20/04/2017 House of Commons

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Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons, including select committee statements on lessons from the EU referendum and prison reform.

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Welcome to BBC Parliament's live coverage of the House of Commons. In


an hour, the Labour MP Stephen Doughty has tabled an urgent


question on gay and lesbian people in the Chechen Republic of Russia,


author won after reports of people being tortured and at least three


killed. In David -- David Livingstone will set out forthcoming


business. Then there will be two select committee statements, about


the public administration and Constitutional affairs committee,


and lessons to be learned in the EU referendum. The second in the


Justice committee's report on prison reform. Then we will discuss the


Gorton by-election, after the death of Sir Gerald Kaufman, which will


allow a by-election on the 8th of June. Then there will be questions


on the impact of changes to state pensions on UK expats and the second


on infectious diseases. Join me for a round-up of the day in the House


of Commons at 11pm tonight. First we have questions for the Environment,


Food and Rural Affairs secretary, Andrea Leadsome, and her team of


ministers. The UK has made significant progress in improving


your quality in the last decade, in all five areas. However there are


countries not meeting targets for emissions of carbon dioxide, so to


help address this, last year the government consulted on a framework


which will be consulted shortly. -- published shortly. Following three


defeats in the courts for failing to address the 50,000 deaths a year in


the country due to poor air quality, and we're the government defended


the indefensible, a judge ordered the government to produce and your


quality plan by this Monday. Labour believe we need to go further, with


any quality national framework as part of the clean air act. What are


the main parts of this plan, and how much has the Minister allocated to


addressing the UK's poor air quality in the plan? They think it is a


great shame that the honourable lady criticises this government, who


since 2011 have committed ?2 million to increase the uptake of ultralow


emissions vehicles, supported greener transport schemes and set


out how we will improve your quality through a new programme of clean air


zones. In the Autumn Statement we announced a further ?290 million to


support low emission buses and taxis, retrofitting alternative


fuels, and we will be consulting on our plans to improve nitrogen oxide


emissions very shortly. This is so much pie in the sky. Every time we


have DEFRA questions, it is coming soon, when is the report, when are


we going to stop people being poisoned in our cities, end Times,


in places like Huddersfield, and when will we see action? Now, not


next week or next year! This government is totally committed to


cutting harmful emissions. We have made great progress in the last


decade, which is more than the Labour government did. Emissions


went up under their watch. We recognise there is more to do, and


we will be publishing our proposals soon. People buying diesel cars


thinking they were the cheap way forward, will the Minister make sure


she discusses with this Transport Secretary and Secretary, so we do


not penalise them and work with the devolved governments as well? We


need to find a way forward to look after those people. We have to take


into account the impact on ordinary working families, and on businesses,


and as the Prime Minister has made very clear, we understand that


people bought diesel cars under incentives from the last Labour


government, they bought them in good faith and we need to ensure that


they are not penalised for those actions. Will the Minister consider


a targeted diesel scrappage scheme, which particularly supports


low-income families? The opportunity to do so was missed in the Autumn


Statement and in the budget. I can assure the honourable lady that the


government is looking at all possible


areas we need to have mitigation to support families. All types are on


the table. Leg we have a very low air pollution quality with all areas


in the low pollution band. It is essential that the national


framework is nationwide and encompasses Northern Ireland. Could


I ask the Minister what discussions she has had with her counterpart in


the northern island assembly to make sure it happens? I can assure him we


have had discussions with all administrations. -- the Northern


Ireland Assembly. We are working closely together and will be making


announcements in due course. The Great Repeal Bill will ensure that


the body of existing Euro environmental law will have an


effect in UK law, but Parliament will have the chance to make sure


the legislative framework is outcome driven, focusing on improving the


environment in a generation. The government will continue to uphold


obligations and international environmental treaties, and we will


continue to seek other countries to do so as well. Assuming regulations


come in as part of the bill, that is important but at least as important


is ensuring the regulations are permanent. The country decided to


leave the European Union last year. We're trying to give as much


certainty as possible to ensure regulations continue and will


continue as a consequence. I'm concerned that he thinks we will


simply rip up the rule book. We want a better environment for our future


generations, which is what this government will deliver. The


Minister knows very well that the EU environmental regulations have been


very helpful to people like me and you, Mr Speaker, when holding the


feet to the fire of HS2 when it comes to protecting our environment.


Could the Minister give me an undertaking that she will not alone


any diminution to areas of outstanding natural beauty, and that


exiting the European Union does not hand a blank cheque to HS2 to ride


roughshod over the countryside? My right honourable friend will be


aware that the government has already committed in developing HS2


and other infrastructure we will uphold the highest environmental


standards we cherish. While she is working on the EU air quality


regulations, can I echo the call in the last question for a national


framework, rather than ad hoc local decision-making, especially as


emissions are actually declining at the moment. Can the Minister looked


at all causes of air pollution to properly cost alternatives,


especially the cost to drivers on the taxpayer, and urge the


government to stop demonising diesel drivers. I think it is fair to say


that as we have said at the dispatch box before, when we are tackling


with the quality we have to work with local communities, because the


situation will vary. This government is not demonising diesel drivers at


all. It was the Labour government that introduced incentives for


people to start using diesel. It happens to be that the current Mayor


of London stood here in his last year of the Brown government saying


that Euro standards would solve the problem. We are now clearing up the


mess. One of those environmental standards we can improve on outside


the European Union as much as inside if the state of the oceans. As the


Minister will know, there is a massive amount of dumping of


plastics damaging sea life and choral well-being. That is a huge


conference in the United Nations tween the fifth on the 9th of June.


Ministers will be busy doing other things. What is she going to do to


ensure that the British voice is properly heard to ensure we're going


to do something to clean up our oceans? My honourable friend will be


aware that we launched a litter strategy recently. A lot of rubbish


that winds up in marine comes from the land. We need to continue to


work on that. Marine conservation is particularly important to this


government, we have continued to extend our blue belt around the


coastline of the country but also with overseas territories, and I can


assure him that the oceans conference between the fifth and 9th


of June, he points out there the general election in the middle, but


I can assure him the interest of the United Kingdom will be well


undertaken. While the Great Repeal Bill may bring short-term stability


and working statute book when the UK leads the EU, it remains to be seen


whether this government or indeed future governments will take any


action to road the UK's environmental policies as they exist


now. What assurances can the Minister give to my constituents who


have written to me expressing deep concerns over environmental and is


post-Brexit? I can continue to try and assure the House that this


government has been very clear in the manifesto on which we stood in


2015 that we want to be first to leave the environment in a better


state than we find it, which is what this government continue to do.


Minister Rory Stewart announced in Parliament on the 24th of November


2015 that the UK Government will ban lion and trophy imports by the end


of 2017. What progress has been made in this regard, and can she tell us


what reductions in Trophy hunting in international treaties, after the UK


has left the EU? I did not catch the opening of the honourable


gentleman's question, when he referred to something from 2015, but


I want to assure him that these imports are taken on a case-by-case


basis, and we continue to work with other countries to make sure we can


serve important species around the world. The UK is a global leader in


this. Question number four. With your


permission, I will group question for Andrew question seven. The


consultation closed on the 28th of February and were currently


examining the responses. We intend to introduce legislation this year


with a banner manufacturing expected to apply from the 1st of January


2018 and a band of sales from the 13th of June 2018 as outlined in our


proposals. I strongly support the Government's proposals to ban micro


beads in cosmetics and personal care products but they probably only


account for about 4% of those polluting our rivers. With the


Government say what they are doing to prevent the other types of


migrant plastics which are going to continue polluting our waters? The


Government wants to consult on the extent of the -- the Government


launched a consultation on the extent of the damage micro plastics


are causing and we are continuing to look into that. The use of plastic


bottles is also something we are looking at but I should remind my


right honourable friend that we need to be gathered as we take this


forward because a lot of micro beads and plastics are the outcome of


things like recycling bodies -- bottles into making fleeces and


suchlike. I was recently rummaging through my wife's election of


shampoos and to my horror I found a plastic container of anti-wrinkle,


anti-ageing lotion. Complete with exfoliating micro beads. Obviously


neither the Secretary of State or the Minister would have such need


for a abrupt but would she speak to the Chief Executive of Procter and


Gamble that telling this sort of product at the moment is complete


outrageous and he should withdraw them at once. Well, Mr Speaker, what


I find extraordinary is that lady Belling is a flawless picture and


wouldn't even need these products, so I am sure that my honourable


friend will be buying flowers later today to make up for this. It is


fair to say, Mr Speaker, that we are working with manufacturers now and a


lot of them are starting to remove these products already, practically,


but we want to make sure that this avoidable pollution is taken out of


our environment permanently. Number five. Mr Speaker, we regularly meet


EU counterparts at agriculture and figure it -- agriculture and


fisheries Council and food and drink issues are regularly discussed and


informed by bilaterals. The great and noble county of Lincolnshire is


the bread basket of England and much of the food we eat comes from our


county. Liza Fate has been proved to be harmless by scientists, it is


used in the same production of wheat and agreed that we eat. Once we


regain control of our destiny, can the minister assure me its use will


be reauthorised. As the honourable gentleman knows,


the EU are reviewing the use of Glyphosate and it having been proved


safe, we are backing its use again. My first question on Defra... This


minister has shown since my first question procrastination my children


would envy. The minister wants us to believe we can trust him with


correcting UK policy. Where is this money? How on earth can Scottish


farming trust this Government and the Tories? Well, the honourable


gentleman and I have discussed this number of times and he is aware the


reason the review we intended to do last year was delayed was because of


the referendum, which has changed the context dramatically. We


continue to have discussions with Scottish industry. Just yesterday, I


met NFU as to discuss feature agriculture policy. What can be done


to encourage the European Union to promote the processing of feedstuffs


in developing countries, thinking particularly of olive oil and copy


where the value added tends to be in the European Union? The UK and


indeed a number of other European countries have preferential trade


agreements in place to support developing countries, to give them


tariff free access to the European market. This is important to the


development of some of those countries and the issues he raises


are ones that are regularly discussed that the EU agriculture


Council. An important part of the food processing sector is the fish


area of my constituency and is part of those EU discussions, what


efforts will be made to ensure there was no border in the Irish Sea which


would stop permitting fishermen from fishing in both parts as they


currently can? As the honourable lady knows, there has been an issue


with a long-standing agreement between the Irish Parliament and the


UK and this was discussed at a couple of weeks ago by myself and


administer from the Irish Parliament about arrangements we may have after


Brexit? I have the honour of representing a constituency whose


farmers feed the country and I would be interested to know, will my


honourable friend work to ensure that farmers are not put at a


disadvantage with their EU competitors when these exciting new


trade deals are negotiated? Well, my honourable friend, she has a very


important farming constituency and I know that and what I can reassure


her is that I myself worked in the farming industry for ten years, it's


an industry I'm passionate about and I've been going up and down the


country in recent months, meeting farmers, discussing their concerns,


but we have a fantastic opportunity on leaving the European Union to


design a new agricultural policy that is fit for purpose. Press


reports earlier this week suggest the Danish Government may press for


restrictions on UK fish imports to the EU if the Danish fleet this


access to UK, mostly Scottish fishing waters when the UK leads the


EU. That would have severe impact on Scottish fishermen who export 50% of


their fish to the EU each year and can he tell us what discussions he


has had a mess? I have regular meetings with all EU counterparts


and I believe the Danish minister is planning a visit to the UK in the


next few weeks and I hope to meet in them. The honourable lady should not


worry about the opening positions people might take in a negotiation.


It doesn't matter what people ask for, it matters what the UK


Government is willing to grant. The Scottish fishing industry want to


leave the EU, they want to leave the CFP, they wanted to take control of


our waters. The fishing industry is vitally important to my


constituency. Would the Minister update fishes there and around the


industry -- around the UK when the Government intends to withdraw from


the London 1954 fisheries convention? The honourable lady


makes an important point. There is a 1964 London fisheries convention


which has access arrangements for a number of countries. As we've made


clear on numerous occasions, we are looking at this very closely and as


the prime ministers said two weeks ago, we had to say something on this


shortly. Number six. Mr Speaker, since 2015, Defra has opened or


improved terms for over 160 markets, increasing access to markets is a


priority set out in the food and drink international action plan and


we work with industry to identify and prioritise and increase export


value. In my role as the trade envoy to Nigeria, I have recently invited


the Nigerian agriculture Minister to come to the UK. Will he agree with


me that it's important to show him the whole of the value change --


value train in agriculture in which we do so well question mark I


commend the work that my honourable friend does building negotiations


with -- building relations with Nigeria, building relationships and


I am delighted to hear he has invited the minister here to see


some of the great work we do through the supply chain and what we do to


reduce waste within it. Does the minister recognise that it's


absolutely crucial that the needs of the agricultural sector are placed


at the heart of Brexit negotiations? Isn't it clear that if the


Government doesn't get its act together, a bad Brexit deal will


leave British farmers and food producers facing the double whammy


of cheap food imports and tariffs on their exports? I would simply say to


the honourable lady that access to the UK market is incredibly


important for European countries as well. Whilst we exported around ?11


billion worth of food and drink to the European Union, we import some


?28 billion worth from the EU. That is why farming unions across the EU


are telling their governments that they must have a free-trade


agreement with the UK. How does the Government intend to deliver on its


promises? The CLA are saying that the Government should admit it


cannot design a workable new agricultural policy in less than two


years because Debra simply does not have the capacity. The Government's


failure to reach an agreement could leave out farmers unable to compete


by at home and abroad. Very specifically, what guarantees for


the Minister provide here, today, to rural communities right across the


country that farming subsidies and tariffs free trade will be


guaranteed under a Tory Government? I would simply say festival to the


honourable lady that we have some tremendously talented policy


officials both in Defra and in our agencies and they have been working


very closely on some of the decal behind the design of each


agricultural policy on some of those issues. The Prime Minister has been


very clear that she will make an offer to other European countries


for a bold, ambitious free agricultural agreement. One of the


markets that farmers in northern Lincolnshire are hoping to expand on


is producing crops for eggs converged on to bio ethanol viewed.


They are concerned about the Government's commitment to this.


Could you reassure them that if a market for future expansion? We do


see a role for bio ethanol fuels but also we are keen to ensure that we


don't lose too much good agricultural land to biofuels. The


honourable gentleman, my honourable friend, will be aware that this is


predominantly an issue for the Department for Transport and I would


invite him to raise this issue with them in the next Parliament. Markets


are not necessarily just country based but also a product based. The


UK has a tremendous market for lactose free milk most of which is


imported. What can we do to encourage UK producers to develop


this product in the UK, manufactured in the UK? Well, we do have


obviously a very strong dairy industry in this country and there


are lots of opportunities like that. We have established things like the


food innovation networks and things like the aggregate fund and the


number of other funds as well to support innovative product


development of the sort he mentioned. Number nine, please, Mr


Speaker. Mr Speaker, energy prices and exchange rates are the key


drivers of price changes in the agriculture commodities market and


this affects all countries in the world independent of whether they


are in the EU or not. There was a sharp spike in food prices in 2008,


they levelled up in 2014 and fell by 7% over the next two years. We have


seen an increase of 1.3% over the last year. I thank the Minister for


his response but the facts are that the ONS are reporting a surge in


food process that is likely to continue to rise. Children are


reports -- in food prices that is likely to continue to rise. Children


are returning to school after the holidays and the elderly are going


into hospital hungry yet the Government still refuse to measure


food poverty. Isn't it true that they refuse to measure it because


then they would have to accept culpability? The honourable lady is


wrong because we do measure it and we include a measurement on


household spending among the poorest 20% of households and I can tell you


that household spending within those houses has remained steady at about


16% for the last decade. On the matter of food, Mr Marcus Fish.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Farmers across the south-west are very proud


of the high-quality food they produce whether its beef, lamb,


milk, etc. What are the opportunities the Minister sees bus


leaving the EU to ensure they get a fair price for that food on an


ongoing basis? As he knows, we have recently had a


call for evidence and a review of the grocery code adjudicator. There


have been representations we should consider extending the remit of that


further up the supply chain and we're giving consideration to those


representations. But grocery called adjudicator has made a good start


improving the relationship, particularly between producers and


supermarkets. It is common in food processing plants for 70% of the


employees to be EU migrants, and it is not clear where the staff are


going to come from in the future. Is the Minister committed to defending


this sector in the Brexit negotiations to come, and so


avoiding price rises from this as well? I can reassure him I have had


regular meetings with food processors, indeed just two days ago


I had a meeting with the new president of the food and drink


presentation, and this issue was raised. Around 30% of employees,


according to the ONS, in the food sector are from other European


countries, but I would simply see the Prime Minister has been clear


that she wants to protect the rights of EU citizens that are here, and


she would expect that to be reciprocated as well, which can be


agreed earlier in the negotiations. May I gently remind him again of the


paradox that we starve the poor by refusing to buy their food from


them? He makes a very good point. As I mentioned in relation to an


earlier discussion, we do give preferential trade access to some


developing countries. The ACP countries are particularly


important, in sectors such as sugar, and this is important for them to


develop those industries. My honourable friend is right to raise


this issue, but she will recognise we want to get the proposals right


and we will consult as soon as we can. With the Minister agree that


rigorous enforcement when this policy is in place is one of the


most vital elements Western Mark I entirely agree. Robust enforcement


is important to ensure the rules are effective. She will recognise police


and other agencies do an excellent job in this, and she will also


recognise our approach in tackling this is tackling demand, so we can


very much enjoyed my visit to her very much enjoyed my visit to her


constituency last week. There was a great -- it was a great pleasure to


meet some of her growers, including at a farm, to discuss seasonable


labour. I am aware of the horticultural sector's concerns. We


are consulting with businesses and the advisory committee later this


year. Can I thank my right honourable friend very much for


coming to Kent and visiting one of my local fruit farms and for


listening to the growers who assembled? Particularly during the


Easter recess. Could she please give me an update on the discussions she


has had with the Home Office about introducing the much-needed


agricultural permit scheme? Not only did I visit my honourable friend's


constituency, but the honourable member for Maidstone had a lovely K


bid day in the county I grew up in. She is right, this is an incredibly


important issue, the government has assessed the the need of a pilot


scheme for seasonal workers, and decided there is not the evidence


that such a thing as needed. The migration advisory committee later


this year will seek to get to the bottom of what is needed, and this


government is committed to making huge success for the food and


farming sector as we leave the EU. farming sector as we leave the EU.


Topical questions. As this is the last DEFRA oral questions before the


recess, I would like to remind the House of the government's twin


ambitions in the farming environment. They are to grow more,


sell more and export more British export food -- British food, and for


us to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better


state than when we found it. Last week we produced the first-ever


litter strategy for England and announced a ?10 million grant scheme


to distort peak winds. So we look forward to putting our case to the


country. What is she doing to support fishermen, and in particular


the under ten metres fleet, which is 33 feet in English money. I am glad


he can still do the maths. The government has taken a number of


measures to make the inshore fleet more economically sustainable. We


have taken an unused quota and permanently transferred this to the


under ten metres fleet. So we continue to top slice the quota


uplift, which is now more than 1000 tonnes, in order to help the under


ten metres fleet. Contrary to what the Minister said earlier, recent


inflation figures show that food prices are rising at the fastest


pace in three years, adding over 21p to be average household shopping


bill in the past three months alone. When will the Secretary of State get


a grip on the soaring costs of living affecting millions of


families? As I pointed out earlier to the question that was raised, we


saw the biggest spike in food prices in 2008. Food prices fell by around


7% between 2014 and 2016. It is true that they have seen a modest


increase over the last 12 months of 1.3%. Rising food prices simply


added to the burden on those with little money for food. The Food


Standards Agency reported that one in four low-income families struggle


to eat regularly and equality and human rights commission have shown


that disabled people are more than two times more likely to be living


in food property. -- poverty. How long can the Secretary of State


refused a -- to publish figures on this? We have always monitored


spending on food through the wedding cost survey, and on spending food


among the poor list has been stable for over a decade. This government


has put more people in employment than ever before, taken more people


off benefits and given them an income. That is how you tackle


poverty. It is not just the coastal areas of Lincolnshire that are prone


to flooding. Whilst the government has invested record amounts in


concrete defences, inland areas are also prone to flooding in places


like Lincolnshire. What role does the Minister think that flood


management control can play in detecting properties and people?


Here's right to raise the importance of natural flood management. I saw


that myself on a visit to Leicester without monster competition for


flood protection. In the right place it can absolutely help. We are


investing ?15 million to fund natural flood management schemes


across the country, and they will help support many communities from


flood risks, and we will continue to build the evidence. Surely the


Secretary of State... To prevent shortages in the food and drink


industry. We have already addressed the issue of seasonal workers in the


agricultural sector. As far as those workers who have already made their


lives and work in this country, as the Prime Minister has said, it is


her intention to ensure those rights are protected, and make sure the EU


reciprocates, so protecting the very valuable contribution that EU


citizens make in the UK, and vice versa. In the interest of customer


choice and transparency, isn't it time that all halal and kosher meat


products are properly labelled that the point of sale? This would


benefit those people who want to buy it as well as those who do not want


to. I know my honourable friend has been a long-standing campaigner on


this. The government is committed to giving consumers as much


transparency as possible and to improve labelling wherever we can. I


know he understands there are some difficulties and there is no single


definition of halal or kosher, which makes compulsory labelling complex.


He is aware of European Union -- the European Union has been looking at


this, and leaving the EU as an opportunity to look at these issues.


The 20 year food plan, the 20 year environment plan, the supposedly


environmentally enhancing strategies were supposed to be published before


the summer, that is summer 2016. The Secretary of State has failed, has


filled farmers, the food industry, and feel to keep our promise. People


are now losing their jobs and incomes on her watch. When will


these plans see the light of day? She might be aware there was a


significant decision taken by the people of the United Kingdom last


summer to leave the European Union. We have been very clear about our


ambitions to make a huge success of the food and farming sector and to


be the first generation that leads iron environment and a better place


than when we found it. In terms of our plans, it is essential we can


consult with stakeholders who have clear evidence to give us, clear


ideas to give us, for a future outside of the EU that is more


successful than ever. Further to the honourable member for Gainsborough's


question earlier, would she give my constituents that the assurance they


need that should the European Commission choose not to follow the


recommendation and decide to ban the use of it anyway... The evidence is


clear, they believe glyphosate is safe, it has also been in the UK


intention to follow them on pesticide decisions, so we support


this being authorised again. We will continue to have an evidence -based


approach when we leave the EU. We need good science, good technology,


good innovation, but what will she do about the fact that one of the


leading scientific research bases has been taken over by China? This


is another major company that the Chinese government have absorbed.


What is she going to do about it? When it comes to pesticide


protection, this is an integrated industry around the world, and it is


not unusual to have others working within the UK. We have the best in


the world, which is why companies choose to locate here. Fly-tipping


like the countryside, and often causes real problems for those


including farmers, such as in my constituency who have waste dumped


on my land. Can he update the House on the steps of government is taking


to tackle this? I was delighted we launched the letter strategy on the


10th of April for England, seeking to cut ?800 million bill annually


for tax players for cleaning up letter. So local councils will be


able to fine fly-tipper is. We have also given them the powers to seize


vehicles involved in fly-tipping. Integrated processing distribution


and packaging systems are used in food plants across the UK and the


Republic of Ireland. What assurances can begin to the companies there


will be no border restrictions inhabiting the operations after


Brexit? The Prime Minister has made clear she wants an ambitious and


comprehensive free trade agreement. We are looking closely at the issue


of border controls in respect of the border between Northern Ireland and


the Irish Republic particularly, but we're talking regularly to industry


on this, we have a meeting with some of the other devolved


administrations later today, where we will look at these issues. Lamb


prices are trading particularly less this year than last year existing.


New Zealand lamb comes in in the winter when we have no lambs. There


seems to be too much New Zealand lamb in the major retailers and not


enough British lamb. I would like the ministers to bring that to the


attention of the major retailers that British lamb should now be in


the shops, it should not be New Zealand lamb. The honourable


gentleman makes an important point. I know that at least, people really


want to buy high-quality West Country lamb and Welsh lamb and


Scottish lamb, and from every other part of the United Kingdom. I would


say, there was an issue this year I believe, in that prices were very


good during the winter, which meant a number of sheep producers decided


to sell their lamb early, meaning there has been less British lamb


available at this time. Will the Secretary of State to be


pushing for a total ban on ivory sales in the 2017 manifesto,


equivalent to the unrealised pledge in the 2015 manifesto? As I outlined


to my honourable friend earlier, we are working very closely on -- very


carefully on the proposals and hope to publish a consultation in due


course. In the West Midlands, we are seeing a terrible spate of


fly-tipping on a commercial scale, including hospital and household


waste. Could I ask the Minister seriously to help the farmers with


the costs of deterring the serious criminals from dumping these hazards


on their land? Mr Speaker, I thank my right honourable friend for that


question. We know this is a particular problem at the moment and


that's where the Environment Agency is working with councils and farmers


in order to try to stop this waste being dumped in the first place. We


will continue to pursue waste crime as an urgent issue and friendly


those people who to spoil our country side and display last rates


deserve a strong sentence but we need the legislation to do that and


this can take time. Does the Minister recognise that food


processors will need to continue to recruit employees coming to the UK


from other EU countries? Yes, absolutely. As I said earlier, the


Home Office are looking very closely at what the future needs will be for


businesses. We absolutely recognise that businesses in the UK, in order


to thrive, will of course need access to some of the brightest and


best from around the world and the migration advisory Council and a


consultation with businesses will be looking at the needs later this


year. Cleaning up the nation's bus fleet is an important point -- part


of tackling air quality, but will the Minister agree that smaller


companies will need time to adapt, particularly where the smallest


vehicles -- the cleanest vehicles are not yet available on the


second-hand market? My right honourable friend is correct to


point out that we need to work with the industry. The Department for


Transport has been working with manufacturers for some time to make


the improvements so that, again, as a nation, we can make those


technological changes that are important to improving our air


quality from vehicle emissions. Questions, Pauline Latham. Number


one, sir. I can inform the House that the National Audit Office


published an investigation into the Cancer Drugs Fund in 2015. This


investigation set up the facts related to the fund in what it had


achieved. This followed up on a number of concerns raised during


early work on improving cancer services. The investigation found


that all parties agreed that the fund was not sustainable in its


present format this time and that NHS England was proposing a new


arrangement for the fund. It also noted that NHS England did not have


enough data to evaluate the impact of the existing fund on patient


outcomes. I thank the honourable gentleman for that answer. Could he


tell the House whether the committee of Public accounts has actually


looked at this issue? I can indeed. This is a very serious matter and


everybody wants to improve matters so the committee of Public accounts


followed up on the National Audit Office investigation and recommended


that the Department of Health and NHS England make better use of their


buying power in order to pay a fair price for cancer drugs and to


improve data on patients outcomes. The NAL also followed up on a number


of related issues in a reported 2016. The National Audit Office


recommended that NHS England should collaborate with nice to ensure best


price for effective drugs. Does the honourable gentleman agree that 14


drugs were available from 2013 to 20 14 and from 2014 to 2015, and the


most used ten... In terms of what drugs are approved by nice, this is


not a matter for the auditor general, but in terms of what the


gentleman says, he makes his point very well and I am sure the House


has heard it. To ask the right honourable member for merit in what


the Church of England is doing to help my churches across


Northumberland to be protected from metal theft from their rubes? --


their rubes? Mr Speaker, do you want me to reply to this question? I'm


bound to say that the lady was posing a supplementary question to


question one which was the basis on which I called her. Is the right


honourable gentleman aware of the real challenge that has been brought


to my attention by my excellent team in Huddersfield that it is very rare


cancers that are the problem. They are expensive to develop drugs for


and they are a special case. Is he aware of that minority group? I am


aware of that and I think he makes a very important point. We all have


heart-rending cases in our own constituency surgeries of people who


are denied life-saving drugs. I can assure the honourable gentleman that


the Public Accounts Committee are fully aware of this and they will


continue to put pressure on the Government, on the whole Cancer


Drugs Fund to ensure full transparency so we are always aware


of these problems and we can ensure affordability for all our citizens.


