Live Justice Questions House of Commons


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Tuesday the 12th of September. Tuesday the 12th of September.

:00:00.:00:07.

Order! Questions of equal -- to the Minister of State for justice. The

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legal aid agency regularly reviews the legal aid markets to review the

:00:19.:00:23.

demand and takes action where a regional shortfall develops. I also

:00:24.:00:32.

looked to -- look more widely at access to legal aid as part of a

:00:33.:00:36.

package of limitation review on which I have to say more shortly.

:00:37.:00:41.

The Children's Society 's latest report found that in Yorkshire we

:00:42.:00:46.

have seen a 56% drop in the availability of free in every --

:00:47.:00:53.

immigration advice between 2010 and 2016. Given the huge vulnerabilities

:00:54.:01:00.

of young children, will the Secretary of State commit to

:01:01.:01:03.

consider these children in the upcoming review of the legal aid

:01:04.:01:11.

punishment of offenders act. There will certainly be the opportunity

:01:12.:01:14.

for representation to be made and consideration to be given for that

:01:15.:01:20.

sort of change. While the most recent legislation did indeed

:01:21.:01:24.

exclude non-asylum immigration matters, much family law, including

:01:25.:01:28.

cases involving vulnerable children who might be taken into local

:01:29.:01:34.

authority care, asked two cases where legal aid is available.

:01:35.:01:39.

Whilst it is undoubtedly true that there are fewer people having access

:01:40.:01:44.

to legal aid now than before the reforms, it is also true that lots

:01:45.:01:49.

of people are entitled to legal aid are not getting it. What can the

:01:50.:01:53.

Justice Secretary do to make sure that these people get the access to

:01:54.:02:02.

justice that they require? If therapy Buddle believe that they are

:02:03.:02:07.

entitled to legal aid -- if there are people who believe they are

:02:08.:02:11.

entitled to legal aid, I urge them to apply to the relevant authorities

:02:12.:02:18.

and one of the legal aid providers -- advice providers. Even after the

:02:19.:02:23.

exclusion of certain categories, legal aid expenditure last year

:02:24.:02:27.

still amounted to ?1.6 billion, nearly a quarter of my department's

:02:28.:02:33.

entire expenditure. Does the Minister believe that the

:02:34.:02:38.

greater number of people having to represent themselves in court is

:02:39.:02:41.

helping justice to be done in this country?

:02:42.:02:45.

I think that what is important is both that we do manage legal aid in

:02:46.:02:51.

a way that directs what are finite taxpayers resources to those cases

:02:52.:02:55.

where there is greatest need, but we also look actively for ways to

:02:56.:03:00.

simplify access to justice, including through the use of digital

:03:01.:03:04.

technologies so that people do not feel they need always to have that

:03:05.:03:11.

kind of professional representation. Barely one third of immigration

:03:12.:03:18.

detainees at me that -- know that they are entitled to 30 minutes of

:03:19.:03:22.

representation. Given the horror show we saw on last my's panorama,

:03:23.:03:28.

will the Minister assure that all D10 you get access to the legal aid

:03:29.:03:32.

they require? As the honourable gentleman knows,

:03:33.:03:36.

the centre that was the subject of last my's programme is accountable

:03:37.:03:41.

to the Home Office. I know that Mike honourable friend was concerned that

:03:42.:03:48.

action has been taken. On the broader point, legal aid is

:03:49.:03:53.

available for asylum cases, stale. And I would certainly hope that the

:03:54.:03:58.

appropriate measures are taken in every relevant establishment for

:03:59.:04:01.

those rights to be brought to the attention of anybody who is detained

:04:02.:04:07.

who might qualify. Could I press the secretary of state

:04:08.:04:11.

on a date for publication of the legal aid review and can I ask him

:04:12.:04:16.

how many people that have been denied legal aid, the government has

:04:17.:04:24.

heard from? I would hope to be able to give Parliament details in the

:04:25.:04:30.

relatively near future. I am conscious that this is work that has

:04:31.:04:33.

been able to make an announcement been able to make an announcement

:04:34.:04:41.

on. Matters like the general election have intervened. I want to

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press ahead with this as soon as the will. Following the Supreme Court

:04:45.:04:58.

judgment at the end of July on employment tribunal fees, we

:04:59.:05:01.

immediately stop charging them. We are putting in place arrangements to

:05:02.:05:05.

refund those who have paid in the past and we will be announcing the

:05:06.:05:08.

practical details arrangement shortly.

:05:09.:05:15.

I have been contacted by constituents who have a burden

:05:16.:05:21.

placed upon them and going through and employment tribunals case which

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they won. Will the Minister ensure that those entitled to claim are

:05:27.:05:30.

made aware of the process and reunited with their money in a

:05:31.:05:35.

timely fashion? I thank the honourable member for

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that question. It can be an ordeal to go to the employment tribunal or

:05:40.:05:44.

any tribunal. Which is why I pay tribute to the work of ACAS. We will

:05:45.:05:49.

set out the practical arrangements for the reimbursement of fees and

:05:50.:05:53.

make sure that all the points for through before we do that. It is no

:05:54.:06:03.

pleasure to say that a number of the criticisms of the development of

:06:04.:06:07.

this policy were foreshadowed in the justice committee's report in the

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last session. As well as very wacky and promptly acting to reimburse

:06:13.:06:18.

fees, worldly -- as very brightly and promptly acting to reimburse

:06:19.:06:24.

fees, will the Minister make sure that they're rather better means of

:06:25.:06:33.

increment in this policy will so we do not end up in this position

:06:34.:06:39.

again? We will certainly be considering further his committee's

:06:40.:06:43.

report. The former chair of the Select Committee... In due course.

:06:44.:06:51.

We will look at that. The cost of the employment tribunals was ?16

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million, only ?8 million from fees, the rest from taxpayers. So the

:07:00.:07:03.

balance of requiring some contribution from those who use the

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justice system and the taxpayers is inherently different. We recognise

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we got the balance wrong and blending those fees and we are

:07:12.:07:14.

looking at the practical arrangements to reimburse money.

:07:15.:07:21.

In the light of the court ruling and the report of the Select Committee,

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was the decision to introduce fees in the first place a mistake? We

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certainly access the Supreme Court ruling. We think we got the balance

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wrong. -- we certainly access to. We will learn the lessons from the

:07:40.:07:47.

future. Another Select Committee also called for changes because they

:07:48.:07:54.

affect pregnant women and new mums who have experience in Midland

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increases into commendation in the last ten years. Within minutes to

:07:59.:08:01.

look at the other part of the recommendation which is introduce

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the -- increase the time limit for pregnant mothers and new mums to

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bring cases to court? Will certainly look into all aspects of all the

:08:12.:08:19.

various Select Committee reports. May I start by welcoming the

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Minister to this place. The Supreme Court ruled that the secondary

:08:25.:08:27.

legislation which brought in the employment tribunal fees interfered

:08:28.:08:34.

with access to justice and employment rights. Does the Minister

:08:35.:08:40.

accessed that the Supreme Court's judgment demonstrates that

:08:41.:08:42.

fundamental rights like the quality and access to justice should not be

:08:43.:08:48.

changed or underlined by secondary legislation which receives little or

:08:49.:08:54.

no Parliamentary scrutiny? The honourable lady makes a point in a

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powerful way. The Supreme Court also recognised that fees can have a role

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to play and they helped secure justice by making the necessary

:09:04.:09:08.

resources are available. We recognise we got the balance wrong

:09:09.:09:12.

which is why we have taken immediate action to end the fees and we will

:09:13.:09:16.

be coming up with the practical arrangements to reimburse. In 2015,

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the Scottish Government said that as soon as the power to do so is

:09:23.:09:27.

devolved, they would abolish tribunal fees. Does he accept that

:09:28.:09:33.

the Scottish Government choosing to do it voluntarily as opposed to the

:09:34.:09:39.

