20/04/2017 House of Commons


20/04/2017

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

:00:12.:00:19.

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

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

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

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

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

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the public administration and Constitutional affairs committee,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ministers. The UK has made significant progress in improving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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great shame that the honourable lady criticises this government, who

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

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emissions vehicles, supported greener transport schemes and set

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

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

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support low emission buses and taxis, retrofitting alternative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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people bought diesel cars under incentives from the last Labour

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

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

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a targeted diesel scrappage scheme, which particularly supports

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

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

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government is looking at all possible

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

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

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

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framework is nationwide and encompasses Northern Ireland. Could

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

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

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have had discussions with all administrations. -- the Northern

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

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

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the body of existing Euro environmental law will have an

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

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the legislative framework is outcome driven, focusing on improving the

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environment in a generation. The government will continue to uphold

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obligations and international environmental treaties, and we will

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

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

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is ensuring the regulations are permanent. The country decided to

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

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certainty as possible to ensure regulations continue and will

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

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

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generations, which is what this government will deliver. The

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Minister knows very well that the EU environmental regulations have been

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

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

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

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any diminution to areas of outstanding natural beauty, and that

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

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roughshod over the countryside? My right honourable friend will be

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aware that the government has already committed in developing HS2

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and other infrastructure we will uphold the highest environmental

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

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

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

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

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at all causes of air pollution to properly cost alternatives,

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

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

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

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

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

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all. It was the Labour government that introduced incentives for

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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work on that. Marine conservation is particularly important to this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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whether this government or indeed future governments will take any

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

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

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have written to me expressing deep concerns over environmental and is

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

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

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

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

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

:11:42.:11:47.

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

:11:48.:11:51.

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

:11:52.:12:00.

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

:12:01.:12:04.

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

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

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

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

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

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this. Question number four. With your

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

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consultation closed on the 28th of February and were currently

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examining the responses. We intend to introduce legislation this year

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

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

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

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beads in cosmetics and personal care products but they probably only

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

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

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

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

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launched a consultation on the extent of the damage micro plastics

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

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

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

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

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things like recycling bodies -- bottles into making fleeces and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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EU counterparts at agriculture and figure it -- agriculture and

:15:25.:15:28.

fisheries Council and food and drink issues are regularly discussed and

:15:29.:15:34.

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

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

:15:41.:15:44.

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

:15:45.:15:51.

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

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

:15:57.:15:57.

be reauthorised. As the honourable gentleman knows,

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

:16:23.:16:33.

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

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minister has shown since my first question procrastination my children

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

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

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

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

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

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the referendum, which has changed the context dramatically. We

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

:17:23.:17:26.

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

:17:27.:17:35.

to encourage the European Union to promote the processing of feedstuffs

:17:36.:17:38.

in developing countries, thinking particularly of olive oil and copy

:17:39.:17:43.

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

:17:44.:17:50.

indeed a number of other European countries have preferential trade

:17:51.:17:54.

agreements in place to support developing countries, to give them

:17:55.:17:58.

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

:17:59.:18:01.

development of some of those countries and the issues he raises

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are ones that are regularly discussed that the EU agriculture

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

:18:10.:18:16.

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

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

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would stop permitting fishermen from fishing in both parts as they

:18:35.:18:39.

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

:18:40.:18:42.

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

:18:43.:18:49.

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

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administer from the Irish Parliament about arrangements we may have after

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Brexit? I have the honour of representing a constituency whose

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

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

:19:07.:19:13.

disadvantage with their EU competitors when these exciting new

:19:14.:19:20.

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

:19:21.:19:24.

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

:19:25.:19:27.

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

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

:19:32.:19:35.

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

:19:36.:19:39.

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

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

:19:43.:19:47.

reports earlier this week suggest the Danish Government may press for

:19:48.:19:52.

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

:19:53.:19:57.

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

:19:58.:20:07.

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

:20:08.:20:15.

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

:20:16.:20:19.

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

:20:20.:20:26.

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

:20:27.:20:30.

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

:20:31.:20:33.

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

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

:20:40.:20:45.

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

:20:46.:20:49.

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

:20:50.:20:53.

our waters. The fishing industry is vitally important to my

:20:54.:20:57.

constituency. Would the Minister update fishes there and around the

:20:58.:21:04.

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

:21:05.:21:07.

the London 1954 fisheries convention? The honourable lady

:21:08.:21:14.

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

:21:15.:21:17.

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

:21:18.:21:21.

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

:21:22.:21:24.

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

:21:25.:21:35.

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

:21:36.:21:40.

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

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

:21:47.:21:51.

we work with industry to identify and prioritise and increase export

:21:52.:21:57.

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

:21:58.:22:01.

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

:22:02.:22:05.

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

:22:06.:22:10.

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

:22:11.:22:15.

commend the work that my honourable friend does building negotiations

:22:16.:22:24.

with -- building relations with Nigeria, building relationships and

:22:25.:22:30.

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

:22:31.:22:33.

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

:22:34.:22:40.

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

:22:41.:22:43.

absolutely crucial that the needs of the agricultural sector are placed

:22:44.:22:48.

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

:22:49.:22:50.

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

:22:51.:22:54.

leave British farmers and food producers facing the double whammy

:22:55.:22:58.

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

:22:59.:23:05.

the honourable lady that access to the UK market is incredibly

:23:06.:23:08.

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

:23:09.:23:12.

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

:23:13.:23:18.

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

:23:19.:23:21.

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

:23:22.:23:24.

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

:23:25.:23:30.

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

:23:31.:23:33.

cannot design a workable new agricultural policy in less than two

:23:34.:23:36.

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

:23:37.:23:41.

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

:23:42.:23:47.

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

:23:48.:23:51.

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

:23:52.:23:55.

country that farming subsidies and tariffs free trade will be

:23:56.:24:00.

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

:24:01.:24:04.

honourable lady that we have some tremendously talented policy

:24:05.:24:07.

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

:24:08.:24:11.

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

:24:12.:24:14.

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

:24:15.:24:18.

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

:24:19.:24:22.

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

:24:23.:24:28.

markets that farmers in northern Lincolnshire are hoping to expand on

:24:29.:24:32.

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

:24:33.:24:38.

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

:24:39.:24:42.

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

:24:43.:24:47.

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

:24:48.:24:52.

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

:24:53.:24:55.

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

:24:56.:24:59.

predominantly an issue for the Department for Transport and I would

:25:00.:25:02.

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

:25:03.:25:09.

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

:25:10.:25:14.

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

:25:15.:25:18.

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

:25:19.:25:21.

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

:25:22.:25:27.

obviously a very strong dairy industry in this country and there

:25:28.:25:34.

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

:25:35.:25:37.

food innovation networks and things like the aggregate fund and the

:25:38.:25:40.

number of other funds as well to support innovative product

:25:41.:25:43.

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

:25:44.:25:53.

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

:25:54.:25:58.

drivers of price changes in the agriculture commodities market and

:25:59.:26:00.

this affects all countries in the world independent of whether they

:26:01.:26:04.

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

:26:05.:26:09.

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

:26:10.:26:14.

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

:26:15.:26:19.

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

:26:20.:26:24.

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

:26:25.:26:31.

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

:26:32.:26:35.

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

:26:36.:26:39.

into hospital hungry yet the Government still refuse to measure

:26:40.:26:45.

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

:26:46.:26:48.

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

:26:49.:26:55.

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

:26:56.:26:59.

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

:27:00.:27:03.

that household spending within those houses has remained steady at about

:27:04.:27:09.

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

:27:10.:27:16.

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

:27:17.:27:19.

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

:27:20.:27:26.

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

:27:27.:27:29.

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

:27:30.:27:30.

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

:27:31.:27:39.

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

:27:40.:27:42.

have been representations we should consider extending the remit of that

:27:43.:27:47.

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

:27:48.:27:52.

representations. But grocery called adjudicator has made a good start

:27:53.:27:55.

improving the relationship, particularly between producers and

:27:56.:28:01.

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

:28:02.:28:06.

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

:28:07.:28:10.

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

:28:11.:28:13.

this sector in the Brexit negotiations to come, and so

:28:14.:28:18.

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

:28:19.:28:24.

regular meetings with food processors, indeed just two days ago

:28:25.:28:28.

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

:28:29.:28:32.

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

:28:33.:28:40.

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

:28:41.:28:43.

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

:28:44.:28:47.

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

:28:48.:28:51.

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

:28:52.:28:55.

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

:28:56.:29:00.

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

:29:01.:29:08.

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

:29:09.:29:12.

earlier discussion, we do give preferential trade access to some

:29:13.:29:20.

developing countries. The ACP countries are particularly

:29:21.:29:23.

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

:29:24.:29:32.

develop those industries. My honourable friend is right to raise

:29:33.:29:38.

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

:29:39.:29:44.

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

:29:45.:29:47.

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

:29:48.:29:55.

most vital elements Western Mark I entirely agree. Robust enforcement

:29:56.:29:58.

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

:29:59.:30:07.

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

:30:08.:30:15.

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

:30:16.:30:26.

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

:30:27.:30:30.

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

:30:31.:30:34.

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

:30:35.:30:38.

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

:30:39.:30:46.

are consulting with businesses and the advisory committee later this

:30:47.:30:55.

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

:30:56.:30:59.

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

:31:00.:31:03.

listening to the growers who assembled? Particularly during the

:31:04.:31:09.

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

:31:10.:31:13.

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

:31:14.:31:22.

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

:31:23.:31:25.

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

:31:26.:31:32.

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

:31:33.:31:37.

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

:31:38.:31:40.

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

:31:41.:31:44.

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

:31:45.:31:50.

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

:31:51.:31:55.

government is committed to making huge success for the food and

:31:56.:31:58.

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

:31:59.:32:07.

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

:32:08.:32:11.

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

:32:12.:32:15.

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

:32:16.:32:19.

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

:32:20.:32:25.

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

:32:26.:32:29.

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

:32:30.:32:33.

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

:32:34.:32:37.

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

:32:38.:32:42.

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

:32:43.:32:46.

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

:32:47.:32:54.

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

:32:55.:32:57.

measures to make the inshore fleet more economically sustainable. We

:32:58.:33:07.

have taken an unused quota and permanently transferred this to the

:33:08.:33:11.

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

:33:12.:33:15.

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

:33:16.:33:24.

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

:33:25.:33:28.

inflation figures show that food prices are rising at the fastest

:33:29.:33:32.

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

:33:33.:33:38.

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

:33:39.:33:41.

a grip on the soaring costs of living affecting millions of

:33:42.:33:48.

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

:33:49.:33:54.

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

:33:55.:34:00.

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

:34:01.:34:04.

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

:34:05.:34:12.

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

:34:13.:34:18.

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

:34:19.:34:25.

to eat regularly and equality and human rights commission have shown

:34:26.:34:27.

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

:34:28.:34:34.

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

:34:35.:34:42.

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

:34:43.:34:47.

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

:34:48.:34:54.

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

:34:55.:34:57.

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

:34:58.:35:02.

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

:35:03.:35:08.

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

:35:09.:35:12.

to flooding. Whilst the government has invested record amounts in

:35:13.:35:18.

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

:35:19.:35:22.

like Lincolnshire. What role does the Minister think that flood

:35:23.:35:25.

management control can play in detecting properties and people?

:35:26.:35:32.

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

:35:33.:35:37.

that myself on a visit to Leicester without monster competition for

:35:38.:35:42.

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

:35:43.:35:49.

investing ?15 million to fund natural flood management schemes

:35:50.:35:51.

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

:35:52.:35:56.

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

:35:57.:36:10.

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

:36:11.:36:16.

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

:36:17.:36:23.

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

:36:24.:36:28.

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

:36:29.:36:32.

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

:36:33.:36:41.

reciprocates, so protecting the very valuable contribution that EU

:36:42.:36:47.

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

:36:48.:36:51.

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

:36:52.:36:56.

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

:36:57.:37:00.

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

:37:01.:37:08.

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

:37:09.:37:14.

this. The government is committed to giving consumers as much

:37:15.:37:17.

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

:37:18.:37:21.

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

:37:22.:37:26.

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

:37:27.:37:30.

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

:37:31.:37:33.

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

:37:34.:37:42.

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

:37:43.:37:47.

environmentally enhancing strategies were supposed to be published before

:37:48.:37:52.

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

:37:53.:37:56.

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

:37:57.:38:01.

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

:38:02.:38:07.

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

:38:08.:38:12.

significant decision taken by the people of the United Kingdom last

:38:13.:38:15.

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

:38:16.:38:20.

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

:38:21.:38:24.

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

:38:25.:38:28.

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

:38:29.:38:33.

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

:38:34.:38:37.

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

:38:38.:38:46.

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

:38:47.:38:49.

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

:38:50.:38:54.

need that should the European Commission choose not to follow the

:38:55.:39:05.

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

:39:06.:39:14.

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

:39:15.:39:18.

intention to follow them on pesticide decisions, so we support

:39:19.:39:23.

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

:39:24.:39:30.

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

:39:31.:39:38.

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

:39:39.:39:46.

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

:39:47.:39:57.

is another major company that the Chinese government have absorbed.

:39:58.:40:03.

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

:40:04.:40:09.

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

:40:10.:40:16.

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

:40:17.:40:21.

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

:40:22.:40:29.

like the countryside, and often causes real problems for those

:40:30.:40:32.

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

:40:33.:40:37.

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

:40:38.:40:43.

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

:40:44.:40:49.

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

:40:50.:40:55.

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

:40:56.:41:01.

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

:41:02.:41:07.

vehicles involved in fly-tipping. Integrated processing distribution

:41:08.:41:25.

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

:41:26.:41:30.

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

:41:31.:41:35.

will be no border restrictions inhabiting the operations after

:41:36.:41:41.

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

:41:42.:41:44.

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

:41:45.:41:48.

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

:41:49.:41:53.

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

:41:54.:41:57.

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

:41:58.:42:01.

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

:42:02.:42:11.

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

:42:12.:42:15.

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

:42:16.:42:19.

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

:42:20.:42:23.

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

:42:24.:42:26.

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

:42:27.:42:29.

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

:42:30.:42:34.

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

:42:35.:42:39.

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

:42:40.:42:43.

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

:42:44.:42:49.

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

:42:50.:42:52.

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

:42:53.:42:57.

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

:42:58.:42:58.

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

:42:59.:43:09.

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

:43:10.:43:14.

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

:43:15.:43:22.

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

:43:23.:43:26.

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

:43:27.:43:32.

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

:43:33.:43:37.

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

:43:38.:43:40.

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

:43:41.:43:45.

the costs of deterring the serious criminals from dumping these hazards

:43:46.:43:49.

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

:43:50.:43:53.

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

:43:54.:43:57.

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

:43:58.:44:00.

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

:44:01.:44:04.

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

:44:05.:44:10.

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

:44:11.:44:16.

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

:44:17.:44:21.

this can take time. Does the Minister recognise that food

:44:22.:44:25.

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

:44:26.:44:31.

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

:44:32.:44:36.

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

:44:37.:44:41.

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

:44:42.:44:46.

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

:44:47.:44:49.

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

:44:50.:44:53.

consultation with businesses will be looking at the needs later this

:44:54.:44:58.

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

:44:59.:45:06.

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

:45:07.:45:12.

companies will need time to adapt, particularly where the smallest

:45:13.:45:14.

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

:45:15.:45:20.

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

:45:21.:45:23.

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

:45:24.:45:26.

Transport has been working with manufacturers for some time to make

:45:27.:45:31.

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

:45:32.:45:34.

technological changes that are important to improving our air

:45:35.:45:45.

quality from vehicle emissions. Questions, Pauline Latham. Number

:45:46.:45:53.

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

:45:54.:45:59.

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

:46:00.:46:02.

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

:46:03.:46:09.

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

:46:10.:46:12.

early work on improving cancer services. The investigation found

:46:13.:46:16.

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

:46:17.:46:20.

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

:46:21.:46:24.

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

:46:25.:46:28.

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

:46:29.:46:36.

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

:46:37.:46:41.

tell the House whether the committee of Public accounts has actually

:46:42.:46:45.

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

:46:46.:46:49.

everybody wants to improve matters so the committee of Public accounts

:46:50.:46:52.

followed up on the National Audit Office investigation and recommended

:46:53.:46:56.

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

:46:57.:47:00.

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

:47:01.:47:05.

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

:47:06.:47:08.

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

:47:09.:47:16.

recommended that NHS England should collaborate with nice to ensure best

:47:17.:47:20.

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

:47:21.:47:31.

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

:47:32.:47:49.

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

:47:50.:47:53.

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

:47:54.:47:56.

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

:47:57.:48:02.

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

:48:03.:48:06.

the Church of England is doing to help my churches across

:48:07.:48:08.

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

:48:09.:48:22.

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

:48:23.:48:31.

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

:48:32.:48:34.

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

:48:35.:48:43.

honourable gentleman aware of the real challenge that has been brought

:48:44.:48:46.

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

:48:47.:48:56.

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

:48:57.:49:04.

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

:49:05.:49:10.

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

:49:11.:49:14.

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

:49:15.:49:18.

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

:49:19.:49:23.

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

:49:24.:49:27.

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

:49:28.:49:30.

Drugs Fund to ensure full transparency so we are always aware

:49:31.:49:34.

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

:49:35.:49:44.

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

:49:45.:49:47.

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

:49:48.:49:53.

blanket bans on the wearing of philosophical or religious items

:49:54.:50:07.

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

:50:08.:50:13.

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

:50:14.:50:16.

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

:50:17.:50:19.

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

:50:20.:50:23.

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

:50:24.:50:29.

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

:50:30.:50:32.

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

:50:33.:50:38.

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

:50:39.:50:45.

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

:50:46.:50:48.

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

:50:49.:50:53.

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

:50:54.:51:00.

honourable friend that among the many opportunities Brexit provides,

:51:01.:51:06.

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

:51:07.:51:09.

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

:51:10.:51:13.

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

:51:14.:51:18.

departments and some departments will be more affected than others.

:51:19.:51:22.

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

:51:23.:51:26.

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

:51:27.:51:30.

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

:51:31.:51:39.

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

:51:40.:51:46.

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

:51:47.:51:49.

simply ensuring at the moment that all departments, particularly that

:51:50.:51:54.

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

:51:55.:52:04.

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

:52:05.:52:09.

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

:52:10.:52:15.

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

:52:16.:52:17.

Accounts Committee and on the committee itself.

:52:18.:52:29.

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

:52:30.:52:37.

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

:52:38.:52:40.

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

:52:41.:52:43.

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

:52:44.:52:47.

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

:52:48.:52:52.

accounts commission, which is charged with a budget of the

:52:53.:52:56.

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

:52:57.:53:01.

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

:53:02.:53:04.

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

:53:05.:53:09.

that could go wrong in terms of efficiency in Government departments

:53:10.:53:11.

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

:53:12.:53:17.

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

:53:18.:53:24.

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

:53:25.:53:29.

honourable friend the South West Bedfordshire for his long-standing

:53:30.:53:32.

support the institution of marriage and since last asking this question

:53:33.:53:37.

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

:53:38.:53:40.

launched a successful new initiative called your church wedding which is

:53:41.:53:45.

designed to increase the profile of church weddings, highlight the

:53:46.:53:49.

possibility for those seeking to be married, offers more consistent

:53:50.:53:53.

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

:53:54.:53:57.

but the fact is that marriage rates have unfortunately declined in

:53:58.:54:01.

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

:54:02.:54:05.

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

:54:06.:54:10.

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

:54:11.:54:16.

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

:54:17.:54:20.

appointed Bishop with the aim of spreading best marriage practice in

:54:21.:54:24.

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

:54:25.:54:33.

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

:54:34.:54:38.

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

:54:39.:54:42.

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

:54:43.:54:48.

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

:54:49.:54:51.

getting married in increasing numbers. We should celebrate that

:54:52.:54:59.

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

:55:00.:55:01.

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

:55:02.:55:09.

number of people selected for ordering meant within the Church of

:55:10.:55:12.

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

:55:13.:55:21.

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

:55:22.:55:23.

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

:55:24.:55:37.

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

:55:38.:55:44.

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

:55:45.:55:49.

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

:55:50.:55:52.

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

:55:53.:55:59.

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

:56:00.:56:03.

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

:56:04.:56:07.

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

:56:08.:56:15.

member believe that the number of applications would be improved if

:56:16.:56:18.

the Church of England did more to protect their churches in

:56:19.:56:22.

Northumberland from metal theft, thereby leaving them dealing with

:56:23.:56:29.

logistics rather than focusing on their parishioners? I must

:56:30.:56:34.

congratulate the lady on her ingenuity in bringing in this very

:56:35.:56:37.

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

:56:38.:56:41.

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

:56:42.:56:47.

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

:56:48.:56:50.

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

:56:51.:56:55.

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

:56:56.:57:01.

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

:57:02.:57:05.

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

:57:06.:57:11.

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

:57:12.:57:14.

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

:57:15.:57:21.

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

:57:22.:57:23.

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

:57:24.:57:34.

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

:57:35.:57:37.

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

:57:38.:57:43.

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

:57:44.:57:53.

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

:57:54.:57:57.

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

:57:58.:58:05.

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

:58:06.:58:08.

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

:58:09.:58:22.

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

:58:23.:58:25.

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

:58:26.:58:30.

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

:58:31.:58:33.

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

:58:34.:58:48.

question today. Please would you allow me to congratulate the

:58:49.:58:52.

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

:58:53.:59:01.

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

:59:02.:59:06.

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

:59:07.:59:10.

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

:59:11.:59:14.

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

:59:15.:59:23.

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

:59:24.:59:36.

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

:59:37.:59:39.

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

:59:40.:59:47.

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

:59:48.:59:51.

to. What practical measures the church offered to communities

:59:52.:59:57.

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

:59:58.:00:02.

in parliament where a Nigerian pastor spoke about violent

:00:03.:00:07.

persecution of himself and his congregation, but in respect of

:00:08.:00:10.

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

:00:11.:00:19.

intensive security measures for the Christian church in Egypt, including

:00:20.:00:22.

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

:00:23.:00:29.

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

:00:30.:00:34.

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

:00:35.:00:40.

Secretary make a statement on the persecution of LB GT people

:00:41.:00:54.

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

:00:55.:00:58.

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

:00:59.:01:03.

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

:01:04.:01:08.

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

:01:09.:01:12.

Statements by the regional government in Chechnya, which

:01:13.:01:14.

appeared to condone and incite violence against LGBT people, are

:01:15.:01:21.

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

:01:22.:01:37.

authorities. My right honourable friend the Minister of the released

:01:38.:01:46.

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

:01:47.:01:51.

and called upon the government to investigate and ensure perpetrators

:01:52.:01:53.

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

:01:54.:01:57.

also expressed his serious concerns also expressed his serious concerns

:01:58.:02:00.

through social media. Officials from the British Embassy in Moscow

:02:01.:02:05.

reiterated these concerns directly to the Russian government on the

:02:06.:02:09.

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

:02:10.:02:12.

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

:02:13.:02:17.

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

:02:18.:02:22.

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

:02:23.:02:26.

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

:02:27.:02:36.

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

:02:37.:02:40.

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

:02:41.:02:47.

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

:02:48.:02:54.

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

:02:55.:02:57.

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

:02:58.:03:00.

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

:03:01.:03:05.

some have described gay concentration camps, and we hear of

:03:06.:03:14.

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

:03:15.:03:19.

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

:03:20.:03:23.

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

:03:24.:03:31.

parties. President Putin already has a reputation of persecuting LGBT

:03:32.:03:36.

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

:03:37.:03:48.

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

:03:49.:03:57.

described it, attaching metal clamps and sending electric shocks through

:03:58.:04:00.

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

:04:01.:04:07.

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

:04:08.:04:10.

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

:04:11.:04:18.

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

:04:19.:04:24.

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

:04:25.:04:28.

heard clear condemnation from the Prime Minister. Has the Prime

:04:29.:04:31.

Minister or Foreign Secretary spoken directly to the Chechen governments,

:04:32.:04:37.

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

:04:38.:04:40.

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

:04:41.:04:45.

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

:04:46.:04:53.

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

:04:54.:04:58.

Foreign Secretary said it was outrageous, but the Foreign Office

:04:59.:05:04.

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

:05:05.:05:10.

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

:05:11.:05:16.

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

:05:17.:05:20.

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

:05:21.:05:24.

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

:05:25.:05:29.

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

:05:30.:05:32.

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

:05:33.:05:36.

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

:05:37.:05:42.

things I have seen reported is a Chechen security source stating

:05:43.:05:45.

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

:05:46.:05:51.

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

:05:52.:05:58.

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

:05:59.:06:05.

Chechnya. Human rights groups report that these campaigns and killings

:06:06.:06:09.

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

:06:10.:06:13.

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

:06:14.:06:19.

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

:06:20.:06:23.

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

:06:24.:06:30.

and actions are absolutely beyond contemptible. Can I assure the

:06:31.:06:36.

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

:06:37.:06:42.

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

:06:43.:06:46.

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

:06:47.:06:54.

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

:06:55.:06:58.

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

:06:59.:07:05.

strongest possible message to Russia and Chechnya in particular, that

:07:06.:07:10.

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

:07:11.:07:17.

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

:07:18.:07:20.

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

:07:21.:07:27.

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

:07:28.:07:31.

openly gay members of parliament here than anywhere else in the

:07:32.:07:35.

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

:07:36.:07:40.

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

:07:41.:07:43.

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

:07:44.:07:49.

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

:07:50.:07:54.

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

:07:55.:07:59.

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

:08:00.:08:01.

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

:08:02.:08:06.

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

:08:07.:08:16.

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

:08:17.:08:23.

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

:08:24.:08:26.

the Commonwealth, where some countries part of our family of

:08:27.:08:31.

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

:08:32.:08:35.

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

:08:36.:08:39.

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

:08:40.:08:45.

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

:08:46.:08:50.

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

:08:51.:08:55.

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

:08:56.:09:01.

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

:09:02.:09:05.

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

:09:06.:09:10.

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

:09:11.:09:14.

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

:09:15.:09:20.

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

:09:21.:09:26.

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

:09:27.:09:31.

honourable friend suggests, and we must campaign within Commonwealth

:09:32.:09:35.

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

:09:36.:09:38.

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

:09:39.:09:47.

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

:09:48.:09:52.

honourable friend the Member for Cardiff South for bringing such an

:09:53.:09:57.

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

:09:58.:10:15.

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

:10:16.:10:18.

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

:10:19.:10:20.

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

:10:21.:10:23.

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

:10:24.:10:28.

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

:10:29.:10:35.

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

:10:36.:10:47.

reports from organisations and human rights documenting the most terrible

:10:48.:10:49.

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

:10:50.:10:51.

sanctioned... But the Russian government who beers responsibility

:10:52.:10:57.

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

:10:58.:11:02.

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

:11:03.:11:08.

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

:11:09.:11:12.

particularly that she make the Russian ambassador -- meet the

:11:13.:11:20.

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

:11:21.:11:23.

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

:11:24.:11:27.

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

:11:28.:11:31.

applaud the right honourable gentleman raising this matter, I do

:11:32.:11:37.

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

:11:38.:11:41.

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

:11:42.:11:45.

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

:11:46.:11:49.

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

:11:50.:11:57.

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

:11:58.:12:00.

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

:12:01.:12:06.

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

:12:07.:12:11.

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

:12:12.:12:19.

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

:12:20.:12:21.

reflecting the Prime Minister and the entire government's condemnation

:12:22.:12:28.

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

:12:29.:12:30.

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

:12:31.:12:35.

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

:12:36.:12:42.

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

:12:43.:12:55.

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

:12:56.:12:58.

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

:12:59.:13:01.

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

:13:02.:13:04.

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

:13:05.:13:11.

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

:13:12.:13:15.

persecution by the Chechen authorities, but also falling victim

:13:16.:13:19.

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

:13:20.:13:26.

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

:13:27.:13:29.

that republic is beyond contemptible.

:13:30.:13:37.

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

:13:38.:13:45.

condemnation of this terrible, terrible occurrence, but building on

:13:46.:13:49.

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

:13:50.:13:54.

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

:13:55.:13:59.

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

:14:00.:14:02.

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

:14:03.:14:08.

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

:14:09.:14:12.

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

:14:13.:14:15.

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

:14:16.:14:20.

raise continually in an international environment, to put

:14:21.:14:23.

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

:14:24.:14:28.

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

:14:29.:14:32.

expression of wider Continental opinion and I certainly will convert

:14:33.:14:36.

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

:14:37.:14:40.

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

:14:41.:14:48.

stories emanating from Chechnya are beyond comprehension and utterly

:14:49.:14:51.

sickening and we share the sentiments that others have

:14:52.:14:54.

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

:14:55.:15:00.

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

:15:01.:15:04.

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

:15:05.:15:08.

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

:15:09.:15:13.

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

:15:14.:15:17.

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

:15:18.:15:21.

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

:15:22.:15:27.

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

:15:28.:15:33.

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

:15:34.:15:38.

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

:15:39.:15:42.

the Government to establish the position of a special envoy to

:15:43.:15:46.

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

:15:47.:15:50.

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

:15:51.:15:54.

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

:15:55.:15:58.

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

:15:59.:16:02.

pressure he can on Chechnya and Russia to stop these abhorrent

:16:03.:16:05.

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

:16:06.:16:12.

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

:16:13.:16:15.

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

:16:16.:16:21.

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

:16:22.:16:27.

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

:16:28.:16:31.

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

:16:32.:16:35.

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

:16:36.:16:40.

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

:16:41.:16:47.

officials in Russia meet regularly with LGBT activists and attend LGBT

:16:48.:16:54.

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

:16:55.:16:59.

provided support to organisations such as Stonewall and helped to

:17:00.:17:03.

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

:17:04.:17:08.

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

:17:09.:17:14.

think his powerful messages about UK values resonated at least with

:17:15.:17:20.

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

:17:21.:17:24.

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

:17:25.:17:34.

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

:17:35.:17:39.

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

:17:40.:17:42.

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

:17:43.:17:49.

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

:17:50.:17:52.

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

:17:53.:17:56.

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

:17:57.:17:59.

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

:18:00.:18:05.

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

:18:06.:18:13.

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

:18:14.:18:17.

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

:18:18.:18:23.

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

:18:24.:18:30.

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

:18:31.:18:34.

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

:18:35.:18:37.

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

:18:38.:18:45.

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

:18:46.:18:50.

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

:18:51.:18:56.

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

:18:57.:18:58.

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

:18:59.:19:02.

resorted to violence when there is another opportunity providing a

:19:03.:19:07.

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

:19:08.:19:10.

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

:19:11.:19:15.

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

:19:16.:19:22.

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

:19:23.:19:30.

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

:19:31.:19:38.

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

:19:39.:19:47.

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

:19:48.:19:50.

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

:19:51.:19:54.

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

:19:55.:19:57.

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

:19:58.:20:02.

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

:20:03.:20:06.

speak collectively, be brave and courageous and at a diplomatic

:20:07.:20:10.

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

:20:11.:20:14.

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

:20:15.:20:18.

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

:20:19.:20:23.

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

:20:24.:20:27.

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

:20:28.:20:34.

Minister for the various matter forceful statement he has made

:20:35.:20:38.

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

:20:39.:20:41.

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

:20:42.:20:45.

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

:20:46.:20:48.

going to do to protect the journalists involved in leaking this

:20:49.:20:51.

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

:20:52.:20:56.

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

:20:57.:21:00.

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

:21:01.:21:05.

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

:21:06.:21:09.

learned about how to improve cooperation so that at an

:21:10.:21:12.

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

:21:13.:21:18.

right honourable gentleman has perhaps deviated slightly from the

:21:19.:21:23.

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

:21:24.:21:27.

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

:21:28.:21:32.

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

:21:33.:21:35.

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

:21:36.:21:40.

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

:21:41.:21:44.

one voice in this House but by working together with other

:21:45.:21:49.

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

:21:50.:21:52.

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

:21:53.:21:58.

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

:21:59.:22:01.

lose all credibility and become increasingly derided and it is high

:22:02.:22:05.

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

:22:06.:22:11.

all about. Can I congratulate my constituency neighbour for exposing

:22:12.:22:18.

the latest manifestation of the barbaric treatment that the people

:22:19.:22:24.

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

:22:25.:22:28.

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

:22:29.:22:32.

and reported fearlessly on the terrible things that were happening

:22:33.:22:37.

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

:22:38.:22:41.

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

:22:42.:22:47.

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

:22:48.:22:53.

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

:22:54.:22:57.

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

:22:58.:23:03.

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

:23:04.:23:07.

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

:23:08.:23:14.

join the honourable gentleman in paying tribute to the noble Lord

:23:15.:23:18.

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

:23:19.:23:23.

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

:23:24.:23:26.

parties and all organisations to make sure that simple rides the

:23:27.:23:32.

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

:23:33.:23:35.

upheld across the world. Considering how this may be misrepresented

:23:36.:23:43.

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

:23:44.:23:46.

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

:23:47.:23:51.

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

:23:52.:23:57.

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

:23:58.:24:03.

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

:24:04.:24:10.

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

:24:11.:24:15.

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

:24:16.:24:19.

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

:24:20.:24:23.

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

:24:24.:24:30.

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

:24:31.:24:38.

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

:24:39.:24:42.

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

:24:43.:24:47.

absolute blatant propaganda, we should not shy away from robustly

:24:48.:24:54.

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

:24:55.:24:59.

called reports about persecution and murder absolute lies themselves and

:25:00.:25:03.

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

:25:04.:25:09.

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

:25:10.:25:14.

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

:25:15.:25:19.

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

:25:20.:25:25.

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

:25:26.:25:29.

appears to condone the outright murder of someone simply because of

:25:30.:25:35.

their sexual orientation, it is utterly unacceptable and condemns

:25:36.:25:37.

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

:25:38.:25:46.

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

:25:47.:25:50.

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

:25:51.:25:54.

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

:25:55.:25:59.

social, economic and political impoverishment of what is Chechnya

:26:00.:26:04.

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

:26:05.:26:08.

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

:26:09.:26:15.

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

:26:16.:26:19.

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

:26:20.:26:27.

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

:26:28.:26:32.

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

:26:33.:26:35.

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

:26:36.:26:40.

Well, I think we should all committed to fighting prejudice

:26:41.:26:44.

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

:26:45.:26:47.

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

:26:48.:26:52.

present ourselves to the electorate. But the honourable gentleman

:26:53.:26:54.

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

:26:55.:27:00.

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

:27:01.:27:04.

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

:27:05.:27:08.

that opportunity will present itself so the arguments we are hearing

:27:09.:27:12.

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

:27:13.:27:18.

speaks with one voice in condemnation of these have borrowed

:27:19.:27:24.

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

:27:25.:27:27.

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

:27:28.:27:33.

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

:27:34.:27:37.

countries are similarly robust in explaining that to the Russian

:27:38.:27:40.

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

:27:41.:27:43.

committee in Chechnya We work through every organisation

:27:44.:27:52.

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

:27:53.:27:58.

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

:27:59.:28:03.

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

:28:04.:28:06.

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

:28:07.:28:11.

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

:28:12.:28:15.

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

:28:16.:28:25.

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

:28:26.:28:28.

vigil in George Square with politicians, or 30 people,

:28:29.:28:35.

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

:28:36.:28:38.

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

:28:39.:28:43.

Foreign Secretary. I think the Minister is very capable, deeply

:28:44.:28:46.

thoughtful, but I would like to echo the comments made by my honourable

:28:47.:28:51.

friend from Livingston. Is it not time for us to join countries like

:28:52.:28:57.

Canada and having an envoy on LGBT rights, who reports directly to the

:28:58.:29:00.

Prime Minister, and I would also echo the point made by my honourable

:29:01.:29:04.

friend from Clydebank, does this not show, and also in terms of what the

:29:05.:29:10.

honourable gentleman said about the Commonwealth, it is not the time to

:29:11.:29:16.

cut it back -- cut back the foreign aid. I thank him for his kind words.

:29:17.:29:28.

And usually I have to say at this political burden period! I am

:29:29.:29:33.

contemplating putting it in quotation marks at my election

:29:34.:29:43.

address! I wouldn't do that! -- politically fervent period. Our

:29:44.:29:49.

policy on this is not for me to say. My personal observation are some a

:29:50.:29:58.

dedicated envoy is not as effective as having all ministers and members

:29:59.:30:02.

of Parliament doing it. Butterfat is in his manifesto, we will let the

:30:03.:30:11.

people decide. Deeply, -- briefly, can I congratulate him for raising

:30:12.:30:15.

this important point and human rights. But could I suggest a word

:30:16.:30:19.

of caution about any complacency on this? We have a united voice in this

:30:20.:30:25.

House of Commons, but we're travelling on an official visit --

:30:26.:30:32.

when I was travelling towards the east on an official visit, I was

:30:33.:30:44.

troubled by the attitudes of people beer, and I was in Austria. We saw

:30:45.:30:50.

some propaganda, and we should be on our guard whenever this kind of

:30:51.:30:58.

human rights abuse viewers at -- rears its ugly head. I think we

:30:59.:31:01.

should take that as serious words of wisdom from a serious member -- a

:31:02.:31:06.

senior member of this House. We need to make sure there are no dial

:31:07.:31:12.

YouTube views, and he is right to point out that Europe needs to be

:31:13.:31:15.

united if we're going to make our voice clear and resonant across the

:31:16.:31:24.

wider world. Having tabled an early day motion myself on this very

:31:25.:31:29.

subject earlier in the week, I am grateful to the honourable member

:31:30.:31:34.

for Cardiff South and Penarth for securing this question, and to you,

:31:35.:31:40.

Mr Speaker, for permitting it. Can we have assurances that members of

:31:41.:31:45.

the LGBT community will be granted asylum in the United Kingdom should

:31:46.:31:51.

be looked for refuge on our shores? I have to tell the honourable lady

:31:52.:31:58.

that that is by merrily Home Office matter, and a matter for asylum

:31:59.:32:06.

legislation. In February the Foreign Secretary announced a ?700 million

:32:07.:32:10.

empowerment fund to project soft power and human rights. How was this

:32:11.:32:15.

fund being used to promote equal rights campaigners and support civil

:32:16.:32:19.

society in Chechnya and elsewhere? Can I echo the points of my

:32:20.:32:25.

honourable friend as he has not yet voiced his commitment to the target,

:32:26.:32:29.

as this is precisely why the target is so important. He makes reference

:32:30.:32:38.

to the empowerment fund, and I understand bids are currently in

:32:39.:32:43.

play. With the election I would imagine that will be stalled

:32:44.:32:45.

slightly, but I'm confident that there will be programmes designed

:32:46.:32:48.

for the promotion of human rights in many of the countries of which the

:32:49.:32:52.

empowerment fund is directing its efforts. I wish to pay tribute to

:32:53.:33:04.

the amazing work of an organisation and Leeds who brought this to my

:33:05.:33:11.

attention. These abuses are are chilling. Can I as the Minister what

:33:12.:33:16.

discussions he has had with EU partners but also with the United

:33:17.:33:22.

Nations to look at an initiative to clearly seek to stamp out this sort

:33:23.:33:31.

of appalling persecution, wherever it may happen. These discussions

:33:32.:33:35.

take place on a regular basis in all the forums we are represented, and

:33:36.:33:41.

it is usually the UK in the lead in designing initiatives and

:33:42.:33:46.

statements, which I think would echo the opinions he has just stated. The

:33:47.:33:54.

appalling treatment LGBT people face in some countries abroad makes it

:33:55.:33:58.

all the more important that officials here making decisions on

:33:59.:34:05.

asylum cases get them 100% correct. Will he make representations that no

:34:06.:34:12.

asylum case should never be refused solely on the basis that a person

:34:13.:34:16.

can return home and hide their sexuality away? I will convey entire

:34:17.:34:25.

exchange to the Home Secretary. Order. Does it relate

:34:26.:34:37.

specifically... He's such a patient fellow, we can hear from him later.

:34:38.:34:41.

There will be some anticipation in the House over what he's planning to

:34:42.:34:50.

raise! Business question. Thank you. Could the Leader of the House give

:34:51.:34:53.

us the forthcoming business for next week? The business for next week

:34:54.:35:01.

will be as follows. Monday 24th of April, consideration of a business

:35:02.:35:07.

of the House motion followed by all stages of the Northern Ireland

:35:08.:35:09.

ministerial appointments and regional rates bill, followed by, if

:35:10.:35:15.

necessary, consideration of Lords amendments. Tuesday the 25th of

:35:16.:35:24.

April, committee of the whole House and the finance number two bill,

:35:25.:35:27.

followed by consideration of Lords amendments to the health service

:35:28.:35:32.

medical supplies costs bill, followed by, if necessary,

:35:33.:35:36.

consideration of Lords amendments. Wednesday 26th of April, a motion to

:35:37.:35:42.

approve a ways and means resolution on the digital economy Bill,

:35:43.:35:48.

followed by consideration of Lords amendments to this. Followed by,

:35:49.:35:54.

consideration of Lords amendments to the criminal of finances Bill,

:35:55.:35:57.

followed by, if necessary, consideration of Lords amendments.

:35:58.:36:03.

Thursday 27 people, consideration of Lords amendments. A House may also

:36:04.:36:09.

be asked to consider any Lords messages that may be received. The

:36:10.:36:17.

House will not adjourn until Royal assent has been received to all

:36:18.:36:28.

acts. Since this is probably going to be the last regular weekly

:36:29.:36:32.

business statement in this parliament, could I simply take the

:36:33.:36:39.

opportunity to thank first of all the staff of the House for the

:36:40.:36:45.

service they provide every one of us throughout the course of Parliament,

:36:46.:36:49.

and wish them a happy opportunity to put their feet up a little bit over

:36:50.:36:58.

the forthcoming weeks, and secondly, to wish particular good fortune to

:36:59.:37:03.

those honourable members on all sides who have decided that they

:37:04.:37:08.

will not seek election. Each of them in their own way has striven to

:37:09.:37:16.

represent the interests of their constituents during the years here.

:37:17.:37:20.

