01/02/2017 Prime Minister's Questions


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legacy bodies and will continue to make representations to the Irish


government over a range of issues and I note that point he raced with


me this morning. Questions to the Prime Minister? Mr Peter Heaton


Jones. Question number one Mr Speaker... Thank you Mr Speaker. I


am sure that the whole house would join me in offering our condolences


to the families and friends of those who lost their lives and were


injured in the gun attack in Qu bec city on Sunday. And in paying


tribute to our former colleague. He was an outstanding


parliamentarian, I'm sure that our thoughts are with his friends and


family. I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others,


and I shall have further such meetings later today. Thank you, Mr


Speaker. I associate myself with the tribute paid to the victims in


Canada and to the family of Tam Dalyell. Mr Speaker, North Devon is


quite rightly concerned that the current review of health services


across the county may result in the loss of some acute services at our


hospital in Barnstable. For some residents, the nearest alternative


could be three hours away. Will my honourable friend assure me that she


will listen carefully to those concerns, because I want to be able


to say to North Devon that we are the party of the LHS? -- the NHS.


I thank my honourable friend for his question. I can reassure him that


this Government is absolutely committed to ensuring the best


possible health care for patients right across the country. I


recognise that there are concerns that have been expressed locally


about the North Devon District Hospital. I'd understand that there


are no specific proposals at the moment, but I know that the input of


local communities will remain crucial Robin Briars says. And I can


assure him that of course it is this party in Government that is putting


in the extra funding into the NHS and showing how we evaluate. Jeremy


Corbyn. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I joined the Prime Minister in


offering condolences to all those who died in the horrific attack,


fuelled by hate, in Qu bec. We should send our solidarity to


everybody in Canada in this sad occasion. I also associate myself to


the tribute for the former member for West Lothian, can DL. Former


father of the House, he probably thought to expose official


wrongdoing and cover-ups from the miners strike to a ruck. I'm sure


that the Prime Minister would agree with me that his scrutiny and


contributions made this House a better place. And can I recommend to


all members his autobiography, The Importance Of Being Awkward.


LAUGHTER And I'm quite happy, Mr Speaker, to


offer my copy to the Secretary of State for Brexit to have a good read


of it. I'm sure he's probably already read it. Mr Speaker, at last


week's Prime Minister is questions, the Prime Minister told the House,


I'm not afraid to speak frankly to the president of the United States.


What happened? Well, first of all, can I say to the right honourable


gentleman that I wasn't aware of the book that he referred to, but I


suspect, given the number of resignations he's had from his front


bench, that some of his colleagues have indeed read that book! I'm


happy to say to the right honourable gentleman that when I visited the


United States, I'm pleased to say that I was able to build on the


relationship that we have with our most important ally. And to get some


very significant commitments from President Trump. And crucial among


those was a 100% commitment to Nato. Nato, which keeps us safe and Europe


safe too. Mr Speaker, Downing Street has not denied that the Prime


Minister was told by the White House that the executive order on travel


to the US was imminent. So let's be clear, was the Prime Minister told


about the ban during her visit, and did she tried to persuade President


Trump otherwise? First of all, on the policy that President Trump has


introduced, this Government is clear that that policy is wrong. We


wouldn't do it. In six years as Home Secretary, I never introduced such a


policy. We believe it is divisive and wrong. If he's asking me whether


I had advanced notice of the ban on refugees, the answer is no. If he's


asking me if I had advanced notice that the executive order could


affect British citizens, the answer is no. If he's asking if I had


advanced notice of the travel restrictions, the answer is, we all


did, because President Trump said he was going to do this in his election


campaign. The question, the question is how you respond. The job of


Government, the job of Government is not to chase the headlines. The job


of Government... The job of Government is not a trait to the


streets in protest. The job of Government is to protect the


interests of British citizens, and that's exactly what we did -- not to


take to the streets. Mr Speaker, on the day after the executive order


was made to ban refugees and visitors from seven predominantly


Muslim countries, why did she three times refused to condemn the ban


then? I've made very clear, very clear, that we believe this policy


is divisive and wrong. It's not a policy that we would introduce. I've


also made very clear when asked about this that this Government has


a very different approach to these issues. On refugees, this Government


has a proud record of the support that we have given to refugees, and


long may it continue. Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister said the United


States is responsible for United States policy on refugees. But


surely it is the responsibility of all of us to defend the 1951 refugee


Convention, which commits this country, the United States, and 142


other states to accept refugees without regard to their race,


religion or country of origin. President Trump has breached that


convention. Why didn't she speak out? First of all, I've made


absolutely clear what the Goverment's view on this policy is.


