07/03/2018 House of Commons


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07/03/2018

Live coverage of the day's proceedings including urgent questions on the UK's relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Leveson Inquiry, as well as opposition day debates.


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Order. Urgent question. Sir Vincent

cable.

The question is for the

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Minister to make a statement on the

diplomatic relations with Saudi

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Arabia.

Minister of State. The

Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker and can I

thank the right honourable gentleman

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for his question. I am responding

for the Foreign Secretary because he

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is at an engagement at the Palace.

The Prime Minister has invited his

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Royal Highness to the visit the

United Kingdom. We are delighted to

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welcome him on his first official

visit to the UK taking place from

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today until Friday. They will launch

its GJ partnership between our two

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countries, which will allow us to

debate policy issues of mutual

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interest. We have a close and

wide-ranging relationship with Saudi

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Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the third

growing fastest market for exports

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and we work together to discuss

regional issues. It will allow for a

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discussion between the Prime

Minister and the Prince of how to

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address the humanitarian crisis. The

UK supports the social and economic

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reform programme. His visit is an

opportunity for him to underline his

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vision of an outward looking Saudi

Arabia, one that embraces a tolerant

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form of Islam and an inclusive

society. Greater freedom for women,

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in line with the statements made by

the Crown Prince. We believe these

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reforms are the best for the

prosperity of Saudi Arabia and it is

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right the UK supports the Crown

Prince and his endeavours.

Mr

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Speaker, further to the exchange,

can I say there will be widespread

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concern across parties at the fact

that the dictatorial head of the

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medieval regime is being the two

given the red carpet visit. Can I

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ask if the Foreign Secretary will be

demanding of the ending of the

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bombing of civilian targets in the

civil war, which the Prince

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initiated. Can I also ask if he can

explain why the safeguards on the

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use of British weapons, which were

introduced at the end of the call is

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on at the assistance of myself and

my Liberal Democrat colleagues, I no

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longer being applied? Will he insist

on the ending of the blockade of

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ports in Yemen, which are

contributing to the devastating

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humanitarian crisis and famine,

which we have heard much of this

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house? Will he defend the nuclear

agreement with Iran, to which we are

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a party and the Prince is seeking to

undermine. Will he condemn the

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attempt by the Crown Prince to fan

the flames of sectarian conflict?

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Can I ask if he has consulted the

economic service on the economic

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position of Saudi Arabia, which is

no longer an oil producer, which is

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running out of money and the main

potential long-term deal to the UK

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is the flotation, which will only be

achieved by devaluing the standards

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applied in the City of London?

Finally, on the threshold of

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International Women's Day, can I ask

if he intends to endorse the Crown

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Prince's view of modernisation, that

women should be allowed to go to

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football matches but not allowed to

marry, divorce, have a driving

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licence or operation without the

approval of their male relatives?

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Minister of State. Thank you, Mr

Speaker. I thank him for his

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question. His starting point and his

opening view of Saudi Arabia

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represents one of the reasons why I

think the Crown Prince is here. Used

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the medieval. The Crown Prince has

been conducting a series of reforms

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and has made statements about where

he wants to take the kingdom of

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Saudi Arabia. Everyone is aware of

the past but it is important to look

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at the present, good things as well

as difficult things, but also point

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the way forward he has with vision

2030. When he speaks about a

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modernising country, supporting

moderate Islam, that should be taken

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as seriously as any reference to the

kingdom in the past. He asked a

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series of questions. He referred to

the war in Yemen being initiated by

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Saudi Arabia. This is not correct.

Sorry, the war in Yemen, this is not

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correct. What happened there was an

insurgency overthrew a legitimate

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Government, backed by the UN, which

sought support from its neighbours

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in order to deal with that

insurgency. The insurgency is cruel.

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A number of people have been

executed, including the former

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president of Yemen. They hold people

to run some in areas that they

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occupy and have been preventing

people getting humanitarian aid. We

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support the efforts of the Saudi led

coalition in order to defend Yemen

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against the insurgency, but equally,

bring the conflict to an end. It is

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the most important thing. It will

take both parties, not just Saudi

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Arabia. In terms of weapons sales,

these are as strict as any in the

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world, the right honourable

gentleman is aware of. We keep under

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strict check to make sure to run a

teary in law is abided by to make

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sure we can provide the support we

can... -- Trinitarian lark. --

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humanitarian law. This should not be

forgotten. He referred to a

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blockage. There is no blockade.

There are no restrictions on the

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ports. The ports are open. There was

a restriction from the 19th of

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December, following a missile attack

on the capital of Yemen. There is a

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strong suspicion that weapons were

being struggled into the country,

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that is why the restrictions were

there. It would of 50 ships since

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then have now docked and the ports

are open. Humanitarian aid has been

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coming in. We will defend this which

is in the interest of the region. In

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relation to the economic prospects

of Saudi Arabia, we know the area is

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changing and that is what vision

2030 is about. It is about moving in

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time from an oil based economy to

something different. This provides

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opportunities for the region and we

strongly support that. We would like

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the option to be issued in the

United Kingdom and we will suggest

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the city will be the best place for

it. The right honourable gentleman

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mentioned international women's

date. It is obvious to ourselves

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that some of the things related to

women in Saudi Arabia seem mundane,

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attending a football match, mixed

spaces, the ability to drive. In a

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Saudi context, these changes have

meant significance which we do not

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always appreciate the need to make

reference to. Further progress seems

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likely and it is in everyone's

minds. I do not think we should

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judge the progress to date. The

engagement of women, not only in the

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areas we have mentioned, but in

business, Government, makes a real

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difference to the area. I think the

International Women's Day is

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enhanced by the sort of changes we

have seen in Saudi Arabia and we

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shall be sure that our Prime

Minister make sure the progress

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gives every support from the United

Kingdom as we move forward.

Thank

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you, Mr Speaker. Can I congratulate

my right honourable friend to the

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answer. Is he as surprised as I am

that the question was short of the

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context of the scale of the reforms

that are now taking place in Saudi

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Arabia? Can I urge the Government to

continue our assistance to the

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Government of Saudi Arabia to

deliver the astonishing scale of

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ambition associated with vision

2030's I am grateful to my right

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honourable friend who rightly sets

it in context.

No one denies that

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are difficult aspects a to

relationship with the Kingdom of

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Saudi Arabia, just as there are with

engagement is the United Kingdom has

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whose countries and human rights

issues we do not always share. The

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important point my right honourable

friend made is engagement.

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Engagement to seek a common view of

a future. As he rightly says, a

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future that is changing markedly and

in a way no one anticipated, because

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of the arrival of the Crown Prince

and his position. He could have an

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influence on the region for 30 years

and our engagement and support for

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the modernising image she has is

important to all of us.

Thank you,

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Mr Speaker. Thank you for granting

this urgent question. Let me

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congratulate the member for securing

it, even if it was ahead of my

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application.

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Want to have a good diplomatic and

economic relationship with Saudi

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Arabia. Like any good relationship

there must be honestly and most

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important we must tell them that as

long as they continue the

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indiscriminate bombing of

residential areas, farms, of markets

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in Yemen, as long as they continue

to restrict the flow of food and

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medical supplies to a population

suffering mass epidemics of money

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division and cholera, it would not

expect our support in that war.

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Their crown prince does not deserve

to have the red carpet rolled out to

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him here in Britain. Let us look at

the man who the British Government

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are bowing to today. The architect

of the blockade in Yemen, funding

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jihadi groups, ordering his guards

to beat up the Prime Minister of

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Lebanon, doubling the number of

executions in Saudi Arabia. If we

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are supposed to ignore all of that,

we're supposed to ignore it because

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of his proposal that Saudi women be

allowed to drive, just as they can

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everywhere else in the world. The UK

Government prepared to back pretends

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to care about human rights. But

there is nothing but a shameful

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silence. We all know that all they

ultimately care about is how to plug

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the hole in trade because of their

plans on Brexit. If the minister

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wants to dispute that, can he answer

one simple question. When is the

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Government going to stop bowing down

to Saudi Arabia and instead demand

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an immediate ceasefire and end to

the blockade, proper peace talks and

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a permanent end to this dreadful,

shameful

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I thank the Right Honourable lady

for her words.

She started well in

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terms of wanting to welcome a

relationship with the King of Saudi

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Arabia. She might want to review

some of the personal comments that

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you made after that. And wonder how

that might constitute a decent

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relationship. Firstly, there is not

indiscriminate bombing of civilians

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as has been alleged. It is

absolutely vital that we make sure

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that in dealing with the military

aspect of the conflict, which was

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not started by Saudi Arabia, but we

keep... That we are able to see in

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terms of international humanitarian

law and that it is as helpful as

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possible in trying to make sure that

the training is appropriate to do

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that. In cases where there have been

allegations of civilian casualties,

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these should be dealt with and

monitored in a manner completely

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different to that in terms of Houthi

activity. In relation to the

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humanitarian issues, there is not a

blockade, there is not a restriction

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of God is coming in. -- there is not

a restriction of goods coming in. We

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have worked very hard to try and

ensure that there is protection for

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Saudi Arabia and in doing so give

them the confidence to allow more

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ships to comment to deal with the

humanitarian issues. This seems to

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be a more sensible approach than the

outright condemnation that the

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honourable lady has come out with.

As I indicated to the right

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honourable gentleman, who asked a

more serious set of questions, the

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issue about women's progress is not

simply about a driving issue.

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Driving in the Kingdom of Saudi

Arabia has a totemic importance for

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many people. In terms of Yemen,

there has been no silence from the

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United Kingdom. This is why we have

been working so hard for a

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diplomatic solution and why we

welcome the new UN envoy which has

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been appointed, which the honourable

lady did not mention. Inhalation to

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a ceasefire, all of our evidence is

that ceasefires work when there is

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some relation on the ground. Because

of the activity of the Houthi and

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those who support them, it is not

possible for a ceasefire to have any

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sense of purpose that it will

actually work.

I very gently say to

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the Shadow Foreign Secretary who is

normally a restrained individual, I

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understand how passionate years, I

feel sure that in a courtroom she

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would not chunder miserly. --

noisily.

Let me be very

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straightforward. Calling for a

ceasefire is not the same as having

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one. We all want to see an end to

the conflict in Yemen. We support

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the appointment of the new UN envoy.

Simply calling for it does not do

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it. What you have to make sure is

that you have the facts on the

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ground to make sure a ceasefire

actually works. It is for the

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honourable lady to shake her head.

She has not faced with some of these

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issues and knowledge to back nor is

she giving full credit. As we deal

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with the difficulties of trying to

deal with the humanitarian crisis in

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Yemen, that is what we are seeking

to do and we will bend all of our

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efforts to that and continue to do

so, with or without her support.

I

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am happy to confirm that there is no

prohibition of shaking or nodding of

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heads. Another person who has been

chuntering from a sedentary position

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cannot speak from her feet.

As you

know I am a feminist. I had the

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honour to lead a delegation to Saudi

Arabia as a woman and at no time did

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I find any prejudice or disrespect.

I was quite surprised. But the

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Minister agree and I commend all his

fine words today. Would he agree

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with me that whilst obviously we are

a long way from seeing the sort of

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rights in the kingdom that we would

expect of any modern society, the

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best way to achieve that and to

influence that country is to have

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firm conversations and good

relations in private.

Over the

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course of her visit,...

Can I thank

my honourable friend for her

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question. Absolutely, I concur with

her sentiments. We talk very

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friendly to counterparts, even the

most of the cult circumstances. It

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is right that we express our

interest in how reforms are going.

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The progress being made is

significant in the context of where

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Saudi Arabia wants to go. And how it

wants to lead the region. Talking

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about moderate Islam, in an area

where those who propose this are at

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threat takes a degree of bravery

from the leadership of Saudi Arabia.

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That is what we recognise. There is

more to go but as my right

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honourable friends said making sure

it is done with engagement is a key

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part of that process.

Thank you. He

will be aware that Yemen has been

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described as the world's worst

man-made humanitarian disaster.

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Members have been right in

highlighting women's rights in Saudi

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Arabia. Will he be raising the

plight of women in Yemen as well. It

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is reported that they often have to

choose which child to save because

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of the cholera. UK arms sales have

outstripped its two Yemen eight

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times over. Will he use that on

average and finally will he have

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discussions. Back

two issues, if I

may. In relation to Yemen, no one

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denies the scale of the humanitarian

crisis. We are as confident as we

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can be that support to deal with the

next round of cholera is going to be

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in place. None of this would be

necessary of the conflict was not

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there. That of course is what we're

bending all of our efforts to. I do

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genuinely wish it was a

straightforward as saying to one of

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the parties, if you stop doing

everything everything will be all

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right. I do not believe that to be

the answer. We have done all that we

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can in relation to providing food

and fuel. The restrictions are

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caused by the conflict and we will

do all that we can to break it down.

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Full.

Does my honourable friend

welcomed the Crown prince 's

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statement that his country is to --

that his goal is to build a country

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of modern Islam.

I thank my

honourable friend for her question.

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That statement about moderate Islam

is one that we would all take for

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granted here. Setting it in the

context, where there are disputes

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about the way Islam should go and

the propaganda that emerges from

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those who would see Islam taken

quite a different course, but it

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comes from someone who in time will

be the custodian of the mosques, is

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quite significant.

We all want to

see a modernised regime in Saudi

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Arabia. The Government however have

called for an extra eight

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executioners to be appointed. Can

the Minister assure us that the

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Government will be raising their

plight with the Saudi prince while

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he is here?

United Kingdom stands

against the use of execution and

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against the use of the death

penalty. Whether it is the king of

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Saudi Arabia or anywhere else, we

make that clear. We have received

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assurances in reference to minors.

We stand. Where against the death

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penalty in any circumstances.

Those

of us who've been to Saudi Arabia

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recently have seen how quickly

things are changing there. In such a

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conditional country, with

International Women's Day tomorrow,

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does my weight honourable friend

agree that this is a good

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opportunity to...

I am grateful to

my honourable friend for raising

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that. The purpose of Parliamentary

visits, it is to get to see the

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context of a country. In my

experience, not be giving a grandeur

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of easy options. -- not be giving a

grand tour of easy options. In

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relation to where women are going,

women in culture and music and in

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business, it it is to see country

intends to take itself. A woman's

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voice in relation to where it going

is an important one.

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My constituents in Glasgow have all

been e-mailing me with deep concerns

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over the hospitality being afforded

to the Crown Prince with the

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backdrop of the bombs we are selling

them. What is the Government doing

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to make sure the Saudi take out the

material response plan. Children of

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Yemen are dying to frequently every

day and Yemen cannot wait.

I agree

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with the honourable lady. Yemen

cannot wait. As I said earlier, if I

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believed for a moment asking one

party to stop the activities would

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bring an end to it, we would all

advocate that solution. I do not

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believe that is the case. That has

to be a negotiated end. It should

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come as quickly as possible and we

have been pressing this for some

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considerable time. We are doing

everything we can to ease the

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situation and we have seen, since my

right honourable friend was there in

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December, she was able to explain to

the coalition what the international

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community was doing to seek to

protect them. That used to an easing

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of the restrictions. Nothing will

help the people of Yemen and to the

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conflict comes to an end. Everyone

is right about that.

I am keen to

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accommodate the colleagues. We are

appreciative of the fund of

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knowledge and wisdom on display from

the right honourable gentleman.

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There is also no procedural standing

order bar, where appropriate, on

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single sentence and servers.

Thank

you. Does my right honourable friend

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support the reforms and does he

confirm the Government will be

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encouraging the authorities to go

further in this regard? The best way

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to influence them is to keep the

door open. Out of interest, 52% of

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all graduates in 2017 where women.

There are 30 women members of the

0:27:260:27:33

council, more than the Senate has,

and in the transformation camp there

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is some very positive views on the

environment. These will have a far

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reaching effect, not just on the

people of Saudi Arabia, but indeed

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globally.

Minister of State. Mr

Speaker, as I could not put it any

0:27:500:27:58

better myself, I agree with my right

honourable friend. The UK will

0:27:580:28:02

continue to give support in the

direction she advocates.

Does the

0:28:020:28:07

Minister share my view that people

in positions of responsibility may

0:28:070:28:14

unwittingly put themselves on the

side of prolonging and potentially

0:28:140:28:20

worsening the crisis if they either,

by deceit or by design, choose to

0:28:200:28:26

ignore areas where the kingdom has,

in part, corrected what where at

0:28:260:28:34

times deplorable mistakes and their

initial conduct of the conflict?

The

0:28:340:28:40

honourable gentleman has a deep

knowledge of the area and the

0:28:400:28:46

complexities it involves. It does

require handling with balance, as

0:28:460:28:52

any of these difficult circumstances

are. We are right to understand what

0:28:520:28:57

caused the conflict, be concerns

that have been raised in the conduct

0:28:570:29:00

and things have changed since

international pressure. A situation

0:29:000:29:07

where an insurgency that brings in

external forces to attack his state,

0:29:070:29:11

that that could be left until with

would seem to be an unfortunate set

0:29:110:29:17

of consequences for the future. We

want to see the matter resolved with

0:29:170:29:22

the security of Saudi and Yemeni at

the heart of a future peace

0:29:220:29:27

arrangement.

I refer to my

declaration. Does my right

0:29:270:29:33

honourable friend acknowledge that

the intervention of Saudi Arabia and

0:29:330:29:37

its coalition partners in Yemen was

at the request of the legitimate

0:29:370:29:41

Government of that country? Does he

agree that the principal insurgents

0:29:410:29:45

and their allies are supplied by

Imran, whose actions are prolonging

0:29:450:29:53

the conflict in that country?

I am

grateful to my right honourable

0:29:530:30:00

friend for his observations. It is

right, although the circumstances in

0:30:000:30:06

Yemen are indeed dire and do call

for a conclusion to the conflict,

0:30:060:30:11

not to understand the origins of the

conflict, however it was started,

0:30:110:30:18

with the two failed to understand

how the conflict can properly be

0:30:180:30:23

brought to a conclusion. Outside

influences have been involved in

0:30:230:30:27

causing great danger and great fears

and concerns in the region is also

0:30:270:30:32

extremely clear.

Mr Speaker, the

Minister mentioned the two holy

0:30:320:30:39

places. Hundreds of thousands,

probably millions, of British

0:30:390:30:45

citizens aspire to, or will go

there. Will he be raising these

0:30:450:30:53

issues about their security and the

way in which they are treated during

0:30:530:30:58

these discussions? Will he also be

emphasising the importance that

0:30:580:31:03

Saudi Arabia revitalise the

initiative for a middle East peace

0:31:030:31:11

settlement?

In relation to his first

question, I do not know what is on

0:31:110:31:16

the agenda at the honourable

gentleman can be assured that safety

0:31:160:31:23

of those going from the United

Kingdom is always important and that

0:31:230:31:27

is raised by the ambassador. He

knows how important it is to all

0:31:270:31:32

that undertake the pogrom edge.

Pilgrimage. I am interested in how

0:31:320:31:45

Saudi Arabia might respond. So that

the peace initiative, that lies at

0:31:450:31:50

the base of the solutions remains in

the minds of everyone who wants to

0:31:500:31:57

see peace between the Palestinians

and Israel.

Historically Saudi

0:31:570:32:02

Arabia has channelled hundreds of

billions of pounds into the violent

0:32:020:32:08

end of the Islamic extremism all

around the world. In his assessment,

0:32:080:32:12

has that shifted visibly under the

Crown Prince?

I thank my honourable

0:32:120:32:20

friend. I think the short answer to

that is yes. I think as we are all

0:32:200:32:26

aware of recent history, and that

elements in Saudi Arabia may have

0:32:260:32:33

been involved in elements of violent

extremism, I think the setting of

0:32:330:32:37

his state against that by calling

for moderate Islam, modernisation,

0:32:370:32:43

which flies in the face of those

very extremists, I think that is

0:32:430:32:48

making clear the way in which Saudi

Arabia wants to deal with its past

0:32:480:32:53

and seek an alternative future.

There is no mention at all of human

0:32:530:33:03

rights in the Vision 2030 programme.

That involves the hundred people

0:33:030:33:08

being executed since it was

launched, including children and

0:33:080:33:11

protesters. I was not sure if he

said this was going to be raised and

0:33:110:33:21

can act as if it is and the

juveniles who have been on death row

0:33:210:33:25

for many years, this question will

be raised?

I did make clear to the

0:33:250:33:33

House that it has been mentioned by

us in relation to this and seeking a

0:33:330:33:46

situation where they might not be

executed and that matter remains

0:33:460:33:50

very much a matter of concern for

the United Kingdom. That is why we

0:33:500:33:55

talk about it and raise it privately

as well.

It was evident earlier that

0:33:550:34:02

propaganda has been affected.

There's anything we can learn from

0:34:020:34:04

that?

I defer to my right honourable

friend in his knowledge of

0:34:040:34:14

propaganda and how it might be used.

I am not sure whose voices are

0:34:140:34:21

listened to most in relation to

this. I think what it indicates is

0:34:210:34:29

because it is not a state what

you're talking about and not been

0:34:290:34:33

easy to target, a more comprehensive

picture of the conflict would lead

0:34:330:34:41

to different conclusions. The

conclusion however that we all want

0:34:410:34:45

the conflict to end so that there

can be peace and better security for

0:34:450:34:49

the people of Yemen who deserve

better governance is a matter of

0:34:490:34:54

importance to all of us.

There has

been huge disruption for access to

0:34:540:35:02

humanitarian aid. That is caused by

Saudi Arabian blockades mainly will

0:35:020:35:07

that be brought as a matter of

urgency with the Crown Prince, to

0:35:070:35:12

open the ports for the 22 million

people who need urgent assistance?

I

0:35:120:35:18

can assure at the right honourable

gentleman and the House. The reasons

0:35:180:35:25

for the restrictions were because of

the concerns of Saudi Arabia that

0:35:250:35:30

weapons that are directed against

them first smuggled into Yemen and

0:35:300:35:34

we wanted to give assurances that we

would do all we can to prevent that.

0:35:340:35:40

The restrictions of ships coming in

can be used and these have been used

0:35:400:35:46

and the ports are now open. 50 ships

have blocked since the restrictions

0:35:460:35:52

were imposed in December and we

shall do all we can and the United

0:35:520:35:56

Kingdom has taken a leading part in

reassuring the caller Shin and

0:35:560:36:02

talking about the crucial need for

human Terry and aid to enter Yemen.

0:36:020:36:08

In seeking to have a ceasefire, does

the UK believe Iran has broken

0:36:080:36:17

sanctions... Sorry, UN sanctions.

Yes, I thank my right honourable

0:36:170:36:23

friend for the question. The UN

panel of experts held within recent

0:36:230:36:27

weeks very clearly that Iran had not

been able to demonstrate that it had

0:36:270:36:38

abided by the resolution, about the

availability of weapons going to and

0:36:380:36:43

a rear... Going to Yemen. That was

the concern of the preach of UN

0:36:430:36:49

sanctions. It emphasises again

external... That should come to an

0:36:490:36:56

end as part of a peace agreement.

My

inbox has been flooded by

0:36:560:37:01

constituents wanting to see and

enter the ceasefire in Yemen. ...

0:37:010:37:07

The conflict in Yemen. How does you

square that Circa when this

0:37:070:37:11

Government has been facilitating 4.6

billion pounds worth of arms, making

0:37:110:37:16

us complicit in Yemen?

I understand

the question and let me repeat

0:37:160:37:23

again. The long-standing

relationship with the Kingdom of

0:37:230:37:27

Saudi Arabia, in terms of defence

and its place in a difficult and

0:37:270:37:32

hostile region is long-standing. In

relation to Yemen and the arms

0:37:320:37:37

export are covered by strict

guarantees and scrutiny of this

0:37:370:37:41

house and the courts. In relation to

the conflict, if it was as simple as

0:37:410:37:48

saying to one party, stop doing this

and all will be all right, when they

0:37:480:37:53

have on the borders, missiles

directed at them, I do not think he

0:37:530:38:01

would have any credibility. We must

continue to do all we can through

0:38:010:38:05

the UN to CNN in this conflict, in

which military pressure on the

0:38:050:38:10

insurgency has been part of the

process. As I said before, we do not

0:38:100:38:14

see a military solution to this, a

protest leading to negotiations and

0:38:140:38:19

an end to the conflict as soon as

possible.

The Crown Prince has been

0:38:190:38:24

clear that he wants to build a

moderate moderate future for Saudi

0:38:240:38:29

Arabia. That is something the whole

house would want to see him achieve.

0:38:290:38:33

Does the Minister agree that the

best way to see that happen is to

0:38:330:38:37

work with him and to assist them,

and not build diplomatic walls

0:38:370:38:41

between our two countries?

I agree

with my honourable friend. That is

0:38:410:38:47

the point of the engagement, which I

can assure the House covers the

0:38:470:38:52

positive parts of what is happening

in Saudi Arabia but also does not

0:38:520:38:56

shy away from the difficult things

that I know is on the minds of

0:38:560:39:00

members and constituents.

Thank you,

Mr Speaker. That is right that we

0:39:000:39:10

engage with the Kingdom of Saudi

Arabia and it would be unrealistic

0:39:100:39:12

to suggest we do not. The freedom of

religion and the right for people to

0:39:120:39:18

practice their own faith, can he say

these issues will be picked up in

0:39:180:39:25

this meeting?

I am grateful to my

honourable friend. Freedom of

0:39:250:39:30

religion is a difficult issue in

relation to the Kingdom of Saudi

0:39:300:39:34

Arabia because of its position as a

custodial of the two holy mosques.

0:39:340:39:39

We are clear, greater collagen and

throughout the region, one faith for

0:39:390:39:47

another is crucial if the region is

to move away from the path it

0:39:470:39:53

appears set. There will always be a

voice here for tolerance of other

0:39:530:39:58

faiths and progressive moves towards

freedom of faith throughout the

0:39:580:40:01

region.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I

referred to the register. This will

0:40:010:40:09

embarrass him but can I invite my

right honourable friend to comment

0:40:090:40:13

and reflect on those that relations

between countries will often depend

0:40:130:40:18

on the quality of diligence of our

diplomatic ambassadors overseas. We

0:40:180:40:24

are very lucky to have a first class

ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He has

0:40:240:40:30

converted to is lamb, undertaken and

I have seen the close and honest

0:40:300:40:38

relationship that he has with Saudi

Arabia. He is a pinnacle and best

0:40:380:40:42

example of our diplomatic corps and

we should be grateful to him. I

0:40:420:40:49

welcome this visit.

0:40:490:40:53

Mr Speaker, I am grateful. Behind

all of the efforts of the ministers

0:40:530:41:00

at the dispatch box is an

extraordinary ambassadorial team. I

0:41:000:41:07

fully endorse everything that my

honourable friend has said and also

0:41:070:41:15

mentioned the former ambassador to

Yemen's. It is a first-class team

0:41:150:41:22

and it is representative of a

first-class team throughout all of

0:41:220:41:26

the region.

I gather it relates to

the exchanges that have just taken

0:41:260:41:37

place.

It has just been on the

register. I did go on a delegation

0:41:370:41:43

to Saudi Arabia.

The house would

appreciate that. Thank you to the

0:41:430:41:52

Minister and colleagues. Urgent

question, Tom Watson.

Whilst

0:41:520:42:00

referring to my register, my entry

on the register, I would like to ask

0:42:000:42:08

the secretary of state to make a

statement on the allegations of

0:42:080:42:14

Barking. And the -- blagging.

This

morning we saw allegations of

0:42:140:42:35

behaviour that appears totally

unacceptable and potentially

0:42:350:42:38

criminal. The investigation is

therefore a matter for the police.

0:42:380:42:41

The house will understand that there

is only so far I can go on

0:42:410:42:47

discussing this significant details.

More broadly, some have said that we

0:42:470:43:01

should change policy. Policy should

be based on all available

0:43:010:43:03

information. Indeed, it was

precisely because of cases like this

0:43:030:43:14

that the Levenson enquiry was set

up. And that this sort of behaviour

0:43:140:43:20

was covered and Mr Ford's activities

were raised as part of the enquiry.

0:43:200:43:29

As we discussed last week, and again

on Monday, there have been three

0:43:290:43:33

detailed police investigations and

over 40 people were convicted and

0:43:330:43:38

many went to prison. To date's

revelations if proven are clearly

0:43:380:43:44

already covered by the law and

appear in contravention of sect

0:43:440:43:52

tweet section -- in contravention of

section 50 five. Once more, the fact

0:43:520:43:59

that this activity stopped in 2010,

underlines the fact that the world

0:43:590:44:06

has changed. Newspapers today are in

a very different position to run

0:44:060:44:12

these alerted offences took place.

This view is strengthened by today's

0:44:120:44:18

example, because the behaviour we

discovered today was before the

0:44:180:44:21

Levenson enquiry and an existing law

is in place to deal with that.

0:44:210:44:26

Criminal behaviour should be dealt

with by the police. Anyone who has

0:44:260:44:32

committed a criminal offence should

face the full force of the law. The

0:44:320:44:36

future of a vibrant, free press is

important to us all. We want to see

0:44:360:44:43

the higher standards and we must

face the challenges of today to

0:44:430:44:48

ensure that Britain has a

high-quality discourse to underpin

0:44:480:44:52

our democracy for the heirs to come.

Mr Speaker, the world has not

0:44:520:44:58

changed. When he announced last week

that he was dropping the Levenson

0:44:580:45:09

enquiry, the culture secretary said

he was doing so because the enquiry

0:45:090:45:12

looked into everything in this area.

It was followed by three police

0:45:120:45:17

investigations and we looked into

these things as a society and we had

0:45:170:45:22

a compliance of Levenson enquiry. He

told is that the matter was closed

0:45:220:45:26

and there was nothing more to say.

Overnight, the BBC has reported

0:45:260:45:31

allegations by another

whistle-blower, who says he was a

0:45:310:45:39

blagger for the Sunday Times for 15

years. He says that he obtained

0:45:390:45:51

information from Cabinet members. He

says that the information was

0:45:510:45:56

illegal, intrusive and ultimately

wrong. In his reference to the first

0:45:560:45:59

half of the enquiry, it was conceded

that Ford had worked for the paper

0:45:590:46:06

but have not done so for over a

decade. Today, the Sunday Times have

0:46:060:46:12

disputed these new claims. The

second half of the enquiry could

0:46:120:46:18

establish where the truth lies. That

is what it was set up to do. The

0:46:180:46:23

Government is closing down the

public enquiry before it has done

0:46:230:46:25

its work and despite the fact that

Sir Levenson says that he disagrees

0:46:250:46:32

with that decision. 130,000

0:46:320:46:37

concerned citizens have said it

should go ahead and the Secretary of

0:46:370:46:40

State has chosen to disregard them.

The secretary of state as

0:46:400:46:44

capitulating to the press barons who

want to use their raw power to close

0:46:440:46:50

down a national public enquiry. I

would likely ask him, in light of

0:46:500:46:54

these new allegations, we will --

will he reconsider? If not, how will

0:46:540:47:04

he is sure this house and the public

that this new allegation of criminal

0:47:040:47:09

behaviour by the Sunday Times will

be fully investigated? Is it not now

0:47:090:47:13

clear to him that too many questions

remain unanswered to justify this

0:47:130:47:22

decision to break David Cameron's

solemn promise to the victims of

0:47:220:47:25

press abuse?

Thank you. I think I

covered all of those questions in my

0:47:250:47:32

statement. As I mentioned, the

Levenson enquiry not only had terms

0:47:320:47:38

of reference which covered this type

of allegation, but indeed this

0:47:380:47:44

person was raised at the Levenson

enquiry and of course as he implies,

0:47:440:47:49

it is a matter for the police to

follow up any evidence of criminal

0:47:490:47:54

wrongdoing. He also asks, should we

therefore bring in an enquiry that

0:47:540:48:00

is backward looking and bring in

rules which will help to undermine

0:48:000:48:09

further the free press that we need,

notably section 40. The answer to

0:48:090:48:17

those questions last week was both

clearly no. The answer with this new

0:48:170:48:22

evidence of activity that took place

up to 2010, it appears, and

0:48:220:48:28

therefore up to seven years ago is

not a reason to reopen decisions

0:48:280:48:35

that were taken exactly on the basis

that the world has changed. If

0:48:350:48:39

anything, this evidence demonstrates

further just how much things have

0:48:390:48:43

changed.

I was just a secretary when

we set up the Levenson enquiry and

0:48:430:48:52

we were promised the second stage of

the enquiry. By right honourable

0:48:520:48:57

friend will not be surprised to

discover that I share the

0:48:570:49:02

disappointment that the second stage

of the enquiry was postponed. Does

0:49:020:49:07

he really think that there is no

longer a sufficient public interest

0:49:070:49:11

in new allegations of this kind or

knowing which newspapers were

0:49:110:49:16

browbeating which policeman because

it was as long ago as seven years?

0:49:160:49:23

Does he think that the best

newspapers in this country will

0:49:230:49:28

accept that judgment for a moment if

it was applied to any other sector

0:49:280:49:32

of the economy? We have public

enquiries in hand at the moment

0:49:320:49:38

looking into much older allegations

of sexual abuse, paedophilia,

0:49:380:49:44

tragedy and other things. Will he

not wait until we have a new

0:49:440:49:50

allegation that his post-2011 before

at least thinking again about about

0:49:500:49:55

his decision? Wing of course, I

respect my right honourable friend's

0:49:550:50:01

view.

The question that faces us now

is what is the right thing to do now

0:50:010:50:15

going forward to ensure that we have

a high-quality democratic discourse,

0:50:150:50:21

when we have such great challenges

facing the press, to make sure that

0:50:210:50:27

we can tackle fake news and the Brit

disinformation -- and deliberate

0:50:270:50:35

misinformation. We are taking that

work forward but allegations of

0:50:350:50:41

behaviour like this where covered by

the original enquiry and looked into

0:50:410:50:49

and if it comes to another police

case into these allegations, the

0:50:490:50:54

existing law is already there to

cover it.

Clearly these new reports

0:50:540:51:03

are worrying, and the only add to

the serious concerns that many of us

0:51:030:51:08

have across this house in regard to

the behaviour of the press. We have

0:51:080:51:11

always said that individuals should

be able to seek redress when they

0:51:110:51:14

feel they have been the victim of

press malpractice. It benefits

0:51:140:51:19

everyone of us to have immediate

that is both transparent and

0:51:190:51:22

accountable. The Scottish Government

must be consulted and Scotland and

0:51:220:51:29

their distinct legal system

recognise. Under those circumstances

0:51:290:51:32

we would support efforts to

re-establish the enquiry. What

0:51:320:51:41

action, if any, is he proposing to

take on these new allegations and

0:51:410:51:45

can he guarantee that if the new

enquiry is established that it would

0:51:450:51:53

only happen with respect to

Scotland's distinct legal system.

0:51:530:52:00

There is action that is necessary as

a result of these allegations and it

0:52:000:52:04

is action for the police into

allegations of what appeared to be

0:52:040:52:09

criminal activities.

He is right to

say it is a matter for the police.

0:52:090:52:19

Is he listening to her called to

further strengthen her powers.

Of

0:52:190:52:31

course, we have a good working

relationship with the information

0:52:310:52:34

Commissioner and her powers are

being strengthened as a part of the

0:52:340:52:39

data protection Bill Popper for this

house. I'm sure that the level to

0:52:390:52:43

which they are being strengthened

and the ways in which they are being

0:52:430:52:47

strengthened will be properly

scrutinised as the Bill goes

0:52:470:52:49

through.

I would urge the secretary

of state to stop trying to hide

0:52:490:52:58

behind the Levenson enquiry, because

the man who was responsible for that

0:52:580:53:02

enquiry says he fundamentally

disagrees with them. It was a

0:53:020:53:04

remarkable letter that he wrote. He

said I have no doubt that there is a

0:53:040:53:10

legitimate expectation on behalf of

the public and of the alleged

0:53:100:53:13

victims and other unlawful conduct

that there will be a full public

0:53:130:53:22

enquiry and clear reassurances that

nothing of the same scale will occur

0:53:220:53:25

again. That is the point. Of course

the police can look at specific

0:53:250:53:32

instances, but the question is what

is the culture that allowed those

0:53:320:53:35

practices to happen and how come we

have reassurance that that culture

0:53:350:53:39

has changed? How come we have that

reassurance without an enquiry?

Not

0:53:390:53:47

only has already been a Levenson

enquiry into those areas, but that

0:53:470:53:51

culture has clearly changed. These

are historic practices. What we have

0:53:510:53:59

two address now is how do we ensure

that there is high-quality

0:53:590:54:03

journalism in the as to come rather

than going and revisiting a time

0:54:030:54:07

when he was at the height of his

powers.

Does my right honourable

0:54:070:54:14

friend agree that allegations of

blagging from reporters employed by

0:54:140:54:21

newspapers have been known about for

over ten years. And that that did

0:54:210:54:29

lead to prosecutions and

convictions. The newspapers today

0:54:290:54:33

are facing real challenges and it is

those that we should be looking at

0:54:330:54:37

through the enquiry that the

Government has set up rather than

0:54:370:54:42

revisiting events of a decade ago?

It was a great honour to serve in

0:54:420:54:50

Government with my right honourable

friend. He proceeded me in this job

0:54:500:54:53

and has great wisdom in this area.

He understands the challenges that

0:54:530:54:58

faced by having a high-quality media

with high-quality journalism that

0:54:580:55:02

must behave appropriately and where

people need to ensure that they can

0:55:020:55:08

have redress such as in the low-cost

arbitration system that now exists

0:55:080:55:14

and he put a lot of work into

putting all of that into place and I

0:55:140:55:17

bet paid tribute to him.

0:55:170:55:23

We have heard it was just one rogue

reporter, one rogue newspaper. No,

0:55:230:55:31

one rogue company. Now the truth is

because of the civil actions were

0:55:310:55:35

people have put their homes in

danger to take civil action, we

0:55:350:55:39

learn, and because of revelations

last night, we learned it was

0:55:390:55:45

extensive, including at the Sunday

Times which has always denied any

0:55:450:55:49

involvement in this activity. Last

week the Secretary of State said he

0:55:490:55:54

hopes there will be improvements to

the press conference system. What

0:55:540:55:59

improvements would you like to see?

I went to see the low cost

0:55:590:56:05

arbitration system that has been put

in place to work. At the moment, we

0:56:050:56:10

have not seen a full case go

through. It has just been put in

0:56:100:56:14

place in November. I want to see it

work better and when there are wrong

0:56:140:56:19

decisions made, that the

acknowledgement of that and apology

0:56:190:56:23

for it is properly done.

Those who

believe in a truly free press,

0:56:230:56:29

should not accept it and those who

don't believe in a truly free press

0:56:290:56:34

cannot accept it either. In the

light of these criminal confessions,

0:56:340:56:38

or make the Guardian and BBC

reported, will he not agree that

0:56:380:56:43

implementing section 48 would be

more in the spirit of building a

0:56:430:56:47

country that works for everyone,

then the system now where only the

0:56:470:56:51

very rich can challenge the press?

Well, I have a lot of time for my

0:56:510:56:56

honourable friend. On this...

LAUGHTER

0:56:560:57:00

I think in making sure a country

works for everyone, making sure the

0:57:000:57:07

press that can investigate people

and cannot be put off such

0:57:070:57:12

investigations by the threat of

costs, even though everything they

0:57:120:57:15

report is accurate. I think section

40 is not important. It is important

0:57:150:57:21

we have proper redress and the

recently brought in a new system. As

0:57:210:57:25

I said in my previous response, I

would like to see that working.

My

0:57:250:57:30

honourable gentleman will go about

his business with a spring in his

0:57:300:57:36

step.

Does he agree that the

behaviour described as John Ford is

0:57:360:57:48

being criminal would also be

actionable at civil law? Is section

0:57:480:57:53

40 were in force, it would be a

benefit to any member of the public

0:57:530:57:58

who is a potential claimant,

particularly if the publisher of the

0:57:580:58:02

Sunday Times was held liable.

The

honourable member has demonstrated

0:58:020:58:10

just how much this is a matter for

the courts. It is potential criminal

0:58:100:58:18

activity, she mentioned civil

action, that is how we deal with

0:58:180:58:22

this, that is potentially criminal

in this way.

Good my right

0:58:220:58:27

honourable friend confirm that if

the allegations that are published

0:58:270:58:34

are true, the would-be criminal acts

and prosecuted today without any

0:58:340:58:38

records for Leveson Inquiry or any

other. If there was concerned about

0:58:380:58:45

access to funds, might it not be the

case that Max Mosley and his

0:58:450:58:49

supporters might find such an

action? The allegations and what we

0:58:490:58:55

have read about our potentially

criminal and dealing with that is a

0:58:550:58:59

matter not for Ministers rightly for

police.

Hundreds of thousands of the

0:58:590:59:09

British people, lord Leveson and the

revelations make it clear that this

0:59:090:59:14

matter is not closed which might

lead the public to ask, what is

0:59:140:59:18

there to hide? Why would the

Secretary of State not let it take

0:59:180:59:22

place and chic and put a line under

it. -- and he can put a line under

0:59:220:59:30

it?

I am concentrating what we need

for the future and not what happened

0:59:300:59:33

years ago.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The Sunday Times revelations are

0:59:330:59:41

disquieting that they are historic.

Can my right honourable friend

0:59:410:59:46

assure me that the victims of press

intrusion and those who face it at

0:59:460:59:51

times of bereavement, that the new

model introduced something Leveson

0:59:510:59:55

Inquiry makes the instances less

likely and there are sanctions in

0:59:550:59:59

place?

Not only is that what is put

in place but what must be put in

0:59:591:00:07

place. Making sure that happens and

the free press at the same time is

1:00:071:00:15

protected is extremely important.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Secretary

1:00:151:00:22

of State tells us that the world has

changed. Can I remind him when the

1:00:221:00:26

press Council was set up we were

assured the world had changed and

1:00:261:00:30

then when the PCC was set up we were

assured the same. We do not know it

1:00:301:00:36

has changed or this action has

stopped with the Leveson Inquiry.

1:00:361:00:40

Perhaps the only way we would know

if we had a second enquiry. Witty

1:00:401:00:45

reconsider?

With -- will he

reconsider? Policy is also

1:00:451:00:54

different. We have changes in the

behaviour of the rules around the

1:00:541:00:58

police, a new police code of ethics

and on the press side, the new

1:00:581:01:05

regulator and so the idea that

things are the same as the wearer is

1:01:051:01:09

underlined by the fact that this

activity is historic activity and

1:01:091:01:16

not weasel activity.

A free and

independent press and local press is

1:01:161:01:23

eight colour of our democracy. Press

should adhere to the highest

1:01:231:01:26

standards and any criminal

investigations are investigated. It

1:01:261:01:34

is a difficult balance to strike.

Can he reassure me it is that

1:01:341:01:39

difficult balance that he and his

predecessor have sought to strike?

1:01:391:01:43

That is right. We are always facing

the challenges that are in front of

1:01:431:01:48

us. The idea that we should put at

risk hundreds more of local

1:01:481:01:53

newspapers over and above the 200

that have shut since 205 -- 2005, it

1:01:531:02:03

is wrong to me. People who support

section 40 and its implementation

1:02:031:02:08

support the ending of the ability of

the local press to investigate

1:02:081:02:17

people locally and undermine the

businesses.

If these allegations are

1:02:171:02:24

proved true, not only would it mean

they had been a serious abuse of

1:02:241:02:30

power by major newspapers for a

period of the decade, it would also

1:02:301:02:34

mean the then editor of the Sunday

Times, now the editor of the times,

1:02:341:02:39

was only partially truthful in his

evidence to the enquiry. How will

1:02:391:02:43

the Secretary of State ensure the

full truth is finally revealed?

1:02:431:02:48

Well, as she knows, for these

allegations to be investigated, that

1:02:481:02:54

is a matter for the police. They

will therefore look into the

1:02:541:02:58

allegations. That is the right place

for this.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I

1:02:581:03:03

should declare that in the

allegations printed in the Guardian,

1:03:031:03:07

it is alleged that Mr Ford worked

for the Telegraph. Is it not in

1:03:071:03:13

itself a demonstration of how much

the culture has changed? We have our

1:03:131:03:20

newspapers reporting on the

allegations and we have a regulator

1:03:201:03:22

that provides the low-cost

arbitration that would provide the

1:03:221:03:26

redress for the victims?

