13/11/2017 House of Commons


13/11/2017

Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons including an urgent question on the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and a Brexit negotiations statement.


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Hello and welcome to the live

coverage of the House of Commons. In

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one hour, the Shadow Secretary at

Emily Thornberry burlesque and

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urgent question of the British

Iranian National Nazanin

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Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is in prison

in Iran accused of -- trying to

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overthrow the regime. David Davis

will update ministers on the latest

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round of talks in Brussels. Margaret

Hodge will move a notion for a

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debate on tax avoidance and the main

business is the Northern Ireland

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Bill which will pass a budget for

Northern Ireland. Don't forget to

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join me, Mandy Baker, at 11pm for a

round-up of the day from both Houses

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of Parliament. First, questions to

the Work and Pensions Secretary and

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his team of ministers.

The Department of Work and Pensions

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has regular discussions with

colleagues across government about

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the treatment of Gurkhas and the

benefits system and responsibilities

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under the Armed Forces government.

Additional support is in play sport

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all members of the Armed Forces

community to take account of their

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needs and circumstances.

I thank the Minister for her

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response. Gurkhas have put

themselves on the line or our

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country and I recently met members

of the Gurkha community in Eastleigh

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who travel long distances from home.

Having met these phenomenal

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soldiers, will my honourable friend

continue to ensure that their very

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unique circumstances are recognised

in our pensions and benefits system?

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As you will be aware, Mr Speaker, I

am married to a former Gurkha so I

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fully understand and share my

honourable friend's gratitude for

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their bravery and their service. No

member of our Armed Forces should be

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disadvantaged by their service to

our country. And I would like to

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reassure her that the Department of

Work and Pensions takes very

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seriously our commitment to the

Armed Forces government. And we will

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do everything we can and work as

hard as we can tout them get the

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best possible support.

Mr Speaker. Advances are interest

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free and repayable over six months

for those making a new claim, or 12

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months for those on benefits before

claiming the Universal Credit. Our

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objective is to strike the right

balance between supporting claimants

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with living expenses and ensuring

they have the ability to pay the

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advance.

I think the Secretary of

State for that answer and he will no

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guidance states that 40% of the

standard allowance can be used in

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repaying an advance payment, and 40%

can be deducted from the payments to

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pay back creditors. It is not clear

from the guidance whether a claimant

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might end up paying both. Meaning

they will have more than 40%

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deducted from their award. Could the

Secretary of State clarified the

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maximum amount repayable and

recognise this is a charter for loan

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sharks?

The deduction in terms of

subsequent payments to take into

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account of an advance, there is not

-- this does not apply to the 40%.

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But we have to remember that this is

an advance, this does give people

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greater flexibility to have access

to their Universal Credit early so

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that they are able to cope with that

initial first assessment period.

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We hear a lot from the other side

about Universal Credit, but we do

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need to remember that this is a much

more effective system of getting

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people into work and that

nationally, 113 people move into

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work and Universal Credit ban for

every 100 and the previous system.

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In my constituency, which was a

pathfinder for Universal Credit, we

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are seeing very substantial drops

and people claiming. Is this not a

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better system altogether?

A my honourable friend is absolutely

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right. Universal Credit is helping

people get into work, the progress

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in work, and it is also clear that

people on Universal Credit are

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spending more time looking for work

than on the legacy and effects. And

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I think it is really important that

we all work to ensure that Universal

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Credit is a success. We believe it

will result in 250,000 more jobs in

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this country as a consequence of its

operation and that is something that

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is worth achieving.

What the Secretary of State has

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repeated again this afternoon falls

into the precise trap of treating

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everyone on Universal Credit as if

they were out of work. Surely one of

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the big issues is the problem of

applying conditionality to people

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who already have jobs.

Well, the point about Universal

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Credit is that it operates when

people are out of work and when they

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are in work. That means that what

you will not get is what happens

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with the legacy system, that people

are worried about doing extra hours

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because they find they have claims

closed. That is holding people back

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from progressing. But I do believe

that in work conditionality has a

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role to play within our system to

ensure that people do progress. We

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have an issue in terms of people who

are in work but still getting

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substantial support from the

taxpayer. We want them to be able to

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progress to be less dependent upon

the state and that is what Universal

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Credit will deliver.

What steps has the Secretary of

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State taken to increase the

awareness of advance payments?

Well,

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we have changed the guidance that

applies in Job Centres in respect of

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advance payments. There is also

increased publicity within Job

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Centres. I saw myself visiting a Job

Centre in Bedford last week the way

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in which the operation of advances

is working. We did believe there

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would be increased to take up so

people will get the support they

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need. And when it is suggested that

people under Universal Credit would

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face weeks and weeks without any

financial support whatsoever, I am

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afraid that is scaremongering

because that is what is happening

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under the system as it is operating.

Yesterday, the Scottish Finance

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Secretary Derek Mackay wrote to the

Chancellor ahead of his budget

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appealing for Universal Credit is to

be fixed. Today, 140 academics

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publish an open letter in the

Telegraph which criticised the

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advance payment system and echoed

the Derek Mackay's call to reduce

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the first payment waiting time and

move the twice monthly payments and

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reverse cuts to allowances. Does the

Secretary of State agree that the

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Chancellor should act?

Can I does

make a point about Universal Credit,

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and early payments within the

system? There is flexibility for

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Scotland, the Scottish government

has flexibility, which it is

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exercising. But it means that the

second assessment period, people at

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the end of that will only get 50% of

what they are entitled to and then

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the rest will be deferred and it

will be paid in the third assessment

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period. That strikes me, it is.

Scotland to decide, but it does

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strike me as making the situation

more difficult for claimants, not

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easier.

The Secretary of State is looking

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for the Scottish Government to show

him how it is done committee should

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devolve Universal Credit in full and

we will get on with it! I wonder if

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he has seen a report from the Child

Poverty Action Group group and the

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IPPR and they say cuts to Universal

Credit will leave an extra 1 million

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children in poverty. Is a million

more children in poverty not

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evidence enough for the UK

Government to reverse the cuts to

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work allowances and make work pay?

Well, my point was that the Scottish

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Government deliver and Universal

Credit in a different way, but a way

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I think is worse than the situation

in England and Wales. But I have to

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say, the point about Universal

Credit is that it will help people

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into work. Let me give one brief

example. If I may, Mr Speaker. I

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heard of an account last week of

someone, a single mother on income

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support not currently able, not

previously able to claim the best

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childcare costs. Now under Universal

Credit, they are able to do so,

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she's taking up a job working eight

or nine hours a week where she was

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not previously able to do, a first

step on the ladder. That is an

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example of what Universal is

delivering.

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It with recent report by the

Resolution Foundation using new data

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based on bank transactions shows

58%, so the majority of new

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claimants living and Universal

Credit as a result of leaving

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employment in the last year were

paid either fortnightly or weekly.

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In their previous job. A far higher

percentage than the economy on

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average were around one in four paid

fortnightly or weekly. The guy

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mentioning sure no claim and has to

wait more than ten days so will they

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make sure it mirrors the end -- the

world of work for those who claim

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it?

Universal Credit is replacing

tax credits, and tax credits, 57% of

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claimants are paid monthly and 12%

get paid for weekly. That is nearly

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70% are paid over that period of

time and if you are to have a system

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that works for everybody, then a

monthly system is what it has to be.

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We are committed to ensuring

claimants receive high-quality,

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fair, accurate assessments. DWP

closely monitors assessments through

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independent audit and assessments

deemed unacceptable returned. A

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range of measures including provider

improvement plans address

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performance falling below expected

standards and DWP continually looks

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to improve the assessment process.

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My office is inundated with people

dissatisfied and distressed after

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their assessment. In light of

statistics showing an almost

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ninefold increase in complaints to

the department, what analysis has

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been made of the PIP assessment

process?

We are constantly striving

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to improve the assessment period. It

is worth pointing out that the total

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number of complaints on PIP is about

1%. We are continuing to work

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closely with the assessors to ensure

that this can be delivered as

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effectively as possible.

Justin

Tomlinson.

The vast majority of

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successful appeals because of late

additional evidence. What further

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consideration is being given to

sharing data between the two

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different assessments and to

automatically access health records

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where the claimant is welling in

advance of an assessment?

I think my

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honourable friend raises an

important point. He is actually

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right and is the reason why the

majority of overturned decisions are

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reached. We continue to look at ways

in which the assessment process of

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PIP and ESA, to the extent they can

be greater called nation between

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them, that is something we are

considering.

Mr Speaker, my

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constituent has a life limiting

illness and her medical consultant

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has confirmed this affects even the

most basic of daily activities.

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Without a transplant, she has

approximately two or three years

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left to live. She has just been

turned down for PIP. Will the

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Secretary of State please give an

undertaking he will look into this

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as a matter of urgency? Can he

confirm that compassionate

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conservatism is officially dead?

In

terms of her first point, of course,

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I will happily look at that case if

she wants to provide me with the

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details.

For our constituents, a

health assessment is an incredibly

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important moment and it can be very

distressing. I have been calling for

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a routine recording of assessments,

providing evidence of when they go

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wrong. A recording in itself could

change behaviour for the better.

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Could my honourable friend provide

an update on the recording pilot?

We

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are looking at that. I think my

honourable friend makes an important

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point in terms of the need for

independent audit of assessments to

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ensure the advice provided by

decision-makers is of suitable

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quality, fully explained

unjustified, and recording that is

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part of the various options that we

have in terms of making those

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improvements.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Can I start by welcoming the

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honourable lady to her place? There

has been a 900% increase in

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complaints about the personal

independence payment assessment. Her

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Majesty's courts and tribunal

statistics show that the number of

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appeals lodged and the proportion of

DWP decisions overturned has

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increased. There has been a 67%

increase in the first quarter of

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this year in appeals, in comparison

with the same period last year. Just

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last week, Britain's Rosenior

tribunal judge stated that most of

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the benefit cases that reach the

court are based on bad decisions,

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where the DWP has no case at all.

The quality of evidence...

Order, we

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do need a? Very soon. -- we do need

a question mark very soon. The text

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is extensive, I know she is new to

the bench and I listened with

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interest and respect, but we need to

proceed speedily. I know she is

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getting to a question in her next

sentence.

I certainly am getting to

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my question. What I will ask the

Secretary of State is what action is

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he taking to improve the personal

independence payment framework,

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improve the accuracy of

decision-making and standards of

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mandatory reconciliation, and stop

wasting taxpayer money on funds -- a

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necessary tribunal is and appeals.

Let me put this in context. Since

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the personal independence framework

was introduced in 2013, the DWP has

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carried over 2.6 million

assessments. As I said earlier, the

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total number of complaints received

equates to fewer than 1% of all

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assessments. Our latest research

shows that 76% of PIP claimants are

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satisfied with the overall

experience. In terms of the 2.6

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million decisions, 80% have been

appealed, 4% have been successfully

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appealed. We constantly strive to

improve the PIP system. But let's

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put this in some context.

Last week

I was able to spend the day in the

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Jobcentre in my constituency, seeing

what is going well and what is not

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going so well with some welfare

reforms, including Universal Credit

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and PIP. One issue that came up as

the period of time that people are

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waiting for health and work

capability assessments. Can I ask my

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honourable friend what penalties are

being levied against some of the

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third-party companies involved with

the assessments and what could be

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done to close the gap for

constituents?

When it comes to

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improving the timing, whether it be

of ESA or PIP assessments, it is the

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case that they have that period of

time reduced in recent months. That

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is something I welcome. We continue

to work closely with the providers

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of the assessments to ensure that

their performance is adequate.

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Question four, Mr Speaker.

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With permission, I will answer

questions for Macron six together.

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In 2012, overall participation of

female eligible employees in a

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workplace pension was 58%. Since the

introduction of automatic enrolment,

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this has increased to 80% in 2016.

For males this has increased from

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52% to 76% in the same period.

Two

former pensions ministers have

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criticised the Government for the

policy. The opposition parties

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recognise the government matter is

wrong. The growing number of

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cross-party MPs say it is wrong, and

hundreds of thousands of

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disadvantaged 1950s women know it is

wrong. When will the current

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pensions minister and the Government

admit their mistake and take action

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to rectify this grave injustice?

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The Government will not be

revisiting the state pension

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arrangements for women born in the

1950s that are affected by the

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pensions act of 1995, 2007 and 2011.

This would require people of working

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age, more specifically younger

people, to bear an even greater

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share of the cost of the pensions

system.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The

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government matter's former pensions

minister has said that she regrets

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the government's failure to properly

communicate the state pension age

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equalisation and it is up to Macron

approach she describes as a massive

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failure of public policy. Does the

Minister appreciate how much this

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failure has affected 1950s women's

ability to plan for a happy

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retirement? And the sense of outrage

they feel about this issue?

Since

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1995, successive governments,

including the Labour Party, have

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gone to significant lengths to

communicate the changes, including

0:21:290:21:33

targeted communications, hundreds of

press reports, parliamentary

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debates, advertising and millions of

letters. In the last 17 years, the

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department has also provided over 18

million personalised state pension

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estimates.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. My

honourable friend confirm that if

0:21:430:21:51

changes or were changes to be made

to the women's pensions

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arrangements, that this would

actually create discrimination

0:21:540:21:56

against men and that would be

unfair?

I am grateful to my

0:21:560:22:05

honourable friend from Dorset's

question. The proposal whereby women

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would receive early pensions would

create a new inequality, Mr Speaker,

0:22:090:22:13

between men and women, the legality

of which is highly questionable.

The

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government matter seem to be under

the misapprehension that the

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campaign by the 1950s women will

eventually go away if they keep

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ignoring it, even told the table

office that they would not answer a

0:22:300:22:32

question on a subject for my

honourable friend the member. Tim

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Southee. It will not go away. So why

doesn't the minister engage with the

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campaigners to find the solution and

support our proposals to extend

0:22:410:22:45

pension credit to the most

financially vulnerable and give them

0:22:450:22:48

all the opportunity to retire up to

two years earlier?

The honourable

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gentleman will be aware that the

Government has already introduced

0:22:540:22:57

transitional arrangements, costing

£1.1 billion, in 2011, which mean

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that no woman will see her pension

age change by more than 18 months,

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relative to the 1995 acts timetable.

Question number five.

The

0:23:050:23:15

availability of advances at the

start of a Universal Credit claim

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ensures that those that need money

immediately can access it. Data

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shows that around half of claimants

are receiving advances. We have

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recently undertaken an exercise to

improve awareness and access to the

0:23:250:23:28

support.

The manager of a food bank

in Lincoln has said that there is

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evidence of a clear correlation

locally between the introduction of

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Universal Credit and, in Lincoln, we

have only had a partially so far, a

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full roll-out in March. There is a

clear correlation between that and

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an increase in the use of food

banks. I would ask for your comments

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on that and also asked people on the

benches opposite, including

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yourself, think it is acceptable

that people in Lincoln would be

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starving, not for food banks, but

because of waiting for Universal

0:24:000:24:07

Credit payments.

Presumably you say

what is acceptable in Lincoln, way

0:24:070:24:11

above my play the EU pay grade. The

Secretary of State?

I repeatedly

0:24:110:24:17

make this point, that nobody needs

to wait a long period of time for

0:24:170:24:21

cash support under the Universal

Credit system. To suggest otherwise

0:24:210:24:29

is causing unnecessary anxiety for

those that are not on the Universal

0:24:290:24:32

Credit. I'm afraid that I think we

should all discuss this in a

0:24:320:24:37

slightly more responsible manner.

When I visited the Newark Jobcentre

0:24:370:24:45

a week or so ago, 80% of the jobs in

the Jobcentre were paid either four

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weekly or monthly. With the

Secretary of State agree that you

0:24:500:24:53

have to be careful not to patronise

working people, and not to stop them

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from entering the workplace with as

much ease as possible? The vast

0:24:560:25:01

majority of jobs in my constituency

are paid monthly.

My honourable

0:25:010:25:07

friend is absolutely right. Part of

the purpose of Universal Credit is

0:25:070:25:11

to close the gap between being out

of work and being in work. For most

0:25:110:25:16

jobs in work, that is paid monthly,

getting people used to the monthly

0:25:160:25:21

system is a sensible approach. Can I

also say that I very much welcome

0:25:210:25:25

the fact that my honourable friend

has visited a Jobcentre. I recommend

0:25:250:25:31

honourable and right honourable

members to do so to hear how it is

0:25:310:25:35

operating on the ground, because the

experience that I know many

0:25:350:25:38

honourable members have is extremely

positive.

I won't ask the Government

0:25:380:25:46

bench for the fifth time whether I

should believe his statement, the

0:25:460:25:52

roll-out of Universal Credit in

Birkenhead will go hunky-dory, with

0:25:520:25:55

a food bank, which says it will need

ten tonnes more food to prevent a

0:25:550:26:00

scenario of people being hungry, if

you cannot abide the word starving.

0:26:000:26:07

We have a debate on Thursday which

is signed by members across the

0:26:070:26:11

House of Commons. It will be the

first time when members opposite can

0:26:110:26:17

actually vote, one if they want to

reform Universal Credit. Will he be

0:26:170:26:24

opening a debate on taking the

message back to Cabinet?

Well, the

0:26:240:26:30

position we have made very clear for

a long time is that we want to

0:26:300:26:34

ensure that Universal Credit works.

This is a test and learn system and

0:26:340:26:40

we are always looking at ways in

which we can improve the system,

0:26:400:26:43

particularly for that first period.

What I would say to the right

0:26:430:26:45

Honourable Member, and the house as

a whole, is that Universal Credit is

0:26:450:26:52

helping us address the best way of

dealing with poverty, which is

0:26:520:26:56

ensuring that people can get into

work. That is the argument that I

0:26:560:27:00

and my honourable and right

honourable friends will continue to

0:27:000:27:03

make.

0:27:030:27:04

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have

visited job centres and I know that

0:27:070:27:12

in the Universal Credit system that

work coaches are very much an

0:27:120:27:16

important and integral part of the

system. May I ask my honourable

0:27:160:27:19

friend how the new word coaches will

boost job assist job-seekers in my

0:27:190:27:27

constituency, in their eager quest

to find work and to find employment?

0:27:270:27:33

My honourable friend is absolutely

right. That is why we are recruiting

0:27:330:27:37

work coaches up and down the United

Kingdom, providing the personalised

0:27:370:27:42

support that people need to help

them get into work. Again, I come

0:27:420:27:45

back to my experience of meeting

with word coaches in job centres up

0:27:450:27:48

and down the country. They believe

they have a system in place that is

0:27:480:27:53

helping them to do more to transform

lives. That is hugely important.

Mr

0:27:530:28:02

Speaker, one of the original

objectives of Universal Credit was

0:28:020:28:05

to reduce child poverty. In 2010,

the Government said Universal Credit

0:28:050:28:11

would reduce child poverty by

350,000. This was revised to 150,020

0:28:110:28:17

13. Last year, ministers failed to

produce a figure in answer to my

0:28:170:28:21

honourable friend, the member for

West Ham. What are the government's

0:28:210:28:24

current estimates of how many

children would be lifted out of

0:28:240:28:28

poverty as a result of UC?

Universal

Credit gives people a better

0:28:280:28:36

opportunity to work. It gives single

parents greater support. In fact, it

0:28:360:28:43

gives parents greater support on

childcare. I come back to the

0:28:430:28:46

example that I just gave a moment or

so ago. He was previously on income

0:28:460:28:52

support, not able to get help with

childcare, now able to get help with

0:28:520:28:56

childcare and is getting on the

employment ladder thanks to

0:28:560:29:01

Universal Credit. That is what

Universal Credit is delivering.

0:29:010:29:07

Well, that was a really

disappointing answer. We have

0:29:070:29:10

already heard that the Child poverty

action group published data last

0:29:100:29:13

week which is predicting that 1

million more children will be pushed

0:29:130:29:18

into poverty as a result of UC cuts.

300,000 of those that are under

0:29:180:29:25

five. Another objective was to make

work pay. Given that four out of ten

0:29:250:29:32

people on UC are in work and would

be, on average, £2600 a year work in

0:29:320:29:38

the worst off, when will the

Government admit that UC is not fit

0:29:380:29:44

for purpose and stop the roll-out of

UC?

0:29:440:29:49

Can I point out that child poverty

is down since 2010? I think the

0:29:490:30:00

Honourable Member has given the game

away there. She doesn't want to

0:30:000:30:06

pause and fix Universal Credit, Mr

Speaker. She wants to scrap and

0:30:060:30:11

rewind it. She wants to rewind to a

system when claimants were forced to

0:30:110:30:20

accept reduction rate of 90%, where

they had to claim a multitude of

0:30:200:30:24

benefits and where we have a benefit

system that was not an aid to people

0:30:240:30:28

working, but an impediment that

trapped people in poverty and

0:30:280:30:33

dependency. That is what Universal

Credit will bring an end to.

0:30:330:30:44

With permission, Mr Speaker, will

answer questions seven and 12

0:30:440:30:48

together. There are no financial

losers on those on the seat of

0:30:480:30:56

Employment Allowance and the

universal Reddit equivalent prior to

0:30:560:31:01

April 2017 including those who

temporarily leave the essay to try

0:31:010:31:06

out work and return. New claimants

from April and are capable of

0:31:060:31:10

preparing for work received a rate

of benefits on a par with Job

0:31:100:31:14

Seekers Allowance.

I welcome the

Minister to her place. Changes to

0:31:140:31:20

benefit are actually resulting in

huge cuts to the money people and

0:31:200:31:25

disabilities have to live on. The

ESA cut was touted by the government

0:31:250:31:29

as a way to remove perverse

incentives and encourage people into

0:31:290:31:32

work. With the Minister agree

starvation does not encourage anyone

0:31:320:31:38

into work and cutting funding the

people in need does not help and

0:31:380:31:41

that need, and will she commit to

reversing these invidious cuts?

I

0:31:410:31:46

think the honourable lady for her

question. There are no cuts to

0:31:460:31:50

people on those benefits, let's be

absolutely clear about this. Since

0:31:500:31:58

April 2017, people who are able to

work are receiving a personal

0:31:580:32:02

support package. We have already

recruited 300 new disability claim

0:32:020:32:08

advisers, we have a -- allocated 15

million to the flexible support

0:32:080:32:13

funds, we are doing everything we

can for people who are able to make

0:32:130:32:18

the journey back to work to have the

support that they need to do so.

It

0:32:180:32:26

may place more reliance on the

Minister's comments, that there is

0:32:260:32:33

an austerity. Is he aware that the

Scottish Government estimate between

0:32:330:32:38

7-10,000 people in my constituency

and in Scotland stands to lose the

0:32:380:32:42

work-related component of their

allowances and this is a cut they

0:32:420:32:47

cannot afford, so will she undertake

to speak as a matter of urgency to

0:32:470:32:50

the Chancellor ahead of the budget

to reverse the cuts and stop

0:32:500:32:54

punishing the poor and disabled for

the economic failures of this

0:32:540:32:57

Government.

I think the honourable

gentleman. Let's be absolutely clear

0:32:570:33:02

what we are trying to achieve here.

There are many people in Scotland

0:33:020:33:06

and across our country who are

recovering from health conditions,

0:33:060:33:11

who have disabilities, who really

want to work. And we are doing

0:33:110:33:14

everything that we can't to provide

them with tailored support so that

0:33:140:33:18

they can do that and they can play a

full part in the society to enable

0:33:180:33:23

them to do so.

Despite record

employment, only one in every 100

0:33:230:33:29

people on ESA leaves the benefits

system every month. Could the

0:33:290:33:35

Minister tell us what more she and

her department doing to help these

0:33:350:33:40

people into work.

He is quite right

to point out this unfair

0:33:400:33:47

discrimination for people with

disabilities in our country who

0:33:470:33:51

really want to make a contribution.

And we are doing everything

0:33:510:33:57

including working with employers as

well as providing people seeking

0:33:570:34:03

employment with a tailor-made

support that they need to play their

0:34:030:34:05

full part in society. The UK

continues to be a global leader in

0:34:050:34:19

disability rights. And we are

committed to further improving and

0:34:190:34:23

progressively implementing this

convention. We are considering the

0:34:230:34:27

committee's recommendations and we

will provide an update on the

0:34:270:34:30

progress we are making in the next

year, as requested by the UN.

Mr

0:34:300:34:36

Speaker, the UN found that UK cuts

disproportionately hit people with

0:34:360:34:41

disabilities and fundamentally and

systematically and gravely

0:34:410:34:46

undermined their human rights. So

will she ensure now, today, that

0:34:460:34:54

PIP, ESN and Universal Credit

brought into line with the

0:34:540:34:56

fundamental conventions of the UN so

the people are treated with dignity

0:34:560:35:03

instead of with discrimination and

cruelty?

This country has a proud

0:35:030:35:07

record of treating people fairly and

we will continue to uphold those

0:35:070:35:12

proud principles. Of course we are

considering the report and as I

0:35:120:35:16

said, we will be publishing our

findings. But let's put this in

0:35:160:35:20

context. Only Germany of the G7

presents more money supporting

0:35:200:35:24

people with disabilities and

long-term conditions. As a

0:35:240:35:29

percentage of GDP, we present 2.5%

and that is 6% of all government

0:35:290:35:36

spending. That is £50 billion year.

Can I just confirm any money

0:35:360:35:43

received on disability benefits as

PIP DLA is exempt under the benefits

0:35:430:35:50

capital.

Very grateful to my

honourable friend for that question

0:35:500:35:54

and I can give a very simple answer,

yes.

0:35:540:36:05

I thank the honourable gentleman for

his question. Up to October 20 7%

0:36:050:36:11

have been disallowed personal

independence payment. 45% of

0:36:110:36:18

claimants with Parkinson's disease

receive a higher award and a PIP

0:36:180:36:22

than they did previously.

Would it

not save a lot of time, money and

0:36:220:36:28

distress if all those on the higher

rate of disability allowance with

0:36:280:36:34

degenerative diseases like

Parkinson's were transferred

0:36:340:36:36

automatically onto personal

independence payments and how many

0:36:360:36:39

people with Parkinson's are

currently in the noble review

0:36:390:36:42

category?

It is absolutely right

that we get PIP right for anybody

0:36:420:36:50

with a disability, including those

people with degenerative diseases

0:36:500:36:54

like Parkinson's. At a big it is

absolutely right to notice, as my

0:36:540:36:59

honourable friend did earlier that

considering how many PIP assessments

0:36:590:37:05

have been made, over 2.6 million,

there have been fewer than 1% of

0:37:050:37:10

complaints. Most of the time, this

benefit is got right the first time.

0:37:100:37:15

But we worked tirelessly, including

with our stakeholders in the

0:37:150:37:20

voluntary sector organisations, to

make improvements.

Advances are

0:37:200:37:28

available at the start of a

Universal Credit claimed to ensure

0:37:280:37:33

people have money to tide them over

until the first payment. Around half

0:37:330:37:37

of claimants receiving advances and

we have undertaken an exercise to

0:37:370:37:42

improve awareness and access to the

support.

I thank the Secretary of

0:37:420:37:47

State for this answer. We are

fortunate in Bernd Ritthammer low

0:37:470:37:50

employment rates. Could you tell me

what the likely impact on jobs of

0:37:500:37:55

Universal Credit roll-out will be in

my constituency?

In total, it is

0:37:550:38:01

estimated that Universal Credit will

help around 250,000 people more into

0:38:010:38:05

employment. On average, that works

out at around 400 extra people in

0:38:050:38:11

work, in each Parliamentary

constituency. But Universal Credit

0:38:110:38:14

will have large impacts in areas

with a higher proportion of benefit

0:38:140:38:18

claimants or a higher prevalence of

single parents and out of work

0:38:180:38:21

families.

But Russell trust say that food bank

0:38:210:38:27

use has increased in areas where

Universal Credit has been rolled

0:38:270:38:31

out, it has not been rolled out yet

in my constituency, but this

0:38:310:38:35

weekend, the Hayward food bank ran

out of food. What safeguards will

0:38:350:38:38

the Minister put in place to ensure

Universal Credit claimants do not

0:38:380:38:42

have to rely on a charity of their

neighbours, a system that sometimes

0:38:420:38:45

fails?

We are improving the advances

0:38:450:38:50

system, awareness of the advances

system. This is a message we can all

0:38:500:38:56

take to our constituents. There is

support available, nobody needs to

0:38:560:38:59

wait six weeks because advances are

available within Job Centres and

0:38:590:39:05

they are being taken up, the

majority of new claimants are taking

0:39:050:39:08

up those offences.

Last week, I heard from one of my

0:39:080:39:14

constituents who was having

difficulty getting an advance

0:39:140:39:16

payment and had to result to a food

bank. When the error was corrected,

0:39:160:39:21

he took that food back to the food

bank when he got his advance

0:39:210:39:26

payment. Does this not show that

when mistakes are made, every effort

0:39:260:39:29

is being made to correct them and

secondly, the basic human decency of

0:39:290:39:35

those claiming Universal Credit?

I entirely agree with my honourable

0:39:350:39:40

friend and the point he makes. It is

worth pointing out that in the

0:39:400:39:45

normal course of events, if somebody

gets an advance, it usually takes

0:39:450:39:49

around three days through the

thanking system for the money to be

0:39:490:39:53

paid. But if need be, people can get

support on the same day.

0:39:530:40:03

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The comment's

position will set out in

0:40:030:40:07

Parliamentary debates in October

2016 and March 2015 by our Liberal

0:40:070:40:13

Democrat colleague says Steve Webb

and I have great sympathy for those

0:40:130:40:18

affected but they are protected by

the pension fund compensation

0:40:180:40:22

scheme. In 1996, the Government

actuaries Department in a note

0:40:220:40:28

bailed to clearly outline the risks

of transferring their pensions to

0:40:280:40:31

the new private sector scheme. We

regulate financial advice in this

0:40:310:40:35

country yet when it is the

Government giving the advice, not

0:40:350:40:40

even the Parliamentary ombudsman can

review it. Surely this is grossly

0:40:400:40:44

unjust. Why does the Minister not

pursue this mis-selling scandal is

0:40:440:40:48

the FCA did with the PPI, is it

because it would be the Government

0:40:480:40:52

that is to blame this time?

The

honourable lady suggests one thing.

0:40:520:40:59

I can only refer her to the two

Parliamentary debates that dealt

0:40:590:41:04

specifically with this matter, as

set out by her own Liberal Democrat

0:41:040:41:07

colleague when he was part of the

Coalition, says Steve Webb, in March

0:41:070:41:11

2015.

The pension protection fund is

a vital lifeline for those who

0:41:110:41:17

become insolvent, can Minister give

an update on when the white paper

0:41:170:41:24

looking at the affordability will be

available?

The Green paper as he

0:41:240:41:28

knows was published in debris 2017

and there has been extensive

0:41:280:41:33

consultation and much consideration

of the matters but forward. We are

0:41:330:41:36

analysing those responses and intend

to publish a white paper in the New

0:41:360:41:41

Year.

Since 2010, over 3 million more

0:41:410:41:49

people have found employment, the

employment rate is close to the

0:41:490:41:52

record high and the employment rate

is the lowest it has been since

0:41:520:41:57

1985.

11% of people in Cheadle are

0:41:570:42:04

self-employed, Mike constituent is

self-employed and also a wheelchair

0:42:040:42:06

user who finds valuable

opportunities to attend networking

0:42:060:42:11

opportunities are lost because they

are not always accessible. Does the

0:42:110:42:15

Minister agree to unlock the talent

and energy of disabled

0:42:150:42:19

entrepreneurs, event organisers must

make provisions for successful

0:42:190:42:23

people to attend them?

I do agree with my honourable friend

0:42:230:42:28

and I think service providers have a

duty to anticipate and provide

0:42:280:42:36

adjustments for disabled people and

certainly in the case of my

0:42:360:42:38

honourable friend's constituent,

this may include arranging events at

0:42:380:42:43

an accessible venue. Also worth

pointing out that the new enterprise

0:42:430:42:47

allowance which is designed to help

people set up businesses, one in

0:42:470:42:54

five of those taking up the new

enterprise allowance have been

0:42:540:42:57

disabled people.

Whilst every new job is welcome, in

0:42:570:43:02

a country where 55% of people knew

in the work of receipt of benefits.

0:43:020:43:09

Mark Webb and living in poverty.

And

the better off now disgustingly

0:43:090:43:17

well-paid, what is the Government

going to do about it.

The highest

0:43:170:43:22

earning 1% pay a bigger proportion

of income tax than they ever have

0:43:220:43:27

done before. I have also announced

that as a government, we have

0:43:270:43:34

substantially increased the Personal

Allowance and introduce the national

0:43:340:43:36

Living Wage and the support the

Universal Credit is going to provide

0:43:360:43:41

will help more and more people

progress into work.

0:43:410:43:47

Around half and we are working to

further improve awareness and access

0:43:470:43:50

to the support.

Mr Speaker, I am keen to ensure the

0:43:500:43:56

advance payments are made to my

constituents in need and I see the

0:43:560:44:01

Job Centre and these systems advise

Dutch Citizens Advice Bureau once a

0:44:010:44:03

month. Would he agreed that the

party opposite should start acting

0:44:030:44:10

responsibly and encourage

constituents to apply for this

0:44:100:44:12

additional help and tone down the

political rhetoric which can deter

0:44:120:44:16

vulnerable people from applying in

the first place?

He knows and the

0:44:160:44:22

party opposite should acknowledge

that no one need go without money

0:44:220:44:25

while waiting for their first

regular payment and they should not

0:44:250:44:28

try to put people off accessing the

support that is there for them.

0:44:280:44:35

Minister, today's exactly six weeks

until Christmas Day. If anyone

0:44:350:44:41

applies for Universal Credit today,

they will have to make do and just

0:44:410:44:45

two weeks of Universal Credit until

after Christmas. What assessment has

0:44:450:44:49

the Minister made of the impact on

those families and their ability to

0:44:490:44:54

let the children enjoy Christmas?

Our record on timeliness of

0:44:540:45:02

Universal Credit has improved

markedly. Advances are always

0:45:020:45:05

available. In the run-up to

Christmas, when there are many

0:45:050:45:09

temporary work opportunities

available, Universal Credit works

0:45:090:45:11

much better for people in being able

to access those opportunities,

0:45:110:45:14

particularly on the verge of the

festive season.

How much longer can

0:45:140:45:19

a time and spend looking for a job

on Universal Credit?

Very well, I

0:45:190:45:25

will take the Right Honourable

Gentleman on question 14. Though he

0:45:250:45:28

did not seek agreement to that

proposition, simply blurting it out.

0:45:280:45:32

We will accept it on that occasion.

Mr Speaker, we do know that people

0:45:320:45:38

spend a great deal more time on

Universal Credit looking for work.

0:45:380:45:42

They apply for a wider range of jobs

and consider jobs they may not have

0:45:420:45:46

considered before. This is all part

of the reason why we know there is

0:45:460:45:49

significantly better labour market

outcomes for people more likely to

0:45:490:45:51

be in work after six months than on

the old benefits.

Question 16, Mr

0:45:510:45:58

Speaker.

Universal Credit is

transforming and modernising the

0:45:580:46:07

welfare state, ending complicated

rolls around employment hours and

0:46:070:46:09

the cliff edges of the old system.

Universal Credit has a clear system

0:46:090:46:13

of allowances and tapers to ensure

that claimants know that they are

0:46:130:46:16

always better off in work.

Will the

Secretary of State agree with me

0:46:160:46:22

that one of the fundamental flaws of

the system we inherited from Labour

0:46:220:46:25

is that people that want it to work

more than 16 hours a week could lose

0:46:250:46:30

90p of every pound that they earned?

My right honourable friend is

0:46:300:46:34

absolutely right. It wasn't just a

very high marginal deduction rates,

0:46:340:46:39

which obviously we don't see with

Universal Credit, it was the fact

0:46:390:46:42

that people moving in and out of

work, or the hours fluctuating,

0:46:420:46:47

could find themselves moving from

one benefit system to another

0:46:470:46:50

benefit system, creating additional

hassle and uncertainty for

0:46:500:46:55

claimants, and indeed discouraging

people from taking on additional

0:46:550:46:58

hours.

Number 17, Mr Speaker.

With

permission, I would like to answer

0:46:580:47:08

question 17 and 19 together. The

Department for Work and Pensions are

0:47:080:47:11

currently undertaking work to

investigate the reality of rent

0:47:110:47:15

arrears and Universal Credit. It

aims to understand the true level of

0:47:150:47:17

rent arrears for the tenants, what

is causing them and any impact

0:47:170:47:21

Universal Credit may be having.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. New findings

0:47:210:47:28

say 49% of landlords are less likely

to rent to those in receipt of

0:47:280:47:32

Universal Credit. In Kirklees there

are only 121 social homes available

0:47:320:47:38

for 9000 700 on the waiting list.

Can the Minister tell us what steps

0:47:380:47:44

she is going to take to prevent

those on year. -- on Universal

0:47:440:47:51

Credit being swim in it against?

The

honourable lady is right to raise

0:47:510:47:56

the question, but there are

alternative arrangements available.

0:47:560:47:58

We have listened very carefully to

housing providers. We are seeing

0:47:580:48:03

improvements in this all the time.

I

listened very carefully to what the

0:48:030:48:10

Minister said in answer to the

question. I am wondering if it is

0:48:100:48:14

any surprise to hear that the chief

executive of a large housing

0:48:140:48:17

association in the north-west of

Raymond recently told me that there

0:48:170:48:20

are arrears from Universal Credit

alone was over £2 million. One

0:48:200:48:25

authority in Yorkshire and Humber

has an average per claimant of over

0:48:250:48:31

£1100 per claimant. Why is that

happening and what are you going to

0:48:310:48:34

do about it?

I think we have to be

really careful not to scaremonger on

0:48:340:48:39

this. The National Federation of

arm's-length management

0:48:390:48:46

organisations reports three quarters

of tenants who started claiming

0:48:460:48:51

Universal Credit were already in

arrears. Research shows that after

0:48:510:48:55

four months, the number of claimants

in arrears has fallen by a third.

0:48:550:49:01

The single biggest problem for

recipients of welfare coming into

0:49:010:49:05

Universal Credit, for some, is the

high level of debt. Could my right

0:49:050:49:09

honourable friend the employment

Minister tell me what he can do to

0:49:090:49:11

take forward his idea of an

interest-free period to resolve

0:49:110:49:15

outstanding debt, and secondly to

promote the use of credit unions in

0:49:150:49:19

advising strongly against loan

sharks in the run-up to Christmas?

0:49:190:49:26

Mr Speaker, and a half of my

honourable friend the employment

0:49:260:49:28

minister, he makes a very important

point. We do want people to adjust

0:49:280:49:32

their levels of debt. That is why we

had a system of advanced payments

0:49:320:49:37

which enables people to be able to

budget properly and meet their

0:49:370:49:43

debts.

Question 18.

Thank you, we

are rolling out Universal Credit

0:49:430:49:50

full-service in a very measured way.

I am not aware of any recent cases

0:49:500:49:54

of claims being lost. If the Right

Honourable Gentleman does no such

0:49:540:49:59

incidents, I very much welcome him

bringing them to my attention.

There

0:49:590:50:05

are serious concerns about glitches

with Universal Credit, apparently

0:50:050:50:10

arising because the IT does not yet

work properly in some areas. The

0:50:100:50:14

Child poverty action group has

reported instances of claims being

0:50:140:50:17

made and then vanishing into the

ether without trace. Will the

0:50:170:50:23

Minister assure the house that

glitches of this kind will be

0:50:230:50:29

addressed and will be resolved, not

simply denied?

Mr Speaker, I think

0:50:290:50:34

the report to which he refers says

that many claims seem to have

0:50:340:50:41

disappeared. In the texted says it

is a small number, and goes on to

0:50:410:50:45

mention just one case. That is not

to say that I ignore that or

0:50:450:50:49

belittle it in anyway. Of course I

take what he says very seriously and

0:50:490:50:52

he has my absolute assurance that I

will pay attention to any glitches.

0:50:520:50:58

Topical questions, Helena Smith.

Number one, Mr Speaker.

This

0:50:580:51:04

department's mission is to support

people through all stages of their

0:51:040:51:07

lives. Universal Credit is being

introduced slowly and steadily and

0:51:070:51:11

positively transforming people's

prospects by bringing satisfaction

0:51:110:51:15

and security of entering work and

increasing earnings. We are also

0:51:150:51:19

helping citizens prepare for later

life with workplace pensions and we

0:51:190:51:23

are committed to helping people at

all stages of their life, and will

0:51:230:51:26

continue to build on this body of

work to achieve our ends.

0:51:260:51:32

How does the department plan to

respond to their own research,

0:51:330:51:38

showing that Universal Credit is a

driver of rent arrears among

0:51:380:51:42

families who rely on it to support

them?

As my honourable friend has

0:51:420:51:47

addressed, we do need to recognise

that a number of other statistics

0:51:470:51:50

that have been quoted, that we have

seen rent arrears rising before

0:51:500:51:58

people went into Universal Credit,

and after a period of time the

0:51:580:52:01

numbers with rent arrears is

falling. Of course, we continue to

0:52:010:52:05

improve the system to ensure that,

for example, payment timeliness is

0:52:050:52:09

improved and that people are able to

access advances when they need it.

0:52:090:52:17

The Minister will know that motor

neurone disease is a degenerative

0:52:170:52:21

disease. Could I ask, therefore,

what plans they have to insure that

0:52:210:52:25

people who suffer from that terrible

disease don't have to be reassessed

0:52:250:52:29

for PIP?

I thank my honourable

friend for that question. The length

0:52:290:52:37

of the award is based on individual

circumstances and can vary from nine

0:52:370:52:40

months to an ongoing ward with a

very light touch review, at the

0:52:400:52:44

10-year point. With somebody as my

honourable friend describes, it is

0:52:440:52:50

very unlikely they would have

another face-to-face assessment with

0:52:500:52:53

a health care professional.

We all

know that the Government is bogged

0:52:530:52:59

down in all manner of ways and have

been slow to develop secondary

0:52:590:53:02

legislation for several new acts.

Can the Minister tell the house when

0:53:020:53:05

he will bring forward regulations to

enact defined contribution and give

0:53:050:53:10

pension savers the opportunity of a

vastly increased benefits system,

0:53:100:53:15

predicted by the pensions policy

Institute and Schroders?

These

0:53:150:53:20

matters are being considered and

will be addressed in the New Year.

0:53:200:53:25

Can the Minister update the house

with the pensions dashboard and

0:53:250:53:30

confirm that all pension schemes

will be required to release the

0:53:300:53:33

conference of data required to make

the system useful?

I am very firmly

0:53:330:53:39

committed to delivering the pensions

dashboard. Its introduction will

0:53:390:53:42

clearly transform the way people

think about retirement. I will make

0:53:420:53:46

a statement in the spring which will

tackle some of the delivery

0:53:460:53:50

challenges, including the point of

the honourable gentleman raises.

0:53:500:53:53

There is a feasibility study that is

ongoing. There is a stakeholder

0:53:530:53:56

meeting on December the 11th and I

would urge him to come along to

0:53:560:54:00

that, as will many interested

stakeholders.

How does the increased

0:54:000:54:06

conditionality associated with

Universal Credit, for example the

0:54:060:54:08

requirement to attend or frequently

at job centres, square with the DWP

0:54:080:54:11

Estates reviewing the decision to

close job centres, starting with

0:54:110:54:15

Merry Hill in my constituency, which

I have recently visited?

Mr Speaker,

0:54:150:54:22

we do have a comprehensive network

of job centres across the United

0:54:220:54:25

Kingdom, more in Scotland and

England and more again in Glasgow

0:54:250:54:28

than other cities. The Universal

Credit is a system which works to

0:54:280:54:32

help to support people to get into

work and it is the right system.

0:54:320:54:37

Does my right honourable friend

share my concern that the inaccurate

0:54:370:54:41

use of Universal Credit statistics

can cause huge distress and concern

0:54:410:54:45

to vulnerable claimants? And that

everyone has a duty to check their

0:54:450:54:48

facts before using them in this

house?

I agree. Can I give one

0:54:480:54:54

example? Speaking from that dispatch

box, the Leader of the Opposition

0:54:540:54:57

recently said that Gloucester city

Holmes had evicted one in eight of

0:54:570:55:03

Universal Credit tenants. If true,

it would amount to 650 tenants being

0:55:030:55:08

evicted. Gloucester city Holmes have

themselves described it does not

0:55:080:55:12

factually accurate. In fact, a total

of eight credits have been evicted.

0:55:120:55:19

All of them had considerable rent

arrears well before moving on to

0:55:190:55:24

Universal Credit. In one case, I

understand they had not been

0:55:240:55:27

resident in the property for 18

months.

Mr Speaker, many veterans

0:55:270:55:33

with psychological injuries carry

out physical activity as part of

0:55:330:55:36

their rehabilitation process. But

some are reporting that they have

0:55:360:55:40

been sanctioned because of this. Can

the Secretary of State give his

0:55:400:55:45

guarantee that his government will

no longer sanction recovering

0:55:450:55:47

veterans?

I will, of course, look at

the facts of the case. I cannot make

0:55:470:55:56

a blank and commitment. Obviously

one has to look at the particular

0:55:560:56:00

circumstances. -- a blanket

commitment. We do recognise and

0:56:000:56:04

support our veterans at every

opportunity.

Mr Speaker, a

0:56:040:56:10

constituency recently contacted me

concerned about the amount of time

0:56:100:56:12

they are having to wait for their

tribunal hearing. Will my right

0:56:120:56:18

honourable friend make

representations to the Ministry of

0:56:180:56:20

Justice about the efficiency of HM

Courts and tribunals?

I am happy to

0:56:200:56:27

convey my honourable friend's

concerns.

Where is the fellow?

0:56:270:56:35

I will take his place, thank you. My

local authority is having to set

0:56:380:56:44

aside £1 million to mitigate for the

devastating impact of the role of

0:56:440:56:48

Universal Credit, the impact it is

having on families, including having

0:56:480:56:52

to hire extra staff to deal with

rent arrears, which they expect to

0:56:520:56:55

increase by 5%. At all levels

government in Scotland forced to

0:56:550:57:00

pick up the government's slack, does

he not have to pause the roll-out

0:57:000:57:07

now?

Universal Credit is going to

help transform lives. It is already

0:57:070:57:13

doing it. Transforming a positively

by giving people the opportunity to

0:57:130:57:19

work and to progress in work. I just

have to say that the SNP can join

0:57:190:57:22

the Labour Party in being on the

wrong side of the adamant and

0:57:220:57:25

history will not forgive them for

it.

-- of the argument. Since 2010,

0:57:250:57:32

discover mug has overseen remarkable

job creation. My predecessor,

0:57:320:57:36

formerly of the SNP benches, has

just secured a very well-paid media

0:57:360:57:41

position with Yorkshire Today. Would

the Minister agree with me that

0:57:410:57:46

people must be flexible about career

choices to get on?

0:57:460:57:51

We sometimes hear enough fake news

within this chamber. To see the

0:57:540:58:06

former leader of the SNP find

themselves employed by a purveyor of

0:58:060:58:09

fake news is disappointing, even if

we welcome employment opportunities

0:58:090:58:12

in the round.

Universal Credit is

proving to be a real challenge for

0:58:120:58:20

people who are self-employed as it

fails to account for fluctuations in

0:58:200:58:24

income from one month to another,

meaning many are losing out on

0:58:240:58:28

hundreds of pounds of lost benefits.

This is totally counter to the

0:58:280:58:33

aspirational vision of Universal

Credit that the Government preaches.

0:58:330:58:39

Will the Minister committed to

immediately reviewing the benefits'

0:58:390:58:44

suitability for the self-employed

and fixing this anomaly?

On the

0:58:440:58:49

contrary, Universal Credit

specifically responds each month to

0:58:490:58:51

what earnings have been in that

month. That is at the heart of its

0:58:510:58:54

design. We do want to help people

that are in self-employment to grow

0:58:540:58:58

their earnings and dimension that

they have sustainable remunerative

0:58:580:59:00

work. That is why we haven't used a

new programme within the new

0:59:000:59:04

enterprise allowance to help you do

just that.

Great unhappiness

0:59:040:59:09

continues surrounding the issues of

pensions and the women who have come

0:59:090:59:16

to see us in our constituencies.

There is a plan to have a Private

0:59:160:59:20

members Bill next year. Does my

right honourable friend not agree

0:59:200:59:23

that given the continuing

accusations and counter accusations

0:59:230:59:26

as to whether people were told not

that it would be worthwhile to have

0:59:260:59:30

the debate? Will he support such

idea?

I am grateful to my right

0:59:300:59:36

honourable friend for his question

and I have no doubt that there will

0:59:360:59:39

continue to be debates on this

matter. As my honourable friend the

0:59:390:59:43

pensions minister has already

declared, we are not going to be

0:59:430:59:48

deviating from the policy we have

set out.

0:59:480:59:58

12% of council tenants in the

Universal Credit pilot accumulated

0:59:581:00:04

by .3 million pounds rent arrears.

Given his astonishing refusal in the

1:00:041:00:10

face of such evidence to halt the

roll-out, can the Secretary of State

1:00:101:00:14

to say precisely what he is doing to

stop more on my constituents being

1:00:141:00:17

made homeless as a consequence of

this decision?

Again, I come back to

1:00:171:00:23

this throwing around of accusations.

In terms of, we had the Leader of

1:00:231:00:30

the Opposition claiming that 650

people were being evicted, had been

1:00:301:00:35

evicted because of Universal Credit.