Each of them has brought particular experiences, particular political

:37:21.:37:24.

commitments, to the causes for which they have fought, and all of them

:37:25.:37:32.

have contributed to the building of democracy in this country, and I

:37:33.:37:36.

would like to place our banks on record. Can I thank the Leader of

:37:37.:37:43.

the House for the business of the last week, and I will save my thanks

:37:44.:37:50.

to the end of my response. It was an eventful parliament not least

:37:51.:37:52.

because of the death of PC Keith Palmer, Lesley Rhodes, and now

:37:53.:38:02.

cathedral said at the memorial injured. As

:38:03.:38:14.

service, a clock that counts the service, a clock that counts the

:38:15.:38:14.

minutes, hours and years of lives. And of course, our beloved colleague

:38:15.:38:19.

Jo Cox, who should be fighting this election. We need to remember them

:38:20.:38:26.

as we campaign for a country that is tolerant and just. The Prime

:38:27.:38:30.

Minister wants stability and to strengthen her hand in negotiations,

:38:31.:38:34.

but blames the opposition parties for calling a general election. But

:38:35.:38:38.

it is her dithering and confusion and watching her back, firstly what

:38:39.:38:46.

an arrogant statement she should presume to know the outcome of an

:38:47.:38:48.

election. Secondly, what has her government been doing for the last

:38:49.:38:50.

nine months, and thirdly can the Leader of the House confirmed that

:38:51.:38:54.

if the government wins, we're entering into a rolling programme of

:38:55.:39:06.

snap during rogue ... We live under the rule of law, and parliament

:39:07.:39:10.

should have a say. This is democracy. Then there was silence

:39:11.:39:17.

from the government since July 2016. Her Majesty's opposition called for

:39:18.:39:24.

a report on Brexit, silence and a speech to Lancaster House. But not

:39:25.:39:29.

to this House. I found you very personable, but I think others are

:39:30.:39:35.

scared of making a statement in this House!

:39:36.:39:39.

LAUGHTER Only when you say or do! Only then setting out 12 points of

:39:40.:39:46.

principle. Finally, the White Paper in February. Her Majesty is

:39:47.:39:51.

opposition insisted there should be a final thought on the deal, and

:39:52.:39:54.

force the government to agree because we are representative

:39:55.:39:55.

democracy. As the prime ministers sat in front of the great portrait

:39:56.:40:00.

of Robert Walpole twos signed the letter to Donald Tusk, she forgot to

:40:01.:40:10.

mention Gibraltar, 96 of whom voted to remain. No wonder she forgot to

:40:11.:40:12.

mention them. The government seems to be speaking for the 52%, while

:40:13.:40:16.

Her Majesty's opposition will balance the views of the 52% and to

:40:17.:40:23.

speak for the country. The confusion lies within her party, not the

:40:24.:40:29.

opposition. Of course the government wants a general election because it

:40:30.:40:34.

needs a new manifesto. Everyday the government breaks the manifesto

:40:35.:40:45.

pledge. Grammar schools, no mention of... In case of National Insurance

:40:46.:40:50.

contribution for self-employed workers. Ruled out of the manifesto

:40:51.:40:53.

then became government policy, then a U-turn. The manifesto said nothing

:40:54.:40:59.

cannot make a decision for the good vulnerable, yet there are cars

:41:00.:41:27.

looks like? Because we on this side of the country. So, could we have

:41:28.:41:28.

looks like? Because we on this side of the House... For students, no

:41:29.:41:33.

increase in tuition fees. For society, an investment in public

:41:34.:41:45.

services or local government grants are based on needs for local

:41:46.:41:49.

services, protecting police forces and libraries, not special deals for

:41:50.:41:53.

special friends. Ensuring small businesses thrive, supporting those

:41:54.:41:59.

who care for others by an increase in carers allowance, and protecting

:42:00.:42:04.

pensions and compensating women affected by an increase in the state

:42:05.:42:09.

pension. Policies for the seven stages of life, that is what the

:42:10.:42:13.

country needs. No dithering or confusion, but vision and strong

:42:14.:42:17.

leadership. Her Majesty is opposition and government will work

:42:18.:42:22.

for a tolerant, fare and dynamic United Kingdom. Finally, to echo

:42:23.:42:30.

what the Leader of the House said, can I thank all of the House staff

:42:31.:42:34.

for the brilliant supported me, you, Mr Speaker and your office, the

:42:35.:42:37.

Leader of the House, his erstwhile deputy and his office blogger help,

:42:38.:42:44.

my office, and everyone who has made my job easier, including my Chief

:42:45.:42:46.

Whip, who tells me to stop the jokes! If

:42:47.:42:57.

enough can I also mention the fact that tomorrow with a Majesty her

:42:58.:43:08.

Queen's 91st birthday, one that she also shares with the honourable

:43:09.:43:13.

member for Gateshead. It's a significant day. If he doesn't mind

:43:14.:43:20.

me saying... If he doesn't mind me saying it, it's his 60th. And can I

:43:21.:43:28.

say that rights oh, the honourable member as well. I won't say what the

:43:29.:43:35.

age is, if she doesn't mind. 21! As are we all. And finally, to echo

:43:36.:43:40.

what the leader of the houses, to all those people who are standing

:43:41.:43:43.

down, who have given their life to public service, thank them all. And

:43:44.:43:48.

finally, it's been an absolute privilege to be the Shadow Leader of

:43:49.:43:54.

the House. Can I associate myself both with the honourable lady's

:43:55.:44:06.

the tribute she paid at the start of the tribute she paid at the start

:44:07.:44:08.

colleague Jo Cox and I hope it is her remarks, both to those who lost

:44:09.:44:14.

colleague Jo Cox and I hope it is not long in the life of the new

:44:15.:44:20.

parliament before the permanent memorial to Jo Cox can take its

:44:21.:44:24.

place in the House of Commons, I know that is something that will be

:44:25.:44:28.

supported by and welcomed by every single member of his house and the

:44:29.:44:35.

next House Commons as well. I join her, obviously, in wishing that many

:44:36.:44:41.

happy returns to Her Majesty and also to the honourable member for

:44:42.:44:46.

Gateshead and my right honourable friend, the Member for animation. I

:44:47.:44:51.

can say as my right honourable friend's constituency neighbour that

:44:52.:44:57.

whatever number may be pinned to the years, nothing diminishes her vigour

:44:58.:45:01.

or commitment to working on behalf of her constituents. And I have

:45:02.:45:06.

equally, like the honourable lady, always enjoyed and appreciated my

:45:07.:45:11.

relationship with my other constituency neighbour, The Right

:45:12.:45:16.

Honourable member for Buckingham and indeed, following the last boundary

:45:17.:45:19.

change in the Buckingham constituency, I have a particular

:45:20.:45:27.

interest in the outcome. The honourable lady... I think if the

:45:28.:45:37.

honourable gentleman peruses Mr Speaker's previous election

:45:38.:45:40.

material, he may find the answer he is seeking. The honourable lady

:45:41.:45:46.

asked me a number of questions. I have two say to her that when it

:45:47.:45:55.

comes to Gibraltar, the front bench really does have a very short

:45:56.:46:01.

memory. People in Gibraltar have not forgotten how the last Labour

:46:02.:46:03.

Government tried to sell that territory down the river, how they

:46:04.:46:11.

sought a joint sovereignty agreement, something that was

:46:12.:46:14.

rejected by the people of Gibraltar by a margin of well over 90% in a

:46:15.:46:26.

subsequent referendum. She also made a number of assertions about

:46:27.:46:30.

policies that will, I'm sure, be debated in the country in the weeks

:46:31.:46:37.

to come. I would simply say to her this - that I think all of us in the

:46:38.:46:41.

House, whatever political perspective we bring to these

:46:42.:46:47.

matters, want to see public services of our kind in which we can all take

:46:48.:46:53.

pride and which we think and work effectively for our constituents who

:46:54.:46:59.

are vulnerable and in need of help. It is the belief of this Government

:47:00.:47:03.

and this party that the foundation for effective public services has to

:47:04.:47:12.

be a strong and growing economy, and the plans put forward by the right

:47:13.:47:16.

honourable gentleman, the Leader of the Opposition, would render any

:47:17.:47:23.

such chaotic Government incapable of funding public services because they

:47:24.:47:26.

would have bankrupted the British economy, raised taxes on ordinary

:47:27.:47:32.

working families and piled yet more public debt onto the next

:47:33.:47:34.

generation, a betrayal of young people. I would say to her finally

:47:35.:47:43.

this- she said she looked forward to the Leader of the Opposition being

:47:44.:47:50.

in a position to form a Government and yet we know that three quarters

:47:51.:47:56.

of her own Parliamentary colleagues had no confidence in his ability to

:47:57.:47:59.

continue as the leader of the Labour Party. I think that very few Labour

:48:00.:48:05.

members of this outgoing parliament will be able to stand up and with a

:48:06.:48:09.

straight face say that they really have confidence that the Leader of

:48:10.:48:13.

the Opposition should be entrusted with the Government and leadership

:48:14.:48:18.

of this country. I should just advise the House, pursuant to what

:48:19.:48:21.

the Leader of the House said about our late and esteemed colleague Jo

:48:22.:48:26.

Cox, that the memorial to her had been scheduled to be installed in

:48:27.:48:33.

the chamber next month. That date fell within what will now be the

:48:34.:48:41.

election campaign and therefore a rescheduling is essential, but I

:48:42.:48:45.

would want the House to know that this matter was discussed by

:48:46.:48:50.

relevant colleagues, the Jo Cox foundation and me yesterday and it

:48:51.:48:54.

is fully intended that the installation will take place very

:48:55.:49:03.

soon. Mr Speaker, notwithstanding my advanced years, I have appeared to

:49:04.:49:07.

have gained no more wisdom because I'm going to ask the Leader of the

:49:08.:49:11.

House for a debate on my favourite subject, and your favourite subject

:49:12.:49:16.

know that, and the Leader of the House's favourite subject, HS2, but

:49:17.:49:19.

I do think we need to consider whether we can have an emergency

:49:20.:49:23.

debate on hay jested next week because the boss of HS2 David

:49:24.:49:27.

Higgins, in evidence to the transport select committee

:49:28.:49:30.

yesterday, indicated that their failure to consider conflicts of

:49:31.:49:35.

interest led to the fiasco of a key contract withdrawing from a ?170

:49:36.:49:40.

million contract. I want to know who is going to take responsibility for

:49:41.:49:47.

this, as it is a massive project, the largest infrastructure project

:49:48.:49:50.

in this country and I also think we need to examine whether senior

:49:51.:49:52.

management is fit for their role and should be in charge of such large

:49:53.:49:57.

when we all going to be away from when we all going to be away from

:49:58.:50:02.

this place and not able to scrutinise it. Could we have an

:50:03.:50:06.

emergency debate next week, please? My honourable friend is quite right

:50:07.:50:10.

to pursue this matter that is of great importance to her constituents

:50:11.:50:14.

and mine and those in other constituency is along the proposed

:50:15.:50:20.

line of route. Clearly the failures of juju religions that Sir David

:50:21.:50:25.

Higgins acknowledged had taken place ought not to have happened. I'm

:50:26.:50:30.

therefore glad that our honourable friend the Secretary of State for

:50:31.:50:32.

Transport made it very clear in his evidence to the transport select

:50:33.:50:37.

committee yesterday that he gave a very high priority to the issue of

:50:38.:50:43.

fair and transparent procurement within HS2 and within all such

:50:44.:50:46.

projects for which he has responsibility.

:50:47.:50:58.

Can I... This will be the last business arts questions are very

:50:59.:51:07.

parliament, it has been a pleasure working with the right honourable

:51:08.:51:10.

gentleman and not extend that to the honourable leader and I will give my

:51:11.:51:14.

thanks at the end of my contribution. Could we have a big

:51:15.:51:17.

shout out for all of these members of Parliament that are competing in

:51:18.:51:23.

the London Marathon on Saturday, particularly my honourable friend,

:51:24.:51:27.

who has the distinction of being the first SNP member of Parliament to be

:51:28.:51:32.

competing in the London Marathon. It is on Sunday, he is shouting. This

:51:33.:51:44.

sometime over the weekend, Mr Speaker. Can I just say, high pity

:51:45.:51:49.

her political opponents when she laps on the leaflet run during the

:51:50.:51:55.

general election. We have to have an urgent statement on the status of

:51:56.:51:59.

all of the Conservative members of Parliament currently under police

:52:00.:52:03.

investigation for electoral fraud. It seems there may be up to two

:52:04.:52:08.

dozen Conservative MPs facing the possibility of being prosecuted

:52:09.:52:11.

while we are in the middle of an election campaign. The public

:52:12.:52:14.

deserves to know what will happen under these circumstances that will

:52:15.:52:18.

it be possible for them to continue as candidates in this general

:52:19.:52:22.

election if that was to pass? A lot of people suspect with the first

:52:23.:52:28.

charging decision to be made on the 20th of May, this is the real reason

:52:29.:52:32.

for the snap election and we need to hear from the Government if this

:52:33.:52:34.

played any feature in the deciding of determining this date of

:52:35.:52:37.

election. I would like to hear from the Leader of the House on this

:52:38.:52:42.

issue. And can we have a debate about debates, and particularly our

:52:43.:52:49.

Prime Minister who seems fair to participate in the television

:52:50.:52:51.

variety. She unilaterally called this election but will not debate

:52:52.:52:57.

with other litter colour balance and it is absolutely right that

:52:58.:53:00.

broadcasters are considering empty chairing the prime ministers a

:53:01.:53:04.

maximum embarrassment is achieved. And finally, I wish members of

:53:05.:53:08.

Parliament, nearly all members of parliament, a good election and can

:53:09.:53:11.

I also pay my tributes to the members of Parliament who will be

:53:12.:53:16.

standing down. And also to thank the staff who have served us diligently

:53:17.:53:19.

during the course of these past two years, to you and your office Mr

:53:20.:53:23.

Speaker and I echo the words of the honourable lady. I think as we leave

:53:24.:53:27.

today, we all remember Jo Cox and wish she was out there on the stumps

:53:28.:53:32.

fighting with us for the election and it is so tragic that it has been

:53:33.:53:38.

taken away from this House. I join the honourable gentleman in wishing

:53:39.:53:43.

every success both to his colleague, the honourable lady from Livingston,

:53:44.:53:48.

and to all colleagues from all political parties in the House as

:53:49.:53:51.

they make their final preparations for the London Marathon on Sunday. I

:53:52.:53:56.

am sure the honourable gentleman is right in suggesting that the

:53:57.:54:01.

Marathon training will serve them all in good stead for the seven

:54:02.:54:09.

weeks that now beckon us all. It may give the rest of us the opportunity

:54:10.:54:12.

to wear out some shoe leather as well, though not I suspect quite as

:54:13.:54:17.

well as well have been done by those competing on Sunday. And I hope as

:54:18.:54:21.

well all those members are successful in raising large sums of

:54:22.:54:26.

money for the various charities for which they are supporting in the

:54:27.:54:29.

marathon. The honourable gentleman made a serious point to me about the

:54:30.:54:37.

police investigations. I want to reiterate, Mr Speaker, what the

:54:38.:54:42.

Prime Minister said yesterday, that we stand behind all our candidates

:54:43.:54:45.

at the forthcoming election, who will be out campaigning for a

:54:46.:54:48.

strong, stable Government in the national interest. A number of

:54:49.:54:53.

police forces have conducted investigations and many have been

:54:54.:54:57.

dropped. It is right these matters are investigated properly but the

:54:58.:55:01.

battle bus was directed by the National party, as was the case with

:55:02.:55:06.

other political parties, and we are confident that individual colleagues

:55:07.:55:13.

acted properly. First way I commend my right honourable friend for being

:55:14.:55:17.

an exemplary Leader of the House. He is widely regarded as someone of

:55:18.:55:21.

impeccable integrity and he has conducted the office impeccably

:55:22.:55:26.

during this parliament and I hope nothing will change. May I also just

:55:27.:55:34.

draw his attention and put down a marker about select committee

:55:35.:55:37.

staffing. We have one double staff, they work incredibly hard, but the

:55:38.:55:43.

committee specialists tend to change too often. This doesn't happen in

:55:44.:55:47.

the library, where specialists sometimes remain in post for a

:55:48.:55:51.

decade or more and this would strengthen the role of select

:55:52.:55:53.

committees if we could look at changing the nature of this tapping,

:55:54.:55:59.

rather than the turbulence we put up with at the moment -- of this

:56:00.:56:02.

staffing. I appreciate this is for the next parliament but I wonder if

:56:03.:56:05.

he could leave something on his file to remind him when he gets back. I'm

:56:06.:56:10.

grateful to my honourable friend for his kind remarks. Clearly there is a

:56:11.:56:16.

balance to be struck between the value of continuity that my

:56:17.:56:20.

honourable friend described and also, on the other side of the

:56:21.:56:25.

balance, the need to ensure that individuals have the opportunity to

:56:26.:56:31.

develop their careers in service through a variety of different

:56:32.:56:33.

experiences and occupations, but I will make a note and whether it is

:56:34.:56:38.

high or somebody else who has these duties when the new parliament

:56:39.:56:43.

assembles, I'm sure they will want to take a close look at this. I'm

:56:44.:56:50.

very grateful, Mr Speaker. The backbench business committee in this

:56:51.:56:53.

Parliament has concluded its business and I'm very grateful to

:56:54.:56:58.

the Leader of the House as in this last Parliamentary session, we have

:56:59.:57:02.

had our full allocation of backbench time and we are very grateful for

:57:03.:57:08.

that. We have offered outstanding debate applications which are lying

:57:09.:57:11.

unheard and if it is all right with the Leader of the House, I will ask

:57:12.:57:17.

our committee Clerk to write to his office to seek an airing of those

:57:18.:57:19.

debates in the new parliament, possibly before the time when the

:57:20.:57:27.

new backbench business and new parliament is established, because

:57:28.:57:30.

that happened in the last Parliament, General debates put down

:57:31.:57:34.

by the Leader of the House and some of those subjects could be debated

:57:35.:57:38.

in that time. Mr Speaker, could I also place thanks on record to the

:57:39.:57:43.

members of the committee, the ever presents, the members for Harrow

:57:44.:57:49.

East, Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Birmingham and Yardley, later

:57:50.:57:53.

arrivals from Torbay, Hazel Grove and Whitney, members who departed

:57:54.:57:57.

during the term from Wellingborough and catering and those who had more

:57:58.:58:04.

than a cameo appearances from Aldwych and Brownhills and Ipswich.

:58:05.:58:10.

Can I thank you, that is me done for this Parliament. Thank you. Mr

:58:11.:58:17.

Speaker, can I thank the honourable member for Gateshead and the members

:58:18.:58:22.

of his committee for the sterling work that they have done during this

:58:23.:58:27.

Parliament. I think that backbench business does provide members in all

:58:28.:58:32.

parts of the House to raise issues that are of importance to our

:58:33.:58:38.

constituents but may well not be the subject of Government legislation at

:58:39.:58:42.

any particular time. I will take careful note and obviously consider

:58:43.:58:45.

very carefully the particular point he made to me about the scheduling

:58:46.:58:50.

of debates, general Today I will desist from illicit

:58:51.:59:08.

--... I would return to pursue an appalling company here, and I will

:59:09.:59:14.

be asking you, Mr Speaker, if you received an apology from the company

:59:15.:59:20.

for misleading myself. But can I turn to the Leader of the House,

:59:21.:59:23.

does he agree with me that early in the next parliament, the committee

:59:24.:59:29.

needs to revisit standing order an hundred and 202A, to ensure it

:59:30.:59:32.

reflects the reality of contested elections for select committee

:59:33.:59:35.

chairs, and the expectation of the House that those elected into these

:59:36.:59:40.

roles will serve the full term of the parliament in which they are

:59:41.:59:50.

elected? I am grateful for giving the notice of this issue, has given

:59:51.:59:54.

me the unexpected opportunity to study standing order 120 28, and

:59:55.:59:59.

associated standing orders of the House. I concede that the standing

:00:00.:00:06.

orders relating to the election of select committees is capable of

:00:07.:00:09.

being construed in a number of different ways. It seems that the

:00:10.:00:15.

way forward would be for the committee in the new House of

:00:16.:00:20.

Commons when that is constituted to take this issue away, examine the

:00:21.:00:22.

current standing orders, consult across parties and come back with

:00:23.:00:33.

recommendations in due course. Can I thank members of the House are

:00:34.:00:37.

making clear we will remember Jo Cox at the earliest opportunity, and

:00:38.:00:43.

wishes that she could be on the campaign train with us. I shall not

:00:44.:00:46.

be returning to this House, so can I thank you and everyone here for the

:00:47.:00:51.

20 years of the privilege to represent them in Edgbaston, it has

:00:52.:00:55.

been a privilege. The next Parliament has a very difficult

:00:56.:00:58.

task, the government has to implement the well of the people as

:00:59.:01:03.

expressed on the 23rd of June last year. -- the will of the people. The

:01:04.:01:08.

government has two ensure that we get the best deal. Finally, can I

:01:09.:01:20.

just paraphrase, I shall miss this House, but I shall miss this House

:01:21.:01:24.

more than the House will miss me. LAUGHTER.

:01:25.:01:33.

The honourable lady was characteristically self-deprecating

:01:34.:01:36.

and her remarks. Those of us who have served with her in this House

:01:37.:01:41.

will remember her and her contributions for a very long time.

:01:42.:01:47.

Thank you very much. I appreciate that we have very little time left

:01:48.:01:52.

of this Parliament, but nevertheless I would still like to request that

:01:53.:01:58.

consideration be given for debate on the additional ?10 billion this

:01:59.:02:02.

government have committed to the NHS until 2020, that is certainly

:02:03.:02:08.

starting to see results in my constituency, with the opening of

:02:09.:02:14.

new units at Crow hospital. -- Crawley Hospital. I am grateful to

:02:15.:02:18.

my honourable friend for raising this point, and would join him in

:02:19.:02:22.

welcoming these new units. It seems to me that the commissioning

:02:23.:02:28.

authorities in his part of the country have taken advantage of the

:02:29.:02:34.

record government spending on our National Health service, to the

:02:35.:02:38.

configure services in a way that will provide better services for his

:02:39.:02:41.

constituents and those in neighbouring constituencies in the

:02:42.:02:51.

future. Can I try again with the Leader of the House. Is it possible

:02:52.:02:54.

in the next few days to have an urgent debate about the appalling

:02:55.:03:01.

state of our roads? In Nottinghamshire, there's a ?320

:03:02.:03:06.

million bill regarding repairs to roads, and some of the roads are

:03:07.:03:09.

shocking. The response of the government is to give the Council

:03:10.:03:14.

?40 million. It would take 30 years to repair all of the roads at that

:03:15.:03:18.

rate. It is not good enough, the government has to do something about

:03:19.:03:25.

it. The government set aside ?23 billion but infrastructure in the

:03:26.:03:32.

Autumn Statement, and we are investing a record ?15 billion on

:03:33.:03:37.

road schemes. The amount we are spending on roads include

:03:38.:03:40.

allocations to local authorities, to fill in potholes and carry out other

:03:41.:03:44.

essential road maintenance, as well as providing for the central

:03:45.:03:47.

government spending on motorways and trunk roads. But regarding the point

:03:48.:03:52.

I made to the honourable lady earlier, the ability of any

:03:53.:03:58.

government to provide for increases in public expenditure, the kind that

:03:59.:04:02.

the right honourable gentleman is seeking, rests on the capacity of

:04:03.:04:08.

our economy to create wealth and increase employment. And the

:04:09.:04:15.

policies, which I'm afraid his party at its pricing in this general

:04:16.:04:20.

election campaign, will saddle future generations with debt.

:04:21.:04:22.

we have a debate on hospital services in Shropshire. With the

:04:23.:04:32.

reader in the Hayes -- the Leader of the House join me in welcoming the

:04:33.:04:39.

recent comments of the leader of the hospital trusts, that the children

:04:40.:04:42.

and women's unit in Telford is now safe and indeed new services such as

:04:43.:04:48.

cancer care patient services will be introduced over the coming months.

:04:49.:04:53.

Is it not more evidence that the NHS is safe in Conservative hands

:04:54.:04:56.

locally and nationally? I very much welcome the news from Telford and

:04:57.:05:04.

Shrewsbury, I think it is important that these detailed decisions about

:05:05.:05:06.

the configuration of services are taken at local level and driven by

:05:07.:05:11.

the assessment of those in charge of our NHS at local level, what is

:05:12.:05:19.

needed for their particular communities. One particular setup is

:05:20.:05:22.

not going to work equally well in every part of the country. There

:05:23.:05:26.

needs to be local sensitivity, and I am pleased that is what seems to be

:05:27.:05:31.

happening in Shropshire. The reputation of politics was rock

:05:32.:05:38.

bottom, now it is subterranean. We've done nothing to reform the

:05:39.:05:41.

deep corruption at the heart of our political system by doing nothing

:05:42.:05:48.

about the revolving door. What the country needs is a leader of

:05:49.:05:54.

integrity, a man not mired in corruption and not dedicated to

:05:55.:05:59.

seeking office in order to gain insider knowledge that they can then

:06:00.:06:03.

prostitute to the highest bidder when they leave office. We need a

:06:04.:06:07.

man who is different to what we have had. That is what the country is

:06:08.:06:12.

looking forward to. When can we investigate the activities between

:06:13.:06:22.

previous ministers and Blackstone investments? These are unresolved

:06:23.:06:26.

problems where we have people leaving this House, but they have

:06:27.:06:35.

the consolation of our salaries of up to ?650,000 for a part-time job.

:06:36.:06:40.

This does not honour politics, it drags politics down into the gutter.

:06:41.:06:46.

What we need is a new Prime Minister of integrity. The honourable

:06:47.:06:58.

gentleman, as always, speaks with passion and in this case on the half

:06:59.:07:03.

of the 25% of Labour MPs who support the Leader of the Opposition. I say

:07:04.:07:12.

to him that... Put it this week, I think he may not have meant it in

:07:13.:07:15.

this fashion, but I think he was being extremely unfair to successive

:07:16.:07:23.

prime ministers on both the breath -- from both the main political

:07:24.:07:25.

parties in this country and those who have served in the governments

:07:26.:07:29.

who have gone on after leaving office and membership of this House,

:07:30.:07:34.

to work in other capacities in our country. These are men and women,

:07:35.:07:38.

whether Conservative, Labour road Liberal Democrats, who have things

:07:39.:07:42.

to offer, and it is right that subject to codes and rules that

:07:43.:07:46.

applied, but when they leave office and membership of the House of

:07:47.:07:52.

Commons, they should be free to pursue those new avenues. The

:07:53.:07:57.

honourable member for Birmingham Edgbaston is wrong. She will be

:07:58.:08:01.

missed by the House. Will my right honourable friend find time for a

:08:02.:08:06.

debate on the persecution of Christians throughout the world,

:08:07.:08:10.

given that we start proceedings each day with prayers, I think if we held

:08:11.:08:16.

such a debate it will send out an extremely strong message. I cannot

:08:17.:08:24.

talk my honourable friend the debate, I think every member of the

:08:25.:08:32.

House will have been shocked by the attacks on Coptic churches in

:08:33.:08:38.

particular in the jute during holy week, and that will reinforce and

:08:39.:08:43.

all our minds the importance of the points he has made. -- in particular

:08:44.:08:50.

in Egypt. The Prime Minister and her Easter message spoke up strongly

:08:51.:08:53.

about the need to defend religious freedom around the world,

:08:54.:09:01.

particularly with reference to Christians and religious minorities

:09:02.:09:08.

we do not -- who do not have the same freedoms we can cherish in the

:09:09.:09:12.

UK. One month ago I asked the leader for a debate on female

:09:13.:09:15.

representation in politics. Two weeks from today, the voters of

:09:16.:09:19.

Renfrewshire will elect a new councillor, and at best will offer

:09:20.:09:24.

50-50 split among its candidates. Only 29% of Labour, and 17% of

:09:25.:09:29.

Conservative candidates are women. Flavour is doubly fortunate to

:09:30.:09:34.

return to the House -- if the leader is fortunate enough to return to his

:09:35.:09:37.

role, can we have a debate on the subject? I would say, this

:09:38.:09:46.

government could not have been clearer about our wish to encourage

:09:47.:09:54.

more women to take part in public life, both in seeking membership of

:09:55.:09:57.

the House of Commons and local authorities and in many other forms

:09:58.:10:04.

of public service, and successive leaders of my party have worked very

:10:05.:10:08.

hard to promote that, not least my right honourable friend the Prime

:10:09.:10:11.

Minister. I would say to the honourable gentleman, unlike his

:10:12.:10:16.

party, my party has a woman leader in Holyrood and Westminster. Can I

:10:17.:10:24.

start that I seeing the honourable member for Edgbaston has been an

:10:25.:10:28.

outstanding member of Parliament, and her successor has an incredibly

:10:29.:10:36.

difficult act to follow. Can the Leader of the House confirmed that

:10:37.:10:39.

the prison and courts Bill has now been abandoned in this Parliament

:10:40.:10:42.

and will have to start its passage into the House in the next

:10:43.:10:46.

Parliament, and can he tell us which bills will go through the rather

:10:47.:10:51.

grubby process of the wash-up, which is an unsatisfactory way to pass

:10:52.:10:58.

laws? The bills that would introduced to this House quite late

:10:59.:11:05.

in the current parliamentary session and which received carry-over motion

:11:06.:11:10.

Sodhi could be debated in what would have been the third session of the

:11:11.:11:16.

current Parliament, including the prisons and Courts Bill. In my

:11:17.:11:22.

statement I referred to some of those measures we will be addressing

:11:23.:11:27.

during the wash-up period next week. As my right honourable friend knows,

:11:28.:11:33.

there are discussions going on through the usual channels about how

:11:34.:11:38.

to handle particular pieces of legislation, and I do not want to

:11:39.:11:44.

prejudice the outcome of those discussions. Can I thank you and the

:11:45.:11:49.

Leader of the House for your kind remarks about my neighbour and

:11:50.:11:55.

friend, Jo Cox. She will be an all our minds as we fight the election.

:11:56.:12:03.

She was a radical underperformer, she cared about their size, but she

:12:04.:12:05.

was discontent with the House because she thought it was not as

:12:06.:12:12.

accountable for a modern age as it could be. Could we think about this

:12:13.:12:14.

during the election period and when we come back could we have an early

:12:15.:12:23.

debate, whoever is the Leader of the House, I fancy it for myself!

:12:24.:12:29.

LAUGHTER There is no ageism here. Could we have a serious debate about

:12:30.:12:35.

we can make this place more accountable. Many of my constituents

:12:36.:12:37.

find that the call for an early election has gotten the way of

:12:38.:12:40.

accountability for people like me, who have wanted to stay in the

:12:41.:12:45.

European Union, accepted the will the people, but are going to fight

:12:46.:12:49.

like mad to make sure we get a good deal. If we have money for public

:12:50.:12:54.

services he mentioned, surely we should have a good deal, and this

:12:55.:12:57.

House will now have a weakened position in terms of making

:12:58.:13:02.

I simply don't see the connection that he asserts between their being

:13:03.:13:08.

a general election and this has being in a weak position. I would

:13:09.:13:14.

have thought the fact that we had a house of Commons charged with a new

:13:15.:13:17.

mandate from the people to carry through the referendum outcome would

:13:18.:13:23.

mean that there was greater strength of purpose in this House, as indeed

:13:24.:13:27.

on the part of the Government in going forward to what will be very

:13:28.:13:31.

challenging negotiations and I would say to him there is absolutely no

:13:32.:13:37.

doubt in my mind about my right honourable friend the Prime

:13:38.:13:42.

Minister's utter determination to secure the best possible deal for

:13:43.:13:46.

all the people of every part of the United Kingdom at the end of those

:13:47.:13:50.

negotiations. Would the Government be able to make time for a statement

:13:51.:13:56.

or North Korea? Whilst security concerns are currently uppermost in

:13:57.:14:00.

many people's minds, would the Government convey the concern of

:14:01.:14:05.

many of us in this House at the possibility of the Chinese

:14:06.:14:09.

Government of returning refugees from North Korea back to the North

:14:10.:14:16.

Korean regime, to near certain death or lifetime imprisonment, sometimes

:14:17.:14:18.

going on for three generations of their families. It is not something

:14:19.:14:23.

many of us as has want to be silent about. My honourable friend makes a

:14:24.:14:29.

very cogent point the Government is concerned that China continues

:14:30.:14:39.

regard North -- both Korean refugees as migrants rather than refugees and

:14:40.:14:45.

as we all know, the scale of human rights abuses in North Korea is too

:14:46.:14:49.

severe for the international community, including China, to

:14:50.:14:53.

ignore. We have repeatedly called upon the Chinese authorities to at

:14:54.:15:00.

the very least is Makovich respect the fundamentals built into the

:15:01.:15:04.

United Nations conventions and we did this in our recent UK - China

:15:05.:15:11.

human rights dialogue. I recently met with the father of toddler Harry

:15:12.:15:15.

Studley who honourable members may remember was shot in the head with

:15:16.:15:21.

an air rifle in South Bristol last July. Harry's dad has impressed me

:15:22.:15:25.

with not only his resilience in the face of this adversity, he has told

:15:26.:15:30.

me Harry is doing well, but also his determination as a nation that we

:15:31.:15:33.

learn something from this incident. So can we have a debate about what

:15:34.:15:38.

measures the Government can put in place to improve air rifle safety?

:15:39.:15:43.

For example, the introduction of compulsory trigger locks on these

:15:44.:15:48.

lethal weapons. Well, first of all, can I wish Harry a full recovery and

:15:49.:15:57.

express my best wishes to those caring for him and those who are

:15:58.:16:03.

treating his injuries. The Government keeps the legislation and

:16:04.:16:17.

At present, we have -- at present, At

:16:18.:16:18.

using those weapons do so we have no plans to license or

:16:19.:16:18.

using those weapons do so responsibly and safely. High-powered

:16:19.:16:21.

air weapons do require a firearms licence and even low powered air

:16:22.:16:25.

weapons are subject to a range of controls, including restrictions

:16:26.:16:30.

around their sale. I mean, the problem about introducing further

:16:31.:16:33.

restrictions on low powered air weapons is that it would involve a

:16:34.:16:44.

small minority of people who misuse, sometimes tragically, this use of

:16:45.:16:47.

air weapons in England and Wales and it would, by introducing a further

:16:48.:16:53.

set of controls, divert police resources from controlling the other

:16:54.:16:58.

higher risk firearms such as rifles and shotguns, where we think the

:16:59.:17:04.

police ought to give priority. I am sometimes asked by constituents,

:17:05.:17:09.

when they have seen our proceedings on television, do you really hate

:17:10.:17:12.

one another? They see as shouting at one another over the dispatch box

:17:13.:17:17.

and they say, what are they like after you have done battle with

:17:18.:17:23.

them? And then I is when the reality, that I had difficulty

:17:24.:17:26.

sometimes more with people on my own side than the people opposite. They

:17:27.:17:32.

know who they are. And they know who they are! But the reality is of

:17:33.:17:36.

course we build a lasting and enduring friendships with members of

:17:37.:17:39.

Parliament from all parties and none more so than the honourable member

:17:40.:17:46.

for Edgbaston. She will leave an enduring legacy in the work that she

:17:47.:17:50.

did on Brexit and I am grateful to her and with your end of term

:17:51.:17:54.

latitude, Mr Speaker, I will say I will miss you, Gisela and I will

:17:55.:18:02.

issue in the future and it wouldn't be business questions if I didn't

:18:03.:18:05.

say, there is an issue with potholes in the Ribble Valley. I'm going to

:18:06.:18:12.

spend the next seven weeks driving around looking at them as I visit

:18:13.:18:17.

towns, hamlets and villages and I do hope that as part of our imaginative

:18:18.:18:22.

manifesto for the future that we can think of ways whereby district

:18:23.:18:26.

authorities are able to bid for some of that money made available by

:18:27.:18:28.

central Government in order that we can fill those holes. Mr Speaker, I

:18:29.:18:33.

wish you and all the parliamentary staff well for the dissolution and

:18:34.:18:39.

also for preparation for the hard work that will come ahead in the new

:18:40.:18:46.

parliament. I think my honourable friend makes a point of that it is

:18:47.:18:53.

sometimes quite hard for people outside this House, who only see the

:18:54.:18:58.

moments of high drama on their TV screens, to understand that actually

:18:59.:19:02.

we all come into this phase with equal electoral mandate, we all come

:19:03.:19:05.

in with passionately held political views about how best to make things

:19:06.:19:10.

better for the people who we represent, but actually, there is a

:19:11.:19:16.

certain amount of camaraderie that transcends party political

:19:17.:19:19.

differences and friendships that can be built up across party lines over

:19:20.:19:25.

very many years. On his policy point about the Ribble Valley, the idea of

:19:26.:19:32.

having a system for bids, additional bits from local authorities, is an

:19:33.:19:36.

interesting one and I will make sure that that is passed on and placed in

:19:37.:19:39.

the in tray for the incoming transport minister after the

:19:40.:19:47.

election. The Leader of the House didn't clarify, the 2nd of May? I

:19:48.:19:50.

wondered if we could have some information about that but what I

:19:51.:19:55.

really wanted to ask, is the Leader of the House aware that the families

:19:56.:19:58.

of the victims of the Hyde Park bombings have been denied Legal Aid

:19:59.:20:02.

to fund their pursuit in the civil action against the chief suspect?

:20:03.:20:06.

Could the Minister look at meeting with the members and peers who

:20:07.:20:10.

support the victims' campaign, in order to consider the Government

:20:11.:20:14.

making exceptional funding available so the justice they have been denied

:20:15.:20:21.

for 35 years can be delivered? As a Ulster Unionist Party may I

:20:22.:20:23.

associate myself with all the remarks everyone else has made and

:20:24.:20:26.

thanking all of those who have helped us over the period we have

:20:27.:20:29.

been here and it is good to hear that we are marking the Jo Cox but

:20:30.:20:34.

also the strength of her husband has been quite fantastic, the same time,

:20:35.:20:38.

and may I wish all the best to those who standing down and may I just

:20:39.:20:43.

share with you, because it is such good wording, from an Irish

:20:44.:20:46.

blessing, for all of you when you are knocking on the doors, made a

:20:47.:20:50.

road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, made the

:20:51.:20:55.

sunshine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields and

:20:56.:20:58.

until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. Thank

:20:59.:21:06.

you. The whole house warmed to the honourable gentleman's concluding

:21:07.:21:11.

comments. And I join him in his salute to Brendan Cox, who has shown

:21:12.:21:21.

the most inspiring courage and fortitude over the months since Jo's

:21:22.:21:28.

murder. But who has also spoken out fearlessly in defence of democracy

:21:29.:21:31.

and human rights and against extremism at a time when he must

:21:32.:21:34.

have been under the most appalling personal stress. The honourable

:21:35.:21:42.

gentleman asked me two specific questions. On his point about Legal

:21:43.:21:46.

Aid, I think implicit in his question to me was the fact that

:21:47.:21:50.

these decisions are taking at arms length from ministers but I will ask

:21:51.:21:54.

the minister responsible for Legal Aid to make contact with him and

:21:55.:21:58.

other interested colleagues in both houses. On his point about Tuesday

:21:59.:22:06.

the second, the... While the working assumption at the moment is that the

:22:07.:22:10.

House will not sit then, that data is available should it be needed, to

:22:11.:22:17.

ensure that business is completed. By law, the dissolution of

:22:18.:22:20.

Parliament must take place at one minute past midnight on the third,

:22:21.:22:28.

so Tuesday will be the last day on which members of this parliament

:22:29.:22:33.

will have access to their offices in the House of Commons. I was somewhat

:22:34.:22:44.

disappointed and dismayed to hear that Walsall Borough Council has

:22:45.:22:47.

declined to take part in the Government's pilot scheme on voter

:22:48.:22:51.

ID at polling stations. Is the Leader of the House aware of any

:22:52.:22:56.

advice for presiding officers at the forthcoming local mayoral elections

:22:57.:23:01.

and the general election to deter impersonation at polling stations?

:23:02.:23:03.

The electoral commission does provide such guidance to returning

:23:04.:23:08.

officers and their staff, including those running polling stations, and

:23:09.:23:12.

the handbooks from the commission specifically include a procedure for

:23:13.:23:15.

dealing with impersonation and guidance in how to deal with

:23:16.:23:21.

particular issues. I'm disappointed to hear my honourable friend say

:23:22.:23:26.

that Walsall Council does not wish to follow best practice and I hope

:23:27.:23:31.

that they might reconsider, following her representation. The

:23:32.:23:41.

coalition Government introduced a fund of 173.5 million for public

:23:42.:23:46.

transport in Leeds for a modern mass transit system. I was delighted that

:23:47.:23:51.

this Government has stuck to that commitment. Of course now, with the

:23:52.:23:54.

election, that is thrown into the air so can I ask the Minister what

:23:55.:23:59.

will happen and can he assure me there will be proper scrutiny of

:24:00.:24:05.

Leeds City Council's frankly unambitious and very poor plans for

:24:06.:24:09.

spending that money, when actually, this place is not sitting? Of

:24:10.:24:16.

course, first of all, there will be some election going on in Yorkshire,

:24:17.:24:22.

certainly the greater Leeds area, this year but the processes for the

:24:23.:24:37.

auditing and scrutiny of expenditure within Government continue,

:24:38.:24:39.

ministers remain in office. What they will not become until the new

:24:40.:24:44.

Parliament assembles, is the opportunity for members of

:24:45.:24:47.

Parliament in this House to raise matters where they think that money

:24:48.:24:52.

has not been spent to best effect. But we are talking only about a

:24:53.:24:57.

matter of seven weeks, so I think it will not be long before members

:24:58.:25:00.

representing Leeds and every other part of the country are able to

:25:01.:25:08.

raise all these points. Can I echo what was said earlier by my

:25:09.:25:13.

honourable friend in welcoming the Government's increased investment in

:25:14.:25:17.

the NHS and also in acknowledging what the Leader of the House said

:25:18.:25:22.

earlier about the need for local decision-making on Health Service

:25:23.:25:24.

matters. Can nonetheless seek his reassurance that in the next

:25:25.:25:29.