UK Government doing it after being forced, show that the case for

:09:40.:09:43.

devolving employment rights is strong? Obviously, we fully in

:09:44.:09:52.

favour of the principle of devolution. A whole range of justice

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matters been devolved. In the Supreme Court, Baroness Hale was

:10:01.:10:02.

very concerned about meritorious claims being put off by the fees but

:10:03.:10:08.

you also acknowledge that there are meritorious claims and those do the

:10:09.:10:12.

damage to relations in the workplace. Woody Minister consider

:10:13.:10:17.

looking at any fairer ways of sifting out on meritorious claims

:10:18.:10:22.

such as the suggestion of having a sift before the application was made

:10:23.:10:28.

into a full case? My honourable friend makes a strong point. It is

:10:29.:10:33.

something we can look at. It fully, I think it is fair to say that we

:10:34.:10:38.

got the balance wrong on the specific issue of fees. One of the

:10:39.:10:42.

strong elements that we are looking to reinforce is the role of ACAS.

:10:43.:10:50.

And we have seen a conciliation and the cases referred to it has had a

:10:51.:10:54.

strong impact in reducing cases that need to go to the employment

:10:55.:10:57.

tribunal. I wrote to the Secretary of State in

:10:58.:11:06.

July calling on him to issue a full and unequivocal apology to working

:11:07.:11:13.

people for unlawfully blocking their access to justice through employment

:11:14.:11:20.

tribunal fees. I received this wholly inadequate response last

:11:21.:11:24.

week. Will the Minister apologised today for the suffering this policy

:11:25.:11:27.

has caused to hundreds of thousands of working people? We admitted and

:11:28.:11:33.

we concede we got the balance wrong. I'm very sorry, I'm happy to say.

:11:34.:11:40.

For any frustration or any delete 's impact this has on anyone. That's

:11:41.:11:47.

why we acting quickly to end the charges and ensure there are

:11:48.:11:50.

practical arrangements for the reimbursement for anyone affected by

:11:51.:11:59.

those fees. The government is investing 1.9 billion to transform

:12:00.:12:09.

ability to respond to cybercrime. I'm committed to making sure victims

:12:10.:12:12.

get the support they need to cope with and as far as possible recover

:12:13.:12:16.

from the effects of crime. The national cyber Security Centre is

:12:17.:12:21.

part of GCHQ which the Foreign Commonwealth Office has ministerial

:12:22.:12:29.

responsibility for. Given that its government policy that victim

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support is to be commissioned locally by each individual PCC, is

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the Minister content there is sufficient resource for victim

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support, and given the year-on-year increase in cybercrime, with the

:12:43.:12:48.

Minister not agree that considering national and international nature of

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cybercriminals, that a single national approach to victim support

:12:55.:12:57.

would act as a better deterrent and a better support structure for

:12:58.:13:01.

victims rather than allowing criminals to cherry pick among the

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43 police forces? As I made clear in my original response, cyber security

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doesn't sit with this department. The cyber security policy sits with

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the Cabinet Office. With reference to victim support funding, it's gone

:13:18.:13:22.

up 51,000,020 10-11. I'm pleased to announce it goes up to 96,000,020

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17-18. Most of it is spent through PCCs. As crime changes and the focus

:13:32.:13:43.

on cybercrime grows, what assurances can the Minister give us that the

:13:44.:13:47.

police budget will match this changed focus and we will not see a

:13:48.:13:52.

loss of bobbies on the beat as resources are inevitably shifted?

:13:53.:13:57.

Unfortunately I am not a Minister of the Home Office so I can't respond

:13:58.:14:00.

in detail to that question. I would encourage the honourable member to

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write to the relevant Minister. Can I ask the Minister, when will we see

:14:08.:14:11.

the draft of the evictee this bill which was committed to by the

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government and Her Majesty'sopposition? I thank my

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right honourable friend for the question. We are committed to the

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victims Bill in legislation in the last manifesto. We are up against it

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in terms of parliamentary time, as my honourable friend I'm sure

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understands. But work continues with regards to the legislation required,

:14:33.:14:35.

most likely to underpin the victims code. Does the Minister recognise

:14:36.:14:42.

how vital international cooperation is in tackling cybercrime? I hope he

:14:43.:14:46.

is aware of the excellent work done by Europol, for example, the UK

:14:47.:14:51.

sending more than 400,000 malware files to the Europol service since

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it was founded two years ago. Has the government decided whether the

:15:00.:15:02.

UK will stay part of that EU mechanism to fight cybercrime? I

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hate to repeat myself, but the two policy areas the right honourable

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gentleman refers to do not sit with the Justice Department. Cyber

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security sits with the Cabinet Office and membership of Europol

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sits with the Home Office. Child sexual abuse is abhorrent. The

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taxpayer funded criminal injuries scheme provides an important avenue

:15:30.:15:38.

of redress for victims. The criminal injuries compensation authority

:15:39.:15:41.

administers the scheme and decides all claims individually,

:15:42.:15:44.

independently of ministers and Parliament. I thank the Minister for

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that. Will he commits to updating the guidance in three specific

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areas? First, children cannot be complicit in their own abuse.

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Second, children, as part of the grooming process, children are

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coerced into carrying out criminal activities. And third, looking at

:16:07.:16:15.

giving compensation to family members of victims. I'm happy to

:16:16.:16:22.

look further at all of those three issues. I can say that following

:16:23.:16:25.

some of the concerns expressed earlier this year, it's been decided

:16:26.:16:34.

to mount an urgent re-examination of their own internal guidelines, in

:16:35.:16:38.

particular to make sure there is no risk that a child could be

:16:39.:16:41.

disqualified from compensation because they had been groomed.

:16:42.:16:48.

Groomed into giving consent when that consent had in effect been

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forced from them by a subtle process of grooming. The Department is also

:16:53.:16:58.

concerned about concerns raised about how the rules of the scheme or

:16:59.:17:02.

generally work in cases of child sexual abuse. We are talking to

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organisations like Barnardos and victim support in detail about those

:17:07.:17:10.

concerns and the reforms they propose in order to deal with them.

:17:11.:17:15.

If it's a criminal offence to have sex with a child, how is such an

:17:16.:17:20.

offence anything but a crime of violence? To say child victims

:17:21.:17:24.

cannot receive compensation for their abuse is simply victim

:17:25.:17:29.

blaming. The definition of a crime of violence was last reviewed five

:17:30.:17:34.

years ago. When will this be reassessed to Insua sexually abuse

:17:35.:17:36.

children are not denied compensation? -- to ensure. We are

:17:37.:17:47.

discussing with various charities to discuss the concerns they bring.

