21/06/2017 Wednesday in Parliament


21/06/2017

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 21 June, presented by Alicia McCarthy.


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Transcript


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Hello, and welcome to the programme, on the day the Queen came

:00:18.:00:20.

to Westminster for the state opening of Parliament.

:00:21.:00:23.

Her Majesty set out the bills the Government wants to pass,

:00:24.:00:26.

My Government will seek to maintain a deep and special partnership with

:00:27.:00:40.

the European allies. And to forge new trading relationships across the

:00:41.:00:41.

globe. But Theresa May said her Government

:00:42.:00:42.

would build a stronger and safer The Lords too give their first

:00:43.:00:47.

verdict on the speech. While back in the Commons

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a conservative MP uses his big May I wish to reassure members, may

:00:53.:01:09.

I reassure the Prime Minister, I am still young...

:01:10.:01:10.

LAUGHTER Still thrusting.

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But let's begin at the start of the day.

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This was a rather unusual state opening.

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Because no one was expecting a general election at the start

:01:16.:01:17.

of June, there was no time to prepare for the traditional pomp

:01:18.:01:20.

and ceremony with coaches, horses and mass ranks of guardsmen.

:01:21.:01:23.

And so it was a very scaled back procession that set off

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With the Queen travelling by car to Westminster accompanied

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The Duke of Edinburgh was unusually absent too,

:01:33.:01:37.

having been taken to hospital for treatment for an infection.

:01:38.:01:43.

Inside the Lords there was a more familiar look to things -

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with peers in their traditional red robes and ermine -

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despite the sweltering heat and the Yeoman of the guard lining

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When the Queen - without her ceremonial robes -

:01:54.:01:58.

and Prince Charles arrived they processed through the Lords

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gallery walking behind the imperial state crown

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and took their seats on the thrones in the House of Lords.

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And then it was time to despatch Black Rod to the House of Commons

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As is the tradition, the door to the Commons

:02:14.:02:21.

was slammed in his face, showing the independence

:02:22.:02:22.

And there was a more recent tradition, a heckle from veteran

:02:23.:02:34.

Mr Speaker, the Queen commands this honourable house to attend Her

:02:35.:02:51.

Majesty immediately in the house of Peers. Get your skates on! First

:02:52.:02:54.

race is half-past two! And with that Mps left the Commons -

:02:55.:02:56.

processing out of their chamber - through central lobby

:02:57.:03:00.

and on into the House of Lords. Normally the Prime Minister

:03:01.:03:02.

and the Leader of the Opposition exchange pleasantries,

:03:03.:03:04.

but there was little chit chat between Theresa May

:03:05.:03:07.

and Jeremy Corbyn. And when MPs had arrived at the bar

:03:08.:03:11.

at the back of the Lords, the Queen read out the contents

:03:12.:03:15.

of the speech - the 64th time Beginning with the Government's

:03:16.:03:18.

plans for Brexit. My Government's priority is to

:03:19.:03:32.

secure the best possible deal as the country leaves the European Union.

:03:33.:03:38.

My ministers are committed to working with Parliament, the

:03:39.:03:42.

devolved administrations, business and others to build the widest

:03:43.:03:47.

possible consensus on the country's future outside the European Union.

:03:48.:03:51.

Establishing new national policies on immigration, international

:03:52.:03:58.

sanctions, nuclear safeguards, agriculture and fisheries.

:03:59.:03:59.

There was a pledge to bring in a Bill on the next

:04:00.:04:02.

And a pledge to reform technical education.

:04:03.:04:05.

There was no word on grammar schools.

:04:06.:04:06.

But, instead, there was a pledge to prioritise mental health

:04:07.:04:09.

My Government will continue to work to ensure that every child has the

:04:10.:04:18.

opportunity to attend a good school and that all schools are fairly

:04:19.:04:20.

funded. Proposals will be brought forward to

:04:21.:04:35.

ban unfair tenants fees, promote fairness and transparency in the

:04:36.:04:38.

housing market and help ensure more homes are built. My ministers will

:04:39.:04:44.

work to improve social care and will bring forward proposals for

:04:45.:04:45.

consultation. There'd be a public inquiry

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into the Grenfell Tower block fire. To ascertain the causes and ensure

:04:48.:04:55.

that the appropriate lessons are learned. To support victims my

:04:56.:05:03.

