:24:36.:24:40.

England, and for connected purposes. I bring this bill forward today to

:24:41.:24:45.

make a fundamental point, that as we devolve power down to local

:24:46.:24:49.

communities, we should ensure that those councils to which we are

:24:50.:24:53.

giving more power should be run in a good way. Throughout all of public

:24:54.:24:58.

life, we should ensure that elected representatives adhere to the Nolan

:24:59.:25:07.

principles. They are selflessness, integrity, objectivity,

:25:08.:25:08.

accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. It is these

:25:09.:25:12.

principles that need to be at the heart of all governance, and indeed,

:25:13.:25:19.

of our parish councils. Madame deputies the, I have to begin by

:25:20.:25:24.

declaring my own involvement in local councils. Before coming to

:25:25.:25:30.

this place, I was a district and twice parish councillor. I have

:25:31.:25:33.

helped to produce a neighbourhood plan and sat on various parish

:25:34.:25:36.

council committees, and seen how parishes should work, both as a

:25:37.:25:41.

counsellor and now via feedback is a member of Parliament. I am very

:25:42.:25:45.

passionate indeed about the principle that decisions should be

:25:46.:25:50.

made as locally as possible, and as properly as possible. Indeed, as

:25:51.:25:55.

Campbell parish council is showing, they are now to agree the first

:25:56.:26:00.

stages of a neighbourhood plan. Good parishes can make a real difference.

:26:01.:26:04.

Committed people coming together in the best interests of their area. I

:26:05.:26:10.

am also fully in support of those calling for Eastleigh to have a town

:26:11.:26:15.

council, to give it a separate voice in the face of hostile development

:26:16.:26:20.

Eastleigh Borough council's missing local plan. I completely support the

:26:21.:26:24.

government's great devolution programme, which does exactly that.

:26:25.:26:29.

It empowers communities. I want to speak today about the most local

:26:30.:26:34.

form of government, parish councils. Across England, there is a patchwork

:26:35.:26:40.

of 9000 parish councils, each offering the closest form of

:26:41.:26:42.

representation in our democracy. Serving on these parishes or 80,000

:26:43.:26:48.

councillors, some elected, some unopposed, and some co-opted.

:26:49.:26:53.

However, a strong part of ensuring that localism and devolution agenda

:26:54.:26:58.

really works locally for people is ensuring that the councils and

:26:59.:27:01.

councillors are ready to receive these new powers. We need to ensure

:27:02.:27:06.

that parish councils are truly representative, representatives

:27:07.:27:12.

should come forward to offer a mix of talent, experience and a varied

:27:13.:27:17.

background, but sadly, in many areas, it is brutally undermined by

:27:18.:27:20.

party politicisation of parishes, and this bill would seek to reverse

:27:21.:27:25.

this. Multi-thing, where a counsellor sits on a number of

:27:26.:27:28.

different councils is not in itself a bad thing. # multi-hatting.

:27:29.:27:34.

Vertical multi-hatting, where a council is a parish and district

:27:35.:27:41.

councillor, helps foster good co-operation between these councils.

:27:42.:27:44.

However, I would like to draw attention to the growing negative

:27:45.:27:48.

edition of this, what I would like to call horizontal multi-hatting.

:27:49.:27:51.

This is where an individual sits on multiple parish councils. For

:27:52.:27:55.

example, there is a borough councillor in my constituency who

:27:56.:28:00.

sits on both Basildon parish council and west end parish council. The

:28:01.:28:04.

seat this individual is taking up could have been filled by someone

:28:05.:28:08.

who genuinely wants to contribute to their run community, rather than

:28:09.:28:11.

purely to be the political placeholder. Somebody who is not

:28:12.:28:14.

just seeking to qualify by simply being within three miles of one or

:28:15.:28:21.

two boundaries. In these instances, it really is a case of keeping seats

:28:22.:28:25.

told rather than keeping them warm, or rather, is it just a case of

:28:26.:28:30.

spying on the other camp? It is very much my view that there should be a

:28:31.:28:34.

restriction on this kind of horizontal multi-hatting, so people

:28:35.:28:39.

can get involved with their community and representation, and

:28:40.:28:42.

that political parties simply cannot block others from the community

:28:43.:28:49.

taking part. Secondly, this bill is to highlight the concerning weakness

:28:50.:28:53.

around safeguarding around parish councils. Often, a parish council

:28:54.:28:57.

will have a single member of staff in the form of a part-time clerk,

:28:58.:29:04.

and often, parish councillors will be involved in the local community.

:29:05.:29:07.

Many occupations they will be working within, and being in the

:29:08.:29:12.

lifeblood of the parish council. Two problems can arise from this.

:29:13.:29:16.

Firstly, a proper, effective safeguarding policy is difficult to

:29:17.:29:20.

maintain with limited staff time, and often a rather informal approach

:29:21.:29:27.

to governance. Secondly, and very seriously indeed, instances brought

:29:28.:29:30.

to my attention in both my constituency and elsewhere, parish

:29:31.:29:34.

councillors have used their position to bypass safeguarding. Parish

:29:35.:29:43.

councillors are using their position within their own communities and

:29:44.:29:46.

their status as a councillor in order to get appropriate access --

:29:47.:29:51.

inappropriate access to community places, such as community schools

:29:52.:29:54.

and local buildings. Clearly, it is very important that when we discuss

:29:55.:29:57.

these matters, we must balance the real need for good safeguarding with

:29:58.:30:01.

the right to run and stand in a local election. However, I believe

:30:02.:30:07.

this balance can be rightly struck by requiring all council candidates

:30:08.:30:14.

to be DBS checked as a first step towards being nominated for

:30:15.:30:17.

election. We also need to ensure that the best practice for

:30:18.:30:20.

safeguarding is instilled right down to our parish councils, and right

:30:21.:30:25.

across the country. That will include effective tracking and

:30:26.:30:27.

logging of potential interactions between councillors, well performing

:30:28.:30:34.

their duties, such as surgeries, particularly where vulnerable

:30:35.:30:37.

members of society will be approaching people for assistance by

:30:38.:30:42.

virtue of their counsellor status. This, of course, will mean more

:30:43.:30:46.

training and focus for parish councillors, and moving finally onto

:30:47.:30:51.

the final part of my bill, as we push our downwards to local

:30:52.:30:55.

communities, we also must provide those communities with access to

:30:56.:30:59.

outstanding training as their local representatives. In my discussion

:31:00.:31:07.

with the area branch of the National Association Of Local Councils, they

:31:08.:31:10.

have given the wonderful examples of wonderful and comprehensive parish

:31:11.:31:16.

training packages which can and must be implemented. I was particularly

:31:17.:31:20.

pleased to see Hampshire, under the brilliant councillor Colin Mercer,

:31:21.:31:25.

ensuring this kind of work is done for our new councillors. They have

:31:26.:31:31.

also provided me with a copy of their handbook, which they say is

:31:32.:31:33.

the most requested publication that they write. This handbook points out

:31:34.:31:39.

the way for a national standards of training for our parish councillors,

:31:40.:31:46.

and is clearly where we are giving more power and more responsibility,

:31:47.:31:49.

more discretion to parish councils, we need to fully understand their

:31:50.:31:53.

role in localism and the devolution agenda. I'm sure colleagues will

:31:54.:31:57.

sympathise with the feeling of having been elected and suddenly

:31:58.:32:03.

told to just get on with it. That is clearly not good enough. In planning

:32:04.:32:08.

for finance, for project management, for procurement, for key contracts

:32:09.:32:12.

and for challenging the complex issues which keep a vibrant

:32:13.:32:16.

community alive, those people making those decisions must have the best

:32:17.:32:21.

possible position to decide those outcomes, and I think we need to

:32:22.:32:27.

look in a more effective system -- at a more effective system of

:32:28.:32:31.

oversight for our parish councils, and also to give them confidence in

:32:32.:32:34.

that good decision making. I want to make it absolutely clear from my

:32:35.:32:39.

experience as a parish councillor and as an MP, the vast majority of

:32:40.:32:43.

our parishes are doing a fantastic job of representing their

:32:44.:32:44.

communities and working hard within it. However, in a tiny minority of

:32:45.:32:50.

cases where things go wrong, we need to make sure that someone is there

:32:51.:32:53.

to properly scrutinise and learn lessons, whether through expanding

:32:54.:32:59.

the remit of the ombudsman, of bringing in a clear and stronger

:33:00.:33:05.

code of conduct review, or indeed, through standard sports once again.

:33:06.:33:09.

We need to be able to tackle this issue. -- standards boards.

:33:10.:33:14.

Fundamentally, my own experience in my own political outlook means that

:33:15.:33:18.

I firmly believe in giving more power to local communities. Where we

:33:19.:33:23.

debate in this grand chamber and even grander building, it is worth

:33:24.:33:27.

remembering that people across the country this evening and across the

:33:28.:33:31.

week will be putting on their coats and walking up to their local

:33:32.:33:35.

village hall, and sitting regularly in their community spaces wanting to

:33:36.:33:39.

make their communities better, and their local areas a little bit

:33:40.:33:43.

better. I believe these measures will assist those councillors, and

:33:44.:33:47.

will make our parishes work better so they can continue to serve their

:33:48.:33:49.

residents fully and even more confidently.

:33:50.:33:55.

The question is that the honourable member have leave to bring in her

:33:56.:34:03.

bill will stop as many are of that opinion say aye. Of the country, no.

:34:04.:34:11.

The ayes have it. You will prepare and bring in the bill. Scott Mann,

:34:12.:34:17.

will Wrag, and Marie Trevelyan, John Howe, Amanda Solway, Antoinette

:34:18.:34:19.

Sandbach, Lucy Allen and myself. Parish council governance,

:34:20.:34:54.

principles of public life bill. Second reading, what day? Made 12.

:34:55.:35:00.

Made 12. The clerk will now proceed to read the orders of the day.

:35:01.:35:03.

Finance (No 2) Bill, second reading. The amendment has been selected,

:35:04.:35:14.

movement to read the second motion. Thank you very much. I beg to move

:35:15.:35:17.

that the bill will now be read a second time. This government has

:35:18.:35:23.

long demonstrated that it can deliver a stronger, more secure

:35:24.:35:25.

economy. We see the economy demonstrating robust growth. The

:35:26.:35:31.

employment rate is at a record high, and the deficit has been brought

:35:32.:35:35.

down by almost two thirds since the pre-financial crisis peak, but we

:35:36.:35:39.

are in a much stronger position now than we were in 2010. But there is

:35:40.:35:44.

no room for complacency. Indeed, as we begin the formal process of

:35:45.:35:47.

Exeter and the European Union, we have an even greater incentive to

:35:48.:35:51.

provide a strong and stable platform for the future. But the debt and

:35:52.:35:55.

deficit are still too high, so we remain focused on getting the public

:35:56.:35:59.

finances in order, not continuing to endlessly borrow and jeopardise

:36:00.:36:02.

future generations, as some would have us do. I will just get a little

:36:03.:36:08.

bit further in and happily give way. Before setting out the contents of

:36:09.:36:12.

this bill in more detail, I should of course refer to the fact that the

:36:13.:36:16.

Prime Minister has today announced her intention to lay before this

:36:17.:36:19.

house a motion calling for an early general election. Earlier today,...

:36:20.:36:25.

Members should be paying more attention. Earlier today, the Leader

:36:26.:36:30.

of the House updated Right Honourable members on how that

:36:31.:36:33.

motion, if passed, will affect the business of the house, and we hope

:36:34.:36:40.

to hold constructive discussions with the opposition on how this will

:36:41.:36:44.

proceed. Returning to the matter in front of us, I will lay out, if I

:36:45.:36:48.

can, the themes of the bill, and then come to the honourable

:36:49.:36:52.

gentleman's intervention. Returning to the matters in front of us, we're

:36:53.:36:55.

clear that our taxes and the system underpinning them need to be fair,

:36:56.:37:00.

competitive, critically, paid. This finance bill will take the next

:37:01.:37:04.

steps in helping to deliver a fairer and more sustainable tax system,

:37:05.:37:07.

that can support our critical public services and get the country back to

:37:08.:37:11.

living within its means. This bill implements changes which respond to

:37:12.:37:15.

the challenges our tax system and indeed our society faces. This bill

:37:16.:37:19.

delivers an intergenerational fairness by tackling of health

:37:20.:37:26.

outcomes across and within age groups. It delivers changes that

:37:27.:37:29.

better reflect the ways individuals choose to work, enabling them to

:37:30.:37:32.

earn money and create wealth whatever their chosen business

:37:33.:37:34.

structure, but at the same time ensuring these choices are not

:37:35.:37:38.

distorted. And this bill delivers vital revenues to put our public

:37:39.:37:42.

finances on a sustainable footing and secure the future of public

:37:43.:37:46.

services that we all value, and helping to further bring down the

:37:47.:37:53.

deficit. I will give way. I am grateful to the minister. Will she

:37:54.:37:59.

confirmed that the OBR report which accompanied the last budget, compare

:38:00.:38:03.

to the one for last year's budget, downgrades above forecasts for each

:38:04.:38:07.

year in the forecasting period? I don't know if he was in the house

:38:08.:38:12.

earlier today, but in fact, the most recent statement we got on a growth

:38:13.:38:15.

forecast from the IMF so it actually upgraded today, and we see that all

:38:16.:38:22.

the economic indicators are pointing to robust growth, despite the

:38:23.:38:26.

knowledge challenges of the period ahead. Would he like to commend?