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There is a decision between consent in law and consent in fact. This is

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something that has been written into the law since it was first

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introduced, I believe, by the previous Labour government that

:18:05.:18:06.

administered it in their time in office. Its purpose was to ensure we

:18:07.:18:13.

did not end up in a situation where, for example, two 15-year-olds are

:18:14.:18:18.

engaging in sexual intercourse automatically lead to a claim for

:18:19.:18:23.

compensation. It would be left to the authority to look at the facts

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of the case. I am very willing to look at the guidance that it applies

:18:29.:18:34.

to individual cases. But I don't think we should lose sight that

:18:35.:18:39.

there was a reasonable motive behind the law as it was originally

:18:40.:18:46.

drafted. Nobody denies the absolute right and need for victims to claim

:18:47.:18:49.

compensation, but with the Secretary of State not agree with me, there

:18:50.:18:56.

may be occasions, for example in the grave allegations made against the

:18:57.:18:59.

late Edward Heath, that the informant is incentivised some way

:19:00.:19:07.

by bringing forward the accusation. Shouldn't the compensation be made

:19:08.:19:14.

after the outcome of the case is known. The way the scheme operates,

:19:15.:19:21.

it provides compensation for people who are victims of crime. All of us

:19:22.:19:27.

as constituency members can think of cases where somebody has been

:19:28.:19:31.

perhaps the victim of an assault but it has be impossible to successfully

:19:32.:19:35.

prosecute the person or people responsible. And therefore that

:19:36.:19:43.

direct linked to a conviction is not there in the scheme. Where there is

:19:44.:19:48.

evidence compensation has been sought fraudulently, then the

:19:49.:19:52.

authority ought to seek the necessary legal action in order to

:19:53.:19:58.

recover those funds. Question number five, Mr Speaker. With permission,

:19:59.:20:06.

Mr Speaker, I will group questioned five question 16. Education and

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employment opportunities are crucial to help offenders turn around their

:20:11.:20:15.

lives. In line with our reforms, every prisoner will have a personal

:20:16.:20:18.

learning plan linked to their sentence plan to make this reform.

:20:19.:20:26.

We are giving governors control over education resources to fit prisoners

:20:27.:20:30.

needs. Gardening and horticultural schemes to grow edible crops are

:20:31.:20:35.

becoming increasingly incorporated into prison programmes and those in

:20:36.:20:40.

remand up and down the country, giving offenders transferable

:20:41.:20:43.

skills, offering future opportunities and encouraging self

:20:44.:20:50.

confidence and quite often transferring unattractive yards into

:20:51.:20:54.

green spaces. Can the Minister give an indication as to whether a formal

:20:55.:20:57.

assessment has been made to any of these programmes with a view to

:20:58.:20:59.

rolling out the best of the models even more widely? My honourable

:21:00.:21:06.

friend is right. I remember visiting a prison in Daventry and seeing the

:21:07.:21:10.

pride with which the prisoners were tending to their gardens. They spent

:21:11.:21:15.

hours doing them up. She may be aware of the Royal Horticultural

:21:16.:21:20.

Society Trophy awards, judged by an independent panel looking at the

:21:21.:21:24.

best gardening schemes across the prison estate. If he doesn't mind I

:21:25.:21:27.

would be delighted but her name forward as a judge in future.

:21:28.:21:33.

Category D prisons often have the best examples of rehabilitation is

:21:34.:21:37.

as they prepare to let their prisoners back into the community.

:21:38.:21:45.

In my constituency a person has worked for the Council not only to

:21:46.:21:48.

do rehabilitative work, preparing prisoners for work, but also saving

:21:49.:21:55.

the taxpayer ?300,000. I wonder if the Minister agree with me that

:21:56.:22:00.

other prisons in the sector can use from category D's rehabilitative

:22:01.:22:03.

practice and whether he will come and see how well it can work. My

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honourable friend has lighted on an important principle, worked in

:22:11.:22:12.

prison is vital to preparing prisoners for life after release.

:22:13.:22:16.

That is an excellent example which is why I'm supporting the new

:22:17.:22:21.

futures network to develop relationships between employers,

:22:22.:22:24.

governors and the world of work. I would be delighted to visit the

:22:25.:22:28.

prison in due course. I have never heard of such complacency from the

:22:29.:22:32.

government, the prisons service is a shambles. And at the heart of this

:22:33.:22:38.

shambles is the lack of education, the lack of literacy, lack of

:22:39.:22:42.

numerous sea, the lack of apprenticeships that should be, like

:22:43.:22:46.

our Scandinavian brethren, be in every prison. When will you wake up?

:22:47.:22:57.

My honourable friend has come back from his summer holiday with his

:22:58.:23:00.

customary passion. I do agree with him that if prisons are going to

:23:01.:23:06.

work properly we need to help give people the opportunity to turn

:23:07.:23:10.

around their lives. Prison reform is important to this government. That's

:23:11.:23:13.

why we are giving governors more control of their budgets. That's why

:23:14.:23:17.

we are giving governors more freedom to actually implement the plans that

:23:18.:23:22.

are necessary for offenders to turn their lives around. I share his

:23:23.:23:26.

concern, I share his passion, and it's a priority for this government.

:23:27.:23:32.

How will the personal learning plans, of which the Minister has

:23:33.:23:36.

just spoken, operate when a prisoner is transferred from one prison to

:23:37.:23:41.

another? What guarantees can he give that the education path the prisoner

:23:42.:23:45.

has commenced upon can be continued in his new setting, or her new

:23:46.:23:48.

setting, and there can be consistency offered right across the

:23:49.:23:54.

prison estate? The honourable member points out a serious problem that

:23:55.:23:58.

currently exists in the estate. Prisoners are transferred and can't

:23:59.:24:02.

continue courses they had started. Some were on GCSE programmes and

:24:03.:24:07.

couldn't finish them. We are looking at courses and a technology system

:24:08.:24:10.

that allows them carry on whatever they are doing when they are

:24:11.:24:14.

transferred from one prison to another so there is progress and

:24:15.:24:17.

progression on all these courses. I completely agree with her, it's

:24:18.:24:23.

something we are looking at. If Britain is to achieve anything, it

:24:24.:24:26.

must change lies. The best chance to do that is to offer people both

:24:27.:24:31.

education and assisted place to work on release. -- if prison is to

:24:32.:24:36.

achieve anything. Given three fifths of prisoners leave prison without

:24:37.:24:39.

any identified qualification or implement opportunities, can my

:24:40.:24:45.

honourable friend assure these programmes are at the centre of the

:24:46.:24:49.

prison system and how they are being adjusted for greater success? My

:24:50.:24:53.

honourable friend is right. About 50% of prisoners have the reading

:24:54.:24:57.

age of an 11-year-old and numerous sea skills of an 11-year-old. If we

:24:58.:25:03.

are to give them a chance in life we have to sort out education and also

:25:04.:25:07.

give employment skills that actually are valued in the workplace. That's

:25:08.:25:14.

why prison reform, which was a heart of the White Paper the government

:25:15.:25:17.

published last November is carrying on apace. The Chief inspectors of

:25:18.:25:25.

prisons and probation recently issued a devastating report into the

:25:26.:25:32.

government's flagship community rehabilitation companies which

:25:33.:25:36.

stated, "And none of the prisoners had been helped into employment by

:25:37.:25:40.

through the gate services". Will the Minister commit to an urgent review

:25:41.:25:46.

that all of CRCs, including education and deployment services,

:25:47.:25:49.

and will he guarantee no extra money will be passed on to these private

:25:50.:25:53.

companies until it can be proven that they are fit for purpose?

:25:54.:26:00.

The probation reforms that the previous comment rolled out help

:26:01.:26:09.

fortify thousand offenders who have not been supervised because they

:26:10.:26:14.

were being in prison for 12 months, they are now been supervised. There

:26:15.:26:19.

are challenges with a first-generation outsourcing

:26:20.:26:22.

programme. We have got an ongoing probation review, the first half is

:26:23.:26:27.

completed. There were extra funds invested in the CRCs. But we are

:26:28.:26:31.

still within the funding envelope that was decided at the start of

:26:32.:26:36.

that programme. We are carrying on the review to make sure that through

:26:37.:26:41.

the gate and other services are operating as originally envisaged.