Government will take forward measures to introduce an independent

:05:04.:05:07.

public advocate who will act for bereaved families after a public

:05:08.:05:12.

disaster, and support them at public inquests. In the light of the

:05:13.:05:18.

terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, my Government's

:05:19.:05:21.

counterterrorism strategy will be reviewed to ensure that the police

:05:22.:05:25.

and security services have all powers they need and that the length

:05:26.:05:32.

of custodial sentences for terrorism related offences are sufficient to

:05:33.:05:33.

keep the population safe. So, a legislative programme

:05:34.:05:35.

containing 27 bills with several focused on the country's departure

:05:36.:05:37.

from the European Union, and largely stripped of the more

:05:38.:05:40.

controversial elements of the Conservatives'

:05:41.:05:42.

election manifesto. The nine-minute address saw symbolic

:05:43.:05:46.

policies such as the expansion of grammar schools shelved -

:05:47.:05:50.

and others like controversial social care plans given

:05:51.:05:53.

the status of consultations. And there was one other omission -

:05:54.:05:59.

no mention of the proposed state visit by the President

:06:00.:06:02.

of the United States, Donald Trump. A couple of hours later MPs gathered

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to begin their debate on what had been proposed,

:06:10.:06:12.

but before they began they held a minute's silence to remember those

:06:13.:06:15.

who'd lost their lives in the recent terror attacks and the

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Grenfell Tower block fire. On these occasions the opposition

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leader gives their thoughts on the speech before the Prime

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Minister. Jeremy Corbyn began by talking

:06:27.:06:27.

about the fire at Grenfell Tower which left dozens dead and hundreds

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homeless. What makes it both a tragedy

:06:32.:06:36.

and an outrage is that every single one of those deaths

:06:37.:06:39.

could have been avoided. Something has gone

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horrifically wrong. The North Kensington

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community are demanding answers, and they are

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entitled to those answers. Thousands of people living

:06:48.:06:51.

in tower blocks around the country need urgent reassurance,

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and the emergency services, especially Fire And Rescue Services,

:06:56.:06:58.

in this case, deserve our deepest Turning to the speech itself

:06:59.:07:03.

he argued there was very little in it for a two year session

:07:04.:07:09.

of Parliament. A threadbare legislative

:07:10.:07:13.

programme from a Government that has lost

:07:14.:07:15.

its majority and apparently ran This would be a thin legislative

:07:16.:07:18.

programme even if it was There's not enough in there

:07:19.:07:28.

to fill up one year! He turned to what was

:07:29.:07:35.

not in the speech. To cheers he said there was no

:07:36.:07:37.

mention of scrapping the winter fuel Mercifully, neither is there any

:07:38.:07:41.

mention of ditching the triple lock. Pensioners across Britain will also

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be grateful to know that the Tory commitment on that

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has also been binned. And older people and their families

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might also be keen for some clarity around the Government's

:07:55.:07:57.

policy on social care. Whether it's still what was

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originally set out in the Conservative manifesto,

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or whether it is what it was later amended

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to, or whether it is now And I'm sure it's just a matter

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of historical record, but looking on a Conservative

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website today the manifesto has been It apparently

:08:16.:08:18.

no longer exists. No deal is not better

:08:19.:08:25.

than a bad deal. It is a bad deal and not

:08:26.:08:29.

viable for this country. We need full access to the single

:08:30.:08:32.

market and a customs arrangement that provide Britain,

:08:33.:08:36.

as the Brexit secretary has pledged, and I quote, "with the exact

:08:37.:08:40.

same benefits as now". Neither must arbitrary

:08:41.:08:45.

targets for immigration be prioritised over the jobs and living

:08:46.:08:49.

standards of the people of Let's decide our immigration

:08:50.:08:51.