We are not seeing convictions in the

1:00:351:00:40

social rental sector and there are

clear reasons why that does not

1:00:401:00:43

happen. What we are getting from the

party opposite is scaremongering for

1:00:431:00:51

potential Universal Credit

claimants, which is creating

1:00:511:00:53

unnecessary anxiety.

Would he agree

with me and congratulate boxed OCA

1:00:531:01:01

be? We have Universal Credit rolled

out next year and they are putting

1:01:011:01:06

together the relevant agencies to

make some law we are ready for it.

1:01:061:01:11

And what you look at whether or not

for a very small amount of money my

1:01:111:01:17

CAB could have one person to deal

with all the cases, and we can make

1:01:171:01:21

this work as we all know it should

work?

I will take that as a spending

1:01:211:01:27

bid from my right honourable friend.

But she is right to highlight the

1:01:271:01:33

role of the Citizens Advice Bureau

and I met with some in St Albans and

1:01:331:01:38

Bedford last week and whether CAB

works closely with the Job Centres,

1:01:381:01:41

it helps deliver the support people

need and I very much welcome that.

1:01:411:01:48

My constituent was moved onto

Universal Credit in January 2016 and

1:01:481:01:52

has been given a 132 day sanction

and treated by psychiatric services

1:01:521:01:56

and will be back to look into her

case because it is very sensitive.

I

1:01:561:02:04

am happy to receive representations

from the honourable member on that

1:02:041:02:07

case. I cannot talk about

individuals matters but happy to

1:02:071:02:10

look at that case.

What is my right honourable friend

1:02:101:02:16

doing to close loopholes designed to

avoid child maintenance payments?

1:02:161:02:26

Where a nonresident payment fails to

pay on time or in full, we endeavour

1:02:261:02:32

to immediately try and establish

compliance before enforcement action

1:02:321:02:35

is needed. We have a range of powers

including the forced sale of

1:02:351:02:41

property, disqualification from

driving or commitments to prison.

1:02:411:02:43

But we are exploring options to

expand this to form part of the new

1:02:431:02:51

compliance strategy shortly, Mr

Speaker.

Members of the British

1:02:511:02:57

Steel pension scheme need to decide

whether to go into the pension

1:02:571:03:01

scheme or the PPF by December the 11

but there is a lack of clarity

1:03:011:03:07

around high low pensioners in the

PPF and whether that might change

1:03:071:03:12

after that point. Can the Secretary

of State look at this so the

1:03:121:03:15

information is available for people

make that decision?

1:03:151:03:20

I acknowledge the issue the

honourable gentleman is setting out.

1:03:201:03:24

If he contacts me, I will sit down

with him and go through it in more

1:03:241:03:27

detail. It is a matter for the

trustees on an ongoing basis as to

1:03:271:03:31

what the decisions are that are

taken.

1:03:311:03:35

Order, urgent question, Emily

Thornberry.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

1:03:351:03:43

To ask the Secretary of State for

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to

1:03:431:03:46

make the statement of the British

Iranians national Nazanin

1:03:461:03:49

Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Secretary Boris

Johnson.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I

1:03:491:03:57

should like to make a statement on

the case of Nazanin

1:03:571:04:02

Zaghari-Ratcliffe in response to the

honourable lady. The House will join

1:04:021:04:05

me in expressing our deep concern

about the ordeal of this young

1:04:051:04:10

mother who has spent the last 19

months in jail in Iran. And every

1:04:101:04:15

honourable member will join the

Government is urging the Iranian

1:04:151:04:20

authorities to release her on

humanitarian grounds. I spoke by

1:04:201:04:25

phone to her husband, Richard

Ratcliffe, yesterday. And we agreed

1:04:251:04:28

to meet later this week. I told Mr

Ratcliffe that the country is behind

1:04:281:04:36

him and we all want to see his wife

home safely. In view of the

1:04:361:04:42

understandable concern, I propose to

describe the background to her case

1:04:421:04:46

and the efforts the Government is

making to secure her release. In

1:04:461:04:51

April last year, she was visiting

her relations in Iran Le with her

1:04:511:04:56

daughter Gabriella who was then only

22 months old. When she was arrested

1:04:561:05:02

at the airport in Tehran while

trying to board her flight back to

1:05:021:05:06

the UK. The British Government has

no doubt that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe

1:05:061:05:11

was in Iran on holiday and that was

the only purpose of her visit. As I

1:05:111:05:16

said in the House last week, my

remarks on the subject before the

1:05:161:05:19

Foreign Affairs Select Committee

could and should have been clearer.

1:05:191:05:24

And I acknowledge that the words I

used were open to being

1:05:241:05:30

misinterpreted and I apologise. I

apologise to Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe

1:05:301:05:33

and her family if I have

inadvertently cause them any further

1:05:331:05:39

anguish. How should bear in mind

that Iran's regime and no one else

1:05:391:05:44

has chosen to separate this mother

from her infant daughter for reasons

1:05:441:05:50

that even they find it difficult to

explain or describe. On the 9th of

1:05:501:05:57

September 2016, Mrs

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was brought before

1:05:571:05:58

a secret trial and sentenced to five

years in prison. Suppose for

1:05:581:06:03

plotting to overthrow the Islamic

Republic. The House will know that

1:06:031:06:08

as far as we can tell, no further

charges had been brought against her

1:06:081:06:13

and no further sentence has been

imposed since that occasion of a

1:06:131:06:17

year ago. 11 days after Mrs

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced, my

1:06:171:06:24

right honourable friend the Prime

Minister raised her case with

1:06:241:06:28

resident Hassan Rouhani in New York

on the 20th of September 2016. Two

1:06:281:06:34

days later, I raised the case with

my Iranian counterpart and the how

1:06:341:06:40

should note that the previous Prime

Minister David Cameron raised in

1:06:401:06:45

prison at Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe with

President Hassan Rouhani in 2016 and

1:06:451:06:49

my predecessor wrote to the Iranians

Foreign Minister about her plight

1:06:491:06:56

and other consular cases on the 29th

of August 2016. At every meeting

1:06:561:07:03

with our Iranian counterpart, my

colleagues and I have taken every

1:07:031:07:06

opportunity to raise the case of Mrs

Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other

1:07:061:07:09

nationals held in Iranians jails. We

had expressed our concerns at every

1:07:091:07:17

level. Official, ministerial and

prime ministerial, on every possible

1:07:171:07:23

occasion during the 19 months that

she has been in jail. In addition,

1:07:231:07:27

Mr Ratcliffe has held regular

meetings with the memorable one with

1:07:271:07:34

the member for the Middle East and

the member for North East

1:07:341:07:37

Bedfordshire. A situation where a

British mother is held in these

1:07:371:07:43

circumstances is bound to cast a

shadow over Britain's relations with

1:07:431:07:48

Iran. At a moment when in the

aftermath of the agreement of the

1:07:481:07:53

nuclear deal in July 2015 and the

easing of sanctions, we had all

1:07:531:07:58

hoped to witness a genuine

improvement. So I shall travel to

1:07:581:08:03

Iran myself later this year to

review the state of our bilateral

1:08:031:08:10

relations and to drive home the

strength of feeling in this House

1:08:101:08:13

and in the country at large about

the plight of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe

1:08:131:08:18

and other consular cases. In order

to maximise the chances of achieving

1:08:181:08:24

progress, I would venture to say

that Honourable Members should place

1:08:241:08:30

the focus of responsibility on those

who are keeping Mrs

1:08:301:08:32

Zaghari-Ratcliffe behind bars and to

have the power to release her

1:08:321:08:39

whenever they so choose. And we

should be united in our demand that

1:08:391:08:43

the humanitarian reasons for

releasing her so overwhelming that

1:08:431:08:47

if Iran cares about its reputation

in this country, its leaders will do

1:08:471:08:52

now what is manifestly right, and I

commend this statement to the House.

1:08:521:08:59

For the avoidance of doubt, the

Foreign Secretary has responded to

1:08:591:09:04

an urgent question, in the course of

which... Order. He has properly made

1:09:041:09:10

remarks. But it is important for

others in the House to distinguish

1:09:101:09:15

tweet a response to an urgent and

the proper and by government of a

1:09:151:09:20

statement on the other. Emily

Thornberry.

Thank you very much, Mr

1:09:201:09:27

Speaker, for granting this urgent

question and how unfortunate it is

1:09:271:09:32

to ask an urgent question rather

than getting a statement. Let me say

1:09:321:09:36

whatever strong feelings we have

about Iran's actions in this case, I

1:09:361:09:39

am sure we all will be joined in

sending our boards to those affected

1:09:391:09:43

by yesterday's earthquake on the

border of Iran and Iraq. I'm very

1:09:431:09:50

grateful to the Foreign Secretary

returning from Brussels to answer

1:09:501:09:54

this question, perhaps reflected the

last time a Minister of State was

1:09:541:09:57

asked to answer an urgent question,

they only lasted 24 hours. But I

1:09:571:10:00

hope that we can make some more

progress today than we were able to

1:10:001:10:05

make on the same issue last week.

Let's start by clarifying the points

1:10:051:10:09

on which there is absolutely no

difference between us. First, we all

1:10:091:10:12

want to see Nazanin brought home as

soon as possible. No one who has

1:10:121:10:21

listened to the heartbreaking

testimony of Richard Ratcliffe can

1:10:211:10:23

be in any doubt how urgent it is

Nazanin brought home as soon as

1:10:231:10:26

possible. No one who has listened to

the heartbreaking testimony of

1:10:261:10:28

Richard Ratcliffe can be in any

doubt how urgent it is's mental and

1:10:281:10:31

physical help that no one who has

listened to the heartbreaking

1:10:311:10:33

testimony of Richard Ratcliffe can

be in any doubt how urgent it is's

1:10:331:10:36

mental and physical health but she's

returned to her family immediately.

1:10:361:10:38

If it can be done as has been

suggested through comparing

1:10:381:10:40

diplomatic statement -- on Nazanin,

that would be welcome although how

1:10:401:10:44

can that be achieved and how can we

free this innocent British mother

1:10:441:10:47

without opening up the Grace Mugabe

precedent where the same tactic

1:10:471:10:51

could be used in Britain to help a

tilting Borough National escape

1:10:511:10:56

justice? And we can all agree that

the responsibility for Nazanin's

1:10:561:11:01

incarceration and mistreatment lies

entirely with the Iranian

1:11:011:11:04

authorities and we unite in urging

for her freedom to be was board. We

1:11:041:11:09

are in full agreement on those

points. But two key issues where we

1:11:091:11:13

have so far differed and frankly we

continue to differ. First, the

1:11:131:11:19

Foreign Secretary argued last week

that his comments to the Select

1:11:191:11:22

Committee had, and I quote, no

connection whatsoever with the

1:11:221:11:25

latest threats by the Iranian

authorities to extend Nazanin's

1:11:251:11:29

sentence and it was and chooses to

just otherwise. That, Mr Speaker, is

1:11:291:11:34

entirely contradicted by what has

been said by the Iranian courts last

1:11:341:11:39

weekend and on Iranian judiciary

websites and Iranian state TV. All

1:11:391:11:44

of them said explicitly that the

Foreign Secretary's remarks with a

1:11:441:11:49

basis of their renewed action

against Nazanin. We know from the

1:11:491:11:52

evidence of Richard Ratcliffe that

when Nazanin herself was told the

1:11:521:11:57

remarks and she saw how the Iranian

authorities would exploit them, she

1:11:571:12:01

became hugely distressed and upset.

So will the Foreign Secretary today

1:12:011:12:05

except the impact that his words

have had, except the distress that

1:12:051:12:10

has been caused to Nazanin and

apologise properly for that? Not for

1:12:101:12:17

upsetting people, but apologise for

getting it wrong! And secondly, Mr

1:12:171:12:22

Speaker, last week, the Foreign

Secretary was asked several times to

1:12:221:12:25

do one very simple thing and that

was simply to admit that he had made

1:12:251:12:29

a mistake, not that his remarks have

been taken out of context or that

1:12:291:12:34

they have been misconstrued, but

that they were simply wrong. And he

1:12:341:12:39

has so far refused to make that

clear that refusal been compounded

1:12:391:12:44

yesterday by his good friend the

Environment Secretary and even after

1:12:441:12:48

all the debate on this issue, the

Environment Secretary still

1:12:481:12:52

incredibly claims that we do not

know why Nazanin is in Iran. We do.

1:12:521:12:58

Mr Speaker, it is not good enough.

If it is a matter of pride that the

1:12:581:13:03

Foreign Secretary is refusing to

admit simply that he has made a

1:13:031:13:07

mistake, well, then I feel bound to

say to him that his pride matters

1:13:071:13:11

not one ounce compared to Nazanin's

freedom. In conclusion, after a week

1:13:111:13:18

of obfuscation and bluster, will he

finally take the opportunity today

1:13:181:13:21

to state simply and unequivocally

for the removal of any doubt, either

1:13:211:13:27

here or in Tehran, that he simply

got it wrong?

1:13:271:13:36

Mr Speaker, I am more than happy to

say again what I said to the right

1:13:361:13:40

honourable lady last week, that yes,

of course I apologise for the

1:13:401:13:45

distress and for the suffering that

has been caused by the impression

1:13:451:13:48

that I gave that the Government

believed, that I believed that she

1:13:481:13:54

was there in a professional

capacity. She was there on holiday

1:13:541:13:57

and that is the view... I do

apologise, I do apologise. Of course

1:13:571:14:04

I retract any suggestion that she

was there in a professional

1:14:041:14:08

capacity. You must have heard, the

Honourable Members must have heard

1:14:081:14:12

that from me about a dozen times.

The honourable, right honourable

1:14:121:14:18

lady raised an important question

about diplomatic protection. And how

1:14:181:14:24

that would work. And I can tell she

is right that that is a question

1:14:241:14:32

that Richard Ratcliffe himself has

raised with me. All I can say is

1:14:321:14:36

that they will be answering Mr

Ratcliffe. I cannot give an answer

1:14:361:14:41

today, but rather and sinister

Ratcliffe in person. I am delighted

1:14:411:14:44

to say that I am seeing him tomorrow

-- I would rather response to Mr

1:14:441:14:50

Ratcliffe in person. He has

requested, as I said last week, he

1:14:501:14:54

has requested to come to Tehran. I

don't know whether that will be

1:14:541:15:00

possible, but we will see what we

can do.

1:15:001:15:06

Regrettably, more than a faint whiff

of opportunism hangs over this

1:15:061:15:09

urgent question. But this will

question the wisdom of having this

1:15:091:15:16

discussion at all. Would my right

honourable friend not agree with me

1:15:161:15:19

that it is incumbent on each and

every one of us in this house to

1:15:191:15:23

play very close attention to what we

may or may not be about to say,

1:15:231:15:27

because the Iranians will be

watching these deliberations and we

1:15:271:15:30

do not want to exacerbate an already

extremely difficult situation.

My

1:15:301:15:38

right honourable friend is, I'm

afraid, absolutely right. It was one

1:15:381:15:45

of the reasons why it is so

important that we remain very, very

1:15:451:15:49

careful in what we say about the

entire case.

1:15:491:15:53

I hope today that the Secretary of

State is reflecting very seriously

1:15:561:16:00

on his position, and the position

that he holds not just in this

1:16:001:16:04

government, but in society. For

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, it would

1:16:041:16:11

be

1:16:111:16:13

Rhys Gill to assume that when a

secretary state got involved in her

1:16:131:16:16

case it might make things better.

Unfortunately, it has made it very

1:16:161:16:19

much worse. Why was another cabinet

minister not briefed properly and

1:16:191:16:23

said live on television he did not

know why she was there? What is

1:16:231:16:26

going on in the heart of this

government? As able to go a result

1:16:261:16:32

of these comments, she is now in an

increasingly perilous situation,

1:16:321:16:36

which has given the radiant

authorities added cause for keeping

1:16:361:16:39

her locked up on false grounds. His

apology is welcome, but he must

1:16:391:16:43

reflect, as much the Government come

on how they do their business, how

1:16:431:16:47

they protect our citizens. What

guarantee will he give that Nazanin

1:16:471:16:55

will be given adequate protection

and be brought home? The Foreign

1:16:551:16:58

Secretary and his colleagues must

make clear that they are able to do

1:16:581:17:01

their jobs and they are able to

protect our citizens.

Our priority

1:17:011:17:07

is to secure the safe return of

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. All other

1:17:071:17:14

considerations, political

considerations, are entirely

1:17:141:17:15

secondary. The only thing we have to

bear in mind is the safety and

1:17:151:17:19

well-being of the other consular

cases in Iran, which is very

1:17:191:17:23

important. I said to the right

honourable lady that I was seeing Mr

1:17:231:17:31

Ratcliffe, I am seeing him on

Wednesday.

Has an ardent

1:17:311:17:37

Churchillian, does my right

honourable friend accept that this

1:17:371:17:40

has not been his finest hour? Before

the opposition make too much of

1:17:401:17:46

that, may I urge them to avoid

headlines such as that in the

1:17:461:17:52

independent online, where it says

Boris Johnson should resign if

1:17:521:17:57

British mother stays in Iranian jail

for even one more day? The Iranians

1:17:571:18:05

regime plays politics with hostages.

Does my right honourable friend

1:18:051:18:09

agree that if they believe that they

can get rid of a British Foreign

1:18:091:18:16

Secretary by jailing a hostage for

longer, they will jail that hostage

1:18:161:18:20

for longer? That link needs to be

broken, not reinforced by the

1:18:201:18:26

opposition.

1:18:261:18:28

I think the whole house would agree

that there is nothing more important

1:18:311:18:37

than the safe return of Nazanin

Zaghari-Ratcliffe and, as I say, the

1:18:371:18:45

protection of all other consular

cases in Iran. That trumps all

1:18:451:18:51

political considerations in this

country.

1:18:511:18:56

Thank you, Mr Speaker. My

constituent, Richard Radcliffe,

1:18:571:19:00

wrote in the Evening Standard my

complaint is not that her

1:19:001:19:05

imprisonment has become a diplomatic

incident this past week. It is that

1:19:051:19:08

wasn't for the 19 months that came

before. This shows the sheer dignity

1:19:081:19:13

with which my constituent has been

campaigning for her release. He told

1:19:131:19:21

me that the family lawyer, working

together with the NGO, has written

1:19:211:19:26

to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

two months ago with legal opinion

1:19:261:19:31

about Nazanin's right to diplomatic

protections. I know that the Foreign

1:19:311:19:35

Secretary has already indicated to

the member for Islington himself

1:19:351:19:40

that he will consider diplomatic

protection. It will he urge that a

1:19:401:19:43

meeting takes place between the FCO

and the lawyers, and will he give

1:19:431:19:46

some indication of whether

diplomatic protection will be given?

1:19:461:19:51

This could save my constituent's

life.

As I said to the honourable

1:19:511:19:59

lady earlier, I will be talking

directly to Richard Radcliffe about

1:19:591:20:02

that issue on Wednesday. Very

briefly, about the issue of consular

1:20:021:20:07

protection, every day, in some part

of the world, a UK national or a

1:20:071:20:12

dual national is detained. I pay

tribute to the consular work done by

1:20:121:20:15

the Foreign Office across the world.

In point of fact, a huge amount of

1:20:151:20:19

work has been done on behalf of your

constituent, by my honourable

1:20:191:20:25

friends on these benches, who have

met members of her family repeatedly

1:20:251:20:28

and will continue to do so until we

solve the problem.

Thank you, Mr

1:20:281:20:36

Speaker. I am very glad that the

Foreign Secretary has made a

1:20:361:20:41

statement today. Would he agree with

me that this poor woman, who is

1:20:411:20:46

separated from her child, is being

used not only as a political

1:20:461:20:50

football here, but also in Iran,

where the Iranians Republican guard

1:20:501:20:53

is effectively fighting with the

authoritarian regime in its own way.

1:20:531:21:01

Would he perhaps consider calling on

people in our own system who may be

1:21:011:21:03

able to talk to them, perhaps asking

the Archbishop of Canterbury what

1:21:031:21:07

the holy Father to speak on the half

of this woman and seek to broker her

1:21:071:21:11

release? Wiper Goessling my

honourable friend speaks with great

1:21:111:21:17

insight about the situation in Iran.

I can assure him that no stone will

1:21:171:21:23

be left unturned in our efforts.

1:21:231:21:25

From my own experience of trying to

get two British national out of jail

1:21:301:21:34

in 2009, when you're dealing with a

difficult country you need to be

1:21:341:21:37

absolutely committed and persistent.

You need to go to bed every night

1:21:371:21:40

worrying about what is happening to

that British national in another

1:21:401:21:43

country. You need to be very

disciplined and you need to make

1:21:431:21:46

sure that every single member of the

government is speaking with the same

1:21:461:21:49

voice. The Foreign Secretary could

not possibly argue that is what has

1:21:491:21:52

happened in this case. What I really

don't understand is when he made a

1:21:521:21:58

complete mess of appearing before

the Foreign Affairs Committee, his

1:21:581:22:01

office rang to correct other parts

of the record, completely incidental

1:22:011:22:04

part of the record, but still

refuses to correct the record about

1:22:041:22:09

what he said the Foreign Affairs

Committee. Will he do so now?

1:22:091:22:14

Otherwise, frankly, he will have

learned nothing.

1:22:141:22:17

I believe I have corrected the

record several times already and

1:22:201:22:23

explained the position.

1:22:231:22:25

The Foreign Secretary has referred a

number of times to the other cases

1:22:291:22:32

in Iran. Isn't there a real problem

with dual nationals and,

1:22:321:22:38

specifically in Iran and countries

that don't recognise dual national

1:22:381:22:43

status, is it not time for a broader

review of this issue, alongside the

1:22:431:22:48

urgency of the specific case?

It is

one of the features of British

1:22:481:22:55

consular protection that we give it

to dual nationals, irrespective of

1:22:551:22:59

whether or not their nationality,

the British nationality, is

1:22:591:23:04

recognised by the country in which

they run into trouble. I think that

1:23:041:23:07

is a mark of the dedication of

consular staff have today job. We

1:23:071:23:12

will continue to work for Nazanin

Zaghari-Ratcliffe and the other

1:23:121:23:17

difficult consular cases in Iran for

as long as the cases are

1:23:171:23:20

outstanding.

The Foreign Secretary

has rightly and welcome Lee said

1:23:201:23:30

that the priority for everyone

should be returned the wrongfully

1:23:301:23:35

and inhumanely imprisoned mother who

has been separated from her child.

1:23:351:23:39

But he also knows words matter.

Every time he says things like my

1:23:391:23:45

words were open to

misinterpretation, he provides a

1:23:451:23:50

lack of clarity and sounds like he

is wriggling in a way that other

1:23:501:23:53

people can exploit. Could he, for

the sake of Nazanin

1:23:531:23:59

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, just say

unequivocally, for the record, I got

1:23:591:24:02

it wrong?

I hope that the house will

understand with crystal clarity that

1:24:021:24:12

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was there

on holiday. She was not there in any

1:24:121:24:19

professional capacity. In so far

that people got a different

1:24:191:24:25

impression of what I was saying,

that was my mistake. I should have

1:24:251:24:30

been clearer. Listen to what I'm

saying, with great respect. I should

1:24:301:24:36

have been clearer. It was my

mistake. I should have been clearer

1:24:361:24:39

and I apologise for the distress, I

apologise for the distress and

1:24:391:24:44

anguish that has been caused to

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and to her

1:24:441:24:47

family. Our priority now is to do

everything we can to get her out of

1:24:471:24:55

Iran on humanitarian grounds.

1:24:551:24:57

My right honourable friend should

know that he has the support of

1:25:001:25:04

everyone on these benches in his

efforts to secure the release of

1:25:041:25:07

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Understanding how difficult this is,

1:25:071:25:12

having already been raised twice at

the head of government level, it is

1:25:121:25:16

very difficult to see how the

government could have done more.

1:25:161:25:18

Does he agree with me that the

prospect of her release are not

1:25:181:25:23

being assisted by the rather

unedifying spectacle of the pursuit

1:25:231:25:26

of his scalp?

As I say, I think the

paramount concern of everybody in

1:25:261:25:35

this house is not narrow party

political concerns, is it? It is

1:25:351:25:38

not. It is the safe and secure

return of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

1:25:381:25:44

That is what we are working for.

While he is in the business of

1:25:441:25:52

correcting the record, would he

correct his statement from last

1:25:521:25:54

week, that he had never met the

UK-based so-called academic at the

1:25:541:26:01

centre of the trouble of -- Trump

and Putin illusion allegations,

1:26:011:26:10

given the publication of a

photograph yesterday?

There is also

1:26:101:26:15

the flailing about. It is not data

like. The source from which it

1:26:151:26:20

emanates is a source from which I

usually expect most statesman-like

1:26:201:26:24

conduct. The question suffers from

the disadvantage that it does not

1:26:241:26:30

even hover over, does not buzz

around the urgent question that has

1:26:301:26:35

imposed. The Right Honourable

Gentleman will have to pursue other

1:26:351:26:38

opportunities to favour the house

with his thoughts or seek to

1:26:381:26:44

extricate from the mind of the

Foreign Secretary his own. I am sure

1:26:441:26:49

we can expect a holy orderly

question from the honourable

1:26:491:26:52

gentleman the member for North East

Somerset, likely delivered in a

1:26:521:26:58

sentence, with no split infinitive.

It might even be a series of

1:26:581:27:02

sentences, amounting to a lucid

paragraph. Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg?

Thank

1:27:021:27:07

you for that generous and

production! -- introduction. Will my

1:27:071:27:12

right honourable friend carry on his

approach to defending British

1:27:121:27:17

subject overseas? It is one of the

first duties of His Majesty's

1:27:171:27:20

government. Does it concern him, as

it concerns him, that the treatment

1:27:201:27:24

of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in

Iran, barbarous as it is, is being

1:27:241:27:29

given succour by the Socialists

opposite?

My honourable friend, I am

1:27:291:27:38

afraid, I think underestimates the

motives of the party opposite. I

1:27:381:27:45

prefer to think that they are

actuated solely by concern for all

1:27:451:27:53

of our consular cases in Iran, and

particular for the safe return of

1:27:531:27:58

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

1:27:581:28:00

Every member of this house

recognises that it is the Iranian

1:28:061:28:09

regime that is responsible for

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's

1:28:091:28:12

detention and that the priority is

to bring her home. Our purpose here

1:28:121:28:15

is to hold this Government to

account for their actions. Can the

1:28:151:28:20

Foreign Secretary tell me if he is

confident in the quality and

1:28:201:28:23

competence and is Foreign Office

briefings, and that they are

1:28:231:28:27

properly made available to other

government ministers in advance of

1:28:271:28:29

media appearances? If not, will he

sorted out? If so, does he accept

1:28:291:28:36

that there is be no excuse for

ministers to continue to get it

1:28:361:28:38

wrong?

FCO briefings are excellent.

I she has heard repeatedly from me

1:28:381:28:48

today, the Government is absolutely

clear in its understanding of what

1:28:481:28:52

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing

in Iran and why it is absolutely

1:28:521:28:57

unjustifiable that she be detained

by that regime.

Any mother forcibly

1:28:571:29:05

separated from their daughter is

going to suffer from mental health

1:29:051:29:07

problems. But it appears that

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is now

1:29:071:29:13

also suffering from a physical

illness. Would it be possible for my

1:29:131:29:17

right honourable friend to appeal to

the Government? She is a Joel --

1:29:171:29:27

dual national, which means she is

British, could we appeal on

1:29:271:29:29

humanitarian grounds for her

release?

That is exactly what I did

1:29:291:29:34

last week, or the week before last,

in the foreign affairs select

1:29:341:29:39

committee. I think it is probably

not right to go into too much detail

1:29:391:29:44

about what we know about the medical

condition of Nazanin

1:29:441:29:48

Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Only to say this,

that it is pretty obvious to anybody

1:29:481:29:51

studying the

1:29:511:30:01

Will the Foreign Secretary now write

to the Foreign Affairs Committee and

1:30:101:30:13

all its members correcting the

record and while he's doing that,

1:30:131:30:17

will he also make a clarification

and correct the wrong report in the

1:30:171:30:22

Sunday Times that he was badly

briefed before his remarks to our

1:30:221:30:27

committee?

Mr Speaker, I have

written to the commitment to you and

1:30:271:30:34

I cannot be responsible for any

inaccuracies in the Sunday Times --

1:30:341:30:40

to the committee.

I am absolutely delighted to hear

1:30:401:30:47

the honourable lady opposite Said

this is the fault of the Iranians

1:30:471:30:50

because we are left in no doubt

about the politics being played here

1:30:501:30:53

today and this is the worst possible

situation. The fact the honourable

1:30:531:30:58

gentleman for Exeter tries to but

then on the back of this shows he is

1:30:581:31:02

holding the situation in contempt,

which in every good offers to be

1:31:021:31:05

able to get this honourable lady

home because she needs to be with

1:31:051:31:09

her husband and her family.

I am

sure that my honourable friend

1:31:091:31:14

speaks for everybody in her

constituency and in the country, and

1:31:141:31:17

I know that she speaks for members

on the other side of the House as

1:31:171:31:20

well.

Over one-year ago, the United

1:31:201:31:27

Nations group and Patrick detention

rules that Nazanin's detention was

1:31:271:31:30

arbitrary and referred her case. The

UN called for her immediate release

1:31:301:31:36

and yet it appears that our own

Foreign and Commonwealth Office may

1:31:361:31:41

not have done so, can the Foreign

Office please explain?

That is a

1:31:411:31:47

very good question. The answer is

that we do not normally call for the

1:31:471:31:52

release of consular cases because

very often, that exacerbates their

1:31:521:31:56

position. In this particular case,

as the House knows, a couple of

1:31:561:32:01

weeks ago, I have called for her

release on humanitarian grounds.

1:32:011:32:07

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Could I asked

my right honourable friend how many

1:32:071:32:12

other British subjects are jailed in

Iran and has he got any idea, has

1:32:121:32:19

met honourable friend got any idea

what actually the Iranians want to

1:32:191:32:24

release this lady?

We have dozens,

if not hundreds, of cases around the

1:32:241:32:32

world, Mr Speaker. I should not go

into the exact number in Iran,

1:32:321:32:38

although I can tell the House we're

working on behalf of all of them.

1:32:381:32:43

When this House passed the Iranian

nuclear deal, I am others expressed

1:32:431:32:50

concerns about human rights. Can I

as the friends Secretary what

1:32:501:32:55

influence government has for Nazanin

Zaghari-Ratcliffe and the human

1:32:551:33:01

rights and for the thousands of

others in jail there for the same

1:33:011:33:04

reason?

The JCP away does not cover

the issues he raises, but we are,

1:33:041:33:14

common decency and humanitarian

concern and it takes that she be

1:33:141:33:16

released.

I continue to be a critic

of the Iranian nuclear deal for many

1:33:161:33:24

reasons, including the fact that

human rights were not coupled as

1:33:241:33:28

part of that. It was disappointing

that the Leader of the Opposition,

1:33:281:33:32

who was paid to appear on Iranian

press TV, did not take the

1:33:321:33:37

opportunity to criticise human

rights in Iran. Instead, agreeing

1:33:371:33:41

and contributing to anti-Israel and

anti-Western bias. Does the Foreign

1:33:411:33:44

Secretary agree with me and the

words of Richard Ratcliffe when he

1:33:441:33:49

said that the Foreign Secretary

battling for his job does not help

1:33:491:33:53

Nazanin to come home?

And going to

resist agreeing with my right

1:33:531:34:01

honourable friend about any points

that may have been made by the party

1:34:011:34:04

opposite about Iran, for or against,

because our priority is very simple.

1:34:041:34:10

It is not to score party political

points, it is to get Nazanin home.

1:34:101:34:18

The right honourable member for New

Forest East called Nazanin a hostage

1:34:181:34:25

on several occasions. But the

Secretary of State to take this

1:34:251:34:28

opportunity to confirm whether he

considers Nazanin a hostage?

Nazanin

1:34:281:34:36

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a very

difficult consular case and that is

1:34:361:34:38

how we are treating it.

A number of my constituents have

1:34:381:34:45

contacted me with concerns about

this case, so can my right

1:34:451:34:49

honourable friend is your them that

he and the Government are doing

1:34:491:34:51

everything possible to exert

influence, to secure her release and

1:34:511:34:57

agree with me that that should be

our one and only priority and focus

1:34:571:35:02

in the Government and in this House?

I can certainly give my right

1:35:021:35:07

honourable friend that assurance and

I can tell him our Ambassador,

1:35:071:35:10

excellent Ambassador in Tehran is

working on this case daily.

1:35:101:35:20

The Foreign Secretary said that he

finally accepts that Mrs

1:35:201:35:23

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was on holiday and

that the country was now behind her.

1:35:231:35:27

Does he include the right honourable

member for Surrey Heath yesterday

1:35:271:35:33

said he did not know why she was in

Iran and has he told the right

1:35:331:35:37

honourable member that his comments

were both unacceptable and is

1:35:371:35:43

damaging, in equal measure?

My right

honourable friend, the member for

1:35:431:35:47

Surrey Heath made it very clear that

he believed she was there on holiday

1:35:471:35:51

and he is very happy... He did say

that, I watched the clip. He was

1:35:511:35:56

very happy to accept that that was

the case.

1:35:561:36:03

What action could my right

honourable friend take all the

1:36:031:36:07

British Governor to take if Mrs

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is not released? I

1:36:071:36:12

assume there is a danger that if we

are under a hostage situation and we

1:36:121:36:17

do not win this case, there are

dangers of others been taken in

1:36:171:36:21

similar places.

He is right to raise

the question and I am afraid we must

1:36:211:36:26

simply work diligently and flat-out

for her release.

1:36:261:36:31

Could he reflect on this and the

rest of his conduct as Foreign

1:36:311:36:36

Secretary to realise that his brand

of clownish incompetence is a joke

1:36:361:36:42

and it is no longer funny, and

consider being replaced by a

1:36:421:36:49

competent politician who will

attract the respect of the world and

1:36:491:36:53

not the ridicule that he attracts?

As I say, Mr Speaker, I think the

1:36:531:36:59

best course for us is to minimise

the political point scoring and

1:36:591:37:05

concentrate on getting Nazanin home.

Like all members of the House, I

1:37:051:37:12

want to see this poor lady, Mrs

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, home as soon as

1:37:121:37:15

possible. But in reflecting upon the

proposal that she achieved or be

1:37:151:37:21

given diplomatic detection, would my

right honourable friend the Foreign

1:37:211:37:27

Secretary reassure the House that no

steps will be taken in this case to

1:37:271:37:31

put into jeopardy the safety of

British diplomats around the world

1:37:311:37:34

today and indeed any other Western

country which must be our main

1:37:341:37:39

priority in this case?

I pay tribute

to the work of British diplomats who

1:37:391:37:44

do put themselves in harm's way and

danger across the world and we will

1:37:441:37:49

of course bear that consideration in

mind.

1:37:491:37:56

If the Government had been on top of

this since day one, explain why the

1:37:561:38:07

Secretary of State said he would

take her husbands assurance... It is

1:38:071:38:15

hardly a ringing endorsement, what

is he going to make -- do to make

1:38:151:38:20

sure his Cabinet colleagues are

briefed?

I believe I am set that

1:38:201:38:25

question a couple of those ago. Can

my right honourable friend assure

1:38:251:38:32

the House the appropriate help and

support is being provided to Mr Mac

1:38:321:38:36

and his family given what a

difficult period this is for them?

1:38:361:38:40

-- Mr Ratcliffe.

I pay tribute to Richard Ratcliffe

1:38:401:38:45

and the way he has campaigned for

his wife's release. And I can tell

1:38:451:38:51

you that the door of the Foreign

Office has continually been open to

1:38:511:38:55

him and he has had many meetings

with my right honourable friends on

1:38:551:38:59

these benches here, and would

continue to have full access until

1:38:591:39:05

such time as we sort out the

appalling case of his wife.

1:39:051:39:11

The furthest the Foreign Secretary

seems prepared to go in his response

1:39:111:39:16

was to say that his words last week

were open to being misinterpreted.

1:39:161:39:21

Does he understand, I don't think

they were misinterpreted. He said

1:39:211:39:27

from a sedentary position earlier,

what else could I say? He could

1:39:271:39:30

simply say, I got it wrong. That

would be helpful because it would

1:39:301:39:34

give a clear signal that the

Government is serious about saying

1:39:341:39:37

that she was not there for the

purposes he suggested last week.

1:39:371:39:42

Will he just say, I got it wrong?

As

I have said many times both today

1:39:421:39:48

and last week, it was wrong of me to

say that she was there in a

1:39:481:39:52

professional capacity. She was there

on holiday. I apologise again for

1:39:521:39:58

the distress and anxiety that those

words have caused. And the most

1:39:581:40:03

important thing that we can do now,

I think, is to make sure that that

1:40:031:40:08

point is clearly understood not just

in this place, but around the world,

1:40:081:40:12

and work hard together, united

rather than divided as a country, to

1:40:121:40:18

get her home. That is what is in the

best interests Nazanin

1:40:181:40:22

Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

In my experience as a diplomat,

1:40:221:40:29

there is no harder call than whether

public or private diplomacy is more

1:40:291:40:35

effective at helping British people

in jail abroad and I say that there

1:40:351:40:39

is a real danger today in completing

the domestic political ambitions

1:40:391:40:43

with a very sensitive situation of a

British National Party jail. Was my

1:40:431:40:49

right honourable friend -- with a

British national who is in jail.

1:40:491:40:57

Will my right and Bob Friend confirm

he and the Foreign Office will work

1:40:571:41:01

closely with friends in Iran to see

how best this issue can be resolved

1:41:011:41:04

to the satisfaction of everyone in

the best way possible?

My right

1:41:041:41:10

honourable friend brings great

experience and understanding of

1:41:101:41:13

these issues and difficult consular

cases and he is right to think and

1:41:131:41:21

to believe that sometimes, a quiet

approach and quiet diplomacy can

1:41:211:41:25

yield great results.

I agree with

the benches opposite that the only

1:41:251:41:32

thing that matters in this is that

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is taken out

1:41:321:41:38

of prison because she is wrongly

incarcerated. But that does depend

1:41:381:41:41

on the current Secretary raising his

game. As Amnesty International

1:41:411:41:47

suggested earlier this year. Will he

commit, after having met Richard

1:41:471:41:52

Ratcliffe, to coming back to this

place and making a statement which

1:41:521:41:57

will absolutely make it clear that

he will now do everything in his

1:41:571:42:00

power to get Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe

home?

1:42:001:42:06

Mr Speaker, I am not certain that it

would be right to make another

1:42:061:42:09

statement or even whether it you

grant me permission to make a

1:42:091:42:13

statement after meeting Mr

Ratcliffe. What I can certainly tell

1:42:131:42:17

the House is that I do believe it

will be appropriate following any

1:42:171:42:21

trip to Iran that it may be possible

to organise, to make a statement

1:42:211:42:24

then.

Does my right honourable

friend agree that members of this

1:42:241:42:30

House except that accepting huge

amounts of money for appearing on

1:42:301:42:35

Iranian state broadcaster is in

danger of giving a regime legitimacy

1:42:351:42:41

which is holding UK citizens without

grounds to do so?

I am grateful to

1:42:411:42:47

my honourable friend, but again, if

I may say so, that is for the

1:42:471:42:50

benches opposite the once and not

for me.

1:42:501:42:56

-- to answer. I spoke last week of

the roller-coaster of emotions that

1:42:561:42:59

the entire family is going to.

Speaking with my constituency is,

1:42:591:43:05

over the weekend, it has got worse,

especially following reports of the

1:43:051:43:10

deterioration of Nazanin's help.

Seeing her husband as soon as

1:43:101:43:14

possible must be a high priority. I

understand from his phone call with

1:43:141:43:19

the Foreign Secretary, Richard

Ratcliffe wants to accompany him on

1:43:191:43:22

his forthcoming visit and he has for

protection when he does. What

1:43:221:43:25

progress is made on that point?

I

will see Mr Ratcliffe in the course

1:43:251:43:31

of the next couple of days and we

will explore all those issues.

Mr

1:43:311:43:37

Speaker, Richard Ratcliffe, his

representatives wrote to the Foreign

1:43:371:43:41

Office requesting diplomatic

protection for Mrs Ratcliffe over

1:43:411:43:47

two months ago, what consideration

was given to that request and has

1:43:471:43:52

the Foreign Secretary's position on

that changed since his appearance

1:43:521:43:56

before the Foreign Affairs Select

Committee?

As I said to the right

1:43:561:44:03

honourable lady, on the question

diplomatic protection, it will be

1:44:031:44:06

talking to Mr Ratcliffe in person

and I will inform the House about

1:44:061:44:10

how we intend to proceed.

Constituents of mine including the

1:44:101:44:18

Glasgow West Amnesty group, have

consistently called for the release

1:44:181:44:21

of Nazanin. From what the Secretary

said earlier on, can he current

1:44:211:44:25

fight whether in The Times when hit

issue has been raised with Iranian

1:44:251:44:30

Bharath is, how often has her

release specifically been called

1:44:301:44:33

for, it in the past couple of weeks

or longer?

1:44:331:44:39

Qatar We have consistently asked for

her release on humanitarian grounds.

1:44:391:44:43

I know the whole house want to echo

that call today.

Contrary to what he

1:44:431:44:51

keeps saying, the Foreign

Secretary's words to the Foreign

1:44:511:44:54

Affairs Committee were not capable

of misinterpretation. There were

1:44:541:45:00

clear, but wrong words. Whether

deliberately or through carelessness

1:45:001:45:02

he put a British citizen at risk

from an arbitrary and authoritarian

1:45:021:45:07

regime. Can I give him a further

chance to apologise, not for

1:45:071:45:14

anything else, but for the words

that he got wrong at that committee?

1:45:141:45:18

His high office demands that he take

responsibility.

In fairness, the

1:45:181:45:25

house will acknowledge that I have

apologised repeatedly, not just for

1:45:251:45:28

the mistake, but for the way in

which it was taken, and any extra

1:45:281:45:34

suffering or anguish that my words

caused. The most important thing, as

1:45:341:45:42

I say, is that I think there is a

unanimity in the house about our

1:45:421:45:45

objective. May I respectfully say

that that is where we should focus?

1:45:451:45:50

That would be, by far, the most

effective way of communicating the

1:45:501:45:56

will of the British people to the

people of Iran. We feel very

1:45:561:45:59

strongly that on humanitarian

grounds PIP should come home.

While

1:45:591:46:06

it is right and proper that this

house should discuss the important

1:46:061:46:12

matter, is also not the case that it

would be detrimental if we do so

1:46:121:46:15

megaphone diplomacy? Does he not

also think it is a sad irony if the

1:46:151:46:24

Iranian government should get

comfort and succour by Somali things

1:46:241:46:29

said in a house today?

That is an

extremely good point. Of course, it

1:46:291:46:33

is the case that most of consular

successes, including in Iran, are

1:46:331:46:40

done by quiet, behind-the-scenes

diplomacy.

Should a British Foreign

1:46:401:46:47

Secretary be careful, accurate and

diplomatic in the words they choose

1:46:471:46:50

at all times?

The answer to that is

of course.

A constituent and family

1:46:501:47:02

friend of Nazanins attended my

surgery with concerns about her

1:47:021:47:10

well-being. The Foreign Secretary

said he would visit sometime later

1:47:101:47:12

this year. Can he guarantee that no

stone will be left unturned to

1:47:121:47:16

ensure that Gabrielle will receive

her mum by the end of this year?

I

1:47:161:47:21

can certainly say that no stone will

be left unturned in behalf of

1:47:211:47:27

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, or indeed

on behalf of all of the other

1:47:271:47:29

consular cases in Iran. What I

cannot guarantee is that we will

1:47:291:47:36

have the result that he wants. But

it will not be for want of trying.

1:47:361:47:41

If I was in jail in Iran for a crime

I didn't commit, I have to say I

1:47:411:47:47

could not hope for a better member

of Parliament are my honourable

1:47:471:47:49

friend the member for Hampstead and

kill them. I have the Foreign

1:47:491:47:52

Secretary will pay tribute to her.

Mr Ratcliffe has close family in my

1:47:521:47:58

constituency, including a former

well-respected Lord Mayor of

1:47:581:48:02

Chester. When the Foreign Secretary

goes to Iran, will he undertake due

1:48:021:48:06

to take a delegation of members of

his house with him, who have a

1:48:061:48:10

constituency interest, which will

include my honourable friend?

If I

1:48:101:48:17

may come I don't want to disappoint

the Honourable Member who is a close

1:48:171:48:21

follower of these issues. I join him

in paying tribute to the work of the

1:48:211:48:25

honourable lady. I was glad to have

a meeting with other day. I cannot

1:48:251:48:32

guarantee at this stage that we will

have such a delegation. I think one

1:48:321:48:36

thing at a time, if I may say.

Statement, the Secretary of State

1:48:361:48:44

for Exiting the European Union.

Secretary David Davis.

With

1:48:441:48:51

permission, I will update the house

on negotiations between the United

1:48:511:48:54

Kingdom and the European Union in

November, reflecting our action

1:48:541:48:59

since the October counsel. But the

United Kingdom and European Union

1:48:591:49:07

recognise the new dynamic instilled

by the Prime Minister's speech. In

1:49:071:49:10

the October counsel, 27 member

states agreed to start their

1:49:101:49:15

preparations for moving negotiations

on to trade and the future

1:49:151:49:17

relationship we want to see. The

Council conclusions also called the

1:49:171:49:21

work to continue, with a view to be

able to move to the second phase of

1:49:211:49:26

negotiations as soon as possible. It

is inevitable that discussions are

1:49:261:49:29

now narrowing to a few outstanding,

albeit important issues that remain.

1:49:291:49:35

Last week, the focus was

concentrated on finding solutions to

1:49:351:49:37

those few remaining issues. As we

move forward towards the December

1:49:371:49:44

counsel, we have been clear with the

European Union we are willing to

1:49:441:49:47

engage in discussions to achieve the

process needed. To this end, the

1:49:471:49:52

teams are in continuous contact,

even between formal rounds. I now

1:49:521:49:58

turn to the three key ongoing areas

of discussion and outline progress

1:49:581:50:02

made last week in each of these. We

have made solid progress on ongoing

1:50:021:50:07

discussions with Northern Ireland

and Ireland. Key areas of

1:50:071:50:10

achievement include progress on

technical discussions of North and

1:50:101:50:16

South Corporation, agreed joint

principles on the joint travel area

1:50:161:50:20

and associated rights, and drafting

further joint principles on how best

1:50:201:50:23

we preserve North-South cooperation

under the Belfast agreement to help

1:50:231:50:27

guide specific solutions in unique

circumstances in Northern Ireland.

1:50:271:50:33

Both sides remain firmly committed

to avoiding a hard border. That is a

1:50:331:50:36

point we have remained clear on

throughout. We also remain

1:50:361:50:41

resolutely committed to upholding

the Belfast Good Friday Agreement in

1:50:411:50:44

all of its parts, and finding a

solution that works for the people

1:50:441:50:49

of Northern Ireland and Ireland. We

continue to hold frank discussions

1:50:491:50:51

with our commission counterparts

about all of these issues. In this

1:50:511:50:55

area, we have also been very clear

with our commission counterparts

1:50:551:50:58

that whilst we respect their desire

to respect the legal order of the

1:50:581:51:02

single market and Customs union,

that cannot come at a cost of a

1:51:021:51:07

constitution or economic integrity

of the United Kingdom. As I have

1:51:071:51:12

said, we cannot create a new border

within the United Kingdom. This is

1:51:121:51:17

an area where we believe we will

only be able to conclude talks

1:51:171:51:20

finally in the context of a future

relationship. Until such time as we

1:51:201:51:25

do so, we need to approach the

issues which arise with a high

1:51:251:51:29

degree of political sensitivity,

pragmatism and with creativity.

1:51:291:51:33

Discussions on these areas will

continue in the run-up to the

1:51:331:51:36

December counsel. We continue to

make good progress on citizens

1:51:361:51:41

rights. Both sides are working hard

to resolution of outstanding issues.

1:51:411:51:44

Last week, to respond to the request

for assurances by the European

1:51:441:51:49

Union, we published a detailed

scripture of our procedures for

1:51:491:51:52

European Union citizens. As the

paper demonstrates, the new

1:51:521:51:58

procedures will be streamlined,

straightforward and low cost is

1:51:581:52:01

possible. They will be based on

simple, transparent criteria and

1:52:011:52:05

these criteria will be laid out in

the withdrawal agreement. While

1:52:051:52:10

there remain differences on the

issues of family reunion and the

1:52:101:52:13

export of benefits, we have been

clear we are willing to consider

1:52:131:52:17

what further reassurance we can

provide to existing families, even

1:52:171:52:20

if they are not currently living

together in the United Kingdom. This

1:52:201:52:23

paves the way to resolving issues in

this area. This was acknowledged by

1:52:231:52:30

the commission on Friday. There

remain some areas on which we are

1:52:301:52:36

seeking further movement, issues

like voting rights, mutual

1:52:361:52:40

recognition of qualifications and

onward movement for British citizens

1:52:401:52:42

currently living in the EU 27. In

all of these areas, the United

1:52:421:52:46

Kingdom's offer goes beyond that of

the European Union. Finally, the

1:52:461:52:52

commission has not yet match the UK

offer in relation to the right to

1:52:521:52:56

stand on vote in local elections.