:26:42.:26:50.

With permission, I would like to answer this question together with

:26:51.:26:54.

question 13. We have established a new extreme is an unit between HM

:26:55.:26:59.

PPS and the Home Office to strengthen our our approach to the

:27:00.:27:06.

threat of extremism in prisons. Front line staff in prison and the

:27:07.:27:11.

probation service are being given the training skills and authority

:27:12.:27:15.

needed to challenge extremist views and take action against them. The

:27:16.:27:20.

first separation centre at HMP Frankland was opened in 2017 and the

:27:21.:27:24.

first prisoners are now held there. The facilities will hold the most

:27:25.:27:31.

extreme prisoners and protect the more vulnerable from the poisonous

:27:32.:27:40.

ideology. I am grateful for that answer. Extremists target those

:27:41.:27:44.

prisoners who they think will be most susceptible. But what impact

:27:45.:27:48.

does he anticipate the removal of such individuals will have on the

:27:49.:27:53.

prison population as a whole? The decision to proceed with the

:27:54.:27:56.

separation centres was only taken after very careful thought and we

:27:57.:28:05.

judged that the benefits to the general prison population and

:28:06.:28:09.

particularly vulnerable and impressionable prisoners, would be

:28:10.:28:15.

beneficial if we could take out of association with them those who pose

:28:16.:28:18.

the greatest risk. Those who are going to be in separation centres

:28:19.:28:24.

will be assessed by experts on a regular basis and they will only be

:28:25.:28:28.

returned to the mainstream population in prison if it is agreed

:28:29.:28:32.

that the effect that they will have is reduced.

:28:33.:28:38.

Many young men start their journey towards radicalisation by seeking

:28:39.:28:46.

out in prison the strong male role model that they lack in their lives

:28:47.:28:53.

outside. What are the government doing to ensure there are better

:28:54.:28:59.

role models in prison to guide them? My honourable friend makes a

:29:00.:29:02.

valuable point which has resonance not just to do with penal policy but

:29:03.:29:09.

also social policy. There are many charities and voluntary

:29:10.:29:12.

organisations which, by example, by bringing sport into prisons are

:29:13.:29:19.

helping to provide the adult male role models that he wants to see

:29:20.:29:24.

more. In the context of extremism, it is also important to pay tribute

:29:25.:29:29.

to the work of the Imam in the prison chaplaincy service who argue

:29:30.:29:35.

from a basis of scholarship and expertise to rebut some of these

:29:36.:29:42.

arguments. Figures from his own department show that there are 1000

:29:43.:29:46.

prisoners who are radicalise all vulnerable to it. But when they

:29:47.:29:52.

leave prison, such as the Westminster Terrace, they need to

:29:53.:29:59.

the effectively monitored. -- the Westminster terrorist. Is there a

:30:00.:30:04.

robust relationship between the police and prison authorities so

:30:05.:30:06.

that when these people come out of prison, we no one they are -- we

:30:07.:30:12.

know where they are and what they are doing? Our information is that

:30:13.:30:18.

only one of those involved in the recent attacks in Manchester and

:30:19.:30:23.

London have spent time in prison, dating back to 2003. There was no

:30:24.:30:27.

evidence to suggest that that man had been radicalised in prison.

:30:28.:30:32.

Clearly, we want to see the strongest possible joint work

:30:33.:30:35.

between the police and the prison service and the probation service.

:30:36.:30:40.

What we have at the moment is strong but there are always lessons that

:30:41.:30:43.

can be learned and always improvements that can be sought and

:30:44.:30:48.

we are committed not to be complacent and to continue with

:30:49.:30:53.

vigilance and determination. In his initial answer, the Secretary

:30:54.:30:57.

of State spoke of a new initiative. Can you tell us if that comes with

:30:58.:31:03.

new money and if that is adequate? It is part of the duty of the prison

:31:04.:31:08.

service to look after appropriately all those whom the court has sent

:31:09.:31:14.

into custody. So we have found the money for the separation centres

:31:15.:31:18.

from within existing Ministry of Justice budgets. And that, I

:31:19.:31:23.

believe, is a sensible prioritisation of expenditure which

:31:24.:31:28.

will bring about benefits to the management of the prison population

:31:29.:31:32.

more generally by separating of those who pose a particular risk

:31:33.:31:42.

from extremist ideology. We have a robust sentencing framework for all

:31:43.:31:46.

crimes involving child sexual exploitation. The changes made to

:31:47.:31:52.

the criminal and Courts act enhance the changes and make sure that

:31:53.:31:56.

serious offenders are only released when it is safe to do so. I thank

:31:57.:32:01.

the Minister for his reply. On the 1st of November this year, one

:32:02.:32:07.

offender will be released from prison after receiving a sentence of

:32:08.:32:16.

22 years. He will be released after five years. Legislation was passed

:32:17.:32:20.

to make sure that most serious offenders could not be released

:32:21.:32:23.

until they had served two thirds of their sentence and has satisfied the

:32:24.:32:28.

parole board that they were not a risk. What can be done to ensure

:32:29.:32:32.

that this legislation applies in this case? I am aware of this case

:32:33.:32:38.

and the heinous crimes committed and the appalling effect on the victims.

:32:39.:32:42.

The oval ball in the sentencing framework between 22 and 2015 means

:32:43.:32:49.

that that type of sentence would not be passed now. I cannot intervene in

:32:50.:32:56.

individual cases and changes to legislation to strengthen sentences

:32:57.:33:02.

cannot be passed retrospectively. Bearing in mind that 70% of all

:33:03.:33:10.

victims of sexual exportation were under 11, could the minister

:33:11.:33:16.

outlined a perk -- which you deal with the aftermath of its flotation

:33:17.:33:19.

in children possible path to adults would? I would be hammered to write

:33:20.:33:23.

to the honourable member about the impact. One of the barriers to

:33:24.:33:32.

prosecution in child sexual exportation cases is that too often

:33:33.:33:35.

the victims are wrongly thought to be complicit in their own

:33:36.:33:40.

exploitation. And can I say to him that that is the importance of the

:33:41.:33:44.

issues that the member for rather just raise. There should be

:33:45.:33:48.

absolutely no suggestion in any government guidelines that children

:33:49.:33:53.

can be complicit in their own exploitation and that is why that

:33:54.:33:59.

guidance from the prosecuting these silly change now. A powerful point.

:34:00.:34:09.

