12/07/2017 Prime Minister's Questions


12/07/2017

Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to first secretary of state Damian Green, standing in for Theresa May, from Wednesday 12 July.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 12/07/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

we have led the way in humanitarian and emergency food assistance, given

:00:00.:00:00.

help to over 2.4 million people. Questions to the Prime Minister.

:00:00.:00:00.

Caroline Flint. Question number one. Mr Damian

:00:07.:00:18.

Green. My right honourable friend is

:00:19.:00:29.

welcoming the king and queen of Spain on their state visit to the

:00:30.:00:34.

United Kingdom and I am sure the whole House wishes them well. Isn't

:00:35.:00:42.

today's report that the National Grid made ?3 billion profit in 2016

:00:43.:00:47.

at the expense of households further evidence the Government is not

:00:48.:00:51.

delivering their energy prices? Will the Government agreed to an

:00:52.:00:56.

immediate rebate for overcharging, and will the Government now commit

:00:57.:01:01.

and energy price cap for the households on the most expensive

:01:02.:01:08.

tariffs? The right honourable lady is right to identify the issue and I

:01:09.:01:11.

am sure she will welcome the announcement in the Queen's Speech

:01:12.:01:16.

that the Government will ensure there are markets for consumers and

:01:17.:01:18.

this will include bringing forward measures to help tackle unfair

:01:19.:01:23.

practices in the energy market to help produce energy bills. I am sure

:01:24.:01:26.

this is an issue on which we can work across the House together. Mr

:01:27.:01:35.

Speaker, yesterday you kindly hosted discussions on the future of health

:01:36.:01:38.

and social care and their funding, including one by Mike honourable

:01:39.:01:41.

friend. My right honourable friend knows that NHS in Staffordshire and

:01:42.:01:46.

Stoke is delivering fine carer but under great financial pressure along

:01:47.:01:51.

with other parts of the country. Can I encourage the Government to bring

:01:52.:01:55.

together people from across this House to make this Parliament one

:01:56.:01:58.

that puts the NHS and social care on a firm foundation. I am grateful to

:01:59.:02:05.

my honourable friend and I know he has been campaigning vigorously on

:02:06.:02:11.

behalf of the health service in his constituency, including his local

:02:12.:02:15.

hospital, and he is absolutely right to do so. He and I I am sure both

:02:16.:02:18.

welcomed the fact that the Government has committed an extra ?8

:02:19.:02:25.

billion over this Parliament to the NHS, and are also committed to

:02:26.:02:28.

having a full debate across the House and indeed much wider with

:02:29.:02:33.

people about how to improve our social care system because this is

:02:34.:02:36.

indeed one of the big issues facing this country. Emily Thornberry.

:02:37.:02:42.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Let me welcome the first secretary to his

:02:43.:02:48.

new role. By my reckoning in the 20 years since he first joined this

:02:49.:02:52.

House ease the 16th member of the party opposite to be represented at

:02:53.:02:57.

prime ministers questions, so how about I give him until the end of

:02:58.:03:00.

this session to be able to name all the others?

:03:01.:03:01.

LAUGHTER In the meantime I am sure he and a

:03:02.:03:08.

whole House will join me in congratulating the British and Irish

:03:09.:03:10.

Lions on their historic achievement in recent days. Mr Speaker, on the

:03:11.:03:17.

subject of British and Irish cooperation, the secretary has huge

:03:18.:03:20.

expertise on the practicalities of the Common travel area. On that

:03:21.:03:23.

basis can he tell the House what will happen to the Irish land border

:03:24.:03:27.

if no deal is reached between Britain and Europe by the end of

:03:28.:03:33.

March 2019? I am grateful to the Saffie for her kind remarks -- I am

:03:34.:03:40.

grateful to the right honourable lady for her kind remarks. I might

:03:41.:03:43.

pick up the offer in the tearoom later rather than disturb the House

:03:44.:03:48.

no. Many distinguished people, of both sexes, who have dealt with this

:03:49.:03:51.

in this party, because we of course elect women leaders. I am also... I

:03:52.:04:08.

also absolutely share her view about the British and Irish Lions, though

:04:09.:04:15.

it strikes me as a particularly British thing to do to celebrate and

:04:16.:04:19.

drawn series quite as hard as we have, but nevertheless that is the

:04:20.:04:23.

way we do sport, and I know you, Mr Speaker, will be very keen in

:04:24.:04:27.

following Joe contact's progress through Wimbledon, as well as Andy

:04:28.:04:32.

Murray. -- Johanna Konta through Wimbledon. Let's hope we have two

:04:33.:04:38.

finalists over the weekend. On the question of the Irish border, she

:04:39.:04:41.

will know it is the aim of this Government to make sure we get the

:04:42.:04:45.

best deal for Britain, and as the prime ministers set out in her

:04:46.:04:48.