This is a core citizens right,

1:52:561:53:02

normally enshrined in European Union

treaties. I have been disappointed

1:53:021:53:05

that the European Union has been

unwilling to include voting rights

1:53:051:53:10

so far. As a result, we will pursue

the issue bilaterally, with member

1:53:101:53:14

states. This week, we have also

sought to get future clarity on a

1:53:141:53:19

commitment to incorporate the

agreement we meet on UK law. This

1:53:191:53:24

will ensure that European citizens

of the UK can directly enforce their

1:53:241:53:27

rights on UK courts, providing

certainty and clarity for the

1:53:271:53:31

long-term. We made it clear that,

over time, the court and take

1:53:311:53:35

account of the rulings of the

European Court of Justice in this

1:53:351:53:38

area to help ensure consistent

interpretation. However, we remain

1:53:381:53:42

clear that, as we leave the European

Union, it is a key priority to

1:53:421:53:46

preserve the sovereignty of courts

and as such, in leaving the European

1:53:461:53:50

Union, we will bring to an end of

the direct jurisdiction of the

1:53:501:53:52

European Court of Justice. It is not

my intention to pre-empt the

1:53:521:53:57

committee stage of the EU Withdrawal

Bill. But what I say next has some

1:53:571:54:00

relevance. It is clear we need to

take further steps to provide

1:54:001:54:04

clarity and certainty both in the

negotiations and at home, regarding

1:54:041:54:08

the lamentation of any agreement

into United Kingdom law. I can now

1:54:081:54:12

confirm that once we have reached an

agreement we will bring forward a

1:54:121:54:15

specific piece of primary

legislation to implement that

1:54:151:54:17

agreement. We know there is a

withdrawal agreement and

1:54:171:54:22

implimentation bill. This confirms

that the major policies set out in

1:54:221:54:26

the withdrawal agreement would be

directly Implimentating into UK law

1:54:261:54:30

by primary legislation. Not by

secondary legislation, as in the

1:54:301:54:34

Withdrawal Bill. It also means that

Parliament will be given time to

1:54:341:54:37

debate, scrutinise and vote on the

final agreement that we struck with

1:54:371:54:41

the European Union. The agreement

will only hold if Parliament

1:54:411:54:44

approves it. We expect the bill to

cover the contents of the withdrawal

1:54:441:54:47

agreement. That includes issues such

as an agreement of citizens rights,

1:54:471:54:53

any financial settlement and the

details of implimentation periods

1:54:531:54:55

agreed between both sides. Of

course, we do not yet know the exact

1:54:551:54:59

details of the bill and we are

unlikely to do so until the

1:54:591:55:02

negotiations are near completion. I

should also tell the house that this

1:55:021:55:06

would be over and above the

undertaking that we have already

1:55:061:55:09

made, that will bring forward a

motion on the final deal as soon as

1:55:091:55:12

possible after it is agreed. We

still intend and expect for such a

1:55:121:55:17

vote on the final deal to happen

before the European Parliament vote

1:55:171:55:19

on it. There cannot be any doubt

that Parliament will be intimately

1:55:191:55:23

involved at every stage. Finally, on

the financial settlement, I see from

1:55:231:55:34

the benches opposite this has been

called for by members on all sides

1:55:341:55:36

of this house. I actually hope we

get Labour Party support on it for

1:55:361:55:39

once. Finally, on the financial

settlement, the assessment stands.

1:55:391:55:47

The European partners will not

receive less of the budget plan as a

1:55:471:55:54

result of the decision to leave. The

UK will honour commitments made

1:55:541:55:58

during the membership and this week

we made substantial technical

1:55:581:56:00

progress on the issues that underpin

the commitments. It has been a

1:56:001:56:04

low-key but important technical

dissension. It is now about

1:56:041:56:11

pinpointing further discussions that

need to take place and bring forward

1:56:111:56:14

into the political discussions and

decisions. For this to happen, both

1:56:141:56:22

parties need to be involved in a

shared outcome. The United Kingdom

1:56:221:56:29

will engage constructively, as we

have done since the start. We need

1:56:291:56:33

to see flexibility, imagination and

willingness to make progress on both

1:56:331:56:36

sides if these negotiations are to

succeed. We are able to realise our

1:56:361:56:41

new partnership. I commend this

statement to the house.

1:56:411:56:44

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can I thank

the secretary State for advanced

1:56:481:56:52

notice of his statement? It is

clearly a statement of two halves.

1:56:521:56:58

First, the usual Groundhog Day

report back on the negotiations in

1:56:581:57:01

Brussels. A round of negotiations, a

press conference at the end that

1:57:011:57:08

leaves us wondering if the parties

were in the same negotiations, then

1:57:081:57:12

both sides briefing the press in the

days immediately afterwards. Then a

1:57:121:57:16

statement from the dispatch box that

assures no one. Underlining this, a

1:57:161:57:25

profound lack of progress. We want

the next statement to be different.

1:57:251:57:31

We want the separate state to inform

the house that real progress has

1:57:311:57:34

been made, a breakthrough even. Last

time we were promised acceleration.

1:57:341:57:39

What now, and what is the plan if

the December deadline is missed? Mr

1:57:391:57:46

Speaker, I do recognise some of the

difficulties. As the Secretary of

1:57:461:57:50

State knows, I have some simply with

the position on Northern Ireland

1:57:501:57:53

that he has set out. As we see from

the legislation before this house

1:57:531:57:59

today, the political situation in

Northern Ireland is fragile. The

1:57:591:58:02

peace process is too precious to be

put at risk by rushing a Brexit deal

1:58:021:58:07

that does not have the support of

all communities. There must be no

1:58:071:58:12

return to a hardboard. Mr Speaker,

Northern Ireland should not be used

1:58:121:58:18

by either side in the negotiations

for political point scoring. That is

1:58:181:58:24

a really important point for this

house. The second part of the

1:58:241:58:28

statement is not a statement at all.

It is a recognition by the

1:58:281:58:33

government that it is about to lose

a series of votes on the Withdrawal

1:58:331:58:37

Bill. Labour has repeatedly argued,

since the bill was first published

1:58:371:58:42

in July, that the Article 50 deal

required primary legislation,

1:58:421:58:46

including a vote of this house. It's

a point that was made forcefully at

1:58:461:58:50

second reading. Now, on the eve of

crucial amendments, we have this

1:58:501:58:59

statement under the cloak of a

report back from Brussels. I don't

1:58:591:59:02

think that rules anybody. The devil

will no doubt be in the details. Can

1:59:021:59:07

the Secretary of State now confirm

that the Government accepts labour's

1:59:071:59:12

argument that clause nine should be

struck from the Withdrawal Bill

1:59:121:59:15

altogether? Then there is the

question of transitional

1:59:151:59:21

arrangements. Mr Speaker, it is

blindingly obvious to anybody

1:59:211:59:24

following is negotiations, but a

final deal with the EU involving a

1:59:241:59:30

trade agreement will not be

completed by March 2019, that

1:59:301:59:33

transitional agreements on the same

terms are in the public interests.

1:59:331:59:38

That is what businesses and

communities want, it is what Labour

1:59:381:59:41

has been calling for for many

months. Can the Secretary of State

1:59:411:59:45

confirm, on the back of the

statement he has just made, that the

1:59:451:59:47

Government will not stand in the way

of sensible transitional

1:59:471:59:51

arrangements on the same basic terms

that we have now with the EU? Can

1:59:511:59:57

the Secretary of State also confirm

that the Government will not now be

1:59:571:59:59

pushing amendments in the back are

inconsistent with transitional

1:59:592:00:04

arrangements? And can the Secretary

of State confirm to this house that

2:00:042:00:09

the house will get a vote in the

event that there is no deal?

2:00:092:00:17

These questions have been pressing

for months and this last-minute

2:00:172:00:20

attempt to climb down brings them

into strong focus and we are

2:00:202:00:25

entitled to clear answers.

Yet more

carping opposite from the right

2:00:252:00:30

honourable gentleman! He complains

negotiations are not making as much

2:00:302:00:35

progress as he would like, yet he

allowed his Labour members of the

2:00:352:00:40

European Parliament to vote against

progress this time around. What

2:00:402:00:44

would he be prepared to sacrifice in

order to buy the goodwill of the

2:00:442:00:50

European Commission? We are standing

up for the UK citizens to move

2:00:502:00:53

around Europe and use their

professional qualifications and vote

2:00:532:00:56

in municipal elections, is he

seriously proposing we let them down

2:00:562:01:00

in the interests of rushing ahead?

We are standing at the British

2:01:002:01:03

taxpayers not wasting their money in

a position to meet our financial

2:01:032:01:08

commitments. Would he sell them out?

We are using Brexit to restore the

2:01:082:01:15

sovereignty of the British courts,

would you let that go? Yes, you

2:01:152:01:19

would committee would give the

European Court of Justice the right

2:01:192:01:21

to dictate our laws in perpetuity.

Let me come back to his description.

2:01:212:01:28

In the second half, he says, it does

not arise from the negotiation.

2:01:282:01:34

Well, yes, it does. As one of the

reasons for this bill that I have

2:01:342:01:40

announced today is providing the

European citizens a primary piece of

2:01:402:01:44

legislation which will put into

British law the withdrawal agreement

2:01:442:01:49

in total. It is as near as we can

come to direct effect and it comes

2:01:492:01:55

directly out of the negotiation

today. And I hope next time, we will

2:01:552:01:59

get a little bit more support from

the Labour Party.

2:01:592:02:05

We will be debating tomorrow, I

think, a rather helpful new clause

2:02:052:02:10

announced in the Daily Telegraph

which announced -- has on the timing

2:02:102:02:14

of these progresses. -- processors.

Can he give the Government's

2:02:142:02:21

intentions on these final processes

and the role of Parliament? Can he

2:02:212:02:24

give me a reassurance that

Parliament will have a legally

2:02:242:02:28

binding, meaningful vote in which it

will approve or disapprove of any

2:02:282:02:33

final agreement, or lack of

agreement, before we leave the

2:02:332:02:39

European Union? And that there will

be time in whatever circumstances

2:02:392:02:45

for the necessary legislation to be

introduced and debated by others, to

2:02:452:02:50

implement in law smoothly and

properly whatever it is Parliament

2:02:502:02:54

has approved once the Government has

made its proposals?

I thank my right

2:02:542:03:04

honourable friend. Yes, we will have

a meaningful vote. It has been said

2:03:042:03:09

from this dispatch box a number of

times. I have said today that we

2:03:092:03:13

will add to that over and above the

meaningful vote on the outcome, on

2:03:132:03:18

the bill, on the deal, we will have

legislation which puts it into

2:03:182:03:22

effect. So the House will go through

it line by line and agree it line by

2:03:222:03:26

line.

I am grateful to this advance

2:03:262:03:33

sighting of the statement. First of

all the Northern Ireland, does the

2:03:332:03:39

Secretary of State not appreciate it

is becoming increasingly clear the

2:03:392:03:42

only sensible solution in Northern

Ireland is for Northern Ireland to

2:03:422:03:46

remain in the Customs Union? If that

means the rest of us remain in the

2:03:462:03:49

Customs Union as well, that must be

what we do. He has already said

2:03:492:03:54

there cannot be a border between the

two parts of Ireland and Northern

2:03:542:03:58

Ireland and mainland UK, nor can

there be a border between Republic

2:03:582:04:00

of Ireland and the European Union so

there cannot be a customs border

2:04:002:04:06

anywhere between the UK and European

mainland without breaching

2:04:062:04:11

international treaties. And

citizens' rights, I welcome the

2:04:112:04:13

update on progress, but we are now

well past the time when our

2:04:132:04:19

constituents are entitled to

absolute legal guarantees of the

2:04:192:04:23

progress. People are still leaving

our businesses and health service

2:04:232:04:28

and social care service because they

do not have confidence there will be

2:04:282:04:31

a deal in time for them to make

their future here. Can I turn to the

2:04:312:04:39

update on the financial settlement?

Would it be cynical to suggest that

2:04:392:04:43

this will become a lot simpler when

the Chancellor has his budget out of

2:04:432:04:46

the way? What discussions has he had

with the Chancellor about what might

2:04:462:04:50

need to be in the budget next week

in order to pave the way for a

2:04:502:04:54

financial settlement in the weeks to

come? Or is it the case the reason

2:04:542:04:58

there will be no financial

settlement in the budget is because

2:04:582:05:00

the Government know they could not

get the budget passed their own

2:05:002:05:05

backbenchers with an omission of any

contribution to the European Union.

2:05:052:05:08

And finally on the announcement of a

new piece of legislation, can I give

2:05:082:05:14

credit that the Secretary of State

has done the right thing by

2:05:142:05:17

announcing this to the House? Some

of his Cabinet colleagues could

2:05:172:05:20

learn from that example. Can he give

more clarity as to what that will be

2:05:202:05:25

about? He cannot give the detail,

but when will it be published? Will

2:05:252:05:28

it be a question of take it or leave

it? Their deal or no deal? Will the

2:05:282:05:36

House be given an opportunity to

amend that Bill as it must have the

2:05:362:05:40

opportunity, and will the House have

the opportunity to amend the

2:05:402:05:43

agreement? And given the Prime

Minister is now only eight

2:05:432:05:50

disgruntled constituents away from a

vote of confidence, should I have

2:05:502:05:55

confidence to extricate us from the

mess they have created from their

2:05:552:05:59

rapid loss of confidence by their

own backbenchers?

Firstly, on the

2:05:592:06:07

question of Northern Ireland. What I

have said is that there will be no

2:06:072:06:16

internal border within the United

Kingdom. That is a fundamental.

2:06:162:06:19

Because apart from anything else,

the Good Friday Agreement requires

2:06:192:06:23

us to run the Government, on behalf

of all communities. At least one

2:06:232:06:31

community Northern Ireland would not

accept a border in the Irish Sea. As

2:06:312:06:36

for the border between Northern

Ireland and Ireland, everybody has

2:06:362:06:40

accepted there must be no return to

a hard border. Some of that is dealt

2:06:402:06:43

with by the continuation of the

Common Travel Area which has been

2:06:432:06:49

around since 1923 so that is not

new. And in terms of the customs

2:06:492:06:54

border, there is already a

difference between Levy and the tax

2:06:542:06:59

rates and excise rates North and

South the border which we manage

2:06:592:07:02

without a hard border and is what

will continue. It is very optimistic

2:07:022:07:07

to think the Chancellor gives any of

us advance warning of a budget, more

2:07:072:07:11

than a week. Of course, I have

discussed financial aspects of our

2:07:112:07:17

relationship with the European Union

at many meetings. And as the new

2:07:172:07:22

legislation, of course, it is not in

the gift of the Government to put a

2:07:222:07:27

piece of primary legislation before

the House which is incapable of

2:07:272:07:31

amendment. It is the nature of

primary legislation, it is always

2:07:312:07:35

capable of amendment. We will have

practical limitations of having a

2:07:352:07:39

deal and there could be locations

for that, but the entire thing will

2:07:392:07:43

be put in front of the House.

--

implications.

2:07:432:07:48

May I congratulate my right

honourable friend for being very

2:07:482:07:51

clear in his statement that on March

the 2019, as we believe the European

2:07:512:07:57

Union, the Court of Justice will no

longer have authority, direct

2:07:572:08:02

authority in the United Kingdom,

dispelling the Games being played

2:08:022:08:05

out by the opposition as we had this

morning. But may I just take my

2:08:052:08:12

right honourable friend back to the

statement he has made with regards

2:08:122:08:14

to the bill and the motion? As I

understand it, if we had a notion

2:08:142:08:21

that was voted on but was not

passed, that would negate the idea

2:08:212:08:27

of a bill that would then be

amended. And if there was a bill and

2:08:272:08:33

was amended, as we were always told

to the negotiations in Maastricht

2:08:332:08:38

and beyond, you cannot accept an

amendment because the agreement has

2:08:382:08:41

already been made and you would be

altering the agreement. Does that

2:08:412:08:44

not leaders into the situation we

may be having a bill that changes

2:08:442:08:49

the agreement but that the other

side does not wish to make those

2:08:492:08:53

changes?

The first half of his

question, if the motion is not

2:08:532:09:02

passed, the deal falls. He is right

about the second part, but he will

2:09:022:09:08

remember the Maastricht Bill, quite

a lot of amendments and voting on

2:09:082:09:13

them so House expressed its view in

light of the consequences.

2:09:132:09:21

I welcome the Secretary of State's

announcement that there will be

2:09:212:09:25

primary legislation to implement the

EU withdrawal agreement and I would

2:09:252:09:31

say it is recognition of the

government having to listen to the

2:09:312:09:34

House of Commons. The question I

have is about Northern Ireland

2:09:342:09:38

because it is becoming increasingly

clear there is a contradiction

2:09:382:09:43

clearly stated desire there should

be no return to a hard border and no

2:09:432:09:48

customs border. And its

determination to leave the Customs

2:09:482:09:52

Union and the Single Market. Since

the proposals it has put forward is

2:09:522:09:57

to try and square that circle have

so far failed to persuade the

2:09:572:10:02

Government of the Republic of

Ireland that a hard border can be

2:10:022:10:05

achieved, what does the Government

now propose to do about what is

2:10:052:10:10

after all one of its central

negotiating objectives?

Can I thank

2:10:102:10:16

him for his opening comments? At the

time we published a white paper on

2:10:162:10:21

what was the Great Repeal Bill and

now the Withdrawal Bill, I said at

2:10:212:10:25

the time that we would listen to the

House of Commons and I said to the

2:10:252:10:29

frontbench opposite if there were

any rights removed, we would

2:10:292:10:33

endeavour to replace them and at the

-- and other changes. In terms of

2:10:332:10:39

Northern Ireland, circumstance at

the moment we face is that there are

2:10:392:10:45

a range of permutations and

possibilities depending on the

2:10:452:10:48

outcome with respect to a free trade

agreement and customs agreement. If

2:10:482:10:52

the Government achieves its primary

policy of having a tariff free,

2:10:522:10:58

barrier free free trade agreement, a

customs agreement following on from

2:10:582:11:01

that will be a light customs

agreement and it would be relatively

2:11:012:11:06

straightforward to maintain a

relatively invisible border. If that

2:11:062:11:10

is not the case, I expect the

alternatives would be expensive, but

2:11:102:11:15

not impossible.

If the House of Commons votes down

2:11:152:11:21

the new Withdrawal Bill, will the

consequence be that we will still

2:11:212:11:27

leave on the 29th of March 2019, but

without an agreement?

Yes.

What was

2:11:272:11:35

that?

The Secretary of State said,

yes. Kate Howey.

Can I welcome the

2:11:352:11:49

Secretary of State's very firm

rebuttal of the ridiculous idea that

2:11:492:11:53

Northern Ireland would be taken out

of the rest of the United Kingdom

2:11:532:11:56

and stay in the Customs Union? And

does he recognise the Northern

2:11:562:11:59

Ireland affairs committee met

recently with the head of customs in

2:11:592:12:04

Switzerland who is not in the EU and

the one thing he said over and over

2:12:042:12:08

again, there is nothing that cannot

make this work if there is full

2:12:082:12:12

co-operation between all sides? Is

that not what this is all about? The

2:12:122:12:17

Republic of Ireland want to have no

Customs Union and no border, hard

2:12:172:12:21

border, this can happen.

The

honourable lady for Vauxhall is

2:12:212:12:28

exactly right. This is true across

the board, whether you are talking

2:12:282:12:31

about a free-trade agreement which

we are told is impossible. The past

2:12:312:12:36

Commissioner for trade, the European

Union said, no, it is not the

2:12:362:12:43

political will is there and the same

is true in this case. If the

2:12:432:12:47

political will is there, this can be

done. I'm quite sure the political

2:12:472:12:51

will is there North and South of

that border.

2:12:512:12:56

Would the Secretary of State confirm

that any such Withdrawal Bill would

2:12:562:12:59

take place after the Withdrawal Bill

itself has been enacted? After the

2:12:592:13:06

29th of March 2019.

I don't quite

confirm that. This will depend on

2:13:062:13:14

when the withdrawal treaty, sorry,

yes, the withdrawal treaty is

2:13:142:13:22

negotiated. And that is the

intention of the union to try to

2:13:222:13:27

negotiate that by October of next

year. So the ideal outcome would be

2:13:272:13:33

before the conclusion.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can I welcome

2:13:332:13:41

the Government coming forward with a

separate bill for the withdrawal

2:13:412:13:45

agreement is something I have laid

amendments for and the member of

2:13:452:13:51

Beaconsfield as well? But can he

clarify the timing on this last

2:13:512:13:54

remark he said it was only in an

ideal world that this Withdrawal

2:13:542:14:02

Bill, withdrawal agreement Bill

would come before Brexit. There is a

2:14:022:14:07

real problem if the Government

thinks they can simply use clause

2:14:072:14:10

nine to provisionally implement a

withdrawal agreement through

2:14:102:14:16

secondary legislation whilst not

having the withdrawal agreement Bill

2:14:162:14:21

until after Brexit day. Can he

clarify, will he confirm the

2:14:212:14:26

Government will bring the withdrawal

agreement Bill before the House,

2:14:262:14:30

before Brexit day and not after?

She

quite rightly corrects me for

2:14:302:14:36

misspeaking. The right word is our

principal policy aim, that is what

2:14:362:14:41

we are trying to do. What I cannot

guarantee is of the union does not

2:14:412:14:47

contrary conclusion in the

negotiations, we cannot bring the

2:14:472:14:50

Withdrawal Bill in front of the

House before we have a withdrawal

2:14:502:14:54

agreement, that is the sequence I am

pointing to.

2:14:542:15:00

It is all very interesting. As you

know, the Government has now decided

2:15:002:15:06

to bring forward an amendment to put

in law the Brexit leaving date, even

2:15:062:15:11

though it is not going to the

Cabinet and it has not been subject

2:15:112:15:14

to the usual right around. Could I

right honourable friend the separate

2:15:142:15:19

state help us with this? He has told

us about the new piece of

2:15:192:15:22

legislation that would come forward,

that we could all vote on and amend,

2:15:222:15:26

so on and so forth, in the normal

way. That is only if there is an

2:15:262:15:30

agreement. Can he agree that in the

event of no agreement, no deal, this

2:15:302:15:41

place will have no say and we will

leave on that data because it is, on

2:15:412:15:45

the face of the bill, without any

say from this suppose it's sovereign

2:15:452:15:48

Parliament that voted to take back

control.

What I can say is that if

2:15:482:15:57

we don't have a withdrawal

agreement, we can't have a

2:15:572:16:00

withdrawal agreement Bill, full

stop. Hasn't he just given the game

2:16:002:16:08

away of what a sham of this is?

Totally worthless to Parliament.

2:16:082:16:11

Essentially trying to buy off people

by saying we are going to give you

2:16:112:16:16

an act to shake things, when in fact

it is a post-doc, after the horse

2:16:162:16:21

has bolted piece of legislation. We

might have left the European Union,

2:16:212:16:25

the treaty and the deal would have

been done and Parliament could do

2:16:252:16:28

nothing at all to shake the nature

of the withdrawal agreement. --

2:16:282:16:37

shape. Parliament must have a say

before we are thrown over the cliff

2:16:372:16:42

edge.

Let me repeat to him the

probable sequence of events. If we

2:16:422:16:49

hit our targets, we will conclude

the withdrawal agreement and

2:16:492:16:53

associated agreements in the latter

part of next year. He is aiming for

2:16:532:16:56

October next year. That is his

stated aim. If we do that, the

2:16:562:17:01

withdrawal and treaty vote will come

to the house, the simple in

2:17:012:17:04

principle vote. As soon as possible

thereafter, the withdrawal agreement

2:17:042:17:07

Bill will come to the front of the

house. That is the sequence. That

2:17:072:17:10

will be plenty of time and will be

amended at the time.

Imagine the

2:17:102:17:19

outrage there would be in Europe if

the European Union decided to try to

2:17:192:17:24

detach Catalonia from Spain. What is

the European Union doing today? They

2:17:242:17:30

say they are going to detach

Northern Ireland from the single

2:17:302:17:33

market and Customs union from the

United Kingdom. Will my right

2:17:332:17:36

honourable friend say this, that the

Conservative Party is nothing if it

2:17:362:17:39

is not the Unionist party? There

will be no amendment, no surrender,

2:17:392:17:43

no appeasement on keeping Northern

Ireland and the single market of the

2:17:432:17:46

United Kingdom?

I think I have made

it plain that we will not have any

2:17:462:17:56

borders within the United Kingdom.

Is he accepting the amendment in the

2:17:562:18:05

name of the right honourable and

learned member for Beaconsfield, or

2:18:052:18:08

is he asking the house to take it on

assurance from the dispatch box?

I

2:18:082:18:16

am stating what is government policy

from the dispatch box.

Mr Dominic

2:18:162:18:20

Greene.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I

greatly welcome my right honourable

2:18:202:18:29

friend is statement in respect of

there being a statute in order to

2:18:292:18:33

implement the final deal. It must be

right that if that is the case,

2:18:332:18:39

unless my amendment were to now be

accepted, clause nine becomes

2:18:392:18:42

redundant. I don't see how it is

acceptable that we should implement

2:18:422:18:47

Brexit by means of clause nine to

have a statute after the date of our

2:18:472:18:55

departure. My anxieties are greatly

heightened on this by the

2:18:552:18:58

extraordinary amendment tabled by

the Government on Friday. Surely,

2:18:582:19:03

the answer is that if we run out of

time none of these suggestions that

2:19:032:19:08

have now been put forward is that

the time has to be extended under

2:19:082:19:11

Article 50 so that all parties are

able to deal with it. That is the

2:19:112:19:17

mechanism provided. Surely that is

the mechanism which the house and

2:19:172:19:20

the Government should be following.

I thank my right honourable friend

2:19:202:19:27

for his welcome of the bill. Article

50, the extension of Article 50, can

2:19:272:19:34

only be done by unanimity. That is

the weakness.

2:19:342:19:37

Thank you, but this does not make

any sense. The Secretary of State

2:19:402:19:45

has said on any number of occasions

that a deal could be done right at

2:19:452:19:49

the last moment. For the reasons

just explained, can he be clear? You

2:19:492:19:54

can't have that position but a deal

could be done right at the last

2:19:542:19:58

moment and support the new clause

from the Government, nailing down

2:19:582:20:01

the specific date.

Any number of

occasions, one occasion in front of

2:20:012:20:10

the select committee when I was

asked that specific question, what

2:20:102:20:12

could happen to the negotiation in

extremis. Since I was pointing to

2:20:122:20:19

previous examples, it is hardly a

statement of intent or expectation.

2:20:192:20:28

As for the rest of the question I

think it is pretty straightforward.

2:20:282:20:33

We are aiming to hit October. Michel

Barnier is hoping to hit October. I

2:20:332:20:37

hope we both do. I think we will hit

the target well before the departure

2:20:372:20:41

date. The reason for the bill is it

reflects what European law tells

2:20:412:20:50

you.

Is there any prospect of the

excellent Sir James Dyson being

2:20:502:20:57

invited to join our splendid team?

2:20:572:21:00

Well, I have spoken to Sir James

Dyson. I don't necessarily agree

2:21:142:21:18

with his tactical advice. As I have

to say, he is a brilliant exponent

2:21:182:21:25

of what a great success this country

can be when engineers get stuck into

2:21:252:21:30

the job.

Thank you. Can the

Secretary of State clarify what the

2:21:302:21:43

Government is thinking around the

adjudication clause?

Well, I'm

2:21:432:21:55

afraid I didn't hear. I am sure it

was a brilliant exposition, but I

2:21:552:22:01

didn't hear it.

He has the

confirmation that it was very good.

2:22:012:22:09

He said it not once, but twice. That

should satisfy the Secretary of

2:22:092:22:12

State.

Could I write my right

honourable friend to remind this

2:22:122:22:18

house that 498 honourable and right

honourable members voted for the

2:22:182:22:23

Withdrawal Bill. In the full

knowledge that two years after

2:22:232:22:30

notification had been served, we

would be leaving the European Union.

2:22:302:22:33

Isn't it a little disappointing that

they seem to be backtracking on

2:22:332:22:38

their commitment to honour the

promise is to the British people?

My

2:22:382:22:46

honourable friend makes his point

clearly. The simple fact is that

2:22:462:22:50

everybody has known at March 2019 is

the departure date, ever since the

2:22:502:22:53

Article 50 bill was passed.

I

welcome the Secretary of State's

2:22:532:23:01

retreat in the face of impending

votes on the Withdrawal Bill. Why is

2:23:012:23:06

he intent on holding a gun to this

house's head by presenting us with a

2:23:062:23:13

choice between the deal he

negotiates and no deal at all?

2:23:132:23:17

Surely, a meaningful vote and

meaningful legislation would give

2:23:172:23:21

this house the possibility of asking

the Government to go back and amend

2:23:212:23:28

the deal, including, if necessary,

as the Honourable Member for

2:23:282:23:34

Beaconsfield has said, extending the

timetable if that is what is

2:23:342:23:37

required?

Nobody is holding a gun to

the house's head. What I will say to

2:23:372:23:41

the honourable gentleman is that the

decision before the house was put

2:23:412:23:44

there by 17.5 million voters.

2:23:442:23:47

Can my right honourable friend

reassure those of us who

2:23:522:23:55

increasingly believe that the

strongest chance of ever achieving a

2:23:552:23:58

deal is to be able to demonstrate to

our EU counterparts that we are

2:23:582:24:03

capable of munching exited out a

deal, that he will shortly publish a

2:24:032:24:08

comprehensive and convincing account

of how this country will manage

2:24:082:24:12

affairs in the absence of a deal

whatsoever.

What I have said to the

2:24:122:24:18

house many times over is that what

my right honourable friend alludes

2:24:182:24:23

to is not the primary policy of this

government. The polish of the

2:24:232:24:28

government is to retain a free-trade

deal. -- policy of the government.

2:24:282:24:33

He is right that in the event that

such a thing did not happen, we

2:24:332:24:36

would be able to make a good future

for Britain without that. It is not

2:24:362:24:42

the best future. It is not the best

choice in front of us.

In Brussels

2:24:422:24:51

last week, senior EU officials were

very clear with members of the

2:24:512:24:54

select committee that a transitional

deal under Article 50 means

2:24:542:24:58

remaining in a single market,

remaining in the customs union and

2:24:582:25:01

remaining subject to the

jurisdiction of the Court of Justice

2:25:012:25:04

is not about time -- isn't it about

time that the sector stayed

2:25:042:25:11

explained that to his members so

that members can avoid embarrassing

2:25:112:25:15

themselves on legal matters on the

radio, and will he also clarify that

2:25:152:25:22

part of the bill such as clause six

will have to go if there is to be a

2:25:222:25:29

transitional deal?

What I will say

to the honourable lady is that she

2:25:292:25:34

makes the mistake that many, I'm

afraid, Metropolitan commentators

2:25:342:25:39

make. To assume that everything they

are told in Brussels the whole truth

2:25:392:25:42

and nothing but the truth.

If you

were trying to sell me a car and I

2:25:422:25:51

assure you I was determined not to

leave the show room without buying

2:25:512:25:55

one, does he imagine that would

strengthen my negotiating hand?

Here

2:25:552:26:01

is quite right, it is a foolish

proposition only enjoyed on the

2:26:012:26:04

other side of the house.

I'm sure

the Secretary of State will join me

2:26:042:26:14

in congratulating his friend the

Foreign Secretary and the Secretary

2:26:142:26:17

of State for the rekindling of their

bromance. I wonder if they

2:26:172:26:22

understand that the European

Parliament say that the deal can

2:26:222:26:32

only take place if there is

supervisory, judiciary enforcement

2:26:322:26:38

bromance and structures? Does he

believe that those on the benches

2:26:382:26:42

understand that will be the base of

the transitional arrangements?

A

2:26:422:26:51

milder version of what I said to the

Scottish Nationalists colleague, it

2:26:512:26:55

should not take what the European

Parliament says as the end of the

2:26:552:27:00

exercise. He is right in one

respect. A transitional arrangement

2:27:002:27:02

will look very close to what we have

now, but it will not be membership

2:27:022:27:06

and it will allow bus freedoms we

don't have now. That is critical to

2:27:062:27:09

remember as well.

We have always

known that the EU is desperate for

2:27:092:27:15

the UK's money. It has become so

strapped for cash, it seems, it is

2:27:152:27:19

now resorting to the diplomacy

version of aggressive begging, it

2:27:192:27:23

seems, over the last few days. Will

my right honourable friend assure

2:27:232:27:27

the house that the Government will

not be intimidated by the threats

2:27:272:27:31

and blackmail of the European

negotiating team? Because the

2:27:312:27:35

Government will not be forgiven, in

a time of austerity, if it pays more

2:27:352:27:40

than is legally due for leaving the

EU. Would he agree with me on that

2:27:402:27:43

basis that you don't need to pay £10

billion a year for a £90 billion

2:27:432:27:49

trade deficit. You can have one of

those for nothing!

On his last

2:27:492:27:58

point, it is a point I made to one

of the member states only last week.

2:27:582:28:03

Tom Brake. Kane

When I met residents

in South Armagh recently who were

2:28:032:28:11

badly affected during the troubles,

they had no solution to the question

2:28:112:28:17

of the Northern Ireland border, and

neither did anybody else who I have

2:28:172:28:20

met since. The percentage of state

set out how it is possible for us to

2:28:202:28:27

leave the customs union and for that

to still be a frictionless, no

2:28:272:28:31

touch, no control border between

Ireland and Northern Ireland?

We

2:28:312:28:35

published a whole paper on the

subject. There is a whole range of

2:28:352:28:40

options available to him, to the

country. That includes using trusted

2:28:402:28:45

trade schemes, using electronic

pre-notification, using exemptions

2:28:452:28:48

for small businesses. There is a

series of them that we have talked

2:28:482:28:51

about at length. He just has to read

them.

May I congratulate the

2:28:512:28:58

Secretary of State on the progress

made in the last couple of weeks.

2:28:582:29:02

Can I emphasise how important it is

that we move onto the next stage in

2:29:022:29:07

December. Businesses are absolutely

concerned that we have that, moving

2:29:072:29:13

on within the next two three weeks.

Could he reassure us on that?

That

2:29:132:29:19

is what we are aiming to do. One of

the points that has become very,

2:29:192:29:23

very clear in the negotiation, some

of the matters like the border

2:29:232:29:27

between Ireland and Northern

Ireland, they are soluble when we

2:29:272:29:32

get onto the next stage and cannot

be advanced as we stand now. For

2:29:322:29:36

many reasons, economic and

political, we want to make the as

2:29:362:29:39

soon as possible.

Can I ask the

Secretary of State about the

2:29:392:29:45

arrangements during the two year or

so of limitation period after March

2:29:452:29:50

2019, were the Prime Minister has

told us the writ of the European

2:29:502:29:54

Court of Justice will continue to

run? He told the select committee

2:29:542:29:57

that he hoped, subject to a positive

Council conclusion in December, the

2:29:572:30:02

arrangements for the implementation

period will be agreed by March 20

2:30:022:30:06

18. Michel Barnier said the same to

the select committee last week.

2:30:062:30:11

Doesn't that put a huge pressure on

everybody involved to achieve the

2:30:112:30:16

successful outcome to the December

counsel?

2:30:162:30:28

I hope so. One of the major

successes was that they told task

2:30:282:30:33

force 50 to prepare for that. It is

a moderately complex policy that has

2:30:332:30:38

to be put in place, there are a

number of mildly contentious areas

2:30:382:30:43

of it, and they need to be ready for

it. They are under way on that. And

2:30:432:30:48

if we get the decision in December,

we will deliver, I hope, on what we

2:30:482:30:53

said.

Did my right honourable friend

2:30:532:30:58

understand as I did the opposition's

spokesman expressing sympathy for

2:30:582:31:02

the Government's position on the

Irish border question? Identifying

2:31:022:31:10

the fact that the success of the

Irish Republic in getting the 27

2:31:102:31:14

members of the European Union to

line up with their position on the

2:31:142:31:17

Customs Union has now placed these

talks in an impossible position

2:31:172:31:20

which, if it is not resolved over

the next two weeks, may see them not

2:31:202:31:25

going forward and the need to

prepare, as my right on raw friend

2:31:252:31:32

made clear?

To be fair to the Labour

spokesman, he was agreeing with the

2:31:322:31:36

position the Government laid out and

it is an incredibly sensitive issue.

2:31:362:31:42

So that he is being very responsible

in that. Of course, my honourable

2:31:422:31:47

friend is right in one respect, and

that is if we do not deal with this

2:31:472:31:52

in a way which delivers a freak

trade area, delivers a custom

2:31:522:31:59

agreement, it will be much, much

more difficult to resolve the border

2:31:592:32:03

issue. Rustie Lee -- we still will

but it will be a much more expensive

2:32:032:32:09

and politically more difficult

position and the best way to do with

2:32:092:32:14

it is fast progress.

Tens of

thousands of businesses including

2:32:142:32:19

supermarkets and imports and exports

who work across the whole of the

2:32:192:32:24

European Union rely on their ability

under EU bought to have one

2:32:242:32:26

certificate of insurance for their

lorries so a lorry can go from

2:32:262:32:32

Aberystwyth to Krakow or wherever

else in the European Union. They

2:32:322:32:37

will secure new insurance

certificate soon which will last for

2:32:372:32:40

a further year. In other words, by

the end of March, they have to know

2:32:402:32:44

what the situation is going to be to

take out certificates of insurance

2:32:442:32:50

for after Brexit, as the Secretary

suggests. When will they have that

2:32:502:32:54

certainty?

I laid out clearly well

-- why we are trying to get the

2:32:542:33:00

implementation period agreed by

March.

I welcome the Secretary of

2:33:002:33:07

State's statement, and the fact

there will be a bill in this House.

2:33:072:33:10

Would he confirm if this will be

based on a treaty we signed with 27

2:33:102:33:14

other countries and that we cannot

force 27 other countries to offer

2:33:142:33:19

something they are not prepared to

offer?

It would be quite difficult

2:33:192:33:25

to do that, of course. But like any

treaty, when it is carried into

2:33:252:33:29

British law, the ability, the House

can amend it but has to take into

2:33:292:33:35

account the consequences of so

doing.

2:33:352:33:39

The Secretary of State said today

Brexit cannot come with the

2:33:392:33:44

constitutional or economic integrity

of the united Kingdom and it is

2:33:442:33:47

already costing the economic

integrity of the united Kingdom. It

2:33:472:33:52

seems the policy of the comment is

to petition Ireland -- the

2:33:522:33:58

Government. Does he know when the EU

27 might agree for an extension

2:33:582:34:04

period? Is perversely, in extending

his pleading for two more years, he

2:34:042:34:13

is undermining the argument.

We have

the highest employment we have ever

2:34:132:34:20

had in our history and the lowest

unemployment in my adult lifetime.

2:34:202:34:23

As for the question... That is not

for negotiation, it is to allow

2:34:232:34:32

countries, governments, our lament

and EU governments and most

2:34:322:34:37

importantly companies to accommodate

the changes in the knowledge of what

2:34:372:34:41

the deal is.

Could my right

honourable friend say how much

2:34:412:34:47

detail he expects the deal to

include on our future trading

2:34:472:34:52

relationships with the EU and does

he share the view indicated several

2:34:522:34:57

times last week in Brussels that

this deal is separate to the free

2:34:572:35:01

trade agreement which will come

later and which will be longer and

2:35:012:35:06

more difficult to agree than this

interim deal we are talking about

2:35:062:35:09

this afternoon?

I am afraid I don't

agree with Michel Barnier if that is

2:35:092:35:15

who said it to the committee. How

can I put it? The ambitions of the

2:35:152:35:22

Commission on this lower than they

should be. The simple truth is,

2:35:222:35:26

nothing is agreed until everything

is agreed and we have to have

2:35:262:35:29

something which is pretty binding

before we sign of the withdrawal

2:35:292:35:32

agreement.

And on that note, the

Secretary of State in his statement

2:35:322:35:42

made it clear the implementation

period and the details of it would

2:35:422:35:45

be part of the legislation. It is

absolutely clear and perhaps the

2:35:452:35:50

Secretary of State will confirm

this, that there is no guarantee

2:35:502:35:53

whatsoever that is the trade deal is

not finalised by October next year,

2:35:532:35:58

this bill will not come before

Parliament until after March 2019

2:35:582:36:01

and until the trade deal is

finalised with the EU.

Well, it

2:36:012:36:07

cannot be brought before the

withdrawal deal is struck. I would

2:36:072:36:15

remind her the Government has

undertaken to provide a vote on the

2:36:152:36:18

entire deal before we come to that.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. In June 2016,

2:36:182:36:28

the people of this country voted to

come out of the EU, entry movement,

2:36:282:36:33

to stop paying the EU billions of

pounds, make our own laws in our own

2:36:332:36:38

country, judged by our own judges.

Is the Government going to deliver

2:36:382:36:42

that by March 2019?

Yes.

I welcome the secular state's

2:36:422:36:52

comments today. That he will not

exceed the demands made that

2:36:522:36:59

Northern Ireland should stay in the

Customs Union and the Single Market

2:36:592:37:05

considering the constitutional and

economic implications. Does the

2:37:052:37:08

Secretary of State agree it would be

in the interests of the Irish

2:37:082:37:11

Government not to allow their

relationship with the UK and the

2:37:112:37:16

Republic of Ireland to be dictated

by EU negotiators who have less

2:37:162:37:20

interest in the needs of a small

country like the Republic of Ireland

2:37:202:37:24

and indeed the European project?

It

is not for me to tell the Irish

2:37:242:37:29

Government what they should do. But

I would say this, but they share

2:37:292:37:33

with us and determination to

maintain no hard border. They

2:37:332:37:40

obviously have an economic interest

in the outcome because we are their

2:37:402:37:45

biggest trading partner. So they

must have a very strong interest in

2:37:452:37:48

a similar outcome to the one that we

are looking for and I hope that they

2:37:482:37:54

will reflect that in a conversation

with the Commission.

2:37:542:38:00

I commend my right honourable friend

on his announcement that the

2:38:002:38:03

fermentation of the withdrawal

agreement will be the subject of

2:38:032:38:08

specific primary legislation. Does

this not negate the accusation that

2:38:082:38:12

the Government is intent on

bypassing Parliament and does not

2:38:122:38:15

underline the fact that rather, the

Government is intent on restoring

2:38:152:38:21

our Parliamentary sovereignty, which

is the entire purpose of Brexit?

2:38:212:38:25

Exactly right. Bills already passed

and bills in prospect, we are now

2:38:252:38:34

looking at ten pieces of primary

legislation that Parliament can vote

2:38:342:38:36

on, amend and comment on as a result

of Brexit and is delivering Brexit.

2:38:362:38:47

The Secretary of State says that any

agreement will only hold if

2:38:472:38:53

Parliament approves it. He has also

said that we will not have any

2:38:532:38:59

opportunity to vote if we have no

agreement. And that means, doesn't

2:38:592:39:07

it, that all this talk about taking

back control and giving our

2:39:072:39:11

Parliament more powers is absolutely

untrue? What we are faced with here

2:39:112:39:17

is a choice of putting a gun to our

own head and blowing it off.

2:39:172:39:26

Clearly, he wasn't listening to my

answer to the previous question. In

2:39:262:39:29

order to deliver Brexit, this House

is going to deal with at least ten

2:39:292:39:35

pieces of primary legislation. That

is hardly denying Parliament a say

2:39:352:39:39

in events.

Would the Secretary of State clarify

2:39:392:39:47

that if the agreement only happens

on the very last day in March, could

2:39:472:39:53

he explain how the bill, intended to

ensure a meaningful vote, if it only

2:39:532:40:01

comes forward after that date, the

vote is in any sense meaningful?

2:40:012:40:08

We had an urgent question on this

two weeks ago. I reiterated to the

2:40:082:40:12

House the statement my right

honourable friend who has just

2:40:122:40:17

spoken, the then Minister of State,

in which he said a meaningful vote

2:40:172:40:20

is a vote which allows you to say

you want the deal or you don't want

2:40:202:40:24

the deal, and that will not be any

different.

2:40:242:40:32

Experts are warning of the

disastrous consequences of a hard

2:40:322:40:34

border between Wales and the

Republic of Ireland. How is he

2:40:342:40:40

ensuring the decisions he makes is

part of the negotiations do not

2:40:402:40:44

damage the competitiveness of Welsh

ports which employ thousands of

2:40:442:40:47

people directly and indeterminate --

and indirectly?

That is why the

2:40:472:40:52

Government policy is to deliver a

frictionless trade arrangement

2:40:522:40:57

between ourselves and the EU 27.

Most importantly, the Republic of

2:40:572:41:02

Ireland.

My right honourable friend correctly

2:41:022:41:10

and rightly said that he is

negotiating with pragmatism. Has he

2:41:102:41:17

detected growing rheumatism amongst

the EU Commission as they realise,

2:41:172:41:24

hopefully, the trade surplus the EU

27 have with those would be under

2:41:242:41:27

threat?

I made an undertaking to the

House about a year and a half ago

2:41:272:41:33

that I would be more polite than

ever they have seen me before in my

2:41:332:41:38

comments on the Commission and I

will stick to that.

2:41:382:41:47

The Secretary of State of the word

creative, creativity. Could he and

2:41:472:41:53

his team come up with a more

creative approach to settled status

2:41:532:41:56

fee? It seems to be upsetting a lot

of my constituents, who have been

2:41:562:42:01

resident for many decades,

contributed an enormous amount and

2:42:012:42:05

feel settled state turns them into a

different arrangement. They entered

2:42:052:42:10

with free movement, they feel they

had a different treaty,

2:42:102:42:14

relationship, and now everything,

the rock has been pulled, could he

2:42:142:42:17

be creative?

We have been quite

creative so far. Those who have been

2:42:172:42:23

here a long time, many of them

permanent residents already so one

2:42:232:42:28

thing the Italian government

persuaded me it is worth doing

2:42:282:42:30

ensuring that their transition to

the new permanent residents was

2:42:302:42:35

completely frictionless and was a

provision of a photograph and

2:42:352:42:38

criminality check, no more than

that. For those who are still making

2:42:382:42:41

the application, we have given them

a two year grace period beyond the

2:42:412:42:48

end of our departure. And we have

published a report last week which

2:42:482:42:51

is designed to show it will be

simple, straightforward and very

2:42:512:42:55

cheap. Those things are designed to

make them feel more secure, as I

2:42:552:43:01

would hope they do, because I have

to reiterate, we value the

2:43:012:43:05

contribution of the 3 million

Europeans in this country today.

2:43:052:43:11

What my right honourable friend

agree that while the United Kingdom

2:43:112:43:16

should negotiate on every issue in

order to secure this country's

2:43:162:43:22

future, to coin a phrase, nothing

should be agreed until everything is

2:43:222:43:25

agreed?

I didn't think I would ever accuse

2:43:252:43:29

my honourable friend of sounding

like European Commission! At that is

2:43:292:43:34

their favourite phrase and I stick

by that as well.

2:43:342:43:42

Grateful to your contribution to my

fitness regime! Can the Secretary of

2:43:422:43:47

State just explain if this House

amends this primary legislation that

2:43:472:43:51

is going to be brought before us in

relation to the agreement, how will

2:43:512:43:58

he convey that to the European Union

if we have retained sovereignty?

I'm

2:43:582:44:05

not going to comment on his fitness

regime, he is too far away from me

2:44:052:44:10

to tell! If the House that, that

will be taken by the Government as

2:44:102:44:14

an instruction to go back and speak

to them. Whether that would deliver

2:44:142:44:18

any outcome, I don't know.

I warmly welcome the statement and

2:44:182:44:23

his confirmation from the dispatch

box that there will be a separate

2:44:232:44:26

piece of legislation, in the

agreement and fermentation bill.

2:44:262:44:31

Does he agree this means any

amendment in the committee stage

2:44:312:44:34

starting tomorrow would be

unnecessary and secondly this will

2:44:342:44:38

ensure there will be a meaningful

vote which does not undermine our

2:44:382:44:42

negotiation? On the latter point, he

is right. There may be some minor

2:44:422:44:51

consequential changes.

2:44:512:44:53

Regarding the financial settlement

which will eventually need to be

2:44:582:45:01

worked out, does my right honourable

friend agree with me that whilst the

2:45:012:45:04

British public would look favourably

on a settlement within the context

2:45:042:45:08

of an ambitious trade deal, there

would be reluctance to make a

2:45:082:45:12

payment in the event that we have

been left with nothing by the EU?

I

2:45:122:45:18

feel tented to employ my honourable

friend as a negotiator. That is what

2:45:182:45:22

I have been saying for quite some

time.

I welcome the announcement

2:45:222:45:27

that there will be a bill on the

withdrawal agreement and of

2:45:272:45:31

lamentation that will enable

Parliament is could need. The sea

2:45:312:45:34

grew with me that whilst

Parliamentary involvement is

2:45:342:45:37

essential, this is not and never

should be construed as an

2:45:372:45:41

opportunity to reverse Brexit, to

return the UK to the EU or to go

2:45:412:45:46

behind the wishes of the British

people?

My honourable friend is

2:45:462:45:53

entirely right. It is a meaningful

vote, but not meaningful in the

2:45:532:45:56

sense that some believe meaningful,

that you can reverse the decision.

2:45:562:45:59

That is not available to us.