Question two, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Church of England was


very concerned about the judgment of the European Court of Justice that


blanket bans on the wearing of philosophical or religious items


does not impact on human rights, as this is at odds with another


judgment. Would my right honourable friend agree with me that this is


another reason to be pleased that the British people took the decision


last year to lead the European Union because the ruling was deeply


offensive to people of all faiths and totally unnecessary? It was at


odds with the statutory purpose of the church of England, put far


better than I possibly could myself by the head of the church, Her


Majesty the Queen in 2012, the Church of England regards all


faiths, the church has a duty to protect the free practice of all


faiths in this country and that is what we should be able to do if we


resolve this inconsistency. Question number three. I can assure my


honourable friend that among the many opportunities Brexit provides,


there is a chance to provide the National Audit Office's Work


Programme. This is determined by the controller and is regularly revised.


Taking back control and leaving the EU will be a major task for


departments and some departments will be more affected than others.


The National Audit Office is keeping in touch with old apartment as they


make their Brexit preparations. It is likely to create extra work for


the National Audit Office, not least the Department for exiting Brexit.


-- exiting the European Union. Will a settlement to be ordered?


Eventually that will be the case for the National Audit Office. We are


simply ensuring at the moment that all departments, particularly that


focused on the EU, as they tackle this monumental task, and I am sure


they will do it efficiently. We ought to hear from this gentleman is


I believe he is a member of the Public Accounts Committee. I ought


to declare a pub -- a conflict of interest as I sit on the Public


Accounts Committee and on the committee itself.


He did say he needs to know the details of the deal on the table


with Brexit before he could properly ascertained the impact. I therefore


ask the right honourable gentleman, is he confident we will know the


detail of this Brexit deal in 18 months' time? I think the honourable


gentleman is leading me astray. I'm not sure as chairman of the Public


accounts commission, which is charged with a budget of the


National Audit Office and its Work Programme, I am really qualified to


comment on these negotiations, but I can give assurances that the control


believes this is now a fundamental part of his work. There is so much


that could go wrong in terms of efficiency in Government departments


in this task and we will be keeping a beady eye on it. With his talk on


the -- it help on the commission, we will ensure the controller has


control to ensure the public are unaffected. I must pay tribute to my


honourable friend the South West Bedfordshire for his long-standing


support the institution of marriage and since last asking this question


in 2011, I am very pleased to say that the Church of England has


launched a successful new initiative called your church wedding which is


designed to increase the profile of church weddings, highlight the


possibility for those seeking to be married, offers more consistent


marriage preparation and after-care. I am very grateful for that answer


but the fact is that marriage rates have unfortunately declined in


recent years. I know she'll agree with me there is nothing inevitable


about that give out for a decade between 1962 and 1972, they rose.


Given this is a real social justice issue with the decline in marriage


rates having an issue -- an impact on low income families, fully church


appointed Bishop with the aim of spreading best marriage practice in


every single parish across the UK? I genuinely believe this new


initiative will increase healthy marriage and I'm sure every Bishop


will see himself as part of that initiative, but there is no doubt


that we have seen a decline in church marriage. That is partially


because people can get married in many places now. Women over 65 are


getting married in increasing numbers. We should celebrate that


fact. It is always useful to have additional information. We are


grateful to the right honourable lady for that. The Mr Speaker, the


number of people selected for ordering meant within the Church of


England has been stable for some time. However, the age profile of


serving clergy are retiring, leading to a decrease in the number of


active clergy... That is an a star answer, Mr


Speaker, but how can we do even better? We quite simply need to make


it easier for people who feel the call to enter ministry to do this


more flexibly, so the church not only offers a three-year residential


course to become an ordained minister but part time provision. As


a result of the apprenticeship levy, resources will be available to the


church for people to actually learn on the job and this should make it a


whole lot easier for people to enter ministry. Does the right honourable


member believe that the number of applications would be improved if


the Church of England did more to protect their churches in


Northumberland from metal theft, thereby leaving them dealing with


logistics rather than focusing on their parishioners? I must


congratulate the lady on her ingenuity in bringing in this very


important and serious matter of metal theft, because you can't


practice as an ordained minister without a roof on your church. The


Church of England offers guidance, and I refer honourable members to


the church care website. There are in fact a range of metal substitute


products that can be used, even on listed buildings, and currently


there is a pilot system for marking lead which is designed to help scrap


metal dealers say that they can identify when stolen goods are being


presented to them. This is a serious matter, we are working closely with


Government departments to try to make it harder for the criminals to


impede the desire of those who wish to minister in the church and to


make sure the Rhys Davies. I welcome back news on the


initiatives on raising the number of clergy locations, and it is an


unfortunate location that some have two steel metal from the roofs of


churches. What can you tell me about what we're doing in my constituency


in particular to stop such theft? I do not have specific information


about bacteria, but his advice is available the church website to


every diocese, and every diocese is affected by this crime. In addition


to the deterrence I have outlined on a previous answer, a system for


fixing or locking medals. Perhaps I should not give it away what the


system is, because the criminals will know, but deterrence, so even


at the dead of night it is possible to catch evidence of the crime


taking place. Can I recommend the website. I suspect this is the last


question today. Please would you allow me to congratulate the


parliamentary unit of Church House for the splendid way in which they


have been with me for the last couple of days, as none of us can be


complacent that we may return to our existing posts. This is a serious


question, and the Church of England and the offices of the two


archbishops are in regular contact with the church in Egypt's, said --


South Sudan, but what they are most concerned about with the recent


attacks in Egypt on Palm Sunday, many people died. Persecution


increased for the fourth year in a row during 2015 and 2016, with


murders of Christians in places like Nigeria and Egypt, as she deferred


to. What practical measures the church offered to communities


countries like Egypt and Nigeria? I attended the open doors event here


in parliament where a Nigerian pastor spoke about violent


persecution of himself and his congregation, but in respect of


places like Egypt, I am pleased to say that the Bishop has secured


intensive security measures for the Christian church in Egypt, including


emptying the streets around churches and cathedrals of cars, and extra


police women put on duty to protect worshippers before services begin.


Order, urging questions to Stephen Dowty. Thank you. Will the Foreign


Secretary make a statement on the persecution of LB GT people


injection to. The arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of over


100 men in Chechnya because of their sexual orientation is of deep


concern to the UK. Credible reports suggesting that at least four people


have been killed and many have been tortured are particularly shocking.


Statements by the regional government in Chechnya, which


appeared to condone and incite violence against LGBT people, are


utterly despicable. We condemn any and all persecution and: They


authorities. My right honourable friend the Minister of the released


a statement in April outlining the government's concern of the report


and called upon the government to investigate and ensure perpetrators


of human rights abuses are brought to justice. Foreign Secretary has


also expressed his serious concerns also expressed his serious concerns


through social media. Officials from the British Embassy in Moscow


reiterated these concerns directly to the Russian government on the


13th of April, and we are working with international partners in


Russia as part of wider lobbying efforts. The EU made a statement on


the half of member states at the permanent Council of the OSCE on the


6th of April, and the UK permanent representative to the Council of


Europe delivered a statement on the UK in the committee of ministers on


the 19th of April. I praise the Minister for his sincerity on this


issue, I know he takes it clearly seriously. -- takes it seriously.


This campaign involves possibly several hundred men, and I want to


praise the journalists in Russia and the UK and elsewhere, who brought


this to public attention. We're talking about detention, beatings,


abuse, electric shock treatment is. They do not see this likely, but


some have described gay concentration camps, and we hear of


at least four killings. The LGBT community have spoken to me about


this. LGBT Labour spoke to the Prime Minister and this last week, sadly


not getting a reply. I know there have been representations from all


parties. President Putin already has a reputation of persecuting LGBT


communities, so is he taking a blind eye or is he complicit? The


Guardian's Shaun Walker expressed the horrors we are seeing, he


described it, attaching metal clamps and sending electric shocks through


his body. If he managed not to screen, others would join in beating


him with sticks or metal rods and demand to know names of other gay


men he knew in Chechnya. If we had any doubts about this brutal regime,


we need not. I do have to ask why it has taken so long for the Foreign


Secretary. Tweet is not enough to speak out about this, we have not


heard clear condemnation from the Prime Minister. Has the Prime


Minister or Foreign Secretary spoken directly to the Chechen governments,


have the called in the ambassador? Does he now regrets his cancelled


trip to Moscow, where he could have raised these atrocities in Chechnya


and Syria? Was the issue raised at the G7 discussion and could do Prime


-- the Minister explain what he's going to do on this issue? The


Foreign Secretary said it was outrageous, but the Foreign Office


has referred questions to the Home Office and as yet no clarity has


been given. Will be provide refuge from those fleeing this horrendous


persecution in Chechnya? May I say at the outset that I applaud the


honourable gentleman for raising this, and I hope it is a topic


around which this House can unite without any party politics because I


think a strong united voice in this country, which the honourable


gentleman is calling for, is the message we should be sending because


these reports are utterly barbaric. Indeed one of the most disgusting


things I have seen reported is a Chechen security source stating


these arrests are part of what he called a preventative clean-up. This


followed a request simply by an LGBT group to request licenses for gay


pride parades, and the group had not even applied for a permit in


Chechnya. Human rights groups report that these campaigns and killings


are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen Republic. He has carried out


other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his


efforts at the LGBT community. Sources have said he wants the


community eliminated by the start of Ramadan. Such comments and attitudes


and actions are absolutely beyond contemptible. Can I assure the


honourable gentleman under House but in the government, we fully condemn


this. We do use all engagement with Russia to make our voice clear. I


did so personally with the Minister of Russia when I met him a few weeks


ago, we spoke on general human rights matters, but also Chechnya,


and may I say that I hope this House would be fully united in giving the


strongest possible message to Russia and Chechnya in particular, that


this kind of activity is beyond contempt and not acceptable in the


world in which we live. Can I pay tribute to you in the support you


have given to the LGBT community send your occupied that chair, Mr


Speaker. It is right that it should be raised here because we have more


openly gay members of parliament here than anywhere else in the


world. When I was asked in 2010 why I came out, it was to partly send


the signal to other people who were troubled about their own sexuality,


to give them hope and confidence that if people like us can be open


about their own sexuality, hopefully they would also be able to take some


form of moral support that it may help them to do likewise. We have


made fundamental changes around the rest of the world when we have


looked at issues such as climate change. We have made massive


advances when we brought countries together on this issue. Can we not


do the same on LGBT issues, but we can have LGBT change throughout the


world? Can I ask of one area that might be worth a lot of attention is


the Commonwealth, where some countries part of our family of


nations have slid back as far as LGBT rights are concerned, could he


give some concentration on that and show that the British Government is


going to lead the way on LGBT change throughout the world? Indeed, and I


think one of the other strong messages as we approach a general


election, candidates in any party will be able to stand and be openly


gay without being in anyway ostracised by their own party or, we


hope, any part of the electorate. In itself, that sends a very strong


message to the world. I think it is a great tribute to this House and


our own democracy that over the last 15 years or so, we have seen all


parties have gay members on these green leather benches, and whatever


the outcome of the election, long may that continue. I also hope it


will be reflected in the Commonwealth in years to come, as my


honourable friend suggests, and we must campaign within Commonwealth


countries to make sure that they do not fail to reflect the standards


that we in the House reflect when it comes to the LGBT community. Can I


add my thanks to you for granting this question today. Also to my


honourable friend the Member for Cardiff South for bringing such an


important matter to the House today and speaking so eloquently. Can I


also thank him for his response and pay tribute to his long record for


standing up LGBT rights. A brave and much-needed pioneer in that regard.


I recall an article by Peter Hitchens in the Daily Mail in 2002,


entitled, I am sorry, Mr Duncan, if you are gay and not a Tory. And


goodness that has been resigned to the dustbin. We must do something


about some parts of Europe. In recent days and weeks we have heard


reports from organisations and human rights documenting the most terrible


abuse, causing great distress. It is nothing short of officially


sanctioned... But the Russian government who beers responsibility


ultimately for its citizens seems to be looking the other way. As has


already been put before the House, there was a letter written a week


ago by LGBT labour to the Prime Minister, in which they asked


particularly that she make the Russian ambassador -- meet the


Russian ambassador with some questions, and urge them to be those


who have been detained and close down those camps. We're speaking


today with a strong unified voice. But it seems to me that whilst I


applaud the right honourable gentleman raising this matter, I do


as a result of the urgent question as a result of the urgent question


today, I hope we will get an undertaking from the government that


it will be raised at a much higher political level. It seems to me that


this matter is something the Prime Minister should take initiative of,


and called in the Russian ambassador undermanned some answers. May I


thank the right honourable lady for her town. I had indeed forgotten


about the Peter Hitchens article. I am not sure I want to be reminded of


it! But at least I can take pleasure in the fact that no I am but one of


many on the Tory benches. I hope this statement can be seen as


reflecting the Prime Minister and the entire government's condemnation


of this, but I do note what she says about her wish to see the issue


raised to a higher level of political comment. I have to say,


another one of the most contemptible elements of this issue is noting


that a representative for Chechnya's Council on civil society and human


rights, supposedly someone who is charged with the task of upholding


human rights said she would not accept an application for help from


a gay person because the persecution of gay people should not be


condemned to an Chechen society, even if a person was killed by their


own family. The LGBT community in Chechnya is not just at risk of


persecution by the Chechen authorities, but also falling victim


to so-called honour killings by their own family members. They are


not safe inside Chechnya, and as I said earlier, what is happening in


that republic is beyond contemptible.


Mr Speaker, can I agree entirely with the Minister in his


condemnation of this terrible, terrible occurrence, but building on


the remarks of my oral ball friend from Ribble Valley, is he aware that


the Council of Europe is in plenary session next week and although many


members such as myself, because of the general election being called


are unable to attend, some of our colleagues will be at the Council of


Europe and would he have a word with the ambassador to see whether this


matter could be raised, for example, in the free debate during the


plenary session next week? I think it is important that this matter is


raise continually in an international environment, to put


more pressure on Russia and the Chechen authorities. Mr Speaker, I


think the Council of Europe is a very important voice for the


expression of wider Continental opinion and I certainly will convert


a two hour ambassador at the wishes of my right honourable friend, which


I sense will be all also the wishes of the entire house. The scenes and


stories emanating from Chechnya are beyond comprehension and utterly


sickening and we share the sentiments that others have


expressed. And while we may still have many challenges on the LGBT


equality in the UK, we are fortunate in we have come a very long way and


then having that greater freedom, we absolutely must use our voices,


whether we are members of the LGBT community or not and we must say it


loudly and clearly we condemn this horrific brutality. For the Chechen


authorities to not only denied these attacks but also, incredulously,


claimed that no gay people exist within their province is at best


extraordinary and at worst deceitful. We call for those in the


region to be protected and the UK Government is, but can do more, to


project athletes protect LGBT people around the world. The SNP manifesto:


the Government to establish the position of a special envoy to


promote the rights of LGBT people around the world as an integral part


of UK policy. Will the Minister look into this and consider this for


their forthcoming manifesto? And can I appeal to the Minister and his


colleagues to act on the proposals we brought forward, put all the


pressure he can on Chechnya and Russia to stop these abhorrent


abuses and persecution of gay men and the wider LGBT divinity. We


cannot stand idly by and let this happen. Those facing abuse must know


that we care and we are standing up for them. Well, Mr Speaker, I am


proud to say are broadly agree with the honourable lady and all that she


wishes to see us do is enshrined across the board in our Government


policy, through gifted, through the Home Office, through our foreign


policy, and so it will remain, so in that sense, I think we should all be


envoys in what we do internationally and, indeed, Mr Speaker, FCO


officials in Russia meet regularly with LGBT activists and attend LGBT


events so that we can provide visible support. We have also


provided support to organisations such as Stonewall and helped to


facilitate sar Ian McKellan's visit to Russia last year, during which he


met LGBT activists in Moscow and St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg and I


think his powerful messages about UK values resonated at least with


Russia's next generation. Is there an element of reversion to type


here, in that it was always a feature of a totalitarian regime to


vilify minorities and as a matter of routine political management and,


equally, of the former Soviet Union, it was difficult to to identify any


person that posed a political threat to brand them as gay and detain them


in a mental institution? Well, Mr Speaker, I think Chechnya does


indeed seem to be the worst of the lot, so in that sense, as part of


Russia, I would urge President Putin to make his views clear in


condemning what is going on in Chechnya. This reminds us that we


are phenomenally lucky in this country, those of us who are gay,


because I remember meeting in Russia in 2009, a lesbian activist who was


83 years old and I asked how she got away with it and she said "I think


President Putin things women don't have sex at the age of 80." How


wrong can you be, she said. The serious point is we should be paying


tribute to those people standing up and risking their own lives and I am


glad that the Government is acting to try and do that, but isn't this


all part of a peace? President Putin appointed Khedira as president in


Chechnya, he has then got elected with 90% of the vote, that doesn't


seem at all bazaar, does it? But he and Putin have repeatedly abused


human rights, they have used violence to excess and have always


resorted to violence when there is another opportunity providing a


peaceful means, so how do we, and will the Government make sure, that


people who are engaged in this kind of activity and those involved in


the murder of British people working in Russia, will not be entering this


country? I think an 80-year-old activist gives all of us a bit of


hope in this world. Not long now, Alan! Having just turned 60,


although I know I don't look it, I heard from behind the... Oh, yes, I


did! Much more seriously, what the honourable gentleman says is


absolutely right, this is part of a wider picture across Russia


although, I again say, I think Chechnya does appear to be the worst


example and I think that within the constraints of being able to


influence what happens in any other country, we have to speak loudly,


speak collectively, be brave and courageous and at a diplomatic


level, within the country, we will do our utmost to put pressure on the


regime to understand that in the modern world, this kind of activity


is barbaric and is no longer part of the world in which any country


should be allowed to live. If memory serves, the Right Honourable's


gentleman's birthday was 20 days ago. Can I start by thanking the


Minister for the various matter forceful statement he has made


today. I have written to the Russian ambassador and would like to echo


the calls made by other members here today that the UK Government to call


in the Russian ambassador and ask him in particular what they are


going to do to protect the journalists involved in leaking this


story, because clearly they are now at risk as well as the LGBT


immunity? The final question I wanted to ask the Minister was


weather since the G-7, where unfortunately our Government failed


to secure sanctions against Syria and Russia, have any lessons been


learned about how to improve cooperation so that at an


international level, action will be taken against Chechnya? I think the


right honourable gentleman has perhaps deviated slightly from the


collective tone of the House this morning. As I think he will


appreciate, what happened out of the G-7 was in response to fast-moving


events following the gassing of people in Syria. As I said the


moment ago and I say it again, on the issue of gay rights in Chechnya


or indeed anywhere else across the world, we need to speak not only as


one voice in this House but by working together with other


countries and with NGOs to make sure that the world collectively hones in


on the likes of Chechnya and Russia more generally to make them clear


that they are out of step with the rest of the world and overtime will


lose all credibility and become increasingly derided and it is high


time they just grew up and understand what the modern world is


all about. Can I congratulate my constituency neighbour for exposing


the latest manifestation of the barbaric treatment that the people


of Chechnya have had for a decade and pay tribute to Lord Frank Judd,


who acted as the wrapper two over many years for the Council of Europe


and reported fearlessly on the terrible things that were happening


there. I think one would reflect on this now and we entirely support the


opposition that should be worldwide to this terrible activity, and this


is spreading. And one of the reasons for it is the pressure on countries


to improve the human rights is now less because they don't have the


incentive of joining together in the European Union, that demanded these


high standards, and we are sadly going back into barbaric treatments,


not just in Chechnya, but many other countries, including Turkey. I will


join the honourable gentleman in paying tribute to the noble Lord


Paul Judd for all of his efforts over the years but I say again, it


is for all of us to work effectively across parties, across countries,


parties and all organisations to make sure that simple rides the


people -- writes for people that should not be denied to them are


upheld across the world. Considering how this may be misrepresented


abroad, particularly in Russia, is it not important to emphasise that


this is first and foremost a matter of human rights and is certainly not


a matter confined only to those who happen to be gay. And is it not


interested, Mr Speaker, that this is being discussed 50 years since the


House of Commons changed the law on homosexuality and if there is a


debate in July, near the actual date when the legislation was passed, I


would hope to be here, certainly I will do my utmost to be here, to


explain why I was pleased to vote for the change in law. I think I'm


the only one out in the House who has remained. Like I say, the way he


is going, he will be here and another 50 years vote time. -- here


in another 50 years' time. But he makes a very valid point about the


importance of promulgating the truth. When we stand up and hear


absolute blatant propaganda, we should not shy away from robustly


cantering lies of that sort and, for instance, Kadyrov's spokesman has


called reports about persecution and murder absolute lies themselves and


indeed, he added, as we heard earlier, there are no gay men in


Chechnya and you cannot arrest or repressed people who just don't


exist. And even worse, he went on to say that if they did exist, their


own relatives would have sent them away from, I quote, "Where they


could never return". And it is the use of language like that that


appears to condone the outright murder of someone simply because of


their sexual orientation, it is utterly unacceptable and condemns


them in the eyes of the decent world. Thank you, Mr Speaker, I am


delighted to speak in this debate and I also thank the deputy Foreign


Minister for her statement. I have a concern, though, that not just as a


member of the LGBT community, but also the broader sense of the


social, economic and political impoverishment of what is Chechnya


and its profound impact on all Chechen society, because whether we


like it or not, Kadyrov has fundamental support, in some terms,


of his nation, and the Russian Federation, so how we undermine that


is also about investment and also about foreign aid in tackling human


rights across the world. So will be debited Minister say here on the


floor, fighting for LGBTI rides in places like Chechnya and others,


that his foreign budget will not change after the general election?


Well, I think we should all committed to fighting prejudice


wherever we find it and I hope that when we stand in the election on


June the 8th, that will be part of all of the views we hold as we


present ourselves to the electorate. But the honourable gentleman


actually raises a deeper point as well, which is that we need, as this


has, to understand foreign affairs, to take an interest and to debate


countries such as Chechnya so I hope that early in the next Parliament,


that opportunity will present itself so the arguments we are hearing


today can be made more loudly at a junior eight. This has rightly


speaks with one voice in condemnation of these have borrowed


hacks -- abhorrent acts in Cheshire. It is not the first on the Russian


Government has been found wanting when it comes to human acts and it


needs reminding of its obligations. What can we do to make sure other


countries are similarly robust in explaining that to the Russian


Government, not least because of how insecure those members of the LGBTI


committee in Chechnya We work through every organisation


and of course the United Nations more widely. , but because we do


speak frankly, we have had a rather scratchy relationships with the


Russians recently. But we will not shy away from raising these issues


frankly and forcefully, and I can assure the honourable gentleman that


we will maintain a policy of robust engagement with the Russians, and it


will include matters of this sort when we do so. All of Glasgow weeps


at this news, and when I return later this afternoon we will have a


vigil in George Square with politicians, or 30 people,


expressing their horror at what is happening. Can I disagree with some


colleagues. I do not see the need for it to be escalated to the


Foreign Secretary. I think the Minister is very capable, deeply


thoughtful, but I would like to echo the comments made by my honourable


friend from Livingston. Is it not time for us to join countries like


Canada and having an envoy on LGBT rights, who reports directly to the


Prime Minister, and I would also echo the point made by my honourable


friend from Clydebank, does this not show, and also in terms of what the


honourable gentleman said about the Commonwealth, it is not the time to


cut it back -- cut back the foreign aid. I thank him for his kind words.


And usually I have to say at this political burden period! I am


contemplating putting it in quotation marks at my election


address! I wouldn't do that! -- politically fervent period. Our


policy on this is not for me to say. My personal observation are some a


dedicated envoy is not as effective as having all ministers and members


of Parliament doing it. Butterfat is in his manifesto, we will let the


people decide. Deeply, -- briefly, can I congratulate him for raising


this important point and human rights. But could I suggest a word


of caution about any complacency on this? We have a united voice in this


House of Commons, but we're travelling on an official visit --


when I was travelling towards the east on an official visit, I was


troubled by the attitudes of people beer, and I was in Austria. We saw


some propaganda, and we should be on our guard whenever this kind of


human rights abuse viewers at -- rears its ugly head. I think we


should take that as serious words of wisdom from a serious member -- a


senior member of this House. We need to make sure there are no dial


YouTube views, and he is right to point out that Europe needs to be


united if we're going to make our voice clear and resonant across the


wider world. Having tabled an early day motion myself on this very


subject earlier in the week, I am grateful to the honourable member


for Cardiff South and Penarth for securing this question, and to you,


Mr Speaker, for permitting it. Can we have assurances that members of


the LGBT community will be granted asylum in the United Kingdom should


be looked for refuge on our shores? I have to tell the honourable lady


that that is by merrily Home Office matter, and a matter for asylum


legislation. In February the Foreign Secretary announced a ?700 million


empowerment fund to project soft power and human rights. How was this


fund being used to promote equal rights campaigners and support civil


society in Chechnya and elsewhere? Can I echo the points of my


honourable friend as he has not yet voiced his commitment to the target,


as this is precisely why the target is so important. He makes reference


to the empowerment fund, and I understand bids are currently in


play. With the election I would imagine that will be stalled


slightly, but I'm confident that there will be programmes designed


for the promotion of human rights in many of the countries of which the


empowerment fund is directing its efforts. I wish to pay tribute to


the amazing work of an organisation and Leeds who brought this to my


attention. These abuses are are chilling. Can I as the Minister what


discussions he has had with EU partners but also with the United


Nations to look at an initiative to clearly seek to stamp out this sort


of appalling persecution, wherever it may happen. These discussions


take place on a regular basis in all the forums we are represented, and


it is usually the UK in the lead in designing initiatives and


statements, which I think would echo the opinions he has just stated. The


appalling treatment LGBT people face in some countries abroad makes it


all the more important that officials here making decisions on


asylum cases get them 100% correct. Will he make representations that no


asylum case should never be refused solely on the basis that a person


can return home and hide their sexuality away? I will convey entire


exchange to the Home Secretary. Order. Does it relate


specifically... He's such a patient fellow, we can hear from him later.