:38:27.:38:34.

I thank the minister. In the interests of the period up to pro

:38:35.:38:38.

legation, as we try to work out what remains in the bill, could she just

:38:39.:38:46.

tell me, tell the house, what... Where the ?2 billion to replace the

:38:47.:38:54.

non-razing of the national insurance contributions going to come from if

:38:55.:38:57.

she is so wedded to balancing the books? Well, the Chancellor was

:38:58.:39:02.

clear at the time that in the statements we have made about the

:39:03.:39:06.

budget and subsequent decisions, that we were looking to balance the

:39:07.:39:09.

budget is across the period. Clearly, going into a general

:39:10.:39:12.

election campaign, we will have more to say about that in the manifesto,

:39:13.:39:16.

and we will lay that out then. This is not the place for that. But there

:39:17.:39:21.

are measures... There are measures in this bill that are in immediately

:39:22.:39:25.

and openly about revenue raising, and we will come to some of those,

:39:26.:39:28.

and the Chancellor was very direct about that when he announced the

:39:29.:39:32.

budget, and indeed, at the time of the Autumn Statement as well. Let me

:39:33.:39:36.

say a bit about what the government had done to support fairness between

:39:37.:39:40.

generations. It is an essential priority that everyone should have

:39:41.:39:43.

access to the NHS when they need it and everyone should enjoy security

:39:44.:39:46.

and dignity in old age, and that is why in the spring budget, we

:39:47.:39:50.

announced an additional 2 billion, has just referred to, for adult

:39:51.:39:54.

social care. This means councils in England will have access in total to

:39:55.:39:58.

?9.25 billion of dedicated funding for social care more over the next

:39:59.:40:03.

two years as a result of changes introduced by this government since

:40:04.:40:08.

2015. On top of that, the last two fiscal events, we have done much to

:40:09.:40:12.

be build a better future for our younger children by helping people

:40:13.:40:15.

save more of the money they earn, investing in education and skills, a

:40:16.:40:19.

key theme of the Autumn Statement and of the budget, and by building

:40:20.:40:25.

more affordable homes. We will build on this work, in particular by

:40:26.:40:29.

helping to tackle childhood obesity and deliver a healthier future for

:40:30.:40:30.

our children. The youngest people in our society

:40:31.:40:44.

that are working our earning less than previous 29-year-olds have over

:40:45.:40:50.

here and. They are also less likely to own their own property, more

:40:51.:40:56.

likely to rent. What is she doing to ensure the stops and is reversed no?

:40:57.:41:06.

I have just talked about some of the things we're doing. Some of these

:41:07.:41:13.

one-time trends. Ultimately, if you want to be law will fear, high wage

:41:14.:41:21.

economy, you need to invest in young people from a young age. I think the

:41:22.:41:26.

package of skills unveiled recently a string to make the step changes to

:41:27.:41:33.

get into IP jobs for young people. With regards to housing, we

:41:34.:41:36.

acknowledge there are challenges the. We are looking to address

:41:37.:41:43.

those. With regard to childhood obesity, something close to my heart

:41:44.:41:48.

is a former public health official. Soft drinks are still one of the

:41:49.:41:54.

biggest sources of sugar in children's diet. It not only cost

:41:55.:41:59.

the productivity of the economy but the public purse. That is a great

:42:00.:42:02.

cost to the individuals, as well. The overall cost to the NHS totalled

:42:03.:42:15.

over ?6 billion a year. This will look to introduce a lady for soft

:42:16.:42:22.

drink manufacturers to pay for that. We have seen announcement from the

:42:23.:42:31.

likes of Tesco, the makers of Lucozade and I have had the number

:42:32.:42:36.

of discussions with companies in recent months and understand the

:42:37.:42:38.

effort and investment they are making to change the product and

:42:39.:42:44.

portfolio mix. Even though revenues were lower than expected, we

:42:45.:42:52.

welcomed in that since the predicted revenues are evil because the policy

:42:53.:42:56.

is working a way, but we will maintain the ?4 billion funding that

:42:57.:43:02.

we pledged to do. It is further evidence of the government been

:43:03.:43:06.

committed to tackling childhood obesity as part of a programme of

:43:07.:43:10.

work across government departments to deliver a access for future

:43:11.:43:11.

generations. They constituent has highlighted

:43:12.:43:30.

obesity has the second largest cause of cancer next to smoking. Can I ask

:43:31.:43:34.

to confirm that the measures will be part of the package of measures to

:43:35.:43:41.

tackle childhood obesity, those helping patents protecting them from

:43:42.:43:46.

junk food advertising and also to tackle a beast sugar content in

:43:47.:43:57.

school meals? She came to me to talk on a major close to my heart from a

:43:58.:44:02.

previous portfolio. Clearly, we are committed rate across government to

:44:03.:44:07.

tackling this. If I take one aspect of this. She mentioned other

:44:08.:44:13.

products are not in the scope of the lady. Public Health England are

:44:14.:44:18.

working very closely with manufacturers setting ambitious

:44:19.:44:20.

targets and that programme of work is well under way. If you look at

:44:21.:44:26.

the progress of this country meet on salt reduction, a world leading

:44:27.:44:29.

programme, all that was done through this close working and being

:44:30.:44:35.

ambitious and fishing industry. I think that is alongside the levy,

:44:36.:44:40.

which is turbo-charged that work, is a very substantial element in the

:44:41.:44:46.

plan and the Department of Health is doing other things to particular

:44:47.:44:50.

working things with schools and the money that will come from the levy

:44:51.:44:55.

means more can be done in that regard. Limit to another theme. This

:44:56.:45:01.

is something we have talked about as a strategic challenge not just for

:45:02.:45:05.

this country but for many developed countries and that is the different

:45:06.:45:09.

ways people are working nowadays. This bill takes important steps

:45:10.:45:13.

within the tax system to reflect the changing ways in which people choose

:45:14.:45:21.

to work. Individuals who work for a company pay significantly less

:45:22.:45:24.

national insurance than those who are self-employed. This can happen

:45:25.:45:29.

when people are doing very similar work. We believe tax receipts will

:45:30.:45:43.

be reduced by ?3.5 billion by 2021-22. We are committed to helping

:45:44.:45:46.

businesses large and small across the UK to succeed. We want the tax

:45:47.:45:53.

system to be feared to individuals working in different ways in the

:45:54.:45:58.

system must be sustainable. This will take initial steps to help out.

:45:59.:46:07.

First, the off payroll working rule for public engagements. This

:46:08.:46:15.

addresses the company the individuals working for. This will

:46:16.:46:26.

clear the current rules, which cost ?700 million a year. This change

:46:27.:46:30.

will reduce the tax differential between individuals working for a

:46:31.:46:37.

company and those working as self-employed. It will raise much

:46:38.:46:41.

needed revenue to pay for other services, such as social care. I

:46:42.:46:48.

want to assure honourable members that they will help still be helping

:46:49.:46:53.

investors by the allowances that have been introduced by the

:46:54.:46:57.

government means they will be able to invest up to ?50,000 without

:46:58.:47:03.

paying any dividend on that. It increases the amount individuals

:47:04.:47:08.

conceive. This has been increased by the largest ever owned, up to 20,000

:47:09.:47:12.

this year. General investors will still no pay any dividend tax. This

:47:13.:47:19.

will help address the rising cost of public finances. It is in that

:47:20.:47:27.

context that the dividing change should be considered. Moving on, it

:47:28.:47:30.

will further moderate the tax system by legislating and making takes

:47:31.:47:42.

digital. The administration of tax must change. With many people paying

:47:43.:47:48.

wages online, this is a natural extension of this reality. Many

:47:49.:47:52.

government departments have been brought into the digital age,

:47:53.:47:56.

including the taxation system and we need to continue their journey.

:47:57.:48:00.

Businesses will feel the benefit of getting the tax correct first time

:48:01.:48:05.

and cutting down on excessive administrative burdens in the long

:48:06.:48:09.

term. Simultaneously, making takes digital will help close the tax gap.

:48:10.:48:24.

All the studies conducted so far have indicated that this will

:48:25.:48:28.

present an additional cost for small businesses, who have to do this four

:48:29.:48:35.

times a year. In many parts of the country, small businesses do not

:48:36.:48:39.

even have good access to the Digital economy to make those returns. With

:48:40.:48:48.

regard to the latter, I looked at this in some detail recently. In

:48:49.:48:53.

terms of what would be required of people to, in terms of uploading

:48:54.:48:57.

digital data, the Meese the vast majority, he had a 90%, have access

:48:58.:49:08.

to high-speed broadband. With regard to changes for small businesses. We

:49:09.:49:13.

do not recognise some of the figures put out into the public domain by

:49:14.:49:18.

representative bodies. The Treasury has done their own analysis. But we

:49:19.:49:24.

do acknowledge this would be a big change for small businesses.

:49:25.:49:28.

Particularly those below the value of the tax threshold. This will mean

:49:29.:49:35.

that given the pilot has now started, this will mean that the

:49:36.:49:43.

system will be parted for two years before the small businesses into.

:49:44.:49:48.

But we cannot sustain the level of error and the size of the tax gap

:49:49.:49:57.

which occurs in SMEs in the long term. We need to tackle it. Serious

:49:58.:50:05.

developed countries across the world are digitising the taxation system.

:50:06.:50:10.

There are benefits to that. There will be challenges to during the

:50:11.:50:17.

transition, of course. I fully accept that we need to tackle the

:50:18.:50:24.

tax gap. Is she willing to look at the smallest businesses to opt in?

:50:25.:50:30.

Perhaps for five years, they could see how the system worked? We have

:50:31.:50:42.

already announced that those below the VAT threshold will have up until

:50:43.:50:48.

2019. Only then will become mandatory. We will debate this in

:50:49.:50:55.

more issue. Suffice to say, some of the alternative proposals that have

:50:56.:51:00.

advanced simply do not tackle this issue around the level of error and

:51:01.:51:07.

the tax gap. We need to address that because it is part of the general

:51:08.:51:11.

challenge we face about the sustainability of the tax base. We

:51:12.:51:18.

think this will benefit overseas million small businesses over that

:51:19.:51:23.

the United Kingdom, the majority of whom are conducting the banking

:51:24.:51:27.

online. This is very much going with the flow of free society is going.

:51:28.:51:33.

We have a package of support that will be via for the smallest

:51:34.:51:35.

businesses and we will have a chance to explore that maybe later,

:51:36.:51:41.

depending on how much time we get to debate the bill over the coming

:51:42.:51:53.

days. The HMRC will oversee this and make sure that the reforms are

:51:54.:52:00.

implemented smoothly. I have talked about how this can help the health

:52:01.:52:07.

and the tax system, but also, we want to talk about how we can keep

:52:08.:52:13.

he feel are unsustainable tax base to raise much-needed revenue in the

:52:14.:52:17.

process. This government remains committed to its fiscal Mandy of

:52:18.:52:23.

reducing the deficit. That is why we took the difficult decision to

:52:24.:52:24.

increase the standard rate of tax from 10% to 12%. The

:52:25.:52:43.

Chancellor was very direct in the wiki presented that, in that we

:52:44.:52:48.

which it needed to raise additional revenue. I have is I have outlined,

:52:49.:52:54.

the taxation system needs to be fair, they should be competitive.

:52:55.:53:04.

That is particularly important as we enter the next phase of negotiations

:53:05.:53:09.

with regard to as exiting the European Union. We need to retain a

:53:10.:53:14.

competitive edge and remain an attractive place for people to start

:53:15.:53:20.

up businesses and to attract inward investment. We have seen some

:53:21.:53:24.

excellent decisions in that regard in recent months. But taxation has

:53:25.:53:30.

to be paid. It should go without saying that it remains the case that

:53:31.:53:35.

although we have the lowest tax gaps in the developed world, we are one

:53:36.:53:40.

of the most transparent about how we measure and report on it, we want to

:53:41.:53:45.

tackle tax avoidance at all levels to ensure that everyone, no matter

:53:46.:53:51.

who they are, to make sure people pay be a great amount of taxation at

:53:52.:53:57.

the right time. This Finance Bill will take further action to make

:53:58.:54:01.

sure we get the tax revenues which are due by continuing with the work

:54:02.:54:07.

to tackle tax avoidance and evasion. We already have a strong track

:54:08.:54:15.

record in that regard. Since 2010, HMRC has secured around ?140 billion

:54:16.:54:23.

in additional tax revenue after tackling noncompliance, evasion and

:54:24.:54:31.

avoidance. We are at the forefront of many of the international

:54:32.:54:35.

discussions about tackling this. Some of the most thorny issues we

:54:36.:54:39.

face with regard to avoidance and evasion, particularly really include

:54:40.:54:45.

complex multinational businesses, can only be tackled in an

:54:46.:54:50.

international forum. We have worked closely with other international

:54:51.:54:53.

bodies and will continue to do so and read those discussions as we

:54:54.:55:00.

tackle them. This will no build on this by introducing overacting

:55:01.:55:05.

policies which are forecast to raise over ?5.5 billion by 2021-22. First,

:55:06.:55:12.

the government will update the rules as to how companies claim for tax

:55:13.:55:22.

differentials and losses. Companies will no longer be able to use the

:55:23.:55:30.

taxable profits to be offset. They will not be able to offset it with

:55:31.:55:34.

past losses when they make substantial profits. Taken together,

:55:35.:55:40.

these measures will raise nearly ?7 billion from large companies over

:55:41.:55:41.

the next five years. The bill will continue the

:55:42.:55:50.

government's crackdown on artificial disguise remuneration schemes, by

:55:51.:55:53.

introducing new rules and a new charge an outstanding loans from the

:55:54.:55:57.