I also

met Michel Barnier in Brussels last

2:45:592:46:10

week. I am sorry if I left him for

the Secretary of State in anything

2:46:102:46:16

like a bad mood. While I perceive

the approach to be fair, reasonable

2:46:162:46:20

and giving ground where necessary,

it is feeling a little bit like a

2:46:202:46:25

one-way street. Does my right

honourable friend share my view that

2:46:252:46:32

the unreasonable intransigence is

becoming wearing? Yellow matter I am

2:46:322:46:42

paid to be someone who puts up with

being worn down. My medications with

2:46:422:46:52

Michel Barnier have been nothing but

cordial. It is a tough negotiation

2:46:522:46:55

and may get tougher.

The primary

value of a transitional period is to

2:46:552:47:04

give British businesses the time to

adapt to new arrangements. It is not

2:47:042:47:07

to give an extension of the talks.

It increases uncertainty and it is

2:47:072:47:12

an appalling tactic. The Secretary

of State take the opportunity to

2:47:122:47:15

reassure us that his intention is to

agree a deal of such specificity

2:47:152:47:22

that they will know the arrangements

prior to the point of departure?

My

2:47:222:47:27

honourable friend goes right to the

point. There are three reasons for

2:47:272:47:30

the transition. One is for the

British Government to be able to

2:47:302:47:33

accommodate, one is for foreign

governments to accommodate. As he

2:47:332:47:36

said, the most important is to allow

British businesses to accommodate in

2:47:362:47:40

the knowledge of what they are

accommodating.

Richard Graham.

2:47:402:47:46

Every individual and organisational

the select committee saw in Brussels

2:47:492:47:52

and Paris last week stressed that

the absolute priority as people and

2:47:522:47:54

citizens rights. Does my right

honourable friend agree with me that

2:47:542:48:00

when an agreement on citizens rights

is reached, this should be

2:48:002:48:03

announced, committed to come in

perpetuity by both sides in order to

2:48:032:48:07

help 4.5 million citizens it on with

their lives, and that not to do so

2:48:072:48:13

would raise the question who is

really putting people first?

He

2:48:132:48:19

makes a very good point. Sadly, I

will say that the phrase used

2:48:192:48:25

earlier by our honourable friend,

nothing is agreed until everything

2:48:252:48:29

is agreed, it is the primary maxim

of the European Commission.

Does the

2:48:292:48:37

right honourable friend agree that

uncertainty is the weapon of the EU

2:48:372:48:43

Commission and the remainer? Can I

urge him to stiffen his resolve to

2:48:432:48:47

make sure that the will of the

British people is kept?

He is, of

2:48:472:48:50

course, exactly right. How can we

put it, we see time pressure being

2:48:502:48:56

played against us all the time and

it is something we have to resist

2:48:562:48:59

properly.

I am grateful to the

Secretary of State for his statement

2:48:592:49:08

today. In particular, the way that

he continues to update the house as

2:49:082:49:12

we move towards delivering the will

of the British people on June 23.

2:49:122:49:17

With regard to trade, which is

really important, would he agree

2:49:172:49:20

that both sides have got a huge

amount to gain from free trade with

2:49:202:49:26

the absolute minimum friction?

She

is exactly right. Properly seen,

2:49:262:49:33

this is a positive sum game, a

positive sum negotiation. It is only

2:49:332:49:38

if you are unwise and do not take

the point on free trade that it

2:49:382:49:41

becomes a negative.

Mr Speaker,

there has been much complaint from

2:49:412:49:48

the benches opposite against the

government's very generous offer of

2:49:482:49:50

a meaningful vote on whatever deal

the Secretary of State is able to

2:49:502:49:53

achieve. Can he confirmed that it is

exactly the basis that the European

2:49:532:49:58

Parliament will vote on whichever

deal it is able to achieve? Can he

2:49:582:50:04

tell the house of UK members of

Parliament will be voting on that

2:50:042:50:07

deal?

The ones that concede to the

Conservative whip will be!

Thank

2:50:072:50:15

you, I am grateful to the Secretary

of State and to all colleagues. In a

2:50:152:50:23

moment, I will call Dame Margaret

Hodge to make an application for

2:50:232:50:25

leave to propose a debate on a

specific and important matter that

2:50:252:50:31

should have urgent consideration

under the terms of standing order

2:50:312:50:34

24. The right Honourable Member has

up to three minutes in which to make

2:50:342:50:40

such an application.

2:50:402:50:41

I seek leave to propose that the

house should debate a specific and

2:50:472:50:50

important matter that should have

urgent consideration. Namely, the

2:50:502:50:54

systemic issues that facilitated the

tax avoidance uncovered by the

2:50:542:51:01

Paradise Papers. I am supported in

this request by many members on all

2:51:012:51:07

sides of the house. The Paradise

Papers are the most important and

2:51:072:51:12

shocking set of data that we have

seen so far. It lifts the lid on

2:51:122:51:18

behaviour that hard-working people

in Britain who do pay their taxes

2:51:182:51:21

find deplorable. We now know it is

scarily normal and acceptable among

2:51:212:51:29

the very wealthy and among powerful

global corporations. The leaked

2:51:292:51:34

documents comprise 13.4 million

files. These have been analysed by

2:51:342:51:41

three and journalists from 67

countries, working on the papers for

2:51:412:51:45

years. In the UK, we have the

Guardian and Panorama to thank for

2:51:452:51:52

their brilliant investigative work

and for placing the data that is

2:51:522:51:55

relevant to us under public

scrutiny. The papers come from one

2:51:552:51:59

of the so-called magic circle of

international lawyers. Appleby. More

2:51:592:52:05

than half of the offices are based

in UK tax havens. Tax havens are

2:52:052:52:11

central to most of the tax avoidance

schemes uncovered. They are where

2:52:112:52:15

people hide their money.

Conservative estimates put the

2:52:152:52:17

wealth that is held in tax havens at

$7.6 trillion. The UK tax havens are

2:52:172:52:25

at the heart of this abuse. Our

crown dependencies, overseas

2:52:252:52:32

territories, by stubbornly holding

secrecy, enable widespread tax

2:52:322:52:36

avoidance to take place. The UK

Government is not just complicit,

2:52:362:52:40

but central to their success. It is

our financial institutions, lawyers,

2:52:402:52:46

bankers, accountancy firms, that are

mostly responsible for finding the

2:52:462:52:50

devices employed to avoid tax. At

the very moment that Simon was

2:52:502:52:57

pleading for the NHS, we were

learning about an enormous range of

2:52:572:53:01

artificial structures used by the

rich, the famous and the powerful to

2:53:012:53:04

avoid paying their proper

contribution through taxation to our

2:53:042:53:09

NHS. The Paradise Papers raise

hugely significant issues for this

2:53:092:53:14

house and for our government. We

urgently need the opportunity to

2:53:142:53:20

debate the systemic implications of

the revelations. This, Mr Speaker,

2:53:202:53:24

is not a minor but a mega issue of

public concern. A debate now would

2:53:242:53:30

enable members of this house to have

the opportunity to express their

2:53:302:53:34

views before the Chancellor puts his

finishing touches to the budget.

I

2:53:342:53:40

have listened carefully to the

application from the right

2:53:402:53:43

Honourable Member. I am satisfied

that the matter raised is proper. If

2:53:432:53:51

members could extend the courtesy of

listening to the business. If they

2:53:512:53:55

want to conduct private

conversation, they can do so outside

2:53:552:53:58

the chamber. I will return to this

very important matter, which might

2:53:582:54:01

preoccupy a lot of people outside

the house. I have listened carefully

2:54:012:54:06

to the application from the right

Honourable Member. I am satisfied

2:54:062:54:10

that the matter raised is proper to

be discussed, under the standing

2:54:102:54:15

order number 24. As the right

Honourable Member the leave of the

2:54:152:54:19

house?

2:54:192:54:20

The right Honourable Member has

secured the leave of the house. The

2:54:232:54:29

debate will be held tomorrow Tuesday

the 14th of as the first item of

2:54:292:54:38

public business. The debate will

last a tobacco order, the debate

2:54:382:54:41

will last for up to two hours and

will arise on a motion that the

2:54:412:54:47

house has considered the specified

matter set out in the right

2:54:472:54:51

Honourable Member's application. I

hope that is helpful to the right

2:54:512:54:54

Honourable Member. But more

particularly, I hope it is to the

2:54:542:54:58

house as a whole. Thank you.

2:54:582:55:01

Order.

2:55:012:55:04

Presentation of Bill, Secretary

James Brokenshire ire.

2:55:092:55:13

A most satisfactory nod. Second

reading what day? Now? Thank you.

2:55:132:55:29

The Northern Ireland budget bill.

The Northern Ireland budget bill.

2:55:292:55:36

The business of the house motion. To

be moved, I believe, by the

2:55:362:55:43

Secretary of State for Northern

Ireland, secretary James Brokenshire

2:55:432:55:45

ire. Thank you, the question is the

Northern Ireland budget bill, as on

2:55:452:55:50

the order paper. As many of that

opinion say aye, to the contrary no.

2:55:502:55:58

The ayes have it. We come now to the

main business. The clerk will

2:55:582:56:10

proceed to read the orders of the

day.

2:56:102:56:17

The whip should at this point say

now. Well done. I call the Secretary

2:56:182:56:26

of State for Northern Ireland to

move the second reading of the bill.

2:56:262:56:29

Secretary James Brokenshire?

Thank

you very much, Mr Speaker. I beg to

2:56:292:56:34

move that the bill be now read a

second time. Before I respond to the

2:56:342:56:40

detail of this legislation, I do

want to make some brief comments in

2:56:402:56:47

relation to events yesterday.

Yesterday, people who are intent on

2:56:472:56:54

killing and harming others left a

small but lethal bomb in Omagh,

2:56:542:57:00

prior to Remembrance Sunday

commemorations. Their actions stand

2:57:002:57:07

in stark contrast to the brave men

and women that the community was

2:57:072:57:10

gathering to honour. The men and

women, from all backgrounds, who

2:57:102:57:14

paid the ultimate sacrifice to allow

us all to live in a democracy. I

2:57:142:57:19

want to pay tribute to the work of

the PSNI and others who dealt with

2:57:192:57:24

that incident. I think it underlines

the continuing level of threats that

2:57:242:57:29

we face. But equally, what

repugnant, what an appalling act to

2:57:292:57:36

take place on Remembrance Sunday,

when people were gathering to pay

2:57:362:57:41

their respects in the traditional

way. I am sure that all members come

2:57:412:57:46

on all sides of the house, will

condemn it utterly, and if there is

2:57:462:57:52

any information, if there is

information that people may have

2:57:522:57:56

about this incident, then I would

strongly urge them to do what they

2:57:562:58:01

can and bring that to the attention

of the Police Service of Northern

2:58:012:58:04

Ireland so that it can be pursued

with rigour.

I have this official

2:58:042:58:13

state for giving way. On this side

of the house, we echo the comments

2:58:132:58:16

he has made in relation to the

incident yesterday in Omagh. Could I

2:58:162:58:21

say to the Secretary of State that

perhaps the most effective action

2:58:212:58:24

that can be taken at this time,

having in mind what happened at

2:58:242:58:29

Enniskillen, in similar

circumstances, with tragic loss of

2:58:292:58:32

life, is that he now publishes the

proposals to deal with the legacy of

2:58:322:58:36

our troubled past, to enable the

victims to have a say in this

2:58:362:58:41

process, so that we can get on with

the business of seeking to bring to

2:58:412:58:46

justice those responsible for that

atrocity. I think that would be a

2:58:462:58:50

very powerful message. The Secretary

of State could send that message in

2:58:502:58:54

the wake of what happened in Omagh

yesterday.

2:58:542:58:58

I am grateful for the honourable

gentleman making that point. He

2:58:592:59:03

draws attention to the incident in

Enniskillen 30 years ago, were 12

2:59:032:59:09

people lost their lives in that

appalling bomb. I was also in

2:59:092:59:16

Enniskillen yesterday, as I had been

on Wednesday, two remember and to

2:59:162:59:23

mark the 30th anniversary of that

appalling incident. I know full well

2:59:232:59:28

the pain, the hurt and suffering

that many people still feel. Yes,

2:59:282:59:34

many look for justice still to this

day. It is my thing, with great

2:59:342:59:40

regret that nobody has yet -- it is,

I think, with great regret that

2:59:402:59:45

nobody has yet been brought to

justice for that incident. I also

2:59:452:59:48

note the strong feelings among many

for reconciliation, and how we need

2:59:482:59:52

to continue to work to bring

communities together. He does

2:59:522:59:56

highlight the issue of the

consultation around the Stormont

2:59:562:59:59

house legacy institutions. That is

something which I do want to

2:59:593:00:02

progress through to a public

consultation. I think it is the most

3:00:023:00:09

effective way in which we can seek

to draw real focus on how we can

3:00:093:00:13

move forward, how we can see those

legacy institutions coming into

3:00:133:00:18

effect. Whilst I am not able today

to confirm the timing of the

3:00:183:00:23

publication of the consultation, I

do want to get on with this. I know

3:00:233:00:26

that is what the victims groups want

to see and certainly I do take the

3:00:263:00:30

point that he makes very firmly.

3:00:303:00:39

Turning to the bill before the House

this afternoon, as I set out a

3:00:393:00:42

fortnight ago, it is now nine months

since that has been a properly

3:00:423:00:47

functioning executive Assembly.

Despite the tireless efforts over

3:00:473:00:49

the past 11 weeks, the most recent

phase of the talks, the parties have

3:00:493:00:55

not yet reached an agreement that

would enable a sustainable executive

3:00:553:00:58

to be formed. In bringing the

parties together for the most recent

3:00:583:01:02

phase of the talks, I have sought to

help both the DUP and Sinn Fein to

3:01:023:01:07

bridge the gap on a small number of

outstanding matters, including

3:01:073:01:11

online which and culture. --

language and culture. As well as

3:01:113:01:18

issues on the continuing

sustainability of the executive. I

3:01:183:01:21

have worked closely with the Irish

Government in accordance with well

3:01:213:01:25

established three strand approach.

I'm prepared to bring forward

3:01:253:01:29

legislation that would allow for an

executive to be formed should the

3:01:293:01:32

parties reach an agreement. My

preference would be for I restored

3:01:323:01:38

executive in Northern Ireland to

date for its own budget. This

3:01:383:01:43

measure today is one that I take

with the utmost reluctance. And only

3:01:433:01:48

because there is no other choice

available. The passage of

3:01:483:01:53

legislation to set a budget should

not be a barrier to negotiations

3:01:533:01:57

continuing. But the ongoing lack of

agreement has had tangible

3:01:573:02:04

consequences for people and public

services in Northern Ireland.

3:02:043:02:06

Without an executive, there has been

no budget. And without a budget,

3:02:063:02:12

civil servants have been without the

Tickle direction to take decisions

3:02:123:02:16

on spending and public services in

Northern Ireland. Madame Deputy

3:02:163:02:21

Speaker, I would be particular

tribute to all those who have been

3:02:213:02:26

engaged in the civil service seeking

to manage the current events. We

3:02:263:02:32

Northern Ireland civil service have

demonstrated I believe the utmost

3:02:323:02:36

professionalism in protecting and

preserving public services

3:02:363:02:41

throughout these difficult times,

and would like to put it on record

3:02:413:02:45

my recognition of the work we have

been doing. I give way.

I echo what

3:02:453:02:50

he has said with regards to the

civil servants and the role they

3:02:503:02:55

play. But could he make it clear

from the dispatch box tonight that

3:02:553:02:59

after he takes this decision who is

the head of the Northern Ireland

3:02:593:03:04

civil service actually accountable

to? In political terms.

I think the

3:03:043:03:10

honourable gentleman makes a very

important point. In respect of the

3:03:103:03:15

accountability gap that we have at

the present time. At this time the

3:03:153:03:20

Northern Ireland civil service is

effectively having to Act in a way

3:03:203:03:23

based on their assessment of the

outgoing political priorities of the

3:03:233:03:29

outgoing news editor. There is no

direct accountability that they

3:03:293:03:33

hold. And I will go on to certain

steps I hope to put in place to do

3:03:333:03:40

with issues, if there are reports

from the audit office, how they can

3:03:403:03:45

be brought to the attention of this

House. Ultimately we want to see

3:03:453:03:49

either an executive in place able to

provide accountability, what we do

3:03:493:03:57

not want to see is any move towards

any other alternatives. Because of

3:03:573:04:01

the issues that will bring about.

But there is an issue he rightly

3:04:013:04:05

points out. I will give way again

briefly.

I thank him for 's

3:04:053:04:12

generosity and giving way again. Has

the Secretary of State highlighted

3:04:123:04:16

the central issue tonight that in

taking this decision there is no

3:04:163:04:22

political accountability in Northern

Ireland, either to a non-functioning

3:04:223:04:26

executive, and importantly tonight

to him and his ministerial team in

3:04:263:04:30

Northern Ireland either? That is not

sustainable for any period of time

3:04:303:04:36

whatsoever. There must be political

accountability, and he must move

3:04:363:04:39

urgently to appoint Ministers and

take political control.

That is not

3:04:393:04:45

a step that I intend to take. While

there is an opportunity for an

3:04:453:04:51

executive to be formed, and there

have been discussions that have been

3:04:513:04:55

ongoing, even last week, between his

party and Sinn Fein to find

3:04:553:04:59

resolution around the outstanding

issues between the respective

3:04:593:05:04

parties. I think it is right that we

continue to pursue that, but he is

3:05:043:05:11

right in saying that this cannot

simply continue, but this is not

3:05:113:05:14

sustainable in the long term, but I

think that it is absolutely in the

3:05:143:05:19

best interests of Northern Ireland

and more generally and we continue

3:05:193:05:23

to do all that we can to see that an

executive is restored and that the

3:05:233:05:29

parties are able to resolve the

outstanding issues and get devolved

3:05:293:05:34

Government backed up and running at

the earliest opportunity. I give

3:05:343:05:36

way.

I'm grateful. Could you

clarify, following from the point

3:05:363:05:46

made previously, if Parliamentary

questions were to be tabled in this

3:05:463:05:48

House about the details of any

budget later in this week, if

3:05:483:05:54

adjournment debates were to be taken

by members of this House on the

3:05:543:05:56

details of the budget later this

week, if there were to be early day

3:05:563:06:00

motions or other Parliamentary

accountability mechanisms, which he

3:06:003:06:05

see his role as answering those

questions, or is there a mechanism

3:06:053:06:10

whereby members elected in Northern

Ireland can also table and answering

3:06:103:06:12

similar questions?

This is appoint

the right honourable gentleman has

3:06:123:06:19

made on a previous occasion, and I

understand the accountability and

3:06:193:06:23

feel that issue very keenly. At this

stage it remains devolved. These

3:06:233:06:29

issues remain devolved. And whilst

we are seeking to set an outline

3:06:293:06:36

budget in relation to topline

issues, topline numbers in respect

3:06:363:06:39

of each of the different departments

of the Northern Ireland civil

3:06:393:06:44

service, we're not seeking to

provide that level of specificity,

3:06:443:06:48

that level of detail. And therefore,

yes, of course, I continued to raise

3:06:483:06:54

issues with David Stirling, the head

of the Northern Ireland civil

3:06:543:06:57

service, but ultimately he remains

accountable with the legislation,

3:06:573:07:03

the emergency provisions that exist

within the Northern Ireland Act, and

3:07:033:07:06

obviously the duties that he remains

under through that mechanism. That

3:07:063:07:11

is I think the unsatisfactory

situation that we remain in. And why

3:07:113:07:14

I say to the honourable gentleman

that it is sustainable for some time

3:07:143:07:20

but that this cannot continue for an

extended period. I give way.

I thank

3:07:203:07:28

him for giving way. We accept that

although he expresses some optimism

3:07:283:07:34

that he does not wish to appoint

direct rule because he thinks that

3:07:343:07:39

there is some hope, the very fact we

are debating this budget bill today

3:07:393:07:43

is because Sinn Fein refused to

introduce a budget this time last

3:07:433:07:51

year, have refused to take any hard

decisions when they were in

3:07:513:07:55

ministerial positions in the

Assembly, and really, they have no

3:07:553:07:59

interest in devolution where it

requires them to make tough

3:07:593:08:02

decisions that would rather be made

here so that they can point the

3:08:023:08:05

finger of blame at the Secretary of

State and the Government in

3:08:053:08:08

Westminster, rather than do the job

which they were elected to do in

3:08:083:08:11

Northern Ireland. And therefore his

only option is to appoint Ministers.

3:08:113:08:19

I say to him, yes, we are in the

position today because it has not

3:08:193:08:22

been possible to form an executive.

We don't have devolved Gottman

3:08:223:08:25

functioning. That is why,

regrettably, I am having to take the

3:08:253:08:30

steps today of introducing this bill

and ensure there is the legal

3:08:303:08:35

framework in place to enable the

Northern Ireland civil servants to

3:08:353:08:39

continue to spend in the way they

have done, to ensure that public

3:08:393:08:43

services are able to operate. I

believe that it does remain possible

3:08:433:08:49

and that we must use all efforts and

endeavours to see that devolved

3:08:493:08:53

Government is firmly restored. I

know that both his party and Sinn

3:08:533:08:58

Fein have indicated very firmly that

the do want to see an executive

3:08:583:09:02

restored and up and running, serving

the people of Northern Ireland. And

3:09:023:09:05

I think that is where all our

efforts and endeavours must firmly

3:09:053:09:09

remain.

He's right, it is necessary

to pass this bill in order for the

3:09:093:09:18

machinery of Government to continue

operating, and for that reason the

3:09:183:09:22

Liberal Democrats will support him

this evening. But surely there has

3:09:223:09:26

to be more to be said about how the

machinery of Government operates. If

3:09:263:09:31

the Secretary of State looks at the

position with regards to higher

3:09:313:09:34

education in Northern Ireland, we

are looking at a reduction on the

3:09:343:09:38

basis of this budget and student

places in excess of 2200 by the year

3:09:383:09:45

2018 - 2019. Surely that illustrates

the need for this budget to be the

3:09:453:09:52

subject of political accountability?

I agree with what the honourable

3:09:523:09:58

gentleman is saying about the issue

of accountability. And what a

3:09:583:10:04

difficult job the Northern Ireland

civil service have had to do is

3:10:043:10:07

effectively take the outgoing

priorities to their best assessment

3:10:073:10:10

of the outgoing executive, and it is

worth noting that there was a lot of

3:10:103:10:17

work done in relation to the budget

before the executive collapsed at

3:10:173:10:22

the start of the year, and therefore

work that the parties had been

3:10:223:10:26

engaged in closely with the Northern

Ireland civil service. But

3:10:263:10:29

nonetheless, it is the issues in

respect of the way in which the

3:10:293:10:36

civil service are having to operate

with under the Northern Ireland Act

3:10:363:10:41

with the emergency provisions that

exist, and therefore the challenges

3:10:413:10:45

and pressures that do exist for them

and I know the do feel very keenly

3:10:453:10:49

the issues over accountability and

political decision-making, the way

3:10:493:10:54

that we do have a lack of this at

the moment, and why we want to see

3:10:543:10:58

the Executive back up and running.

And if an Assembly were able to be

3:10:583:11:02

restored quickly, they would

absolutely be able to do that job.

3:11:023:11:05

They would be able to look back on

budgeting arrangements and at the

3:11:053:11:08

level of scrutiny that they would

normally do. I agree that this is

3:11:083:11:12

not a satisfactory situation, and

why we do need to see progress and

3:11:123:11:17

we do need to see that devolved

Government back up and running at

3:11:173:11:20

the earliest opportunity. I will mix

in progress and give way later. The

3:11:203:11:29

powers as I've indicated they have

been exercising have their limits.

3:11:293:11:34

Under section 59 of the Northern

Ireland Act and section seven of the

3:11:343:11:37

Government resources and accounts

Act 2001, the Northern Ireland civil

3:11:373:11:43

service may only issue cash and

resources equal to 95 present of the

3:11:433:11:46

total is authorised in the last

financial year. These powers do not

3:11:463:11:52

allow departments to use accruing

resources, meaning that resources

3:11:523:11:56

available to department are in

reality significantly less than 95

3:11:563:12:00

present of the previous year's

provision. Members will recall that

3:12:003:12:06

I set out in written statements in

April and July and indicative budget

3:12:063:12:09

position and said a departmental

allegation based on the advice of

3:12:093:12:15

the Northern Ireland civil service.

In my statement on the 17th of July

3:12:153:12:18

I said the exercise of section 59

Paris cannot be sustained

3:12:183:12:24

indefinitely, and one that although

we had not yet reached that critical

3:12:243:12:27

point, it was approaching. The

resource limits in the absence of

3:12:273:12:32

the budget are now fast approaching,

without further action by the end of

3:12:323:12:36

November there are manifest risks

that the civil service would simply

3:12:363:12:41

begin to run out of resources. That

would mean no funding available for

3:12:413:12:46

public services, with all the

negative impacts that would

3:12:463:12:49

accompany such a cliff edge. No

Government could stand by and allow

3:12:493:12:53

that to happen. That is why we need

to take forward the bill before the

3:12:533:12:57

House today.

The Secretary of State

has mentioned that only 95 present

3:12:573:13:04

of the budget was allocated. My

understanding is that the five per

3:13:043:13:09

cent equates to some £600 million

that has been left coming to

3:13:093:13:13

Northern Ireland. Will he put it on

record today that the party to blame

3:13:133:13:16

for this is Sinn Fein for not

ringing the budget when they should

3:13:163:13:20

have brought it? I understand the

political point but the honourable

3:13:203:13:26

gentleman makes, and he highlights

the challenges. The indicative

3:13:263:13:31

budget arrangement has meant that

the Northern Ireland civil service

3:13:313:13:33

has been able to largely operates on

the basis of a fool budget, one of

3:13:333:13:40

the reasons why we set out

indicative arrangements with the

3:13:403:13:44

affirmation that, should come to it,

we would legislate for a budget

3:13:443:13:47

will. That is why we are taking

steps we are today to follow through

3:13:473:13:50

on that, because of that necessity

of having finances in place. But

3:13:503:13:57

obviously we have not had that

executive. That is why we are in the

3:13:573:14:01

situation we're in, and the

efforts... Bear with me. All the

3:14:013:14:06

efforts that have been undertaken to

find agreement, and I commend the

3:14:063:14:10

honourable gentleman's party in the

work they have done, and the

3:14:103:14:15

discussions that have been injuring

and ongoing with Sinn Fein as well

3:14:153:14:18

to find that agreement, because what

we want to see is an injuring

3:14:183:14:23

power-sharing executive. That

frankly is able to get on with the

3:14:233:14:27

job and make decisions on the

budgets that we are now being forced

3:14:273:14:33

to take at that very high level as

we are in this bill, but directed

3:14:333:14:36

most of frustrations felt across

Northern Ireland in respect of not

3:14:363:14:41

having an executive in place able to

make those decisions. I give way.

3:14:413:14:56

I was chairman of the Finance

Committee of the Northern Ireland

3:14:563:14:59

Assembly.

He was due to bring

forward a draft Budget. Months

3:14:593:15:08

before Sinn Fein pull down the

institution. November, December,

3:15:083:15:15

into January I was writing as for

the Budget to be brought forward.

3:15:153:15:20

The reason there is no Budget today

is because the Sinn Fein finance Mr

3:15:203:15:25

Elder in his duty to bring forward

the duty. -- failed in his duty.

I

3:15:253:15:34

welcome the insight and experience

that the honourable lady brings to

3:15:343:15:39

the House from the assembly and the

contribution she has played to

3:15:393:15:42

politics in Northern Ireland. She

and I will know the discussions we

3:15:423:15:48

will had over a range of issues. No,

we don't have the Budget in place.

3:15:483:15:53

That is why we are having to take

the steps this House is having to to

3:15:533:15:59

make sure the necessarily financial

two finances given to the civil

3:15:593:16:11

service... I am sure there are

various nautical points to be made

3:16:113:16:14

about this. I focuses seeing we get

the executive backing race and would

3:16:143:16:20

encourage all the parties with

renewed focus to see discussions are

3:16:203:16:24

continuing and we actually get

the... I will give way.

He speaks of

3:16:243:16:35

frustrations. The difficulty is,

this is not a matter of budgets for

3:16:353:16:42

Government departments only. Earlier

today he met with some of the

3:16:423:16:47

victims and survivors of historical

and institutional abuse in Northern

3:16:473:16:50

Ireland, people waiting still for

the boards instrumentation Bob

3:16:503:16:59

forward by the enquiry. And the

payment of compensation to support

3:16:593:17:02

the victims. -- brought forward. We

have no one to give political

3:17:023:17:10

direction. Will the Secretary of

State give a commitment to intervene

3:17:103:17:14

and do with this issue because the

victims deserve that intervention?

I

3:17:143:17:19

am grateful to the honourable

gentleman for highlighting... It is

3:17:193:17:27

not just some sterile debate in

relation to numbers. There are a

3:17:273:17:31

whole range of decisions not taking,

impacts felt across Northern Ireland

3:17:313:17:37

on public services, voluntary and

community sector, and victims and

3:17:373:17:43

survivors of incidents of the past.

I acknowledge the strength of

3:17:433:17:50

feeling on the issue of historical

institutional abuse. The enquiry

3:17:503:17:52

that reported earlier this year. Not

just frustrations but the pain and

3:17:523:17:59

hurt that is being felt by those

wanting a response to the enquiry is

3:17:593:18:10

not a recommendation. The lack of an

executive has meant no formal

3:18:103:18:14

response. It was the executive that

commissioned the report. And was

3:18:143:18:19

intended to report back to the

executive for its response. I met

3:18:193:18:29

with Savia who advocate for

survivors and victims. I recognise

3:18:293:18:37

the points they race. This is a

matter for devolved Government in

3:18:373:18:47

Northern Ireland. I recognise the

frustrations. We need to see

3:18:473:18:57

devolved Government restored and how

this remains a very firm priority.

3:18:573:19:06

The words of the right honourable

gentleman, I will echo. This has

3:19:063:19:11

cross-party agreement I understand

in Northern Ireland. I understand

3:19:113:19:14

the commitment to taking the

competencies today. Surely he could

3:19:143:19:21

look at an interim payment. To many

survivors of institutional abuse

3:19:213:19:28

have died since the report

recommendations have been made.

The

3:19:283:19:33

honourable gentleman makes a

powerful and important point over

3:19:333:19:36

the impact of victims. There is

nothing in this Bill before the

3:19:363:19:40

House today that gives that

authorisation to me. Nothing changes

3:19:403:19:45

in relation to the day-to-day

operations of decision-making within

3:19:453:19:50

Northern Ireland. This is very

firmly not direct rule. What we are

3:19:503:19:55

seeking today is to effectively give

the headline approvals for

3:19:553:19:59

departments to operate within their

usual batch abilities. The Northern

3:19:593:20:04

Ireland service is published

separate, we publish on their

3:20:043:20:08

behalf. It is in the space we exist.

I have met the victims and survivors

3:20:083:20:16

groups now on two occasions. There

has not been a response to the

3:20:163:20:22

recommendations as yet. I think it

is right that an executive having

3:20:223:20:25

asked for that report should be the

one that responds to that report. I

3:20:253:20:31

do know that this is something of

great hurt and pain and why I hope

3:20:313:20:38

earnestly that we are able to see a

resolution of this quickly. I think

3:20:383:20:42

it is that sense of progress against

the recommendations that those

3:20:423:20:46

families really want to see. I will

give way.

I hesitate to intervene

3:20:463:20:55

because I am about to speak. We have

all met with the Savia people today.

3:20:553:21:01

Is anything stopping the Secretary

of State, not withstanding support

3:21:013:21:06

for devolution, deciding not to

start direct rule. But does anything

3:21:063:21:10

stopping legislation with regards to

the extra money as the result of the

3:21:103:21:17

DUP deal as an interim payment to

yield to some extent the people

3:21:173:21:24

subject to historical abuse?

I think

he makes an important point. That

3:21:243:21:31

presupposes there is broad agreement

in relation to the recommendations

3:21:313:21:33

from the report all of the

recommendations contained within it.

3:21:333:21:38

My clear understanding is we do not

have the formal response by because

3:21:383:21:43

we have not had the executive in

place. Therefore, the Budget Bill we

3:21:433:21:47

had to for us this evening is not a

question of specifying how the

3:21:473:21:53

Northern Ireland civil service

should operate, how we should

3:21:533:21:57

specify it should take actions. That

takes us down the pathway in

3:21:573:22:01

relation to day-to-day

decision-making in respect of what

3:22:013:22:05

the Northern Ireland civil service

should do. That is why SA clearly

3:22:053:22:09

that what needs to happen is we have

that executive backing plate to

3:22:093:22:13

receive the report. I know the

Northern Ireland civil service from

3:22:133:22:17

what David Stirling the head of the

civil service to me had been

3:22:173:22:20

preparing advice and a response that

a incoming executive can take up

3:22:203:22:29

quickly and I think that is the

right response. I recognise clearly

3:22:293:22:32

and keenly the frustrations that

victims and survivors have felt. I

3:22:323:22:38

do know that from the direct

exchanges I have had with them. I

3:22:383:22:45

will give weight just one more time.

I am grateful. If you will allow me

3:22:453:22:49

just to clarify because I think it

is clear that there is cross-party

3:22:493:22:55

support for the recommendations made

in the report and certainly for the

3:22:553:23:00

compensation and the notion of an

interim payment. There was a letter

3:23:003:23:06

in the summer. We have heard DUP

support from representatives. I have

3:23:063:23:15

seen an e-mail from the head of the

NIC at two -- six for play1-mac...

I

3:23:153:23:33

am sure David Stirling will hear the

reports clearly. In respect to the

3:23:333:23:43

reports Savia have made to us and

the

3:23:433:23:54

I am sure the supports this House

has given to David Stirling in

3:24:003:24:04

relation to what has been said, as I

say and as the right honourable

3:24:043:24:09

gentleman will know, he has equally

been receiving representations from

3:24:093:24:13

political parties in Northern

Ireland and also from Savia

3:24:133:24:17

directly. Therefore, as we have

heard, the response he has given and

3:24:173:24:23

obviously the situation we are

currently in in not having either an

3:24:233:24:27

executive or other means by which to

provide direct political instruction

3:24:273:24:31

to stop nonetheless, I know the

Northern Ireland civil service does

3:24:313:24:38

take to heart very clearly its

responsibilities within the law and

3:24:383:24:43

framework they are operating with

them. I am sure they will act

3:24:433:24:48

appropriately and recognise the

point is that parties in Northern

3:24:483:24:51

Ireland have made in respect of

this. And we'll do what they can to

3:24:513:24:57

advance this issue in the difficult

and frustrating circumstances that

3:24:573:25:00

we currently find ourselves with

them. I would like to try and make

3:25:003:25:04

some progress, if I may. I have been

generous, I hope people will

3:25:043:25:10

recognise. To the queer, Madam

Deputy Speaker, this is a measure we

3:25:103:25:15

have deferred -- to be clear, Madam

Deputy Speaker. We want the parties

3:25:153:25:24

to reach an agreement and take the

Budget through themselves. This Bill

3:25:243:25:28

is necessary to keep public services

running in Northern Ireland. While

3:25:283:25:33

it is a Government Bill, it is not a

UK Government Budget. It does not

3:25:333:25:38

reflect the priorities or spending

decisions of me or any other

3:25:383:25:42

minister. Rather, it sets out the

departmental allocations and gambits

3:25:423:25:47

recommended by the Northern Ireland

civil service and in turn they have

3:25:473:25:51

sought as far as is possible to

reflect the priorities of the

3:25:513:25:57

previous executive, albeit updated

to reflect changed circumstances as

3:25:573:26:00

far as required. In short, it is the

Budget that the returning executive,

3:26:003:26:05

had one been formed, would have been

presented is taken as a whole, it

3:26:053:26:12

represents a necessary measure taken

at the latest possible point to

3:26:123:26:16

secure public finances in Northern

Ireland. Madam Deputy Speaker, we

3:26:163:26:20

should be absolutely clear, passing

this Budget in Westminster does not

3:26:203:26:23

mean a move to direct rule any more

than did this and that legislating

3:26:233:26:29

to set a regional rate in April.

Once the Budget is passed, the

3:26:293:26:33

detailed decision on how it is spent

will be made by the Northern Ireland

3:26:333:26:37

civil service. As I hope will be the

case, the parties come together to

3:26:373:26:41

form an executive in the weeks ahead

and the decisions would falter them.

3:26:413:26:48

Nothing we are doing today precludes

talks from continuing and an

3:26:483:26:51

agreement being reached. I propose

to turn briefly to the contents of

3:26:513:26:56

the technical Bill. In short, it

organises Northern Ireland 's

3:26:563:27:04

departments to... Use resources for

the financial year ending 31st of

3:27:043:27:09

March 2018. Clause one the issue of

£17.1 billion out of the

3:27:093:27:15

Consolidated fund of Northern

Ireland. The allegation levels for

3:27:153:27:19

each Northern Ireland department and

the other bodies in receipt of the

3:27:193:27:22

fund in schedule one, also stating

the temperatures for the fans. Close

3:27:223:27:30

two, temporary borrowing powers for

cash management services. Close

3:27:303:27:34

three, the use of resources

amounting to £18 billion in the year

3:27:343:27:40

ending the diverse March 2018 by the

Northern Ireland departments and

3:27:403:27:43

other bodies listed in clause 3.2.

These figures and those in clause

3:27:433:27:48

one supersede the allegations of

cash and resources made by the

3:27:483:27:53

permanent Secretary of the

Department of Finance up to the end

3:27:533:27:55

of this month under the powers I

have already mentioned. Similarly to

3:27:553:28:00

clause one, the breakdown between

these departments and bodies and the

3:28:003:28:03

temperatures for the authorised use

of resources under clause three is

3:28:033:28:07

set out in the bill in the first two

columns of schedule two. Clause for

3:28:073:28:12

Mac sets limits on accruing

resources including operating and

3:28:123:28:18

non-operating accruing resources in

the coming year. Including those

3:28:183:28:22

already voted on by Parliament.

Together with revenue generated

3:28:223:28:29

locally within Northern Ireland.

There is no new money contained

3:28:293:28:32

within this Bill. There is simply

the explicit authority to spend in

3:28:323:28:38

full the monies that have been

allocated. I give way.

Just so we

3:28:383:28:46

can understand the figures that he

has given out, in relation to the

3:28:463:28:50

question that the honourable member

made, given my understanding and our

3:28:503:28:59

understanding, 95%, does that to

£600 million deduction in spending

3:28:593:29:04

ability to the departments Northern

Ireland? Whose decision will it be

3:29:043:29:08

as to which departments face the

reductions to make that 600 million

3:29:083:29:12

reduction?

I say to the honourable

gentleman that what we are actually

3:29:123:29:17

dealing with here is effectively --

eventually the full utilisation of

3:29:173:29:24

resources to set up at his House

through the grant, in essence.

3:29:243:29:30

Whilst there are emergency powers

that operate that can only

3:29:303:29:34

effectively cover 95% of the

previous year's Budget, by the

3:29:343:29:39

passing of this Bill, we are

authorising the full amount, if...

3:29:393:29:45

Effectively allowing the spending of

100%. In practice, the Northern

3:29:453:29:51

Ireland civil service has

effectively been operating to that

3:29:513:29:54

level by virtue of the we provided

in relation to saying that if they

3:29:543:29:59

Budget had not been set, then we

would set a Budget and therefore we

3:29:593:30:03

are now following through on the

commitment to the Northern Ireland

3:30:033:30:06

civil service. I would him back to

the statements I made earlier in the

3:30:063:30:11

year in respect of the indicative

Budget figures and therefore the

3:30:113:30:18

resources that were available to the

Northern Ireland civil service and

3:30:183:30:22

effectively the main estimates

position.

3:30:223:30:24

The difference between the budget

and the estimates position for this

3:30:273:30:32

year, when you strip out certain

figures in relation to a voluntary

3:30:323:30:37

access scheme to make it more come

parable, in essence you are looking

3:30:373:30:41

at a 3.2% increase in the non-ring

fenced resource expenditure limits.

3:30:413:30:50

That is effectively what we are

doing through the measures we are

3:30:503:30:54

taking through today. I appreciate

there is questions over what is the

3:30:543:31:03

95% and what is the 100%, 85% is the

restrictions placed on the civil

3:31:033:31:08

service in their operations. We have

received advice from them and that

3:31:083:31:14

has been confirmed by Treasury that

that threshold, those limitations

3:31:143:31:18

would risk being exceeded at the end

of this month. The reason is that

3:31:183:31:24

95% does not also deal with certain

cruels and certain other nobles, --

3:31:243:31:32

other numbers, so the 95% is less

than you would imagine it to be.

3:31:323:31:38

There is a lot of technicality and

accounting issues that are engaged

3:31:383:31:42

here, but that is what we are

seeking to do. In other words, that

3:31:423:31:46

there is no new money beyond what

Parliament has already authorised

3:31:463:31:53

through the main estimates and

through votes in this House. I hope

3:31:533:31:58

as best I can do for members that

point is clear. I'm happy to try

3:31:583:32:07

again with the honourable gentleman.

There is probably only one person

3:32:073:32:15

who properly understood that, and I

would say that is. Thank you for the

3:32:153:32:21

answer. What the people of Northern

Ireland and the people of this House

3:32:213:32:24

would want to know, stripping out

all the technicalities that he gave,

3:32:243:32:29

what is he saying? Is very cash

freeze? Is very real terms

3:32:293:32:35

reduction? We read that health

spending is to rise, education

3:32:353:32:40

spending is flat. A figure has been

raised in a number of occasions. If

3:32:403:32:47

we strip away the technicalities,

what is he actually saying about the

3:32:473:32:53

spending power of each department up

until 31st March next year's as I've

3:32:533:33:02

indicated...

We are talking about

some for the departmental

3:33:023:33:08

expenditure limits, a sum of £10.6

billion. He will be able to point

3:33:083:33:15

back to previous statements that I

made in that regard. There has been

3:33:153:33:20

a further adjustment that the civil

service have made of £54 million,

3:33:203:33:25

within that envelope, and they have

allocated that money primarily to

3:33:253:33:29

health and education, and additional

£40 million to health, an additional

3:33:293:33:34

£10 million to education. As I

indicated to him earlier, if we look

3:33:343:33:41

at the distinction between 2016

slashed 2017 and 2018 resource

3:33:413:33:49

expenditure limits, that shows a

movement from 10.2 billion to 10.6

3:33:493:33:55

billion, which is where the 3.2%

figure I quoted to him comes from in

3:33:553:34:01

terms of the comparison

year-on-year. What that does mean is

3:34:013:34:07

for example on the budget lines of

health, a 5.4% increase and in

3:34:073:34:14

education a 1.5% increase. But I

know that the Northern Ireland civil

3:34:143:34:21

service, the Department for finance

have published full numbers in

3:34:213:34:26

relation to the estimates and also a

further budget briefing, and I would

3:34:263:34:28

equally make the point that that

briefing has been provided to all

3:34:283:34:34

the political parties in Northern

Ireland, recognising that ultimately

3:34:343:34:37

this is about a devolved budget, not

a budget as I have indicated as is

3:34:373:34:41

being said here.

Can I take the

opportunity to chide members ever so

3:34:413:34:49

gently, because had members had a

copy of this bill in a more timely

3:34:493:34:54

manner they may have been able to

refer to schedules one and two were

3:34:543:34:58

the departmental allocations are

quite clearly laid out.

I understand

3:34:583:35:01

the point that the Chair of the

select committee raises, and equally

3:35:013:35:06

the way in which we have sought to

bring the bill before the House, as

3:35:063:35:14

I indicated, to allow as much

flexibility in essence for

3:35:143:35:18

potentially alternative legislation

to have been debated and considered

3:35:183:35:20

in the House today. We are taking

this budget bill through, and

3:35:203:35:26

therefore the detailed information

that the Northern Ireland civil

3:35:263:35:28

service has provided, and the

allocations provided within the

3:35:283:35:31

legislation.

Would he accept that

even with the information in the

3:35:313:35:39

schedule to the bill, the answer to

the question that has been asked is

3:35:393:35:45

not available in the information

which is presented to the House

3:35:453:35:49

today, because of course it gives

the figure for this year, but there

3:35:493:35:55

is not the information contained,

nor indeed it is very briefing

3:35:553:35:58

material available on what the

figures were for last year, so it

3:35:583:36:04

really isn't possible to compare

department with Department

3:36:043:36:06

allegations, nor the overall

allocation which would be available

3:36:063:36:11

to Northern Ireland.

The details

were published within the main

3:36:113:36:16

estimates document that was

published as a command paper. We

3:36:163:36:22

have sought to provide information

to members in respect of the

3:36:223:36:30

detailed breakdown, but I can

obviously assure him as to the

3:36:303:36:33

nature of the work that has been

undertaken. We have relied on the

3:36:333:36:37

advice and influence from the

Northern Ireland civil service in

3:36:373:36:41

respect of these matters, and as I

have already indicated, the numbers

3:36:413:36:45

and figures effectively point back

to the indicative statements that I

3:36:453:36:49

did publish to the House earlier in

the year, with those adjustments in

3:36:493:36:55

relation to the £54 million that I

sought to explain to the House

3:36:553:36:58

today. And ultimately this bill

would ordinarily have been taken

3:36:583:37:02

through the Assembly, and I

recognise perhaps the imperfections

3:37:023:37:09

and the nature in which we are

having to do this in this House in a

3:37:093:37:12

way that does not reflect the way in

which the Assembly itself would have

3:37:123:37:16

been able to consider this, that is

why in clause five there are a

3:37:163:37:24

series of adaptations that ensure

that once approved by both houses in

3:37:243:37:27

Westminster the bill will

effectively treated as if it had

3:37:273:37:31

been taken through the Assembly,

enabling Northern Ireland's public

3:37:313:37:35

finances to continue to function,

notwithstanding the absence of an

3:37:353:37:40

executive. And clause six reviews

previous Assembly budget acts

3:37:403:37:47

relating to pass the natural years

which are no longer operative. Such

3:37:473:37:50

repeals are regularly included in

budget bills.

Had this discussion

3:37:503:37:58

earlier full stop can he confirm

there is nothing contained within

3:37:583:38:03

the clauses outlined that would

enable accounting officers and

3:38:033:38:08

Northern Ireland to advance already

agreed national pay awards that are

3:38:083:38:11

already resourced and that public

sector workers and particularly he

3:38:113:38:16

referenced the Police Service of

Northern Ireland earlier, nationally

3:38:163:38:21

agreed pay awards which should be in

the control of accounting officers

3:38:213:38:26

cannot be advanced while we wait in

limbo.

The honourable gentleman, I

3:38:263:38:32

did have a conversation outside the

House before coming into the

3:38:323:38:35

Chamber, and I know the point that

he makes about pale words and

3:38:353:38:38

particularly in relation to the

police service. It is not limited to

3:38:383:38:44

the Police Service of Northern

Ireland. In respect of being able to

3:38:443:38:52

advance with as not been a previous

policy in relation to those words, I

3:38:523:38:56

do recognise the point very firmly

he makes, and I can say I will have

3:38:563:39:00

further discussion with David

Stirling as to whether there is any

3:39:003:39:04

way in which that issue can be

resolved in the absence of an

3:39:043:39:07

executive. I know that this has been

and continues to be a particular

3:39:073:39:12

concern, a particular issue amongst

a number of public sector employees.

3:39:123:39:18

And it is this gap that we currently

are within, and why we need to get

3:39:183:39:25

this resolved quickly.

I accept all

the explanations Secretary of State

3:39:253:39:32

is given, and of course this is not

the ideal way of dealing with this

3:39:323:39:35

issue will stop it is not his fault.

It is the fault of Sinn Fein who

3:39:353:39:39

have blocked the proper scrutiny of

the Assembly, but could you maybe

3:39:393:39:44

explain, and I don't know how much

detail he went into a civil servants

3:39:443:39:47

when he was looking at this, but one

figure which hits me when I look at

3:39:473:39:52

the estimates is that the Executive

office which is not functioning at

3:39:523:39:57

the moment has experienced a 32%

increase in its budget. Has been any

3:39:573:40:03

expiration given as to why a non-fun

during office should have the

3:40:033:40:09

biggest increase of all the

departments?