There will be some anticipation in the House over what he's planning to


raise! Business question. Thank you. Could the Leader of the House give


us the forthcoming business for next week? The business for next week


will be as follows. Monday 24th of April, consideration of a business


of the House motion followed by all stages of the Northern Ireland


ministerial appointments and regional rates bill, followed by, if


necessary, consideration of Lords amendments. Tuesday the 25th of


April, committee of the whole House and the finance number two bill,


followed by consideration of Lords amendments to the health service


medical supplies costs bill, followed by, if necessary,


consideration of Lords amendments. Wednesday 26th of April, a motion to


approve a ways and means resolution on the digital economy Bill,


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


consideration of Lords amendments to the criminal of finances Bill,


followed by, if necessary, consideration of Lords amendments.


Thursday 27 people, consideration of Lords amendments. A House may also


be asked to consider any Lords messages that may be received. The


House will not adjourn until Royal assent has been received to all


acts. Since this is probably going to be the last regular weekly


business statement in this parliament, could I simply take the


opportunity to thank first of all the staff of the House for the


service they provide every one of us throughout the course of Parliament,


and wish them a happy opportunity to put their feet up a little bit over


the forthcoming weeks, and secondly, to wish particular good fortune to


those honourable members on all sides who have decided that they


will not seek election. Each of them in their own way has striven to


represent the interests of their constituents during the years here.


Each of them has brought particular experiences, particular political


commitments, to the causes for which they have fought, and all of them


have contributed to the building of democracy in this country, and I


would like to place our banks on record. Can I thank the Leader of


the House for the business of the last week, and I will save my thanks


to the end of my response. It was an eventful parliament not least


because of the death of PC Keith Palmer, Lesley Rhodes, and now


cathedral said at the memorial injured. As


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


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


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


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


Minister wants stability and to strengthen her hand in negotiations,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


scared of making a statement in this House!


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


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


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


force the government to agree because we are representative


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


needs a new manifesto. Everyday the government breaks the manifesto


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


services or local government grants are based on needs for local


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


special friends. Ensuring small businesses thrive, supporting those


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


pensions and compensating women affected by an increase in the state


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


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


leadership. Her Majesty is opposition and government will work


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


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


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


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


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


Whip, who tells me to stop the jokes! If


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


parliament before the permanent memorial to Jo Cox can take its


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


relationship with my other constituency neighbour, The Right


Honourable member for Buckingham and indeed, following the last boundary


change in the Buckingham constituency, I have a particular


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


honourable gentleman peruses Mr Speaker's previous election


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


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


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


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


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


sought a joint sovereignty agreement, something that was


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


subsequent referendum. She also made a number of assertions about


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


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


House, whatever political perspective we bring to these


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


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


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


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


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


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


such chaotic Government incapable of funding public services because they


would have bankrupted the British economy, raised taxes on ordinary


working families and piled yet more public debt onto the next


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Opposition should be entrusted with the Government and leadership


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


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


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


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


election campaign and therefore a rescheduling is essential, but I


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


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


is fully intended that the installation will take place very


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


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


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


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


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


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


Higgins, in evidence to the transport select committee


yesterday, indicated that their failure to consider conflicts of


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and mine and those in other constituency is along the proposed


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


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


therefore glad that our honourable friend the Secretary of State for


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


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


fair and transparent procurement within HS2 and within all such


projects for which he has responsibility.


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


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


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


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


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


the London Marathon on Saturday, particularly my honourable friend,


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


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


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


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


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


all of the Conservative members of Parliament currently under police


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


dozen Conservative MPs facing the possibility of being prosecuted


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


deserves to know what will happen under these circumstances that will


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


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


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


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


played any feature in the deciding of determining this date of


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


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


Prime Minister who seems fair to participate in the television


variety. She unilaterally called this election but will not debate


with other litter colour balance and it is absolutely right that


broadcasters are considering empty chairing the prime ministers a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


am sure the honourable gentleman is right in suggesting that the


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


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


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


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


well all those members are successful in raising large sums of


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


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


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


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


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


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


police forces have conducted investigations and many have been


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


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


other political parties, and we are confident that individual colleagues


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


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


impeccable integrity and he has conducted the office impeccably


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


draw his attention and put down a marker about select committee


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


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


the library, where specialists sometimes remain in post for a


decade or more and this would strengthen the role of select


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


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


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


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


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


balance to be struck between the value of continuity that my


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


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


develop their careers in service through a variety of different


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that. We have offered outstanding debate applications which are lying


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


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


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


new backbench business and new parliament is established, because


that happened in the last Parliament, General debates put down


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


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


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


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


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


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


than a cameo appearances from Aldwych and Brownhills and Ipswich.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of debates, general Today I will desist from illicit


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


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


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


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


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


reflects the reality of contested elections for select committee


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


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


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


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


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


orders relating to the election of select committees is capable of


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


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


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


current standing orders, consult across parties and come back with


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


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


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


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


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


been a privilege. The next Parliament has a very difficult


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


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


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


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


more than the House will miss me. LAUGHTER.


The honourable lady was characteristically self-deprecating


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


record government spending on our National Health service, to the


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


constituents and those in neighbouring constituencies in the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


road schemes. The amount we are spending on roads include


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


essential road maintenance, as well as providing for the central


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


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


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


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


our economy to create wealth and increase employment. And the


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


election campaign, will saddle future generations with debt.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


needed for their particular communities. One particular setup is


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


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


happening in Shropshire. The reputation of politics was rock


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


looking forward to. When can we investigate the activities between


previous ministers and Blackstone investments? These are unresolved


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


whether Conservative, Labour road Liberal Democrats, who have things


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


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


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


honourable member for Birmingham Edgbaston is wrong. She will be


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


debate on the persecution of Christians throughout the world,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


about the need to defend religious freedom around the world,


particularly with reference to Christians and religious minorities


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


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


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


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


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


Conservative candidates are women. Flavour is doubly fortunate to


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


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


government could not have been clearer about our wish to encourage


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


outstanding member of Parliament, and her successor has an incredibly


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


there are discussions going on through the usual channels about how


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


House will now have a weakened position in terms of making


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


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


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


mandate from the people to carry through the referendum outcome would


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


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


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


doubt in my mind about my right honourable friend the Prime


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


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


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


or North Korea? Whilst security concerns are currently uppermost in


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


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


Government of returning refugees from North Korea back to the North


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


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


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


very cogent point the Government is concerned that China continues


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


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


severe for the international community, including China, to


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


the very least is Makovich respect the fundamentals built into the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


For example, the introduction of compulsory trigger locks on these


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


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


treating his injuries. The Government keeps the legislation and


At present, we have -- at present, At


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


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


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


weapons are subject to a range of controls, including restrictions


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


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


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


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


set of controls, divert police resources from controlling the other


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


course we build a lasting and enduring friendships with members of


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


certain amount of camaraderie that transcends party political


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


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


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


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


the in tray for the incoming transport minister after the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


making exceptional funding available so the justice they have been denied


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


associate myself with all the remarks everyone else has made and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


have been under the most appalling personal stress. The honourable


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


disappointed and dismayed to hear that Walsall Borough Council has


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


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


advice for presiding officers at the forthcoming local mayoral elections


and the general election to deter impersonation at polling stations?


The electoral commission does provide such guidance to returning


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


the handbooks from the commission specifically include a procedure for


dealing with impersonation and guidance in how to deal with


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


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


that they might reconsider, following her representation. The


coalition Government introduced a fund of 173.5 million for public


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


auditing and scrutiny of expenditure within Government continue,


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


Parliament assembles, is the opportunity for members of


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


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


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


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


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


honourable friend in welcoming the Government's increased investment in


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


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


matters. Can nonetheless seek his reassurance that in the next


Parliament, we will have the opportunity properly to scrutinise


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


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


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


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


concern is any proposed changes might be hastily imposed by the


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


will have an opportunity to scrutinise those matters? And before


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and through the Health Select Committee, when that is


re-established, will have the opportunity to consider


sustainability and transformation plans as they come forward in all


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


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


based on clinical evidence, demonstrate public and patient


engagement and consider patient choice. And the NHS organisations


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


and scrutiny committees, so any proposed changes to substantial


changes on health services. Those committees can make a formal


objection to such a substantial service change and referred the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


before the dissolution of Parliament?


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


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


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


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


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


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


to happen tomorrow, then the government machine is prohibited


because it must maintain impartiality during an election


period from making such announcements. We all know that to


ensure constituents can get better paid better quality jobs and that


businesses can compete better abroad, we must ensure our people


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


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


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


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


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


of Tory underinvestment in our schools? Our young people deserve


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


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


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


number of individual schools that meet those Ofsted standards is also


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


commitment to 3 million good apprenticeship starts, nor did he


mention this government's renewed focus on technical and vocational


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


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


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


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


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


almost geographical identical areas could receive almost half the money


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


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


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


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


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


government and we know that any Labour government is always better


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


ask about why the government has broken its promise because Minister


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


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


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


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


constituents are worried about changes to independent payments,


many of them with severe mental health problems concerned this will


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


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


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


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


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


We have to make provision for emergency legislation in relation to


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


available for other purposes. Regarding Personal


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


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


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


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


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


PIP represents a big improvement upon the situation that existed


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


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


all political parties in Gibraltar detested and resented the previous


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


about correcting the historical injustice regarding pensioners


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


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


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


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


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


programme to bring humanitarian assistance to people in need at the


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


Syria and those who have taken refuge in neighbouring countries.


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


arrangements are already in place, and the last government committed


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


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


previous timetable. The problem with what the honourable gentleman is


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


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


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


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


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


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


situation slips even further down the priority list. These military


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


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


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


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


Foreign Office ministers and our High Commissioner in New Delhi have


raised this issue many times with their Indian counterparts, and


representations continue to be made to the Indian High Commissioner here


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


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


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


South Tees clinical commissioning group announced a fortnight ago that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that it was actually under the previous Labour government that


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


spending being delivered through contracting out services. The


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


the issue of the National shipbuilding strategy, which have


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


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


can the Leader of the House confirmed today that the


shipbuilding strategy will not be published before the end of this


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


during a general election campaign we had announcements coming out of


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


election. The Conservative government in London has spent


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the projects, improvements to Manchester Airport, 300 million for


the time Wear Metro, benefiting northern cities and regions


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


investment in London can bring direct benefit to centres outside


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


being constructed in Scotland as we speak. Following the official


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


the Minister for South Herefordshire, a number of


north-west businesses remain unpaid following the liquidation of the


project contractor by its massive Spanish parent. It is disgraceful


that our local businesses should lose out on major infrastructure


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


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


to these businesses during the period of dissolution.


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


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


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


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


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


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


have a debate about the Northern Powerhouse? Particularly because


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


sums of money and that money mentioned in the Autumn Statement


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


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


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


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


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


benefiting from the sound economic policies the Government are


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


campaigning in every part of the United Kingdom in the coming


election. Can I help police suggest she visits the Stirling


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


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


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


the Prime Minister is looking forward with relish to coming to


Scotland and making the positive case for a Conservative Government


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


decline in the national Health Service in Scotland and standards in


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


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


Caledonian flush in this last business questions although


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


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


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


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


stand together and run together for those local charities first and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


constituents will be affected by recent changes to welfare policy


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


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


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


reverse these iniquitous changes until after the general election?


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


has brought in have contributed towards a significant growth in


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


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


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


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


have increased and protected those benefits that are received by the


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


comments the backbench business committee and as for some clarity


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


future Government retain its commitment to 057% of GDP on


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


departments. The honourable gentleman knows that the 0.7% is


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


which is not confined purely to expenditure programmes controlled by


the Department for International development, but to Government


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


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


commitment to an active and generous fallacy of international


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


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


contribute also towards better governance and the long-term


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


tackle some of the broader international problems that we in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


which will be fully accessible to his constituents. Point of order, Mr


Martin Doherty huge. During the urgent question, my honourable


friend for Glasgow South intimated that I may represent my hometown the


great borough of Clydebank. I am sure you will be very well aware, Mr


Speaker that I not only represent my hometown of Clydebank but also the


ancient borough of Dumbarton and, of course, the mighty veil of Lieven,


and I'm delighted to say I will be standing for reselection and hopeful


re-election as a member of Parliament for the greatest


constituency in this House, West Dunbartonshire. Well, lest any of us


were unaware of the sheer extent of the honourable gentleman's reach,


whether physical or metaphorical, such concerns have been


comprehensively laid by his, and I use this term non-pejorative


opportunistic attempt to raise a bogus point of order. We are


grateful to the honourable gentleman, very reassuring to know


that is unrelated. Breaking with all convention, this actually I think is


a point of order. The crux of my question to the Leader of the House


was concerning Government announcement on purdah and I have no


idea whether or not there will be an announcement on which job centres


they intend to close. Could you advise me, is there anything to stop


the Government making that announcement between now and the


dissolution of Parliament? No. Point of order, Dawn Butler. Mr Speaker, I


think your guidance on the Prime Minister's statement yesterday to


the House, she said leaving the election to 2020 would mean we would


be coming to the most sensitive and critical part of negotiations in the


run-up to the general election and that would be in overly's interest.


If we had stuck to the fixed parliament, the general election


would have been in 2027 it therefore, the negotiations wouldn't


have been in the run-up to the election, they would be finished.


Does the Prime Minister knew to explain to the House whether her


plans for negotiating our exit from the EU will go beyond two years, as


promised in the House? I think there is a degree of linguistic license


available to learn sometimes deployed by members in all parts of


the House and that includes people who sit on the Treasury parents and


people who sit on the opposition front bench. I think if Prime


Minister felt the need to clarify her remarks and anyway, she do so,


but I have no sense that she feels any such need and I hope the


honourable lady will understand if I say I don't think it is a matter


into which it will be proper for me to intrude, as it is a substantially


a matter of interpretation and debate and the honourable lady, with


some skill, has used her opportunity to flag her concern. It is on the


record, and I know how persistent a terrier, she is, so if she is


dissatisfied, doubtless, she will pursue the matter. If there are no


further points of order, thank you. We now come to the first select


committee statement. In a moment, I shall call the chair of the public


administration and Constitutional affairs select committee. Mr Bernard


Jenkin will speak on his subject for up to ten minutes, during which no


interventions may be taken. At the conclusion of his statement, I will


call members to put questions on the subject of the statement and to do


so briefly and call Mr Jenkin briefly to respond to these in turn.


Members can expect to be called only once. I reiterate, interventions


should be questions and should be brief. The front bench may take part


in questioning. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am grateful


for having the time to present the tough


report of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee


in this session, entitled Lessons Learned From The Eu Referendum,


still topical in so many ways. We are producing so many reports in the


fag end of this Parliament, Mr Speaker, including a report about


advisory business appointments on Monday. The referendum on our vote


to leave the EU, and a vote to leave by a margin of 52 to 48% represents


one of the most momentous events in our politics for decades. It has had


and will continue to have four far-reaching consequences and it


will shape the destiny of our country. Our report six to draw some


important lessons to be learned from the EU referendum in relation to the


purpose of referendums and how they should become ducted. This report


does on the work of our predecessor committee. The Public Administration


and Constitutional Affairs Committee report on the Scottish independence


referendum was published in the last Parliament. We hope that both


reports will be required as required reading for anyone planning a major


referendum in the future. We argue that referendums are appropriate for


resolving questions of key constitutional importance that


cannot be resolved through the usual medium of party politics. However,


it also argues that referendums are less satisfactory in the case of


what might be called a bluff call referendum, when, as last June, the


referendum is used by the Government to try to close down an unwelcome


debate. Future parliaments and governments must consider the


potential consequences of promising referendums as me when as a result


they may be expected to implement an outcome that they opposed the. On


the kind of questions referendums are suited to, it argues that


referendums should be omitted to matters of fundamental


constitutional importance in some way which lend themselves to binary


questions, and where the consequences of both possible


outcomes are clear. This is because referendums creates a tension in our


Parliamentary system of government. Though we are getting used to direct


democracy, it is in contrast with our constitutional traditions and


culture of representative democracy. Direct democracy, as we have just


learned, can be a shock to the system, particularly when most of


the elected representatives disagree with the result. The forthcoming


general election is all the more necessary because it will heal this


rift and translate the direct mandate from the EU referendum into


a new, representative mandate for a new government and new Parliament.


But that's the point of a referendum. It is a new way of


challenging entrenched opinion, just as the corn laws overturned


agricultural protection or other issues relating to suffrage


challenged the establishment in previous centuries, today, people


are educated and have direct access to the information, so voters are


more capable of deciding individual questions for themselves and less


willing to accept wisdom handed down from on high. Pacac also considered


the conduct and delivery of referendums in the future. It found


that government fears that the purdah restrictions under section


125 of the referendums that would impair the conduct of government,


but these fears proved groundless. Pacac recommends that these


restrictions, which are vital for the conduct of referendums, should


be extended to cover the full ten weeks of a referendum period as


reverent recommended by the Electoral Commission. It is


testament to the select committees that we succeeded in persuading the


House of Commons to prevent the Government from altering the purdah


rules in advance of the referendum. These rules should also be up dated


to reflect the digital age. We support the Law Commission's


proposals to consolidate the law relating to referendums. In relation


to the administration of the referendum, the evidence gathered


during Pacac's inquiry suggests that while not without some faults, the


EU referendum was on the whole run well. It commends the Electoral


Commission for the successful delivery of the referendum which was


of an enormous scale and complexity. During the EU referendum, one of the


most significant problems was the collapse of the voter registration


website just hours before the registration deadline on the 7th of


June. This collapse was attributed by the Government to, and I quote,


unprecedented demand. There were over 500,000 online applications


recorded on the 7th of June alone. According to the Electoral


Commission, the problems which led to the website's crash were


aggregated by a large number of duplicate applications with 38% of


applications being made during the campaign being duplicate


applications. There was no way of checking online whether you were


making a duplicate application or not. Pacac supports the Electoral


Commission's recommendation that the Government should develop an online


service to enable people to check whether they are already correctly


registered to vote, as this would be invaluable in preventing the website


from collapsing again in future. Such websites should be better


tested for resilience. The media gave a lot of attention to the


possibility that the collapse of the website was caused by a cyber


attack. Whether or not this can be proved is not the point. It is


important to be aware of the potential for foreign interference


in referendums and elections, the responsibility for which has


actually been claimed by some countries in the attacks experienced


by others. Back and machinery for monitoring cyber security in respect


of elections and referendums should be established. Lessons with regards


to the protection and resilience of IT systems against possible foreign


interference must also extend beyond the technical. Our understanding of


cyber is predominantly technical and computer network -based. But Russia


and China use a cognitive approach, based on understanding mass


psychology of how to exploit individuals. I will be outlining my


capacity as Chair of Pacac to raise the issue of cyber security in the


EU referendum and to ask if they will be following up on Pacac's


concerns. I am encouraged by reports that the national cyber security


centre will be advising the political parties on this matter in


the forthcoming general election. We also looked at the role of the civil


service during referendum. We service during referendum. We


expressed concern that the manner of some government reports,


particularly those from the Treasury and government...


Pacac reiterates the recommendation made by its predecessor committee


that there should be a in the civil service code to clarify the role and


conduct of civil servants during referendums. At the moment, no


reference to referendums is made in the civil service code at all.


Finally, we looked at the degree of contingency planning carried out in


the case of the EU referendum. In the run-up to the 1975 referendum,


Whitehall prepared for a possible UK exit vote from the Common Market


with, quotes, a fairly intensive programme of contingency planning,


according to contemporary accounts. In contrast, in the run-up to the EU


referendum last June, we were alarmed to learn that the


Government's official position was that there would be no contingency


planning. The only exception was planning within the Treasury to


anticipate the impact of a Leave vote on financial civility. Pacac


was relieved to learn that work was undertaken within the civil service


on potential applications of a Leave vote, albeit without the knowledge


of ministers, despite the ministers' express its instructions, they had a


secret awayday. Civil servants should never have been asked to


operate in a climate where contingency planning was officially


banned. And the Government should not have shirked its constitutional


and public obligation to prepare for both possible outcomes. Pacac


recommend that in the event of future referendums, civil servants


should be tasked with preparing for both eventualities, as they do with


general elections. It is essential that referendums are well-run,


conducted fairly and command public trust. Pacac hopes therefore the


Government takes heed of our recommendations so that the country


is ready for any further referendums in the future. Mr Speaker, I take


this opportunity to thank the House, but more particularly my committee


and its dedicated staff for the privilege of serving as Chair of


Pacac in this Parliament. Thank you. Thank you for the Fenners you have


always shown to me in this Parliament. The report is very


clear, the referendum was called to call the bluff of the Brexiteers,


the civil service neutrality was clearly jeopardised, and there had


been no operation for the possible Iturbe Leave vote. Isn't it obvious


that the referendum was held not in the national interest but in the


governing parties infests? And now, with 30 of their MPs under


investigation, we are having an election instead of focusing on the


outcome of the referendum. In paragraphs 102, three and four, this


is what should concern the country. Either in referendums or in


elections, here is my question to are our systems strong enough at the


time of a snap general election, in the event of a possible concerted


cyber attack which he has referred to, either by a foreign power or


from some other source, that even at this late stage, does he think there


is anything that we can do to strengthen our system's resilience?


I am grateful for his question. I won't tangle with all of the things


he has raised the, but on this particular question, we have a


pretty resilient system. The fact that most of the votes cast, the


vast majority, are pencils on bits of paper, physically counted, means


that basically it is an impossible system to hack. What we need to be


aware of is the vulnerability of electoral registers, of systems...


Again, the dispersal of our electoral register amongst different


electoral authorities is another source of its resilience. There is


not one system to hack. But I think we need to be aware of what certain


countries might want to be seen to be doing, or seem to be attempting,


in order to influence the result, or to be thought to be influencing the


results. I don't think any country has influenced the result of the


Leave vote in the EU referendum, I don't think the result in any


election in any major country would have been altered. But we need to


understand why they're doing this, and what psychologically they're


trying to create, as an effect, by attempting these things. And we need


to be alert to the vulnerable to have our systems. Can I congratulate


my honourable for and his committee on a very comprehensive report


which? I agree on the issue of cyber activity. Does he agree with me that


we do need is a matter of urgency much better in place on cyber


activity, not just the referendums but for elections generally? Yes, I


do. And we make a specific recommendation, that there should be


a new body established to monitor cyber activity in relation to


referendums and elections. But I do emphasise, I think we are in a much


stronger position than people in countries that have electronic


voting on a single population registers. I have confidence in our


system, though I think we need to be more alert in order to maintain


public confidence. The members' committee has had plenty to say. I


think there should be careful and restrained use of the machinery of


government, that was the most important section, I thought. Can I


ask the honourable member if he would join me in encouraging the UK


Government to trust devolved administrations and allow them to


organise and run their referendums without external interference from


This Place? It is a fact, and I make no comment on it as an impartial


chairman of my committee, that referendums are constitutional


matters and therefore reserved to the United Kingdom Parliament. The


only other point I would make is that I recognise there is some


demand for a new referendum in Scotland. But even the Good Friday


Agreement says there shouldn't be a referendum more than once every


seven years. And I think there needs to be a respectable interval between


referendums, otherwise they just become meaningless. I mean, how many


referendums have we seen around the European Union where they just call


another one when they get the wrong result? I don't put the SNP in that


category, but calling referendums too often is actually a contempt for


democracy. Was there any discussion in the committee about the franchise


for the referendum? If 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds have been able to


vote, we might have had a very different result. They will be


allowed to vote in the Scottish council elections in two weeks'


time, and they will be no denied a vote in the UK general election


about four weeks after that. Would it not be appropriate that we had


some kind of consistency regarding the franchise as soon as possible?


These are subjective judgments made by different bodies in different


parts of the constitution, the franchise is a devolved matter,


matter for the Scottish Parliament. Personally I favour maintaining the


status quo in the United Kingdom. Does he not agree our system is more


vulnerable to invisible manipulation, and corruption, than


any time since 1880, the great weakness in this report, is that it


ignores the evidence provided principally by the journalist Carol


cad wall deof the use of botnets of artificial intelligence, in


algorithms to influence million of voters. Evidence is there from the


United States, from this country, the systems are being used that we


don't understand, that are under-the-counter, where they seek


to trawl through websites to get information, and then subtly


influence the voters, we are trying to deal with a system tomorrow's


system, tomorrow's high technology with regulations that are long


out-of-date, and isn't it likely, that in this coming election, there


will be more manipulation. Manipulation. There could well be


cyber attack, if we can't trust the results because what is happening


under-the-counter and the Electoral Commission have no tools to deal


with it in the way Shea should. We shouldn't have a general election


without finding out the truth in the manipulation that has taken place


here n the United States and possibly other countries we don't


know about and we haven't heard from GCHQ, we should have done. They


reported from America where there was cyber attack and manipulation,


it could have hered here and we don't know because we haven't asked.


With respect, I have asked, and I feel I have been rather brushed off


by ministers on this question. Maybe on the advice officials who are


perhaps not a familiar with the technicalities the and algorithm and


the approach taken by some countries with which we have made ourself


familiar. I am grateful to the honourable gentleman's contributions


to the committee. I think he is our longest serving member but I don't


agree I think personally this threatens the credibility of our


elections, in 1880 I think one of my predecessors in north Essex


conducted his election with his wife walking behind him down the high


street, handing out gold sovereigns, we have come a long way since then


but we need Tor to be alert to the things that he draws attention to,


and we heed to be ever more alert, to the fake news that appears on the


internext that is designed to manipulate people's expectations. I


pay tribute to the right honourable gentleman and the work of the


committee, I was proud to be a member of the predecessor committee


in the former Parliament. Perhaps, whoa knows if there are more


colleagues in on these benches, maybe we will qualify for a place


upon it. But I ask him, with regard to the fact that clearly the


consequences of this referendum, whatever view people take were not


properly considered, plans wasn't done. The legislation itself was a


very shoddy and ill-considered piece of legislation. Can I ask the


honourable gentleman, does he think we need to have better clarity and


perhaps legislation to avoid that kind of thing on such a political


referendum being organised without that planning.


I think there is always an advantage this what one might call a post


legislative referendum or a referendum on a proposal where there


is a White Paper being produced. The devolution rev dumbs in the 1997


were premised on pretty developed Government policy S one might pay


tribute to the SNP and say they produced a comprehensive document.


The Leave campaign produced 600 pages, but the Government had done


no preparation, it is for the Government to prepare for the


outcome of a referendum which can Government has initiated. I agree


with my honourable friend. I miss him on the committee.