Lancaster house speech, one of the key issues we want to bring forward

:04:49.:04:53.

and have brought forward at the start of the negotiations is

:04:54.:04:56.

precisely the issue of the Irish border, because it is extremely

:04:57.:05:00.

important, not just for our own citizens in Northern Ireland, but

:05:01.:05:04.

for the Irish Republic, that we get that right, and indeed I have

:05:05.:05:09.

already had meetings with my opposite number on this and other

:05:10.:05:14.

matters. I mentioned at the outset he is the 16th member to represent

:05:15.:05:20.

his party in jaw-mac since beginning and seven. Only three of those have

:05:21.:05:23.

been women and the last before the current Prime Minister was 16 years

:05:24.:05:33.

ago -- his party in the House since 1997. If I might turn to the

:05:34.:05:38.

question, it was not what deal do we hope to get, but what happens if we

:05:39.:05:46.

get no deal at all? This isn't some sinister nightmare drugged by

:05:47.:05:53.

Remains. It was the Prime Minister who first floated the idea of no

:05:54.:05:56.

deal -- this is not some sinister nightmare

:05:57.:06:07.

dreamt up. Well the first Secretary clear this up? Are ministers just

:06:08.:06:13.

making it up as they are going along? Or is it still the

:06:14.:06:26.

Government's clear policy that no deal is an option? I recommend the

:06:27.:06:35.

right honourable lady read the Prime Minister's Lancaster house speech,

:06:36.:06:40.

the principle on which we are negotiating. Also seeing it is

:06:41.:06:45.

conceivable we would be offered a kind of punishment deal that would

:06:46.:06:50.

be worse than no deal. That is not our intention because we want a good

:06:51.:06:54.

deal. It is for a leader and her party's position that whatever is on

:06:55.:06:57.

offer they will accept it, can I point out? That is a terrible way to

:06:58.:07:07.

go into a negotiation, and all I can congratulate them on is their

:07:08.:07:10.

consistency. They have been consistently in favour of unilateral

:07:11.:07:15.

disarmament, but they don't only apply that in military matters, they

:07:16.:07:19.

clearly applied in matters of negotiation on Britain's future

:07:20.:07:26.

prosperity as well. The first secretary apparently did not get the

:07:27.:07:29.

Prime Minister's mammal. You are supposed to be building consensus,

:07:30.:07:38.

mam. -- man. And if we ignore the political bluster, I think what we

:07:39.:07:43.

heard was that no deal is indeed still an option, and if that is the

:07:44.:07:47.

case, can we turn to what I might call the East India club question?

:07:48.:07:54.

Before the member for Newton Abbot suddenly turned herself into Nick

:07:55.:07:56.

Griffin, this was the question she was trying to ask. What does no deal

:07:57.:08:04.

mean for our people, our businesses, and for issues such as the Irish

:08:05.:08:09.

land border? Can the first secretary addressed this question now? What

:08:10.:08:15.

does no deal look like in practice? I am very happy to address her first

:08:16.:08:22.

point of it consensus. Am always, as she knows, a moderate person keen on

:08:23.:08:25.

consensus, so I very much look forward to sharing the Labour

:08:26.:08:29.

Party's view this morning on the unemployment figures. Unemployment

:08:30.:08:40.

is now down to its lowest level since the early 70s. There are many

:08:41.:08:44.

members of this House who were not born when unemployment was as low as

:08:45.:08:48.

this Government has made it. I would hope that she can bring herself in

:08:49.:08:53.

the course of her questions actually to welcome lower unemployment. On

:08:54.:08:58.

the substance of her question, as she knows, we are seeking a good

:08:59.:09:05.

deal for Britain that will enable us to trade as freely as possible with

:09:06.:09:10.

the European Union to protect our prosperity, at the same time as

:09:11.:09:13.

getting trade deals with other important markets around the world.

:09:14.:09:18.

In the last week alone, both the United States and Australia have

:09:19.:09:20.

said they would like to sign trade deals with Britain as fast as

:09:21.:09:25.

possible. So I am happy to report to her and that negotiations are going

:09:26.:09:29.

well and that her fear of no deal is probably overstated. If he wants to

:09:30.:09:43.

talk about unemployment, let me ask him, specifically, will he publish

:09:44.:09:46.

the Treasury's assessment of the impact of what they're no deal

:09:47.:09:51.

outcome would have on jobs and growth in Britain? -- the impact of

:09:52.:09:55.

what they know deal outcome would have. I didn't think so. Let's

:09:56.:10:00.

continue. If the first secretary will not tell the House... Order.

:10:01.:10:04.

Honourable lady must be heard, and she will be, as well first secretary

:10:05.:10:11.

Green. Members must calm themselves. Emily Thornberry... Thank you, Mr

:10:12.:10:18.