I say to the honourable

3:40:093:40:15

gentleman that whilst obviously

there is not a functioning

3:40:153:40:20

executive, in other words we don't

have the first and Deputy First

3:40:203:40:24

Minister is in place, obviously

there is still work that the civil

3:40:243:40:27

service are having to engage in in

terms of managing the process in the

3:40:273:40:31

absence of a political

decision-making. I will certainly

3:40:313:40:34

take up the point and make his point

directly to the head of the Northern

3:40:343:40:40

Ireland civil service and commit to

write to him with a more detailed

3:40:403:40:43

response envision to the

justification for increases, and

3:40:433:40:50

therefore quiet on that particular

budget line that has been thought to

3:40:503:40:53

be a need. Certainly the civil

service stated very clearly that

3:40:533:40:58

they have acted on the basis of the

outgoing priorities of the outgoing

3:40:583:41:07

executive, but perhaps I might add

to the House at this point that as

3:41:073:41:13

the debate this evening has

demonstrated, this is clearly an

3:41:133:41:18

unusual build to be taken through

the House, marking as it does and

3:41:183:41:20

approval by its parliament of

spending in the devolved sphere. I

3:41:203:41:26

want to ensure that in the absence

of an Assembly that can be

3:41:263:41:29

appropriate scrutiny by Parliament

of how the money is subsequently

3:41:293:41:34

spent. In addition to the provisions

in the bill for scrutiny of the

3:41:343:41:39

Northern Ireland audit office and

departments, I will be writing to

3:41:393:41:43

the controller and auditor general

for Northern Ireland, asking him to

3:41:433:41:46

send me a copy of the Northern

Ireland audit office audits, and

3:41:463:41:51

value for money reports that he

produces after the bill gains Royal

3:41:513:41:56

assent, which will contain his view

on any shortcomings, and his

3:41:563:42:01

recommendations for improvement. I

will be asking the Northern Ireland

3:42:013:42:05

civil service to make his responses

to those reports available to me,

3:42:053:42:11

and copies of these reports and

correspondence will be placed in the

3:42:113:42:15

libraries of both houses to allow

scrutiny by all interested members

3:42:153:42:17

and committees. Alongside the bill

itself, as I've indicated I have

3:42:173:42:26

also laid before this House as a

command paper and a set of estimates

3:42:263:42:29

for the departments and bodies

covered by the bill. These have been

3:42:293:42:35

prepared by the Northern Ireland

Department of Finance and set out

3:42:353:42:38

the breakdown of the resource

allocation in greater detail. As

3:42:383:42:44

members may note, this is a

different process to that which

3:42:443:42:46

might ordinarily be seen for

estimates at Westminster where the

3:42:463:42:50

document precedes the formal

legislation and a separately

3:42:503:42:55

approved. But will also be the case

at the Assembly, but in these

3:42:553:42:58

unusual circumstances the bill

provides that the laying of a

3:42:583:43:02

command paper takes the place of an

estimates document at Leiden before

3:43:023:43:06

the Assembly, in order to allow

public finances to flow. To aid

3:43:063:43:10

understanding of these spending

Mbytes they will have, there has

3:43:103:43:15

been published a briefing paper

which was published on the

3:43:153:43:19

Department of Finance website

earlier today, and it is important

3:43:193:43:22

to note that the Northern Ireland

political parties have also been

3:43:223:43:26

briefed on this budget in detail.

That is everything in the bill

3:43:263:43:33

dealing with money is already voted

on break-mac for by Parliament

3:43:333:43:40

raised in Northern Ireland. These

are not deal with other items, but

3:43:403:43:45

before perhaps I move onto that I

will give way.

The Secretary of

3:43:453:43:52

State will know that for family

reasons we have had a difficult

3:43:523:43:55

weekend. And I do apologise to the

House were coming into the debate

3:43:553:43:59

late. It was a day of delayed

flights. I wonder if the Secretary

3:43:593:44:08

of State would enlighten the House

and particularly the people as to

3:44:083:44:12

why there is no reference made at

all in this bill about a reduction

3:44:123:44:18

in the people at home in Northern

Ireland want, and that is to MMS. We

3:44:183:44:23

have not had an Assembly functioning

almost four in 11 months now, and...

3:44:233:44:29

Three continue to have their full

salary and allowance, people are

3:44:293:44:32

told they would be a signal in here

that they would be a reduction in

3:44:323:44:38

MLS.

If the honourable lady will

bear with me, I intend to say

3:44:383:44:45

something about that issue later in

my comments. Before I do so, I want

3:44:453:44:51

to comment perhaps on issues outside

of the bill itself. As the figures

3:44:513:44:58

contained in the building and secure

the financial position for the

3:44:583:45:02

long-term, challenges remain, there

is a health service in need of

3:45:023:45:07

transformation. There are further

steps needed to take to build the

3:45:073:45:11

connected infrastructure that can

boost growth and prosperity across

3:45:113:45:15

Northern Ireland, and other steps

to. It was in recognition of those

3:45:153:45:19

unique circumstances of the UK

Government was prepared to make

3:45:193:45:22

available additional financial

support earlier this year I'm a

3:45:223:45:25

following the confidence and supply

agreement between the Conservative

3:45:253:45:28

Party and the Democratic Unionist

Party. That agreement made clear

3:45:283:45:31

that we wanted to see money made

available to the restored executive,

3:45:313:45:35

which would decide on a cross

committee basis how best to use the

3:45:353:45:40

funding for the benefit of all in

Northern Ireland, the unique

3:45:403:45:45

circumstances cannot be be ignored

in the meantime, specially given the

3:45:453:45:49

pressure we have seen in the

continued absence of an executive

3:45:493:45:51

for stop separate from the bill,

this Government will make available

3:45:513:45:58

the £50 million for addressing

immediate health and education

3:45:583:46:00

pressures in the agreement in this

financial year. Those sums are not

3:46:003:46:04

contained within this bill because

they have not been voted on by

3:46:043:46:07

Parliament.

3:46:073:46:12

If they wish to exist then it is

confirmed,... The Estimates process

3:46:123:46:22

in the New Year, from their transfer

along with other sums in the block

3:46:223:46:29

grant to the Consolidated fund.

I am

very grateful for giving way and for

3:46:293:46:37

announcing today the first to roll

out of the extra money coming to

3:46:373:46:41

Northern Ireland. As a result of the

confidence and supply agreement.

3:46:413:46:46

Some people said it depended on the

executive, clearly that is not the

3:46:463:46:50

case. The people of Northern

Ireland, all of them, unionists,

3:46:503:46:56

nationalists, everyone welcomes the

fact extra money is going into the

3:46:563:47:02

health service, education and

eventually into infrastructure and

3:47:023:47:05

all the rest as a result of the deal

that the DUP did with the

3:47:053:47:11

Government. I warmly welcome what he

said, a very significant limits in

3:47:113:47:16

the history of this Parliament and

our relationship going forward.

As

3:47:163:47:22

the right honourable gentleman will

know, we recognise the particular

3:47:223:47:26

case that has been made by Northern

Ireland in relation to pressures

3:47:263:47:30

within the health service on the

need for reform. Therefore, the

3:47:303:47:38

pressure is currently felt. As I

have indicated, this is subject to a

3:47:383:47:43

formal vote in the House that cannot

be dealt with today. It can only be

3:47:433:47:48

dealt with through the subsequent

Estimates process. In the absence of

3:47:483:47:51

an executive, it would be for the

Northern Ireland civil service bound

3:47:513:47:55

by a range of equality and

proprietary duties as to whether and

3:47:553:48:03

how to make this for the benefit of

the whole community. We want to see

3:48:033:48:09

a restored executive in place to see

how the financial support can be

3:48:093:48:15

used for the benefit of the whole

community. That remains now as ever.

3:48:153:48:20

We believe in it devolution as a

party. We want to see should you do

3:48:203:48:27

decisions taken locally. --

strategic decisions taken locally. I

3:48:273:48:35

know the disappointment that so many

feel despite the election eight

3:48:353:48:40

months ago, there remains no

functioning assembly in which those

3:48:403:48:43

elected may serve. I know that many

in Northern Ireland are concerned

3:48:433:48:49

that full salaries are paid to the

assembly members despite the

3:48:493:48:54

impasse. I understand the concern

but I also recognise that many of

3:48:543:48:58

those elected have been desperate to

serve since March and have continued

3:48:583:49:03

to provide valuable constituency

functions in the meantime. That is

3:49:033:49:06

why I have been keen to seek

independent advice on the subject in

3:49:063:49:11

determining what actions may be

appropriate. I can say to the House

3:49:113:49:15

this evening that Mr... A former

Clerk of the Northern Ireland

3:49:153:49:21

Assembly has agreed to take on that

role providing it reports to me on

3:49:213:49:31

the 15th of December on appropriate

action. Further steps would require

3:49:313:49:37

primary legislation. His advice will

form the best way on which to

3:49:373:49:45

proceed.

Clearly he has indicated

previously, rightly, that this

3:49:453:49:54

matter should be addressed but he

will also know that as far as we are

3:49:543:49:57

concerned in these benches the

matter of those who get paid, who do

3:49:573:50:03

not come to Westminster and fulfil

their obligations here are also

3:50:033:50:06

needs to be addressed. It is very

clear today, Madam Deputy Speaker,

3:50:063:50:12

that in announcing this look at

assembly members, quite right, I

3:50:123:50:17

help members will also focus on

those who deliberately abstained,

3:50:173:50:21

refused to do their job in

parliament and who gets paid

3:50:213:50:26

hundreds of thousands of pounds

every year in back-up and

3:50:263:50:31

parliamentary resources to spend on

propaganda and political

3:50:313:50:35

temperatures. That, too, must be

looked at and that, too, must end in

3:50:353:50:41

tandem with what he is doing in the

assembly. -- political temperatures.

3:50:413:50:47

He makes a powerful presentation in

respect to the points he makes. You

3:50:533:50:57

equally know this is a matter for

this House. Therefore, whilst I know

3:50:573:51:03

the firm point that he does make,

ultimately that is a matter for this

3:51:033:51:10

House to determine. I know he has

sought to advance that case in the

3:51:103:51:13

past. I very much hope that's the

point is that I have outlined in

3:51:133:51:19

relation to the recommendations or

review that I will be receiving in

3:51:193:51:27

relation to MLA they will not be

needed because I believe the parties

3:51:273:51:34

can resolve their differences and an

executive can be fun. An executive

3:51:343:51:38

that will come together and take

strategic decisions on educational

3:51:383:51:44

reform, building world-class

infrastructure to deliver a better

3:51:443:51:45

future in Northern Ireland. That is

what the people in Northern Ireland

3:51:453:51:50

voted for and want to see. We will

continue to work with the partisan

3:51:503:51:54

support them in their...

3:51:543:52:01

-- work with the partisan support

them. We remain steadfast in the

3:52:063:52:11

1998 Belfast Agreement support. It

remains firmly in the interest of

3:52:113:52:18

Northern Ireland to see devolved

Government restored, locally elected

3:52:183:52:22

politicians making decisions on key

local matters. Northern Ireland and

3:52:223:52:27

its people need a robber functioning

and inclusive Government along with

3:52:273:52:35

effective north, south, East, West

governors. The Government is

3:52:353:52:40

responsible for good governance in

Northern Ireland and will do what is

3:52:403:52:47

necessary to have that. We will

continue to uphold this...

May I

3:52:473:53:00

begin by joining with the Secretary

of state in condemning the actions

3:53:003:53:06

of those people who left a viable

pipe bomb in Omagh on Remembrance

3:53:063:53:18

Sunday, designed to cause maximum

harm and shock and truly

3:53:183:53:21

contemptible for those people to

have done that and equally condemn

3:53:213:53:25

the actions of the men who conducted

what can only be described as a knee

3:53:253:53:31

capping last night in Londonderry -

Derry, a city in which where we

3:53:313:53:39

speak -- as we speak there is

reportedly a viable pipe bomb. All

3:53:393:53:43

of these awful events are a timely

reminder of the past of Northern

3:53:433:53:52

Ireland, a past we all thought we

had left behind but I fear we have

3:53:523:53:56

not always left behind. Equally, a

reminder of the propensity of

3:53:563:54:00

violence in Northern Ireland to fill

a vacuum when politics fails. I am

3:54:003:54:06

afraid we are here today because

politics has failed. Today's Bill is

3:54:063:54:13

unfortunately a testament to

political failure by the majority of

3:54:133:54:16

parties who were in Government

together, power-sharing in Northern

3:54:163:54:20

Ireland, and have fallen out and

been unable to come back together.

3:54:203:54:24

And a failure by his Government to

bring about the restitution of trust

3:54:243:54:29

and reconstitution of the assembly

and its institutions. The Secretary

3:54:293:54:35

of state has been at pains today to

say this is not direct rule. I

3:54:353:54:39

understand why he would want to

emphasise that point. Technically,

3:54:393:54:43

of course, he is right. It isn't

what nationalists in Northern

3:54:433:54:48

Ireland will see of today's events,

how they will characterise it.

3:54:483:54:53

Unfortunately as they now like a

voice in this place for the first

3:54:533:54:56

time in a long time, I think that

needs to be reflected. The reality

3:54:563:55:04

is, of course, that we are living in

now some kind of a twilight zone

3:55:043:55:11

between devolution and direct rule

with very real problems in terms of

3:55:113:55:16

accountability, transparency. As so

many honourable gentlemen have

3:55:163:55:21

described from the DUP in the early

at Section in the debates. Today's

3:55:213:55:26

Budget is a quick fix only. Taking

us through to the end of March

3:55:263:55:31

effectively. We will have a further

Budget. It is difficult to credit

3:55:313:55:36

the Secretary of State saying this

is effectively the Budget that the

3:55:363:55:40

Northern Ireland Department would

have brought forward in the event of

3:55:403:55:43

devolution. This is effectively a

continuation of the trajectory set

3:55:433:55:47

in the Budget in the December of

last year. We are now past 12

3:55:473:55:55

months. Think it is quite hard to

see a direct lie of accountability

3:55:553:56:00

between that indicative Budget and

the sums we have here before us. Let

3:56:003:56:06

me be clear, we're going to support

this tonight. We absolutely believe

3:56:063:56:10

the Secretary of State has no choice

but to bring forward this Budget. We

3:56:103:56:14

accept all of the arguments he has

made there. Northern Ireland public

3:56:143:56:18

service needs to be supported. We

have a roads Budget running out of

3:56:183:56:23

the money to fill the pot potholes.

Significant Robinson housing,

3:56:233:56:28

health, education, all of which need

to be addressed with extra resources

3:56:283:56:32

in Northern Ireland. We have

questions raised by today's Budget

3:56:323:56:35

is in terms of the transparency and

sustainability of the approach.

3:56:353:56:43

Colleagues on the DUP benches who

raised the questions are right to do

3:56:433:56:47

so.

I am grateful for allowing the

intervention. Since the honourable

3:56:473:56:58

gentleman has signalled about his

support for the bill today, would he

3:56:583:57:01

also signalled to the House his

support for the issue quite rightly

3:57:013:57:04

raised by the right honourable

gentleman for North Belfast, in

3:57:043:57:09

relation to the payment of

representative money to Sinn Fein

3:57:093:57:12

members who do not take their seats

in the House. Will he and colleagues

3:57:123:57:18

and party leader firmly support the

terminated -- termination of money

3:57:183:57:27

to members of Sinn Fein who do not

take their seat in the House?

I

3:57:273:57:32

think that is a slightly separate

issue to today's. I will be happy to

3:57:323:57:38

address it later. There are also

profound concerns by the mishandling

3:57:383:57:45

of the Government of the wider

political process. First, if I may

3:57:453:57:53

talk a bit about the Budget. The

Secretary of state has effectively

3:57:533:57:56

said today is a flat Budget for the

Northern Ireland departments in

3:57:563:58:01

aggregate. A 2% uplift to reflect

inflationary pressures over the

3:58:013:58:06

period. Within the headline figure,

there are shifts between

3:58:063:58:10

departments. There are cats between

departments and increases for

3:58:103:58:15

others. I could not help -- dent in

it. A 32% increase the executive

3:58:153:58:25

office -- cuts. 2.3% reduction for

the economy. The decisions seem

3:58:253:58:38

curious to me. One in which the

Secretary of State was not able to

3:58:383:58:44

explain away House this evening. I

accept it competently but it seems

3:58:443:58:49

fundamental to me. Begs real

questions about the accountability

3:58:493:58:55

in this twilight zone of decisions.

It is also true that there is an

3:58:553:59:00

increase in this Budget versus the

recommendations made by the

3:59:003:59:04

Secretary of State in April in the

summer in respect to education. That

3:59:043:59:10

begs the question, who has made the

decision to increase education

3:59:103:59:14

spending in Northern Ireland? There

was a decision to cut it. Now,

3:59:143:59:20

reversed, a slight uplift in the

education spending. That is a

3:59:203:59:23

decision someone has made. If it

isn't a Northern Irish executive

3:59:233:59:29

minister, or the Secretary of State

for Northern Ireland, it is a civil

3:59:293:59:33

servant, wholly unaccountable with

no line of accountability that is

3:59:333:59:36

clear now added to elected

politicians in Northern Ireland or

3:59:363:59:40

indeed to be Secretary of state.

Whilst we may well support the

3:59:403:59:43

decision, we must ask questions

about it.

3:59:433:59:45

It is easy to either blame the

Secretary of State or civil

3:59:503:59:53

servants, but would he accept that

if this time last year the then Sinn

3:59:533:59:59

Fein minister who was responsible

and should've taken responsibility

3:59:594:00:04

for laying out the budget for this

year had done his job, that then

4:00:044:00:09

there would not... It would've been

who was responsible for the ups and

4:00:094:00:15

downs of spending in each

department, and it was the fact that

4:00:154:00:19

Sinn Fein were scared of making

budget decisions and brought the

4:00:194:00:26

Executive down, rather than take our

decisions that we are in the

4:00:264:00:29

situation today, and while I know

his party has an association with

4:00:294:00:32

Sinn Fein, maybe he could at least

find it in his heart to acknowledge

4:00:324:00:37

that they are responsible for the

problem we are facing today.

I have

4:00:374:00:42

no idea what the honourable

gentleman reversed in terms of a

4:00:424:00:47

connection between our party and

Sinn Fein, that's not certainly

4:00:474:00:51

something that I recognise and not a

connection that I speak to. I'm not

4:00:514:00:56

blaming the Secretary of State and

not blaming hard-working civil

4:00:564:01:00

servants for making these decisions,

I am merely pointing out as the

4:01:004:01:03

honourable gentleman did that

decisions have been taken, not by

4:01:034:01:08

Ministers and not by the Secretary

of State, but by civil servants, and

4:01:084:01:11

we have no means of questioning or

holding accountable for those

4:01:114:01:15

decisions those civil servants.

There is a further decision that is

4:01:154:01:20

not included in the fine print year

but I understand is on the stocks in

4:01:204:01:24

Northern Ireland to close for out of

the eight children's outdoor bones

4:01:244:01:29

education centres in Northern

Ireland. That's an important

4:01:294:01:32

decision for the children of

Northern Ireland and a decision

4:01:324:01:35

apparently to be made by civil

servants in the Northern Ireland

4:01:354:01:41

suspended Assembly. The question for

the Secretary of State is does he

4:01:414:01:47

support that decision to cut funding

for centres, and if he does not is

4:01:474:01:51

he at least lobbying his colleagues

in the' to tell them he is not in

4:01:514:02:00

favour he talked about the need to

bring forward quickly changes and

4:02:004:02:04

interim payments for the victims of

historical institutional abuse

4:02:044:02:08

enquiry. Is he lobbying David

Stirling to say he should get on

4:02:084:02:13

with it and find the money for those

people who have joined us today in

4:02:134:02:17

the gallery, because I think if he

does not have any responsibility, if

4:02:174:02:20

he is absolving himself of

responsibility for these decisions

4:02:204:02:24

or if he is presenting accurately

the fact that at present he does not

4:02:244:02:29

have responsibly for them, what is

he doing to influence the

4:02:294:02:32

decision-making that is taking

place? And I put it to him gently

4:02:324:02:37

that in Northern Ireland people will

not accept it is entirely credible

4:02:374:02:41

that Ministers have now influence

over these decisions especially in

4:02:414:02:46

this twilight sun. In this light of

a crisis in Northern Ireland he

4:02:464:02:53

would of course be held accountable

for solving that, and economic

4:02:534:02:56

crisis or one relating to security,

not Northern Ireland Ministers would

4:02:564:02:59

be responsible for that, and I hope

that he would recognise that and

4:02:594:03:03

recognise that in this dubious

period we are in he will need to the

4:03:034:03:07

plate and take more responsibility

for stop.

He is making the point

4:03:074:03:16

that commenced this debate,

effectively from tonight there is no

4:03:164:03:21

political accountability for the

head of the Northern Ireland civil

4:03:214:03:23

service. The matter how good and

objective years. He is not

4:03:234:03:28

answerable to the Northern Ireland

Assembly, to the Executive, and more

4:03:284:03:32

importantly, from tonight he is not

answerable to This Place or indeed

4:03:324:03:36

the Secretary of State. That is not

tenable for any more than a few

4:03:364:03:40

days, let alone weeks or months. I

would urge the shadow Secretary of

4:03:404:03:48

State to join in us urging that we

appoint Mr 's and get Ireland and

4:03:484:03:52

accounting for it properly.

I accept

the point the honourable gentleman

4:03:524:03:57

makes that NIC ace are effectively

unaccountable. That isn't an audible

4:03:574:04:03

fact, to do not share his view that

the remedy is instantly to bring in

4:04:034:04:09

direct rule Ministers. I think the

answer we have to seek in keeping

4:04:094:04:13

with the guiding light for all of us

follows, the Good Friday Belfast

4:04:134:04:17

agreement is to get devolution back

up and running. That has to be the

4:04:174:04:22

key focus of the Secretary of State

and all of us, because he is right

4:04:224:04:27

that direct rule will be a massive

backward step for Northern Ireland.

4:04:274:04:30

Some parties and the more Simon

Dobbin prospect of direct rule

4:04:304:04:34

Ministers -- some parties might be

more sanguine about the prospects,

4:04:344:04:40

but we in the Labour Party are not

sanguine about it, we think it would

4:04:404:04:44

be a retrograde step, and experience

tells us that as soon as we have

4:04:444:04:48

direct rule, Ministers back in

Stormont, it will be the Devil 's

4:04:484:04:53

own job to get them out, and we will

want to get them out because he will

4:04:534:04:59

want Northern Ireland's local

politicians to dig local decisions.

4:04:594:05:06

Can we be clear about this? The

alternative to a functioning as a

4:05:064:05:09

kid of and Assembly -- fine-tuning

executive and Assembly is not

4:05:094:05:14

consultative Assembly or direct

rule, it is the own intimidation of

4:05:144:05:18

strands two and three of the Good

Friday Agreement. There will not be

4:05:184:05:21

direct rule in isolation, in

conference would have to be convened

4:05:214:05:26

and Northern Ireland would be

covered in partnership between the

4:05:264:05:29

Irish Government and the UK

Government has envisioned in the

4:05:294:05:32

provisions of the Good Friday

Agreement.

I wouldn't put it exactly

4:05:324:05:37

like that. But I do think my

honourable friend is right to say

4:05:374:05:41

that we are in a untested waters. We

will need to see that the letter and

4:05:414:05:50

the spirit of the Good Friday

Agreement is preserved, however we

4:05:504:05:53

take forward the talks process, and

that means crucially those

4:05:534:05:59

North-South institutions and

East-West institutions must be found

4:05:594:06:01

a way for them to work, and that may

require a greater role for the

4:06:014:06:06

Assembly than we've had in previous

periods of direct rule. It may be

4:06:064:06:11

that we need to be imaginative about

that, and I hope the Secretary of

4:06:114:06:15

State is thinking about that.

I

thank him for giving way. He knows

4:06:154:06:21

my personal commitment to

devolution. I would love to see it

4:06:214:06:25

working. But at some point you have

to stand up and say the emperor has

4:06:254:06:30

no clothes. That is essentially what

is happening in Northern Ireland.

4:06:304:06:35

The worst thing this parliament

Canella to happen to Ulster is for a

4:06:354:06:39

sense of drift to take place.

Leadership has to be respected,

4:06:394:06:43

there has to be a firm grip taken of

the situation, and that must be

4:06:434:06:46

taken by Her Majesty's Government,

and I would urge him for that.

I'm

4:06:464:06:52

encouraged to sheer the honourable

gentleman remind the House of his

4:06:524:06:57

support for devolution, and I would

remind him that the DUP has always

4:06:574:07:00

been a party that supported strongly

devolution, even in periods when

4:07:004:07:04

some in union as a more or less keen

on the prospect of devolution. I

4:07:044:07:07

think history is important in all

this, and the question therefore for

4:07:074:07:11

us is how we see devolution

restored. There is a question here

4:07:114:07:17

for the Secretary of State. It is

not a question of lame, it is a

4:07:174:07:20

statement of fact that we are almost

11 months on from the collapse of

4:07:204:07:26

the Northern Ireland institutions,

11 months of dialogue largely behind

4:07:264:07:29

closed doors between the two largest

parties, Sinn Fein and the DUP, but

4:07:294:07:33

have come to naught. In other

months, effectively banning your

4:07:334:07:38

head against a brick wall and

failing to make substantive

4:07:384:07:40

progress. The Secretary of State

will tell us we have made progress,

4:07:404:07:44

people want to know where it is

because it has not been spelt out to

4:07:444:07:48

them or to me at any point over the

last ten months. It's very clear

4:07:484:07:55

what we've been doing for those 11

months has not been working, and

4:07:554:07:59

there's no reason to assume it's

going to be 11th or 12th time lucky.

4:07:594:08:04

The question for the Secretary of

State is what he's going to do

4:08:044:08:07

differently, not what he's going to

do the same as he has been, what is

4:08:074:08:11

he personally going to do

differently to take this process

4:08:114:08:15

forward. And we would like to urge

him to do some specific things, to

4:08:154:08:21

consider as an extra ways in which

he could take the process forward.

4:08:214:08:24

We do so will build on the

experience we have on this side of

4:08:244:08:28

the House, with our proud record of

helping facilitate breakthroughs in

4:08:284:08:32

devolution, including the

establishment of course of the Good

4:08:324:08:36

Friday Agreement and all the

institutions that stemmed from it. I

4:08:364:08:40

would urge him first of all to set

out a road map of how he's going to

4:08:404:08:45

get the institutions back up and

running, how he's going to provide

4:08:454:08:49

us with some clarity on the planned

steps he is taking over the next few

4:08:494:08:55

months, because keeping us in the

dark, having out of thin air a

4:08:554:09:00

series of meetings behind closed

doors between the two parties is not

4:09:004:09:03

working, and isn't delivering a

breakthrough. Secondly and most

4:09:034:09:09

importantly perhaps, can he consider

the prospect of an independent Chair

4:09:094:09:13

to come in and help give new energy

and impetus to the talks? On this

4:09:134:09:18

site we know that was incredibly

important as a vehicle for taking

4:09:184:09:21

things are. I think it's true that

without Senator George Mitchell in

4:09:214:09:26

particular we might not have seen

the Good Friday Belfast agreement.

4:09:264:09:30

That so important independent eyes

have been in this process. If he is

4:09:304:09:35

not prepared to learn from the

experience of George Mitchell and

4:09:354:09:37

others like my honourable friend

Lord Murphy, why not? Why are we not

4:09:374:09:42

considering that step? Because it

seems to me to have worked in the

4:09:424:09:47

past and should be considered in the

future.

I thank the honourable

4:09:474:09:55

member for giving way. As a veteran

of many talks process is, can I urge

4:09:554:10:02

caution on the part of the

honourable member about the idea

4:10:024:10:06

that an independent Chair coming in

is going to be a panacea in terms of

4:10:064:10:10

resolving these issues? It has not

been in the past and I have sat

4:10:104:10:15

under independent chairmanships, and

it is unlikely to be now. In

4:10:154:10:21

fairness to the Secretary of State,

the current impasse is not his

4:10:214:10:25

doing, and it really does need other

parties to step up to the mark and

4:10:254:10:28

to show their commitment to

devolution in Northern Ireland. In

4:10:284:10:33

that respect the DUP will not be

found wanting.

He is right that the

4:10:334:10:37

Secretary of State is not

exclusively or primarily responsible

4:10:374:10:41

for the past, that is down to the

parties in Northern Ireland who

4:10:414:10:45

failed to come to an agreement. That

too is a statement of fact, I'm

4:10:454:10:49

afraid. And he's also right that is

not always been true that

4:10:494:10:55

independent chairpersons have taken

things forward. There have been

4:10:554:10:57

instances, the Haas talks was one

example of getting someone who had

4:10:574:11:03

experience of making progress do so

again, and it failed. But there are

4:11:034:11:09

other instances, and the one I cited

of George Mitchell in the past was

4:11:094:11:12

important, indeed, Richard Haass in

its first incarnation is also

4:11:124:11:17

important in taking things forward.

I appreciate the point the

4:11:174:11:23

honourable member is making. But can

I say to him that we have indicated

4:11:234:11:30

in our willingness to break the

current impasse that we will form an

4:11:304:11:33

executive today and continue the

negotiations in parallel. It is not

4:11:334:11:39

that the DUP is holding back the

formation of an executive, it is

4:11:394:11:43

that Sinn Fein are refusing to form

an executive until their demands are

4:11:434:11:48

met. There is a clear difference,

and the honourable member does a

4:11:484:11:52

disservice to the talks in failing

to make that distinction.

I'm not

4:11:524:11:58

sure that's entirely fair. I think

as I said earlier on, in the absence

4:11:584:12:04

of national voices in this House

will need to seek to fairly

4:12:044:12:08

represent both sides of the debate,

and of course on the side of

4:12:084:12:11

Nationalists they have argued that

part of the impasse we currently

4:12:114:12:14

have is a failure to make progress

on the issue of Irish language, in

4:12:144:12:19

particular an Irish language

stand-alone Act. If they want to

4:12:194:12:24

tell us we make progress on that to

the prospect of a stand-alone Irish

4:12:244:12:27

language Act is on the cards, that

would obviously be a breakthrough,

4:12:274:12:31

but not he's got to tell me that.

What I will say is that for me and

4:12:314:12:36

my constituents health and education

are far more important than the

4:12:364:12:39

Irish language, and they want our

members back in their taking

4:12:394:12:43

decisions about this oil is they

work through the outstanding issues

4:12:434:12:47

such as the Irish language.

I

wouldn't disagree with that, and am

4:12:474:12:52

sure that is true of constituents

from all parts of the community in

4:12:524:12:59

Northern Ireland, and certainly a

reflection of what I hear from

4:12:594:13:02

constituents from all parts of

Northern Ireland. But I say to the

4:13:024:13:07

honourable gentleman and his party

and the Secretary of State that

4:13:074:13:09

perhaps what this illustrates is

that we are not making a

4:13:094:13:13

breakthrough simply relying on

dialogue between the two major

4:13:134:13:16

parties are clearly have a mandate

in Northern Ireland, commanding

4:13:164:13:21

mandates, but they do not have a

veto on the process. And therefore,

4:13:214:13:25

one of the other options at the

Secretary of State should be

4:13:254:13:27

considering our Round Table talks.

The two have been difficult,

4:13:274:13:31

sometimes unwieldy, sometimes very,

very problematic, but they have also

4:13:314:13:38

been the reason for breakthrough.

There have been points at which

4:13:384:13:40

pressure has been brought to bear,

public scrutiny has been brought to

4:13:404:13:44

bear on the talks. It has allowed

smaller parties to have their say,

4:13:444:13:48

and more importantly perhaps, to

bring their ideas and their pressure

4:13:484:13:52

onto the other parties. I would urge

him to consider the role of Round

4:13:524:13:55

Table talks in the future, as they

worked in the past. Thirdly, may I

4:13:554:14:01

say that those Round Table talks and

in particular worked when the 40 and

4:14:014:14:07

power of the office of the Prime

Minister has been brought to bear to

4:14:074:14:11

try to bring about a breakthrough.

Whatever power and authority the

4:14:114:14:15

current Prime Minister may have, and

some might think she is a little

4:14:154:14:19

less than some previous incumbents

in the role, she should be deploying

4:14:194:14:22

every last ounce of it to try and

make a breakthrough in this. We are

4:14:224:14:27

told so often the reason she still

is persisting in this difficult role

4:14:274:14:31

at this difficult time is because

she does have a great sense of duty

4:14:314:14:34

and public service, and I can think

of no greater duty public service

4:14:344:14:38

that she could play right now than

serif the peace process in Northern

4:14:384:14:45

Ireland by intervening personally,

by getting her hands dirty to try to

4:14:454:14:48

bring about the breakthrough that we

all so desperately require. And if

4:14:484:14:54

she will not do so, if she will

persist in only having long-distance

4:14:544:14:58

telephone calls, which as I've said

previously I fear are neither use

4:14:584:15:02

nor ornament in this process, then

why not? Why will she not invest

4:15:024:15:06

more of her time and effort in

trying to bring about a

4:15:064:15:10

breakthrough. If the Government is

so paralysed either debacle that is

4:15:104:15:15

Brexit that they cannot deploy their

promised, then I that says something

4:15:154:15:19

pretty damning about this

Government.

4:15:194:15:24

And to support the contribution

there. He will know as one of the

4:15:244:15:29

Bass direct rule ministers thereby

minister at that stage, the Right

4:15:294:15:32

Honourable Tony Blair MP as he was

at that stage, spent five days at

4:15:324:15:39

Saint Andrews with all political

parties, junior ministers, foreign

4:15:394:15:42

ministers of the Irish Republic and

Taoiseach Irish Republic. Because of

4:15:424:15:55

the intensive efforts to barter the

challenges of the day. I would urge

4:15:554:16:00

that the current Prime Minister set

aside even in these difficult times

4:16:004:16:03

some period of time to meet with the

parties, hammer out some of the

4:16:034:16:07

difficult issues all parties face to

ensure devolution is restored and

4:16:074:16:11

people like me are not direct rule

ministers again.

I thank him for his

4:16:114:16:17

remarks because he speaks with real

lived experience of this, knows

4:16:174:16:21

exactly what happened at Saint

Andrews and knows it was the role of

4:16:214:16:26

Prime Ministers to try and push

through change and get people to

4:16:264:16:31

push through and get the

breakthrough. Not all of the

4:16:314:16:35

instances in which we have employed

prime ministers has worked. In the

4:16:354:16:39

current era it might be that they

enjoyed less power and influence,

4:16:394:16:44

indeed he Taoiseach may enjoy less

power and influence. However, it is

4:16:444:16:50

another tool in the armoury of the

Secretary of state and I cannot

4:16:504:16:53

understand why he will not deploy. I

find it inexplicable the Prime

4:16:534:16:57

Minister has only been in Northern

Ireland once and that for a scant 20

4:16:574:17:02

minutes during her entire period in

office. I think it is beholden on

4:17:024:17:08

her now to get involved. The

Secretary of state is interjecting

4:17:084:17:11

from a central position. He hasn't,

I think, said anything which would

4:17:114:17:16

lead me to believe the Prime

Minister has engaged personally in

4:17:164:17:20

any of the talks. She has made if

few phone calls, not sat down

4:17:204:17:25

face-to-face in any substantive

patent in Belfast with any readers

4:17:254:17:31

and not involved in a round table.

Surely the importance of the Prime

4:17:314:17:41

Minister actually bothering to visit

Northern Ireland is to give hope to

4:17:414:17:43

the people of Northern Ireland that

someone they aren't the failed

4:17:434:17:48

executive has their best interests

at heart and is prepared to take at

4:17:484:17:51

the highest level from this

parliament their interest and do

4:17:514:17:54

something about this abhorrent

situation we are facing?

I think

4:17:544:18:00

people in Northern Ireland will not

understand why their Prime Minister,

4:18:004:18:04

the Prime Minister of Great Britain

and Northern Ireland, it seems so

4:18:044:18:08

distant from this process. I cannot

understand why she is not getting

4:18:084:18:11

stuck in and I think she ought to. I

think the Secretary of State should

4:18:114:18:17

urge her to. Madam Deputy Speaker,

if the Secretary of state fails, if

4:18:174:18:21

the other avenues that I have

proposed do not work, I think he

4:18:214:18:25

needs to start spelling out what he

is going to do. Honourable Joan of

4:18:254:18:35

-- gentleman I may have asked him to

spend how -- spell out Bosman he is

4:18:354:18:42

to spell out how he will keep the

institutions arrive, and allow the

4:18:424:18:47

North-South arrangements to be

properly served and for proper input

4:18:474:18:53

from the Irish Government in a

direct rule setting. That is to be

4:18:534:18:58

considered to adhere to the spirit

as well as the letter of eight Good

4:18:584:19:02

Friday Agreement. I would point the

Secretary of State to the experience

4:19:024:19:05

of the last Labour Government in the

period before it had been deployed

4:19:054:19:11

and before ministers and an

executive in Northern Ireland is

4:19:114:19:17

when a Budget was given to the

Northern Ireland Assembly by the

4:19:174:19:21

then Minister and the questions were

asked of the Minister in 1999 prior

4:19:214:19:26

to budgets, this is a Budget, for

example, that the Secretary of State

4:19:264:19:32

in his next in April they delivering

to a shadow assembly. Properly

4:19:324:19:41

scrutinising people by people with

detailed understanding of the

4:19:414:19:50

let me make some suggestions as to

the priorities Secretary of state

4:19:504:19:56

should have in the event of failings

regarding the new institutions.

4:19:564:20:01

Those sitting in the gallery

tonight, able victims of historical

4:20:014:20:06

institutional abuse in Northern

Ireland. It is a desperate state of

4:20:064:20:09

affairs. Just two date low after the

Hart the assembly collapsed. There

4:20:094:20:26

is widespread agreement across the

parties for the way forward

4:20:264:20:31

especially in terms of a interim

payment for the victims. I cannot

4:20:314:20:35

understand he isn't going to deploy

all of his best efforts to bring

4:20:354:20:39

about some quick action on that.

David Stirling as indicated in an

4:20:394:20:45

e-mail to them today he was to act

quickly. I would urge the Secretary

4:20:454:20:50

of state to support him in doing so.

Secondly, May I ask the Secretary of

4:20:504:20:56

State to consider the plight of

another group of victims in Northern

4:20:564:20:59

Ireland? The victims of the

troubles? He will know there has

4:20:594:21:03

been a live debate of the notion of

the victims attention of a 500 or so

4:21:034:21:11

most notably scarred by the

troubles. Is political agreement as

4:21:114:21:16

to whether he can afford to see...

Some people injured by their own

4:21:164:21:23

hand, something controversial in

Northern Ireland. There is a moral

4:21:234:21:27

experiment to look beyond the

political difficulty and if he is

4:21:274:21:30

the position of a direct rule I

would urge to act on the moral

4:21:304:21:36

imperative and provide a pension for

all the victims of the troubles in

4:21:364:21:40

Northern Ireland. Thirdly, Madam

Deputy Speaker, can I draw

4:21:404:21:44

attention...

I thank the honourable

member for giving way. I can

4:21:444:21:56

understand where the honourable

member is coming from. Can I say to

4:21:564:21:59

him that for the Secretary of State

to act upon the advice that he has

4:21:594:22:05

preferred in relation to a pension

for people who injured themselves by

4:22:054:22:11

their own hand would be met with

absolute dismay by the innocent

4:22:114:22:15

victims in Northern Ireland who

could not understand and could not

4:22:154:22:20

countenance a situation where

taxpayer Bosman money is used to pay

4:22:204:22:25

a pension to people who went out to

commit murder. -- taxpayer was like

4:22:254:22:31

money.

It would be wrong. I

understand the point, I was alluding

4:22:314:22:36

to the political disagreement in my

remarks. What I would say to him,

4:22:364:22:42

equally there are many people who

are victims on all sides of the

4:22:424:22:46

Trouble to find it difficult to

accept that the actions of a few

4:22:464:22:49

people who injured themselves in

their own hand should hold up.

4:22:494:22:57

Victims including the many hundreds

who are innocent, because they are

4:22:574:23:03

getting the pension they need to

support themselves as they get

4:23:034:23:06

older. I understand the point but I

think a moral argument needs to be

4:23:064:23:11

made and perhaps a period of direct

rule needs to be used to introduce

4:23:114:23:17

the argument. And some of the

so-called moral issues in Northern

4:23:174:23:24

Ireland, in particular equal

marriage and abortion rights. These

4:23:244:23:28

two are pervasive, complex areas. I

would urge the Secretary of State to

4:23:284:23:36

think hard about these foods are not

least in the light of the referendum

4:23:364:23:40

held in the Republic, I think you

need to think as to how he would

4:23:404:23:44

consult in Northern Ireland to take

forward and make progress on these

4:23:444:23:48

important issues. Brexit, and make

progress on these important issues.

4:23:484:23:51

Brexit, Andy Porter. One of the

greatest tragedies of this recent

4:23:514:23:57

period of impasse in Northern

Ireland. -- Brexit and the order. We

4:23:574:24:01

do not have... Northern Ireland is

likely to be effective is more

4:24:014:24:10

politically and in terms of the

peace project I Brexit and it is

4:24:104:24:15

tragic they have remain voiceless to

the process. I fear the Government

4:24:154:24:21

has been engaged in reckless gunboat

diplomacy on the existence of the

4:24:214:24:26

Northern Ireland Secretary whilst

the voices the attitudes about not

4:24:264:24:30

wanting to see a hard border on the

island, which we would all support,

4:24:304:24:36

hasn't come forward with any

substantive ways in which he will

4:24:364:24:39

prevent that from happening. He says

nonsense, but if he was to stand up

4:24:394:24:44

and tell us how he will stop a hard

border, I would be pleased to hear

4:24:444:24:50

it was that I have not heard

anything substantive from the

4:24:504:24:53

Government.

I would point him very

firmly to the proposals we have put

4:24:534:25:00

forward in relation to Customs and

in relation to agriculture and in

4:25:004:25:07

relation to other issues around the

common transit Commission. A whole

4:25:074:25:11

raft of issues we have set out on

how we believe this can be achieved.

4:25:114:25:16

How we are determined this will be

achieved in engaging through this

4:25:164:25:19

first phase and into the second

phase to make sure that happens.

4:25:194:25:23

None of which, Madam Deputy Speaker,

having taken remotely seriously in

4:25:234:25:31

Brussels.

None of which answer the

question as to how we avoid a hard

4:25:314:25:35

border on the island of Ireland,

none of which are currently thought

4:25:354:25:39

to be serious runners. I wait to see

the Brexit negotiations coming to

4:25:394:25:46

the conclusion. That he is right and

we do not need to consider some sort

4:25:464:25:50

of special arrangements for Northern

Ireland. At the moment, the country

4:25:504:25:54

can see their isn't any progress

being made on this but it is gunboat

4:25:544:25:58

diplomacy from the current

Government. Unfortunately, we are

4:25:584:26:03

not in a position to tell the people

of Northern Ireland they can remain

4:26:034:26:07

safe and secure in the knowledge

that they will not be a hard border

4:26:074:26:12

to replace the current porous

border.

Can he spell out his party's

4:26:124:26:21

policy in relation to Northern

Ireland? In order to avoid the hard

4:26:214:26:27

border keep talks about, does he

agree with the EU and with others

4:26:274:26:33

that another island should remain

within the customs union while the

4:26:334:26:36

rest of the UK departed and the

safer the single market? Is that his

4:26:364:26:41

policy?

I agree with the EU that it

is essential to avoid a hard border.

4:26:414:26:47

I would agree with the EU it does

not seem to be a realistic, serious

4:26:474:26:51

set of proposals from the current

Government as to how they will fix

4:26:514:26:55

this. I agree with the EU that one

potential outcome that would solve

4:26:554:27:00

the problem is for Northern Ireland

to remain within the customs union.

4:27:004:27:03

And for there to be some sort of

special arrangement for Northern

4:27:034:27:07

Ireland. That is an interesting

idea, one we ought to be actually

4:27:074:27:12

considering. With that, Madam Deputy

Speaker, I am going to conclude.

4:27:124:27:19

Will he recognise, as my Select

Committee found out in its recent

4:27:194:27:26

visit, that the bulk of trade in

Northern Ireland is with Great

4:27:264:27:28

Britain? What does he think his

proposals would do to that

4:27:284:27:40

in no way shape or form should we be

damaging trade either between

4:27:464:27:52

Northern Ireland, the Republic of

Ireland through Northern Ireland and

4:27:524:27:55

nor should we be damaging trade

across the border because both would

4:27:554:28:01

damage the Northern Irish economy.

At present, we do not have any

4:28:014:28:04

clarity from the Government as to

how they are going to square this

4:28:044:28:07

circle. It is for the Government to

tell the country and the people of

4:28:074:28:13

Northern Ireland how they are going

to fix the problem they have

4:28:134:28:17

created.

Of course, there is a very

simple way to meet the state of

4:28:174:28:25

objectives of the DUP not to have

any hard border or a new border

4:28:254:28:32

between Northern Ireland and Great

Britain. That is for the whole of

4:28:324:28:34

the United Kingdom to stay in the

single market and Customs union.

Or

4:28:344:28:40

for Ireland to join this union!

I am

not sure this is entirely within the

4:28:404:28:50

purview of this debate. It is

something we will perhaps be

4:28:504:28:53

debating in this House tomorrow.

Madam Deputy Speaker, in conclusion,

4:28:534:28:58

if this is not direct rule, it is

getting personally sleek --

4:28:584:29:05

perilously close to it. Close to the

Secretary of State's glide path. If

4:29:054:29:14

the Secretary of State is to have

one more go as I think and believe

4:29:144:29:18

he wants to and must to try and get

Northern Ireland's assembly back up

4:29:184:29:21

and running he has to consider the

changes we have outlined today. He

4:29:214:29:26

has to think about whether she needs

an independent chair, laying out a

4:29:264:29:31

real road map, get the Prime

Minister to get her hands dirty in

4:29:314:29:37

Northern Ireland and he has to make

sure that we have the indication of

4:29:374:29:43

what his priorities will be if he

fails. Because we have heard at the

4:29:434:29:48

beginning of the debate about a bomb

being placed in Omagh on Remembrance

4:29:484:29:53

Sunday. We know right now there is a

bomb in Derry. We know there was a

4:29:534:29:58

knee capping in Londonderry last

night. These are echoes of a

4:29:584:30:03

terrible past for Northern Ireland.

They cannot be harbingers of its

4:30:034:30:09

future and it is for us of this

generation and him in his Government

4:30:094:30:13

to make sure they are not.

4:30:134:30:14

And much welcoming the honourable

gentleman's remarks and those of my

4:30:194:30:27

right honourable friend in respect

of the violence in Northern Ireland

4:30:274:30:30

over the weekend. The honourable

gentleman is right as a this is an

4:30:304:30:35

echo of a terrible past animals do

everything in our power to ensure

4:30:354:30:38

those events are not replicated.

Northern Ireland has come on so much

4:30:384:30:43

in recent years and it would be a

terrible betrayal if we allowed

4:30:434:30:48

these dreadful people to get any

further purchase than they have. Can

4:30:484:30:53

I'll so, and my right honourable

friend for his patients over the

4:30:534:30:59

past few months, he has been an

example to us all. His patience has

4:30:594:31:02

only been matched by those of

members in waiting for the

4:31:024:31:07

publication of the bill that we are

discussing this afternoon. I

4:31:074:31:11

received my copy at 1556. But Italy

when we are dealing with the public

4:31:114:31:20

policy area where there is a

democratic deficit at the moment it

4:31:204:31:22

is vitally important that members of

this House have materials of this

4:31:224:31:26

sort in good time to give them

proper scrutiny. I'm sure he would

4:31:264:31:29

agree. This bill is largely

technical, and it is and

4:31:294:31:38

objectionable. I very much welcome

the remarks of the honourable

4:31:384:31:41

gentleman who speaks for the

opposition in supporting, broadly

4:31:414:31:45

speaking, this bill. We can disagree

and certain elements may be of the

4:31:454:31:50

way things are conducted, and are

expected to hold the Government to

4:31:504:31:53

account, but it is very clear there

is consensus across the House on

4:31:534:31:56

this important measure which will

enable the paycheques to go out at

4:31:564:32:01

the end of the month. On the 18th of

October the Secretary of State gave

4:32:014:32:08

a very helpful update and timeline

to the select committee I have the

4:32:084:32:11

privilege of sharing on the way

ahead, and reiterated a lot of that

4:32:114:32:17

on the 2nd of November. I must press

him again and contingency planning.

4:32:174:32:24

Since this process cannot simply be

one of kicking the Canon down the

4:32:244:32:26

road. We have heard already today,

and I will touch on in my remarks,

4:32:264:32:32

concerns that members have about

important political decisions that

4:32:324:32:37

must be made, and the consequences

of not making those decisions in a

4:32:374:32:42

timely manner. This matters to

people's lives. Whilst we can

4:32:424:32:47

discuss things like the Irish

language Act, the truth is for most

4:32:474:32:51

people from most of the time, the

imperatives for them or around

4:32:514:32:54

health and education, and be must

ensure that so far as we can do

4:32:544:32:59

those things are able to be

addressed, and that does mean

4:32:594:33:02

ultimately political accountability.

I very much appreciate my friend

4:33:024:33:10

Mike's efforts to do what he can

within the constraints placed upon

4:33:104:33:13

him by this extremely situation, but

ultimately we do need that hysteria

4:33:134:33:19

or accountability whatever form that

takes. Can I cancel caution? Because

4:33:194:33:24

it sounds on the of it that direct

rule is a way out of this. -- can I

4:33:244:33:31

advise caution? I suspect direct

rule would be easy to advise into

4:33:314:33:36

but murderously difficult to unpick.