Secondly, as I've just said, this Government has a proud record, and


this country has a proud record, of how it welcomes refugees. We have


over the last recent years, we've introduced the very particular


scheme to ensure that particularly vulnerable refugees in Syria can be


brought to this country, and something like 10,000 Syrian


refugees have come to this country since the conflict began. We are


also the second biggest bilateral donor, helping and supporting


refugees in the region. That is what we are doing. I have said that the


policy is wrong. We will take a different view on we will continue


to welcome refugees of this country. Mr Speaker, I also wrote to the


Prime Minister on this issue, and I received a reply this morning. I


hold in my hand her piece of paper. She makes no mention of the refugee


Convention, nor condemns the US actions in this respect. Mr Speaker,


last week I also asked the Prime Minister to assure the House that


any United States trade deal, she would not offer up our National


Health Service as a bargaining chip. She gave no answer when asked in the


US she also refused to rule it out, so let's might ask her a third time,


will she will out opening up our National Health Service to Private


US health care companies? Yes or no? Mr Speaker, I could give a detailed


answer to the right honourable gentleman's question, but I think a


simple and straightforward reply is what is required. The NHS is not for


sale, and it never will be. I hope, Mr Speaker, that includes not having


US health care companies coming in to run any part of our National


Health Service. Mr Speaker, President Trump has torn up


international agreements on refugees. He has threatened to dump


international agreements on climate change. He has praised the use of


torture. He has incited hatred against Muslims, he is directly


attacked women's rights. Just what more does the President Trump have


to do before the Prime Minister will listen to the 1.8 million people who


have already called for his state visit invitation to be withdrawn


the right honourable gentleman's foreign policy is to object to and


insult the democratically elected head of state of our most important


ally. Let's just see what he would have achieved in the last week.


Would he have been able to protect richest citizens from the impact of


the executive order? No. -- British citizens. Would he have been able to


lay the foundations of a trade deal? No. Would he have got a 100%


commitment to Nato? No. That's what Labour has two of this country. Less


protection for British citizens, less prosperous, let's save -- what


Labour has to offer. -- less safe. He can lead a protest, I'm leading a


country. Order, order. Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Today, it is inconceivable that somebody would be prosecuted because


of who and what they are. Would my right honourable friend drawing me


and welcoming the posthumous pardon of some 49,000 men thanks to the


Goverment's Bill that was enacted yesterday, and encourage those who


are still alive to come forward so that there are injustices can be


overturned. I'm very happy to join my honourable friend in welcoming


what I believe is an extremely important change to the law. We made


a manifesto commitment to it and we have now delivered on it. Passing


this law has been a long-standing commitment for the Government. It is


momentous, it does take action to right the wrongs of the past, and


like my right honourable friend, I would certainly encourage those


still alive to applied the Home Office to have their references


disregarded. We on these benches associate ourselves with all the


comments thus far on the tragic deaths in Qu bec and on the passing


of time DL. The respect for him was held across the political parties.


He served with great distinction for more than 40 years. The Prime


Minister had a very successful international visit in this last


week. To Ireland. And there she spoke publicly about her commitment,


it's very important I think, the commitment not to have a hard border


on these islands. That there should continue to be free movement of


peoples on these islands, and trade should be protected and enhanced.