He is spot

on. There is a group of people in

1:03:261:03:34

this house interested in the past

and there is a group interested in

1:03:341:03:37

the future. I am interested in

having high-quality journalism for

1:03:371:03:42

the future.

The father of the House

is completely right that the press

1:03:421:03:49

would not allow other institutions

or organisations to be judged by

1:03:491:03:54

such a low bar. Why is he satisfied

that the press is not being judged

1:03:541:03:59

by the sort of bar?

These are

allegations of criminal behaviour.

1:03:591:04:06

These were printed any newspaper and

a newspaper that supported the

1:04:061:04:10

approach we last Thursday. They are

printed by the media. They are being

1:04:101:04:18

discussed in this house and, of

course, allegations of criminal

1:04:181:04:22

behaviour should be dealt with

properly by the police in the normal

1:04:221:04:25

way.

Will he agree with me that it

would not only be costly and lengthy

1:04:251:04:38

but could also potentially undermine

the freedom of our press, being

1:04:381:04:43

disproportionate and too narrow,

given that newspaper circulations

1:04:431:04:45

have been declining but digital and

media consumption has been

1:04:451:04:50

increasing?

She is quite right we

have to make sure we have in place a

1:04:501:04:57

vibrant, high-quality journalism,

free press that can hold the

1:04:571:05:00

powerful to account. There are some

people who do not like that, but

1:05:001:05:03

that is an important part of having

a high-quality political discourse

1:05:031:05:08

and liberal democracy as we know it.

That is what we are focused on. She

1:05:081:05:14

mentions the cost. The potential

costs of another enquiry would

1:05:141:05:20

estimate around £5 million. I think

that money is better spent ensuring

1:05:201:05:24

there is is attainable future of

high-quality journalism.

The

1:05:241:05:30

Secretary of State says it is not

desirable to look at the past

1:05:301:05:32

because they are focusing on fake

news, why cannot we do both?

We have

1:05:321:05:39

already had a full investigation

through Leveson in what happened.

1:05:391:05:44

The question is now what we do next.

The Secretary of State excuse that

1:05:441:05:54

the world has changed is wrong but

ignores the fact that it was built

1:05:541:05:59

into the enquiry to allow a police

investigation. The revelations show

1:05:591:06:05

evidence is there to be

investigated. Doesn't have wilful

1:06:051:06:09

refusal to allow the enquiry to

proceed make it look like the media

1:06:091:06:12

has something to hide?

No, he says

that the evidence this morning shows

1:06:121:06:19

there needs to be further

investigation, and, of course, this

1:06:191:06:22

is why we have the police to

investigate and the courts if

1:06:221:06:26

necessary to ensure that justice is

done.

The Secretary of State stated

1:06:261:06:33

at the start that policy must be

based on all information, but how

1:06:331:06:37

can this possibly happen if there is

no second stage of the enquiry? Can

1:06:371:06:43

he stop contradicting himself and

get on with the job?

It is very hard

1:06:431:06:50

to add anything more that there will

be an investigation if the police

1:06:501:06:53

think what appear to be criminal

behaviour is deemed to be by the

1:06:531:07:00

police but the point is that as a

matter for the police in this

1:07:001:07:04

country, not a matter for Ministers.

The Secretary of State talks about

1:07:041:07:09

these being historic events but the

victims of the latest act only found

1:07:091:07:14

out about it yesterday and might not

even know about it at the moment.

1:07:141:07:18

That is not historic. Can I ask, Sir

Brian Leveson wrote to him and said

1:07:181:07:25

matters have not been fully

considered and we need a second

1:07:251:07:28

party. Why does you think he knows

better? -- why does he think he

1:07:281:07:34

knows better?

I have thought about

the recommendations from Sir Brian

1:07:341:07:42

and my judgment is we need to

concentrate on making sure we have a

1:07:421:07:47

sustainable, high-quality journalism

in the future. When he says these

1:07:471:07:51

things are current and not historic,

the activities that have been

1:07:511:07:54

alleged in the newspapers and by the

BBC this morning where activities

1:07:541:07:58

that, it says, were ended in 2010.

That is, indeed, historic.

Does he

1:07:581:08:07

not understand why I and my

colleagues find it odd that he

1:08:071:08:10

should decline at an enquiry on the

basis that these things happen

1:08:101:08:15

before 2010? By that logic, we would

never have had an Iraq enquiry,

1:08:151:08:20

child abuse enquiry, enquiry is by

definition examine events that have

1:08:201:08:27

happened in the past.

We have had an

enquiry that investigated what

1:08:271:08:31

happened in the past. It cost

millions of pounds. There was a

1:08:311:08:38

total of 48 million spent, including

on the police investigations, three

1:08:381:08:43

separate police investigations, over

40 convictions. The gentleman

1:08:431:08:47

mentioned this morning his issue was

raised in the Leveson Inquiry. The

1:08:471:08:53

idea that we therefore need to have

a new enquiry is actually undermined

1:08:531:08:58

by today's revelations, rather than

support it. I think that what

1:08:581:09:03

matters is we look forward to making

sure we have high-quality journalism

1:09:031:09:07

and sustainable business models for

that in the future.

Order. I will,

1:09:071:09:14

to the honourable gentleman. Point

of order.

In an oral statement on

1:09:141:09:22

social care in 2017, the then care

Minister, who is in her place on the

1:09:221:09:28

front bench, reply to a question I

asked about the Government

1:09:281:09:31

abandoning the killer strategy that

was due to be published in summer

1:09:311:09:34

2017. -- clearing strategy. The

Government said this, and I caught

1:09:341:09:42

her, we have listened to them and we

will consider what they have said in

1:09:421:09:46

bringing forward the paper. It is

important to put together what

1:09:461:09:49

support that is at present and

respond to that and we will publish

1:09:491:09:54

our action plan in January. Mr

Speaker, it is now March. This is

1:09:541:09:59

the second time I have raised this.

We have no prospect any more of a

1:09:591:10:03

strategy from the Government but

they have not met their own target.

1:10:031:10:06

It is a shabby way to treat them. I

want to ask if you have any

1:10:061:10:13

indication that the current minister

or any health Minister plans to come

1:10:131:10:16

to the House to update us on what,

if anything, the Government

1:10:161:10:20

proposals to do about this issue?

1:10:201:10:31

There is a health minister on the

Treasury bench who has heard what

1:10:311:10:34

the honourable lady has had to say

and she is welcome to respond that

1:10:341:10:37

she wishes but she's not under any

obligation to do so. What I would

1:10:371:10:42

say to the honourable lady he was an

experienced denizen of the house is

1:10:421:10:45

that there will be opportunities

through the business question and

1:10:451:10:48

subsequently for her to seek to draw

the attention of the house again and

1:10:481:10:53

perhaps a more detailed to their

concerns and to elicit a ministerial

1:10:531:10:57

reply.

I would ask your advice on

how the house on record: put the

1:10:571:11:09

manifesto in 2017 with its promise

to scrap Levenson to Mac produce the

1:11:091:11:19

results of the departments carry

out. How can we proceed and be sure

1:11:191:11:24

particularly the comments that this

decision was fairly reached and not

1:11:241:11:32

subject to judicial review?

I would

say two things in response. Firstly,

1:11:321:11:38

I think he seeks and perhaps even

rather over generously expects from

1:11:381:11:45

me a degree of reassurance and

indeed even of wisdom, which is it

1:11:451:11:50

not within the capacity of the chair

to provide. Secondly, when the

1:11:501:11:55

honourable gentleman says how can

we, meaning a house as a whole, be

1:11:551:11:59

sure, I simply say, the honourable

gentleman who is no stranger to

1:11:591:12:04

these matters has raised something

of a philosophical question. The

1:12:041:12:09

matter of whether, when and to what

degree members can be confident of

1:12:091:12:20

certainty. These are not matters

that can be broached now from the

1:12:201:12:26

chair. However, insofar as the

honourable gentleman was seeking

1:12:261:12:30

thinking perhaps the puckish grin on

his face suggests, that he wish to

1:12:301:12:38

register his own concerns, he is

found a zone solvation.

At PMQs on

1:12:381:12:48

the 31st of January, I asked for a

meeting with the minister and I was

1:12:481:12:51

promised I could have that. I had a

letter some two or three weeks ago

1:12:511:12:54

saying that it had been passed to

help. I would seek your guidance or

1:12:541:12:58

anyone's guidance as to how I can

progress that because no meeting, no

1:12:581:13:02

date so far and it is five weeks ago

so I think I've been fairly patient.

1:13:021:13:09

You have certainly been patient. I

would say to the honourable lady

1:13:091:13:12

that raising a point of order in the

chamber and reminding the Treasury

1:13:121:13:16

engine of a promised meeting that

has not yet been delivered can be a

1:13:161:13:22

remarkably effective way of bringing

out about the said meeting. The

1:13:221:13:28

other advice I would offer to the

new member of the house is the

1:13:281:13:31

tabling of a written question. If

the honourable lady is interested in

1:13:311:13:34

exploring historic copies of the

official report, she will know that

1:13:341:13:42

speed then member for Manchester

Gorton, our late and dear friend Sir

1:13:421:13:46

Gerald Kaufman was fond of

highlighting unanswered

1:13:461:13:53

correspondence to which he demanded

a reply or unanswered questions to

1:13:531:13:56

which he demanded a reply or

undelivered meetings which he had

1:13:561:14:03

promised upon which he still

insisted of tabling. He was fond of

1:14:031:14:09

tabling questions to remind

ministers of these matters and to

1:14:091:14:14

enquire when that promised reply or

meeting would take place. In my

1:14:141:14:21

experience, Sir Gerald was

remarkably effective at obtaining

1:14:211:14:23

that response, as was indeed the

former member for Walsall South,

1:14:231:14:31

North, Mr David Winick. The

honourable lady can perhaps learned

1:14:311:14:37

usefully from there and many other

examples.

In January of this year

1:14:371:14:46

the Government announced plans to

incentivise local communities to

1:14:461:14:49

agree to explore the possibility of

storing radioactive nuclear waste

1:14:491:14:52

near their homes, an initiative

widely reported in the media. I was

1:14:521:14:58

anxious this could revive proposals

to soar nuclear waste under

1:14:581:15:03

thousands of homes in billing in my

constituency and I raise the issue

1:15:031:15:06

at PMQs on the 31st of January. The

Prime Minister attitude to it for

1:15:061:15:12

the Cabinet Office despite the

publicity and it being deemed

1:15:121:15:15

Government policy knew nothing about

this particular initiative by his

1:15:151:15:18

Government. But he promised to

investigate the matter and writes to

1:15:181:15:21

me. That was five weeks ago. Can you

advise me if it is unreasonable of

1:15:211:15:26

me to have expected an answer by

now?

Grateful to the honourable

1:15:261:15:30

gentleman free his point of order

and giving me the advance notice of

1:15:301:15:33

it. I think it is not unreasonable.

For an honourable member to expect a

1:15:331:15:41

response from ministers in five

weeks, ministerial correspondence is

1:15:411:15:45

the responsibility of the minister

concerned. The Chancellor of the

1:15:451:15:50

Duchy of Vista and Minister for the

Cabinet Office, who happens to me my

1:15:501:15:54

constituency neighbour, is normally

most courteous and I am sure that

1:15:541:16:00

his colleagues on the Treasury bench

including the representatives of the

1:16:001:16:09

patronage secretary will swiftly

alert the Right honourable gentleman

1:16:091:16:11

to this outstanding action. He

certainly should have had a reply

1:16:111:16:16

and he should now get one, sooner

rather than later. Meanwhile the

1:16:161:16:20

honourable gentleman has placed his

concern on the record. If there are

1:16:201:16:25

no further points of order, we come

now to the ten minute rule motion.

1:16:251:16:31

Mr Gareth Snell.

Moved to bringing a

bill to make provision of health

1:16:311:16:39

scrutiny by authorities including

decisions and connected purposes.

1:16:391:16:47

The 2012 health and social care act

introduced radical changes to the

1:16:471:16:50

way health care was organised.

Holidays of large Primary Care

1:16:501:16:54

Trusts and reasonable health and in

came smaller Doctor led

1:16:541:16:59

commissioning groups and with each

clinical commissioning group a

1:16:591:17:02

so-called accountable officer. There

are 207 CCG is in England and they

1:17:021:17:09

are responsible for two thirds of

all NHS spending. Decisions taken by

1:17:091:17:17

CCGs effect community care and

mental health support services as

1:17:171:17:24

well as waiting times. Ensuring that

health services reflect our needs of

1:17:241:17:32

those committees are sensible. All

providers of public services and

1:17:321:17:39

spenders of public money should be

accountable to the public they seek

1:17:391:17:42

to serve and decisions should be

made available for public scrutiny.

1:17:421:17:46

That is what this bill seeks to

achieve. The present system of

1:17:461:17:50

scrutiny by clinical commissioning

groups is opaque, cumbersome and

1:17:501:17:55

impenetrable to most. They are all

bound up in clause 20 39 of the

1:17:551:18:00

local authority regulations, which

sets up local authorities can set up

1:18:001:18:03

decisions of CCGs where they believe

that either proper consultation on

1:18:031:18:08

the service is not taken place

although they consider that the

1:18:081:18:11

proposal would not be in the

interest of health services in an

1:18:111:18:16

area. That sounds all very well but

in reality, it is the tapes will be

1:18:161:18:20

that scenario. Local authorities and

their memberships are not currently

1:18:201:18:26

empowered to do anything that

accepts decision or escalate it

1:18:261:18:28

straight the Secretary of State.

This binary approach does not make a

1:18:281:18:32

good scrutiny and nor does it allow

for councillors and local

1:18:321:18:37

authorities in helping CCGs make

better decisions. However, Madame

1:18:371:18:42

Depp to Speaker, that is not the

only flaw in the current system.

1:18:421:18:45

Should a local authority make a

mistake it is immediately referred

1:18:451:18:53

to a panel but since 2013 only 18

referrals have been received in the

1:18:531:18:56

last four referrals including my own

city of Stoke-on-Trent sought to

1:18:561:19:02

keep the most and the report from

the independent configurations panel

1:19:021:19:09

published. But I'm sure we'll all

agree is a totally unacceptable

1:19:091:19:15

weight and during which CCGs are

free to implement the decisions they

1:19:151:19:18

had taken despite being subject to

referral. This, is not scrutiny

1:19:181:19:23

process that I believe anyone would

see as being either fair or robust.

1:19:231:19:29

My bill therefore would seek to

impose a maximum 45 day referral

1:19:291:19:33

limit. It would also crucially seek

to put any decisions referred to the

1:19:331:19:42

Secretary of State on hold until

such time as the Independent

1:19:421:19:44

reconfiguration panel has made its

deliberations. I would like this

1:19:441:19:47

bill is go further. It was also

grand local authorities a new power

1:19:471:19:52

to call in decisions of CCGs to

their local health scrutiny

1:19:521:19:56

committee and compel accountable

officers to properly consider the

1:19:561:20:00

views of councillors before

progressing with decisions. This

1:20:001:20:03

would be no different to the

mechanisms that councils already

1:20:031:20:07

have the challenge decisions

regarding public health, which had

1:20:071:20:08

been a function of local Government

since 2013. No where would this new

1:20:081:20:13

power have been more welcome than in

my own city of Stoke-on-Trent. For

1:20:131:20:17

over two years now, the clinical

commissioning groups have been

1:20:171:20:22

pursuing a fraught and deeply

unpopular group preferred

1:20:221:20:25

decommissioning care beds. Across

many different hospitals have all

1:20:251:20:32

the lost. Over 200 in total. A

referral to the Secretary of State

1:20:321:20:39

of the disastrous my care my way

home first plan dreamt up by the

1:20:391:20:44

accountable officer was opposed by

both Stoke-on-Trent City Council and

1:20:441:20:50

Staffordshire Council and Newcastle

Borough Council. But the referral to

1:20:501:20:53

commit a year to be considered. I

want to thank the city councillors

1:20:531:21:00

who many people will remember

formerly of this place for their

1:21:001:21:04

help in achieving those referrals

from the county city councils.

1:21:041:21:07

During that year long will wait the

plan continued on and closed those

1:21:071:21:13

much-needed committee care beds.

When the fire Allport came back, it

1:21:131:21:18

was scathing about that process. It

is said that what been presented in

1:21:181:21:26

September 2013 was entirely

incorrect and misleading. It also

1:21:261:21:30

said that the circumstances of the

NHS's original decision was unclear.

1:21:301:21:37

The reconfiguration panel also said

of the consultation that he did not

1:21:371:21:40

include any meaningful reference to

the impact of community beds and

1:21:401:21:45

hospitals. Frankly, if you or I or

any local council for that matter

1:21:451:21:49

was subjected to a report that said

we had missed out the public in the

1:21:491:21:54

way that we had spent taxpayer

money, we would be out of a job and

1:21:541:21:58

frankly I see no difference weight

Marcus Warner should be any

1:21:581:22:03

different. Against the wishes of the

local authorities, to be the single

1:22:031:22:06

accountable at office of the polar

Staffordshire. A huge amount of

1:22:061:22:12

power into an entirely unaccountable

individual. In Staffordshire...

1:22:121:22:16

Case, absolute power is easing

traffic chaos. Last week, led by

1:22:161:22:25

Andy day, came to Parliament to

protest against these bed closures

1:22:251:22:28

because they do not have the faith

of the current scrutiny system is

1:22:281:22:31

working. This is just one example

from Staffordshire and there are

1:22:311:22:36

many more. The botched privatisation

of cancer care programmes or the

1:22:361:22:40

continuation of the clinical

commissioning group to find our

1:22:401:22:42

local hospital millions of pounds

for missed targets. There are other

1:22:421:22:47

examples. The Shadow Health

Secretary expose last week but CCGs

1:22:471:22:56

would paying GPs not to refer people

to hospital. This is an example of

1:22:561:23:01

how CCGs are in fermenting dangerous

policies and the NHS without proper

1:23:011:23:05

scrutiny. They should have no place

in how GPs should be practising and

1:23:051:23:12

use. Practice like this should be

blocked and that is why believe this

1:23:121:23:15

bill is necessary. It will provide

local accountability of the

1:23:151:23:18

decisions being taken by CCGs. It

will provide new scrutiny power to

1:23:181:23:27

elected councils to rein in

unaccountable CCGs officers. It will

1:23:271:23:33

make sure that they are scrutinising

the same way as other public health

1:23:331:23:36

services. This bill will come too

late to challenge the decisions in

1:23:361:23:39

North Staffordshire or support the

70 referrals that came before it but

1:23:391:23:42

it could help ensure that future

decisions by all CCGs are genuinely

1:23:421:23:46

in the interest of communities that

they are there to serve. There are

1:23:461:23:49

still lots more to do and to turn

genuine accountability to the NHS

1:23:491:23:54

but this bill could be the start. I

beg to move.

The question is that,

1:23:541:24:06

it is not the honourable gentleman's

fault, it is mine for hesitating, I

1:24:061:24:10

beg your pardon. The question is

that the honourable member has leave

1:24:101:24:16

to bring in a bill. As many as are

of the opinion, say "aye". To the

1:24:161:24:25

contrary, "no" on the contrary say

no. The ayes have it. He will

1:24:251:24:29

prepare and bring in the bill?

Diana

Johnson, Rosie Cooper, Mike Gates,

1:24:291:24:38

and myself.

Mr Gareth Snell.

1:24:381:24:52

Local health scrutiny bill.

Second

reading, when? Friday the 6th of

1:25:121:25:16

July. We now come to the motion in

the name of the leader of applied

1:25:161:25:32

Cymru on EU citizenship.

1:25:321:25:41

I have a very bad head cold which

also renders me slightly deaf. I

1:25:411:25:48

caution anyone who intervenes might

have difficulty.

1:25:481:26:00

It calls for us to retain our

European citizenship after we leave

1:26:001:26:08

the European Union, and the keyword

here is retained. Retain what we

1:26:081:26:13

already have. It is supported by a

wide range of organisations and

1:26:131:26:17

individuals. The SNP, Liberal

Democrats and Green Party, open

1:26:171:26:22

Britain, best for Britain and the

European movement, Wales for Europe,

1:26:221:26:29

the new Europeans, our future, our

choice. It is a very wide range of

1:26:291:26:37

organisations that has got behind us

and included with this the QC of the

1:26:371:26:47

project and Professor, two of the

authors of the EU citizenship report

1:26:471:26:52

commissioned by my good friend Jill

Evans, MEP. They have been arguing

1:26:521:26:57

the case for retention of EU

citizenship consistently since the

1:26:571:27:02

referendum. I have referred to the

report commissioned by my European

1:27:021:27:08

friend. It is now disappeared. Here

it is. And I would recommend it as

1:27:081:27:14

an interesting read for anyone who

wishes to pursue this argument. For

1:27:141:27:19

the relief of hard-pressed members,

I would say there is also an

1:27:191:27:25

executive summary which is very

good. The crux of our argument is

1:27:251:27:29

that, although we are leaving the

European Union, the European

1:27:291:27:35

citizenship rights conferred on

citizens are not distinguished.

1:27:351:27:43

Continuing citizenship is the more

convincing interpretation of

1:27:431:27:45

international and European law.

Indeed, the principal that it might

1:27:451:27:51

be brought to an end, the rights

conferred by it, is enshrined

1:27:511:27:58

strongly in international law. I

refer members to the 1969 Vienna

1:27:581:28:03

Convention on the Law of treaties,

which will be binding on member

1:28:031:28:07

states in the UK and EU post-Brexit.

Article 70, one B of that

1:28:071:28:15

convention, provides that legal

situation is created with the

1:28:151:28:19

currency of treaties continue after

the withdrawal. That is the

1:28:191:28:24

principal and the Vienna Convention,

as the professor said the report on

1:28:241:28:30

page five, this interpretation of

the the ongoing situation, is

1:28:301:28:36

supported by the overriding

objective of ensuring legal

1:28:361:28:41

certainty and preventing withdrawals

from treaties having an effect. It

1:28:411:28:45

is also supported by state practice.

That is a crucial aspect of

1:28:451:28:51

international law, governments by

withdrawing from treaties just

1:28:511:28:54

cannot abandon the rights which the

citizens already have. Professor

1:28:541:28:58

Auburn tells me that this article

was drawn up with a prominent

1:28:581:29:06

participation of British legal

experts. There is however an

1:29:061:29:11

alternative reading that Article 50

extinguishers or rights of

1:29:111:29:17

individuals. In that case, but the

EU and international law would

1:29:171:29:23

demand that the treaty be negotiated

an associate union citizenship

1:29:231:29:29

bringing with it rights that would

bring very little difference for

1:29:291:29:34

those that have full citizenship one

way or the other. We think the EU

1:29:341:29:39

citizenship of the sort is required.

Now, the European Union could

1:29:391:29:47

legislate citizenship post-Brexit.

This legislation would protect UK

1:29:471:29:50

nationals in the EU, but has no

binding effect of the UK

1:29:501:29:57

post-Brexit. By definition, we would

have left. So we would ask the

1:29:571:30:03

government rather to look at

achieving continuity and citizenship

1:30:031:30:07

through the withdrawal agreement.

That is why this debate today is

1:30:071:30:10

particularly timely. The report

concludes that neither continuity

1:30:101:30:18

now associated citizenship would

require any revision of the founding

1:30:181:30:21

treaties. There is a great deal more

detail and the report which I will

1:30:211:30:24

not going to today, but will become

pertinent if the government

1:30:241:30:28

recognises the force of our argument

and proceeds as we recommend.

1:30:281:30:34

However, for now, I wish to set the

context for our position as a party

1:30:341:30:39

and see plainly from the start that

my party campaign to stay in the EU,

1:30:391:30:45

this was consistent with our

long-term pro-European policy.

1:30:451:30:49

Indeed, our policy from our very

establishment in 1825. We have

1:30:491:30:53

always been aware of our European

history and heritage as a nation,

1:30:531:30:59

and I have sat great store by it as

it has influenced our party

1:30:591:31:04

profoundly. The member would rarely

miss the opportunity to remind

1:31:041:31:11

people of Wales of our European

heritage as a people with our own

1:31:111:31:16

language and culture from beginnings

onwards to the present day. In fact,

1:31:161:31:23

his speeches would often consist of

retelling our history and I am

1:31:231:31:30

reminded by a small joke made by two

valleys members during a speech. One

1:31:301:31:34

valley member saying to another, 20

minutes in and we are only in the

1:31:341:31:39

ninth century!

I am extremely

grateful to my honourable friend the

1:31:391:31:46

giving way. He is making his usual

excellent case. We could go further

1:31:461:31:50

back even to the president before

when Evans. So does of course saw

1:31:501:31:58

our European heritage is vital to

his for Wales for the future, partly

1:31:581:32:03

driven by his time in the trenches

in the First World War and his

1:32:031:32:06

desire not to seek another

generation of Welshmen die at

1:32:061:32:09

foreign hands.

He makes very good

point. I was going refer later on to

1:32:091:32:17

the fact that the European Union has

of course helped prevent war on the

1:32:171:32:22

European continent 's, but there are

exceptions such as the former

1:32:221:32:27

Yugoslavia, which were not members

of the time. But he makes a

1:32:271:32:31

pertinent point about Saunders

Lewis's profound experience in the

1:32:311:32:36

trenches. This was one of the

reasons why him and his friends set

1:32:361:32:40

up Plaid Cymru in August 1925 and my

hometown. I might as will also say

1:32:401:32:47

while I am on my feet, that our

profound lack of the Lisbon reality

1:32:471:32:53

at that time meant that in the

country that was almost exclusively

1:32:531:32:58

nonconformist, the total and in

favour of the British Empire, we had

1:32:581:33:01

as our president a wine drinking

Catholic! I think Machiavelli was

1:33:011:33:10

still retreating in his grave! The

roots of our pro-European stance a

1:33:101:33:16

very deep indeed.

Given that his

party exists for the fundamental

1:33:161:33:24

purpose of trying to remove British

citizenship and the people of Wales,

1:33:241:33:28

something which is of more

importance to them than their

1:33:281:33:32

European identity, isn't as argument

a bit inconsistent?

I can only say,

1:33:321:33:38

frankly, that my ambition is to

ensure that Wales has an independent

1:33:381:33:43

future. Whether that means that we

are reconciled to a British identity

1:33:431:33:48

from now on as a multiple identity,

our members will know all about

1:33:481:33:55

this, allegedly Welsh and British, I

hear this argument consistently from

1:33:551:33:59

members of both sides of the House,

or the Welsh and European, which is

1:33:591:34:04

our argument, I feel Welsh and

European.

I think this goes to the

1:34:041:34:12

crux of the argument. What we are

talking about here is our rights as

1:34:121:34:17

individuals and our identity as

individuals. I speak as a Londoner

1:34:171:34:20

born and bred. I live in Wales and

claim Welsh nationality and I'm

1:34:201:34:25

proud of being European. But our

rights as individuals are under

1:34:251:34:30

threat here and this is what we

tried to bring to the Chamber.

I was

1:34:301:34:36

going to go on that this is more

than just a matter of self-described

1:34:361:34:40

identity. It is about the practical

matters of rights to travel to work,

1:34:401:34:47

to have European rides that have

been befitted people in Wales and

1:34:471:34:53

throughout the UK. There is a nod at

about identity, and I will go on to

1:34:531:34:57

talk about that in a moment, though

I do not think it has the force that

1:34:571:35:01

the honourable gentleman seems to

imply in his intervention. I was

1:35:011:35:04

talking about a story, by would like

to say and remind everyone of the

1:35:041:35:13

three pillars of the policy in the

15th century War of Independence. As

1:35:131:35:17

was related to the king of France,

some people would have seen that

1:35:171:35:23

some years ago, he wrote to the King

of France and said that one of the

1:35:231:35:31

central pillars was the need for

direct relationship with Rome for

1:35:311:35:34

the Church in Wales. It was a very

long time ago. It was a direct

1:35:341:35:39

relationship with the overarching

European institution rather than an

1:35:391:35:43

indirect link mediated. Some people

will see echoes with the current

1:35:431:35:51

situation and our policy. The other

two pillars of policy work for Welsh

1:35:511:35:56

to be the state language and to

establish two universities, this is

1:35:561:36:00

a time when universities were first

being established across Europe by

1:36:001:36:05

ambitious leaders. Some 600 years

later, we have excellent

1:36:051:36:09

universities in Wales, but on the

European issue we are taking a

1:36:091:36:14

serious step back. From the start,

from continental developers of

1:36:141:36:23

economic and social cooperation, as

exemplified in the writings of DJ

1:36:231:36:28

Davies, we found European

1:36:281:36:30

multilingualism far more congenial

than the stifling monolingual is so

1:36:301:36:34

much of the UK's public life. And in

passing, honourable members may not

1:36:341:36:41

know that the most recent meeting of

the grand committee was held in

1:36:411:36:44

Westminster. Half of those who spoke

did so partly or wholly in Welsh. No

1:36:441:36:52

one was hurt, a revolution did not

break out, Hansard published the

1:36:521:36:57

very first fully bilingual record. I

shall passing mention the honourable

1:36:571:37:02

gentleman opposite who has spoken in

Welsh and I congratulate sincerely

1:37:021:37:05

on his efforts. As I said, Hansard

published what I think is the very

1:37:051:37:13

first fully bilingual record. But

that affection of the linguistic

1:37:131:37:20

condition on these islands is

remarked upon as an exception rather

1:37:201:37:23

than the rule, not so the rest of

our continent. Turning to present

1:37:231:37:30

times, given our radical political

stunts, Plaid Cymru has always

1:37:301:37:34

supported the growth and development

of European policies beyond the

1:37:341:37:38

narrow confines of the common

markets which we initially joined.

1:37:381:37:43

Those social workforces and

environmental policies from which

1:37:431:37:46

people across the UK have arrived so

much benefit and EU citizenship is

1:37:461:37:50

in that category. Importantly, the

EU has an overt regional economic

1:37:501:38:00

policy, cohesion policy from which

is derived additional funding. Of

1:38:001:38:04

course it is a cruel irony that we

benefit less only because of our

1:38:041:38:08

poverty, because of our economy

performance on a par with the

1:38:081:38:14

regions of the former Soviet bloc.

And in passing I must also refer to

1:38:141:38:20

other EU measures such as

interregional contact between Wales

1:38:201:38:25

and Ireland, Wales faces west as

well as East, though many government

1:38:251:38:32

ministers sometimes do not realise

that. My colleague, the member,

1:38:321:38:42

Colsaert Holyhead was eased, Dublin,

rather than Northwest Anglesey. We

1:38:421:38:46

have also benefited from Horizon

2020, the research and innovation

1:38:461:38:52

programme. That is just a part of

which Wales has benefited in respect

1:38:521:39:03

of which there is much concern, not

least at our universities, and I

1:39:031:39:07

mentioned Banga, my own.

I am

grateful to the honourable gentleman

1:39:071:39:13

for giving way. Whilst he is on that

subject, does he agree with me that

1:39:131:39:17

it would be useful if the government

would make an estimate as to the

1:39:171:39:20

amount of money that would have come

to Wales from the European regional

1:39:201:39:25

development fund and the regional

social fund in the 2021-27 tranche

1:39:251:39:30

and promised that Wales will still

receive that same amount of money or

1:39:301:39:33

more?

I thank the honourable

gentleman for that intervention and

1:39:331:39:37

agree entirely with him. As with so

many things Welsh which we lack, we

1:39:371:39:44

lack basic statistical information

on projections. I know the

1:39:441:39:47

government does not believe in

experts all projections and

1:39:471:39:52

forecasts. I sometimes wonder what

they depend on. I know, in Rome,

1:39:521:39:57

they depended on examining the

entrails of sacrificed animals!

1:39:571:40:10

If we knew what we were dealing with

then we could make the argument more

1:40:101:40:14

effectively. I'm very glad he

mentioned in Erasmus and Horizon.

1:40:141:40:23

These are two schemes by the Welsh

Government could work bilaterally

1:40:231:40:26

with the EU and I'm concerned from

my discussions with colleagues in

1:40:261:40:33

Brussels that the Scottish

Government seemed in far in advance

1:40:331:40:35

of whether Welsh Government is at

the moment it is negotiating with

1:40:351:40:38

the EU and how we can continue their

schemes in Wales.

That is very good

1:40:381:40:43

point. We have examined the

bilateral agreement that other

1:40:431:40:46

countries have with the EU. I am a

member of the Brexit select

1:40:461:40:51

committee and recently we had the

Swiss ambassador to the EU with us

1:40:511:40:56

and we also have Swiss experts

discussing these bilateral

1:40:561:41:01

agreements and they are extremely

useful to Switzerland. They are less

1:41:011:41:07

useful, apparently, in the eyes of

the EU but certainly the point that

1:41:071:41:10

he makes that other devolved

governments and administrations have

1:41:101:41:15

taken these matters further and we

sincerely wish that are in

1:41:151:41:20

Government would do so. I am

drifting a little bit from the

1:41:201:41:24

simple question this afternoon which

is a matter of European citizenship

1:41:241:41:27

so I will return to that. By saying,

actually, many people listening and

1:41:271:41:36

many people listening to me will be

thinking that Wales didn't vote to

1:41:361:41:42

leave the EU although by a narrow

margin. I continue to receive angry

1:41:421:41:49

messages from Brexit supporters, the

only one repeatable here is will you

1:41:491:41:52

get on with it. The others are

slightly less polite. The cases that

1:41:521:42:01

we are leaving unless there is a

sudden outbreak of common sense on

1:42:011:42:04

the Government benches but it is not

as simple as that. We are learning

1:42:041:42:10

and even the Secretary of State for

International traders learning that

1:42:101:42:14

it is not as simple as that. He

famously said that negotiating trade

1:42:141:42:19

deals with the EU would be the very

simplest thing in the world. Today's

1:42:191:42:23

motion is just one part of the

effort to salvage something from the

1:42:231:42:30

wreckage of the slow, this very slow

motion disaster. But for the benefit

1:42:301:42:36

of my Brexiteer and as a backbench

MP responsible to my constituents I

1:42:361:42:42

want to note that Plaid Cymru voted

to remain. This is in marked

1:42:421:42:51

contrast to the Welsh constituencies

with socio economic characteristics

1:42:511:42:55

such as marginalisation,

powerlessness and low wages,

1:42:551:42:59

represented by other parties in this

place whose policies on the EU are a

1:42:591:43:03

little less clear. Being broadly in

favour of the EU, even in our poor

1:43:031:43:09

present economic condition is the

constituency you. To illustrate this

1:43:091:43:15

with a couple of points on the 2050

general election, at the peak of UK

1:43:151:43:21

support, 39 of Wales is 40

constituencies swung to UK, the

1:43:211:43:28

exception was our farm that swung to

Plaid Cymru. We value our membership

1:43:281:43:38

of the EU, we value the support and

economic support that has given us

1:43:381:43:44

and one aspect further of this value

is valuing our European citizenship.

1:43:441:43:51

The Welsh philosopher J R Jones

commented on the apparent terminal

1:43:511:43:59

decline of the Welsh language, and I

paraphrase in English are the

1:43:591:44:03

benefit of the House, he said

leaving the country is a common and

1:44:031:44:08

sad experience as I is of no

something that is much more

1:44:081:44:11

heart-rending because you could

always return to your native land

1:44:111:44:16

not as if you leave your own country

but that your country is leaving

1:44:161:44:19

you. Being finally drawn away into

the hands of another people or

1:44:191:44:22

another culture. J R Jones and many

others inspired the coming

1:44:221:44:29

generations including myself to

campaign for the language. It is not

1:44:291:44:34

threatened with extinction but his

insight is particularly telling

1:44:341:44:36

today. Particularly amongst the

younger generation, leaving the EU

1:44:361:44:42

is just such a heart rending

experience. I will give way.

I found

1:44:421:44:51

the quote used used their

particularly moving. I found my

1:44:511:44:55

constituency and indeed in my own

family we have young people know

1:44:551:44:59

nothing more than being part of the

EU and what we are in fact doing is

1:44:591:45:07

taking their identity away from them

and indeed from all of us because

1:45:071:45:11

her 40 years we've know nothing else

that being Europeans and being proud

1:45:111:45:15

of it.

I thank the honourable member

for that intervention, it is exactly

1:45:151:45:21

the point I'm not intending to make.

Many young people told me after the

1:45:211:45:30

referendum about the result was a

profound emotional shock to them,

1:45:301:45:33

the assault on their very personal

foundations of their identity as

1:45:331:45:39

Europeans. One told me she was in

floods of tears. They told me that

1:45:391:45:43

how they regretted losing key

practical rights, such as the right

1:45:431:45:49

to travel in the EU and to work and

study in the European countries.

1:45:491:45:57

Today there is opportunity for the

UK Government heels of these

1:45:571:45:59

divisions. Some intergenerational

divisions and some divisions between

1:45:591:46:04

all peoples of these islands and

we've heard in the debates

1:46:041:46:08

erratically around Ireland how that

are so many divisions. I give way to

1:46:081:46:12

my friend.

I'm sure my honourable

friend would share my concern that

1:46:121:46:17

so many decent people who are coming

of age will be most directly

1:46:171:46:20

affected by this had no say

whatsoever and from year to year

1:46:201:46:24

this situation is worsening.

That is

a telling point. This is covered by

1:46:241:46:31

the two aspects of citizenship that

we are proposing, that is continuing

1:46:311:46:37

citizenship for those such as

ourselves, who are now citizens of

1:46:371:46:43

the EU by treaty. And also those who

are unable to access that

1:46:431:46:51

citizenship being an born, it is

something fried children and our

1:46:511:46:56

children's children and particularly

for me at least, say those are the

1:46:561:47:03

age of 14, 15 or 16 who understood

the issues that could not vote. I

1:47:031:47:08

would say in passing that my party

has always been in favour of the new

1:47:081:47:11

voting age of 16 and I think that

would have had a considerable

1:47:111:47:16

difference in the results. As I've

said today there is an opportunity

1:47:161:47:23

for the UK Government heels of these

divisions. There is a positive point

1:47:231:47:28

from these benches and I hope the

Government sees us enough light.

1:47:281:47:31

Today we are calling on the UK

Government to secure and retain our

1:47:311:47:35

rights to EU citizenship not to take

away what is already rightfully

1:47:351:47:39

ours. So as we leave the EU, we're

just a little less self-inflicted

1:47:391:47:48

injury by remaining European

citizens. We are European citizens,

1:47:481:47:52

I have to confess that I am biased.

I am married to a European citizen.

1:47:521:48:01

She, likewise is married to a

European citizen and we're both from

1:48:011:48:04

Wales. I both Welsh and Europeans

I'm biased. And so many of our

1:48:041:48:13

friends and colleagues who have

chosen to live and work in Wales.

1:48:131:48:18

They have chosen to become Welsh but

not by rejecting their European

1:48:181:48:23

citizenship although European

identity. Anyone could be Welsh, to

1:48:231:48:31

quote again, if anyone is prepared

to take the consequences. The

1:48:311:48:36

citizens of Wales are people who are

committed and I would commend that

1:48:361:48:42

is a general definition of civic

identity. I should suppose say civic

1:48:421:48:48

nationalism that I might let that

pass. As to those consequences, I

1:48:481:48:53

will give way.

I would like to

congratulate him and his Plaid Cymru

1:48:531:49:00

colleagues on securing this debate

and I look forward to giving the SNP

1:49:001:49:03

address at the conference a couple

weeks' time. Does he agree with me

1:49:031:49:07

that the Welsh nationalism that he

and his colleagues espouse is very

1:49:071:49:11

much like Scottish nationalism and

that is is outward looking and

1:49:111:49:14

internationalist and all our parties

want is for our country is to be

1:49:141:49:18

nation states with a seat at the top

table in the EU, wielding the count

1:49:181:49:21

of power that the Republic of

Ireland is currently wielding?

I

1:49:211:49:27

would agree entirely. Your European

identity whether it be Welsh,

1:49:271:49:33

Scottish or English or whatever it

is, it is self subscribed. That is

1:49:331:49:38

why we have members in our party who

like my honourable friend come from

1:49:381:49:42

London. Entirely Welsh and Welsh

speaking thing that is probably a

1:49:421:49:50

consequence of marrying someone from

where there is no cause given or

1:49:501:49:57

expected but we have people in our

party who come from all over the

1:49:571:50:00

world and long may that remain. We

have no exclusive definition. As

1:50:001:50:08

long as he prepared to take the

consequences, and those consequences

1:50:081:50:11

for us is European citizens, right

to travel, live work in the EU, it

1:50:111:50:19

also gives his rights under EU law

in respect of health, education,

1:50:191:50:25

work and security and the right to

be free of discrimination based on

1:50:251:50:28

nationality. A point that flows from

what my honourable friend was

1:50:281:50:32

saying. This option so far however

on both sides of the EU and the

1:50:321:50:39

Government here is that EU

citizenship lapses at the point of

1:50:391:50:42

our exit from the EU. But European

union citizenship did not replace UK

1:50:421:50:50

citizenship. When it came into

force, it is indeed additional. Both

1:50:501:50:55

continue to coexist and leaving the

EU does not entail the end of the EU

1:50:551:51:01

citizenship that UK citizens. This

Government is by default,

1:51:011:51:06

unfortunately, intent on taking away

something significant value to the

1:51:061:51:10

people these islands. They should

not do so. In fact, they should make

1:51:101:51:19

the retention of EU citizenship they

as a future negotiations. It is

1:51:191:51:22

something that we can ask and demand

of the EU, something that is enough

1:51:221:51:27

how to give an something that will

be valued by our citizens. It would

1:51:271:51:33

benefit us all, not least by

establishing a common status for all

1:51:331:51:36

EU citizens who live here. Including

those of Irish heritage and the 3

1:51:361:51:41

million or so people who have moved

here from the EU member states. It

1:51:411:51:46

would establish a level playing

field. There was a glimmer of hope

1:51:461:51:52

when the Secretary of State

relieving the European Union last

1:51:521:51:57

year that was reported on the 2nd of

November, said that the UK was, open

1:51:571:52:01

about talking about associated

citizenship after Brexit. This will

1:52:011:52:04

come as a surprise to some people

but that is what he said. This would

1:52:041:52:09

allow Visa free working rights to UK

nationals. The aim of this exercise

1:52:091:52:18

is to be good for Europe, the

citizens of Europe and Britain. I do

1:52:181:52:23

note that the Prime Minister said in

her statement on Monday that UK and

1:52:231:52:29

EU citizens also want to work and

study in each other's countries and

1:52:291:52:33

we are open to discussions about how

to maintain links between our people

1:52:331:52:38

and perhaps I am over interpreting

that it seems to be potentially good

1:52:381:52:46

for this so citizenship, we shall

see how things develop. It is hard

1:52:461:52:51

for me at least, the get out of jail

free card about it. Today I'm

1:52:511:52:56

arguing for the maintaining of the

status quo. We are European citizens

1:52:561:53:00

will continue be so but obviously I

would urge the Secretary of State

1:53:001:53:05

and the Prime Minister, even now to

pursue the less ambitious line

1:53:051:53:08

further. For those asking me what

fall this EU citizenship points to

1:53:081:53:26

the situation an island became a

free state. The UK allow viruses is

1:53:261:53:30

to retain their UK citizenship and

as Brexit problems and

1:53:301:53:33

contradictions closing, the Prime

Minister down to remain. The model

1:53:331:53:44

that they approve and a model which

retain citizenship for Irish

1:53:441:53:48

citizens. Earlier on, I also

mentioned people of Irish heritage.

1:53:481:53:57

The qualifying link with the entire

islands either through family or by

1:53:571:54:03

residents, even assured residents in

Northern Ireland, can then apply for

1:54:031:54:06

an Irish passport. This applies to

millions of British people,

1:54:061:54:09

including my neighbour. Her passport

application I was happy to sign some

1:54:091:54:16

weeks ago. A passport has now

arrived, much to her satisfaction. I

1:54:161:54:19

would caution ministers listening in

not to tangle with angry older

1:54:191:54:26

citizens as they do so with peril.