Nobody wants to blame the day -- laid the blame at any victim,

:34:10.:34:15.

especially not children. The criminal injuries scheme will be

:34:16.:34:21.

looked at but that operates in a different context of the criminal

:34:22.:34:25.

justice system. It can also apply when there has not been a criminal

:34:26.:34:34.

conviction. Drones are raised serious threat to

:34:35.:34:38.

order and stability in our prisons for the contraband that they are

:34:39.:34:42.

used to smuggle. Our intelligence work tells us that much of this

:34:43.:34:47.

activity is backed up by organised crime is gang which is why we have

:34:48.:34:51.

invested in our intelligence teams and also a specialist unit between

:34:52.:34:57.

the prison service and the police service to track down and plus cute

:34:58.:35:02.

these offenders. In the last year, there have been 40 arrests, 11

:35:03.:35:07.

convictions involving drone activity resulting in those individual

:35:08.:35:13.

serving a total of 40 years in jail. With offenders likely to be

:35:14.:35:19.

reconvicted if they are a known drug user, I wonder if my honourable

:35:20.:35:23.

friend could tell the House how in relation to drugs, what work is

:35:24.:35:28.

being done to take steps to tackle the supply of drugs into our prisons

:35:29.:35:36.

by drones. -- by the use of drones. Drones are one way in which drugs

:35:37.:35:40.

are smuggled into our prisons. We are looking at all the possible ways

:35:41.:35:48.

that drugs could be smuggled in. In the case of new psychoactive

:35:49.:35:53.

substances, paper can be impregnated with these drugs and it can be very

:35:54.:35:58.

difficult to detect. But the way to do so is to get intelligence from

:35:59.:36:04.

each establishment and also across different parts of the prison

:36:05.:36:08.

service so that we can respond appropriately and we are investing

:36:09.:36:13.

heavily in order to do so and combat the drug frog in prisons.

:36:14.:36:21.

The escape in February of a convicted murderer serving a 30 year

:36:22.:36:24.

sentence was linked to the dropping of a mobile phone into prison in

:36:25.:36:30.

Liverpool by a drones so he conveys with villains outside to effect his

:36:31.:36:34.

escape. So what steps is the minister taking to enhance and its

:36:35.:36:39.

bar and the schemes already put in place to disrupt drones over prisons

:36:40.:36:42.

and in passing, has he found the prisoner yet? My right honourable

:36:43.:36:48.

friend who is a former prisons Minister is well aware that the job

:36:49.:36:54.

of tracking down and arresting prisoners is a matter for the police

:36:55.:37:00.

service. However, in response to the other part of his question, we are

:37:01.:37:06.

looking at various types of technology to disrupt the flight of

:37:07.:37:12.

drones into our prisons to deliver contraband.

:37:13.:37:22.

Question number nine. In 2014, the government introduced requirement

:37:23.:37:26.

for potential claimants to consider conciliation. The proceedings at the

:37:27.:37:31.

employment tribunal. The number of cases going to conciliation

:37:32.:37:36.

quadrupled, rising to 92,020 1520 16.

:37:37.:37:43.

Sex and discrimination claims fell by 60% and others by 16%. In his

:37:44.:37:51.

recent judgment, the Supreme Court made it clear that this affected

:37:52.:37:57.

women disproportionately. What steps were taking to, say those people who

:37:58.:38:01.

were denied access to justice because they couldn't afford to

:38:02.:38:05.

pursue a claim in the first place? Of the honourable lady. She is right

:38:06.:38:16.

to refer to the end of the fees and proposals for reimbursement. In

:38:17.:38:20.

reference to potential claims which were not brought, anyone who wants

:38:21.:38:26.

to bring a claim can submit to the Yvonne intervene to bring a case

:38:27.:38:31.

outside the time limit. They will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

:38:32.:38:37.

-- they can submit them to the tribunal.

:38:38.:38:43.

I would like to group question ten in question 17. The government is

:38:44.:38:48.

aware that by leaving the European Union will bring an end to the

:38:49.:38:52.

jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom.

:38:53.:38:58.

Scotland has its own distinct legal system. Brexit will impact directly

:38:59.:39:08.

on this legal system and non-justice systems within Scotland and on a

:39:09.:39:12.

range of devolved issues. Can the Minister confirm that this

:39:13.:39:17.

distinction will be given serious consideration as the Brexit

:39:18.:39:22.

negotiations progress? Yes, as Mr Speaker, and indeed, when I spoke to

:39:23.:39:29.

the Mr Matheson last month, I emphasise to him that one of our key

:39:30.:39:34.

objectives in the official and ministerial level conversations

:39:35.:39:36.

between my department and his would be to ensure that the interests and

:39:37.:39:43.

the particular features of the Scottish justice system are properly

:39:44.:39:46.

reflected in the work that the United Kingdom is doing particularly

:39:47.:39:52.

on future civil judicial cooperation with the European Union.

:39:53.:40:01.

In January, the Prime Minister unambiguously asserted that Brexit

:40:02.:40:06.

will allow the UK to take back its laws and bring an end to the

:40:07.:40:10.

European Court of Justice jurisdiction in Europe. But last

:40:11.:40:18.

month, it appeared that the UK would be willing to work with the EU for

:40:19.:40:22.

judicial supervision. Could the Minister, given this change, how the

:40:23.:40:26.

Prime Minister got it so wrong in January? I think the honourable

:40:27.:40:32.

gentleman is really the government's position... The Prime Minister was

:40:33.:40:37.

very clear in her leg as to how speak, the position is that this

:40:38.:40:43.

country's exit from the European Union means that the European

:40:44.:40:47.

Union's treaties cease to apply to the UK and that therefore, the

:40:48.:40:52.

direct effect that decisions of the Court of Justice of the European

:40:53.:40:56.

Union have in United Kingdom will seize from that point. What is also

:40:57.:41:02.

the case is that, as spelt out in the government paper on disputes

:41:03.:41:07.

resolution, there are many international examples of

:41:08.:41:12.

arbitration mechanisms that involve different jurisdictions are coming

:41:13.:41:15.

together to agree on how to take account of their different court's

:41:16.:41:20.

the Ouse in coming to a settlement and when a dispute arises. So

:41:21.:41:25.

approaching these negotiations in a constructive fashion.

:41:26.:41:31.

Number 11. With your permission, Mr Speaker, I will group this question

:41:32.:41:40.

with question 18. Surrounding vulnerable witnesses in Crown Court,

:41:41.:41:53.

and three... We have recognise there are concerns about the operations of

:41:54.:41:56.

the victims code and are considering how compliance might be monitored

:41:57.:42:00.

and improved. Despite the progress is that have been made, attending

:42:01.:42:05.

court as a witness and particularly as a victim can still be very

:42:06.:42:09.

stressful. Can my honourable friend in large from me on what steps the

:42:10.:42:13.

government is taken to ensure victims and witnesses know what to

:42:14.:42:15.

expect when they attend court and that they are treated with respect

:42:16.:42:19.

in court and they know when they are required in court? We want to use

:42:20.:42:26.

technology to assist all witnesses and not just those who are

:42:27.:42:30.

vulnerable and intimidated. That's why we are exploring ways of making

:42:31.:42:34.

best use of technology such as video links to allow witnesses to avoid

:42:35.:42:37.

the stress and or inconvenience of having to be physically present in

:42:38.:42:41.

the courtroom. We also plan to develop an online tool that would

:42:42.:42:45.

allow witnesses to access information about a case such as a

:42:46.:42:52.

trial date quickly easily. Research on victim support found more than

:42:53.:42:55.

half of victims have unwanted contact with a defendant at court.

:42:56.:43:00.

How will the government's court reforms ensure separate entrances,

:43:01.:43:04.

waiting rooms and facilities are standard across all criminal courts?

:43:05.:43:11.

As I'm sure he is aware, the government is investing more than 1

:43:12.:43:15.

billion to modernise court systems to put the needs of victims first.

:43:16.:43:22.

The court and Tribunal service recently established model victim

:43:23.:43:25.

and witness waiting rooms at Nottingham, Manchester, Newcastle,

:43:26.:43:32.