Given that people will be watching this not just in Britain but also in


Ireland, would she take the opportunity to explain how she will


deliver these sensible and important outcomes? These are absolutely the


outcomes that we want to see. I was very pleased to meet with the


Taoiseach and discuss with him the joint intent that of his government


and mine have two ensure that we don't see a return to the borders of


the past in Northern Ireland. And to say that of course we focus on the


land border that is between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,


of course the issue of movements from Ireland does in effect other


places as well, such as port in Wales. It is an important issue for


us, and we have agreed the work we are going to do together to deliver


what I believe will be as frictionless as possible a border,


and also one of the objectives that I set out in my plan for our


negotiating objectives is to retain the Common travel area.


We welcome what the Prime Minister has had to say on these issues and


we welcome the intensifying of negotiations between the UK


government and the devolved administrations ahead of triggering


Article 50. So the Prime Minister is very helpfully explained that it is


perfectly possible for parts of these islands to be in the single


market, without Borders, with free movement of people and at the same


time protect and enhance trade with one another. This is very, very


welcome, Mr Speaker. Will the Prime Minister give a commitment to work


with the Irish government and a commitment to work with the Scottish


government to deliver all of these things? Or will we just have to get


on with it ourselves? First of all, the Right Honourable gentleman is


right, that following the meeting of the plenary session on Monday


morning we did agree to an intensification of discussion on


issues related to the bringing back of powers from Brussels, and as to


where those powers should lie within the United Kingdom, and to intensify


that in the run-up to the triggering of Article 50 and beyond. On the


other question, I'm afraid he really should listen to the answer that are


given because he's trying to imply something that isn't there. Yes. We


are very clear that we want to see a frictionless border between Northern


Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. I'm also clear that one of the


objectives of our negotiation is to see us frictionless a border as


possible between the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union.


If he is so worried about having a frictionless border between Scotland


and the European Union, he shouldn't want to see Scotland independent and


take it out of the European Union. Order! We shouldn't have to allow


for the reaction to every answer from the SMB benches before we


proceed to the next question. Mrs Maria Miller. -- SNP. EU nationals


provide a vital and expert service in my hospital in Basingstoke. Along


with thousands of others they face an uncertain future. I know this is


something the Prime Minister wants to give priority to in sorting out,


will we be hearing more about it in the forthcoming White Paper? My


right honourable friend makes an important point. I would like to


confirm my intention and expectation that we will be able to offer that


reassurance. I do also want to see reassurance offered to UK nationals


in the EU. I will be working to ensure this is an issue we can deal


with at an early stage in the negotiations. It was one of the


objectives I set out in the plan. It will be referenced in the White


Paper. I can inform my right honourable friend and the House that


that White Paper will be published tomorrow.


Prime Minister, your responses today have been deeply unsatisfactory. The


president of the United States had -- has advocated torture, misogyny,


racial discrimination, sexual assault, isolationism. The leaders


of Canada and Germany responded robustly but your response was to


jump on a plane as soon as possible to hold his hand. Mr Speaker,


doesn't this country deserve our leader willing to stand up for


British values? Order! I have issued no response and


the honourable gentleman not only shouldn't breach Parliamentary


protocol, but he shouldn't tempt me. The Prime Minister. I will tell you


what standing up for British values is. I had this government introduced


the first modern slavery act in this country. I have ensured that stop


and search is reduced because I don't believe that anybody on the


streets of this country should be stopped and searched because of the


colour of their skin. And I ensured justice for the families of


Hillsborough. Despite the fact most of the country -- countries covered


by the Trump ban have total exclusion of Israeli visitors,


shouldn't the protestors be calling for that banned to be lifted? I


thank my right honourable friend for pointing this out. It is absolutely


right that this House should be aware of the discrimination and the


band that exists around the world, particularly for those who are is


really sad isn't -- citizens. We don't agree with that approach. And


it is not an approach we shall be taking. I wait for the day when the


right honourable gentleman opposite stance up and condemns it, too. Mr


Speaker, a constituent of mine suffered a bleed on the brain in


2012. She has struggled to work since but was due to disk -- to


retire in December. Due to changes to state pension retirement age, she


will not retire until 2022. This has short-changed 2.2 million women and


brought shame to this government. Will the Prime Minister look again


and support Diana and the millions of women who deserve fairness in


retirement? The issue of those who are known...