5th of April, 2019. These changes will ensure that scheme users pay

:55:58.:56:01.

their fair share of tax and will bring in ?2.5 billion by 2020-21.

:56:02.:56:08.

Thirdly, in order to deter those who gain financially from enabling tax

:56:09.:56:11.

avoidance, the government will institute a new penalty for those

:56:12.:56:14.

who enable the use of schemes that are later defeated by HMRC. This is

:56:15.:56:19.

an area in which we have worked closely, and I think an area in

:56:20.:56:23.

which policy development has benefited from a real focus on

:56:24.:56:30.

quality tax policy making. We have worked closely with representative

:56:31.:56:34.

bodies to ensure that all people working within the spirit of their

:56:35.:56:37.

professional guidelines have nothing to fear from these new rules, but I

:56:38.:56:43.

do think it is really important that we actually do tackle the enable is.

:56:44.:56:53.

-- enablers. Members of Parliament feel they were given advice that was

:56:54.:56:56.

later revealed to have been very poor advice, but we have not had a

:56:57.:57:00.

system where those people who enabled the tax avoidance, we have

:57:01.:57:06.

actually been able to pursue them in the way we wanted, and that can't be

:57:07.:57:10.

right. So the provisions in this bill will mean that enablers of

:57:11.:57:15.

abusive arrangements can be held accountable for the activities,

:57:16.:57:18.

whilst ensuring, as I say, that the vast majority of professionals who

:57:19.:57:21.

provide advice and genuine commercial arrangements will not be

:57:22.:57:28.

impacted. Finally, in this area, Finance Bill 2017 will bring an end

:57:29.:57:32.

to a long-standing imbalance in the tax system by abolishing permanent

:57:33.:57:35.

non-Dom status. This will raise ?400 million each year by the end of this

:57:36.:57:40.

Parliament. As a package, these measures will ensure our tax system

:57:41.:57:43.

remains fundamentally fair and that people and businesses pay the taxes

:57:44.:57:48.

they owe. The reasons we have said that, it is not just because it is

:57:49.:57:52.

important to sustain the tax base, it is important for the revenue we

:57:53.:57:55.

need for vital public services, but it is also important and we all feel

:57:56.:57:59.

a sense that everyone is contributing as they should be, and

:58:00.:58:02.

that we are asking everyone to work within the rules. I think the quid

:58:03.:58:08.

pro quo for having a competitive unfair tax system is that taxes

:58:09.:58:13.

should be paid. -- competitive and fair. In conclusion, the finance

:58:14.:58:17.

bill before us today will help deliver a fairer, more sustainable

:58:18.:58:21.

tax system, one fit for the digital age and responsive to the different

:58:22.:58:25.

ways in which people choose to work. It will continue our work to tackle

:58:26.:58:30.

tax avoidance and evasion, help improve the nation's finances and

:58:31.:58:33.

pay for critical public services, and by taking a significant step to

:58:34.:58:38.

address the issue of childhood obesity, delivering a better future

:58:39.:58:42.

for our younger generation. This is a billet leathers on the

:58:43.:58:45.

government's plan for Britain, a stronger economy and a fairer

:58:46.:58:48.

society, and I commend this bill to the house.

:58:49.:58:53.

The question is that the bill now be read a second time.

:58:54.:58:59.

Thank you. There was plausibility through every sentence in the

:59:00.:59:08.

minister's speech. Plausibility run riot, but plausibility I don't

:59:09.:59:17.

accent. -- accept. But who would have thought we were there would

:59:18.:59:21.

would be here in a chamber packed out with scintillating debate on the

:59:22.:59:24.

day of a general election being called? I think not. If you weeks

:59:25.:59:33.

ago, -- a few weeks have passed since the Chancellor's shambolic

:59:34.:59:36.

budget U-turn. Today, the Prime Minister has announced a U-turn in

:59:37.:59:43.

relation to the general election. We all thought the lady was not for

:59:44.:59:48.

turning. She led us to believe this on at least several occasions, and

:59:49.:59:58.

of course, we were wrong. Apparently, the Prime Minister did

:59:59.:00:02.

not want one, and clearly in the last few days, she has had some

:00:03.:00:06.

Damascene conversion to democracy, apparently. What we had is the

:00:07.:00:15.

Brexit referendum last year, which gave authority to push on with

:00:16.:00:19.

Brexit, and we now find that the Prime Minister says she wants even

:00:20.:00:26.

more authority. I thought we were getting the Brexit vote push on last

:00:27.:00:29.

time after time, and clearly that was not enough. I done that the

:00:30.:00:32.

Prime Minister is feeling slightly insecure, possibly. I really don't

:00:33.:00:38.

know, but we are where we are. As the finance bill as a product of the

:00:39.:00:42.

budget, it is only right that we start this debate by offering a

:00:43.:00:48.

reminder of its contents. The budget continued, notwithstanding what the

:00:49.:00:56.

minister said, the government's prerogative of tax cuts for

:00:57.:00:58.

multinational corporations, and the super-rich. By the end of 2021, they

:00:59.:01:06.

would have received ?70 billion worth of tax breaks, paid for by

:01:07.:01:11.

those on middle and low incomes, and of course, the self-employed. That

:01:12.:01:17.

is a fact. There they are in the OBR's figures, the government's

:01:18.:01:22.

figures. That is the fact. The budget, however, failed to

:01:23.:01:25.

adequately address the social care crisis, which has now seen 900 adult

:01:26.:01:29.

social workers in England leave the profession every day, and goodness

:01:30.:01:33.

knows how many GPs getting their pension statements ready for moving

:01:34.:01:40.

on as well. It also did little to support small and medium-sized

:01:41.:01:42.

business owners, who are the lifeblood of this economy, and who

:01:43.:01:46.

are increasingly feeling the pressure as the economy slows, and

:01:47.:01:51.

inflation rises. More importantly, this budget demonstrated that this

:01:52.:01:54.

government is willing to break its manifesto commitments at the drop of

:01:55.:01:59.

a hat. Despite the Chancellor's bravado. The Chancellor's ineptitude

:02:00.:02:09.

is clear from the sea. The government has presided over the

:02:10.:02:15.

greatest depression since the 1920s, with earnings downgraded once again.

:02:16.:02:18.

The Home Secretary said in his budget speech that his government

:02:19.:02:20.

does not believe in spending and promising what they cannot deliver.

:02:21.:02:25.

I agree this is an important barometer to judge the government's

:02:26.:02:29.

record, so let's look at what the government has promised over the

:02:30.:02:31.

last seven years and what it has actually delivered. Went into power,

:02:32.:02:35.

the Conservatives committed to balancing the by 2015, a

:02:36.:02:40.

Conservative broken promise. That macro balancing the books. They said

:02:41.:02:46.

it would be pushed back to 2019-20, another Conservative broken promise.

:02:47.:02:51.

Instead by 2020, they plan to be borrowing an eye watering 21.4

:02:52.:02:57.

billion, and since 2010, ten out of the 14 government budgets and Autumn

:02:58.:03:05.

Statement have seen an increase in forecast borrowing. This

:03:06.:03:08.

government's record on borrowing has seen missed target after missed

:03:09.:03:11.

target with constant upward revisions. The government pledged

:03:12.:03:15.

that debt as a percentage of GDP would start to fall in 2015.

:03:16.:03:21.

Instead, it continued to grow. Another Conservative broken promise.

:03:22.:03:24.

On growth, the government's record has been one of epic failure. The

:03:25.:03:29.

OBR has now revised down the economic growth of 2016-18, and

:03:30.:03:34.

every remaining year of the parliament, notwithstanding the

:03:35.:03:38.

comments made before about the OECD. While British people wait to see any

:03:39.:03:41.

benefit, it seems the reality is that the only growth they can expect

:03:42.:03:46.

to see is the size of the government's finance bills. This is

:03:47.:03:53.

a whopper, coming in at 762 pages, longer than any previous finance

:03:54.:04:00.

bill, one of the largest pieces of legislation ever presented to this

:04:01.:04:04.

house. 762 pages, hardly riveting reading, I have to say, as well.

:04:05.:04:10.

Every single syllable of it, several times! In those hundreds of pages,

:04:11.:04:18.

you will search long and hard for anything that helps ordinary

:04:19.:04:23.

taxpayers. Instead, it is replete with ever more complex giveaways to

:04:24.:04:27.

corporations and the super-rich. But even those hundreds of pages are not

:04:28.:04:32.

enough for this government's giveaways to the rich. This mammoth

:04:33.:04:37.

bill will be supplemented by unprecedented numbers of statutory

:04:38.:04:41.

instruments on the back of the Treasury's already unheard-of use of

:04:42.:04:48.

them. 90 last session and 88 already in this session. Referring to Henry

:04:49.:05:01.

VIII's edict, it makes him look like a committed parliamentarian. Leaving

:05:02.:05:04.

aside the size of the legislation, it is matched only by the growth in

:05:05.:05:07.

Conservative broken promises. Is this government doing anything to

:05:08.:05:12.

deliver growth that benefits the average household? The Chancellor

:05:13.:05:16.

has consistently pledged action to tackle the UK productivity gap, but

:05:17.:05:19.

under this government, the UK's productivity gap at the G7 has grown

:05:20.:05:24.

by a fifth to the largest gap since 1991. The Conservatives wherein

:05:25.:05:30.

government at that point as well. This government has done little to

:05:31.:05:34.

tackle the scandal of chronic low pay and insecure despite falling

:05:35.:05:40.

unemployment, workers are currently suffering the worst decade of pay in

:05:41.:05:47.

70 years, years. Rising inflation is now outstripping wage growth, and

:05:48.:05:51.

real tempeh is now falling from around 40% of the UK workforce. The

:05:52.:05:58.

government's promise of a ?9 living wage has been consistently revised

:05:59.:06:01.

down, first to ?8.80, and now again to ?8 75p. Rising inflation sees the

:06:02.:06:08.

cost of living forever one going up, so it is clear that when it comes to

:06:09.:06:14.

introducing a wage that working people can live on, only a Labour

:06:15.:06:17.

government will deliver. This finance bill does little to address

:06:18.:06:20.

the crisis in living standards which many of our constituents are

:06:21.:06:24.

currently feeling. Nor does it offer support for small and medium-sized

:06:25.:06:28.

businesses that are facing rising costs and a lack of investment due

:06:29.:06:33.

to the government's hard Brexit strategy. If you can call it a

:06:34.:06:39.

strategy. I will give way. He is making some very interesting

:06:40.:06:43.

points. For good me, but they seem to be contrary to the fact is I see

:06:44.:06:48.

them. -- forgive me. I see businesses coming to Britain, icy

:06:49.:06:51.

investment moving to Britain, I see opportunity starting in Britain, and

:06:52.:06:57.

while it seems to run country to his argument, I wonder if he would like

:06:58.:07:00.

to address why international businesses see Britain as a land of

:07:01.:07:03.

opportunity" when he clearly does not?

:07:04.:07:09.

I suggest the honourable member should take his rose tinted

:07:10.:07:12.

spectacles off, if that is what he sees. We are all aware that the only

:07:13.:07:17.

conservative idea for the future post Brexit economy is to turn our

:07:18.:07:20.

once pride where the economy into a bargain basement tax haven. That is

:07:21.:07:28.

what the opposite side once. -- want. While we have had seven years

:07:29.:07:34.

of slogans from this government, while we are still only more on a

:07:35.:07:42.

cigarette packet's worth of evidence for the government's negotiated in

:07:43.:07:46.