policy on the basis of the needs of our communities and our

:08:52.:08:56.

economy, not to the tune of dog whistle cynicism of Lynton Crosby

:08:57.:09:04.

or the hate campaigns or indeed... Or indeed, Mr Speaker, the hate

:09:05.:09:10.

campaigns of some sections of our press, whose idea of patriotism

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is to base themselves in an overseas And he concluded by

:09:18.:09:22.

reflecting on the outcome The Prime Minister began the

:09:23.:09:27.

election campaign saying if I lose just six seats I will

:09:28.:09:37.

lose this election. When it came to it, she lost more

:09:38.:09:43.

than four times that many From Cardiff to Canterbury,

:09:44.:09:46.

from Stockton to Kensington, people And they sent an unequivocal message

:09:47.:09:51.

that austerity must be in London and Manchester and said

:09:52.:10:02.

the Queen's speech included measures Theresa May also reflected

:10:03.:10:11.

on the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester and said

:10:12.:10:15.

the Queen's speech included measures We will work to reach

:10:16.:10:17.

international agreements that regulate cyberspace,

:10:18.:10:20.

to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorist planning,

:10:21.:10:22.

and encourage tech companies to do more to remove

:10:23.:10:24.

harmful content from their networks. And we will establish

:10:25.:10:29.

a new commission for countering extremism, as a statutory body

:10:30.:10:32.

to help fight hatred and extremism in the same way

:10:33.:10:34.

as we have fought racism, because this extremism is every bit

:10:35.:10:38.

as insidious and destructive to our values, and we will stop

:10:39.:10:45.

at nothing to defeat it. The whole country was heartbroken

:10:46.:10:48.

by the horrific loss of life and the utter devastation

:10:49.:10:52.

that we have seen. I am sure the whole House

:10:53.:10:56.

will join me in sending our deepest condolences to the friends

:10:57.:10:59.

and families of all those who lost loved ones, and today we also think

:11:00.:11:03.

of those who survive but lost One lady I had met ran from the fire

:11:04.:11:06.

wearing no more than a So let me be absolutely

:11:07.:11:11.

clear, the support on the ground for families in the initial

:11:12.:11:19.

hours was not good enough. People were left without belongings,

:11:20.:11:21.

without roofs over their heads, without even basic information about

:11:22.:11:24.

what had happened, what they should That was a failure of the state,

:11:25.:11:28.

local and national, to help people As Prime Minister,

:11:29.:11:36.

I apologise for that failure. And as Prime Minister I have

:11:37.:11:43.

taken responsibility for doing what we can

:11:44.:11:46.

to put things right. Mrs May turned to Labour's

:11:47.:11:48.

performance in the recent election. He fought a spirited campaign

:11:49.:11:51.

and he came a good second. Which was both better

:11:52.:11:54.

than the pundits predicted and that The election also showed that,

:11:55.:12:05.

as it faces the big challenges of our future, our country is divided -

:12:06.:12:13.

red versus blue, young versus old, As I said here last week,

:12:14.:12:17.

the test for all of us is whether we choose to reflect

:12:18.:12:22.

divisions or help the country With humility and resolve,

:12:23.:12:25.

this Government will seek We will do what is in the national

:12:26.:12:29.

interest and we will work with anyone in any party

:12:30.:12:34.

that is prepared to do the same. How is the interim

:12:35.:12:41.

Prime Minister going to LAUGHTER Going to convince

:12:42.:12:44.

the country that she can negotiate a successful

:12:45.:12:48.

Brexit within the time limit with 27 other EU countries, when she hasn't

:12:49.:12:52.

been able even to negotiate the deal with ten Democratic Unionist members

:12:53.:12:56.

of this house in the time limit Can I thank the honourable

:12:57.:13:01.

gentleman for giving me the opportunity to welcome

:13:02.:13:07.

the work that the Right Honourable member, the Secretary of State

:13:08.:13:10.

for Exiting the European Union, has undertaken in relation to preparing

:13:11.:13:16.

our negotiations and starting those formal negotiations

:13:17.:13:20.

on Monday of this week? And I will be in Brussels for the EU

:13:21.:13:23.