Liverpool and Aldershot, drawing on feedback from the victims

:43:33.:43:34.

commissioner, the witness service and court users. Minister will be

:43:35.:43:44.

aware that the support 's police and crime commissioners get for working

:43:45.:43:48.

with victims, decisions are often made very late in the financial

:43:49.:43:54.

year. Will he consider making three year-long provisions so the services

:43:55.:43:59.

provided could be provided more efficiently and also with greater

:44:00.:44:07.

stability? There are areas where the cc are doing very good work and

:44:08.:44:10.

there are areas where the workers perhaps not successful. -- where the

:44:11.:44:18.

ccs. I wanted to announce annual awards so we could follow the money

:44:19.:44:23.

and find out what works so we can provide better services for victims.

:44:24.:44:28.

Prior to the introduction of the prisoner and court bill in the last

:44:29.:44:32.

Parliament, no research had actually been carried out into the effects of

:44:33.:44:39.

virtual justice reforms either on witnesses, victims or defendants.

:44:40.:44:46.

Will he now guaranteed that research into these key areas will be done

:44:47.:44:54.

and published in advance of the court bill being brought back into

:44:55.:44:58.

the house? We are consulting with a variety of different agencies and

:44:59.:45:01.

the victims Commissioner on the work she alludes to. We are in the

:45:02.:45:05.

process of testing pre-recorded cross-examination at a number of

:45:06.:45:10.

centres across the country. I don't want the honourable member for

:45:11.:45:15.

Yeovil to feel that he was out of the water in a way. Mr Marcus Fish!

:45:16.:45:25.

Justice delayed can be justice denied. It can also be very

:45:26.:45:31.

distressing for victims and witnesses, such as constituents of

:45:32.:45:36.

mine, to suffer repeated delays in scheduling and notification of

:45:37.:45:40.

hearing dates and notification of verdicts, which in some cases have

:45:41.:45:43.

even been learned from the opposing parties. What can be done to improve

:45:44.:45:49.

court processes and time frames in their communication? I thank my

:45:50.:45:55.

honourable friend for his custom. All criminal justice agencies are

:45:56.:45:58.

committed to keeping victims and witnesses informed about their case.

:45:59.:46:02.

The outcomes of cases involving vulnerable victims and witnesses are

:46:03.:46:07.

available on court systems within 24 hours. Professionals involved in the

:46:08.:46:10.

case and present on the day will know the outcome immediately. If the

:46:11.:46:13.

honourable gentleman is aware of details of any other cases where

:46:14.:46:16.

they might not be happening, these Danny Wright to me and I will

:46:17.:46:21.

respond. -- please can he writes to me. Since the start of January to

:46:22.:46:28.

the end of June 2017 there has been a net increase of 868 new prison

:46:29.:46:35.

officers, put in as well on track to recruit 2500 new officers by

:46:36.:46:41.

December 2018. Will the Minister be aware of the major drugs finds and

:46:42.:46:46.

major problems at the home house prison in my constituency which has

:46:47.:46:50.

seen experienced officers leave and replaced by 18-year-old recruits.

:46:51.:46:53.

Does the Minister really think that recruiting youngsters is the answer

:46:54.:46:57.

to meet the needs of an increasing present operation, tackle drugs and

:46:58.:46:59.

solve the crisis in the prison service? I take issue with the

:47:00.:47:07.

implication behind the honourable member's question. We are recruiting

:47:08.:47:13.

new prison officers. We were all inexperienced once but it doesn't

:47:14.:47:16.

mean we are not capable of doing our jobs. I have been to our training

:47:17.:47:23.

centre and a lot of the recruits are of the highest calibre, using the

:47:24.:47:26.

same recruitment methods we have used all through the years. The

:47:27.:47:30.

opposition did not believe we could deliver these numbers. We are

:47:31.:47:33.

delivering them and I think we should be supporting the government.

:47:34.:47:39.

The government's excellent policy in building a modern new prison in

:47:40.:47:44.

Wellingborough. Will the Minister be able to say how many new prison

:47:45.:47:48.

officers will be working at Wellingborough and when it will

:47:49.:47:51.

open. If you can't tell us now, will he write to me? I will certainly

:47:52.:47:57.

write to the honourable member about the staffing arrangements at

:47:58.:47:59.

Wellingborough, which have not been decided yet. But we are very proud

:48:00.:48:03.

and keen to be progressive with the opening of that prison. The Minister

:48:04.:48:09.

is boasting about the number of prison officers recruiting this

:48:10.:48:14.

year. But actually his ministry's on figures show that 35 prisons, one

:48:15.:48:19.

third of all prisons, have suffered a fall in front line officer numbers

:48:20.:48:25.

since January this year. Is this another example of what the former

:48:26.:48:30.

Director-General of prisons now describes as ministers doing nothing

:48:31.:48:35.

except issuing cheery press releases which suggest all is going precisely

:48:36.:48:43.

to plan? This is nothing about cheery press releases. 868 people on

:48:44.:48:48.

the payroll and have started in our prisons and are doing and heroic and

:48:49.:48:55.

brave job. We have promised to recruit 2500 new officers by the end

:48:56.:49:01.

of 2030, and we are on track to deliver that target. Of course,

:49:02.:49:05.

there are wider issues with the prison system, the retention of

:49:06.:49:08.

officers, which we are working on. We are also going beyond that, for

:49:09.:49:12.

example getting smart graduates to work on the front line. And again we

:49:13.:49:17.

have exceeded targets. These are not a boast, it was the opposition who

:49:18.:49:24.

said nobody would want to work in our prisons and talked the officers

:49:25.:49:27.

down. It's good to see people stepping up to do what is a brave

:49:28.:49:31.

and challenging job. Topical questions. Topical number one, Sir.

:49:32.:49:42.

My priorities as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State are to uphold and

:49:43.:49:46.

defend the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. And

:49:47.:49:50.

to ensure that our prisons are safe and secure places that also work

:49:51.:49:55.

effectively and with the probation service to rehabilitate offenders.

:49:56.:50:01.

That means strengthening the front line in the way my honourable friend

:50:02.:50:05.

has described. But it also means we need to respond better to reports

:50:06.:50:11.

from prison inspectors. That's why I am setting up a new unit, ultimately

:50:12.:50:16.

accountable to ministers, to ensure we respond to and follow up

:50:17.:50:19.

inspectors' report is swiftly and effectively. How many foreign

:50:20.:50:25.

national offenders are in our prisons and why isn't more being

:50:26.:50:28.

done to send them to secure detention in their own countries? As

:50:29.:50:37.

of the 30th of June this year, there were 6792 convicted foreign national

:50:38.:50:41.

offenders serving sentences in our prisons. In 2016-17 we removed 6177

:50:42.:50:50.

such offenders from the United Kingdom, including prisoner

:50:51.:50:52.

transfers. That's the highest number since records began. The Right

:50:53.:50:57.

Honourable member for Kettering will surely reissue his textbook to

:50:58.:51:03.

colleagues on succinct questions. This summer I was proud to sign up

:51:04.:51:07.

to the campaign launched by Jean Martin to change the law so that

:51:08.:51:15.

disgraceful practice of so-called up skirting is made a specific sexual

:51:16.:51:18.

offence. Will the Minister join us today in backing the school for a

:51:19.:51:23.

change in the law? I have taken very seriously the representations made

:51:24.:51:29.

by not only Gino Martin but from some of the police and crime

:51:30.:51:34.

commissioners around the country. I have asked for detailed advice on

:51:35.:51:37.

this. I hope the honourable gentleman would understand that

:51:38.:51:42.

before proceeding to legislation I want to be absolutely certain this

:51:43.:51:47.

will be the right course to take. Legal services in the UK are held

:51:48.:51:53.

rightly in high regard around the world and are a major asset to our

:51:54.:51:57.

economy. What is the Minister doing to champion and defend the interests

:51:58.:52:03.

of the legal sector in this country? He's absolutely right, legal

:52:04.:52:07.

services exports contribute a trade surplus of 3.4 billion to the UK

:52:08.:52:11.

economy. The UK is a global leader in dispute settlement. We're working

:52:12.:52:14.

with this sector to promote this key camp arable advantage. It's a

:52:15.:52:18.

priority for the Brexit negotiations. As a global leader, we

:52:19.:52:25.

will be taking to the International bar Association conference in

:52:26.:52:30.

