Debates between Christopher Chope and Andrea Leadsom

There have been 8 exchanges between Christopher Chope and Andrea Leadsom

1 Wed 17th June 2020 Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill [Lords]
Ministry of Justice
3 interactions (810 words)
2 Wed 13th March 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
3 interactions (199 words)
3 Thu 17th January 2019 Business of the House
Leader of the House
3 interactions (396 words)
4 Thu 5th July 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
3 interactions (257 words)
5 Thu 10th May 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
6 interactions (499 words)
6 Thu 10th May 2018 Private Members’ Bills: Money Resolutions
Leader of the House
3 interactions (323 words)
7 Thu 19th April 2018 Business of the House
Leader of the House
3 interactions (736 words)
8 Thu 20th July 2017 Business of the House
Leader of the House
3 interactions (225 words)

Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill [Lords]

(3rd reading: House of Commons)
(Committee: 1st sitting: House of Commons)
Debate between Christopher Chope and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 17th June 2020

(4 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Bill Main Page
Ministry of Justice
Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Hansard

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy), who made a compelling argument in support of new clause 9. I am convinced by it, and I hope that others will be as well.

I wish to speak in support of the amendments and new clauses tabled by my hon. Friends the Members for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) and for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh). If any more evidence was needed that our Government have lost their moral compass, this Bill provides it. I never thought that I would be asked by a Conservative Government to support a change in the law that gives unilateral access to the courts without any requirement to establish facts. It is completely at odds with the values of justice that I hold and which I think most members of the Conservative party, if not the nation, also hold.

I was a pupil in chambers specialising in family law around the time that the 1969 legislation was introduced that changed the divorce laws to say there was only one ground for divorce, and that was that a marriage had broken down irretrievably. There were five ways in which that irretrievable breakdown could be satisfied on the evidence. The Bill retains irretrievable breakdown as the ground for divorce but enables that to be proved by mere assertion by one of the parties to the marriage without the need to provide any evidence in support, even if the other party profoundly disagrees.

We know that our courts are under pressure, but how can this justify the expedient of removing the requirement to adduce any facts as evidence? Reliance on mere assertion was how we used to deal with witches, and it is still a favourite tool among dictators such as Putin and Erdoğan, who govern by decree. I did not think we were going to venture down that route in this Parliament under a Conservative Government.

I am particularly attracted to the provisions of new clause 3, which skilfully avoids the use of summary justice. It adopts the Scottish approach to separation with consent by reducing the separation period from two years to one. My right hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough has told us that some 95% of divorces in Scotland are now on the basis of that provision—in other words, with consent after one year. The Law Commission recommended that instead of one year or six months, the right time would be nine months. The Lord Chancellor has arbitrarily rejected that suggestion. The argument deployed was merely that the approach to divorces in Scotland is piecemeal. I profoundly disagree with that conclusion. I think the approach in Scotland is a much more sensible one, and I do not say that just because I had the benefit of a Scottish university education when I studied Scots law, among other things.

Many marriage breakdowns are temporary and not irretrievable. That is why the issue of evidence for irretrievable breakdown is so important. Sometimes the parties interpret a breakdown as irretrievable, they get divorced and they live to regret it later. Who can doubt that many divorcees on their own during the covid-19 lockdown desperately wish that they had persisted with their marriage? My right hon. Friend the Member for South Northamptonshire (Andrea Leadsom) referred to some 50% of people who get divorced having regrets about having done so. I suspect that, following this lockdown, that percentage might increase even further.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard

Further to the statistic that up to 50% of people said they regretted divorcing, the reasons they gave were things like they felt they still loved their partner and that they missed their partner, so for all the huge number of comments that it is all financial, it is very genuinely emotions.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Hansard

This is a very emotional subject, and we ignore that at our peril.