Council later this week And she concluded that the last

:13:24.:13:29.

few months had been It has been an unsettling

:13:30.:13:33.

time which has tested the spirit of our country,

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but we are a resilient country. Our response to disaster and acts

:13:38.:13:41.

of terror which takes the lives of innocent people must be this:

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compassion, unity, resolve. For we are a great nation

:13:48.:13:53.

and a great people. We have been through and survived

:13:54.:13:57.

the toughest of times Once again, we can and

:13:58.:14:00.

will grow stronger from The Queen's speech

:14:01.:14:05.

on its own will not solve every challenge

:14:06.:14:11.

our country faces. Not every problem can be solved

:14:12.:14:16.

by an act of Parliament. It is a step forward to building

:14:17.:14:19.

a more compassionate, more united That is what this Government

:14:20.:14:24.

will aim to achieve, it is what this Queen's

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speech will deliver. and I commend the Queen's

:14:28.:14:29.

speech to the house. It was then the turn of other party

:14:30.:14:37.

leaders and backbench MPs to give their initial reactions

:14:38.:14:40.

to the Government's plans. And much of the focus

:14:41.:14:45.

was the arguments that The Prime Minister's gamble

:14:46.:14:47.

backfired and she's desperately clung onto power, at least for now,

:14:48.:14:53.

and stumbled into the Brexit negotiations on Monday morning,

:14:54.:14:58.

regardless of the almost all-male team equipped with no credible plan,

:14:59.:15:05.

no mandate and seemingly no I can see the Prime Minister

:15:06.:15:07.

floundering, but where is the stable Government that the Prime

:15:08.:15:11.

Minister promised us? The longest serving MP,

:15:12.:15:13.

the father of the house argued for continued membership

:15:14.:15:18.

of the single market. We can show that we

:15:19.:15:25.

can rise above this. I'm glad that there are channels

:15:26.:15:28.

that are open to the Liberals, the Labour Party, I am

:15:29.:15:30.

sure the Scottish Nationalists we don't really know what the basis

:15:31.:15:36.

is on from which we are negotiating I think it's will have to be

:15:37.:15:39.

carried by what I think cross-party majority that this house

:15:40.:15:46.

could easily command, if we were able to put in to place some

:15:47.:15:49.

processes to achieve it. One, we want to do

:15:50.:16:01.

free trade agreements with other countries around

:16:02.:16:03.

the world and you can't do it if you're in the customs market

:16:04.:16:06.

or the customs union. Two, they made it very clear

:16:07.:16:08.

that they had to pay budget contributions and accept free

:16:09.:16:11.

movement, which we have no intention It is one of the few things the two

:16:12.:16:13.

campaigns agreed upon. We all told the British public

:16:14.:16:17.

we would be leaving the single That was repeated in the Article 50

:16:18.:16:20.

letter and was appreciated by the EU and voted on and approved

:16:21.:16:24.

overwhelmingly by the House of Her Majesty has launched

:16:25.:16:27.

many ships in her time, never such an empty vessel

:16:28.:16:40.

as the one today. I am not sure whether wasting

:16:41.:16:42.

the Monarch's time is a treasonous act, I hope

:16:43.:16:45.

for the Prime Minister's sake it is not, but the Queen's speech

:16:46.:16:47.

shows that we have a Government who has lost touch with its people

:16:48.:16:50.

and lost touch with reality. The Prime Minister continues

:16:51.:17:01.

to pursue, it is clear from the recent statement,

:17:02.:17:03.

that she seeks to pursue a extreme version of Brexit,

:17:04.:17:05.

having failed to gain any There is no plan to keep Britain

:17:06.:17:07.

in the single market as the right honourable member

:17:08.:17:11.

mentioned earlier or indeed for the We will therefore seek to amend

:17:12.:17:14.

the Queen's speech to add in membership of the single

:17:15.:17:17.