Speaker. If the first secretary will not tell the House what no deal

:10:19.:10:21.

means can he is least clear up the confusion over whether a plan for no

:10:22.:10:26.

deal actually exists? Yesterday the Foreign Secretary told me that

:10:27.:10:29.

indeed there was no plan for no deal. Two hours later, Number ten

:10:30.:10:34.

for it back and said there was a plan. That Brexit secretary might be

:10:35.:10:37.

laughing, but I am turning to him next.

:10:38.:10:45.

LAUGHTER The Brexit secretary was so busy

:10:46.:10:50.

fighting with himself, that on March the 12, he said that there was a

:10:51.:10:54.

plan, and on March 17th he said there was not. On May 19th he said

:10:55.:11:00.

he spent half his time thinking about it, and yesterday he said he

:11:01.:11:04.

was not prepared to comment. So can the first secretary clear up the

:11:05.:11:07.

confusion today? Is there a contingency plan for no deal, or is

:11:08.:11:12.

there not? If there is, will you undertake to publish it?

:11:13.:11:18.

The honourable ladies says she is happy to talk about an employment,

:11:19.:11:24.

but you cannot bring herself to welcome the figures. --

:11:25.:11:31.

unemployment. We will have to work harder to establish consensus on

:11:32.:11:34.

something that I would hope genuinely unites all sides of this

:11:35.:11:40.

House. On the report, the OBR is publishing its fiscal risks report

:11:41.:11:43.

tomorrow, so if she can be patient, she will see the report she wants.

:11:44.:11:50.

Emily Thornberry! So let's be clear, the First Secretary seems to be

:11:51.:11:54.

saying that no deal is still on the table, but he won't say what it

:11:55.:12:00.

means, and there is a no deal contingency plan that he will not

:12:01.:12:05.

publish. This is two steps forward and two steps back. After all, if

:12:06.:12:10.

the Government seriously once open, cross-party debate about the best

:12:11.:12:14.

way forward for Brexit, surely they have to spell out what all the

:12:15.:12:19.

options look like. So can the First Secretary at least provide some

:12:20.:12:22.

clarity on one issue, and let's try to make some progress today. He has

:12:23.:12:27.

said repeatedly that we want to avoid a cliff edge Brexit. But and a

:12:28.:12:37.

no deal scenario, he knows that must be impossible, because the Prime

:12:38.:12:40.

Minister can hardly storm out of the negotiating room saying she will not

:12:41.:12:42.

accept the deal, then pop her head around the door and say, can she

:12:43.:12:45.

have two more years to prepare, because that is not how it works.

:12:46.:12:51.

Does he accept that no deal means no transitional arrangements? That me

:12:52.:12:54.

try harder to establish consensus with the right honourable lady. We

:12:55.:12:58.

both want a deal, I hope we will agree to that, a deal at the end of

:12:59.:13:03.

this, and the reason why I am optimistic because of our negotiated

:13:04.:13:06.

stands and the position set out by the Prime Minister we will get a

:13:07.:13:11.

deal, is that we have, for example, paid a fair and realistic offer

:13:12.:13:15.

about citizenship to try to remove that problem from the equations.

:13:16.:13:22.

That is a first indication of how we will approach these negotiations, we

:13:23.:13:25.

approached them in a positive state, and we believe that it is not just

:13:26.:13:30.

in the interests of Great Britain but also in the interests of the

:13:31.:13:33.

other member states of the European Union to reach a deal with what is

:13:34.:13:36.

one of their biggest trading partners. Though it is in everyone's

:13:37.:13:43.

interest to reach this deal, and frankly she said nothing

:13:44.:13:45.

constructive to contribute to a deal so far, but I will give her another

:13:46.:13:52.

chance. Emily Thornberry! I know the right honourable gentleman is new to

:13:53.:13:56.

this, but the way the rules work... Order! I do not know whether it is

:13:57.:14:01.

spontaneous or orchestrated, and I don't really care which, but

:14:02.:14:06.

whichever it is, the idea that it is going to stop the honourable lady

:14:07.:14:09.

asking her questions is for the birds. Members are wasting their

:14:10.:14:14.

vocal chords, we will carry on as long as necessary to accommodate the

:14:15.:14:18.

backbench members who I wish to accommodate. Emily Thornberry. I

:14:19.:14:22.

know that the honourable and is new to this, but I ask the questions and

:14:23.:14:25.

he... LAUGHTER

:14:26.:14:34.