Europe. They are nonexistent, and have been running Vista on for two

:07:47.:07:50.

or three years since the referendum. Other than the preparation to sell

:07:51.:07:54.

us down the river to tax avoiders and dodgy dealers across the globe,

:07:55.:07:58.

we will hear the government make great claims are tackling tax

:07:59.:08:01.

avoidance in this bill. We have already heard it from the minister,

:08:02.:08:05.

but it is a charter for tax avoidance. No amount of smoke screen

:08:06.:08:08.

and bluff can hide it. The Chancellor wants us to believe that

:08:09.:08:12.

measures to bring some non-dons into tax will really tackle the problem,

:08:13.:08:16.

but again and again, throughout the bill, we see measures preserving

:08:17.:08:22.

non-Dom special status and privilege in this group were domiciled

:08:23.:08:26.

taxpayers. Even their headline measure is undermined because they

:08:27.:08:29.

have chosen to preserve the non-Dom status of offshore trusts. How on

:08:30.:08:34.

earth is this going to get any more taxes paid when non-dons were

:08:35.:08:38.

forewarned that they could just hide their money in a trust and still

:08:39.:08:45.

keep it beyond the revenue's grasp? When is closing a loophole not

:08:46.:08:49.

closing a loophole? When it is hidden in a magic spreadsheet. So

:08:50.:08:52.

this bill also fails to introduce any meaningful measures that will

:08:53.:08:57.

tackle tax avoidance and evasion, which even this government admits

:08:58.:09:03.

cost at least ?36 billion a year. In short, this finance bill continues

:09:04.:09:07.

to push our country towards a low tax and low pay economy, where a

:09:08.:09:12.

small minority of the rich can get wealthier at the expense of

:09:13.:09:18.

everybody else. Yes? I thank him for giving way. I would love this to be

:09:19.:09:22.

a low tax economy, but is he aware that tax as a percentage of GDP will

:09:23.:09:25.

be at the highest level since Harold Wilson was Prime Minister?

:09:26.:09:31.

Well, I am grateful for the honourable member bringing that to

:09:32.:09:34.

my attention, but let me put it like this. If we had a Labour government,

:09:35.:09:38.

it would be even higher. The finance bill does nothing to fund the NHS,

:09:39.:09:44.

which is facing its worst crisis, and as the former Secretary of State

:09:45.:09:50.

for Health, Lord Lansley, said, the government planned for five years of

:09:51.:09:55.

austerity, but having ten years was neither planned for nor expected,

:09:56.:10:00.

and that came from a man who wasted ?3 billion on a top down

:10:01.:10:07.

reorganisation of the NHS. By underfunding and overstretching the

:10:08.:10:09.

NHS, the Tories have pushed health services to the brink will stop that

:10:10.:10:11.

must be on everybody's postbag. Keep the NHS, they feel it only

:10:12.:10:25.

right to ask for Labour are doing with regard to the NHS. We only need

:10:26.:10:30.

to look at one place to see how they are doing. Wales. Not doing very

:10:31.:10:42.

well. People are less satisfied than they are in England and even

:10:43.:10:47.

Scotland, with the Scottish National Party have been delivering even

:10:48.:10:53.

worse results. Can I draw the owner will be to waiting lists in England,

:10:54.:11:02.

3.8 million people. I think the honourable member should be more

:11:03.:11:05.

concerned with the 3.8 million people in England. A Conservative MP

:11:06.:11:14.

on the eve of a general election can boast about the NHS. If there's one

:11:15.:11:20.

thing for we know, people will know who the contrast with regard to the

:11:21.:11:25.

NHS. My honourable friend is completely right. I look forward to

:11:26.:11:31.

any of the members of wanting to send me the manifesto with regard to

:11:32.:11:36.

the NHS, I would be happy to look them through. I make it even more

:11:37.:11:45.

votes of Ebbw them through the doors of my constituency. The Finance Bill

:11:46.:11:51.

does nothing to help fund the NHS. By underfunding and overstretching

:11:52.:11:56.

the NHS, the Conservatives have cut health services to the brink. Bids

:11:57.:12:00.

have been cut by 10% since they came into government. Recruitment

:12:01.:12:07.

recruitment is at an all-time low. More are moving out of practice,

:12:08.:12:15.

community pharmacy funding has been savagely cut back by as much as 20%.

:12:16.:12:21.

As a result, as many as 3000 pharmacies face closure in rural

:12:22.:12:28.

communities. It is not the best record on the NHS. Simple as that.

:12:29.:12:42.

Of course, I accept what the member has said about the NHS faces, but

:12:43.:12:48.

since he described in an earlier part of the speech borrowing has

:12:49.:12:53.

been eye watering my hi, how would he propose to fund the gap which is

:12:54.:13:00.

required to increase standards in the NHS? I do fear airily to the ?70

:13:01.:13:09.

billion that this government have given away to corporations. That

:13:10.:13:14.

would be a start. I welcome the support for that. We have seen ?4.6

:13:15.:13:23.

billion cut from social care budgets. The Chancellor has only

:13:24.:13:29.

pledged to retain 2 billion of that for the next two years. This is half

:13:30.:13:40.

of what the Kings has said that the social care sector requires. It is a

:13:41.:13:46.

broken promise from the Conservatives. Another one. It is

:13:47.:13:53.

pitching the NHS and social care into further crisis. The government

:13:54.:13:58.

is behaving like an ostrich. It is coming back to bite them. Timing too

:13:59.:14:04.

small and medium businesses. They are contributing more to the British

:14:05.:14:09.

economy develop any other time. He will contribute ?270 billion to the

:14:10.:14:16.

United Kingdom economy by 2020, but this bill does little to meet the

:14:17.:14:19.

growing concerns that many business owners have. It is rates in favour

:14:20.:14:26.

of giveaways to big corporations. The question is, so can be right

:14:27.:14:33.

that a leading supermarket will its business rate bill fall by 105

:14:34.:14:39.

billion -- million pounds, while independent shopkeepers struggle

:14:40.:14:47.

with Aycliffe age hake in the bills. It needs to be more favourite

:14:48.:15:00.

towards SMEs. Rising business costs are creating a perfect storm for

:15:01.:15:08.

SMEs. Basic costs have soared by over 3% last year. They are expected

:15:09.:15:16.

to grow by ?6.8 billion by this year alone. Overall the Conservatives

:15:17.:15:20.

continue to look the other way and are in complete denial about this. I

:15:21.:15:28.

am very grateful. Does he welcome the additional funding of ?25

:15:29.:15:33.

million a year to support some businesses that no longer receive

:15:34.:15:43.

small business rate relief. I welcome that figure. But they should

:15:44.:15:48.

not have been put in a position in the first place. That is the fact of

:15:49.:15:53.

the matter. It is too little too late. The small businesses need all

:15:54.:16:04.

the support they can get. These are jobs, and the people who order the

:16:05.:16:09.

businesses have worked harder to make them go in the face going out

:16:10.:16:12.

of business because of government policy. Given that the larger stores

:16:13.:16:19.

have weathered the recession much better than many of the small

:16:20.:16:24.

businesses he is referring to, witty give any consideration to a policy

:16:25.:16:31.

introduced in northern Ireland, we are larger stores have a 15% premium

:16:32.:16:40.

on the rates in order to help finance small businesses in the town

:16:41.:16:45.

centres? If this was coming for the government say, I would say I would

:16:46.:16:50.

listen to the representations. We would listen to anything which would

:16:51.:16:55.

help small businesses. The decision in the Finance Bill with regard to

:16:56.:17:01.

alcohol duty, moving on to that, we'll only further undermine the

:17:02.:17:06.

local businesses under threat. 29 pubs are closing of the week. We

:17:07.:17:14.

welcome plans to introduce digitisation of taxation, this will

:17:15.:17:18.

put a huge administrative burden onto small businesses who are just

:17:19.:17:24.

trying to pay the taxation that they are a warning. So much for small

:17:25.:17:28.

business. There is no reason they should have to submit quarterly

:17:29.:17:35.

Digital returns. The do not have the tamer capacity to transfer over to

:17:36.:17:41.

digital capacity of the amount of stress for business rates. That is

:17:42.:17:47.

why we support the Treasury Select Committee view and of owners that it

:17:48.:17:56.

is better to exempt the smallest tax payers from quarterly reporting and

:17:57.:18:00.

fees in digital taxation to make sure it is great for everyone,

:18:01.:18:03.

rather than the Conservative Party making sure it is correct for all.

:18:04.:18:15.

It also places new burdens on HMRC. It is already teetering on the edge

:18:16.:18:20.

of the constant slashing of its resources in the past few years.

:18:21.:18:27.

Hundreds of staff already dismissed. Costing far more than the cuts have

:18:28.:18:32.

seized on the closure of dozens of tax offices across the country still

:18:33.:18:38.

to come. In my constituency alone, thousands of jobs at risk. Ogilvy

:18:39.:18:44.

with the ever-increasing responsibilities with just a

:18:45.:18:50.

skeleton staff remaining. Ogilvy reduction in navy is expected from

:18:51.:18:57.

tax digitisation, boat? Andrea there are no tax people feel to get the

:18:58.:19:08.

returns, so we close the tax gap needed to run the service? It is a

:19:09.:19:18.

false economy. I will defend HMRC. It is no Regis attack. Those

:19:19.:19:26.

exaggerations he has said. He should look at the publicly available

:19:27.:19:31.

figures with regard to the performance. What he said was far

:19:32.:19:36.

from the truth. The performance has been excellent in recent years, not

:19:37.:19:42.

least the ?140 billion raised in 2010 with regard to evasion. I think

:19:43.:19:49.

the attempt at plausibility has gone amiss. The reality is we are

:19:50.:19:58.

contacting people constantly by HMRC, not those on the front line

:19:59.:20:04.

who do a fantastic job. Thousands of them in my constituency. The idea

:20:05.:20:09.

that I would attack people in my constituency completely nonsensical.

:20:10.:20:16.

They are struggling against the odds stacked against them by this

:20:17.:20:24.

government. That is the reality. The odds are stacked against the staff

:20:25.:20:32.

by this government. The Finance Bill is a failure before it has even

:20:33.:20:38.

started. It is a busted flush. The minister referred earlier to helping

:20:39.:20:45.

householders. Or the government should do is that if they are

:20:46.:20:49.

setting aside resources to help householders, it should also be

:20:50.:20:57.

tackling the threat to the stability of the housing market by

:20:58.:21:08.

organisations such as Bellway, through the lease provisions they

:21:09.:21:12.

have is time people to the houses, it is an absolute outrage. The

:21:13.:21:16.

housing market is in danger if these sort of scams are allowed to

:21:17.:21:20.

continue. If we're going to deal with issues around the housing

:21:21.:21:24.

market, the government are quite regularly pitying resources to

:21:25.:21:30.

front, should be pulling these organisations in and telling them to

:21:31.:21:34.

stop ripping off people who bought houses from. This makes small and

:21:35.:21:43.

medium income tax payers, small businesses and the self-employed pit

:21:44.:21:51.

to decide in favour of the super-rich. It takes no serious

:21:52.:21:56.

issue to tackle tax avoidance. It includes another number of ghetto

:21:57.:22:01.

rose, it is just another smoke screen. -- get around. Does the

:22:02.:22:10.

honourable gentleman accept that this bill falls on from the

:22:11.:22:15.

government increasing the number of people in employment significantly.

:22:16.:22:25.

In my constituency, only 370 people are unemployed. Around 1 million

:22:26.:22:33.

people are on seal hours contracts. People are in insecure work. Of

:22:34.:22:37.

course I will come employment. But it has to be secure, well paid and

:22:38.:22:43.

sensible employment where people can sustain their families. Under this

:22:44.:22:47.

government, I am afraid for millions of people that is not the case. The

:22:48.:22:53.

reality is that you are unable to sustain an ordinary life with the

:22:54.:22:59.

income they are getting. His pledge to increase taxation for the goes

:23:00.:23:07.

directly contrary to his idea of raising employment. Raising the

:23:08.:23:16.

threshold on companies would see unemployment rise, not fall. I do

:23:17.:23:24.

not know which speech he was listening to, but I did not refer to

:23:25.:23:30.

raising taxation. I did not. I was asked the question from one of the

:23:31.:23:34.

honourable members behind me as to how I would pay for it. I indicated

:23:35.:23:40.

for example, for a start, corporations. ?70 billion over five

:23:41.:23:50.

to six year period. Giving relief to corporations. That is the sort of

:23:51.:23:57.

starting point we have got. As far as I am concerned, this bill takes

:23:58.:24:03.

is no longer -- no clearer to knowing whether the Conservatives

:24:04.:24:06.

will meet the target of closing the deficit. It has led them to borrow

:24:07.:24:10.

more than any other government in history and far more than any Labour

:24:11.:24:17.

government complains. That is the fact of the matter. I will give way.

:24:18.:24:24.