We come to the second Select Committee statement, in a moment I


shall ask the chair of the Justice Select Committee to rise. Mr Robert


Neil will speak on his subject for up to ten minutes during which no


interventions can be taken. I will calls to put questions briefly and


call Mr Neil to respond briefly. Members can be expected to be called


only one, interventions should be brave and may be questions.


-- brief. Can I thank the backbench committee for giving me the


opportunity to present this report and your kindness in calling me and


the courtesy you show to me on all occasions when I inflict my words on


the House. Can I say it has been a pleasure yush to work with


colleagues to work on this. Like the Pacac committee we propose to issue


a set of reports at the end as wash up to highlight the work we have


been doing, on a number of area, but in particular, this report, touches


upon a key issue in relation to the Government's prison reform programme


which is that of Government empowerment. It has become apparent


that the prison courts bill will be lost in dissolution of Parliament. I


hope if our parties return to Government we will see that bill


reintroduced a as matter of priority. It sets out broadly the


right agenda and I hope it is something we will be able to take


forward. But of course part of the reform programme does not require


legislation, it is partly about a change of culture, it is about a


change of regulations, there is much that can be done without that


Princess Eugeniely legislation going forward. I hope the Government will


confirm they are determined to press ahead with that. We support the idea


that prison governors should have greater eau autonomy to shape the


services in their prisons, we think there are a number of airsia where


further information is needed and there are risks which need to be


recognised, honestly and managed and mitigates. It St the first we


publish under what we propose to be a wide-ranging investigation. There


is no doubt that our prisons are in a difficult period at the moment. We


have high levels of suicide, high levels of self-harm, drug abuse,


assaults is on prisoners and staff have continued, despite the efforts


of ministers and dedicated Prison Officers. It remains a problem we


need to deal with. We haven't addressed safety issues in this


report, though we did do so in the report on prison safety which we


published last May. We note that the principle of


autonomy gives real opportunities but there is no clear evidence that


crater Auton #34i will lead to better outcomes. We have seen a


start by the Government on the six reform and heard evidence of nose


reform prisoners who are impressive in the material they gave to us.


Those, the pilots in effect will not be, if you like evaluated until


after the reforms had been rolled out across the estate. We think it


is important we have reassurance there is an ongoing evaluation as it


is taken forward and there is enough flexibility to learn lessons in


temperature work as it goes forward to a just as necessary. We discuss


structure changes. The Probation Service is going to be responsible


for operational issues. What we need to have, I would ask the Government


is more clarity round this. Policy in oppositions are not so easily


separated in practise, in the prison context as might appear in theory.


Poll policy decisions have #234i6 can't implication and operational


knowledge should inform policy decision, one of the things we --


connoisseurs is that we have had is a feeling by operational staff there


is is a disconnect between their experience on the ground and the


decisions taken by the senior management at the centre, the reform


programme gives us an opportunity rectify that buzz it has to be


recognised there is a problem to be addressed. Addressed. Governors will


take on new responsibilities in phases starting at the beginning of


this month. Since we are not going to be in this House for some time it


is important when the House returns, that the Government we believe gives


a swift update on progress that has been made in those matters. Most of


the witnesses that gave evidence thought giving Connors greater


powers would result in prison regimes and services better tailored


to the prison population. Population. We heard that many


governors do not currently have the skills to form that new function, it


is important we have greater clarity as to what training they will have


access to to develop those skills and how it would can kaid. Those who


gave evidence were positive about their opportunities. I have been


struck by the evidence of the Government of a prison. He said he


had developed new initiatives to improve prisoner staff relation she


ships and several govern noss said they had been able to recruit more.


This could help with the recruitment problems which are well documented.


We visited Wormwood Scrubs and that was starkly brought home with the


recruitment problems that exist in London and the south-east. It is


hard to recruit people when you in competition with jobs like loading


luggage which pay more so greater flexibility in greater flexibility


in the way we reward and remunerate prisoners is going to be is


important in going forward. We will continue if in a position to do so,


to visit prisoners to reform our work. I hope the new committee will


take a priority. A priority to see how progress is being made.


All governors listen held to account through performance agreemented they


seed with the Secretary of State. A third of those agreements were meant


to be in place at the start of this month but time of the report being


accomplished the prison governors oerkt advised members not to sign


and it is not cl whether any have been signed. We need to have clarity


as to what the position is, as far has the is concerned. Those


agreements are based round performance standards. Public


protection, safety in order, reform an rehabilitation and preparing for


life after prison. It is said, the Secretary of State can intervene if


governors do not perform well. It is not clear what that interenvenion


mean, what shape it would take, and how it would recognise the fact that


that performance of prisoners as they leave prison is not something


which is holy to be capable of being controlled by any one Government


governor. Also that would be influenced by


what happens once they have gone through the gate into rehabilitation


in the community. How will that be calibrated to make sure that the


journey is reflected and accountability is placed in the


right place. Initially the Government announced it will publish


league tables showing performance against the standards. I welcome the


minister's contents we will not public league tables we will make


the data available. We will not range prisons from the best to the


lowest based on performance. It is about data.


We think that phrase generated more hear hairs running than was Ness in


the deTait. A systemic is something we are concerned is about.


-- detail. At the end of the day, we welcome


the fact that the Ministry is reviewing the those policies to


enable... I know changes are planned for the prison regulation and the


rules we hope we will have updates on some of those matters too. In the


final thing was this. Witnesses emphasise that governors with the


new power should work with other service providers, including


Probation Service, that is something I hope will be kept under review. I


was impressed with the Governor of Wandsworth having turned up to meet


the November gore of his local council. I comment the report to the


house, may I too Mr Speaker thank my colleagues and our staff for the


support they have given any and the constructive and I think falling


join the work we had done nothing. Thank you Mr Speaker, I want to pay


tribute to the chair of the Select It was a committee of which I was


briefly a member. Of course, these plans may not now reach fruition.


This much heralded bill will fail. So, does the Chair of the committee


agree with me and my Labour colleagues that rather than call an


election, which the Prime Minister believes is in her interest, the


Government would have been better sticking to facing the task of


fixing the prisons crisis? I don't think it is an either all, but I


appreciate the spirit in which the honourable gentleman always


approached his work on the select committee. One of the sadnesses is


that we've lost a number of members of the opposition party from the


select committee as part of the reshuffle, and I welcome each of


them on their promotion to the front bench and I wish them a long tenure


in their current positions of! But equally, I don't think it is a


problem that we have an election, I welcome it personally as a


Conservative, and what I hope is that we come back with a mandate and


that the Government is reconstituted swiftly, the select committee is


reconstituted swiftly, and we get on with the job of prison reform. I


know many members of select committees on all sides, if we


return to this House, want to continue to make the case. Thank


you, Mr Speaker. Would my honourable friend agree that Governor autonomy


is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for prison reform? And


just as an outstanding chief Constable, headteacher of hospital


chief executive can make a significant difference to their


institution, the sort of governors that he has talked about in


Wandsworth, would he agree with me, they are a already making a huge


difference? That's absolutely right. We sometimes forget in issues around


safety and other matters which attract headlines that much good


work is being done in prisons, and there is a great deal of allocation


being shown. I think what is important is is that we have not


always been consistent in the past, and that we have a management


framework which enables those governors who want to push the


margins to do their very best, to have the confidence that they will


do so with a system, managerially and financially, which supports them


in doing so. We need more detail as to how that will be put in place. As


a member of the justice select committee, may I congratulate my


honourable friend for his very expert guidance of our committee. It


has been a very, very enjoyable piece of work that we have done


together. Governor empowerment should support a number of aspects


of our prisons, including prisons that are safe and secure, decent


conditions. Does he agree that the evidence would suggest that very


large prisons with perhaps more than 1200 prisoners, such as the


Government now plans for the future, are less likely to achieve sets


standards and create greater challenges and precious for


governors? It's an issue which has been raised, and to be honest, there


are differing views about precisely the impact of large as opposed to


small units. What is clear, however, and the honourable lady's work has


been immense in this area, whatever the size of the establishment, a


proper relationship between staff and prisoners is absolutely


critical. One of the biggest problems is the sense that there is


no personal interference, and that can breed a sense of alienation, and


so although I personally would not make a hard and fast rule about


size, what is important is, however it is organised, it must be possible


to build long-term relationships between staff and prisoners. That's


why staff retention and staff morale are so important in creating the


climate that enables people to be constructive in their time in prison


rather than falling into perhaps some of the other diversions. I,


too, want to raise the question of governor empowerment approach I had


the opportunity of discussing with the governor of a prison in my


constituency which I visited recently. And will he agree with me


that the risk that the committee found of increased business


complaints is one that the prison actually has within its own control


to deal with, as indeed they are doing so at Huntingdon? Can I thank


my honourable friend for his question and for his contribution to


the work of the committee, which has been tireless. It is a good example


of where governors are actually managing within the existing


arrangements, and we need to see more of that. We shouldn't assume


that everything has to be driven from the centre. What is necessary


of course is that there are minimum standards are adhered to pander


system which people can have confidence in. -- Huntercombe


prison. Good governors can make a difference but we do need to make


sure that they have the confidence to know that strong supported by the


system and by the management of the service in doing precisely that.


Order. Motion on Manchester... I beg to move the motion standing in my


name on the order paper. Motion before the House provides for the


by-election to the constituency of Manchester Gorton, which was


originally set for early May, to be cancelled in the light of the


decision yesterday of this House to trigger an early general election.


As the House will recall, that by-election was called to elect a


member to serve in the present Parliament, and since this


Parliament will be dissolved before the by-election date, clearly, the


go-ahead with the by-election in these circumstances would be... An


election for the Manchester Gorton constituency will take place as part


of the general election on Thursday the 8th of June. As I said to the


House on Tuesday, there is no statutory provision for the


cancellation of a by-election, although there are various


precedents. It is for the acting returning officer to cancel the


by-election. What the motion before the House does is to provide


certainty to the returning officer by endorsing a new writ to supersede


the original. The motion therefore requests you, Mr Speaker, to convey


the desire of this House to issue a subsequent writ to the one issued on


March the by-election. This will put beyond any doubt the authority of


the acting returning officer to cancel the by-election process that


is currently under way. I understand that this approach is supported by


other political parties in the House, as it avoids unnecessary


expense and uncertainty for the candidates involved. The question is


as on the order paper. Thank you and can I thank the Leader of the House


for moving that motion and agree wholeheartedly with the course of


action that is being taken, it is the only course of action that can


be taken, given the general election is coming up in June. I think the


ayes have it, the ayes have it. Presentation of bill in the name of


Secretary James Brokenshire... A simple nod will suffice. Second


reading, what day? Tomorrow, thank you. We now come to the backbench


motion on state pensions payable to recipients outside the United


Kingdom. I call Sir Roger Gale. Thank you, Mr Speaker. As chairman


of the all-party group on frozen pensions, and with cross-party


support, I move the motion on the order paper on behalf of some


550,000 UK citizens living in countries overseas whose pensions


have been frozen at the point at which they left the United Kingdom,


in some cases very many years ago. Mr Deputy Speaker, these are people


who have paid taxes and national insurance contributions in Britain


throughout their working lives, and who have elect to move abroad in


retirement to be close to families, friends or simply through personal


choice. On the basis that, as as my right honourable friend the minister


said in November, entitlement to state pension is based upon a


person's national insurance contributor on record, they have


paid their way, and they are entitled to receive their state


retirement pension, operated and in full. -- up rated. This is not, let


me make this clear from the start, a matter of cost. This is a matter of


moral responsibility, and it's a duty that has been shirked by


successive governments of differing political persuasions disgracefully


since the mid-1960s. It is past high time to recognise that injustice has


taken place and to take a modest step which I shall detail shortly,


to redress a wrong that has been a running sore for too long. The


motion before the House call upon the Government to withdraw the


social security benefits operating regulations that effectively exclude


overseas pensioners from pension updating but those in which the UK


has a historic, arbitrate and illogical reciprocal agreement. My


honourable friend will know that there is an illustrious president


for today's motion. In 1998 a similar prayer against the social


benefits to begin regulations was tabled. That prayer was signed by


the opposition chief whip, James Arbuthnot, now Lord Arbuthnot, by


the right honourable member for Chingford and wood green, a former


leader of the Conservative Party and distinguished Secretary of State


work and pensions, by the then leader of the Conservative Party at


that time, William Hague, now Lord Haig, by the right honourable member


for Hitchen, another former Secretary of State and by the then


shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Gillian Shephard, now


Baroness Shepherd. So, all those years ago, the party of which I am


proud to be a member recognised the need to right a wrong that has been


inflicted upon those who in many cases have served their country in


the Armed Forces, in the foreign service and in many other walks of


life and who have collectively and severally paid their way. Mr Deputy


Speaker, we are now, and I trust that we will remain, in government.


And so we should have the opportunity to finally address and


put the rest debt of honour that must be paid. I want to quote from a


UK pensioner living in Thailand. He says... I am resident in Thailand, I


retired nearly eight years ago. And my state retirement pension remains


at the same level as when I left, because Thailand, unlike the


Philippines, for example, is not a country where pension increases are


paid. There are some points that I feel ought to be brought to the


fore. Successive governments have always argued that pension increases


can only be paid in countries with which the United Kingdom has


reciprocal agreements, and that to extend the increases outside these


arrangements would negate their ability to conclude other such


agreements in the future. However, he says, that argument is utterly


threadbare, given that the Government announced more than 20


years ago its intention not to make any further reciprocal agreements.


He goes on to say, there is a common misconception that expats pay no


income tax. In the case of UK pensioners, of course, this is


completely untrue. All pensioners are subject to tax and as I pay as


much as I would if I was still living in... In his former home, in


the United Kingdom. I will not identify him at this stage. While


pensioners such as myself are paying into the UK economy, we take nothing


out, so we make no demands on the NHS and social care. Even if we fall


ill on a visit to the United Kingdom, we have to pay for hospital


inpatient NHS treatment. Over the years, a significant number of us


decide we have to return to the United Kingdom, if we did that, the


extra costs would outweigh a good proportion of the saving of not


paying as the increases. There's uncertainty now on the status after


Brexit of pensioners living in the EU and their future to pension


increases. And he says, I can't speak for anybody else, but I


personally would not ask for any back payment on the increases that


I've lost in the last seven and a half years. Ride just be happy to


feel that in the future I'd have that little extra security of a few


extra pounds to sustain me in the last year's of my life. Mr Deputy


Speaker, I will return to the point referring to Brexit and a possible


solution in a moment. Just over one million a fraction,


live overseas. Of that number, some 650,000 have


their pensioned up rated as they would in the UK, because of the


reciprocal arrangements referred to. Because as Baroness Altman said if


2016, a UK state pensions are payable worldwide, and that up rated


only where we have a legal duty to do so very many people are denied


the up rating. In is about some 551,000 are


excluded from up rating, and find their pensions frozen at the point


at which they moved abroad. That is in spite of those people paying


throughout their working lives their taxes in the United Kingdom and


taking back to what he said in taking back to what he said in


November of 2016, my right honourable friend the minister made


it plain pensioned are based upon National Insurance contributions.


Both 551,000 people have made those contribution, so this leads to the


ludicrous situation where a British pensioner lives on one pied of the


Niagra Falls while another living a mile across in the United States has


a pension up rated every year. Additionally some Caribbean islands


enjoy up rated pensions is while other small countries do not. With


unintended and perverse consequences.


2 The UK representative of the Government of Montserrat wrote to me


to say that a number of Montserratians living in the UK


which to return to take up residence on the island. But are hindered from


doing so due to the fact should they immigrate back home, to Montserrat


their pensions will be frozen. She says many of them have lived,


worked and paid their national contribution over the course of many


years and it seems as though they are being victimised because they


desire on the return to Montserrat or another territory. The


representative of the Falkland islands in the United Kingdom, also


wrote to say this the overseas territories have a different


constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom and they are not


independent Commonwealth countries so they shouldn't be treated as


such. To quote from the White Paper on overseas territories the


underlining constitutional structure with the UK and the territories


which form an individed realm is contrary to all. It is common to all


except in pension rating where is it is not commons. The The consequences


can be devastating and they are illustrated by cores of


communication a the Consortium of British Pensioners and the all party


group of expat citizens. A spokesman for the, excuse me... A spokesman


for the parity to all except in pension rating where is it is not


commons. The The consequences can be devastating and they are illustrated


by cores of communication a the Consortium of British Pensioners and


the all party group of expat citizens. A spokesman for the,


excuse me... A spokesman for the parity on poverty group says "We are


trying desperately hard to undo the prement that is driving us into


poverty. I can see it on the horizon for myself as one affordable items


are out of reach. I dread the future for myself and my wife. A former


constituency -- stilt wept of mine and a friend, -- constituent, now


living in South Africa wrote to me to say... Can I say I would like to


say that one could have prepared this better. We hope by the end of


the debate we will have set forced in train that will lead to a curing


of this injustice. We will wait with great interest.


He says in his letter to me, I have been looking after my wife, since


her voke and increased desell that and incontinence for over a year.


Reviewing the situation with our daughter, my wife is slowly going


down hill. -- am heading that too. I am worn out.


To help with catering on finance, now on to meals-on-wheels four days


a week. Shortly to arrange a five day or five-and-a-half daycare


support. Right now our medical aid takes half our pension, and the new


care plan will certainly take the other half.


Our daughter looks after her finances and generously helps and


former constituency, a friend, is former constituency, a friend, is


now reduced to. -- constituent. And sadly, I learned literally this


morning Mr Deputy Speaker, that his wife died last week.


Leaving him now, not only in penry, but apart from the care and


affection of his daughter, alone. From Canada, 91-year-old Bernard


Jackson who has now returned to morning Mr


From Canada, 91-year-old Bernard Jackson who has now returned to the


United Kingdom, says "I was brought up to believe that Britain was fair


country. It's a disgrace. It has to end. It's terrible to meet


pensioners over here who say they have to come back to Britain because


they can't manage and Joe Lewis, 0 who also lives in Canada, will be


moving back to the United Kingdom and he can no longer cope with his


froze enpension, after suffering a veer fall Joe is struggling to


afford living and medical costs and the only way he can make ends meet


is use up his savings. Joe Lewis says all I want is my full state


pension which I have paid into for my entire life.


Of course, here is another anomaly, any returnee, including those


visiting the young UK for a couple of weeks to see family or on


holiday, are Finau titled to claim for that period their full United


Kingdom up rated pinion. Of course cometh another issue that will have


to be address. There are 492,000 British pensioners living in the EU.


They are currently protected by the Social Security provision, what will


happen to their pensions when we leave the European Union? As a


resident 234 France wrote to me, I have been the victim of a frozen


pension for the past is a years having lived in Zimbabwe, and being


forced to move to an EU country to get my pension.


During his working life I continued to pay class three National


Insurance crib San, it was only when I reached 65 I #r50e8 liced my


payment would not be longer than ?15.


Now the samic shoe is rearing its head again in the light of Brexit.


Will there be 27 different agreement or one? Or will former EU pensioners


find their pensions froesen. Froesen? -- frozen? Now, surely, in


the light of these discussions and the light of Brexit, is the time to


start to put all expat pensions on an even footing.


To return to the resident in Thailand who said I wouldn't have


asked for back payments, I would be happy to have that bit of security.


Suck Si Governments plucking figures out of the sky have suggested up


rating overseas pensions would... In fact, the proposal that the all


party group is supporting, which goes nowhere near as far as some


would like and which justice probably dictates is to up rate


payments at this year, the two.5%. Of that, it won't cost billion, it


will cost just ?33 million. By the end of five years the budgetary


impact will be ?158 million. To set that in context of the triple


lock, the triple lock currently costs the Government an extra two


billion each year. And the great scheme of Government expenditure,


158 manager after those years is small change. Small change to settle


a debt of honour and with no threat of legal challenge, in respect of


potential retrospective claims. This surely is a peel in this interest of


a society that is fair for all, the Government cannot afford not to pay.


I beg to move that this House notes the detrimental effect it will have


on people living overseas with frozen pension and insist the


government takes the necessary steps to withdraw that.


The question is as on the order paper.


I wish to start by paying tribute to the right honourable gentleman, the


member for North Thanet and the chair of the frozen pensioned group.


This this tireless and force. Campaigning on this issue for many


years and I am proud to be a member of the group. It is very much he and


his determination to see an end to this injustice. I hope that these


campaigning personally will so the fruition it deserves.


We are having this debate now, in this unexpected context. Clearly


this debate was announced last week, when, rather before the the Easter


recess when none of us, everyone on the benches opposite, that we would


be seeing the dissolution of Parliament next year and a general


election. I think that particlely is why there are fewer right honourable


gentleman and honourable members here than there would have been,


which is a shame. I think it is important to make a point I was


going to make any way, which is that the simple reality is as to why this


issue has nerve been resolved and why governmentings have been able to


ignore it again and again, I say Governments because exactly a the Rt


Hon cede itself has been ignored by successive gofts so this is not a


party political issue, it is something that all parties have


failed to deal with, in their times in Government. The reason for that


is because while it has many, many strengths, and I love being a


representative of my constituency, I am hugely proud, it's the part of my


job I enjoy most, respecting the reality is these 550,000 British


AstraZenecas, the seam evidencery one, all of our constituents who are


UK citizen, they do not have an MP. They do not have a single person,


who is directly representing them and fighting their cause, in the way


that we all do, when we receive constituencies in our surgeries who


come to tell us about injustices they felt. One or other of us take


those up until we get change and make ministered of whatever colour


and Government finally actually do that change, but this group of


people do not have MPs themselves, they are not represented, and I


would say the constitutional and the lent it has endured means it may be


time to look at what they do and to have reputation somehow, for our UK


citizens that are living abroad. Of course I will way.


I thank him I congratulate him for securing this debate and I support


him today. Like me u does he recall two or three months ago, meet a


number of people in the House of Commons who came from overseas to


that is the BAs way I request put it.


Surely it is bad when people have got to come from overseas at great


expense to come and lobby members of the Westminster Parliament? It has


gone on far, far too long. I thank the honourable gentleman and


entirely agree with what he says and I pay tribute to those doggy


campaigners who have worked with the all-party Parliamentary group. Their


campaigning has been remarkable. Particularly with the distances


involved. And I think the situation that he highlights really makes my


point even more clearly. The fact that that group of people, those


campaigners, those British citizens, came to Parliament, but actually,


who could they directly contact? We know that when we have a group


coming from our constituency, who come to lobby is, we will meet them.


But when we have someone coming from another part of the country, we will


point them towards their own MP. But when someone contacts us from


Canada, from Africa, from wherever it is, then we do not represent


them, we are not their constituents. So I do paid tribute to the members


of the group, particularly the very active members of the group and the


Chair of the group, for being prepared to represent those people,


through friendships. Cars I think many of us have come to this simply


because we have been told about a relative of a constituent or a


friend of a constituent or perhaps have someone that we know in that


situation. I do not, incidentally, but I have come to the conclusion


very clearly, simply by listening to the arguments and reading them, that


this is just a disgraceful injustice. It cannot continue. It is


morally wrong. And also I think legally, it is deeply, deeply


questionable as well. And I think in the end, this position that


successive governments have taken in ignoring this issue and using the


same, standard excuse for many years, despite saying recently that


they will look into this, I think in the end that will be shown to be


legally unsustainable in an increasingly globalised world. Let's


remind ourselves, we are in the context of this turmoil, this


post-Brexit turmoil with the effects that that will have in all sorts of


ways, but clearly, as well as having the very real threat to future UK


citizens living in the European Union, that is something that I


think and I know that this group will very strongly lobbied to ensure


is resolved as part of the negotiations. But I think also,


having discussions about freedom of movement and immigration, but also


we four get to talk about immigration. We forget to talk about


the fact that many British citizens, for very good reasons, use their


right to go and live and work or retire in other countries, for


whatever reason. Thank you very much for giving way. It is an important


topic to many people, not only living abroad now, who left UK for


very good reasons, migrated here in the '50s, now gone back, and living


in countries like India, Pakistan and Australia and other places. They


are linked economically to this country and to the social life. And


I congratulate the committee and the Chair of particularly for raising


the issue and meeting the Australian campaigners who came over here and


listening to them and I hope that the next government will be able to


take this on board and make sure that people are not disadvantaged.


Thank you very much. I think the honourable gentleman for that


intervention. He's quite right, not only is this unjust, but this is


clearly discrimination we, particularly against certain groups


in this country, as he will know, Leeds and West Yorkshire has a very


proud, very strong Asian community, I am very proud, I have a mosque and


a Hindu temple in my constituency, and in the next constituency, a


wonderful Sikh Temple, very much part of the life of the community


and the economy in Leeds comment are these wonderful communities. And yet


exactly as he has said, if any of those communities, in exactly the


same way as anyone else, if they choose to go back to their country


of origin perhaps to live with family members, perhaps to support


them, then they are discrimination against if they choose to do that.


And again I think that is another reason why this is legally


questionable, as well as clearly unsustainable. We live in a


globalised world, we are proud of that, whatever side Eagle Top in the


EU debate, I didn't hear anyone EU debate, I didn't hear anyone


actually say and, certainly not in this House, that we should stop


wanting to play our full part in the world, that we should stop wanting


to have people working in our economy from other countries, in our


health service, but equally I didn't hear anyone saying that we wanted to


stop our own citizens having the right to emigrate. In a globalised


world, we have people who choose to marry foreign citizens and live in


those countries, to find work. Effectively, what this injustice


does is, it is denying the right of real freedom of movement to older


citizens of this country. And that is simply extraordinary in a


globalised world and a nation that purports to want to play its full


part... And we are proud that we have citizens living in America,


Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, contributing. And if people's


families have decided to live in another country, the work, to make


understandable that some old people understandable that some old people


would wish to retire to be with those families. Indeed, as the


chairman has already said, there is a huge saving, estimated as ?3800,


saving per year, for someone who emigrates from this country, and yet


we are not even prepared to have their pension, their state pension,


uprated, which would clearly be a significantly lower figure than


that. So, Madame Deputy Speaker, we cannot have a situation, as we have


now, where some UK citizens who choose to retire abroad have their


pensions uprated and some do not. And now we have uncertainty for


people who may be intending to retire in the European Union. And of


course they will be more people choosing to that if there are people


who are married to EU citizens who are now deciding that they would


rather live in the European Union. So, we really do now need to get a


grip of this issue and to stop this disparity between those in countries


that happen to have a bilateral agreement and those that still do


not. And it has to be, and I say this obviously, the minister has no


opportunity to put this right now in this Parliament, within this


government, unless he has something wonderful to announce today, but it


is something that he and all of us from all sides need to really ensure


going forward is dealt with, and let's make a firm commitment,


whoever is here in the next Parliament from the 9th of June


onwards, that they will ensure that this injustice is finally at least


partly resolved in the five years before the next general election, in


2022. And it is clear that a government of any colour, and I


don't think people necessarily are particularly questioning what colour


the government will be as a whole after the next election, but we must


now have a situation where, whoever the government actually is, that


they bring it forward. The government could actually an


electric, on the basis of wanting to resolve this, and could bring a


unilateral decision to change it for all cases. Now, of course, to do


this properly, to ensure that as the people living around the world all


get the proper state form and, which actually is the only real form of


justice to this, to actually decide that from now on, people should get


the state pension that they paid into and that they deserve,


regardless of living abroad, particularly because they are not


costing the NHS money,, particularly because they are not part of the


ongoing social care crisis, something that again, successive


governments have failed to deal with in this country. But that clearly


isn't something that governments are going to be committed to at the


moment, though I still believe they should, I still challenge the sense


that necessarily introducing a proper state pension for all


citizens abroad would lead to citizens abroad would lead to


backdating, I think that's overcautious and I think clearly,


legislation could be clearly brought forward to avoid that. But there


certainly has two be a commitment to a partial uprating which has been


pushed by the all-party group and mentioned today by the member for


North Thanet. The estimated cost of that is very, very modest, very,


very modest, in the context, even in the context of wider spending


demands, it is a very modest change, and something that should clearly be


done and could be done and I think must be done early in the next


Parliament. To give those people who have suffered and have had their


standards of living in many cases affected... Let's also remember that


these are not in many cases people who are well off, these are not


people who are rich in many cases, they are people who are obviously,


or three people, who have chosen for very good reasons to live abroad. As


has already been very movingly laid out, because of this injustice for


many years, older pensioners are facing penury, are living in


poverty, because of this injustice, an injustice which has been


perpetrated by the British state. So we do need a commitment to our Shaul


uprating. It would be wonderful to get that today although I think in


the context of the general election, it is probably unlikely. What I will


say is that I am committed to campaign in the future, should I be


returned to This Place after the election on the 8th of June, I


certainly will carry on making this case, regardless of the fact that I


am not win it for constituents, but I'm doing it for a case of justice.