Parliament, we will have the opportunity properly to scrutinise

:25:30.:25:32.

any proposed changes that come forward as a result of NHS England's

:25:33.:25:37.

sustainability and transformation plans? There is, as he will know

:25:38.:25:41.

because I have raised it in the House before, considerable concern

:25:42.:25:45.

about services at North Devon hospital in my constituency, but the

:25:46.:25:49.

concern is any proposed changes might be hastily imposed by the

:25:50.:25:58.

local Health Service managers. Will he be able to reassure me that we

:25:59.:26:00.

will have an opportunity to scrutinise those matters? And before

:26:01.:26:03.

I take my seat, because it seems I have the privilege of being the last

:26:04.:26:06.

member on this side of the House to ask a business question in this

:26:07.:26:09.

parliament, can I echo all of the comments made about our colleague Jo

:26:10.:26:14.

Cox. Mr Speaker, I thank you and your staff and the staff of this

:26:15.:26:17.

House to help run the business of this has so smoothly and long may it

:26:18.:26:23.

continue. I am grateful to my honourable friend. I can assure him

:26:24.:26:28.

that the next House of Commons, both in the chamber, in Westminster Hall,

:26:29.:26:34.

and through the Health Select Committee, when that is

:26:35.:26:38.

re-established, will have the opportunity to consider

:26:39.:26:40.

sustainability and transformation plans as they come forward in all

:26:41.:26:45.

parts of the country, but any such plan has two major four tests for

:26:46.:26:49.

service change. They must be supported by GP commissioners, be

:26:50.:26:53.

based on clinical evidence, demonstrate public and patient

:26:54.:26:55.

engagement and consider patient choice. And the NHS organisations

:26:56.:27:01.

involved are obliged to consult the local authority's health overview

:27:02.:27:05.

and scrutiny committees, so any proposed changes to substantial

:27:06.:27:11.

changes on health services. Those committees can make a formal

:27:12.:27:14.

objection to such a substantial service change and referred the

:27:15.:27:18.

decision to the Secretary of State for a decision and the Secretary of

:27:19.:27:21.

State, local ministers, is accountable to this House. With your

:27:22.:27:28.

indulgence, just before I ask my question, I would like to put on

:27:29.:27:31.

record my sincere thanks for the honourable members of it we've about

:27:32.:27:34.

and Glasgow North West for assisting me when I was unwell yesterday. I

:27:35.:27:41.

would also like to extend my thanks to the wonderful staff and medics

:27:42.:27:45.

for their excellent usual care. In the culture, media and sport

:27:46.:27:48.

questions on the 16th of March, myself and the honourable member for

:27:49.:27:53.

North Ayrshire and Arran asked the undersecretary of state about a long

:27:54.:27:59.

campaign on betting terminals. We were promised a long-standing

:28:00.:28:02.

announcement by the Government would be made in the spring. Can the

:28:03.:28:08.

Leader of the House committed a that this firm commitment will be kept

:28:09.:28:10.

before the dissolution of Parliament?

:28:11.:28:16.

I cannot promise that for the reason that once the general election has

:28:17.:28:21.

been announced, the normal rules on government purdah start to apply

:28:22.:28:27.

fairly promptly, certainly from the end of this week. This is a matter

:28:28.:28:32.

to the Cabinet Secretary, rather than for ministers. And while

:28:33.:28:41.

ministers will be free in the next 24 hours to make a number of

:28:42.:28:49.

statements, as soon as the purdah rules come into play, which I expect

:28:50.:28:55.

to happen tomorrow, then the government machine is prohibited

:28:56.:28:57.

because it must maintain impartiality during an election

:28:58.:28:59.

period from making such announcements. We all know that to

:29:00.:29:08.

ensure constituents can get better paid better quality jobs and that

:29:09.:29:11.

businesses can compete better abroad, we must ensure our people

:29:12.:29:17.

have the skills. It is a disgrace therefore that in my area we are

:29:18.:29:22.

facing further savage cuts of beyond ?20 million per year to our local

:29:23.:29:28.

schools. So before the House is dissolved, can we have a statement

:29:29.:29:33.

from the Education Secretary on why this government is pulling the rug

:29:34.:29:38.

from under our young people and taking us back to mid-19 90s levels

:29:39.:29:43.

of Tory underinvestment in our schools? Our young people deserve

:29:44.:29:52.

better. I would point out first that the number of pupils attending

:29:53.:29:57.

schools which are rated as good or outstanding has risen since 2010 to

:29:58.:30:05.

the highest level ever. Some 89% of pupils attend such schools, and the

:30:06.:30:08.

number of individual schools that meet those Ofsted standards is also

:30:09.:30:16.

at a record high. He also chose not to mention this government's

:30:17.:30:21.

commitment to 3 million good apprenticeship starts, nor did he

:30:22.:30:32.

mention this government's renewed focus on technical and vocational

:30:33.:30:34.

education, which is something that is essential if we are to give young

:30:35.:30:38.

men and women the opportunities that he, like high, wishes to see them

:30:39.:30:47.

enjoy. His question was an attack on the proposed new funding for

:30:48.:30:57.

schools, but it has long been argued on both sides of this House that it

:30:58.:31:00.

was not tolerable to continue with the situation in which schools and

:31:01.:31:11.

almost geographical identical areas could receive almost half the money

:31:12.:31:18.

per pupil than the other comparable school was receiving. As the

:31:19.:31:23.

honourable gentleman knows, it is the subject of a public consultation

:31:24.:31:25.

that has just closed. The Secretary of State is considering her response

:31:26.:31:28.

to that and she will come forward with proposals. The Leader of the

:31:29.:31:36.

House referred to Gibraltar. Can I remind him Gibraltar have a Labour

:31:37.:31:40.

government and we know that any Labour government is always better

:31:41.:31:44.

than Tory Government. But I wasn't going to ask about that. I want to

:31:45.:31:48.

ask about why the government has broken its promise because Minister

:31:49.:31:54.

after minister has said in reference to secondary legislation that if the

:31:55.:31:56.

opposition demands a debate and vote, there will be a debate and

:31:57.:31:59.

vote. But for the last two years, successive leaders of the House have

:32:00.:32:07.

refused to allow us this. In particular, after dozens of

:32:08.:32:09.

constituents are worried about changes to independent payments,

:32:10.:32:14.

many of them with severe mental health problems concerned this will

:32:15.:32:19.

go through without any debate or vote, why will the government

:32:20.:32:22.

minister not say yes, we're going to have a debate and vote next week? He

:32:23.:32:30.

knows an election has been called which makes a difference to the

:32:31.:32:33.

allocation of time for business, particularly as we have to make

:32:34.:32:37.

provision, and I think this is appointed leader across the House.

:32:38.:32:41.

We have to make provision for emergency legislation in relation to

:32:42.:32:45.

Northern Ireland, which will take time that might otherwise have been

:32:46.:32:52.

available for other purposes. Regarding Personal

:32:53.:32:53.

Payment is, if you looks at what he Payment is, if you looks at what he

:32:54.:32:57.

is actually -- what is actually going on, the number of successful

:32:58.:33:06.

appeals against this is only 3% of cases that have reached a decision.

:33:07.:33:10.

And the number of people with mental health conditions who are getting

:33:11.:33:17.

additional help under PIP compared with DLA is significantly higher. So

:33:18.:33:22.

PIP represents a big improvement upon the situation that existed

:33:23.:33:28.

previously. Finally I will say this, he is on very dangerous ground

:33:29.:33:37.

regarding the Chief Minister of Gibraltar. One thing I know if at

:33:38.:33:43.

all political parties in Gibraltar detested and resented the previous

:33:44.:33:50.

Labour government's proposals. And I echo comments made about Jo Cox. She

:33:51.:33:55.

was a huge champion of International development, and while I am pleased

:33:56.:33:58.

to see the proposals going ahead for a memorial to her here in the

:33:59.:34:01.

Commons, I think one of the greatest memorials would be to see all

:34:02.:34:05.

parties recommitting to the cross-party agreement on 0.7% of

:34:06.:34:09.

international development. It would be a tragedy if that was abandoned.

:34:10.:34:13.

She was also a champion of the situation of older people in this

:34:14.:34:18.

country, and we have a surprise general election, I wonder if we

:34:19.:34:21.

might see a surprise statement from the government in the next few days

:34:22.:34:26.

about correcting the historical injustice regarding pensioners

:34:27.:34:34.

across this country, including mine workers who have been let down and

:34:35.:34:39.

not received what they were expected to lose even the retirement. It is

:34:40.:34:45.

going to be important as we leave the European Union that the United

:34:46.:34:50.

Kingdom is more outward looking in the world even than it is already. I

:34:51.:34:54.

am certainly proud of the way in which we use are very generous aid

:34:55.:35:00.

programme to bring humanitarian assistance to people in need at the

:35:01.:35:04.

moment in parts of central and eastern Africa, and to people inside

:35:05.:35:11.

Syria and those who have taken refuge in neighbouring countries.

:35:12.:35:16.

This point about the state pension age increase for women, transitional

:35:17.:35:21.

arrangements are already in place, and the last government committed

:35:22.:35:26.

more than ?1 billion to lessen the impact of those changes. No one will

:35:27.:35:30.

see their pension age change by more than 18 months compared with the

:35:31.:35:33.

previous timetable. The problem with what the honourable gentleman is

:35:34.:35:40.

seeking a fact to reverse the pensions act 2011 would cost more

:35:41.:35:44.

than ?30 billion, and neither he his party have any plan as to how they

:35:45.:35:51.

would find that money. Six innocent UK military veterans, including

:35:52.:35:56.

Billy Urban remain in jail in India. The Foreign Secretary has still not

:35:57.:35:59.

met with families. This government has been in a tizzy over Brexit and

:36:00.:36:06.

not focusing on these men. Now the selection means their perilous

:36:07.:36:08.

situation slips even further down the priority list. These military

:36:09.:36:13.

veterans deserve better. What is his government going to do to get Billy

:36:14.:36:16.

and his colleagues home where they belong with their families? She has

:36:17.:36:24.

raised this case before. But she knows therefore that the Prime

:36:25.:36:31.

Minister has raised the case with the Prime Minister of India. That

:36:32.:36:36.

Foreign Office ministers and our High Commissioner in New Delhi have

:36:37.:36:42.

raised this issue many times with their Indian counterparts, and

:36:43.:36:45.

representations continue to be made to the Indian High Commissioner here

:36:46.:36:51.

in London. The case is with the judicial system within India, which

:36:52.:36:58.

is a mature democracy, and we will continue to make or representations

:36:59.:37:07.

we can, and we're not giving up. It is wrong to suggest we have done.

:37:08.:37:14.

South Tees clinical commissioning group announced a fortnight ago that

:37:15.:37:18.

they medical Centre serving over 5000 people in the village, many of

:37:19.:37:22.

whom are elderly, will close at the end of June. NHS England provided

:37:23.:37:26.

emergency GP cover for the last year after the previous company went into

:37:27.:37:31.

liquidation. But not a single bed has been received, which are damning

:37:32.:37:37.

indictment of this government's approach to health care. I have

:37:38.:37:41.

written to the Secretary of State to step in urgently on the half of

:37:42.:37:44.

those patients who rely on the GP service. But can he bring this of

:37:45.:37:55.

the -- to the urgent attention... I will refer the particular case to

:37:56.:37:58.

the Secretary of State for health and his team. But I would say in

:37:59.:38:05.

respect of her strictures about the use of private sector contractors,

:38:06.:38:08.

that it was actually under the previous Labour government that

:38:09.:38:13.

there was a significant increase of four and a half percent of NHS

:38:14.:38:21.

spending being delivered through contracting out services. The

:38:22.:38:25.

proportion has grown only slightly since 2010. I return once again to

:38:26.:38:35.

the issue of the National shipbuilding strategy, which have

:38:36.:38:39.

been told since last summer is Imagen. -- is imminent. This

:38:40.:38:49.

parliament was ensured it would be published in the spring of 2017. So

:38:50.:38:52.

can the Leader of the House confirmed today that the

:38:53.:38:54.

shipbuilding strategy will not be published before the end of this

:38:55.:38:57.

Parliament, and does he accept that that will be seen by the shipyard

:38:58.:39:02.

workers on the Clyde and elsewhere as a complete betrayal and another

:39:03.:39:06.

gross dereliction of duty by this Conservative Government? We're not

:39:07.:39:14.

going to be shy, Mr Speaker, publishing the National shipbuilding

:39:15.:39:19.

strategy, but I would refer him to the answer he gave to his honourable

:39:20.:39:26.

friend about the impact of purdah rules, and I suspect the honourable

:39:27.:39:29.

gentleman and his party would be the first on the feet to complain if

:39:30.:39:36.

during a general election campaign we had announcements coming out of

:39:37.:39:44.

Whitehall which he would then argue work to help win the general

:39:45.:39:49.

election. The Conservative government in London has spent

:39:50.:39:54.

?7,000 per person on transport projects in the south-east for every

:39:55.:40:00.

?1 per person spent in the North. Meanwhile, schools in Sefton face a

:40:01.:40:05.

cut of ?518 per child and the loss of nearly 500 teachers, so before

:40:06.:40:10.

the election, can we have a statement about whether the people

:40:11.:40:15.

of Sefton Central have been let down by the government and why they have

:40:16.:40:21.

had such appalling treatment? The honourable gentleman looks back --

:40:22.:40:27.

if you looks back to the Autumn Statement, he will see there was ?13

:40:28.:40:33.

billion reserved for Northern England, and I could list some of

:40:34.:40:38.

the projects, improvements to Manchester Airport, 300 million for

:40:39.:40:43.

the time Wear Metro, benefiting northern cities and regions

:40:44.:40:46.

directly. In his question to me, he also ignored the fact that

:40:47.:40:53.

investment in London can bring direct benefit to centres outside

:40:54.:40:59.

the London -- outside London. Crossrail trains are being built in

:41:00.:41:03.

Derby and providing jobs there. Components for London buses are made

:41:04.:41:08.

in Falkirk and Ballymena. All parts of the United Kingdom are benefiting

:41:09.:41:17.

from this programme. On a similar point, can we have a statement on

:41:18.:41:25.

the procurement of type 26 frigates? The best shipbuilders in the world

:41:26.:41:30.

have waited now for two years for work to start on these frigates, and

:41:31.:41:37.

that the minimum, if we are not to receive a statement, to team sure

:41:38.:41:41.

the Ministry of Defence could write to me with an update? As I think I

:41:42.:41:51.

have said this dispatch box before, the government hopes that steel

:41:52.:41:55.

cutting can begin on that programme as soon as possible, and he will

:41:56.:42:02.

know that the two biggest warships ever built for the Royal Navy are

:42:03.:42:06.

being constructed in Scotland as we speak. Following the official

:42:07.:42:12.

opening of the power station in my constituency last month, attended by

:42:13.:42:18.

the Minister for South Herefordshire, a number of

:42:19.:42:20.

north-west businesses remain unpaid following the liquidation of the

:42:21.:42:26.

project contractor by its massive Spanish parent. It is disgraceful

:42:27.:42:34.

that our local businesses should lose out on major infrastructure

:42:35.:42:39.

projects that is contributing to our national energy security. With the

:42:40.:42:43.

leader arrange an urgent statement next week on a report made available

:42:44.:42:47.

to these businesses during the period of dissolution.

:42:48.:42:51.

It's clearly important, particularly for small businesses, that they are

:42:52.:42:58.

paid in full and on time within the terms of their respective contracts.

:42:59.:43:01.

As the honourable lady will know, if there is a liquidation involved,

:43:02.:43:08.

then a particular legal regime does kick in. If she would like to let me

:43:09.:43:12.

have some details, I will send those on directly to the energy minister.

:43:13.:43:18.

In the remaining days that we have of this parliament, can we please

:43:19.:43:22.

have a debate about the Northern Powerhouse? Particularly because

:43:23.:43:26.

London gets ten times as much per head of population to spend on

:43:27.:43:30.

transport than Yorkshire and the Humber. Schools in my patch of

:43:31.:43:35.

facing cuts of up to ?400 per pupil. The NHS, under the sustainability

:43:36.:43:40.

and transformation plan, are said to see cuts of 328 million. The council

:43:41.:43:45.

budget has been slashed by 50% and we have the lowest number of police

:43:46.:43:48.

officers since the 1970s in Humberside. So can we please have a

:43:49.:43:53.

debate about what the your Mac to lead Tories have against Yorkshire

:43:54.:44:02.

and Hull in particular? Is she looks at the record, she will see large

:44:03.:44:09.

sums of money and that money mentioned in the Autumn Statement

:44:10.:44:15.

being used in Yorkshire, the Humber and northern England and she will

:44:16.:44:20.

see that more than 60% of the increase in private sector

:44:21.:44:23.

employment since the 2010 general election has been in parts of the

:44:24.:44:28.

United Kingdom outside London and the south-east, so I think if she

:44:29.:44:36.

looks at the record, she will say that Yorkshire and Humberside are

:44:37.:44:39.

benefiting from the sound economic policies the Government are

:44:40.:44:44.

pursuing. Yesterday, the Prime Minister said she would be out there

:44:45.:44:49.

campaigning in every part of the United Kingdom in the coming

:44:50.:44:53.

election. Can I help police suggest she visits the Stirling

:44:54.:44:56.

constituency, where the presence of a hard Brexit, hard right,

:44:57.:44:59.

pro-restorative touristy Prime Minister will do nothing but good to

:45:00.:45:05.

determine winning the SNP campaign. I know my right honourable friend

:45:06.:45:09.

the Prime Minister is looking forward with relish to coming to

:45:10.:45:18.

Scotland and making the positive case for a Conservative Government

:45:19.:45:24.

and also pointing out that after ten years of SNP stewardship, we see a

:45:25.:45:27.

decline in the national Health Service in Scotland and standards in

:45:28.:45:34.

Scottish schools overtaken by those in England, in Wales, in Poland and

:45:35.:45:44.

in Stonier. -- in Estonia. I am proud to be part of a final

:45:45.:45:51.

Caledonian flush in this last business questions although

:45:52.:45:53.

hopefully on Sunday, it will be more of a Caledonian flash and all of you

:45:54.:46:01.

are in a sprint to the election, but some of us have a marathon to run

:46:02.:46:04.

and I wish the other 30 members of the House of Commons well in their

:46:05.:46:09.

endeavours. It is in one of those occasions where politics aside, we

:46:10.:46:13.

stand together and run together for those local charities first and

:46:14.:46:16.

foremost as members of Parliament, we are there to stand up for our

:46:17.:46:20.

local charities and organisations. I will be representing money in --

:46:21.:46:28.

raising money for Jack Truman, who died from a rare form of cancer in

:46:29.:46:34.

2015, his mother and family do a huge amount of work in our community

:46:35.:46:45.

and Michelle Henderson, who was in the year below me at school and died

:46:46.:46:54.

and it will be a proud moment for me running those grid that marathon and

:46:55.:46:57.

I wish all of those well who are also running it. I reared charade

:46:58.:47:04.

the wishes I gave to those earlier to those running in a marathon and

:47:05.:47:07.

salute the work of the charity she is supporting. Many of my

:47:08.:47:15.

constituents will be affected by recent changes to welfare policy

:47:16.:47:21.

brought about by this Government. Considering we will soon be left

:47:22.:47:24.

without a member of Parliament for over a month due to purdah, will the

:47:25.:47:29.

Leader of the House make provision for urgent business next week to

:47:30.:47:32.

reverse these iniquitous changes until after the general election?

:47:33.:47:39.

No, Mr Speaker, the changes to welfare policies that the Government

:47:40.:47:45.

has brought in have contributed towards a significant growth in

:47:46.:47:48.

employment, which is at record levels in this country, including a

:47:49.:47:54.

big increase in the number of disabled people who are now in work

:47:55.:48:00.

and gaining the dignity, the self-respect, that they want to have

:48:01.:48:04.

through participating in the Labour market, while at the same time, we

:48:05.:48:10.

have increased and protected those benefits that are received by the

:48:11.:48:13.

most disabled people in the United Kingdom. Can I thirsty echo the

:48:14.:48:23.

comments the backbench business committee and as for some clarity

:48:24.:48:27.

about whether or not there will be debates in Westminster Hall next

:48:28.:48:30.

Thursday and your business will be carried over? He said a few moments

:48:31.:48:34.

ago that we are elected with an equal mandate. Even Margaret

:48:35.:48:38.

Thatcher recognise that the return of a majority of SNP MPs from

:48:39.:48:42.

Scotland would be a mandate to take forward our policies on independence

:48:43.:48:45.

and yet the current Prime Minister doesn't seem to respect the mandate

:48:46.:48:49.

of the Scottish Parliament to give Scotland a choice, so could we

:48:50.:48:52.

perhaps have a debate on which Prime Minister was right? I think that the

:48:53.:49:02.

mandate that was given by the people of Scotland in 2014 was that

:49:03.:49:08.

Scotland should remain in the United Kingdom. I wish the honourable

:49:09.:49:11.

gentleman and his party would respect that. Mr Speaker, our

:49:12.:49:21.

families sacrificed a lot for all of us to be in this House and over this

:49:22.:49:28.

parliament, the family of Jo Cox gave the ultimate sacrifice. I know

:49:29.:49:31.

personally that I couldn't undertake this role without the love and

:49:32.:49:34.

support of my husband John and also my family and I'm sure that is the

:49:35.:49:39.

same for every member of this House with families, partners and spouses.

:49:40.:49:44.

On the 27th of March this year, the Prime Minister stated to the staff

:49:45.:49:47.

of the International development team in a school bride "Because of

:49:48.:49:53.

what you do every day, the United Kingdom and the values at its heart

:49:54.:49:59.

is one of the greatest forces for good in the world today." Put the

:50:00.:50:02.

Leader of the House intimate if they will be having a debate after the

:50:03.:50:06.

general election in this House to ensure that this Government and any

:50:07.:50:12.

future Government retain its commitment to 057% of GDP on

:50:13.:50:16.

international aid and do not push it into budget headings of other

:50:17.:50:24.

departments. The honourable gentleman knows that the 0.7% is

:50:25.:50:28.

coveted by the OECD's definition of overseas development expenditure,

:50:29.:50:33.

which is not confined purely to expenditure programmes controlled by

:50:34.:50:39.

the Department for International development, but to Government

:50:40.:50:43.

spending that meet those criteria. What I can assure him of is that

:50:44.:50:52.

there will continue to be, if is re-elected, a strong United Kingdom

:50:53.:50:57.

commitment to an active and generous fallacy of international

:50:58.:51:01.

development, because it is right that we continue to help the

:51:02.:51:06.

poorest, most vulnerable people in the world and Wright also that we

:51:07.:51:14.

contribute also towards better governance and the long-term

:51:15.:51:20.

stability of countries that are at risk, because that helps us to

:51:21.:51:25.

tackle some of the broader international problems that we in

:51:26.:51:28.

the United Kingdom and our European neighbours face. To follow an answer

:51:29.:51:37.

to Arthur Scargill, Mr Speaker, with a bit of Glasgow fitness, no less.

:51:38.:51:43.

It has been two years since getting elected this parliament and I have

:51:44.:51:47.

to say at the start of it, I didn't think that two using, we would have

:51:48.:51:52.

left the European Union, I would be on my second Prime Minister and

:51:53.:51:56.

hopefully in a few weeks, my third Government but they say a week is a

:51:57.:52:00.

long time in politics. All of the time he has been Leader of the

:52:01.:52:03.

House, I have asked about many issues before the last six months, I

:52:04.:52:08.

have consistently raise the issue of job centre closures in Glasgow.

:52:09.:52:12.

Given what he has said two other colleagues on other announcements,

:52:13.:52:17.

would I be right in thinking he expects Glaswegians to go to the

:52:18.:52:21.

pool is not -- the poll not knowing which job centres his Government

:52:22.:52:27.

intends to close? I see that he is wishing for a change in Government

:52:28.:52:31.

and confirms that his party wishes to prop up the Right Honourable

:52:32.:52:36.

member for Islington North as a leader of a putative coalition or

:52:37.:52:42.

minority Government, and it is good to have that confirmation on the

:52:43.:52:50.

record. On the point he makes on the provision of job centres in Glasgow,

:52:51.:52:56.

as he has heard me say before, Glasgow had a greater concentration

:52:57.:53:03.

of offices, of job centres, than any other major city in Scotland, what

:53:04.:53:08.

we have seen is a proposal from the DWP to rationalise the estate in

:53:09.:53:14.

Glasgow, so that his constituents and others in Glasgow can have a

:53:15.:53:20.

better quality service in future, because all of the expert staff who

:53:21.:53:26.

are needed will be concentrated on a smaller number of locations, but

:53:27.:53:28.

which will be fully accessible to his constituents. Point of order, Mr

:53:29.:53:42.

Martin Doherty huge. During the urgent question, my honourable

:53:43.:53:45.

friend for Glasgow South intimated that I may represent my hometown the

:53:46.:53:51.

great borough of Clydebank. I am sure you will be very well aware, Mr

:53:52.:53:58.

Speaker that I not only represent my hometown of Clydebank but also the

:53:59.:54:02.

ancient borough of Dumbarton and, of course, the mighty veil of Lieven,

:54:03.:54:08.

and I'm delighted to say I will be standing for reselection and hopeful

:54:09.:54:11.

re-election as a member of Parliament for the greatest

:54:12.:54:13.

constituency in this House, West Dunbartonshire. Well, lest any of us

:54:14.:54:24.

were unaware of the sheer extent of the honourable gentleman's reach,

:54:25.:54:34.

whether physical or metaphorical, such concerns have been

:54:35.:54:39.

comprehensively laid by his, and I use this term non-pejorative

:54:40.:54:45.

opportunistic attempt to raise a bogus point of order. We are

:54:46.:54:51.

grateful to the honourable gentleman, very reassuring to know

:54:52.:54:58.

that is unrelated. Breaking with all convention, this actually I think is

:54:59.:55:02.

a point of order. The crux of my question to the Leader of the House

:55:03.:55:06.

was concerning Government announcement on purdah and I have no

:55:07.:55:10.

idea whether or not there will be an announcement on which job centres

:55:11.:55:13.

they intend to close. Could you advise me, is there anything to stop

:55:14.:55:17.

the Government making that announcement between now and the

:55:18.:55:23.

dissolution of Parliament? No. Point of order, Dawn Butler. Mr Speaker, I

:55:24.:55:30.

think your guidance on the Prime Minister's statement yesterday to

:55:31.:55:36.

the House, she said leaving the election to 2020 would mean we would

:55:37.:55:40.

be coming to the most sensitive and critical part of negotiations in the

:55:41.:55:44.

run-up to the general election and that would be in overly's interest.

:55:45.:55:49.

If we had stuck to the fixed parliament, the general election

:55:50.:55:54.

would have been in 2027 it therefore, the negotiations wouldn't

:55:55.:55:57.

have been in the run-up to the election, they would be finished.

:55:58.:56:01.

Does the Prime Minister knew to explain to the House whether her

:56:02.:56:05.

plans for negotiating our exit from the EU will go beyond two years, as

:56:06.:56:13.

promised in the House? I think there is a degree of linguistic license

:56:14.:56:21.

available to learn sometimes deployed by members in all parts of

:56:22.:56:29.

the House and that includes people who sit on the Treasury parents and

:56:30.:56:32.

people who sit on the opposition front bench. I think if Prime

:56:33.:56:40.

Minister felt the need to clarify her remarks and anyway, she do so,

:56:41.:56:46.

but I have no sense that she feels any such need and I hope the

:56:47.:56:50.

honourable lady will understand if I say I don't think it is a matter

:56:51.:56:54.

into which it will be proper for me to intrude, as it is a substantially

:56:55.:57:02.

a matter of interpretation and debate and the honourable lady, with

:57:03.:57:06.

some skill, has used her opportunity to flag her concern. It is on the

:57:07.:57:16.

record, and I know how persistent a terrier, she is, so if she is

:57:17.:57:18.

dissatisfied, doubtless, she will pursue the matter. If there are no

:57:19.:57:23.

further points of order, thank you. We now come to the first select

:57:24.:57:29.

committee statement. In a moment, I shall call the chair of the public

:57:30.:57:33.

administration and Constitutional affairs select committee. Mr Bernard

:57:34.:57:38.

Jenkin will speak on his subject for up to ten minutes, during which no

:57:39.:57:42.

interventions may be taken. At the conclusion of his statement, I will

:57:43.:57:47.

call members to put questions on the subject of the statement and to do

:57:48.:57:52.

so briefly and call Mr Jenkin briefly to respond to these in turn.

:57:53.:57:58.

Members can expect to be called only once. I reiterate, interventions

:57:59.:58:03.

should be questions and should be brief. The front bench may take part

:58:04.:58:05.

in questioning. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am grateful

:58:06.:58:17.

for having the time to present the tough

:58:18.:58:35.

report of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

:58:36.:58:38.

in this session, entitled Lessons Learned From The Eu Referendum,

:58:39.:58:41.

still topical in so many ways. We are producing so many reports in the

:58:42.:58:43.

fag end of this Parliament, Mr Speaker, including a report about

:58:44.:58:45.

advisory business appointments on Monday. The referendum on our vote

:58:46.:58:49.

to leave the EU, and a vote to leave by a margin of 52 to 48% represents

:58:50.:58:55.

one of the most momentous events in our politics for decades. It has had

:58:56.:59:01.

and will continue to have four far-reaching consequences and it

:59:02.:59:03.

will shape the destiny of our country. Our report six to draw some

:59:04.:59:09.

important lessons to be learned from the EU referendum in relation to the

:59:10.:59:11.

purpose of referendums and how they should become ducted. This report

:59:12.:59:15.

does on the work of our predecessor committee. The Public Administration

:59:16.:59:20.

and Constitutional Affairs Committee report on the Scottish independence

:59:21.:59:22.

referendum was published in the last Parliament. We hope that both

:59:23.:59:26.

reports will be required as required reading for anyone planning a major

:59:27.:59:31.

referendum in the future. We argue that referendums are appropriate for

:59:32.:59:35.

resolving questions of key constitutional importance that

:59:36.:59:37.

cannot be resolved through the usual medium of party politics. However,

:59:38.:59:42.

it also argues that referendums are less satisfactory in the case of

:59:43.:59:47.

what might be called a bluff call referendum, when, as last June, the

:59:48.:59:51.

referendum is used by the Government to try to close down an unwelcome

:59:52.:59:55.

debate. Future parliaments and governments must consider the

:59:56.:59:59.

potential consequences of promising referendums as me when as a result

:00:00.:00:04.

they may be expected to implement an outcome that they opposed the. On

:00:05.:00:09.

the kind of questions referendums are suited to, it argues that

:00:10.:00:14.

referendums should be omitted to matters of fundamental

:00:15.:00:16.

constitutional importance in some way which lend themselves to binary

:00:17.:00:20.

questions, and where the consequences of both possible

:00:21.:00:24.

outcomes are clear. This is because referendums creates a tension in our

:00:25.:00:27.

Parliamentary system of government. Though we are getting used to direct

:00:28.:00:33.

democracy, it is in contrast with our constitutional traditions and

:00:34.:00:39.

culture of representative democracy. Direct democracy, as we have just

:00:40.:00:42.

learned, can be a shock to the system, particularly when most of

:00:43.:00:46.

the elected representatives disagree with the result. The forthcoming

:00:47.:00:50.

general election is all the more necessary because it will heal this

:00:51.:00:54.

rift and translate the direct mandate from the EU referendum into

:00:55.:00:57.

a new, representative mandate for a new government and new Parliament.

:00:58.:01:02.

But that's the point of a referendum. It is a new way of

:01:03.:01:06.

challenging entrenched opinion, just as the corn laws overturned

:01:07.:01:14.

agricultural protection or other issues relating to suffrage

:01:15.:01:18.

challenged the establishment in previous centuries, today, people

:01:19.:01:21.

are educated and have direct access to the information, so voters are

:01:22.:01:25.

more capable of deciding individual questions for themselves and less

:01:26.:01:30.

willing to accept wisdom handed down from on high. Pacac also considered

:01:31.:01:36.

the conduct and delivery of referendums in the future. It found

:01:37.:01:41.

that government fears that the purdah restrictions under section

:01:42.:01:44.

125 of the referendums that would impair the conduct of government,

:01:45.:01:50.

but these fears proved groundless. Pacac recommends that these

:01:51.:01:55.

restrictions, which are vital for the conduct of referendums, should

:01:56.:01:58.

be extended to cover the full ten weeks of a referendum period as

:01:59.:02:02.

reverent recommended by the Electoral Commission. It is

:02:03.:02:05.

testament to the select committees that we succeeded in persuading the

:02:06.:02:10.

House of Commons to prevent the Government from altering the purdah

:02:11.:02:13.

rules in advance of the referendum. These rules should also be up dated

:02:14.:02:18.

to reflect the digital age. We support the Law Commission's

:02:19.:02:22.

proposals to consolidate the law relating to referendums. In relation

:02:23.:02:27.

to the administration of the referendum, the evidence gathered

:02:28.:02:31.

during Pacac's inquiry suggests that while not without some faults, the

:02:32.:02:34.

EU referendum was on the whole run well. It commends the Electoral

:02:35.:02:38.

Commission for the successful delivery of the referendum which was

:02:39.:02:43.

of an enormous scale and complexity. During the EU referendum, one of the

:02:44.:02:46.

most significant problems was the collapse of the voter registration

:02:47.:02:49.

website just hours before the registration deadline on the 7th of

:02:50.:02:52.

June. This collapse was attributed by the Government to, and I quote,

:02:53.:02:59.

unprecedented demand. There were over 500,000 online applications

:03:00.:03:04.

recorded on the 7th of June alone. According to the Electoral

:03:05.:03:09.

Commission, the problems which led to the website's crash were

:03:10.:03:13.

aggregated by a large number of duplicate applications with 38% of

:03:14.:03:16.

applications being made during the campaign being duplicate

:03:17.:03:20.

applications. There was no way of checking online whether you were

:03:21.:03:22.

making a duplicate application or not. Pacac supports the Electoral

:03:23.:03:27.

Commission's recommendation that the Government should develop an online

:03:28.:03:30.

service to enable people to check whether they are already correctly

:03:31.:03:35.

registered to vote, as this would be invaluable in preventing the website

:03:36.:03:37.

from collapsing again in future. Such websites should be better

:03:38.:03:43.

tested for resilience. The media gave a lot of attention to the

:03:44.:03:47.

possibility that the collapse of the website was caused by a cyber

:03:48.:03:50.

attack. Whether or not this can be proved is not the point. It is

:03:51.:03:56.

important to be aware of the potential for foreign interference

:03:57.:03:59.

in referendums and elections, the responsibility for which has

:04:00.:04:02.

actually been claimed by some countries in the attacks experienced

:04:03.:04:06.

by others. Back and machinery for monitoring cyber security in respect

:04:07.:04:09.

of elections and referendums should be established. Lessons with regards

:04:10.:04:13.

to the protection and resilience of IT systems against possible foreign

:04:14.:04:17.

interference must also extend beyond the technical. Our understanding of

:04:18.:04:24.

cyber is predominantly technical and computer network -based. But Russia

:04:25.:04:29.

and China use a cognitive approach, based on understanding mass

:04:30.:04:32.

psychology of how to exploit individuals. I will be outlining my

:04:33.:04:35.

capacity as Chair of Pacac to raise the issue of cyber security in the

:04:36.:04:41.

EU referendum and to ask if they will be following up on Pacac's

:04:42.:04:46.

concerns. I am encouraged by reports that the national cyber security

:04:47.:04:49.

centre will be advising the political parties on this matter in

:04:50.:04:51.

the forthcoming general election. We also looked at the role of the civil

:04:52.:04:54.

service during referendum. We service during referendum. We

:04:55.:04:59.

expressed concern that the manner of some government reports,

:05:00.:05:01.

particularly those from the Treasury and government...

:05:02.:05:12.

Pacac reiterates the recommendation made by its predecessor committee

:05:13.:05:20.

that there should be a in the civil service code to clarify the role and

:05:21.:05:24.

conduct of civil servants during referendums. At the moment, no

:05:25.:05:28.

reference to referendums is made in the civil service code at all.

:05:29.:05:32.

Finally, we looked at the degree of contingency planning carried out in

:05:33.:05:35.

the case of the EU referendum. In the run-up to the 1975 referendum,

:05:36.:05:40.

Whitehall prepared for a possible UK exit vote from the Common Market

:05:41.:05:44.

with, quotes, a fairly intensive programme of contingency planning,

:05:45.:05:49.

according to contemporary accounts. In contrast, in the run-up to the EU

:05:50.:05:53.

referendum last June, we were alarmed to learn that the

:05:54.:05:58.

Government's official position was that there would be no contingency

:05:59.:06:01.

planning. The only exception was planning within the Treasury to

:06:02.:06:06.

anticipate the impact of a Leave vote on financial civility. Pacac

:06:07.:06:10.

was relieved to learn that work was undertaken within the civil service

:06:11.:06:14.

on potential applications of a Leave vote, albeit without the knowledge

:06:15.:06:20.

of ministers, despite the ministers' express its instructions, they had a

:06:21.:06:24.

secret awayday. Civil servants should never have been asked to

:06:25.:06:27.

operate in a climate where contingency planning was officially

:06:28.:06:30.

banned. And the Government should not have shirked its constitutional

:06:31.:06:33.

and public obligation to prepare for both possible outcomes. Pacac

:06:34.:06:37.

recommend that in the event of future referendums, civil servants

:06:38.:06:43.

should be tasked with preparing for both eventualities, as they do with

:06:44.:06:46.

general elections. It is essential that referendums are well-run,

:06:47.:06:49.

conducted fairly and command public trust. Pacac hopes therefore the

:06:50.:06:54.

Government takes heed of our recommendations so that the country

:06:55.:06:57.

is ready for any further referendums in the future. Mr Speaker, I take

:06:58.:07:02.

this opportunity to thank the House, but more particularly my committee

:07:03.:07:05.

and its dedicated staff for the privilege of serving as Chair of

:07:06.:07:15.

Pacac in this Parliament. Thank you. Thank you for the Fenners you have

:07:16.:07:18.

always shown to me in this Parliament. The report is very

:07:19.:07:25.

clear, the referendum was called to call the bluff of the Brexiteers,

:07:26.:07:29.

the civil service neutrality was clearly jeopardised, and there had

:07:30.:07:34.

been no operation for the possible Iturbe Leave vote. Isn't it obvious

:07:35.:07:38.

that the referendum was held not in the national interest but in the

:07:39.:07:43.

governing parties infests? And now, with 30 of their MPs under

:07:44.:07:47.

investigation, we are having an election instead of focusing on the

:07:48.:07:53.

outcome of the referendum. In paragraphs 102, three and four, this

:07:54.:08:00.

is what should concern the country. Either in referendums or in

:08:01.:08:07.

elections, here is my question to are our systems strong enough at the

:08:08.:08:11.

time of a snap general election, in the event of a possible concerted

:08:12.:08:15.

cyber attack which he has referred to, either by a foreign power or

:08:16.:08:20.

from some other source, that even at this late stage, does he think there

:08:21.:08:23.

is anything that we can do to strengthen our system's resilience?

:08:24.:08:28.

I am grateful for his question. I won't tangle with all of the things

:08:29.:08:32.

he has raised the, but on this particular question, we have a

:08:33.:08:35.

pretty resilient system. The fact that most of the votes cast, the

:08:36.:08:42.

vast majority, are pencils on bits of paper, physically counted, means

:08:43.:08:46.

that basically it is an impossible system to hack. What we need to be

:08:47.:08:50.

aware of is the vulnerability of electoral registers, of systems...

:08:51.:08:57.

Again, the dispersal of our electoral register amongst different

:08:58.:09:01.

electoral authorities is another source of its resilience. There is

:09:02.:09:06.

not one system to hack. But I think we need to be aware of what certain

:09:07.:09:11.

countries might want to be seen to be doing, or seem to be attempting,

:09:12.:09:16.

in order to influence the result, or to be thought to be influencing the

:09:17.:09:19.

results. I don't think any country has influenced the result of the

:09:20.:09:25.

Leave vote in the EU referendum, I don't think the result in any

:09:26.:09:28.

election in any major country would have been altered. But we need to

:09:29.:09:35.

understand why they're doing this, and what psychologically they're

:09:36.:09:40.

trying to create, as an effect, by attempting these things. And we need

:09:41.:09:44.

to be alert to the vulnerable to have our systems. Can I congratulate

:09:45.:09:50.

my honourable for and his committee on a very comprehensive report

:09:51.:09:58.

which? I agree on the issue of cyber activity. Does he agree with me that

:09:59.:10:03.

we do need is a matter of urgency much better in place on cyber

:10:04.:10:08.

activity, not just the referendums but for elections generally? Yes, I

:10:09.:10:13.

do. And we make a specific recommendation, that there should be

:10:14.:10:19.

a new body established to monitor cyber activity in relation to

:10:20.:10:24.

referendums and elections. But I do emphasise, I think we are in a much

:10:25.:10:28.

stronger position than people in countries that have electronic

:10:29.:10:31.

voting on a single population registers. I have confidence in our

:10:32.:10:38.

system, though I think we need to be more alert in order to maintain

:10:39.:10:51.

public confidence. The members' committee has had plenty to say. I

:10:52.:10:56.

think there should be careful and restrained use of the machinery of

:10:57.:11:00.

government, that was the most important section, I thought. Can I

:11:01.:11:07.

ask the honourable member if he would join me in encouraging the UK

:11:08.:11:13.

Government to trust devolved administrations and allow them to

:11:14.:11:17.

organise and run their referendums without external interference from

:11:18.:11:22.

This Place? It is a fact, and I make no comment on it as an impartial

:11:23.:11:28.

chairman of my committee, that referendums are constitutional

:11:29.:11:30.

matters and therefore reserved to the United Kingdom Parliament. The

:11:31.:11:33.

only other point I would make is that I recognise there is some

:11:34.:11:39.

demand for a new referendum in Scotland. But even the Good Friday

:11:40.:11:44.

Agreement says there shouldn't be a referendum more than once every

:11:45.:11:47.

seven years. And I think there needs to be a respectable interval between

:11:48.:11:52.

referendums, otherwise they just become meaningless. I mean, how many

:11:53.:11:56.

referendums have we seen around the European Union where they just call

:11:57.:11:59.

another one when they get the wrong result? I don't put the SNP in that

:12:00.:12:03.

category, but calling referendums too often is actually a contempt for

:12:04.:12:10.

democracy. Was there any discussion in the committee about the franchise

:12:11.:12:17.

for the referendum? If 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds have been able to

:12:18.:12:21.

vote, we might have had a very different result. They will be

:12:22.:12:24.

allowed to vote in the Scottish council elections in two weeks'

:12:25.:12:27.

time, and they will be no denied a vote in the UK general election

:12:28.:12:31.

about four weeks after that. Would it not be appropriate that we had

:12:32.:12:34.

some kind of consistency regarding the franchise as soon as possible?