And I quite happy to swap places with them! Frankly, if he doesn't

:14:35.:14:43.

want to continue under these rules, plenty of other people on the front

:14:44.:14:47.

bench would love the opportunity to audition as Prime Minister. But I do

:14:48.:14:53.

appreciate, I do appreciate the first Secretary's answers, but they

:14:54.:14:57.

just serve to illustrate what a mess the Government has got itself into

:14:58.:15:00.

by threatening to walk away even before talks began. Isn't the truth

:15:01.:15:05.

now that we have a no deal option on the table but they will not tell us

:15:06.:15:09.

what it means, contingency plans that they will not let the public

:15:10.:15:12.

see, a Chancellor demanding transitional arrangements, which a

:15:13.:15:18.

no deal option makes impossible, a Foreign Secretary making it up as he

:15:19.:15:23.

is going along, we have got a Brexit Secretary so used to overruling his

:15:24.:15:27.

colleagues that he has started overruling himself! And we have got

:15:28.:15:31.

a Prime Minister who is so be reft of ideas that she started putting

:15:32.:15:36.

suggestion boxes around Parliament! But as a country, as a country, we

:15:37.:15:44.

have got 20 months until Brexit. We absolutely have got to get a grip,

:15:45.:15:49.

and if the party opposite hasn't got the strength or the task, then we

:15:50.:15:52.

have absolutely got to get rid of them.

:15:53.:15:56.

I think there may have been a question somewhere in that! Can I

:15:57.:16:04.

issue at the right honourable lady of two things? First of all, that is

:16:05.:16:09.

Government is already in the negotiations, she will have seen

:16:10.:16:13.

that, we have started negotiations, they are going well. We said the

:16:14.:16:18.

first thing we wanted to do was negotiate citizens' writes, that was

:16:19.:16:22.

the first item on the agenda of the first meeting. We want to make sure

:16:23.:16:28.

that European citizens in this country and, British citizens living

:16:29.:16:31.

in other European countries have as much certainty about their rights as

:16:32.:16:36.

soon as possible, and that is what we are negotiating, that is the sign

:16:37.:16:40.

of a practical, pragmatic government getting on with work in the

:16:41.:16:44.

interests of the British people. What we would have, as we have seen

:16:45.:16:49.

from the Labour Party, they have so far had nine different plans on

:16:50.:16:53.

Europe. They want to be both in and out of the single market, in and out

:16:54.:16:59.

of the customs union, they said they wanted to remain, they voted for

:17:00.:17:03.

Article 50, they split their party on that, and she made a point about

:17:04.:17:07.

whether she would prefer to be at this despatch box rather than as

:17:08.:17:11.

that despatch box. I would also remind her of the other event that

:17:12.:17:14.

has happened recently, where the Conservative Party got more votes

:17:15.:17:17.

and more seats than the Labour Party, and won the election. David

:17:18.:17:25.

Morris! Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I welcome the jobs that

:17:26.:17:31.

have been announced today. Furthermore, Mr Speaker, at the 65

:17:32.:17:35.

years in my constituency of talking about a link road, one actually

:17:36.:17:38.

occurred on my watch, and furthermore there is an enterprise

:17:39.:17:42.

zone stroke business park that we are trying to retain, and we have

:17:43.:17:46.

had a very productive meeting with the minister, and the First Minister

:17:47.:17:49.

of the Isle of Man, who I believe is here today. Would my right

:17:50.:17:53.

honourable friends help to ensure that this business park does become

:17:54.:17:58.

a reality to create more jobs in Morecambe and Lunesdale?! I agree

:17:59.:18:04.

with my honourable friend, he will be interested to know that, in the

:18:05.:18:09.

north-west of England, employment has increased by 2.5% over the past

:18:10.:18:16.

year, and the Labour benches may wish to welcome that. He is

:18:17.:18:20.

absolutely right to highlight the importance of having business parks

:18:21.:18:24.

and enterprise zones as tribe is for economic growth. I wish him well,

:18:25.:18:28.

and I'm sure my right honourable friends the Business Secretary would

:18:29.:18:35.

be happy to look into the matter. Thank you, Mr Speaker, I am sure the

:18:36.:18:39.

whole House would want to join with me and my colleagues in marking the

:18:40.:18:44.

anniversary of the sad events in Srebrenica and thank those who held

:18:45.:18:47.

the memorial in London to make sure we never forget. Mr Speaker, will

:18:48.:18:52.

the First Secretary of State confirmed that the devolved

:18:53.:18:55.

administrations will not face a day munition of powers as a result of

:18:56.:19:01.

the Repeal Bill? I joined the honourable gentleman in

:19:02.:19:07.

commemorating the dreadful events at Srebrenica, and I am happy to

:19:08.:19:11.

reconfirm what my right honourable friend the Prime Minister and others

:19:12.:19:15.

have said, that yes, under the terms of the Brexit deal that we will

:19:16.:19:22.

negotiate, there will be no diminution of the devolved

:19:23.:19:25.

administrations' powers, and indeed that we look to devolve more powers

:19:26.:19:35.

during the process. I thank the Secretary of State for that answer.

:19:36.:19:41.