My colleague in the Other Place, Aramis Benjamin, also one of the


group, has been very vocal about this in the Other Place, and I'm


sure that she will carry on doing that. -- Baroness Benjamin. I will


say, I do not write the Liberal Democrat manifesto, they wouldn't


let me, I can assure you of that... It would be very good if they did,


of course. But I will say, I believe that this is something that should


be in all the manifestos, I believe a partial uprating, we now have the


opportunity to provide it and I believe that the manifestos of all


the parties going into this election, we should all commit to


partial uprating to make sure that it then happens in the next


Parliament. I will certainly put that to my party leader and I hope


other people will. This is not a party political issue, it never has


been, there is no criticism directly of any one party or another. It is


simply a failure of the representative democracy to those


people who choose to move away from constituencies and no longer have


one. Perhaps it's something that we can look at. In the meantime, I do


hope that all sides and all members of the group, and indeed the


minister, and really consider whether it is finally time to make


that amendment to at least brings in the partial uprating to at least


show that something that is so clearly an injustice is at last


finally dealt with and the months of all colours stop ignoring it and


stop looking away. The House should thank my honourable friend and the


honourable gentleman for the way they've spoken and look forward to


the contribution of the Scottish National Party as well. If my friend


the minister on the front bench doesn't mind, I'm going to talk


through him, because he won't be authorised to make the kind of


commitment which this House is asking for now. The question we have


to ask is, is what's going on now at the moment fair, is it logical and


is it right? And the answer to each of those is no. I thank the


international consortium of British pensioners for the briefing they


have sent which points out that it is completely unfair, illogical and


morally wrong. Were I to have retired overseas, and chosen the


wrong place, in the seven years since I could have taken the state


pension, I would have lost ?5,000. I plan to be re-elected and in five


years' time, by then, it would have lost me ?13,000. It won't be


determined in terms of increases by whether I live in one part of the


West Indies. To make sure the minute city is paying only attention.


Perhaps he would like to tell us which parts of the West Indies


cricket team would get increases. If ewere to retire to the United States


part of the West Indies would I get an increase? I think the answer is


yes. If I were to retire to the Dutch part of the West Indies, would


I get an increase? The answer is yes in my state pension. I go through


some of the independent countries, we will have the hipster telling us


the difference between Guyana and Barbados. We have heard the point


made ant which side of the parallel between the Canada and the United


States. What is the reason as my right honourable friend said between


Thailand and the Philippines except total chance. The point about this


house is not to leave things to chance, the reason pensions were


brought in 1906 or thereabouts, by a combination of Lloyd George and


Winston Churchill was to make sure people in their old age were not


left struggling. If ministers have been briefed, there isn't Social


Security in many countries, and the example being given Zimbabwe is


perhaps one of the worst. People who are asked by this country to stay


on, during Ian Smith's illegal declaration of independence find


themselves in penry, far worst because of the freezing of their


state pension. We know that a number of pensioners overseas who are


registered to vote has doubled since the last election and it can double


and dibble again, so instead of having 400 people in each


constituency you get to 8 hundred mourn 1600, people might start


paying more attention. The arguments for unfreezing this, should not be


numbers of vote, it should be whether it is right or wrong. If at


the moment one, four pensioners 100 are affected and they are affected


for a third of their pension, that is a sum we can clearly cope with.


We will cope with the growing number given or take the lifting of the


pension age. Somebody once said this will confuse the elderly let us wait


until I that are dead. This will get worse until we can establish a fair


principle. I don't want to repeat all the speeches I have made on in


the past, we have to say briefly and clearly to minister, when will the


time come when a minister for at Conservative Government or Labour


Government or a coalition Government can stand up and say we will propose


to Parliament, we will accept from Parliament proposals which are fair,


are logical and right. Thank you. I must say it's a


pleasure to follow the honourable member. That was gracious and fine


speech about the real issue about how the House must deal with this


issue. Issue. When I say to the minister, its suspect this is the


last time in this Parliament we will discuss pension matter, I have


enjoyed our spats across the despatch box. He is an honourable


and decent man. I would ask him to reflect carefully on all the


speeches that have been made and give us an indication the Government


is prepared on the basis of affordability to what is an


injustice. I am grateful the backbench business committee have


granted this debate in my name and the name of the honourable member


for North Thanet. I am grateful but I am sad anded. It is,


What this motion is add dressing are the rights of just over one million


UK pensioners who live oversea, we are talking about those who are paid


National Insurance on the basis those payments are made to the


Exchequer, entitles that individual to a UK state pension. When you make


National Insurance contribution, there is nothing that suggests your


right to a full pension will be determined by where you choose to


live. Each individual has earned that end it should be honoured. It a


simple matter of entitlement. The Government calls that benefit but


that is undermined by the principle that is earned by making


contribution, to achieve a full UK state pension you need to have


accrued 5 yearses of payments: The UK is the only member state of the


OECD that does not confer full pension rights. It is simply not


right that we discriminate against pensioners because of where we live,


because let us make no mistake, that is what it is. It is discrimination.


It is a failure of the United Kingdom to accept its


responsibilities to make full pension entitlement to those who


have earned that right. Entitlement to an annual up righting of the


state pension is erm theed by what country you Li in. There are 679,000


UK pensioners who get an annual up rating but 551,000 whose pensions


are frozen. If you are now aged 90, and have retired aged 65 in 1991,


you would, if you qualified for an up rating, would have been receiving


119.31 pence a week. If your pension was frozen at the 1991 level, your


weekly pension would be ?52 for aweek. Madame Deputy Speaker that is


without justification, such an individual would have lost out by


39,400 thousand of income as qaens of being receipt of a easy froen


pension. Think about what that mean, by the refusal to grand up rating,


we are impoverishing pensioner, the average amount received by a frozen


pensioner is just 2258 person per year, the average living in the UK


is ?67198 a yore. We are denying income to pence innocences, that


ought to be rightfully theirs, many will have to receive support from


relatives, or rap perhaps return to the UK where the cost of supporting


them is higher, when we take into account health and potential social


cost, we have to think that many have come to this this country to


work, often over many decades. And want to return to their country of


origin in retirement. Such folk are put off by the reality


of being penalised through the potential receipt of a frozen


pension. Where is the humanity in this? Where is the dignity in


stopping people that have given long service to this country, that have


paid their way and they want to know that they are going to receive their


full pension right, this is a wrong and it is something we must deal


with. People who come to this country should not be penalised when


they choose to go home. Other countries see this as a diplomatic


grievance and no doubt this will be a factor when the UK discusses trade


deals. Other countries will say to us that you want a decent


relationship with us, but you not prepared to treat your pensioners in


a fair manner. The fact that we are unique in the OECD, is not accepting


our obligation does not go down well with other Governments, we need to


show leadership we will stand by those that have earned a pension


entitlement. The international consortium of British pencions has


been mentioned by others and I commend them and the research they


conducted. The research they have shown that the cost of lower health


and social care costs of somebody not living here is just under


?2,000. These are savings that in part will off set the coasts of


annual up rating. This House debated the matter of frozen pension, on


11th May last year, this follows on from other debates going back over


the last few decades and the honourable member mentioned Winston


Churchill at the turn of the last Parliament. His grandson was also


involved in this matter. I have been sent a copy of alert sent to Winston


Churchill in 1993. The member of Davyhulme to a retired pensioner


living in Australia. Churchill stated hoped that the Government


maybe shaped into taking steps to honour its commitment to expat rate


pensioners. He went on to state that I have no doubt that a sufficient


weight of Parliamentary support can be demonstrated for this injustice,


the Government will have to alternative but to back down.


Winston Churchill was right in 1993 and all the members that have soaken


in this debate are right in 2017. It is shameful that collectively, that


we have not yet dealt with this issue. Of course, there is there a


topical matter to this debate. We are having Brexit hangs like a black


cloud over this issue. Of the 67,000 UK pensioners who receive an up


rated over half are protected by the EU single market. What will happen


to the rights of those 492,000 UK pensioners Prso Brexit. I will ask


the minister, will he commit to the open autoing of those who live in EU


member states. We hear from the Government about wanting to protect


the rights of UK is it zips living in Europe. Many will listen and here


about this debail out. They will be concerned that many will consider in


the absence of guarantee, that they could not afford to continue living


in an EU member state. The minister can deal with that today. I will


happy give way. Would his not agree it is inconceivable that the


Government would not o guarantee that up rating, to British


pensioners living in the EU 2017. As my right honourable said it is


inconceivable that justice should not come at the same time for those


denied it for so long, that would be discrimination of the worst sort.


I find myself concurring with the honourable member 100 percent, he is


right. That is why we have the opportunity today, we can deal with


this matter, the uncertainty, that would be the right thing to do, as


has been demonstrated the costs of doing this for other British


citizens are not that great. I think question deal with it. The minister


can recognise this would be matter of good faith. I would implore as we


go into the election campaign we from prepared to make that


commitment. That we will deal with the injustices which are here. Here.


The minister can remove that uncertainty today if he chooses or


give us an indication that the Government is prepared to do


something about this. A further 16,000 pensioners live in countries


where the UK has an agreement, like the US. A total of 551,000 citizens


live in countries where pensions are frozen. We have, in the APPG met


with members of the Canadian diplomatic community and I can tell


you, they are less than impressed with the behaviour of the UK


Government, from this matter. We are offending our friends initially by


our failure to take action on this matter.


We here of postcode lottery. This is national a lottery but it is one


with 551,000 British pensioners are paying the price.


But I hope the minister will recognise that we are all appealing


to the Government to see sense on this matter. I look forward to the


minister responding on this later, and we hope that we will hear that


the Government is prepared to take action. If I may say so, it is about


doing the right thing and standing up in recognising all pensioners,


irrespective of where they live, and the fact that they deserve to be


treated equally. If we consider that the Government is lifting the limit


on the period of UK citizens voting abroad, why would the Government


want to confer voting rights on UK pensioners but denies them full


pension rights? Perhaps the Government should reflect on more


than 1 million UK pensioners living overseas, it might then have a


reason to want them to register to vote in this coming election


campaign, given the infringement of their pension rights. Today, there


are more than 200,000 registered overseas voters, as the member for


Worthing mentioned. Can you just imagine the effect on MPs up and


down the country if these and others decided they were going to exercise


their franchise? With an election coming, and increase in


registrations might help focus the mind of the government. What drives


the decision-making process of the Government. Will it be about


accepting their obligations to meet our commitment on pensions,


regardless of country of residence? I appreciate that the minister no


doubt will have been told by the Treasury not to offer anything. The


minister I know is a loyal government servant and I understand


the position he is in. But let me if I may try and help the minister by


strengthening his arguments with the Treasury. The right honourable


member for Tatton, the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer, during


the pension bill in 2003 hyphens 2004, said, if the system worked in


the way that most people think, it would not matter where a person


lived. I have to say, on this occasion, I agree with the


ex-Chancellor. It should not matter where you live. My appeal to the


minister is to reflect on those words from his friend the


ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer. These words, Madame Deputy Speaker,


were spoken about in opposition. But each and every one of us should be


judged by our deeds in government. It is not good enough to say that


when in opposition and then claim it is all about cost in government. We


should be judged by our deeds, and today we have that opportunity.


Minister, I do implore you today to do the right thing on this issue. I


have more faith that the minister in this case will listen to reason


argument and will recognise that this is an injustice which needs to


be corrected. The Government likes to claim that the cost of freezing


pensions is unaffordable. Ministers have sometimes cited numbers in the


billions. Such a claim is highly misleading. The motion for debate


proposals the withdrawal of social security benefit. This would


increase Revis refrozen pensions in this year's 2.5 in Chris Bridge


would cost ?30 million. Assuming this inclusion continued in


subsequent years, the total cost would rise by around 30 million


extra each year. The ICB be have historically campaigned for pension


party, bringing frozen pensions up the UK levels immediately. This


would cost more than 500 millions but it is not what is being proposed


today. Any higher number cited by the Government involves looking at


that Camilla of cost over a longer period, which is not how these


policies are usually assessed and is therefore misleading. The additional


cost of up grading 2% over five years would rise to ?33 million by


year five, by which time they would have a committee of cost of 158


million. To put this into const X, the bill for UK state pensions is


currently 86.8 billion. -- into context. Partial upgrade is


equivalent to 0.03% of current pension spending. Madame Deputy


Speaker, let me address the minister again if I may. We are all aware


that there is a separate national insurance fund. We know from the


department that that fund is anticipated to be in a surplus of


more than ?30 billion this year. It is clear that the cost of doing this


can be met from the surplus that currently sits within the national


insurance fund. Of course this is affordable, it is about our


obligation to pensioners and it's the human cost of not meeting those


obligations. We need to listen to the voices of those who are disc


related against by the failure to pay full pension. I will close with


some of the quotes. I know that the member for panic north has


eloquently talked but let me just add to that. At the end of the day,


it is the human cost on individuals that should concern us. Let's take


one person, 72 years old, now living in Kolkata in India. He said, after


contributing to the British economy for 13 years, is now scared of


losing his home as he is struggling to survive on his frozen pension. He


is considering moving to an unfrozen country. He said, the Government


should be doing more, especially for the Commonwealth countries and MPs


can't explain why they're not. This 91-year-old moved to Canada and was


forced to return to the UK in order to obtain his full pension. He has


said, I was brought up to believe that Britain was of their country.


It's a disgrace, it has to end, it's terrible to be pensioners over here


who say they have to come back to Britain because they can't manage. I


will happily give way. I think this is an opportunity for the minister


to say today that Britain is a fair country, so that people can get


social justice. In these other countries as well. I am grateful for


that intervention and I agree with him. I think it is up to us to


demonstrate that fenestration why should we put rebel in a position


that they have emigrated from the UK, they have a pension entitlement,


but they are having to return here in order to get what is there just


writes. That cannot be right, it's not something that we should be


supporting. A man who recently lost his wife, living in Canada, will be


moving back to the UK as he can no longer cope with his frozen pension.


After suffering a fall, he is increasingly struggling to meet


medical costs. The only way he can make ends meet is to use up all of


his savings. He has said, all I want is my full state pension which I


have paid into my entire life. Why should Joe not get something that he


has paid for, because that is the salient point? Joe and everyone else


that we're talking about has paid national insurance. This is an


entitlement. George Gray, 77 years old, living in South Africa, has


paid national insurance for 48 years until reaching retirement age to 65.


He was completely unaware of frozen pensions until he came to applying


for it. He states- I was even told that getting a state pension was not


a right but merely a benefit from the British Government which could


be amended at any time so I had paid into it it all my working life. Paid


into it all his working life. And this one, 90 years old, now living


in Canada. She has worked in the UK up to the age of 76, paying


mandatory national insurance contributions and now has a frozen


pension. She says, the Government should do more. MPs cannot explain


it. 70-year-old living in British Columbia, worked for the NHS for


more than 20 years, helping with elderly care. Was unaware that


pensions would be frozen. She has said... It is outrageous when you


think it's mainly Commonwealth countries that are affect it,


especially Canadian pensioners living in the UK receiving a full


pension. And that's the point, that is why the Canadian government is so


exercised, because they pay a full pension for their citizens living


here, and yet we fail to reciprocate. This one, living in


Australia, she moved there in 2002 and was completely unaware that her


pension would be frozen. She said, I am looking to return potentially to


the UK but need to be sure that my family can make the journey back


with me. In conclusion, these stories break your heart. Let this


House today show that we can deliver compassion, that we can recognise


this injustice which made people are seeing. Let the Government commit


today to fixing this issue before we go out on the election campaign,


let's show that we're prepared to do the right thing. I look forward,


when we're back, to the legislation to fix this. Thank you very much,


Madame Deputy Speaker. Nice to see you in the Chair. I am glad to have


the opportunity to sum up for the SNP on this debate on pensions. I'd


just like to thank the Chair of the all-party Parliamentary group on


frozen pensions, and his speech was excellent and he's a strong advocate


for pensioners every I'm sure they're very lucky to have him. He


stated that this was a matter of moral responsibility and that today


gives us the chance to finally address this. And he highlighted the


plight of many pensioners, many expats engineers, and ended up by


saying that the Government cannot afford not to pay. So, excellent


contributions to himthe other honourable member made excellent


contributions as well. Government of all colours have failed these


pensioners, and making the excellent point that these people don't


actually have an MP of their own, and when they come to us, we can't


take them on. That was a very good point made. And the right honourable


member for wedding west pointed out a personal situation of his, the


disparity between countries. These people who are living abroad,


registered to vote, their number will only increase in time and they


will be more noticed. These proposals were fair, logical end


right. Today's debate is yet another example of this government's


atrocious approach to state pensions and it is typical of the disdain and


contempt with which the UK Government holds our older citizens,


here or overseas. The Tories have ducked through so responsibility to


pensioners too many times, sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring


the backlash. It is time for the UK Government to face up to reality.


Pensions are not a privilege, it is a contract, and the UK Government


continues to break that contract, and it's clear from today's debate


that the SNP are signing up not just the Scottish pensioners, but for


British pensioners around the world. It was the SNP who rolled up our


sleeves and commission independent research which proved the Tories'


figures to be completely wrong. And the UK Government can afford to


shorten the wrong, so we are calling for this great injustice to end for


British pensioners living overseas. Around 7.5% of British pensioners


live abroad, and as my honourable friend said, entitlement to the


state pension relates only to the national insurance contributions


made during a recipient's working life, not place of residence.


Despite this, the UK takes a wildly inconsistent approach to the


uprating of state pensions. Almost half of those living overseas are


excluded from uprating. Right honourable friends also made the


point that there pensions are effectively frozen at the level


which they first received it abroad. The vast majority of frozen


pensioners are also in the Commonwealth, around a quarter of a


million of those affect being in Australia, and many in Canada as


well. These people are forced to cope with their rising costs of


living with a static income. As you can imagine, this has a impact on


their lives. Someone who has moved abroad and had their pension frozen


stands to lose out on a substantial amount of money. A 75-year-old who


retired in 2006 will have lost out on over ?10,000. An 81-year-old who


retired in the year 2000 will have lost out on an eye-watering amount


of over ?22,000. These are substantial figures which no doubt


cause a great strain on the lives of those affect it, yet the Government


seems not to care. Hardly surprising, it does not overly


concerned itself with tension poverty at home, how could they be


expected to give a monkeys about expats? I recall during the 2014


Scottish independence campaign, pensioners were fed no end of


nonsense about the risks to their pensions. The reality is that this


great, fantastic union with its mighty broad shoulders offers one of


the most shamelessly poultry pensions in the world. According to


the OECD report, released in 2015, countries like on you, Russia and


Greece pay significantly bigger retirement income is that we do.


They should we -- we should be utterly ashamed of our state pension


system, and by extension how we treat our pensioners. And it isn't


just this government who shoulders the blame. Our pensioners have been


seriously let down, as we've heard by successive Westminster


governments. When the OECD report was released, Tom McPhail, the head


of retirement policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said, this analysis makes


embarrassing reading for the politicians who have been


responsible for the UK's pensions over the past 25 years. Madame


Deputy Speaker, I must admit that I cannot disagree with that assertion.


The report will have many worried because of its recommendation to


drop the lock, indeed, this current Government has only guaranteed it


until 2020. The up coming general election provides that opportunity


to guarantee it beyond that. This would be, however of little comfort


to overseas pensioners suffering with frozen pensions, likewise it


will be of little comfort to British pensioners living in the EU who


don't know if the same fate will befall them, with no guarantee their


pensioned will be up rated following Brexit, when the UK leaves the EU,


the Government will no longer have a legal requirement to update state


pension, without a new Social Security agreement British Tait


pensioned could have a frozen pension they deserve to though where


they stand. Those living overseas with frozen pensionion deserve


justice. Contributing to the state pension is compulsory, is Government


is discriminating against retire re-s based on where they lived,


despite having made the same contributions. This discrimination


is leading to pensioner poverty. A lot loss of independence and is


forcing pensioners to return to the UK without their family. The


consortium informs me most pensioners did not know their


pension would be frozen if they retired in some countries abroad.


Just as we have seen, there is is a lack of information being shared


with retire re-s and adds the members for Leeds North West


mentioned this policy is leading to discrimination againsteth any


minority, the froesen pension policy has a significant impact in the life


choices of those in British BMAE communities who retain links to


Commonwealth countries where pensions are frozen. The Government


may clean unfreezing them is unaffordable. Ministers have cited


in Umbers in billions. The motion being debated proposes the


withdrawal of the Ben fillet updated regulationings, this would include


previous, in the increase, and the cost of this is just 30 million.


Assuming this continued the total cost would rise by 30 million, extra


each year. When the Government is renewing Trident as a cost of


hundred of billions it is indefensible to say this is


unaffordable. It is time that the UK Government started getting it right,


for pensioners. It is time that priorities was put right. That we


stopped pouring endless amount of cash into weaponses of mass


destruction and let us start treating people with the dignity


they deserve in later years. I thank the backbench committee for


granting this debate and congratulate the member for North


Thanet, the member for Lochaber and others for their contributions


today. I have spoken many times in this chamber and committee within


injustice in our system. On numerous occasion have highlighted how the


Government has let down watt but women. The up coming general


election gives us an opportunity to further highlight issues like that


and the need for greater transparency. I hope those and gets


plenty of attention over the next seven week, today, all pensioners,


at home and abroad will want to know in the Government will confirm it


will dip ditch the triple lock. Icon firmed Labour's commitment was for


the longer term. Will he confirm 2 triple lock is at an end or is the


commitment to 2020 as declared by the Secretary of State and suggested


it were the case by the honourable member for Hamilton west. The


pensions of those living overseas is a hot topic.


Like the member for Leeds North West, I want to be writing a


manifesto. While he can't guarantee a partial up lifting Liberal


Democrat manifesto, it will certainly be in ours. As the law


stands, there are 55,000 young pensioners living abroad in


countries such as Australia and Canada who have had their pensioned


frozen. While current pensioners receive up the 155 a week, a person


who retired in 2000 and moved to live in Canada, India or Australian


received just 67.50. This don't get go with inflation, it doesn't grow


at all. Leading to a continuise reduction in real terms income and


loss of independent and poverty, for hundreds of thousands across the


globe. As we have here for the champion,


all of these people have contributed tax income and National Insurance to


the UK thought their working life and are penalised because they


choose to live in a different country. Without operating


recipients reliant on state pension income could find themselves


impoverished. Dependent on relatives or it forces them to return to the


UK. We have had many examples of that today. Sure it is time this


country establishes a fair system. Those who are spent their like,


should be supported in the manner which they deserve. It has been


clear that we live in a globalised world. A word we sometimes requires


people of all ages to move across borders to Europe, to the US or


Canada or sometimes further afield. As we long to our future, we are


working in a comprehensive, I asked them to do what here ministers have


failed to do, and start increasing over seas pensions now. Why in this


globalised world should the country in which a person required by... Why


should a country a person collects their pension is affect their


standard of living in. This doesn't sound like a fair system to me, it


sounds like a system which leaves hundreds of thousands about they


future, their financial position and their wellbeing. I know there are


those who argue those oversea spend is their cash in others. They no


longer pay tax here, and may no contributions to our society any


more. Some may remind us our overseas pensioners don't access


other National Service nor do they require support from social care,


and as has been said for a small cost of ?30 million this year theic


could begin a system. For 2018, this would cost 30.7 a million. This is


not a costly back David Cameroning but a way to begin to rectify the


injustice of the current system. We should prove that we care about the


wellbeing of UK mentioned abroad. Abroad. We care about the vulnerable


in set. -- our message is this should translate into a fair


pensions system. As others have said the issues of other sees, to invoke


of Article 50 with a lack of clear Government Marine Le Pennion.


-- pension. Once we have left. In location to


being left uncertain of that immigration status health


benefitings and other issues this Government's inability to commit to


policy has left 472,000 retired UK nationals living in the EU uncertain


of what the future holds for them. We don't know whether a deal will be


made to earn sure UK pensions will receive the full pension. The


Government will not tell us. Perhaps the minister will be able to update


the house today. Will British pensioners have their pensioned


protected after we leave? Right decision to up rate pensions now


would send the right signal to those in the EU the Government has a plan


and they will be protected. I know the ambitions of nearly 700 overseas


pensioners have E amailed meed go beyond the proposal. I recognise to


row sthoerm would be a huge stress for any government, never mind one


who slashed benefits and denies among others mentally ill people,


the PIP they need, but we need to start somewhere. We as a country


have prided ourselves on being a caring country, we are one of the


highest net providers of foreign air aid in world and rightly so, we must


however ask the question as to why we do no feel the need to adequately


support our own pensionered. A number of no tern -- regardless of


where they reside. Today we must consider why the UK is St sno doing


this same. As a moderns they we must look to provide all our pensioners


with enough financial support to allow them to enjoy their


retirement. We have laid our pledges to maintain the trip lock, to


compensation the was spin Westminster. Will the minister join


us in our other pledge to protect the pensions of people living


overseas, it is just the right thing to do.