:12:35.:12:42.

These are subjective judgments made by different bodies in different

:12:43.:12:49.

parts of the constitution, the franchise is a devolved matter,

:12:50.:12:54.

matter for the Scottish Parliament. Personally I favour maintaining the

:12:55.:12:59.

status quo in the United Kingdom. Does he not agree our system is more

:13:00.:13:06.

vulnerable to invisible manipulation, and corruption, than

:13:07.:13:11.

any time since 1880, the great weakness in this report, is that it

:13:12.:13:16.

ignores the evidence provided principally by the journalist Carol

:13:17.:13:24.

cad wall deof the use of botnets of artificial intelligence, in

:13:25.:13:26.

algorithms to influence million of voters. Evidence is there from the

:13:27.:13:31.

United States, from this country, the systems are being used that we

:13:32.:13:36.

don't understand, that are under-the-counter, where they seek

:13:37.:13:41.

to trawl through websites to get information, and then subtly

:13:42.:13:45.

influence the voters, we are trying to deal with a system tomorrow's

:13:46.:13:50.

system, tomorrow's high technology with regulations that are long

:13:51.:13:56.

out-of-date, and isn't it likely, that in this coming election, there

:13:57.:14:01.

will be more manipulation. Manipulation. There could well be

:14:02.:14:06.

cyber attack, if we can't trust the results because what is happening

:14:07.:14:11.

under-the-counter and the Electoral Commission have no tools to deal

:14:12.:14:16.

with it in the way Shea should. We shouldn't have a general election

:14:17.:14:19.

without finding out the truth in the manipulation that has taken place

:14:20.:14:23.

here n the United States and possibly other countries we don't

:14:24.:14:29.

know about and we haven't heard from GCHQ, we should have done. They

:14:30.:14:33.

reported from America where there was cyber attack and manipulation,

:14:34.:14:36.

it could have hered here and we don't know because we haven't asked.

:14:37.:14:43.

With respect, I have asked, and I feel I have been rather brushed off

:14:44.:14:49.

by ministers on this question. Maybe on the advice officials who are

:14:50.:14:55.

perhaps not a familiar with the technicalities the and algorithm and

:14:56.:15:00.

the approach taken by some countries with which we have made ourself

:15:01.:15:05.

familiar. I am grateful to the honourable gentleman's contributions

:15:06.:15:09.

to the committee. I think he is our longest serving member but I don't

:15:10.:15:16.

agree I think personally this threatens the credibility of our

:15:17.:15:23.

elections, in 1880 I think one of my predecessors in north Essex

:15:24.:15:25.

conducted his election with his wife walking behind him down the high

:15:26.:15:31.

street, handing out gold sovereigns, we have come a long way since then

:15:32.:15:39.

but we need Tor to be alert to the things that he draws attention to,

:15:40.:15:45.

and we heed to be ever more alert, to the fake news that appears on the

:15:46.:15:51.

internext that is designed to manipulate people's expectations. I

:15:52.:15:55.

pay tribute to the right honourable gentleman and the work of the

:15:56.:15:58.

committee, I was proud to be a member of the predecessor committee

:15:59.:16:04.

in the former Parliament. Perhaps, whoa knows if there are more

:16:05.:16:08.

colleagues in on these benches, maybe we will qualify for a place

:16:09.:16:15.

upon it. But I ask him, with regard to the fact that clearly the

:16:16.:16:20.

consequences of this referendum, whatever view people take were not

:16:21.:16:24.

properly considered, plans wasn't done. The legislation itself was a

:16:25.:16:30.

very shoddy and ill-considered piece of legislation. Can I ask the

:16:31.:16:33.

honourable gentleman, does he think we need to have better clarity and

:16:34.:16:38.

perhaps legislation to avoid that kind of thing on such a political

:16:39.:16:42.

referendum being organised without that planning.

:16:43.:16:49.

I think there is always an advantage this what one might call a post

:16:50.:16:54.

legislative referendum or a referendum on a proposal where there

:16:55.:16:59.

is a White Paper being produced. The devolution rev dumbs in the 1997

:17:00.:17:07.

were premised on pretty developed Government policy S one might pay

:17:08.:17:13.

tribute to the SNP and say they produced a comprehensive document.

:17:14.:17:18.

The Leave campaign produced 600 pages, but the Government had done

:17:19.:17:21.

no preparation, it is for the Government to prepare for the

:17:22.:17:25.

outcome of a referendum which can Government has initiated. I agree

:17:26.:17:31.

with my honourable friend. I miss him on the committee.

:17:32.:17:36.

We come to the second Select Committee statement, in a moment I

:17:37.:17:42.

shall ask the chair of the Justice Select Committee to rise. Mr Robert

:17:43.:17:46.

Neil will speak on his subject for up to ten minutes during which no

:17:47.:17:53.

interventions can be taken. I will calls to put questions briefly and

:17:54.:17:57.

call Mr Neil to respond briefly. Members can be expected to be called

:17:58.:18:07.

only one, interventions should be brave and may be questions.

:18:08.:18:19.

-- brief. Can I thank the backbench committee for giving me the

:18:20.:18:22.

opportunity to present this report and your kindness in calling me and

:18:23.:18:29.

the courtesy you show to me on all occasions when I inflict my words on

:18:30.:18:34.

the House. Can I say it has been a pleasure yush to work with

:18:35.:18:39.

colleagues to work on this. Like the Pacac committee we propose to issue

:18:40.:18:43.

a set of reports at the end as wash up to highlight the work we have

:18:44.:18:48.

been doing, on a number of area, but in particular, this report, touches

:18:49.:18:53.

upon a key issue in relation to the Government's prison reform programme

:18:54.:18:56.

which is that of Government empowerment. It has become apparent

:18:57.:19:04.

that the prison courts bill will be lost in dissolution of Parliament. I

:19:05.:19:08.

hope if our parties return to Government we will see that bill

:19:09.:19:13.

reintroduced a as matter of priority. It sets out broadly the

:19:14.:19:18.

right agenda and I hope it is something we will be able to take

:19:19.:19:23.

forward. But of course part of the reform programme does not require

:19:24.:19:26.

legislation, it is partly about a change of culture, it is about a

:19:27.:19:31.

change of regulations, there is much that can be done without that

:19:32.:19:35.

Princess Eugeniely legislation going forward. I hope the Government will

:19:36.:19:41.

confirm they are determined to press ahead with that. We support the idea

:19:42.:19:46.

that prison governors should have greater eau autonomy to shape the

:19:47.:19:50.

services in their prisons, we think there are a number of airsia where

:19:51.:19:55.

further information is needed and there are risks which need to be

:19:56.:20:00.

recognised, honestly and managed and mitigates. It St the first we

:20:01.:20:10.

publish under what we propose to be a wide-ranging investigation. There

:20:11.:20:14.

is no doubt that our prisons are in a difficult period at the moment. We

:20:15.:20:21.

have high levels of suicide, high levels of self-harm, drug abuse,

:20:22.:20:26.

assaults is on prisoners and staff have continued, despite the efforts

:20:27.:20:29.

of ministers and dedicated Prison Officers. It remains a problem we

:20:30.:20:35.

need to deal with. We haven't addressed safety issues in this

:20:36.:20:39.

report, though we did do so in the report on prison safety which we

:20:40.:20:44.

published last May. We note that the principle of

:20:45.:20:49.

autonomy gives real opportunities but there is no clear evidence that

:20:50.:20:54.

crater Auton #34i will lead to better outcomes. We have seen a

:20:55.:21:01.

start by the Government on the six reform and heard evidence of nose

:21:02.:21:06.

reform prisoners who are impressive in the material they gave to us.

:21:07.:21:10.

Those, the pilots in effect will not be, if you like evaluated until

:21:11.:21:15.

after the reforms had been rolled out across the estate. We think it

:21:16.:21:20.

is important we have reassurance there is an ongoing evaluation as it

:21:21.:21:27.

is taken forward and there is enough flexibility to learn lessons in

:21:28.:21:31.

temperature work as it goes forward to a just as necessary. We discuss

:21:32.:21:40.

structure changes. The Probation Service is going to be responsible

:21:41.:21:48.

for operational issues. What we need to have, I would ask the Government

:21:49.:21:53.

is more clarity round this. Policy in oppositions are not so easily

:21:54.:21:58.

separated in practise, in the prison context as might appear in theory.

:21:59.:22:05.

Poll policy decisions have #234i6 can't implication and operational

:22:06.:22:08.

knowledge should inform policy decision, one of the things we --

:22:09.:22:13.

connoisseurs is that we have had is a feeling by operational staff there

:22:14.:22:17.

is is a disconnect between their experience on the ground and the

:22:18.:22:20.

decisions taken by the senior management at the centre, the reform

:22:21.:22:25.

programme gives us an opportunity rectify that buzz it has to be

:22:26.:22:31.

recognised there is a problem to be addressed. Addressed. Governors will

:22:32.:22:39.

take on new responsibilities in phases starting at the beginning of

:22:40.:22:43.

this month. Since we are not going to be in this House for some time it

:22:44.:22:47.

is important when the House returns, that the Government we believe gives

:22:48.:22:51.

a swift update on progress that has been made in those matters. Most of

:22:52.:22:57.

the witnesses that gave evidence thought giving Connors greater

:22:58.:23:02.

powers would result in prison regimes and services better tailored

:23:03.:23:04.

to the prison population. Population. We heard that many

:23:05.:23:12.

governors do not currently have the skills to form that new function, it

:23:13.:23:17.

is important we have greater clarity as to what training they will have

:23:18.:23:23.

access to to develop those skills and how it would can kaid. Those who

:23:24.:23:32.

gave evidence were positive about their opportunities. I have been

:23:33.:23:40.

struck by the evidence of the Government of a prison. He said he

:23:41.:23:45.

had developed new initiatives to improve prisoner staff relation she

:23:46.:23:50.

ships and several govern noss said they had been able to recruit more.

:23:51.:23:55.

This could help with the recruitment problems which are well documented.

:23:56.:24:04.

We visited Wormwood Scrubs and that was starkly brought home with the

:24:05.:24:08.

recruitment problems that exist in London and the south-east. It is

:24:09.:24:14.

hard to recruit people when you in competition with jobs like loading

:24:15.:24:20.

luggage which pay more so greater flexibility in greater flexibility

:24:21.:24:26.

in the way we reward and remunerate prisoners is going to be is

:24:27.:24:28.

important in going forward. We will continue if in a position to do so,

:24:29.:24:35.

to visit prisoners to reform our work. I hope the new committee will

:24:36.:24:41.

take a priority. A priority to see how progress is being made.

:24:42.:24:47.

All governors listen held to account through performance agreemented they

:24:48.:24:49.

seed with the Secretary of State. A third of those agreements were meant

:24:50.:24:53.

to be in place at the start of this month but time of the report being

:24:54.:24:59.

accomplished the prison governors oerkt advised members not to sign

:25:00.:25:04.

and it is not cl whether any have been signed. We need to have clarity

:25:05.:25:08.

as to what the position is, as far has the is concerned. Those

:25:09.:25:14.

agreements are based round performance standards. Public

:25:15.:25:27.

protection, safety in order, reform an rehabilitation and preparing for

:25:28.:25:34.

life after prison. It is said, the Secretary of State can intervene if

:25:35.:25:38.

governors do not perform well. It is not clear what that interenvenion

:25:39.:25:42.

mean, what shape it would take, and how it would recognise the fact that

:25:43.:25:47.

that performance of prisoners as they leave prison is not something

:25:48.:25:53.

which is holy to be capable of being controlled by any one Government

:25:54.:25:57.

governor. Also that would be influenced by

:25:58.:26:02.

what happens once they have gone through the gate into rehabilitation

:26:03.:26:07.

in the community. How will that be calibrated to make sure that the

:26:08.:26:11.

journey is reflected and accountability is placed in the

:26:12.:26:18.

right place. Initially the Government announced it will publish

:26:19.:26:21.

league tables showing performance against the standards. I welcome the

:26:22.:26:27.

minister's contents we will not public league tables we will make

:26:28.:26:32.

the data available. We will not range prisons from the best to the

:26:33.:26:37.

lowest based on performance. It is about data.

:26:38.:26:43.

We think that phrase generated more hear hairs running than was Ness in

:26:44.:26:54.

the deTait. A systemic is something we are concerned is about.

:26:55.:26:59.

-- detail. At the end of the day, we welcome

:27:00.:27:06.

the fact that the Ministry is reviewing the those policies to

:27:07.:27:12.

enable... I know changes are planned for the prison regulation and the

:27:13.:27:17.

rules we hope we will have updates on some of those matters too. In the

:27:18.:27:23.

final thing was this. Witnesses emphasise that governors with the

:27:24.:27:29.

new power should work with other service providers, including

:27:30.:27:31.

Probation Service, that is something I hope will be kept under review. I

:27:32.:27:38.

was impressed with the Governor of Wandsworth having turned up to meet

:27:39.:27:42.

the November gore of his local council. I comment the report to the

:27:43.:27:50.

house, may I too Mr Speaker thank my colleagues and our staff for the

:27:51.:27:57.

support they have given any and the constructive and I think falling

:27:58.:28:04.

join the work we had done nothing. Thank you Mr Speaker, I want to pay

:28:05.:28:06.

tribute to the chair of the Select It was a committee of which I was

:28:07.:28:24.

briefly a member. Of course, these plans may not now reach fruition.

:28:25.:28:29.

This much heralded bill will fail. So, does the Chair of the committee

:28:30.:28:33.

agree with me and my Labour colleagues that rather than call an

:28:34.:28:35.

election, which the Prime Minister believes is in her interest, the

:28:36.:28:39.

Government would have been better sticking to facing the task of

:28:40.:28:44.

fixing the prisons crisis? I don't think it is an either all, but I

:28:45.:28:49.

appreciate the spirit in which the honourable gentleman always

:28:50.:28:51.

approached his work on the select committee. One of the sadnesses is

:28:52.:28:55.

that we've lost a number of members of the opposition party from the

:28:56.:28:59.

select committee as part of the reshuffle, and I welcome each of

:29:00.:29:03.

them on their promotion to the front bench and I wish them a long tenure

:29:04.:29:07.

in their current positions of! But equally, I don't think it is a

:29:08.:29:11.

problem that we have an election, I welcome it personally as a

:29:12.:29:16.

Conservative, and what I hope is that we come back with a mandate and

:29:17.:29:20.

that the Government is reconstituted swiftly, the select committee is

:29:21.:29:23.

reconstituted swiftly, and we get on with the job of prison reform. I

:29:24.:29:27.

know many members of select committees on all sides, if we

:29:28.:29:31.

return to this House, want to continue to make the case. Thank

:29:32.:29:38.

you, Mr Speaker. Would my honourable friend agree that Governor autonomy

:29:39.:29:42.

is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for prison reform? And

:29:43.:29:49.

just as an outstanding chief Constable, headteacher of hospital

:29:50.:29:53.

chief executive can make a significant difference to their

:29:54.:29:56.

institution, the sort of governors that he has talked about in

:29:57.:30:00.

Wandsworth, would he agree with me, they are a already making a huge

:30:01.:30:05.

difference? That's absolutely right. We sometimes forget in issues around

:30:06.:30:09.

safety and other matters which attract headlines that much good

:30:10.:30:12.

work is being done in prisons, and there is a great deal of allocation

:30:13.:30:16.

being shown. I think what is important is is that we have not

:30:17.:30:22.

always been consistent in the past, and that we have a management

:30:23.:30:25.

framework which enables those governors who want to push the

:30:26.:30:29.

margins to do their very best, to have the confidence that they will

:30:30.:30:33.

do so with a system, managerially and financially, which supports them

:30:34.:30:40.

in doing so. We need more detail as to how that will be put in place. As

:30:41.:30:48.

a member of the justice select committee, may I congratulate my

:30:49.:30:51.

honourable friend for his very expert guidance of our committee. It

:30:52.:30:54.

has been a very, very enjoyable piece of work that we have done

:30:55.:31:00.

together. Governor empowerment should support a number of aspects

:31:01.:31:04.

of our prisons, including prisons that are safe and secure, decent

:31:05.:31:08.

conditions. Does he agree that the evidence would suggest that very

:31:09.:31:15.

large prisons with perhaps more than 1200 prisoners, such as the

:31:16.:31:19.

Government now plans for the future, are less likely to achieve sets

:31:20.:31:24.

standards and create greater challenges and precious for

:31:25.:31:28.

governors? It's an issue which has been raised, and to be honest, there

:31:29.:31:33.

are differing views about precisely the impact of large as opposed to

:31:34.:31:42.

small units. What is clear, however, and the honourable lady's work has

:31:43.:31:48.

been immense in this area, whatever the size of the establishment, a

:31:49.:31:52.

proper relationship between staff and prisoners is absolutely

:31:53.:31:55.

critical. One of the biggest problems is the sense that there is

:31:56.:31:59.

no personal interference, and that can breed a sense of alienation, and

:32:00.:32:04.

so although I personally would not make a hard and fast rule about

:32:05.:32:09.

size, what is important is, however it is organised, it must be possible

:32:10.:32:12.

to build long-term relationships between staff and prisoners. That's

:32:13.:32:18.

why staff retention and staff morale are so important in creating the

:32:19.:32:23.

climate that enables people to be constructive in their time in prison

:32:24.:32:27.

rather than falling into perhaps some of the other diversions. I,

:32:28.:32:34.

too, want to raise the question of governor empowerment approach I had

:32:35.:32:38.

the opportunity of discussing with the governor of a prison in my

:32:39.:32:41.

constituency which I visited recently. And will he agree with me

:32:42.:32:44.

that the risk that the committee found of increased business

:32:45.:32:49.

complaints is one that the prison actually has within its own control

:32:50.:32:52.

to deal with, as indeed they are doing so at Huntingdon? Can I thank

:32:53.:32:57.

my honourable friend for his question and for his contribution to

:32:58.:33:00.

the work of the committee, which has been tireless. It is a good example

:33:01.:33:05.

of where governors are actually managing within the existing

:33:06.:33:07.

arrangements, and we need to see more of that. We shouldn't assume

:33:08.:33:13.

that everything has to be driven from the centre. What is necessary

:33:14.:33:16.

of course is that there are minimum standards are adhered to pander

:33:17.:33:21.

system which people can have confidence in. -- Huntercombe

:33:22.:33:27.

prison. Good governors can make a difference but we do need to make

:33:28.:33:30.

sure that they have the confidence to know that strong supported by the

:33:31.:33:34.

system and by the management of the service in doing precisely that.

:33:35.:33:48.

Order. Motion on Manchester... I beg to move the motion standing in my

:33:49.:33:53.

name on the order paper. Motion before the House provides for the

:33:54.:33:58.

by-election to the constituency of Manchester Gorton, which was

:33:59.:34:02.

originally set for early May, to be cancelled in the light of the

:34:03.:34:05.

decision yesterday of this House to trigger an early general election.

:34:06.:34:11.

As the House will recall, that by-election was called to elect a

:34:12.:34:14.

member to serve in the present Parliament, and since this

:34:15.:34:18.

Parliament will be dissolved before the by-election date, clearly, the

:34:19.:34:23.

go-ahead with the by-election in these circumstances would be... An

:34:24.:34:30.

election for the Manchester Gorton constituency will take place as part

:34:31.:34:35.

of the general election on Thursday the 8th of June. As I said to the

:34:36.:34:41.

House on Tuesday, there is no statutory provision for the

:34:42.:34:44.

cancellation of a by-election, although there are various

:34:45.:34:50.

precedents. It is for the acting returning officer to cancel the

:34:51.:34:53.

by-election. What the motion before the House does is to provide

:34:54.:35:01.

certainty to the returning officer by endorsing a new writ to supersede

:35:02.:35:09.

the original. The motion therefore requests you, Mr Speaker, to convey

:35:10.:35:15.

the desire of this House to issue a subsequent writ to the one issued on

:35:16.:35:19.

March the by-election. This will put beyond any doubt the authority of

:35:20.:35:23.

the acting returning officer to cancel the by-election process that

:35:24.:35:28.

is currently under way. I understand that this approach is supported by

:35:29.:35:31.

other political parties in the House, as it avoids unnecessary

:35:32.:35:34.

expense and uncertainty for the candidates involved. The question is

:35:35.:35:41.

as on the order paper. Thank you and can I thank the Leader of the House

:35:42.:35:46.

for moving that motion and agree wholeheartedly with the course of

:35:47.:35:50.

action that is being taken, it is the only course of action that can

:35:51.:35:52.

be taken, given the general election is coming up in June. I think the

:35:53.:36:05.

ayes have it, the ayes have it. Presentation of bill in the name of

:36:06.:36:13.

Secretary James Brokenshire... A simple nod will suffice. Second

:36:14.:36:19.

reading, what day? Tomorrow, thank you. We now come to the backbench

:36:20.:36:26.

motion on state pensions payable to recipients outside the United

:36:27.:36:30.

Kingdom. I call Sir Roger Gale. Thank you, Mr Speaker. As chairman

:36:31.:36:36.

of the all-party group on frozen pensions, and with cross-party

:36:37.:36:41.

support, I move the motion on the order paper on behalf of some

:36:42.:36:46.

550,000 UK citizens living in countries overseas whose pensions

:36:47.:36:49.

have been frozen at the point at which they left the United Kingdom,

:36:50.:36:57.

in some cases very many years ago. Mr Deputy Speaker, these are people

:36:58.:37:00.

who have paid taxes and national insurance contributions in Britain

:37:01.:37:02.

throughout their working lives, and who have elect to move abroad in

:37:03.:37:09.

retirement to be close to families, friends or simply through personal

:37:10.:37:16.

choice. On the basis that, as as my right honourable friend the minister

:37:17.:37:21.

said in November, entitlement to state pension is based upon a

:37:22.:37:25.

person's national insurance contributor on record, they have

:37:26.:37:28.

paid their way, and they are entitled to receive their state

:37:29.:37:32.

retirement pension, operated and in full. -- up rated. This is not, let

:37:33.:37:41.

me make this clear from the start, a matter of cost. This is a matter of

:37:42.:37:45.

moral responsibility, and it's a duty that has been shirked by

:37:46.:37:48.

successive governments of differing political persuasions disgracefully

:37:49.:37:55.

since the mid-1960s. It is past high time to recognise that injustice has

:37:56.:38:02.

taken place and to take a modest step which I shall detail shortly,

:38:03.:38:08.

to redress a wrong that has been a running sore for too long. The

:38:09.:38:13.

motion before the House call upon the Government to withdraw the

:38:14.:38:19.

social security benefits operating regulations that effectively exclude

:38:20.:38:25.

overseas pensioners from pension updating but those in which the UK

:38:26.:38:30.

has a historic, arbitrate and illogical reciprocal agreement. My

:38:31.:38:38.

honourable friend will know that there is an illustrious president

:38:39.:38:43.

for today's motion. In 1998 a similar prayer against the social

:38:44.:38:47.

benefits to begin regulations was tabled. That prayer was signed by

:38:48.:38:53.

the opposition chief whip, James Arbuthnot, now Lord Arbuthnot, by

:38:54.:38:58.

the right honourable member for Chingford and wood green, a former

:38:59.:39:02.

leader of the Conservative Party and distinguished Secretary of State

:39:03.:39:07.

work and pensions, by the then leader of the Conservative Party at

:39:08.:39:12.

that time, William Hague, now Lord Haig, by the right honourable member

:39:13.:39:16.

for Hitchen, another former Secretary of State and by the then

:39:17.:39:19.

shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Gillian Shephard, now

:39:20.:39:24.

Baroness Shepherd. So, all those years ago, the party of which I am

:39:25.:39:28.

proud to be a member recognised the need to right a wrong that has been

:39:29.:39:32.

inflicted upon those who in many cases have served their country in

:39:33.:39:36.

the Armed Forces, in the foreign service and in many other walks of

:39:37.:39:39.

life and who have collectively and severally paid their way. Mr Deputy

:39:40.:39:47.

Speaker, we are now, and I trust that we will remain, in government.

:39:48.:39:52.

And so we should have the opportunity to finally address and

:39:53.:39:55.

put the rest debt of honour that must be paid. I want to quote from a

:39:56.:40:05.

UK pensioner living in Thailand. He says... I am resident in Thailand, I

:40:06.:40:13.

retired nearly eight years ago. And my state retirement pension remains

:40:14.:40:16.

at the same level as when I left, because Thailand, unlike the

:40:17.:40:20.

Philippines, for example, is not a country where pension increases are

:40:21.:40:25.

paid. There are some points that I feel ought to be brought to the

:40:26.:40:28.

fore. Successive governments have always argued that pension increases

:40:29.:40:33.

can only be paid in countries with which the United Kingdom has

:40:34.:40:38.

reciprocal agreements, and that to extend the increases outside these

:40:39.:40:42.

arrangements would negate their ability to conclude other such

:40:43.:40:44.

agreements in the future. However, he says, that argument is utterly

:40:45.:40:49.

threadbare, given that the Government announced more than 20

:40:50.:40:53.

years ago its intention not to make any further reciprocal agreements.

:40:54.:41:01.

He goes on to say, there is a common misconception that expats pay no

:41:02.:41:06.

income tax. In the case of UK pensioners, of course, this is

:41:07.:41:09.

completely untrue. All pensioners are subject to tax and as I pay as

:41:10.:41:18.

much as I would if I was still living in... In his former home, in

:41:19.:41:21.

the United Kingdom. I will not identify him at this stage. While

:41:22.:41:27.

pensioners such as myself are paying into the UK economy, we take nothing

:41:28.:41:31.

out, so we make no demands on the NHS and social care. Even if we fall

:41:32.:41:35.

ill on a visit to the United Kingdom, we have to pay for hospital

:41:36.:41:39.

inpatient NHS treatment. Over the years, a significant number of us

:41:40.:41:46.

decide we have to return to the United Kingdom, if we did that, the

:41:47.:41:49.

extra costs would outweigh a good proportion of the saving of not

:41:50.:41:55.

paying as the increases. There's uncertainty now on the status after

:41:56.:41:59.

Brexit of pensioners living in the EU and their future to pension

:42:00.:42:04.

increases. And he says, I can't speak for anybody else, but I

:42:05.:42:06.

personally would not ask for any back payment on the increases that

:42:07.:42:10.

I've lost in the last seven and a half years. Ride just be happy to

:42:11.:42:14.

feel that in the future I'd have that little extra security of a few

:42:15.:42:19.

extra pounds to sustain me in the last year's of my life. Mr Deputy

:42:20.:42:27.

Speaker, I will return to the point referring to Brexit and a possible

:42:28.:42:28.

solution in a moment. Just over one million a fraction,

:42:29.:42:45.

live overseas. Of that number, some 650,000 have

:42:46.:42:51.

their pensioned up rated as they would in the UK, because of the

:42:52.:42:56.

reciprocal arrangements referred to. Because as Baroness Altman said if

:42:57.:43:02.

2016, a UK state pensions are payable worldwide, and that up rated

:43:03.:43:09.

only where we have a legal duty to do so very many people are denied

:43:10.:43:16.

the up rating. In is about some 551,000 are

:43:17.:43:22.

excluded from up rating, and find their pensions frozen at the point

:43:23.:43:27.

at which they moved abroad. That is in spite of those people paying

:43:28.:43:31.

throughout their working lives their taxes in the United Kingdom and

:43:32.:43:35.

taking back to what he said in taking back to what he said in

:43:36.:43:41.

November of 2016, my right honourable friend the minister made

:43:42.:43:49.

it plain pensioned are based upon National Insurance contributions.

:43:50.:43:55.

Both 551,000 people have made those contribution, so this leads to the

:43:56.:44:02.

ludicrous situation where a British pensioner lives on one pied of the

:44:03.:44:07.

Niagra Falls while another living a mile across in the United States has

:44:08.:44:13.

a pension up rated every year. Additionally some Caribbean islands

:44:14.:44:18.

enjoy up rated pensions is while other small countries do not. With

:44:19.:44:22.

unintended and perverse consequences.

:44:23.:44:29.

2 The UK representative of the Government of Montserrat wrote to me

:44:30.:44:34.

to say that a number of Montserratians living in the UK

:44:35.:44:37.

which to return to take up residence on the island. But are hindered from

:44:38.:44:46.

doing so due to the fact should they immigrate back home, to Montserrat

:44:47.:44:51.

their pensions will be frozen. She says many of them have lived,

:44:52.:44:56.

worked and paid their national contribution over the course of many

:44:57.:45:01.

years and it seems as though they are being victimised because they

:45:02.:45:05.

desire on the return to Montserrat or another territory. The

:45:06.:45:12.

representative of the Falkland islands in the United Kingdom, also

:45:13.:45:17.

wrote to say this the overseas territories have a different

:45:18.:45:20.

constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom and they are not

:45:21.:45:23.

independent Commonwealth countries so they shouldn't be treated as

:45:24.:45:27.

such. To quote from the White Paper on overseas territories the

:45:28.:45:32.

underlining constitutional structure with the UK and the territories

:45:33.:45:42.

which form an individed realm is contrary to all. It is common to all

:45:43.:45:50.

except in pension rating where is it is not commons. The The consequences

:45:51.:45:57.

can be devastating and they are illustrated by cores of

:45:58.:46:02.

communication a the Consortium of British Pensioners and the all party

:46:03.:46:10.

group of expat citizens. A spokesman for the, excuse me... A spokesman

:46:11.:46:21.

for the parity to all except in pension rating where is it is not

:46:22.:46:23.

commons. The The consequences can be devastating and they are illustrated

:46:24.:46:26.

by cores of communication a the Consortium of British Pensioners and

:46:27.:46:28.

the all party group of expat citizens. A spokesman for the,

:46:29.:46:30.

excuse me... A spokesman for the parity on poverty group says "We are

:46:31.:46:33.

trying desperately hard to undo the prement that is driving us into

:46:34.:46:36.

poverty. I can see it on the horizon for myself as one affordable items

:46:37.:46:38.

are out of reach. I dread the future for myself and my wife. A former

:46:39.:46:47.

constituency -- stilt wept of mine and a friend, -- constituent, now

:46:48.:46:53.

living in South Africa wrote to me to say... Can I say I would like to

:46:54.:47:01.

say that one could have prepared this better. We hope by the end of

:47:02.:47:06.

the debate we will have set forced in train that will lead to a curing

:47:07.:47:12.

of this injustice. We will wait with great interest.

:47:13.:47:22.

He says in his letter to me, I have been looking after my wife, since

:47:23.:47:28.

her voke and increased desell that and incontinence for over a year.

:47:29.:47:35.

Reviewing the situation with our daughter, my wife is slowly going

:47:36.:47:41.

down hill. -- am heading that too. I am worn out.

:47:42.:47:48.

To help with catering on finance, now on to meals-on-wheels four days

:47:49.:47:52.

a week. Shortly to arrange a five day or five-and-a-half daycare

:47:53.:47:58.

support. Right now our medical aid takes half our pension, and the new

:47:59.:48:03.

care plan will certainly take the other half.

:48:04.:48:11.

Our daughter looks after her finances and generously helps and

:48:12.:48:17.

former constituency, a friend, is former constituency, a friend, is

:48:18.:48:23.

now reduced to. -- constituent. And sadly, I learned literally this

:48:24.:48:28.

morning Mr Deputy Speaker, that his wife died last week.

:48:29.:48:35.

Leaving him now, not only in penry, but apart from the care and

:48:36.:48:38.

affection of his daughter, alone. From Canada, 91-year-old Bernard

:48:39.:48:58.

Jackson who has now returned to morning Mr

:48:59.:48:58.

From Canada, 91-year-old Bernard Jackson who has now returned to the

:48:59.:49:01.

United Kingdom, says "I was brought up to believe that Britain was fair

:49:02.:49:04.

country. It's a disgrace. It has to end. It's terrible to meet

:49:05.:49:10.

pensioners over here who say they have to come back to Britain because

:49:11.:49:17.

they can't manage and Joe Lewis, 0 who also lives in Canada, will be

:49:18.:49:21.

moving back to the United Kingdom and he can no longer cope with his

:49:22.:49:26.

froze enpension, after suffering a veer fall Joe is struggling to

:49:27.:49:31.

afford living and medical costs and the only way he can make ends meet

:49:32.:49:37.

is use up his savings. Joe Lewis says all I want is my full state

:49:38.:49:43.

pension which I have paid into for my entire life.

:49:44.:49:52.

Of course, here is another anomaly, any returnee, including those

:49:53.:49:55.

visiting the young UK for a couple of weeks to see family or on

:49:56.:50:02.

holiday, are Finau titled to claim for that period their full United

:50:03.:50:10.

Kingdom up rated pinion. Of course cometh another issue that will have

:50:11.:50:17.

to be address. There are 492,000 British pensioners living in the EU.

:50:18.:50:23.

They are currently protected by the Social Security provision, what will

:50:24.:50:27.

happen to their pensions when we leave the European Union? As a

:50:28.:50:34.

resident 234 France wrote to me, I have been the victim of a frozen

:50:35.:50:39.

pension for the past is a years having lived in Zimbabwe, and being

:50:40.:50:44.

forced to move to an EU country to get my pension.

:50:45.:50:52.

During his working life I continued to pay class three National

:50:53.:50:57.

Insurance crib San, it was only when I reached 65 I #r50e8 liced my

:50:58.:51:04.

payment would not be longer than ?15.

:51:05.:51:11.

Now the samic shoe is rearing its head again in the light of Brexit.

:51:12.:51:20.

Will there be 27 different agreement or one? Or will former EU pensioners

:51:21.:51:27.

find their pensions froesen. Froesen? -- frozen? Now, surely, in

:51:28.:51:37.

the light of these discussions and the light of Brexit, is the time to

:51:38.:51:46.

start to put all expat pensions on an even footing.

:51:47.:51:54.

To return to the resident in Thailand who said I wouldn't have

:51:55.:52:00.

asked for back payments, I would be happy to have that bit of security.

:52:01.:52:08.

Suck Si Governments plucking figures out of the sky have suggested up

:52:09.:52:15.

rating overseas pensions would... In fact, the proposal that the all

:52:16.:52:19.

party group is supporting, which goes nowhere near as far as some

:52:20.:52:24.

would like and which justice probably dictates is to up rate

:52:25.:52:35.

payments at this year, the two.5%. Of that, it won't cost billion, it

:52:36.:52:43.

will cost just ?33 million. By the end of five years the budgetary

:52:44.:52:52.

impact will be ?158 million. To set that in context of the triple

:52:53.:53:00.

lock, the triple lock currently costs the Government an extra two

:53:01.:53:07.

billion each year. And the great scheme of Government expenditure,

:53:08.:53:14.

158 manager after those years is small change. Small change to settle

:53:15.:53:19.

a debt of honour and with no threat of legal challenge, in respect of

:53:20.:53:27.

potential retrospective claims. This surely is a peel in this interest of

:53:28.:53:32.

a society that is fair for all, the Government cannot afford not to pay.

:53:33.:53:45.

I beg to move that this House notes the detrimental effect it will have

:53:46.:53:50.

on people living overseas with frozen pension and insist the

:53:51.:53:56.

government takes the necessary steps to withdraw that.

:53:57.:53:59.

The question is as on the order paper.

:54:00.:54:07.

I wish to start by paying tribute to the right honourable gentleman, the

:54:08.:54:12.

member for North Thanet and the chair of the frozen pensioned group.

:54:13.:54:18.

This this tireless and force. Campaigning on this issue for many

:54:19.:54:23.

years and I am proud to be a member of the group. It is very much he and

:54:24.:54:30.

his determination to see an end to this injustice. I hope that these

:54:31.:54:38.

campaigning personally will so the fruition it deserves.

:54:39.:54:45.

We are having this debate now, in this unexpected context. Clearly

:54:46.:54:53.

this debate was announced last week, when, rather before the the Easter

:54:54.:55:00.

recess when none of us, everyone on the benches opposite, that we would

:55:01.:55:04.

be seeing the dissolution of Parliament next year and a general

:55:05.:55:09.

election. I think that particlely is why there are fewer right honourable

:55:10.:55:12.

gentleman and honourable members here than there would have been,

:55:13.:55:16.

which is a shame. I think it is important to make a point I was

:55:17.:55:22.

going to make any way, which is that the simple reality is as to why this

:55:23.:55:30.

issue has nerve been resolved and why governmentings have been able to

:55:31.:55:36.

ignore it again and again, I say Governments because exactly a the Rt

:55:37.:55:41.

Hon cede itself has been ignored by successive gofts so this is not a

:55:42.:55:44.

party political issue, it is something that all parties have

:55:45.:55:50.

failed to deal with, in their times in Government. The reason for that

:55:51.:55:56.

is because while it has many, many strengths, and I love being a

:55:57.:56:03.

representative of my constituency, I am hugely proud, it's the part of my

:56:04.:56:12.

job I enjoy most, respecting the reality is these 550,000 British

:56:13.:56:18.

AstraZenecas, the seam evidencery one, all of our constituents who are

:56:19.:56:24.

UK citizen, they do not have an MP. They do not have a single person,

:56:25.:56:29.

who is directly representing them and fighting their cause, in the way

:56:30.:56:35.

that we all do, when we receive constituencies in our surgeries who

:56:36.:56:41.

come to tell us about injustices they felt. One or other of us take

:56:42.:56:49.

those up until we get change and make ministered of whatever colour

:56:50.:56:52.

and Government finally actually do that change, but this group of

:56:53.:56:59.

people do not have MPs themselves, they are not represented, and I

:57:00.:57:06.

would say the constitutional and the lent it has endured means it may be

:57:07.:57:14.

time to look at what they do and to have reputation somehow, for our UK

:57:15.:57:17.

citizens that are living abroad. Of course I will way.

:57:18.:57:22.

I thank him I congratulate him for securing this debate and I support

:57:23.:57:27.

him today. Like me u does he recall two or three months ago, meet a

:57:28.:57:32.

number of people in the House of Commons who came from overseas to

:57:33.:57:37.

that is the BAs way I request put it.

:57:38.:57:43.

Surely it is bad when people have got to come from overseas at great

:57:44.:57:48.

expense to come and lobby members of the Westminster Parliament? It has

:57:49.:57:58.

gone on far, far too long. I thank the honourable gentleman and

:57:59.:58:01.

entirely agree with what he says and I pay tribute to those doggy

:58:02.:58:06.

campaigners who have worked with the all-party Parliamentary group. Their

:58:07.:58:12.

campaigning has been remarkable. Particularly with the distances

:58:13.:58:17.

involved. And I think the situation that he highlights really makes my

:58:18.:58:24.

point even more clearly. The fact that that group of people, those

:58:25.:58:29.

campaigners, those British citizens, came to Parliament, but actually,

:58:30.:58:33.

who could they directly contact? We know that when we have a group

:58:34.:58:37.

coming from our constituency, who come to lobby is, we will meet them.

:58:38.:58:41.

But when we have someone coming from another part of the country, we will

:58:42.:58:46.

point them towards their own MP. But when someone contacts us from

:58:47.:58:50.

Canada, from Africa, from wherever it is, then we do not represent

:58:51.:58:55.

them, we are not their constituents. So I do paid tribute to the members

:58:56.:58:57.

of the group, particularly the very active members of the group and the

:58:58.:59:01.

Chair of the group, for being prepared to represent those people,

:59:02.:59:06.

through friendships. Cars I think many of us have come to this simply

:59:07.:59:10.

because we have been told about a relative of a constituent or a

:59:11.:59:14.

friend of a constituent or perhaps have someone that we know in that

:59:15.:59:18.

situation. I do not, incidentally, but I have come to the conclusion

:59:19.:59:22.

very clearly, simply by listening to the arguments and reading them, that

:59:23.:59:26.

this is just a disgraceful injustice. It cannot continue. It is

:59:27.:59:37.

morally wrong. And also I think legally, it is deeply, deeply

:59:38.:59:41.

questionable as well. And I think in the end, this position that

:59:42.:59:46.

successive governments have taken in ignoring this issue and using the

:59:47.:59:51.

same, standard excuse for many years, despite saying recently that

:59:52.:59:55.

they will look into this, I think in the end that will be shown to be

:59:56.:00:00.

legally unsustainable in an increasingly globalised world. Let's

:00:01.:00:03.

remind ourselves, we are in the context of this turmoil, this

:00:04.:00:08.

post-Brexit turmoil with the effects that that will have in all sorts of

:00:09.:00:14.

ways, but clearly, as well as having the very real threat to future UK

:00:15.:00:20.

citizens living in the European Union, that is something that I

:00:21.:00:23.

think and I know that this group will very strongly lobbied to ensure

:00:24.:00:27.

is resolved as part of the negotiations. But I think also,

:00:28.:00:34.

having discussions about freedom of movement and immigration, but also

:00:35.:00:36.

we four get to talk about immigration. We forget to talk about

:00:37.:00:42.

the fact that many British citizens, for very good reasons, use their

:00:43.:00:48.

right to go and live and work or retire in other countries, for

:00:49.:00:54.

whatever reason. Thank you very much for giving way. It is an important

:00:55.:00:59.

topic to many people, not only living abroad now, who left UK for

:01:00.:01:08.

very good reasons, migrated here in the '50s, now gone back, and living

:01:09.:01:15.

in countries like India, Pakistan and Australia and other places. They

:01:16.:01:23.

are linked economically to this country and to the social life. And

:01:24.:01:29.

I congratulate the committee and the Chair of particularly for raising

:01:30.:01:34.

the issue and meeting the Australian campaigners who came over here and

:01:35.:01:39.

listening to them and I hope that the next government will be able to

:01:40.:01:44.

take this on board and make sure that people are not disadvantaged.

:01:45.:01:52.