I'm also worried that once we

4:33:364:33:41

achieve direct rule there will not

be that pressure that currently

4:33:414:33:43

exists to restore the negative. I'm

very concerned that we will do

4:33:434:33:49

something with the very best of

intentions which actually will not

4:33:494:33:53

be in the long-term interests of the

people of Northern Ireland. On the

4:33:534:33:59

18th of October the Secretary of

State stated that he was planning on

4:33:594:34:03

the basis of David Stirling's best

estimates. I'd like to press on and

4:34:034:34:08

what those are, because of course

they do from the basis of the bill

4:34:084:34:11

we have before us. They are

apparently based upon the intentions

4:34:114:34:23

of pre-collapse Ministers,

ministerial intent stated that the

4:34:234:34:25

tail end of last year. I'm

interested in what methodology is

4:34:254:34:31

used to determine that ministerial

intent. Is it simply suck it and

4:34:314:34:37

see, or is there something a little

more rigorous, a little more

4:34:374:34:40

objective than that? And if there is

it is something that really does

4:34:404:34:44

need to be exposed to the scrutiny

of this House. What we have and

4:34:444:34:51

schedules one and two is a shopping

list of things by Department that

4:34:514:34:55

might be done. It allows for a

pheromone of --... My worry is that

4:34:554:35:08

the civil service is being expected

to do far too much. Ultimately we

4:35:084:35:14

need to have a level of ministerial

accountability which at the moment

4:35:144:35:19

is lacking. The member for walking

and Shetland touched on this in his

4:35:194:35:25

comments about higher education,

where there will be a need for

4:35:254:35:30

ministerial decision-making. Another

member touched on it in his remarks

4:35:304:35:36

as well.

We heard a couple of weeks

ago on the Northern Ireland affairs

4:35:364:35:45

committee from the Chief Constable

about how difficult it was to budget

4:35:454:35:50

from month to month. Given we're

going into the new budget setting

4:35:504:35:54

process for the next year, does he

not agree that really we should be

4:35:544:35:57

looking at budget setting for the

next financial year as well as this

4:35:574:36:01

one?

I share the concern about

long-term planning. In general we do

4:36:014:36:07

that through the normal budget

system. It is not clear to be how

4:36:074:36:11

that will be achieved for financial

year 2018/2019, and our right

4:36:114:36:22

honourable friend will be

considering how that can be achieved

4:36:224:36:24

since we have a matter of weeks to

determine the budget for Northern

4:36:244:36:30

Ireland as for the rest of the

United Kingdom for future years. She

4:36:304:36:35

is right to refer to the session we

had with the Chief Constable of the

4:36:354:36:39

Police Service of Northern Ireland

where he expressed concern not just

4:36:394:36:44

about finance but general

accountability. Giving policing is

4:36:444:36:47

not properly constituted because of

the pass at Stormont he is very

4:36:474:36:52

concerned about the Democratic

deficit in accountability that has

4:36:524:36:57

implied. In terms of testing the

methodology in which these estimates

4:36:574:37:03

are based, for me, the most

important thing to do is look at the

4:37:034:37:09

biggest spending department, and the

Department with the second-largest,

4:37:094:37:17

which is of course health, and until

the end of last year the minister in

4:37:174:37:22

charge of that was Michelle O'Neill.

She said in October last year in

4:37:224:37:31

response to reform plans that it was

"A foundation for my vision, a

4:37:314:37:38

clearer statement of ministerial

intent you couldn't hope to have."

4:37:384:37:42

Added from the basis of what she

called her a ten year vision. But it

4:37:424:37:48

is not clear to me where and how

this is captured in the budget

4:37:484:37:53

presented. But we know that David

Stirling has relied upon what he

4:37:534:37:58

understood to be ministerial intent

to the point these negative

4:37:584:38:02

collapsed. It would be useful to

know in greater detail how the

4:38:024:38:08

purposes listed in the schedule for

health are being addressed with

4:38:084:38:16

plans in mind, given that they have

been endorsed by the last minister

4:38:164:38:19

of health in Northern Ireland. As it

happens, in schedule one, the

4:38:194:38:25

purposes and health are remarkably

broad, it is one of the smallest

4:38:254:38:31

sections in schedule one of the

bill. That perhaps a somewhat

4:38:314:38:35

strange given the extent of the

budget for health in Northern

4:38:354:38:40

Ireland.

I refer to my register of

interest in the my husband is a red

4:38:404:38:48

secretary of the Department of

Health in Northern Ireland. With the

4:38:484:38:51

member agree with me that in terms

of that report it looked for terms

4:38:514:38:56

of transformation, and

transformation requires hard

4:38:564:39:00

decisions and many years of

preparation and hard work to be put

4:39:004:39:03

in in order to get those

efficiencies and savings without

4:39:034:39:06

impacting on front line services. We

are in November. This money must be

4:39:064:39:11

spent in this financial year. Does

he agree with me that terrible

4:39:114:39:15

situation we have been put into

because of budget did not come

4:39:154:39:17

forward when it should have last

year, those decisions and the

4:39:174:39:21

outcomes of that report is very

difficult to achieve at this point?

4:39:214:39:24

The honourable lady is right, and

this is what we mean by kicking the

4:39:244:39:29

Camden Road. It is unreasonable to

put civil servants in that position

4:39:294:39:35

-- kicking the can down the road. I

welcome the announcement today that

4:39:354:39:42

the controller and audit office will

be given particular powers to submit

4:39:424:39:44

reports which will be open to the

scrutiny of both houses. I would not

4:39:444:39:50

want to be in a position as a civil

servant, to have to make those sorts

4:39:504:39:53

of decisions and carried out

accountability with no ministerial

4:39:534:39:57

top cover for any length of time,

notwithstanding my earlier remarks

4:39:574:40:03

about direct rule, and I fear the

consequences of such a position.

4:40:034:40:07

This is the dilemma that I fear the

Government is struggling with.

On

4:40:074:40:16

the issue of health, and this could

cover other departments, is he

4:40:164:40:20

concerned that all these budgets

will be approved for the

4:40:204:40:23

continuation of the work of that

department, there will be no room

4:40:234:40:26

for any new initiative or

flexibility given the fact there is

4:40:264:40:31

no minister overseeing the

Department?

My friend Mike who

4:40:314:40:36

served in a distinguish way in

Northern Ireland knows that full

4:40:364:40:40

well. Decisions have to be made, and

the question I have is what elements

4:40:404:40:48

of this report that I have

highlighted as an exemplar would

4:40:484:40:51

require ministerial direction. And

the extent to which supplementary

4:40:514:40:58

Estimates might be brought forward,

notwithstanding the welcome

4:40:584:41:01

announcement of funding me today by

the Secretary of State as to what

4:41:014:41:07

extent they can be laid before the

House to achieve those purposes. In

4:41:074:41:12

saying that, I do so with

trepidation because I would advise

4:41:124:41:16

against the constant tabling of

supplementary Estimates which would

4:41:164:41:18

have the effect of having direct

rule in drips and wraps. It seems to

4:41:184:41:24

me that if this has to be done

Winnie to look towards direct rule

4:41:244:41:28

notwithstanding the risks that is

clear and concise, and not done by

4:41:284:41:33

stealth and gradually, which would

simply be a recipe in my opinion for

4:41:334:41:38

confusion.

The honourable member has

made interesting comment about

4:41:384:41:49

direct rule on some of the dangers.

Does he see the role for the select

4:41:494:41:54

committee and perhaps looking at how

devolution may be restored, had

4:41:544:41:58

might be some initiatives given,

maybe along the lines that others

4:41:584:42:03

have mentioned trying to restore the

restoration of executive? Has a

4:42:034:42:10

committee given a thought that, or

indeed looking what scrutiny may be

4:42:104:42:14

given to how this process of the

budget works if the Executive is not

4:42:144:42:17

restored?

I'm grateful. He is right

on two counts. Firstly, my committee

4:42:174:42:25

is mindful of the responsibility of

hazard this difficult time to apply

4:42:254:42:28

scrutiny, and whilst

constitutionally our position is to

4:42:284:42:32

scrutinise the work of the Northern

Ireland Office, nevertheless we feel

4:42:324:42:38

it incumbent upon us to be part of a

process of scrutiny, perhaps in a

4:42:384:42:42

way that was not previously the

case. In terms of investigating

4:42:424:42:47

possible models going forward, I

know that it is exercising the lines

4:42:474:42:50

of members of my committee, and he

may perhaps think that that is

4:42:504:42:56

something that we might like to work

on further. I wouldn't want to

4:42:564:43:03

prejudge any determination the

committee would want to make, but

4:43:034:43:05

when we have completed our enquiry

into the land order and Brexit, that

4:43:054:43:09

is something we want to consider and

contribute to the debate on. I'm

4:43:094:43:13

grateful to him for that. I think

tacit endorsement of that position.

4:43:134:43:25

In support of my fed-mac the

chairman and the committee on which

4:43:254:43:30

I also said, may I say in support of

what my honourable friend has said,

4:43:304:43:34

we are trying to find a way of

policing the border without it being

4:43:344:43:39

obvious, and we're going to suggest

that in our report. That seems to be

4:43:394:43:44

quite fruitful, the way we are

looking at it.

Absolutely, he is

4:43:444:43:48

tempting me down a path which I

think he would have some issue, but

4:43:484:43:53

nevertheless it is certainly the

case that the enquiry will continue

4:43:534:43:57

to look at how we can make a border

as invisible as possible. I referred

4:43:574:44:07

area to visit to a border, an

invisible border, beautiful, but

4:44:074:44:15

invisible, and we need to insure

that that continues to be the case.

4:44:154:44:24

The hard report has been mentioned

into historical abuse. And I think

4:44:244:44:28

the point is well made but there

will be decisions that have some

4:44:284:44:33

financial consequences, maybe not

primarily financial but nevertheless

4:44:334:44:40

need ministerial input in the weeks

ahead, and it is difficult to see

4:44:404:44:43

how civil servants can make those

determinations, given that that is

4:44:434:44:48

so politically loaded. Failure to

what happens in and around Northern

4:44:484:44:52

Ireland does not have a political

element to it, but something like

4:44:524:44:56

this clearly is political, and does

require ministerial input, and I

4:44:564:45:00

would suggest ever so gently it is

unfair and unwise to put civil

4:45:004:45:03

servants in the position of making

those sorts of decisions.

As a

4:45:034:45:15

registered to learn the work of his

committee, becoming more important

4:45:154:45:20

-- interested to learn the work of

this department which becomes more

4:45:204:45:23

important in this tricky period. The

economy of Northern Ireland is

4:45:234:45:27

perhaps more important than ever

before. With his committee take an

4:45:274:45:32

interest in infrastructure,

investment and development of

4:45:324:45:36

Northern Ireland during the Brexit

period?

My right honourable friend

4:45:364:45:41

is absolutely right and I concerned

foot share the concerns of many that

4:45:414:45:45

Northern Ireland is right at the

forefront of what will happen to

4:45:454:45:50

this country after we leave the

European Union, for better or for

4:45:504:45:53

worse. In my opinion, for better.

But I am prepared to admit there are

4:45:534:46:00

risks and opportunities in all of

this. It is absolutely vital in this

4:46:004:46:04

process that Northern Ireland, of

all the constituent parts of the

4:46:044:46:09

United Kingdom, has its voice heard

loud and clear. It is a dereliction

4:46:094:46:13

of duty in my opinion of the

institutions and political parties

4:46:134:46:18

in Northern Ireland that that is not

happening. That seems to me a

4:46:184:46:22

betrayal of the interests of the

people of Northern Ireland. I

4:46:224:46:26

mentioned Michelle O'Neill in my

remarks in connection with the

4:46:264:46:32

reports and her stewardship of the

Department of Health in Northern

4:46:324:46:36

Ireland. I simply reflect it is a

sad state of affairs she appears to

4:46:364:46:41

be willing the end of her ten year

vision of our plan without the

4:46:414:46:50

means. Honourable members have made

the point that things worrying

4:46:504:46:57

people in Northern Ireland are

things like health and education. It

4:46:574:47:00

is the same for all of our

constituents. It seems on this

4:47:004:47:04

important matter we are prepared to

put other things before the

4:47:044:47:09

services. I do not think that is

representing the needs and

4:47:094:47:14

aspirations are people at all well.

I hope those parties who are not

4:47:144:47:19

prepared to come around the table

and discuss these matters adequately

4:47:194:47:23

and sufficiently to restore the

executive need to reflect upon that.

4:47:234:47:28

My right honourable friend I suspect

shares my fear is that this Budget

4:47:284:47:33

process having been achieved,

nothing much then will happen. It

4:47:334:47:38

does seem there isn't an impasse at

stomach. I see no prospect of

4:47:384:47:47

restoration of the executive. We

need to consider what we will not do

4:47:474:47:51

in order took an ensure the issues

around health, education and

4:47:514:48:00

apportionment of funds going forward

are achieved. We need to look at

4:48:004:48:08

historical precedent. The 1974

Northern Ireland act gave special

4:48:084:48:14

powers to the Northern Ireland grand

committee. It was able to scrutinise

4:48:144:48:20

draft orders in Council and comment

upon them. I suspect the Secretary

4:48:204:48:25

of State is giving some thought to

what measures can be taken to ensure

4:48:254:48:32

that there is some level of input

from people in Northern Ireland,

4:48:324:48:37

those elected for the purposes of

representing views in Northern

4:48:374:48:41

Ireland from civic society and the

rest. That will become very urgent

4:48:414:48:45

as we tipped into the New Year and

stuck to consider the financial year

4:48:454:48:51

18-19. It would be useful to hear

from the Secretary of State on what

4:48:514:48:56

measures will be taken to consult

with Northern Ireland generally and

4:48:564:49:01

particularly elected representatives

to ensure that your voices heard.

4:49:014:49:06

Accountability is difficult, a

difficult content to grapple with,

4:49:064:49:09

we are accountable to our

constituents, ministers are not

4:49:094:49:12

accountable for a lot of the grey

area we have been discussing today.

4:49:124:49:16

Sadly that is following between the

cracks. We need to have as best they

4:49:164:49:21

stab at it as we possibly can before

the executive is restored. Were it

4:49:214:49:28

-- we need to look at institutions

in Northern Ireland, try to work out

4:49:284:49:32

how they can best give voice to

public opinion in Northern Ireland

4:49:324:49:36

and at least keep the flame alive of

accountability in the province.

Does

4:49:364:49:43

he not think it is particularly

important the voice of the

4:49:434:49:46

nationalist community is heard given

they have no representation in this

4:49:464:49:52

place or the assembly. They are

unhurt in terms of electoral

4:49:524:49:55

presentation.

Although it is of

course Sinn Fein's choice not to

4:49:554:50:02

take up their seats here, one I

regret as a Democrat, nevertheless

4:50:024:50:08

we do need to ensure that those

communities are heard. The assembly

4:50:084:50:13

may be one way of doing that. It

would at least give MLA's something

4:50:134:50:21

to do. The right honourable member

for Pontypridd was keen that MLAs

4:50:214:50:26

should continue to draw their pay

and rations. I do not agree. The

4:50:264:50:30

bulk of people in Northern Ireland

don't agree either. But I do welcome

4:50:304:50:35

the announcement that Trevor Renee

will be appointed to discuss this

4:50:354:50:41

matter further with interested

parties and come up with some

4:50:414:50:47

recommendations on how MLAs should

be paid given this could go on for

4:50:474:50:50

some time. Try to restore faith in

politics in Northern Ireland as in

4:50:504:51:00

the rest of the United Kingdom. It

remains to be seen how the process

4:51:004:51:04

will advance in the event we are

paying individuals from largely

4:51:044:51:07

sitting at home although I accept

many of them will be working hard to

4:51:074:51:11

try and represent and help their

constituents as well as they can.

4:51:114:51:16

Nevertheless, their primary role is

to attend storm out and represent

4:51:164:51:19

those views there and that is not

happening. -- Stormon

4:51:194:51:23

-- team1-mac. -- Stormont.

I take it

he will apply logic of the public

4:51:334:51:45

representatives who do not attend

the players who were elected to

4:51:454:51:49

attend the place. We have at the

scandal situation for many years. I

4:51:494:51:54

presume people would not stand for

many years of the assembly members

4:51:544:51:59

being in that position so I look

forward to hearing his view on that.

4:51:594:52:05

I would say... I agree with my right

honourable friend does it is

4:52:054:52:16

primarily a matter for the House. --

it is primarily a matter for the

4:52:164:52:23

House. I have made my views on Sinn

Fein not taking their seats very

4:52:234:52:27

clear, there should be no confusion.

They are letting down those electing

4:52:274:52:34

them to do a job, clearly not doing

it, people should draw their own

4:52:344:52:39

conclusions. It is a matter of the

House and I hope he be satisfied

4:52:394:52:43

with that. In conclusion, can I say,

Madam Deputy Speaker, I will give

4:52:434:52:50

way...

I am grateful. May I say ever

so gently that the fact there are a

4:52:504:53:07

large number of people in Northern

Ireland who would not be crying if

4:53:074:53:10

direct rule were introduced

tomorrow. I would like the

4:53:104:53:14

honourable gentleman to explain to

the people of Northern Ireland who

4:53:144:53:18

are angry and aggrieved that MLAs

receive the full salary, but he is

4:53:184:53:29

advocating that there seems to be

some advisory role and direct rule

4:53:294:53:34

ministers here. Is the honourable

gentleman advocating that could be

4:53:344:53:40

payment for an advisory role,

because the people of Northern

4:53:404:53:42

Ireland would not be amused by that.

I look forward to the conclusions

4:53:424:53:50

and it would be wrong to pre-empt

those. There needs to be some form

4:53:504:53:54

of consulting with the people of

Northern Ireland if indeed it is the

4:53:544:53:58

case we take further direct rule

powers. It seems to me it is right

4:53:584:54:03

and proper. It is difficult to see

as a Democrat how one would object

4:54:034:54:07

to such a thing. It has been tried

in the past and has had some effect.

4:54:074:54:15

Harts, they are elected, what are

the alternatives? Civic society?

4:54:154:54:27

MLAs are elected individuals. Prior

to the restoration of the

4:54:274:54:34

institutions... But nothing must be

done to replace the imperative to

4:54:344:54:37

get the executive back up and

running. All of these stopgap

4:54:374:54:40

solutions I fear may have unintended

consequences of delaying the day

4:54:404:54:48

which the institutions are restored

at Stormont and that would be a

4:54:484:54:52

pity. We must beware of unintended

consequences of that sort. Can I

4:54:524:54:59

congratulate my right honourable

friend for his announcement around

4:54:594:55:04

the controller and National Audit

Office from Northern Ireland. I

4:55:044:55:07

think it is right as we try to pick

our way through this that we have

4:55:074:55:11

measures that are going to in some

way allow this House to scrutinise

4:55:114:55:15

what is going on, particularly

around the methodology of the

4:55:154:55:20

apportionment of funds to

departments within Northern Ireland.

4:55:204:55:24

I look forward to seeing those

documents in both Houses. I look

4:55:244:55:33

forward in the end to the

restoration of the executive at

4:55:334:55:39

Gemini.

It is a pleasure to follow

the honourable gentleman and I am

4:55:394:55:43

sure we will be hearing more from

him as visual of the Northern

4:55:434:55:51

Ireland Select Committee in terms of

business. -- restoration of the

4:55:514:55:59

executive at Stormont.

4:55:594:56:00

The viable device left at the,

cenotaph. 30 years ago almost to the

4:56:044:56:18

day, the inexplicable attack and the

other events referred to by the

4:56:184:56:20

shadow Secretary of state as well.

When we think of the weekend and the

4:56:204:56:27

remembrance of those who died and

gave their lives in the defence of

4:56:274:56:31

freedom and liberty and think of

that despicable act of terrorism in

4:56:314:56:37

Omagh. At the centre, we think of

the great side of Northern Ireland

4:56:374:56:43

as displayed by the Northern Ireland

football team and their supporters.

4:56:434:56:48

Great ambassadors for Northern

Ireland in Switzerland. We had the

4:56:484:56:51

worst examples of activities by

people in Northern Ireland on the

4:56:514:56:56

one hand and the best displayed on

the other. I think we want in this

4:56:564:57:04

House, all of us, whichever our

party, we commend those people from

4:57:044:57:11

Northern Ireland who went to

Switzerland, followed the Northern

4:57:114:57:15

Ireland football team and indeed

those fans from the Republic of

4:57:154:57:18

Ireland who have gone out to Denmark

because one of the things I read

4:57:184:57:23

that was gratified to see was that

the Northern Ireland fans were

4:57:234:57:26

flying out through Dublin airport,

met the Republic fans going out

4:57:264:57:32

through the same airport to Denmark,

and they actually shook hands and

4:57:324:57:36

wished each other well and supported

and applauded each other. It is an

4:57:364:57:42

example of what is best about

Northern Ireland and the Irish

4:57:424:57:44

Republic, and that is what we want

to see more of. Bad Deputy Speaker,

4:57:444:57:50

I want to thank the Secretary of

State for his efforts. This -- Madam

4:57:504:57:55

Deputy Speaker. Criticism of the

Prime Minister, very good engagement

4:57:554:58:02

of all levels of Government in my

view. The Prime Minister has been to

4:58:024:58:07

Northern Ireland more than once

since she assumed office and has had

4:58:074:58:11

a series of meetings and engagements

here with us and others in this

4:58:114:58:17

House as well. I think it is wrong

to portray this as the fault of the

4:58:174:58:23

Government. Members on this site

have spelt out how we have got to

4:58:234:58:27

this point in this process. This is

a very significant day in the

4:58:274:58:34

history of the political process in

recent years, no doubt about that.

4:58:344:58:38

It is a day we did not want to see

happen. We didn't want to see the

4:58:384:58:43

Northern Ireland budgets being

passed at Westminster. We wanted it

4:58:434:58:46

passed by the Northern Ireland

Executive and we still do. As

4:58:464:58:52

honourable members are pointed out,

this is the Budget that the Sinn

4:58:524:58:57

Fein minister wants to bring forward

before Christmas for consultation

4:58:574:59:00

and to have the assembly implements.

He point blank refused to do so.

4:59:004:59:09

This was before, remember, these

so-called crisis that emerged in the

4:59:094:59:13

latter part of the 20 17th, which

led ostensibly, according to Sinn

4:59:134:59:18

Fein, to the collapse of the

executive. Clearly there was

4:59:184:59:21

something afoot long before that.

That gives rise to some concern on

4:59:214:59:27

our part about the true motives of

Sinn Fein in collapsing the

4:59:274:59:32

executive in the first place and

refusing to set it up subsequently.

4:59:324:59:39

Thank you. Would he agree with me

that the issue of the Minister of

4:59:394:59:46

Finance at the assembly, the Sinn

Fein minister, not setting the

4:59:464:59:52

Budget over age ago. As he rightly

says before the scandal had broken,

4:59:524:59:57

before any issue of the Irish

language act bringing down

4:59:575:00:00

Government and the four LG BT issues

where -- before LGBT

5:00:005:00:09

There are many people in Northern

Ireland, not just on the Unionist

5:00:145:00:17

side, commentators particularly in

the Republic and leading members of

5:00:175:00:21

political parties in the Irish

Republic who are increasingly of the

5:00:215:00:26

view that this was not only planned,

but as a result of the Brexit

5:00:265:00:33

decision, as a result of the hard

decisions that need to be made in

5:00:335:00:38

Government, and advance of a

possible General Election in the

5:00:385:00:41

Irish republics on time next year

that Sinn Fein simply wanted out of

5:00:415:00:46

Government and were looking for any

excuse to do so. It is our sincere

5:00:465:00:51

hope that is not the case. We as a

party, as someone pointed out, the

5:00:515:00:59

DUP has been a devolutionist party,

a party that believes in devolution,

5:00:595:01:05

long before it was fashionable among

the majority of Unionists. The

5:01:055:01:11

Ulster Unionist Party when it had

representation in this House and

5:01:115:01:15

represented the bulk of Unionists

had an integrationist, a strong

5:01:155:01:22

integrationist wing, and were very

lukewarm about proposals in the

5:01:225:01:27

mid-19 80s for devolution. They even

went so far as to boycott the

5:01:275:01:30

Northern Ireland Assembly. DUP

remained in that Assembly because it

5:01:305:01:34

believed in the principle that the

people of Northern Ireland,

5:01:345:01:37

Nationalists and unionists, should

decide those decisions for

5:01:375:01:41

themselves in Northern Ireland. We

remain committed to devolution, and

5:01:415:01:46

we want to see it happen, and that

is why we have set no red lines are

5:01:465:01:52

preconditions to the formation of

the circuit. By honourable friend

5:01:525:01:57

made the point that we are prepared

to form makes active, and my

5:01:575:02:01

understanding is that the other

parties eligible to form the second

5:02:015:02:05

of also stand ready to do it

immediately, but the one party that

5:02:055:02:09

refuses is Sinn Fein. And what we're

saying is we would be prepared to

5:02:095:02:15

format executive, we would have the

talks in tandem, and our leader went

5:02:155:02:19

even further than that. She spell

doubted she would be prepared to

5:02:195:02:24

accept that date would be set, that

if the talks did not lead to a

5:02:245:02:27

successful outcome that the

Executive would fall. It wasn't that

5:02:275:02:32

we were asking Sinn Fein to take us

on trust and get us into the talks

5:02:325:02:36

and then talk it out for ever, we

were saying, let's make the decision

5:02:365:02:41

on health and education,

infrastructure, and all the rest,

5:02:415:02:43

let's have the talks, but be

guaranteed that if they do not go

5:02:435:02:47

anywhere then this will not go on

forever. Within 20 minutes of that

5:02:475:02:52

suggestion they put forward,

welcomed by the Irish Taoiseach,

5:02:525:02:56

welcomed by other members of

parties, it was rejected out of hand

5:02:565:03:02

by Sinn Fein because in our view

they do not want a way forward

5:03:025:03:07

except on the hardest Republican

lines. I give way.

If what he says

5:03:075:03:16

is right, if his thesis is right

that Sinn Fein have no desire to

5:03:165:03:18

come back into power-sharing with

this side of a possible election of

5:03:185:03:27

a public -- in the Republic, he is

saying there is no prospect of

5:03:275:03:30

executive being reformed until at

least the other side of that

5:03:305:03:33

election, is that what he is saying?

I am saying there are many people

5:03:335:03:38

who think that, many believe that. I

am told by Sinn Fein leaders and we

5:03:385:03:44

hear constantly that they do not

subscribe to that view, that they

5:03:445:03:47

won't devolution up and running, I'm

simply pointing out that there have

5:03:475:03:51

been opportunities in the last ten

months to move things forward in a

5:03:515:03:56

sensible way that have not been

taken by Sinn Fein, and it makes

5:03:565:04:00

some of us doubt the sincerity of

their words. I hope I am proved

5:04:005:04:07

wrong in terms of quoting the

analysis of others, I remain

5:04:075:04:12

convinced of what the truth of the

matter maybe.

My personal view is

5:04:125:04:18

Sinn Fein doesn't give a dam, wants

to destroy the entire concept of the

5:04:185:04:24

devolved power, and actually its

long-term aim is actually the

5:04:245:04:28

destruction of Government in

Northern Ireland, and unification.

5:04:285:04:33

That's what they've always wanted,

and this is what their planets.

I

5:04:335:04:39

hear very carefully what he has

said, I have to say over the course

5:04:395:04:45

of the last ten years when the DUP

has been in Government Sinn Fein

5:04:455:04:50

have been in Government, other

parties have been in Government, and

5:04:505:04:54

these have been periods of great

progress, good things have been done

5:04:545:04:58

for Northern Ireland. It is now the

second highest area in the UK

5:04:585:05:04

outside of London and the South-East

for foreign direct investment. We

5:05:045:05:09

have very big increases in the

number of tourists coming to

5:05:095:05:12

Northern Ireland and investment

there. I believe there are

5:05:125:05:17

opportunities to really move

Northern Ireland forward. I hope it

5:05:175:05:20

will be with the partnership of Sinn

Fein and other parties in Northern

5:05:205:05:25

Ireland to get devolved Government

up and running, but we have to take

5:05:255:05:30

awareness of where we are, we have

to take sensible and practical

5:05:305:05:34

measures in the meantime to ensure

that departments to not write of

5:05:345:05:40

money, -- ran out of money, and that

is why I welcome what the Secretary

5:05:405:05:43

of State has done today, the way you

spell that out. The fact is unless

5:05:435:05:48

this measure is taken, we will not

have the money for hospitals and

5:05:485:05:54

schools maintained Andrew Rhodes to

be maintained and the rest.

One of

5:05:545:06:00

the measures still available given

all that has been said, one of the

5:06:005:06:07

measure still available to the

secondary mages to call another

5:06:075:06:10

election, I wonder what is view is

that? Should that impasse continued

5:06:105:06:17

THE honourable lady raises an

interesting point, because as things

5:06:175:06:20

stand under the current legislation,

the Secretary of State is under a

5:06:205:06:24

legal obligation to call an

election.

Not immediately, but as

5:06:245:06:27

things stand, currently the Northern

Ireland executive cannot be restored

5:06:275:06:35

unless you primary legislation is

introduced, and there is an

5:06:355:06:39

obligation to consider another

election. The question arises of

5:06:395:06:42

course as to whether another

election would change anything.

5:06:425:06:45

Whether it would actually improve

the prospects of any agreement. I

5:06:455:06:53

have to say in the General Election

just held in June are party received

5:06:535:06:56

the highest vote for any single

party in Northern Ireland since

5:06:565:07:02

1985, so we don't fear another

election. And indeed, in passing I

5:07:025:07:06

might say we don't fear another

General Election either. We don't

5:07:065:07:13

fear that. I think we are probably

the only party in this House but can

5:07:135:07:23

confidently say if there is another

General Election tomorrow would have

5:07:235:07:26

no difficulties about the result in

terms of Northern Ireland. And

5:07:265:07:35

whatever the outcome of that

election may be, as the honourable

5:07:355:07:40

gentleman says from a sedentary

position about a possible deal, I

5:07:405:07:45

remember very vividly conversations

with the opposition as it now is in

5:07:455:07:51

2010 and 2015, it is interesting

when one recalls all that, but we

5:07:515:07:55

don't want a General Election. And

we don't, I think, necessarily

5:07:555:08:05

expect an Assembly election to

change things very much in Northern

5:08:055:08:07

Ireland. The main focus has to be

getting the Assembly up and running

5:08:075:08:12

and easy to develop and running as

quickly as possible.

I wonder if you

5:08:125:08:20

would clarify an interesting point,

and that is whether in fact the

5:08:205:08:29

honourable gentleman and his

colleagues particular his party

5:08:295:08:31

leader have detected within Sinn

Fein disagreement between the party

5:08:315:08:36

president, Gerry Adams, and the

leader in Northern Ireland, Michelle

5:08:365:08:42

O'Neill. Is she repeatedly being...

Her decisions being overwritten by

5:08:425:08:48

the party president?

I'm grateful,

and I think it is an interesting

5:08:485:08:56

question, certainly the Irish Prime

Minister has in recent weeks had

5:08:565:08:59

something to say on that matter,

indeed he has accused Gerry Adams of

5:08:595:09:05

doing exactly what she implies,

although I have to say that it

5:09:055:09:07

remains dubious in my view to accept

the proposition that somehow the

5:09:075:09:14

leader of Sinn Fein in Northern

Ireland, who was after all appointed

5:09:145:09:20

unilaterally by Gerry Adams has no

election took place not even among

5:09:205:09:25

the Sinn Fein representatives, she

was appointed directly by Gerry

5:09:255:09:28

Adams in order that he could ensure

that his voice was heard, it is

5:09:285:09:35

somewhat I think open to question as

to whether or not there is any

5:09:355:09:38

independent order the view in terms

of going forward as far as Sinn Fein

5:09:385:09:43

is concerned between the two of

them. Can I just say, I know others

5:09:435:09:48

want to speak, I want to draw to a

conclusion, as we talk about this

5:09:485:09:53

bill being a move towards starring

role, remember we have already had a

5:09:535:09:56

move to delight rule. -- direct

rule. That is on the issue of

5:09:565:10:04

welfare reform. This House has

control and powers and authority

5:10:045:10:13

over welfare policy and legislation

in Northern Ireland up until the end

5:10:135:10:15

of this year. That was a policy that

Sinn Fein agreed to. So when people

5:10:155:10:22

listen these days to Sinn Fein

railing against Aaron Grewal,

5:10:225:10:26

remember that the agreed as part of

the Stormont House agreement that

5:10:265:10:30

welfare policy should be transferred

back to Westminster. Why? Because

5:10:305:10:37

the did not want to take the hard

decisions on welfare that team in

5:10:375:10:41

the Assembly required them to take.

They preferred others because

5:10:415:10:45

decisions for them. That's an

interesting example of when we hear

5:10:455:10:51

people talk about the downsides of

direct rule and how it is a terrible

5:10:515:10:54

backward step, on other issues they

are quite happy to pass over those

5:10:545:10:59

powers to Westminster. Going forward

I can current hourly with those who

5:10:595:11:05

have said that the current position

of this sort of direct rule light,

5:11:055:11:14

semi-direct rule, cannot be

sustained for a lengthy period. I

5:11:145:11:18

think there is no real dispute about

that. We have to have Ministers.

5:11:185:11:22

Because Ministers prioritise, and

Ministers allocate. In this budget

5:11:225:11:30

does not solve the problem of who is

prioritising and who is allocating.

5:11:305:11:34

At some point very soon we will

leave Ministers, but that does not

5:11:345:11:37

mean that we give up on the

negotiations, talks and efforts to

5:11:375:11:43

get devolution up and running, and

we will continue to do that, and we

5:11:435:11:47

will play full part in it, but it

would be a travesty and a big

5:11:475:11:51

mistake to allow Northern Ireland to

continue in a limbo where decisions

5:11:515:11:55

cannot be made. References have been

made to the historical

5:11:555:11:59

investigations enquiry, and I have

community groups and others coming

5:11:595:12:03

all the time wanting to guidance

uncertainty about future funding,

5:12:035:12:07

and it is fair and wrong that people

should not be in a position to have

5:12:075:12:11

some sort of certain day, and of

course in that, this House must be

5:12:115:12:20

the place where decisions are made

and where Ministers would be

5:12:205:12:25

accountable. Of course there is a

role for the Irish Republic in terms

5:12:255:12:31

of Strand to strand three issues.

And we go back to the fundamental

5:12:315:12:36

principles of the political process

that have existed from the outset,

5:12:365:12:40

whereby Strand one issues, in other

words internal Northern Ireland

5:12:405:12:47

affairs are a matter for the UK

Government and the parties in

5:12:475:12:50

Northern Ireland alone. Strand two

issues, ie north-south, are a matter

5:12:505:12:57

for discussion between

representatives in Northern Ireland

5:12:575:13:01

and the republic, strand three

between the Irish and British

5:13:015:13:03

Government, the principles that

three strand approach must and will

5:13:035:13:09

be maintained, there will be no role

in the internal affairs of Northern

5:13:095:13:13

Ireland for the Irish were going

forward, but of principle enshrined

5:13:135:13:18

in the Belfast agreement under the

principle of consent, so we look

5:13:185:13:22

forward to this budget allowing the

departments in Northern Ireland to

5:13:225:13:28

spend out the money that is

necessary over the coming weeks and

5:13:285:13:32

months, and look forward to working

with the Government and continuing

5:13:325:13:35

to engage with the other parties,

particular Sinn Fein, to try to get

5:13:355:13:41

devolution up and running as quickly

as we possibly can.

Thank you, it is

5:13:415:13:47

a pleasure to follow the member, I

endorse the comments and those of

5:13:475:13:52

the shadow Secretary of State and

the Secretary of State on the

5:13:525:13:54

shocking events over the weekend.

There is absolutely no place in

5:13:545:14:00

Northern Ireland for pipe bombs when

all the work, all the struggles of

5:14:005:14:06

all the in recent years setting up

these originals, there is every

5:14:065:14:11

possible means to express political

being opinion, there is no

5:14:115:14:16

justification for this behaviour and

underwear to deceive household

5:14:165:14:18

harshly condemns them. I came in as

Secretary of State after the long

5:14:185:14:23

process had brought the Belfast

agreement. We had just heard the

5:14:235:14:28

devolution of policing and justice,

the incredible difficult decisions

5:14:285:14:32

that John Major made, followed by

those of Tony Blair, and we really

5:14:325:14:36

tried to make it work. I saw that

our balance of political

5:14:365:14:42

arrangements was to help the economy

by the devolution of corporation

5:14:425:14:45

tax. The complete support of

parties, the business community, and

5:14:455:14:49

here we are, it is still not been

devolved. We have done our bit in

5:14:495:14:55

this House, we have given the

Assembly and the Executive power to

5:14:555:15:00

do that, but tragically for all

those businesses in Northern

5:15:005:15:02

Ireland, all those people, it has

not been delivered. I'm as

5:15:025:15:06

disappointed as anybody in this

Chamber and we're here this evening

5:15:065:15:10

having to pass a bill directly

delivering the money to keep things

5:15:105:15:16

going in Northern Ireland, I

entirely endorse what my honourable

5:15:165:15:20

friend has done, I think is patients

in recent months has been quite

5:15:205:15:26

extraordinary, and I understand he

intends to continue and his very

5:15:265:15:29

best to try to get local parties to

agree, but sadly become to this

5:15:295:15:35

point, this is a technical bill

tonight, I hope you will pass it

5:15:355:15:38

through without

5:15:385:15:46

He mentioned a key point. He says

his real concern is good Governments

5:15:465:15:53

governance in Northern Ireland. What

worries me is that it is simply not

5:15:535:15:59

fair that civil servants have to run

the place without poetical

5:15:595:16:02

decision-making. The honourable

member for North Antrim mentioned

5:16:025:16:07

this. Who is responsible? Who is the

Secretary going to be responsible

5:16:075:16:13

to? This arrangement can only be for

the short-term, sadly. We really

5:16:135:16:17

have the Secretary of state pulls it

off back and gets it up and running.

5:16:175:16:25

But talking about a glide path he

needs to really look and address the

5:16:255:16:29

problem of the declining... Nothing

to do with money, Northern Ireland

5:16:295:16:39

receives £4018 per head. In England,

11500 and 79. More per head to spend

5:16:395:16:48

by the state in Northern Ireland. --

than Northern Ireland. Northern

5:16:485:17:00

Ireland is the worst performing

region in orthopaedics, waiting

5:17:005:17:05

lists exceed three years. Patients

suffering chronic pain can wait up

5:17:055:17:08

to two max years to be seen by a

specialist. Cancer care targets have

5:17:085:17:13

never been met. 2017, 70% operating

procedures. In three months, they

5:17:135:17:18

did not need it. They did not need

50% either. Many areas, performance

5:17:185:17:27

is getting worse not better. If you

take the case of the Belfast trust,

5:17:275:17:34

not necessarily the worst

performing, waiting more than 12

5:17:345:17:41

months for an outpatient. Target is

zero. 35% of this patients wait to

5:17:415:18:08

see a specialist...

5:18:085:18:11

Sectarian division is a terrible

waste not just of human talent but

5:18:495:18:52

of money. We have two teacher

training college, there was talk of

5:18:525:18:59

uniting them but it was abandoned.

Education boards were abolished,

5:18:595:19:02

replaced with a new authority. It

now absorbs 30% of the whole

5:19:025:19:08

education budget. The duplication is

costly. 2015, council for Catholic

5:19:085:19:21

maintained schools propose closing

St Mary's high school. 21,000

5:19:215:19:30

pupils, -- 2100, far below viable.

It was ... It will be closed in

5:19:305:19:39

2018. This fiasco has cost between

five and 7000 per year to keep it

5:19:395:19:47

open. We should consider the

benefits of direct rule. Difficult

5:19:475:19:53

decisions could be taken. The

ludicrous deprecation, cost and

5:19:535:19:57

weight in the delivery of public

services could be ended. -- waste.

5:19:575:20:06

People have said, when are we

getting direct rule? Another front

5:20:065:20:10

bench was this. The devolved bodies

do not want this, no one in this

5:20:105:20:14

House. We have to face up now that

we have to face up to the balance of

5:20:145:20:20

failing of the services because of

the lack of political direction and

5:20:205:20:24

the need to recognise the

achievements of the process and to

5:20:245:20:29

keep the political institutions

going. That is a difficult balance

5:20:295:20:32

to judge at the moment. When you see

the figures, we are letting down the

5:20:325:20:40

people of Northern Ireland, the

hard-working people. If we expect

5:20:405:20:44

them to put up with seven public

services despite very high levels of

5:20:445:20:49

public expenditure because there

simply isn't the political

5:20:495:20:53

decision-making process. It is

simply not fair I think on the civil

5:20:535:20:59

service to expect them to deliver

this. Without any great enthusiasm,

5:20:595:21:05

I wish the Budget had gone out to

local members. Back I wholeheartedly

5:21:055:21:14

support what the Secretary of state

has done, wholeheartedly sympathise

5:21:145:21:19

with the difficult position he has

been in. I asking to think about the

5:21:195:21:23

balance between what is happening on

the ground, what services people in

5:21:235:21:28

Northern Ireland are actually

getting. Is this stresses at the

5:21:285:21:32

moment, is it really delivering for

them? --. Should he get his slow

5:21:325:21:42

glide in order to think about direct

rule ministers? Once you start, get

5:21:425:21:47

going, it might be difficult to get

out. Think about the balance. We owe

5:21:475:21:52

it to the hard-working people of

Northern Ireland to get proper

5:21:525:21:55

decisions made with public money. I

will support the bill but I will ask

5:21:555:22:00

the Secretary of State to think

about what happens over the next few

5:22:005:22:03

weeks.

I would like to make my

support for the Secretary of State

5:22:035:22:09

's comments regarding the PSNI over

the Republic at Saint Omer. --

5:22:095:22:26

repugnant events in Omagh. I am

aware there are plenty of people,

5:22:265:22:34

members who still wish to speak. I

begin by making clear my view that

5:22:345:22:39

we are doing here is something which

should more probably be done in

5:22:395:22:45

Belfast. Budgets affecting the

people in Northern Ireland, public

5:22:455:22:48

services in Northern Ireland should

be decided in Stormont. I believe

5:22:485:22:56

the Secretary of State has good

intentions but it cannot be a

5:22:565:23:00

substitute for the proper

consideration of the assembly.

5:23:005:23:03

Northern Ireland has been without an

administration for far too long,

5:23:035:23:08

negotiations over reforming the

administration seem bogged down in a

5:23:085:23:10

way that to me that would suggest

previous leaders of the largest

5:23:105:23:17

parties in the assembly would never

have allowed. I have respect for the

5:23:175:23:22

current leaders. If Mr Paisley and

Mr McGuinness can find a way to work

5:23:225:23:27

together and move forward then I am

certain that two intelligent women

5:23:275:23:33

can find agreement and the future

direction without blame rancour.

5:23:335:23:36

There are difficulties, no one would

suggest there are none. Surely there

5:23:365:23:41

are no insurmountable difficulties.

Nothing which it held up such vital

5:23:415:23:47

negotiations for so long.

5:23:475:23:51

The Prime Minister might be looking

enviously at Arlene Foster just now

5:23:565:24:00

and thinking the absence of Cabinet

ministers might well be a bad thing.

5:24:005:24:05

However, looking at how things have

been going, it seems like we do is

5:24:055:24:10

going to be more push and pull

before we see the SMB back to work,

5:24:105:24:13

particularly with such things as the

R H I enquiry. -- assembly back to

5:24:135:24:21

work. The focus must be on getting

it back up and running. Decisions

5:24:215:24:29

for Northern Ireland should be taken

in Northern Ireland by the people

5:24:295:24:31

who know best, and Belfast should

decide. Decisions are best made by

5:24:315:24:38

the people most directly affected.

With all certainty in our own

5:24:385:24:41

judgment that we are able to summon

here and with the noise that is

5:24:415:24:46

generated on a regular basis, we

still cannot offer as the Secretary

5:24:465:24:52

of state suggested the level of

scrutiny of the needs of the

5:24:525:24:55

communities of Northern Ireland is

that assembly members will have.

5:24:555:24:58

Even allowing for the considerable

knowledge on the benches up the back

5:24:585:25:02

here. SNP members will not stand in

the wake of the bills. It keeps

5:25:025:25:13

local authorities working, police on

the streets, lights on in schools

5:25:135:25:19

and hospitals. It is to be hoped

that this post does not need to do

5:25:195:25:23

anything of this nature in the

future and that budgets for services

5:25:235:25:27

in Northern Ireland will be decided

and passed in Belfast. It was good

5:25:275:25:32

to hear some of the comments made

today about the Northern Irish civil

5:25:325:25:38

servants. We do not seem to mention

them very much in any of our debates

5:25:385:25:44

generally but I think it would be

remiss of us to go through the

5:25:445:25:49

passage of this Bill without

mentioning the contribution they

5:25:495:25:51

have made to keeping services

running in Northern Ireland. With

5:25:515:25:56

gratitude we should note that they

have carried on delivering even when

5:25:565:26:01

deprived of political leadership

which gives civil servants cover and

5:26:015:26:04

direction and we should offer

support while they keep things

5:26:045:26:08

running. The past months cannot have

it easy and we owe them our thanks.

5:26:085:26:13

While we wait for the outcome of the

negotiations to give these civil

5:26:135:26:18

servants some respite, I think we

should be clear about what is and is

5:26:185:26:22

not acceptable for the future. I

know the Secretary of State is clear

5:26:225:26:27

this Bill does not represent a

return to direct rule. That is

5:26:275:26:30

something I would not be looking

for. I appreciate his comments. He

5:26:305:26:35

has spoken about that glide path to

increasing intervention by the UK

5:26:355:26:40

Government. Can itching to do

everything possible to avoid that?

5:26:405:26:44

The continuation of the toxin is

essential and will be taking up his

5:26:445:26:50

time. -- can I urge him to do

everything possible? Stormont is

5:26:505:26:58

adrift. It would not be beneficial

for its to be floundering. The piece

5:26:585:27:05

process may be set back and the

advances Northern Ireland has

5:27:055:27:12

achieved during the years apiece.

The entrenched attitudes, there must

5:27:125:27:16

be no return to. The opinions that

have the devil to the communities

5:27:165:27:22

for decades. In passing this Bill, I

hope it is the last time we should

5:27:225:27:28

have to do something of this nature

rather than in Belfast. --

5:27:285:27:33

bedevilled the communities.

I

support this Bill. In order to be

5:27:335:27:40

absolutely sure we get everybody in,

I am going to propose a time limit

5:27:405:27:46

of ten minutes, starting with Nigel

Mills.

I rise or two to support this

5:27:465:27:54

Bill. It is a shame to have to

support a least- worst option open

5:27:545:28:01

to us, we would rather have an

attractive and sensible way forward.

5:28:015:28:11

Time to beat it to the very last

possible in doing this to get

5:28:115:28:17

institutions back and working in

Northern Ireland. Something of us

5:28:175:28:21

want. If you look at what the

options are, option one is another

5:28:215:28:27

election. We have had two this year,

both producing the same reading two

5:28:275:28:32

parties. It is hard to imagine a

sufficient feeling that will lead to

5:28:325:28:38

a different Government. An election

at this stage would see a further

5:28:385:28:45

hardening of opinion and make the

situation worse. That looks

5:28:455:28:49

unattractive, the option. Option two

would be to continue to not set the

5:28:495:28:54

Budget and use the gradual running

out of money in the public services

5:28:545:28:57

in a way of twisting the arms to

find a deal. We have been trying

5:28:575:29:03

that for a few months and it has not

worked. There is a risk of harm in

5:29:035:29:09

trying that longer. That probably

only leaves moving quickly to full

5:29:095:29:16

direct rule. Again, I think that has

lots of downsides. To try and do it

5:29:165:29:20

quickly without any thought as to

what the local consultation will be,

5:29:205:29:25

what it would look like, how we can

work through the damage it would do

5:29:255:29:30

to institutions in the long term.

Rather aggressive step. Let's be

5:29:305:29:38

clear what we are doing, we are

choosing here how money is spent in

5:29:385:29:46

Northern Ireland in choosing the

Budget for Northern Ireland. The

5:29:465:29:50

most important power this by Scott

was to set the Budget to control how

5:29:505:29:56

much money is spent. A parliament or

assembly that cannot set a Budget,

5:29:565:30:00

choose how to spend its money is no

parliament or assembly at all. Let's

5:30:005:30:04

be clear, what we're doing here is

taking perhaps the most fundamental

5:30:045:30:08

of decisions that parliaments take

in choosing priorities and how we

5:30:085:30:14

spend on them.

5:30:145:30:16

I know we have tried every possible

way to find what the budget would

5:30:215:30:25

have been if it was the executive

still in charge, but there hasn't

5:30:255:30:29

been the executive in ten months.

This is part of us choosing how we

5:30:295:30:36

spend the money. It's a large step

towards direct rule, perhaps the

5:30:365:30:40

most fundamental step you can take,

to choose how the money is spent and

5:30:405:30:43

what it will be spent on. As other

members have said, we can't leave

5:30:435:30:49

Northern Ireland without and a

sensible government for very long.

5:30:495:30:52

There are some people out there who

think of all politicians. I suggest

5:30:525:30:59

when they think that, they need

to... If you don't have real

5:30:595:31:06

government and accountable

ministers, as we have had in

5:31:065:31:11

Northern Ireland come you don't get

the decisions being made. We don't

5:31:115:31:14

get money spent on the priorities we

wanted spent on. A prolonged period

5:31:145:31:19

of no accountable ministers and no

accountable decision-making is the

5:31:195:31:22

worst form of government. It can't

carry on for very long. I'm not sure

5:31:225:31:26

how you can even get past a whole

year. If we get to the anniversary

5:31:265:31:30

of the executive falling and we

don't have something in its place,

5:31:305:31:34

that would seem to me to be a final

end point where we have to put

5:31:345:31:41

something in place. We can't have

two years of budget is being set

5:31:415:31:44

like this and two years of no

progress. I will happily support

5:31:445:31:46

this bill tonight, but I think we

have to find a better way forward as

5:31:465:31:49

soon as we possibly can.