Thank you. And I hope I know you have been in the chair for some of


the debate, but I hope you would agree with have had an interesting


debate. Before I attempt to address the points raised. I would like


those who have spoken today and thank the member for North Thanet


and the honourable member from Ross Sky and lob Aber, which has been


varied. The honourable gentleman from Ross key was very kind in his


comments he made about me personally but I would like to say the way he


has conducted himself while I have been pensioned minister and the


honourable gentleman for Stockton North. We have disagreed on a lot of


things, but we have also agreed onnen a lot. We have discussed it.


On this particular subject, as the honourable gentleman mentioning to


with the right honourable gentleman from Worthing West, I have to say,


that completely I disagree with a lot of things they say. I would like


to start sayings... Certainly. I know that was a remark that may


have been addressed so to some of the things we said. One of the thing


we said was not fair, not logical and no right. Is he trying to say it


is logical, is fair and... It is the subjectivety of those words if I may


say, but I will try and address some points he made. Cannot, however,


address the successfully answer the cricket team that question he asked


in his contribution, given that the civil servants will have less to do


over the next few weeks, I would like to formally write to him, in as


a child with Wisden I probably would have been able to answer myself. I


can't do that. As I would like to say before I was bowled for six by


that intervention, from the honourable member, I would like to


just make it clear that the United Kingdom state pension is payable


worldwide regardless of the recipients country of nationality, I


say this because where I member of the public watching the broadcast of


this, or reaching Hansard I could easily get the impression that


people were leaving the country and not getting their pension at all.


When we talk about scandalings, so I felt I should formally say on the


record and I know hop rabble friends an other members know that is the


case, Today, we are talking about


uprating, and countries which has a reciprocal agreement with the UK


which allows for uprating. This policy has remained consistent for


about 70 years, and as has been said, it has been the policy of


consecutive governments of all persuasions. But I recognised that


the subject aroused strong opinions, and some of the language used is


very concerning the people. Please don't think that I think the


language used has been in proper in any way, but it is very strong


language about people suffering and hardship etc. But I cried when I


took on this portfolio... I am very grateful to the minister. Can he


appreciate that there are people, there is clear evidence that people


who have gone to live abroad and have come back because they don't


feel they can manage with the frozen pension. So there is clear evidence


that people feel they have been affected quite significantly by the


situation of having a frozen pension? Yes. I don't disagree with


the point that the honourable gentleman has made. But also return


for many other reasons. When people emigrate, decide to live abroad,


they do so for a number of reasons, they take into consideration the


cost of living generally, the cost of property, food and drink and


entertainment, whatever it might be. The pension is part of it, and


similarly, when they decide to return, that may be some of the


reason maybe, with their pension increased by inflation, but I


suspect there's many other reasons as well. Family reasons etc. I would


never dispute what he said. But I do think it is part of the picture. It


is not right just to pick out of that particular point. As I was


saying, I felt it my duty when taking on this portfolio to speak to


as many people as possible, and I attended the meeting, I think it was


at Lancaster House, a grand venue, but there were leaders from the


overseas territories, a big joint ministerial council last November,


and I did meet many of the people that have been mentioned by the


right honourable gentleman from Northallerton in his contribution


for example, he mentioned Montserrat, the Falkland Islands and


others. And they were very, very impassioned people who gave speeches


basically saying the same thing, and that hasn't been reflected in what


has been said today. Several honourable friends and honourable


members and my right honourable friend have mentioned that people do


not have Parliamentary representation. In fact I think that


point was made very strongly by the member from Leeds North West, which


actually is the constituency that I was born and brought up in, so I do


accept the minority communities that he mentioned in that constituency,


and I was a descendant of one of them. So I accept the point. But I


could only say to those people at that conference that I attended that


I was there to listen, and I don't think, from what they told me,


ministers of all persuasions, have precisely declined such an


invitation before. I know it is a very passionate point, this is not a


try on, people do feel very strongly about it. And it's not something


that I take lightly. I would like to perhaps, if I make, bring up the


point, Madame Deputy Speaker, that's been made by several contributors,


including my right honourable friend from Northallerton, about, that, all


workers pay their national insurance contribution towards their state


pension, therefore there is a moral right that they should receive an


uprated state pension wherever they live. Moral rights are very


subjective. I know what was meant, but I would like to state that it


has never meant entitlement, and it reflects the fact that the UK scheme


overall is primarily designed for those living in the UK and the


scheme operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. Contributions paid into the


fund in any year actually contribute the expenditure in that year. And it


is the way that the public finances work and I accept in other


situations, and this has been mentioned several times during this


debate about the arguments which we have heard many times on the floor


of this help. I do not want to be thrown off my stride. But the


contributions provide a foundation for calculating the benefits, but it


actually doesn't pay for those benefits. In the same way that the


honourable lady, when summing up for the SNP, in her final speech from


the SNP, made the point of the national insurance fund. It's


convenient to bring up in debate, but in reality, there is no surplus


in the national insurance fund, because it's used to pay


contributory benefits. It is basically a system of public


accounting. The 16 billion that was mentioned is two months expenditure,


and that is just an advisory level from the government actuary because


it is a prudent working balance. It is not like having a bank account


and you can say, we have got a surplus, let's use it. I will take


the intervention. I am grateful. The point about it being a pay-as-you-go


system, we all accept that, but it doesn't detract from the fact that


you're paying national insurance, on the basis that you will have an


entitlement out of that mechanism. As far as the national insurance


fund is concerned, it is actually 30 billion, and it needs to have two


months cash in it, you're right which is 16 billion, so the money is


there to do this. I think as in many things, the honourable gentleman and


I will have to agree to disagree. But we both fully understand each


other's arguments, I'm sure. The cost point has been made very


coherently by contributors to this debate, Madame Deputy Speaker. The


Government generally, of course, takes the view that the first


priority should be to ensure that older people in this country have an


adequate income in retirement. To make all pensions fully uprated,


regardless of the country of residence, to the rate currently


paid in the UK, would cost about an extra half ?1 billion a year,


increasingly significantly over time. Now, I make the point not


because it has been specifically argued today by my right honourable


friend, but it is... If people in favour of this motion are talking


about a moral argument, not a legal argument, many of us are here


because we believe in moral arguments generally, in our personal


and political lives, it is why many of us do the job, but both could be


a moral argument. Both systems of calculating it. But today, Madame


Deputy Speaker, the debate has been predominantly about partial


uprating. I understand this to me to uprate the current level, and only


pay uprating going forward, with no arrears. I will have to look at that


very carefully. Partial uprating can mean different things in different


contexts. And it is, superficially,, a very attractive argument, to save,


a few million pounds a year, tens of millions of pounds a year, not


hundreds, not billions, not like the cost of... Not like the billions are


spoken of by the SNP, in relation to the Waspi issue. Spend the money!


Well, spend the money! I'm speechless! The honourable gentleman


from Stockton or rarely makes me speechless, but his plea from a


sedentary position to spend the money - maybe he should become


Chancellor of the Exchequer. Maybe not in this life, as somebody has


just said. On the face of it, tens of millions of pounds does not seem


a lot. Of course, this will converge to the costs of full uprating in the


medium-term. If the policy was changed now to either full or


partial typically, in 30 years' time, the vast majority of


pensioners would be receiving amounts of pensions at the levels as


if they had been uprated for the whole time, because they would be


new pensioners. Whichever government is in power, I think the honourable


gentleman from Leeds North West suggested that perhaps it would be


the government of a certain colour that's in power after the election,


I may have misunderstood him, but I think anyone knows, whatever


government is in power, resources are scarce. And governments have to


make judgments about how best to use those resources. That's what


government is. Indeed, to spend each year what might appear to some to be


small amounts, it soon adds up to half a billion extra each year, on


around half a million pensioners, and then, obviously, this looks much


more significant amounts of money. And it could look to others, perhaps


not the pensioners that went abroad, that the Government is behaving in a


disproportionate manner to those people who have gone abroad. Much of


that money would in fact not actually increase the money that a


poor pensioner living abroad would receive. In Australia, for example,


the age pension is means tested and the Australian Exchequer in some


cases keeps up to 50%. Usually it requires people with overseas


pensions to claim them. They are then taken to account and the New


Zealand benefit pensions reduced by the amount of the UK pension.


Additionally, Madame Deputy Speaker, since most people who move abroad to


these countries do so before they have reached pensionable age, it


means that most people would be able to build up. Pensions in the


countries they have emigrated to, if they went when they were younger.


But I think it is reasonable to say that the decision to move abroad,


for most people, is a voluntary one. And remains a personal choice,


dependent on the circumstance of the individual. It's a voluntary choice


to go overseas, to live abroad. The honourable lady from the Scottish


National Party, who in her summing up, mentioned that it will may not


have been aware that they were moving to a country where the


pension arrangements were different from another country, the division


was made, saying, the line between Canada and America... But I do think


that for people to move abroad, there's so many things that they


have to find out about, to do with visas and whatever... Apologies for


not being at this rate, I intended to be but I had other things. And as


I shall shortly be leaving the House, maybe I might just put on


record my support for our overseas pensioners. I do think they have


been badly treated. In response to what my honourable friend said a


moment ago, it is the case for many of these people that they have


almost been obliged to move abroad for family reasons. The idea that in


every case it is a voluntary choice, in many cases they felt obliged to


move to support their families, and they feel trapped. They also feel a


sense of betrayal and I would just like to put that on record. A


perfectly acceptable point that in some cases people have to move in


practical terms, with no choice. But many people decide to do for a


number of personal or whatever reasons. I really do think I have


made that point. But I do feel that when people are moving, by and


large, it is the pension part of it, that is a part of their calculations


when doing so. As, for example, I have said, things to do with the


cost of living and other matters. The European point mentioned


eloquently by, as usual, the gentleman from sky and Lochaber,


about uprating state pensions paid to people residing in the European


Economic Area and Switzerland, requirements of UK law that it is


the same as being paid in the UK. But as everyone I'm sure is aware,


particularly the honourable gentleman, the Article 50 process is


now under way, and in accordance with what happened in the


referendum, everything is being discussed in this House, the UK is


leaving the European Union. And the Prime Minister has made it clear


that securing reciprocal rights is one of the top priorities, and the


rights and entitlements which will apply on the UK's -, such as those


relating to UK state pension paid to those living in member states, are


subject to the wider negotiation on our future relationship with the EU.


The Government has made it clear that it plans to strike an early


agreement about the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and vice


versa. And so the laws and rules we now


have, where we are ever practical continue to apply, to give the


certainty for individuals and businesses. Madame Deputy Speaker...


We is understand the limitation on minister and anything we think won't


be taken personally by him or anybody else. I want to remind him


of the debate on 10th May in 1907 when the old age pension bill was


being discussed when the person doing the second reading was to stop


people getting money, money, money. He has referred to the fact it


affects hundreds of millions of people to make no change, to make a


small change for Les than 500,000 people, so with can we stay to the


since Mr, after the election let us come back to and look at it


properly. I thank him for that contribution.


I, may be he was that the debate in 1907. I wasn't myself but I look


forward to reading up about it. So as I have said, those enest


eligible for UK state pension can have their pension paid where ever


they choose to live. The rules governing the up rating of smenions


are straightforward a and have been the same for manier use, the


Government's position remains consistency with that for the last


70 years and the annual cost of changing this policy will soon be


?70 years and the annual cost of changing this policy will soon be an


extra half a billion which the government believes cannot be


justified. I am very grateful indeed to all of


those honourable friends and colleagues on both sides of the


House who contributed to this debate. Which will have been watched


by have very many people around the world. We are proud to live in a


country with a reputation for fairness. And for none


discrimination. And there is an injustice and my right honourable


friend the minister knows this, and to say that this has been widely


publicised, it has been the same for many year, it has been Ron for many


years, and it will go on being wrong and people like me will, and my


right honourable friends will go on, until get a resolution to this. I


understand that the minister is not in a position to make a concession


this afternoon and I didn't expect him to do so I would ask him to do


this, when this debate was called, none of us had any idea there was


going to be a general election, and to some extent that has coloured


some of the remarks made this afternoon. I have not pulled my


punches because that is not what I do, but I would just in friendship


say this, to the minister, will he please go back, and talk to my right


honourable friend the member for Ashford, one of my Kebet colleagues


and have a serious discussion about how we can put this into the


Conservative Party manifesto, as an election pledge, to resolve this


issue on the very modest terms we have put forward and into which


great thought has been put, so that when we come back, and I hope we at


least will be coming back, in June, we can put this issue to bed and


allow 500,000 people living around the world in retirement, to sleep


more sowedly. Mr Dam Deputy Speaker I beg to move.


The question is as on the order paper, as many are of that opinion


say eh. Of the contrary no. The IAEAs have it. The IAEAs have it.


-- ayes have it P It would be help fful the pension ministers remains


in the chamber. I am grateful to the member for Watford and the pensions


minister for his kind words about our working relationship and agree


it has been constructive everyone when we disagreed. I hope you or he


can assist with the news that the DWP hotline is closing down


tomorrow. This would have a huge detrimental effect on MPs'able do


their job but I am sure the wheels have moved since I raised the matter


with the Government whip earlier, but can you or perhaps the minister,


confirm the date for Purdah and whether or not hotlines for MPs


should close tomorrow evening? Have to a Ly go to respond to this


question whether the honourable gentleman for Stockton North


mentioned. I do not know the answer to that but I will find out


straightaway and communicate that with him. I suspect, this is a


matter that is decided by Civil Service as to based on previous


protocols about Purdah and I do not feel able to give him the answer he


wants and deserves. Further point of order. The minister


has been very clear and helpful, if there is a practise that his


helplines which are for our constituents rather for us are


closed down before Parliament stops sitting, can I suggest through you,


that those who withins should change the practice and make sure it


happens when Parliament is dised. The minister made clear there, that


he was going to communicate to the shadow minister, can we ensure all


members of the house get communication if is going to happen,


and we hope it doesn't because it impacts our constituents in a big


way. If the minister would like to


respond to that that would be helpful. On that point that the


honourable lady has made. I thank honourable members. Think


this is a very important point so I think I am grateful to the minister


for having responded so we will leave it there for now, it is a very


point of order. We come now to the backbench debate


on research and development on tackling infectious diseases. Thank


you Mr D Deputy Speaker, beg the move the motion. Madame Deputy


Speaker, thank you for the fulsome debate op an important issue for so


many people across the world, as sponsor I want to set out the issues


that need raising. Say a lit on my area of greater knowledge and have


as many members on both side of the table that raise... TB, HIV and


malaria. They are the world's leading infectious killers, as well


as the three big disease, one.5 billion people have a knowing


elected tropical disease and another 1.5 risk of contracting one.


People are trapped in ill health and debt, than doesn't just blight air


own lives but also that those that rely on them. Many of the diseases


are chronic, endemic, through some of the most deprived communities in


the world. Sadly, there is no market for curing these illnesses, there is


no profit in curing them. There is no will to eradicate. The value in


doing so is too far away. But the cost of inaction are far higher than


the costs of action. Round $240 billion thrver are spent on health


research. Almost none is directed at these diseases of poverty. Because


there is no market incentive, it is still only likely to occur by donor


and flat topic organisations. Yes, the UN has said that investment in


treating these diseases, can yield returns. For TB, for example,er the


UN has said that every one invested in TB-year-olds a return of over


$30s. For many of the conditions treatment, is a complicated matter


requiring a cocktail of drugs taken to a strict Reg minute. For too many


this is not possible. New drugs have been slow to come to the markets.


They present a view cure for millions but since 1990 no new


antibiotics have been developed. The diseases are becoming resistant.


Approximately 700,000 people will die this year, because of


anti-microbial resistance or known as AMR. My dose by 2000250 this


could cost 2.3.5% of global GDP or a one trillion dollars of economic out


put. It will be a global catastrophe. Our Government has


already taken positive steps, the plan dishment of the global fund


with ?2000250 this could cost 2.3.5% of global GDP or a one trillion


dollars of economic out put. It will be a global catastrophe. Our


Government has already taken positive steps, the plan dishment of


the global fund with over a billion. 08% of the funding for the global


fight against TB comes from that fund and we are the second largest


donor in it. I hope to that the minister will restate his commitment


to that fight. But prevention diagnosis and treatment, through the


global fund cannot be the sole solution. It is clear that without


new tools, we will not meet the commit respect made in the global


goals to end the epidemics of HIV. By 2030. At the current rate of


progress it will take at least 150 years, to end the TB epidemic. More


of, to Neil review publics last year made it clear that it will


exacerbate this bleak outlook. Look. TB, there was an event on TB and AMR


including contributions from the minister and Lord O'Neill. There


Lord O'Neill reiterated that reviews conclusion that tackling TB must be


at the hard of any global action on AMR. TB. Accounts for one third of


AMARs and if left unaddressed will cost the global economy over $16


tris. As Lord O'Neill said at that other


event, the cost of investing in new drugs is minuscule compared to the


cost of doing nothing. At present, treatment for drug resistant TB and


two years course of 14,000 pills which can have severe side effects,


including permanent deafness as well as injections it is little wonder


that less than half of those who start treatment complete the course.


Concerned round AMR are not limited to TIB and it is an issue of serious


concern for other diseases including malaria.


On the annual 500,000 deaths from malaria, most are children under the


age of five, in sub-Saharan Africa. Combination therapies, are currently


the front line treatments against the most deadly malaria parasites.


All those these treatments are working well in there are serious


concern that malaria mar sierts are developing widespread. A resistance


to this vital treatment. And resistance is spreading in the


greater Mekong area, spread across to the frequent continent would have


devastating. At the beginning of this year, we witnessed the first


malaria drug treatment in the UK with four patients.


This was swiftly followed by researchers in Africa, detecting


malaria parasites partially resistant. The minister will be


aware that AMR is one of the topics, being considered by this year's G20.


Last year, the G20 it is a taed the OECD and others with the development


a road map, on incentivising research, and development for new


anti-bots. In line with the review's conclusion


that TB must be at the heart of the AMR response, will be minister takes


steps to ensure TB is prioritised within the G20 discussions on AMR?


Will he ensure the Government pushes for agreement on a new mechanism to


incentivise research and development to tackle AMR and within the drug


resistant TB, especially as half of all cases of TB and drug TB, as well


as TB deaths... In February I was in India where I met the Prime Minister


and I made similar representations there. Only by working with


international partners can we make progress against Ayoub's leading


infectious killer and only major airborne threat. Here I would like


to raise the effect medical technology can have. The UN


Secretary-General has a panel on high access medicines. Promoting


innovations and health technologies notes that despite this progress


which is developing vaccines and providing dramatically improved


outcomes of HIV sufferers, millions of people continue to suffer and die


from treatable conditions because of a lack of access to health


technologies. It is too easy to focus solely on pharmaceuticals in


tackling infectious disease, but without technology, even the very


basic, tackling an outbreak is almost impossible. I recently heard


from a company that manufactures diagnostic products and lab


equipment right here in the UK and exports it all over the world. They


told me about the measures we could be taking right now to tackle


antimicrobial resistance, including the better use of blood testing. We


must take steps right now to improve diagnosis, times and ensure that the


most appropriate antibiotics are administered. We have been leading


research in developing the blood test bottles which counteract the


effects of antibiotics meaning they can be administered immediately in


life-threatening cases. It has also worked on technologies to control


TB, including through the development of new tools which


enable the rapid testing and the reporting of the new second line


drugs for extensively drug resistant TB. In the event of an outbreak of


any infectious disease, timely treatment is crucial. Their work in


the field of technology not just pharmaceuticals can contribute to


the tackling of infectious diseases across the world. Madam Deputy


Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister to look closer at how the


better use of diagnostics, including blood cultures can tackle AMR. Some


targeted research and development has worked. Why in 2002 more than


half a million children a year were becoming newly infected with HIV,


that number has now halved. In 2015, the Government created a cross


departmental Ross fund to invest in the research and development for


drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and treatment to combat the most


infectious diseases. Well this was a welcoming announcement, the fund


must be used to complement rather than substitute the existing


commitments on infectious disease, research and development,


particularly its historic commitment to not for profit development


partnerships. At the event for world TB Day, we heard from TB Alliance


who has benefited from UK investment. But developing new tools


is not a short-term project. The Minister should reaffirm the


Government's commitment to these partnerships. We cannot afford to


step away from them. For example, we currently have one vaccine for TB.


The BCG which dates back to the 1920s and is only moderately


effective in preventing severe TB in young children, it does not


adequately protect adults and teenagers who are most at risk for


developing and spreading TB. But there are also regulatory issues. It


is expected that by 2020, 70% of those living with HIV will be in


middle income countries and will no longer have access to affordable


variants. The British government has been keen to come to arrangements


that have allowed the countries with the greatest burden in longer time


to comply with hate and regulations. This positive attitude has not


always been shared by the US administration and I am worried the


new president will be even less inclined to come to the sensible


arrangement. Similarly, as the Government negotiates new trade


agreements in the wake of our exit from the European Union, we must


ensure access to medicines by protecting the exhibitor tease.


There is growing global momentum on the shortcomings of our art in the


model and a number of solutions have been put forward, including the UN


high-level panel reports on access to medicines. The UK must prioritise


and plan how to move such recommendations forward,


particularly in the lead of the world health assembly in May. I


would be grateful if the Minister could outline in his response rather


whether the UK plans to development a cross departmental Court of


principles for biomedical research and development. This would be based


on the recommendations from the high-level meeting on AMR for


research and development to be guided by principles of


affordability and ready for the 70th world health assembly in May. We


should insure are in the leaves to half technologies that are


affordable and accessible to those that need them. The real game


changer will be finding a way to encourage the development of most


therapies, new medicines and innovative vaccines. Change will


come from a change to the regulatory environment and that cannot be


achieved by UK action alone. Could the Minister please commit to


ensuring that encouraging the field is best practice is a key plank to


future international efforts? Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to and


by thanking the all-party groups that have made this debate possible,


TB, HIV and AIDS, malaria and neglected tropical diseases. I am


keen to hear what so many of my honourable friends and colleagues


have to say, so I will leave it there when there is sadly so much to


say. Thank you very much. The question is as on the order paper.


the International development the International development


committee from Ealing Southall for his comprehensive speech which


really covered a huge amount of ground and I would like to declare


my interest as a member of the board of the Liverpool School of tropical


medicine, which looks at developing new insecticides to put on bed nets


to counter mosquitoes. Also as chair of the all-party group on malaria


and tropical diseases. I had the honour on Monday of chairing a


meeting in Washington as chair of the Parliamentary network on the


World Bank and AMS boot I M F and it was spoken about infectious diseases


and the threat posed by them. It was pointed out that we had come


together with the three countries in Westpac brick -- West Africa to


tackle the bowler. There was a huge, cost of life there but the


coordinated action had enabled that epidemic to be curtailed. It could


have been much worse. He took also about Zika but he pointed out the


likelihood of a major epidemic of an infectious disease, possibly


through, which could affect as many as 30 million people resulting in


the kind of deaths we have not seen since Spanish flu in 1919 was quite


possible and very much on their radar and that is why this debate is


so important. The UK Government has been at the forefront in providing


resources for research and development in tackling infectious


diseases and the deployment of those tools in the countries where they


are needed. Not only in the case of the bowler and Zika but also as my


Friend has mentioned, the rise in resistance to drugs for TB and


malaria. The drugs which are used in combination therapies have seen


resistance growing in south-east Asia and as we know it is always


from south-east Asia that resistance grows to malaria drugs, it did for


chloroquine and now it is forward the ACTs and that is where the real


threat lies, because if resistance grows there and crosses to


sub-Saharan Africa, we face the prospect of yet another drug


becoming less effective and ACTs have played a huge role in cutting


the number of deaths from over 1,000,002 thousand to less than


500,000 last year. The UK Government has played a major role through the


funding of, for instance, medicines for malaria venture, and Wellcome


the announcement by the Secretary of State on additional funding to


combat neglected tropical diseases and I hope some of that funding will


go into developing new drugs in the area, because to tackle some of


those diseases we have a shortfall in the pipeline. Some have very


effective existing drugs, others do not and we must not also forget the


role that vaccines play as the number mentioned earlier in respect


of TB. But as he also made clear, these are not commercial


propositions in most cases. They are not drugs which companies can afford


on their own to develop, they need the support of governments, the


support of foundations. It is tremendous how both governments and


foundations such as welcome have stepped up and drug companies in the


case of neglect of tropical diseases where they have provided billions of


doses free across the globe in the past 15-20 years. I just want to


conclude by giving three reasons why we should be concerned about this.


First of all it is absolutely the right thing to do. This is dealing


with diseases which affect people across the globe. Firstly the


poorest people, the 1.5 billion who suffer from malaria, TB, HIV, but


also the people in our own countries who suffer from these diseases and


let us not forget that they are right on our doorstep, and secondly,


it is very cost-effective. The ratio is something like 40-1 has been


mentioned already and in many places what we spend in international


development has to be extremely effective and in many cases, what we


spend on research and development and on treating these diseases is


pretty much the best buy in international development and that


is why I welcome the fact the UK Government has put more resources


into these areas. But thirdly, and this is even more important now that


out of the of the EU, the UK is a world leader. We have institutions


such as the London school of hygiene and medicine, Imperial College, the


University of Dundee, University of Aberdeen, many across the UK which


are world leaders in this area. That we don't leave aside and


neglect those areas when we already world leaders and that means a


number of things. It means firstly Kameni investment in terms of


government support, primarily through cash -- firstly it means


investment. And it also means making sure that the best scientists, the


young researchers who want to come to this country because of the


excellence here, can continue to do so, that they won't be blocked from


coming. Let's not forget that researchers are not often well-paid,


and if we set salary -based caps for immigration, we will automatically


disqualify some of the brightest minds on the planet from coming.