Thank you very much. I think the honourable gentleman for that

:01:53.:01:56.

intervention. He's quite right, not only is this unjust, but this is

:01:57.:02:03.

clearly discrimination we, particularly against certain groups

:02:04.:02:11.

in this country, as he will know, Leeds and West Yorkshire has a very

:02:12.:02:17.

proud, very strong Asian community, I am very proud, I have a mosque and

:02:18.:02:23.

a Hindu temple in my constituency, and in the next constituency, a

:02:24.:02:26.

wonderful Sikh Temple, very much part of the life of the community

:02:27.:02:34.

and the economy in Leeds comment are these wonderful communities. And yet

:02:35.:02:39.

exactly as he has said, if any of those communities, in exactly the

:02:40.:02:42.

same way as anyone else, if they choose to go back to their country

:02:43.:02:46.

of origin perhaps to live with family members, perhaps to support

:02:47.:02:49.

them, then they are discrimination against if they choose to do that.

:02:50.:02:53.

And again I think that is another reason why this is legally

:02:54.:02:57.

questionable, as well as clearly unsustainable. We live in a

:02:58.:03:01.

globalised world, we are proud of that, whatever side Eagle Top in the

:03:02.:03:03.

EU debate, I didn't hear anyone EU debate, I didn't hear anyone

:03:04.:03:09.

actually say and, certainly not in this House, that we should stop

:03:10.:03:13.

wanting to play our full part in the world, that we should stop wanting

:03:14.:03:18.

to have people working in our economy from other countries, in our

:03:19.:03:22.

health service, but equally I didn't hear anyone saying that we wanted to

:03:23.:03:27.

stop our own citizens having the right to emigrate. In a globalised

:03:28.:03:32.

world, we have people who choose to marry foreign citizens and live in

:03:33.:03:37.

those countries, to find work. Effectively, what this injustice

:03:38.:03:44.

does is, it is denying the right of real freedom of movement to older

:03:45.:03:54.

citizens of this country. And that is simply extraordinary in a

:03:55.:03:57.

globalised world and a nation that purports to want to play its full

:03:58.:04:01.

part... And we are proud that we have citizens living in America,

:04:02.:04:06.

Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, contributing. And if people's

:04:07.:04:13.

families have decided to live in another country, the work, to make

:04:14.:04:18.

understandable that some old people understandable that some old people

:04:19.:04:20.

would wish to retire to be with those families. Indeed, as the

:04:21.:04:25.

chairman has already said, there is a huge saving, estimated as ?3800,

:04:26.:04:36.

saving per year, for someone who emigrates from this country, and yet

:04:37.:04:41.

we are not even prepared to have their pension, their state pension,

:04:42.:04:50.

uprated, which would clearly be a significantly lower figure than

:04:51.:04:55.

that. So, Madame Deputy Speaker, we cannot have a situation, as we have

:04:56.:04:59.

now, where some UK citizens who choose to retire abroad have their

:05:00.:05:05.

pensions uprated and some do not. And now we have uncertainty for

:05:06.:05:11.

people who may be intending to retire in the European Union. And of

:05:12.:05:15.

course they will be more people choosing to that if there are people

:05:16.:05:18.

who are married to EU citizens who are now deciding that they would

:05:19.:05:25.

rather live in the European Union. So, we really do now need to get a

:05:26.:05:29.

grip of this issue and to stop this disparity between those in countries

:05:30.:05:32.

that happen to have a bilateral agreement and those that still do

:05:33.:05:39.

not. And it has to be, and I say this obviously, the minister has no

:05:40.:05:45.

opportunity to put this right now in this Parliament, within this

:05:46.:05:49.

government, unless he has something wonderful to announce today, but it

:05:50.:05:54.

is something that he and all of us from all sides need to really ensure

:05:55.:05:59.

going forward is dealt with, and let's make a firm commitment,

:06:00.:06:05.

whoever is here in the next Parliament from the 9th of June

:06:06.:06:09.

onwards, that they will ensure that this injustice is finally at least

:06:10.:06:15.

partly resolved in the five years before the next general election, in

:06:16.:06:20.

2022. And it is clear that a government of any colour, and I

:06:21.:06:28.

don't think people necessarily are particularly questioning what colour

:06:29.:06:33.

the government will be as a whole after the next election, but we must

:06:34.:06:39.

now have a situation where, whoever the government actually is, that

:06:40.:06:46.

they bring it forward. The government could actually an

:06:47.:06:50.

electric, on the basis of wanting to resolve this, and could bring a

:06:51.:06:56.

unilateral decision to change it for all cases. Now, of course, to do

:06:57.:07:04.

this properly, to ensure that as the people living around the world all

:07:05.:07:11.

get the proper state form and, which actually is the only real form of

:07:12.:07:15.

justice to this, to actually decide that from now on, people should get

:07:16.:07:20.

the state pension that they paid into and that they deserve,

:07:21.:07:22.

regardless of living abroad, particularly because they are not

:07:23.:07:26.

costing the NHS money,, particularly because they are not part of the

:07:27.:07:30.

ongoing social care crisis, something that again, successive

:07:31.:07:33.

governments have failed to deal with in this country. But that clearly

:07:34.:07:38.

isn't something that governments are going to be committed to at the

:07:39.:07:42.

moment, though I still believe they should, I still challenge the sense

:07:43.:07:50.

that necessarily introducing a proper state pension for all

:07:51.:07:51.

citizens abroad would lead to citizens abroad would lead to

:07:52.:07:56.

backdating, I think that's overcautious and I think clearly,

:07:57.:07:59.

legislation could be clearly brought forward to avoid that. But there

:08:00.:08:05.

certainly has two be a commitment to a partial uprating which has been

:08:06.:08:11.

pushed by the all-party group and mentioned today by the member for

:08:12.:08:16.

North Thanet. The estimated cost of that is very, very modest, very,

:08:17.:08:23.

very modest, in the context, even in the context of wider spending

:08:24.:08:27.

demands, it is a very modest change, and something that should clearly be

:08:28.:08:33.

done and could be done and I think must be done early in the next

:08:34.:08:39.

Parliament. To give those people who have suffered and have had their

:08:40.:08:43.

standards of living in many cases affected... Let's also remember that

:08:44.:08:47.

these are not in many cases people who are well off, these are not

:08:48.:08:50.

people who are rich in many cases, they are people who are obviously,

:08:51.:08:55.

or three people, who have chosen for very good reasons to live abroad. As

:08:56.:09:05.

has already been very movingly laid out, because of this injustice for

:09:06.:09:09.

many years, older pensioners are facing penury, are living in

:09:10.:09:14.

poverty, because of this injustice, an injustice which has been

:09:15.:09:18.

perpetrated by the British state. So we do need a commitment to our Shaul

:09:19.:09:24.

uprating. It would be wonderful to get that today although I think in

:09:25.:09:30.

the context of the general election, it is probably unlikely. What I will

:09:31.:09:34.

say is that I am committed to campaign in the future, should I be

:09:35.:09:37.

returned to This Place after the election on the 8th of June, I

:09:38.:09:42.

certainly will carry on making this case, regardless of the fact that I

:09:43.:09:46.

am not win it for constituents, but I'm doing it for a case of justice.

:09:47.:09:56.

My colleague in the Other Place, Aramis Benjamin, also one of the

:09:57.:09:59.

group, has been very vocal about this in the Other Place, and I'm

:10:00.:10:03.

sure that she will carry on doing that. -- Baroness Benjamin. I will

:10:04.:10:13.

say, I do not write the Liberal Democrat manifesto, they wouldn't

:10:14.:10:19.

let me, I can assure you of that... It would be very good if they did,

:10:20.:10:26.

of course. But I will say, I believe that this is something that should

:10:27.:10:31.

be in all the manifestos, I believe a partial uprating, we now have the

:10:32.:10:36.

opportunity to provide it and I believe that the manifestos of all

:10:37.:10:39.

the parties going into this election, we should all commit to

:10:40.:10:42.

partial uprating to make sure that it then happens in the next

:10:43.:10:47.

Parliament. I will certainly put that to my party leader and I hope

:10:48.:10:51.

other people will. This is not a party political issue, it never has

:10:52.:10:55.

been, there is no criticism directly of any one party or another. It is

:10:56.:11:02.

simply a failure of the representative democracy to those

:11:03.:11:07.

people who choose to move away from constituencies and no longer have

:11:08.:11:10.

one. Perhaps it's something that we can look at. In the meantime, I do

:11:11.:11:15.

hope that all sides and all members of the group, and indeed the

:11:16.:11:20.

minister, and really consider whether it is finally time to make

:11:21.:11:25.

that amendment to at least brings in the partial uprating to at least

:11:26.:11:33.

show that something that is so clearly an injustice is at last

:11:34.:11:38.

finally dealt with and the months of all colours stop ignoring it and

:11:39.:11:46.

stop looking away. The House should thank my honourable friend and the

:11:47.:11:49.

honourable gentleman for the way they've spoken and look forward to

:11:50.:11:52.

the contribution of the Scottish National Party as well. If my friend

:11:53.:11:59.

the minister on the front bench doesn't mind, I'm going to talk

:12:00.:12:01.

through him, because he won't be authorised to make the kind of

:12:02.:12:04.

commitment which this House is asking for now. The question we have

:12:05.:12:10.

to ask is, is what's going on now at the moment fair, is it logical and

:12:11.:12:14.

is it right? And the answer to each of those is no. I thank the

:12:15.:12:22.

international consortium of British pensioners for the briefing they

:12:23.:12:26.

have sent which points out that it is completely unfair, illogical and

:12:27.:12:30.

morally wrong. Were I to have retired overseas, and chosen the

:12:31.:12:37.

wrong place, in the seven years since I could have taken the state

:12:38.:12:42.

pension, I would have lost ?5,000. I plan to be re-elected and in five

:12:43.:12:47.

years' time, by then, it would have lost me ?13,000. It won't be

:12:48.:12:58.

determined in terms of increases by whether I live in one part of the

:12:59.:13:04.

West Indies. To make sure the minute city is paying only attention.

:13:05.:13:08.

Perhaps he would like to tell us which parts of the West Indies

:13:09.:13:13.

cricket team would get increases. If ewere to retire to the United States

:13:14.:13:21.

part of the West Indies would I get an increase? I think the answer is

:13:22.:13:26.

yes. If I were to retire to the Dutch part of the West Indies, would

:13:27.:13:30.

I get an increase? The answer is yes in my state pension. I go through

:13:31.:13:36.

some of the independent countries, we will have the hipster telling us

:13:37.:13:40.

the difference between Guyana and Barbados. We have heard the point

:13:41.:13:45.

made ant which side of the parallel between the Canada and the United

:13:46.:13:49.

States. What is the reason as my right honourable friend said between

:13:50.:13:53.

Thailand and the Philippines except total chance. The point about this

:13:54.:13:58.

house is not to leave things to chance, the reason pensions were

:13:59.:14:03.

brought in 1906 or thereabouts, by a combination of Lloyd George and

:14:04.:14:09.

Winston Churchill was to make sure people in their old age were not

:14:10.:14:15.

left struggling. If ministers have been briefed, there isn't Social

:14:16.:14:20.

Security in many countries, and the example being given Zimbabwe is

:14:21.:14:23.

perhaps one of the worst. People who are asked by this country to stay

:14:24.:14:29.

on, during Ian Smith's illegal declaration of independence find

:14:30.:14:33.

themselves in penry, far worst because of the freezing of their

:14:34.:14:39.

state pension. We know that a number of pensioners overseas who are

:14:40.:14:43.

registered to vote has doubled since the last election and it can double

:14:44.:14:47.

and dibble again, so instead of having 400 people in each

:14:48.:14:51.

constituency you get to 8 hundred mourn 1600, people might start

:14:52.:14:57.

paying more attention. The arguments for unfreezing this, should not be

:14:58.:15:00.

numbers of vote, it should be whether it is right or wrong. If at

:15:01.:15:08.

the moment one, four pensioners 100 are affected and they are affected

:15:09.:15:11.

for a third of their pension, that is a sum we can clearly cope with.

:15:12.:15:18.

We will cope with the growing number given or take the lifting of the

:15:19.:15:27.

pension age. Somebody once said this will confuse the elderly let us wait

:15:28.:15:33.

until I that are dead. This will get worse until we can establish a fair

:15:34.:15:36.

principle. I don't want to repeat all the speeches I have made on in

:15:37.:15:42.

the past, we have to say briefly and clearly to minister, when will the

:15:43.:15:46.

time come when a minister for at Conservative Government or Labour

:15:47.:15:48.

Government or a coalition Government can stand up and say we will propose

:15:49.:15:54.

to Parliament, we will accept from Parliament proposals which are fair,

:15:55.:16:00.

are logical and right. Thank you. I must say it's a

:16:01.:16:06.

pleasure to follow the honourable member. That was gracious and fine

:16:07.:16:14.

speech about the real issue about how the House must deal with this

:16:15.:16:19.

issue. Issue. When I say to the minister, its suspect this is the

:16:20.:16:23.

last time in this Parliament we will discuss pension matter, I have

:16:24.:16:27.

enjoyed our spats across the despatch box. He is an honourable

:16:28.:16:32.

and decent man. I would ask him to reflect carefully on all the

:16:33.:16:36.

speeches that have been made and give us an indication the Government

:16:37.:16:42.

is prepared on the basis of affordability to what is an

:16:43.:16:48.

injustice. I am grateful the backbench business committee have

:16:49.:16:52.

granted this debate in my name and the name of the honourable member

:16:53.:16:56.

for North Thanet. I am grateful but I am sad anded. It is,

:16:57.:17:08.

What this motion is add dressing are the rights of just over one million

:17:09.:17:13.

UK pensioners who live oversea, we are talking about those who are paid

:17:14.:17:17.

National Insurance on the basis those payments are made to the

:17:18.:17:23.

Exchequer, entitles that individual to a UK state pension. When you make

:17:24.:17:28.

National Insurance contribution, there is nothing that suggests your

:17:29.:17:34.

right to a full pension will be determined by where you choose to

:17:35.:17:39.

live. Each individual has earned that end it should be honoured. It a

:17:40.:17:49.

simple matter of entitlement. The Government calls that benefit but

:17:50.:17:54.

that is undermined by the principle that is earned by making

:17:55.:17:58.

contribution, to achieve a full UK state pension you need to have

:17:59.:18:10.

accrued 5 yearses of payments: The UK is the only member state of the

:18:11.:18:18.

OECD that does not confer full pension rights. It is simply not

:18:19.:18:23.

right that we discriminate against pensioners because of where we live,

:18:24.:18:27.

because let us make no mistake, that is what it is. It is discrimination.

:18:28.:18:34.

It is a failure of the United Kingdom to accept its

:18:35.:18:37.

responsibilities to make full pension entitlement to those who

:18:38.:18:41.

have earned that right. Entitlement to an annual up righting of the

:18:42.:18:45.

state pension is erm theed by what country you Li in. There are 679,000

:18:46.:18:55.

UK pensioners who get an annual up rating but 551,000 whose pensions

:18:56.:19:06.

are frozen. If you are now aged 90, and have retired aged 65 in 1991,

:19:07.:19:11.

you would, if you qualified for an up rating, would have been receiving

:19:12.:19:20.

119.31 pence a week. If your pension was frozen at the 1991 level, your

:19:21.:19:27.

weekly pension would be ?52 for aweek. Madame Deputy Speaker that is

:19:28.:19:34.

without justification, such an individual would have lost out by

:19:35.:19:44.

39,400 thousand of income as qaens of being receipt of a easy froen

:19:45.:19:51.

pension. Think about what that mean, by the refusal to grand up rating,

:19:52.:19:57.

we are impoverishing pensioner, the average amount received by a frozen

:19:58.:20:06.

pensioner is just 2258 person per year, the average living in the UK

:20:07.:20:15.

is ?67198 a yore. We are denying income to pence innocences, that

:20:16.:20:19.

ought to be rightfully theirs, many will have to receive support from

:20:20.:20:24.

relatives, or rap perhaps return to the UK where the cost of supporting

:20:25.:20:30.

them is higher, when we take into account health and potential social

:20:31.:20:33.

cost, we have to think that many have come to this this country to

:20:34.:20:39.

work, often over many decades. And want to return to their country of

:20:40.:20:44.

origin in retirement. Such folk are put off by the reality

:20:45.:20:51.

of being penalised through the potential receipt of a frozen

:20:52.:20:55.

pension. Where is the humanity in this? Where is the dignity in

:20:56.:21:00.

stopping people that have given long service to this country, that have

:21:01.:21:04.

paid their way and they want to know that they are going to receive their

:21:05.:21:08.

full pension right, this is a wrong and it is something we must deal

:21:09.:21:12.

with. People who come to this country should not be penalised when

:21:13.:21:18.

they choose to go home. Other countries see this as a diplomatic

:21:19.:21:22.

grievance and no doubt this will be a factor when the UK discusses trade

:21:23.:21:27.

deals. Other countries will say to us that you want a decent

:21:28.:21:33.

relationship with us, but you not prepared to treat your pensioners in

:21:34.:21:38.

a fair manner. The fact that we are unique in the OECD, is not accepting

:21:39.:21:43.

our obligation does not go down well with other Governments, we need to

:21:44.:21:47.

show leadership we will stand by those that have earned a pension

:21:48.:21:53.

entitlement. The international consortium of British pencions has

:21:54.:21:58.

been mentioned by others and I commend them and the research they

:21:59.:22:02.

conducted. The research they have shown that the cost of lower health

:22:03.:22:09.

and social care costs of somebody not living here is just under

:22:10.:22:15.

?2,000. These are savings that in part will off set the coasts of

:22:16.:22:21.

annual up rating. This House debated the matter of frozen pension, on

:22:22.:22:25.

11th May last year, this follows on from other debates going back over

:22:26.:22:31.

the last few decades and the honourable member mentioned Winston

:22:32.:22:34.

Churchill at the turn of the last Parliament. His grandson was also

:22:35.:22:40.

involved in this matter. I have been sent a copy of alert sent to Winston

:22:41.:22:45.

Churchill in 1993. The member of Davyhulme to a retired pensioner

:22:46.:22:50.

living in Australia. Churchill stated hoped that the Government

:22:51.:22:57.

maybe shaped into taking steps to honour its commitment to expat rate

:22:58.:23:03.

pensioners. He went on to state that I have no doubt that a sufficient

:23:04.:23:09.

weight of Parliamentary support can be demonstrated for this injustice,

:23:10.:23:13.

the Government will have to alternative but to back down.

:23:14.:23:21.

Winston Churchill was right in 1993 and all the members that have soaken

:23:22.:23:29.

in this debate are right in 2017. It is shameful that collectively, that

:23:30.:23:33.

we have not yet dealt with this issue. Of course, there is there a

:23:34.:23:40.

topical matter to this debate. We are having Brexit hangs like a black

:23:41.:23:49.

cloud over this issue. Of the 67,000 UK pensioners who receive an up

:23:50.:23:55.

rated over half are protected by the EU single market. What will happen

:23:56.:24:04.

to the rights of those 492,000 UK pensioners Prso Brexit. I will ask

:24:05.:24:10.

the minister, will he commit to the open autoing of those who live in EU

:24:11.:24:15.

member states. We hear from the Government about wanting to protect

:24:16.:24:20.

the rights of UK is it zips living in Europe. Many will listen and here

:24:21.:24:25.

about this debail out. They will be concerned that many will consider in

:24:26.:24:29.

the absence of guarantee, that they could not afford to continue living

:24:30.:24:36.

in an EU member state. The minister can deal with that today. I will

:24:37.:24:45.

happy give way. Would his not agree it is inconceivable that the

:24:46.:24:49.

Government would not o guarantee that up rating, to British

:24:50.:24:56.

pensioners living in the EU 2017. As my right honourable said it is

:24:57.:25:00.

inconceivable that justice should not come at the same time for those

:25:01.:25:04.

denied it for so long, that would be discrimination of the worst sort.

:25:05.:25:11.

I find myself concurring with the honourable member 100 percent, he is

:25:12.:25:14.

right. That is why we have the opportunity today, we can deal with

:25:15.:25:19.

this matter, the uncertainty, that would be the right thing to do, as

:25:20.:25:25.

has been demonstrated the costs of doing this for other British

:25:26.:25:28.

citizens are not that great. I think question deal with it. The minister

:25:29.:25:32.

can recognise this would be matter of good faith. I would implore as we

:25:33.:25:37.

go into the election campaign we from prepared to make that

:25:38.:25:41.

commitment. That we will deal with the injustices which are here. Here.

:25:42.:25:46.

The minister can remove that uncertainty today if he chooses or

:25:47.:25:49.

give us an indication that the Government is prepared to do

:25:50.:25:58.

something about this. A further 16,000 pensioners live in countries

:25:59.:26:02.

where the UK has an agreement, like the US. A total of 551,000 citizens

:26:03.:26:12.

live in countries where pensions are frozen. We have, in the APPG met

:26:13.:26:19.

with members of the Canadian diplomatic community and I can tell

:26:20.:26:23.

you, they are less than impressed with the behaviour of the UK

:26:24.:26:28.

Government, from this matter. We are offending our friends initially by

:26:29.:26:31.

our failure to take action on this matter.

:26:32.:26:39.

We here of postcode lottery. This is national a lottery but it is one

:26:40.:26:44.

with 551,000 British pensioners are paying the price.

:26:45.:26:57.

But I hope the minister will recognise that we are all appealing

:26:58.:27:02.

to the Government to see sense on this matter. I look forward to the

:27:03.:27:06.

minister responding on this later, and we hope that we will hear that

:27:07.:27:09.

the Government is prepared to take action. If I may say so, it is about

:27:10.:27:15.

doing the right thing and standing up in recognising all pensioners,

:27:16.:27:18.

irrespective of where they live, and the fact that they deserve to be

:27:19.:27:21.

treated equally. If we consider that the Government is lifting the limit

:27:22.:27:25.

on the period of UK citizens voting abroad, why would the Government

:27:26.:27:31.

want to confer voting rights on UK pensioners but denies them full

:27:32.:27:34.

pension rights? Perhaps the Government should reflect on more

:27:35.:27:39.

than 1 million UK pensioners living overseas, it might then have a

:27:40.:27:46.

reason to want them to register to vote in this coming election

:27:47.:27:48.

campaign, given the infringement of their pension rights. Today, there

:27:49.:27:52.

are more than 200,000 registered overseas voters, as the member for

:27:53.:27:59.

Worthing mentioned. Can you just imagine the effect on MPs up and

:28:00.:28:03.

down the country if these and others decided they were going to exercise

:28:04.:28:07.

their franchise? With an election coming, and increase in

:28:08.:28:10.

registrations might help focus the mind of the government. What drives

:28:11.:28:14.

the decision-making process of the Government. Will it be about

:28:15.:28:22.

accepting their obligations to meet our commitment on pensions,

:28:23.:28:25.

regardless of country of residence? I appreciate that the minister no

:28:26.:28:28.

doubt will have been told by the Treasury not to offer anything. The

:28:29.:28:32.

minister I know is a loyal government servant and I understand

:28:33.:28:38.

the position he is in. But let me if I may try and help the minister by

:28:39.:28:43.

strengthening his arguments with the Treasury. The right honourable

:28:44.:28:49.

member for Tatton, the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer, during

:28:50.:28:58.

the pension bill in 2003 hyphens 2004, said, if the system worked in

:28:59.:29:01.

the way that most people think, it would not matter where a person

:29:02.:29:08.

lived. I have to say, on this occasion, I agree with the

:29:09.:29:10.

ex-Chancellor. It should not matter where you live. My appeal to the

:29:11.:29:16.

minister is to reflect on those words from his friend the

:29:17.:29:22.

ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer. These words, Madame Deputy Speaker,

:29:23.:29:26.

were spoken about in opposition. But each and every one of us should be

:29:27.:29:30.

judged by our deeds in government. It is not good enough to say that

:29:31.:29:35.

when in opposition and then claim it is all about cost in government. We

:29:36.:29:39.

should be judged by our deeds, and today we have that opportunity.

:29:40.:29:44.

Minister, I do implore you today to do the right thing on this issue. I

:29:45.:29:51.

have more faith that the minister in this case will listen to reason

:29:52.:29:55.

argument and will recognise that this is an injustice which needs to

:29:56.:29:59.

be corrected. The Government likes to claim that the cost of freezing

:30:00.:30:04.

pensions is unaffordable. Ministers have sometimes cited numbers in the

:30:05.:30:07.

billions. Such a claim is highly misleading. The motion for debate

:30:08.:30:12.

proposals the withdrawal of social security benefit. This would

:30:13.:30:15.

increase Revis refrozen pensions in this year's 2.5 in Chris Bridge

:30:16.:30:22.

would cost ?30 million. Assuming this inclusion continued in

:30:23.:30:25.

subsequent years, the total cost would rise by around 30 million

:30:26.:30:31.

extra each year. The ICB be have historically campaigned for pension

:30:32.:30:35.

party, bringing frozen pensions up the UK levels immediately. This

:30:36.:30:39.

would cost more than 500 millions but it is not what is being proposed

:30:40.:30:44.

today. Any higher number cited by the Government involves looking at

:30:45.:30:47.

that Camilla of cost over a longer period, which is not how these

:30:48.:30:50.

policies are usually assessed and is therefore misleading. The additional

:30:51.:30:55.

cost of up grading 2% over five years would rise to ?33 million by

:30:56.:30:59.

year five, by which time they would have a committee of cost of 158

:31:00.:31:05.

million. To put this into const X, the bill for UK state pensions is

:31:06.:31:11.

currently 86.8 billion. -- into context. Partial upgrade is

:31:12.:31:17.

equivalent to 0.03% of current pension spending. Madame Deputy

:31:18.:31:22.

Speaker, let me address the minister again if I may. We are all aware

:31:23.:31:26.

that there is a separate national insurance fund. We know from the

:31:27.:31:33.

department that that fund is anticipated to be in a surplus of

:31:34.:31:42.

more than ?30 billion this year. It is clear that the cost of doing this

:31:43.:31:47.

can be met from the surplus that currently sits within the national

:31:48.:31:52.

insurance fund. Of course this is affordable, it is about our

:31:53.:31:54.

obligation to pensioners and it's the human cost of not meeting those

:31:55.:31:59.

obligations. We need to listen to the voices of those who are disc

:32:00.:32:02.

related against by the failure to pay full pension. I will close with

:32:03.:32:09.

some of the quotes. I know that the member for panic north has

:32:10.:32:11.

eloquently talked but let me just add to that. At the end of the day,

:32:12.:32:16.

it is the human cost on individuals that should concern us. Let's take

:32:17.:32:23.

one person, 72 years old, now living in Kolkata in India. He said, after

:32:24.:32:28.

contributing to the British economy for 13 years, is now scared of

:32:29.:32:32.

losing his home as he is struggling to survive on his frozen pension. He

:32:33.:32:37.

is considering moving to an unfrozen country. He said, the Government

:32:38.:32:39.

should be doing more, especially for the Commonwealth countries and MPs

:32:40.:32:45.

can't explain why they're not. This 91-year-old moved to Canada and was

:32:46.:32:53.

forced to return to the UK in order to obtain his full pension. He has

:32:54.:32:57.

said, I was brought up to believe that Britain was of their country.

:32:58.:33:04.

It's a disgrace, it has to end, it's terrible to be pensioners over here

:33:05.:33:08.

who say they have to come back to Britain because they can't manage. I

:33:09.:33:16.

will happily give way. I think this is an opportunity for the minister

:33:17.:33:20.

to say today that Britain is a fair country, so that people can get

:33:21.:33:24.

social justice. In these other countries as well. I am grateful for

:33:25.:33:28.

that intervention and I agree with him. I think it is up to us to

:33:29.:33:32.

demonstrate that fenestration why should we put rebel in a position

:33:33.:33:36.

that they have emigrated from the UK, they have a pension entitlement,

:33:37.:33:40.

but they are having to return here in order to get what is there just

:33:41.:33:44.

writes. That cannot be right, it's not something that we should be

:33:45.:33:52.

supporting. A man who recently lost his wife, living in Canada, will be

:33:53.:33:57.

moving back to the UK as he can no longer cope with his frozen pension.

:33:58.:34:02.

After suffering a fall, he is increasingly struggling to meet

:34:03.:34:05.

medical costs. The only way he can make ends meet is to use up all of

:34:06.:34:10.

his savings. He has said, all I want is my full state pension which I

:34:11.:34:15.

have paid into my entire life. Why should Joe not get something that he

:34:16.:34:22.

has paid for, because that is the salient point? Joe and everyone else

:34:23.:34:27.

that we're talking about has paid national insurance. This is an

:34:28.:34:32.

entitlement. George Gray, 77 years old, living in South Africa, has

:34:33.:34:37.

paid national insurance for 48 years until reaching retirement age to 65.

:34:38.:34:42.

He was completely unaware of frozen pensions until he came to applying

:34:43.:34:47.

for it. He states- I was even told that getting a state pension was not

:34:48.:34:50.

a right but merely a benefit from the British Government which could

:34:51.:34:55.

be amended at any time so I had paid into it it all my working life. Paid

:34:56.:34:59.

into it all his working life. And this one, 90 years old, now living

:35:00.:35:04.

in Canada. She has worked in the UK up to the age of 76, paying

:35:05.:35:08.

mandatory national insurance contributions and now has a frozen

:35:09.:35:12.

pension. She says, the Government should do more. MPs cannot explain

:35:13.:35:17.

it. 70-year-old living in British Columbia, worked for the NHS for

:35:18.:35:22.

more than 20 years, helping with elderly care. Was unaware that

:35:23.:35:25.

pensions would be frozen. She has said... It is outrageous when you

:35:26.:35:29.

think it's mainly Commonwealth countries that are affect it,

:35:30.:35:33.

especially Canadian pensioners living in the UK receiving a full

:35:34.:35:36.

pension. And that's the point, that is why the Canadian government is so

:35:37.:35:43.

exercised, because they pay a full pension for their citizens living

:35:44.:35:46.

here, and yet we fail to reciprocate. This one, living in

:35:47.:35:50.

Australia, she moved there in 2002 and was completely unaware that her

:35:51.:35:55.

pension would be frozen. She said, I am looking to return potentially to

:35:56.:35:59.

the UK but need to be sure that my family can make the journey back

:36:00.:36:02.

with me. In conclusion, these stories break your heart. Let this

:36:03.:36:11.

House today show that we can deliver compassion, that we can recognise

:36:12.:36:18.

this injustice which made people are seeing. Let the Government commit

:36:19.:36:21.

today to fixing this issue before we go out on the election campaign,

:36:22.:36:25.

let's show that we're prepared to do the right thing. I look forward,

:36:26.:36:29.

when we're back, to the legislation to fix this. Thank you very much,

:36:30.:36:42.

Madame Deputy Speaker. Nice to see you in the Chair. I am glad to have

:36:43.:36:47.

the opportunity to sum up for the SNP on this debate on pensions. I'd

:36:48.:36:57.

just like to thank the Chair of the all-party Parliamentary group on

:36:58.:37:02.

frozen pensions, and his speech was excellent and he's a strong advocate

:37:03.:37:06.

for pensioners every I'm sure they're very lucky to have him. He

:37:07.:37:11.

stated that this was a matter of moral responsibility and that today

:37:12.:37:14.

gives us the chance to finally address this. And he highlighted the

:37:15.:37:19.

plight of many pensioners, many expats engineers, and ended up by

:37:20.:37:22.

saying that the Government cannot afford not to pay. So, excellent

:37:23.:37:31.

contributions to himthe other honourable member made excellent

:37:32.:37:37.

contributions as well. Government of all colours have failed these

:37:38.:37:41.

pensioners, and making the excellent point that these people don't

:37:42.:37:44.

actually have an MP of their own, and when they come to us, we can't

:37:45.:37:50.

take them on. That was a very good point made. And the right honourable

:37:51.:37:55.

member for wedding west pointed out a personal situation of his, the

:37:56.:38:03.

disparity between countries. These people who are living abroad,

:38:04.:38:07.

registered to vote, their number will only increase in time and they

:38:08.:38:13.

will be more noticed. These proposals were fair, logical end

:38:14.:38:20.

right. Today's debate is yet another example of this government's

:38:21.:38:26.

atrocious approach to state pensions and it is typical of the disdain and

:38:27.:38:30.

contempt with which the UK Government holds our older citizens,

:38:31.:38:37.

here or overseas. The Tories have ducked through so responsibility to

:38:38.:38:41.

pensioners too many times, sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring

:38:42.:38:53.

the backlash. It is time for the UK Government to face up to reality.

:38:54.:38:58.

Pensions are not a privilege, it is a contract, and the UK Government

:38:59.:39:02.

continues to break that contract, and it's clear from today's debate

:39:03.:39:07.

that the SNP are signing up not just the Scottish pensioners, but for

:39:08.:39:19.

British pensioners around the world. It was the SNP who rolled up our

:39:20.:39:26.

sleeves and commission independent research which proved the Tories'

:39:27.:39:32.

figures to be completely wrong. And the UK Government can afford to

:39:33.:39:39.

shorten the wrong, so we are calling for this great injustice to end for

:39:40.:39:44.

British pensioners living overseas. Around 7.5% of British pensioners

:39:45.:39:49.

live abroad, and as my honourable friend said, entitlement to the

:39:50.:39:55.

state pension relates only to the national insurance contributions

:39:56.:40:00.

made during a recipient's working life, not place of residence.

:40:01.:40:04.

Despite this, the UK takes a wildly inconsistent approach to the

:40:05.:40:12.

uprating of state pensions. Almost half of those living overseas are

:40:13.:40:15.

excluded from uprating. Right honourable friends also made the

:40:16.:40:21.

point that there pensions are effectively frozen at the level

:40:22.:40:24.

which they first received it abroad. The vast majority of frozen

:40:25.:40:30.

pensioners are also in the Commonwealth, around a quarter of a

:40:31.:40:34.

million of those affect being in Australia, and many in Canada as

:40:35.:40:41.

well. These people are forced to cope with their rising costs of

:40:42.:40:45.

living with a static income. As you can imagine, this has a impact on

:40:46.:40:56.

their lives. Someone who has moved abroad and had their pension frozen

:40:57.:40:59.

stands to lose out on a substantial amount of money. A 75-year-old who

:41:00.:41:06.

retired in 2006 will have lost out on over ?10,000. An 81-year-old who

:41:07.:41:14.

retired in the year 2000 will have lost out on an eye-watering amount

:41:15.:41:18.

of over ?22,000. These are substantial figures which no doubt

:41:19.:41:21.

cause a great strain on the lives of those affect it, yet the Government

:41:22.:41:25.

seems not to care. Hardly surprising, it does not overly

:41:26.:41:30.

concerned itself with tension poverty at home, how could they be

:41:31.:41:33.

expected to give a monkeys about expats? I recall during the 2014

:41:34.:41:41.

Scottish independence campaign, pensioners were fed no end of

:41:42.:41:44.

nonsense about the risks to their pensions. The reality is that this

:41:45.:41:50.

great, fantastic union with its mighty broad shoulders offers one of

:41:51.:41:55.

the most shamelessly poultry pensions in the world. According to

:41:56.:42:04.

the OECD report, released in 2015, countries like on you, Russia and

:42:05.:42:09.

Greece pay significantly bigger retirement income is that we do.

:42:10.:42:15.

They should we -- we should be utterly ashamed of our state pension

:42:16.:42:19.

system, and by extension how we treat our pensioners. And it isn't

:42:20.:42:22.

just this government who shoulders the blame. Our pensioners have been

:42:23.:42:27.

seriously let down, as we've heard by successive Westminster

:42:28.:42:29.

governments. When the OECD report was released, Tom McPhail, the head

:42:30.:42:35.

of retirement policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said, this analysis makes

:42:36.:42:39.

embarrassing reading for the politicians who have been

:42:40.:42:42.

responsible for the UK's pensions over the past 25 years. Madame

:42:43.:42:47.

Deputy Speaker, I must admit that I cannot disagree with that assertion.

:42:48.:43:04.

The report will have many worried because of its recommendation to

:43:05.:43:12.

drop the lock, indeed, this current Government has only guaranteed it

:43:13.:43:15.

until 2020. The up coming general election provides that opportunity

:43:16.:43:19.

to guarantee it beyond that. This would be, however of little comfort

:43:20.:43:26.

to overseas pensioners suffering with frozen pensions, likewise it

:43:27.:43:29.

will be of little comfort to British pensioners living in the EU who

:43:30.:43:34.

don't know if the same fate will befall them, with no guarantee their

:43:35.:43:39.

pensioned will be up rated following Brexit, when the UK leaves the EU,

:43:40.:43:44.

the Government will no longer have a legal requirement to update state

:43:45.:43:58.

pension, without a new Social Security agreement British Tait

:43:59.:44:01.

pensioned could have a frozen pension they deserve to though where

:44:02.:44:07.

they stand. Those living overseas with frozen pensionion deserve

:44:08.:44:11.

justice. Contributing to the state pension is compulsory, is Government

:44:12.:44:15.

is discriminating against retire re-s based on where they lived,

:44:16.:44:20.

despite having made the same contributions. This discrimination

:44:21.:44:29.

is leading to pensioner poverty. A lot loss of independence and is

:44:30.:44:34.

forcing pensioners to return to the UK without their family. The

:44:35.:44:40.

consortium informs me most pensioners did not know their

:44:41.:44:45.

pension would be frozen if they retired in some countries abroad.

:44:46.:44:48.

Just as we have seen, there is is a lack of information being shared

:44:49.:44:52.

with retire re-s and adds the members for Leeds North West

:44:53.:44:58.

mentioned this policy is leading to discrimination againsteth any

:44:59.:45:02.

minority, the froesen pension policy has a significant impact in the life

:45:03.:45:10.

choices of those in British BMAE communities who retain links to

:45:11.:45:14.

Commonwealth countries where pensions are frozen. The Government

:45:15.:45:19.

may clean unfreezing them is unaffordable. Ministers have cited

:45:20.:45:26.

in Umbers in billions. The motion being debated proposes the

:45:27.:45:34.

withdrawal of the Ben fillet updated regulationings, this would include

:45:35.:45:37.

previous, in the increase, and the cost of this is just 30 million.

:45:38.:45:45.

Assuming this continued the total cost would rise by 30 million, extra

:45:46.:45:52.

each year. When the Government is renewing Trident as a cost of

:45:53.:45:56.

hundred of billions it is indefensible to say this is

:45:57.:46:00.

unaffordable. It is time that the UK Government started getting it right,

:46:01.:46:05.

for pensioners. It is time that priorities was put right. That we

:46:06.:46:12.

stopped pouring endless amount of cash into weaponses of mass

:46:13.:46:16.

destruction and let us start treating people with the dignity

:46:17.:46:24.

they deserve in later years. I thank the backbench committee for

:46:25.:46:27.

granting this debate and congratulate the member for North

:46:28.:46:33.

Thanet, the member for Lochaber and others for their contributions

:46:34.:46:38.

today. I have spoken many times in this chamber and committee within

:46:39.:46:44.

injustice in our system. On numerous occasion have highlighted how the

:46:45.:46:50.

Government has let down watt but women. The up coming general

:46:51.:46:54.

election gives us an opportunity to further highlight issues like that

:46:55.:46:59.

and the need for greater transparency. I hope those and gets

:47:00.:47:07.

plenty of attention over the next seven week, today, all pensioners,

:47:08.:47:13.

at home and abroad will want to know in the Government will confirm it

:47:14.:47:22.

will dip ditch the triple lock. Icon firmed Labour's commitment was for

:47:23.:47:26.

the longer term. Will he confirm 2 triple lock is at an end or is the

:47:27.:47:34.

commitment to 2020 as declared by the Secretary of State and suggested

:47:35.:47:40.

it were the case by the honourable member for Hamilton west. The

:47:41.:47:47.

pensions of those living overseas is a hot topic.

:47:48.:47:52.

Like the member for Leeds North West, I want to be writing a

:47:53.:47:58.

manifesto. While he can't guarantee a partial up lifting Liberal

:47:59.:48:01.

Democrat manifesto, it will certainly be in ours. As the law

:48:02.:48:08.

stands, there are 55,000 young pensioners living abroad in

:48:09.:48:12.

countries such as Australia and Canada who have had their pensioned

:48:13.:48:23.

frozen. While current pensioners receive up the 155 a week, a person

:48:24.:48:31.

who retired in 2000 and moved to live in Canada, India or Australian

:48:32.:48:37.

received just 67.50. This don't get go with inflation, it doesn't grow

:48:38.:48:41.

at all. Leading to a continuise reduction in real terms income and

:48:42.:48:46.

loss of independent and poverty, for hundreds of thousands across the

:48:47.:48:50.

globe. As we have here for the champion,

:48:51.:48:56.

all of these people have contributed tax income and National Insurance to

:48:57.:49:01.

the UK thought their working life and are penalised because they

:49:02.:49:05.

choose to live in a different country. Without operating

:49:06.:49:16.

recipients reliant on state pension income could find themselves

:49:17.:49:19.

impoverished. Dependent on relatives or it forces them to return to the

:49:20.:49:24.

UK. We have had many examples of that today. Sure it is time this

:49:25.:49:33.

country establishes a fair system. Those who are spent their like,

:49:34.:49:38.

should be supported in the manner which they deserve. It has been

:49:39.:49:43.

clear that we live in a globalised world. A word we sometimes requires

:49:44.:49:47.

people of all ages to move across borders to Europe, to the US or

:49:48.:49:53.

Canada or sometimes further afield. As we long to our future, we are

:49:54.:50:01.

working in a comprehensive, I asked them to do what here ministers have

:50:02.:50:07.

failed to do, and start increasing over seas pensions now. Why in this

:50:08.:50:12.

globalised world should the country in which a person required by... Why

:50:13.:50:23.

should a country a person collects their pension is affect their

:50:24.:50:30.

standard of living in. This doesn't sound like a fair system to me, it

:50:31.:50:35.

sounds like a system which leaves hundreds of thousands about they

:50:36.:50:41.

future, their financial position and their wellbeing. I know there are

:50:42.:50:47.

those who argue those oversea spend is their cash in others. They no

:50:48.:50:53.

longer pay tax here, and may no contributions to our society any

:50:54.:50:58.

more. Some may remind us our overseas pensioners don't access

:50:59.:51:03.

other National Service nor do they require support from social care,

:51:04.:51:08.

and as has been said for a small cost of ?30 million this year theic

:51:09.:51:21.

could begin a system. For 2018, this would cost 30.7 a million. This is

:51:22.:51:25.

not a costly back David Cameroning but a way to begin to rectify the

:51:26.:51:31.

injustice of the current system. We should prove that we care about the

:51:32.:51:36.

wellbeing of UK mentioned abroad. Abroad. We care about the vulnerable

:51:37.:51:43.

in set. -- our message is this should translate into a fair

:51:44.:51:49.

pensions system. As others have said the issues of other sees, to invoke

:51:50.:51:57.

of Article 50 with a lack of clear Government Marine Le Pennion.