Order! Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the Secretary of State for

:19:42.:19:45.

that answer. Would he confirm that there will be a cast-iron guarantee

:19:46.:19:49.

that all powers that come back to the United Kingdom on devolved

:19:50.:19:52.

matters will be returned? Furthermore the, does the UK

:19:53.:19:56.

Government intends to meet schedule five of the Scotland Act to change

:19:57.:19:59.

any aspect of the devolved compensations with the approval of

:20:00.:20:05.

the Scottish referendum in 1997? Answer that! I can only keep

:20:06.:20:09.

repeating the assurances we have already given. I am slightly

:20:10.:20:12.

surprised at the Scottish nationalist approach in that my

:20:13.:20:15.

understanding of their position is that they want power is taken from

:20:16.:20:18.

London to Edinburgh so that it can give them back to Brussels! As I

:20:19.:20:25.

understand it, that is their position. But perhaps their

:20:26.:20:31.

inability to explain the logic of that position might explain the

:20:32.:20:33.

recent general election results they had. Thank you very much, Mr

:20:34.:20:42.

Speaker. Earlier this year, a brilliant new hospital opened in my

:20:43.:20:46.

constituency. The old cottage Hospital which it replaces contains

:20:47.:20:50.

an important and unique warble Morrill. Will the First Secretary

:20:51.:20:54.

agree with me that however the NHS we developed the site, it is vital

:20:55.:20:58.

that that war memorial is preserved in a fitting way so that future

:20:59.:21:02.

generations can remember the sacrifices of those who came before

:21:03.:21:08.

us? I think perhaps particularly at the moment, when we are about to

:21:09.:21:11.

commemorate the centenary of the terrible battle of Passchendaele, it

:21:12.:21:18.

is very important that we consider the issue of war memorials like the

:21:19.:21:22.

one he mentions, they call on us to remember the horrors of war and

:21:23.:21:26.

honour the memories of those who died. In this case, I understand the

:21:27.:21:32.

war memorial is protected by an historic England great two listing

:21:33.:21:35.

so specific planning consent would be required to move it. I hope that

:21:36.:21:43.

will provide the protection that he and his constituents need. My

:21:44.:21:51.

constituent has had over 50 admissions to psychiatric care, she

:21:52.:21:55.

requires regular monitoring to prevent her condition worsening, and

:21:56.:21:59.

she could access a board and at the labour stands to lose ?110 under the

:22:00.:22:04.

new regime. Will he look urgently at this case and change this to ensure

:22:05.:22:13.

that people have the support they need to remain safe? The House will

:22:14.:22:17.

be concerned to hear about the case of a constituent, as I am, and she

:22:18.:22:21.

will know that one of the effects of the transition from DLA to PIP is

:22:22.:22:27.

that more people are eligible for support, particularly those with

:22:28.:22:33.

mental health problems, but the Secretary of State for Work and

:22:34.:22:36.

Pensions will have heard her point, and I have no doubt, if she contacts

:22:37.:22:39.

in, he will look into the case personally. Mr Speaker, some of the

:22:40.:22:45.

most distressing cases that I and other members see in my constituency

:22:46.:22:47.

surgery are those involving domestic violence. The Queen's Speech has

:22:48.:22:53.

promised a bill to help strengthen our confrontation of this problem,

:22:54.:22:58.

so I wonder if the First Secretary could tell us when we can expect the

:22:59.:23:02.

legislation, urgently needed as it is, and what the Government is doing

:23:03.:23:06.

about this problem while we await it? I agree, this is a hugely

:23:07.:23:10.

important issue, and he is right that we have committed in the

:23:11.:23:12.

Queen's Speech to introduce a domestic abuse bill in this session,

:23:13.:23:18.

which I hope will be a landmark in this very important area. What we

:23:19.:23:22.

want to do in the bill is set in motion a transformation not just to

:23:23.:23:28.

protect and support victims, but to recognise the lifelong impact

:23:29.:23:33.

domestic abuse can have on children, and to make sure that the agencies

:23:34.:23:37.

respond effectively to domestic abuse. We will of course be

:23:38.:23:41.

consulting with the relevant professions and voluntary groups on

:23:42.:23:45.

this, but we are absolutely determined to press ahead with this

:23:46.:23:52.

very, very important legislation. Max Johnson is nine, he is in

:23:53.:23:56.

hospital and urgently waiting for a heart transplant. His mum Emma and

:23:57.:24:02.

brother Harry join us today to support Max, but also 10,000 people

:24:03.:24:05.

around the country who need an organ transplant. We can do more to help

:24:06.:24:10.

them. In Wales, they have already moved to an opt out system, as

:24:11.:24:14.

Scotland plan to do the same. Can the First Secretary say whether he

:24:15.:24:18.

agrees with me that, in England, we should change the law to one of

:24:19.:24:22.

presumed consent for organ donation to give Max and people like him the

:24:23.:24:29.

best chance of light? I am sure that the thought of numbers across the

:24:30.:24:33.