Let's make sure that this does not come into place, that if we are


going to have some kind of immigration rules that they are


based on the task and not the salary. Because if we set a cap at


even ?30,000, that will probably take out half of the Ph.D. Posts and


doctoral posts that exist in this country, and that is absolutely


critical. And also we have two in carriage our own researchers to go


and work across the globe in collaboration -- in carriage. It


requires the widest possible collaboration. I want to thank the


minister who will have played a major role in the decision in this


talk regarding neglecting topical diseases, and I think we have been


waiting but this, but this has exceeded our expectations and this


is to Mendis, and this is great for the United Kingdom and this is great


for the people suffering from topical diseases -- this is


tremendous. As we come to the end of this Parliament I would like to hope


that in all the manifestos and in particular in the Conservative Party


manifesto we will have a commitment to continue with 0.7% of GDP to be


spent on international development and a commitment to make infectious


diseases research and development and the deployment of those


resources a key priority for a new government. Wendy Morton. I would


like to start by congratulating the rubble -- honourable member for


bringing this forward. It is a pleasure to follow my friend the


member for Stafford who always speaks with such experience and


knowledge when it comes to neglected tropical disease and in particular I


know he has done a huge amount of work on tackling malaria. Today's


debate is a very timely debate and we've heard already about last


week's announcement of the doubling support to fight neglected tropical


diseases like Guinea worm and that the UK will invest ?360 million of


programmes to tackle this kind of disease. This week the WHO is


hosting a summit on NTDs and we have already seen the coming together of


governments and NGOs and the private sector, and the Belinda Gates


foundation which has been mentioned today. That is another way of


highlighting the importance of tackling some quite frankly terrible


diseases which really strike at the heart of some of the most vulnerable


people around the world. As a member of the committee and a co-chair of


the global goals I really wanted to come along and speak what perhaps


will be the last debate of this Parliament on international


development. And take it as an opportunity to highlight some of the


incredible work that UK aid has delivered and I'm sure the Prime --


I'm sure the minister will tell us more. The UK is investing in


research and development with funding from the box fund, which is


billion pound fund and the aim is to work on testing and producing new


products, especially those on malaria. We often hear the


importance of bed nets but that is not the only answer to the problem


of malaria and we also need to be looking at the drugs and the


insecticides and the diagnostics. The importance of working on


antimicrobial is also important. As a select committee we have done an


inquiry on this, and one of those terrible infectious diseases that


affected not so many... Not just people in Sierra Leone and Africa,


but we know of some British citizens who were also very seriously


affected by that, as well. That highlighted not just the importance


of looking for ways of testing for this disease and hearing it, but


also the importance of having adequate health care systems. I


think tackling the neglected tropical diseases, it is clearly


good news for those countries that are most badly affected, but also


good news for our universities and our Pharma companies and many of our


NGO Burrow and Charity because they have really vital roles to play in


this as well -- NGOs and charities. So many of us travel around the


world and it is important for us to sit -- seek safe and secure passage


around the world and to find solutions to these diseases. I've


mentioned malaria and Ebola and the Zika is another one, and so many of


them we do not hear about them until there is an epidemic or a really


serious outbreak. But it also shows and illustrates why UK aid, the UK


aid budget matters, and it shows that when we spend it wisely it


really can make a difference to people's lives and it is in our


interest to do that. We know infectious diseases


disproportionately affect the poorest people and they exacerbate


instability and they put at risk our own stability and national security.


There was a high-level panel on medicines and access to medicines


and it made recommendations regarding getting more medicines to


more people who need them but also recognised that research and


development alone is not enough. Intellectual property law and other


laws and drug regulations and public health obligations of part of this,


as as well is price. Which can be a major barrier to accessing treatment


globally. Anti-virals are a good example. Third line antivirals


remain prohibitively expensive especially in third board countries,


and what makes it more pressing -- third World countries. I will draw


my comments to a conclusion by saying that I believe that Britain


has a proud record in this field and that we really are leading the way


in fighting these diseases. In research and in targeting and


tackling the real wood causes of what I believe are avoidable


infections and diseases. But whilst we have achieved so much it is the


case that there is or was much more that can be done, and I hope the


minister will set out in his remarks today the plans of his department


and we know he's very committed to this particular area. As I started


by saying, I welcome the work that he has done. John Glenn. It is a


privilege to contribute to this debate. I would like to pay tribute


to the member for aiding south for bringing this debate to the House


this afternoon -- Ealing South. And the member for Stafford has done so


much work in the field of infectious diseases, not just in this country,


but globally. He really is a very effective champion for this country


in this area. As a number of members have already highlighted, infectious


desert -- disease research is a real success story for the UK and it is


fitting that we should be having this debate in the week before world


immunisation week which celebrates the progress we have made tackling


some of the biggest global health threats through vaccination. But


closer to home as the member of Parliament for Salisbury and South


Wiltshire and in particular Portland down, I've campaigned over the last


six years on Wiltshire's expertise in this area and I welcome the


opportunity to seek to focus the government's attention on this


unique asset to the UK. And its potential to contribute to the


global fight against infectious disease. I want to make clear the


importance of UK aid and leadership in this area. And how effectively


the UK aid budget can be if it is used creatively to the various


elements of risk that exist in this domain. We often hear criticism of


our development assistance budget where people question whether aid is


always in our national interest. But this is clearly an example of where


our security at home can only be achieved by investment abroad,


epidemics might start far from our shores, but diseases do not respect


national borders. We bus continued to show leadership as a country. And


as a government -- we must continue. The National risk register


identifies emerging diseases as one of the most serious threats we face.


With over 2 billion passengers travelling by air every year, it


remains firmly in the interests of national security to invest in


vaccinations that can prevent outbreaks hundreds of miles away.


But this is not an issue that government funding or intervention


alone can address and it requires collaboration and intelligent


collaboration between academia and industry and the public sector to


identify new vaccines and a license them and manufacture them and then


get them to where they are needed. Too often they remain stuck in the


pipeline as unproven concepts or in research papers. The Id bowler


epidemic galvanised international efforts to quickly mobilise vaccines


-- Ebola epidemic. First, to little economic incentive exists for the


private sector as others have mentioned to invest in vaccine


research for rare emerging infectious diseases, and second,


licensing vaccines is challenging and this has a further impact on the


commercial potential that these drugs can have and the UK has a


limited manufacturing ability that needs to be enhanced and as the


British Society for an -- immunisation told us, we lack a


platform for the research, development and manner fracturing of


new vaccines and treatments against novel or emerging diseases --


manufacturing. It is welcome that the government is taking steps to


address this deficiency, and ?120 billion in overseas development


assistance to develop vaccines for infectious diseases with economic --


epidemic potential for it can take ?1 million to go through


concept of a vaccine to market, and there are challenges in the


translation gap of taking products through by -- licensing where


products can easily achieve price is ?100 million, and so research can


help bridge these gaps and so also can be bright facilities in the byte


location and this is will become onto my constituency -- also can be


bright facilities. Before the Ebola crisis, my


constituents were hoping it would become a national... And the natural


synergies between government agencies and the private sector.


Portland down is home to Public Health England's centre for


emergency preparedness and response. The defence science technology


laboratories and a new temple in pounds science park. -- a new temple


in pounds. Will be home to some of the most


innovative countries in the country. Salisbury District Hospital and


Southampton Hospital nearby provide treatment in infectious diseases.


There are conversations to strengthen the collaboration,


perhaps based from Salisbury District Hospital and Wiltshire, in


the coming years which could be of considerable benefit to tackle


outbreaks given the involvement our Armed Forces had in the Ebola


response. So all factors make Portland Down an ideal site for a


Capitol centre for a vaccine research and development. Although


the decision was taken in the last Parliament to move much of the


Public Health England footprint to Harloow, I am clear that we must


maximise the potential in the facilities that exist there. This is


not about the interests of the local economy that I represent in


Wiltshire but the effectiveness of the UK's world leading research


base. Let's use the assets and the resources that we have


intelligently. Portland Bio Farmer was there to


capitalise on the Portland Down's expertise in developing and


manufacturing in bringing vaccines to the market. I am helping to bring


the best operating model for the company going forward. I urge the


minister and colleagues, considering options for future vaccine


development centres in the UK, not to overlook those infrastructures


that already exist and to build on those as far as possible. Every year


existing vaccines avert an estimated two or three million deaths


globally. We all know that prevention is the best cure. We must


ensure that the financial commitments made by the Government


translate into meaningful improvements in vaccine and research


development sites at Portland Down. I would finish by saying that as all


members of the House think about the election, their manifestos and


making representations to those that will be putting those manifestos


together, I would urge the minister to think creatively about the often


disdiscussed size of the budget he is in part responsible for and think


carefully about how it can be maximised for international aid


purposes but using the infrastructure that exists in this


country. It seems that by that intelligent investment we can do so


much more. I hope that there will be more opportunities to raise this to


the House if I am fortunate to be returned to the next parment.


I would like to congratulate the member for Ealing and Southall for


bringing this to the floor of the House today. The member mentioned


the three big killers worldwide, human immunodeficiency virus, T B


and malaria. I will talk about those as well. The work done on Ebola and


Zika was spoken about, the worldwide killer disease that could have


devastating consequences and how we could react to that. The increased


funding from the UK Government to tackle neglected tropical diseases


was raised by the member and also this funding whilst welcome is


probably a drop in the ocean for what is really required to properly


tackle these diseases. And the member for Salisbury


mentioned the Ebola outbreak and the difficulties of developing vaccines


and treatments when there is no incentive in terms of economics to


do that and the lack of manufacturing facilities here in the


UK for such a huge programme. Vaccination, anti-microbial drugs


and hygiene infectious diseases are not what this once were in the UK


but they are still an economic and health problem for us in the UK.


We though that HIV and other forms of STIs are rampant just know in


sub-Saharan Africa but even within the UK we have over 100,000 people


currently living with HIV. We have seen a decrease in the number of


cases of genital warts as a result of the increased use of the vaccine


developed and increased rates of syphilis and gonorrhoea, many


diagnosed late which will have huge health implications in the UK. But


if I can talk about the three diseases that were spoken about.


Firstly, malaria, threatening half of the world's population, and


malaria is claiming the life of a child in Africa every single minute.


So whilst this debate has gone on, 50 children have died as a result of


malaria in Africa which is a fairly damning statistic.


T B has killed more than any other disease in history. Last year it


killed 1.8 million globally. That is 5,000 people a day. As the world's


leading killer, T B is airborne which make it is difficult it is


hugely infectious and resistant, increasingly, to drugs but T B just


doesn't affect the developing world but seeing a recurrence in the major


world sticks including London. However it is chronically


underfunded as the honourable member mentioned.


Sorry, the honourable member mentioned that for every $1 invested


in T B care we have a yield of $30. Which is really, should be, an


incentive, or a moral or economic case for increasing our efforts.


Alexander Fleming warned in 1945, that microorganisms could develop a


resistance to his new antibiotics and unfortunately this prediction


proved to be correct. A report published by the World Health


Organisation in 2014 said that antibiotics resistance was now a


global threat on a par with other global threats.


The inappropriate prescription of antibiotics affects our ability to


tackle diseases. I found statistics about Scotland,


and the picture of Scotland reflects that of the UK. In 2014, 55,000


people, 1% of our population were taking antibiotics at any one time.


The problem is that up to 50% of the cases were for conditions that


didn't need antibiotics and would have improved without them. So it is


essential to look at educating people to the use of antibiotics and


that our GPs and those doing the prescripting are far more, or using


them far less than they are at the moment.


Resistance of course is a natural biological phenomenom. But it is


increased by the misuse of these medicines and by poor infection


control. It is a particular concern with antibiotics. Many of the


medical advances that we have made over recent years, organ


transplantation, even chemotherapy needs antibiotics to prevent and


treat the bacterial infections caused by the treatment. Without


effective antibiotic, even minor surgery, routine operations become


high-risk, and that is for us here in the UK.


I thank my honourable friend for giving way. I agree with the points


he is making and secure the debate and apologise for not being able to


attend fully. Anti-microbial resistance is important. I don't


know if you are aware of the champion scheme that encourages


professionals in the field to sign up to exactly to promote the various


types that we can do to tackle over use of antibiotic. Including taking


the course, which is important when we are travelling in developing


malaria and so on. I think my honourable friend for his


input. I am an antibiotic champion but we need more people to be aware


of the pledge and to take action and follow the steps included in that


action. In action on this will mean the loss


of effect -- inaction means the loss of effective antibiotics, which


affects us here and worldwide. But there are challenges, the respected


returns and the risks with anti-microbials means that they are


not competitive with otheras. New antibiotics have a low price as


society expects the antibiotics to be available easily and


economically. However, because of this low price


it's not in the interest of the pharmaceuticals to go ahead and to


develop new antibiotics. We have to think about that.


Talking again about T B, there have been know new categories of anti-T B


drugs entering the standard treatment since 1967. That is in 50


years. This is because T B, although it does occur in major cities around


the world it is still a poor country of disease and again there is no


economic incentive. But we should be pushing from a moral point of view.


There is a moral innocent I have. When we are talking about


development, we should not underestimate the effects of Brexit.


This has been mentioned by a council of members. EU marbles, especially


the member for staffed, the EU nationals working in research and


development here in the UK, and at our world leading centres must have


guarantees of their ability to remain here. The University of


Glasgow, centre for Irish Research, not in my constituency but is in my


friend's, has a huge number, a large percentage of its staff are EU


nationals, post graduates, post dock traits, doing outstanding work in


the field, and advancing our knowledge.


I thank her once again for givingway. I have had the pleasure


of visiting the Glasgow centre and they do undertake world leading


works. The points he is making about the need to continue, to have that


ability, to attract the best talent from the European Union is vital.


Does she agree it is vital, about the moral case it is vital that the


funds are still available for research and the funds that come


from the Government's commitment to the 0.7% target. I hope that the


minister, when responding to the debate will be able, unlike some of


the counterparts to reenforce the Government's commitment that target


0.7% on aid. . We have very much in agreement with the a 0. % target


with respect to aid. That aid figure ass is -- as -- 0.7% figure.


That figure is as important to tackle and is it is for the EU


nationals currently fighting infectious diseases worldwide.


I welcome the opportunity to reply on behalf of the opposition to this


debate, secured by my friend the member for Ealing Southall and


congratulate him and his colleagues on the work in this area. I would


like to declare an interest as my partner works in a centre of this


area of neglected tropical diseases. I begin by the tackling of


infectious diseases before turning to the international opportunities


that lie ahead. The Labour Party has a proud history


of supporting international development. It created the party to


begin with and worked to bring the development issues up the political


agenda. We support the bill to help this


situation and that I am pleased that the Government adheres to that.


We projected that health is the biggest expense of ODE. That is


correct. It is a building block of sustainable democracies and strong


economies that work for all. As was said, infectious diseases such as


HIV, T B, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, are diseases of


poverty, often associated with stigma, tackling them should be at


the heart of our investment in global health. The aim is poverty


reduction. Infectious diseases don't respect poureders. In our world we


must take steps to address the epidemics of infectious disease. It


makes sense in the interests of global health security too.


The government has pledged to spend 3% of the total on research and


development and in last October's research review it was said that


this commitment would equate to ?390 million over four years. The


Secretary of State has identified tackling infectious diseases as one


of the challengers, but this challenge requires not only revenue


and investment, but sustained investment in research and


irrelevant, to make sure we have the right tools to take on the fight. We


have heard about the inadequacy of current treatments, diagnostics and


prevention strategies and we are not on course to meet the third global


goal. In development. It highlights the threat of HIV, TB, malaria and


the neglected tropical diseases. -- the third global goal in


development. Will the minister provide the House with information


around a breakdown of resources allocated to infectious disease


research and development? I hope he will give us figures today. On the


billion pound portfolio investment mentioned and announced in 2016, it


is jointly administered by the Department of Health and the fund


was established to invest in drugs and treatments to combat the most


infectious diseases in developing countries and this commitment from


the government is correct. However there has been a lack of


transparency on how exactly the fund is to be allocated and as of last


night the website portal is not live and we are well into 2017. Will the


minister provide the House with details of how the fund will be used


to achieve its aim of combating the world's deadliest diseases namely


HIV, TB and malaria. We want details. Members have mentioned


product development partnerships which we have been a supporter of


and the governments of different political persuasions. These


not-for-profit partnerships have proven to be a useful vehicle for


bolstering their research capacity gaining an understanding of the


epidemics in communities most at risk as well as building research


capacity in developing countries. With this in mind may I pose my


third question to the minister, can he give me assurance and to the


House that defeat will continue to support product development


partnerships and show the leadership required to bring other donors back


to the table and make sure that our investments to date are not lost? Is


my research is correct, we have lost some other donors into the programme


-- if my research is correct. The question is, what is the government


doing to regain the leadership on the crucial question? A vaccine for


malaria has completed clinical trials and is due to be piloted soon


in sub-Saharan Africa. While we may think we are adequately progressed


-- protected from TB and others, as we have seen today, the vaccine


which dates back to the 1920s is only moderately effective in


preventing TB in young children and it doesn't prevent TB in adolescents


and adults, and many people who start this treatment do not complete


them because of the cost of the treatment in third World countries.


I fourth and final question, Kenny confirmed that they will continue to


support vaccine development in particular? -- my fourth and final


question, can he confirmed. Members have mentioned the access to


medicines and the recent report from the high-level panel called for the


cost of research and development to be taken away from the prices


charged for medicines and for pharmaceutical companies to reveal


their spending. This layer transparency would make sure of


fairness in drug pricing and assist international agencies more


effectively to support drug and vaccine deployment in countries


where they are needed. Finally and maybe most pertinently, the issue I


would like to raise is drug resistance, we have spoken at length


in this debate about empty microbial resistance, and I do hope that in


the concluding remarks the minister will speak about the Lord O'Neill's


report and his response to it. Inc inclusion the member for Ealing and


Southall began this debate by talking about the failure to address


a number of these questions -- in conclusion. Including TB and malaria


and other tropical diseases. We have heard about the work done through


our all-party groups and we have heard of the commitment across the


backbenchers to the Sirrah .7% commitment overseas development aid.


-- 0.7%. I look forward to hearing the response to my questions on the


minister and his knowledge of the manifesto commitment which is party


will be putting forward in a couple of short weeks. Thank you very much.


Minister Mr James Wharton. What a pleasure it is to have the pleasure


to speak at this time after recent international events and about so


the last dance to speak in a debate in my role in this particular


department -- chance. Whatever happens I hope I will get to


continue the work if it is Mrs Rita put that on record. That is subject


to the will of the people -- if that is necessary to put that on the


record. We will start by recognising the tone of the debate and


recognising the approach taken by so many colleagues of different


political persuasions from different parties and different areas of the


country to this important subject matter and indeed to the range of


issues at the Department for International Development covers.


Frequently in my experience in British politics I have known an


area of policy which has brought together so many people who care


passionately about such important global issues and within which there


is so little disagreement or division across party lines, it


stands as testament to the sort of politics that so many of the public


which could be demonstrated maybe more often. Their members can bring


issues they care about in a constructive way and can engage and


get a response which they hope they feel is equally constructive --


where members. We could make a difference to the lives of callous


minis of people in some of the poorest countries, -- the lives of


countless millions of people. Early this morning when I received a


picture text message from my sister who gave birth this morning to my


new niece at 1054 and it rather reminded me how lucky we are to have


such a good health service, to have it on our doorstep and have the


advantage is that we are living in a society in which we live can bring.


And in stark contrast with what I sometimes see when I travel in my


role with some of the challenges about which we have heard so much in


the debate today and with which members are rightly concerned. There


are many people across the world who don't have the safety and the


advantages that we have and who sadly reflected by many different


challenges, one of the most significant of which is the topic of


this debate, that is to say in infectious diseases. The scale of


the challenge that the global community faces is extraordinarily


significant. In 2015 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and there


were 1.4 million people who died and there were 200 fell of malaria.


37 million people living with HIV and over 1 million deaths related to


AIDS-related illnesses. The neglected tropical diseases


affected 1.6 billion of the world's poorest people causing all sorts of


problems with an estimated 170,000 deaths and this situation is


exacerbated as members have recognised and about which they have


spoken, by the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance, which


could be and is as real to us in the UK as it is to so many millions


across the world. Antimicrobial resistance will lead to the greatest


increase in illnesses and more economic impact than infectious


diseases. It is a global challenge that we all have to play a role in


and an obligation to tackle. I would like to congratulate the member for


Ealing Southall and I know he has done some great work in this area.


We have had a constructive relationship. He spoke with great


depth knowledge about the scale and challenges that we face and the need


develop and innovate and to make sure that we do everything we can to


find a solution for the future and he spoke about his concerns in the


area of AMR and he referred us to a meeting where he attended on this


particular issue. I would also like to congratulate, although he has


left the chamber for reasons that I think are perhaps related to other


commitments, the member for Stafford, who has been a passionate


advocate in this area, who has been an excellent member of Parliament


here in the area he has pursued and who has, to be quite frank about


being a great help to me and my role as I try to take forward the


portfolio of which are responsible in the Department for International


Development. He is a global area in that that she's a global leader in


that area and he knows a great deal which he speaks -- he is a global


leader. She makes a real difference in


helping to shape policies Ellyse Perry Divac cross-party co-operation


about which I spoke to my earlier comments -- helping to shape


policies in the spirit of the cross-party co-operation. This is


important as we make the case for global Britain and the work we do to


help some of the poorest in the world and I think it makes a real


contribution. I look forward to working with her into the future and


I would also like to congratulate the comments from my friend from


Salisbury who was a passionate advocate for his constituency and to


effortlessly, at least by appearances, was able to weave


constituency interest into international debate and who made


some very good and valid points about making sure that we use the


assets we have two the best and maximum effect in utility that we


can drive from them to make a difference to some of the world's


poorest and retain our position as world leaders in some of the about


which he spoke. I thank him for his contribution. I look forward to


continuing those discussions after the next seven weeks either. I'll


say thank the lead of Ron Vlaar 's go south West, she spoke with a -- I


also say thank you to the member for Glasgow South West, she spoke with


real authority. I'm sure this interest will be taken into the


future and many of which I hope to touch on when I make my specific


comments on some of the issues raised in this debate. Finally I


would like to thank the lady for Hornsey and Wood Green who again


spoke demonstrating an understanding of the importance of the matter is


we are here to discuss and as always asked questions which were carefully


calibrated to elicit the most helpful and useful and constructive


responses that they could and always I endeavour to respond to questions


even when I cannot answer them and I will of course try to respond in my


comments more broadly to some of the issues which she raised. Infectious


diseases... Of course I will give way. I thank you. One of the


questions that has come up from several members has been about the


future commitment of the 0.7% aid budget and the aid act was passed on


a cross-party consensus, does he share my view that the consensus


continues into the next election and that all parties will contain a


commitment to this target in their manifestos?


Harlow The member knows very well, wherever there is a Government


policy, I am delighted to see cross-party consensus, so whatever,


whoever it might be, although, I hope it will be one of this party


political colour, that may look to bring forward. I hope and trust


there will be cross-party consensus. However I wish to talk about the


subject matter the hand, specifically infectious diseases and


the issues raised by the members. I want to start by recognising and


reminding the House, not that it needs reminding of the significant


record and achievement of work we have demonstrated collectively in


the UK over the recent years. The UK pledged ?1.1 billion of the global


fund, including a commitment to double private sector contributions


up to a maximum of ?200 million. Making a difference in keyas that


affect the lives of countless of millions of people. There are huge


numbers of individuals affected. The UK is a leading nation in tackling


the diseases that have the most devastating effect on the world's


poorest. Continuing to challenge, change and reform the aid system as


we use our pledge to secure a new ?90 million performance agreement


designed to push the fund to deliver more. We don't just contribute to


some of the organisations, we don't just make a difference through the


money we spend, we push for reform, to be efficient, offering and


sharing expertise, something that we should be proud of. In November,


2016, the Department for International Development launched


the research review, highlighting Britain's global leadership in the


field. Focussing on the 3% of the budget per year on research and


invasion to address the global challenges of the 21st century,


involving high quality, high impact research, and investing ?357 million


for infectious diseases, this means that we are spending over ?1.5


billion, leading the countries in this area and delivering real change


in some of theas and on some of the issues spoken about today. UK-funded


research is saving and changing lives. We have reported tests for


detecting mail aria. A new retro virus vaccine, for preventing life


threatening disease in infants. We are making real differences to


people that need the support most. We are a leader in neglected


tropical diseases, an area of which we have commented on in the debate


and this week marks the 5th anniversary on NTDs in Geneva. A


summit at which the UK made clear, a commitment investment is ambitious


and focussed on outcomes. We treat and eliminate tropical diseases


between 2017-2018 and between 2018-2022. We are playing a leading


role through our aid, through our leading NGOs, through our


pharmaceutical companies and their generous donations, through all


working together. The UK working with clacks clacks and the Liverpool


school of tropical school of medicine, providing 207 million


people -- with help. This week the UK announced we are investing in


research to drive the development of drugs and diagnostics against


neglected tropical diseases including ?48 million for NTDs. ?30


million for diagnostics ?10 million for research on NTDs.


It is said that the UK are playing a major role enabling people to live


healthier and more prosperous lives. The UK is leading on AM R, on NTDs.


We are making a real difference. Something about which all of the


members should be proud. Thank you, Madame Deputy Speaker.


Let me first thank all of my colleagues from both sides for their


contribution, not only this afternoon but during the


international development committee and other platforms whenever we have


touched the issues that affect a large number of disadvantaged


poverty-related groups. I also thank the minister for his detailed


response, and I'm sure that there will be more to come later on. There


areas we have missed at the moment but looking forward that the


commitment from the present government and looking forward from


the future Government whoever comes back after June that our commitment


on 0.7% contribution, as well as both parties, that there is a


consensus as everybody says, that was taken many years ago and I'm


sure we will continue after that as well.


Madame Deputy Speaker, it was a little unfortunate that we Kim to


this debate at the time when we were going to our elections, when it was


chosen, there was a large number of my colleagues from both sides who


were willing to speak, who unfortunately could not be here but


their spirit and contributions has always encouraged. Once again thank


you very much for the contributions for everybody present today.


The question is, as on the order papers, that as many of that opinion


say aye... On the contrary no... The ayes have it, the ayes have it.


I beg to move this House to now adjourn.


The question is that this House do now adjourn. Mr Ronnie Campbell.


Thank you Madame Deputy Speaker. I should have had this debate on the


day of the terrorist attack, unfortunately it was cancelled that


night. I have had to wait three or four weeks before getting this to


replace it. It has been a long time. Things have developed from there. It


is always sad when Members of Parliament have to come to


Parliament when they have lost a lot of jobs, in this case 450 at least.


And a lot of part time jobs that has gone in this factory. The factory


was built in 1962. It was built by Shilton's it was a beauty product.


It's famous line at that time was Old Spice. If anybody is as old as


me remembers Old Spice?! I still believe this are still going.


The big make senior Hugo Boss of course. I'm told by some of the


workers there that me make it for 36 pence and sell it for ?140. So a big


profit to be made in this game. But that was Shilton's, it was a good


employer. Taken over by rock tor and gamble who made another success of


it. And then a merger. Not a takeover, a merger, Coty. An


American company. It does the same thing. Hair things


for women and that sort of thing. I'm not sure of everything that they


do but all beauty stuff, anyway. I think some of us need a bit of it as


well. But it's a merger. I wonder why not takeover? I see the


takeovers all the time, Members of Parliament do. Every time we see a


takeover from a company, wherever they are from, especially America,


something happens to our companies. In this case we have lost a factory


because of this merger. Then I was given a hint about the reserve


Morris trust. I have never heard of the Morris Reserve Trust. It is an


American thing if a company in America were to take over a company


in Britain, like this case it is a merger, not a takeover. Because in


fact, I have the figures here, the share holders and the existing Coty


company is 48%. The combined company. While, the Proctor and


Gamble share holders is 52. So I gather that Proctor and Gamble are


still the biggest shareholder. So this is a merger. I gather from the


Reverse Morris Trust it is a tax fiddle. Not here. Not here. I know


we have them! But it is something to do with a tax rebate on a factory


that will shut. Of course, this factory is going to shut. So they


are getting it. It is a little out of my depth. But you can get it on


Wikipedia. You can get that on there. Some may want to study it.