To refer the honourable gentleman to the fact we did commit over ?1


billion to lessen the impact on those affected, so no one will see


their pension age changed by more than 18 months. But we do have to be


realistic and looking at pension ages, but the fact that people are


living longer. If we want a sustainable pension system, we need


to equalise the state pension age faster and bring forward the rise. I


welcome the ?450 million announced in the Autumn Statement to fund a


trial for the pilot of the digital railway. Given the new fleet of


trains on the border and the economic growth opportunity that


exists for our region, does the Prime Minister agree that the main


line represents the most compelling case for that pilot? My honourable


friend is right about what he says about transport links. I understand


digital signalling could increase capacity by up to 40%. Hence the


investment he refers to. I know that the Department for Transport is


looking currently at where those trials should take place. But we


certainly recognise that the great Eastern and mainline is one of the


areas that could benefit. A few moments ago the Prime Minister tried


to claim credit for passing Stonewall's Alan Turing bill. She


didn't. The bill pardons all gay men found guilty of crimes no longer on


the statute book. So when will the Prime Minister follow the Scottish


government and pardon automatically the living as well as the dead? When


I was home Secretary the legislation was introduced that gives the


opportunity for those who are alive to apply to the Home Office to have


those events is no longer on the statute book expunged from their


record. The honourable gentleman says they are not doing it. My


honourable friend and I have both, in this chamber today, encouraged


people to come forward and make that application. That is a message we


should all give. At the White House my right honourable friend gain some


assurances from President Trump about his commitment to Nato, an


achievement welcomed by the governments the Czech Republic,


Latvia and Lithuania. Does my right honourable friend agree with me that


the way to engage with President Trump and win such agreements is by


not insulting our close ally, but by bringing him close, and not doing as


the leader of the is it and demands, that we reject our closest ally?


Would this not leave Britain and our European partners less safe and less


secure? My honourable friend is absolutely right in the points he


makes. We should never forget that America is our most important ally.


It is a long-standing relationship. American men and women served


alongside and died alongside UK men and women in two world Wars to


protect our security and the security of Europe. If we were not


able to have that relationship and see that commitment to Nato


particularly, we would see this country and Europe less safe.


Many were surprised that immediately after those cosy images with Donald


Trump, the Prime Minister chose to meet with the Turkish president, who


has been running an increasingly repressive regime since last summer.


Could the Prime Minister confirm whether she raised any human rights


concerns with President Cardigan? Will it be the policy of post-Brexit


Britain to put arms deals before human rights abuses? First of all, I


think the honourable lady should recognise that Turkey is an


important country in relation to both our security and the issue of


migration into Turkey and potentially into Europe. Turkey has,


and continues to host, 3 million refugees from Syria. I commended the


Turkish government on the welcome they have given those refugees. And


yes, I did raise and I suggest to the honourable lady she should just


have looked at the press conference I gave after my discussions with


President erred again, in which I made it clear that we had condemned


the coup but we also expected the Turkish government to support its


democratic institutions, to support international human rights and the


rule of law. I wholeheartedly congratulate my right honourable


friend in securing 100% for Nato from the US administration.


Cucchietti climb what she is to persuade our other allies the


importance of press -- their obligations? Can I thank my


honourable friend for the work he does on the Nato Parliamentary


assembly. I know he is fully engaged with that. There are commitments


that have been made. At the Nato Summit in 2014 Oliver Nato allies


committed to spending 2% on defence within a decade. We have seen


progress but I agree with President Trump that many allies need to go


further. I can assure my honourable friend that I and other ministers


across government raise our -- the issue regularly.


Last week's London air pollution was worse than that of Beijing. So will


the Prime Minister assure me and my constituents in Osterley, Brentford


and Chiswick, that the hugely expensive proposal to double the


capacity of the M4 as it arrives in London will be shelled forthwith? --


shelved. The issue of air quality is one this government takes seriously.