House are with Max and his family at this incredibly difficult time, and

:24:34.:24:37.

I agree with him that organ donation is clearly a hugely important part

:24:38.:24:42.

of our system, and I am pleased that there are now more than 23 million

:24:43.:24:48.

organ donors on the register, and over the past year we saw the

:24:49.:24:54.

highest ever donor and transplant rates in the UK. But of course there

:24:55.:24:59.

is more that can be done, and as he says, the law is different in other

:25:00.:25:05.

territories inside the UK. And absolutely I can commit the

:25:06.:25:08.

Department of Health is looking at the impact of those changes to see

:25:09.:25:11.

whether that can give rise to further improvements in the number

:25:12.:25:21.

of available organs we have. Is my friend aware that the Greater

:25:22.:25:25.

Manchester Chambers, in the course of their economic survey, predicts

:25:26.:25:29.

economic growth that 3.25% annually, as it has been broadly since 2013?

:25:30.:25:35.

Is he further aware that Manchester Airport is planning a ?1 billion

:25:36.:25:38.

investment in the coming years? Doesn't this indicate a welcome

:25:39.:25:44.

rebalancing of the economy, underpinned by sound economic

:25:45.:25:48.

management? And will he undertake to continue that sound economic

:25:49.:25:51.

management that is so necessary to our country? My honourable friend

:25:52.:25:59.

makes a number of important points, particularly about Manchester

:26:00.:26:01.

Airport, which I know has been a significant driver of the excellent

:26:02.:26:06.

growth figures of the increasingly excellent economy of Manchester, and

:26:07.:26:11.

the surrounding areas. Everything he says is true, and I think it is a

:26:12.:26:15.

tribute to the work that is being done on the Northern Powerhouse that

:26:16.:26:18.

we are now spreading that prosperity across the North of England. Thank

:26:19.:26:24.

you, Mr Speaker. The First Secretary said the other day that we need to

:26:25.:26:29.

have a national debate on tuition fees, and he admitted that student

:26:30.:26:34.

debt is a huge issue. With the PM touting for ideas, can I recommend

:26:35.:26:40.

page 43 of our manifesto? Can I ask that they adopt Labour's pledge to

:26:41.:26:46.

abolish tuition fees? I don't remember the contents page 43, so I

:26:47.:26:52.

would quite like to hear this! Mr Speaker, can I recommend that they

:26:53.:26:57.

consult page 43 of our manifesto and commit to Labour's policy of the

:26:58.:27:04.

abolition of tuition fees? People often stand at this despatch box and

:27:05.:27:09.

say I am pleased she raised that question, I am genuinely pleased,

:27:10.:27:13.

because it allows me to point out the very slight problem with their

:27:14.:27:17.

arguments which is that her own education spokesman has admitted

:27:18.:27:21.

that the tuition fees policy has a ?100 billion... She has admitted

:27:22.:27:29.

that there is a ?100 billion hole, black hole in Labour's student fees

:27:30.:27:36.

policy. That is as much money nearly as we spend on the NHS in a year,

:27:37.:27:41.

two years worth of disability benefits. Labour, in this area, were

:27:42.:27:45.

particularly incredible at the general election, I am astonished

:27:46.:27:51.

they want to bring it up at Prime Minister's Questions, and I would

:27:52.:27:53.

remind them that misleading students and young people is a very dangerous

:27:54.:28:01.

thing to do. If they don't believe me, they can ask the Liberal

:28:02.:28:16.

Democrats. Just one in five of our public arts sculptures is of a

:28:17.:28:21.

woman, to mark the anniversary of Jane Austen... Will my right

:28:22.:28:32.

honourable friend join me in calling for more people to do what business

:28:33.:28:36.

to has done and celebrate their famous daughters?

:28:37.:28:47.

I welcome this call for the statue in Basingstoke. I am genuinely

:28:48.:28:53.

astonished there is not a statue of Jane Austen anywhere else around the

:28:54.:28:56.

country, one of our greatest authors, and still popular 200 years

:28:57.:29:01.

since her birth, and I would be very happy also to echo her desire for

:29:02.:29:08.

more statues for great women spread around the country. Mr Speaker,

:29:09.:29:15.

politicians are said to be here today and gone tomorrow, but

:29:16.:29:18.

whatever tomorrow may bring the Prime Minister is not even here

:29:19.:29:23.

today to mark the first -- end of her first year in power. Listen, you

:29:24.:29:29.

might like to hear this. For the first time since she has become

:29:30.:29:33.

Prime Minister image has now been removed from the page of the

:29:34.:29:38.