Sammy

Wilson.

First of all, just on this

5:31:495:31:58

bill and the fact we have it before

us tonight, I know the Secretary of

5:31:585:32:02

State has indicated the process by

which we got here. We will be

5:32:025:32:09

supporting the bill tonight,

although I believe this is something

5:32:095:32:12

which should have come to this house

far sooner than what it has done. I

5:32:125:32:18

think it's a reflection of perhaps

the attitude through the Northern

5:32:185:32:24

Ireland Office, that we must not

offend Sinn Fein, that we have

5:32:245:32:31

lingered so long before bringing

this necessary legislation before

5:32:315:32:34

the house. Let's make no mistake

about it, it bears repeating, we are

5:32:345:32:38

here today because of the political

carcass of the Sinn Fein Finance

5:32:385:32:46

minister, who this time last year,

faced with a budget which was

5:32:465:32:50

challenging, but he would not be the

first finance minister to be faced

5:32:505:32:54

with that. All finance ministers

since 2008 have been faced with the

5:32:545:33:01

same situation. They have had to

bring forward a budget which was

5:33:015:33:08

criticised by pressure groups, which

had departments screaming about cuts

5:33:085:33:12

etc. But at least they brought the

budget before the assembly, argued

5:33:125:33:17

their case, made amendments where

necessary, and the good governance

5:33:175:33:22

of Northern Ireland was continued.

The finance minister at the time

5:33:225:33:28

refused to do that. The second thing

is this, I believe Sinn Fein have

5:33:285:33:32

decided to opt out. I know the

member for North Belfast wanted to

5:33:325:33:36

give them the benefit of doubt. Look

at their history. They let the hated

5:33:365:33:44

Tories bring in welfare reform. They

neither criticised... An issue about

5:33:445:33:53

Universal Credit and welfare reform

and personal independence payments

5:33:535:33:57

and the rest. But they abrogated

their responsibility on that one. We

5:33:575:34:05

have heard today about the changes

required in the health service. The

5:34:055:34:10

Sinn Fein minister had the report,

accepted the report, and then refuse

5:34:105:34:14

to do anything about it because of

the decisions about hospital

5:34:145:34:19

closures etc. Now we have the same

with the budget. I would not be too

5:34:195:34:26

optimistic in all your talks with

Sinn Fein that you will reach a

5:34:265:34:29

situation where they settle for an

agreement to get back into the

5:34:295:34:35

executive and to re-establish the

assembly. They will continue with

5:34:355:34:42

their list of unrealistic demands as

a cover for the fact they don't want

5:34:425:34:46

to get into the assembly in the

first place. I will give way.

I'm

5:34:465:34:53

grateful for the honourable

gentleman for giving way. Is it the

5:34:535:34:59

case that Sinn Fein have opted out

since the Brexit 's decision? Sinn

5:34:595:35:04

Fein have played upon the Brexit

decision. They have made a

5:35:045:35:07

calculation that they will play up

the talk and the fear of a hard

5:35:075:35:16

Brexit and hard border in order to

talk about it and it plays very well

5:35:165:35:28

to the audience.

It brings me to the

final point I want to make this

5:35:285:35:35

season. The Secretary of State must

be very clear what the Sinn Fein

5:35:355:35:42

strategy is here. They preferred a

chaos of no assembly and no direct

5:35:425:35:46

rule. It suits them. It suits their

Republican agenda. And if you are

5:35:465:35:53

not going to have ministers

appointed in Northern Ireland, which

5:35:535:35:57

is our preference, then the in the

interests of good government and

5:35:575:36:03

stability, and to ensure Sinn Fein's

Chaos theory of politics is not put

5:36:035:36:06

into practice in Northern Ireland,

we have to move towards a situation

5:36:065:36:10

where we have ministers who can take

charge of departments in Northern

5:36:105:36:13

Ireland and plan for the future. Let

me deal with the issue of the budget

5:36:135:36:17

itself. It is a challenging budget.

In tax terms, -- in cash terms has

5:36:175:36:28

been an increase in real terms there

hasn't. We accept there been

5:36:285:36:32

difficulties, and the rest of the

United Kingdom, but Northern Ireland

5:36:325:36:36

can't be exempt. We have made a good

argument and been successful in

5:36:365:36:41

making the argument highlighting the

particular issues in Northern

5:36:415:36:44

Ireland which need to be addressed,

which are different from other parts

5:36:445:36:48

of the United Kingdom, and have been

successful. I know some members of

5:36:485:36:53

the Labour Party, who would argue we

need to spend more money on public

5:36:535:36:57

services, seem to have some

reluctance on seeing it spent on

5:36:575:37:01

public services in Northern Ireland.

They can explain their

5:37:015:37:04

inconsistency. I don't need to

highlight it. And the Scottish

5:37:045:37:10

National spokesperson is turning

round, they make the exact same

5:37:105:37:12

point. I suppose their difficulty

has been that they are angry they

5:37:125:37:17

didn't get in on the act. But it is

a challenging budget. But I have

5:37:175:37:27

posed the question to the Secretary

of State because I have some

5:37:275:37:31

experience on this. The first and

Deputy First Minister's office has

5:37:315:37:35

always been one of those departments

which somehow or other has been

5:37:355:37:40

exempt from reductions when it has

come to budgetary decisions. I think

5:37:405:37:47

many people will find it

incomprehensible, at a time when we

5:37:475:37:50

do not have a first and Deputy First

Minister, that the executive office

5:37:505:37:55

gets 832% increase in its budget. I

don't think it's without

5:37:555:37:59

significance either because I

imagine it goes to the bunch strung

5:37:595:38:05

up by the Department of Finance, at

a time when other departments such

5:38:055:38:09

as education only get a 1.5%

increase. Justice is going down.

5:38:095:38:14

Agriculture and the economy is going

down and the Department of Finance

5:38:145:38:17

gets a 10% increase! One would

wonder what influences there have

5:38:175:38:24

been. These are the kinds of

questions that would have been,

5:38:245:38:27

should have been dealt with by the

Assembly, but are not. I think these

5:38:275:38:34

are questions that we would

certainly like some explanation from

5:38:345:38:38

the Secretary of State about as to

why those two departments in

5:38:385:38:42

particular, departments which are

face on to the public, education,

5:38:425:38:48

the economy, agriculture, the

environment, face reductions in

5:38:485:38:53

their particular budget allocations.

It was mentioned earlier on about

5:38:535:39:01

the education budget in Northern

Ireland and especially the waste in

5:39:015:39:04

the education budget. Again, 1.5%

increase in the education budget is

5:39:045:39:13

going to be challenging for schools.

I know this from the representations

5:39:135:39:20

I have had from headmasters in my

own constituency. But it is a

5:39:205:39:25

pricing that although we rationalise

the administration of education, and

5:39:255:39:27

did away with five boards and had

one education authority, it's still

5:39:275:39:35

absorbs a disproportionate amount of

the education budget. And there is

5:39:355:39:38

more money held at the centre by

both the Department for Education

5:39:385:39:43

and the education authority when it

comes to education in Northern

5:39:435:39:47

Ireland. There is one way that

without spending another penny, if

5:39:475:39:52

the Secretary of State and the

Chancellor word to address the issue

5:39:525:39:58

of the £500 million that was

allocated under the Stormont house

5:39:585:40:02

agreement for shared future, that is

not new money. It is money which is

5:40:025:40:06

there. And yet the Treasury have

tied it up in such a way that it

5:40:065:40:10

can't be spent on shared future. One

of the biggest joint campuses, which

5:40:105:40:17

would have alleviated a huge amount

of expenditure on education in the

5:40:175:40:22

western area of Northern Ireland, at

Omagh, no clear example of a shared

5:40:225:40:29

future campus. And yet the money,

£140 million of that, can't be spent

5:40:295:40:35

under the shared future agreement.

There are schools, some in my own

5:40:355:40:41

constituency, which are crying out

for expenditure on them. They have a

5:40:415:40:45

mixture of both Catholics and

Protestants, integrated schools in

5:40:455:40:49

all but name, they don't have an

integrated title ahead of them, but

5:40:495:40:55

the money can't be spent under the

shared future programme. It's an

5:40:555:40:59

issue I would like the Secretary of

State to take up with the Treasury.

5:40:595:41:04

And we have had today, even the fact

that where there is a big problem

5:41:045:41:09

with the education budget, we still

have huge amounts of land and school

5:41:095:41:13

sites which are not being sold by

the Department for Education, which

5:41:135:41:18

could raise revenue and be available

to the public purse in Northern

5:41:185:41:20

Ireland. So we have a tough budget,

but I believe it's a budget that a

5:41:205:41:27

Northern Ireland assembly could have

worked its way through, has not

5:41:275:41:30

worked its way through, and these

are the kinds of questions that I

5:41:305:41:33

think have to be at in the house. As

far as the future is concerned, I

5:41:335:41:37

would say this to the Secretary of

State. I know he is reluctant to be

5:41:375:41:44

the Secretary of State who would

introduce full direct rule again.

5:41:445:41:46

But we'll hit the same problem next

year because of the lack of ability

5:41:465:41:51

by departments to plan for spending,

if we do not have ministers in

5:41:515:41:54

place. If there is no minister in

place, then how can departments look

5:41:545:42:00

at new initiatives which make at the

expenditure, which may introduce

5:42:005:42:06

efficiencies? They can't do it. So

we will trundle on spending money in

5:42:065:42:10

the same way as we have always done,

because that's all civil servants

5:42:105:42:14

will be authorised to do. I think

that very soon the Secretary of

5:42:145:42:21

State will have to grasp the nettle

and say, we need to have ministers

5:42:215:42:25

in place who can look through the

programmes which departments need to

5:42:255:42:30

undertake, who can plan for the

future. Who can tell civil servants,

5:42:305:42:35

you can do this with ministerial

authority. Apart from that, and we

5:42:355:42:41

welcome the fact the minister has

announced today the £50 million for

5:42:415:42:46

precious in health and education

will be available this year, but

5:42:465:42:50

there is infrastructure money,

hundreds of millions of pounds that

5:42:505:42:53

can only be spent with planning.

That can only be done if there are

5:42:535:42:58

ministers in place. Hence, I would

say to the Secretary of State, don't

5:42:585:43:02

dally any longer. Don't hold out

hope that the cards of Sinn Fein

5:43:025:43:07

will take the reins of government

and make tough decisions. They

5:43:075:43:10

won't. And that means,

unfortunately, we don't relish it,

5:43:105:43:15

unfortunately be decisions will have

to be made by ministers here.

Can I

5:43:155:43:21

join the Secretary of State and

shadow in condemning the actions of

5:43:215:43:27

those responsible in Oma and

Londonderry and hailing the work of

5:43:275:43:33

the PSNI. -- Omagh. Speaking from

the benches of a one nation

5:43:335:43:45

government and Unionist party, I'm

interested in their well-being of

5:43:455:43:48

the whole United Kingdom. I welcome

the Secretary of State's efforts to

5:43:485:43:54

restore Northern Ireland's devolved

administration, its power-sharing

5:43:545:43:57

executive and Assembly. And also to

put Northern Ireland 's financial

5:43:575:44:00

situation on a more secure footing,

giving reassurance to businesses,

5:44:005:44:04

community group, residents and

others who have an interest in

5:44:045:44:07

Northern Ireland is secure and

prosperous future. I share his

5:44:075:44:09

determination to get the

negotiations, and getting back to a

5:44:095:44:14

situation where Northern Ireland is

self-governing once more. I want to

5:44:145:44:18

make three brief points during my

contribution this evening. The first

5:44:185:44:21

is to state again how important I

think it is that there is a budget

5:44:215:44:25

secured for Northern Ireland

tonight, and I hope the whole house

5:44:255:44:28

will join me and the Secretary State

in supporting this bill and giving

5:44:285:44:30

it fair passage so we can safeguard

the public services of those in

5:44:305:44:34

Northern Ireland. Secular, is to

restate the bill reflects the

5:44:345:44:37

Secretary of State's desire to act

with circumspection. I don't believe

5:44:375:44:40

he's acting lightly, but having

exhausted all other options he's

5:44:405:44:47

acting in a reasonable and balanced

way, making sure he has exhausted

5:44:475:44:50

other options, from extending

deadlines to chairing a variety of

5:44:505:44:54

negotiations. I think this is the

best solution. The alternative is

5:44:545:44:58

having no budget. Having funds

distributed by a civil servant,

5:44:585:45:01

which whilst affected in the short

term, is not a sustainable

5:45:015:45:04

situation. And finally I want to

restate that I don't believe this is

5:45:045:45:08

a situation of direct rule nor a

step towards it. It's about the

5:45:085:45:12

machinery of government and making

sure the residents and businesses of

5:45:125:45:15

Northern Ireland have a functioning

financial settlement.

5:45:155:45:17

So in my view this bill must be

passed because it allows the

5:45:265:45:30

government to fulfil its side of the

social contract making sure North

5:45:305:45:34

Island residents receive the

services they deserve, and frankly

5:45:345:45:37

the ones they've already paid for.

It is important that good government

5:45:375:45:40

is well functioning. The situation

in Northern Ireland as the Secretary

5:45:405:45:46

of State says has meant that the

months the civil servants have had

5:45:465:45:50

to distribute funds in the absence

of civil servants and this is not a

5:45:505:45:58

sustainable plan for the economy and

therefore I commend the efforts of

5:45:585:46:03

my right honourable friend to pass

this. Privatisation and allocation

5:46:035:46:10

of funds is a of for democratic

authority and I hope the devolved

5:46:105:46:17

administration is restored that in

the meantime this bill is a positive

5:46:175:46:22

solution given the situation we find

ourselves in. On the advice of my

5:46:225:46:27

friend, we have been trying to

effect for some time a restoration

5:46:275:46:38

of that administration. I know that

he has posted numerous discussions

5:46:385:46:42

at Stormont and progress has been

made. I know there are outstanding

5:46:425:46:45

issues on all sides but while those

talks continue I am confident that

5:46:455:46:50

we in this House must act on this

bill is the relevant and proper way

5:46:505:46:53

of doing so. My right honourable

friend the Secretary of State is

5:46:535:46:58

right to say that if we in this

House act, to manage the affairs of

5:46:585:47:05

Northern Ireland, we should only do

business the silly when it is

5:47:055:47:10

necessary, tonight spill the

appropriate resolution given the

5:47:105:47:14

situation that the House is in.

While I talk about evolution, I feel

5:47:145:47:21

we should know at this important

juncture that until this we have

5:47:215:47:25

experienced the longest period of

unbroken devolution in Northern

5:47:255:47:28

Ireland for some time. A significant

achievement for which this House

5:47:285:47:32

should congratulate all parties

involved. An important issue, I hope

5:47:325:47:36

it is an objective that we can get

to after this budget bill is passed.

5:47:365:47:42

Madam Deputy Speaker, the UK in my

opinion is stronger, more united and

5:47:425:47:46

better off when all our constituent

nations including Northern Ireland

5:47:465:47:49

have a secure future and a strong

relationship with this house, and

5:47:495:47:56

the Secretary of State has outlined

this in his opening remarks, I hope

5:47:565:48:02

the people of Northern Ireland will

receive the public services they

5:48:025:48:06

deserve and that there is a strong

and effective financial settlement

5:48:065:48:08

for them and that negotiations

continue, for these reasons I'm

5:48:085:48:13

pleased to support the Bill tonight

and wish my right honourable friend

5:48:135:48:17

and his ministers all the best in

passing this bill and making sure

5:48:175:48:20

northern Ireland has the secure

footing it deserves.

Jim Shannon.

5:48:205:48:29

Madam Deputy Speaker may affect the

Secretary of State and the Minister

5:48:295:48:32

of State for their hard work in

bringing this forward, we do

5:48:325:48:35

appreciate their efforts. Will make

it clear that this is not a guy

5:48:355:48:39

wanted, not what the DUP wanted, not

what the people of Northern Ireland

5:48:395:48:43

wanted when they voted the second

time this year. The only ones who

5:48:435:48:47

want this who should be here, given

the situation they caused, a Sinn

5:48:475:48:53

Fein. You might find them skulking

in the corridors here, hiding from

5:48:535:48:57

people and supposedly earning their

money. They refused to do what they

5:48:575:49:01

are elected to do, either here or in

the Northern Ireland assembly and

5:49:015:49:06

for this reason we are in an

impossible situation and my heart

5:49:065:49:10

rails against the predicament that

my constituents and the people of

5:49:105:49:14

the province have been strong and

into by those not fit for purpose.

5:49:145:49:18

They are elected to represent as

they will not do so. I wonder how

5:49:185:49:22

our schools would be if a teacher

applied a job, accepted it, took the

5:49:225:49:27

money and then refused to teach

because they wanted the summer

5:49:275:49:30

holiday to start in November and

Christmas to be moved to July. Our

5:49:305:49:35

education system would be in

tatters, and that's a fact. The

5:49:355:49:39

problem is due to the reluctance of

Sinn Fein to do their job and make

5:49:395:49:44

outrageous and workable demands, our

education system would be in

5:49:445:49:48

tatters. On the issue of the

education system we have the kind of

5:49:485:49:55

system in my constituency, it will

happen but I will do and because of

5:49:555:49:58

an arrangement to make it happen.

Again in my constituency we are

5:49:585:50:07

awaiting our most of these objects

to take place, so our health, Madam

5:50:075:50:17

Deputy Speaker, we have longer

reading lists than almost every

5:50:175:50:20

department because the monies are

not there to get them moving. We

5:50:205:50:25

have orthopaedics and the people who

come here that three years and

5:50:255:50:29

cannot get their operation of

examination, something is wrong.

5:50:295:50:32

Last week in the press we had the

issue of the pumps were just sitting

5:50:325:50:38

in a cupboard at the Ulster Hospital

and the Royal Victoria Hospital and

5:50:385:50:42

can't be used. You have to ask

yourself what is happening. And BUPA

5:50:425:50:47

have moved out of Northern Ireland

because they can no longer work with

5:50:475:50:55

the NHS in Northern Ireland. These

are just some of the examples. We

5:50:555:51:00

have infrastructure, the economy,

and every other department.

I thank

5:51:005:51:05

the honourable member forgiving way.

He has raised a number of points.

5:51:055:51:09

Will he also agree that agriculture

will face something like 3.7% in a

5:51:095:51:16

reduction but it is important and

vital as we leave the European Union

5:51:165:51:20

that animal welfare and standards

are taken care of and that there is

5:51:205:51:23

enough money in the funding to deal

with the eradication of TB.

I thank

5:51:235:51:28

my honourable friend and colleague

and congratulate him for his hard

5:51:285:51:32

work on the Defra committee. He

tells me he will have a number of

5:51:325:51:36

hours this week to work even harder

than normal so there's lots of work

5:51:365:51:40

to be done on that committee, let's

commend them for that. Today I

5:51:405:51:44

proudly wear a remembrance pennant,

a colleague asked me what it was to

5:51:445:51:49

do with and it was because of the

UDR four, murdered by the IRA in

5:51:495:51:54

Bally Coogan, three of them I knew

personally. So when it comes to

5:51:545:51:57

justice for their families, in the

next world they will get their

5:51:575:52:03

answer. That is the way it should be

because there is a day of reckoning

5:52:035:52:07

for everyone, and for those who have

carried out evil deeds, they will

5:52:075:52:11

one day be held accountable for

that. The things that should be

5:52:115:52:16

important to everyone regardless of

creed and gas and colour, they offer

5:52:165:52:20

the greater good which cannot change

when persons live, all because

5:52:205:52:27

people who also supposedly

principled they refused to stand up

5:52:275:52:29

for their people. If you ask a

person in the street, nationalist or

5:52:295:52:36

unionist, whatever their religion,

and asked them the most important

5:52:365:52:39

thing, they would say education.

Health, roads, getting operations.

5:52:395:52:43

These are the issues in my office

every day. It is not the Irish

5:52:435:52:49

language act, it is not those issues

and the quicker that Sinn Fein catch

5:52:495:52:53

on, can I say this with respect to

the Shadow minister, the quicker the

5:52:535:52:58

Shadow minister realises that as

well the better it will be. We will

5:52:585:53:01

have an understanding in this

chamber of the issues. Sinn Fein are

5:53:015:53:05

not here to speak for a solution but

we are here and we will continue to

5:53:055:53:08

be the people of the province as

best we can. When I speak to

5:53:085:53:12

constituents at about the budget

many things have been highlighted

5:53:125:53:20

and my response has been steady and

constant but direct rule is no good

5:53:205:53:23

in Northern Ireland. It is not what

I want, it is not what the people

5:53:235:53:26

want because we are a party of

devolution as everyone here

5:53:265:53:28

recognises. I am proud to be in this

house, and administers a criticism

5:53:285:53:34

but this is the opinion of someone

who has watched direct rule, I am of

5:53:345:53:38

an age, I suspect many of this side

of the chamber are with maybe the

5:53:385:53:43

odd exception! And just thinking

there might be a couple behind me!

5:53:435:53:51

Who can remember direct rule, Madam

Deputy Speaker is bigger. And what

5:53:515:53:54

we are locked out. All the benefits

of education, health, but these are

5:53:545:54:09

issues, these are only is his that

were clearly lost out on through

5:54:095:54:15

direct rule. Watching the play is

taken up with micro management, I

5:54:155:54:24

don't want to direct rule and I know

that most people in this chamber,

5:54:245:54:27

especially the Secretary of State in

all likelihood, but we are now in a

5:54:275:54:31

position whereby we can have no

other option unless good sense and a

5:54:315:54:35

desire to do what is right appears.

Focusing upon the budget, many of

5:54:355:54:44

the pressing needs that must be

addressed, one of those in the short

5:54:445:54:47

time that I have left, the role of

community funding. My right

5:54:475:54:56

honourable friend for north Belfast

spoke of it and I don't think one MP

5:54:565:55:00

from Northern Ireland isn't faced

with this in my constituency and all

5:55:005:55:04

constituencies, community funding.

It is essential that the good work

5:55:045:55:08

in our communities continue. But

been contacted by a great group,

5:55:085:55:13

residents Association who applied

for funding, they are sitting in

5:55:135:55:17

this programme of community funding,

they have an extension on a

5:55:175:55:22

community flat, the group provides a

homework club, pensioners club, a

5:55:225:55:25

craft club. An elected

representative works and a

5:55:255:55:32

cross-party manner, very much part

of the community, a cross party

5:55:325:55:36

politics. They need the extension to

continue their work and at this

5:55:365:55:40

moment we are in limbo because we

don't know if it will happen. The

5:55:405:55:43

years we've waited for this to take

place. I'm given to understand that

5:55:435:55:49

all commitments will be honoured, my

issue is twofold, how many other

5:55:495:55:54

groups will not be able to grow as

the Lee Makel in excess of capital

5:55:545:56:01

spent projects and can Northern

Ireland get out of the rut that we

5:56:015:56:04

have found ourselves in, and

underperforming and Protestant man,

5:56:045:56:09

if they don't have the funding to

help them find what they are good at

5:56:095:56:12

and excelling at, that applies to

all the community groups in my

5:56:125:56:17

constituency, to the Westminster

community Association, to Britain

5:56:175:56:24

and indeed to Barry Cowan, every one

of those groups has a project that

5:56:245:56:34

they need completed. And if we can't

get the money we can't get that

5:56:345:56:37

done. And what about homes start and

positive features? Two organisations

5:56:375:56:44

that are underfunded, coming

through. We need this money to make

5:56:445:56:47

things happen. That applies to the

care packages as well. My second is

5:56:475:56:55

you lies in the funding formula, the

government 's estimate represents,

5:56:555:57:06

this is also supplemented from other

sources and this does not apply for

5:57:065:57:15

any future funding to be secured in

arrears. The Secretary of State has

5:57:155:57:21

had to let this is not direct rule,

it is simply allowing the Northern

5:57:215:57:25

Ireland service allocation of the

funding as agreed by the Department

5:57:255:57:30

but I believe, Madam Deputy Speaker,

that there is scope for political

5:57:305:57:34

representation to change minds, and

some of my friends and colleagues

5:57:345:57:38

have referred to that. We are left

with little accountability which has

5:57:385:57:41

been a huge problem in Northern

Ireland before. I will ask the

5:57:415:57:46

Secretary of State in his absence,

the minister who will probably

5:57:465:57:49

respond, how they intend to present

this measure of not presenting

5:57:495:57:53

worthy projects of which I've named

a number and the groups in those

5:57:535:57:58

organisations, is getting out of the

guidance of a minister in place.

5:57:585:58:02

There are several answers which can

be given at this stage but the truth

5:58:025:58:06

is that people need answers. My

constituents need answers. They need

5:58:065:58:12

certainty. All of our constituents

on this side of the house need

5:58:125:58:15

answers. The DUP, my party, the

biggest rise of unionism, wanting to

5:58:155:58:22

work with you to bring about

stability and work with Her Majesty

5:58:225:58:27

's government, unlike those who are

notably absent is important that

5:58:275:58:29

health and education, we need

stability in non-ring fenced areas

5:58:295:58:34

that at the same time we are looking

to the secretary of state and the

5:58:345:58:39

government to provide that stability

and I believe the time is

5:58:395:58:41

approaching when you will have to

take much stronger steps to deal

5:58:415:58:45

with blatant noncompliance by Sinn

you very much.

Emma Pengelly.

Are

5:58:455:58:56

just a short remarks, today is

necessary but and deeply

5:58:565:59:00

disappointing day for Northern

Ireland. Since devolution and

5:59:005:59:04

especially for this reason so many

people have worked incredibly hard

5:59:045:59:08

to build peace and democratic

stability in the province. Both

5:59:085:59:15

publicly and privately, politically,

also in relation to society and

5:59:155:59:19

today is very disappointing for the

huge amount of work that people put

5:59:195:59:22

in to try to make devolution work.

And it worked in that decade but

5:59:225:59:27

we're not in a good place. Today I

welcomed the bill but it is also

5:59:275:59:31

very disappointing. Significant

challenges had to be overcome over

5:59:315:59:36

the course of the last ten years.

The fragility of the fledgling

5:59:365:59:39

government required considerable

care and development in the DUP

5:59:395:59:45

pulled our weight in doing that and

we remain committed to trying to get

5:59:455:59:50

devolution established and restored

for the benefit of all across

5:59:505:59:55

communities in Northern Ireland. As

many times we look to Northern

5:59:555:59:57

Ireland as if we were on the verge

of collapse. Very very difficult

5:59:576:00:03

issues that we face. But hard work,

perseverance and goodwill of the

6:00:036:00:09

Kemper 's difficulties. Until the

collapse earlier this year we had

6:00:096:00:13

sustained the longest period of

government in Northern Ireland since

6:00:136:00:16

1972. That was not easy. But what we

have today, and there has been a

6:00:166:00:22

reluctance by some to call this out

but what we have here today and what

6:00:226:00:27

we have seen is Sinn Fein are

bringing down the government in

6:00:276:00:31

Northern Ireland and refusing to

re-establish it.

6:00:316:00:36

It is that simple. For those who

argue Sinn Fein is basing this

6:00:366:00:41

approach on a principle, I challenge

you to go back to this time last

6:00:416:00:45

year, and look over the course of

that period of time of around six

6:00:456:00:48

months. I would ask you to look at

the oscillation within Sinn Fein in

6:00:486:00:54

terms of the reasons why they were

bringing down the government, what

6:00:546:00:58

they were looking for in terms of

negotiation, and what the

6:00:586:01:02

requirements and barriers were to

re-establish the executive. It took

6:01:026:01:06

them some considerable period of

time to decide that the Irish

6:01:066:01:10

language act was their key red line.

When you look back to their very

6:01:106:01:15

statements, when we sat in rooms

waiting for them to come down to see

6:01:156:01:18

what they wanted, it was far from

clear what their position was, for

6:01:186:01:23

many weeks and months. What that

says to me is that they are using a

6:01:236:01:29

particular issue, they identified in

those particular discussions that

6:01:296:01:32

the Irish language act was

particularly difficult. It's not my

6:01:326:01:37

opinion, it's a reality, that the

likes of an Irish language act is a

6:01:376:01:41

deeply divisive cultural and

identity issue in Northern Ireland.

6:01:416:01:44

It was always going to be difficult

to overcome. I would say that's

6:01:446:01:49

precisely the reasons why Sinn Fein

have chosen it as their single Red

6:01:496:01:53

Line emerging from that cacophony of

decisions and discussions they had

6:01:536:01:57

over that time. Sinn Fein are

holding the people of Northern

6:01:576:02:01

Ireland to ransom as they stamp

their feet with demands. They are

6:02:016:02:06

putting a cultural agenda before

issues such as health and education.

6:02:066:02:10

I think that's disgraceful. People

are suffering. Those on health

6:02:106:02:17

waiting lists, parents needing

special educational help, the

6:02:176:02:19

homeless. We have heard of the

victims of historical institutional

6:02:196:02:24

abuse. Businesses that need

stability to grow. Young people who

6:02:246:02:30

need skills, investment and jobs. I

will not go into the detail again in

6:02:306:02:34

relation to the timetable of what

happened, but as mentioned, I was

6:02:346:02:38

the chairperson of the Finance

committee. People have referenced

6:02:386:02:41

the point, as has been made by a

number of our colleagues, that it's

6:02:416:02:44

a political point. I would say to

the house today that as chairperson

6:02:446:02:49

of that committee, there are a

number of parties across the

6:02:496:02:54

assembly in Northern Ireland, in

that committee. And we agreed to

6:02:546:02:59

send letter after letter to the

finance minister, Mairtin

6:02:596:03:03

O'Muilleoir, showing our and concern

at the disgust and delay over

6:03:036:03:08

ringing forward this dropped budget.

The reality is the current situation

6:03:086:03:13

is not caused by the collapse of the

executive. Because by the timing of

6:03:136:03:17

the collapse there should have been

a budget in place. It brings us to

6:03:176:03:22

another critical point, the timing

of the collapse of the Assembly.

6:03:226:03:26

Sinn Fein shows the timing of that

collapse. Only Sinn Fein, and Sinn

6:03:266:03:32

Fein alone knew their plans and

timings. They could have produced a

6:03:326:03:37

budget before they walked away. It's

a point that I said in the chamber

6:03:376:03:42

of the Northern Ireland Assembly,

directly to Mairtin O Muilleoir, the

6:03:426:03:46

finance minister, why did they pick

that timing, when in two weeks we

6:03:466:03:51

could have produced and got a budget

in place. Likewise, when we look to

6:03:516:03:56

the victims of institutional abuse,

I worked with Sinn Fein for many

6:03:566:04:00

years in relation to that enquiry.

Sinn Fein were acutely aware of the

6:04:006:04:04

timings of that report to come out.

But instead of waiting for another

6:04:046:04:08

couple of weeks for the report to be

produced to facilitate the executive

6:04:086:04:12

making decisions before that

collapse, because, let's face it, a

6:04:126:04:16

number of weeks either way would

have made no difference either way

6:04:166:04:19

to the public enquiry in the matter

discussed at that time, but instead

6:04:196:04:23

of waiting they decided on the

timing without a budget, without

6:04:236:04:27

considering the victims of historic

institutional abuse, and without

6:04:276:04:31

committing security and certainty to

the departments. Because of this

6:04:316:04:38

decision by Sinn Fein and Mairtin O

Muilleoir, particularly in relation

6:04:386:04:41

to timings, that institutions were

thrown into a period of uncertainty,

6:04:416:04:47

extreme pressure, and consequently

the people of Northern Ireland

6:04:476:04:50

suffer the most across all

communities. It was these decisions

6:04:506:04:54

by Sinn Fein that really puts us in

this position today, at having to

6:04:546:05:00

look at putting a budget in place in

November when there has been no

6:05:006:05:05

budget in place right back to march

in Northern Ireland. Even though we

6:05:056:05:09

have heard references made in terms

of the indicative budget put in

6:05:096:05:12

place to allow departments to plan,

let's have no doubt that the lack of

6:05:126:05:17

certainty is fundamentally impacted

in terms of decision making, in

6:05:176:05:20

terms of the roll out of public

services, and people have been

6:05:206:05:25

impacted by that. I referenced

earlier in relation to my registered

6:05:256:05:30

interest, but health in particular

has been placed in a completely

6:05:306:05:34

unsatisfactory, pressured and

difficult situation. Again, let's be

6:05:346:05:38

very clear that this is a matter of

life and death. There will be people

6:05:386:05:44

who have died due to the uncertainty

and the decisions that needed to be

6:05:446:05:47

made by ministers, the decisions

that needed to be put in place in

6:05:476:05:52

terms of the budget, and that is

absolutely disgraceful. I welcome

6:05:526:05:55

the bill today, and in conclusion I

particularly welcome the decision

6:05:556:06:01

has been made to release £50 million

of the DUP and Conservative Party

6:06:016:06:07

agreement funds. We made the case,

and have been making the case for

6:06:076:06:11

some time, that these are vital. Our

public services are under huge

6:06:116:06:15

pressure in Northern Ireland. Again,

it has been mentioned here already,

6:06:156:06:22

but what was really important to the

DUP in terms of those discussions

6:06:226:06:25

and in terms of that funding was

that it would go to public services

6:06:256:06:31

to benefit absolutely everyone in

Northern Ireland, across all

6:06:316:06:34

communities in Northern Ireland.

Because the Democratic Unionist

6:06:346:06:38

Party will be there, not to fight on

narrow issues, narrow political

6:06:386:06:42

issues, narrow cultural agendas, we

will do our utmost to deliver

6:06:426:06:47

excellent public services for the

people of Northern Ireland,

6:06:476:06:50

regardless of their political view,

religion, race or any other

6:06:506:06:53

criteria. It's only if we work

towards that we will build. We had

6:06:536:06:59

reference to a shared future. We

absolutely want a shared future, a

6:06:596:07:03

future where the people of Northern

Ireland are happy and healthy,

6:07:036:07:07

living in a better and brighter

Northern Ireland within the United

6:07:076:07:11

Kingdom. We will work to try to

achieve that, but the challenge is

6:07:116:07:15

the Sinn Fein, drop your red lines.

We will go into government tomorrow

6:07:156:07:19

morning. We have no asks and no

demand. Get back to government and

6:07:196:07:23

get back to delivering for the

people of Northern Ireland.

Jeffrey

6:07:236:07:27

Donaldson.

I commend the honourable

member for Belfast South for putting

6:07:276:07:34

clearly to us where we are at this

present time. I am not going to

6:07:346:07:40

focus so much on the detail of the

budget, but the circumstances that

6:07:406:07:45

have conspired to bring us to where

we are this evening. I have to say

6:07:456:07:50

to the Secretary of State, I have

listened carefully to what he has

6:07:506:07:53

said. He is someone I admire. His

patience and resolve are undoubted.

6:07:536:08:00

But it concerns me slightly, as a

British member of this Parliament,

6:08:006:08:06

representing a British constituency

in Northern Ireland, that some seem

6:08:066:08:12

almost apologetic this evening, that

this sovereign parliament is taking

6:08:126:08:17

decisions that impact on the British

citizens that I represent in

6:08:176:08:21

Northern Ireland. We should not

apologise for that. It is the fault

6:08:216:08:25

of others, who have negated their

responsibility, that has brought us

6:08:256:08:32

to this point. I served in the

Northern Ireland Assembly, I served

6:08:326:08:38

in the executive. The decision of

this party, the party that I am

6:08:386:08:44

proud to represent, to go into

government with Sinn Fein, was

6:08:446:08:49

probably the most difficult

political decision I have had to

6:08:496:08:51

make in my political career. It was

a challenging decision to go into

6:08:516:08:57

government with a party that I knew

had members that were responsible

6:08:576:09:02

for the planning and perhaps even

carrying out the murder of members

6:09:026:09:07

of my family, people I had served

with in the Ulster Defence Regiment,

6:09:076:09:13

friends I had grown up with.

Neighbours. Yet I and others were

6:09:136:09:20

willing to set that aside in the

greater interests of Northern

6:09:206:09:24

Ireland, for the next generation,

for the young people. We were

6:09:246:09:28

prepared to set that aside and say,

we will give this a chance. And I

6:09:286:09:33

have watched Sinn Fein squandered a

chance. That opportunity. Yes, there

6:09:336:09:41

are issues and difficulties that

have given rise to where we are now.

6:09:416:09:45

But what are those difficulties when

set alongside the history of

6:09:456:09:49

Northern Ireland and its troubled

past. That we are now in this

6:09:496:09:56

situation where in this house we are

having to take decisions. That

6:09:566:09:59

really ought to be taken by the

devolved assembly and executive. I

6:09:596:10:03

regret that. I am a devolutionist. I

believe government is best served

6:10:036:10:12

and delivered when it is close to

the people. And that is why I want

6:10:126:10:19

to see strong and functioning for

the constituents that I represent in

6:10:196:10:22

Lagan Valley. We can't continue with

this impasse indefinitely. We can't

6:10:226:10:29

continue with a situation where that

democracy, that government, is not

6:10:296:10:33

being delivered. And it's not being

delivered because one party in

6:10:336:10:37

potentially a partner in the

government of Northern Ireland,

6:10:376:10:43

refuses to deliver it, refuses to

take up its responsibility, refuses

6:10:436:10:46

to sit down with the rest of us. And

if Sinn Fein find it difficult to

6:10:466:10:50

sit down with my party, then they

need to understand that we find it

6:10:506:10:54

difficult to sit down with them, but

we are prepared to do it in the

6:10:546:10:57

interests of the people we

represent. I think in the decisions

6:10:576:11:02

we have taken, for example in our

confidence and supply agreement with

6:11:026:11:07

the Conservative Party, we have

demonstrated time and again a

6:11:076:11:10

willingness to act in the greater

interest, to set aside partisan

6:11:106:11:15

advantage. To set aside narrow

issues and to act in the greater

6:11:156:11:20

good. But we can't go on

indefinitely like this, Madam Deputy

6:11:206:11:26

Speaker. We can't go on indefinitely

with government departments in

6:11:266:11:30

Northern Ireland having no political

direction. It is simply unfair on

6:11:306:11:36

the senior civil servants in

Northern Ireland. It is unfair on

6:11:366:11:39

those departments that they do not

have that political direction. As

6:11:396:11:43

the honourable member for South

Belfast has said, that is literally

6:11:436:11:47

costing people their lives. Because

decisions are not being made for

6:11:476:11:54

interventions that would help people

who need desperately, health care.

6:11:546:12:01

And yet are waiting and waiting and

waiting. And the decisions, the

6:12:016:12:06

political decisions that are

required, are not being made. I

6:12:066:12:13

suspect there is a reluctance on the

part of the Secretary of State and

6:12:136:12:17

his colleagues to go any further

than we are going tonight in terms

6:12:176:12:22

of direct rule. The Secretary of

State has been at pains to say this

6:12:226:12:26

is not a first step to direct rule.

I understand where he is coming from

6:12:266:12:31

and the reasons for the reluctance.

But I say to the Secretary of State

6:12:316:12:35

that, knowing as I do the psychology

of Sinn Fein, that when we say to

6:12:356:12:41

them, don't worry, we are not

pushing towards direct rule, does

6:12:416:12:43

that encourage them to think,

actually, the government isn't going

6:12:436:12:51

to take on its responsibility, and

therefore we will hang out a bit

6:12:516:12:54

longer and a bit longer and a bit

longer? Does it incentivise them to

6:12:546:13:00

take on the responsibility that the

people elected them to take on? When

6:13:006:13:05

we say to them, actually we are not

moving towards direct rule. It's not

6:13:056:13:09

that we want to move towards direct

rule, but I think Sinn Fein have to

6:13:096:13:13

be faced up with reality. A reality

that says we can't continue in a

6:13:136:13:18

vacuum. It's wrong that in a part of

the United Kingdom tonight it does

6:13:186:13:23

not have the political direction

people expect and require and my

6:13:236:13:28

constituents deserve every much as

the constituents represented by the

6:13:286:13:32

party of the Secretary of State. We

can't sustain this indefinitely.

6:13:326:13:39

Even in the short term, there are

too many crucial decisions being

6:13:396:13:42

made and too many lives that depend

on those decisions, not least, we

6:13:426:13:46

have heard from the victims of

historical institutional abuse. I

6:13:466:13:50

mentioned earlier the victims and

survivors of our troubled past, who

6:13:506:13:55

have been waiting for years now for

the establishment of institutions

6:13:556:14:01

that will examine that passed in

more detail, that would enable those

6:14:016:14:06

victims and survivors to have

something in terms of getting at the

6:14:066:14:10

truth, something in terms of access

to justice. And those people, isn't

6:14:106:14:16

it ironic, isn't it cruelly ironic,

that the victims of the IRA are

6:14:166:14:22

being prevented from having access

to justice by the political party

6:14:226:14:26

that supported the violence of the

IRA for years? Where else would such

6:14:266:14:31

a situation be tolerated? It's

unacceptable. I say to the Secretary

6:14:316:14:40

of State, that despite the efforts

being made, and we will continue

6:14:406:14:43

those efforts on these benches, the

DUP will redouble its efforts to get

6:14:436:14:48

agreement, but the Secretary of

State needs to publish the proposals

6:14:486:14:52

on legacy. He needs to put down a

marker and say, we are going to

6:14:526:14:56

wait, but we will not wait forever.

Let the public have their say. Let

6:14:566:15:01

the victims and survivors have their

say on legacy issues. Let's get

6:15:016:15:05

those proposals out. There is no

good reason for delay.

6:15:056:15:07

And the government needs to act in

taking those measures and decisions.

6:15:146:15:18

Not because we want to wrong-foot

others but because that is what the

6:15:186:15:22

people need. What they require. What

is in the best interests of everyone

6:15:226:15:26

in Northern Ireland. And so whilst

this budget is welcome this evening,

6:15:266:15:34

and by the decisions that flow from

this are good and will be an

6:15:346:15:39

official from many people, we cannot

continue with this impasse. We have

6:15:396:15:45

to send out from this house this

evening a very clear message to the

6:15:456:15:50

political parties in Northern

Ireland and especially Sinn Fein

6:15:506:15:54

that if they are not prepared to

step up to the mark and take on the

6:15:546:15:59

responsibility now and start

governing, then this parliament will

6:15:596:16:06

do that job on behalf of the people

of the United Kingdom. And well

6:16:066:16:10

ensure that the people of Northern

Ireland are provided with the

6:16:106:16:13

political direction that they

require within their government

6:16:136:16:15

departments. And there are people in

this house who are prepared to step

6:16:156:16:23

up to the mark and play their role

in supporting the government and

6:16:236:16:26

taking that Ford. It is not our

preferred outcome, our preferred

6:16:266:16:35

outcome is a functioning executive

with power-sharing. I find it ironic

6:16:356:16:39

that I is a unionist and the one

advocating for power-sharing in

6:16:396:16:43

Northern Ireland when for many years

and has nationalists who said that

6:16:436:16:47

this was their key and core demand

and when it was delivered, what did

6:16:476:16:50

they do? They walked out. They

abandoned power-sharing. And it

6:16:506:16:56

leaves me wondering we are in a

situation where we want to make

6:16:566:17:08

northern Ireland to work and others

conspire against making it work. I

6:17:086:17:12

think their credentials, the DUP

wants to be in government, we want

6:17:126:17:24

to work with others including Sinn

Fein for the people we represent. We

6:17:246:17:28

are prepared to go into government

today, no preconditions, no red

6:17:286:17:32

lines, let's get on with it. But

this House must send a clear message

6:17:326:17:37

that if Sinn Fein want to do the

same then this party is prepared to

6:17:376:17:41

govern for Northern Ireland. Ian

Paisley. Off thank you Madam Deputy

6:17:416:17:47

Speaker. I have made a number of

interventions so I will make some

6:17:476:17:51

short remarks at this point. We have

had some commentary, and I want to

6:17:516:17:57

cast members's minds back to the

middle of the last decade. When we

6:17:576:18:02

were going to the negotiation

process, and it was at that point

6:18:026:18:06

that my party had made it clear that

it was reluctant to go into a

6:18:066:18:11

particular government until it had

certain demands met. And there were

6:18:116:18:15

other previous times about when

other Unionist parties had made

6:18:156:18:20

similar claims and had drawn similar

red lines, and the then government

6:18:206:18:29

party, the then Secretary of State

who is now in another place made it

6:18:296:18:32

clear that a certain train was

leaving a certain train station and

6:18:326:18:39

if the DUP or other parties were on

board that train and would depart

6:18:396:18:43

without them. And not only would it

depart without them but the

6:18:436:18:47

government would happen without them

and they would be left sitting on

6:18:476:18:49

their hands. And then Lloyd George

blackmail mode, that was what was

6:18:496:18:58

held out to people in Northern

Ireland. And it was meant. It was

6:18:586:19:03

clearly meant that that was going to

happen. And of course the

6:19:036:19:08

interesting thing is that at the

moment we don't seem to have the

6:19:086:19:12

belief on Sinn Fein's side that

they, that the government is

6:19:126:19:17

actually prepared to follow through

with that offer. But if the train is

6:19:176:19:23

leaving the station, Sinn Fein

should be on board. And they should

6:19:236:19:26

be on board and play their role. And

if they are not prepared to be on

6:19:266:19:31

board, then it should depart without

them and we should be allowed to

6:19:316:19:35

govern without them. The government

doesn't want that to be the case. It

6:19:356:19:38

wants everyone to be on board on the

same train going forward. And if one

6:19:386:19:46

party is blocking progress, they

cannot be allowed to pull ripcord on

6:19:466:19:52

that train and say that nothing else

can happen without them. I think it

6:19:526:19:57

is incompetent government to

recognise that if they are not

6:19:576:20:02

prepared to let the train devolution

go forward without Sinn Fein's

6:20:026:20:08

participation, on their terms only,

then it is about time the government

6:20:086:20:13

stepped in and either allowed

devolution without them or had

6:20:136:20:16

direct rule. Tonight we are standing

at that point. Will it be direct

6:20:166:20:23

rule or will it be devolution

without Sinn Fein's active

6:20:236:20:27

participation? I don't think the

government has the guts to go for

6:20:276:20:31

the latter one. I think they

ultimately being pushed towards this

6:20:316:20:37

issue of direct rule. I said earlier

in one of my comments, Madam Deputy

6:20:376:20:44

Speaker that it is essential that we

can't have drift in Northern Ireland

6:20:446:20:52

because if we do this a certain type

of Irishmen who will the vacuum. We

6:20:526:20:56

saw a bit about that yesterday in

Omagh, we've seen a bit about it

6:20:566:21:00

today in Londonderry. That certain

people will try to fill the vacuum

6:21:006:21:06

with violence. And that is not

acceptable either. So the government

6:21:066:21:13

has to move and move expeditiously.

It cannot let itself be seen moving

6:21:136:21:23

slowly, it must take strides with

determination, and that will mean

6:21:236:21:34

preparation, money being spent to

prepare the Northern Ireland Office

6:21:346:21:42

from having new ministers drawn from

this place, and outside of the house

6:21:426:21:46

to help govern Ireland because

frankly the decisions that my

6:21:466:21:51

constituents want taken with regards

to health care, education,

6:21:516:21:56

infrastructure, they will require

ministerial direction and

6:21:566:22:00

ministerial determination. It is not

acceptable that we have a situation

6:22:006:22:09

starting from tonight, that no

matter how nice a gentleman E is

6:22:096:22:13

that the head of the Northern

Ireland civil service will be

6:22:136:22:15

completely and totally unanswerable

to anyone in this democracy. That's

6:22:156:22:24

not acceptable. We cannot let that

run for weeks on end. That needs to

6:22:246:22:29

end immediately. And the Secretary

of State needs to take determined

6:22:296:22:33

steps to see that is the case. When

the secretary of state spoke tonight

6:22:336:22:38

he made it very clear that civil

servants were racked within certain

6:22:386:22:46

boundaries but they don't have to do

that, they would have to be taken to

6:22:466:22:52

court if they took a decision that

the Secretary of State didn't like

6:22:526:22:56

seriously, he'd have to take the

head of the civil service to court.

6:22:566:23:00

It cannot be allowed to continue to

get off the ground. The decisions

6:23:006:23:09

coming up are coming up rapidly,

please pay, police recruitment,

6:23:096:23:15

police retention, it's a matter of

political direction. In other areas,

6:23:156:23:23

Northern Ireland wants to be an

offence location. Next we have a

6:23:236:23:26

major golf tournament coming to my

neighbour's constituency, and the

6:23:266:23:32

year after that the British Open.