Australia next month. Last week a report from the committee of the

:52:31.:52:33.

United Nations made 60 recommendations to the government as

:52:34.:52:37.

to how it can better comply with the UN Convention on the rights of

:52:38.:52:40.

Persons with disabilities. Can the Minister tell me how will the

:52:41.:52:43.

government respond and what changes in government policy to disabled

:52:44.:52:48.

people were we expect to see as a result? It's for the Minister for

:52:49.:52:54.

disabled people and the Department for Work and Pensions to decide on

:52:55.:52:58.

the overall government response to that report. I think the government

:52:59.:53:02.

was right to express disappointment that the report failed to

:53:03.:53:06.

acknowledge you significant advances that this government has made in

:53:07.:53:10.

improving the lot of disabled people in this country, not least in seeing

:53:11.:53:15.

a record number of people with disabilities now in employment. I

:53:16.:53:21.

would like to ask a front bench, what upgrades have been attained in

:53:22.:53:25.

prisons and achieved since we have come into office, and how we are

:53:26.:53:30.

going to rehabilitate prisoners even further. I'm assuming my honourable

:53:31.:53:39.

friend is referring to the prison estate where we have invested ?1.3

:53:40.:53:43.

billion to modernise the estate. As part of this we will be building

:53:44.:53:48.

10,000 modern prison places to help with offender rehabilitation. In

:53:49.:53:52.

terms of where we are now, we have started with a proposed development

:53:53.:53:59.

at Glenn Carver and also HMP Wellingborough. We have also

:54:00.:54:04.

announced plans to open four new prisons in Yorkshire, as well as

:54:05.:54:07.

Port Talbot in Wales and redevelop the young offender institution at

:54:08.:54:13.

Rochester. Given the problems the department has had one it has

:54:14.:54:16.

privatised many services, it seems extraordinary there are now plans to

:54:17.:54:21.

privatise a selection of court fines and outsource the work of civil

:54:22.:54:24.

enforcement officers. When will the government acknowledged these

:54:25.:54:31.

sensitive public services should be delivered by the body cannot private

:54:32.:54:33.

cowboys. Can the Minister update me on when

:54:34.:54:40.

the revised... INAUDIBLE We are committed to doing everything

:54:41.:55:00.

we can to improve the treatment of victims in the justice system. In

:55:01.:55:05.

relation to the practice session of which he refers, we expect to

:55:06.:55:13.

receive a since the election hundreds of constituents have

:55:14.:55:15.

contacted me about our current animal cruelty laws which are not

:55:16.:55:19.

fit for purpose. A maximum prison sentence of six months for some of

:55:20.:55:22.

the most appalling crimes such as torturing a dog to death is

:55:23.:55:25.

completely unacceptable. What steps will the Minister take to ensure

:55:26.:55:30.

that the sentencing guidelines are rigorously reviewed and

:55:31.:55:30.

strengthened? I thank the honourable lady and I

:55:31.:55:42.

sit share her desire to see robust sentences. In January, the

:55:43.:55:47.

sentencing council published new guidelines on relevant aggravating

:55:48.:55:51.

factors in animal cruelty cases. In the past 18 months, some of my

:55:52.:55:57.

decisions have died in HMP Bristol. As one of the highest rates -- one

:55:58.:56:05.

of the prisons with the highest rate of self-inflicted injury, what

:56:06.:56:07.

actions are being taken to get this figure down? Every death in custody

:56:08.:56:13.

is a tragedy and I offer my condolences to the members of the

:56:14.:56:21.

family. We have increased staff at HMP Bristol by 31 prison officers in

:56:22.:56:31.

the last year. I chair a weekly safer custody meeting and we

:56:32.:56:35.

investigate each death to see how we might prevent others. And we look at

:56:36.:56:43.

custody where mental health patients are involved. I would be willing to

:56:44.:56:47.

visit my honourable friend's prison to look at this as you.

:56:48.:56:55.

If larger, the Minister said that Brexit was a good thing because it

:56:56.:57:00.

young workers would be able to work longer hours. Can you confirm that

:57:01.:57:06.

the working Time directive would be continued? We are committed to the

:57:07.:57:14.

best possible employment conditions for all British workers. We have a

:57:15.:57:17.

fine record of achievement on that and we will ensure that when we

:57:18.:57:22.

leave the European Union, there is no diminution in workers' rights.

:57:23.:57:28.

In January last year, an Afghan national who previously served time

:57:29.:57:33.

for murder in the Netherlands, attacked two Crawley police

:57:34.:57:38.

officers. Recently, the Court of Appeal has reduced his sentence. Can

:57:39.:57:43.

I seek assurances from my right honourable friend that

:57:44.:57:48.

representations will be made to the Home Office to insure that he is

:57:49.:57:51.

deported at the earliest opportunity? Mr Speaker, I can give

:57:52.:57:59.

my honourable friend the issue is that the views of the Police

:58:00.:58:02.

Federation and others in this constituency will be conveyed to the

:58:03.:58:10.

Home Office. It remains the government's collective will to

:58:11.:58:15.

ensure that those foreign national offenders who merits deportation are

:58:16.:58:18.

deported as soon as possible after serving their sentence. Is the

:58:19.:58:24.

Minister aware that the equality and human rights commission have

:58:25.:58:28.

recommended that the protections afforded by the European Union

:58:29.:58:31.

Charter should be retained in the UK, and what is he going to do about

:58:32.:58:38.

it? I am always the roses by the approach of the opposition to the

:58:39.:58:42.

charter. When the Labour Party was in power, they claimed unfortunately

:58:43.:58:48.

that they were seeking an op -- opt out. Now they say they will drop

:58:49.:58:53.

back in. We have the strongest protection for human rights in this

:58:54.:58:56.

country. We will see no diminution in those rejections. But the charter

:58:57.:59:04.

is surplus to requirements. Does my right honourable friend agree that

:59:05.:59:12.

the pilot screen that allowed the filming of judges' sentencing

:59:13.:59:17.

remarks has been a incessant Willy now allow the broadcasting of court

:59:18.:59:21.

proceedings so that justice is not just on, but seem be done? We have

:59:22.:59:27.

made progress and years right that one area under review is

:59:28.:59:32.

broadcasting of judges' sentencing remarks in the Crown Court. We last

:59:33.:59:37.

year conducted experiments and we are looking at those trials and we

:59:38.:59:43.

will see how best to proceed. 316 people died in our prisons last year

:59:44.:59:47.

but e-mails from prison doctors printed in the media if your days

:59:48.:59:53.

ago say they are not -- there are not enough medical staffing prisons

:59:54.:59:58.

and urgent referrals are cancelled because of escort shortfalls. What

:59:59.:00:02.

is the Justice Secretary planning to do to tackle this growing health

:00:03.:00:09.

care crisis in custody? We are very conscious that the government has a

:00:10.:00:13.

duty of care to everyone we hold in custody. We are working with the

:00:14.:00:18.

health Department on a number of protocols including around mental

:00:19.:00:21.

health but also to ensure that prisoners get access to the health

:00:22.:00:27.

care they need when they need it. Would ministers give the House their

:00:28.:00:32.

response to the recent report by Lord farm on the importance of

:00:33.:00:36.

strengthening prisoners' family ties to reduce reoffending? Lord farm's

:00:37.:00:46.

report is an excellent report. Family ties are important to help

:00:47.:00:50.

people turn around their lives but also helps to improve stability in

:00:51.:00:57.

prisons. We will be polishing -- publishing our response in due

:00:58.:01:02.

course. Whilst I welcome the Minister's news about increased

:01:03.:01:06.

prison officers in HMP Bristol, I am concerned that the Department's own

:01:07.:01:11.

figures show that 770 experienced officers left the service last year.