Her links with Ireland through her

1:54:261:54:31

mother reached at the last century.

My link peters out before hers and I

1:54:311:54:37

do not qualify but I will pass way.

Will you agree there is a little

1:54:371:54:43

known anomaly that we're trying to

address and a leader to

1:54:431:54:47

inadvertently just now in the 20

Irish Republic or the free State as

1:54:471:54:51

it did then left the Commonwealth in

1949, the British governor to the

1:54:511:54:55

Tyne then allowed anyone who was

born in the Republic and perhaps

1:54:551:54:58

move to Northern Ireland or

elsewhere around the UK to retain

1:54:581:55:02

their British citizenship that

anyone born in the Republic and

1:55:021:55:04

lives in Northern Ireland is now

cannot get a British passport in the

1:55:041:55:08

same way as people who've never been

to the Republic can get an Irish

1:55:081:55:12

passport and therefore their

citizenship rights and terms of

1:55:121:55:15

members of the UK are still somewhat

disadvantaged and I understand he is

1:55:151:55:19

arguing obviously an issue worth EU

citizenship but given what is

1:55:191:55:22

alluded to, does he agree with me

that that is a matter that needs to

1:55:221:55:25

be addressed?

I have to convince

that I was entirely unaware of this

1:55:251:55:29

points raised and that has been the

case I think it bears further

1:55:291:55:35

examination and I would be happy to

discuss this matter with him

1:55:351:55:37

further.

1:55:371:55:43

I was talking about Irish citizens

and those of Irish extraction. The

1:55:431:55:48

point is there is a certain

serendipity to citizens having these

1:55:481:55:55

rights on the basis of one's

grandparents. People like myself

1:55:551:56:02

will have British citizenship and

people of Irish extraction will have

1:56:021:56:07

Irish citizenship and Irish people

who have Irish citizenship are

1:56:071:56:10

living, working and voting here and

we will have EU citizens of a

1:56:101:56:15

certain status, whatever that is.

There is a certain randomness about

1:56:151:56:20

the whole matter whereas an

overarching European citizenship

1:56:201:56:24

with in some ways address this. I am

afraid this sort of serendipity will

1:56:241:56:35

inevitably become more pressing when

those with the favoured passports

1:56:351:56:38

joined the short queues at the

airports whilst the others wait in a

1:56:381:56:42

long line. The government say they

want a close relationship with our

1:56:421:56:47

EU partners. This is their ambition,

cited over and over again. Here is a

1:56:471:56:55

practical opportunity to support

that relationship through

1:56:551:56:59

citizenship for current British and

EU citizens. For all those who are

1:56:591:57:07

not at the moment of leaving, the

unborn, they should have EU

1:57:071:57:15

citizenship. So far at the debate

has been dominated by two issues, by

1:57:151:57:22

the Irish border, and those are the

issues that we have been grappling

1:57:221:57:24

with over these past few months.

Many Brexit premises before the

1:57:241:57:29

referendum had an individualistic

quality. We would be richer, we

1:57:291:57:36

would have better services. The NHS

would have an extra £350 million

1:57:361:57:43

each week. Those are some of the

promises that persuaded people. And

1:57:431:57:47

also the immigration issue.

And also

we were promised that we would be

1:57:471:57:53

freer with all the implications of

independence and yet what we are

1:57:531:57:58

having to discuss today is the fact

that we are unlikely to be.

That is

1:57:581:58:09

a paradox we cannot escape. Madam

Deputy Speaker, my cold is rather

1:58:091:58:16

taking charge of me. Here is a

chance for the government to

1:58:161:58:19

partially redeemed itself by

securing the future for all UK

1:58:191:58:24

individuals. That which we already

have, our UK and European

1:58:241:58:30

citizenship. This would be popular.

The LSE opinion research published

1:58:301:58:40

last year found that six out of ten

people want to keep the EU

1:58:401:58:43

citizenship. Support for retaining

the right is particularly strong

1:58:431:58:51

amongst 18-24 -year-olds, 85% want

to retain their EU citizenship. They

1:58:511:58:56

are the generation more than any

other that will have to deal with

1:58:561:58:59

the long-term fallout of Brexit over

the coming decades and deal

1:58:591:59:04

particularly practically and

emotionally with the loss of their

1:59:041:59:09

further expectation of continuing EU

citizenship. Many of this generation

1:59:091:59:13

did not have a vote in the

referendum and yet they are

1:59:131:59:18

profoundly affected by its

consequences, unless the government

1:59:181:59:20

takes heed of our argument today.

Thankfully it is not my

1:59:201:59:25

responsibility to drum up support

for the Conservatives, but it is

1:59:251:59:32

clear from this debate this

afternoon if the government cannot

1:59:321:59:38

do so, can we expect the Labour

Party to show where their interest

1:59:381:59:40

lies? I am advised that there would

be no new treaty requirements so now

1:59:401:59:49

is the time for this government to

give a clear and practical sign that

1:59:491:59:53

it is taking UK citizens draw rights

seriously not by taking away our

1:59:531:59:57

rights with out our specific

consent, but by securing European

1:59:572:00:03

Union citizenship for all, not just

the random few. What is currently

2:00:032:00:11

lacking is vision and political

leadership to mend some of the

2:00:112:00:14

divisions that Brexit has opened up.

In the Prime Minister's own words

2:00:142:00:19

last Monday, let's get on with it.

The question is as on the order

2:00:192:00:26

paper. Minister.

Thank you, Madam

Deputy Speaker, and I would like to

2:00:262:00:35

thank the honourable member for

Arfon for his typically thoughtful

2:00:352:00:38

comments and also congratulate him

on having managed to get through his

2:00:382:00:42

entire speech with a very difficult

throat, which I thought improved as

2:00:422:00:46

time went on. I welcome this

opportunity to debate the

2:00:462:00:52

government's policy on EU

citizenship after the UK leads the

2:00:522:00:55

European Union. EU citizens in the

UK make a significant contribution

2:00:552:00:59

to our national life and we want

them and their families to stay.

2:00:592:01:03

From the very beginning the Prime

Minister has been clear that

2:01:032:01:06

safeguarding the rights of EU

citizens living in the UK and UK

2:01:062:01:10

nationals living in the EU was her

first priority for our negotiations.

2:01:102:01:15

We have now delivered on that

commitment and have reached an

2:01:152:01:18

agreement with our EU partners on

citizens' rights. It was set out as

2:01:182:01:23

part of a joint report issued on the

8th of December and provides

2:01:232:01:26

millions of EU and UK citizens with

certainty about their future rights

2:01:262:01:33

and importantly allows them and

their families to carry on their

2:01:332:01:36

lives broadly as they do now. The

agreement will protect citizens who

2:01:362:01:41

have been exercising free movement

rights at the time of the UK's

2:01:412:01:45

withdrawal from the EU. All family

members living lovely with a

2:01:452:01:49

qualifying citizen at this point are

protected and close family members

2:01:492:01:52

can continue to join qualifying

citizens on EU law terms after exit.

2:01:522:01:57

We have agreed that we will

introduce the new settled status

2:01:572:02:02

scheme under UK law for EU citizens

and their family members covered by

2:02:022:02:05

the agreement. Those who have

already had five years of continuous

2:02:052:02:09

residence in the UK will be eligible

to apply for settled status. Others

2:02:092:02:14

will be able to remain in the UK to

build up their five years'

2:02:142:02:17

residents. The scheme will be open

for applications by the end of 2018

2:02:172:02:24

is being designed and built from

scratch, yet the system will be

2:02:242:02:29

streamlined, user-friendly and draw

on existing data to minimise the

2:02:292:02:33

burden on applicants to provide

evidence. We are engaging the

2:02:332:02:38

stakeholders who represent EU

citizens in the UK as well as

2:02:382:02:40

Diaspora groups in the UK to discuss

and understand their needs for the

2:02:402:02:45

scheme. I would like to thank those

who have already participated and

2:02:452:02:49

shown willingness to engage and

particularly the EU ambassadors who

2:02:492:02:52

have beaten a path to my door to

explain how they can assist. Our

2:02:522:02:57

next priority is to turn the

December agreement into binding,

2:02:572:03:01

legal text for the withdrawal

agreement. The European Commission

2:03:012:03:04

published a draft.

I would like to

thank the Minister. But like a lot

2:03:042:03:11

of members I have had a large number

of EU nationals approach me who are

2:03:112:03:15

worried about certainty, including

those who have married for example

2:03:152:03:22

German wives who still do not have

this certainty. I know the minister

2:03:222:03:26

might not be able to answer this

today, but will she look into that

2:03:262:03:30

particularly for military families,

please?

The honourable gentleman

2:03:302:03:35

raises an important point,

particularly for military families

2:03:352:03:37

who move around a great deal. We are

determined to make sure that this is

2:03:372:03:43

a scheme that has a default position

of accepting that people are EU

2:03:432:03:49

citizens living here and we want it

to be a default for settled status

2:03:492:03:54

and not a default that says no. We

have been clear that we will seek to

2:03:542:04:00

agree an implementation period

beyond March 2019 of around two

2:04:002:04:03

years. The purpose of such a period

is to give people, business and our

2:04:032:04:09

own public services in the UK and

across the EU the time they need to

2:04:092:04:13

put in place the new arrangements

that will be required to adjust to

2:04:132:04:18

our future partnership. It will take

time to implement a new immigration

2:04:182:04:22

framework and the government has

been clear...

I thank the Minister

2:04:222:04:27

for giving way. I fear she may have

misunderstood the topic for debate.

2:04:272:04:32

We are aiming to discuss the issue

of the European citizenship of UK

2:04:322:04:36

subjects as opposed to the right of

EU citizens.

I am indeed going to

2:04:362:04:42

move on to the point is the

honourable gentleman for Arfon made.

2:04:422:04:47

Perhaps he will indulge me by

allowing me to get to that point. As

2:04:472:04:51

I was about to say, during the

implementation period, which will be

2:04:512:04:56

time limited, people will be able to

come to the UK to live and work as

2:04:562:04:59

they do now and this will be

reciprocal, meaning UK nationals

2:04:592:05:03

will also be able to travel to live

and work in the EU. Last week, the

2:05:032:05:07

Home Secretary published a position

paper that setting out that EU

2:05:072:05:13

citizens arriving during this period

should be able to walk toward

2:05:132:05:16

settlement in the UK. People

arriving in this period should not

2:05:162:05:21

have the same expectations as those

who arrived during our membership of

2:05:212:05:24

the EU. But it is right we will set

out the rules that apply to these

2:05:242:05:28

individuals to give them the

certainty they need. These rights

2:05:282:05:32

will be enforceable in UK law and we

will not seek to include them in the

2:05:322:05:37

withdrawal agreement, but we will

discuss this with the commission in

2:05:372:05:39

the coming weeks. Turning more

broadly to the question of EU

2:05:392:05:46

citizenship, the government has been

clear that our membership of the EU

2:05:462:05:49

will end on the 29th of March 2000

and 19. We are content to listen to

2:05:492:05:54

proposals from the EU on associate

citizenship for UK nationals,

2:05:542:05:58

however to date this has not been

formally proposed to the UK in the

2:05:582:06:02

negotiations. EU treaty provisions

state that only citizens of EU

2:06:022:06:08

member states are able to hold EU

citizenship. Therefore, when the UK

2:06:082:06:13

ceases to be a member of the

European Union, UK nationals will no

2:06:132:06:17

longer hold EU citizenship unless

they hold dual nationality with

2:06:172:06:21

another member state.

Does she not

agree that this is an interpretation

2:06:212:06:28

of the law as it stands and that it

is a matter of political will that

2:06:282:06:32

we would be begging the government

to bring this is the right of

2:06:322:06:36

individual citizenship of

individuals in the UK as something

2:06:362:06:40

that should be negotiated as we move

forward towards Brexit.

As I said,

2:06:402:06:47

the government's position is we are

very happy to discuss the specific

2:06:472:06:51

issue, but we have to do so

reflecting on the law as it

2:06:512:06:54

currently stands and the position in

law is very clear. Once we have left

2:06:542:06:59

the EU, citizens living here will no

longer be residents of an EU member

2:06:592:07:03

state. The Prime Minister has been

clear and she reinforced this

2:07:032:07:08

message on Friday that we are

seeking the broadest and deepest

2:07:082:07:12

possible future partnership with the

EU and a key part of that is

2:07:122:07:15

maintaining the links between our

people. We are clear that as we

2:07:152:07:21

leave the European Union, free

movement of people will come to an

2:07:212:07:24

end and we will control the number

of people who come to live in our

2:07:242:07:29

country. But UK citizens will still

want to work and study in other EU

2:07:292:07:34

countries, just as EU citizens will

want to do the same here, which is

2:07:342:07:38

why the Prime Minister is putting

the interests of EU and UK citizens

2:07:382:07:42

at the heart of her approach and we

are open to discussing how to

2:07:422:07:46

facilitate these valuable links.

I

beg your pardon! I bet the House's

2:07:462:08:00

pardon. I was counting wrongly. The

Shadow minister.

I am grateful,

2:08:002:08:07

Madame Deputy Speaker. Can I put on

record my thanks to the honourable

2:08:072:08:11

member for Arfon for the considered

way in which he opened the debate

2:08:112:08:14

and also to wish him a speedy

recovery from the heavy cold he has

2:08:142:08:19

been suffering from, and indeed

congratulate him on getting to the

2:08:192:08:22

end of his speech. I listened

carefully to what the minister said,

2:08:222:08:28

but I am afraid the weakness at the

heart of the government's position,

2:08:282:08:33

whether it is an EU citizenship in

the future, the rights of EU

2:08:332:08:37

citizens in this country or on

immigration generally, is the

2:08:372:08:41

failure of the government to bring

legislation before this house. I

2:08:412:08:45

start with the Immigration Bill,

which was originally scheduled to be

2:08:452:08:49

published last summer. The Home

Secretary, Madame Deputy Speaker,

2:08:492:08:54

said last October to the House and

the Home Affairs Select Committee,

2:08:542:08:59

there will be an immigration white

paper by the end of last year and a

2:08:592:09:02

bill early this year. That then

Immigration Minister, not the right

2:09:022:09:07

honourable lady, but her

predecessor, the right honourable

2:09:072:09:11

member for Great Yarmouth, told the

Home Affairs Select Committee in

2:09:112:09:13

November that white paper would be

produced soon. The right honourable

2:09:132:09:19

lady told this has on the 5th of

February there would be a white

2:09:192:09:22

paper, quote, when the time is

right. She said on the 26th of

2:09:222:09:27

February there would be a white

paper in due course. Now, that is

2:09:272:09:33

simply not good enough to deal with

an issue of this seriousness. Words

2:09:332:09:38

are very important. I do not mean

the various contorted phrases the

2:09:382:09:43

government has used to justify its

inaction, but also remarks that have

2:09:432:09:47

been made about the status of our is

existing EU citizens and the

2:09:472:09:56

important comments by the

International Trade Secretary,

2:09:562:09:59

quote, the uncertain status of EU

nationals living in the UK is one of

2:09:592:10:03

our main cards in the Brexit

negotiations. That is a matter of

2:10:032:10:07

great regret. I will give way.

Would

he agree with me that there are many

2:10:072:10:16

companies that rely on their

employees travelling often at very

2:10:162:10:19

short notice? I am thinking of

Airbus in particular where if a wing

2:10:192:10:24

is not finished a certain number of

people in this country will hop on a

2:10:242:10:29

plane and will go to France or

Germany to finish the work there.

2:10:292:10:34

All these things need to be thought

about because of the effect this

2:10:342:10:38

will have on potentially future

investment choices those companies

2:10:382:10:42

will make.

2:10:422:10:45

My honourable friend is absolutely

right. I think it comes as no

2:10:452:10:52

surprise the deputy director-general

of the CBI, no less, has said of

2:10:522:10:58

this Tory government that he is

hugely frustrated by their lack of

2:10:582:11:03

progress on an Immigration Bill. But

when we speak of EU citizens, they

2:11:032:11:11

are our friends, colleagues and

neighbours, people on whose doors we

2:11:112:11:15

knocked during the general election

last year. The continuing feeling of

2:11:152:11:19

the government to legislate, when we

have people making a positive

2:11:192:11:24

contribution to our economy, turn

National Health Service were already

2:11:242:11:27

there is an issue with recruitment,

in social care, in universities and

2:11:272:11:32

in other sectors, it only highlights

the fact that the government could

2:11:322:11:35

have done so much you know actually

a long time ago. Now, the Minister

2:11:352:11:42

has referred to the phase one

agreement. I have that in front of

2:11:422:11:45

me. I think the point was raised

about continuing uncertainty, which

2:11:452:11:51

continues to be an issue. Paragraph

34 is clear. Both parties agree that

2:11:512:11:58

the withdrawal agreement should

provide for the legal effects of the

2:11:582:12:00

citizens right part also in the UK

and in the union UK domestic

2:12:002:12:06

legislation should also be enacted

to this effect. Where is the

2:12:062:12:13

legislation? It should be brought

forward as soon as possible. Madam

2:12:132:12:17

Deputy Speaker, we also now have a

situation of course wears throughout

2:12:172:12:21

the negotiations we know nothing

will be agreed until everything is

2:12:212:12:26

agreed. We also know because the

Minister told us in the size a few

2:12:262:12:30

weeks ago that the migration

advisory committee has been asked to

2:12:302:12:34

advise on the economic aspects of

the UK's Brexit by September. She

2:12:342:12:40

then said there is plenty of time to

take account of the migration

2:12:402:12:47

account recommendations. Plenty of

time. This is a two-year parliament.

2:12:472:12:56

She has until March 2019 to get

legislation on the statute book.

2:12:562:13:01

Time it is of the essence. If I take

the Minister at her word that we

2:13:012:13:06

will have the legislation when the

time is right, then can I gently

2:13:062:13:10

suggest that that time might be no.

She needs to persuade the Cabinet to

2:13:102:13:18

give her the time to bring the

legislation before this House. And

2:13:182:13:23

Madam Deputy Speaker, whilst it is

my view and the view of the

2:13:232:13:28

opposition that the status of EU

nationals should have been dealt

2:13:282:13:32

with unilaterally a long time ago

and not left subject to negotiation

2:13:322:13:36

in this way, nor should ever have

the comments from the Secretary of

2:13:362:13:43

State for International trade that

people be used as bargaining chips.

2:13:432:13:46

Nonetheless, she could act now and

act she should. Going forward, I

2:13:462:13:55

welcome the contribution that has

been made today. And the Minister

2:13:552:14:00

has said that it will be considered.

And we do have to be very careful in

2:14:002:14:05

this debate about not excluding

options from the table as we go

2:14:052:14:09

forward. Nonetheless, can I just

suggest to the honourable lady, as

2:14:092:14:12

she tries to put together the whole

gamut of immigration policy for this

2:14:122:14:19

country post Brexit, that in order

to achieve a fear, managed and

2:14:192:14:24

efficient policy she needs to look

at the economic needs of our

2:14:242:14:28

country, work together with business

and the trade unions?

I'm grateful

2:14:282:14:34

to him for giving way. Will he

outline in terms of our proposal for

2:14:342:14:39

an associate citizenship, would it

be the policy of the Labour Party to

2:14:392:14:42

support what we calling for?

All I

have just set out is that we

2:14:422:14:49

shouldn't be ruling any options off

the table. I welcome the

2:14:492:14:55

contribution by the honourable

member for Carmarthen East and of

2:14:552:15:00

course I look forward to the

government's response to this

2:15:002:15:02

position. I will certainly give him

my position on a number of matters

2:15:022:15:16

in a minute. Perhaps the Tory party

could repair its relationship with

2:15:162:15:20

the CBI, if it did properly consult

business and communities about

2:15:202:15:26

immigration in the future? They

could increase the number of

2:15:262:15:34

prosecutions that happen for breach

of the National Minimum Wage act

2:15:342:15:37

that has happened for far too long,

reinstate the Migrant Impact Fund,

2:15:372:15:44

remove international students from

the statistics and above all perhaps

2:15:442:15:49

move away from this obsession with

bogus immigration targets and a

2:15:492:15:56

numerical target which the Tories

have never achieved, despite having

2:15:562:16:01

promised at over three general

elections.

I greatly appreciate and

2:16:012:16:05

I have much sympathy with which the

gentleman has to say, but it is not

2:16:052:16:09

the point of the motion. Emotion

here is about the rights of UK

2:16:092:16:15

citizens into the future. There is

an interesting debate to be had on

2:16:152:16:18

the rights of EU citizens coming

into the UK, but that is for another

2:16:182:16:22

debate.

Well, I've already responded

to the point that has been made on

2:16:222:16:28

that by her honourable friend, but

would also say to the honourable

2:16:282:16:32

lady that of course I appreciate the

narrow point about UK citizens going

2:16:322:16:37

forward, but this is a broad debate.

I'm sure the honourable lady would

2:16:372:16:43

not lose an opportunity either to

put the broader matters to the

2:16:432:16:46

Minister, as I am seeking to do. But

could I just end with this point?

2:16:462:16:52

That there could have been and could

still be an unconditional commitment

2:16:522:16:58

to the rights of EU citizens in this

country. That can still be offered.

2:16:582:17:03

The government should move away from

its obsession with numbers and

2:17:032:17:06

restore confidence in our

immigration system.

Thank you. It's

2:17:062:17:12

a pressure to be called so early in

this debate and give me a window

2:17:122:17:19

into the right honourable member for

Rushcliffe's world. He said his

2:17:192:17:27

party had been issued by -- he said

his party been shaped by the issue

2:17:272:17:35

of Europe. And can I say that it

takes one to know one? My

2:17:352:17:40

constituency has perhaps been shaped

to a greater extent than almost any

2:17:402:17:43

other. I was pleased to you can

focus on the issues that of EU

2:17:432:17:54

citizens and I'm afraid I will to

some extent focused on the other

2:17:542:17:59

side of that argument, but not I

hope entirely. But I think it would

2:17:592:18:05

be only fair to rebut some of what

has been said recently. The side of

2:18:052:18:09

the House brought in the modern

slavery act to combat some of the

2:18:092:18:14

issues which have been spoken of. We

tripled a level of the migration

2:18:142:18:21

funds that he praised. So I think we

should not be ashamed of what we

2:18:212:18:27

have achieved for the rights of

migrant workers, but what we should

2:18:272:18:30

also start off I think by

acknowledging our all the thoughtful

2:18:302:18:35

issues of identity that the right

honourable member opened this debate

2:18:352:18:40

with, and that is because my

constituency may indeed have been

2:18:402:18:43

that which voted to leave the

European Union more resoundingly

2:18:432:18:47

than anywhere else, but we are also

the constituency that has come as I

2:18:472:18:53

say, to some extent been shaped by

citizens of the European Union,

2:18:532:18:57

perhaps more than anywhere else. We

have streets in Boston that are

2:18:572:19:01

populated with shops that would

otherwise be empty and are entirely

2:19:012:19:07

focused on our new eastern European

communities. And that means that I

2:19:072:19:11

think we are uniquely attuned to the

issues of identity that he has

2:19:112:19:14

talked about. And I think what I

would like to begin by saying in

2:19:142:19:21

many ways is that actually when we

think about why did I constituency

2:19:212:19:25

like mine vote so strongly, it was

not a rejection of those EU rights,

2:19:252:19:30

and it was not a rejection of those

EU citizens as individuals. It was,

2:19:302:19:35

I think, and I don't wish to rerun

the Brexit referendum again by any

2:19:352:19:42

means, not least because I was on

the other side of it, but I say to

2:19:422:19:48

him that it was not a rejection of

those individuals, it was a

2:19:482:19:54

rejection of migration policy that

hadn't worked for a constituency

2:19:542:19:57

such as mine and it was a rejection

of an approach that had been taken

2:19:572:20:07

by Brussels over many years which

did not affect the best interests of

2:20:072:20:11

the United Kingdom as a whole. When

he speaks of identity, I hope he

2:20:112:20:15

would be in mind that we have far

more of my own constituents who have

2:20:152:20:22

married into the communities that

have arrived, very often formed

2:20:222:20:27

relationships and have children

where one parent is English and the

2:20:272:20:39

other is from an Eastern European

country. To that position is

2:20:392:20:44

altered. It suggests my constituency

have a larger desire to be able to

2:20:442:20:56

visit Poland, Latvia and Lithuania,

and all those countries where

2:20:562:21:01

reciprocal rights would benefit as.

None of my voters I think voted for

2:21:012:21:05

us to no longer have British driving

licences valid on the continent or

2:21:052:21:10

to any vote -- end some of the

reciprocal rights we have had for

2:21:102:21:17

many years.

2:21:172:21:28

I think we should pay tribute to the

negotiating position that the Prime

2:21:282:21:32

Minister set out last week, which is

a pragmatic, sensible bed to try and

2:21:322:21:39

secure some of those rights that he

talked about. But I think we should

2:21:392:21:45

acknowledge that in the referendum

people did vote for a different set

2:21:452:21:48

of circumstances after we left, and

that does inevitably mean that we

2:21:482:21:52

have to consider what those

differences might look like.- the

2:21:522:22:00

Minister was absolutely right to say

that the starting point does have to

2:22:002:22:03

be in law when we leave, then we

will have no longer precisely those

2:22:032:22:09

rights. We have to acknowledge that

is the case and how do we make sure

2:22:092:22:14

we get to the best possible outcome

by the end of the negotiations. I

2:22:142:22:20

give way.

Thank you. When he talks

about the change, the view of people

2:22:202:22:27

that would be changed circumstances,

would you agree with me that what we

2:22:272:22:31

also consider is given the vaults of

a whole series, a plethora of nation

2:22:312:22:36

states within the EU, not least at

the weekend in Italy, who knows what

2:22:362:22:41

changes are going to, than the very

institution that we are talking

2:22:412:22:46

about. May not be at all the way

people envisage it at the moment.

2:22:462:22:53

Absolutely. Years right to say that

this is a movable feast on the other

2:22:532:22:59

side of the channel and we should of

course be that in mind. I think this

2:22:592:23:06

motion...

He would be aware of the

Vienna treaties. Under those legal

2:23:062:23:21

rulings, citizens rights may not be

lost. Surely that is a can of

2:23:212:23:26

precedent we should be following?

He

used the word me and I think that is

2:23:262:23:30

right. I think we should be looking

at what the potential is and what

2:23:302:23:38

the presidents are. It remains a

fact the Minister was right to say

2:23:382:23:42

it is the case that when we leave we

will no longer be members and

2:23:422:23:46

therefore we will no longer have the

rights that we currently have. Now

2:23:462:23:50

he may pray in a presidents which

suggest something else and we may be

2:23:502:23:54

able to rely on some of those in due

course, but we should not prejudge

2:23:542:23:59

any of that. We have to be

pragmatic. It is also worth bearing

2:23:592:24:04

in mind that constituents across my

constituency and others across the

2:24:042:24:10

country did vote for precisely those

kind of differences. They voted for

2:24:102:24:14

the government to negotiate a new

relationship with Europe and that is

2:24:142:24:18

of course precisely what we are

doing. I just want to touch on

2:24:182:24:23

aspects of the motion that the

honourable member opening didn't

2:24:232:24:27

dwell on particularly, but that is

single market access. And of course

2:24:272:24:32

single market access does define a

huge part of our relationship with

2:24:322:24:42

the EU. I think it is a frustrating,

and this is not our fault that he

2:24:422:24:46

committed at all, but it is

frustrating to see that people did

2:24:462:24:48

not know what they were voting for

when they came to make their vote in

2:24:482:24:53

the referendum. I think my

constituents were very clear that

2:24:532:24:56

they were voting to leave the single

market because they were voting to

2:24:562:24:59

strike our own trade deals with

other countries around the world and

2:24:592:25:03

to open up those new opportunities

and I think we shouldn't allow

2:25:032:25:07

ourselves to pretend that there

wasn't a full and frank debate about

2:25:072:25:10

what leaving the European Union

might mean before people actually

2:25:102:25:14

went into the polling puts. And so I

think a crucial part of the motion

2:25:142:25:23

that is before us today implies that

there are not those opportunities

2:25:232:25:25

outside of the EU, which is

precisely what people voted for. So

2:25:252:25:29

he framed it as though we will be

doing is losing rights when we leave

2:25:292:25:34

the European Union, we should of

course be in mind there is a

2:25:342:25:38

different relationship but there are

opportunities out there as well and

2:25:382:25:41

I think part of the Prime Minister's

positive approach is to say there

2:25:412:25:44

are some opportunities we can seize

and there are other sides of the

2:25:442:25:49

coin were not everyone can have

every single thing that they might

2:25:492:25:54

wish for. And so I would say in

answer to his proposals that we stay

2:25:542:25:57

in the single market and the team

all our rights as they are today, he

2:25:572:26:03

shouldn't be wilfully blind to the

opportunities that we will get a

2:26:032:26:08

good deal with the European Union

that will allow us to retain so many

2:26:082:26:11

of those benefits that we see today

but we will also have access to a

2:26:112:26:15

wider world out there in a very

different way. And that isn't to say

2:26:152:26:18

that it will all be a bed of roses

and will be the easiest thing we

2:26:182:26:22

could ever have done, but I think

you should acknowledge the other

2:26:222:26:25

side of the coin. Which I'm sure

he's about to do.

2:26:252:26:37

I am by nature an optimist, but how

did he respond to the allegation

2:26:372:26:42

that we are exchanging a three

course meal for a bag of chips.

You

2:26:422:26:48

can have a three course meal and a

bag of crisps. It is important to

2:26:482:26:52

bear in mind that it is always

tempting to say that if you were on

2:26:522:26:58

one side of the argument that it

will all be brilliant and on the

2:26:582:27:01

other side it will all be terrible.

The reality is I do not much fancy a

2:27:012:27:08

three course meal or a bag of crisps

at the same moment, but there is a

2:27:082:27:12

compromise somewhere in the middle

and that is what we will be seeking.

2:27:122:27:17

But I want to close with one

observation which goes both ways on

2:27:172:27:20

this. Whether we are in

constituencies such as mine or in

2:27:202:27:28

those where there are lower levels

of immigration, we have all heard of

2:27:282:27:32

the huge concern that those EU

citizens living in this country have

2:27:322:27:36

had about what their status might

be. I think we should both accept it

2:27:362:27:42

was the genuine and proven intention

of the Prime Minister to seek to

2:27:422:27:47

provide reassurance as soon as she

possibly could within that debate,

2:27:472:27:51

but we should also bear in mind, and

I am grateful for him for not doing

2:27:512:27:56

this, that the more we talk about

those concerns, the more we fall

2:27:562:27:59

into the trap of whipping up those

concerns, the more we worry people

2:27:592:28:04

who should not be worried. That is

not only unfair on them but it is

2:28:042:28:09

irresponsible of us if we do that. I

should close by saying I have had a

2:28:092:28:15

number of my own constituents come

to me and say they are concerned

2:28:152:28:20

both that they might not be able to

travel as easily to their boyfriend

2:28:202:28:24

or girlfriend's home country, or

they may not be able to stay in this

2:28:242:28:28

country. I have been pleased to be

able to provide them with some

2:28:282:28:33

reassurance, but I have not had tens

of thousands of people coming to me

2:28:332:28:37

to make that point and that is

because I have not stirred up those

2:28:372:28:41

sorts of feelings. I was pleased to

see that he did not do that in his

2:28:412:28:45

speech. I was not so pleased that I

will be supporting this motion

2:28:452:28:51

today, but I do think this has been

a uniquely thoughtful debate, not

2:28:512:28:56

withstanding my own contribution,

about these issues and I think it is

2:28:562:29:01

a pleasure to be part of a debate

about Brexit that is perhaps not as

2:29:012:29:06

high octane and unhelpful and

produces more heat than light as we

2:29:062:29:09

have seen. Perhaps this set a

precedent for how we might continue

2:29:092:29:14

the negotiations as we go on.

And

now it is time for US Commissioner

2:29:142:29:23

Mike can I also thank my honourable

friend from Plaid Cymru and the Orla

2:29:232:29:27

member for Arfon who open the

debate.

The member for Boston and

2:29:272:29:36

Skegness whose bow before me made a

very good point about trying to have

2:29:362:29:39

a thoughtful debate and it is

something that we are having today.

2:29:392:29:43

Thank you for his contribution, but

thanks to Plaid Cymru for bringing

2:29:432:29:47

forward this debate and giving us

the opportunity today. As an number

2:29:472:29:52

of people have argued, it is the

importance of EU nationals in the UK

2:29:522:29:59

should not and cannot be

underestimated in terms of the

2:29:592:30:03

financial contribution that they

make. But more importantly they

2:30:032:30:09

enrich our society by being here. It

is a society that is more diverse

2:30:092:30:15

and enriched by their presence. That

is the case in my own constituency

2:30:152:30:19

and I know members from across the

House have acknowledged it is the

2:30:192:30:23

case in their constituencies as

well. What is particularly helpful

2:30:232:30:28

about this debate is also for us to

have a debate and discussion about

2:30:282:30:34

our own EU citizenship that we

continue to enjoy for the time

2:30:342:30:36

being. I think the ideas of

associate citizenship is one that is

2:30:362:30:43

worthy of consideration and one I

hope the government will give due

2:30:432:30:47

consideration to as well. The

benefits of EU membership, and this

2:30:472:30:51

is often lost during the debate,

work both ways. I would argue we get

2:30:512:30:56

a huge range of benefits from UK

citizenship and loving that the

2:30:562:31:05

government has said reassures me

that the UK Government is on top of

2:31:052:31:09

plugging the gap that will be

brought in if we are taken out of

2:31:092:31:12

the European Union. I would like to

reflect on my own personal

2:31:122:31:17

experiences. I was somebody who

benefited from freedom of movement.

2:31:172:31:22

I was able to work elsewhere in the

European Union, have the benefits of

2:31:222:31:27

health care, that was elsewhere in

the European Union. I took part in

2:31:272:31:31

the Erasmus scheme because I am a

European citizen. If I fell ill

2:31:312:31:37

whilst I was living in Belgium I was

able to use the hospitals. There was

2:31:372:31:41

no problem with that. Anybody

visiting me had the same rights as

2:31:412:31:45

well. I feel every inch the European

in my identity and I know identity

2:31:452:31:51

is not the main driver for today's

debate, but it is something we

2:31:512:31:57

should think about as well. But I

value more than that my European

2:31:572:32:01

citizenship. As I reflect on my own

personal experiences, one thing that

2:32:012:32:08

depresses me about where we are

going to today is that by the end of

2:32:082:32:12

this Parliament, perhaps uniquely,

there will be fewer opportunities

2:32:122:32:17

and young people will have fewer

rights than those of us who sit in

2:32:172:32:20

this Parliament today have enjoyed.

That is something we should all

2:32:202:32:24

reflect on. At the end of any

parliament, regardless who is in

2:32:242:32:29

government, it should be the

aspiration of all of us, and I think

2:32:292:32:33

it is the aspiration of all of us,

that young people should have more

2:32:332:32:38

opportunities and better

opportunities than those who went

2:32:382:32:41

before them. That should always be

our goal. With this as it stands and

2:32:412:32:46

with the removal of EU citizenship,

I believe we take a backward step on

2:32:462:32:51

that. Young people will have fewer

opportunities and retaining

2:32:512:32:54

citizenship would be a help. It will

not plug a gap entirely, but it

2:32:542:32:59

would be a help. The minister during

her contribution said that she was

2:32:592:33:06

waiting on the European Union to

come up with some ideas about the

2:33:062:33:12

associate European citizenship. The

European Union never got us into

2:33:122:33:14

this mess in the first place, the UK

Government did. The fact that the UK

2:33:142:33:19

Government almost two years on is

still waiting for the European Union

2:33:192:33:23

to come up with solutions tells us a

great deal about the state of

2:33:232:33:27

affairs within the UK Government. It

is incumbent upon this government to

2:33:272:33:31

look at the problems that we have

and to meet those challenges. There

2:33:312:33:36

are plenty of ideas, and I do not

agree with all of them, and I would

2:33:362:33:42

like to see a little bit more from

the government other than wait and

2:33:422:33:47

see policy when almost we are years

on from the referendum. I would

2:33:472:33:52

also, gently and in a comradely

spirit, and encourage the Labour

2:33:522:33:57

Party to do the same thing,

2:33:572:34:01

especially on these issues like

associate membership. I did agree

2:34:012:34:03

with much of what the member for

Arfon said, but I would encourage

2:34:032:34:09

him to look into this issue a bit

more deeply and it is the sort of

2:34:092:34:13

issue that should be taken forward

in this Parliament. There are a lot

2:34:132:34:18

of gaps to be filled and one thing

that struck me, and I made a point

2:34:182:34:23

on this before, is that it is not

entirely the government's fault.

2:34:232:34:29

Vote leave campaigned on a blank

piece of paper, something that has

2:34:292:34:33

been said a number of times in this

chamber and that is the reason why

2:34:332:34:36

we have got so many gaps. It is

therefore the responsibility of this

2:34:362:34:41

place to try and fill some of those

gaps, working with our colleagues in

2:34:412:34:46

the devolved administrations, local

authorities and amongst other

2:34:462:34:50

stakeholders as well. I believe it

was an act of gross responsibility

2:34:502:34:54

by vote leave to not even bother

having a manifesto or a white paper

2:34:542:34:58

which means we are having to fill in

the gaps. The honourable member for

2:34:582:35:06

Boston and Skegness referenced the

single market. If it was so clear on

2:35:062:35:09

the single market, the leave should

have been very clear that we were

2:35:092:35:13

leaving the single market. They were

not. You can leave the European

2:35:132:35:18

Union and I look as much at the

government front bench as much as I

2:35:182:35:22

do to the opposition, you can leave

the European Union and remain in the

2:35:222:35:27

single market. Fact. And of story.

That is something you can do. It is

2:35:272:35:34

quite depressing that many of us

have to keep on saying this. I

2:35:342:35:37

cannot believe we are having to use

up time in the House of Commons to

2:35:372:35:41

reiterate that fact. I will give

way.

He is factually correct, but

2:35:412:35:50

the tenor of the campaign that was

fought, and I was on the other side

2:35:502:35:54

of it, but the tenor of the campaign

that was fought was that there would

2:35:542:35:58

be a clean break with the European

Union. Does he not think that in the

2:35:582:36:02

spirit of that, that is what being

able to do our own trade deals and

2:36:022:36:07

leaving the single market means?

The

member will not be surprised to

2:36:072:36:12

learn that I disagree with him. No

it does not. If we were to sit here

2:36:122:36:17

and the government was to implement

a government policy in the spirit of

2:36:172:36:21

how the campaign was considered, we

would have a very different

2:36:212:36:25

government and very different

policies on the basis of the 2017

2:36:252:36:29

general election which in the Prime

Minister's own words was a Brexit

2:36:292:36:32

general election.

Is he aware that

Donald Tusk has just made it

2:36:322:36:39

absolutely clear in the last few

hours that the choice this

2:36:392:36:42

government now faces is whether to

stay in the single market and

2:36:422:36:46

Customs union over here, whether to

have a free trade arrangement, which

2:36:462:36:51

nobody in my constituency voted for

when they voted to leave just by

2:36:512:36:55

52%. Even on the government's own

assessment, and it must be the first

2:36:552:37:00

government ever in the history of

our country to admit that a free

2:37:002:37:04

trade agreement, even if we got what

the Prime Minister wants, would make

2:37:042:37:09

this country less prosperous than it

is now. Would he agree with me that

2:37:092:37:12

this is the stuff of manners?

The

honourable lady makes an excellent

2:37:122:37:17

point. She raises an excellent

point. The Scottish Government has

2:37:172:37:23

published its analysis and what was

striking for me is the reports we

2:37:232:37:27

have seen shows what happens if we

leave the single market on a

2:37:272:37:34

free-trade deal and the devastating

effect this would have on our

2:37:342:37:38

economy, it looks like the same for

the UK Government, said the UK

2:37:382:37:42

Government must published this

report. The honourable lady made an

2:37:422:37:50

excellent point. If there is less

money, that means it will be

2:37:502:37:55

devastating for our public services.

I am glad the Scottish Government

2:37:552:38:00

has raised taxes very slightly on a

minority of the population in order

2:38:002:38:04

to protect those services, but that

is a drop in the ocean compared to

2:38:042:38:09

what those aspects of a hit to the

GDP will mean for our economy, the

2:38:092:38:14

NHS and education and other public

services.

Before the honourable

2:38:142:38:19

gentleman gives way, I appreciate he

is illustrating his point with ideas

2:38:192:38:24

and pictures. But I hope he will

soon return to the point of EU

2:38:242:38:30

citizens because this motion is

fairly narrow. It is an important

2:38:302:38:37

one to be concentrated on this

afternoon. If he cares now to give

2:38:372:38:39

way.

Keep in the motion is the issue

of the single market, which he knows

2:38:392:38:48

I feel it should be that we remain.

The Brexit secretary said we would

2:38:482:38:56

get the same benefits. That is

patently not going to be the case. I

2:38:562:39:01

have seen those Treasury papers as

well and they are clear that we will

2:39:012:39:04

be worse off in every single

scenario. That is not the same

2:39:042:39:09

whether it is for citizens,

businesses or our country.

That is

2:39:092:39:15

why this debate today is so

important and I am so glad it has

2:39:152:39:19

been brought forward. This idea of

European citizenship, and if I may

2:39:192:39:23

talk about Scotland's experiences,

this idea of European citizenship is

2:39:232:39:30

not a new concept that has merely

arisen in the 1970s. It is a

2:39:302:39:36

historic one. If you go back to

1295, Scots looked at the idea of

2:39:362:39:42

dual citizenship with the French as

part of the Auld Alliance. If you go

2:39:422:39:48

through the recorders in the House

of Lords where you see the English

2:39:482:39:51

Tudor monarchs on the wall, you will

also see the Scots should monarchs,

2:39:512:39:55

some of whom were French. Also, if

you look at the rights of Scots

2:39:552:40:06

traders as citizenship in places

like the Netherlands where a former

2:40:062:40:09

member of this house was the

honorary conservator of the

2:40:092:40:11

privileges of the Scottish staple of

Vera, Winnie Ewing back in the day,

2:40:112:40:19

and if you go back even further to

the letter of Lubeck, the first

2:40:192:40:24

thing that William Wallace did after

the Battle of Stirling Bridge and

2:40:242:40:28

Scottish independence was to get

back in touch with our European

2:40:282:40:32

partners. This idea of citizenship,

the idea of Scotland as a European

2:40:322:40:36

nation is something that does not go

back to the 1970s, but goes back

2:40:362:40:40

many hundreds of years. On that

point I will move on, but I would

2:40:402:40:45

encourage members to read and listen

to the works of my constituent Billy

2:40:452:40:56

Kay who has been excellent on the

impact of the Scottish Dyas Brett

2:40:562:40:58

elsewhere in Europe. But this is

more than history and modern

2:40:582:41:00

identity.

2:41:002:41:06

Here's the point beautifully. But

here's discussing the issue of

2:41:062:41:16

Europe, not the European Union.

This

is more about history and identity.

2:41:162:41:21

If at some point the Minister can

tell us how we will replicate these

2:41:212:41:28

ideas of citizenship, health care,

travel, one of the honourable

2:41:282:41:36

members made it very good point

about people having to work

2:41:362:41:43

elsewhere, that goes to the heart of

citizenship and is why I am grateful

2:41:432:41:49

to the Minister for making that

point. The value to our economy is

2:41:492:41:52

critical. Academics at the

University of St Andrews can

2:41:522:41:58

collaborate with partners elsewhere

in Europe. The farmer next door to

2:41:582:42:03

me relies on seasonal workers to

pick his broccoli, which must still

2:42:032:42:09

be picked by hand. The Minister

spoke of certainty. I've heard this

2:42:092:42:16

before from other ministers. EU

nationals should now feel a sense of

2:42:162:42:20

certainty in their citizenship. My

postbag begs to differ and I suspect

2:42:202:42:26

the postbag is of others begs to

differ. EU nationals contribute so

2:42:262:42:35

much. I will make way.