Conservative Party website. Can the first secretary tell us why she has

:29:39.:29:53.

gone from being the next Iron Lady to the Lady vanishes? The honourable

:29:54.:29:57.

gentleman is ingenious in asking personal questions and I commend him

:29:58.:30:01.

for it. Unfortunately he has his own record on the subject. As recently

:30:02.:30:08.

as June last year the members said the leader of the Labour Party is

:30:09.:30:11.

not destined to become Prime Minister and he called on him to

:30:12.:30:15.

resign. I suggest he makes peace with his own front bench before

:30:16.:30:21.

turning to ours. Today's jobs figures show we have the highest

:30:22.:30:25.

employment rate since compatible records began. We have more people

:30:26.:30:32.

in full-time employment and we are touching on the lowest youth

:30:33.:30:37.

unemployment since records began. In light of the Matthew Taylor review

:30:38.:30:41.

and the modern working practices, what more can be done to ensure this

:30:42.:30:46.

record continues and that low youth unemployment continues and that we

:30:47.:30:50.

read this country of that scourge? -- and that we rid this country of

:30:51.:30:59.

that scourge. Yes, one of the particularly welcome figures of the

:31:00.:31:02.

consistently low and falling unemployment figures over which this

:31:03.:31:05.

Government has provided, youth unemployment figures. It is now at

:31:06.:31:09.

historically low levels and lower than many other comparable

:31:10.:31:12.

economies. We will continue this not just with our moves on more

:31:13.:31:16.

apprenticeships in this parliament but also with the introduction of

:31:17.:31:20.

new and better technical and vocational education, which is key

:31:21.:31:23.

to providing long-term prosperity, not just for the economy as a whole,

:31:24.:31:31.

but for everyone in this country. Thank you, Mr Speaker. How can the

:31:32.:31:38.

Government continue to justify not providing fair and equitable funding

:31:39.:31:42.

arrangements for West Lancashire to support drainage boards, to help

:31:43.:31:49.

protect homes and agriculture and horticulture industries, critical to

:31:50.:31:55.

the local economy, instead of causing threats to turn off the

:31:56.:32:01.

pumping station? V Saffie raises a reasonable point -- the Saffie

:32:02.:32:06.

raises a reasonable point about the Environment Agency and it is the

:32:07.:32:11.

Environment Agency's duty to ensure water supplies are good and safe and

:32:12.:32:15.

I am sure if she wishes to bring this up with my right honourable

:32:16.:32:19.

friend, he will be happy to talk to her about it. Zero energy Bill

:32:20.:32:29.

Holmes at market prices are being built with the support of the

:32:30.:32:32.

building research Establishment. Given that the potential to help

:32:33.:32:36.

people find affordable housing, what more can the Government do to help

:32:37.:32:41.

expand this type of housing, as part of our commitment to both enterprise

:32:42.:32:48.

and social justice? I know my honourable friend is an energetic

:32:49.:32:51.

campaigner for social justice and this is a very good example of how

:32:52.:32:55.

having a dynamic and flexible economy is not just good for the

:32:56.:32:59.

economy but is actually good for the whole of society, and I am happy to

:33:00.:33:01.

join him in welcoming this type of innovation. This firm is a good

:33:02.:33:07.

example of such innovation, and I know it has been supported by the

:33:08.:33:11.

Government's enterprise investment scheme, so the Government is doing

:33:12.:33:17.

its best to support this type of measure, and with stimulating the

:33:18.:33:20.

growth of the off-site construction sector which enables homes to be

:33:21.:33:23.

built through our accelerating construction programme and the whole

:33:24.:33:26.

building fund, another very important issue to make sure that we

:33:27.:33:29.

spread the benefits of prosperity around this country. Mr Speaker, I

:33:30.:33:36.

wonder if the first secretary might imagine what it feels like to be a

:33:37.:33:42.

parent forced to up their children from their settled home to flee war

:33:43.:33:48.

and persecution, as millions of refugees around the world have done.

:33:49.:33:52.

And then would he imagine further how it might feel for those who had

:33:53.:33:57.

become separated from their family members, with one family member

:33:58.:34:02.

making it, for instance, to the United Kingdom, needlessly kept

:34:03.:34:05.

apart from their families due to cruel and unnecessary barriers to

:34:06.:34:09.

family reunification? Will the Government today endorse the

:34:10.:34:14.

Baroness's bill in the other place to bring those desperate families

:34:15.:34:21.

back together? The right honourable gentleman raises an important issue

:34:22.:34:24.

and he will be aware that this Government, this country, has done a

:34:25.:34:29.

huge amount, particularly in the region, but also here at home to

:34:30.:34:33.

help refugees from countries such as Syria. We have expanded the

:34:34.:34:38.

vulnerable persons resettlement scheme, so we make sure our doors

:34:39.:34:42.

continue to remain open to people who most need our help, and in

:34:43.:34:46.

particular we work very closely with the UNHCR to identify and refer the

:34:47.:34:52.

most vulnerable refugees. That is the most sensible humanitarian way

:34:53.:34:57.

we can help these very desperate people. Can also say, since I should

:34:58.:35:01.

visitors last question, I suspect, as leader office party, can I wish

:35:02.:35:07.

him a fond farewell from that job? And say I am delighted the Liberal

:35:08.:35:11.