Thank you. Can he tell us how much the Labour Party would board all in

:24:25.:24:31.

his plan? A lot less than you. In short, this bill is another

:24:32.:24:37.

conservative broken promise. I urge the house to refuse the bill its

:24:38.:24:39.

second reading. It is a pleasure to speak in this

:24:40.:24:53.

nice, brief and moderate bill. I suspect the bill that passes the

:24:54.:24:56.

house in the next few weeks will be a bit thinner than this. I'm not

:24:57.:24:59.

sure I welcome the change to having it printed in one block rather than

:25:00.:25:02.

too. But I think I would like to focus my speech on the contents of

:25:03.:25:06.

the bill rather than trying to start the general election campaign we

:25:07.:25:08.

don't technically have till tomorrow. I'm sure I heard the

:25:09.:25:12.

gentleman say that Labour wanted tax to be a higher percentage of GDP

:25:13.:25:15.

than the government currently has it. I suspect if that is the Labour

:25:16.:25:20.

manifesto pledge, that will be appearing on lots of leavers from

:25:21.:25:22.

candidates on the side of the house rather than his own, because the way

:25:23.:25:27.

of achieving that is to raise income tax, national insurance or VAT. I

:25:28.:25:29.

suspect others will be very popular with the electorate. -- I suspect

:25:30.:25:35.

none of those will be very popular. Onto the other measures of this

:25:36.:25:40.

bill. The first measure I would like to briefly mention is, a moderate

:25:41.:25:46.

measure, but it is the one that allows employers to provide pensions

:25:47.:25:50.

advice and associated advice like impact on their taxation bills of

:25:51.:25:58.

their ploys, and allows that advice to be done tax free now up to ?500.

:25:59.:26:04.

I think we see real problems in understanding how the pension system

:26:05.:26:07.

works and how much they will have in their retirement and how much they

:26:08.:26:09.

need to save and how they should save it, any effort we can make to

:26:10.:26:13.

encourage people to take more advice, and good quality advice the

:26:14.:26:17.

earlier the better, has to be welcome. I welcome that increasing

:26:18.:26:26.

that actually from ?150 to ?500. Onto clause 31, the interest

:26:27.:26:30.

restrictions for corporates, where going forward, they will only be

:26:31.:26:33.

allowed to claim tax relief for interest up to 30%. Before I came

:26:34.:26:40.

here, I spent many years advising large corporates on their

:26:41.:26:43.

corporation tax bills, and wrestled with the very many efforts we have

:26:44.:26:47.

taken to get the interest deduction we allow down to a sensible level. I

:26:48.:26:53.

think there are well over half a dozen different anti-avoidance

:26:54.:26:58.

measures in terms of on allowable purpose or the worldwide debt cap.

:26:59.:27:01.

We have had all manner of attempts to get the right answer. But what we

:27:02.:27:07.

always had as a policy from successive governments, both

:27:08.:27:10.

Conservative, Labour and coalition, was, we saw it as a competitive

:27:11.:27:14.

advantage to the UK to try and attract inward investment, attract

:27:15.:27:17.

companies here by having a very generous interest deduction. So I

:27:18.:27:22.

think it is absolutely right that we recognise, in the era where large

:27:23.:27:25.

multinational corporations have been gaming the global tax system to a

:27:26.:27:29.

ridiculous degree, that we can't allow our system to be exploited by

:27:30.:27:32.

the excessive interest deductions, especially where they aren't even

:27:33.:27:35.

real commercial interest costs to the worldwide group. It makes sense

:27:36.:27:42.

for us to go along with a global consensus that interest should be

:27:43.:27:48.

30%. As a house, we all approve that. Just to give some scrutiny to

:27:49.:27:53.

what the downside impact on how we attract international investment is,

:27:54.:27:57.

how many businesses here employing large numbers of high skilled people

:27:58.:28:02.

are here for that interest deduction that we allow, effectively, and

:28:03.:28:05.

profits earned around the world, and what impact it will have on where

:28:06.:28:10.

they choose to locate in future. I hope that impact is zero, because as

:28:11.:28:15.

I say, this is a great place to do business and employ people. People

:28:16.:28:17.

don't come here to chase very generous tax deductions, but this

:28:18.:28:21.

will be an interesting policy change, to see how the impact of

:28:22.:28:26.

that works going forward. I think those rules are probably quite

:28:27.:28:30.

complicated. I think there are sensible exemptions for

:28:31.:28:32.

infrastructure investment, and we need to encourage private companies

:28:33.:28:38.

to invest in UK infrastructure. We don't give tax relief for large

:28:39.:28:40.

amounts of industrial buildings, which can be quite a large cast and

:28:41.:28:45.

infrastructure. We ought to be reforming those rules as well to

:28:46.:28:48.

make sure we have a competitive regime that, if you are a

:28:49.:28:52.

multinational company wanting to invest in infrastructure, the UK is

:28:53.:28:55.

the place you want to do it, and not somewhere else for tax purposes. I

:28:56.:29:00.

welcome the domicile rules that the minister outlined. I think people

:29:01.:29:07.

out there who try and understand tax cannot understand why rich people

:29:08.:29:11.

can avoid tax because of where their father was born, and that is the

:29:12.:29:16.

strange historic system we have had since the colonial days. I think it

:29:17.:29:19.

should be absolutely clear that, certainly if you were born here, you

:29:20.:29:23.

pay all UK taxes here, and if you have lived here a long time, you

:29:24.:29:27.

should be paying the same taxes. The idea you can move and live here for

:29:28.:29:31.

40 years, or even be born here and avoid certain taxes, has been a

:29:32.:29:35.

ridiculous way of exploiting our tax regime. We are working on making

:29:36.:29:41.

some steps to change them. Clause 71 on the soft drinks levy. I have had

:29:42.:29:46.

some concerns in debates about this. I think I would absolutely welcome

:29:47.:29:50.

taxes on unhealthy activities. I think they have a of taxes on and

:29:51.:29:54.

tobacco on offer very sensible reasons. -- alcohol and tobacco. I

:29:55.:30:00.

can see where we have an obesity crisis, we should be looking at

:30:01.:30:06.

taxes on unhealthy foods and drinks. I think we could have done a sugar

:30:07.:30:12.

tax, and I think what we should have, though, is consumers in the

:30:13.:30:15.

supermarket he'll get the they want to buy should be able to see

:30:16.:30:18.

something which says, this product is so one healthy for you, there is

:30:19.:30:22.

a tax on this so you will pay more for it. That is how we would get the

:30:23.:30:26.

behavioural change of someone walking down the aisles of a major

:30:27.:30:31.

supermarket. They could look and see full sugar cola, can his 10p more

:30:32.:30:36.

expensive than Diet Coke, because it is unhealthy, therefore, I will buy

:30:37.:30:40.

the Diet Coke. That ought to apply to ridiculously sized portions of

:30:41.:30:43.

cake or very bad for you sweets, or those of the things we eat that are

:30:44.:30:48.

unhealthy. Perhaps we ought to try to structure a sales tax on

:30:49.:30:50.

unhealthy products are actually get the behavioural change that we want.

:30:51.:30:55.

There are lots of reasons the government have chosen to go down

:30:56.:30:58.

this route and target one particular product, but I think there is a real

:30:59.:31:03.

danger that the market for colour is so complicated that the consumer may

:31:04.:31:10.

not actually know this charge even exists. -- cola. I happen to be the

:31:11.:31:13.

supermarket the weekend looking at the various prices of colas, so I am

:31:14.:31:19.

quoting Tesco, and I should declare my wife works there, but there is no

:31:20.:31:23.

reason it is my nearest supermarket. I could buy a litre of Tesco's own

:31:24.:31:33.

cola for 50p, Pepsi for ?1.25, or Coke for ?1.66, and two for slightly

:31:34.:31:42.

more. How a consumer would know from those variations in prices, never

:31:43.:31:45.

mind all the promotions that come on, which is the bad one and which

:31:46.:31:48.

they should be avoiding, is not entirely clear. If you look at

:31:49.:31:54.

prices for smaller quantities, 600 millilitre bottle of Pepsi is 99p,

:31:55.:31:58.

about the same as a two litre one. Will he give away?

:31:59.:32:03.

I will. On the issue of soft drink, does he not understand the argument

:32:04.:32:07.

he is making very cogently, but does he not welcome the targeted nature

:32:08.:32:11.

of this fund, in other words, that the levy will go towards the

:32:12.:32:13.

Department for Education and help all of our children in all of our

:32:14.:32:16.

constituencies lead healthier lifestyles? That he work on that

:32:17.:32:20.

aspect, if he has concerns about other aspects?

:32:21.:32:24.

I absolutely welcome more funding to help children be healthy, more

:32:25.:32:27.

funding for sports, and I especially welcome that the largest employer in

:32:28.:32:32.

my constituency, Thorntons, has a big funding that they give to a

:32:33.:32:37.

school for sports. Absolutely, more funding for healthy activities for

:32:38.:32:40.

children has to be a good thing. I am a little nervous about

:32:41.:32:44.

associating taxes with individual spending. There is a real risk that

:32:45.:32:48.

if you do that, you end up with a very public hated tax system. --

:32:49.:32:56.

complicated tax system. I probable it wanted to link the spending

:32:57.:33:00.

directly to attacks. It is kind of him to give way. Just to clarify,

:33:01.:33:04.

one of the reasons the levy is a levy on producers is because we want

:33:05.:33:09.

to drive, as I say, the reformulation, and drawing on my

:33:10.:33:12.

previous role as public health minister, every study ever done

:33:13.:33:17.

across the world has shown that reformulating product as source is

:33:18.:33:19.

probably the number one most effective way of helping people

:33:20.:33:25.

tackle obesity, and that certainly if you talk to the supermarkets and

:33:26.:33:31.

some producers, as I have been doing for many months now, that is also

:33:32.:33:35.

the message they are getting back from consumers, from their own

:33:36.:33:38.

research, tackling the problem at source in terms of their formulas is

:33:39.:33:41.

what consumers want to see. I absolutely agree with that. If you

:33:42.:33:44.

can change what people consume without them knowing, without having

:33:45.:33:47.

to change their own behaviour, we will get calorie reduction is that

:33:48.:33:52.

we want. But if that is the argument, I am a little intrigued as

:33:53.:33:58.

to why we go for soft drinks industry, which has produced a diet

:33:59.:34:02.

brand which notionally has no calories and has innovated things

:34:03.:34:05.

like the new Coca Cola Light, which has reduced calories and showed up

:34:06.:34:09.

using sugar. So I think there is a real risk from that, industries that

:34:10.:34:14.

have spent lots of money developing popular product and marketing them

:34:15.:34:18.

think, well, actually, I can do all of that investment with all of that

:34:19.:34:21.

money and still get clobbered by a levy, whereas other industries that

:34:22.:34:25.

don't do that don't get that. Maybe I just shouldn't invest and run the

:34:26.:34:30.

risk. I think we can debate this at great length. I think we are trying

:34:31.:34:36.

to do here is absolutely right. The childhood obesity crisis is such

:34:37.:34:39.

that we have to take some measures. I accept this is a measure that

:34:40.:34:42.

target is something which contributes to that. As I say, I

:34:43.:34:49.

would like to see us have a clear feeling that consumers can see in

:34:50.:34:52.

the shop, a warning, this is unhealthy and will cost you more. I

:34:53.:34:57.

think that would be a better way of getting the behavioural change and

:34:58.:35:01.

the changing diets that we need. I think it would be more effective in

:35:02.:35:05.

the long run. Just on that, I really appreciate

:35:06.:35:08.

the point he is making, and have a lot of sympathy around the wider

:35:09.:35:12.

point he is making about reducing consumption of sugary food. I think

:35:13.:35:16.

it is really interesting, the point around making it obvious to people

:35:17.:35:20.

what they are, and if that could be done more widely, not just in

:35:21.:35:24.

relation to soft drinks, but things like pasta sauces, for example, with

:35:25.:35:27.

a huge amount of sugar in them, and I think there is a lack of awareness

:35:28.:35:30.

there, and that is one of the biggest things we can do to change

:35:31.:35:34.

behaviour, increasing awareness, rather than necessarily increasing

:35:35.:35:37.

the cost on all these things. I agree with that, and we should be

:35:38.:35:42.

targeting the ones people think would be healthy but in reality are

:35:43.:35:47.

not. I buy a smoothie thinking that has got lots of fruit in, it must be

:35:48.:35:51.

good for me, but it is actually quite high calorie as well. It is

:35:52.:35:54.

not a bad thing to consume that fruit. I need it as part of a

:35:55.:35:58.

balanced diet. You could say certain milk drinks are incredibly bad for

:35:59.:36:01.

you. I'm not entirely clear the levy applies to those. They may be worse

:36:02.:36:05.

for you than many soft drink. There is a whole range of products that,

:36:06.:36:12.

as I say, if we manage to structure a tax on something high sugar, high

:36:13.:36:17.

calorie, and work to the outcome we are after.

:36:18.:36:27.

Does the honourable member accept that this gives way to a debate, and

:36:28.:36:31.

therefore public awareness of sugar in drinks that some people were not

:36:32.:36:37.

aware of the now do know about? I think having a broader debate raises

:36:38.:36:43.

the understanding that a diet cola is much healthier than a full show

:36:44.:36:48.

the cola for most people. I think it is a healthy thing. -- full sugar.

:36:49.:36:56.