I thank

Maribor friends are when in the

2:42:352:42:41

middle of a very good speech. I

visited one of the largest

2:42:412:42:44

private-sector employers in my

constituency on Monday and heard

2:42:442:42:47

from them about their troubles

accessing labour and the problems

2:42:472:42:52

which have been exacerbated because

of the uncertainty which led to

2:42:522:43:01

previous EU nationals leaving the

country.

It has been interesting to

2:43:012:43:06

hear so many interesting points from

various members. In conclusion, I

2:43:062:43:12

noted from Plaid Cymru who spoke of

the decline of Ukip, Scotland was

2:43:122:43:16

always ahead of the game in terms of

Ukip because I don't think they ever

2:43:162:43:23

save the parliamentary deposit in an

election in Scotland. That's why

2:43:232:43:27

Scotland voted so overwhelmingly to

remain part of the EU. It is about

2:43:272:43:32

citizenship but so much more than

that. I would urge the government to

2:43:322:43:37

look at these proposals. When

Greenmantle left the European Union,

2:43:372:43:43

part of the member state left and

part remained, the withdrawal

2:43:432:43:49

agreement ensured the rights of EU

citizens. It is crucial to our

2:43:492:43:55

economy and it is crucial to the

future of young people. I would urge

2:43:552:43:58

the government to reconsider. I

thank Plaid Cymru again for bringing

2:43:582:44:04

this forward.

Being a citizen of the

EU returns in any tangible benefits.

2:44:042:44:14

I would like to discuss the impact

of European citizenship on UK

2:44:142:44:22

citizens. It allows people in the UK

to move freely among countries in

2:44:222:44:28

Europe. It enables us to enjoy a

range of rights, health care,

2:44:282:44:35

education, work and social security.

Young people I meet feel

2:44:352:44:39

particularly strongly about this

issue. And given the security

2:44:392:44:42

clouding the horizons of so many

across the UK, it isn't surprising

2:44:422:44:48

that material freedoms afforded by

EU citizenship are held in such

2:44:482:44:52

importance. At this point, I would

mention in passing it is important

2:44:522:44:56

to remember that what we are

discussing here is European Union

2:44:562:45:01

citizenship, and that has always

been additional to UK to

2:45:012:45:05

citizenship. Never mutually

exclusive. EU citizenship and the

2:45:052:45:11

write it entails has for many become

synonymous with opportunity. It

2:45:112:45:15

offers the chance to broaden

horizons. As has already been

2:45:152:45:22

mentioned in this debate, there is

no legal reason why a limit must be

2:45:222:45:27

placed on such opportunity. No legal

reason why people must be stripped

2:45:272:45:32

of these rights and freedoms.

Thank

you. On the topic of reasons, does

2:45:322:45:37

he not agree with me that free

movement of labour was a key concern

2:45:372:45:42

of those who voted leave and also

those who voted remain like myself.

2:45:422:45:48

Does he not believe it is important

to represent those views?

Perhaps I

2:45:482:45:55

was not clear enough of the point I

was making. I am trying to discuss

2:45:552:45:59

the rights of UK citizens and their

ability to travel to Europe. This is

2:45:592:46:08

an opt in or opt out system. It is

entirely possible to be so

2:46:082:46:16

associated European union

citizenship for UK citizens. The

2:46:162:46:22

Member for North East Fife just

mentioned Greenland. The experience

2:46:222:46:30

in Ireland was mentioned. It is

interesting to look at the

2:46:302:46:38

experience of some of the Crown

dependencies in the Channel Islands.

2:46:382:46:42

It is a matter of political will is

my point. There is a way when it

2:46:422:46:48

comes to negotiations of ensuring

that benefits are afforded to

2:46:482:46:53

everybody equally. Is I will give

way.

I'm most grateful. He's making

2:46:532:46:59

a strong case. Would he agree with

me that at the moment everybody in

2:46:592:47:02

the United Kingdom could go without

permit to work in 30 other

2:47:022:47:09

countries, 27 other EU countries and

three others and after we come out

2:47:092:47:16

of the EU, it will be zero? A French

person of the same age hope still be

2:47:162:47:22

able to go to 29 different

countries. What a difference that is

2:47:222:47:26

in terms of rights and

opportunities.

I think he makes a

2:47:262:47:31

very important point. This point

about unnecessarily limiting the

2:47:312:47:35

horizons of UK citizens is the point

I am trying to make and I

2:47:352:47:39

wholeheartedly agree with the

honourable member. As I mentioned,

2:47:392:47:42

it is perhaps not a legal pressure

but perhaps more one of political

2:47:422:47:47

will. The will of the public, and

support for such a measure, is

2:47:472:47:54

clear. According to research led by

the London School of economics in

2:47:542:48:00

July 20 17, six out of ten voters

want to keep their European

2:48:002:48:06

citizenship after Brexit. The

support for retaining these rights

2:48:062:48:15

is particularly strong amongst 18-24

-year-olds. 85% of them want to

2:48:152:48:21

maintain their European citizenship

in addition to UK citizenship. A

2:48:212:48:27

further report was published News

perspectives. Focus groups revealed

2:48:272:48:33

widespread fear and frustration.

Questions regarding the loss of EU

2:48:332:48:40

benefits were highlighted, including

their ability to access education

2:48:402:48:46

and training programmes, and the

rights they will have in Europe. My

2:48:462:48:55

constituency was one of a handful of

Welsh areas to vote to remain. My

2:48:552:49:08

constituency did not support leaving

the European Union, but most

2:49:082:49:11

certainly did not give any

government mandate to deny the

2:49:112:49:16

rights and freedoms which membership

of the EU ensured. To limit the

2:49:162:49:22

opportunities, for comparison to

citizens of other European states.

2:49:222:49:27

The question of the future status

and the rights bestowed upon UK

2:49:272:49:32

citizens by EU membership will not

disappear. As has been mentioned

2:49:322:49:36

this afternoon, rather they will

grow in prominence and importance as

2:49:362:49:42

negotiations progress. A lot has

been made of the clarity or lack

2:49:422:49:47

thereof of EU law with regards for

status of the rights of UK citizens

2:49:472:49:54

once we leave. I would like to draw

attention to international law and

2:49:542:49:59

our European law and founding

treaties may offer a clear

2:49:592:50:02

interpretation one-way,

international law is equally clear

2:50:022:50:08

that if anything the 1969 Convention

on the Law of treaties means it is

2:50:082:50:14

incumbent on the UK and the EU to

address this matter of future status

2:50:142:50:20

urgently, for even every article 70

of this convention is interpreted in

2:50:202:50:23

such a way so that the withdrawal of

a member state from the EU

2:50:232:50:28

extinguishes the rights of

individuals created by the founding

2:50:282:50:32

treaties, international law would

still require that a treaty is

2:50:322:50:36

agreed on future status of such

rights. Associate European

2:50:362:50:41

citizenship is a model that the UK

Government could adopt ampicillin in

2:50:412:50:46

this instance, as well as affording

UK citizens the ability to continue

2:50:462:50:52

to enjoy the rights and freedoms

they currently do, but it would also

2:50:522:50:59

safely -- safeguard the rights of

future generations, from which those

2:50:592:51:09

of us here today have been able to

benefit.

I support his case. Like

2:51:092:51:18

him, people in my constituency voted

to remain. Does he share the horror

2:51:182:51:25

of speaking to younger people? We

are able to go around our

2:51:252:51:32

constituencies and tell young people

they are going to have less

2:51:322:51:35

opportunities, less rights and less

prospects than we did just a few

2:51:352:51:40

years ago?

I thank him for his

intervention. I think he has got to

2:51:402:51:43

the nub of the issue here. By not

pursuing this option or addressing

2:51:432:51:49

this matter more thoroughly, we are

at risk of denying many of our

2:51:492:51:53

younger generations the same

opportunities we were able to enjoy.

2:51:532:51:59

I will give way.

I'm very grateful.

Is he seriously suggesting that the

2:51:592:52:07

European Union are likely to ban

young people from Britain for

2:52:072:52:12

travelling to other European

countries? If they were doing that,

2:52:122:52:17

will wouldn't we be quite right to

walk away from an organisation

2:52:172:52:21

wanting to do such an outrageous

thing?

I thank him for his

2:52:212:52:26

intervention, but I would suggest

that what the EU may or may not do

2:52:262:52:31

is not a matter for this House. What

I am saying is it is in the gift of

2:52:312:52:37

this place to ensure that our

position is that we pursue

2:52:372:52:42

associate, to ensure the rights of

our young people, citizens of the UK

2:52:422:52:47

all ban young, they are still able

to enjoy the rights we currently do.

2:52:472:52:52

And grateful to him for giving way.

I think is making a powerful speech.

2:52:522:52:57

Does he share my concern that if you

are fourth-year student in

2:52:572:53:04

Easterhouse you would be able to go

on to do a Rasmus in the next year

2:53:042:53:07

or two, but the UK Government is

taking away opportunities for the

2:53:072:53:15

young people in the East End of

Glasgow?

I agree. When I speak to

2:53:152:53:22

young people, those concerns are

precisely the ones they raise. We

2:53:222:53:25

don't know what the future will

hold. They were planning ahead to be

2:53:252:53:31

able to enjoy some of the things

siblings or family members were able

2:53:312:53:36

to do, but now there in the daunting

position of not being able to do so.

2:53:362:53:40

To conclude, my point is that Brexit

may not read EU nationals of these

2:53:402:53:47

rights. How UK nationals will retain

EU citizenship after Brexit is a

2:53:472:53:54

question of political will. It is

for the government to propose a

2:53:542:53:57

model to achieve this and to

negotiate so that it is included in

2:53:572:54:02

the withdrawal agreement. Not only

does associate citizenship present a

2:54:022:54:07

possible solution, it also offers

much-needed compromise for an

2:54:072:54:14

embattled government, a way to heal

the deep divisions that have

2:54:142:54:18

embellished across the UK. This

would be a system, a model where one

2:54:182:54:25

could opt in or refuse to pin. The

choice is they are. It would be a

2:54:252:54:31

way to seal divisions. After all, as

the former Education Secretary put

2:54:312:54:36

it, it Brexit doesn't work for young

people in our country, in the end it

2:54:362:54:41

will not be sustainable.

It is an

honour to follow my friend. I thank

2:54:412:54:52

my colleagues for his introduction.

I would like to state the obvious.

2:54:522:54:59

We are not subjects, we are

citizens. As such, we are

2:54:592:55:04

individuals who consent to the rule

of government. Government rules in

2:55:042:55:08

accordance with the will of the

citizens. We are citizens and we are

2:55:082:55:14

individuals. And as individuals

Brexit has consequences for our

2:55:142:55:18

lives. Whether we voted to leave or

to remain. And I would echo exactly

2:55:182:55:23

what my friend said earlier, surely

this debate offers an opportunity to

2:55:232:55:28

heal divisions within our society,

to respect both sides of the

2:55:282:55:34

referendum vote divide, because this

respect individuals and permits

2:55:342:55:36

their choice?

2:55:362:55:42

As individuals we stand to lose our

heritage as European citizens, a

2:55:422:55:47

heritage we might not even have been

aware was in our possession, a

2:55:472:55:51

family treasure forgotten at the

back of the display Cabinet and

2:55:512:55:54

about to be discarded in the bitter

acrimony of divorce. It is my

2:55:542:55:59

surprise that it has taken an

opposition date debate by Plaid

2:55:592:56:03

Cymru to focus in depth on the wide

reaching implications of the laws we

2:56:032:56:07

face. I would like to take the

opportunity to thank Jill Evans MEP

2:56:072:56:14

and Professor Rubin who have

highlighted both the legality of our

2:56:142:56:21

rights and the thousands of cores

who have signed the Plaid Cymru

2:56:212:56:24

petition in the last few days. But,

and this needs to be emphasised and

2:56:242:56:30

to use the language Brexit, Brexit

must not treat individual citizens

2:56:302:56:35

as vassals under obligation to our

political masters who might strip us

2:56:352:56:40

of our citizenship at their whim.

This matter is clear international

2:56:402:56:45

law and it is worth emphasising all

of us who are speaking in favour of

2:56:452:56:49

the proposal, citizens' rights are

not the government's gift to trade

2:56:492:56:58

according to the 1969 Vienna

Convention of treaties. While an EU

2:56:582:57:03

member state is democratically

agreed to terminate its EU

2:57:032:57:06

membership, it cannot extinguish the

individual status of citizenship nor

2:57:062:57:10

its associated rights without the

consent of the individual. And is

2:57:102:57:15

there a precedent of this? We have

heard of a number already and there

2:57:152:57:18

is one I would like to concentrate

on. We have lived with my particular

2:57:182:57:23

precedent which I wish to talk about

for so long, that once again

2:57:232:57:29

possibly we do not appreciate or see

its value. Following the creation of

2:57:292:57:34

Northern Ireland and the Irish free

State, the Republic of Ireland,

2:57:342:57:39

politicians debated the implication

of how and where people live it

2:57:392:57:44

affected their rights as citizens.

Irish citizens who reside in the UK

2:57:442:57:48

while still remaining Irish citizens

enjoy all the benefits of UK

2:57:482:57:52

citizenship, including the freedom

to take up residence and employment

2:57:522:57:56

in the UK. They play a full part in

UK political life, including voting

2:57:562:58:01

in Parliamentary elections. The

Republic of Ireland also offers

2:58:012:58:07

citizenship to all residents of the

island of Ireland and people who are

2:58:072:58:11

citizens of the UK are entitled to

residency in Ireland without

2:58:112:58:15

restrictions, and like the citizens

of other countries. UK citizens are

2:58:152:58:20

not subject to an's aliens act of

1935, which means a UK citizen does

2:58:202:58:25

not have need a visa, a residence

permit or unemployment permit in our

2:58:252:58:30

land. We are entitled to move from

any country and we may move there to

2:58:302:58:35

work and retire.

Is she like me in

her regular constituency surgeries,

2:58:352:58:42

visited by many people who are

currently British citizens but who

2:58:422:58:46

are lucky enough to have an Irish

parents and who I looking for an

2:58:462:58:50

MP's signature on an Irish passport

application?

I would wonder if the

2:58:502:58:58

way this operates in Ireland could

be a model for an opting pattern we

2:58:582:59:02

might think about here if we take

this through to the next practical

2:59:022:59:06

considerations. Unlike other

citizens, UK citizens might retire

2:59:062:59:13

to Ireland without having to

establish whether we have sufficient

2:59:132:59:18

resources. If we visit Ireland, we

do not even need a European health

2:59:182:59:22

insurance card, only a passport or

some form of ID to prove UK

2:59:222:59:29

citizenship. Interestingly, this did

not happen without Parliamentary

2:59:292:59:32

debate and intervention 96 years

ago. Much of it initiated

2:59:322:59:38

interestingly by conservatives and

unionists at that time. I quote from

2:59:382:59:43

Hansard of the 26th of June 1922

when Colonel John Gretton,

2:59:432:59:51

conservative, Burton, asked the

Secretary of State for the Colonies

2:59:512:59:54

whether acceptance of the status of

a citizen of the Irish free State

2:59:543:00:02

under clause three of the suggested

constitution for Southern Ireland

3:00:023:00:06

would deprive the person so

accepting of his rights as a British

3:00:063:00:10

citizen in our land. To which Mr

Winston Churchill, for it was he,

3:00:103:00:18

replied, the answer is in the

negative. Mr Gideon Oliver Murray, a

3:00:183:00:26

Unionist MP from Glasgow pressed the

question, is it not a fact that a

3:00:263:00:31

citizen of a British dominion is

ipso facto a British subject? To

3:00:313:00:36

which Mr Churchill replied, so will

he be in the Irish free State. Mr

3:00:363:00:40

Oliver Murray, this is not the case.

But Mr Churchill was having nothing

3:00:403:00:44

of it. It is the case. I would beg

the benches opposite if Winston

3:00:443:00:50

Churchill felt the need to ensure

that individuals should not be

3:00:503:00:54

stripped of their wish for

citizenship in 1922, surely they are

3:00:543:01:00

honour bound and loyalty bound to

respect the citizens of 2018 in a

3:01:003:01:04

similar fashion. All it took was an

expression of will on the part of

3:01:043:01:11

the Conservatives and the Unionists

of the time and the rights to vote

3:01:113:01:17

for the Westminster Parliament as

well as the right of abode and

3:01:173:01:20

working were safeguarded. The

political will was also brought to

3:01:203:01:25

bear in the circumstances of Hong

Kong with British nationality in the

3:01:253:01:29

Hong Kong act of 1990 and in 1997

act which allowed non-Chinese,

3:01:293:01:34

ethnic minorities to apply for full

British citizenship. I raise these

3:01:343:01:41

examples as examples of political

need showing flexibility, initiative

3:01:413:01:44

and a respect for the individual

caught up in the crossfire of state

3:01:443:01:49

gameplaying. This is a matter of

political will, indicative of who

3:01:493:01:54

the government respects. The

simplistic, legal interpretation of

3:01:543:01:58

Brexit zealots which just so happens

to bolster an ideological adherence,

3:01:583:02:03

or the quiet right of citizens to

express their will in accordance

3:02:033:02:07

with international law. I would

wonder whether the government took

3:02:073:02:11

the opportunity yesterday to raise

this matter with Guy Verhofstadt

3:02:113:02:16

when he visited. This is not an

abstract concept, and nicety of

3:02:163:02:25

legalese. My daughter has been able

to action her right to live and work

3:02:253:02:30

in France. Just as I, somewhat

longer ago, was able to action my

3:02:303:02:38

right to study alongside Irish

students in Ireland. I speak for

3:02:383:02:42

many of my constituents when I say

that we are proud to exercise our

3:02:423:02:47

rights as citizens of Wales and of

Europe. The state may present its

3:02:473:02:52

citizens with a referendum and then

seek to interpret the frankly

3:02:523:02:56

uninterpretable result, but it may

not strip us of our rights. How our

3:02:563:03:01

laws are made me change, but that

does not give displays the

3:03:013:03:05

legitimacy to interfere with my

children's Brummer writes as

3:03:053:03:10

autonomous, individual citizens.

What of those young people who were

3:03:103:03:13

not of an age to vote in 2016, who

are we to say they may not have the

3:03:133:03:18

choice agreed in the newly forged

relationship with Ireland in 1922,

3:03:183:03:23

the choice to opt into a citizenship

which reflects their individual

3:03:233:03:28

choice of identity as Welsh,

Scottish, English, British and

3:03:283:03:31

Europeans. Speaker... Sorry. Anyone

with a grasp of a history of Wales

3:03:313:03:42

will know that our country's very

name in English deliberately implies

3:03:423:03:48

two things. Firstly, that we are

different, foreign, but the root of

3:03:483:03:55

the word was used by the

Anglo-Saxons not only to imply

3:03:553:03:59

foreign, but to imply Roman

associations. Wales' link with

3:03:593:04:05

Europe are indivisible from the name

imposed on us. Not all of us will

3:04:053:04:10

recall that we were citizens of Rome

1600 years ago, but many of us would

3:04:103:04:16

remain European citizens in the

21st-century.

Jonathan Edwards.

It

3:04:163:04:24

is a huge pleasure to speak in this

debate and may I congratulate my

3:04:243:04:28

honourable friend for Arfon on his

speech that opened the debate. He

3:04:283:04:31

set out the case in his usual

forensic style, providing plate

3:04:313:04:36

clarity and detail. I thoroughly

enjoyed the speech from the member

3:04:363:04:41

from North East Fife, one of the

superstar performers of this

3:04:413:04:47

Parliament. My younger friends from

Ceredigion, one of the rising stars

3:04:473:04:53

of Welsh politics and my

Parliamentary leader who spoke with

3:04:533:04:56

her usual great authority and

concentrated on the example of the

3:04:563:05:06

independence of Ireland at the

beginning of the last century and

3:05:063:05:09

she gave us a fantastic history

lesson during her contribution. Mr

3:05:093:05:15

Deputy Speaker, on the morning after

the referendum, the 24th of June

3:05:153:05:20

2016, I had been given the honour of

being the guest speaker at the

3:05:203:05:25

graduation ceremony at the local

college in my constituency. It was

3:05:253:05:32

held at the fabulous racecourse.

After watching that result in the

3:05:323:05:41

early hours of the morning I

remember vividly standing up at the

3:05:413:05:47

podium and looking out that the

hundreds of young graduates and

3:05:473:05:50

their families before me and I

dropped my speaking notes and went

3:05:503:05:54

completely off script. Instead of

diving into my speech about how

3:05:543:05:58

proud I would be and how they should

look forward to the future, I

3:05:583:06:02

apologised to those young people. My

apology was based on being part of

3:06:023:06:07

the critical class that had produced

their life chances and opportunities

3:06:073:06:12

compared to those that have been

available to me and the generations

3:06:123:06:15

before me. The right to travel,

live, work and receive health care

3:06:153:06:21

and reside in any other part of the

European Union. We have had some

3:06:213:06:27

very powerful contributions from

members during this debate and that

3:06:273:06:29

is what we are grappling with today

as we bring this motion before the

3:06:293:06:35

House.

I am grateful to the

honourable member and I apologise

3:06:353:06:40

for missing the start of the debate.

The reason is because some members

3:06:403:06:48

in the Select Committee had a

privilege of meeting with a

3:06:483:06:53

delegation from the Parliament of

Slovakia who are in Westminster just

3:06:533:06:55

now.

You do not have to give a

reason why you are intervening.

3:06:553:07:02

Don't worry about that. We want to

hear your intervention.

Most of the

3:07:023:07:07

people we met were born in the

shadow of the Iron Curtain. They now

3:07:073:07:13

have the right to travel all over

Western Europe and Central and

3:07:133:07:16

Eastern Europe. Does he share my

bafflement that at the same time as

3:07:163:07:21

these people are celebrating their

recently won right to travel

3:07:213:07:24

everywhere we have a government here

that seems determined to take

3:07:243:07:27

measures that might endanger the

right of future generations of UK

3:07:273:07:31

citizens to travel as freely as our

Slovakian friends can travel now?

I

3:07:313:07:37

am extremely grateful for that

intervention and as always my

3:07:373:07:40

honourable friend makes a valid

point. They are congratulate him for

3:07:403:07:43

the excellent work he is doing on

that Select Committee. His

3:07:433:07:50

contributions are always extremely

valuable. Much of the debate

3:07:503:07:53

following the referendum surrounded

the economic battle in Brexit. The

3:07:533:07:58

best way to protect the Welsh

economy is to stay inside the single

3:07:583:08:02

market and the customs union. It is

a shame that UK citizens' rights

3:08:023:08:11

have not had the same level of

debate it deserves. A report was

3:08:113:08:18

commissioned in the media aftermath

of the referendum. It has gathered

3:08:183:08:24

significant support in the European

government, including Guy

3:08:243:08:29

Verhofstadt, the lead Brexit

negotiator for the parliament. I

3:08:293:08:32

understand the Minister of State has

had discussions with him on this

3:08:323:08:37

issue and I would be grateful to

learn in wind up whether this issue

3:08:373:08:40

was discussed yesterday with him

during his visit to London. The idea

3:08:403:08:48

has also gained the support of the

European Parliament's Constitutional

3:08:483:08:50

affairs committee. I sense, may be

wrongly, that the British Government

3:08:503:08:56

have an open mind to what we are

proposing today. I am being kind

3:08:563:09:02

because it has been a very

good-natured debate so far. The

3:09:023:09:07

Secretary of State in response to

the honourable member for Stafford,

3:09:073:09:10

and I am delighted to see my

honourable friend in his place and I

3:09:103:09:14

thank him for his contribution

earlier which hit the nail on the

3:09:143:09:19

head, the Secretary of State was on

the record as saying, quote, the aim

3:09:193:09:24

of this exercise is to be good for

Europe and good for Britain, which

3:09:243:09:28

means good for the citizens of

Europe and Britain, this is what we

3:09:283:09:32

intend to do. In her speech last

Friday at the Mansion house, the

3:09:323:09:36

Prime Minister failed to provide any

great clarity over the main issues.

3:09:363:09:44

However, are part of the speech

caught my attention when she

3:09:443:09:48

conceded that despite her hard

Brexit policy she would seek to

3:09:483:09:53

negotiate an associate member status

for several EU agencies.

I

3:09:533:10:01

completely agree with the honourable

gentleman about the benefits of us

3:10:013:10:04

remaining in the single market and

the customs union, but where I

3:10:043:10:07

disagree is to say the Prime

Minister's policy is one of a hard

3:10:073:10:12

Brexit. If there is one thing that

came out of the Mansion house speech

3:10:123:10:16

it was a firm rejection of a hard

Brexit. Would he at least agree with

3:10:163:10:20

me on that?

I am always delighted to

hear from my honourable friend who I

3:10:203:10:25

worked with very closely on these

matters. However, I fear the Prime

3:10:253:10:30

Minister in her speech managed to

continue the strategy of trying to

3:10:303:10:34

placate both sides of the

Conservative Party and ultimately

3:10:343:10:37

she will have to make a call one way

or the other. The fact the

3:10:373:10:42

honourable lady reckons that the

speech and the honourable member for

3:10:423:10:45

North Somerset reckoned the speech,

and indeed the honourable member for

3:10:453:10:49

Monmouth opposite, leaves an error

or concern in my opinion that she

3:10:493:11:00

has not exactly made a decision.

3:11:003:11:05

She would eager associate

membership.

If this is the case, why

3:11:053:11:11

not apply the same principle to

citizenship?

3:11:113:11:15

The status cannot be taken away by

the European Union or a member

3:14:103:14:14

state. The impetus of international

law treaties laid down in the 1969

3:14:143:14:19

Vienna Convention on the Law of

treaties. This international law

3:14:193:14:24

would be binding on the EU, the UK

and the remaining member states

3:14:243:14:27

after Brexit. It governs in

considerable detail the consequences

3:14:273:14:31

that the withdrawal of the state

from any treaty, including the

3:14:313:14:34

founding treaties entail. He

finishes one consequence is that the

3:14:343:14:40

treaty ceases to bind and the other

that the withdrawal must not have

3:14:403:14:43

retroactive effect on the rights of

individuals at the time of

3:14:433:14:46

withdrawal. This results in a

European Commission as well as the

3:14:463:14:52

British Government.

3:14:523:15:02

At the end of the day as the

Professor stays, it's a matter of

3:15:063:15:12

political will and following the

debate today hopefully the

3:15:123:15:14

parliament will support this motion

and mandate the British Government

3:15:143:15:17

to negotiate protection of the

rights we all enjoy as European

3:15:173:15:20

citizens.

3:15:203:15:24

Want to do the defender is the

result. Order, I would like to

3:15:243:15:29

announce the result of the

divisions. In respect of the

3:15:293:15:31

question relating to Northern

Ireland political parties, the ayes

3:15:313:15:37

were 308 on the Noes 261.

The ayes

habit. Related to passport fees, the

3:15:373:15:46

ayes were 317, the Noes 250, the

ayes habit. The ayes habit.

Thank

3:15:463:15:58

you to make a correction for the

record as a point of order. This

3:15:583:16:02

morning I made a statement, a

question to the Secretary of State

3:16:023:16:06

for Scotland during Scottish

question preventing branch closures

3:16:063:16:08

by RBS last month and the

temperature is given a reprieve last

3:16:083:16:12

month on the basis they were the

last bank in town, two were not the

3:16:123:16:16

last branches in town, I suggested

that bans in Melrose, not the last

3:16:163:16:22

bank in town was in the constituency

of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and

3:16:223:16:26

Tweeddale. The Secretary of State

for Scotland yet it constituency and

3:16:263:16:30

it isn't very sure, Roxburgh and

Selkirk. The record should be

3:16:303:16:36

corrected. The other branch is

located in Keil, which is in the

3:16:363:16:43

constituency of Ross, Skye and

Lochaber of the SNP.

3:16:433:16:49

Can I warmly thank my honourable

friend from Ireland and Plaid Cymru

3:16:533:17:00

from bringing this to here today.

It's important and before I start on

3:17:003:17:06

my minimise, I like to declare a

non-financial interest. For many

3:17:063:17:11

years I have been an ordinary

console to Romania for the Highlands

3:17:113:17:13

and Islands, something I want to

come back to later but it seems to

3:17:133:17:19

me as we are discussing the rights

of European citizenship that

3:17:193:17:22

actually we should all be declaring

a financial interest as well as many

3:17:223:17:27

more interests. The concept of

European citizenship was introduced

3:17:273:17:31

in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty,

affording rights, freedoms and legal

3:17:313:17:37

protections to all citizens, as well

as giving a legal basis to European

3:17:373:17:40

identity. Many of these rights are

tied up with the four freedoms of

3:17:403:17:43

the single market. In other words,

the European citizens have the right

3:17:433:17:49

to live, work and study across the

EU and associated countries,

3:17:493:17:53

European citizens are free to trade

and transport goods, services and

3:17:533:17:57

capital the EU borders as a national

market with no restrictions on

3:17:573:18:01

capital movements or duty fees.

Citizens have the right to vote and

3:18:013:18:05

run as a candidate in local

elections in the country where they

3:18:053:18:08

live. European elections and

European citizens initiative also

3:18:083:18:13

citizenship of these you confers the

right of consular protection by

3:18:133:18:16

embassies of other EU member states

where a person in a country of

3:18:163:18:20

membership is not represented by an

embassy or consulate in the country

3:18:203:18:25

where they require protections. They

have the right to petition European

3:18:253:18:31

Parliament and to announce

themselves to the European Union

3:18:313:18:36

ombudsman in their own language

given the issues raised. EU citizens

3:18:363:18:39

also enjoy legal protections of EU

law specifically in the Charter of

3:18:393:18:44

fundamental rights of the European

Union and regarding the protection

3:18:443:18:49

of personal data, rights of victims

of crime, preventing combating

3:18:493:18:53

trafficking of equal pay, protection

from this cremation and employment

3:18:533:18:57

grounds of religion, sexual

orientation and Asia and others.

3:18:573:19:02

Those are substantial rights for

European citizens. I was privileged

3:19:023:19:09

also to have served in the past as

the vice president of the sea PMR

3:19:093:19:14

which was the conference for the

peripheral and maritime regions,

3:19:143:19:16

fantastic organisation that brought

together local authority areas from

3:19:163:19:23

across Europe as far apart as

Finland and the Azores. We went

3:19:233:19:29

there to discuss common issues

across the European Union in order

3:19:293:19:33

to get a point that made as citizens

of the EU about policy there. It was

3:19:333:19:40

a great privilege to be able to do

that. When I went there as part of

3:19:403:19:45

that group, I travelled as a

European citizen with those rights.

3:19:453:19:49

I was never treated as an outsider,

never treated as a forerunner and

3:19:493:19:52

none of those people I ever met

during that time were ever foreign

3:19:523:19:57

to me. As an honorary Consul, I have

helped Romanian citizens within the

3:19:573:20:06

Highlands and Islands to direct them

to support and other services they

3:20:063:20:12

might need within the Highlands and

Islands. It is never involved me

3:20:123:20:16

doing anything other than my job as

an MP helping people. Is this same

3:20:163:20:26

for constituency Taliga Polish,

French and German and I'm sure we

3:20:263:20:28

would do the same. That point of

contact has allowed me to build

3:20:283:20:34

ties, social and economic. With our

Romanian neighbours. I pay tribute

3:20:343:20:42

to the work that he has on

supporting Romanians and other

3:20:423:20:47

European citizens in my town of

Inverness.

3:20:473:20:59

Does he agree to our protection of

all rights.

3:20:593:21:11

Kell this is something we should

cherish. And identity for Scotland

3:21:243:21:31

is very important. We have always

been a European nation. And we

3:21:313:21:35

continue to be a European nation and

I would like Mayoral friend is

3:21:353:21:48

laying at the connections and the

ties that we can make across Europe.

3:21:483:21:54

In 2005 I did in addition anonymity

of the new extension set of the EU

3:21:543:22:00

and it was of great joy that I make

new friends from Poland, Slovakia,

3:22:003:22:04

Hungary and all those new countries

coming into the EU and valuing that

3:22:043:22:08

citizenship and the links and ties

they could make. As you share my

3:22:083:22:12

deep regret that we are no longer

going to be part of that share

3:22:123:22:15

project. Absolutely but now it's

idiotic government have within the

3:22:153:22:21

gift to make sure that in the issue

European citizenship that we can

3:22:213:22:26

actually remain part of that

project.

It is very important to

3:22:263:22:33

understand the feeling in Scotland,

which I now issued in Wales with

3:22:333:22:39

many people and I would like to

call, leader and was in the Sunday

3:22:393:22:44

Herald, which is poignant. This is

governed has been an outward looking

3:22:443:22:48

European nation since the late

Middle Ages from the 16th century,

3:22:483:22:52

Scotts Mountains, academics and

soldiers spread far and wide on the

3:22:523:23:03

continent establishing communities

and countries like Poland, Sweden

3:23:033:23:05

and the low countries as a poor

nation on European periphery across

3:23:053:23:08

Scotland yet a lot to export its

people and the full continue during

3:23:083:23:10

the British Empire but intellectual

and commercial trade was very much

3:23:103:23:12

two way. There is no accident that

money European words have entered

3:23:123:23:15

the Scottish language such as the

Swedish, Dutch court. French. And

3:23:153:23:23

our very language testifies to

Scotland yet in European

3:23:233:23:25

connections.

I wonder if the member

would add to soiree, night out and

3:23:253:23:37

the word Ashok. That is how we cut

our lamb.

I will indeed include

3:23:373:23:45

those on the list if I had had the

time and perhaps the patience of the

3:23:453:23:51

Deputy Speaker I might be able to go

through many more words that have

3:23:513:23:55

that connection. I am being

encouraged to go for it. That is the

3:23:553:24:05

kind of place that Scotland is, this

cannot Scotland we want to live in

3:24:053:24:09

and our European identity and shared

values are very much at the heart of

3:24:093:24:13

this. It is important to reflect

that during the referendum on

3:24:133:24:20

European Union, 62% voted to remain

in the EU and it was a majority in

3:24:203:24:25

all Scottish local authority areas

yet European Scots face not only the

3:24:253:24:28

economic and social impacts of

Brexit, they face losing their

3:24:283:24:33

European identity. A colleague of

mine in the European Parliament,

3:24:333:24:38

Alan Smith, said, what a Scotland

have right now? Scotland has been an

3:24:383:24:43

integral part of the EU almost 50

years. A state as we now face

3:24:433:24:48

losing. We are represented at every

stage of the EU's activities, the

3:24:483:24:53

re-creation in 1989 of the Scottish

parliament and formation of a

3:24:533:24:56

Scottish Government gets caught in a

far stronger voice within the EU and

3:24:563:24:59

has allowed the people of Scotland

to find Scottish solutions for

3:24:593:25:02

Scottish problems and design a

society that reflects our needs.

3:25:023:25:05

This has led to Scotland showing a

very European it really is. We stand

3:25:053:25:11

alongside the rest of the rest of

northern Europe by not privatising

3:25:113:25:15

health care but encouraging

development and renewable energy and

3:25:153:25:18

not charging our citizens for higher

education.

It's not just these

3:25:183:25:29

rights that are held here in

Scotland but throughout the UK. If

3:25:293:25:32

we go back to Magna Carta clause 41,

whole merchants may enter or leave

3:25:323:25:38

England unharmed and without fear

and they stay or travel within it by

3:25:383:25:42

land or water for purposes of trade,

free from all illegal exactions in

3:25:423:25:48

accordance with ancient unlawful

customs.

3:25:483:25:57

This goes back to Magna Carta for

trade.

I thank the honourable

3:25:573:26:01

gentleman for his intervention. It

looks as though it was easier in the

3:26:013:26:06

time of the Magna Carta and now when

we lose our citizenship! I want to

3:26:063:26:14

reflect on the Highlands and our

relationship with European

3:26:143:26:16

citizenship. Absolutely.

I am very

grateful. May I suggest to him one

3:26:163:26:23

of the reasons why there was such a

strong remain vote in Scotland was

3:26:233:26:32

not just that, well, he says they

think themselves more European than

3:26:323:26:36

British, I do not agree with him on

that, but on this point we can

3:26:363:26:40

agree, that there is a real

understanding in Scotland of the

3:26:403:26:44

positive benefits of immigration.

When I served on the Select

3:26:443:26:49

Committee, Mr Deputy Speaker, it was

striking that this was a place that

3:26:493:26:53

was crying out for more people to

come in and work in Scotland. Does

3:26:533:26:58

he not think that actually it is

because the Scottish people have not

3:26:583:27:02

been afraid to talk about those

positive benefits of immigration

3:27:023:27:07

that maybe a large part of the

result north of the border was that.

3:27:073:27:12

I am very grateful for the

intervention and she slightly stole

3:27:123:27:17

my thunder because that is exactly

where I was going to go to next,

3:27:173:27:21

about the fact that we have received

many benefits. In the very next line

3:27:213:27:25

I was going to introduce in my

speech was to talk about the

3:27:253:27:32

long-term issues in the Highlands

which have been knocked of

3:27:323:27:36

immigration, but of emigration. This

has been an historic problem.

3:27:363:27:43

Depopulation has been a critical

issue in the Highlands. We have long

3:27:433:27:46

had a problem and our deep and

strong relations with the EU has

3:27:463:27:55

been an opportunity to welcome EU

Scots to our region, and a great

3:27:553:27:58

many of them have settled in our

area.

Honourable gentleman, will he

3:27:583:28:04

agreed that the issues that have

been highlighted by the honourable

3:28:043:28:09

lady of the different attitude

towards migration really needs to be

3:28:093:28:12

underpinned by different migration

policies. It needs to be underpinned

3:28:123:28:17

by Scotland being able to decide,

like they do in Switzerland with a

3:28:173:28:22

26 cantons give out visas for people

to come in, it does not need to be

3:28:223:28:26

controlled by London. In my

constituency we cannot get people in

3:28:263:28:33

because a person in London says no.

I hope they have the courage to

3:28:333:28:36

change that.

My honourable friend

makes a very good point and I know

3:28:363:28:42

he shares with me the concerns about

the unrealistic and

3:28:423:28:46

counter-productive one size fits all

immigration next target that

3:28:463:28:52

overlooks the incredible value of

migrant people to our isles and the

3:28:523:28:55

different economic needs of the

Highlands and Islands and those of

3:28:553:28:58

Scotland as a whole. Over the next

ten years, 90% of Scotland's

3:28:583:29:05

population growth is projected to

come from migration and this is

3:29:053:29:08

especially vital for the Highlands.

Migration creates cultural and

3:29:083:29:15

diverse communities that have tied

us together, populated by many

3:29:153:29:20

European Scots, solidifying our

European identity. 21 languages are

3:29:203:29:26

spoken by pupils in Inverness, such

is the diversity of family settling

3:29:263:29:30

in the Highlands. European

citizenship, whether it is our own

3:29:303:29:38

European citizenship or those

European citizens who are here, I

3:29:383:29:41

very important to the economy where

tourism accounts for 22% of the

3:29:413:29:47

economy, as well as many other

sectors. I could go into food

3:29:473:29:51

processing, renewables, but I will

not pause on that.

I do that the

3:29:513:29:56

honourable member for giving way. In

addition to what he is saying about

3:29:563:30:00

migration to Scotland, the historic

immigration of Scott was a curse and

3:30:003:30:12

the Industrial Revolution helped

hold that immigration and reverse,

3:30:123:30:18

said that classmate of mine and

younger people stayed in the

3:30:183:30:22

Highlands rather than seeking their

fortunes elsewhere.

That point about

3:30:223:30:28

young people staying in the

Highlands is absolutely critical.

3:30:283:30:32

But conversely there ability to go

and come back is also very

3:30:323:30:36

important. Young people moving

freely throughout Europe can gain

3:30:363:30:43

skills and come back. I have had

personal experience of my two boys

3:30:433:30:48

going off and working in Europe and

gaining skills and broadening their

3:30:483:30:52

horizons. One of them has already

come back to Scotland to add to our

3:30:523:30:57

economy with the skills he has been

able to gain. My honourable friend

3:30:573:31:02

for north-east mentioned earlier

that ability for young people to be

3:31:023:31:07

able to travel through Europe, to be

able to study in Europe, to be able

3:31:073:31:11

to work in Europe, to be able to

live as a European citizen, has been

3:31:113:31:17

transformational not just for them,

but transformational for our

3:31:173:31:21

economy, both local in the Highlands

and across Scotland and I can tend

3:31:213:31:25

across the whole of the UK. We

should cherish that, it should not

3:31:253:31:29

be an issue under threat.

I am

grateful to my honourable friend. I

3:31:293:31:37

remember as a student not only did I

benefit from the ability to travel

3:31:373:31:40

in France and elsewhere, but I spent

a month outside his constituency

3:31:403:31:45

working on a fruit farm in Beaulieu,

which is French for beautiful place.

3:31:453:31:50

Would he agree with me that as well

as young people from the UK losing

3:31:503:31:54

out if they do not have the ability

to travel freely across Europe, if

3:31:543:32:00

European citizens are being

restricted in their ability to come

3:32:003:32:02

here, young people lose out on the

benefit of being able to mix with

3:32:023:32:06

young people from a wide range of

backgrounds. And free movement of

3:32:063:32:11

ideas and beliefs should be retained

as well as the free movement of

3:32:113:32:16

people.

That is a fantastic point

and one we should pause on during

3:32:163:32:21

this discussion because that ability

for young people to interact in that

3:32:213:32:25

way, and indeed I have often said I

aspire to be an older person and I

3:32:253:32:30

am making good progress, it is not

just young people. When we look at

3:32:303:32:37

anybody being able to broaden their

horizons European citizenship is

3:32:373:32:41

key. But on young people, is it not

ironic that young people face losing

3:32:413:32:50

out on free into rail travel across

Europe which is being introduced

3:32:503:32:54

just today. They face losing out on

roaming charges, no roaming charges

3:32:543:33:02

rather, losing their conductivity

and has been mentioned earlier, the

3:33:023:33:08

European health protection that has

enabled them to go and reduce their

3:33:083:33:12

costs of living and studying.

I

thank the honourable member. He is

3:33:123:33:20

describing very eloquently the

opportunities that his sons have

3:33:203:33:23

had, travelling through the European

Union, but is it not precisely a

3:33:233:33:29

question of education and the

opportunities that our young people

3:33:293:33:31

have to travel and the Brexit vote

was strong where educational

3:33:313:33:35

opportunities were not very high. Is

it rather than restricting young

3:33:353:33:40

people to go to the EU, is it not

important that we actually improve

3:33:403:33:45

our educational opportunities to all

the young people in this country

3:33:453:33:47

rather than moving the European

Union?

It is critical that when you

3:33:473:33:56

look at the life choices that young

people have as they grow into adults

3:33:563:34:00

and move through their careers that

every opportunity they get to

3:34:003:34:06

broaden their horizons should be

embraced. Anything that removes

3:34:063:34:10

their ability to broaden that

horizon, such as losing the European

3:34:103:34:15

Union citizenship, should be

something that we do absolutely

3:34:153:34:19

everything to avoid. I want to quote

from a QC. The idea of European

3:34:193:34:30

citizenship has its roots in the

aftermath of the Second World War.

3:34:303:34:35

We heard a quote from Winston

Churchill earlier. Winston Churchill

3:34:353:34:42

spoke of a common citizenship that

would unite Europe together in the

3:34:423:34:48

sharing of its common inheritance.

European citizenship confers an

3:34:483:34:55

number of privileges, the rights to

live in and move freely between

3:34:553:34:57

member states and all the other

things I mentioned earlier. The

3:34:573:35:02

shared assumption of the European

Union and the UK Government is that

3:35:023:35:07

Brexit will mean British citizens

will automatically forfeit these

3:35:073:35:09

rights. But this is being tested in

a case brought by a group of UK

3:35:093:35:15

nationals living in Amsterdam which

he says he funded with the help of a

3:35:153:35:18

Dutch law firm which agreed to act

for a modest fee. He finishes on

3:35:183:35:27

this, which is from a Londoner. I am

a Londoner, I am British and

3:35:273:35:33

European. They are not mutually

exclusive. In Scotland, being

3:35:333:35:44

Scottish is not mutually exclusive

to being European and our

3:35:443:35:48

citizenship of Europe is very

important to us. Scotland is not

3:35:483:35:54

foreign to Europe and Europe is not

foreign to Scotland, we are

3:35:543:35:57

Europeans. I am grateful to the

thesaurus for the description of a

3:35:573:36:04

foreigner, a person who is not

native or known to a community. EU

3:36:043:36:10

citizenship has made that anathema.