market and of the custom's union. When people voted

:17:18.:17:22.

in the European Union referendum to leave

:17:23.:17:23.

the European union, they voted to leave

:17:24.:17:25.

the single market and the customs I believe that Northern Ireland

:17:26.:17:28.

must, along with the rest of the And there was a clear warning over

:17:29.:17:33.

the direction the DUP wanted to see. We work with Government

:17:34.:17:52.

during the course of the next period in this party

:17:53.:17:54.

to ensure that we do deliver prosperity, to deliver greater

:17:55.:17:57.

spending on health and education and that we do see an end to the tunnel,

:17:58.:18:02.

the dark tunnel of austerity. This Queens' speech does

:18:03.:18:07.

not herald any hope for This Government and the preceding

:18:08.:18:09.

Government have knocked out the rungs of the ladder

:18:10.:18:25.

of opportunity for so That reach to the first

:18:26.:18:27.

rung is now very high and it is very difficult

:18:28.:18:31.

to get into further Or into nursing without

:18:32.:18:33.

the nursing bursary. When Southern is not happening

:18:34.:18:40.

because of the election result, no grammar schools,

:18:41.:18:42.

no proposals in social care, no scrapping of free school

:18:43.:18:44.

meals for infants. We need to see a Government,

:18:45.:18:46.

not discovered, we need to see at the next election

:18:47.:18:48.

a Government that looks at those who are aspirant, gives them

:18:49.:18:51.

the opportunity to succeed. This Government, this

:18:52.:18:53.

Queen's speech is I wish the Government well

:18:54.:18:55.

in what it is trying to do on Brexit, I will give it my

:18:56.:18:58.

support, not unqualified, I will try as a backbencher to be

:18:59.:19:02.

helpfully critical. I appreciate we're going,

:19:03.:19:03.

I want to work with other members of this house to try and achieve a

:19:04.:19:06.

sensible outcome that doesn't damage our economic well-being

:19:07.:19:09.

and our national security. If we don't get this right,

:19:10.:19:12.

we are going to be in Just like MPs, peers have also been

:19:13.:19:17.

away from Westminster But unlike MPs, their Lordships

:19:18.:19:24.

haven't had to face any battles When the Lords commenced its debate

:19:25.:19:28.

the first speaker was a seasoned Conservative and former

:19:29.:19:34.

Cabinet Minister. It looks like a good

:19:35.:19:39.

election for Labour. Indeed, they are behaving as if they

:19:40.:19:44.

have won it, despite being 56 seats behind the Tories and

:19:45.:19:47.

the new rapturous enthusiasm on the benches opposite for

:19:48.:19:50.

Jeremy Corbyn is only matched by their relief

:19:51.:19:54.

that he is not running the country. Then came the youngest

:19:55.:20:02.

member of the Lords, She spoke about theories why

:20:03.:20:04.

the State Opening had Some of you may know that

:20:05.:20:09.

I was David Cameron's press secretary and whilst

:20:10.:20:14.

I have huge operation for my former boss, I

:20:15.:20:23.

think it is fair to say he did give me one or two PR

:20:24.:20:27.

challenges over the years. However, faced with an unforeseen,

:20:28.:20:30.

shall we put it, delay of the Queen's speech, I don't think

:20:31.:20:33.

even I could have come up with slow drying ink on vellum,

:20:34.:20:39.

so I have to hand it to my successors in number

:20:40.:20:44.

ten for that stroke of genius. Lord Newby said he'd

:20:45.:20:47.

struggled to write his speech because of uncertainty over

:20:48.:20:49.

what might be in the Queen's Speech. But Sunday came and

:20:50.:21:05.

the fog hadn't lifted. The only new announcement was that

:21:06.:21:07.

because it was proving so difficult to write this

:21:08.:21:09.

year's Queen speech, the Government had decided not

:21:10.:21:11.

to have one next year at all. I suspect there are

:21:12.:21:14.

a number of issues on which the Conservative and DUP

:21:15.:21:16.