Determination and decisions will

6:23:326:23:38

have to be made in January of next

year, so that those events can go

6:23:386:23:44

ahead without any problem. The super

cup football tournament, events to

6:23:446:23:52

do with the North West 200, all the

decisions to finance those events,

6:23:526:23:56

all those to do with whether or not

we will have the Red Bull air races

6:23:566:24:01

taking place, those decisions will

have to be made in January. That

6:24:016:24:06

will require political direction and

political determination. It will not

6:24:066:24:11

be taken by a civil servant. I know

that civil servants will be

6:24:116:24:16

reluctant to go anywhere near those

areas and make those types of

6:24:166:24:20

decisions because they might be too

controversial for them. And as the

6:24:206:24:25

chairman of the Northern Ireland

task falls in motorsport, I want to

6:24:256:24:29

know, I am asking each week, what

will happen when it comes to the

6:24:296:24:33

needs of motorsport in Northern

Ireland. It is a huge industry,

6:24:336:24:37

generating tens of millions for the

local economy. And many parts of our

6:24:376:24:42

country. And yet we don't have

political decisions being made about

6:24:426:24:47

how monies will be allocated to

events and events funding in

6:24:476:24:50

Northern Ireland. Madam Deputy

Speaker, it is perverse in many

6:24:506:24:57

ways, but with tonight's decision we

could be having more British rule in

6:24:576:25:03

Northern Ireland and more British

rule with no Northern Irish

6:25:036:25:08

dimension, and the fact of the

matter is that Sinn Fein has brought

6:25:086:25:13

about a situation where they now

appear to be in a worse place as an

6:25:136:25:18

ideology than they were in 1997, and

again in 1985 when Everett unionism

6:25:186:25:28

was on the backheel, and instead are

being pressured of its sense of

6:25:286:25:34

person had I believe that Sinn Fein

had put their community in a very

6:25:346:25:37

difficult situation.

The member

agrees with me that it is ironic

6:25:376:25:42

that the party of Brits Out, by the

decisions in the past few months

6:25:426:25:47

have resulted in Brits In!

And not

only agree that it is Brits In, the

6:25:476:25:55

British have never left and could

never be bombed or bullied out

6:25:556:26:01

pushed out because it is our land,

it is our country and we are staying

6:26:016:26:06

there. So I never really subscribed

to the view that we were Out in the

6:26:066:26:12

first place! But I do believe that

the call to have an Irish dimension

6:26:126:26:16

as part of the process going

forward, that that has fallen on

6:26:166:26:19

deaf ears. That there is no rule in

this new mechanism, this twilight

6:26:196:26:26

zone, as it has been called, for the

Irish dimension. And that has left

6:26:266:26:31

nationalism and republicanism bereft

of any sort of foothold in this

6:26:316:26:36

process going forward. That is

entirely their fault. But we live in

6:26:366:26:42

a divided community. We have a

society that is split and we have to

6:26:426:26:45

try to heal that. The only way we

can do that is when they have

6:26:456:26:50

responsible politicians on the side

of Sinn Fein and the STL P and

6:26:506:26:54

others coming forward and being

prepared to lead their community

6:26:546:26:58

away from the abyss that they have

taken it into. It is very sad that

6:26:586:27:02

they have decided to do that. But it

is their responsibility, they have

6:27:026:27:07

done it, my party is up the

devolution, we put a lot of effort

6:27:076:27:12

into it, the sacrifice made by many

people on these benches, I know the

6:27:126:27:17

personal sacrifice made by my father

to get devolution running. And it

6:27:176:27:22

saddens me that it's coming to an

end but I will shed no tears for it

6:27:226:27:26

when I see the mess that some people

have tried to make of it. And that's

6:27:266:27:30

a fact. If people want to squander

it and make a mess of it then bring

6:27:306:27:35

it to an end. Finish it, adopt

direct rule and get on with

6:27:356:27:41

governing our people in a sensitive

way.

Stephen Pound.

Thank you, Brits

6:27:416:27:46

Out. The honourable gentleman has

made a powerful coder to what has

6:27:466:27:57

been an extraordinary well informed

and important debate on a

6:27:576:28:00

significant subject. I think there

is no doubt that there's been an

6:28:006:28:03

enormous amount of goodwill

expressed towards the Secretary of

6:28:036:28:07

State and gratitude for the work and

the effort he has made. If there is

6:28:076:28:12

one thing that slightly depresses me

about the debate we've had today is

6:28:126:28:16

that we'll probably have to do it

all over again in a few months'

6:28:166:28:20

time. My Christmas will not be

totally destroyed but as we approach

6:28:206:28:24

the new financial year, certainly

many of us will be thinking of the

6:28:246:28:29

consequences of setting any budget

for the next financial year. It will

6:28:296:28:35

not tarnish the tinsel but my

Christmas will be slightly diverted,

6:28:356:28:40

thinking of this. Every speaker,

Madam Deputy Speaker, this evening

6:28:406:28:49

has referred to the appalling

circumstances prevailing today and

6:28:496:28:53

Omar has been mentioned. As someone

who has grown to have a great

6:28:536:28:57

affection for the people of that

town ever since I have attended that

6:28:576:29:03

commemoration of the horrendous

massacre that happened in August

6:29:036:29:09

when we know 29 adults and two

unborn children were killed and I

6:29:096:29:13

would remind the House that next is

the 20th anniversary. I'm sure many

6:29:136:29:17

of us will wish to show solidarity

with the people of Omagh. There has

6:29:176:29:23

been an enormous amount of goodwill,

I am particularly grateful to the

6:29:236:29:28

statement issued since the start of

the debate by Simon covertly, the

6:29:286:29:33

Minister of foreign affairs and

trade who has helped to facilitate

6:29:336:29:40

as much of these discussions as

possible, we are grateful for that

6:29:406:29:46

aspect of the North - South

dimension. However, we are here in a

6:29:466:29:53

situation, I think every single...

Jesus, Mary! Forgive me. I was not

6:29:536:29:58

sure where that noise was coming

from! It was a bit close! Can I just

6:29:586:30:07

say that the amount of speakers

we've heard today have pretty much

6:30:076:30:11

said the same thing. We don't want

to be Kubot we accept that we have

6:30:116:30:15

to be here to do something. The

honourable gentleman referred to the

6:30:156:30:20

democratic deficit. I think he put

his finger on it. Most of this

6:30:206:30:24

because this evening have referred

to the lack of accountability and

6:30:246:30:28

transparency and the democratic

deficit. This may be a necessary

6:30:286:30:32

evil but is still something which

sticks in the throat of many others.

6:30:326:30:38

I am grateful to the honourable

gentleman for North Belfast, who

6:30:386:30:45

mentioned the appalling

circumstances of the Northern

6:30:456:30:46

Ireland football team, and we would

like to give our gratitude and

6:30:466:30:50

respect for Steven Davis,

particularly for the dignity he

6:30:506:30:53

showed when Stuart Dallas was

chopped down with a leg break at

6:30:536:30:56

which did not attract a red card,

but a ball on the shoulder was given

6:30:566:31:03

as a penalty in a disgraceful show

of bad refereeing. I hope we are

6:31:036:31:07

united on that today. The honourable

gentleman for North Belfast also

6:31:076:31:13

refer to the wish to have a general

election now, and he implied that

6:31:136:31:16

there were those in the house who

did not wish to see a general

6:31:166:31:20

election. I can't always speak for

my friends on this side of the

6:31:206:31:25

chamber, but we are more than

willing to have a general election

6:31:256:31:28

is it time you wish to mention it.

We are ready, we are willing... And

6:31:286:31:41

we are ready, when the nation calls,

Labour will be there to answer that

6:31:416:31:46

call, be assured of that. The Right

Honourable gentleman for North

6:31:466:31:51

Shropshire, I have to say he struck

not a discordant note, but a

6:31:516:31:55

slightly different note. When he

referred to his wish to not be

6:31:556:32:03

beastly to the Northern Ireland

civil service, but also to seriously

6:32:036:32:08

consider the benefits of direct

rule. I thought there was a job

6:32:086:32:11

application in there somewhere. I

hope the rest of us feel that we do

6:32:116:32:15

not wish to return to direct rule.

At this stage I will give way to my

6:32:156:32:19

party friend and colleague.

He did

say something about Labour there. I

6:32:196:32:26

wonder if that means he is about to

announce that the Labour Party will

6:32:266:32:37

be allowed to put up candidates.

Madam Deputy Speaker, time is short

6:32:376:32:42

tonight. There are things which I

could say, and there are things

6:32:426:32:47

which I would be happy to say, but

there are things which the tugging

6:32:476:32:51

on the back of my coat from the

honourable gentleman, the member for

6:32:516:32:57

Pontypridd, cannot be denied. The

honourable lady from Edinburgh North

6:32:576:33:03

and Leith in many ways absolutely

put her finger on it, talking about

6:33:036:33:07

hospitals and schools. I hardly need

to mention the parlous state of the

6:33:076:33:16

A5. There are things that need to be

done. The honourable gentleman for

6:33:166:33:20

Amber Valley rather successfully

described what you are doing this

6:33:206:33:23

evening is the least worst option.

Not for the first time he has

6:33:236:33:27

discovered Lake mot just. East

Antrim stunned the chamber as he

6:33:276:33:40

always does. We have used section 59

of the Northern Ireland act of 1998

6:33:406:33:47

twice. We have used it already to

passport 75% of the budget in July,

6:33:476:33:55

and 95%. Things have happened. He

also said in an un-typically

6:33:556:33:59

provocative way, for the gentle

gentleman for East Antrim, he

6:33:596:34:06

implied somehow that the Labour

Party were not in favour of

6:34:066:34:10

increased public spending. Well,

Madam Deputy Speaker, we are in

6:34:106:34:13

favour of increased public spending

across the board. We want it in

6:34:136:34:18

Wales, Scotland, England, we want in

Ealing and he wanted in Northern

6:34:186:34:22

Ireland, so we are in favour of

increased public spending, we are

6:34:226:34:25

just not in favour of bespoke public

spending. The honourable gentleman

6:34:256:34:31

for haven't, I have to say he spoke

very powerfully against the idea of

6:34:316:34:37

direct rule with cogency and

brevity. I would like to say the

6:34:376:34:41

same thing about the honourable

gentleman for Strangford. I would

6:34:416:34:46

really like to say the same thing

about the honourable member for

6:34:466:34:49

Strangford, but not for the first

time the emotion, power and strength

6:34:496:34:52

he feels and commitment he feels to

his constituency in his part of the

6:34:526:34:57

IT kingdom forced him to expand

further and extrapolate more than he

6:34:576:35:00

probably would have initially

wanted, but his exegesis on the

6:35:006:35:04

theme was welcomed by all of us. I

have never ever spent a fewer hours

6:35:046:35:09

and regretted them listening to the

honourable gentleman, the member for

6:35:096:35:12

Strangford. He also said, after all,

Madam Deputy Speaker, that what we

6:35:126:35:18

are having here is not what the

people want. I think that is so

6:35:186:35:22

important, not for the first time,

my friend, the honourable member for

6:35:226:35:26

Strangford, put his finger on it,

this is not what the people want.

6:35:266:35:31

The right honourable gentleman for

Lagan Valley also cogently said that

6:35:316:35:35

we cannot continue with this

impasse, and how right he was. I

6:35:356:35:38

have to say, the final speech

tonight from the right honourable

6:35:386:35:45

gentleman, the member for

Northampton, was statesman-like and

6:35:456:35:47

I hope you will not resent me for

saying that. It was powerful. He

6:35:476:35:52

referred to the Met after of the

train leaving the Station.

6:35:526:35:59

Unfortunately the train is not

leaving the station, it's stuck in

6:35:596:36:02

the sidings and is not going

anywhere at this present time. I

6:36:026:36:04

would like to see the train moving

and all of us aboard the Freedom

6:36:046:36:08

train, but in the meantime we have

to actually inject the financial

6:36:086:36:13

lubrication to keep the wheels

turning. That's what we are doing

6:36:136:36:16

tonight. On this side of the house

we will not be opposing. We will

6:36:166:36:21

reluctantly support this sensible

measure which keeps the show on the

6:36:216:36:24

road, but we look forward to a

devolved Assembly and reconstituted

6:36:246:36:28

executive. I think that is something

every single honourable, right

6:36:286:36:34

honourable, Lady and gentleman in

this place wants to see us as soon

6:36:346:36:39

as possible.

Can I begin by thanking

the honourable member for Ealing

6:36:396:36:47

North for his sober words, and his

support from his party for the bill

6:36:476:36:52

tonight, and indeed that of the

Scottish Nationalist party as well.

6:36:526:36:56

Can I thank the right honourable and

honourable members for South West

6:36:566:37:00

Wiltshire, North Belfast, North

Shropshire, Amber Valley comic East

6:37:006:37:05

Antrim, Strangford, Lagan Valley,

and the house's support in general

6:37:056:37:15

for this necessary although

regrettable step to keep public

6:37:156:37:18

services running in Northern Ireland

in the continued absence of devolved

6:37:186:37:21

government. I don't think anyone in

this house tonight has welcomed the

6:37:216:37:26

UK Parliament debating the Northern

Ireland budget, the step has been

6:37:266:37:31

held off as long as possible to

allow a Northern Ireland executive

6:37:316:37:34

to have brought forward its own

budget in the usual way. However,

6:37:346:37:38

the point at which that was possible

has passed and no executive has been

6:37:386:37:41

formed. So the step we propose we

take today is the only appropriate

6:37:416:37:46

and Right one in the circumstances.

As my right honourable friend the

6:37:466:37:52

Secretary of State set out earlier

on, it gives certainty and a measure

6:37:526:37:56

of financial stability. By providing

a full budget for this financial

6:37:566:38:00

year, it ensures those civil

servants, to who we are owed thanks

6:38:006:38:04

for having worked so hard in

administering public services in the

6:38:046:38:06

absence of ministers, it ensures

they do not have to tackle the kind

6:38:066:38:12

of Clifford might otherwise have

seen. But while this is a government

6:38:126:38:16

Bill, it's not a government budget.

It is based entirely on those in the

6:38:166:38:24

Northern Ireland civil service, and

the decisions followed will remain

6:38:246:38:26

for them to take. Some, such as my

learned friend, the chair of the

6:38:266:38:31

select committee, asked why there

wasn't more notice about what we

6:38:316:38:34

have done today. I would only repeat

that we have tried as hard as

6:38:346:38:37

possible to give as much space as

possible for a different course. We

6:38:376:38:43

sought to allow this space for

executive formation built to be

6:38:436:38:46

brought forward instead. And then we

endeavoured to inform honourable and

6:38:466:38:52

right honourable members of the

detail of what we are facing today

6:38:526:38:57

albeit in a truncated time. Some

honourable members have raised

6:38:576:39:01

questions about the detail contained

in the bill. I emphasise that the

6:39:016:39:06

decisions in this bill tonight

remain a devolved matter. I will not

6:39:066:39:09

go into the detail of those

allocations, but there were a few

6:39:096:39:13

specific questions I might be able

to respond to very briefly. First of

6:39:136:39:18

all, the honourable member, the

chair of the select committee, asked

6:39:186:39:21

about the method by which the budget

allocations have been made. In

6:39:216:39:25

brief, if I just say that first of

all, this house addressed the

6:39:256:39:40

2017-18 budget through the estimates

published today, and that has been

6:39:406:39:43

prepared by the Northern Ireland

Department of Finance and has been

6:39:436:39:46

made available to members today.

That gives line by line detail of

6:39:466:39:50

how the civil service has allocated

resources for this year. Further

6:39:506:39:54

explanation was made available to

the house by some additional

6:39:546:39:58

briefing from the Northern Ireland

's Department of Finance. A further

6:39:586:40:01

brief point I may be able to provide

to respond to the debates today, to

6:40:016:40:07

the honourable member for East

Antrim who has been asking about why

6:40:076:40:10

there might be particularly

increased items for the Department

6:40:106:40:13

of Finance and for the executive

office, I would emphasise once

6:40:136:40:17

again, these are matters for the

devolved government to answer for

6:40:176:40:21

themselves. I think he will know,

with his past experience, that there

6:40:216:40:25

are some figures within what you see

tonight that are essentially

6:40:256:40:30

transfers from one line item to

another, which he will be able to

6:40:306:40:34

address further when he looks

through the full detail of the

6:40:346:40:37

estimate. B move on from there to

the final points that allow us to

6:40:376:40:49

reflect tonight on what we're

actually doing. Are delivering a

6:40:496:40:54

budget here tonight on behalf of the

Northern Ireland Assembly. That is

6:40:546:41:04

causing some honourable members to

talk about accountability. We

6:41:046:41:06

recognise this is a highly unusual

situation. That's why my right

6:41:066:41:11

honourable friend the Secretary of

State outlined a proportional

6:41:116:41:13

approach for accountability that we

have put in place as we proceed. I

6:41:136:41:17

particularly welcome the chair of

the select committee's endorsement

6:41:176:41:21

of that approach. I just honourable

members will be able to look to it

6:41:216:41:24

in the immediate next steps. Allow

me to come to a close. I would like

6:41:246:41:32

to echo my right honourable friend's

emphasis on this government's

6:41:326:41:35

commitment to the restoration of

devolved government. Tonight's

6:41:356:41:38

debate reminds us we need an

executive. I will be happy to give

6:41:386:41:42

way once over there, and second over

there. That's all I think I will be

6:41:426:41:46

able to take.

There has been little

or no discourse in the house tonight

6:41:466:41:51

on the desire from all of us to see

De volution restored, but what is

6:41:516:41:55

the government's plan for allowing

that to happen? The bill passed

6:41:556:41:59

tonight, what will she do tomorrow

with the Secretary of State, the

6:41:596:42:04

Prime Minister, the Irish government

and the political parties in

6:42:046:42:07

Northern Ireland? Because whatever

has been done over the last 11

6:42:076:42:11

months hasn't worked. Something has

to change if we are to see the

6:42:116:42:15

executive and Assembly restored.

In

brief, I think tonight's debate has

6:42:156:42:23

spent quite significant time on the

future of devolution and on what the

6:42:236:42:26

next steps ought to be. That may

have taken place where we are

6:42:266:42:32

discussing a technical budget bill,

but I would say the house has gone

6:42:326:42:35

over those matters tonight. For the

government's part, we'll continue to

6:42:356:42:40

support the Northern Ireland

political parties working with the

6:42:406:42:43

Irish government as well towards

resolving those difficulties and

6:42:436:42:47

differences that have stopped them

reaching agreement. We are steadfast

6:42:476:42:51

in meeting our commitment to the

Belfast agreement and we will start

6:42:516:42:54

on that tomorrow.

May I say to the

Minister of State, the debate has

6:42:546:43:00

been good this evening. There is

genuine goodwill across this out in

6:43:006:43:08

support of Northern Ireland. The

house will support these budget

6:43:086:43:11

proposals this evening, quite

rightly, that I and many want to

6:43:116:43:16

hear, there is an impasse at the

moment, whoever's fault it is, some

6:43:166:43:21

of us want some concrete steps that

the government are going to take in

6:43:216:43:26

order to try to support the

restoration of the executive and

6:43:266:43:31

assembly. It's not just rhetoric or

wishful thinking, but concrete steps

6:43:316:43:35

that actually gives us a chance of

thinking, this may be resolved.

I am

6:43:356:43:44

grateful for that in this moment of

winding up this bill tonight. There

6:43:446:43:48

are a number of options that remain

under close consideration. My right

6:43:486:43:53

honourable friend the Secretary of

State will continue his work with

6:43:536:43:56

the kind of patients which he has

been roundly praised for in this

6:43:566:43:59

chamber tonight. That is the kind of

work that must continue. The Prime

6:43:596:44:05

Minister will continue to give this

process her wholehearted support as

6:44:056:44:09

well and her active attention. I

will leave further detail on that

6:44:096:44:15

particular avenue that he is trying

to draw me on tonight. It is not the

6:44:156:44:20

appropriate vehicle for it. What we

must do tonight is propose we pass

6:44:206:44:24

this budget bill. And with your

support, Madam Deputy Speaker, I

6:44:246:44:28

will conclude my remarks to allow us

to do that. The bill before us here

6:44:286:44:33

tonight is a necessary intervention

in devolved matters. But it does not

6:44:336:44:37

preclude the continuation of the

talks. Indeed, it leaves spending

6:44:376:44:43

decisions in the devolved space for

a returning executive to take should

6:44:436:44:46

the parties reach an agreement,

which is what we all wish to see

6:44:466:44:49

them do. While leaving those

decisions at a devolved level, it

6:44:496:44:54

nonetheless gives the Northern

Ireland departments and public

6:44:546:44:57

bodies reassurance over their

funding for the rest of the

6:44:576:45:00

financial year. The people of

Northern Ireland need that for their

6:45:006:45:03

public services, and as such I

propose this bill be read a second

6:45:036:45:07

time.

6:45:076:45:07

The question is that the bill be

read a second time. As many of that

6:45:136:45:18

opinion say aye, the contraries sate

No. The ayes have it. Order.

6:45:186:45:43

Northern Ireland budget bill.

We

will begin with clause one. The

6:45:466:45:53

question is that clause one form

part of the bill, as many are to Mac

6:45:536:46:01

as of that opinion say aye. The

country No. The ayes of it. With the

6:46:016:46:10

leader of the House, we will take

closest two 28, -- with the leave of

6:46:106:46:17

the House, we will schedule one and

two together. The question is that

6:46:176:46:22

closest two to eight stand part of

the bill. As many as are of that

6:46:226:46:29

opinion say aye. Of the contrary,

No. The ayes have it. The ayes have

6:46:296:46:36

it.

Under the order of the House we

now move directly to a third

6:46:366:46:43

reading.

6:46:436:46:53

Order, order.

About to report that

the committee has gone through the

6:46:546:46:59

Bill and directed me to report the

same without amendment.

Ministered

6:46:596:47:06

to move the third reading. The

question is that the Bill now be

6:47:066:47:12

read a third time, as many as are of

that opinion say aye, the contrary

6:47:126:47:17

No. I think the ayes have it, the

ayes have it. Order, order. Under

6:47:176:47:28

the order of the House, don't need

to do that, fine, very good. We now

6:47:286:47:37

come to motion number three,

ministered to move.

Thank you Madam

6:47:376:47:49

Deputy Speaker. I beg to move for

the purposes of any act resulting

6:47:496:47:53

from the parental bereavement, the

even pay bill, that it be authorised

6:47:536:47:59

to authorise the payment of money

provided by Parliament of any

6:47:596:48:03

increase attributable to the act in

the sums payable out of any other

6:48:036:48:08

act in menace provided. I would like

to check out the minute of the

6:48:086:48:13

House's time to pay tribute to

friend is a member of Thirsk and

6:48:136:48:16

Malton for the work that has gone

into getting the bill to this point

6:48:166:48:21

and the effort he has put in to

ensure that this bill has

6:48:216:48:27

cross-party support. I would like to

take this opportunity to restate the

6:48:276:48:33

government's commitment to this Bill

and the desire to see it succeed.

6:48:336:48:37

The importance of this bill is clear

from the support across the house,

6:48:376:48:43

we should therefore ensure that the

financial element is clearly set out

6:48:436:48:49

for the House to consider.

The

question is as on the order paper.

6:48:496:48:53

Chill furnace.

Thank you Madam

Deputy Speaker. This Bill offers two

6:48:536:48:58

weeks of pay lead to any employed

parent who a under 18. With at least

6:48:586:49:06

26 weeks continuous service, any

employee will also be eligible to

6:49:066:49:12

receive statutory bereavement Bay.

As Mike honourable friend the Member

6:49:126:49:16

for Birmingham made clear in the

second reading Labour support this

6:49:166:49:20

bill entirely. The bill requires

this money resolution today because

6:49:206:49:23

employers will be able to reclaim

some or all of the costs from the

6:49:236:49:27

government. The estimated costs to

the Exchequer of two weeks paid

6:49:276:49:34

leave up a statutory flat rate

currently £140 a week or 90% of

6:49:346:49:41

average weekly earnings that that is

lower is £1.77 million per year.

6:49:416:49:46

There will also be a one-off cost

estimated of £1.25 million to amend

6:49:466:49:55

HMRC's systems. Madam Deputy

Speaker, it is good to see the

6:49:556:49:58

government bring forward this money

resolution to allow this Bill which

6:49:586:50:01

commands support on both sides of

the house to move into committee. I

6:50:016:50:05

hope that this is the way in which

the government intends to proceed on

6:50:056:50:13

all private members bills that

receive a second reading in this

6:50:136:50:16

session. To finish my remarks on to

congratulate the honourable member

6:50:166:50:20

for Thirsk and Malton for

championing the issue with this Bill

6:50:206:50:25

and all other honourable members on

both sides of this House on the work

6:50:256:50:29

they have done to ensure that

grieving parents get the support

6:50:296:50:32

that they deserve.

Thank you Madam

Deputy Speaker. Can I firstly thank

6:50:326:50:39

the Minister for setting out the

financial implications of this Bill

6:50:396:50:44

and again confirming the

government's support. I was also

6:50:446:50:47

delighted to see that there is

cross-party support for this Bill

6:50:476:50:51

for which I'm very grateful. With

this level of support I feel

6:50:516:50:55

confident the bill will progress to

becoming an act and with that

6:50:556:50:58

employed parents who lose a child

under 18 will have the right to a

6:50:586:51:05

minimum of two weeks away from work

to grieve. We can all agree that

6:51:056:51:09

this would reduce the variation in

and sometimes callous treatment of

6:51:096:51:13

bereaved parents by employers that

we have certainly heard so much

6:51:136:51:17

about. As the Minister has already

set out, thankfully the number of

6:51:176:51:23

parents faced with the tragedy of

losing a child is relatively low

6:51:236:51:30

each year, the cost of the important

policies is relatively small but I

6:51:306:51:36

think we can all agree that it will

be money well spent on such an

6:51:366:51:40

important provision. Finally I want

to pay tribute to the Minister who

6:51:406:51:44

has given this Bill her full

support. I am pleased to hear her

6:51:446:51:49

reiterate the government support at

such a crucial time, I look forward

6:51:496:51:53

to continuing to work with her

department to ensure the policy

6:51:536:51:58

works for employers and employees

alike. And it would be remiss of me

6:51:586:52:02

if I did not pay tribute to my

honourable friend the Member for

6:52:026:52:06

Colchester who has helped guide

important conversations around this

6:52:066:52:10

issue. As I said in previous remarks

I made on this Bill, I think we

6:52:106:52:17

should refer to this Bill as well's

bill. Two recognises vital

6:52:176:52:24

contribution and to thank the

organisation for baby loss for their

6:52:246:52:31

efforts in championing the needs of

his parents. It is important this

6:52:316:52:36

Bill be maintained and I urge all

members of the house to support the

6:52:366:52:41

resolution of this Bill today.

The

question is as on the order paper.

6:52:416:52:49

As many as of that opinion say aye.

The contrary, No. I think the ayes

6:52:496:52:54

have it. The ayes have it. Motion

number four on regulation of social

6:52:546:52:59

housing. Ministered to move. The

question is on the order paper, the

6:52:596:53:11

ayes have it. The question is that

this House two now adjourned. Pungea

6:53:116:53:23

thank you Madam Deputy Speaker. I am

grateful to you, Mr Speaker for

6:53:236:53:28

granting me this important debate

and I am honoured that the Chief

6:53:286:53:31

Constable of Bedfordshire is present

for the debate tonight. Keeping the

6:53:316:53:36

public safe is the highest duty of

any government which is why take

6:53:366:53:40

this issue is so seriously. Back in

2004 this concept was introduced to

6:53:406:53:51

the police national funding formula,

this means that Bedfordshire Police

6:53:516:53:54

receive between three and £4 million

a year less than the government's

6:53:546:53:59

own funding formula says they should

receive. Now Bedfordshire Police

6:53:596:54:06

already have one of the smallest

budgets of any force in England and

6:54:066:54:12

Wales at £102 million, and

Bedfordshire is in the lowest

6:54:126:54:16

quarter of all forces for all

forces. For many years they managed

6:54:166:54:28

to reduce crime on any budget, the

live within its means. Back in

6:54:286:54:40

2011-2012 Bedfordshire had 1264

police officers, it now has 140

6:54:406:54:44

less, only one we now have 53

community support officers. In one

6:54:446:54:59

moment. And back in 2012 we had 864

members of police staff, we now have

6:54:596:55:07

758. A reduction of 106. I give way

to my honourable friend.

The Chief

6:55:076:55:16

Constable is here today, two months

ago in his statement he said he

6:55:166:55:19

hasn't got enough officers because

of the cuts to the police funds, to

6:55:196:55:24

attend a nine iron and coal. It's a

worrying situation. It is a time

6:55:246:55:32

that the government needs to listen

to the Chief Constable of

6:55:326:55:35

Bedfordshire Police.

Out the

government will listen to the Chief

6:55:356:55:38

Constable because the Izzy of

dumping which has been in place

6:55:386:55:42

under both governments over a long

period of time which I think the

6:55:426:55:48

honourable gentleman would admit has

had a cumulatively serious effect on

6:55:486:55:51

Bedfordshire Police. Between April

one, 2016 and August 31, 2017

6:55:516:55:59

Bedfordshire has seen a 12.2%

increase in crime, a 24% increase in

6:55:596:56:07

calls requiring an immediate

response and 48.9% increase in

6:56:076:56:10

burglary, compared with the same

period of the previous year. My own

6:56:106:56:17

constituency of South West

Bedfordshire, in 2013-14, had an

6:56:176:56:23

average of 391 crimes per month.

That has now risen to 440, an

6:56:236:56:28

increase of 13%. Dunstable has seen

an average monthly increase of crime

6:56:286:56:35

is rising from 235 to 292, a 24%

rise during this period. And

6:56:356:56:43

Leighton buzzard's average monthly

crime rose from 136 to 214, that is

6:56:436:56:49

a 57% rise. I am also acutely aware

of the impact rural crime has

6:56:496:56:56

especially on people in isolated

communities. Years ago, Bedford

6:56:566:57:00

Jadhav police officers living in the

village they were responsible for

6:57:006:57:03

that is no longer the case --

Bedfordshire had police officers. We

6:57:036:57:08

are also dealing with an

unprecedented level of traveller

6:57:086:57:11

encampments which further add to the

demand an already overstretched

6:57:116:57:15

police resources. Between 2011-12

and 2017-18 Bedfordshire Police have

6:57:156:57:23

already achieved £34.7 million of

savings. Yet Her Majesty 's

6:57:236:57:29

Inspectorate of Constabulary and

Fire and Rescue Service is now say

6:57:296:57:32

that Bedfordshire has, and God,

inability to maintain a preventative

6:57:326:57:37

presence across Bedfordshire. -- and

I quote.

Does he share my concern

6:57:376:57:47

that those, where people have lost

their jobs, community policing is

6:57:476:57:53

also facing a downturn and does he

recognise the importance of

6:57:536:57:57

community leasing, it is also the

eyes and ears of the police, and how

6:57:576:58:01

important that is.

My honourable

friend for Northern Ireland is

6:58:016:58:07

right, community policing as a vital

role in prevention which is so

6:58:076:58:09

important. Within Bedfordshire

itself 40% of the force's activity

6:58:096:58:15

is in the town of Luton. While there

is insufficient police capacity to

6:58:156:58:21

deal with the challenges in Luton,

it also means that the rest of

6:58:216:58:26

Bedfordshire has less than its

proportionate share of police cover

6:58:266:58:31

that its residents also pay for.

However a small police budget that

6:58:316:58:37

has suffered from 13 years of

dumping would be serious enough,

6:58:376:58:41

were it not for the fact that

Bedfordshire faces unusually high

6:58:416:58:46

levels of serious threats and

criminality not normally dealt with

6:58:466:58:49

by a force of this size. Let me

spell this out. Bedfordshire has the

6:58:496:58:55

third highest terror risk in the

country. It has the fourth highest

6:58:556:58:59

level of serious acquisitive crime

of any police force in England and

6:58:596:59:03

Wales. It has a higher proportion of

domestic abuse offences per head of

6:59:036:59:10

population than much larger forces

of Greater Manchester, West

6:59:106:59:15

Midlands, Thames Valley or

Hertfordshire. And 40% of all

6:59:156:59:20

firearms discharges in the Eastern

region take place in Bedfordshire.

6:59:206:59:25

Reports of missing persons between

April and June this year are 350%

6:59:256:59:30

higher than in the same period the

previous year. As a Bedfordshire

6:59:306:59:35

member of Parliament I am not happy

that the people of my county do not

6:59:356:59:41

enjoy the same levels of police

protection and response in an

6:59:416:59:46

emergency as is available to the

people of Hertfordshire and Thames

6:59:466:59:51

valley. We pay no less tax than they

do, so what is fair or right about

6:59:516:59:56

that? In one incident of

gang-related violent disorder this

6:59:567:00:03

year, no response resources were

available and CID detectives went to

7:00:037:00:07

the scene with no uniform or

protective equipment and several

7:00:077:00:13

officers were injured as a result.

In one incident in Luton recently

7:00:137:00:18

single female officer made three

arrests on her own and called for

7:00:187:00:22

assistance which took eight minutes

to come while she was in danger.

7:00:227:00:30

At present each Bedfordshire Police

officer is expected to investigate

7:00:307:00:34

between 12 and 13 crimes at a time.

The level of stress affecting

7:00:347:00:39

Bedfordshire Police officers is

leading to burn-out and

7:00:397:00:42

psychological and physical illness.

This is unacceptable as we owe them

7:00:427:00:45

a duty of care. Bedfordshire Police

are not able to respond to all the

7:00:457:00:51

daily calls seeking a fast response,

nor to all the daily instances

7:00:517:00:57

requiring a community response.

Recently a latent buzzard

7:00:577:01:00

businessmen being threatened by a

man wielding a metal bar called 999

7:01:007:01:04

and offers officers were unable to

attend. As guardians of the

7:01:047:01:13

taxpayers' money, the government is

absolutely right to demand

7:01:137:01:17

efficiency, effectiveness and value

for money from our police forces.

7:01:177:01:21

Bedfordshire Police have already

achieved £34.7 million of savings

7:01:217:01:27

between 2011-12 and 2017-18.

Bedfordshire already has one of the

7:01:277:01:34

most extensive bluelight

collaboration programmes in the

7:01:347:01:37

country and its tri- force

collaboration is improving

7:01:377:01:39

effectiveness at delivering savings.

25% of its resources are already

7:01:397:01:45

allocated to try force and regional

collaboration. I will give way.

Only

7:01:457:01:55

last year, four shootings took place

in one night in my constituency. The

7:01:557:02:00

police helicopter took more than one

hour to attend these very serious

7:02:007:02:08

crimes. Do you agree with me that

gun crime is higher because of a

7:02:087:02:13

shortage of police officers.

I have

set out the increases of crime on

7:02:137:02:17

the record for the house just now.

Bedfordshire Police's on earmarked

7:02:177:02:24

reserves are only £3 million, the

absolute minimum they should fall

7:02:247:02:27

to. A merger with Hertfordshire and

Cambridgeshire would not be agreed

7:02:277:02:32

by those two counties on the current

level of Bedfordshire Police

7:02:327:02:35

funding. Further savings could only

be made from reducing the already

7:02:357:02:41

inadequate front line resource.

Planning is already underway for

7:02:417:02:47

more than 50,000 new homes across

Bedfordshire in the next three

7:02:477:02:49

years. A large number of those are

likely to be rated at less than band

7:02:497:02:57

D council tax which leads to less

income. Batch of Belize or leave

7:02:577:03:03

they need a minimum of 300 more

police officers and 80 more

7:03:037:03:06

detectives in order to provide an

acceptable service. An increase of

7:03:067:03:11

300 officers would only be a net

increase of 160 officers on another

7:03:117:03:18

county had in 2011-12. I am indebted

to the latent buzzard newspaper for

7:03:187:03:22

printing a few years ago an article

by former latent buzzard police

7:03:227:03:27

officer Neil Cairns, who pointed out

that back in 1988, latent buzzard

7:03:277:03:32

and Linda Slade, in their police

station, had 12 civilians, 27

7:03:327:03:43

constables, one detective. It was a

total of 34 officers in the station.

7:03:437:03:51

To date there are eight officers and

three BSO 's. The reduction of over

7:03:517:03:57

three quarters in the number of

warranted officers in the town,

7:03:577:04:01

which is the third-largest in

Bedfordshire. Bedfordshire Police

7:04:017:04:05

have recently stated that latent

buzzard a larger number of officers

7:04:057:04:09

than of the based in Dunstable or

Regis. Run out some statistics this

7:04:097:04:16

evening and they are dry, but let me

illustrate the impact of burglary on

7:04:167:04:21

one of my constituents who wrote to

be last week. She wrote, my young

7:04:217:04:32

daughter arrived this week to find

we had been burgled. The police took

7:04:327:04:36

more than one hour to respond.

During this hour anything could

7:04:367:04:40

happened to my child. It's is

unacceptable. We have been burgled

7:04:407:04:44

four times in the last five years

and I now fear for the safety of my

7:04:447:04:49

family. He goes on to ask whether he

should consider leaving the area

7:04:497:04:52

because he does not feel supported

as a contributor to the town. I want

7:04:527:04:57

to be able to give that constituent,

and all my constituents the

7:04:577:05:03

reassurance they need and deserve.

In 2001, when I was first elected to

7:05:037:05:08

this house, I stood on a platform of

restoring the 88 police officers who

7:05:087:05:15

had been lost to Bedfordshire under

the previous government. In 2005,

7:05:157:05:20

when elected to the house for the

second time, I stood on a platform

7:05:207:05:24

that committed the government to

recruiting nationally an extra 5000

7:05:247:05:29

police officers every year. By

holding this debate tonight I am

7:05:297:05:33

holding true to the pledges I made

to my constituents when they first

7:05:337:05:38

gave me the honour of serving them

in Parliament.

I call Nick Hurd to

7:05:387:05:44

reply to the debate.

It's a great

pleasure to reply to the debate,

7:05:447:05:50

particularly as it has been framed

by my honourable friend, the member

7:05:507:05:55

for South West Bedfordshire, and we

both know to be and highly respected

7:05:557:05:58

in this house for his moderation and

reasonableness and his long-standing

7:05:587:06:02

passion for fairness and his cause,

as he has reminded the house, on

7:06:027:06:10

pressing for the reassurance on the

resources of police in Bedfordshire.

7:06:107:06:16

I know from private conversations

that he has reached a point in that

7:06:167:06:21

conversation of extreme frustration

because he has had a number of

7:06:217:06:24

conversations over many years with a

number of ministers on this subject

7:06:247:06:28

and has been tireless in championing

this cause for reasons that we

7:06:287:06:32

wholly understand. Let me try and

make three points in response. The

7:06:327:06:39

first is this, I get it, we get it,

in terms of the government. The

7:06:397:06:44

challenges facing Bedfordshire

Police are well understood. I am

7:06:447:06:47

delighted to see the Chief Constable

in the new place today, tonight, to

7:06:477:06:55

listen on this. Both he and my

honourable friend will be aware that

7:06:557:07:02

concerns have been raised for some

time about the funding of

7:07:027:07:05

Bedfordshire Police. The Home Office

sent in a batch of officials in July

7:07:057:07:10

of 2015 in response to devious

concerns expressed about the

7:07:107:07:14

sustainability of police efforts in

Bedfordshire. It is for that reason

7:07:147:07:22

in large part that one of my first

visits, having been made Minister

7:07:227:07:27

for policing, was to visit

Bedfordshire back in July, where I

7:07:277:07:35

met the Chief Constable and the

Commissioner and did a patrol of

7:07:357:07:41

Bedford with officers and I left

with what I felt was a good

7:07:417:07:46

understanding of the challenges

facing the police force. Its

7:07:467:07:50

managing a large rural area with two

major towns, an area where there are

7:07:507:07:55

considerable challenges in the

counterterrorism effort and serious

7:07:557:08:01

organised crime. It's an area that

has seen significant increase and

7:08:017:08:08

demand on a system that already

feels stretched. And a force that

7:08:087:08:13

feels very strongly, and has done

for some time, that it has a

7:08:137:08:17

shortage of officers and detectives.

My honourable friend has expressed

7:08:177:08:22

both in this debate and previous

debates, using the example of

7:08:227:08:26

Leighton Buzzard where the profile

of policing has changed considerably

7:08:267:08:30

over a number of years. So that

message is well received. My second

7:08:307:08:37

point, and I hope he will join me in

this, is to congratulate

7:08:377:08:42

Bedfordshire Police, not just the

leadership, the current leadership

7:08:427:08:45

of the Commissioner, but all the

front line officers and detectives

7:08:457:08:52

who are working under a considerable

pressure at this moment in time.

7:08:527:08:59

It's worth noting the commitment

that has been demonstrated by that

7:08:597:09:06

leadership to front line policing. I

know there are slightly more police

7:09:067:09:14

officers in service now than there

were in 2016, 36 more. I notice the

7:09:147:09:21

force is actively recruiting and

there is a commitment to maintaining

7:09:217:09:24

front line policing. I also note

that considerable savings have been

7:09:247:09:30

made since 2011 by Bedfordshire

Police, as other forces have done as

7:09:307:09:33

well. I can see what is happening in

terms of the force quality

7:09:337:09:37

improvement programme in, the state

rationalisation. Extensive

7:09:377:09:43

collaboration with other forces,

notably Cambridgeshire and

7:09:437:09:45

Hertfordshire. And all that is to be

applauded. I note reserves are being

7:09:457:09:53

used and when Bedfordshire is asked

to leave, both in the context of

7:09:537:09:58

Eastern region organised crime

units, counterterrorism units, and

7:09:587:10:03

leading the tri- force area it does

so excellently and is highly

7:10:037:10:07

respected for its leadership in that

area. All that is important to note

7:10:077:10:13

and recognise, particularly given

the context of considerable stretch

7:10:137:10:18

and strain on resources. I also know

from my conversations with the

7:10:187:10:25

Commissioner and the chief that they

are both working tirelessly to

7:10:257:10:31

challenge and improve the judgments

of the independent inspectorate in

7:10:317:10:45

terms of efficiency and

effectiveness. I know this is a

7:10:457:10:49

source of controversy and

challenging in Bedfordshire. The

7:10:497:10:56

facts are there that the independent

inspectorate plays an important

7:10:567:11:03

function in terms of driving

improvement across the police

7:11:037:11:06

system, in their view, which is

their view, the 2016 assessment,

7:11:067:11:13

judging Bedfordshire requires

improvement in efficiency and

7:11:137:11:17

inadequacies in terms of

effectiveness. I knows judgments are

7:11:177:11:20

challenged, and the leadership is

working tirelessly to improve on

7:11:207:11:23

those ratings. But we also need to

recognise that the challenging

7:11:237:11:31

context sink and parable forces in

similar groups in Essex and Kent,

7:11:317:11:35

are rated as good in all those

categories while receiving funding

7:11:357:11:42

per head equal to Bedfordshire.

That's not to criticise, but to

7:11:427:11:45

place on record that there is

continued room for improvement.

7:11:457:11:53

Everything I have heard from the

current leadership indicates they

7:11:537:11:56

are up to that challenge and working

towards it. My third point is, what

7:11:567:12:00

is the government doing about it?

Let me try and reassure the member,

7:12:007:12:07

although I know actions will speak

louder than words and I know actions

7:12:077:12:11

will be forthcoming soon. But we are

determined to make sure that police

7:12:117:12:16

have the resources they need while

continuing to challenge them to be

7:12:167:12:20

more efficient and effective. I am

delighted he recognised that is our

7:12:207:12:24

role as government on behalf of the

tax payer, to continue to hold

7:12:247:12:29

police force's feet to the fire and

to push them to be even more

7:12:297:12:34

efficient and effective. But we are

determined to make sure they have

7:12:347:12:39

the resources they need. Which is

why in the 2015 settlement we feel

7:12:397:12:43

we protected police funding, and the

truth of that -- be proof of that is

7:12:437:12:49

that direct funding going into the

police this year stands at £11

7:12:497:12:55

billion.

I note the Minister's

typically their comments about the

7:12:557:13:03

comparative forces, but will he

agree with me that what

7:13:037:13:07

distinguishes Bedfordshire's case is

the unusual level of challenge

7:13:077:13:09

coming from Luton, and the terror

issues, and coming from particular

7:13:097:13:17

and serious natures of the crime mix

in the county. It's when you put

7:13:177:13:21

those cases together that I think

Bedfordshire's case is a genuine

7:13:217:13:26

one.

I would like to assure him that

I totally understand why he says

7:13:267:13:30

that and it's an argument made by

the leadership of Bedfordshire

7:13:307:13:37

Police, and the comparisons are

always a little bit awkward. Tense

7:13:377:13:41

does have additional

counterterrorism demands caused by

7:13:417:13:44

the presence of major ports and

Essex has the responsibility for the

7:13:447:13:48

fourth busiest airport in the UK at

Stansted. There are pressure on

7:13:487:13:53

those communities as well. I don't

want to labour that point, the point

7:13:537:13:56

I am trying to give reassurance on

is that decisions were made in 2015

7:13:567:14:00

about police funding settlements

that is recognise that after years

7:14:007:14:06

of pressing the police to find

savings and efficiencies, to which

7:14:067:14:10

they responded in an extremely

impressive way, the decision in 2015

7:14:107:14:16

was to try to protect police

funding, and the total amount of tax

7:14:167:14:20

payers' money going into the police

system is I think significantly up

7:14:207:14:24

on 2015. There is a but, which I

will get to.

I take the point about

7:14:247:14:30

Essex and their airport, but Luton

is the country's fifth-largest, and

7:14:307:14:34

very significant and rapidly

expanding as an airport.

I totally

7:14:347:14:39

accept that point and also accepted

in my earlier remarks that I

7:14:397:14:43

recognise and totally understand

that there are some challenges

7:14:437:14:47

specific to Bedfordshire Police that

we have to recognise. The button

7:14:477:14:51

that I was coming too, having said

what I said about the decision to

7:14:517:14:55

protect police funding, is that we

recognise that the context is

7:14:557:15:01

changing. Not that assembly

dramatically since 2015 in terms of

7:15:017:15:05

public finances where we remain very

constrained in that context, as he

7:15:057:15:08

will well know. But the evidence is

there that demand on the police is

7:15:087:15:14

rising and changing. Changing in the

fact that police are having to spend

7:15:147:15:20

more time on areas of high

complexity, having to spend more

7:15:207:15:25

time in safeguarding the vulnerable

and responding to increased demand

7:15:257:15:30

in areas of complicity such as

domestic violence, modern slavery

7:15:307:15:36

and counterterrorism. As government

we have to recognise that. And there

7:15:367:15:42

are real cost pressures on the

police system.

7:15:427:15:43

Satisfy as my honourable friend

knows, since being appointed, you

7:15:507:15:54

and I have personally led a review

of every single police force in

7:15:547:15:59

England and Wales, visited every

single police force, or 43 including

7:15:597:16:05

Bedfordshire to make sure alongside

the other work we are doing that the

7:16:057:16:09

government generally understands

what is happening in terms of the

7:16:097:16:14

shift in demand on police, how the

police are responding in terms of

7:16:147:16:17

managing that demand, what their

current plans are for improving

7:16:177:16:23

efficiency and effectiveness because

that matters a great deal and also

7:16:237:16:26

what their plans are for managing

their reserves which are

7:16:267:16:30

considerable. I recognise

Bedfordshire are using their

7:16:307:16:33

reserves and that their reserves in

terms of percentage revenue below

7:16:337:16:37

the national average but across the

police system £1.6 billion of public

7:16:377:16:42

money is tied up in reserves. The

public and the taxpayers deserve to

7:16:427:16:49

know about this in more detail and

this is the review process and

7:16:497:16:52

leading. I am happy to give way.

Thank you, Mike right honourable

7:16:527:16:58

friend. If you had read the Chief

Constable 's statement two months

7:16:587:17:02

ago he mentioned that he hasn't got

enough resources to attend my man

7:17:027:17:06

and calls so the people of

Bedfordshire are not safe. Is this

7:17:067:17:10

the time for the government to act

now to give more funding and

7:17:107:17:15

urgently act on the Chief Constable

's call for more funding so that the

7:17:157:17:20

people of Bedfordshire safe?

I'm not

a tribalist but the answer from the

7:17:207:17:30

Labour benches is always to say how

much, we will be more demanding in

7:17:307:17:34

that respect because we act on

behalf of the taxpayer, public

7:17:347:17:40

safety is priority number one for

every government, when we are told

7:17:407:17:49

that the police have the resources

they need who will continue to

7:17:497:17:51

challenge them about how they will

use the resources and how they will

7:17:517:17:55

in the case of Bedfordshire improve

their ratings in terms of efficiency

7:17:557:17:59

and effectiveness. The point I'm

trying to make, Mr Speaker is that

7:17:597:18:06

the government is listening and they

do recognise the message across the

7:18:067:18:13

police system, about a shift in

demand and strain on the system,

7:18:137:18:23

those decisions will come before the

house in the provisional grant

7:18:237:18:28

settlement proposal which I hope

will be in early December which will

7:18:287:18:33

be the fruit of this review and the

discussions we have had over many

7:18:337:18:38

months with police leadership, and

with the independence inspectors to

7:18:387:18:44

really update our understanding of

what is happening in terms of demand

7:18:447:18:47

on the police system. If I can

reassure my honourable friend

7:18:477:18:51

because he has been very tenacious

on this front, safety is the element

7:18:517:18:57

's number one priority and we will

make sure the police have the

7:18:577:19:01

resources they need and the

resources they need to adopt if we

7:19:017:19:04

have a clear picture of what is

happening in terms of shifts in

7:19:047:19:08

demand and shifts in cost pressures,

we are grateful to the police for

7:19:087:19:14

their co-operation in this process.

I ask for a little more patience for

7:19:147:19:17

my honourable friend in his long

journey since he has been elected

7:19:177:19:21

that I hope before the end of the

year they will be able to come to

7:19:217:19:24

this house with proposals for the

1819 funding settlement for police,

7:19:247:19:32

we are determined to make sure this

country has the most effective,

7:19:327:19:35

trusted police force in the world,

that's what we want for this country

7:19:357:19:39

and for Bedfordshire.

Order, the

question is that

7:19:397:19:45

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