:51:58.:52:00.

-- pension. Once we have left. In location to

:52:01.:52:12.

being left uncertain of that immigration status health

:52:13.:52:14.

benefitings and other issues this Government's inability to commit to

:52:15.:52:21.

policy has left 472,000 retired UK nationals living in the EU uncertain

:52:22.:52:25.

of what the future holds for them. We don't know whether a deal will be

:52:26.:52:33.

made to earn sure UK pensions will receive the full pension. The

:52:34.:52:37.

Government will not tell us. Perhaps the minister will be able to update

:52:38.:52:42.

the house today. Will British pensioners have their pensioned

:52:43.:52:47.

protected after we leave? Right decision to up rate pensions now

:52:48.:52:51.

would send the right signal to those in the EU the Government has a plan

:52:52.:52:58.

and they will be protected. I know the ambitions of nearly 700 overseas

:52:59.:53:04.

pensioners have E amailed meed go beyond the proposal. I recognise to

:53:05.:53:12.

row sthoerm would be a huge stress for any government, never mind one

:53:13.:53:18.

who slashed benefits and denies among others mentally ill people,

:53:19.:53:23.

the PIP they need, but we need to start somewhere. We as a country

:53:24.:53:27.

have prided ourselves on being a caring country, we are one of the

:53:28.:53:31.

highest net providers of foreign air aid in world and rightly so, we must

:53:32.:53:36.

however ask the question as to why we do no feel the need to adequately

:53:37.:53:45.

support our own pensionered. A number of no tern -- regardless of

:53:46.:53:50.

where they reside. Today we must consider why the UK is St sno doing

:53:51.:53:56.

this same. As a moderns they we must look to provide all our pensioners

:53:57.:54:01.

with enough financial support to allow them to enjoy their

:54:02.:54:08.

retirement. We have laid our pledges to maintain the trip lock, to

:54:09.:54:14.

compensation the was spin Westminster. Will the minister join

:54:15.:54:19.

us in our other pledge to protect the pensions of people living

:54:20.:54:22.

overseas, it is just the right thing to do.

:54:23.:54:30.

Thank you. And I hope I know you have been in the chair for some of

:54:31.:54:35.

the debate, but I hope you would agree with have had an interesting

:54:36.:54:40.

debate. Before I attempt to address the points raised. I would like

:54:41.:54:48.

those who have spoken today and thank the member for North Thanet

:54:49.:54:56.

and the honourable member from Ross Sky and lob Aber, which has been

:54:57.:55:05.

varied. The honourable gentleman from Ross key was very kind in his

:55:06.:55:09.

comments he made about me personally but I would like to say the way he

:55:10.:55:14.

has conducted himself while I have been pensioned minister and the

:55:15.:55:18.

honourable gentleman for Stockton North. We have disagreed on a lot of

:55:19.:55:26.

things, but we have also agreed onnen a lot. We have discussed it.

:55:27.:55:36.

On this particular subject, as the honourable gentleman mentioning to

:55:37.:55:42.

with the right honourable gentleman from Worthing West, I have to say,

:55:43.:55:48.

that completely I disagree with a lot of things they say. I would like

:55:49.:55:55.

to start sayings... Certainly. I know that was a remark that may

:55:56.:56:00.

have been addressed so to some of the things we said. One of the thing

:56:01.:56:05.

we said was not fair, not logical and no right. Is he trying to say it

:56:06.:56:11.

is logical, is fair and... It is the subjectivety of those words if I may

:56:12.:56:16.

say, but I will try and address some points he made. Cannot, however,

:56:17.:56:24.

address the successfully answer the cricket team that question he asked

:56:25.:56:29.

in his contribution, given that the civil servants will have less to do

:56:30.:56:34.

over the next few weeks, I would like to formally write to him, in as

:56:35.:56:41.

a child with Wisden I probably would have been able to answer myself. I

:56:42.:56:49.

can't do that. As I would like to say before I was bowled for six by

:56:50.:56:54.

that intervention, from the honourable member, I would like to

:56:55.:57:01.

just make it clear that the United Kingdom state pension is payable

:57:02.:57:05.

worldwide regardless of the recipients country of nationality, I

:57:06.:57:11.

say this because where I member of the public watching the broadcast of

:57:12.:57:15.

this, or reaching Hansard I could easily get the impression that

:57:16.:57:20.

people were leaving the country and not getting their pension at all.

:57:21.:57:25.

When we talk about scandalings, so I felt I should formally say on the

:57:26.:57:31.

record and I know hop rabble friends an other members know that is the

:57:32.:57:34.

case, Today, we are talking about

:57:35.:58:07.

uprating, and countries which has a reciprocal agreement with the UK

:58:08.:58:10.

which allows for uprating. This policy has remained consistent for

:58:11.:58:14.

about 70 years, and as has been said, it has been the policy of

:58:15.:58:16.

consecutive governments of all persuasions. But I recognised that

:58:17.:58:23.

the subject aroused strong opinions, and some of the language used is

:58:24.:58:32.

very concerning the people. Please don't think that I think the

:58:33.:58:35.

language used has been in proper in any way, but it is very strong

:58:36.:58:38.

language about people suffering and hardship etc. But I cried when I

:58:39.:58:47.

took on this portfolio... I am very grateful to the minister. Can he

:58:48.:58:52.

appreciate that there are people, there is clear evidence that people

:58:53.:58:54.

who have gone to live abroad and have come back because they don't

:58:55.:58:58.

feel they can manage with the frozen pension. So there is clear evidence

:58:59.:59:02.

that people feel they have been affected quite significantly by the

:59:03.:59:06.

situation of having a frozen pension? Yes. I don't disagree with

:59:07.:59:10.

the point that the honourable gentleman has made. But also return

:59:11.:59:17.

for many other reasons. When people emigrate, decide to live abroad,

:59:18.:59:21.

they do so for a number of reasons, they take into consideration the

:59:22.:59:25.

cost of living generally, the cost of property, food and drink and

:59:26.:59:29.

entertainment, whatever it might be. The pension is part of it, and

:59:30.:59:34.

similarly, when they decide to return, that may be some of the

:59:35.:59:39.

reason maybe, with their pension increased by inflation, but I

:59:40.:59:42.

suspect there's many other reasons as well. Family reasons etc. I would

:59:43.:59:49.

never dispute what he said. But I do think it is part of the picture. It

:59:50.:59:54.

is not right just to pick out of that particular point. As I was

:59:55.:59:58.

saying, I felt it my duty when taking on this portfolio to speak to

:59:59.:00:03.

as many people as possible, and I attended the meeting, I think it was

:00:04.:00:10.

at Lancaster House, a grand venue, but there were leaders from the

:00:11.:00:14.

overseas territories, a big joint ministerial council last November,

:00:15.:00:17.

and I did meet many of the people that have been mentioned by the

:00:18.:00:21.

right honourable gentleman from Northallerton in his contribution

:00:22.:00:25.

for example, he mentioned Montserrat, the Falkland Islands and

:00:26.:00:31.

others. And they were very, very impassioned people who gave speeches

:00:32.:00:35.

basically saying the same thing, and that hasn't been reflected in what

:00:36.:00:40.

has been said today. Several honourable friends and honourable

:00:41.:00:43.

members and my right honourable friend have mentioned that people do

:00:44.:00:49.

not have Parliamentary representation. In fact I think that

:00:50.:00:52.

point was made very strongly by the member from Leeds North West, which

:00:53.:00:58.

actually is the constituency that I was born and brought up in, so I do

:00:59.:01:02.

accept the minority communities that he mentioned in that constituency,

:01:03.:01:07.

and I was a descendant of one of them. So I accept the point. But I

:01:08.:01:16.

could only say to those people at that conference that I attended that

:01:17.:01:20.

I was there to listen, and I don't think, from what they told me,

:01:21.:01:26.

ministers of all persuasions, have precisely declined such an

:01:27.:01:28.

invitation before. I know it is a very passionate point, this is not a

:01:29.:01:37.

try on, people do feel very strongly about it. And it's not something

:01:38.:01:45.

that I take lightly. I would like to perhaps, if I make, bring up the

:01:46.:01:48.

point, Madame Deputy Speaker, that's been made by several contributors,

:01:49.:01:52.

including my right honourable friend from Northallerton, about, that, all

:01:53.:01:59.

workers pay their national insurance contribution towards their state

:02:00.:02:02.

pension, therefore there is a moral right that they should receive an

:02:03.:02:11.

uprated state pension wherever they live. Moral rights are very

:02:12.:02:14.

subjective. I know what was meant, but I would like to state that it

:02:15.:02:21.

has never meant entitlement, and it reflects the fact that the UK scheme

:02:22.:02:25.

overall is primarily designed for those living in the UK and the

:02:26.:02:29.

scheme operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. Contributions paid into the

:02:30.:02:34.

fund in any year actually contribute the expenditure in that year. And it

:02:35.:02:40.

is the way that the public finances work and I accept in other

:02:41.:02:43.

situations, and this has been mentioned several times during this

:02:44.:02:48.

debate about the arguments which we have heard many times on the floor

:02:49.:02:55.

of this help. I do not want to be thrown off my stride. But the

:02:56.:03:05.

contributions provide a foundation for calculating the benefits, but it

:03:06.:03:07.

actually doesn't pay for those benefits. In the same way that the

:03:08.:03:11.

honourable lady, when summing up for the SNP, in her final speech from

:03:12.:03:22.

the SNP, made the point of the national insurance fund. It's

:03:23.:03:27.

convenient to bring up in debate, but in reality, there is no surplus

:03:28.:03:31.

in the national insurance fund, because it's used to pay

:03:32.:03:34.

contributory benefits. It is basically a system of public

:03:35.:03:39.

accounting. The 16 billion that was mentioned is two months expenditure,

:03:40.:03:45.

and that is just an advisory level from the government actuary because

:03:46.:03:48.

it is a prudent working balance. It is not like having a bank account

:03:49.:03:52.

and you can say, we have got a surplus, let's use it. I will take

:03:53.:03:58.

the intervention. I am grateful. The point about it being a pay-as-you-go

:03:59.:04:02.

system, we all accept that, but it doesn't detract from the fact that

:04:03.:04:06.

you're paying national insurance, on the basis that you will have an

:04:07.:04:10.

entitlement out of that mechanism. As far as the national insurance

:04:11.:04:15.

fund is concerned, it is actually 30 billion, and it needs to have two

:04:16.:04:20.

months cash in it, you're right which is 16 billion, so the money is

:04:21.:04:24.

there to do this. I think as in many things, the honourable gentleman and

:04:25.:04:26.

I will have to agree to disagree. But we both fully understand each

:04:27.:04:33.

other's arguments, I'm sure. The cost point has been made very

:04:34.:04:37.

coherently by contributors to this debate, Madame Deputy Speaker. The

:04:38.:04:41.

Government generally, of course, takes the view that the first

:04:42.:04:44.

priority should be to ensure that older people in this country have an

:04:45.:04:55.

adequate income in retirement. To make all pensions fully uprated,

:04:56.:04:58.

regardless of the country of residence, to the rate currently

:04:59.:05:03.

paid in the UK, would cost about an extra half ?1 billion a year,

:05:04.:05:06.

increasingly significantly over time. Now, I make the point not

:05:07.:05:11.

because it has been specifically argued today by my right honourable

:05:12.:05:18.

friend, but it is... If people in favour of this motion are talking

:05:19.:05:23.

about a moral argument, not a legal argument, many of us are here

:05:24.:05:28.

because we believe in moral arguments generally, in our personal

:05:29.:05:31.

and political lives, it is why many of us do the job, but both could be

:05:32.:05:39.

a moral argument. Both systems of calculating it. But today, Madame

:05:40.:05:46.

Deputy Speaker, the debate has been predominantly about partial

:05:47.:05:56.

uprating. I understand this to me to uprate the current level, and only

:05:57.:06:01.

pay uprating going forward, with no arrears. I will have to look at that

:06:02.:06:07.

very carefully. Partial uprating can mean different things in different

:06:08.:06:14.

contexts. And it is, superficially,, a very attractive argument, to save,

:06:15.:06:19.

a few million pounds a year, tens of millions of pounds a year, not

:06:20.:06:26.

hundreds, not billions, not like the cost of... Not like the billions are

:06:27.:06:36.

spoken of by the SNP, in relation to the Waspi issue. Spend the money!

:06:37.:06:49.

Well, spend the money! I'm speechless! The honourable gentleman

:06:50.:06:58.

from Stockton or rarely makes me speechless, but his plea from a

:06:59.:07:03.

sedentary position to spend the money - maybe he should become

:07:04.:07:09.

Chancellor of the Exchequer. Maybe not in this life, as somebody has

:07:10.:07:16.

just said. On the face of it, tens of millions of pounds does not seem

:07:17.:07:21.

a lot. Of course, this will converge to the costs of full uprating in the

:07:22.:07:27.

medium-term. If the policy was changed now to either full or

:07:28.:07:31.

partial typically, in 30 years' time, the vast majority of

:07:32.:07:34.

pensioners would be receiving amounts of pensions at the levels as

:07:35.:07:40.

if they had been uprated for the whole time, because they would be

:07:41.:07:43.

new pensioners. Whichever government is in power, I think the honourable

:07:44.:07:48.

gentleman from Leeds North West suggested that perhaps it would be

:07:49.:07:53.

the government of a certain colour that's in power after the election,

:07:54.:07:59.

I may have misunderstood him, but I think anyone knows, whatever

:08:00.:08:01.

government is in power, resources are scarce. And governments have to

:08:02.:08:07.

make judgments about how best to use those resources. That's what

:08:08.:08:11.

government is. Indeed, to spend each year what might appear to some to be

:08:12.:08:15.

small amounts, it soon adds up to half a billion extra each year, on

:08:16.:08:20.

around half a million pensioners, and then, obviously, this looks much

:08:21.:08:27.

more significant amounts of money. And it could look to others, perhaps

:08:28.:08:33.

not the pensioners that went abroad, that the Government is behaving in a

:08:34.:08:37.

disproportionate manner to those people who have gone abroad. Much of

:08:38.:08:41.

that money would in fact not actually increase the money that a

:08:42.:08:45.

poor pensioner living abroad would receive. In Australia, for example,

:08:46.:08:50.

the age pension is means tested and the Australian Exchequer in some

:08:51.:08:55.

cases keeps up to 50%. Usually it requires people with overseas

:08:56.:08:58.

pensions to claim them. They are then taken to account and the New

:08:59.:09:02.

Zealand benefit pensions reduced by the amount of the UK pension.

:09:03.:09:06.

Additionally, Madame Deputy Speaker, since most people who move abroad to

:09:07.:09:09.

these countries do so before they have reached pensionable age, it

:09:10.:09:14.

means that most people would be able to build up. Pensions in the

:09:15.:09:17.

countries they have emigrated to, if they went when they were younger.

:09:18.:09:22.

But I think it is reasonable to say that the decision to move abroad,

:09:23.:09:28.

for most people, is a voluntary one. And remains a personal choice,

:09:29.:09:32.

dependent on the circumstance of the individual. It's a voluntary choice

:09:33.:09:37.

to go overseas, to live abroad. The honourable lady from the Scottish

:09:38.:09:46.

National Party, who in her summing up, mentioned that it will may not

:09:47.:09:51.

have been aware that they were moving to a country where the

:09:52.:09:55.

pension arrangements were different from another country, the division

:09:56.:10:04.

was made, saying, the line between Canada and America... But I do think

:10:05.:10:09.

that for people to move abroad, there's so many things that they

:10:10.:10:12.

have to find out about, to do with visas and whatever... Apologies for

:10:13.:10:21.

not being at this rate, I intended to be but I had other things. And as

:10:22.:10:27.

I shall shortly be leaving the House, maybe I might just put on

:10:28.:10:30.

record my support for our overseas pensioners. I do think they have

:10:31.:10:36.

been badly treated. In response to what my honourable friend said a

:10:37.:10:39.

moment ago, it is the case for many of these people that they have

:10:40.:10:42.

almost been obliged to move abroad for family reasons. The idea that in

:10:43.:10:46.

every case it is a voluntary choice, in many cases they felt obliged to

:10:47.:10:49.

move to support their families, and they feel trapped. They also feel a

:10:50.:10:54.

sense of betrayal and I would just like to put that on record. A

:10:55.:11:01.

perfectly acceptable point that in some cases people have to move in

:11:02.:11:06.

practical terms, with no choice. But many people decide to do for a

:11:07.:11:09.

number of personal or whatever reasons. I really do think I have

:11:10.:11:14.

made that point. But I do feel that when people are moving, by and

:11:15.:11:21.

large, it is the pension part of it, that is a part of their calculations

:11:22.:11:26.

when doing so. As, for example, I have said, things to do with the

:11:27.:11:32.

cost of living and other matters. The European point mentioned

:11:33.:11:39.

eloquently by, as usual, the gentleman from sky and Lochaber,

:11:40.:11:43.

about uprating state pensions paid to people residing in the European

:11:44.:11:49.

Economic Area and Switzerland, requirements of UK law that it is

:11:50.:11:56.

the same as being paid in the UK. But as everyone I'm sure is aware,

:11:57.:12:00.

particularly the honourable gentleman, the Article 50 process is

:12:01.:12:03.

now under way, and in accordance with what happened in the

:12:04.:12:07.

referendum, everything is being discussed in this House, the UK is

:12:08.:12:11.

leaving the European Union. And the Prime Minister has made it clear

:12:12.:12:13.

that securing reciprocal rights is one of the top priorities, and the

:12:14.:12:17.

rights and entitlements which will apply on the UK's -, such as those

:12:18.:12:23.

relating to UK state pension paid to those living in member states, are

:12:24.:12:26.

subject to the wider negotiation on our future relationship with the EU.

:12:27.:12:30.

The Government has made it clear that it plans to strike an early

:12:31.:12:34.

agreement about the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and vice

:12:35.:12:35.

versa. And so the laws and rules we now

:12:36.:12:49.

have, where we are ever practical continue to apply, to give the

:12:50.:12:54.

certainty for individuals and businesses. Madame Deputy Speaker...

:12:55.:13:05.

We is understand the limitation on minister and anything we think won't

:13:06.:13:09.

be taken personally by him or anybody else. I want to remind him

:13:10.:13:15.

of the debate on 10th May in 1907 when the old age pension bill was

:13:16.:13:20.

being discussed when the person doing the second reading was to stop

:13:21.:13:25.

people getting money, money, money. He has referred to the fact it

:13:26.:13:28.

affects hundreds of millions of people to make no change, to make a

:13:29.:13:33.

small change for Les than 500,000 people, so with can we stay to the

:13:34.:13:37.

since Mr, after the election let us come back to and look at it

:13:38.:13:41.

properly. I thank him for that contribution.

:13:42.:13:45.

I, may be he was that the debate in 1907. I wasn't myself but I look

:13:46.:13:53.

forward to reading up about it. So as I have said, those enest

:13:54.:13:57.

eligible for UK state pension can have their pension paid where ever

:13:58.:14:01.

they choose to live. The rules governing the up rating of smenions

:14:02.:14:04.

are straightforward a and have been the same for manier use, the

:14:05.:14:08.

Government's position remains consistency with that for the last

:14:09.:14:12.

70 years and the annual cost of changing this policy will soon be

:14:13.:14:16.

?70 years and the annual cost of changing this policy will soon be an

:14:17.:14:18.

extra half a billion which the government believes cannot be

:14:19.:14:22.

justified. I am very grateful indeed to all of

:14:23.:14:26.

those honourable friends and colleagues on both sides of the

:14:27.:14:29.

House who contributed to this debate. Which will have been watched

:14:30.:14:35.

by have very many people around the world. We are proud to live in a

:14:36.:14:40.

country with a reputation for fairness. And for none

:14:41.:14:45.

discrimination. And there is an injustice and my right honourable

:14:46.:14:50.

friend the minister knows this, and to say that this has been widely

:14:51.:14:55.

publicised, it has been the same for many year, it has been Ron for many

:14:56.:15:00.

years, and it will go on being wrong and people like me will, and my

:15:01.:15:04.

right honourable friends will go on, until get a resolution to this. I

:15:05.:15:09.

understand that the minister is not in a position to make a concession

:15:10.:15:12.

this afternoon and I didn't expect him to do so I would ask him to do

:15:13.:15:17.

this, when this debate was called, none of us had any idea there was

:15:18.:15:22.

going to be a general election, and to some extent that has coloured

:15:23.:15:26.

some of the remarks made this afternoon. I have not pulled my

:15:27.:15:32.

punches because that is not what I do, but I would just in friendship

:15:33.:15:40.

say this, to the minister, will he please go back, and talk to my right

:15:41.:15:44.

honourable friend the member for Ashford, one of my Kebet colleagues

:15:45.:15:47.

and have a serious discussion about how we can put this into the

:15:48.:15:55.

Conservative Party manifesto, as an election pledge, to resolve this

:15:56.:15:59.

issue on the very modest terms we have put forward and into which

:16:00.:16:03.

great thought has been put, so that when we come back, and I hope we at

:16:04.:16:10.

least will be coming back, in June, we can put this issue to bed and

:16:11.:16:17.

allow 500,000 people living around the world in retirement, to sleep

:16:18.:16:21.

more sowedly. Mr Dam Deputy Speaker I beg to move.

:16:22.:16:26.

The question is as on the order paper, as many are of that opinion

:16:27.:16:29.

say eh. Of the contrary no. The IAEAs have it. The IAEAs have it.

:16:30.:16:38.

-- ayes have it P It would be help fful the pension ministers remains

:16:39.:16:42.

in the chamber. I am grateful to the member for Watford and the pensions

:16:43.:16:46.

minister for his kind words about our working relationship and agree

:16:47.:16:49.

it has been constructive everyone when we disagreed. I hope you or he

:16:50.:16:58.

can assist with the news that the DWP hotline is closing down

:16:59.:17:04.

tomorrow. This would have a huge detrimental effect on MPs'able do

:17:05.:17:07.

their job but I am sure the wheels have moved since I raised the matter

:17:08.:17:11.

with the Government whip earlier, but can you or perhaps the minister,

:17:12.:17:16.

confirm the date for Purdah and whether or not hotlines for MPs

:17:17.:17:24.

should close tomorrow evening? Have to a Ly go to respond to this

:17:25.:17:31.

question whether the honourable gentleman for Stockton North

:17:32.:17:34.

mentioned. I do not know the answer to that but I will find out

:17:35.:17:37.

straightaway and communicate that with him. I suspect, this is a

:17:38.:17:43.

matter that is decided by Civil Service as to based on previous

:17:44.:17:50.

protocols about Purdah and I do not feel able to give him the answer he

:17:51.:17:55.

wants and deserves. Further point of order. The minister

:17:56.:18:00.

has been very clear and helpful, if there is a practise that his

:18:01.:18:04.

helplines which are for our constituents rather for us are

:18:05.:18:08.

closed down before Parliament stops sitting, can I suggest through you,

:18:09.:18:12.

that those who withins should change the practice and make sure it

:18:13.:18:23.

happens when Parliament is dised. The minister made clear there, that

:18:24.:18:27.

he was going to communicate to the shadow minister, can we ensure all

:18:28.:18:31.

members of the house get communication if is going to happen,

:18:32.:18:36.

and we hope it doesn't because it impacts our constituents in a big

:18:37.:18:38.

way. If the minister would like to

:18:39.:18:42.

respond to that that would be helpful. On that point that the

:18:43.:18:50.

honourable lady has made. I thank honourable members. Think

:18:51.:18:56.

this is a very important point so I think I am grateful to the minister

:18:57.:19:00.

for having responded so we will leave it there for now, it is a very

:19:01.:19:06.

point of order. We come now to the backbench debate

:19:07.:19:12.

on research and development on tackling infectious diseases. Thank

:19:13.:19:23.

you Mr D Deputy Speaker, beg the move the motion. Madame Deputy

:19:24.:19:30.

Speaker, thank you for the fulsome debate op an important issue for so

:19:31.:19:35.

many people across the world, as sponsor I want to set out the issues

:19:36.:19:43.

that need raising. Say a lit on my area of greater knowledge and have

:19:44.:19:50.

as many members on both side of the table that raise... TB, HIV and

:19:51.:19:58.

malaria. They are the world's leading infectious killers, as well

:19:59.:20:05.

as the three big disease, one.5 billion people have a knowing

:20:06.:20:11.

elected tropical disease and another 1.5 risk of contracting one.

:20:12.:20:20.

People are trapped in ill health and debt, than doesn't just blight air

:20:21.:20:25.

own lives but also that those that rely on them. Many of the diseases

:20:26.:20:32.

are chronic, endemic, through some of the most deprived communities in

:20:33.:20:38.

the world. Sadly, there is no market for curing these illnesses, there is

:20:39.:20:44.

no profit in curing them. There is no will to eradicate. The value in

:20:45.:20:52.

doing so is too far away. But the cost of inaction are far higher than

:20:53.:21:03.

the costs of action. Round $240 billion thrver are spent on health

:21:04.:21:10.

research. Almost none is directed at these diseases of poverty. Because

:21:11.:21:16.

there is no market incentive, it is still only likely to occur by donor

:21:17.:21:24.

and flat topic organisations. Yes, the UN has said that investment in

:21:25.:21:30.

treating these diseases, can yield returns. For TB, for example,er the

:21:31.:21:42.

UN has said that every one invested in TB-year-olds a return of over

:21:43.:21:50.

$30s. For many of the conditions treatment, is a complicated matter

:21:51.:21:56.

requiring a cocktail of drugs taken to a strict Reg minute. For too many

:21:57.:22:05.

this is not possible. New drugs have been slow to come to the markets.

:22:06.:22:13.

They present a view cure for millions but since 1990 no new

:22:14.:22:21.

antibiotics have been developed. The diseases are becoming resistant.

:22:22.:22:27.

Approximately 700,000 people will die this year, because of

:22:28.:22:33.

anti-microbial resistance or known as AMR. My dose by 2000250 this

:22:34.:22:45.

could cost 2.3.5% of global GDP or a one trillion dollars of economic out

:22:46.:22:51.

put. It will be a global catastrophe. Our Government has

:22:52.:22:58.

already taken positive steps, the plan dishment of the global fund

:22:59.:23:02.

with ?2000250 this could cost 2.3.5% of global GDP or a one trillion

:23:03.:23:04.

dollars of economic out put. It will be a global catastrophe. Our

:23:05.:23:06.

Government has already taken positive steps, the plan dishment of

:23:07.:23:09.

the global fund with over a billion. 08% of the funding for the global

:23:10.:23:11.

fight against TB comes from that fund and we are the second largest

:23:12.:23:18.

donor in it. I hope to that the minister will restate his commitment

:23:19.:23:26.

to that fight. But prevention diagnosis and treatment, through the

:23:27.:23:29.

global fund cannot be the sole solution. It is clear that without

:23:30.:23:36.

new tools, we will not meet the commit respect made in the global

:23:37.:23:45.

goals to end the epidemics of HIV. By 2030. At the current rate of

:23:46.:23:52.

progress it will take at least 150 years, to end the TB epidemic. More

:23:53.:24:02.

of, to Neil review publics last year made it clear that it will

:24:03.:24:15.

exacerbate this bleak outlook. Look. TB, there was an event on TB and AMR

:24:16.:24:21.

including contributions from the minister and Lord O'Neill. There

:24:22.:24:30.

Lord O'Neill reiterated that reviews conclusion that tackling TB must be

:24:31.:24:35.

at the hard of any global action on AMR. TB. Accounts for one third of

:24:36.:24:48.

AMARs and if left unaddressed will cost the global economy over $16

:24:49.:24:54.

tris. As Lord O'Neill said at that other

:24:55.:25:04.

event, the cost of investing in new drugs is minuscule compared to the

:25:05.:25:12.

cost of doing nothing. At present, treatment for drug resistant TB and

:25:13.:25:22.

two years course of 14,000 pills which can have severe side effects,

:25:23.:25:28.

including permanent deafness as well as injections it is little wonder

:25:29.:25:35.

that less than half of those who start treatment complete the course.

:25:36.:25:42.

Concerned round AMR are not limited to TIB and it is an issue of serious

:25:43.:25:48.

concern for other diseases including malaria.

:25:49.:25:55.

On the annual 500,000 deaths from malaria, most are children under the

:25:56.:26:08.

age of five, in sub-Saharan Africa. Combination therapies, are currently

:26:09.:26:14.

the front line treatments against the most deadly malaria parasites.

:26:15.:26:19.

All those these treatments are working well in there are serious

:26:20.:26:25.

concern that malaria mar sierts are developing widespread. A resistance

:26:26.:26:33.

to this vital treatment. And resistance is spreading in the

:26:34.:26:41.

greater Mekong area, spread across to the frequent continent would have

:26:42.:26:50.

devastating. At the beginning of this year, we witnessed the first

:26:51.:26:55.

malaria drug treatment in the UK with four patients.

:26:56.:27:03.

This was swiftly followed by researchers in Africa, detecting

:27:04.:27:07.

malaria parasites partially resistant. The minister will be

:27:08.:27:13.

aware that AMR is one of the topics, being considered by this year's G20.

:27:14.:27:21.

Last year, the G20 it is a taed the OECD and others with the development

:27:22.:27:28.

a road map, on incentivising research, and development for new

:27:29.:27:32.

anti-bots. In line with the review's conclusion

:27:33.:27:45.

that TB must be at the heart of the AMR response, will be minister takes

:27:46.:27:49.

steps to ensure TB is prioritised within the G20 discussions on AMR?

:27:50.:27:57.

Will he ensure the Government pushes for agreement on a new mechanism to

:27:58.:28:03.

incentivise research and development to tackle AMR and within the drug

:28:04.:28:11.

resistant TB, especially as half of all cases of TB and drug TB, as well

:28:12.:28:21.

as TB deaths... In February I was in India where I met the Prime Minister

:28:22.:28:27.

and I made similar representations there. Only by working with

:28:28.:28:34.

international partners can we make progress against Ayoub's leading

:28:35.:28:43.

infectious killer and only major airborne threat. Here I would like

:28:44.:28:50.

to raise the effect medical technology can have. The UN

:28:51.:28:57.

Secretary-General has a panel on high access medicines. Promoting

:28:58.:29:01.

innovations and health technologies notes that despite this progress

:29:02.:29:06.

which is developing vaccines and providing dramatically improved

:29:07.:29:13.

outcomes of HIV sufferers, millions of people continue to suffer and die

:29:14.:29:18.

from treatable conditions because of a lack of access to health

:29:19.:29:24.

technologies. It is too easy to focus solely on pharmaceuticals in

:29:25.:29:33.

tackling infectious disease, but without technology, even the very

:29:34.:29:39.

basic, tackling an outbreak is almost impossible. I recently heard

:29:40.:29:45.

from a company that manufactures diagnostic products and lab

:29:46.:29:53.

equipment right here in the UK and exports it all over the world. They

:29:54.:29:59.

told me about the measures we could be taking right now to tackle

:30:00.:30:09.

antimicrobial resistance, including the better use of blood testing. We

:30:10.:30:14.

must take steps right now to improve diagnosis, times and ensure that the

:30:15.:30:21.

most appropriate antibiotics are administered. We have been leading

:30:22.:30:27.

research in developing the blood test bottles which counteract the

:30:28.:30:32.

effects of antibiotics meaning they can be administered immediately in

:30:33.:30:38.

life-threatening cases. It has also worked on technologies to control

:30:39.:30:45.

TB, including through the development of new tools which

:30:46.:30:52.

enable the rapid testing and the reporting of the new second line

:30:53.:30:55.

drugs for extensively drug resistant TB. In the event of an outbreak of

:30:56.:31:02.

any infectious disease, timely treatment is crucial. Their work in

:31:03.:31:11.

the field of technology not just pharmaceuticals can contribute to

:31:12.:31:14.

the tackling of infectious diseases across the world. Madam Deputy

:31:15.:31:21.

Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister to look closer at how the

:31:22.:31:28.

better use of diagnostics, including blood cultures can tackle AMR. Some

:31:29.:31:33.

targeted research and development has worked. Why in 2002 more than

:31:34.:31:42.

half a million children a year were becoming newly infected with HIV,

:31:43.:31:53.

that number has now halved. In 2015, the Government created a cross

:31:54.:31:59.

departmental Ross fund to invest in the research and development for

:32:00.:32:04.

drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and treatment to combat the most

:32:05.:32:10.

infectious diseases. Well this was a welcoming announcement, the fund

:32:11.:32:17.

must be used to complement rather than substitute the existing

:32:18.:32:28.

commitments on infectious disease, research and development,

:32:29.:32:32.

particularly its historic commitment to not for profit development

:32:33.:32:41.

partnerships. At the event for world TB Day, we heard from TB Alliance

:32:42.:32:49.

who has benefited from UK investment. But developing new tools

:32:50.:32:56.

is not a short-term project. The Minister should reaffirm the

:32:57.:33:00.

Government's commitment to these partnerships. We cannot afford to

:33:01.:33:10.

step away from them. For example, we currently have one vaccine for TB.

:33:11.:33:19.

The BCG which dates back to the 1920s and is only moderately

:33:20.:33:25.

effective in preventing severe TB in young children, it does not

:33:26.:33:32.

adequately protect adults and teenagers who are most at risk for

:33:33.:33:41.

developing and spreading TB. But there are also regulatory issues. It

:33:42.:33:50.

is expected that by 2020, 70% of those living with HIV will be in

:33:51.:33:55.

middle income countries and will no longer have access to affordable

:33:56.:34:02.

variants. The British government has been keen to come to arrangements

:34:03.:34:06.

that have allowed the countries with the greatest burden in longer time

:34:07.:34:13.

to comply with hate and regulations. This positive attitude has not

:34:14.:34:18.

always been shared by the US administration and I am worried the

:34:19.:34:22.

new president will be even less inclined to come to the sensible

:34:23.:34:28.

arrangement. Similarly, as the Government negotiates new trade

:34:29.:34:34.

agreements in the wake of our exit from the European Union, we must

:34:35.:34:42.

ensure access to medicines by protecting the exhibitor tease.

:34:43.:34:47.

There is growing global momentum on the shortcomings of our art in the

:34:48.:34:54.

model and a number of solutions have been put forward, including the UN

:34:55.:34:58.

high-level panel reports on access to medicines. The UK must prioritise

:34:59.:35:05.

and plan how to move such recommendations forward,

:35:06.:35:11.

particularly in the lead of the world health assembly in May. I

:35:12.:35:14.

would be grateful if the Minister could outline in his response rather

:35:15.:35:23.

whether the UK plans to development a cross departmental Court of

:35:24.:35:27.

principles for biomedical research and development. This would be based

:35:28.:35:34.

on the recommendations from the high-level meeting on AMR for

:35:35.:35:38.

research and development to be guided by principles of

:35:39.:35:45.

affordability and ready for the 70th world health assembly in May. We

:35:46.:35:52.

should insure are in the leaves to half technologies that are

:35:53.:35:55.

affordable and accessible to those that need them. The real game

:35:56.:36:03.

changer will be finding a way to encourage the development of most

:36:04.:36:07.

therapies, new medicines and innovative vaccines. Change will

:36:08.:36:15.

come from a change to the regulatory environment and that cannot be

:36:16.:36:21.

achieved by UK action alone. Could the Minister please commit to

:36:22.:36:28.

ensuring that encouraging the field is best practice is a key plank to

:36:29.:36:34.

future international efforts? Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to and

:36:35.:36:38.

by thanking the all-party groups that have made this debate possible,

:36:39.:36:45.

TB, HIV and AIDS, malaria and neglected tropical diseases. I am

:36:46.:36:53.

keen to hear what so many of my honourable friends and colleagues

:36:54.:36:57.

have to say, so I will leave it there when there is sadly so much to

:36:58.:37:03.

say. Thank you very much. The question is as on the order paper.

:37:04.:37:14.

the International development the International development

:37:15.:37:16.

committee from Ealing Southall for his comprehensive speech which

:37:17.:37:21.

really covered a huge amount of ground and I would like to declare

:37:22.:37:25.

my interest as a member of the board of the Liverpool School of tropical

:37:26.:37:34.

medicine, which looks at developing new insecticides to put on bed nets

:37:35.:37:43.

to counter mosquitoes. Also as chair of the all-party group on malaria

:37:44.:37:48.

and tropical diseases. I had the honour on Monday of chairing a

:37:49.:37:52.

meeting in Washington as chair of the Parliamentary network on the

:37:53.:38:05.

World Bank and AMS boot I M F and it was spoken about infectious diseases

:38:06.:38:10.

and the threat posed by them. It was pointed out that we had come

:38:11.:38:14.

together with the three countries in Westpac brick -- West Africa to

:38:15.:38:23.

tackle the bowler. There was a huge, cost of life there but the

:38:24.:38:27.

coordinated action had enabled that epidemic to be curtailed. It could

:38:28.:38:33.

have been much worse. He took also about Zika but he pointed out the

:38:34.:38:41.

likelihood of a major epidemic of an infectious disease, possibly

:38:42.:38:45.

through, which could affect as many as 30 million people resulting in

:38:46.:38:49.

the kind of deaths we have not seen since Spanish flu in 1919 was quite

:38:50.:38:54.

possible and very much on their radar and that is why this debate is

:38:55.:39:00.

so important. The UK Government has been at the forefront in providing

:39:01.:39:05.

resources for research and development in tackling infectious

:39:06.:39:10.

diseases and the deployment of those tools in the countries where they

:39:11.:39:15.

are needed. Not only in the case of the bowler and Zika but also as my

:39:16.:39:21.

Friend has mentioned, the rise in resistance to drugs for TB and

:39:22.:39:31.

malaria. The drugs which are used in combination therapies have seen

:39:32.:39:34.

resistance growing in south-east Asia and as we know it is always

:39:35.:39:39.

from south-east Asia that resistance grows to malaria drugs, it did for

:39:40.:39:50.

chloroquine and now it is forward the ACTs and that is where the real

:39:51.:39:55.

threat lies, because if resistance grows there and crosses to

:39:56.:39:59.

sub-Saharan Africa, we face the prospect of yet another drug

:40:00.:40:02.

becoming less effective and ACTs have played a huge role in cutting

:40:03.:40:08.

the number of deaths from over 1,000,002 thousand to less than

:40:09.:40:12.

500,000 last year. The UK Government has played a major role through the

:40:13.:40:18.

funding of, for instance, medicines for malaria venture, and Wellcome

:40:19.:40:30.

the announcement by the Secretary of State on additional funding to

:40:31.:40:32.

combat neglected tropical diseases and I hope some of that funding will

:40:33.:40:37.

go into developing new drugs in the area, because to tackle some of

:40:38.:40:44.

those diseases we have a shortfall in the pipeline. Some have very

:40:45.:40:48.

effective existing drugs, others do not and we must not also forget the

:40:49.:40:55.

role that vaccines play as the number mentioned earlier in respect

:40:56.:41:00.

of TB. But as he also made clear, these are not commercial

:41:01.:41:05.

propositions in most cases. They are not drugs which companies can afford

:41:06.:41:10.

on their own to develop, they need the support of governments, the

:41:11.:41:15.

support of foundations. It is tremendous how both governments and

:41:16.:41:21.

foundations such as welcome have stepped up and drug companies in the

:41:22.:41:25.

case of neglect of tropical diseases where they have provided billions of

:41:26.:41:31.

doses free across the globe in the past 15-20 years. I just want to

:41:32.:41:36.

conclude by giving three reasons why we should be concerned about this.

:41:37.:41:43.

First of all it is absolutely the right thing to do. This is dealing

:41:44.:41:49.

with diseases which affect people across the globe. Firstly the

:41:50.:41:55.

poorest people, the 1.5 billion who suffer from malaria, TB, HIV, but

:41:56.:42:03.

also the people in our own countries who suffer from these diseases and

:42:04.:42:06.

let us not forget that they are right on our doorstep, and secondly,

:42:07.:42:13.

it is very cost-effective. The ratio is something like 40-1 has been

:42:14.:42:21.

mentioned already and in many places what we spend in international

:42:22.:42:25.

development has to be extremely effective and in many cases, what we

:42:26.:42:30.

spend on research and development and on treating these diseases is

:42:31.:42:35.

pretty much the best buy in international development and that

:42:36.:42:39.

is why I welcome the fact the UK Government has put more resources

:42:40.:42:45.

into these areas. But thirdly, and this is even more important now that

:42:46.:42:50.

out of the of the EU, the UK is a world leader. We have institutions

:42:51.:42:56.

such as the London school of hygiene and medicine, Imperial College, the

:42:57.:43:05.

University of Dundee, University of Aberdeen, many across the UK which

:43:06.:43:08.

are world leaders in this area. That we don't leave aside and

:43:09.:43:24.

neglect those areas when we already world leaders and that means a

:43:25.:43:28.

number of things. It means firstly Kameni investment in terms of

:43:29.:43:31.

government support, primarily through cash -- firstly it means

:43:32.:43:38.

investment. And it also means making sure that the best scientists, the

:43:39.:43:42.

young researchers who want to come to this country because of the

:43:43.:43:46.

excellence here, can continue to do so, that they won't be blocked from

:43:47.:43:51.

coming. Let's not forget that researchers are not often well-paid,

:43:52.:43:58.

and if we set salary -based caps for immigration, we will automatically

:43:59.:44:01.

disqualify some of the brightest minds on the planet from coming.

:44:02.:44:07.