I'm not sure whether debates in this place or taxes on producers will

:36:57.:37:00.

affect people's consumer decisions in the supermarket, which I think is

:37:01.:37:04.

probably based on price, promotion and their personal preferences or

:37:05.:37:08.

historic buying habits. But I think it is something the government was

:37:09.:37:13.

right to tackle. To move on to cause 108, tightening up the rules for VAT

:37:14.:37:20.

collection from fulfilment businesses, which has absolutely

:37:21.:37:27.

become one of those areas where, as globalisation has changed how people

:37:28.:37:30.

structure their business and how they have people buy things online,

:37:31.:37:33.

I think we have seen a big weakness there and how people can avoid

:37:34.:37:41.

paying VAT that is due in the UK. We have a very generous turnover

:37:42.:37:43.

threshold. Most countries around Europe to let you have your first

:37:44.:37:49.

80,000 turnover VAT free. I think it is actually ?83,000. It is quite

:37:50.:37:53.

right we have that exemption, but we need to find ways of stopping people

:37:54.:37:58.

selling things on internet marketplaces and exploiting that.

:37:59.:38:01.

There is a big revenue leak there. It also makes it very hard for UK

:38:02.:38:05.

businesses who are resident here, who are trying to comply, to

:38:06.:38:08.

actually compete with those internet-based sellers who aren't

:38:09.:38:13.

charging VAT on products they ought to be charging it on. So I think all

:38:14.:38:16.

the measures we can possibly take to make sure anyone trading here who

:38:17.:38:21.

turns over more than 80,000 has to charge VAT on the things they sell,

:38:22.:38:26.

has to be something we do, and I look forward to seeing how those

:38:27.:38:29.

measures work and what the government can do on those. On

:38:30.:38:35.

clause 120, making tax digital, which we had an exchange on earlier,

:38:36.:38:41.

I do accept that we have to make tax more digital than it already is, and

:38:42.:38:45.

get people filing returns online. I can see where the government would

:38:46.:38:49.

want the information much earlier than they get it. Trying to take out

:38:50.:38:53.

the errors, individuals and businesses don't want to make

:38:54.:38:56.

errors, they want to get their taxes right. I'm not sure how much we help

:38:57.:39:01.

them adding 782 pages of this bill, so they have to try and work out how

:39:02.:39:07.

to comply with that. But I think it is the right thing to try and do. I

:39:08.:39:11.

just worry that if we rush the smallest businesses into this, we

:39:12.:39:15.

will end up with the wrong outcome. So I accept that where businesses

:39:16.:39:20.

are turning over more than 80000 and already filing their VAT quarterly,

:39:21.:39:27.

probably, they are already doing monthly PSYRE activities, presumably

:39:28.:39:33.

on a computer and reporting those. -- PAYE activities. They are

:39:34.:39:36.

gathering or the information they need and making these returns should

:39:37.:39:41.

not be unduly onerous. I think the advantages there do outweigh the

:39:42.:39:47.

downsides. Where I worry about a perverse outcome... Will he give

:39:48.:39:48.

way? I think he's slightly glossing over

:39:49.:40:12.

the problems for businesses. I was coming to the point. Businesses who

:40:13.:40:22.

are submitting VAT returns. And other ones who are submitting PAYE,

:40:23.:40:33.

small businesses normally do this once a year and deploy an accountant

:40:34.:40:38.

to do that. There's a risk that you go from an annual return compiled by

:40:39.:40:48.

a qualified person swapped for a quarterly system done by the

:40:49.:40:51.

individual itself, you could end up with much less accurate information

:40:52.:40:56.

when you use to her. We have to be careful we do not have to go from a

:40:57.:41:02.

relatively reliable annual situation to an unreliable for teams are your

:41:03.:41:07.

system. It could make the error is worse than was ever intended. Rather

:41:08.:41:17.

than paying an accountant for teams here, you would want to pay them

:41:18.:41:21.

once a year. I am thinking about how we face the Centre for the smallest

:41:22.:41:27.

businesses. Perhaps making it compulsory date a few years away,

:41:28.:41:33.

allowing people to maybe opt out at first if they feel they can comply.

:41:34.:41:43.

They can fainting to make sure they get it right, rather than the shock

:41:44.:41:48.

of finding they have got it wrong and be landed with the taxation

:41:49.:41:50.

Bill. These extra few years, it will Bill. These extra few years, it will

:41:51.:41:56.

then not be such a big shock as it could be. If this was meant to do

:41:57.:42:05.

away with error with regard to working out thanks, there are

:42:06.:42:11.

certain adjustments that can only be done at the end of year, the likes

:42:12.:42:17.

of stock. These will impact on companies. It can significantly

:42:18.:42:27.

already to the businesses and their costs. Those annual adjustments, you

:42:28.:42:33.

have to think about how you would do these a few moved to a quarterly

:42:34.:42:40.

system. I think maybe small businesses have that simplify, so I

:42:41.:42:44.

do not think those issues will apply to that extent. The government

:42:45.:42:49.

intend to expand those measures to make it easier for small businesses.

:42:50.:42:56.

On the first Finance Bill I spoke on, one of my amendments was that we

:42:57.:43:02.

moved the corporation taxes are much closer to the annual accounts

:43:03.:43:08.

system. It would be much clearer for business. Maybe the more things we

:43:09.:43:14.

have, eventually I will get to that dream I had several years ago,

:43:15.:43:20.

releasing I sounded rather optimistic on that. I think we

:43:21.:43:26.

should welcome that we relaxed the timetable for businesses. That is

:43:27.:43:32.

welcome. It will be welcomed by the small businesses in my constituency

:43:33.:43:41.

who had concerns on this. While we are on corporation tax and before it

:43:42.:43:45.

was talking about amendments, a was talking about amendments, a

:43:46.:43:48.

tabled the first amendments and another was to have companies fail

:43:49.:44:00.

one corporation tax submission for the entire group, rather than

:44:01.:44:05.

separate ones. We have restrictions on this bill about how much of the

:44:06.:44:10.

losses you can use going forward from previous years. We are allowing

:44:11.:44:17.

these to be allowed -- used across the group. That is a welcome change.

:44:18.:44:26.

As we leave the European Union and we used to include all the European

:44:27.:44:32.

Union companies need tax return, perhaps now is the time for us to

:44:33.:44:37.

look at what many countries do, allowing companies to fail one tax

:44:38.:44:40.

return to shore the whole profit for the whole group. Actually, I think

:44:41.:44:47.

that would help us tackle tax avoidance schemes which have made a

:44:48.:44:52.

plea on companies having different treatment. That would make things

:44:53.:44:56.

easier to comply and help catch tax avoidance. I hope we can look at

:44:57.:45:06.

issues like that. On the point about corporation tax, would he agree that

:45:07.:45:15.

the cut in corporation tax from 19% to 17% in 2020 is only going to be

:45:16.:45:19.

good for the economy? We have seen the previous cut saw an increase in

:45:20.:45:27.

revenue from corporation tax. This is these favourable place for

:45:28.:45:33.

business as we enter a war next phase of leaving the European Union?

:45:34.:45:39.

We need to send a signal that we are a great place to boot business. We

:45:40.:45:44.

want international investment to come here. Having a headline

:45:45.:45:49.

corporation tax that is as low as it is is absolutely the right thing to

:45:50.:45:55.

do. I welcome that. I welcome the move down to 17%.

:45:56.:46:08.

I thank him for his indulgence. Can he explain why Germany, which has a

:46:09.:46:17.

much higher headline rate of corporation tax, does so much better

:46:18.:46:25.

industrially? I would need to have attended many of his lectures to get

:46:26.:46:29.

more of an understanding on that. It is not something I have studied. I

:46:30.:46:37.

suspect it is not all going to corporation tax. Would he also

:46:38.:46:46.

appeared in mind that the most comparable comparable country as

:46:47.:46:53.

Ireland, which is a corporation tax of 12.5%? That has been very

:46:54.:47:01.

successful in attracting investment. It has got them through all the

:47:02.:47:05.

financial crisis. That is one thing they were not prepared to change and

:47:06.:47:11.

they have been very successful with that 12.5% rate. I celebrate the

:47:12.:47:25.

fact that Britain is the always corporation tax in the G20. Would he

:47:26.:47:32.

agree with me that actually, Britain and Germany spend similar amounts of

:47:33.:47:42.

spending on research and development, but when it comes to

:47:43.:47:46.

private sector investment, if we are going to lead a new revolution, it

:47:47.:47:53.

is important that we make sure our economy is attractive to invest in

:47:54.:47:57.

them that is what this Finance Bill does? Yes, if we were to enter a

:47:58.:48:04.

debate on the Germany economy, we could be here all night. A final

:48:05.:48:12.

point on corporation tax, we have a clause on Northern Ireland

:48:13.:48:16.

corporation tax and how we will make the lower rate work. I do hope we

:48:17.:48:22.

can get an executive form in Northern Ireland so we can have the

:48:23.:48:27.

slower rate. I do not think we will have to rush that clause two, given

:48:28.:48:39.

the current situation. Thank you. Would he accept the deep

:48:40.:48:44.

disappointment with in Northern Ireland, because of Sinn Fein 's

:48:45.:48:49.

insistent on unrealistic demands, they will not be an executive in the

:48:50.:48:55.

near future and therefore the ability to Northern Ireland to

:48:56.:48:59.

reduce corporation tax, which was one of the key pack parts of the

:49:00.:49:05.

economic strategy will be taken away from the executive? I agree with

:49:06.:49:11.

them. It is very regrettable that the power of which was long campaign

:49:12.:49:18.

for cannot be in place. We wanted that rate which was matching the

:49:19.:49:24.

Republic of Ireland in order to attract the same sort of investment.

:49:25.:49:33.

It is a need for Northern Ireland to find a way forward. That should not

:49:34.:49:37.

be lost within the context of as having a general election. Last year

:49:38.:49:45.

's finance bill, the government accepted bringing in territory

:49:46.:49:49.

reporting for all large corporate with regard to annual tax

:49:50.:49:57.

submissions. The timetable is, having seen these reports, that poor

:49:58.:50:02.

being introduced, as a cup final remarks, Kelly welcome the

:50:03.:50:11.

encouragement of social investment by scene taxation being focused on

:50:12.:50:17.

the right things, not just avoidance. I saw that residents

:50:18.:50:25.

managed to buy a local pub which was going to be knocked down and turned

:50:26.:50:30.

into housing. Them we they managed to do that was to get 250 people to

:50:31.:50:37.

buy shearers. It was an example of what a community can do to save

:50:38.:50:42.

something which was important to the man I wish them every success in

:50:43.:50:49.

that. Finally, I wanted to talk about passenger duty. I do not want

:50:50.:50:56.

to go back through the whole debate. I wonder, as we leave the European

:50:57.:51:03.

Union, some of the restrictions drop only, if we are looking at measures

:51:04.:51:08.

which would encourage investment in regional airports which would help

:51:09.:51:14.

tackle congestion in London, help improve the era quality of London.

:51:15.:51:28.

-- air. Additional routes to regional airports or some way of

:51:29.:51:39.

which we can be lower AED for a new route, to encourage that you wrote

:51:40.:51:44.

to thrive? These measures would not have the big revenue hit, but would

:51:45.:51:54.

target we can spin to help fatal regional growth within the United

:51:55.:52:03.

Kingdom. We could see some interesting tax competition in

:52:04.:52:09.

Scotland in the future. We will see what is happening in the north of

:52:10.:52:15.