But again, it's a takeover. In my book. It's in the north East


of England. It is where the highest unemployment is. They have factories


in Germany, France, Spain, and one in Ashford in Kent.


They've decided to shut the one in the north-east where we have the


highest unemployment. And the little village, it was a little village, it


has grown, it has a high employment rate as well. There are arguments


within the workforce that they have done it as it is cheaper to sack


British workers than it is German, French and Spanish. And when you


look at the figures, of course that is true. 20%, it is 20% more


expensive to close a factory in Germany and 7% in France. I know


that they closed one in Ireland. I don't know the figures for Ireland.


But they have closed the one in Ireland. That has gone, of course


the one in the north-east will go next year. This all boils down, as


far as I'm concerned, to basically the capitalist system and how it


works and globalisation. Globalisation works for them, it


doesn't work for the people. Globalisation never worked for the


people. The people are secondary thoughts. Especially in a place like


Seatondale with a high unemployment. It is a question of balancing the


books. What they are saying is that now they have merged with Proctor


and Gamble, Coty are saying that they don't need the factory so they


have shut it and 450 people are looking for other work, on the dole.


Just with a snap of a fingers. It will take a year of course. They


have to get their redundancy, they are all entitled to that. And then


that brings me to the redundancy. There is a quandry. Is this another


way, the cheapness of closing the factory, as what happened in


Ireland, when they closed the factory in Ireland, the top earners


there, that had been there the longest were getting about ?12,000


and got a bonus of ?5,000. Bringing it to the average of the factory of


?9500. Now, I understand from information from the Seatondale


factory, that they may not get anywhere near that. I have had


somebody say that they were satisfied with their redundancy from


the area, however, he had been there 18 years. But a few others have


contacted me to say that they were not. So I am wondering is this


another chip in the armour where we can close a British factory because


of the cost, the cheapness, in a way you could not do in Germany or


France. It is not a question of the European Union. I asked that


question, if it had anything to do with it. It is not. The company said


that they expert around the world. So it is not a question of that. I'm


pleased about that. This factory is run on a lot of


temporary workers. And also zero hour contracts.


We have to look at that as well. It is another nick where we can close a


factory in this country as there are temporary workers, zero contracts,


that they are cheaper to get rid of. As they are not employed. They are


employed by the agency and the agency will not pay them redundancy


whatsoever. Two agencies are working in the factory, those people working


for them will get nothing at all. So it is a bit of a mess as far as I am


concerned. As I said it is always sad when you have to come to


announce these situations. I was there when the coal mines shut in


1986. It is always terrible when people loose their jobs. I went


through it myself. I got lucky a year later, I got a better job, this


one, the one I'm in now. So I suppose I was one of the lucky ones.


But in conclusion it is a fait acompli, that obviously it will


close, they have made up their mind. Coty has made up its mind to get rid


of the factory in the north-east, the highest unemployment, they are


not worried about the workers, just worried about balancing their books


and making a profit. I hope that the minister can have a look at this


factory. This factory is a big factory. It is not a small one, it's


a big one. I hope that they look at this. The Germans do it better than


us. When the Germans close a factory it is invested in again. The first


thing that they do is invest in it, reopen it, give incentives. I don't


know if the Government has incentives to come along but I


cannot imagine them reopening to make Old Spice but the factory will


be there. It could be open to employing


people, if the government gives someone incentive in this case, and


I would like to hear the minister and see what he has to say come and


see if there's anything available to get somebody to open his factory,


and get it started up again and give the employer the backing. Minister


Mr Joe Johnson. Thank you. I would like to congratulate the member for


securing a debate on this important issue. I reckon I is the importance


of the manufacturing plant to his constituency and the region as a


whole. -- recognise. It has been part of the fabric of the north-east


and the culture of this country since the factory was opened 55


years ago. The announcement in March that the company proposed to close


the plant before the end of next year has clearly come as a bitter


blow to the employees concerned and their families and the communities


in which they live and I appreciate the uncertainty this will cause and


the potential implications of this for the region. The proposed closure


is a commercial matter, though, for Coty, but if the decision is


confirmed at the end of the consultation period the government


will make sure that those employees receive all the assistance the


government can help them get so they can get back into work as soon as


possible. We will encourage the company to contact job centre pass


as soon as possible to discuss support that can be delivered


locally and the job centre pass rapid response service has delivered


itself in partnership with a range of partners, where no partner


support is available there is dedicated funding which may be used


to fill gaps in provision. Decisions about appropriate support are made


locally and this is because a decision that is based on the


specific redundancy situation and an individual on transferable skills


and experience and the availability of jobs in the local area is far


more likely to be the right decision. Typical support for an


individual might include matching to local known job vacancies Forest


helping to construct or improve CV 's, and where there is scope to do


so support might be delivered on a group basis, by bringing redundant


workers together at a job fair, for example. My officials are part of a


locally ranged task force to make sure that the potential for


continued manufacturing is made. The task force will be made by the


Northumberland development company and we will work with them to


explore manufacturing opportunities at this site. We will highlight the


economic strengths and opportunities at the site and the workforce as


well as how to support economic growth. If closure is confirmed and


respect the task force working with them, working with the council and


the local north-east enterprise partnership, to support any workers


to make sure they can transfer smoothly as possible into local


growth sectors. The government is supporting the north-east economy


through providing ?380 million of local growth funding and improving


infrastructure skills and innovation and transport. This funding will


bring in ?300 million of public and private investment and create around


a couple of >> STUDIO: -- create around 8000 jobs. We also providing


funding for the growth hub in the to effectively identify and target and


support and scale up businesses, specifically this would include the


development of a development model and introduce a new system to make


sure of robust measure of impact on growth and economic and this will


have a significant impact on Megan sure that companies are ready to


grow and expand quickly and make sure there are more opportunities


for those affected by the decision by Coty. Thank you. -- significant


impact to make sure. The question is, does this house adjourned, as


many of this house said aye. The ayes have it. Order, order.


Order, order. Questions to the sector even Steinman for food and


rural affairs, Rachel Maskell. -- the Secretary of State for food and


rural affairs. Thank you. UK has made significant progress in


improving air quality in the last decade with low emissions of all


five major air pollutants and UK is among 17 European countries


including France and Germany who are not yet meeting EU emission targets


for nitrogen dioxide in parts of our towns and cities and to help address


this last year the government consulted on a Finnair zone -- clean


air zone report. Following three humiliating defeats in the courts


because of poor air quality and when the government defended the


indefensible. Labour believes we need to go further with an air


quality national framework as part of the clean air act. So what are


the main pillars of this plan and how much resource has the minister


allocated to addressing the UK's poor air quality in this plan? It is


a great shame that the lady criticises this government who since


2011 have committed more than ?2 billion to increase the uptake of


low emissions vehicles and support greener transport schemes and set


out how we will improve air quality to a new programme of clean air


zones. In addition we announced a further ?290 million to support low


emission buses and taxis and retrofitting alternative fuels and


we will be consulting on our plans to improve nitrogen oxide emissions


very shortly. I don't want to be intemperate with the minister, but


it is so much par in the sky, every time we have questions she says


something will come soon -- pie in the sky. When are we going to stop


people being poisoned in our cities and in our towns in places like


Huddersfield and when are we going to see action, now, not next week,


next month, next year? Let me be very clear, this government is


totally committed to cutting harmful emissions that worsen our air


quality and we have made great progress already in the last decade


which is more than the Labour government did. Emissions went out


under their watch, and we recognise that there is more to do, and we


will be publishing our proposals very soon. I'm very concerned about


the diesel cars and the number of people who bought diesel cars


thinking they were the cheap way forward. With the minister make sure


she discusses with the Transport Secretary and Treasury so that we


don't patronise them and we work with the vodka amongst, as well. We


need to find a way to look after them as well -- and we work with the


devolved governments, as well. You are right. We have got to take into


account the impact on ordinary working families and businesses and


as the Prime Minister has made clear we completely understand that people


bought diesel cars under incentives from the last Labour government,


they bought them in good faith and we need to make sure that they are


not penalised for those actions that they took. Will the minister


consider a targeted diesel scrappage scheme which supports low income


families? The opportunity to do so was missed last year and in the


budget. I can assure you that the government is looking at all


possible areas both to improve the emissions of noxious substances like


nitrous oxide and also to make sure we have good mitigation


across-the-board to support ordinary working families. All types of


mitigation are on the table. We have a very low air pollution quality in


Northern Ireland and it is essential that the national framework is to


the nation work. -- is truly nationwide. What discussions have


you had with our colleagues in the Northern Ireland assembly? I can


assure you that we have had discussions across the default


administration is on this subject, -- the devolved administrations on


this subject, which they take very seriously, and we take this very


seriously and we will make an announcement in June course. The


Great Repeal Bill will make sure that the whole body of existing EU


environmental law will have an effect in UK law, but over time


Parliament will have the opportunity to make sure that our framework is


delivering on our overall commitment to improve the environment within a


generation and I can assure the House that the government will hop


-- uphold our obligations and we will continue to seek other


countries to do so, as well. Ensuring this comes through the


Great Repeal Bill, that is fine, but making sure those regulations permit


is also as so will the government is committed not limiting the time


frame? The country decided to leave the European Union last year we are


trying to give as much certainty as possible to make sure that


regulations continue -- and we are trying. As a consequence that will


be the case. I'm concerned that he thinks that somehow we're going to


rip up the wall book, but that is not the outcome, we want to better


our environment for this generation and future demotions and that is


what this government will deliver -- rule book. EU regulations have been


very helpful to people like me and you when holding the feet to the


fire of HS to when it comes to protecting our environment. Could


the minister give me an undertaking that she will not allow any


diminishing to areas of outstanding beauty and she will make sure that


our exiting of the European Union does not hand a blank cheque to pay


just to ride roughshod through the countryside? The government has


committed that in developing pages two and other infrastructure we will


uphold the highest infrastructure standards that we cherish. Whilst


she is working on the EU egg quality regulations, can I echo the call in


the last question for a national framework on rather than the ad hoc


local decision-making, especially as admissions are actually declining at


the moment, and in drawing up the framework, can I urge the minister


to look at all causes of air pollution to properly cost


alternatives especially the cost to drivers and attacks by and to urge


the government to stop demonising diesel drivers. It is fair to say


that as we have said at this dispatch box before, when we are


tackling a quality we have got to work with local communities because


the solution will vary. This government is not demonising diesel


drivers, I'm afraid, and it was the Labour government that introduced


the incentives for people to start using diesel and it happens to be


that the current Mayor of London said in his last year in the Gordon


Brown government where he said the emission standards would solve this


problem, but we know that is not the case and we are clearing up that


mess. We can work across cross party lines to clear up there for the


people we represent. One of the standards we can improve on outside


of the European Union as much as inside is the state of the oceans.


As the minister will know there is a massive amount of dumping of plastic


that is damaging the Sea life and the Coral well-being. There is a


conference in the United States between the fifth and the 9th of


June. Ministers will be busy doing other things, what is she going to


do to make sure that the British voice is heard to make sure that we


are going to do something to clean up our ocean? We launched our


strategy recently and we know a lot of the litter that ends up in the


marine comes from the land and we need to make sure that we continue


to work on that matter. Ring conservation is something important


in this government and we are going to extend our blue belt around the


coastline of this country -- marine conservation. The oceans conference


in June, and he points out there is a general election, but nevertheless


I can assure you that the interests of the United Kingdom in providing


leadership will be well undertaken. While the great appeal bill may


bring short-term stability and a working institute book, it remains


to be seen if this government or indeed future governmenting will


take reaction to erode the environmental policies as they exist


now. What assurance are there to my constituents who are deep concerns


over environmental protections post Brexit? I can assure the House and


the honourable lady's constituents, that the Government has been clear


on the manifesto from 2015, to leave the environment in a better state


than we found it, and that is what this Government will continue to do.


The minister announced on the 24th of November, 2015, the UK Government


would ban INAUDIBLE


Imports by 2017. What improvements have been made on this? I didn't


quite catch the opening of the question when referring to something


from 2015. But I wish to assure that the imports are taken on a case by


case basis and we continue to work with other countries to conserve


important species around the world. The UK is a global leader. We will


continue to influence other countries on this.


With your permission, I will group question four and question seven.


The consultation closed on the 28th of February and it is our intention


to introduce legislation with a ban on manufacturing from the 1st of


January 2018, and a ban on sales from June 2018 as outlined in the


proposals. I support the plans to ban


microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products but that probably


accounts for the 4% of the microplastics polluting our rivers


and oceans, what is the Government doing to tackle the other types of


microplastics that we would like to stop polluting our rivers and


oceans? There was evidence gathered on the extent of the environmental


impact on plastics and we are reviewing that and new #e6d will be


used to reform in the future. There is looking at the strategy of


plastic bottles and on the go consumption that we are looking at.


We must be careful taking this forward as microbeads and plastics


are the outcomes of recycling bottles, into making fleeces and so.


I was recently rummaging through my wife's collection of sham pews and


to my horror found a plastic container of owlaway anti-wrinkle


and -- Olay, complete with microbeads. Neither the Secretary of


State or her minister will have the need for the product but will she


get on the telephone to Proctor and Gamble, to say that selling this


product is outrageous and it should be withdrawn at once! Well, Mr


Speaker, what I found extraordinary is that lady Bellingham is a


flawless picture and even needs the products. I'm sure that my


honourable friend will be buying flowers later today to make up for


this. It is fair to say, Mr Speaker, we


are working with the manufactures now and a lot of them are starting


to remove the products. That is good news. We want to make sure that the


avoidable pollution is taken out of our environment permanently.


Mr Speaker, we readily meet EU counterparts at agriculture and


fisheries council and environment council and food and drink issues


are on the agenda and we meet to discuss a bilateral soon.


The great and noble county of Lincolnshire is the bread basket of


England and much of the food comes from our county.


Glycophate, can the minister assure that its use could be reauthorised?


As my honourable friend knows that the European Union is reviewing the


use of Glyphocate, and those that have led that work are clear it is a


safe product and the UK is backing a position in line with the science to


continue to authors this product. -- authorise this product.


On the 18th of June, 2015, on convergence uplift. 230 million


Euros that should have flowed to Scottish farming and since then the


minister has demonstrated an ability for procrastination that my children


can only envy. But this is not children's homework. It is


fundamental money that is important. It is a matter of trust. The


minister wants us to believe we can trust him. Where is this money? How


can Scottish farming trust the Government? The honourable gentleman


and I have discussed this. He is aware that the review last year was


delayed because of the referendum that changed the context


dramatically. We are continuing to have discussions with Scottish


industry, and yesterday I met NFUS to discuss future agriculture


policy. What could be done to encourage the


European Union to promote the processes of food stuffs in


developing countries, thinking of olive oil and coffee, where the


value added tends to be within the European Union? Where the UK and a


number of other European countries have preferential trade agreements


in place to support developmenting countries, to give them tariff free


access to the European markets, this is an important development. And the


issues raised are discussed at the EU agriculture council.


An important part of food processing sector is the fishing industry. As


part of those discussions with EU ministerial counterparts, what


progress or what efforts will be made to ensure that there is no


border in the Irish Sea which would permit fishermen to fish in both


parts as they currently can? The honourable lady knows that there has


been an issue with the long standing agreement between the UK and the


Irish Republic. There had beenen an issue with the Irish courts. I


discussed this a council of weeks ago with the Irish minister to talk


about arrangements we may have after Brexit.


Like my honourable friend and neighbour for Gainsborough I have


the honour of representing the questions where the farmers feed the


country. Will my honourable friend work to ensure that the farmers are


not put at a disadvantage with their EU competitors when these exciting


new trade deals are noeshted? -- negotiated? Well, she has a very


important farming constituency. I know I myself worked in the farming


industry for ten years. I am passionate about it. I have been


going up and down the country meeting farmers, discussing


concerns. We have a fantastic opportunity on leave leafing the


European Union to design a new agriculture policy that is fit for


purpose. Press reports this week suggest that


the Danish government may press for restrictions on UK fish imports to


the EU if the Danish fleet lose access to mostly Scottish fishing


waters. That would have serious implications for the Scottish fish


producers. What conversations has the minister had with the Danish


counterpart this week and will he tell us what the solutions are that


he is proposing? I have been in regular meetings with the EU


counterparts. I believe that the Danish minister is planning a visit


to the UK. I hope to meet him then. But you should not worry about the


opening positions that people may take in a negotiation, it matters


what the UK Government is willing to grant. The Scottish fishing industry


does not want to be dragged quicking and screaming to the EU, they want


to leave the EU, to leave the CFP, to take control of their waters.


The fishing industry is forwent my constituency, can you update fishers


there and around the UK about when and if the Government is to trigger


their intention to withdraw from the London 1964 fisheries convention?


There is a 1964 London fisheries convention with access arrangements


for a number of countries. As we have made clear we are looking at


this closely. As the Prime Minister said two weeks ago, we hope to say


something on this shortly. Mr Speaker, since 2015, DEFRA has


opened or improved terms for 160 agriculture commodities and we work


with industries to prioritise and increase new market values.


In my role as trade to Nigeria I invited the Nigerian Culture


Minister to come to the UK. It is important to show the whole of the


value chain in agriculture in which we do so well? I commend the work my


friend does. Building relations with Nigeria, building the important


trading links. He is right, Nigeria is an important market for fisheries


products, such as mackerel. I'm delighted to hear he has invited him


here to see the work we do through the supply chain and the technology


we have to reduce waste in the supply chain.


Does the minister recognise it is absolutely crucial that the need to


the agriculture sector are placed at the heart of the Brexit


negotiations? Is it not clear if the Government doesn't get t it's act


together, a bad Brexit deal leaves the British farmers and food


producers faces a double whammy on taxes on exports? Access to the UK


market is important for the European countries as well. While we export


about ?11 billion of food and drink to the European Union, we import


some ?28 billion from the EU, so farming unions across the EU are


telling their governments we must have a free trade agreement with the


UK. How does the Government intend to


deliver on the promises? The C LA is saying that Government should admit


it cannot design a workable new agriculture policy in less than two


years as DEFRA does not have the capacity so the fail you arure to


reach the agreement could leave us unable to compete at home and


abroad. So specifically, what guarantees can the minister provide


today, to rural communities across the country, that farming subsidies


and tariff free trade is guaranteed under a Tory Government? I would


simply say that the honourable lady, we have tremendous accountsly


talented officials in DEFRA and our agencies who have been working


closely on the detail behind the design of the agriculture and the


issues and the Prime Minister is clear to make an offer to the other


European countries, that is a bold, ambitious and a comprehensive trade


agreement. A market that the farmers in


northern Lincolnshire are hoping to expand is on biofuel. They are


concerned with the Government's commitment. Can the minister


reassure that is a market for future expansion? We see a role for bio


ethanol fuels but with Korean to ensure we don't lose good


agriculture land to biofuels. The honourable gentleman, friend is


aware this is an issue for the department of transplant. I invite


him to race the issue with them in the next Parliament.


My friend pointed out that the markets are not necessarily country


based but product based. The UK has a tremendous base for lactose free


milk. What can we do to encourage the UK producers to develop this


product in the UK, manufactured in the UK?


We have a very strong dairy industry in this country and there are lots


of opportunities like that and we have established things like the


food innovation networks and we have things such as the agri- tech fund


and others to support innovative product development. Energy prices


and exchange rates Abby Kane drivers of changes in agricultural commodity


markets -- are the key drivers. There was a sharp spike in food


prices in 2008 and food prices levelled off six years later and


fell by 7% over the next two years and over the past year we have seen


a modest increase of around 1.3%. I thank the minister for his response,


but the facts are that the ONS are reporting a surge in food prices


which is likely to rise. Children are returning to school hungry after


the east of days and the elderly are admitted to hospital for


malnourishment -- after the Easter holidays. Because they refuse to


measure it, otherwise they would have to admit culpability. You are


wrong. We have a long-standing living cost of food survey which is


run for many years. And which includes a measure for household


spending amongst the 20% poorest households and I can tell her that


household spending in those households has remained steady at


16% for at least a decade. On the matter further, Mr Marcus Fish.


LAUGHTER Farmers are proud of the


high-quality food they produce, no matter what it is, but what of the


opportunities that the ministers see of us leaving the EU to make sure


they get a fair price for that food? As you know, we have recently had a


call for evidence and a review of the adjudicator and there has been


representation which we should consider extending the remit of that


further up the supply chain. But I do believe that the grocery code


adjudicator has made a very good start in improving the relationship


between producers and supermarkets. It is quite common in food


processing plants for 70% of the employees to be EU migrants. Where


are they start going to come from in the future? Is the minister


committed to defending this sector in the negotiations to come from? I


can reassure you that we have had regular meetings with food


processors and just a couple of days ago I had a meeting with the new


president of the food and drink Federation and this initiative was


raised by them. Around 30% of employees in the food processing


sector are from other countries in the EU, but the Prime Minister has


been very clear that she would like to safeguard and protect the rights


of EU citizens that are here and she will expect that to be reciprocated


and that can be agreed early in the negotiations will stop may I remind


him again at the paradox that we staff the poor by refusing to buy


their food from them -- staff. You make a very good point. As I said


earlier, we do give preferential trade access to some developing


countries, the ACP countries especially important in areas like


sugar and this is important for them to develop those industries. My


friend is right to raise this issue and I share her concerns about this.


She will recognise that we want to get these proposals right as soon as


we can. With the ministry agree that rigorous enforcement when this


policy is in place is one of the most vital elements? -- would be. I


entirely agree, robust enforcement is very important, and chivalrous


denies that the police do a great job of enforcing the current rules


-- and she will agree that the police. We need a strategic approach


to tackling this trade and that is about the enforcement and tackling


demand so that together we can help solve the poaching crisis. Question


11. I very much enjoyed my visit to her constituency last week and it


was a great pleasure to meet with some of her growers including


Aberdeen farm to discuss seasonal Labour and I'm very aware of their


concerns about the Labour supply issues. The government plans to


commission advice from the committee and to consult with businesses later


this year. They this we had a very agreeable excursion. -- they


obviously. Can I thank my friend for coming to Kent and visiting one of


my local fruit farms. And for listening to the growers who


assembled there. Especially as it was in the Easter recess. Could she


give me an update on the discussions she has had with the Home Office on


introducing the much-needed seasonal agricultural permit scheme? Not only


did I visit your constituency but also her neighbour in Maidstone, had


a lovely day, in the county I grew up in, but she is right. A very


important issue and the government has assessed the need for a pilot


scheme, seasonal worker scheme, and they have said there is not the


evidence that there is such a thing needed. The migration advisory


committee and a consultation with businesses later this year will seek


to get to the bottom of exactly what we need is and this government is


committed to making a huge success for the food and farming sector as


we leave the EU. Topical questions. As this is the last one before


the... And secondly for us to be the first


generation to leave the environment in a better state than we left it.


-- found it. We publish the first litter strategy for England and we


announced a ?10 grant scheme to restore the iconic peatlands. What


is she doing to support the fishermen and the under ten metre


fleet which is 33 feet in English money? I'm glad he can still do the


sums. We have taken a number of measures to make sure the fleet is


more economically sustainable and for example we have taken our used


quota from the over ten metre vessels and transferred this to the


under ten metre representing a 14% uplift to the under ten metre fleet


so we continue to top slice the quota uplift which is now more than


a thousand times in order to help the under ten metre fleet. Contrary


to what the minister said earlier, recent inflation figures reveal that


food prices are rising at the fastest race in three years, at over


?21 which has been added to the average shopping bill in the last


three months alone. When will the Secretary of State get a grip on the


soaring cost of living? As I pointed out earlier to the question that was


raised, we saw the biggest spike in food prices in 2008 because of


energy prices and food prices fell after that, and now we have had a


modest increase in the last 12 months of 1.3%. Rising food prices


simply adds to the burden on those with little money for food. As the


Food Standards Agency has reported that one in the four low income


families struggle to eat regularly and the equality commission says


disabled people are over two times more likely to be living in food


poverty. How much longer can the Secretary of State refused to


monitor and publish figures on UK food insecurity and food bag usage?


-- bank. We have always monitored spending on food through the living


cost of food survey and the spending on food amongst the poorest 20% has


been stable at 16% for over a decade. But I would say this, this


government has put more people in employment than ever before and has


taken more people off benefits and giving them an income and that is


the way you tackle poverty. -- given. It is not just the coastal


areas of Lincolnshire which are prone to flooding and whilst the


government has invested record amounts it is also England areas


which are prone to flooding in places like Lincolnshire. -- inland


areas. What more can be done to help protect people and properties? You


are right to raise the importance of natural flood management. As I saw


myself on a recent visit to Leicester where I launched ?1


million competition for natural flood protection, in the back place


it can absolutely help alongside more traditional measures. -- the


right place. We are investing a total of ?15 billion to fund


management schemes across the country and they will help support


many communities from flood risk stash ?15 million. Surely the


Secretary of State will have the good sense in speaking up for free


movement of workers is the easiest way to avoid horrendous shortages in


the food and drink industry. We have already addressed the issue of


seasonal workers in the agricultural sector and is important we assess


the needs. As far as those workers who have all the made their lives


and work in this country, as the Prime Minister has said, it is her


intention to make sure that those rights are protected provided that


the EU reciprocates. It is right to look after British workers who have


moved to the European Union at the same time as protecting the very


valuable contribution that EU citizens make in the UK. In the


interests of customer choice and transparency, isn't it time that all


have our and kosher meat products where properly labelled at the point


of sale? This would benefit those people who want to buy as well as


those who particularly don't want to buy it. You have been a


long-standing campaigner on this and we have discussed it on numerous


occasions. The government is committed to giving consumers as


much transparency as possible and to improving labelling where we can,


and I know he understands there are difficulties in that business single


definition of kosher and that makes compulsory labelling complex, and he


is aware that the European Union has been looking at this, and when we


leave, this will be an opportunity for us to look at all of these


issues. The 25 year food and farming plan, the 25 year environment plan,


these are supposedly to be promised but the summer, but that was some


2016, and the Secretary of State has filed for the environment and


farmers and the food industry and failed to keep her promise. People


are losing their jobs and incomes on her watch, when will these plans see


the light of day? You might be aware that there was a very significant


decision taken by the people of the United Kingdom last summer to leave


the European Union. We have been very clear about our ambition is to


make a success of the sector and to be the version narration that leaves


in a better place -- and to be the first generation that leaves the


environment in a better place than we found it. Evidence to give us a


very clear idea, to give a future outside of the EU that is more


successful than ever. Further to the question, would the minister please


give my constituents the reassurance they need that should the European


Commission choose not to follow the recommendation and decide to ban the


use of bison -- the use of... Remains possible. A response to the


earlier question, the evidence is fairly clear, they believe it is


safe and it has always been the UK position to follow the science and


the evidence on pesticide decisions and that is why we support the


reauthorisation of this and we will continue to have an evidence -based


approach when we leave the EU.


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