Quite a lot of work has been done since 2011. Over ?2 billion has been


committed to enable, for example, bus operators to upgrade their


fleets. But we do recognise that more needs to be done. We have seen


a reduction in nitrous oxide fumes in recent years but we will be


bringing forward proposals to ensure we can maintain the air quality that


we all want to see. As a fellow Bartra member of Parliament, will my


right honourable friend the show her support for brighter Bircher, the


campaign that is part of the 2017 Europe mental health, and give her


continued -- commitments to ensure we have parity between mental health


and physical health in this country? I am very happy to endorse the


campaign that my friend has referred to. I think it is important that we


continue to raise awareness of the issues around mental health. And the


fact the government has committed to this parity of esteem between mental


health and physical health is important. There is more to do a


mental health. I have set out some steps we need to take. But I commend


all those working to raise awareness of mental health and provide support


to those with mental health problems. The Association of


directors of adult social services have said that 4.6 billion has been


cut from social care budgets since 2010. Does the Prime Minister take


any responsibility for the pain and the distress that the Tories have


inflicted on poor vulnerable older people being denied their rightful


care? Yes, horror no? This government has taken a number of


steps to increase the funding from local authorities to provide for


social care. I also believe it is important that we do ensure best


practice is being developed and put into place across the country. There


are some parts of the country where the record on social care, the


interaction between hospitals, is better than others. There is a


longer term issue to ensure that we have a sustainable system for


delivering social care for people in this country. The Labour Party


ducked that issue for 13 years. We're addressing it. Will my right


honourable friend join me in congratulating the academy on the


recently received world-class schools quality mark award, and


indicate how awards such as this drive people excellence? I am happy


to join my friend in congratulating the whole team at Morley Academy. I


think it shows the work the trust is doing in driving up excellence and


improving outcomes for pupils. We are determined to drive up standards


in schools to ensure broad children have good school places, a good


school place for every child, so they can all be at the level we see


in the Morley Academy. How will the thousands of people who've lost


their jobs at BHS feel that it may take years before the case of Philip


Green, the disgraced and discredited businessperson, will have his


knighthood possibly withdrawn, taken away or otherwise? Isn't it


remarkable? People lose their jobs, they suffer all the consequences and


this man keeps his billions and his knighthood.


The honourable gentleman has raised an important issue. This has been


raised by many members of this house in terms of their concern about what


happened at BHS and the attitude and approach Philip Green talk. The


issue of whether a knighthood should be taken away from somebody is a


matter for the relevant committee. They will be looking at this. I


understand they have said they are waiting for the investigations to


complete, but this is an issue for an independent committee. Tonight


there will be an historic vote in this place. A vote that I never


thought I would see in my political lifetime. The British Parliament


voted to withdraw from the European Union under the excellent leadership


of the Prime Minister. Would the Prime Minister be surprised that


people on the opposite bench or demand time to discuss this and


debated, namely the Liberal Democrats, didn't even bother to


turn up last night? These benches or pack, both benches were packed, the


DV -- the DUP were here and there were some Labour members. Isn't that


surprising? Throughout my political career I


have fought -- nothing the Liberal Democrats do ever surprises me. But


I will join my honourable friend in commending the bill that is before


the House. This House has a simple decision. We gave the right of


judgment to the British people. They made their choice, they want to


leave the EU. The question every member must ask themselves as they


go through the lobbies tonight is, do they trust the people?


The right honourable gentleman is here now.


Let's here the fellow. Tim Farron. -- let's hear the fellow.


Who'd have guessed it, Mr Speaker? We are here now...


LAUGHTER. Asking the questions about the


future of our country on Brexit that a strong Leader of the Opposition


should be asking. Order! Order, Mr Knight! I'm very


worried about you. You recently suffered from a bad leg. With all


that shedding you will be suffering from a bad head. Calm yourself, man!


The Prime Minister will return... The Prime Minister will return at


some point with a deal with Europe that our people will have to live


with for decades to come. Especially our young people. 73% of whom voted


to remain. Nobody knows what that deal will look like. But someone,


someone will get to agree at. Should it be her government? Should it be


this parliament? Or should it be, as I believe, the British people?


I've already said they will be a vote on the deal in this Parliament.


Calm yourself. You are in a state of excessive excitement, even by your


standards. Nigel Adams. Quite difficult to follow that! Back in


the real world... LAUGHTER.