:01:12.:01:17.

What is the Minister doing to retain and keep fully longer term

:01:18.:01:20.

experience, valuable prison officers? It is always the case that

:01:21.:01:30.

therapy puzzle would leave an organisation -- that there are

:01:31.:01:33.

people who would leave an organisation because of retirement

:01:34.:01:38.

or because they are not happy with what has been happening. We have got

:01:39.:01:43.

a retention plan and the number that I gave earlier on, 868, net new

:01:44.:01:50.

prison officers, takes account of people leaving the service. So we

:01:51.:01:54.

are actually up on last year's figures in taking account of people

:01:55.:02:00.

leaving the service. Having recently met with the government of a prison

:02:01.:02:05.

in my constituency, drones are becoming an increasing problem in

:02:06.:02:09.

prison as is the illegal use of mobile phones. The two are linked as

:02:10.:02:14.

the mobile phones give greater frequency and accuracy for drone

:02:15.:02:18.

activity. Does the Minister agree that the way to Cardrona activity

:02:19.:02:28.

and stop illegal mobile phone use to tell but phone activity and stop

:02:29.:02:34.

illegal phone use. Is to support my private members Bill. I fully

:02:35.:02:39.

support that bill, it is the right way to deal with the illegal use of

:02:40.:02:44.

mobile phones used to carry on a legalistic -- activity from behind

:02:45.:02:52.

bars. The building of a prison on the back of an industrial park is

:02:53.:02:57.

causing disquiet as my constituency. But IOC Minister to come to the

:02:58.:03:01.

public meeting to explain the physician to the community? The

:03:02.:03:07.

member is aware that ministers do not attend public consultation

:03:08.:03:11.

events around obtaining planning permission for new prisons. He is

:03:12.:03:16.

also aware that the site at Port Talbot was proposed along with a

:03:17.:03:19.

number of sites by the Welsh government who continue to support

:03:20.:03:24.

us in redeveloping the site for a new prison. I have received his

:03:25.:03:29.

representations on behalf of constituents, years diligent and

:03:30.:03:33.

persistent. And also we had a meeting on this on July 12.

:03:34.:03:37.

Obviously, subject to the two-day consultation which is more than

:03:38.:03:43.

would normally happen, I would be happy to think about what would

:03:44.:03:48.

ameliorate the concerns of his constituents. Woody Secretary of

:03:49.:03:56.

State look at the way families are treated by insurance companies when

:03:57.:04:02.

the householder get sick of your convictions. The Salvation Army has

:04:03.:04:06.

highlighted cases where is sure is has either been denied all made

:04:07.:04:12.

prohibitively expensive which I think is unnecessary? I am having to

:04:13.:04:20.

look at this and I am happy to examine this further. With exemplary

:04:21.:04:28.

brevity, I feel sure. With this view to historic child abuse in North

:04:29.:04:36.

Wales, will the Minister look at a report into the Waterhouse inquiry

:04:37.:04:41.

which relates to many of the children? The honest answer is that

:04:42.:04:48.

I'm not familiar with the detail as to why an unredacted copy has not

:04:49.:04:52.

been published but I will undertake to her to ask for urgent advice on

:04:53.:04:59.

that and write to her. I will call the next member if he keeps to a

:05:00.:05:05.

short sentence? Will my right honourable friend join me in paying

:05:06.:05:10.

tribute to the Lord Chief Justice's work who will have retired by the

:05:11.:05:14.

time we take these questions next time for his integrity as a judge

:05:15.:05:18.

and is modernising work in England and Wales. I am happy to join my

:05:19.:05:24.

honourable friend in his salute to Lord Thomas who has been a

:05:25.:05:30.

formidable and exemplary leader of the professional judiciary. What has

:05:31.:05:36.

struck me in the short time I have held my office is the enormous

:05:37.:05:39.

respect and also affection in which Lord Thomas is held by his

:05:40.:05:44.

colleagues on the judicial bench. And I am sure the entire house will

:05:45.:05:54.

want to wish him all the best. In the last Parliament, a joint report

:05:55.:05:59.

on women and inequalities found widespread exploitation of women at

:06:00.:06:03.

work especially young women in vulnerable employment. Now that the

:06:04.:06:07.

barrier of these has been reduced, will you look seriously at the

:06:08.:06:10.

recommendations of that report and work with other departments to

:06:11.:06:14.

ensure that women are aware of access to justice? I thank thee

:06:15.:06:19.

Oliver lady. As I explained earlier, we will take into account all the

:06:20.:06:28.

findings of the Select Committee. -- I thank the honourable lady.

:06:29.:06:39.

The IRA murderers suspected of killing Ian Gow have no fear of

:06:40.:06:44.

arrest with the recent revelation that hundreds if not thousands of

:06:45.:06:48.

letters are being sent out to veterans of the troubles with a view

:06:49.:06:52.

to further prosecutions and will he support a policy of a statute of

:06:53.:06:59.

limitations to put an end to this grotesque inequality of treatment?

:07:00.:07:07.

The answer is that I did read that letter. The matters he has raised

:07:08.:07:12.

the results will issue of the Secretary of State for Northern

:07:13.:07:18.

Ireland. He is very concerned to make sure a proper examination of

:07:19.:07:22.

the past and a search for the truth about the past does not lead to the

:07:23.:07:27.

unfair and disproportionate of arraignment of British soldiers who

:07:28.:07:30.

stood for democracy and human rights. We are well out of time. The

:07:31.:07:37.

Minister will be aware of the serious disorder at HMP Birmingham

:07:38.:07:41.

which follows a serious right that took place in December and incidents

:07:42.:07:47.

at other prisons over the summer. Clearly, our prisons are in crisis.

:07:48.:07:52.

Isn't it time we had an independent inquiry into the state of our

:07:53.:07:59.

prisons? We have already said that violence in our prisons is to hide.

:08:00.:08:04.

I spoke to the commander at HMP Birmingham on Sunday night and the

:08:05.:08:08.

first thing is to give praise to the professionalism of the prison

:08:09.:08:11.

service in dealing with a difficult and challenging situation. Of

:08:12.:08:20.

course, a key part of dealing with the security and stability problem

:08:21.:08:23.

in our prisons is increasing staffing levels on which there have

:08:24.:08:27.

been in of questions, and we are doing so. A wider part of that is

:08:28.:08:32.

dealing with phones and drones and also drugs and is it will take time

:08:33.:08:38.

to do so. But I praise our prison officers for their brave work.

:08:39.:08:47.

Urgent question. To

:08:48.:08:48.