Let's make sure that this does not come into place, that if we are

:44:08.:44:09.

going to have some kind of immigration rules that they are

:44:10.:44:14.

based on the task and not the salary. Because if we set a cap at

:44:15.:44:21.

even ?30,000, that will probably take out half of the Ph.D. Posts and

:44:22.:44:31.

doctoral posts that exist in this country, and that is absolutely

:44:32.:44:35.

critical. And also we have two in carriage our own researchers to go

:44:36.:44:42.

and work across the globe in collaboration -- in carriage. It

:44:43.:44:47.

requires the widest possible collaboration. I want to thank the

:44:48.:44:52.

minister who will have played a major role in the decision in this

:44:53.:45:01.

talk regarding neglecting topical diseases, and I think we have been

:45:02.:45:06.

waiting but this, but this has exceeded our expectations and this

:45:07.:45:10.

is to Mendis, and this is great for the United Kingdom and this is great

:45:11.:45:12.

for the people suffering from topical diseases -- this is

:45:13.:45:19.

tremendous. As we come to the end of this Parliament I would like to hope

:45:20.:45:24.

that in all the manifestos and in particular in the Conservative Party

:45:25.:45:28.

manifesto we will have a commitment to continue with 0.7% of GDP to be

:45:29.:45:35.

spent on international development and a commitment to make infectious

:45:36.:45:42.

diseases research and development and the deployment of those

:45:43.:45:45.

resources a key priority for a new government. Wendy Morton. I would

:45:46.:45:53.

like to start by congratulating the rubble -- honourable member for

:45:54.:46:01.

bringing this forward. It is a pleasure to follow my friend the

:46:02.:46:06.

member for Stafford who always speaks with such experience and

:46:07.:46:09.

knowledge when it comes to neglected tropical disease and in particular I

:46:10.:46:14.

know he has done a huge amount of work on tackling malaria. Today's

:46:15.:46:23.

debate is a very timely debate and we've heard already about last

:46:24.:46:29.

week's announcement of the doubling support to fight neglected tropical

:46:30.:46:36.

diseases like Guinea worm and that the UK will invest ?360 million of

:46:37.:46:41.

programmes to tackle this kind of disease. This week the WHO is

:46:42.:46:52.

hosting a summit on NTDs and we have already seen the coming together of

:46:53.:47:00.

governments and NGOs and the private sector, and the Belinda Gates

:47:01.:47:02.

foundation which has been mentioned today. That is another way of

:47:03.:47:09.

highlighting the importance of tackling some quite frankly terrible

:47:10.:47:13.

diseases which really strike at the heart of some of the most vulnerable

:47:14.:47:18.

people around the world. As a member of the committee and a co-chair of

:47:19.:47:25.

the global goals I really wanted to come along and speak what perhaps

:47:26.:47:29.

will be the last debate of this Parliament on international

:47:30.:47:34.

development. And take it as an opportunity to highlight some of the

:47:35.:47:42.

incredible work that UK aid has delivered and I'm sure the Prime --

:47:43.:47:50.

I'm sure the minister will tell us more. The UK is investing in

:47:51.:48:00.

research and development with funding from the box fund, which is

:48:01.:48:06.

billion pound fund and the aim is to work on testing and producing new

:48:07.:48:09.

products, especially those on malaria. We often hear the

:48:10.:48:16.

importance of bed nets but that is not the only answer to the problem

:48:17.:48:20.

of malaria and we also need to be looking at the drugs and the

:48:21.:48:24.

insecticides and the diagnostics. The importance of working on

:48:25.:48:37.

antimicrobial is also important. As a select committee we have done an

:48:38.:48:42.

inquiry on this, and one of those terrible infectious diseases that

:48:43.:48:49.

affected not so many... Not just people in Sierra Leone and Africa,

:48:50.:48:53.

but we know of some British citizens who were also very seriously

:48:54.:48:58.

affected by that, as well. That highlighted not just the importance

:48:59.:49:02.

of looking for ways of testing for this disease and hearing it, but

:49:03.:49:05.

also the importance of having adequate health care systems. I

:49:06.:49:12.

think tackling the neglected tropical diseases, it is clearly

:49:13.:49:15.

good news for those countries that are most badly affected, but also

:49:16.:49:23.

good news for our universities and our Pharma companies and many of our

:49:24.:49:27.

NGO Burrow and Charity because they have really vital roles to play in

:49:28.:49:36.

this as well -- NGOs and charities. So many of us travel around the

:49:37.:49:43.

world and it is important for us to sit -- seek safe and secure passage

:49:44.:49:49.

around the world and to find solutions to these diseases. I've

:49:50.:49:59.

mentioned malaria and Ebola and the Zika is another one, and so many of

:50:00.:50:03.

them we do not hear about them until there is an epidemic or a really

:50:04.:50:09.

serious outbreak. But it also shows and illustrates why UK aid, the UK

:50:10.:50:15.

aid budget matters, and it shows that when we spend it wisely it

:50:16.:50:20.

really can make a difference to people's lives and it is in our

:50:21.:50:25.

interest to do that. We know infectious diseases

:50:26.:50:26.

disproportionately affect the poorest people and they exacerbate

:50:27.:50:33.

instability and they put at risk our own stability and national security.

:50:34.:50:40.

There was a high-level panel on medicines and access to medicines

:50:41.:50:44.

and it made recommendations regarding getting more medicines to

:50:45.:50:47.

more people who need them but also recognised that research and

:50:48.:50:51.

development alone is not enough. Intellectual property law and other

:50:52.:50:58.

laws and drug regulations and public health obligations of part of this,

:50:59.:51:03.

as as well is price. Which can be a major barrier to accessing treatment

:51:04.:51:11.

globally. Anti-virals are a good example. Third line antivirals

:51:12.:51:20.

remain prohibitively expensive especially in third board countries,

:51:21.:51:28.

and what makes it more pressing -- third World countries. I will draw

:51:29.:51:37.

my comments to a conclusion by saying that I believe that Britain

:51:38.:51:41.

has a proud record in this field and that we really are leading the way

:51:42.:51:46.

in fighting these diseases. In research and in targeting and

:51:47.:51:50.

tackling the real wood causes of what I believe are avoidable

:51:51.:51:55.

infections and diseases. But whilst we have achieved so much it is the

:51:56.:52:00.

case that there is or was much more that can be done, and I hope the

:52:01.:52:06.

minister will set out in his remarks today the plans of his department

:52:07.:52:09.

and we know he's very committed to this particular area. As I started

:52:10.:52:16.

by saying, I welcome the work that he has done. John Glenn. It is a

:52:17.:52:23.

privilege to contribute to this debate. I would like to pay tribute

:52:24.:52:28.

to the member for aiding south for bringing this debate to the House

:52:29.:52:40.

this afternoon -- Ealing South. And the member for Stafford has done so

:52:41.:52:45.

much work in the field of infectious diseases, not just in this country,

:52:46.:52:50.

but globally. He really is a very effective champion for this country

:52:51.:52:57.

in this area. As a number of members have already highlighted, infectious

:52:58.:53:05.

desert -- disease research is a real success story for the UK and it is

:53:06.:53:09.

fitting that we should be having this debate in the week before world

:53:10.:53:16.

immunisation week which celebrates the progress we have made tackling

:53:17.:53:19.

some of the biggest global health threats through vaccination. But

:53:20.:53:24.

closer to home as the member of Parliament for Salisbury and South

:53:25.:53:29.

Wiltshire and in particular Portland down, I've campaigned over the last

:53:30.:53:36.

six years on Wiltshire's expertise in this area and I welcome the

:53:37.:53:41.

opportunity to seek to focus the government's attention on this

:53:42.:53:45.

unique asset to the UK. And its potential to contribute to the

:53:46.:53:47.

global fight against infectious disease. I want to make clear the

:53:48.:53:54.

importance of UK aid and leadership in this area. And how effectively

:53:55.:54:01.

the UK aid budget can be if it is used creatively to the various

:54:02.:54:08.

elements of risk that exist in this domain. We often hear criticism of

:54:09.:54:16.

our development assistance budget where people question whether aid is

:54:17.:54:22.

always in our national interest. But this is clearly an example of where

:54:23.:54:26.

our security at home can only be achieved by investment abroad,

:54:27.:54:32.

epidemics might start far from our shores, but diseases do not respect

:54:33.:54:36.

national borders. We bus continued to show leadership as a country. And

:54:37.:54:42.

as a government -- we must continue. The National risk register

:54:43.:54:47.

identifies emerging diseases as one of the most serious threats we face.

:54:48.:54:53.

With over 2 billion passengers travelling by air every year, it

:54:54.:54:59.

remains firmly in the interests of national security to invest in

:55:00.:55:03.

vaccinations that can prevent outbreaks hundreds of miles away.

:55:04.:55:08.

But this is not an issue that government funding or intervention

:55:09.:55:14.

alone can address and it requires collaboration and intelligent

:55:15.:55:15.

collaboration between academia and industry and the public sector to

:55:16.:55:22.

identify new vaccines and a license them and manufacture them and then

:55:23.:55:25.

get them to where they are needed. Too often they remain stuck in the

:55:26.:55:31.

pipeline as unproven concepts or in research papers. The Id bowler

:55:32.:55:38.

epidemic galvanised international efforts to quickly mobilise vaccines

:55:39.:55:51.

-- Ebola epidemic. First, to little economic incentive exists for the

:55:52.:55:53.

private sector as others have mentioned to invest in vaccine

:55:54.:55:57.

research for rare emerging infectious diseases, and second,

:55:58.:56:02.

licensing vaccines is challenging and this has a further impact on the

:56:03.:56:07.

commercial potential that these drugs can have and the UK has a

:56:08.:56:16.

limited manufacturing ability that needs to be enhanced and as the

:56:17.:56:25.

British Society for an -- immunisation told us, we lack a

:56:26.:56:29.

platform for the research, development and manner fracturing of

:56:30.:56:36.

new vaccines and treatments against novel or emerging diseases --

:56:37.:56:42.

manufacturing. It is welcome that the government is taking steps to

:56:43.:56:48.

address this deficiency, and ?120 billion in overseas development

:56:49.:56:54.

assistance to develop vaccines for infectious diseases with economic --

:56:55.:56:59.

epidemic potential for it can take ?1 million to go through

:57:00.:57:09.

concept of a vaccine to market, and there are challenges in the

:57:10.:57:11.

translation gap of taking products through by -- licensing where

:57:12.:57:19.

products can easily achieve price is ?100 million, and so research can

:57:20.:57:25.

help bridge these gaps and so also can be bright facilities in the byte

:57:26.:57:28.

location and this is will become onto my constituency -- also can be

:57:29.:57:31.

bright facilities. Before the Ebola crisis, my

:57:32.:57:46.

constituents were hoping it would become a national... And the natural

:57:47.:57:54.

synergies between government agencies and the private sector.

:57:55.:58:00.

Portland down is home to Public Health England's centre for

:58:01.:58:05.

emergency preparedness and response. The defence science technology

:58:06.:58:08.

laboratories and a new temple in pounds science park. -- a new temple

:58:09.:58:11.

in pounds. Will be home to some of the most

:58:12.:58:13.

innovative countries in the country. Salisbury District Hospital and

:58:14.:58:31.

Southampton Hospital nearby provide treatment in infectious diseases.

:58:32.:58:37.

There are conversations to strengthen the collaboration,

:58:38.:58:43.

perhaps based from Salisbury District Hospital and Wiltshire, in

:58:44.:58:49.

the coming years which could be of considerable benefit to tackle

:58:50.:58:54.

outbreaks given the involvement our Armed Forces had in the Ebola

:58:55.:59:00.

response. So all factors make Portland Down an ideal site for a

:59:01.:59:06.

Capitol centre for a vaccine research and development. Although

:59:07.:59:11.

the decision was taken in the last Parliament to move much of the

:59:12.:59:18.

Public Health England footprint to Harloow, I am clear that we must

:59:19.:59:23.

maximise the potential in the facilities that exist there. This is

:59:24.:59:27.

not about the interests of the local economy that I represent in

:59:28.:59:34.

Wiltshire but the effectiveness of the UK's world leading research

:59:35.:59:40.

base. Let's use the assets and the resources that we have

:59:41.:59:46.

intelligently. Portland Bio Farmer was there to

:59:47.:59:54.

capitalise on the Portland Down's expertise in developing and

:59:55.:59:57.

manufacturing in bringing vaccines to the market. I am helping to bring

:59:58.:00:03.

the best operating model for the company going forward. I urge the

:00:04.:00:10.

minister and colleagues, considering options for future vaccine

:00:11.:00:13.

development centres in the UK, not to overlook those infrastructures

:00:14.:00:17.

that already exist and to build on those as far as possible. Every year

:00:18.:00:25.

existing vaccines avert an estimated two or three million deaths

:00:26.:00:28.

globally. We all know that prevention is the best cure. We must

:00:29.:00:33.

ensure that the financial commitments made by the Government

:00:34.:00:38.

translate into meaningful improvements in vaccine and research

:00:39.:00:42.

development sites at Portland Down. I would finish by saying that as all

:00:43.:00:49.

members of the House think about the election, their manifestos and

:00:50.:00:53.

making representations to those that will be putting those manifestos

:00:54.:00:58.

together, I would urge the minister to think creatively about the often

:00:59.:01:06.

disdiscussed size of the budget he is in part responsible for and think

:01:07.:01:12.

carefully about how it can be maximised for international aid

:01:13.:01:14.

purposes but using the infrastructure that exists in this

:01:15.:01:19.

country. It seems that by that intelligent investment we can do so

:01:20.:01:23.

much more. I hope that there will be more opportunities to raise this to

:01:24.:01:28.

the House if I am fortunate to be returned to the next parment.

:01:29.:01:35.

I would like to congratulate the member for Ealing and Southall for

:01:36.:01:38.

bringing this to the floor of the House today. The member mentioned

:01:39.:01:44.

the three big killers worldwide, human immunodeficiency virus, T B

:01:45.:01:48.

and malaria. I will talk about those as well. The work done on Ebola and

:01:49.:02:03.

Zika was spoken about, the worldwide killer disease that could have

:02:04.:02:07.

devastating consequences and how we could react to that. The increased

:02:08.:02:14.

funding from the UK Government to tackle neglected tropical diseases

:02:15.:02:21.

was raised by the member and also this funding whilst welcome is

:02:22.:02:25.

probably a drop in the ocean for what is really required to properly

:02:26.:02:31.

tackle these diseases. And the member for Salisbury

:02:32.:02:36.

mentioned the Ebola outbreak and the difficulties of developing vaccines

:02:37.:02:42.

and treatments when there is no incentive in terms of economics to

:02:43.:02:45.

do that and the lack of manufacturing facilities here in the

:02:46.:02:58.

UK for such a huge programme. Vaccination, anti-microbial drugs

:02:59.:03:03.

and hygiene infectious diseases are not what this once were in the UK

:03:04.:03:09.

but they are still an economic and health problem for us in the UK.

:03:10.:03:17.

We though that HIV and other forms of STIs are rampant just know in

:03:18.:03:23.

sub-Saharan Africa but even within the UK we have over 100,000 people

:03:24.:03:31.

currently living with HIV. We have seen a decrease in the number of

:03:32.:03:38.

cases of genital warts as a result of the increased use of the vaccine

:03:39.:03:48.

developed and increased rates of syphilis and gonorrhoea, many

:03:49.:03:52.

diagnosed late which will have huge health implications in the UK. But

:03:53.:03:56.

if I can talk about the three diseases that were spoken about.

:03:57.:04:05.

Firstly, malaria, threatening half of the world's population, and

:04:06.:04:10.

malaria is claiming the life of a child in Africa every single minute.

:04:11.:04:17.

So whilst this debate has gone on, 50 children have died as a result of

:04:18.:04:24.

malaria in Africa which is a fairly damning statistic.

:04:25.:04:30.

T B has killed more than any other disease in history. Last year it

:04:31.:04:35.

killed 1.8 million globally. That is 5,000 people a day. As the world's

:04:36.:04:40.

leading killer, T B is airborne which make it is difficult it is

:04:41.:04:48.

hugely infectious and resistant, increasingly, to drugs but T B just

:04:49.:04:53.

doesn't affect the developing world but seeing a recurrence in the major

:04:54.:05:00.

world sticks including London. However it is chronically

:05:01.:05:03.

underfunded as the honourable member mentioned.

:05:04.:05:12.

Sorry, the honourable member mentioned that for every $1 invested

:05:13.:05:21.

in T B care we have a yield of $30. Which is really, should be, an

:05:22.:05:27.

incentive, or a moral or economic case for increasing our efforts.

:05:28.:05:34.

Alexander Fleming warned in 1945, that microorganisms could develop a

:05:35.:05:40.

resistance to his new antibiotics and unfortunately this prediction

:05:41.:05:44.

proved to be correct. A report published by the World Health

:05:45.:05:48.

Organisation in 2014 said that antibiotics resistance was now a

:05:49.:05:52.

global threat on a par with other global threats.

:05:53.:05:58.

The inappropriate prescription of antibiotics affects our ability to

:05:59.:06:05.

tackle diseases. I found statistics about Scotland,

:06:06.:06:11.

and the picture of Scotland reflects that of the UK. In 2014, 55,000

:06:12.:06:17.

people, 1% of our population were taking antibiotics at any one time.

:06:18.:06:22.

The problem is that up to 50% of the cases were for conditions that

:06:23.:06:27.

didn't need antibiotics and would have improved without them. So it is

:06:28.:06:32.

essential to look at educating people to the use of antibiotics and

:06:33.:06:43.

that our GPs and those doing the prescripting are far more, or using

:06:44.:06:47.

them far less than they are at the moment.

:06:48.:06:54.

Resistance of course is a natural biological phenomenom. But it is

:06:55.:07:00.

increased by the misuse of these medicines and by poor infection

:07:01.:07:04.

control. It is a particular concern with antibiotics. Many of the

:07:05.:07:10.

medical advances that we have made over recent years, organ

:07:11.:07:14.

transplantation, even chemotherapy needs antibiotics to prevent and

:07:15.:07:18.

treat the bacterial infections caused by the treatment. Without

:07:19.:07:25.

effective antibiotic, even minor surgery, routine operations become

:07:26.:07:28.

high-risk, and that is for us here in the UK.

:07:29.:07:32.

I thank my honourable friend for giving way. I agree with the points

:07:33.:07:38.

he is making and secure the debate and apologise for not being able to

:07:39.:07:44.

attend fully. Anti-microbial resistance is important. I don't

:07:45.:07:49.

know if you are aware of the champion scheme that encourages

:07:50.:07:52.

professionals in the field to sign up to exactly to promote the various

:07:53.:08:00.

types that we can do to tackle over use of antibiotic. Including taking

:08:01.:08:08.

the course, which is important when we are travelling in developing

:08:09.:08:13.

malaria and so on. I think my honourable friend for his

:08:14.:08:20.

input. I am an antibiotic champion but we need more people to be aware

:08:21.:08:25.

of the pledge and to take action and follow the steps included in that

:08:26.:08:30.

action. In action on this will mean the loss

:08:31.:08:41.

of effect -- inaction means the loss of effective antibiotics, which

:08:42.:08:45.

affects us here and worldwide. But there are challenges, the respected

:08:46.:08:53.

returns and the risks with anti-microbials means that they are

:08:54.:08:57.

not competitive with otheras. New antibiotics have a low price as

:08:58.:09:02.

society expects the antibiotics to be available easily and

:09:03.:09:07.

economically. However, because of this low price

:09:08.:09:12.

it's not in the interest of the pharmaceuticals to go ahead and to

:09:13.:09:16.

develop new antibiotics. We have to think about that.

:09:17.:09:23.

Talking again about T B, there have been know new categories of anti-T B

:09:24.:09:29.

drugs entering the standard treatment since 1967. That is in 50

:09:30.:09:34.

years. This is because T B, although it does occur in major cities around

:09:35.:09:41.

the world it is still a poor country of disease and again there is no

:09:42.:09:47.

economic incentive. But we should be pushing from a moral point of view.

:09:48.:09:51.

There is a moral innocent I have. When we are talking about

:09:52.:09:56.

development, we should not underestimate the effects of Brexit.

:09:57.:10:01.

This has been mentioned by a council of members. EU marbles, especially

:10:02.:10:08.

the member for staffed, the EU nationals working in research and

:10:09.:10:13.

development here in the UK, and at our world leading centres must have

:10:14.:10:17.

guarantees of their ability to remain here. The University of

:10:18.:10:25.

Glasgow, centre for Irish Research, not in my constituency but is in my

:10:26.:10:33.

friend's, has a huge number, a large percentage of its staff are EU

:10:34.:10:39.

nationals, post graduates, post dock traits, doing outstanding work in

:10:40.:10:42.

the field, and advancing our knowledge.

:10:43.:10:47.

I thank her once again for givingway. I have had the pleasure

:10:48.:10:53.

of visiting the Glasgow centre and they do undertake world leading

:10:54.:10:57.

works. The points he is making about the need to continue, to have that

:10:58.:11:01.

ability, to attract the best talent from the European Union is vital.

:11:02.:11:06.

Does she agree it is vital, about the moral case it is vital that the

:11:07.:11:11.

funds are still available for research and the funds that come

:11:12.:11:15.

from the Government's commitment to the 0.7% target. I hope that the

:11:16.:11:19.

minister, when responding to the debate will be able, unlike some of

:11:20.:11:28.

the counterparts to reenforce the Government's commitment that target

:11:29.:11:33.

0.7% on aid. . We have very much in agreement with the a 0. % target

:11:34.:11:41.

with respect to aid. That aid figure ass is -- as -- 0.7% figure.

:11:42.:11:49.

That figure is as important to tackle and is it is for the EU

:11:50.:11:54.

nationals currently fighting infectious diseases worldwide.

:11:55.:11:59.

I welcome the opportunity to reply on behalf of the opposition to this

:12:00.:12:05.

debate, secured by my friend the member for Ealing Southall and

:12:06.:12:10.

congratulate him and his colleagues on the work in this area. I would

:12:11.:12:16.

like to declare an interest as my partner works in a centre of this

:12:17.:12:23.

area of neglected tropical diseases. I begin by the tackling of

:12:24.:12:28.

infectious diseases before turning to the international opportunities

:12:29.:12:31.

that lie ahead. The Labour Party has a proud history

:12:32.:12:34.

of supporting international development. It created the party to

:12:35.:12:40.

begin with and worked to bring the development issues up the political

:12:41.:12:46.

agenda. We support the bill to help this

:12:47.:12:54.

situation and that I am pleased that the Government adheres to that.

:12:55.:13:01.

We projected that health is the biggest expense of ODE. That is

:13:02.:13:07.

correct. It is a building block of sustainable democracies and strong

:13:08.:13:13.

economies that work for all. As was said, infectious diseases such as

:13:14.:13:20.

HIV, T B, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, are diseases of

:13:21.:13:26.

poverty, often associated with stigma, tackling them should be at

:13:27.:13:30.

the heart of our investment in global health. The aim is poverty

:13:31.:13:36.

reduction. Infectious diseases don't respect poureders. In our world we

:13:37.:13:43.

must take steps to address the epidemics of infectious disease. It

:13:44.:13:47.

makes sense in the interests of global health security too.

:13:48.:13:53.

The government has pledged to spend 3% of the total on research and

:13:54.:13:57.

development and in last October's research review it was said that

:13:58.:14:06.

this commitment would equate to ?390 million over four years. The

:14:07.:14:14.

Secretary of State has identified tackling infectious diseases as one

:14:15.:14:16.

of the challengers, but this challenge requires not only revenue

:14:17.:14:22.

and investment, but sustained investment in research and

:14:23.:14:25.

irrelevant, to make sure we have the right tools to take on the fight. We

:14:26.:14:30.

have heard about the inadequacy of current treatments, diagnostics and

:14:31.:14:35.

prevention strategies and we are not on course to meet the third global

:14:36.:14:46.

goal. In development. It highlights the threat of HIV, TB, malaria and

:14:47.:14:52.

the neglected tropical diseases. -- the third global goal in

:14:53.:14:57.

development. Will the minister provide the House with information

:14:58.:15:00.

around a breakdown of resources allocated to infectious disease

:15:01.:15:04.

research and development? I hope he will give us figures today. On the

:15:05.:15:09.

billion pound portfolio investment mentioned and announced in 2016, it

:15:10.:15:15.

is jointly administered by the Department of Health and the fund

:15:16.:15:22.

was established to invest in drugs and treatments to combat the most

:15:23.:15:25.

infectious diseases in developing countries and this commitment from

:15:26.:15:29.

the government is correct. However there has been a lack of

:15:30.:15:32.

transparency on how exactly the fund is to be allocated and as of last

:15:33.:15:37.

night the website portal is not live and we are well into 2017. Will the

:15:38.:15:43.

minister provide the House with details of how the fund will be used

:15:44.:15:47.

to achieve its aim of combating the world's deadliest diseases namely

:15:48.:15:52.

HIV, TB and malaria. We want details. Members have mentioned

:15:53.:15:58.

product development partnerships which we have been a supporter of

:15:59.:16:01.

and the governments of different political persuasions. These

:16:02.:16:05.

not-for-profit partnerships have proven to be a useful vehicle for

:16:06.:16:11.

bolstering their research capacity gaining an understanding of the

:16:12.:16:14.

epidemics in communities most at risk as well as building research

:16:15.:16:19.

capacity in developing countries. With this in mind may I pose my

:16:20.:16:23.

third question to the minister, can he give me assurance and to the

:16:24.:16:27.

House that defeat will continue to support product development

:16:28.:16:32.

partnerships and show the leadership required to bring other donors back

:16:33.:16:36.

to the table and make sure that our investments to date are not lost? Is

:16:37.:16:41.

my research is correct, we have lost some other donors into the programme

:16:42.:16:47.

-- if my research is correct. The question is, what is the government

:16:48.:16:50.

doing to regain the leadership on the crucial question? A vaccine for

:16:51.:16:56.

malaria has completed clinical trials and is due to be piloted soon

:16:57.:17:03.

in sub-Saharan Africa. While we may think we are adequately progressed

:17:04.:17:13.

-- protected from TB and others, as we have seen today, the vaccine

:17:14.:17:16.

which dates back to the 1920s is only moderately effective in

:17:17.:17:21.

preventing TB in young children and it doesn't prevent TB in adolescents

:17:22.:17:27.

and adults, and many people who start this treatment do not complete

:17:28.:17:30.

them because of the cost of the treatment in third World countries.

:17:31.:17:36.

I fourth and final question, Kenny confirmed that they will continue to

:17:37.:17:39.

support vaccine development in particular? -- my fourth and final

:17:40.:17:48.

question, can he confirmed. Members have mentioned the access to

:17:49.:17:51.

medicines and the recent report from the high-level panel called for the

:17:52.:17:56.

cost of research and development to be taken away from the prices

:17:57.:18:01.

charged for medicines and for pharmaceutical companies to reveal

:18:02.:18:07.

their spending. This layer transparency would make sure of

:18:08.:18:14.

fairness in drug pricing and assist international agencies more

:18:15.:18:18.

effectively to support drug and vaccine deployment in countries

:18:19.:18:22.

where they are needed. Finally and maybe most pertinently, the issue I

:18:23.:18:27.

would like to raise is drug resistance, we have spoken at length

:18:28.:18:33.

in this debate about empty microbial resistance, and I do hope that in

:18:34.:18:37.

the concluding remarks the minister will speak about the Lord O'Neill's

:18:38.:18:44.

report and his response to it. Inc inclusion the member for Ealing and

:18:45.:18:50.

Southall began this debate by talking about the failure to address

:18:51.:18:53.

a number of these questions -- in conclusion. Including TB and malaria

:18:54.:19:00.

and other tropical diseases. We have heard about the work done through

:19:01.:19:03.

our all-party groups and we have heard of the commitment across the

:19:04.:19:09.

backbenchers to the Sirrah .7% commitment overseas development aid.

:19:10.:19:22.

-- 0.7%. I look forward to hearing the response to my questions on the

:19:23.:19:25.

minister and his knowledge of the manifesto commitment which is party

:19:26.:19:29.

will be putting forward in a couple of short weeks. Thank you very much.

:19:30.:19:38.

Minister Mr James Wharton. What a pleasure it is to have the pleasure

:19:39.:19:45.

to speak at this time after recent international events and about so

:19:46.:19:48.

the last dance to speak in a debate in my role in this particular

:19:49.:19:53.

department -- chance. Whatever happens I hope I will get to

:19:54.:19:59.

continue the work if it is Mrs Rita put that on record. That is subject

:20:00.:20:05.

to the will of the people -- if that is necessary to put that on the

:20:06.:20:09.

record. We will start by recognising the tone of the debate and

:20:10.:20:13.

recognising the approach taken by so many colleagues of different

:20:14.:20:17.

political persuasions from different parties and different areas of the

:20:18.:20:20.

country to this important subject matter and indeed to the range of

:20:21.:20:24.

issues at the Department for International Development covers.

:20:25.:20:30.

Frequently in my experience in British politics I have known an

:20:31.:20:33.

area of policy which has brought together so many people who care

:20:34.:20:36.

passionately about such important global issues and within which there

:20:37.:20:41.

is so little disagreement or division across party lines, it

:20:42.:20:45.

stands as testament to the sort of politics that so many of the public

:20:46.:20:48.

which could be demonstrated maybe more often. Their members can bring

:20:49.:20:52.

issues they care about in a constructive way and can engage and

:20:53.:20:57.

get a response which they hope they feel is equally constructive --

:20:58.:21:01.

where members. We could make a difference to the lives of callous

:21:02.:21:04.

minis of people in some of the poorest countries, -- the lives of

:21:05.:21:11.

countless millions of people. Early this morning when I received a

:21:12.:21:17.

picture text message from my sister who gave birth this morning to my

:21:18.:21:27.

new niece at 1054 and it rather reminded me how lucky we are to have

:21:28.:21:32.

such a good health service, to have it on our doorstep and have the

:21:33.:21:35.

advantage is that we are living in a society in which we live can bring.

:21:36.:21:40.

And in stark contrast with what I sometimes see when I travel in my

:21:41.:21:44.

role with some of the challenges about which we have heard so much in

:21:45.:21:48.

the debate today and with which members are rightly concerned. There

:21:49.:21:53.

are many people across the world who don't have the safety and the

:21:54.:21:56.

advantages that we have and who sadly reflected by many different

:21:57.:22:01.

challenges, one of the most significant of which is the topic of

:22:02.:22:04.

this debate, that is to say in infectious diseases. The scale of

:22:05.:22:11.

the challenge that the global community faces is extraordinarily

:22:12.:22:17.

significant. In 2015 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and there

:22:18.:22:21.

were 1.4 million people who died and there were 200 fell of malaria.

:22:22.:22:34.

37 million people living with HIV and over 1 million deaths related to

:22:35.:22:37.

AIDS-related illnesses. The neglected tropical diseases

:22:38.:22:52.

affected 1.6 billion of the world's poorest people causing all sorts of

:22:53.:22:58.

problems with an estimated 170,000 deaths and this situation is

:22:59.:23:03.

exacerbated as members have recognised and about which they have

:23:04.:23:06.

spoken, by the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance, which

:23:07.:23:14.

could be and is as real to us in the UK as it is to so many millions

:23:15.:23:17.

across the world. Antimicrobial resistance will lead to the greatest

:23:18.:23:24.

increase in illnesses and more economic impact than infectious

:23:25.:23:27.

diseases. It is a global challenge that we all have to play a role in

:23:28.:23:33.

and an obligation to tackle. I would like to congratulate the member for

:23:34.:23:39.

Ealing Southall and I know he has done some great work in this area.

:23:40.:23:42.

We have had a constructive relationship. He spoke with great

:23:43.:23:48.

depth knowledge about the scale and challenges that we face and the need

:23:49.:23:53.

develop and innovate and to make sure that we do everything we can to

:23:54.:23:57.

find a solution for the future and he spoke about his concerns in the

:23:58.:24:02.

area of AMR and he referred us to a meeting where he attended on this

:24:03.:24:09.

particular issue. I would also like to congratulate, although he has

:24:10.:24:16.

left the chamber for reasons that I think are perhaps related to other

:24:17.:24:19.

commitments, the member for Stafford, who has been a passionate

:24:20.:24:25.

advocate in this area, who has been an excellent member of Parliament

:24:26.:24:32.

here in the area he has pursued and who has, to be quite frank about

:24:33.:24:36.

being a great help to me and my role as I try to take forward the

:24:37.:24:40.

portfolio of which are responsible in the Department for International

:24:41.:24:45.

Development. He is a global area in that that she's a global leader in

:24:46.:24:48.

that area and he knows a great deal which he speaks -- he is a global

:24:49.:24:54.

leader. She makes a real difference in

:24:55.:25:06.

helping to shape policies Ellyse Perry Divac cross-party co-operation

:25:07.:25:10.

about which I spoke to my earlier comments -- helping to shape

:25:11.:25:16.

policies in the spirit of the cross-party co-operation. This is

:25:17.:25:21.

important as we make the case for global Britain and the work we do to

:25:22.:25:24.

help some of the poorest in the world and I think it makes a real

:25:25.:25:29.

contribution. I look forward to working with her into the future and

:25:30.:25:33.

I would also like to congratulate the comments from my friend from

:25:34.:25:36.

Salisbury who was a passionate advocate for his constituency and to

:25:37.:25:42.

effortlessly, at least by appearances, was able to weave

:25:43.:25:46.

constituency interest into international debate and who made

:25:47.:25:48.

some very good and valid points about making sure that we use the

:25:49.:25:53.

assets we have two the best and maximum effect in utility that we

:25:54.:25:56.

can drive from them to make a difference to some of the world's

:25:57.:26:00.

poorest and retain our position as world leaders in some of the about

:26:01.:26:05.

which he spoke. I thank him for his contribution. I look forward to

:26:06.:26:10.

continuing those discussions after the next seven weeks either. I'll

:26:11.:26:15.

say thank the lead of Ron Vlaar 's go south West, she spoke with a -- I

:26:16.:26:22.

also say thank you to the member for Glasgow South West, she spoke with

:26:23.:26:28.

real authority. I'm sure this interest will be taken into the

:26:29.:26:32.

future and many of which I hope to touch on when I make my specific

:26:33.:26:35.

comments on some of the issues raised in this debate. Finally I

:26:36.:26:40.

would like to thank the lady for Hornsey and Wood Green who again

:26:41.:26:44.

spoke demonstrating an understanding of the importance of the matter is

:26:45.:26:49.

we are here to discuss and as always asked questions which were carefully

:26:50.:26:55.

calibrated to elicit the most helpful and useful and constructive

:26:56.:26:59.

responses that they could and always I endeavour to respond to questions

:27:00.:27:03.

even when I cannot answer them and I will of course try to respond in my

:27:04.:27:07.

comments more broadly to some of the issues which she raised. Infectious

:27:08.:27:14.

diseases... Of course I will give way. I thank you. One of the

:27:15.:27:20.

questions that has come up from several members has been about the

:27:21.:27:25.

future commitment of the 0.7% aid budget and the aid act was passed on

:27:26.:27:31.

a cross-party consensus, does he share my view that the consensus

:27:32.:27:34.

continues into the next election and that all parties will contain a

:27:35.:27:39.

commitment to this target in their manifestos?

:27:40.:27:44.

Harlow The member knows very well, wherever there is a Government

:27:45.:27:52.

policy, I am delighted to see cross-party consensus, so whatever,

:27:53.:27:56.

whoever it might be, although, I hope it will be one of this party

:27:57.:28:01.

political colour, that may look to bring forward. I hope and trust

:28:02.:28:06.

there will be cross-party consensus. However I wish to talk about the

:28:07.:28:11.

subject matter the hand, specifically infectious diseases and

:28:12.:28:15.

the issues raised by the members. I want to start by recognising and

:28:16.:28:21.

reminding the House, not that it needs reminding of the significant

:28:22.:28:25.

record and achievement of work we have demonstrated collectively in

:28:26.:28:31.

the UK over the recent years. The UK pledged ?1.1 billion of the global

:28:32.:28:36.

fund, including a commitment to double private sector contributions

:28:37.:28:43.

up to a maximum of ?200 million. Making a difference in keyas that

:28:44.:28:47.

affect the lives of countless of millions of people. There are huge

:28:48.:28:52.

numbers of individuals affected. The UK is a leading nation in tackling

:28:53.:28:57.

the diseases that have the most devastating effect on the world's

:28:58.:29:02.

poorest. Continuing to challenge, change and reform the aid system as

:29:03.:29:08.

we use our pledge to secure a new ?90 million performance agreement

:29:09.:29:11.

designed to push the fund to deliver more. We don't just contribute to

:29:12.:29:15.

some of the organisations, we don't just make a difference through the

:29:16.:29:21.

money we spend, we push for reform, to be efficient, offering and

:29:22.:29:24.

sharing expertise, something that we should be proud of. In November,

:29:25.:29:31.

2016, the Department for International Development launched

:29:32.:29:34.

the research review, highlighting Britain's global leadership in the

:29:35.:29:40.

field. Focussing on the 3% of the budget per year on research and

:29:41.:29:45.

invasion to address the global challenges of the 21st century,

:29:46.:29:53.

involving high quality, high impact research, and investing ?357 million

:29:54.:30:00.

for infectious diseases, this means that we are spending over ?1.5

:30:01.:30:07.

billion, leading the countries in this area and delivering real change

:30:08.:30:13.

in some of theas and on some of the issues spoken about today. UK-funded

:30:14.:30:18.

research is saving and changing lives. We have reported tests for

:30:19.:30:30.

detecting mail aria. A new retro virus vaccine, for preventing life

:30:31.:30:34.

threatening disease in infants. We are making real differences to

:30:35.:30:38.

people that need the support most. We are a leader in neglected

:30:39.:30:43.

tropical diseases, an area of which we have commented on in the debate

:30:44.:30:52.

and this week marks the 5th anniversary on NTDs in Geneva. A

:30:53.:31:00.

summit at which the UK made clear, a commitment investment is ambitious

:31:01.:31:05.

and focussed on outcomes. We treat and eliminate tropical diseases

:31:06.:31:13.

between 2017-2018 and between 2018-2022. We are playing a leading

:31:14.:31:22.

role through our aid, through our leading NGOs, through our

:31:23.:31:27.

pharmaceutical companies and their generous donations, through all

:31:28.:31:31.

working together. The UK working with clacks clacks and the Liverpool

:31:32.:31:38.

school of tropical school of medicine, providing 207 million

:31:39.:31:54.

people -- with help. This week the UK announced we are investing in

:31:55.:32:00.

research to drive the development of drugs and diagnostics against

:32:01.:32:05.

neglected tropical diseases including ?48 million for NTDs. ?30

:32:06.:32:16.

million for diagnostics ?10 million for research on NTDs.

:32:17.:32:25.

It is said that the UK are playing a major role enabling people to live

:32:26.:32:31.

healthier and more prosperous lives. The UK is leading on AM R, on NTDs.

:32:32.:32:39.

We are making a real difference. Something about which all of the

:32:40.:32:45.

members should be proud. Thank you, Madame Deputy Speaker.

:32:46.:32:51.

Let me first thank all of my colleagues from both sides for their

:32:52.:32:57.

contribution, not only this afternoon but during the

:32:58.:33:01.

international development committee and other platforms whenever we have

:33:02.:33:08.

touched the issues that affect a large number of disadvantaged

:33:09.:33:14.

poverty-related groups. I also thank the minister for his detailed

:33:15.:33:17.

response, and I'm sure that there will be more to come later on. There

:33:18.:33:25.

areas we have missed at the moment but looking forward that the

:33:26.:33:28.

commitment from the present government and looking forward from

:33:29.:33:33.

the future Government whoever comes back after June that our commitment

:33:34.:33:39.

on 0.7% contribution, as well as both parties, that there is a

:33:40.:33:46.

consensus as everybody says, that was taken many years ago and I'm

:33:47.:33:50.

sure we will continue after that as well.

:33:51.:33:55.

Madame Deputy Speaker, it was a little unfortunate that we Kim to

:33:56.:34:01.

this debate at the time when we were going to our elections, when it was

:34:02.:34:07.

chosen, there was a large number of my colleagues from both sides who

:34:08.:34:11.

were willing to speak, who unfortunately could not be here but

:34:12.:34:20.

their spirit and contributions has always encouraged. Once again thank

:34:21.:34:24.

you very much for the contributions for everybody present today.

:34:25.:34:31.

The question is, as on the order papers, that as many of that opinion

:34:32.:34:42.

say aye... On the contrary no... The ayes have it, the ayes have it.

:34:43.:34:47.

I beg to move this House to now adjourn.

:34:48.:34:51.

The question is that this House do now adjourn. Mr Ronnie Campbell.

:34:52.:34:59.

Thank you Madame Deputy Speaker. I should have had this debate on the

:35:00.:35:02.

day of the terrorist attack, unfortunately it was cancelled that

:35:03.:35:06.

night. I have had to wait three or four weeks before getting this to

:35:07.:35:11.

replace it. It has been a long time. Things have developed from there. It

:35:12.:35:17.

is always sad when Members of Parliament have to come to

:35:18.:35:20.

Parliament when they have lost a lot of jobs, in this case 450 at least.

:35:21.:35:27.

And a lot of part time jobs that has gone in this factory. The factory

:35:28.:35:33.

was built in 1962. It was built by Shilton's it was a beauty product.

:35:34.:35:38.

It's famous line at that time was Old Spice. If anybody is as old as

:35:39.:35:48.

me remembers Old Spice?! I still believe this are still going.

:35:49.:35:54.

The big make senior Hugo Boss of course. I'm told by some of the

:35:55.:36:01.

workers there that me make it for 36 pence and sell it for ?140. So a big

:36:02.:36:10.

profit to be made in this game. But that was Shilton's, it was a good

:36:11.:36:15.

employer. Taken over by rock tor and gamble who made another success of

:36:16.:36:23.

it. And then a merger. Not a takeover, a merger, Coty. An

:36:24.:36:26.

American company. It does the same thing. Hair things

:36:27.:36:33.

for women and that sort of thing. I'm not sure of everything that they

:36:34.:36:37.

do but all beauty stuff, anyway. I think some of us need a bit of it as

:36:38.:36:43.

well. But it's a merger. I wonder why not takeover? I see the

:36:44.:36:49.

takeovers all the time, Members of Parliament do. Every time we see a

:36:50.:36:54.

takeover from a company, wherever they are from, especially America,

:36:55.:36:57.

something happens to our companies. In this case we have lost a factory

:36:58.:37:03.

because of this merger. Then I was given a hint about the reserve

:37:04.:37:11.

Morris trust. I have never heard of the Morris Reserve Trust. It is an

:37:12.:37:16.