In December 2015, my constituency suffered some terrible flooding,


particularly the town of Tadcaster. The damage was made worse when the


bridge collapsed. Thankfully the Briton -- bridge will be reopened


this week. Willie Prime Minister thank all those involved in the


restoration of the bridge? Would you join me in thanking the residents of


Tadcaster who have had a terrible year? 5-macro I am very happy to


join my honourable friend both in commending and in thanking all those


who have worked so hard to see the restoration of the bridge at


Tadcaster, but also the people of Tadcaster who have had to put up


with this disruption and inconvenience for such a long period


of time. I'm sure they will all welcome the return of the bridge. We


commend all those involved. The News revealed yesterday that


Toshiba is reviewing its investment in the Moorside nuclear-power plant.


Not only does it put a cloud over jobs in Cumbria, but also over the


future of our energy and security. What does he do personally to make


sure the deal stays on track? I can assure the honourable gentleman that


in relation to a number of deals and potential deals around the nuclear


industry, both I and the Business Secretary are involved in these and


are very keen to ensure that these jobs are brought to the United


Kingdom, and we do see these deals keeping on track. So I can assure


him that the government's commitment is there.


This week, the Danish drug firm invested 115 million in the UK, in


order to further research into type two diabetes. With the Prime


Minister join me in welcoming the investment, welcoming those


academics and scientists, many from the EU and around the world, who


will appreciate that the surety she spoke of earlier? But also work with


me to ensure that new treatments get to patients as quickly as possible?


This is an issue that I do recognise particularly, personally, although I


am a type one diabetic rather than Type II. Any investment in research


for diabetes is to be welcomed. We do need to ensure that where there


are new solution is found, where there is support for diabetics


found, that we see that getting to people as quickly as possible. There


is a significant number of people who suffer from type two diabetes in


this country, and the figures show there is a great risk that number


will increase significantly in coming years. We need to do all we


can to prevent people becoming Type II diabetics in the first place, but


also to support those who are, so that we see that people suffer from


fewer complications in future and are able to manage their lives.


Today's is world hijab day. I wonder if the Prime Minister would join me


in recognising the right of Muslim Women's Network the hijab without


fear, if they wish? And the right of all women everywhere to wear what


they want, when they want. Willie Prime Minister also commit to


standing up for the right to refuge for men, women and children wherever


they may be, regardless of their religion? First of all, on the


second point of the honourable lady races, it is absolutely the case


that this country welcomes refugees to the United Kingdom. And we do so


regardless of their religion. There is no question of discriminating on


the religion. On the issue that she raises about the wearing of the


hijab, I am absolutely in line with her. What a woman wears is a woman's


choice. The Russian armed forces regularly


carry out large-scale exercises, including with nuclear capable


equipments, on the borders of eastern Europe. Would my right


honourable friend I agree with me that the American commitment to Nato


is absolutely pivotal in protecting the countries of eastern Europe from


going the same way as already has happened to eastern Ukraine? I


absolutely agree with my honourable friend. I think the commitment that


President Trump has given, 100% commitment to Nato, is crucial in


ensuring we can provide for the security of this country and others


in Europe, and particularly for those in eastern Europe on the


borders with Russia. I know that my honourable friend earlier referred


to the fact that the Czech republic, the Latvian government, the little


winning government, had welcomed that 100% commitment. -- Lithuanian


government. We have played our part. 300 troops will be going to


Lithuania and Estonia later this year.


In 2015, my constituent was lured to her death to Pakistan where she was


brutally raped and murdered. Willie Prime Minister join me in


reiterating the commitment of this House and this country, that we will


not tolerate violence against women, and to encourage the Pakistani


government to continue in its efforts for justice for our British


girl? Yes, can I say to the honourable lady that obviously she


has raised a very tragic case that has taken place. Our deepest


sympathies are with Samir's husband following her tragic death last


year. We don't interfere in the legal processes of another country.


But the Foreign Office, I understand from the Foreign Office the


Pakistani police have charged two people with murder. The Foreign


Office are provided assistance to Samir's husband and will continue to


do so. I understand the Home Secretary will be meeting the


honourable lady soon to discuss this issue.


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