England. Overall, I welcome this bill. There are many important

:52:16.:52:23.

measures in here which will help protect our tax base and help tackle

:52:24.:52:31.

tax avoidance. I think it is very important and I hope these

:52:32.:52:34.

provisions survive whatever the discussions are over the next few

:52:35.:52:44.

days. He has quite rightly mention tax avoidance. Would he accept that

:52:45.:52:48.

there are measures within the bill tackling that, given the tax gap of

:52:49.:52:54.

nearly ?40 billion and the government target of ?5 billion

:52:55.:52:59.

between now and 2020, the issue of tax avoidance is not being taken

:53:00.:53:05.

seriously. There will be frustration that companies can still walk away

:53:06.:53:20.

without any tax bill. It is important to see what makes up the

:53:21.:53:25.

tax gap. Tax avoidance is actually a relatively small part of that. From

:53:26.:53:31.

memory, the largest part are people who operate in the black market and

:53:32.:53:41.

do not pay VAT or taxation. A large part is also due to it by small

:53:42.:53:50.

business. I think it is probably impossible to get the tax gap down

:53:51.:53:56.

to zero. That would involve some fairly heavy compliance bill. There

:53:57.:54:02.

will always be some level of tax that you cannot collect. The

:54:03.:54:06.

measures being taken progressively over the last seven years to tackle

:54:07.:54:10.

aggressive tax avoidance have been the correct ones. As you work for to

:54:11.:54:21.

scene when that gets to its five-year anniversary, what we think

:54:22.:54:26.

we can have the strategy around whether we need to have so many

:54:27.:54:30.

individual ones or whether we can rely on the general one. We have

:54:31.:54:35.

raised some questions about making taxation digital, if you want to get

:54:36.:54:42.

the tax down, making businesses more compliant on a regular basis will be

:54:43.:54:46.

a key part of that. We have to press on with that and make their work,

:54:47.:54:51.

for not wanting to risk going too far in that situation. There are

:54:52.:54:57.

more measures we could take to encourage people not to pay cash on

:54:58.:55:05.

hand to avoid VAT. As an individual, how do you know the person cutting

:55:06.:55:10.

your page is actually tax registered? There is perhaps a way

:55:11.:55:13.

we could have some sort of registration. I want to engage with

:55:14.:55:20.

people who are fully tax compliant. If you cannot do that may be able to

:55:21.:55:27.

hire someone else. A very good speech about the changing nature of

:55:28.:55:32.

the economy. I welcome the review by Matthew Taylor with regard to tax on

:55:33.:55:40.

companies and individuals within the Digital economy. Striking a balance

:55:41.:55:47.

between taxation and the growth in the employment market. It is

:55:48.:55:54.

something which needs to be tackled. It given to the national insurance

:55:55.:56:00.

debate. I welcome the way the public sector are engaging with

:56:01.:56:04.

individuals. We need to find a way of doing that. We need to find a way

:56:05.:56:09.

of doing that for a high paying individual show with the public

:56:10.:56:16.

sector. We need to make sure they have taxation of the way the

:56:17.:56:18.

taxation system was meant. The measures we have here, I accept the

:56:19.:56:29.

reduction was the right thing to do. What we want to make sure is that

:56:30.:56:35.

the tax system is not encouraging unscrupulous employers to make

:56:36.:56:41.

employees and self-employed to take the tax advantage for themselves. We

:56:42.:56:51.

do not want that going down the same route, with the employees then

:56:52.:56:56.

falling foul of not having the likes of sick pay or holiday pay. I can

:56:57.:57:06.

accept we have the necessity for a lower tax system, but people have to

:57:07.:57:16.

be employed in needle so generous taxation system. That is a very

:57:17.:57:24.

important part to play. I will wrap up by I wish the bill well.

:57:25.:57:32.

And now, they reasoned amendment. Thank you, I beg to move the

:57:33.:57:39.

amendment in my name and those of my honourable and Right honourable

:57:40.:57:42.

friends. We will oppose this finance bill, not so much... Well, somebody

:57:43.:57:49.

has to provide opposition! Not so much because of what it does, but

:57:50.:57:53.

more accurately, because what does not do. And so while, for example,

:57:54.:57:59.

we have the iniquity of Scotland's police and fire and rescue

:58:00.:58:02.

authorities paying VAT, and we know that is a long-standing problem,

:58:03.:58:06.

this government could and should have taken the opportunity of this

:58:07.:58:09.

finance bill to rectify it, but of course, they didn't. There was,

:58:10.:58:14.

though, in the budget, at least the recognition of the problems faced by

:58:15.:58:19.

Scotland's oil and gas sector, although no specific measures

:58:20.:58:21.

announced, only another options paper, which was effectively

:58:22.:58:26.

announced last year. This finance bill could and should have been the

:58:27.:58:29.

opportunity to make concrete proposals for UK content for oil

:58:30.:58:34.

exploration and decommissioning allowances to ensure the sector

:58:35.:58:40.

continues to thrive and flourish and provide substantial tax yields for

:58:41.:58:43.

decades into the future, but of course, it doesn't. What it does do

:58:44.:58:46.

is put at the duty of Scotch whiskey, increase insurance premium

:58:47.:58:53.

tax again by, I think, 20%, way above the rate of inflation will

:58:54.:59:00.

stop effectively treating the Scots whiskey industry and the insurance

:59:01.:59:03.

sector as a cash cow for the Treasury. Having said that, we

:59:04.:59:06.

welcome some of the measures in the bill, particularly those which

:59:07.:59:10.

attempt to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion, and I welcome

:59:11.:59:12.

what the minister said about restricting the use of past losses,

:59:13.:59:19.

disguise remuneration, additional penalties for tax avoidance

:59:20.:59:23.

enablers, and the permanent removal of the permanent non-Dom status. But

:59:24.:59:28.

it is hard to see how this bill will assist in any substantial way to

:59:29.:59:34.

address the long-term UK challenge of improving productivity or even

:59:35.:59:39.

helping make society a little less in equal, which is actually vital to

:59:40.:59:43.

unlocking the growth potential we have. That is particularly the case

:59:44.:59:48.

when one considers that alongside this finance bill, are a set of

:59:49.:59:54.

welfare proposals which do not support inclusive growth, but rather

:59:55.:59:57.

drive a coach and horses through. They include a cut of ?30 per week

:59:58.:00:06.

for the EFA group for claimants placed in work-related activities.

:00:07.:00:10.

It also includes a 55% cut for the rate of ES aid for disabled people

:00:11.:00:16.

under the age of 25. And a freeze on the lower disabled edition for

:00:17.:00:23.

Universal Credit. There are changes for full-time students, who received

:00:24.:00:27.

disability living allowance or independence payments, who are now

:00:28.:00:30.

not treated as having limited capability for work, and are

:00:31.:00:32.

therefore not entitled to universal credit until they have been

:00:33.:00:36.

assessed, and therefore, facing long delays without support. But I don't

:00:37.:00:41.

want to digress too far from the bill. Delivering those cuts when

:00:42.:00:49.

disabled people and those on low to middle incomes are already facing a

:00:50.:00:52.

barrage of cuts from this government is a disgrace. And those cuts fly in

:00:53.:00:58.

the face not only of the Tories' last manifesto commitment to health

:00:59.:01:02.

more disabled people into the workplace, something which is vital,

:01:03.:01:08.

but they undermine the essential drive for real inclusive growth,

:01:09.:01:11.

vital if we are to grow the economy and maximise our potential.

:01:12.:01:16.

Will he give way? Yes, I will give way. I wondered if

:01:17.:01:20.

I might point out that under the Scotland act 2016, we are devolving

:01:21.:01:24.

benefit is worth ?2.8 billion to the Scottish Parliament. That is almost

:01:25.:01:28.

a fifth of Scottish spending, and it would be really interesting to hear

:01:29.:01:35.

some views about what you think, what the honourable member thinks

:01:36.:01:38.

about that, and indeed, to welcome the fact that we have such a strong

:01:39.:01:42.

economy provided by this government that indeed, the Scottish are able

:01:43.:01:46.

to have this much money gifted over to them. Gifted? It is their tax

:01:47.:01:54.

money! I'm sure the Scottish people will be delighted that the

:01:55.:01:57.

Honourable Lady... I'm sorry, I'm not sure what seed she is from, will

:01:58.:02:02.

be telling the Scottish people that we don't pay taxes, we are dependent

:02:03.:02:08.

to the largess of ladies like air in order to fund our welfare system! We

:02:09.:02:12.

have had a very small amount of welfare devolves, and I'm sure she

:02:13.:02:15.

wants to make a contribution like that, she can read out the rest of

:02:16.:02:19.

the briefing note which captures the deputies beat's I later. The Tories

:02:20.:02:25.

can grown all they like, they have called a snap election, and we have

:02:26.:02:31.

a finance bill on the same day. The minister did lay out what she wants

:02:32.:02:35.

to do in this bill, which is reduced the dividend nil rate from 2018-19

:02:36.:02:42.

from ?5,000 down to ?2000, and I will listen carefully in the next

:02:43.:02:45.

ten days or so to what the government say about this, and it

:02:46.:02:51.

may be that they can prove that only very wealthy people benefit from

:02:52.:02:57.

that allowance, and may be a reasonable change. However, it may

:02:58.:03:00.

equally be the case that many small and start-up is Nissan is dependent

:03:01.:03:05.

that money to tide them over, and that that measure will be nothing

:03:06.:03:08.

more than a tax enterprise, a disincentive to start a business, to

:03:09.:03:12.

create jobs and to empower local economies. I have to say, I did find

:03:13.:03:18.

it slightly jarring when the minister explained, while talking

:03:19.:03:23.

about that, that wealthy people could put lots more money into ices.

:03:24.:03:28.

That is fantastic for people who are ready wealthy. -- ISAs. They can

:03:29.:03:36.

save tax-free. But juxtaposing that with a change to the dividend nil

:03:37.:03:41.

rate down from ?5,000 to ?2000 might add a disincentive to people

:03:42.:03:44.

genuinely wanting to start a business, while allowing already

:03:45.:03:48.

wealthy people to save tax-free. That may have been the kind of error

:03:49.:03:55.

we would see driven by the old fiscal charter, and its requirements

:03:56.:04:00.

to run a permanent surplus, almost irrespective of economic conditions.

:04:01.:04:04.

The new fiscal charter is more flexible than the last one, and that

:04:05.:04:07.

should have made this kind of measure unnecessary, but of course,

:04:08.:04:13.

the government are still targeting a surplus early in the next

:04:14.:04:17.

Parliament. Let's see how early it is in the next next Parliament. And

:04:18.:04:22.

without digressing to far, the numbers and the timescale for even a

:04:23.:04:28.

modest surplus within four or five years look precarious. The forecasts

:04:29.:04:35.

for a current-account surplus a timely, not even reaching 1.5% of

:04:36.:04:42.

GDP. -- tiny. And if there is any capital flight or if sterling

:04:43.:04:45.

suffers further devaluation, which is quite likely if the Brexit

:04:46.:04:49.

negotiations go wrong again, highly possible, and the figures could fall

:04:50.:04:55.

apart very quickly indeed. At its heart, this is a finance bill being

:04:56.:05:02.

delivered with the pretence that the hard Tory Brexit is not happening.

:05:03.:05:06.

It sits in splendid isolation from reality. We cannot actually assess

:05:07.:05:12.

whether it will assist with the challenges which lie ahead. We

:05:13.:05:17.

cannot even assess properly what the consequences of the limited measures

:05:18.:05:21.

in it will be, because the OBR told us about Brexit at the budget, and I

:05:22.:05:27.

am quoting, there is no meaningful basis for predicting the precise end

:05:28.:05:32.

point of the negotiations, as the basis for our forecast. So in short,

:05:33.:05:39.

this finance bill, like the 2017 budget, is effectively based on a

:05:40.:05:46.

central assumption which pretends Brexit doesn't exist. A ridiculous

:05:47.:05:52.

thing to do, given Article 50 has already been triggered, and I will

:05:53.:05:55.

now happily give way. I'm grateful to him. He quotes the

:05:56.:06:02.

OBR, one of the few forecasters that was responsible enough a year ago

:06:03.:06:05.

not to make wild assumptions about what Brexit would mean. Most of the

:06:06.:06:10.

other forecasters thought they would know what would happen, and got it,

:06:11.:06:14.

hence be wrong, so it shows prudence, caution and common sense

:06:15.:06:18.

not to try and forecast that which is essentially unknowable. I think

:06:19.:06:26.

the Honourable gentleman has been on record attacking the OBR for

:06:27.:06:29.

forecast in the past, and if not, I apologise, but I'm sure many of his

:06:30.:06:33.

colleagues have. I don't think anybody seriously suggested that on

:06:34.:06:39.

day one, week one, month or even year one of Brexit, even before the

:06:40.:06:44.

negotiations were complete, it would result in any kind of catastrophe or

:06:45.:06:48.

reduction in GDP or any such other thing. The real danger is for the

:06:49.:06:55.

medium and long-term, and because the Honourable gentleman brings it

:06:56.:06:59.

up, let's remember what some of those forecasts have actually said.

:07:00.:07:04.

The Treasury themselves said we could lose up to ?66 billion from a

:07:05.:07:11.

hard Brexit. The GDP could fall by around 10% if the UK reverted to WTO

:07:12.:07:18.

rules. That echoed the chair of the Treasury committee and other

:07:19.:07:20.

assessments, including the London School of Economics, who said, in

:07:21.:07:26.

the long run, reduced trade, lowers productivity, huge problem for the

:07:27.:07:30.

UK. That increases the cost of Brexit to between 6.5 and 9.5% of

:07:31.:07:35.

GDP, and they put a range of figures on those costs of between 4.5 and

:07:36.:07:42.

six point ?5,000 per household. There are other assessments, from

:07:43.:07:49.

institutes, from FTSE senior executives, from the British

:07:50.:07:51.

Chambers of Commerce. The Honourable gentleman might not believe those.

:07:52.:07:55.

Some of them might not come to pass, but given those warnings are very

:07:56.:08:00.

real and very credible, one would imagine that would have instructed a

:08:01.:08:05.

far bolder finance bill. That is the point I was trying to make. If the

:08:06.:08:09.

Honourable gentleman wishes, I will happily...

:08:10.:08:13.

I thank him for giving way once again. I think the point I was

:08:14.:08:19.

trying to make is that we have had incredibly wrong forecasts from all

:08:20.:08:24.

of these illustrious bodies, and he was only wrong on the OBR. I

:08:25.:08:28.

criticised lots and lots of bodies, but the OBR was the one I singled

:08:29.:08:32.

out for not being so foolish as to make erroneous forecasts. The

:08:33.:08:36.