American thing if a company in America were to take over a company

:37:17.:37:21.

in Britain, like this case it is a merger, not a takeover. Because in

:37:22.:37:26.

fact, I have the figures here, the share holders and the existing Coty

:37:27.:37:32.

company is 48%. The combined company. While, the Proctor and

:37:33.:37:39.

Gamble share holders is 52. So I gather that Proctor and Gamble are

:37:40.:37:43.

still the biggest shareholder. So this is a merger. I gather from the

:37:44.:37:50.

Reverse Morris Trust it is a tax fiddle. Not here. Not here. I know

:37:51.:37:56.

we have them! But it is something to do with a tax rebate on a factory

:37:57.:38:03.

that will shut. Of course, this factory is going to shut. So they

:38:04.:38:08.

are getting it. It is a little out of my depth. But you can get it on

:38:09.:38:13.

Wikipedia. You can get that on there. Some may want to study it.

:38:14.:38:21.

But again, it's a takeover. In my book. It's in the north East

:38:22.:38:26.

of England. It is where the highest unemployment is. They have factories

:38:27.:38:32.

in Germany, France, Spain, and one in Ashford in Kent.

:38:33.:38:40.

They've decided to shut the one in the north-east where we have the

:38:41.:38:47.

highest unemployment. And the little village, it was a little village, it

:38:48.:38:53.

has grown, it has a high employment rate as well. There are arguments

:38:54.:38:57.

within the workforce that they have done it as it is cheaper to sack

:38:58.:39:02.

British workers than it is German, French and Spanish. And when you

:39:03.:39:08.

look at the figures, of course that is true. 20%, it is 20% more

:39:09.:39:17.

expensive to close a factory in Germany and 7% in France. I know

:39:18.:39:21.

that they closed one in Ireland. I don't know the figures for Ireland.

:39:22.:39:29.

But they have closed the one in Ireland. That has gone, of course

:39:30.:39:33.

the one in the north-east will go next year. This all boils down, as

:39:34.:39:39.

far as I'm concerned, to basically the capitalist system and how it

:39:40.:39:43.

works and globalisation. Globalisation works for them, it

:39:44.:39:47.

doesn't work for the people. Globalisation never worked for the

:39:48.:39:51.

people. The people are secondary thoughts. Especially in a place like

:39:52.:39:58.

Seatondale with a high unemployment. It is a question of balancing the

:39:59.:40:03.

books. What they are saying is that now they have merged with Proctor

:40:04.:40:08.

and Gamble, Coty are saying that they don't need the factory so they

:40:09.:40:14.

have shut it and 450 people are looking for other work, on the dole.

:40:15.:40:20.

Just with a snap of a fingers. It will take a year of course. They

:40:21.:40:26.

have to get their redundancy, they are all entitled to that. And then

:40:27.:40:30.

that brings me to the redundancy. There is a quandry. Is this another

:40:31.:40:36.

way, the cheapness of closing the factory, as what happened in

:40:37.:40:40.

Ireland, when they closed the factory in Ireland, the top earners

:40:41.:40:46.

there, that had been there the longest were getting about ?12,000

:40:47.:40:51.

and got a bonus of ?5,000. Bringing it to the average of the factory of

:40:52.:41:05.

?9500. Now, I understand from information from the Seatondale

:41:06.:41:08.

factory, that they may not get anywhere near that. I have had

:41:09.:41:14.

somebody say that they were satisfied with their redundancy from

:41:15.:41:18.

the area, however, he had been there 18 years. But a few others have

:41:19.:41:22.

contacted me to say that they were not. So I am wondering is this

:41:23.:41:30.

another chip in the armour where we can close a British factory because

:41:31.:41:34.

of the cost, the cheapness, in a way you could not do in Germany or

:41:35.:41:40.

France. It is not a question of the European Union. I asked that

:41:41.:41:43.

question, if it had anything to do with it. It is not. The company said

:41:44.:41:48.

that they expert around the world. So it is not a question of that. I'm

:41:49.:41:54.

pleased about that. This factory is run on a lot of

:41:55.:41:59.

temporary workers. And also zero hour contracts.

:42:00.:42:04.

We have to look at that as well. It is another nick where we can close a

:42:05.:42:10.

factory in this country as there are temporary workers, zero contracts,

:42:11.:42:14.

that they are cheaper to get rid of. As they are not employed. They are

:42:15.:42:18.

employed by the agency and the agency will not pay them redundancy

:42:19.:42:26.

whatsoever. Two agencies are working in the factory, those people working

:42:27.:42:30.

for them will get nothing at all. So it is a bit of a mess as far as I am

:42:31.:42:36.

concerned. As I said it is always sad when you have to come to

:42:37.:42:44.

announce these situations. I was there when the coal mines shut in

:42:45.:42:51.

1986. It is always terrible when people loose their jobs. I went

:42:52.:42:55.

through it myself. I got lucky a year later, I got a better job, this

:42:56.:43:00.

one, the one I'm in now. So I suppose I was one of the lucky ones.

:43:01.:43:05.

But in conclusion it is a fait acompli, that obviously it will

:43:06.:43:11.

close, they have made up their mind. Coty has made up its mind to get rid

:43:12.:43:15.

of the factory in the north-east, the highest unemployment, they are

:43:16.:43:19.

not worried about the workers, just worried about balancing their books

:43:20.:43:23.

and making a profit. I hope that the minister can have a look at this

:43:24.:43:28.

factory. This factory is a big factory. It is not a small one, it's

:43:29.:43:32.

a big one. I hope that they look at this. The Germans do it better than

:43:33.:43:38.

us. When the Germans close a factory it is invested in again. The first

:43:39.:43:44.

thing that they do is invest in it, reopen it, give incentives. I don't

:43:45.:43:49.

know if the Government has incentives to come along but I

:43:50.:43:56.

cannot imagine them reopening to make Old Spice but the factory will

:43:57.:43:58.

be there. It could be open to employing

:43:59.:44:06.

people, if the government gives someone incentive in this case, and

:44:07.:44:12.

I would like to hear the minister and see what he has to say come and

:44:13.:44:15.

see if there's anything available to get somebody to open his factory,

:44:16.:44:20.

and get it started up again and give the employer the backing. Minister

:44:21.:44:34.

Mr Joe Johnson. Thank you. I would like to congratulate the member for

:44:35.:44:36.

securing a debate on this important issue. I reckon I is the importance

:44:37.:44:42.

of the manufacturing plant to his constituency and the region as a

:44:43.:44:47.

whole. -- recognise. It has been part of the fabric of the north-east

:44:48.:44:50.

and the culture of this country since the factory was opened 55

:44:51.:44:56.

years ago. The announcement in March that the company proposed to close

:44:57.:44:59.

the plant before the end of next year has clearly come as a bitter

:45:00.:45:04.

blow to the employees concerned and their families and the communities

:45:05.:45:09.

in which they live and I appreciate the uncertainty this will cause and

:45:10.:45:12.

the potential implications of this for the region. The proposed closure

:45:13.:45:19.

is a commercial matter, though, for Coty, but if the decision is

:45:20.:45:22.

confirmed at the end of the consultation period the government

:45:23.:45:25.

will make sure that those employees receive all the assistance the

:45:26.:45:29.

government can help them get so they can get back into work as soon as

:45:30.:45:34.

possible. We will encourage the company to contact job centre pass

:45:35.:45:37.

as soon as possible to discuss support that can be delivered

:45:38.:45:41.

locally and the job centre pass rapid response service has delivered

:45:42.:45:46.

itself in partnership with a range of partners, where no partner

:45:47.:45:48.

support is available there is dedicated funding which may be used

:45:49.:45:55.

to fill gaps in provision. Decisions about appropriate support are made

:45:56.:45:57.

locally and this is because a decision that is based on the

:45:58.:46:04.

specific redundancy situation and an individual on transferable skills

:46:05.:46:06.

and experience and the availability of jobs in the local area is far

:46:07.:46:09.

more likely to be the right decision. Typical support for an

:46:10.:46:13.

individual might include matching to local known job vacancies Forest

:46:14.:46:19.

helping to construct or improve CV 's, and where there is scope to do

:46:20.:46:23.

so support might be delivered on a group basis, by bringing redundant

:46:24.:46:27.

workers together at a job fair, for example. My officials are part of a

:46:28.:46:33.

locally ranged task force to make sure that the potential for

:46:34.:46:39.

continued manufacturing is made. The task force will be made by the

:46:40.:46:43.

Northumberland development company and we will work with them to

:46:44.:46:46.

explore manufacturing opportunities at this site. We will highlight the

:46:47.:46:51.

economic strengths and opportunities at the site and the workforce as

:46:52.:46:54.

well as how to support economic growth. If closure is confirmed and

:46:55.:47:03.

respect the task force working with them, working with the council and

:47:04.:47:07.

the local north-east enterprise partnership, to support any workers

:47:08.:47:10.

to make sure they can transfer smoothly as possible into local

:47:11.:47:15.

growth sectors. The government is supporting the north-east economy

:47:16.:47:20.

through providing ?380 million of local growth funding and improving

:47:21.:47:22.

infrastructure skills and innovation and transport. This funding will

:47:23.:47:29.

bring in ?300 million of public and private investment and create around

:47:30.:47:37.

a couple of >> STUDIO: -- create around 8000 jobs. We also providing

:47:38.:47:44.

funding for the growth hub in the to effectively identify and target and

:47:45.:47:50.

support and scale up businesses, specifically this would include the

:47:51.:47:54.

development of a development model and introduce a new system to make

:47:55.:47:59.

sure of robust measure of impact on growth and economic and this will

:48:00.:48:04.

have a significant impact on Megan sure that companies are ready to

:48:05.:48:08.

grow and expand quickly and make sure there are more opportunities

:48:09.:48:11.

for those affected by the decision by Coty. Thank you. -- significant

:48:12.:48:23.

impact to make sure. The question is, does this house adjourned, as

:48:24.:48:34.

many of this house said aye. The ayes have it. Order, order.

:48:35.:49:34.

Order, order. Questions to the sector even Steinman for food and

:49:35.:49:44.

rural affairs, Rachel Maskell. -- the Secretary of State for food and

:49:45.:49:56.

rural affairs. Thank you. UK has made significant progress in

:49:57.:49:59.

improving air quality in the last decade with low emissions of all

:50:00.:50:06.

five major air pollutants and UK is among 17 European countries

:50:07.:50:09.

including France and Germany who are not yet meeting EU emission targets

:50:10.:50:14.

for nitrogen dioxide in parts of our towns and cities and to help address

:50:15.:50:17.

this last year the government consulted on a Finnair zone -- clean

:50:18.:50:28.

air zone report. Following three humiliating defeats in the courts

:50:29.:50:36.

because of poor air quality and when the government defended the

:50:37.:50:41.

indefensible. Labour believes we need to go further with an air

:50:42.:50:45.

quality national framework as part of the clean air act. So what are

:50:46.:50:49.

the main pillars of this plan and how much resource has the minister

:50:50.:50:52.

allocated to addressing the UK's poor air quality in this plan? It is

:50:53.:50:59.

a great shame that the lady criticises this government who since

:51:00.:51:06.

2011 have committed more than ?2 billion to increase the uptake of

:51:07.:51:12.

low emissions vehicles and support greener transport schemes and set

:51:13.:51:15.

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

:51:16.:51:21.

zones. In addition we announced a further ?290 million to support low

:51:22.:51:24.

emission buses and taxis and retrofitting alternative fuels and

:51:25.:51:30.

we will be consulting on our plans to improve nitrogen oxide emissions

:51:31.:51:40.

very shortly. I don't want to be intemperate with the minister, but

:51:41.:51:45.

it is so much par in the sky, every time we have questions she says

:51:46.:51:50.

something will come soon -- pie in the sky. When are we going to stop

:51:51.:51:57.

people being poisoned in our cities and in our towns in places like

:51:58.:52:02.

Huddersfield and when are we going to see action, now, not next week,

:52:03.:52:09.

next month, next year? Let me be very clear, this government is

:52:10.:52:15.

totally committed to cutting harmful emissions that worsen our air

:52:16.:52:19.

quality and we have made great progress already in the last decade

:52:20.:52:21.

which is more than the Labour government did. Emissions went out

:52:22.:52:26.

under their watch, and we recognise that there is more to do, and we

:52:27.:52:29.

will be publishing our proposals very soon. I'm very concerned about

:52:30.:52:39.

the diesel cars and the number of people who bought diesel cars

:52:40.:52:41.

thinking they were the cheap way forward. With the minister make sure

:52:42.:52:47.

she discusses with the Transport Secretary and Treasury so that we

:52:48.:52:50.

don't patronise them and we work with the vodka amongst, as well. We

:52:51.:52:55.

need to find a way to look after them as well -- and we work with the

:52:56.:53:00.

devolved governments, as well. You are right. We have got to take into

:53:01.:53:07.

account the impact on ordinary working families and businesses and

:53:08.:53:10.

as the Prime Minister has made clear we completely understand that people

:53:11.:53:14.

bought diesel cars under incentives from the last Labour government,

:53:15.:53:18.

they bought them in good faith and we need to make sure that they are

:53:19.:53:21.

not penalised for those actions that they took. Will the minister

:53:22.:53:29.

consider a targeted diesel scrappage scheme which supports low income

:53:30.:53:35.

families? The opportunity to do so was missed last year and in the

:53:36.:53:42.

budget. I can assure you that the government is looking at all

:53:43.:53:50.

possible areas both to improve the emissions of noxious substances like

:53:51.:53:55.

nitrous oxide and also to make sure we have good mitigation

:53:56.:53:58.

across-the-board to support ordinary working families. All types of

:53:59.:54:06.

mitigation are on the table. We have a very low air pollution quality in

:54:07.:54:11.

Northern Ireland and it is essential that the national framework is to

:54:12.:54:17.

the nation work. -- is truly nationwide. What discussions have

:54:18.:54:25.

you had with our colleagues in the Northern Ireland assembly? I can

:54:26.:54:29.

assure you that we have had discussions across the default

:54:30.:54:35.

administration is on this subject, -- the devolved administrations on

:54:36.:54:38.

this subject, which they take very seriously, and we take this very

:54:39.:54:44.

seriously and we will make an announcement in June course. The

:54:45.:54:51.

Great Repeal Bill will make sure that the whole body of existing EU

:54:52.:54:55.

environmental law will have an effect in UK law, but over time

:54:56.:54:58.

Parliament will have the opportunity to make sure that our framework is

:54:59.:55:04.

delivering on our overall commitment to improve the environment within a

:55:05.:55:08.

generation and I can assure the House that the government will hop

:55:09.:55:15.

-- uphold our obligations and we will continue to seek other

:55:16.:55:25.

countries to do so, as well. Ensuring this comes through the

:55:26.:55:28.

Great Repeal Bill, that is fine, but making sure those regulations permit

:55:29.:55:33.

is also as so will the government is committed not limiting the time

:55:34.:55:44.

frame? The country decided to leave the European Union last year we are

:55:45.:55:47.

trying to give as much certainty as possible to make sure that

:55:48.:55:51.

regulations continue -- and we are trying. As a consequence that will

:55:52.:55:57.

be the case. I'm concerned that he thinks that somehow we're going to

:55:58.:56:00.

rip up the wall book, but that is not the outcome, we want to better

:56:01.:56:08.

our environment for this generation and future demotions and that is

:56:09.:56:10.

what this government will deliver -- rule book. EU regulations have been

:56:11.:56:18.

very helpful to people like me and you when holding the feet to the

:56:19.:56:21.

fire of HS to when it comes to protecting our environment. Could

:56:22.:56:26.

the minister give me an undertaking that she will not allow any

:56:27.:56:30.

diminishing to areas of outstanding beauty and she will make sure that

:56:31.:56:35.

our exiting of the European Union does not hand a blank cheque to pay

:56:36.:56:40.

just to ride roughshod through the countryside? The government has

:56:41.:56:46.

committed that in developing pages two and other infrastructure we will

:56:47.:56:49.

uphold the highest infrastructure standards that we cherish. Whilst

:56:50.:56:58.

she is working on the EU egg quality regulations, can I echo the call in

:56:59.:57:03.

the last question for a national framework on rather than the ad hoc

:57:04.:57:07.

local decision-making, especially as admissions are actually declining at

:57:08.:57:12.

the moment, and in drawing up the framework, can I urge the minister

:57:13.:57:17.

to look at all causes of air pollution to properly cost

:57:18.:57:19.

alternatives especially the cost to drivers and attacks by and to urge

:57:20.:57:22.

the government to stop demonising diesel drivers. It is fair to say

:57:23.:57:30.

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

:57:31.:57:33.

tackling a quality we have got to work with local communities because

:57:34.:57:40.

the solution will vary. This government is not demonising diesel

:57:41.:57:45.

drivers, I'm afraid, and it was the Labour government that introduced

:57:46.:57:47.

the incentives for people to start using diesel and it happens to be

:57:48.:57:51.

that the current Mayor of London said in his last year in the Gordon

:57:52.:57:56.

Brown government where he said the emission standards would solve this

:57:57.:57:59.

problem, but we know that is not the case and we are clearing up that

:58:00.:58:04.

mess. We can work across cross party lines to clear up there for the

:58:05.:58:10.

people we represent. One of the standards we can improve on outside

:58:11.:58:13.

of the European Union as much as inside is the state of the oceans.

:58:14.:58:17.

As the minister will know there is a massive amount of dumping of plastic

:58:18.:58:20.

that is damaging the Sea life and the Coral well-being. There is a

:58:21.:58:26.

conference in the United States between the fifth and the 9th of

:58:27.:58:30.

June. Ministers will be busy doing other things, what is she going to

:58:31.:58:34.

do to make sure that the British voice is heard to make sure that we

:58:35.:58:37.

are going to do something to clean up our ocean? We launched our

:58:38.:58:45.

strategy recently and we know a lot of the litter that ends up in the

:58:46.:58:49.

marine comes from the land and we need to make sure that we continue

:58:50.:58:53.

to work on that matter. Ring conservation is something important

:58:54.:58:57.

in this government and we are going to extend our blue belt around the

:58:58.:59:00.

coastline of this country -- marine conservation. The oceans conference

:59:01.:59:07.

in June, and he points out there is a general election, but nevertheless

:59:08.:59:10.

I can assure you that the interests of the United Kingdom in providing

:59:11.:59:12.

leadership will be well undertaken. While the great appeal bill may

:59:13.:59:25.

bring short-term stability and a working institute book, it remains

:59:26.:59:30.

to be seen if this government or indeed future governmenting will

:59:31.:59:36.

take reaction to erode the environmental policies as they exist

:59:37.:59:42.

now. What assurance are there to my constituents who are deep concerns

:59:43.:59:46.

over environmental protections post Brexit? I can assure the House and

:59:47.:59:52.

the honourable lady's constituents, that the Government has been clear

:59:53.:59:57.

on the manifesto from 2015, to leave the environment in a better state

:59:58.:00:00.

than we found it, and that is what this Government will continue to do.

:00:01.:00:10.

The minister announced on the 24th of November, 2015, the UK Government

:00:11.:00:17.

would ban INAUDIBLE

:00:18.:00:26.

Imports by 2017. What improvements have been made on this? I didn't

:00:27.:00:33.

quite catch the opening of the question when referring to something

:00:34.:00:37.

from 2015. But I wish to assure that the imports are taken on a case by

:00:38.:00:43.

case basis and we continue to work with other countries to conserve

:00:44.:00:48.

important species around the world. The UK is a global leader. We will

:00:49.:00:52.

continue to influence other countries on this.

:00:53.:00:58.

With your permission, I will group question four and question seven.

:00:59.:01:05.

The consultation closed on the 28th of February and it is our intention

:01:06.:01:12.

to introduce legislation with a ban on manufacturing from the 1st of

:01:13.:01:19.

January 2018, and a ban on sales from June 2018 as outlined in the

:01:20.:01:22.

proposals. I support the plans to ban

:01:23.:01:27.

microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products but that probably

:01:28.:01:33.

accounts for the 4% of the microplastics polluting our rivers

:01:34.:01:36.

and oceans, what is the Government doing to tackle the other types of

:01:37.:01:43.

microplastics that we would like to stop polluting our rivers and

:01:44.:01:49.

oceans? There was evidence gathered on the extent of the environmental

:01:50.:01:55.

impact on plastics and we are reviewing that and new #e6d will be

:01:56.:02:01.

used to reform in the future. There is looking at the strategy of

:02:02.:02:07.

plastic bottles and on the go consumption that we are looking at.

:02:08.:02:14.

We must be careful taking this forward as microbeads and plastics

:02:15.:02:19.

are the outcomes of recycling bottles, into making fleeces and so.

:02:20.:02:27.

I was recently rummaging through my wife's collection of sham pews and

:02:28.:02:33.

to my horror found a plastic container of owlaway anti-wrinkle

:02:34.:02:44.

and -- Olay, complete with microbeads. Neither the Secretary of

:02:45.:02:49.

State or her minister will have the need for the product but will she

:02:50.:02:55.

get on the telephone to Proctor and Gamble, to say that selling this

:02:56.:03:01.

product is outrageous and it should be withdrawn at once! Well, Mr

:03:02.:03:08.

Speaker, what I found extraordinary is that lady Bellingham is a

:03:09.:03:12.

flawless picture and even needs the products. I'm sure that my

:03:13.:03:18.

honourable friend will be buying flowers later today to make up for

:03:19.:03:21.

this. It is fair to say, Mr Speaker, we

:03:22.:03:25.

are working with the manufactures now and a lot of them are starting

:03:26.:03:29.

to remove the products. That is good news. We want to make sure that the

:03:30.:03:36.

avoidable pollution is taken out of our environment permanently.

:03:37.:03:48.

Mr Speaker, we readily meet EU counterparts at agriculture and

:03:49.:03:52.

fisheries council and environment council and food and drink issues

:03:53.:03:58.

are on the agenda and we meet to discuss a bilateral soon.

:03:59.:04:04.

The great and noble county of Lincolnshire is the bread basket of

:04:05.:04:12.

England and much of the food comes from our county.

:04:13.:04:22.

Glycophate, can the minister assure that its use could be reauthorised?

:04:23.:04:30.

As my honourable friend knows that the European Union is reviewing the

:04:31.:04:39.

use of Glyphocate, and those that have led that work are clear it is a

:04:40.:04:44.

safe product and the UK is backing a position in line with the science to

:04:45.:04:50.

continue to authors this product. -- authorise this product.

:04:51.:04:56.

On the 18th of June, 2015, on convergence uplift. 230 million

:04:57.:05:04.

Euros that should have flowed to Scottish farming and since then the

:05:05.:05:10.

minister has demonstrated an ability for procrastination that my children

:05:11.:05:15.

can only envy. But this is not children's homework. It is

:05:16.:05:20.

fundamental money that is important. It is a matter of trust. The

:05:21.:05:24.

minister wants us to believe we can trust him. Where is this money? How

:05:25.:05:30.

can Scottish farming trust the Government? The honourable gentleman

:05:31.:05:37.

and I have discussed this. He is aware that the review last year was

:05:38.:05:40.

delayed because of the referendum that changed the context

:05:41.:05:44.

dramatically. We are continuing to have discussions with Scottish

:05:45.:05:49.

industry, and yesterday I met NFUS to discuss future agriculture

:05:50.:05:54.

policy. What could be done to encourage the

:05:55.:05:59.

European Union to promote the processes of food stuffs in

:06:00.:06:04.

developing countries, thinking of olive oil and coffee, where the

:06:05.:06:08.

value added tends to be within the European Union? Where the UK and a

:06:09.:06:17.

number of other European countries have preferential trade agreements

:06:18.:06:20.

in place to support developmenting countries, to give them tariff free

:06:21.:06:24.

access to the European markets, this is an important development. And the

:06:25.:06:30.

issues raised are discussed at the EU agriculture council.

:06:31.:06:35.

An important part of food processing sector is the fishing industry. As

:06:36.:06:42.

part of those discussions with EU ministerial counterparts, what

:06:43.:06:45.

progress or what efforts will be made to ensure that there is no

:06:46.:06:51.

border in the Irish Sea which would permit fishermen to fish in both

:06:52.:06:56.

parts as they currently can? The honourable lady knows that there has

:06:57.:07:02.

been an issue with the long standing agreement between the UK and the

:07:03.:07:07.

Irish Republic. There had beenen an issue with the Irish courts. I

:07:08.:07:11.

discussed this a council of weeks ago with the Irish minister to talk

:07:12.:07:15.

about arrangements we may have after Brexit.

:07:16.:07:23.

Like my honourable friend and neighbour for Gainsborough I have

:07:24.:07:27.

the honour of representing the questions where the farmers feed the

:07:28.:07:32.

country. Will my honourable friend work to ensure that the farmers are

:07:33.:07:38.

not put at a disadvantage with their EU competitors when these exciting

:07:39.:07:44.

new trade deals are noeshted? -- negotiated? Well, she has a very

:07:45.:07:51.

important farming constituency. I know I myself worked in the farming

:07:52.:07:55.

industry for ten years. I am passionate about it. I have been

:07:56.:07:59.

going up and down the country meeting farmers, discussing

:08:00.:08:03.

concerns. We have a fantastic opportunity on leave leafing the

:08:04.:08:07.

European Union to design a new agriculture policy that is fit for

:08:08.:08:10.

purpose. Press reports this week suggest that

:08:11.:08:15.

the Danish government may press for restrictions on UK fish imports to

:08:16.:08:22.

the EU if the Danish fleet lose access to mostly Scottish fishing

:08:23.:08:30.

waters. That would have serious implications for the Scottish fish

:08:31.:08:35.

producers. What conversations has the minister had with the Danish

:08:36.:08:38.

counterpart this week and will he tell us what the solutions are that

:08:39.:08:45.

he is proposing? I have been in regular meetings with the EU

:08:46.:08:50.

counterparts. I believe that the Danish minister is planning a visit

:08:51.:08:53.

to the UK. I hope to meet him then. But you should not worry about the

:08:54.:09:00.

opening positions that people may take in a negotiation, it matters

:09:01.:09:04.

what the UK Government is willing to grant. The Scottish fishing industry

:09:05.:09:09.

does not want to be dragged quicking and screaming to the EU, they want

:09:10.:09:15.

to leave the EU, to leave the CFP, to take control of their waters.

:09:16.:09:21.

The fishing industry is forwent my constituency, can you update fishers

:09:22.:09:24.

there and around the UK about when and if the Government is to trigger

:09:25.:09:34.

their intention to withdraw from the London 1964 fisheries convention?

:09:35.:09:39.

There is a 1964 London fisheries convention with access arrangements

:09:40.:09:43.

for a number of countries. As we have made clear we are looking at

:09:44.:09:47.

this closely. As the Prime Minister said two weeks ago, we hope to say

:09:48.:09:49.

something on this shortly. Mr Speaker, since 2015, DEFRA has

:09:50.:10:12.

opened or improved terms for 160 agriculture commodities and we work

:10:13.:10:18.

with industries to prioritise and increase new market values.

:10:19.:10:28.

In my role as trade to Nigeria I invited the Nigerian Culture

:10:29.:10:31.

Minister to come to the UK. It is important to show the whole of the

:10:32.:10:35.

value chain in agriculture in which we do so well? I commend the work my

:10:36.:10:42.

friend does. Building relations with Nigeria, building the important

:10:43.:10:47.

trading links. He is right, Nigeria is an important market for fisheries

:10:48.:10:51.

products, such as mackerel. I'm delighted to hear he has invited him

:10:52.:10:57.

here to see the work we do through the supply chain and the technology

:10:58.:11:00.

we have to reduce waste in the supply chain.

:11:01.:11:04.

Does the minister recognise it is absolutely crucial that the need to

:11:05.:11:09.

the agriculture sector are placed at the heart of the Brexit

:11:10.:11:14.

negotiations? Is it not clear if the Government doesn't get t it's act

:11:15.:11:20.

together, a bad Brexit deal leaves the British farmers and food

:11:21.:11:27.

producers faces a double whammy on taxes on exports? Access to the UK

:11:28.:11:31.

market is important for the European countries as well. While we export

:11:32.:11:37.

about ?11 billion of food and drink to the European Union, we import

:11:38.:11:42.

some ?28 billion from the EU, so farming unions across the EU are

:11:43.:11:46.

telling their governments we must have a free trade agreement with the

:11:47.:11:49.

UK. How does the Government intend to

:11:50.:11:54.

deliver on the promises? The C LA is saying that Government should admit

:11:55.:12:00.

it cannot design a workable new agriculture policy in less than two

:12:01.:12:05.

years as DEFRA does not have the capacity so the fail you arure to

:12:06.:12:10.

reach the agreement could leave us unable to compete at home and

:12:11.:12:13.

abroad. So specifically, what guarantees can the minister provide

:12:14.:12:18.

today, to rural communities across the country, that farming subsidies

:12:19.:12:22.

and tariff free trade is guaranteed under a Tory Government? I would

:12:23.:12:30.

simply say that the honourable lady, we have tremendous accountsly

:12:31.:12:34.

talented officials in DEFRA and our agencies who have been working

:12:35.:12:38.

closely on the detail behind the design of the agriculture and the

:12:39.:12:42.

issues and the Prime Minister is clear to make an offer to the other

:12:43.:12:48.

European countries, that is a bold, ambitious and a comprehensive trade

:12:49.:12:52.

agreement. A market that the farmers in

:12:53.:12:59.

northern Lincolnshire are hoping to expand is on biofuel. They are

:13:00.:13:02.

concerned with the Government's commitment. Can the minister

:13:03.:13:06.

reassure that is a market for future expansion? We see a role for bio

:13:07.:13:14.

ethanol fuels but with Korean to ensure we don't lose good

:13:15.:13:19.

agriculture land to biofuels. The honourable gentleman, friend is

:13:20.:13:24.

aware this is an issue for the department of transplant. I invite

:13:25.:13:28.

him to race the issue with them in the next Parliament.

:13:29.:13:33.

My friend pointed out that the markets are not necessarily country

:13:34.:13:39.

based but product based. The UK has a tremendous base for lactose free

:13:40.:13:44.

milk. What can we do to encourage the UK producers to develop this

:13:45.:13:47.

product in the UK, manufactured in the UK?

:13:48.:13:52.

We have a very strong dairy industry in this country and there are lots

:13:53.:13:57.

of opportunities like that and we have established things like the

:13:58.:14:00.

food innovation networks and we have things such as the agri- tech fund

:14:01.:14:06.

and others to support innovative product development. Energy prices

:14:07.:14:18.

and exchange rates Abby Kane drivers of changes in agricultural commodity

:14:19.:14:25.

markets -- are the key drivers. There was a sharp spike in food

:14:26.:14:30.

prices in 2008 and food prices levelled off six years later and

:14:31.:14:34.

fell by 7% over the next two years and over the past year we have seen

:14:35.:14:41.

a modest increase of around 1.3%. I thank the minister for his response,

:14:42.:14:47.

but the facts are that the ONS are reporting a surge in food prices

:14:48.:14:51.

which is likely to rise. Children are returning to school hungry after

:14:52.:14:54.

the east of days and the elderly are admitted to hospital for

:14:55.:15:02.

malnourishment -- after the Easter holidays. Because they refuse to

:15:03.:15:07.

measure it, otherwise they would have to admit culpability. You are

:15:08.:15:12.

wrong. We have a long-standing living cost of food survey which is

:15:13.:15:19.

run for many years. And which includes a measure for household

:15:20.:15:22.

spending amongst the 20% poorest households and I can tell her that

:15:23.:15:25.

household spending in those households has remained steady at

:15:26.:15:34.

16% for at least a decade. On the matter further, Mr Marcus Fish.

:15:35.:15:41.

LAUGHTER Farmers are proud of the

:15:42.:15:43.

high-quality food they produce, no matter what it is, but what of the

:15:44.:15:50.

opportunities that the ministers see of us leaving the EU to make sure

:15:51.:15:59.

they get a fair price for that food? As you know, we have recently had a

:16:00.:16:03.

call for evidence and a review of the adjudicator and there has been

:16:04.:16:06.

representation which we should consider extending the remit of that

:16:07.:16:12.

further up the supply chain. But I do believe that the grocery code

:16:13.:16:16.

adjudicator has made a very good start in improving the relationship

:16:17.:16:23.

between producers and supermarkets. It is quite common in food

:16:24.:16:26.

processing plants for 70% of the employees to be EU migrants. Where

:16:27.:16:34.

are they start going to come from in the future? Is the minister

:16:35.:16:38.

committed to defending this sector in the negotiations to come from? I

:16:39.:16:48.

can reassure you that we have had regular meetings with food

:16:49.:16:51.

processors and just a couple of days ago I had a meeting with the new

:16:52.:16:56.

president of the food and drink Federation and this initiative was

:16:57.:17:01.

raised by them. Around 30% of employees in the food processing

:17:02.:17:06.

sector are from other countries in the EU, but the Prime Minister has

:17:07.:17:09.

been very clear that she would like to safeguard and protect the rights

:17:10.:17:14.

of EU citizens that are here and she will expect that to be reciprocated

:17:15.:17:17.

and that can be agreed early in the negotiations will stop may I remind

:17:18.:17:24.

him again at the paradox that we staff the poor by refusing to buy

:17:25.:17:31.

their food from them -- staff. You make a very good point. As I said

:17:32.:17:37.

earlier, we do give preferential trade access to some developing

:17:38.:17:46.

countries, the ACP countries especially important in areas like

:17:47.:17:49.

sugar and this is important for them to develop those industries. My

:17:50.:17:58.

friend is right to raise this issue and I share her concerns about this.

:17:59.:18:02.

She will recognise that we want to get these proposals right as soon as

:18:03.:18:10.

we can. With the ministry agree that rigorous enforcement when this

:18:11.:18:14.

policy is in place is one of the most vital elements? -- would be. I

:18:15.:18:20.

entirely agree, robust enforcement is very important, and chivalrous

:18:21.:18:25.

denies that the police do a great job of enforcing the current rules

:18:26.:18:32.

-- and she will agree that the police. We need a strategic approach

:18:33.:18:37.

to tackling this trade and that is about the enforcement and tackling

:18:38.:18:42.

demand so that together we can help solve the poaching crisis. Question

:18:43.:18:53.

11. I very much enjoyed my visit to her constituency last week and it

:18:54.:18:55.

was a great pleasure to meet with some of her growers including

:18:56.:19:01.

Aberdeen farm to discuss seasonal Labour and I'm very aware of their

:19:02.:19:04.

concerns about the Labour supply issues. The government plans to

:19:05.:19:08.

commission advice from the committee and to consult with businesses later

:19:09.:19:14.

this year. They this we had a very agreeable excursion. -- they

:19:15.:19:21.

obviously. Can I thank my friend for coming to Kent and visiting one of

:19:22.:19:26.

my local fruit farms. And for listening to the growers who

:19:27.:19:30.

assembled there. Especially as it was in the Easter recess. Could she

:19:31.:19:36.

give me an update on the discussions she has had with the Home Office on

:19:37.:19:40.

introducing the much-needed seasonal agricultural permit scheme? Not only

:19:41.:19:46.

did I visit your constituency but also her neighbour in Maidstone, had

:19:47.:19:53.

a lovely day, in the county I grew up in, but she is right. A very

:19:54.:19:59.

important issue and the government has assessed the need for a pilot

:20:00.:20:03.

scheme, seasonal worker scheme, and they have said there is not the

:20:04.:20:06.

evidence that there is such a thing needed. The migration advisory

:20:07.:20:12.

committee and a consultation with businesses later this year will seek

:20:13.:20:15.

to get to the bottom of exactly what we need is and this government is

:20:16.:20:20.

committed to making a huge success for the food and farming sector as

:20:21.:20:29.

we leave the EU. Topical questions. As this is the last one before

:20:30.:20:40.

the... And secondly for us to be the first

:20:41.:20:48.

generation to leave the environment in a better state than we left it.

:20:49.:20:56.

-- found it. We publish the first litter strategy for England and we

:20:57.:21:01.

announced a ?10 grant scheme to restore the iconic peatlands. What

:21:02.:21:09.

is she doing to support the fishermen and the under ten metre

:21:10.:21:13.

fleet which is 33 feet in English money? I'm glad he can still do the

:21:14.:21:20.

sums. We have taken a number of measures to make sure the fleet is

:21:21.:21:23.

more economically sustainable and for example we have taken our used

:21:24.:21:28.

quota from the over ten metre vessels and transferred this to the

:21:29.:21:34.

under ten metre representing a 14% uplift to the under ten metre fleet

:21:35.:21:37.

so we continue to top slice the quota uplift which is now more than

:21:38.:21:41.

a thousand times in order to help the under ten metre fleet. Contrary

:21:42.:21:49.

to what the minister said earlier, recent inflation figures reveal that

:21:50.:21:51.

food prices are rising at the fastest race in three years, at over

:21:52.:21:59.

?21 which has been added to the average shopping bill in the last

:22:00.:22:03.

three months alone. When will the Secretary of State get a grip on the

:22:04.:22:09.

soaring cost of living? As I pointed out earlier to the question that was

:22:10.:22:16.

raised, we saw the biggest spike in food prices in 2008 because of

:22:17.:22:24.

energy prices and food prices fell after that, and now we have had a

:22:25.:22:27.

modest increase in the last 12 months of 1.3%. Rising food prices

:22:28.:22:35.

simply adds to the burden on those with little money for food. As the

:22:36.:22:40.

Food Standards Agency has reported that one in the four low income

:22:41.:22:48.

families struggle to eat regularly and the equality commission says

:22:49.:22:51.

disabled people are over two times more likely to be living in food

:22:52.:22:57.

poverty. How much longer can the Secretary of State refused to

:22:58.:23:00.

monitor and publish figures on UK food insecurity and food bag usage?

:23:01.:23:09.

-- bank. We have always monitored spending on food through the living

:23:10.:23:13.

cost of food survey and the spending on food amongst the poorest 20% has

:23:14.:23:16.

been stable at 16% for over a decade. But I would say this, this

:23:17.:23:22.

government has put more people in employment than ever before and has

:23:23.:23:25.

taken more people off benefits and giving them an income and that is

:23:26.:23:29.

the way you tackle poverty. -- given. It is not just the coastal

:23:30.:23:35.

areas of Lincolnshire which are prone to flooding and whilst the

:23:36.:23:40.

government has invested record amounts it is also England areas

:23:41.:23:43.

which are prone to flooding in places like Lincolnshire. -- inland

:23:44.:23:51.

areas. What more can be done to help protect people and properties? You

:23:52.:23:56.

are right to raise the importance of natural flood management. As I saw

:23:57.:24:00.

myself on a recent visit to Leicester where I launched ?1

:24:01.:24:03.

million competition for natural flood protection, in the back place

:24:04.:24:07.

it can absolutely help alongside more traditional measures. -- the

:24:08.:24:14.

right place. We are investing a total of ?15 billion to fund

:24:15.:24:16.

management schemes across the country and they will help support

:24:17.:24:20.

many communities from flood risk stash ?15 million. Surely the

:24:21.:24:27.

Secretary of State will have the good sense in speaking up for free

:24:28.:24:30.

movement of workers is the easiest way to avoid horrendous shortages in

:24:31.:24:39.

the food and drink industry. We have already addressed the issue of

:24:40.:24:43.

seasonal workers in the agricultural sector and is important we assess

:24:44.:24:47.

the needs. As far as those workers who have all the made their lives

:24:48.:24:51.

and work in this country, as the Prime Minister has said, it is her

:24:52.:24:55.

intention to make sure that those rights are protected provided that

:24:56.:25:00.

the EU reciprocates. It is right to look after British workers who have

:25:01.:25:03.

moved to the European Union at the same time as protecting the very

:25:04.:25:07.

valuable contribution that EU citizens make in the UK. In the

:25:08.:25:14.

interests of customer choice and transparency, isn't it time that all

:25:15.:25:19.

have our and kosher meat products where properly labelled at the point

:25:20.:25:23.

of sale? This would benefit those people who want to buy as well as

:25:24.:25:27.

those who particularly don't want to buy it. You have been a

:25:28.:25:33.

long-standing campaigner on this and we have discussed it on numerous

:25:34.:25:38.

occasions. The government is committed to giving consumers as

:25:39.:25:41.

much transparency as possible and to improving labelling where we can,

:25:42.:25:45.

and I know he understands there are difficulties in that business single

:25:46.:25:51.

definition of kosher and that makes compulsory labelling complex, and he

:25:52.:25:54.

is aware that the European Union has been looking at this, and when we

:25:55.:25:59.

leave, this will be an opportunity for us to look at all of these

:26:00.:26:04.

issues. The 25 year food and farming plan, the 25 year environment plan,

:26:05.:26:12.

these are supposedly to be promised but the summer, but that was some

:26:13.:26:17.

2016, and the Secretary of State has filed for the environment and

:26:18.:26:20.

farmers and the food industry and failed to keep her promise. People

:26:21.:26:25.

are losing their jobs and incomes on her watch, when will these plans see

:26:26.:26:32.

the light of day? You might be aware that there was a very significant

:26:33.:26:36.

decision taken by the people of the United Kingdom last summer to leave

:26:37.:26:40.

the European Union. We have been very clear about our ambition is to

:26:41.:26:45.

make a success of the sector and to be the version narration that leaves

:26:46.:26:52.

in a better place -- and to be the first generation that leaves the

:26:53.:26:56.

environment in a better place than we found it. Evidence to give us a

:26:57.:27:02.

very clear idea, to give a future outside of the EU that is more

:27:03.:27:11.

successful than ever. Further to the question, would the minister please

:27:12.:27:15.

give my constituents the reassurance they need that should the European

:27:16.:27:20.

Commission choose not to follow the recommendation and decide to ban the

:27:21.:27:27.

use of bison -- the use of... Remains possible. A response to the

:27:28.:27:33.

earlier question, the evidence is fairly clear, they believe it is

:27:34.:27:38.

safe and it has always been the UK position to follow the science and

:27:39.:27:41.

the evidence on pesticide decisions and that is why we support the

:27:42.:27:46.

reauthorisation of this and we will continue to have an evidence -based

:27:47.:27:53.

approach when we leave the EU.

:27:54.:27:55.

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. Plus backbench business debates on pensioners living outside the UK, and tackling infectious diseases.