Government might not find all the MPs of their respective

:21:17.:21:19.

parties in total agreement. Particularly, if the Prime Minister

:21:20.:21:21.

fails to put jobs and the economy of this country at the heart

:21:22.:21:23.

of the Brexit negotiations. My Lords, I want

:21:24.:21:27.

to be clear on this, should the House of Commons send

:21:28.:21:31.

this house legislation that has been amended from the

:21:32.:21:35.

Government's original intentions then ministers should not

:21:36.:21:38.

seek to use your lordship's house to thwart the mandate of

:21:39.:21:43.

a democratically elected house. Last year, the vote

:21:44.:21:49.

was not just to leave the EU, it was a profound

:21:50.:21:56.

and justified expression that our country often does not

:21:57.:21:58.

work in the way that it should for millions

:21:59.:22:01.

of ordinary, working families. For that reason, we

:22:02.:22:02.

will work to build a stronger economy so we can improve

:22:03.:22:05.

people's living standards and fund the public services

:22:06.:22:08.

on which we all depend. Finally, The tradition

:22:09.:22:14.

is that the opening speeches in the Commons on the day of state

:22:15.:22:16.

opening are light hearted affairs, given by two Government MPs,

:22:17.:22:22.

one older hand and one It fell to Richard Benyon to get

:22:23.:22:24.

the day under way and he revealed Mr Speaker, I'm not the first

:22:25.:22:30.

Richard Benyon to be asked to move My great, great grandfather

:22:31.:22:35.

was the MP for Berkshire Though, in many ways

:22:36.:22:42.

a great man, there is no record of him ever troubling

:22:43.:22:52.

Hansard with any speech. However, he was asked by Disraeli

:22:53.:22:56.

to move the loyal address in 1869, but replied

:22:57.:23:07.

that though mindful of the honour as a matter

:23:08.:23:09.

of principle, he never As you know, my father was one

:23:10.:23:11.

of your predecessors as member for Buckingham and he told

:23:12.:23:20.

that story to Speaker Thomas who clasp a hand to his head and said,

:23:21.:23:29.

how I wish there were more like him Mr Speaker, I still think

:23:30.:23:33.

of myself as young. But being asked to do

:23:34.:23:40.

this singular honour reminds me that I am,

:23:41.:23:42.

as golfers put it, on the back nine. In the election that we have

:23:43.:23:47.

all just enjoyed or endured, whatever your perspective,

:23:48.:23:54.

I faced a Labour candidate who was born a year after I was selected

:23:55.:23:56.

to fight the seat I now hold. Teams of therapists will be needed

:23:57.:24:07.

to help me overcome the brutal reality that I've gone

:24:08.:24:10.

straight from being young thruster to old codger

:24:11.:24:12.

with nothing in between. The second speech came

:24:13.:24:14.

from another Conservative. It is a great privilege for me,

:24:15.:24:44.

the son of Ghanaian this country in the 1960s

:24:45.:24:47.

to perform this duty today. My mother lived in Liverpool

:24:48.:24:50.

where her elder brother She remembers Sir Winston

:24:51.:24:53.

Churchill's funeral and She certainly would

:24:54.:24:55.

never have believed that her only son would come

:24:56.:24:58.

a British member of Parliament. This is one of the strengths

:24:59.:25:00.

of this country. I know people are wondering,

:25:01.:25:03.

the custom is for this speech to be delivered

:25:04.:25:05.

by a young, thrusting MP. After seven years in this house,

:25:06.:25:07.

I was slightly confused One of my honourable

:25:08.:25:10.

friends, a former whip, said, oh, you're meant to be

:25:11.:25:12.

the young one, are you? In my intake of 2010,

:25:13.:25:15.

I have seen such meteoric high-flyers as the Business

:25:16.:25:18.

Secretary, a Home Secretary and even May I reassure the Prime Minister I

:25:19.:25:20.

am still young, still thrusting. And that's it from me for now but do

:25:21.:25:30.

join me at the same time tomorrow when that debate on the Queen's

:25:31.:25:35.

speech continues, but for

:25:36.:25:39.

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