Lord Drayson debates involving the Cabinet Office during the 2019 Parliament

Ministers: Legal Costs

Lord Drayson Excerpts
Tuesday 12th March 2024

(3 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Neville-Rolfe Portrait Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Con)
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On extremism, as the Prime Minister said in his very important speech two weeks ago, we have seen an unacceptable rise in extremist activity that seeks to divide our society and hijack our democratic institutions. It is our duty to ensure that the Government have all the tools that they need to tackle this ever-evolving threat.

Lord Drayson Portrait Lord Drayson (Lab)
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My Lords, part of the role of the Science Minister is to champion the scientific community within government and to protect it from political interference. What action are the Government taking to repair the damage caused by the Secretary of State’s highly regrettable actions and the libel case that followed?

Baroness Neville-Rolfe Portrait Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Con)
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I do not see it that way. The Secretary of State gave evidence this morning to the Lords Science and Technology Committee. There was a brief discussion of this matter. They then moved on to discuss important points about science, which she and this Government are extremely supportive of and have done so much to make sure that the UK is one of the leaders in the world in science and technology matters.

Industrial Strategy

Lord Drayson Excerpts
Thursday 1st February 2024

(4 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Drayson Portrait Lord Drayson (Lab)
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It is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Willetts, and to join him in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Rosenfield, on an excellent maiden speech. We look forward to his contributions to this House in the future. I thank my noble friend for securing this debate. He will recall our time together as Ministers in the MoD and my enthusiasm then for industrial strategy for defence, and he will not be surprised that my belief in the importance of industrial strategy for our national wealth, our security and the challenging transition to net zero has not dimmed since. I draw the House’s attention to my entry in the register of interests.

History tells us that there is a clear dividing line between Conservative and Labour Governments when it comes to industrial strategy. Labour has consistently used industrial strategy as a core part of its policy framework, based on a commitment to set a long-term vision in partnership with industry, to help businesses grow, to create well-paid jobs across regions and to compete on a global stage, within a belief that it is part of the role of a responsible Government to have the courage to make choices that seek to build a fair, meritocratic and prosperous nation.

I shall concentrate in my time in this debate to offer eight principles based on my experience in government in developing and implementing industrial strategy that I believe are key to making sure that the implementation of industrial strategy works. There should be a commitment by the Prime Minister to ensure that the UK has an industrial strategy that will provide the long-term certainty that many noble Lords have mentioned, that commitment to work with industry, business, academia and local leaders to develop the strategy together; the full engagement across government of all the relevant government departments, particularly the Treasury, to ensure that the various levers that the departments have—be it regulation, procurement, skills or finance—are all brought to bear in a policy that helps to create synergy between them and prevent rivalry; the recruitment and development of a cadre of civil servants with the knowledge and experience to develop policies based on a sound understanding of the science, technology—as the noble Lord, Lord Willetts, mentioned—and, most importantly, the processes of innovation and wealth creation; painstaking leadership by a Minister in a powerful government department of the policy development process, with single-point accountability to the Prime Minister; active engagement to create that consensus, maintained over time, and a planning horizon that provides the certainty for industry needed beyond one Parliament; once the strategy has been developed, provision of the resources, oversight and ownership to ensure its implementation, ideally by the same Minister who led its development; and, finally, a biannual review to take stock, identify what is and is not working and make the necessary corrections.

None of this is rocket science, but it requires a new type of politics that goes beyond the soundbites and provides proper answers to complex questions—that delivers the how as well as the what. Whoever wins the next general election will face some major challenges—ones that can be managed if these principles are put into practice.