Now those people are our bodies, our

3:36:103:36:16

chums, comrades, cronies, friends,

maids, pals, partners and our peers.

3:36:163:36:24

We are European. We should retain

our rights and benefits of European

3:36:243:36:31

citizenship and I hope the

government bench will take that

3:36:313:36:33

forward.

Thank you, Mr Deputy

Speaker. Can I also thank my

3:36:333:36:42

colleagues in Plaid Cymru for

bringing this debate forward. It is

3:36:423:36:47

very welcome. European citizenship

gives numerous privileges, the right

3:36:473:36:52

to live in and move freely between

member states, the writer diplomatic

3:36:523:36:55

and consular assistance with other

member states, and the right to

3:36:553:37:01

participate in elections to the

European Parliament. It is a

3:37:013:37:07

principle UK citizenship law, that

individuals cannot be stripped of

3:37:073:37:11

their citizenship because of

territorial changes. The UK

3:37:113:37:13

Government must clarify whether that

principle should apply to the

3:37:133:37:18

protection of EU citizenship. It is

shameful that although the Tory

3:37:183:37:27

manifesto under which the previous

UK Government was elected promised

3:37:273:37:31

to at last allow British citizens

who had lived abroad for more than

3:37:313:37:35

15 years to vote, then denied these

people the chance to vote in the

3:37:353:37:40

referendum. These people's concerns,

about 1 million of them, their

3:37:403:37:47

voices went unheard. It is also

shameful, Mr Deputy Speaker, that

3:37:473:37:54

the UK Government has not yet

delivered on the promise that EU's

3:37:543:37:58

Freedom of movement rights will be

honoured for all citizens who reside

3:37:583:38:02

in other EU nations. For many UK

citizens who did not get to vote on

3:38:023:38:09

the referendum and for many who

voted to remain, because they did

3:38:093:38:13

not wish to see their European

citizenship rights taken away from

3:38:133:38:18

them, Brexit, this Brexit whatever

it is, is nothing like the epitome

3:38:183:38:22

of democracy that some hard Tory

Brexiteers would have you think.

I

3:38:223:38:28

will give way. I am grateful, she is

making a powerful speech. Isn't the

3:38:283:38:35

greatest tragedy of how these Brexit

negotiations unfolding that not only

3:38:353:38:39

are the people who voted to leave

not being given the Brexit they

3:38:393:38:44

voted for on the timescale they

voted for, but the biggest losers

3:38:443:38:49

will be those people, particularly

young people, whose opportunities

3:38:493:38:52

will become far more limited because

of the type of Brexit being pursued

3:38:523:38:57

and not just young people, but every

parent and grandparent in the

3:38:573:39:01

company should reflect on the damage

being done to the future prospects

3:39:013:39:04

of their children and grandchildren?

I thank my honourable friend for

3:39:043:39:09

making an excellent point and I can

really agree with it. It is an

3:39:093:39:17

injustice that it is going to take

away rights without giving an option

3:39:173:39:22

to secure the long-term for both

themselves and their children. The

3:39:223:39:29

idea of the European citizenship is

something cherished by those who are

3:39:293:39:34

old enough to remember a time when

Europe was going to a healing

3:39:343:39:37

process. We seem to have forgotten

that Europe was not always the

3:39:373:39:43

peaceful, prosperous place it is

today. A union of people, not merely

3:39:433:39:48

nations. And it is a pity that there

are politicians elected in this

3:39:483:39:54

house who are unwilling to

understand the strong feelings that

3:39:543:40:00

many British people feel towards

their European identity.

I thank my

3:40:003:40:06

honourable friend and neighbour for

giving way and making a very strong

3:40:063:40:09

speech. Would she agree with me that

there are many, particularly in

3:40:093:40:15

Cardiff where we have a strong

university sector, see themselves

3:40:153:40:20

much more as part of a pan-European

cab collaboration in science and

3:40:203:40:25

discovery and keep to that is the

European Union citizenship? By

3:40:253:40:29

taking that away we potentially do

great damage to those relationships

3:40:293:40:33

on a European level which are taking

forward all sorts of exciting

3:40:333:40:37

discoveries.

I thank my honourable

friend.

3:40:373:40:47

cool the whole kind offers a diverse

community, we have of students from

3:40:473:40:51

across the European nations and we

want to retain that feeling of

3:40:513:40:58

European identity and citizenship.

3:40:583:41:02

I'll Mayoral friend is making

important point. I personally

3:41:073:41:11

believe, she mentioned the politics

of this, it is to be the case that

3:41:113:41:14

the Conservatives supported the

single market in these issues from

3:41:143:41:17

the Labour Party perspective, I feel

very strongly that we should fly the

3:41:173:41:23

flag for the citizens rights within

the single market context. That's an

3:41:233:41:26

incredibly important thing and I

hope eventually my front bench

3:41:263:41:33

opposition will also recognise the

single market is the best way to

3:41:333:41:36

offer these protections.

3:41:363:41:40

IPhone mobile phone for his

intervention. I think he knows that

3:41:423:41:48

my personal feeling representing

Cardiff North, strong remain

3:41:483:41:53

constituency, most of my

constituents would love to see us

3:41:533:41:56

remaining in the single market.

3:41:563:42:07

Eye to represent the university

constituency and I recognise the

3:42:103:42:12

concerns raised by young people who

want to access the opportunities the

3:42:123:42:17

European Union gives them and I

think we need to fight to try to

3:42:173:42:21

ensure there are opportunities

continuing after Brexit but with the

3:42:213:42:25

honourable member also recognise

that this is very much Aguiar two

3:42:253:42:30

have is because many young people

could take those opportunities and

3:42:303:42:34

are very welcome and those from

universities, they were very many

3:42:343:42:37

other young people from

disadvantaged backgrounds who would

3:42:373:42:40

never have the money to travel to

Europe who could never take those

3:42:403:42:45

opportunities and his employment

prospects were damaged by being

3:42:453:42:48

undercut in relation to the free

movement of people across the

3:42:483:42:51

European Union.

At the honourable

member for her intervention. I beg

3:42:513:42:58

to disagree with her, the best way

to retain those opportunities for

3:42:583:43:02

young people from all types of

backgrounds, disadvantaged and not

3:43:023:43:07

is to keep those opportunities open

to be a citizen of the European

3:43:073:43:14

Union and what we need is this UK

Government not to be taking us on

3:43:143:43:20

the damaging Brexit course that it

is currently taking us on. I will

3:43:203:43:25

give way this last time.

And I would

like to thank her because that was a

3:43:253:43:28

very important point and she agree

with me at tens of thousands of

3:43:283:43:32

young people from the UK, all parts

of the UK, have benefited from all

3:43:323:43:38

Brad Jones because the EU has

allowed those from disadvantaged

3:43:383:43:42

backgrounds to get the opportunities

they would never have had.

3:43:423:43:54

I think what this is about is about

identity. It's about what identity

3:44:123:44:18

is citizenship I caught myself Welsh

and European I will continue to call

3:44:183:44:27

my self Welsh and European.

3:44:273:44:38

I'm collecting urge the government

to look at the practical benefits of

3:44:383:44:41

European citizenship and to support

demands to allow British people to

3:44:413:44:46

continue to benefit from it. As I

said, I left, studied and worked in

3:44:463:44:52

France and Spain, and Belgium when I

was younger and it is a shame to

3:44:523:44:59

think that my two daughters will not

be able to have those same

3:44:593:45:02

experiences and opportunities that I

had because the UK Government did

3:45:023:45:07

not think EU citizenship is worth

fighting for. Brexit does nothing

3:45:073:45:15

more than isolate us as a nation. It

cuts of those benefits and

3:45:153:45:20

opportunities for our younger

people. To be Welsh is to be open,

3:45:203:45:29

to be Welsh and European is to be

open and inclusive. The Welsh writer

3:45:293:45:36

Gwyn Thomas expressed this

beautifully when he said, South

3:45:363:45:41

Wales's society is the most

marvellously interpenetrating thing

3:45:413:45:47

where everyone was sensitive and

thin-skinned to the problems of

3:45:473:45:50

others. A warm soup of comradeship,

love, singing and understanding.

3:45:503:45:57

This is how we should consider

citizenship for the Hall of the EU.

3:45:573:46:05

I urge this government to have the

courage to safeguard our citizenship

3:46:053:46:11

as we exit the European Union.

3:46:113:46:21

I would like to commend and thank

our colleagues in Plaid Cymru are

3:46:243:46:27

bringing forward as opposition they

debate. Is the first history that

3:46:273:46:31

Plaid Cymru has had its own

opposition they debate and I hope

3:46:313:46:34

there will be more.

3:46:343:46:44

Legal because Varun Chopra are

Brexit which we have been driven by

3:47:113:47:16

the backbenchers of the Conservative

Party something Scotland did not

3:47:163:47:18

vote for.

3:47:183:47:28

The reality about Erasmus VD

Heefinck, if you're young person

3:47:373:47:43

studying in a deprived area in

Easterhouse in my constituency,

3:47:433:47:51

young people from deprived

backgrounds have the opportunity to

3:47:513:47:53

Google and travel and see other

parts of Europe as a result of

3:47:533:47:56

Erasmus VD Heefinck. To build on

that, the point I was making is that

3:47:563:48:04

it's fantastic that young people

have those opportunities and we

3:48:043:48:07

didn't end of Northern Ireland to

encourage people to take those up

3:48:073:48:10

but I also speak to very many young

people from deprived communities who

3:48:103:48:14

have said we apply for job after

job, we can't get that across the

3:48:143:48:18

European Union there are record

levels of young people not in the

3:48:183:48:24

employment, education and training.

Those opportunities did not apply to

3:48:243:48:28

everyone across and we have to

recognise that actually that was

3:48:283:48:32

part of the challenge in relation to

the likes of the single market and

3:48:323:48:36

the movement of people why people

were opposed to it. One of the

3:48:363:48:42

things I have campaigned on in those

houses somebody who's a former

3:48:423:48:46

modern apprentice and can take part

in National apprenticeship week.

3:48:463:48:49

This government has a very poor

record when it comes to young

3:48:493:48:54

people. Young people are not

included in the national living

3:48:543:48:57

wage. If you are under 25, if you

are an apprentice, you can be paid

3:48:573:49:02

as little as £3 50 per hour. I'm in

favour of making sure young people

3:49:023:49:08

are paid appropriately, is not

necessarily the fault of the

3:49:083:49:13

European Union, that lies others all

of UK Government who have a woeful

3:49:133:49:16

record when it comes to employment

rights and pay for young people. I

3:49:163:49:20

want to touch on the issue of the

single market and the point has been

3:49:203:49:23

made by the honourable gentleman

from Nottingham about the importance

3:49:233:49:27

of staying in a single market and

customs union and icy bourse. I'm

3:49:273:49:31

very much hope as particular wing of

the Labour Party can grow stronger

3:49:313:49:36

and convince the front bench of the

importance of staying in the single

3:49:363:49:40

market and customs union because

failure to do so will result in

3:49:403:49:43

80,000 jobs in Scotland being

sacrificed. He represent a

3:49:433:49:47

constituency that has fragile

employment prospects. The other

3:49:473:49:50

employment is double that of the UK

national average and one of the

3:49:503:49:54

reasons I am particularly furious

that the UK Government has just

3:49:543:49:57

closed two ability local job centres

in the constituency. Only last the I

3:49:573:50:01

was doing the two companies

announced they opposing stores in my

3:50:013:50:06

constituency because of an

administration and one of the

3:50:063:50:08

reasons for that is because of

fluctuations in the pound because of

3:50:083:50:12

the result of the uncertainty from

Brexit, so we have to be absolutely

3:50:123:50:15

clear about protecting jobs. I agree

with the right honourable gentleman

3:50:153:50:21

about the importance of the jobs

first Brexit but of of assuring that

3:50:213:50:24

is to ensure we stay in the single

market and the customs union. I very

3:50:243:50:28

much all that the honourable

gentleman from Nottingham committed

3:50:283:50:31

his front bench for that. This

afternoon the European Commission

3:50:313:50:38

have published its draft negotiation

for the future relationship and in

3:50:383:50:42

one of the last paragraphs they say

that the European Union will be

3:50:423:50:46

prepared to reconsider this idea of

an FTA settlement if circumstances

3:50:463:50:53

change, these positions evolve. The

EU are saying if the government drop

3:50:533:51:00

these ridiculous self-imposed red

lines on the customs union, the EU

3:51:003:51:04

will allow us to have those benefits

and I think that's the route we have

3:51:043:51:08

to pursue.

One of the other things

we saw today or yesterday was the

3:51:083:51:15

Prime Minister conceding that

roaming charges will come back. The

3:51:153:51:19

government spends this time

Tottenham are taking back control,

3:51:193:51:22

but they are not taking back control

of my phone bill when it goes back

3:51:223:51:25

to Europe. We put this on the side

of a bus and that brings me quickly

3:51:253:51:31

to my next point which is when I

went to go into the polling booth

3:51:313:51:33

with my wife and son to vote in the

new referendum there was nothing on

3:51:333:51:37

my ballot paper about leaving the

single market and the customs union

3:51:373:51:41

members on the benches opposite will

spend a lot of time telling us that

3:51:413:51:44

people knew what they were voting

for, that is the case, if people

3:51:443:51:48

thought they were voting for £350

million alligator for the National

3:51:483:51:52

Health Service and why does see much

evidence of that, the final point I

3:51:523:51:56

want to touch on this evening and

that is as someone who very much

3:51:563:52:00

respect the will of Parliament and

the absence of certain members in

3:52:003:52:05

this house to spend a huge amount of

time talking about parliamentary

3:52:053:52:10

sovereignty because I is I suspect,

but an opposition day motion we will

3:52:103:52:13

see this as past as motion today and

the text of the motion, some of the

3:52:133:52:18

things are commendable and happy to

supported in division. My cellist

3:52:183:52:23

honourable members, particularly

those of our Brexit background who

3:52:233:52:25

claim we are taking back control,

when this motion passes tonight, it

3:52:253:52:29

is incumbent upon the government to

support that and to implement that

3:52:293:52:33

and for those of them that say we

must respect what a House of Commons

3:52:333:52:38

says, when as motion passes, I hold

the government accused of it and

3:52:383:52:43

hold it on ignore Parliament because

if they are series ever taking back

3:52:433:52:46

control that started listening to

the series ever taking back control

3:52:463:52:48

that started listening to this House

of Commons.

3:52:483:53:00

Maicon it'll be fairly brief. This

has been a very high debate and I'm

3:53:003:53:09

pleased to say that in some contrast

to the debate in the country we have

3:53:093:53:13

had positive consultations from

around a dozen honourable members

3:53:133:53:19

and it has been positive and that is

something maybe to do with the lack

3:53:193:53:25

of the presence the usual suspects.

On the benches opposite. They repeat

3:53:253:53:33

the same tired arguments

continuously to positive effect. I

3:53:333:53:41

have been very gratified by the

emphasis is honourable members have

3:53:413:53:46

had on the rights of young people

looking to the future, not looking

3:53:463:53:49

to the past. It is something of a

novel idea in this place to talk

3:53:493:53:59

about European Union citizenship

continuing after we leave and it's

3:53:593:54:04

not surprising that there has been

tendency and temptation to questions

3:54:043:54:14

around the rights of the European

Union citizens living in the UK and

3:54:143:54:18

also the Brexit question in general.

I don't think I have impeded further

3:54:183:54:24

debate. Full stop we had a response

from the minister initially which

3:54:243:54:36

was a sensible point is that when we

leave the ravine union, citizens

3:54:363:54:43

should... We have counterarguments

from the side of the House that

3:54:433:54:49

international law indicates the very

opposite and I will take the

3:54:493:54:52

opportunity again to draw attention

to the feasibility of associate

3:54:523:54:58

citizenship for UK citizens post

Brexit. It argues the case clearly

3:54:583:55:04

based on the Vienna Convention and

specifically paragraph one the. We

3:55:043:55:12

have had positive debates and I'm

glad to see that's how it stand out

3:55:123:55:19

and I look forward to having a

positive response from the

3:55:193:55:22

government.

3:55:223:55:26

I would like to con grat laid Plaid

Cymru and the honourable member for

3:55:323:55:39

tabling this motion and the

honourable gentleman for opening

3:55:393:55:42

with his usual eloquence, passion

and power. To all of thoses who

3:55:423:55:46

contributed to I think what has been

a genuinely considered discussion on

3:55:463:55:51

maintaining European Union

citizenship for British nationals.

3:55:513:55:54

It is entirely proper that we should

debate and discuss issues relating

3:55:543:55:58

to the UK's withdrawal from the

European Union and the rights that

3:55:583:56:01

we hold today, as European citizens,

is an important aspect of this. I've

3:56:013:56:06

heard many arguments across the

chamber today as to why we should

3:56:063:56:09

seek some form of continuation of EU

citizenship for British nationals

3:56:093:56:13

after we withdraw from the European

Union. I welcome the varied

3:56:133:56:18

contributions to this important

debate, including the report which a

3:56:183:56:22

number of people have referenced

from Swansea university. I have

3:56:223:56:26

listened closely to the arguments

that the rights and protections of

3:56:263:56:31

individuals hold under EU citizens

are integral to their identity. We

3:56:313:56:35

have had a fascination discussion of

identity today. I think my

3:56:353:56:40

honourable friend for Boston and

Skegness spoke about the

3:56:403:56:44

complexities of this issue of

identity and how his constituency

3:56:443:56:47

has been shaped by Europe in a

different way to perhaps some

3:56:473:56:51

others. I would say that the Prime

Minister has been very clear, I

3:56:513:56:55

would reiterate, that we are leaving

the European Union, we are not

3:56:553:56:57

leaving Europe. On this question of

identity, at the end of this

3:56:573:57:02

process, we will still all be

citizens of a European state. I will

3:57:023:57:08

give way to the honourable gentleman

on that point.

I'd like to thank the

3:57:083:57:13

minister. If the motion says that

this House supports maintenance of

3:57:133:57:18

European Union citizenship rights,

if this motion is approved by the

3:57:183:57:20

House at the end of the day, will

the minister confirm that this will

3:57:203:57:24

be part of his negotiating strategy?

The honourable gentleman makes an

3:57:243:57:33

interesting suggestion we have

listened carefully to the debate and

3:57:333:57:38

we listen carefully to decisions of

this House. To respond to calls from

3:57:383:57:43

to agree for the continuation of EU

citizen for UK nationals and my

3:57:433:57:49

honourable friend on the frontbench

confirmed earlier in this debate we

3:57:493:57:53

are happy to listen tonne proposals

to our exit from the European Union.

3:57:533:57:58

As EU Treaty provisions state the

only citizens of EU member states

3:57:583:58:03

are able to hold EU citizenship.

When the UK creases to be a member

3:58:033:58:08

of the European Union UK nationals

will no longer hold EU citizenship

3:58:083:58:15

unless they hold dual national with

another EU member state. It's

3:58:153:58:18

important we respect the EU's legal

order and our own as EU treaties and

3:58:183:58:25

EU law no longer apply to the UK. I

want to respond on the doctrine of a

3:58:253:58:30

acquired I rights. This is something

the House of Lords EU Committee

3:58:303:58:34

looked into. Expressed some concern

about the validity of akward rights

3:58:343:58:40

in this concept. But also Article 70

referenced by a number of

3:58:403:58:45

colleagues, including the honourable

member, to be clear. Article 70 is a

3:58:453:58:50

default rule which does not apply

where the parties to a treaty agree

3:58:503:58:54

arrangements relating to a

particular party's withdrawal. The

3:58:543:58:58

UK and the EU will agree these

arguments around the Article 50

3:58:583:59:05

process to be defined. It doesn't

apply in the context of these

3:59:053:59:08

negotiations. Happy to give way to

the honourable gentleman.

Confirm

3:59:083:59:13

therefore that it is a matter of

political will whether we retain

3:59:133:59:18

these citizen rights or not

The

honourable gentleman makes an

3:59:183:59:22

interesting point. It is a question

of political decisions on both sides

3:59:223:59:27

respect for one anothers legal

orders. The prospects of maintaining

3:59:273:59:33

EU citizenship for UK nationals has

not been suggested to us in date in

3:59:333:59:37

negotiations either by the European

Commission or by any individual

3:59:373:59:40

member state. Throughout these

negotiations we have however put

3:59:403:59:45

citizens at the heart of our

approach. I'm happy to give way to

3:59:453:59:49

the honourable lady.

Would he not

agree the Prime Minister is

3:59:493:59:52

proposing in many ways we will seek,

if we are looking for new

3:59:524:00:01

opportunities this would be a new

opportunity where we are doing

4:00:014:00:04

something that hasn't been done

before?

The honourable lady makes an

4:00:044:00:08

interesting point. Of course we have

made in our joint report specific

4:00:084:00:15

commitments in relation to the Irish

border. Which we absolutely stand

4:00:154:00:18

by. In terms of citizens, it has

been the Government's policy from

4:00:184:00:21

the very beginning to provide

certainty and stability for UK

4:00:214:00:24

citizens that have made their lives

in the EUed and EU citizens in the

4:00:244:00:29

UK. The Prime Minister set at

Mansion House last week, EU citizens

4:00:294:00:35

are an integrity part of the

economic, culture and social fabric

4:00:354:00:39

of our country. We secured a fair

deal on citizens rights which will

4:00:394:00:44

allow for UK and EU citizens to

continue their lives broadly as they

4:00:444:00:47

do now. As my honourable friend

detailed earlier in the debate. I

4:00:474:00:53

will give way after this point, if I

may. The comprehensive agreement we

4:00:534:00:59

secured in December grants a wide

range of rights, healthcare,

4:00:594:01:04

highlighted, pensions and other

benefits. This means that UK

4:01:044:01:07

nationalities who are living in the

European Union at the point of exit

4:01:074:01:09

will continue to benefit from rights

that stem from their EU citizenship

4:01:094:01:13

today after our exit these rights

will be provided for by the

4:01:134:01:16

withdrawal agreement. The withdrawal

agreement with enshrine them and

4:01:164:01:20

take the status of international law

having direct effect in EU member

4:01:204:01:24

states and written into the UK law

by this parliament through are the

4:01:244:01:30

withdrawal agreement and

implementation bill.

I hope the

4:01:304:01:33

minister forgives me from taking him

back to a point he raised earlier.

4:01:334:01:38

If it's suitable for the citizens of

Northern Ireland request is it it

4:01:384:01:41

not suitable for the citizens of

Wales, Scotland England as well.

He

4:01:414:01:46

touched on herself some of the

history around that. I was

4:01:464:01:50

interested in the historical

references she made in her speech.

4:01:504:01:57

Longstanding commitments that we

have made to the citizens of all of

4:01:574:02:01

Ireland. We built on that in the

Belfast agreement. We have to

4:02:014:02:08

recognise those provisions were

brought about bayou neebg

4:02:084:02:12

circumstances which date back long

before our membership of the EU.

4:02:124:02:25

As my hop be rabl friend from the

Home Office mentioned we listened to

4:02:314:02:35

feedback from communities across the

UK on the process of acquiring

4:02:354:02:39

settled status. We have been clear

that the new application scheme will

4:02:394:02:42

be digital, streamlined and user

friendly. We are consulting

4:02:424:02:46

regularly with EU citizens user

groups and employers as we design

4:02:464:02:51

this system. We will make sure those

who undertake oversees postings will

4:02:514:03:00

not be disadvantaged. Happy to give

way.

Thank you for giving way. I

4:03:004:03:04

hope I can tempt him back to the

issue of UK citizens and the right

4:03:044:03:09

they currently have as EU citizens.

He said it hadn't been suggested in

4:03:094:03:13

the negotiation as few moments ago.

It's clear it's believed they could

4:03:134:03:20

retain their rights on an individual

basis. A clear proposal that has

4:03:204:03:25

been put forward. What does the

minister say about that.

I have

4:03:254:03:32

personally discussed this issue and

I said that the negotiations we are

4:03:324:03:36

having at the moment are with the

Commission. He needs to make that

4:03:364:03:38

point to them.

He needs to make sure that if he

4:03:384:03:40

wishes that to be part of the

negotiations it needs to be

4:03:404:03:43

something that is discussed in that

context. I would say that Guy

4:03:434:03:53

Verhofstadt said, "we will make

progress over this issue. It should

4:03:534:03:59

be right the citizens right chapter

is done. It's finished and

4:03:594:04:07

concluded." I welcome that

statement. Some colleagues have

4:04:074:04:11

referred to rights which are not

covered by the agreement we've

4:04:114:04:15

reached so far. The right of onward

movement for UK nationals. The EU's

4:04:154:04:20

approach has been to say it's not an

issue that can be resolved in this

4:04:204:04:24

phase of negotiations. We have had

members meetings with members of the

4:04:244:04:29

European Parliament op this topic.

They are as keen as we are to secure

4:04:294:04:33

this. It's not something that we

have in anyway given up on. Other

4:04:334:04:39

colleagues including the honourable

lady referenced the right to stand

4:04:394:04:42

and vote in national and local

elections. I must stress that we did

4:04:424:04:46

want to see this continue and we

would like it to have been part of

4:04:464:04:51

the citizens rights agreement. The

European be Commission ruled it was

4:04:514:04:54

out of scope of the first stage of

negotiations. We have made a commit

4:04:544:04:57

am to protect this right for EU

citizens currently in the UK we want

4:04:574:05:03

to see it reciprocated. Member

states have provisions allowing

4:05:034:05:08

nationals ofs third countries to

vote in local elections. We will

4:05:084:05:11

explore it with other member states

on a bilateral basis.

4:05:114:05:19

She will welcome as I do the

Government's support for legislation

4:05:214:05:26

of this nature just the Friday

before last. As the House will be

4:05:264:05:30

aware, we are see seeking to agree

an implementation for two years. To

4:05:304:05:37

give people, businesses and public

services in the UK and across the EU

4:05:374:05:41

the time they need to put in place

new arrangements that will be

4:05:414:05:44

required to adjust to our future

partnership. During this

4:05:444:05:48

implementation period we intend that

people will be able to come to live,

4:05:484:05:51

study and work in the UK as they do

now. We are currently discussing the

4:05:514:05:57

precountries terms of the

implementation period with the EU we

4:05:574:06:02

are hoping to reach agreement by the

March European Council.

He issic

4:06:024:06:09

maing clear articulation of what the

games aims and goals of the

4:06:094:06:13

Government are. We are not asking

for special rights for EU citizens

4:06:134:06:17

or UK citizens, a fair and

reasonable exit process that retains

4:06:174:06:24

reciprocal rights.

We want to are

reciprocal rights and have

4:06:244:06:29

reciprocal respect for one anothers

political and legal systems. Going

4:06:294:06:33

forward, as the honourable why noted

we recognise that UK citizens will

4:06:334:06:38

want to work and study in EU

countries just as EU citizens will

4:06:384:06:41

want to do the same here, helping to

shape and grow. Wales voted by a

4:06:414:06:53

majority to leave. As a result of

that decision the EU treaties will

4:06:534:06:57

no longer apply to the United

Kingdom and the Government has been

4:06:574:06:59

clear that freedom of movement will

come to an end. I've listened with

4:06:594:07:04

interest to the aspects of today's

debate on our continued suggestions

4:07:044:07:09

for our continued membership of the

Soviet Union single market there are

4:07:094:07:13

a balance of rights and

responsibilities within the treaties

4:07:134:07:14

and in choosing to leave the EU we

will put the rights into a new and

4:07:144:07:18

different balance. We understand and

respect the nature of the four

4:07:184:07:23

freedoms, leaving the EU and ending

free movement does mean leaving the

4:07:234:07:28

single market, the Government is

proposing a unique and ambitious

4:07:284:07:33

partnership based on our rules and

regulations being the same from the

4:07:334:07:36

start and retaining our commitment

toll free trade and high standards

4:07:364:07:39

we will make changes in a stable

way. As my honourable friend, with

4:07:394:07:45

respect for one another systems. The

shape of this future relationship is

4:07:454:07:52

to be negotiated. The Prime Minister

recognised we need the need to

4:07:524:07:56

maintain the social, economic and

cultural links between our people to

4:07:564:08:00

ensure businesses can attract and

employ the people they need. We are

4:08:004:08:03

taking an evidence based approach to

our future immigration policy. The

4:08:034:08:09

honourable gentleman managed to call

for and reel against at the same

4:08:094:08:11

time. We commissioned the

independent body to gather evidence

4:08:114:08:20

on pad earns of immigration. It will

include impacts on different parts

4:08:204:08:24

of the UK within the context of

designing a UK-wide system.

The

4:08:244:08:31

point I was making the Government's

inaction in bringing legislation

4:08:314:08:35

forward.

I have to say to the

honourable gentleman, if you want to

4:08:354:08:40

take an evidence based approach you

have to make sure your legislation

4:08:404:08:43

is based on that evidence and the

studies being conducted. He also

4:08:434:08:48

suggested that the CBI had been

critical of the Government. The CBI

4:08:484:08:53

has welcomed our recent

announcements on citizens rights

4:08:534:08:56

during the implementation period.

Their Director General said, "this

4:08:564:09:00

is a big step in the right

direction. This announcement will

4:09:004:09:03

remove significant short-term

uncertainty for families, businesses

4:09:034:09:06

and wider communities." We have also

listened carefully to the evidence.

4:09:064:09:11

I do want to move on. I realise I'm

taking time. I will give way one

4:09:114:09:14

last time.

I'm grateful to the

honourable gentleman for giving

4:09:144:09:18

away. The quote from the C BP was

about the.inaction on the

4:09:184:09:22

immigration bill when the CBI

declared themselves to be hugely

4:09:224:09:26

frustrated.

The CBI I'm sure they

will want to have played a full part

4:09:264:09:35

in it and make sure the legislation

is based on the evidence. I've

4:09:354:09:40

listened to members when they talked

about young people's opportunities

4:09:404:09:43

to study and travel on that front

and the benefits of working together

4:09:434:09:47

on issues such as science and

research and collaboration on that

4:09:474:09:50

front. Of course, we have set out in

our science and research future

4:09:504:09:55

partnership paper a strong ambition

to continue to co-operate and

4:09:554:09:59

collaborate with EU member states

and indeed the many third country

4:09:594:10:03

members of their framework

programmes in that area. It is

4:10:034:10:07

something that the Prime Minister

spoke in Florence about maintaining

4:10:074:10:12

the educational cultural and

scientific links between us and

4:10:124:10:16

fellow members. Happy to give way on

that point.

Thank you for giving

4:10:164:10:20

way. He has been most generous. If

you are a second year student by the

4:10:204:10:28

time you leave school and go to

university will you still be able to

4:10:284:10:33

take part (inaudible)

The current

programme is covered by the current

4:10:334:10:39

framework of the European Union

which ends in 2020. What we need to

4:10:394:10:43

look at is of course what future

frameworks would look like and how

4:10:434:10:50

the negotiations approach this issue

in the future. What we have set out

4:10:504:10:53

is a positive UK position for that

and we look forward to engaging with

4:10:534:10:57

the EU on these many issues as part

of the discussions of our future

4:10:574:11:03

We are committed to securing a deal

that works for the entire United

4:11:114:11:14

Kingdom. We expect the outcome of

leaving the European Union will be a

4:11:144:11:19

significant increase in the decision

making power of each devolved

4:11:194:11:23

administration and I'm looking

forward to discussing this further

4:11:234:11:24

and I attend the GMC meeting

tomorrow. The deal secured in

4:11:244:11:30

December is without prejudice to the

Common travel area between the UK

4:11:304:11:32

and Ireland and the rights of

British and Irish citizens in each

4:11:324:11:36

other's countries. We stand by our

commitments in the Belfast agreement

4:11:364:11:39

for people of Northern Ireland to

have the right to choose the

4:11:394:11:42

British, Irish or both. Maintaining

these rates mean the people of

4:11:424:11:46

Northern Ireland will not be

required to assert and choose a

4:11:464:11:49

specific identity in order to access

public services and other

4:11:494:11:52

entitlements. The rights to work,

study, access to Social Security

4:11:524:11:57

will be preserved on a reciprocal

basis. I'm grateful for the time and

4:11:574:12:01

conclusion of all members to this

important debate. I have listen

4:12:014:12:04

carefully for the points being made

across the House while associate

4:12:044:12:07

citizenship is not something an

occurrence call for negotiations, I

4:12:074:12:11

would like to reiterate that I would

be happy to listen to proposals

4:12:114:12:15

colleagues or other European

counterparts on how we can best

4:12:154:12:17

safeguard the rights of UK

nationals. I want to be clear that

4:12:174:12:21

at every step we will work to ensure

the best possible deal for all UK

4:12:214:12:25

nationals, including those currently

living in the EU and those who wish

4:12:254:12:29

to travel to the human future. My

right honourable friend the Prime

4:12:294:12:32

Minister has repeatedly made clear,

was the only been European Union, we

4:12:324:12:36

are not leaving you. And in

colleagues that the concept of EU

4:12:364:12:40

citizenship only appeared in the

Maastricht Treaty of 1993. We were

4:12:404:12:44

citizens of Europe long before

Maastricht and while the American

4:12:444:12:50

article started of the European

Union and its treaties, we will not

4:12:504:12:52

be any less European as a result.

The Digne the question is on the

4:12:524:12:57

order paper. The ayes Havret, the

ayes have it. During Prime

4:12:574:13:11

Minister's Questions today, the

Leader of the Opposition stated that

4:13:114:13:15

the British Armed Forces were

directing the attacks in Yemen. I

4:13:154:13:21

have checked with number ten Downing

St, this is completely incorrect,

4:13:214:13:24

British Armed Forces personnel are

not involved in any way with what is

4:13:244:13:27

going on in Yemen or Saudi Arabia

and I feel that as we are about to

4:13:274:13:32

discuss our Armed Forces that

comments like this could be putting

4:13:324:13:36

our Armed Forces at risk and I

wondered whether you had any

4:13:364:13:38

indication that the Leader of the

Opposition is quick to come to the

4:13:384:13:42

House and apologise and put the

record straight? It's not for the

4:13:424:13:47

chair and I think you put on the

record it's not for the chair to

4:13:474:13:50

intervene on behalf of all of the

opposition or the Prime Minister.

I

4:13:504:14:02

am very glad to be able to tell our

European friends at the host

4:14:024:14:06

supports the idea of the European

citizenship. The motion passed by

4:14:064:14:12

the Brussels parliament in March

last year which supports the idea of

4:14:124:14:19

EU citizenship for British nationals

after Brexit. ICQ confirmation that

4:14:194:14:24

as this motion has now passed and

the government must respond in this

4:14:244:14:30

matter in the next 12 weeks. Reid is

not a matter for the chair, as a

4:14:304:14:38

matter for the government to

respond, the vote has been taken,

4:14:384:14:40

the House has shown its view and as

for the government to respond

4:14:404:14:44

accordingly. Reid we come to the

opposition day motion in the name of

4:14:444:14:51

the leader of the Democratic

Unionist Party on the Armed Forces

4:14:514:14:54

Covenant in Northern Ireland. I call

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to move.

I am

4:14:544:15:03

delighted to move the motion today

in the name of my right honourable

4:15:034:15:08

and honourable friends in the

Democratic Unionist Party. As a

4:15:084:15:12

party, we are proud of the

contribution made by the men and

4:15:124:15:16

women from Northern Ireland who have

served the United Kingdom in many

4:15:164:15:19

theatres of conflict across the

globe and indeed, especially in

4:15:194:15:24

Northern Ireland itself. We salute

their sacrifice but also the

4:15:244:15:30

sacrifice of all members of our

Armed Forces who courageously served

4:15:304:15:34

this country in many ways and in

many parts of the world. It is

4:15:344:15:39

estimated that some 300,000 military

personnel were deployed in Northern

4:15:394:15:46

Ireland in the course of operation

Banner, which was the longest

4:15:464:15:50

running military operation in the

history of the British Army. A

4:15:504:15:57

significant proportion of those

veterans, who served during

4:15:574:16:00

operation Banner currently reside in

Northern Ireland. This includes in

4:16:004:16:08

the region of between 56 and 60,000

who served with the Ulster Defence

4:16:084:16:13

Regiment of the Royal Irish Regiment

home service battalions. It also

4:16:134:16:18

includes many other units with whom

Ulsterman and women served in the

4:16:184:16:23

course of operation Banner. The also

University at the moment is

4:16:234:16:29

conducting a study to identify the

number of residents resident in

4:16:294:16:35

Northern Ireland and requiring

welfare support. The initial reports

4:16:354:16:38

published by the University by the

research team there make interesting

4:16:384:16:45

reading and I would commend these

reports to the ministers and to the

4:16:454:16:49

team at the Ministry of Defence. I

think the reports on the research

4:16:494:16:55

undertaken by the also University

provide an interesting insight into

4:16:554:17:00

the needs of veterans in Northern

Ireland and seeks to quantify the

4:17:004:17:03

extent of that needs in addition to

operation Banner, we have an

4:17:034:17:12

increasing proportion of Armed

Forces personnel from Northern

4:17:124:17:19

Ireland deployed in operations in

other parts of the world including

4:17:194:17:21

Iraq and the thinnest and. And other

places like Sierra Leone this

4:17:214:17:30

includes many members from reserve

units in Northern Ireland and I know

4:17:304:17:35

the Minister for reserves is in his

post and I want to pay tribute to

4:17:354:17:40

forces in Northern Ireland. We have

some of the best recruited reserve

4:17:404:17:43

units in the United Kingdom. Units

like the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish

4:17:434:17:48

Regiment headquartered in my

constituency, one of the best

4:17:484:17:54

recruited infantry reserve units in

alienated kingdom. We have HMS

4:17:544:18:00

Hibernia following a proud tradition

of Ulstermen and women who have

4:18:004:18:06

served with the Royal Navy. Again,

based in my constituency. We have

4:18:064:18:14

the Ulster Squadron of the royal Air

Force. Located at Aldergrove in the

4:18:144:18:19

constituency of my honourable

friend. The member for South Antrim

4:18:194:18:23

and we will join with them in

celebrating the centenary. That will

4:18:234:18:28

be the centenary of the Royal Air

Force formation. We commend the men

4:18:284:18:33

and women to give up valuable time

to serve another reserve units to

4:18:334:18:41

leave their families and serve with

the regular Armed Forces in many

4:18:414:18:47

parts of the world. Annie has the

right honourable gentleman to

4:18:474:18:59

reflect on the painful

disappointment that I feel that

4:18:594:19:03

there are so few members that the

government and the opposition

4:19:034:19:08

benches this afternoon and it's

important to bear in mind the

4:19:084:19:11

enormous sacrifice made by so many

members of the British Army and

4:19:114:19:17

particularly the UDR who are often

part-time farmers who gave their

4:19:174:19:21

lives and paid the ultimate

sacrifice during the troubles in

4:19:214:19:23

Northern Ireland. I have to say how

disappointed I am that there isn't a

4:19:234:19:28

better turnout for today's debate.

Matagi honourable member for North

4:19:284:19:35

Down for that comment. I must say

it's my experience in this house and

4:19:354:19:39

this is my 21st year as a member of

Parliament that across the House of

4:19:394:19:45

Commons, I find nothing but respect

for our Armed Forces and especially

4:19:454:19:50

for those who have served in

Northern Ireland and when I have

4:19:504:19:53

attended events in Parliament, where

we have been remembering that

4:19:534:19:57

sacrifice, I've always been struck

by the depth of the gratitude felt

4:19:574:20:01

by right honourable and honourable

members in parliament for that

4:20:014:20:07

service. Notwithstanding the

disappointment that the honourable

4:20:074:20:10

lady feels today about the

attendance but I have to say that is

4:20:104:20:14

not untypical for debates of any

kind is here and I don't honestly

4:20:144:20:21

believe it reflects any disrespect

on the part of this house for the

4:20:214:20:25

men and women who serve and have

served in our Armed Forces. A recent

4:20:254:20:30

report published by the World Health

Organisation on post-traumatic

4:20:304:20:34

stress is order found that Northern

Ireland has a higher incidence of

4:20:344:20:41

PTSD and trauma related illnesses

than any other conflict related

4:20:414:20:45

country in the world. That includes

places such as Lebanon Israel and it

4:20:454:20:52

was remarkable that the study found

that nearly 40% of people in

4:20:524:20:57

Northern Ireland had been involved

in some kind of conflict related

4:20:574:21:00

traumatic incident. The survey

estimate that violence had been a

4:21:004:21:06

distinctive cause of mental health

problems or about 18,000 people in

4:21:064:21:10

Northern Ireland. Against that

backdrop. The health and social care

4:21:104:21:16

system in Northern Ireland have

sought to provide a service and

4:21:164:21:22

support and treatment for people

with mental health issues,

4:21:224:21:27

especially that link to trauma but I

have to say to ministers that they

4:21:274:21:31

are struggling to cope with the

pressures and as ministers will

4:21:314:21:35

know, very often is the case with

service personnel that the effect of

4:21:354:21:40

post-traumatic stress disorder does

not really make an impact for

4:21:404:21:45

several years or more after the

original incident. We are seeing a

4:21:454:21:50

pattern in Northern Ireland now with

those who served in our Armed Forces

4:21:504:21:56

are developing mental health

problems in later life. As well as

4:21:564:22:01

physical injury related they are

pretty real pressure on local health

4:22:014:22:07

services. I think this is something

we have two be more closely

4:22:074:22:14

addressed. It's not unique to the

Armed Forces, the civilian populace

4:22:144:22:18

in a Northern Ireland suffered

dreadfully and again there is ample

4:22:184:22:23

evidence of high incidences of

post-conflict trauma amongst the

4:22:234:22:30

civilian population. It highlights

why the Armed Forces Covenant in

4:22:304:22:35

Northern Ireland is very important.

Perhaps more important in Northern

4:22:354:22:40

Ireland than in some other parts of

the United Kingdom because it is

4:22:404:22:44

essential that the men and women who

have served our nation get the

4:22:444:22:48

support that they require. I'm

concerned as a member of Parliament

4:22:484:22:54

when I am dealing on a regular basis

with veterans of operation Banner

4:22:544:22:59

who find themselves in trouble with

the law because they have developed

4:22:594:23:04

post-traumatic mental health

problems and they certainly get

4:23:044:23:08

caught up on behavioural

difficulties that perhaps are not

4:23:084:23:13

entirely our of their making but

often result in them following foul

4:23:134:23:18

of the law and this is an increasing

phenomenon. Our mental health

4:23:184:23:23

services don't appear to be

adequately resourced to cope with

4:23:234:23:26

this. We feel there is a need to do

something and I know my colleagues

4:23:264:23:31

in the Northern Ireland assembly

have been pressing for a specialist

4:23:314:23:37

and a properly resourced unit to

address some of the issues linked to

4:23:374:23:43

mental health and what we call the

troubles in Northern Ireland. Those

4:23:434:23:49

who served with the Armed Forces, in

particular need that support than

4:23:494:23:53

they are not getting the level of

support they require. This is an

4:23:534:23:56

important element of the Armed

Forces Covenant. In terms of the

4:23:564:23:59

current arrangements, that tends to

vary in Northern Ireland from other

4:23:594:24:07

parts of the United Kingdom. Again,

this is partly due to the

4:24:074:24:14

constraints of our peculiar form of

devolved government in Northern

4:24:144:24:16

Ireland. If I may get to the point.

It is this. Until just over one year

4:24:164:24:26

ago we had a power-sharing executive

in Northern Ireland comprising of

4:24:264:24:30

two main parties, one party being

the Democratic Unionist Party and

4:24:304:24:35

the other party being Sinn Fein.