Democrats have taken so seriously the Government's full working life

:35:12.:35:14.

strategy which is about providing more jobs for older workers, and

:35:15.:35:20.

they are about to skip a generation...

:35:21.:35:24.

LAUGHTER -- since I assumed that this is his

:35:25.:35:30.

last question, I suspect. At the recent T20 meeting the Prime

:35:31.:35:33.

Minister had excellent and constructive trade discussions with

:35:34.:35:38.

the leaders of India, China, Japan and America -- at the recent G20

:35:39.:35:45.

meetings. These represent 43% of the world population, these countries,

:35:46.:35:48.

and six times the population of the European Union. Would my right

:35:49.:35:51.

honourable friend agree with me that this demonstrates the potential for

:35:52.:35:57.

a positive future for Britain post-Brexit, and it really is time

:35:58.:36:01.

for the pessimists to look at the cup being half full rather than half

:36:02.:36:07.

empty? I am happy to endorse my honourable friend's approach and

:36:08.:36:12.

just to emphasise to him in the house it is important to do both. We

:36:13.:36:15.

need a good trade deal with the European Union, still a hugely

:36:16.:36:19.

important trading partner for us, but also we need to take the

:36:20.:36:23.

opportunity to strike trade deals with economies round the world, not

:36:24.:36:26.

just currently advanced economies, but those that are growing very fast

:36:27.:36:31.

as well. That is the route to future global prosperity to this country.

:36:32.:36:37.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. We have had to make general elections where the

:36:38.:36:40.

Government has promised investment to the northern powerhouse, and yet

:36:41.:36:45.

again within weeks they have made a U-turn on the electrification of the

:36:46.:36:51.

trans-Pennine. Is the ?1 billion deal to keep the Prime Minister in

:36:52.:36:55.

power with the DUP being funded at the expense of the North? No, not at

:36:56.:37:03.

all. The money that has gone for infrastructure in Northern Ireland

:37:04.:37:06.

is richly needed there. We have signed for example city deals in

:37:07.:37:11.

England, Scotland and Wales, but none yet in Northern Ireland. I

:37:12.:37:16.

would hope... I mean, she is right about the importance of the northern

:37:17.:37:21.

powerhouse, and we will continue with that programme which is hugely

:37:22.:37:24.

important, and as she has already heard in this session, what we see

:37:25.:37:29.

is unemployment falling consistently in the north of England, as a sign

:37:30.:37:35.

of how the economy in that part of England is going as well as anywhere

:37:36.:37:38.

else in the country, and we are determined to continue that. Mr

:37:39.:37:43.

Speaker, I know the title might first secretary will be delighted to

:37:44.:37:47.

see Parliament Square now displays every flight of every British

:37:48.:37:50.

Overseas Territory to welcome the king of Spain this week, including

:37:51.:38:00.

the flag of Gibraltar. Would he as my right honourable friend the Prime

:38:01.:38:04.

Minister to remind the King of Spain that Gibraltar is British and their

:38:05.:38:08.

sovereignty will remain paramount? I am happy to assure my honourable

:38:09.:38:11.

friend that the Government's position on Gibraltar and the

:38:12.:38:17.

privacy of the wishes of its inhabitants which are overwhelmingly

:38:18.:38:20.

to stay British will be respected by the Government. What assessment has

:38:21.:38:27.

the Government made of the effect on radiotherapy for cancer patients of

:38:28.:38:35.

its decision to withdraw from the deal given the Royal College of

:38:36.:38:38.

radiologistss said this week that half a million scans per year are

:38:39.:38:44.

done using imported radioisotopes, and that thousands of patients could

:38:45.:38:51.

be affected by this decision? I am genuinely again happy to answer this

:38:52.:38:54.

question because it is a very important issue, and there has been

:38:55.:39:00.

some unnecessary worry caused to cancer patients by speculative on

:39:01.:39:04.

this. Let me set out the position. The import or export of medical

:39:05.:39:09.

radioisotopes is not subject to any particular licensing requirements.

:39:10.:39:14.

Euratom places no restrictions on the export of medical isotopes to

:39:15.:39:20.

countries outside the EU, so after leaving Euratom our ability to

:39:21.:39:23.

access military isotopes produced in Europe will not be affected. So I

:39:24.:39:28.

hope that clears it and I hope that reassures cancer patients around the

:39:29.:39:31.

country that the scaremongering going on is unnecessary.

:39:32.:39:43.