Treasury, the IMF, the Bank of England, all went ahead saying the

:08:37.:08:39.

day we left, it would be Armageddon. We were going to have a punishment

:08:40.:08:43.

budget, and this turned out to be nonsense, and I think it is much

:08:44.:08:46.

wiser of the current Chancellor to avoid this foolish speculation. I

:08:47.:08:50.

don't want foolish speculation, but nor do I want roasted spectacles of

:08:51.:08:58.

ostrich head in sand. There are very credible warnings of what Brexit

:08:59.:09:01.

might deliver, and if the government fails to mitigate what the risks

:09:02.:09:06.

might be, then the government are failing the people. I think that is

:09:07.:09:12.

incredibly important. To be fair in terms of what mitigation the

:09:13.:09:17.

government could do, and have done, the Chancellor did announce last

:09:18.:09:20.

autumn additional support for capital investment and for research

:09:21.:09:24.

and development, and he has reiterated since some of his R

:09:25.:09:28.

statements, and put more flesh on the bone of investment. However, the

:09:29.:09:33.

figures from last autumn's statement, the last Autumn

:09:34.:09:36.

Statement, show the public sector net investment actually falls 17-18,

:09:37.:09:44.

and presumably 18-19, depending what happens after the June election. The

:09:45.:09:48.

figures announced only a few months ago for public sector gross

:09:49.:09:51.

investment showed the figures falling again this year, compared to

:09:52.:09:57.

the forecasts made last winter, and not increasing again until 2020 or

:09:58.:10:01.

beyond. We would argue money should have been allocated and the finance

:10:02.:10:07.

bill should have reflected that, to mitigate the damage which we

:10:08.:10:11.

believe, and many others believe, is likely because of a hard Tory

:10:12.:10:18.

Brexit. Of course, it is not all about Brexit, Mr Deputy Speaker. Nor

:10:19.:10:22.

is it about simply reminding the house, and I won't do today, about

:10:23.:10:26.

the failures and broken promises on debt, deficit and others. It is also

:10:27.:10:31.

not about repeating the mistakes of the past on investment. We are now

:10:32.:10:35.

in such uncertain times that to protect jobs, to protect yield, to

:10:36.:10:42.

protect the current account, trade should be front and centre, but

:10:43.:10:46.

there was little sad about that today and nothing in the finance

:10:47.:10:48.

bill which would assist in that regard. When one considers that the

:10:49.:10:54.

budget red or tells is that the current account is in negative

:10:55.:10:58.

territory for what was the entire forecast period, and that the impact

:10:59.:11:04.

of net trade will be zero or a drag on GDP, without the impact of

:11:05.:11:09.

Brexit, for almost every year of the forecast period made in the budget,

:11:10.:11:14.

and that is after, I think, in near 15% devaluation in sterling since

:11:15.:11:15.

the referendum. My honourable friend intervened

:11:16.:11:30.

dearly about who growth will be generated. It is forecast to be on

:11:31.:11:40.

the uncertainty of Brexit ends, which we do not thing will be any

:11:41.:11:50.

time soon. This will be my essential government investment, of which we

:11:51.:11:58.

welcome, but when house price rises are thought to be probably about two

:11:59.:12:05.

or three times the inflation rate. There is nothing in the analysis

:12:06.:12:10.

which would help balance laptop at home. The figures are clear,

:12:11.:12:18.

notwithstanding one bullet, the last full year figures soar

:12:19.:12:22.

current-account figures deficit of 88 million in the red and deficit of

:12:23.:12:31.

over ?120 billion in trading. Nothing which would assist

:12:32.:12:37.

businesses to trade in a wave which would shrink or era would those

:12:38.:12:44.

deficits. This is the head and debate today because of other

:12:45.:12:49.

announcements. We will oppose this. Not for so much for what it

:12:50.:12:54.

contains, but because of what is missing. The budget which drives

:12:55.:13:00.

this bill is wilfully blind to the damage Brexit will do and the cult

:13:01.:13:07.

completely inadequate response to the challenges the economy will

:13:08.:13:14.

freeze. The original question was that this bill should be read as

:13:15.:13:16.

they contain. The question is as

:13:17.:13:17.

on the order paper. It is a pleasure to speak in support

:13:18.:13:32.

of the Finance Bill. It is a bill which prioritises economic

:13:33.:13:36.

stability. That is much to welcome within it. My constituents would be

:13:37.:13:42.

pleased by the increase in income tax threshold. But I want to address

:13:43.:13:52.

these soft drinks industry levy. This was announced in the budget one

:13:53.:13:57.

year ago and was reconfirmed in the chilled food obesity plan last

:13:58.:14:02.

summer. I should declare an interest. I do thought is a rather

:14:03.:14:12.

large Easter break in recent days. -- day for it. I welcome the Leavy

:14:13.:14:21.

in one lever of attacking this. That is no one silver bullet to attack

:14:22.:14:26.

the obesity crisis in the United Kingdom or the West in general. But

:14:27.:14:33.

I think the levy is necessary as a package of measures to tackle it. As

:14:34.:14:40.

part of the house select committee, if you had that is the baby a year

:14:41.:14:47.

ago regarding a sugar tax, I might have been somewhat uncertain. It is

:14:48.:14:54.

clear there is uncertainty today. I hope to convince someone dotes to

:14:55.:14:58.

ensure the provision passes without further amendment. Some facts about

:14:59.:15:04.

obesity. It currently affects around one quarter of adults in the United

:15:05.:15:10.

Kingdom. It is believed that could affect up to 70% of us by 2050.

:15:11.:15:18.

Obese children of former more likely to become obese adults. That is a

:15:19.:15:21.

clear need to tackle childhood obesity. I am glad to hear he is

:15:22.:15:31.

supporting the sugar tax. Would he agree this does not go far enough

:15:32.:15:36.

because it does not start until children are over two and some of

:15:37.:15:41.

the bad habits have started before then. Would he increased the scope

:15:42.:15:47.

of that policy? It is true that the health committee have called for

:15:48.:15:52.

additional measures, but I think the strategy of the plan is a step in

:15:53.:15:57.

the right direction. I will come onto for the points in due course. I

:15:58.:16:04.

was about to mention that one in five of those starting primary

:16:05.:16:09.

School, one in five or overweight, but by the end of primary school

:16:10.:16:14.

that has risen to one in three. The inequality between communities is

:16:15.:16:21.

also striking. Between 5-11 -year-olds in poorest

:16:22.:16:26.

neighbourhoods, some 60% are obese and this reduces down to 16% in the

:16:27.:16:33.

most affluent areas and that also lends itself to regional variation.

:16:34.:16:39.

We are seeing a bigger growth in obesity rates in poorer backgrounds.

:16:40.:16:49.

In Torquay, and one side of the hill on my constituency, people live up

:16:50.:16:53.

to 30 years longer than those on the other side. I hope this will go some

:16:54.:16:59.

way towards tackling this. If we look at the health effects on

:17:00.:17:04.

obesity on children, the main impact his tooth decay. It is the main

:17:05.:17:11.

cause of hospital admissions for 5-9 -year-olds. 179,000 teeth have been

:17:12.:17:24.

extracted from this age group every year. 25% of the age group have

:17:25.:17:31.

tooth decay and 90% of that could be preventable and sugar is the key

:17:32.:17:37.

cause of that problem. Looking at older children. In 15-year-olds, 40%

:17:38.:17:45.

have tooth decay. Millions are spent on extraction of teeth of

:17:46.:17:56.

undertakings. -- under 18 's. In adults, bed that is even more

:17:57.:18:00.

concerning. Not just tooth decay, but the likes of type two diabetes

:18:01.:18:10.

and a number of other conditions. In fertility, pregnancy problems, other

:18:11.:18:15.

health problems. Kidney disease, cancer. There are at least 15 types

:18:16.:18:22.

of cancer implicated with obesity. It is thought to be the biggest

:18:23.:18:28.

cause of preventable cancer after smoking. Over 18,100 cases of cancer

:18:29.:18:34.

estimated per year in the United Kingdom thanks to obesity and the

:18:35.:18:40.

types of cancer involved include some fairly well-known ones, such as

:18:41.:18:50.

and bowel. There is also an impact on the NHS. An estimated ?5.1

:18:51.:18:55.

billion per annum in the United Kingdom and on the economy in

:18:56.:19:02.

general. Lost productivity, unemployment and early retirement

:19:03.:19:07.

and welfare benefits. It is vital that we recognise the extent of the

:19:08.:19:12.

problem posed to health and well-being by the obesity crisis.

:19:13.:19:20.

How should we target this? It is believed that that is the genetic

:19:21.:19:25.

susceptibility to obesity. That is not that all obesity is down to

:19:26.:19:34.

genetics. But there is a belief that the genetic problems to leave people

:19:35.:19:44.

with the drive to eat. Education and exercise has an important place, but

:19:45.:19:49.

the reality is it has not succeeded as the main target against this

:19:50.:19:56.

problem. We have the issue of the loss of life stables and an

:19:57.:20:01.

environment whereby healthy foods need to be more available. Calorie

:20:02.:20:10.

intake overwhelms the need to check for these calories are made of. Many

:20:11.:20:20.

are driven to the intellectual and financial resources to deal with the

:20:21.:20:25.

problems they face, but it is not easy and children, of course, cannot

:20:26.:20:31.

be expected to exercise personal responsibility because they do not

:20:32.:20:35.

have the own freedom of choice. Serious measures are important in

:20:36.:20:39.

tackling this crisis. These include refurbishing targets. This will

:20:40.:20:48.

reduce sugar, fat, calories in the food that children eat. Advertising

:20:49.:20:54.

is also important. We have seen restrictions expanded from

:20:55.:20:59.

television to other media, the likes of social media. But that is

:21:00.:21:03.

potentially further things which could be done if necessary.

:21:04.:21:08.

Labelling is very important. Brexit offers an opportunity to because

:21:09.:21:15.

more flexible in the way that we label products. Discounts with

:21:16.:21:20.

supermarkets are very important. Planning paws for local authorities

:21:21.:21:27.

are also crucial. -- promotion. He makes an excellent point about the

:21:28.:21:33.

freedom for better labelling after we leave the European Union. One

:21:34.:21:39.

which could benefit particularly as the daily sector. Could we not do

:21:40.:21:48.

something which would help the shopping public support British

:21:49.:21:51.

farmers and British products? A very good point with regard to the

:21:52.:21:59.

flexibility with the likes of being able to put on her mini teaspoons of

:22:00.:22:02.

sugar listener product, which we cannot do at the moment. But the

:22:03.:22:09.

soft drinks levy, this is based on the fact that soft drinks are the

:22:10.:22:16.

biggest source of dietary sugar for children and contain little or any

:22:17.:22:21.

dietary benefit. Five-year-olds are believed to consume the road weight

:22:22.:22:29.

in sugar every year. That is food for thought. The experts believe fee

:22:30.:22:42.

sugar should be only 5% of the daily intake, but they are currently

:22:43.:22:51.

consuming 56 teams that. It relates to producers of imported soft drinks

:22:52.:22:58.

containing sugar. It is encouraging reformulation. The implementation

:22:59.:23:03.

date of April next year gives manufacturers claim to pursue

:23:04.:23:07.

reformulation and many have been doing an excellent job in achieving

:23:08.:23:14.

that. The levy also drives manufacturers to produce portion

:23:15.:23:20.

sizes and to mark the low sugar alternatives. 18p per litre would be

:23:21.:23:28.

levied when the sugar content exceeds five grand -- five grams per

:23:29.:23:39.

100 millilitres. According to my mathematics, this would be about 6-

:23:40.:23:49.

8p per drink. The hope is that this would be passed on to the consumers

:23:50.:23:55.

in the same proportion. It would not be any cross subsidy. One of the

:23:56.:24:00.

concerns raised was that those low sugar drinks or seal sugar drinks

:24:01.:24:08.

might end up picking up some of the extra cost levied on manufacturers

:24:09.:24:12.

by the sugary alternatives. I think that would be a missed opportunity

:24:13.:24:17.

to maximise the positive impact of the levy if that were to take place.

:24:18.:24:28.

I thank him for giving way. Will he join me in encouraging her important

:24:29.:24:38.

eating at breakfast play such an important part in education. I will

:24:39.:24:47.

indeed. I will come onto the positive impact of the slightly and

:24:48.:24:53.

the positive impact it has had on the debate in this country on sugar

:24:54.:24:58.

and obesity. To come back to this idea of cross subsidy in terms of

:24:59.:25:03.

drinks, I think we as a government should keep an open mind as to

:25:04.:25:07.

whether this is something which needs to be regulated.

:25:08.:25:11.

Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons including (estimated timings): 3.30pm-4.15pm business statement; 4.15pm-5.15pm statement on Syria and North Korea; 5.15pm-5.25pm Ten Minute Rule Bill; 5.25pm-10.00pm second reading of the Finance (No.2) Bill which enacts many of the measures contained in the recent Budget.