Friendly, Sinn Fein have difficulty

4:24:354:24:41

when it comes to the Armed Forces

Covenant. They had declined to

4:24:414:24:45

recognise the covenant, have

declined to recognise they have a

4:24:454:24:50

responsibility in implementing the

covenant and there are ministers in

4:24:504:24:55

charge of the apartments at times

had been resistant to efforts on our

4:24:554:25:00

part to see the very modest

objectives of the government

4:25:004:25:07

implemented a Northern Ireland and I

remind the House that the core

4:25:074:25:10

principle of the covenant is to

ensure that those who have served on

4:25:104:25:14

our Armed Forces are not

disadvantaged by virtue of that

4:25:144:25:18

service when it comes to the

provision of health care, housing,

4:25:184:25:22

education and so on, that they are

not disadvantaged, not that they are

4:25:224:25:26

given special treatment, not that

they are the advantages over the

4:25:264:25:31

rest of society but that they are

not disadvantaged and yet the

4:25:314:25:34

attitude of Sinn Fein towards our

Armed Forces means that they are

4:25:344:25:39

being disadvantaged in Northern

Ireland. They are not getting the

4:25:394:25:42

support that they deserve and

require when it comes to health care

4:25:424:25:45

treatment and I have dealt with

cases recently in my own

4:25:454:25:48

constituency where I have those who

have served in the Armed Forces

4:25:484:25:55

languishing on waiting lists,

ever-increasing waiting lists in

4:25:554:25:57

Northern Ireland and they can't get

access to treatment and one agency

4:25:574:26:00

to get treatment, but to be

available to them another part of

4:26:004:26:03

the United Kingdom, they are told we

will not fund you travel. We will

4:26:034:26:07

not for new accommodation have that

even in Birmingham or Manchester,

4:26:074:26:13

which you would be entitled to

receive if you lived in St Helens

4:26:134:26:16

North for example in the

constituency of my colleagues.

4:26:164:26:23

This is an issue that we believe

needs to be addressed.

Will he give

4:26:234:26:27

way.

Of course.

I thank the

honourable gentleman for giving way.

4:26:274:26:33

The armed forces veterans. And their

families are an integral part of the

4:26:334:26:36

community that I represent and many

of them served in Northern Ireland.

4:26:364:26:40

They would like better provision of

services for them in St Helens but

4:26:404:26:44

they certainly feel that their

colleagues, who they served

4:26:444:26:46

alongside in Northern Ireland,

shouldn't be disadvantaged just

4:26:464:26:49

because of where they live and they,

like me, are fully supportive of the

4:26:494:26:54

Armed Forces Covenant being extended

fully to Northern Ireland.

I thank

4:26:544:27:00

the honourable member for his

intervention and I thank him for the

4:27:004:27:03

interest he has taken over the years

in mat earns pertaining to Northern

4:27:034:27:08

Ireland and those who served in the

armed forces. That is indeed greatly

4:27:084:27:12

appreciated. I do want to give cred

writ it is due. -- credit where it

4:27:124:27:21

is due. It provides welfare support

to those who served in the Ulster

4:27:214:27:29

Defence Regiment and in the Royal

Irish Regiment Home Service. That is

4:27:294:27:34

a valuable service that is valued by

those who have benefitted from it.

4:27:344:27:39

The difficulty we have though is

that the life of this service is

4:27:394:27:47

approaching its end date. There is

no indication from the government

4:27:474:27:50

that the Royal Irish After Care

Service will be renewed. I'm

4:27:504:27:59

concerned because it provides

valuable support to those who have

4:27:594:28:01

served. As I've said have somewhere

in the region of 55,000 to 60,000

4:28:014:28:09

veterans who served in the

battalions. If we lose that after

4:28:094:28:15

care service and the joined up

approach it brings of support to the

4:28:154:28:21

veterans that adds to the deficit in

terms of support for veterans in

4:28:214:28:25

Northern Ireland. I look to the

government and I'm happy to meet

4:28:254:28:29

with ministers to discuss again the

need to extend the work of the Royal

4:28:294:28:36

Irish After Care Service beyond the

end of the period for which it was

4:28:364:28:42

originally established.

4:28:424:28:43

If I may just concentrate a little

more on what I see as the kernel of

4:28:474:28:52

the problem here. When the Northern

Ireland Act 1998 was enacted by this

4:28:524:29:00

House and by this Parliament after

the Belfast Agreement, section 75 of

4:29:004:29:06

the Northern Ireland Act deals with

the whole issue of equality in

4:29:064:29:09

Northern Ireland. In section 75 it

identifies a number of groupings

4:29:094:29:17

within our society in Northern

Ireland that should, where there

4:29:174:29:21

should be the promotion of equality

of opportunity. It includes equality

4:29:214:29:27

of opportunity between persons of

different religious belief,

4:29:274:29:32

political opinion, racial group,

between men and women and between

4:29:324:29:34

persons with a disability and

persons without, between persons

4:29:344:29:37

with dependence and persons without.

I would like to see veterans of our

4:29:374:29:42

armed forces as a specific grouping

added to the list of those for whom

4:29:424:29:47

it is a requirement of every

government department in Northern

4:29:474:29:51

Ireland to promote equality of

opportunity because I think this

4:29:514:29:54

would at least move us in the right

direction towards addressing this

4:29:544:30:01

deficit in terms of identifying

veterans as being a grouping that

4:30:014:30:07

ought to be provided with support

when they need it. I think it would

4:30:074:30:12

compel ministers in government

departments in Northern Ireland to

4:30:124:30:15

act in accordance with the

objectives of the Armed Forces

4:30:154:30:18

Covenant.

I thank my honourable

friend for giving way. Would my

4:30:184:30:25

honourable friend agree that one of

the big benefits of adding that

4:30:254:30:29

group to the 75 of the

Northern Ireland Acting is that

4:30:294:30:33

there is a requirement on government

that every government policy is

4:30:334:30:36

screened for the impact on that

group, so that would mean it be

4:30:364:30:41

educational or health policy there

is a mandatory screening to see the

4:30:414:30:44

impact of that policy on our armed

forces personnel and their families.

4:30:444:30:48

That would give policy makers across

all departments a much more informed

4:30:484:30:51

position and make sure that the

needs of armed forces personnel and

4:30:514:30:56

their families are integrated at the

earliest possible option during

4:30:564:31:00

policy making.

I thank my honourable

friend the member for Belfast South

4:31:004:31:06

for her intervention. I regard my

colleague as an expert on this issue

4:31:064:31:11

having worked with her in the office

of First Minister and Deputy First

4:31:114:31:15

Minister and I know that she has

devoted a lot of time and energy

4:31:154:31:21

towards promoting this kind of

provision right across our society,

4:31:214:31:29

not least with veterans and victims

and survivors of our troubled past.

4:31:294:31:33

Can I refer the House, Madame Deputy

Speaker, to paragraph 3 p 6 of a

4:31:334:31:38

report by the Defence Committee in

the House of Commons entitled Armed

4:31:384:31:44

Forces Covenant in Action. Dealing

with military casualties. It states,

4:31:444:31:47

I quote, "the provisions of section

75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998

4:31:474:31:54

prevents the Department of Health in

Northern Ireland and the health and

4:31:544:31:58

social care sector in Northern

Ireland in providing war veterans

4:31:584:32:02

with priority over other individuals

with respect to healthcare

4:32:024:32:05

treatment." The use of the term

"priority" means that it's priority

4:32:054:32:10

that ensures they are not

disadvantaged by virtue of their

4:32:104:32:14

service rather than priority in

terms of jumping the waiting list

4:32:144:32:17

queue. That is not what veterans are

asking for. What they are asking for

4:32:174:32:21

is not to be disadvantaged by

require turp of their service. It's

4:32:214:32:25

evident, even in the findings of the

Defence Committee, that this is the

4:32:254:32:29

case. This is not just something

that has been identified by the

4:32:294:32:34

Democratic Unionist Party, but by

other colleagues in this House.

Very

4:32:344:32:42

kind of the honourable gentleman to

allow me to intervene on him again.

4:32:424:32:46

The right honourable gentleman will

know very well in fact in Northern

4:32:464:32:50

Ireland we have no human rights

commission we have separately from

4:32:504:32:53

that the Northern Ireland Equality

Commission. I would just like him to

4:32:534:32:56

take a few moments just to explain

to the House whether either of these

4:32:564:33:02

commissions or both of them support

the extension and the change of

4:33:024:33:07

section 75 to include veterans. I

think that would be very helpful to

4:33:074:33:10

the House?

I thank my honourable

friend for that question. In so far

4:33:104:33:16

as I'm aware, having met the

Equality Commission on the issue,

4:33:164:33:20

I'm not sure I met the human rights

commission, but they tend to take

4:33:204:33:23

the view that they do not believe

section 75 presents the problem that

4:33:234:33:28

we believe exists, but I have ample

evidence to support our view that it

4:33:284:33:35

is an impediment. Even if it's based

upon perception rather than reality.

4:33:354:33:40

That's why we believe that amending

section 75 would clear up any

4:33:404:33:46

question of ambiguity on this issue

and offer clarity, as my honourable

4:33:464:33:51

friend for South Belfast said on

policy development across all

4:33:514:33:55

government departments. Therefore,

again we urge the government to

4:33:554:33:59

examine the potential to amend

section 75 for this purpose. Can I

4:33:594:34:03

also refer the House to the report

of the Task Force on the Armed

4:34:034:34:10

Forces Covenant which stated in

relation to service personnel based

4:34:104:34:14

in Northern Ireland, again I quote,

"they are disadvantaged more than

4:34:144:34:19

their contemporaries elsewhere. For

example, service families in the

4:34:194:34:24

province are prevented from

identifying themselves as such due

4:34:244:34:27

to the security situation. This can

cause difficulties for partners in

4:34:274:34:33

explaining their career history to

employers and to service children in

4:34:334:34:38

obtaining the necessary support in

schools." I found this to be the

4:34:384:34:41

case. I know we've come a long way

since the dark days of our troubled

4:34:414:34:46

past, but there remains in Northern

Ireland a culture of fear when it

4:34:464:34:51

comes to openingly identifying

yourself as someone who is serving

4:34:514:34:55

with the armed forces or for your

families to openly identify that to

4:34:554:35:00

be the case. We cannot ignore that

as a reality in terms of the

4:35:004:35:07

experience for many serving

personnel and for veterans of the

4:35:074:35:10

armed forces in Northern Ireland. In

addition, we believe that there is

4:35:104:35:21

substance in the call by many

veterans in Northern Ireland for the

4:35:214:35:26

establishment of a specialist

facility which would offer support

4:35:264:35:29

to veterans. I want to commend at

this stage, on behalf of my party,

4:35:294:35:34

the excellent work of many of the

military linked charities in

4:35:344:35:38

Northern Ireland. The Royal British

Legion raises more money in Northern

4:35:384:35:45

Ireland through their Poppy Appeal

than any other region in the United

4:35:454:35:49

Kingdom. We have Combat Stress who

do excellent work. At times with

4:35:494:35:54

limited resources, struggling to

cope with the demand upon their

4:35:544:35:57

services. We have many other

military charities, the Army

4:35:574:36:06

Benevolent fund who are doing

excellent work. We would like a

4:36:064:36:11

specialist facility established in

Northern Ireland that would bring

4:36:114:36:13

together some of the resource that

is are neededed to offer welfare

4:36:134:36:17

support to veterans. That centre

might be supported by some of toes

4:36:174:36:24

charities to which I've already

referred. I want to make reference

4:36:244:36:29

also to community covenants in

Northern Ireland. They are an

4:36:294:36:36

integral part of the Armed Forces

Covenant. I'm delighted to report

4:36:364:36:39

since the last time we debated this

issue in the House of Commons a

4:36:394:36:43

number of our new, not so new now, I

guess, a number of our District

4:36:434:36:48

Councils in Northern Ireland have

now adopted the community covenant,

4:36:484:36:52

including in my own constituency,

Lisburn, City Country, A marr and

4:36:524:37:01

Banbridge, they have adopted the

Armed Forces Covenant. We welcome

4:37:014:37:04

the development. It means local

communities are able to become more

4:37:044:37:07

involved now in providing support to

the armed forces community and to

4:37:074:37:11

veterans. This will help to change

the culture around our service

4:37:114:37:19

personnel and veterans and help them

to see that the community is behind

4:37:194:37:24

them and offering them support at

local government level. So, I want

4:37:244:37:29

to draw my remarks to a close by

summarising for our part what we

4:37:294:37:35

would like to see the government

doing to ensure full implementation

4:37:354:37:40

of the Armed Forces Covenant in

Northern Ireland. I do remind the

4:37:404:37:45

House that this was something that

was part of the confidence and

4:37:454:37:50

supply agreement between the

Democratic Unionist Party and the

4:37:504:37:52

Conservative Party. We identifieded

this should be a priority for the

4:37:524:37:56

government, full implementation of

the Armed Forces Covenant in

4:37:564:37:59

Northern Ireland. In that context,

repeat our call to see the after

4:37:594:38:05

care service currently operated by

the Royal Irish Regiment in Northern

4:38:054:38:12

Ireland that vital support service

for those who served to be extended

4:38:124:38:20

and consideration be given to

enhancing the level of support that

4:38:204:38:24

is available to those veterans in

Northern Ireland who did not serve

4:38:244:38:28

in the Ulster Defence Regiment and

Royal Irish Home Service but are

4:38:284:38:36

equally deserving of support. We

want the government to amend section

4:38:364:38:44

75, to ensure that government

departments and agencies in Northern

4:38:444:38:47

Ireland have to have regard to the

needs of veterans in bringing

4:38:474:38:52

forward policies and implementing

those policies. We believe that's

4:38:524:38:55

the right way forward in the absence

of a devolved government to ensure

4:38:554:39:00

that government departments and

agencies in Northern Ireland are

4:39:004:39:04

delivering for veterans and have a

requirement to take account of the

4:39:044:39:08

needs of veterans in developing

their policies. I also should

4:39:084:39:16

reference one of the reports that

was commissioned by the former Prime

4:39:164:39:21

Minister, looking at the question of

transitioning for veterans. That

4:39:214:39:27

report recommended that the

government appoint an armed forces

4:39:274:39:29

champion in Northern Ireland. I know

this has been talked about, but we

4:39:294:39:32

would like to see that proposal

taken forward. We continue to

4:39:324:39:39

encourage our local councils to

adopt the community covenant. It

4:39:394:39:45

will be interesting, in this new era

of respect that we hear often spoken

4:39:454:39:51

of by our absent colleagues from

Sinn Fein, who talk much about

4:39:514:39:57

respect, but in the councils

dominated by Sinn Fein in Northern

4:39:574:40:01

Ireland they have yet, have yet to

adopt the community covenant.

Show

4:40:014:40:05

respect.

I think this disrespects,

disrespects the men and women from

4:40:054:40:10

Northern Ireland who serve in our

armed forces. If Sinn Fein want to

4:40:104:40:14

be taken seriously about respect,

this is a step they could take. It

4:40:144:40:19

doesn't require Stormont. It doesn't

require an Assembly. It doesn't

4:40:194:40:23

require an Executive, every council

that Sinn Fein has a strong presence

4:40:234:40:28

on could, right now, bring forward a

proposal to adopt the community

4:40:284:40:32

covenant. That would show real

respect to the men and women who

4:40:324:40:36

serve in our armed forces. It gives

me great pleasure this afternoon to

4:40:364:40:41

move this motion in the name of the

Democratic

4:40:414:40:44

Thank you very much indeed, Madam

Deputy Speaker. Let me congratulate

4:40:574:41:01

the right on the matter of ballet

for his remarks. He is a champion

4:41:014:41:06

for veterans within Northern

Ireland, as indeed so many of his

4:41:064:41:10

party are. His passion for the

subject is well known, and it is

4:41:104:41:14

certainly came across in his beach.

I want to join him in paying tribute

4:41:144:41:19

to the enormous service and

sacrifice of all those members of

4:41:194:41:24

our armed forces for Northern

Ireland. He made reference to the

4:41:244:41:28

absence of some colleagues. I would

say that with great respect to the

4:41:284:41:34

shadow labour Ministers on the front

bench, it has not gone unnoticed by

4:41:344:41:38

the House. The absence of any shadow

defence Ministers. I am sure that is

4:41:384:41:44

not meant as disrespect to this

House. It is, however, a certain

4:41:444:41:49

disappointment, considering the

subject of conversation today. This

4:41:494:41:53

year, in particular, we remember an

unparalleled contribution of

4:41:534:41:59

Northern Ireland veterans to the

spring offensive on the Western

4:41:594:42:01

front a century ago. We also recall

their heroism in the more recent

4:42:014:42:06

operations. From the turmoil of the

troubles of operations in

4:42:064:42:10

Afghanistan against extremists in

Iraq. It has been my privilege to

4:42:104:42:16

serve alongside many soldiers from

Northern Ireland. Their passion and

4:42:164:42:20

commitment has always been

exemplary. As a reservist, I note

4:42:204:42:25

twice as many northern Irish

citizens volunteered for the

4:42:254:42:30

reserves compared to the national

average. For example, 502 squadron

4:42:304:42:35

unit only founded in 2012, has grown

rapidly to a strength of some 130.

4:42:354:42:44

Alongside the other regular and

reserve units across Northern

4:42:444:42:47

Ireland, they embody the mix of our

Armed Forces. We are determined to

4:42:474:42:52

ensure all those who serve with our

Armed Forces have the support they

4:42:524:42:56

need. From whatever part of the

United Kingdom become. In discussing

4:42:564:43:01

these issues, we should start by

recognising the veterans that lived

4:43:014:43:06

in Northern Ireland, are entitled to

receive the same level of support

4:43:064:43:09

from the Ministry of defence from

those who live in England, Scotland

4:43:094:43:13

and Wales. If any member of the

Armed Forces past or present will

4:43:134:43:18

have family wish to access or

recently launched veterans gateway

4:43:184:43:21

or are new stress mental help line,

they can do so. However, as our

4:43:214:43:28

honourable friends will be aware,

the covenant is not just a promise

4:43:284:43:31

from defence, it is won by the whole

of government on behalf of our

4:43:314:43:37

nation. It is a recognition that

every part of our nation has a moral

4:43:374:43:42

obligation to help those who lay

their lives on the line for us. A

4:43:424:43:46

duty to guarantee that no one who is

serving or who have served for this

4:43:464:43:50

country should cover any

disadvantage as a result of their

4:43:504:43:55

service in relation to the rest of

society. The covenant is not

4:43:554:44:00

prescriptive. It is voluntary nature

means it has never been

4:44:004:44:04

1-size-fits-all approach. Different

parts of the country take a

4:44:044:44:09

different approach, tailored to

their particular circumstances. In

4:44:094:44:12

the case of Northern Ireland, the

covenant is being applied in a

4:44:124:44:15

manner that suits the unique nature

of its circumstances. For years on

4:44:154:44:21

from the last time we debated the

subject, I am pleased to see that

4:44:214:44:24

progress has been made, as

acknowledged by the honourable

4:44:244:44:28

member. I had a great pleasure of

visiting Northern Ireland twice last

4:44:284:44:33

year. When I was then the Minister

for veterans and personnel will stop

4:44:334:44:37

I saw first-hand the needs of the

Armed Forces community there, and

4:44:374:44:41

the commendable work being

undertaken on behalf of our

4:44:414:44:44

personnel. I also had the enormous

pleasure of attending Armed Forces

4:44:444:44:50

Day, four North Downs constituency,

who has also been a starving

4:44:504:44:53

champion for members of the Armed

Forces for many years. Of course I

4:44:534:44:57

give way to the honourable Lady.

Thank you. I am grateful. I am

4:44:574:45:04

delighted, proud that we were that

the Minister was present in Northern

4:45:044:45:10

Ireland. An integral part of our

armed services day. We hope that he

4:45:104:45:16

has kept the instructions on how to

get direct to Northern Ireland,

4:45:164:45:20

because, while the prime Minister

only has time available to come

4:45:204:45:23

occasionally, it is wonderful when

the NLD come to Northern Ireland and

4:45:234:45:29

remind everyone that it is an

integral part of the United Kingdom.

4:45:294:45:36

I am very grateful to the honourable

Lady. I was in Northern Ireland a

4:45:364:45:39

couple of weeks ago. As indeed, it

was my right honourable friend the

4:45:394:45:43

Minister for veterans. He was there

for Remembrance Sunday as well.

4:45:434:45:49

Whether it is the work of the newly

formed veterans support office

4:45:494:45:53

operating in Hampden to help improve

coordination between statutory

4:45:534:46:00

bodies and service charities, or if

it is the work of veterans

4:46:004:46:03

champions, located in each of the 11

local authorities in Northern

4:46:034:46:07

Ireland, and linked in, keeping the

concerns of personnel and the

4:46:074:46:12

community spotlighted. Whether it is

building on the bespoke aftercare

4:46:124:46:17

referred to by the right honourable

Gerald Ford -- gentlemen. The

4:46:174:46:24

personal recovery unit. There is

plenty going on. As we have already

4:46:244:46:30

heard, that is not pretend that

there is not still significant

4:46:304:46:35

challenges to overcome. When I

visited was in Ireland last March, I

4:46:354:46:39

also had the sombre privilege of

meeting with some of those who had

4:46:394:46:42

served during the troubles, and as a

result, suffered from profound

4:46:424:46:46

mental health issues. It is a

reminder that for too many veterans

4:46:464:46:50

living in Northern Ireland, the

scars of their experience remain all

4:46:504:46:54

too raw, as equally was highlighted

by the right article gentlemen. That

4:46:544:46:59

is why the Ministry of defence is to

supporting the University of study,

4:46:594:47:04

funded by forces of mine, but the

needs of northern Ireland service

4:47:044:47:07

community. We know though is a need

to continue raising awareness about

4:47:074:47:14

health that is already out there,

and in particular, the different

4:47:144:47:17

ways to access funding. We have

already seen the veterans fund,

4:47:174:47:23

providing £600,000 for the nursing

home in Belfast, and small grants

4:47:234:47:26

have been made for supporting

community projects and recreation

4:47:264:47:30

facilities for the armed forces

community in Northern Ireland. By

4:47:304:47:35

comparison in other parts of the

United Kingdom, funding remain

4:47:354:47:41

comparatively low. That is why we

have committed to 3000 £3000 over

4:47:414:47:45

five years to improve the capacity

and capability of the local

4:47:454:47:48

authorities and other bodies in

Northern Ireland, to bid for

4:47:484:47:53

covenant families. Honourable

members will fill we should go

4:47:534:47:57

further still. Some make suggest

that it is time to introduce other

4:47:574:48:01

strategies to increase up to it.

Once I am ready to listen to the

4:48:014:48:06

arguments on a case-by-case basis, I

would make the point that it is not

4:48:064:48:11

for the lack of mechanisms. As has

been mentioned, beside the answer is

4:48:114:48:16

already in place, there is section

70 five. I listened very carefully

4:48:164:48:20

to what the right honourable

gentleman to say. This is about more

4:48:204:48:25

than the avoidance of

discrimination. It challenges public

4:48:254:48:29

authorities to actively seek greater

equality of opportunity and

4:48:294:48:34

relations. It is the view of the

Government that the Armed Forces

4:48:344:48:36

covenant does not come to be section

25, and as indeed was highlighted by

4:48:364:48:44

the exchange by the right honourable

gentleman and the honourable lady

4:48:444:48:47

from North Down, it is also the view

of the North Island equality

4:48:474:48:52

commission, that it does not cover

that of the act. I give way.

I

4:48:524:49:00

appreciate the Minister giving way.

For the purpose of of clarity, my

4:49:004:49:05

contention is not the Armed Forces

covenant contravenes sections 75. It

4:49:054:49:10

is the Government departments of

northern Ireland, regarding section

4:49:104:49:15

75, believed implementing the

covenant may contravene section 70

4:49:154:49:18

five. I believe, therefore, the

veterans, as a clear category in

4:49:184:49:26

section 75, would offer the clarity

that is required to put this behind

4:49:264:49:29

us.

He makes his point in a

perfectly reasonable manner, and he

4:49:294:49:35

should be reassured that the state

for Northern Ireland was in this

4:49:354:49:39

place when he made that point

earlier. I know that she took on

4:49:394:49:42

board his comments, and perhaps for

now, he should seek some reassurance

4:49:424:49:45

in that. To me, what is even more

important than these legal devices,

4:49:454:49:51

is the willingness of different

groups across Northern Ireland,

4:49:514:49:56

local authorities, businesses, and

the third sector, to come together

4:49:564:49:59

and partner up. Slowly but surely,

we are seeing that start to happen.

4:49:594:50:03

We need to accelerate the process,

encouraging efferent organisations

4:50:034:50:07

to combine their resources and raise

awareness of the help that is on

4:50:074:50:10

offer. On that note, I would add

that if honourable members are aware

4:50:104:50:15

of any disadvantage suffered by

members of the Armed Forces

4:50:154:50:18

community in Northern Ireland, they

should report it to me or colleagues

4:50:184:50:22

in the MOD, who can't attend to

address them quickly. Let me

4:50:224:50:27

reassure you the honourable members,

every single man and woman in our

4:50:274:50:29

armed forces, we are utterly

committed and determined to make

4:50:294:50:33

sure all those who have contributed

so much to our nation should

4:50:334:50:36

continue getting the support they

deserve. In the past four years,

4:50:364:50:40

since our last debate, much has

already improved. But today putt to

4:50:404:50:45

debate, will only spur us on in our

quest to extend the covenant to all.

4:50:454:50:55

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. It

is a pleasure and honour as the

4:50:554:51:00

shadow Secretary of State for

Northern Ireland to respond to this

4:51:004:51:02

debate on behalf of her Majesty putt

loyal position. No measure of

4:51:024:51:09

disrespect was meant by the labour

front bench for not having members

4:51:094:51:13

of our armed forces team here. They

are coming along shortly. I am sure

4:51:134:51:17

they will be taking great pleasure

in interest in this as well. I want

4:51:174:51:23

to say very clearly, Madam Deputy

Speaker, from the beginning of this

4:51:234:51:27

today, we are 100% in support of the

Armed Forces, covenant. It is an

4:51:274:51:33

excellent measure brought in by this

government, building on superb work

4:51:334:51:37

done by the previous neighbour

government, with the initial

4:51:374:51:40

military covenant that was tossed in

2000, and is an important part of

4:51:404:51:45

the way in which we as a country

acknowledge the excellent service

4:51:454:51:49

and sacrifice given by members of

our Armed forces, both in Northern

4:51:494:51:54

Ireland and across the entire world.

The Labour Party is absolutely full

4:51:544:51:58

square behind this. Behind as well

its equal application across the

4:51:584:52:05

whole of the UK. The honourable

member, who spoke so eloquently at

4:52:054:52:12

the beginning of this debate, I want

to pay tribute to him for the way in

4:52:124:52:15

which he has consistently spoken in

support of Armed Forces members and

4:52:154:52:21

veterans, and as consistently raised

this question of potential in the

4:52:214:52:26

application of the covenant between

Northern Ireland and other parts of

4:52:264:52:29

the UK, and has done so with great

vigour and sincerity. I think,

4:52:294:52:35

whilst I acknowledge the Minister's

contention that the there are

4:52:354:52:41

security, if you like, and political

reasons why there might be different

4:52:414:52:45

that application of the covenant in

Northern Ireland, which is something

4:52:454:52:50

hideous defence Ministers also said,

I think the reality is that there

4:52:504:52:53

are some differences, and there are

not just about security and

4:52:534:52:57

politics, they are about

administrative differences, legal

4:52:574:53:02

differences in the framework of

Northern Ireland, and across the

4:53:024:53:06

rest of the UK. There is of course

the section of 75. The member from

4:53:064:53:13

Langdon Valley has raised, and I

hope to address my remarks. We

4:53:134:53:17

should also say that we do have a

particular set of problems that

4:53:174:53:24

represent of the Armed Forces in

Northern Ireland, they went through

4:53:244:53:30

dramatic times in their service, and

of the nature of where they served,

4:53:304:53:36

quite often, in relocating and

locating in their communities, there

4:53:364:53:40

are around 150,000 veterans in

Northern Ireland, and they are

4:53:404:53:43

higher than average levels of

postherpetic stress disorder, and I

4:53:434:53:48

think the points that the honourable

member made in respect to mental

4:53:484:53:51

health provision and need for

greater support for the mental

4:53:514:53:55

health of veterans were well made. I

assured the Minister will have

4:53:554:54:00

knowledge that we need to see better

support for the mental health of

4:54:004:54:04

veterans, not just in Northern

Ireland, but across the board. The

4:54:044:54:11

central point, however, of the

remarks made by the right honourable

4:54:114:54:15

member was that section 75 mitigates

against the Northern Ireland act of

4:54:154:54:21

1998. Mitigates the equal

application of the Armed Forces

4:54:214:54:26

government in Northern Ireland, and

the Government putt view is that

4:54:264:54:29

this is not the case, and the two

things are reconcilable, the to ask,

4:54:294:54:34

if you like, and we share that view.

We share the view that it is

4:54:344:54:38

possible for the Armed Forces

covenant to be applied properly in

4:54:384:54:42

Northern Ireland, and for that to be

reconcilable with the proper

4:54:424:54:47

application of section 70 five. The

right are noble lady for North Down

4:54:474:54:52

asked the question of whether the

equalities commission and human

4:54:524:54:58

rights commission will take the view

that section 75 needs to be amended

4:54:584:55:03

in order for it to be consistent

with the proper application of the

4:55:034:55:08

Armed Forces covenant, and the

answer is, of course, they do not

4:55:084:55:11

take that view. They view it

perfectly possible for the two

4:55:114:55:14

things to be applied, and I know

that, because I met this afternoon

4:55:144:55:18

with the chief executive of the

equalities commission in Northern

4:55:184:55:22

Ireland, to discuss this very point.

I would further quote the view of a

4:55:224:55:29

former defence Minister, the

honourable member from Hempstead,

4:55:294:55:34

who said in his view, we have 93% of

the Armed Forces covenant, being

4:55:344:55:40

applied, equitably in Northern

Ireland. I would finally, points to

4:55:404:55:46

the view of the Northern Ireland

affairs, select committee, because

4:55:464:55:49

although we have not debated that

issue for four years, there was an

4:55:494:55:54

excellent port by the Northern

Ireland affairs committee under the

4:55:544:55:58

chairmanship of the honourable

member from Tewkesbury, that went

4:55:584:56:01

into this issue in great detail, and

assessed it and took a huge amount

4:56:014:56:06

of evidence from all of the bodies

involved and came to the conclusion

4:56:064:56:09

that once there are areas that

specific policy are not implemented

4:56:094:56:14

in Northern Ireland, for the reasons

I have mentioned, the legal and

4:56:144:56:20

administrative a political security

differences, and other areas where

4:56:204:56:22

there should be improvements around

IVF access around mental health, and

4:56:224:56:27

I would be intrigued to know whether

the Minister has got anything to say

4:56:274:56:30

about the changes to IVF cycles, and

the availability of those former

4:56:304:56:36

Armed Forces veterans, because that

is something the Government has

4:56:364:56:40

previously promised to look at

4:56:404:56:51

I have been robust in this House in

my defence of the agreement and very

4:56:514:56:54

clearly my interpretation of it is

slightly different to my honourable

4:56:544:56:57

friend from Northern Ireland, but on

this matter I am very clear, not

4:56:574:57:02

only is it a contradiction tween the

full import -- full implantation of

4:57:024:57:07

the covenant and Northern Ireland

but that the spirit of the Good

4:57:074:57:13

Friday Agreement...

Of course, and

the quality is absolutely central to

4:57:134:57:22

the Good Friday Agreement and that

is why it is so important that the

4:57:224:57:25

Armed Forces Covenant which makes

layer that no Armed Forces personnel

4:57:254:57:29

or their family should be in any way

disadvantaged I virtue of their

4:57:294:57:31

having been in or currently serving

in the Armed Forces. It is

4:57:314:57:36

absolutely crucial that that is not

in any way out of keeping with the

4:57:364:57:42

application of equalities

legislation, section 75 in

4:57:424:57:44

particular, that is absolutely

critical to the underpinning of the

4:57:444:57:48

Good Friday Agreement and that is

why I am so pleased to hear the

4:57:484:57:51

Minister repeat the Government's

view that they don't think there is

4:57:514:57:54

any need to amend section 75 because

they believe that the two things are

4:57:544:57:58

entirely reconcilable.

Thank you, I

am grateful to the honourable

4:57:584:58:06

gentleman. Just before he comes to

its conclusion, I am really curious

4:58:064:58:10

to know, given his support for the

military covenant and I take it, his

4:58:104:58:18

party's support for the covenant

throughout the United Kingdom and

4:58:184:58:22

for community covenants, I am

curious to know when he meets with

4:58:224:58:26

representatives of Sinn Fein, and

I'm quite sure he meets with Sinn

4:58:264:58:29

Fein MPs when they come to visit and

come to Westminster, how often would

4:58:294:58:37

the honourable gentleman have raised

the military covenant and urged Sinn

4:58:374:58:43

Fein to give Morris back to the

military covenant? I would be very

4:58:434:58:46

interested to hear his reply.

I am

very grateful for that intervention

4:58:464:58:52

and a do meet regularly with all the

clinical parties in Northern Ireland

4:58:524:58:56

including with Sinn Fein and I have

raised this question of the military

4:58:564:59:00

covenant, certainly the perception

that there is insufficient respect

4:59:004:59:04

paid to members of the Armed Forces

in the way in which the community

4:59:044:59:09

covenant in particular is applied

and I will continue to raise that in

4:59:094:59:13

our conversations with Sinn Fein,

but I would just, in conclusion,

4:59:134:59:18

Madam Deputy Speaker, referred the

House to a few, I think, important

4:59:184:59:23

remarks that were made in giving

evidence to the Northern Ireland

4:59:234:59:28

affairs select committee to this

question because they had

4:59:284:59:32

opportunities to be to discuss this

issue at greater length and one of

4:59:324:59:35

those, I think, important pieces of

evidence came from a Northern

4:59:354:59:41

Ireland executive, MLA of the

Democratic Unionist Party, who said

4:59:414:59:43

in his evidence that he took the

view that no one is supposed to be

4:59:434:59:46

treated better and indeed no one is

supposed to be treated worse. Army

4:59:464:59:51

personnel will not be treated any

worse than anybody else, making

4:59:514:59:54

clear that the point of the covenant

is to guarantee that there is no

4:59:544:59:58

disadvantage to Northern Ireland,

two armed services personnel in

4:59:585:00:05

Northern Ireland or elsewhere.

Madam

Deputy Speaker I think the Shadow

5:00:055:00:13

Secretary of State for giving way

and I appreciate the comments he has

5:00:135:00:15

made. Can I quote from a letter

dated 15th assembler 2016 --

5:00:155:00:20

December. From the most recent

Health Minister in Ireland Michelle

5:00:205:00:25

O'Neill who is now the leader of

Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, and I

5:00:255:00:29

quote: the Armed Forces Covenant has

been adopted by England, Scotland

5:00:295:00:35

and Wales to provide equal access to

health care where it can be linked

5:00:355:00:38

to military service. Serving

personnel, their families and those

5:00:385:00:42

who leave the military forces. The

covenant has not been adopted here,

5:00:425:00:49

being Northern Ireland, as health

care arrangements are delivered on

5:00:495:00:53

an equitable basis by all members of

the community. Now that reference is

5:00:535:00:56

a clear reference, because I asked

the Minister this in section 75

5:00:565:01:03

sausages with greater suspect to be

set -- to the Shadow Secretary of

5:01:035:01:07

State, the view of Sinn Fein is that

the covenant has not been adopted

5:01:075:01:10

and that section 75 excludes its

implementation. That is their view.

5:01:105:01:16

I would say with equal clarity to

the right honourable gentleman that

5:01:165:01:20

the leader of Sinn Fein in Northern

Ireland is wrong in that regard is

5:01:205:01:23

the Armed Forces Covenant has been

adopted Northern Ireland and should

5:01:235:01:29

be implemented in Northern Ireland

and we are very clear on this side

5:01:295:01:32

of the House about that. I will give

away one more time.

I do feel I

5:01:325:01:40

should say very strongly but that is

not the case. The Armed Forces

5:01:405:01:44

Covenant has not been formally

adopted in Northern Ireland. I was a

5:01:445:01:47

special adviser in the First

Minister was my office when I sat

5:01:475:01:51

down and asked Sinn Fein repeatedly

to agree to the adoption of the

5:01:515:01:54

Armed Forces Covenant, for the Armed

Forces Covenant to go on the

5:01:545:01:58

Executive agenda for to be agreed.

He refused time and time again, not

5:01:585:02:01

for any logical reason, because of

ahistorical opposition to the

5:02:015:02:09

British Armed Forces. The armed

forced covenant has not been firmly

5:02:095:02:13

adopted Northern Ireland. -- Armed

Forces Covenant.

The point I will

5:02:135:02:20

make Madam Deputy Speaker is this is

clearly a politicized and political

5:02:205:02:24

issue and there clearly are points

being scored on both sides of the

5:02:245:02:27

divide in Northern Ireland I think

that is the key point I want to

5:02:275:02:34

make, that the Government's view, we

share their view, is that 90 odd

5:02:345:02:39

percent of the, I will draw my

remarks to a conclusion, 90 odd

5:02:395:02:44

percent of the covenant is being

applied properly in Northern

5:02:445:02:47

Ireland. There are some gaps. I

raised some of them with the

5:02:475:02:53

Minister, another member has raised

others. I think a particular mental

5:02:535:02:57

health is something that needs to be

looked at. In practical terms, the

5:02:575:03:01

view expressed repeatedly to the

Northern Ireland affairs select

5:03:015:03:03

committee, Wendy S Estes, in

practical terms, the reality is that

5:03:035:03:07

there is no material disadvantage

being suffered by veterans in

5:03:075:03:11

Northern Ireland, and in support of

that conclusion, I will quote from

5:03:115:03:14

Colonel Richard Gordon who said that

he didn't think that there were any

5:03:145:03:21

disadvantages to the Armed Forces

community in Northern Ireland in

5:03:215:03:24

respect to the Covenant and I will

also quote Brian McGuire of the

5:03:245:03:28

Royal British Legion who says he

cannot point to a single case in all

5:03:285:03:31

the cases they have dealt with in

their time where he can say for sure

5:03:315:03:34

that the individual would have been

any better treated had they been

5:03:345:03:36

living elsewhere in the United

Kingdom. Now, the right honourable

5:03:365:03:43

member points to what an important

institution the Royal British Legion

5:03:435:03:46

is in Northern Ireland and elsewhere

and I would totally support him in

5:03:465:03:49

that. I think they're one of the

most important organisations

5:03:495:03:54

providing support to veterans. They

do not support the conclusions that

5:03:545:03:59

he draws in his remarks. They

support, I think, the clues that I

5:03:595:04:03

draw that we do need to see the

Covenant properly implemented and I

5:04:035:04:08

support the Government in not

changing section 75 because I think

5:04:085:04:10

it entirely consistent with the

application of the covenant to

5:04:105:04:15

Northern Ireland.

Matt also welcome

this debate and welcomed, that was

5:04:155:04:26

made by the right honourable member

for Lagan Valley and it was very

5:04:265:04:28

difficult to disagree with anything

that he had to say because he

5:04:285:04:32

reminded us of the sacrifice of

veterans across the UK, including in

5:04:325:04:35

Northern Ireland and of course, very

often we think about veterans,

5:04:355:04:38

particularly on the mainland to

Mobley to conjure up visions of

5:04:385:04:43

those brave warriors who defended us

during the Second World War, many of

5:04:435:04:46

whom are still with us, I'm glad to

say, or those younger people, more

5:04:465:04:51

recently, men and women who've

served in Afghanistan and Iraq and

5:04:515:04:55

sometimes there's a tendency to

forget about the many other complex

5:04:555:04:57

in which we've been involved, in

Korea, indie Falklands War, Bosnia

5:04:575:05:02

more recently. But of course, in

Northern Ireland. I am not an expert

5:05:025:05:09

but I think that must've been one of

the most difficult ones of all to be

5:05:095:05:13

involved and because many of those

reservists whom the honourable

5:05:135:05:15

gentleman referred to were living

with the threat of violence Puddy

5:05:155:05:18

four hours a day seven days a week,

365 days a year. There are people in

5:05:185:05:24

this House who have served on front

lines around the world. I never

5:05:245:05:30

have, but I imagine it must be

terribly stressful for the time the

5:05:305:05:33

people are on active service, but

once that six-month tour of duty

5:05:335:05:37

finishes, that people can perhaps

start to relax again. That was not

5:05:375:05:40

the case for so many people in

Northern Ireland, particularly those

5:05:405:05:43

who actually live there, so I think

we have a particular debt of

5:05:435:05:49

gratitude to the honourable member

for raising this with us. Not this

5:05:495:05:51

is an issue I feel strongly about

and as chairman of the Welsh select

5:05:515:05:56

affairs committee we initiated an

inquiry into the care of veterans in

5:05:565:05:59

Wales and looked at the Armed Forces

Covenant. I believe the right

5:05:595:06:04

honourable member for Pontypridd may

have been a member of the select

5:06:045:06:07

committee at the time. I think he

probably was. I thought it was a

5:06:075:06:12

good report because it actually said

there was good practise going on

5:06:125:06:14

across the whole of the United

Kingdom. I mean, there is no room to

5:06:145:06:18

make any political point saving

because he visited Scotland, we met

5:06:185:06:22

with Keith Brown, I believe, at MSP,

Scottish National Party member who

5:06:225:06:26

is himself a former member of the

Royal Marines, who spoke about what

5:06:265:06:30

was being done in Scotland, very

good work being done there. We know

5:06:305:06:35

that the authorities of all

political parties are supporting the

5:06:355:06:38

Armed Forces Covenant within Wales

and we have evidence from the labour

5:06:385:06:44

Minister at the time and since then

we've seen very positive statements

5:06:445:06:46

from the labour Minister, I think it

is Mark Drakeford who is responsible

5:06:465:06:52

for it but certainly a lot of good

practise going on across the United

5:06:525:06:55

Kingdom. I would just briefly remind

members of some of the conclusions

5:06:555:07:00

that we came out with within this

report, because we saw what was

5:07:005:07:03

going on in Scotland when the world

stop shops for veterans and be

5:07:035:07:08

thought I was in extremely good idea

and something that could be perhaps

5:07:085:07:11

looked at in Northern Ireland and in

Wales. We heard evidence that those

5:07:115:07:14

would be moving around on servers

were sometimes disadvantage when it

5:07:145:07:17

came to making application for

social housing. We heard about

5:07:175:07:21

problems of veterans getting

paperwork transferred from the MOD

5:07:215:07:26

to their NHS, their NHS, of course

because there are four different

5:07:265:07:32

ones across the United Kingdom which

kind did a problem I that is

5:07:325:07:35

something the Minister will look at.

And also, the problems people have

5:07:355:07:38

getting their children into school

when they're not actually living in

5:07:385:07:42

the catchment area. It is so

important for these and many other

5:07:425:07:45

reasons that we lament all aspect of

the Armed Forces, rather, of the

5:07:455:07:49

Armed Forces Covenant, right across

the United Kingdom now I just have a

5:07:495:07:54

couple of not complaints or

criticisms, but thoughts, which I do

5:07:545:07:58

not mean to be anyway, to be seen as

critical of what the Government are

5:07:585:08:02

doing because I think it is very

good. There are three things that

5:08:025:08:06

sort of worried me a little bit. The

first is in the definition of a

5:08:065:08:13

veteran, because under the current

terminology, I could define myself

5:08:135:08:17

as an Armed Forces veteran, having

spent around about 18 months the

5:08:175:08:22

Torridge Oriel army in the late

1980s during which time I'm afraid I

5:08:225:08:28

did not do anything of great note

other than enjoying a cheap pint on

5:08:285:08:33

a Sunday evening. Yes, a worthy

enough thing to do, but at that time

5:08:335:08:38

there was no suggestion that the DA

would ever be called up into active

5:08:385:08:42

service as they are now, and there

are people who, perhaps, spend a few

5:08:425:08:46

months in the Army, perhaps do not

even complete basic training and

5:08:465:08:49

can't come out and call themselves

better than I am not really

5:08:495:08:54

comfortable with this. I got not

think it is absolutely right

5:08:545:08:56

although it would be difficult to

pin down an exact definition because

5:08:565:08:59

there are people who have spent less

than 12 months in the Army but spent

5:08:595:09:02

time on active service and who

certainly should qualify. That is

5:09:025:09:05

something that perhaps we need to

think about. The second statement,

5:09:055:09:08

and is partly came to me because of

this problem with a definition, is

5:09:085:09:14

that I have a concern about some of

the charities that are currently

5:09:145:09:17

working with Armed Forces veterans.

Not the one, I hasten to add, which

5:09:175:09:22

had been mentioned by honourable

members here today, the Royal

5:09:225:09:27

British Legion, Comey Stress, these

are excellent charities but there

5:09:275:09:30

are others being set up about which

I have some concerns -- combat

5:09:305:09:36

stress. Some are well-meaning but do

not have the relevant experience.

5:09:365:09:39

Others, I'm afraid, and I believe

they're being set up by people who

5:09:395:09:43

are trying to cash in on the support

that the public currently have for

5:09:435:09:46

the Armed Forces and I'm currently

involved in what could become a

5:09:465:09:49

criminal prosecution for my having

challenged people who are in combat

5:09:495:09:54

clothing, one of whom had spent a

few months in the Army and the

5:09:545:09:57

others who hadn't, who had links to

an unpleasant so-called far right

5:09:575:10:02

organisation and were collecting

money during the remembered period

5:10:025:10:09

in my hometown of Monmouth and I'm

very concerned some organisations

5:10:095:10:12

are setting themselves up as

charitable concerns for Armed Forces

5:10:125:10:17

veterans and may actually have

sinister connections to extremist

5:10:175:10:22

political groups or may simply be

trying to make money or some

5:10:225:10:25

combination of the two, and I think

that is something that needs to be

5:10:255:10:30

looked at and I'm not entirely

certain that the charity

5:10:305:10:33

commissioner are doing enough to

crack down on this. The other

5:10:335:10:36

concern I have is, going back to

this definition a veteran, we quite

5:10:365:10:41

rightly use this to define anyone

who has served in any branch of the

5:10:415:10:44

Armed Forces, but there are other

people, particularly in Northern

5:10:445:10:47

Ireland, Whiting also like to

qualify. Obviously, members of the

5:10:475:10:51

Royal Ulster constabulary, but also

be forgotten service, those who

5:10:515:10:55

worked in the prison service you

also face and face violence and

5:10:555:10:59

intimidation on a regular basis and

day, too I think would be worthy of

5:10:595:11:03

some of the care that we are

currently suggesting should go to

5:11:035:11:06

members of the Armed Forces. But

really, I don't want to make any

5:11:065:11:11

criticisms of any government or any

political party in this debate. I

5:11:115:11:14

welcome the fact that the Member for

Lagan Valley has raised it and all

5:11:145:11:20

of the issues which she have raised

today will be properly addressed by

5:11:205:11:24

the Government and I'm quite

confident with these two Ministers,

5:11:245:11:26

both of whom have very relevant

experience in the Armed Forces, that

5:11:265:11:32

those concerns will be addressed.

5:11:325:11:38

Can I congratulate the men from

Lagan Valley for his passionate

5:11:385:11:44

speech that kicked off this

afternoon putt debate. I would also

5:11:445:11:48

tell it to declare an interest. My

husband was an officer in her

5:11:485:11:53

Majesty putt Royal Navy, which I've

mentioned several times before. What

5:11:535:11:56

I have not mentioned is that he is

also an Osterman. He was a very

5:11:565:12:07

special Osterman.

Clearly.

The Armed

Forces covenant is a statement of

5:12:075:12:15

the moral obligation to exist

between the nations of the UK, the

5:12:155:12:18

Government and the Armed Forces. It

was in for the first time in 2011.

5:12:185:12:26

Specifically, the covenant outlined

two core principles. Firstly, the

5:12:265:12:33

former member of the forces or their

families, should be added this

5:12:335:12:38

addresses, compared to the citizens,

with commercial services. Special

5:12:385:12:44

consideration is appropriate in some

cases, particularly for those who

5:12:445:12:47

have been injured or bereaved.

However, as the Armed Forces act of

5:12:475:12:56

2011 does not create legally

enforceable rights for service

5:12:565:12:59

personnel. Across the UK, it remains

a statement of intent, rather than a

5:12:595:13:05

statement of action. And as

statement of intent to which members

5:13:055:13:10

of the Armed Forces have no

recourse. We are leading service

5:13:105:13:16

personnel down. The Member for Lagan

Valley described a particular

5:13:165:13:21

culture that prevents members of the

Armed Forces and veterans of

5:13:215:13:23

Northern Ireland from identifying

themselves, and I have experienced

5:13:235:13:28

that personally. When visiting Aust

with my husband, and having to check

5:13:285:13:36

under our car for devices. I do

appreciate the situation we are

5:13:365:13:40

talking about. Of course, although

there are many charities working

5:13:405:13:46

with veterans in Northern Ireland,

as a member for Lagan Valley,

5:13:465:13:51

described in some detail, lack of

funding, and lack of transparency,

5:13:515:13:56

in some places with veterans

himself, means there are serious

5:13:565:14:01

issues. I do believe this is part of

a wider problem across the UK. We

5:14:015:14:07

welcome the progress that has been

made for the new ministerial

5:14:075:14:10

covenant and veterans board, and in

recent years as society has become

5:14:105:14:15

far more aware and more

understanding of the effects of

5:14:155:14:20

military service on the health,

mental and physical, of those who

5:14:205:14:23

choose to serve. On their

relationships with their families

5:14:235:14:27

and their communities. But for

veterans in Northern Ireland, it

5:14:275:14:32

must be recognised that there are

very particular circumstances that

5:14:325:14:35

apply. For local councils to show

reluctance to fully implement the

5:14:355:14:42

armed forces covenant is simply

letting these veterans down.

5:14:425:14:48

Veterans are in it says to society

and deserve our thanks, respect and

5:14:485:14:53

support. In Scotland alone,

approximately 1800 men and women

5:14:535:14:59

complete their military service and

settle, many with their families in

5:14:595:15:05

the communities every year. We have

an ambition to make Scotland a

5:15:055:15:09

destination of choice for service

levers and their families. For

5:15:095:15:14

almost a decade, the Scottish

government, and the Scottish

5:15:145:15:19

veterans fund, has made a real

difference to the lies of the Armed

5:15:195:15:23

Forces community in Scotland, and

has provided one million to a host

5:15:235:15:29

of veterans and service charities

that offer advice, help and support.

5:15:295:15:32

No doubt, this lead should be

followed by other nations of the UK.

5:15:325:15:41

In Northern Ireland, there has been

a long-standing criticism over the

5:15:415:15:45

lack of implementation of the Armed

Forces covenant. Of course, we are

5:15:455:15:49

all sensitive to the tensions that

still exist in respect to the Army,

5:15:495:15:55

in particular, in parts of Northern

Ireland, however, this must not be

5:15:555:16:00

used as an excuse to avoid providing

the service that personnel and

5:16:005:16:03

veterans deserve and require. While

I am talking about tangents, I would

5:16:035:16:11

like to mention the outstanding work

that has been done to break down

5:16:115:16:15

barriers in respect of policing in

Northern Ireland. The transition

5:16:155:16:23

from two PS and I has enabled the

police in Northern Ireland to have a

5:16:235:16:28

more inclusive outlook, and to be a

widely accepted in every sector of

5:16:285:16:31

society. But we also note that

members of the Republican

5:16:315:16:37

nationalist community served with

distinction in the RAF and the Royal

5:16:375:16:45

Navy, but for some, the Army is

still viewed with suspicion. A

5:16:455:16:50

recruitment jive in BBs alienated

communities with an daft delete with

5:16:505:16:58

the diversity and community

representation within the Army. With

5:16:585:17:01

movement on this, I believe cross

party support for both personnel and

5:17:015:17:06

veterans would increase. If, of

course, is ever restored. Much of

5:17:065:17:14

this goes beyond Northern Ireland.

What makes this if is the voiceless

5:17:145:17:20

miss of personnel. And veterans stop

we believe personnel should be

5:17:205:17:25

properly represented within the

military, with defence policy

5:17:255:17:29

position acres. Having an Armed

Forces representative body on a

5:17:295:17:35

stretcher carried fading is the norm

for any other countries, like the

5:17:355:17:40

Netherlands and Germany. A

representative body on its stature

5:17:405:17:47

Terrie putting to give voice to our

Armed Forces, a representative body

5:17:475:17:53

that is able to liaise directly with

government and a short veterans

5:17:535:17:58

across the UK are central to defence

thinking, would be a major step

5:17:585:18:02

forward for personnel across the UK.

And would give a much stronger voice

5:18:025:18:07

to veterans in Northern Ireland. The

UK should honour the Armed Forces

5:18:075:18:16

covenant, of no disadvantage. The

comment can mix the UK government to

5:18:165:18:23

removing where possible,

disadvantaged experience as a result

5:18:235:18:26

of service. This includes serving

personnel, and veterans Indian

5:18:265:18:29

Island.

Thank you Madam Speaker. I

would congratulate the honourable

5:18:295:18:42

member of Lagan Valley protagonist

of the House today. I had it with

5:18:425:18:44

the Minister, it was a passionate

and thoughtful speech, and one that

5:18:445:18:49

I enjoyed sitting through. He was

correct to pay tribute to the Air

5:18:495:18:54

forces in Northern Ireland, and I

would pay tribute to those in the

5:18:545:18:58

reserve forces across the United

Kingdom. He also mentioned how the

5:18:585:19:02

British Legion, get more money for

the Poppy of the appeal than any

5:19:025:19:07

other part of the United Kingdom. I

took that as a challenge, because we

5:19:075:19:11

Scots do not like to be beaten at

many things, so maybe we will take

5:19:115:19:16

up a bit of healthy competition with

Northern Ireland in the future. The

5:19:165:19:22

honourable Lady from North Down

mentioned the sparse nature of the

5:19:225:19:27

chamber today, and terms of numbers

present. We can suggest it is more

5:19:275:19:33

quality rather than quantity, but

what we do have, at least, is every

5:19:335:19:36

part of United Kingdom has been

represented in this debate. I think

5:19:365:19:41

that is very positive. The

honourable gentleman form en masse

5:19:415:19:46

with speaking of his wells affairs

committees, and visited Scotland and

5:19:465:19:50

the work they had done there, and he

was right to highlight the good work

5:19:505:19:54

that has been done in Scotland, and

that is what I want to focus my

5:19:545:19:58

remarks on, both Scott and White and

for me. The Armed Forces covenant is

5:19:585:20:03

something that we take very

seriously in my constituency, which

5:20:035:20:07

has had for many decades of very

significant military footprint.

5:20:075:20:11

Unlike other speakers, I want to put

on record that our personnel and our

5:20:115:20:18

veterans do an outstanding level of

service, and in this place, we

5:20:185:20:22

should never tyre of highlighting

and praising what they have done for

5:20:225:20:26

their country and continue to do. I

was delighted when Jewel Lenihan was

5:20:265:20:33

appointed in October of last year,

to be the Armed Forces covenant

5:20:335:20:37

development officer, serving the

Highland military communities.

5:20:375:20:43

Murray and Highland Council, they

are to be congratulated for joining

5:20:435:20:47

forces to enter the post, which is

funded by the MOD's covenant

5:20:475:20:51

funding. The covenant is to fulfil

the Government's promised to those

5:20:515:20:57

serving and those who have served,

that they and their families are

5:20:575:21:01

guaranteed to be treated fairly. As

members will know, it has provided a

5:21:015:21:11

home to the regiment, in 2012, when

the army took over the base from the

5:21:115:21:13

RAF. For the ease, it is one of the

quick reaction alert stations. An

5:21:135:21:26

area Regiment. From 2020, it will

also be the host to the new patrol

5:21:265:21:33

aircraft operated by to his work

squadrons. 120 squadron, which was a

5:21:335:21:37

submarine unit in World War II,...

However, I want to focus my remarks

5:21:375:21:47

in today putt debate the incredibly

strong mind that this exists with

5:21:475:21:52

the arm forces community and the

wider community and Murray. That is

5:21:525:21:57

what Jewel Lenihan is working hard

to strengthen even further. I'm not

5:21:575:22:04

sure if you are confused when I was

saying, Madam Secretary.

I am sure

5:22:045:22:08

he is aware that this is about the

Armed Forces covenant in Northern

5:22:085:22:13

Ireland, and he is probably making

the link between Murray and Northern

5:22:135:22:16

Ireland, but I am sure he want to

focus back on this subject.

I will

5:22:165:22:24

take the head. I take that glare in

the way it was proposed. What I am

5:22:245:22:31

hoping to do in my short remarks, is

to explain how successful our

5:22:315:22:34

covenant has been in Murray, and why

I understand those in the benches

5:22:345:22:39

opposite want to succeed at success

replicated in Northern Ireland.

5:22:395:22:45

Because, because in Murray, and I

hope they can also be replicated in

5:22:455:22:50

Northern Ireland, the links begin

with the youngest members of our

5:22:505:22:53

community. Only a week ago, only a

week ago, 39 engineers had pupils

5:22:535:23:01

from primary school. I will give

way, but I am worried.

Is actually

5:23:015:23:09

little Ireland.

I have been here,

now about nine months, and that is

5:23:095:23:18

the first helpful contribution I've

had from a member. It may be another

5:23:185:23:21

nine months before another one comes

along, but it is great to have Eldon

5:23:215:23:26

mentioned in this place. We've also

had 280 schoolchildren attend a road

5:23:265:23:35

show. Armed Forces Pernell also make

huge contributions to many voluntary

5:23:355:23:41

organisations. I think it is

important that we will remember,

5:23:415:23:47

from the original Armed Forces

community covenant was signed in

5:23:475:23:51

2012, it was when we welcome the

Army to the barracks. As a sign of

5:23:515:23:56

our commitment and Murray, and in

Northern Ireland, that was re-signed

5:23:565:24:02

in October 2016. I think it is

important to quote the words that

5:24:025:24:05

were said by the Council at that

time, because it sums up what the

5:24:055:24:10

Armed Forces covenant means in

Murray, Scotland, across the night

5:24:105:24:13

United Kingdom. He said when we were

at that signing ceremony, this is an

5:24:135:24:19

suspicious deeper Murray. Senior

representatives from all the public

5:24:195:24:22

sectors and Murray and the military

have come together to declare our

5:24:225:24:25

continued support for the close ties

and friendship between the Armed

5:24:255:24:29

Forces and our two bases and the

communities. The Armed Forces

5:24:295:24:34

covenant is tangible proof of how

are Armed Forces and everyone in

5:24:345:24:38

Murray are all part of the same

community, helping and supporting

5:24:385:24:41

each other. That is what we want in

every part of United Kingdom. The

5:24:415:24:46

bonds that link our service

communities in Murray, have always

5:24:465:24:50

been strong, but the Armed Forces

covenant has strengthened this even

5:24:505:24:54

further. That is why I support the

motion put forward by members of the

5:24:545:24:59

DUP today. It is right that we

recognise the valuable contribution

5:24:595:25:02

of the men and women from Northern

Ireland, to Armed Forces, including

5:25:025:25:06

some of the best recruited reserve

unit in the UK, but the final

5:25:065:25:12

sentence is most important. This

House reaffirms its commitment to

5:25:125:25:15

make sure the Armed Forces covenant,

which we enjoy in Murray and in

5:25:155:25:20

Scotland, is fully implemented in

Northern Ireland.

David Simpson.

5:25:205:25:29

Madam Speaker. It is a great

privilege to follow the honourable

5:25:295:25:33

member, and he was also very

interesting in his assessment and I

5:25:335:25:41

was very glad that he managed to get

Northern Ireland into the speech,

5:25:415:25:44

even though he had to get some help

from the SMP, but

5:25:445:25:58

Our present-day government has a

duty of care and of course, and

5:25:585:26:01

admiration towards each and every

member of Her Majesty's Armed

5:26:015:26:05

Forces. Within that, it is vital

that care and support be given to

5:26:055:26:13

those who continue to live with the

stars and the pains of bygone

5:26:135:26:15

conflicts. In Northern Ireland, of

course, we are all too aware of the

5:26:155:26:20

pains of battle and what members of

the Armed Forces faced during the

5:26:205:26:26

years of struggle against the

Republican Army. The military

5:26:265:26:34

covenant is a real and genuine

opportunity for the Government to

5:26:345:26:37

show their gratitude to all who

fought for the cause. Our nation has

5:26:375:26:45

a moral obligation of support

towards our military members and I'm

5:26:455:26:51

proud to say that right across the

United Kingdom, people are

5:26:515:26:56

continuing to fulfil that

obligation. In my own constituency

5:26:565:27:05

of upper Bonn, we had many losses

over the years, and of those

5:27:055:27:18

stationed within the Upper Bann

community, we lost 16 soldiers. The

5:27:185:27:24

Royal Irish Regiment lost somewhere

in the region of 205. The breakdown

5:27:245:27:29

of that was done hundred and 98 UD

are, seven RIR. Union members... In

5:27:295:27:48

Northern Ireland 722 soldiers were

killed by terrorists and we have the

5:27:485:27:53

constabulary and other forces. 6001

injured and 16 were wounded. -- 6116

5:27:535:28:03

were wounded. So you can understand

within the House today just how much

5:28:035:28:19

affection the people of Northern

Ireland and the people on these

5:28:195:28:22

benches who our crown forces today

and over the years, many years of

5:28:225:28:31

the Troubles in Northern Ireland,

the men and women of Ulster were

5:28:315:28:34

never found wanting when it came to

donning the uniform of the crime

5:28:345:28:40

forces. They knew duty had to be

done and they to defend the whole of

5:28:405:28:45

the United Kingdom right across the

whole of United Kingdom and of

5:28:455:28:51

course Northern Ireland with the

Troubles but even thinking to

5:28:515:28:55

Afghanistan and Iraq were many were

traumatised over the years. It also,

5:28:555:29:02

let me remind the House that there

are members of Parliament who

5:29:025:29:07

disregard this covenant and had

absolutely no desire to see its full

5:29:075:29:14

implementation in Northern Ireland,.

Despite their objection, Sinn Fein

5:29:145:29:20

cannot build the courage to stand

before us in this chamber and

5:29:205:29:24

explain exactly why. This attitude

fails to represent the voices of

5:29:245:29:30

constituents who support this

covenant and it fails to confront --

5:29:305:29:36

fails to fulfil the overall

obligation that we have the support

5:29:365:29:39

our servicemen and women. One key

area of the covenant that I want to

5:29:395:29:46

raise particular attention to is the

importance of transition. All of the

5:29:465:29:51

members have touched on it and I

will touch on it as well. I have no

5:29:515:29:54

doubt that this has recognises that

the transition from servers back

5:29:545:29:57

into civilian life is a process that

can often provide mental barriers

5:29:575:30:03

for both the service person and

their families. Support for mental

5:30:035:30:09

health care patient has been a key

issue that I have sought to address

5:30:095:30:16

within my own constituency and it

never ceases to disturb me when I

5:30:165:30:20

hear some of the stories of those

who are struggling with mental

5:30:205:30:24

illness. Across Northern Ireland, we

are facing ever-increasing numbers

5:30:245:30:27

of mental health cases. With our

health care professionals and

5:30:275:30:31

support organisations as we heard

earlier, struggling to meet the

5:30:315:30:37

demand. However, an even greater

concern is the many patients who

5:30:375:30:42

think they can deal with their own

mental health problems and attempt

5:30:425:30:45

to provide their own remedy of

recovery to stop as we all know,

5:30:455:30:48

this can often lead to very

dangerous and harrowing and tragic

5:30:485:30:53

circumstances. Many of our heroes

will finish their service without

5:30:535:30:58

physical injury and long-term

damage, but in the months and years

5:30:585:31:04

ahead, scars and the reality of

battle and so often return with even

5:31:045:31:08

greater effect. If fully

implemented, the covenant would

5:31:085:31:16

provide the training, education,

health care referrals and the

5:31:165:31:19

appropriate career support or all of

those going through this

5:31:195:31:21

transitional period. In closing,

Madam Deputy Speaker, and my

5:31:215:31:34

constituents Basque on behalf of my

constituents in Upper Bann, I appeal

5:31:345:31:39

to the Government to honour the

commitment of care to the servicemen

5:31:395:31:43

and women who have given so much for

this nation. It has been mentioned

5:31:435:31:47

earlier that some 90% or 90 odd

percent is implemented. It has not

5:31:475:31:56

been unlamented in full in Northern

Ireland as it has in the rest of the

5:31:565:31:59

United Kingdom. There is a point of

principle here, Madam Deputy

5:31:595:32:03

Speaker. Why is it that the

servicemen and women who have

5:32:035:32:08

sacrificed so much over the years in

Northern Ireland, why they are

5:32:085:32:13

discriminated against as British

citizens when every other part of

5:32:135:32:19

the United Kingdom has the Army

covenant. I hope in the

5:32:195:32:24

not-too-distant future we will see

it lamented as well. -- see it

5:32:245:32:29

implemented.

Madam Deputy Speaker,

it is a great place to be able to

5:32:295:32:35

stand this afternoon and speak of

this issue brought forward by my

5:32:355:32:42

party and I am honoured to be able

to do so, but in saying that, we

5:32:425:32:46

have to remember, and it has already

been stated, 763 members of the

5:32:465:32:52

military lost their lives during an

operation in Northern Ireland. Also,

5:32:525:33:01

over 300 members of the are lost

their lives. 6116 injured. That is

5:33:015:33:12

physical injuries, never mind the

tens of thousands who are suffering

5:33:125:33:16

from the mental illness that has

incurred because of what they went

5:33:165:33:20

through, and their families, I might

add, who probably suffer equally as

5:33:205:33:25

much. The difficulty we have is that

we didn't Northern Ireland, it's

5:33:255:33:30

been stated that there are those who

oppose the full implementation of

5:33:305:33:35

the Armed Forces Covenant. Those are

the enemies not just of Northern

5:33:355:33:42

Ireland but the enemies of Great

Britain. I can only state that they

5:33:425:33:46

are the people who rejoice and

actually want to put forward, those

5:33:465:33:52

who actually commemorate 30 years

ago this month, there were two

5:33:525:33:58

soldiers killed. They were killed by

the IRA, to do with the hunger

5:33:585:34:13

strike. That was a marked point any

history of Northern Ireland. The

5:34:135:34:16

same people who actually want to

condone those people do not seem to

5:34:165:34:19

they also quoted, those that were

killed and I will use the term,

5:34:195:34:25

Gibraltar. They got their just

desserts. Those who were there at

5:34:255:34:30

enemies of the state were taken out

I'd those who deemed they were there

5:34:305:34:35

to create havoc. I can tell you

those are the enemies of Ulster. I

5:34:355:34:39

believe that as far as those

families that have not been

5:34:395:34:43

recognise nor had the opportunity to

actually access service, not only

5:34:435:34:46

just housing respect, health,

everything else, I say, there are

5:34:465:34:53

many areas that need full of

limitation. One of them is relation

5:34:535:34:57

-- in relation to vacant property.

Many men went away as reserves,

5:34:575:35:02

serving the Queen and country in

Afghanistan and Iraq and still have

5:35:025:35:08

had to pay rate on the properties

that they occupied. That is not the

5:35:085:35:12

case in the rest of the United

Kingdom. I think that those are

5:35:125:35:15

areas that need to be definitely

brought in line, and I want to say,

5:35:155:35:21

and I do believe this, I don't

believe that we as a country go far

5:35:215:35:25

enough even to recognise. When I'm

in the United States, I see with

5:35:255:35:29

pride the way they treat their

military and those who have actually

5:35:295:35:34

went and served their country. They

learned their lesson after the

5:35:345:35:36

Vietnam War, where men came back and

were treated Billy as outcasts. I

5:35:365:35:43

think we as a country need to learn

from what has happened in the United

5:35:435:35:47

States. They have turned a corner.

They recognise their military. They

5:35:475:35:51

make it evident that they appreciate

what they've done for their country.

5:35:515:35:54

They don't go to the back the line

will stop they come to the front of

5:35:545:35:57

the line. I think it is, as is

already been said by my colleague

5:35:575:36:06

from Lagan Valley, those who are

waiting on medical treatment are not

5:36:065:36:09

getting the preferential treatment.

Those that have to come across for

5:36:095:36:14

treatment to the editing them

because of injuries, I have a

5:36:145:36:17

personal friend who lost both of his

legs in Afghanistan. Unfortunately,

5:36:175:36:22

when he has to come over to have

treatment he has to pay for his

5:36:225:36:25

journey across. That is something

which I think needs to be looked at.

5:36:255:36:28

I think that as a country we should

be proud to actually not just state

5:36:285:36:35

that we have a military covenant in

place but to give them preferential

5:36:355:36:40

treatment. I disagree with what some

people are saying. Section 75 within

5:36:405:36:44

the Belfast agreement which was to

protect minorities in all areas,

5:36:445:36:50

there was an amendment made to that

to include, and it includes the word

5:36:505:36:57

travellers, and in doing so, I

believe, I stand to be corrected,

5:36:575:37:00

but I believe that was an amendment

that was put in on the back of Lord

5:37:005:37:05

Ashton, brought forward a reviewing

the military issue in 2014.

5:37:055:37:10

Travellers get a special mention

within the section 70 five. I want

5:37:105:37:13

to see that the military and those

that served within our security

5:37:135:37:18

forces in Northern Ireland to get

the same recognition and the same

5:37:185:37:23

amendment can be put in. I see that

has widely united on this issue and

5:37:235:37:29

it is great to see that we have

brought some little bit of what I

5:37:295:37:33

would call stability between the SNP

and the Conservatives in relation to

5:37:335:37:38

what is happening and let's see if

we can maybe foster that and move

5:37:385:37:41

that forward. Will try our best but

it is great to see that we can bring

5:37:415:37:49

forward a motion that has the

support of this House. Let's see

5:37:495:37:52

that we can implement it and bring

it forward in Northern Ireland, a

5:37:525:37:55

full implementation of the Armed

Forces Covenant.

Thank you Madam

5:37:555:38:03

Deputy Speaker. I rise to support

the motion today and I'm great -- I

5:38:035:38:09

am very grateful for the opportunity

to do that. I would also like to

5:38:095:38:12

welcome the fact that the right

honourable Arlene Foster has been

5:38:125:38:19

able to join to observe our debate

here today. I think I literally

5:38:195:38:26

chased her away, unfortunately.

Northern Ireland as outlined by a

5:38:265:38:33

number of members across the House,

has a long and proud record of

5:38:335:38:37

service in our British Armed Forces,

and I wish to add my voice to all

5:38:375:38:43

those in this chamber in paying

tribute to that service and

5:38:435:38:46

sacrifice by so many. Indeed, not

only in Northern Ireland but of

5:38:465:38:52

course, pre-partition Ireland had a

very proud record in relation to all

5:38:525:38:56

of those who served from across both

communities in our British Armed

5:38:565:39:00

Forces. My own great-grandfather,

came from pre-partition Ireland and

5:39:005:39:12

thought at the psalm and was injured

and shot in the chest and survive --

5:39:125:39:17

the Battle of the Somme. Also, my

grandfather who was evacuated off

5:39:175:39:28

the beaches at Dunkirk and I mention

these details because firstly I am

5:39:285:39:31

incredibly proud of my family

history and my grandfather and

5:39:315:39:35

great-grandfather, all of those who

served, but also, secondly, it took

5:39:355:39:39

me until this stage in my life,

really, to get into the details of

5:39:395:39:43

the service of my ancestors and I

think it is incredibly important not

5:39:435:39:47

only for my generation but for

younger generations as well to take

5:39:475:39:51

time to look into their family

history and to learn about the

5:39:515:39:53

incredible service that these people

put in to defend our democracy and

5:39:535:39:59

to defend the great United Kingdom

over the years. Northern Ireland, as

5:39:595:40:08

already mentioned, has the highest

number of soldier per population

5:40:085:40:21

than any other member of the

population. A disproportionately

5:40:215:40:24

contribute to the British Armed

Forces, so it is not just the money

5:40:245:40:28

raised in relation to the Poppy

Appeal and the incredible things

5:40:285:40:31

people do on the ground to raise

that money but is also that we do

5:40:315:40:34

disproportionately contribute to the

Armed Forces am your very of that

5:40:345:40:36

fact at all levels across Northern

Ireland and in our work on the Armed

5:40:365:40:41

Forces Covenant, we estimate that

the higher abortion a contribution

5:40:415:40:49

to the British Armed Forces but also

because of operation Banner, because

5:40:495:40:54

of the security forces in Northern

Ireland, the recruitment to the UD

5:40:545:40:57

are including part-time UD are --

UDR am a that either a third of

5:40:575:41:07

people in Northern Ireland had

either served in some capacity or

5:41:075:41:09

were an immediate family member of

someone who had served or where the

5:41:095:41:13

grandparent or grandchild of someone

who had served a that is an

5:41:135:41:16

incredible statistic when you

consider that Northern Ireland is

5:41:165:41:18

still in many ways a divided society

where the vast majority of those

5:41:185:41:24

volunteers, the vast majority of

those are going to the reserves, who

5:41:245:41:26

go into the Armed Forces, are from

one side of the community, although

5:41:265:41:30

I welcome the fact that that is

changing and that we are seeing

5:41:305:41:32

interest from across both sides.

5:41:325:41:39

It provides an opportunity to recall

of this I had, what we were visiting

5:41:395:41:46

the first Battalion and Royal Irish

Regiment, when they were on

5:41:465:41:52

operational appointment. There, I

met soldiers from court, from

5:41:525:41:57

Dublin, who are serving in our Armed

Forces. I have to say they had the

5:41:575:42:03

Irish tricolor on display, alongside

the Ulster manner. Demonstrating

5:42:035:42:08

people from both traditions served

in the UK Armed Forces, and this is

5:42:085:42:14

something we very much welcome.

Thank you both up thank you for that

5:42:145:42:20

intervention. In my own constituency

of Belfast, we not only have many

5:42:205:42:26

who have served and continue to

serve, we also have two units that

5:42:265:42:30

are based in south Belfast. We have

a unit of the Army medical service,

5:42:305:42:38

253 North Irish Regiment, and hide

the bank, Army medical services 204,

5:42:385:42:48

of the Army medical services

Regiment. I want to pay attributes

5:42:485:42:51

to all of those reserves, who served

that way. I know that many of those

5:42:515:42:59

people have incredibly stressful and

incredibly busy, full-time jobs, but

5:42:595:43:02

they still find time to join the

reserves and to go and to serve and

5:43:025:43:08

get that incredibly valuable

expertise in the medical field.

5:43:085:43:14

Sadly necessary at times, but it is

an incredible thing that they do and

5:43:145:43:17

I pay tribute to them. Today, I want

to focus on the outstanding issue of

5:43:175:43:23

the application and the

implementation of the Armed Forces

5:43:235:43:25

covenant in Northern Ireland. Many

in this House are fully aware of the

5:43:255:43:29

particular challenges. I know it has

been discussed several times, but

5:43:295:43:36

particular challenges facing our

Armed Forces personnel, not only

5:43:365:43:39

when they are serving, but when they

leave the Armed Forces. That is also

5:43:395:43:43

the case, of course, for those in

Northern Ireland, but I want to pick

5:43:435:43:48

up on two issues. Educational

challenges that face the families of

5:43:485:43:55

serving Armed Forces personnel, and

their children in particular, but

5:43:555:44:00

also mental health. In Northern

Ireland, the NHS in the UK, services

5:44:005:44:08

are under huge pressure, and we all

know that we've heard many of the

5:44:085:44:12

reasons for that. However, in

Northern Ireland, we have decades of

5:44:125:44:17

historic underfunding, particularly

for mental health services. And yet,

5:44:175:44:25

along with historic underfunding, we

have particularly high and growing

5:44:255:44:29

levels of mental health needs.

Indeed, I understand we have the

5:44:295:44:32

highest levels of mental health

challenges and needs across the UK.

5:44:325:44:39

We have examined those challenges

facing Northern Ireland, and we know

5:44:395:44:42

that some groups are much more like

this to face north mental health

5:44:425:44:47

challenges in their lifetime. We

know for example, people experience

5:44:475:44:50

are ready, and transgenerational

poverty. Younger people, for answer,

5:44:505:44:57

-- example, a particular

circumstance to Northern Ireland are

5:44:575:45:02

the victims of the troubles, and

also those who served in the Armed

5:45:025:45:07

Forces. I am putting this across

because I think it is a particular

5:45:075:45:10

challenge for Northern Ireland,

because we do have higher levels of

5:45:105:45:14

those categories. In relation to the

victims and survivors, some of the

5:45:145:45:21

areas suffered most acutely during

the troubles were rural areas. My

5:45:215:45:26

right honourable friend, the

constituency of north Belfast, it

5:45:265:45:30

was the highest number of shootings

and murders in terms of the

5:45:305:45:36

troubles, and a huge number of

people were impacted by that. We

5:45:365:45:40

look at the evidence and know that

those people who are living in close

5:45:405:45:43

proximity to that, are directly

impacted, or they themselves have

5:45:435:45:49

been a victim of violence. They tend

to have significantly higher levels

5:45:495:45:53

of mental health illness. There is a

need to do something, and to do more

5:45:535:45:58

for those victims, and we are

looking at that in terms of the

5:45:585:46:02

conflict. But connected to that, in

terms of victims, many victims were

5:46:025:46:07

also people who served in the Armed

Forces. As already outlined by some

5:46:075:46:12

of my colleagues, that the vast

majority, the percentage of those

5:46:125:46:22

victims, were those who served in

the likes of our UC, and our British

5:46:225:46:29

Armed Forces all stop although we

have dealt with and tried to deal

5:46:295:46:35

with it are some of that, there is a

particular need, and much higher

5:46:355:46:43

level of mental health, because of

our Armed Forces personnel. I want

5:46:435:46:47

to also touch on the issue of

education.

If my honourable friend

5:46:475:46:52

would allow me. I am very grateful.

The reference sheet has made to my

5:46:525:46:58

constituency, and I can see the

troubles and the service that has

5:46:585:47:00

been carried out by so many veterans

over the years. Indeed, one of the

5:47:005:47:05

reasons we have such high rates of

mental health problems and suicides

5:47:055:47:12

in Belfast, particularly in north

Belfast, is the legacy of the

5:47:125:47:16

troubles in the service of so many

and what they have gone through, so

5:47:165:47:19

I am grateful to her for

highlighting that.

I think the

5:47:195:47:27

honourable Desmond for the

intermission. It also demonstrates,

5:47:275:47:30

in higher levels, of victims and

Armed Forces personnel in Ireland,

5:47:305:47:35

it puts particular pressure on our

services in relation to the NHS in

5:47:355:47:41

Northern Ireland, which, in turn,

has a greater detrimental effect, it

5:47:415:47:45

in relation to those soldiers who

are coming out of Armed Forces, and

5:47:455:47:49

trying to go in, with challenges,

from anything from depression, to

5:47:495:47:56

posttraumatic stress, and we have

had a number of research completed,

5:47:565:48:00

which indicates post-traumatic

stress disorder is considerably

5:48:005:48:04

higher in Northern Ireland, and

those who have served during the

5:48:045:48:07

troubles who are coming out, in

terms of recently leaving the Armed

5:48:075:48:13

Forces, are suffering much higher

levels of that. That is incredibly

5:48:135:48:16

challenging for our health service

to deal with. The second issue I

5:48:165:48:20

want to touch on is education. In

particular, picking up on how the

5:48:205:48:25

full implementation of the Armed

Forces covenant does have a

5:48:255:48:28

detrimental impact in Northern

Ireland. I was in the northern

5:48:285:48:33

Ireland before I came to this place.

And I chaired the R party, come and

5:48:335:48:42

what are the categories we looked

at, one of the categories where

5:48:425:48:46

there are challenges, those children

of either serving Armed Forces

5:48:465:48:50

personnel or those who had recently

left the Armed Forces, and that was

5:48:505:48:55

due to a number of factors. The

fervency of moves in different

5:48:555:48:58

schools, the fact that people are

coming in and starting into school,

5:48:585:49:02

and there were a number of

particular challenges to that. That

5:49:025:49:06

is why I want to make reference to

the comments made by the shadow

5:49:065:49:12

Secretary of State for Northern

Ireland. I would say very strongly,

5:49:125:49:17

this is an issue that I care very

deeply about, trying to make sure

5:49:175:49:20

those young people get the full

support and recognition along with a

5:49:205:49:26

number of other categories,

including those young people in free

5:49:265:49:30

school meals. It was clear from the

research, those young people

5:49:305:49:35

suffered disadvantage. Despite that

evidence, I could not get them to

5:49:355:49:43

agree to implement the Armed Forces

covenant and to take action in

5:49:435:49:47

relation to these matters. I know

the shadow secretary of Northern

5:49:475:49:52

Ireland has referenced a political

point scoring, and I would say to

5:49:525:49:58

the honourable member, that I am

not, and I do not like to say things

5:49:585:50:03

simply to politically point score,

but what I will do, and what I will

5:50:035:50:07

always do, is to stand up and call

out those who are in the wrong. It

5:50:075:50:12

was absolutely wrong for them to

refuse to implement the Armed Forces

5:50:125:50:20

covenant on executive level, and

refuse to implement the community

5:50:205:50:23

covenant on local levels, where they

have the part. We have to be

5:50:235:50:30

accurate about this, because that is

what is happening. Some of the

5:50:305:50:33

departments and some of the agencies

are clearly indicating they are

5:50:335:50:38

going ahead in implementing and

trying to escort people and the

5:50:385:50:42

recognition of art Armed Forces

personnel, what is also clear is

5:50:425:50:48

that by selling a policy, the formal

adoption of the Armed Forces

5:50:485:50:52

covenant, but the clear message

across all levels of government. I

5:50:525:50:55

had the privilege of working as I

indicated earlier, to a special

5:50:555:51:00

adviser at the heart of government

for almost ten years. I sat on many

5:51:005:51:04

cross departmental agency boards and

programme boards, trying to look at

5:51:045:51:09

the developmental processes, and the

biggest barrier that I came across

5:51:095:51:16

in terms of the effect of

implementation, the effective

5:51:165:51:21

identify problems, was a lack of a

clear policy on a top pieces.

I am

5:51:215:51:30

grateful for her eloquent and

powerful speech, and would now be

5:51:305:51:35

incumbent on the shadow government,

when he said the Armed Forces

5:51:355:51:41

covenant had been adopted, and he

did not respond to that point

5:51:415:51:46

earlier, and it would be good if

that actually was put on the record.

5:51:465:51:52

Thank you. I think my right

honourable friend for that

5:51:525:51:57

intervention. I hope this shadow

Secretary of State will take the

5:51:575:52:00

opportunity, because I think to

accuse anybody who is trying to

5:52:005:52:03

stand up and say very clearly, I was

there, I had this conversation, this

5:52:035:52:07

is not about attacking, this is not

about point scoring, this is about

5:52:075:52:12

calling people out. We could not get

it implemented on executive level.

5:52:125:52:19

Therefore, it was never firmly

adopted, and where individual

5:52:195:52:24

apartments are agencies wanted to

implement that, it would. But there

5:52:245:52:30

was no broad adoptive policy to

insure that that happened. There was

5:52:305:52:33

no liability in that. I think this

is worth briefly mentioning, is in

5:52:335:52:42

relation to the community covenant.

Their reality, and again, this is a

5:52:425:52:48

fact, I would ask the shadow

secretary to look at this. He

5:52:485:52:55

refused to adopt the community

covenant, and that means that there

5:52:555:53:01

is a differential in terms of the

impasse. There is a variation in

5:53:015:53:05

terms of the policies that two

officials and those who implement

5:53:055:53:10

policy.

The honourable Lady is

addressing house with considerable

5:53:105:53:14

eloquence, but I express the

cautious optimism that she is

5:53:145:53:18

preaching her reparation.

I think

the Speaker. I am indeed. Just in

5:53:185:53:26

conclusion, I do want to say that it

is still important, despite what we

5:53:265:53:29

have heard, about the good work that

is happening, and there is good work

5:53:295:53:33

happening by some of the Council, by

some of the departments, but what is

5:53:335:53:38

necessary is the clear policy to be

set on all levels, that has not

5:53:385:53:43

happened. We want that to happen,

and we will continue to ask that the

5:53:435:53:47

Government to intervene to make sure

there is full adoption of the Armed

5:53:475:53:52

Forces covenant as soon as possible,

to ensure that no matter where Armed

5:53:525:53:56

Forces personnel is, across the

United Kingdom, they can get full

5:53:565:54:00

protection and support they need.

Thank you. Jamie Stone.

Thank you

5:54:005:54:07

very much. I have listened to this

with the greatest of infants.

5:54:075:54:12

Interest. I hope I will not try the

patient of the elders by talking

5:54:125:54:19

about Northern Ireland. As I have

told the chamber before, my wife

5:54:195:54:23

comes from the city of under border

of the Republic, and we were married

5:54:235:54:28

in the darkest days of the troubles.

Sadly, the thump of bonds and the

5:54:285:54:34

crack of high velocity weapons, it

was no strange sound at all. A

5:54:345:54:40

number of friends of my wife putt

family were killed in the troubles,

5:54:405:54:45

and both have brothers, as I have

told the chamber before, served in

5:54:455:54:49

the UD are. When the honourable

member from Glasgow North West talk

5:54:495:54:54

about the shining of a torch to

check for a bomb, that brought back

5:54:545:54:59

a memory of my asking one of my

brothers, what on earth you doing

5:54:595:55:03

with Mac he said he was checking for

bombs. When you sit in the passenger

5:55:035:55:08

seat beside a man like that, when he

turns the engine off, I put my

5:55:085:55:12

fingers in my ears, because I was

not sure if I was when to meet my

5:55:125:55:15

maker. The honourable member from

Monmouth talk about the string, that

5:55:155:55:20

was what it was all about. These

were Braves guys and gals, who did

5:55:205:55:25

for their country. To lighten up

very slightly, I sure to anecdotes.

5:55:255:55:31

The first was, perhaps as a

foolhardy married young man, going

5:55:315:55:35

exploring into self harm are. I got

lost, very near the border, and

5:55:355:55:45

noticing something lying beside the

road, and I got out and examine it,

5:55:455:55:49

and it was a circular disk of

aluminium, with spikes coming out

5:55:495:55:53

of. I realised it was the bottom of

what had been a practise churn bomb,

5:55:535:56:00

that had been exploded in a report

part. Perhaps for the amusement of

5:56:005:56:06

the House, I will regale you with a

tale of myself and three other young

5:56:065:56:10

people travelling from the city to

Omar, on our way to a party. Being

5:56:105:56:17

pulled up and stopped by a vehicle

checkpoint, an armed patrol asking

5:56:175:56:22

us to get out of the car. When I got

out of the car, they question me,

5:56:225:56:28

with an astonished look for the

start, and then admonished me to

5:56:285:56:32

where on earth I was. It was a fancy

dress party, and I was dressed in

5:56:325:56:38

tights

5:56:385:56:53

That may or may not be in the annals

of the deeds of the UDR. Today, I

5:56:535:57:01

know Northern Ireland just as well

because my wife and I go there very

5:57:015:57:04

frequently. I see the centre of the

city moving. I see Enniskillen, a

5:57:045:57:14

community that is really thriving in

the shops are doing well. So of

5:57:145:57:22

course I absolutely give the Armed

Forces absolute credit for what they

5:57:225:57:30

did. It was a proud record and the

point has been made about not

5:57:305:57:34

forgetting the prison service and DR

UC and all of those whose lives were

5:57:345:57:40

in danger at the time. Unless and

the are you see. So we should

5:57:405:57:49

recognise the contribution and the

courage of all those on both sides

5:57:495:57:51

of the divide who brought about a

peace process and Mr Speaker, from

5:57:515:58:01

both sides of the border I know all

about hard and soft borders.

As a

5:58:015:58:08

pleasure to the wind in this debate.

Men think my right honourable friend

5:58:085:58:13

and colleague for setting the scenes

so very well and reminding us of the

5:58:135:58:18

300,000 people who served in uniform

since 1969 and reminding us as well

5:58:185:58:22

and we need reminding sometimes,

that those people in Northern

5:58:225:58:26

Ireland who served in Iraq and

Afghanistan across the world, it is

5:58:265:58:30

not only Northern Ireland. He also

mentioned PTSD and the high levels

5:58:305:58:34

do much import -- in part to be 30

years of the Troubles, the need for

5:58:345:58:41

veterans' health and psychological

problems to be addressed and

5:58:415:58:44

aftercare services need to be

extended as well, equal

5:58:445:58:48

opportunities and better

opportunities in housing and

5:58:485:58:49

education and health and employment

and also asked the Minister about

5:58:495:58:56

the Government report. We look

forward to his answer for that. The

5:58:565:59:06

honourable and gallant number four

Milton Keynes, so a reservist

5:59:065:59:13

serving in uniform, still fit enough

to do so, it is good to know he is

5:59:135:59:17

fully committed to the Armed Forces

and I remind him of my question on

5:59:175:59:24

November 16 when I referred to the

covenant, perhaps we need to see

5:59:245:59:35

implement it at 100%. He also

referred to the Labour funding and

5:59:355:59:40

the projects from that. The

honourable gentleman from Pontypridd

5:59:405:59:43

referred to the Armed Forces... And

to support that he said he was

5:59:435:59:50

giving for the military covenant. We

are not terribly happy, I'm saying

5:59:505:59:59

very gently and to him. Can I remind

him that the former member at his

5:59:596:00:09

position certainly understood the

issues of our commitment to the

6:00:096:00:11

Armed Forces in Northern Ireland and

we need to have that commitment. The

6:00:116:00:15

county meet with Sinn Fein, perhaps

we'll report back to house and --

6:00:156:00:21

perhaps you will report. And maybe

if he has got the time, he would

6:00:216:00:35

like to come and hear some of our

point of view are relation to it.

I

6:00:356:00:39

am very grateful, and I have of

course met on numerous occasion with

6:00:396:00:44

members of the party and would be

happy to do on any occasion he

6:00:446:00:50

chooses. In relation to the issue

that was raised earlier on the spec

6:00:506:00:54

to the of limitation of the Armed

Forces Covenant, I think the reality

6:00:546:00:57

is that of course, it does apply in

Northern Ireland, as I said. There

6:00:576:01:02

are some issues with the

implementation but the point of

6:01:026:01:07

semantics that he is trying to make

with that was not fully endorsed by

6:01:076:01:10

the Executive for obvious reasons.

Mr Speaker, it is not about

6:01:106:01:16

endorsement. It is about adoption.

It is about making it 100% in place.

6:01:166:01:20

And maybe just some time, very

gently, maybe the honourable member

6:01:206:01:25

will appreciate and understand what

we're about. Again, I thank him

6:01:256:01:29

for...

I thank the honourable member

for giving way and the shadow

6:01:296:01:39

secretary is one I respect and look

forward to meeting with on this

6:01:396:01:43

issue but can I say there is nothing

semantic about a veteran in my

6:01:436:01:45

constituency who cannot travel for

vital treatment that he needs

6:01:456:01:51

because we have a department in

Northern Ireland that will not fund

6:01:516:01:54

his travel? That is not a semantic,

that is a reality.

I think my right

6:01:546:02:01

honourable friend again. I hope the

shadow Minister can grasp that at

6:02:016:02:05

some stage. The gentleman from

Monmouth river do all people of

6:02:056:02:11

Northern Ireland in an army uniform

and police uniform and prison

6:02:116:02:16

service and we thank them for that.

The honourable lady for Glasgow

6:02:166:02:26

North, she found out, took in Ulster

man to her heart and we are very

6:02:266:02:31

happy that happened.

I would point

out that he was a rich Ulster man.

6:02:316:02:44

He was rich today and he married the

honourable lady. That is what riches

6:02:446:02:46

are. She outlined very clearly... To

fully implement the military

6:02:466:02:56

covenant. She referred to a

transition of policing and it should

6:02:566:03:02

be noted -- there should be noted

this advantage to service personnel.

6:03:026:03:09

-- there should be no disadvantage.

And like could the Northern Ireland

6:03:096:03:17

Council not support each other as it

should be across all parts of the

6:03:176:03:19

United Kingdom of Great Britain and

Northern Ireland? My friend from

6:03:196:03:23

Upper Bann referred to the stars and

the pain and the hurt but there has

6:03:236:03:30

been and I think the honourable

gentleman did that extremely well --

6:03:306:03:33

scars and pain. Our nation has a

moral obligation and Sinn Fein have

6:03:336:03:44

disregarded this Parliament. My

honourable friend and colleague for

6:03:446:03:49

seventh and also referred to how

proud he was to stand up for

6:03:496:03:55

veterans and his own family have

been part of that and also he

6:03:556:03:58

reminded us of what they do in the

US of a and their commitment to that

6:03:586:04:02

as well. And like my two honourable

friend to remind us of what it

6:04:026:04:12

means, my honourable friend and Lady

Forsyth Belfast referred to how much

6:04:126:04:23

of her families have been committed

to uniform and pride in the force's

6:04:236:04:29

service and a third of the people in

Northern Ireland have either served

6:04:296:04:32

or have family members who have

served and are pink sometimes it is

6:04:326:04:36

good to river that as well. The Army

units in her constituency of South

6:04:366:04:42

Belfast remind us of the commitment

of the reservists but also the NHS

6:04:426:04:47

through their numbers and their

personnel are allowed to go and

6:04:476:04:50

serve in the reserve forces and I

think we should never forget. The

6:04:506:04:55

honourable gentleman for Caithness

also had the good fortune, Mr

6:04:556:05:03

Speaker,... Happy to give way.

Mr

Speaker, the particular girl was not

6:05:036:05:11

rich.

She was rich the day that she

married you and edit the thing. Can

6:05:116:05:16

I just say, Mr Speaker, I am

conscious of the timescale and am

6:05:166:05:24

trying hard to work to that. Having

served in the Territorial Army for

6:05:246:05:30

11 and a half years, I enjoyed every

minute of my time as a part-time

6:05:306:05:34

soldier. As an issue with party has

raised before and a matter of such

6:05:346:05:40

great importance... Until the

contribution by our service

6:05:406:05:49

personnel as recognise and respect

it in Northern Ireland just added it

6:05:496:05:52

in the rest of the United Kingdom of

Great and Northern Ireland. We

6:05:526:05:55

should have the same in Northern

Ireland is to have in Scotland and

6:05:556:05:58

Wales and England. We are an

integral part of the United Kingdom

6:05:586:06:02

great and Northern Ireland. My vote

in this place Mr Speaker it is equal

6:06:026:06:09

to any other vote. We are entitled

of the same support available to our

6:06:096:06:18

families and dependents. This is a

given. Can you imagine, Mr Speaker,

6:06:186:06:24

if you are allocated all of the

supports offered to MPs, would

6:06:246:06:31

receive a mad? Of course he would.

He told people that their housing

6:06:316:06:37

benefit was different to the amount

paid in Bristol, there would be

6:06:376:06:42

right in the street will

6:06:426:06:43

paid in Bristol, there would be

right in the street will. The Tommy

6:06:436:06:47

why would be OK in the amount of

anyone that we have an Armed Forces

6:06:476:06:51

Covenant in the rest of the UK but

not with an island. Is something

6:06:516:06:54

seriously wrong. On our lives not

worth as much -- not with Northern

6:06:546:06:59

Ireland. That the postcode lottery

extend to soldiers in Northern

6:06:596:07:04

Ireland? There is not one person

here that could or should believe

6:07:046:07:07

the significance. And still after

many years of discussing the issue,

6:07:076:07:13

we are coming away... We are being

financially taken advantage... We

6:07:136:07:28

are being held to ransom by a

minority party who do not even have

6:07:286:07:33

the respect is that in this chamber.

You do not take part in the debates,

6:07:336:07:36

they do not ask any questions or

take any rules in this House and

6:07:366:07:42

return instead of saying fees to

speak and hear, they be heard. We

6:07:426:07:45

are held to ransom and they can do

it they want. I want to put on the

6:07:456:07:52

record my thanks to the charities

like the Royal British Legion and

6:07:526:08:00

that shadow Minister wants to come

down to my constituency where other

6:08:006:08:05

great honourable members have been

to, I think they will find out that

6:08:056:08:09

people are most perturbed about the

Armed Forces Covenant and they are

6:08:096:08:14

so perturbed and I'm sure someday...

6:08:146:08:26

We have a number of other charities

which are doing good stuff as well.

6:08:276:08:33

It is the education that is

suffering, health, roads, because of

6:08:336:08:41

the inability of Sinn Fein to hold

the political process back in

6:08:416:08:45

Northern Ireland and as a long and

proud service... They are being

6:08:456:08:52

disrespected in disregarded because

of an abstention is party. The cry

6:08:526:09:03

for justice. Bake cry for... They

cry and they cry and they cry but a

6:09:036:09:15

Northern Ireland that I believe will

be most moved forward, we are in

6:09:156:09:18

this chamber, we are working for the

people, we are using our voices for

6:09:186:09:22

the people across the whole of

Northern Ireland. We ask the

6:09:226:09:30

Secretary of State to implement the

military covenant. Look to the

6:09:306:09:35

sincere request that we have for our

people to be heard and we will ask

6:09:356:09:45

the Secretary of State... Mr

Speaker, I hope that is in the time

6:09:456:09:49

limit that you wanted. Thank you.

Thank you. It is a time limit that I

6:09:496:09:57

got. Most grateful to the honourable

gentleman. I Minister to reply to

6:09:576:10:00

the debate.

Thank you very much

indeed and talking of time limit, Mr

6:10:006:10:05

Speaker, it is 6:59pm now. I'm

delighted to have Intel 8:04pm to be

6:10:056:10:09

able to conclude this debate --

until. Specifically to be DUP on

6:10:096:10:21

calling this and focusing on

something that is very important to

6:10:216:10:23

me personally but also to the

Government as well. I do declare an

6:10:236:10:27

interest in having service as a

regular in Her Majesty's Armed

6:10:276:10:34

Forces. Indeed, in Northern Ireland

as well and as a reservist, as a

6:10:346:10:37

lieutenant. The covenant is about

our commitment, indeed, our

6:10:376:10:42

obligation from a grateful nation to

those who have served for the

6:10:426:10:47

sacrifice they have made. We as a

nation, as a government, Parliament,

6:10:476:10:52

put them in a place of danger. We

asked them to do things that others

6:10:526:10:57

in society do not do and there for

there is not only does gratitude but

6:10:576:11:00

a determination to show our thanks

and making sure that we look after

6:11:006:11:06

them when they decide for that final

time despite the uniform back across

6:11:066:11:11

to the quartermaster and move into

civilian street. I do make the

6:11:116:11:13

point, Mr Speaker, that the absolute

majority serve well, transition

6:11:136:11:23

well, and adapt back into civilian

society well. I make that point and

6:11:236:11:29

I appreciate it is a sensitive

issue, because could get the

6:11:296:11:33

impression by some of the debates

that we have, that were you to

6:11:336:11:37

serve, you would come out perhaps

damaged or frail and that isn't the

6:11:376:11:42

case. I hope the whole House would

agree that those who have served and

6:11:426:11:46

who are serving are better for it

and the nation is better for their

6:11:466:11:53

service and what they can contribute

once they've completed the service

6:11:536:11:55

as well. That said, Mr Speaker,

some, through no fault of their own,

6:11:556:11:59

experienced difficulties and that is

where the covenant comes in, to make

6:11:596:12:03

sure we can ride that help him up

whether it is with employment,

6:12:036:12:08

whether it is with housing, whether

it is with that, these are the

6:12:086:12:11

aspect of the covenant that we need

to make sure work in every part of

6:12:116:12:15

the United Kingdom.

6:12:156:12:24

It is not just about the obligations

of the Ministry of defence. That is

6:12:246:12:27

why the veterans board with the

together. Other areas of government,

6:12:276:12:35

to make sure they are held to

account, so when there are issues,

6:12:356:12:39

or aspects of questions that have

been raised today, we know where to

6:12:396:12:42

turn to to say what are you doing to

improve what is going on. That means

6:12:426:12:46

the Department of Health, that means

education, that means the

6:12:466:12:50

administrations as well. I had a

very interesting visit for

6:12:506:12:59

Remembrance Sunday to Belfast. I

think all of those involved. To meet

6:12:596:13:03

the various characters in the 38th

brigade, to understand what is

6:13:036:13:08

happening today, very different to

when I served myself. We spent some

6:13:086:13:13

time focusing on the practical

application of the covenant itself.

6:13:136:13:18

We must recognise, and this is been

pointed out, a sensitive issue here,

6:13:186:13:24

the application of the covenant is

different in Northern Ireland, due

6:13:246:13:28

to the unique political

circumstances that are there. But

6:13:286:13:34

much has changed since the last time

we debated this very subject for

6:13:346:13:36

years ago. Northern Ireland's

veterans support, and working with

6:13:366:13:46

the charitable sectors, with the

public sector, as well. We also have

6:13:466:13:51

a veterans champion in each of the

11 authorities, again, working well.

6:13:516:13:55

We have seen some significant

findings in various aspects of

6:13:556:13:59

support for the veterans community,

for example, around £500,000, to

6:13:596:14:05

combat stress, which is focused on

their work in Northern Ireland

6:14:056:14:07

itself. £600,000 has been given to

Belfast nursing home as well. The

6:14:076:14:15

covenant is also about employment.

It is about making sure there is a

6:14:156:14:19

transition, the point that his been

made across the chamber today. We

6:14:196:14:23

have something called the defence

relationship management

6:14:236:14:28

organisation, which takes those who

have chosen to put their hands up

6:14:286:14:31

and say they are departing the Armed

Forces, through their journey, which

6:14:316:14:36

begins the year or sometimes two

years while they are serving, to

6:14:366:14:41

make sure they are on their feet.

Again, I stress the case, that

6:14:416:14:45

around 90% of those who have left

the Armed Forces, and that is about

6:14:456:14:51

15,000 a year, are back in

education, or packing employment

6:14:516:14:54

within six months of leaving. We

must all recognise that when the

6:14:546:15:00

help is needed, it is not going to

be always straight after they had

6:15:006:15:05

left, but sometimes many years

after. The point has been made again

6:15:056:15:08

and again, if you want something

from PTSD, or mental health, it can

6:15:086:15:13

incubate. It can stay there for any

number of years. Sometimes, that

6:15:136:15:18

umbilical cord, with the support of

the Armed Forces is stretched or

6:15:186:15:22

almost broken. We have cases across

the country, where people come

6:15:226:15:25

forward asking for help, not even

declaring they are a veteran, and

6:15:256:15:29

yet that is something they might

need to be aware of. It is so

6:15:296:15:34

important that we better address

that. Again, difficult circumstances

6:15:346:15:40

with Northern Ireland, we recognise

as well. Implement is critical. To

6:15:406:15:43

be able to recognise the value of

what somebody who has served in the

6:15:436:15:46

Armed Forces, their leadership,

their commitment to the work, their

6:15:466:15:54

teamwork, their grit, their

tenacity, their determination. Who

6:15:546:15:57

would not want to employ somebody

who has worked in the armed forced

6:15:576:16:01

community and has so much to offer.

That is why I am pleased to say that

6:16:016:16:05

many big businesses are signing the

Armed Forces is covenant. The Royal

6:16:056:16:10

Mail, for example. We are also

working with several hundred small

6:16:106:16:16

businesses, to make sure they are

engaged, so when people are leaving

6:16:166:16:19

the Armed Forces, there is a track

for them to look and find out where

6:16:196:16:22

their skills can be transferred to.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I would

6:16:226:16:29

say that the covenant is a journey.

We have signed this, we have created

6:16:296:16:33

this, we have made this commitment.

There is much more work to do. Not

6:16:336:16:37

just in Northern Ireland, but across

the country. Because of my service

6:16:376:16:41

and because of the passion we have

in the Armed Forces Minister as

6:16:416:16:45

well, we want to make this work. We

have to make it work. I say to the

6:16:456:16:50

DUP, thank you for your debate for

bringing this debate and bringing

6:16:506:16:53

this matter to the House today. I

think shared across the House, the

6:16:536:16:57

duty of debt we paid, but the fact

that this is the beginning of a

6:16:576:17:01

journey will stop if I can make the

promise to the DUP, I would be more

6:17:016:17:05

than delighted to visit Northern

Ireland again in the near future, so

6:17:056:17:08

we can look in detail at some of the

points on which the gentle men and

6:17:086:17:12

ladies have made today, so we can

move this another notch further.

6:17:126:17:14

Thank you.

The question is on the

order, on the contrary know. The

6:17:146:17:29

ayes have it. We come to criminal

law. I propose to take motions

6:17:296:17:38

three, four and five together. If I

could momentarily enters the

6:17:386:17:40

honourable gentleman, in motions

three, four and five. The motion

6:17:406:17:48

will be permanently grateful to him.

I understand there is no objection

6:17:486:17:52

to those three motions, the detail

the honourable Jenin is aware of.

6:17:526:18:00

Perhaps I can abide the whip to

move. Thank you. In respective

6:18:006:18:05

motions three, four and five. On the

contrary. The ayes have it. We come

6:18:056:18:16

to six. To school and early years

finance.

6:18:166:18:30

The ayes have it.

This House can

adjourned.

Thank you. The question

6:18:316:18:40

is this House two now adjourned.

Thank you very much Mr Speaker. I am

6:18:406:18:45

dreadful to have the opportunity to

raise in his house of bread to 250

6:18:456:18:49

jobs of hard-working and highly

skilled civil servants employed by

6:18:496:18:54

her Majesty's revenue customs at the

waterfront office in Dublin. I am

6:18:546:18:59

also very grateful to the great work

by the local representative of the

6:18:596:19:04

union in Clinton, and two

constituents of mine who work at the

6:19:046:19:07

centre, for speaking to me about

this. I want to congratulate them on

6:19:076:19:10

the campaign to save these jobs and

to keep these staff working in our

6:19:106:19:14

community. These jobs, these are

jobs that neither the staff or the

6:19:146:19:21

wider community can to loop. That is

why I'm asking Ministers this

6:19:216:19:24

evening to look at this decision

again. We them to keep the Briar

6:19:246:19:29

Hill office is open, and make sure

the staff continued to work for the

6:19:296:19:32

Government, serving the public.

Members well no, they announced the

6:19:326:19:38

radical office closure programme in

November 2015, reducing the office

6:19:386:19:45

numbers to just 50, spread across

the UK. For the West Midlands, I'll

6:19:456:19:49

of course.

Thank you. The highly

skilled members, the Universal

6:19:496:19:57

Credit and the additional work the

review of every former DNA. Highly

6:19:576:20:05

trained staff numbers typical of

working, is folly, and must be

6:20:056:20:12

reconsidered.

I agree with that. It

is not political muck about to say

6:20:126:20:20

that the interjection of Universal

Credit is not going according to

6:20:206:20:24

plan. It has hit, it would be

terrible to say, it wrinkles. It

6:20:246:20:29

does seem to me to be an odd

decision to get rid of staff when

6:20:296:20:35

you do not know how difficult this

new benefit will be to see properly

6:20:356:20:39

introduced. The West Midlands, the

new regional centre will be in

6:20:396:20:46

Birmingham, and this will have the

closure of offices, Worcester, which

6:20:466:20:51

is due to close next year,

Wolverhampton, which are due to

6:20:516:20:55

close in 2020. Of course.

I thank my

honourable friend for giving way. I

6:20:556:21:02

had a public meeting around the end

of January, and there was a lot of

6:21:026:21:08

concern about this. 300 jobs are

gone, at the local tax office, and

6:21:086:21:13

people will have to travel to

Birmingham or use a phone line that

6:21:136:21:17

is not always adequate for their

needs. Would you not agree with me?

6:21:176:21:23

Everybody knows how hard he fights

for jobs in Coventry. Coventry

6:21:236:21:28

cannot afford to lose those jobs.

Just as they cannot afford to lose

6:21:286:21:36

the jobs and deadly. He is right to

raise the issue. It was announced,

6:21:366:21:46

Mr Speaker, that the waterfront

office will be taken on by DWP, and

6:21:466:21:51

that staff will transfer, and a

small number of staff will transfer

6:21:516:21:56

to the Birmingham office. Staff

currently at all office, are

6:21:566:21:59

employed by the age of RC, and they

were told in 2015, it would be

6:21:596:22:05

transferred to the Department of

work and pensions, to work on

6:22:056:22:09

introduction and implementation of

Universal Credit. As recently as

6:22:096:22:12

last October, they were told that

they would remain in the waterfront

6:22:126:22:14

office, working on new benefit.

Instead of this, at the end of

6:22:146:22:18

January, it was announced that the

Government had changed his mind,

6:22:186:22:22

their jobs were at risk, and office

will close. This came as a huge

6:22:226:22:26

shock, a huge shop to the

hard-working staff working there. On

6:22:266:22:34

the say date they announced 150 job

vacancies, at the site at the

6:22:346:22:40

waterfront. These are fixed term

appointment, although local

6:22:406:22:45

discussions of revealed they could

become permanent. The announcement

6:22:456:22:48

had little if any more detail. War

was promised, we were told in April

6:22:486:22:54

2018. The Birmingham regional centre

was originally visaged to have the

6:22:546:23:01

capacity of around 3200 full-time

staff, although this is now been

6:23:016:23:10

reduced to 2600. This was announced

in October. No reason has been given

6:23:106:23:15

for this officially, but sources are

very clear that it is based on the

6:23:156:23:18

height cost of proceeds. It did not

include the hill staff, as they were

6:23:186:23:25

due to go to the DWP. We discussed

the moment ago, the situation in

6:23:256:23:33

Coventry, where our mortal members,

including the honourable friend from

6:23:336:23:36

Coventry South, MPs also stay open.

300 staff working there, and the

6:23:366:23:46

local council is also supporting

that campaign. Discussions, the

6:23:466:23:53

mayor, which was signed by the

Chancellor, when all the West

6:23:536:23:58

Midlands combined, and which

uniquely states there should be a

6:23:586:24:01

regional government in Birmingham,

and sub regional hubs elsewhere in

6:24:016:24:05

the region. Yes I will give way.

I

think giving way congratulate him on

6:24:056:24:13

the closure of the office is in my

constituency. Which I know affect

6:24:136:24:17

many of his constituents. Does he

agree that the success of this surge

6:24:176:24:21

and rapid response team at the

waterfront, it demonstrates exactly

6:24:216:24:25

the modern capabilities that would

add so much to deliver Universal

6:24:256:24:33

Credit, if that kind of redeployment

could be reconsidered, whether with

6:24:336:24:38

DWP or other bodies, to make use of

the existing staff and existing

6:24:386:24:41

skills of the waterfront.

I think

that is complete rewrite. This is a

6:24:416:24:47

point I will be making later. These

are highly skilled, highly trained

6:24:476:24:52

staff. They are experienced in

complex benefits. There could be no

6:24:526:24:55

better group of people to be

employed on the introduction of

6:24:556:24:58

Universal Credit. That is what we

are making to Ministers tonight. To

6:24:586:25:04

put that to, and I hope the

Ministers will be listening to this

6:25:046:25:08

argument, and considering this point

over the next few weeks. It is an

6:25:086:25:14

important point, Mr Speaker, because

the closure would prevent great

6:25:146:25:20

difficulties. The high proportion of

the staff carry high response

6:25:206:25:24

abilities, which makes travel to

Birmingham impossible. A number of

6:25:246:25:28

staff came from offices which close

in the 1990s, and the journeys would

6:25:286:25:33

make such a move impossible or

impractical for them. The recent

6:25:336:25:39

closure of the office in Warsaw,

left half without jobs, it was her,

6:25:396:25:45

it affected nine out of ten. The

majority of those staff have got

6:25:456:25:51

caring response abilities. HMR C

insist that 90% of staff would have

6:25:516:25:58

a job, despite the fact that all the

closures at so far have resulted in

6:25:586:26:01

much higher figures of job losses. I

think the loss of these skilled and

6:26:016:26:08

hard-working staff is very risky. I

think it contradicts presentations

6:26:086:26:13

made by committees of this House,

which have called

6:26:136:26:22

Staff at Maryhill think that if they

have universal credits to work

6:26:226:26:28

properly, it flies in the face of

all of the current information that

6:26:286:26:33

we have about this complex new

benefits introduction. The truth is

6:26:336:26:38

as set a moment ago, the staff who

work here have got high skills. They

6:26:386:26:43

have done introduction and they hop

are hoping to change to the

6:26:436:26:47

universal tax credits already. They

were also stunned that the DWP

6:26:476:26:53

vacancies were not even considered

when the announcement was originally

6:26:536:26:55

made. There is another point I want

to make which would be of interest

6:26:556:27:01

to the member from Dudley South

which is that the office is in a

6:27:016:27:05

middle of an enterprise zone, DY

five. And the roles taken by the

6:27:056:27:11

staff fit in to the Government's

vision of this enterprise zone. This

6:27:116:27:15

raises to the final point that the

unemployment...

I thank the

6:27:156:27:21

honourable gentleman for giving way.

As the chair of the PCS. There has

6:27:216:27:28

been no economic impacts are in the

quality assessment in Dublin.

Needed

6:27:286:27:35

these assessments have been carried

out and that is another point that

6:27:356:27:38

the Minister should be considering.

They should be concerning this this

6:27:386:27:44

evening. Unemployment in Dublin is

already higher than the national

6:27:446:27:47

average. They can't afford to lose

another hundred 50 jobs. Its

6:27:476:27:53

importance of a service jobs

benefiting communities like mine is

6:27:536:27:56

to be centralised in London all in

regional centres. UK is almost one

6:27:566:28:02

of the most centralised countries in

the world. Investment tech growth

6:28:026:28:06

has been concentrated in the capital

and stifled elsewhere. Despite all

6:28:066:28:10

of the cutbacks, it is

extraordinaire to that the perp --

6:28:106:28:14

proper portion of the country of

civil servants increased every year

6:28:146:28:20

between 2010 and 2015. Even with

deep cuts Ulster in the country,

6:28:206:28:24

there were 5000 more civil servants

in the capital in 2015 then there

6:28:246:28:28

had been in 2013. So instead of

closing offices in backwater

6:28:286:28:35

communities like Ira present, --

like I represent, they should be

6:28:356:28:43

transferring jobs from the capital

to the rest of the country spreading

6:28:436:28:46

wealth more fairly across the UK and

contributing to the regeneration of

6:28:466:28:53

communities in places like AA. I

think that would improve

6:28:536:28:57

policymaking as well by getting

Central regional, and local

6:28:576:29:01

governments all effectively

together. It would bring the

6:29:016:29:03

Government closer to the people and

it would ensure policymakers were

6:29:036:29:06

better informed about what life is

like in places that are often

6:29:066:29:10

ignored by civil servants and

politicians based in London. It

6:29:106:29:13

would also save the governments

money by giving staff out of

6:29:136:29:17

expressive London properties. As I

understand it, HMRC have announced

6:29:176:29:21

that they will be moving 1300 jobs

out of London. In this greater

6:29:216:29:27

generosity for we in the Black

country are well known, can I tell

6:29:276:29:30

them that we would be happy to

provide them a home for that 1500

6:29:306:29:35

staffed and that they would consider

leaving those jobs out of London to

6:29:356:29:39

Dudley and the Black country. Before

I finished, I want to ask this is

6:29:396:29:45

the question. Stephanie Officer job

late last year that they would

6:29:456:29:47

transfer the DWP on the of March,

2022. Can the Minister confirm that

6:29:476:29:54

it is still the plan that staff will

remain in Dudley working on tax

6:29:546:29:58

credits on tax credits until that

date. That is the 31st of March,

6:29:586:30:02

2022. Is that so the plan? That will

give time to see if the AWB of

6:30:026:30:08

Maryhill can make some or all of the

face it -- and offer these to staff

6:30:086:30:14

and it will give time for staff to

see if other work can be

6:30:146:30:18

reintroduced so again in this area.

It would mean of the DWP roles in

6:30:186:30:23

local job centres could become

available. It would not preclude

6:30:236:30:27

staff from doing so and it would

offer other staff a stepping stone

6:30:276:30:32

if their office is closed as many in

our area. With the Minister come

6:30:326:30:37

with me to visit offices to visit

the offices and listen directly to

6:30:376:30:40

the staff involved or meet them here

in London? Will he explain how this

6:30:406:30:47

reflects the policy when Ministers

recently designated the area as a

6:30:476:30:51

enterprise zone and did he finally

explain what assistance will be

6:30:516:30:54

provided to staff if they are not

transferred elsewhere or they can't

6:30:546:30:58

get jobs of his -- elsewhere in

order to find employment if the

6:30:586:31:02

closure programme does go ahead. I

want to say this in conclusion. The

6:31:026:31:06

decision to close his office came as

a huge shock to staff. Many will not

6:31:066:31:10

be able to transfer and Dudley can't

afford to lose these jobs. It is my

6:31:106:31:13

Xhaka centre for local people which

is what I have asked for this debate

6:31:136:31:16

and will be asked -- demanding that

Mr sticky love. These are

6:31:166:31:20

hard-working and highly skilled

public service. They are worried

6:31:206:31:22

about their future. We need to

secure their jobs. That's we are

6:31:226:31:26

here today and I very much hope.

Mr

Speaker, can I start by

6:31:266:31:34

congratulating my honourable friend,

the Member for Dudley North on

6:31:346:31:37

securing this debate today on a very

important subject. And can I start

6:31:376:31:42

by thanking the PCS trade union in

Lancashire for bringing this

6:31:426:31:50

situation to my attention. Since

October 2017, approximately 200

6:31:506:31:55

staff at the guild tower and Preston

have tested to work for the DWT --

6:31:556:32:02

DWP on Universal Credit. The next

set of staff are due to transfer in

6:32:026:32:06

April this year. However for the

last four to six weeks, rumours have

6:32:066:32:11

been extremely rife that this in the

transfer of staff will be the last

6:32:116:32:17

and that the Department for Work and

Pensions will no longer need any

6:32:176:32:20

staff for Universal Credit after

that moved over. Mr Speaker, just to

6:32:206:32:26

bring in the bigger picture, the

original plan was for 4000 HMRC

6:32:266:32:32

staff to be transferred to the DWP

across the country to work on

6:32:326:32:35

Universal Credit. And from those,

sorry, without those, there are 600

6:32:356:32:44

HMRC staff in Preston that weren't

part of those plans and they were

6:32:446:32:50

needed to locate in Manchester or in

Liverpool, the new regional centres.

6:32:506:32:55

Of the 4000 across the country, that

is now reduced to 2000 in February

6:32:556:33:02

this year with staff Liverpool,

Maryhill as mentioned by my right

6:33:026:33:07

honourable friend, St Helens and

Dudley told that they are not

6:33:076:33:10

transferred. Out of the remaining

2000, around 1400 to 1500 staff are

6:33:106:33:17

in Preston with the rest in Dundee.

These are the senders in Preston and

6:33:176:33:26

Gail tower. So far, 200 are

transferred and the rumours are that

6:33:266:33:32

the hundreds transferring next month

we'll may be be the last bowling.

6:33:326:33:35

This would equate to a total job

loss of 1700 and 1800 jobs. In

6:33:356:33:41

Preston. Under the HMRC building our

future plans, all of the current

6:33:416:33:50

HMRC offices in Preston will either

transfer over to the DWP or are

6:33:506:33:56

scheduled to close. Therefore,

though it was in the original 40

6:33:566:34:01

short listed sites for consideration

as a regional site, under current

6:34:016:34:06

plans, there will be no HMRC

presence in Preston at all after

6:34:066:34:08

2022. This could mean that anything

beyond the thousands of staff either

6:34:086:34:17

facing the prospect of moving to

work to HMRC's designated regional

6:34:176:34:21

centres in the Northwest in

Manchester or Liverpool which are

6:34:216:34:26

likely to be within reasonable daily

travel working and living from

6:34:266:34:31

Preston. This gives the prospect of

mass redundancies. I say to the

6:34:316:34:39

Minister, could he please have a

look at the plans again? I think it

6:34:396:34:45

is acceptable between 1700 and 1800

jobs should disappear from Preston

6:34:456:34:49

and that the scale and size of these

new regional centres be reviewed

6:34:496:34:54

because clearly, the huge numbers of

jobs that are in Preston are being

6:34:546:34:59

put at risk because of these plans

that really are dispensing with many

6:34:596:35:04

staff and the Government knows will

not transfer to Manchester or to

6:35:046:35:08

Liverpool because of the distances

involved. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

6:35:086:35:12

Thank you. Dynamo gem been seeking

to contribute? -- the average him

6:35:126:35:22

and put into speed. Burwell. Mike

Wood.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will

6:35:226:35:31

keep my comments very brief. As the

honourable gentleman from Dudley

6:35:316:35:36

Martha said, these proposals are

particular and different to many of

6:35:366:35:40

the wide reorganisation of proposals

for HMRC. -- from Dudley North.

6:35:406:35:48

There were very specific plans put

into place consulted with the

6:35:486:35:52

workforce act HMRC in Maryhill that

staff were going to be transferred

6:35:526:35:59

from the tax credits team to DWP to

work on Universal Credit delivery.

6:35:596:36:06

That was thought to be the position

as soon as two months ago. At the --

6:36:066:36:16

then suddenly out of the blue, the

proposals have changed. It came as a

6:36:166:36:19

shock to staff, to HMRC at the

waterfront, it came as a shock to

6:36:196:36:26

their representatives. Both in the

trade union movement but also their

6:36:266:36:30

elected representatives. The

honourable gentleman very good

6:36:306:36:35

reasons why the Government ought to

look again at how we can maintain

6:36:356:36:43

and retain the staff and these

facilities act the waterfront. -- at

6:36:436:36:50

the waterfront. The level of skills

provided by HMRC at the waterfront

6:36:506:36:58

are absolutely first-class and if

they would be a credited -- a credit

6:36:586:37:03

to any part of the civil service

that can make use of them. As I

6:37:036:37:07

referred earlier, the surge and

rapid response team that has been

6:37:076:37:13

operating out of the waterfront from

HMRC and passport service originally

6:37:136:37:20

has shown the adaptability of the

teams base their and no doubt that

6:37:206:37:27

the tax credit team could similarly

transfer and provide fantastic

6:37:276:37:31

service with in conjunction with DWP

or other parts of HMRC or Her

6:37:316:37:39

Majesty's Treasury. The waterfront

is a growth area. The honourable

6:37:396:37:44

gentleman's talk on the DUI five

edge prices out that -- the that

6:37:446:37:47

many of us worked to secure so we

have new travellings connected of

6:37:476:37:54

the enterprise zone. Which I almost

say coincidently, it is almost

6:37:546:38:01

tragic that it is due to omen --

open almost exactly at the time that

6:38:016:38:05

these new jobs would be scheduled to

be taken away from the waterfront. I

6:38:056:38:12

urge my right honourable friend the

financial Secretary to look again at

6:38:126:38:21

both the content and the timetable

for these proposals to look at

6:38:216:38:26

whether the Government is doing

absolutely everything it can to find

6:38:266:38:29

the right way to make full use of

the fantastic talent that we haven't

6:38:296:38:35

HMRC at the waterfront to give those

employees certain see, to retain the

6:38:356:38:42

skills and extremes we need in the

civil service and really sets an

6:38:426:38:46

awful lot of minds at rest if my

constituency and the honourable

6:38:466:38:49

gentleman.

I called a financial

secretary to reply to the debate.

6:38:496:38:57

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I like to

start by congratulating the I

6:38:576:39:03

remember from Dudley North for

securing this debate and I know

6:39:036:39:06

these are matters that are of

contact -- particular concern to him

6:39:066:39:10

and the honourable member from

Preston and the honourable member

6:39:106:39:13

from Preston side of also made

contributions this evening. Mr

6:39:136:39:19

Speaker, Her Majesty's was also the

subject of a backbench business

6:39:196:39:22

debate held last year in November.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to

6:39:226:39:27

return to this matter. As the

honourable member from Dudley North

6:39:276:39:30

has pointed out in November 2015,

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs

6:39:306:39:37

location strategy is a crucial

element to create a modern

6:39:376:39:40

world-class tax authority and a key

part of our long-term plan for

6:39:406:39:45

national prosperity. Since 2010, we

have made substantial investments in

6:39:456:39:49

enabling HMRC to do more to tackle

innovation, die den avoidance and

6:39:496:39:54

improve compliance. Mr Speaker, at

your mercy is transforming into a

6:39:546:39:57

meaner, more highly skilled

operation digital services. It is

6:39:576:40:02

moving away from outdated services

of manual processing and to becoming

6:40:026:40:08

more flexible and technologically

driven. Changing the way it works

6:40:086:40:11

and using today's technology and IT

to improve the services it delivers

6:40:116:40:16

for its customers. These investments

in technology mean that HMRC can

6:40:166:40:20

tackle fraud a patient and avoidance

more effectively and customer

6:40:206:40:23

services have improved with far

lower weight times on help lines and

6:40:236:40:27

new ways. Changes to H mercy are an

important part of this transmission

6:40:276:40:35

process. Moving from a large, widely

dispersed varied in size across the

6:40:356:40:41

UK to eight ounce train network of

modern regional hubs. In November

6:40:416:40:48

2015, HMRC announced that in the

following ten years it would bring

6:40:486:40:52

its employees together and 13

regional offices all in locations

6:40:526:40:55

where it already has a significant

presence such as it does in

6:40:556:40:58

Birmingham. This location of teams

across HMRC will lead to increased

6:40:586:41:05

collaboration of Fox ability of only

HMRC to provide more effective and

6:41:056:41:09

efficient services to the taxpayer.

It is but support in-place to help

6:41:096:41:13

its workforce through these changes.

In Birmingham, the regional centre

6:41:136:41:17

will be situated in the heart of the

city at three Irina Centro. It will

6:41:176:41:22

be home to 3600 civil servants with

two thousand 650 H mercy staff

6:41:226:41:27

moving in from 13 offices around the

West Midlands region to undertake a

6:41:276:41:33

wide range of key tax professional

operational delivery roles. The

6:41:336:41:38

first of HMRC's regional centres

opening in Croydon in July this

6:41:386:41:42

year, construction is on the way --

underway in Bristol, Cardiff,

6:41:426:41:48

Belfast and Leeds. All of these

offices will be a modern, friendly

6:41:486:41:52

and located in the heart of the

committee. Mosul be shared with

6:41:526:41:55

other departments and all have been

size for the future needs of HMRC

6:41:556:41:58

and the taxpayer. In addition to the

13 regional centres, HMRC will keep

6:41:586:42:04

seven transitional sites opened

across the UK for several years

6:42:046:42:08

where it helps retain key skills

during the period of transition as

6:42:086:42:12

was five specialist sites that

cannot be done elsewhere. HMRC will

6:42:126:42:18

retain Telfair as a site for

specialist visual teams. HMRC will

6:42:186:42:28

ensure disruptions to his business

operations is minimised. The Burnley

6:42:286:42:33

regional centre will be opened in

late 2020. The move to regional

6:42:336:42:38

centres will remove savings in the

taxpayer of £300 billion of to 2025

6:42:386:42:43

and an annual cash savings of £74

million in the taxpayer of £300

6:42:436:42:46

billion of the 2025 and an annual

cash savings of 74 million thousand

6:42:466:42:48

2025 rises more than £90 million by

2028. It also avoids cost of £75

6:42:486:42:53

million a year from 2021 while the

current PF I contract comes to an

6:42:536:42:59

end. But it is important to stress

that this is not about cost savings

6:42:596:43:04

in Britain. HMRC new office

structure will allow people to

6:43:046:43:06

develop more fulfilling careers.

There will be a far wider for a new

6:43:066:43:11

jobs in different career paths to

senior roles as well as a wide range

6:43:116:43:14

of work will be based in single

sites. These modern buildings will

6:43:146:43:19

unquestionably develop -- deliver a

better working environment for H

6:43:196:43:22

mercy working environment. These

locations also increased HMRC to as

6:43:226:43:28

an employer enabling to recruit and

train the next generation of gender

6:43:286:43:33

-- of her vessels. This is

important. H mercy was due all can

6:43:336:43:43

to keep his skills, knowledge and

policy to minimise and redundancies.

6:43:436:43:47

The vast majority of HMRC employees

are within reasonable daily travel

6:43:476:43:52

over regional centre, special site

or transitional site. That is

6:43:526:43:56

deliberate, Mr Speaker. Decisions to

locate or based on the modelling of

6:43:566:44:01

where says his staffer base. HMRC

estimates that 90% of its workforce

6:44:016:44:05

will be of tumour to one of its

regional centres are complete their

6:44:056:44:08

career and their current office. For

those currently based in waterfront

6:44:086:44:14

offices, the travel time is between

35 to 55 minutes by car or train.

6:44:146:44:19

That said, HMRC recognises that

individual employees have distinct

6:44:196:44:24

personal circumstances and not

everyone will feel able to move to a

6:44:246:44:28

regional centre even where they may

be reasonably close by. It has been

6:44:286:44:32

structured support in plays and a

point I know that the honourable

6:44:326:44:36

gentleman from Dudley North

specifically asked me, structures

6:44:366:44:39

are in place to help those who can

move and those who cannot. One year

6:44:396:44:43

ahead of any move, anyone affected

has the opportunity to discuss their

6:44:436:44:47

personal circumstances with their

manager to talk there any particular

6:44:476:44:50

needs to be taken into account when

making decisions or any help they

6:44:506:44:54

need to make the move. For instance,

by helping them with additional

6:44:546:44:57

travel costs. This is a tried and

tested process was more than 10,000

6:44:576:45:03

of these conversations held an HMRC

over the last two years. There is a

6:45:036:45:07

range of support for those unable to

make the move to a regional centre

6:45:076:45:11

as well. HMRC run the programme of

training, workshops, webinars and

6:45:116:45:15

coaching which includes advice on

transferable skills since starting

6:45:156:45:21

it has been offered to around 800

employees at HMRC will continue to

6:45:216:45:26

provide this support.

6:45:266:45:36

There'll be excited to work in the

March 2001 at that point that's

6:46:256:46:30

credits are expected to move fully

across the universe of credits of

6:46:306:46:33

the tax credits will -- currently

undertaken in Maryvale -- Mary help.

6:46:336:46:40

As a tax credits cases load deep --.

It will be the case, Mr Sir to the

6:46:406:46:49

HMRC will be working with those that

every opportunity will make a

6:46:496:46:57

successful move into a reallocated

employment. And the members

6:46:576:47:04

specifically asked if I would be

happy to meet with him and some of

6:47:046:47:07

the staffer then he has been and I

can certainly be more happy to do

6:47:076:47:13

that perhaps in Westminster would

probably be most appropriate given

6:47:136:47:16

that perhaps the member firm Preston

and indeed the member from Dudley

6:47:166:47:21

South would also wish to join him. I

was a baby very open. Finally, Mr

6:47:216:47:32

Speaker, the honourable member from

Dudley North asked about the

6:47:326:47:36

specifics support that would be

provided for those of might not be

6:47:366:47:39

able to make the move from Maryhill

to the new centre in the centre of

6:47:396:47:46

Birmingham. As I have said, all

staff will have one-to-one

6:47:466:47:50

discussion with their manager and a

year in advance about any office

6:47:506:47:55

move that affects them. And due to

discuss their personal

6:47:556:47:58

circumstances. If they're not there

within reasonable daily travel, and

6:47:586:48:04

what support may be needed to enable

them. And for those who cannot move,

6:48:046:48:09

there will be financial support for

those, who can move,. There will be

6:48:096:48:13

some help for those for the daily

time of the five years. HMRC is

6:48:136:48:19

supporting those who cannot move by

seeking and what opportunities and

6:48:196:48:22

other departments. On the notice, I

will conclude this, Mr Speaker.

6:48:226:48:29

Order. The question is this House do

now adjourn all is those who do say

6:48:296:48:35

I've. On the contrary, no. I believe

the eyes max habit. Order. Order.

6:48:356:48:40

Order. -- I'm -- Eisenach.

6:48:406:48:50

the eyes max habit. Order. Order.

Order. -- I'm -- Eisenach.

6:48:506:48:52

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