The Bill and the lack of response by the Government to the criticisms that were made on Second Reading lead me to believe that the Government do not really accept the important role that family life has to play in maintaining social cohesion in this country, with the institution of marriage at its heart. The Government almost seem to be venturing down the same route as those who support cultural Marxism. Are the Government inadvertently collaborators with cultural Marxism in seeking to undermine nuclear families?

In the opening speech on Second Reading, the Lord Chancellor said that

“it is often too late to save a marriage, once the legal process of divorce has started.”—[Official Report, 8 June 2020; Vol. 677, c. 95.]

but he sought to avoid the concerns of the Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) about access to free counselling for those with marriage difficulties, and he cited the Department for Work and Pensions programme of £39 million on reducing parental conflict as the solution.

Business of the House

Debate between Christopher Chope and Andrea Leadsom
Wednesday 13th March 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 8:43 p.m.

Actually what the Prime Minister was saying was that she was concerned that the House was not giving due consideration to her negotiated proposal, and what she was pointing out to the House is that the Government are determined to fulfil on the will of the people expressed at the referendum and that the alternative to either a negotiated deal such as her deal or not fulfilling on the will of the people was to leave the EU without a deal, which nobody believes would be in the best interests of the country.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 8:43 p.m.

My right hon. Friend has said that we would need to have a clear purpose in order to extend article 50, particularly if that was for a short period of time. Can my right hon. Friend tell the House whether she believes that a change of chief negotiator will amount to such a clear purpose?

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 8:43 p.m.

My hon. Friend gives me the opportunity to pay tribute to the excellent work of the civil service, who have spent the last two and a half years above and beyond the call of duty—so many of them focused on delivering on the referendum. That is something to be proud of.

Business of the House

Debate between Christopher Chope and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 17th January 2019

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his insight and for his encouragement of electronic voting. I fear that there is no clear view on that and that it may even prove more controversial in this House than leaving the European Union, which is one of the extraordinary things about the Houses of Parliament. Nevertheless, I am always willing to talk to him about such things. Of course, when we decant from this place into temporary arrangements, it might be possible to trial different alternatives if the House wants to do so—[Hon. Members: “No!”] As the hon. Gentleman can hear, it is a controversial thought.

The hon. Gentleman asked whether no deal can be taken off the table, but he must surely appreciate that doing that and then stopping preparations for no deal would be a totally incompetent thing for a sensible Government to do. The Government must continue to prepare for all eventualities, including no deal. It is not possible to remove no deal from the table and still abide by the will of the people, as expressed in the referendum.

The hon. Gentleman asks about next week’s motion. I again confirm, as I thought I already had, that it is debatable, amendable and subject to agreement by this House, on a motion that will be tabled on Monday; the statement and motion will be tabled on Monday. I offer the hon. Gentleman a bit of advice from “Winnie-the-Pooh” that I have been dying to give him:

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2019, 10:54 a.m.

May we have an early debate on collective Cabinet responsibility and what it means in the current circumstances? Will my right hon. Friend undertake to lead that debate, so that she can explain to the House the frustration that we all feel on her behalf at having the 2017 Conservative party manifesto, which she supported on the “Today” programme this week, undermined by treacherous comments from our own Cabinet colleagues?

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2019, 10:54 a.m.

My hon. Friend is really tempting me, but I shall resist. All my Cabinet colleagues are absolutely in agreement that we will deliver on the will of the people as expressed in the referendum of 2016. We will be leaving the European Union on 29 March. That remains Government policy and we will continue to prepare for all eventualities.

Business of the House

Debate between Christopher Chope and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 5th July 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 11:40 a.m.

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to raise the issue of serious violence. It is a grave concern, particularly, as he points out, in urban areas. Our serious violence strategy is focused on steering young people away from crime and putting in place measures to tackle the root causes. He will be aware that, with our Offensive Weapons Bill, we are seeking to make it much harder for people to gain access to the dangerous weapons that fuel the problem with violence we are experiencing at the moment.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jul 2018, 11:40 a.m.

May we have a statement early next week from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government arising from his statement to the Local Government Association conference this week, where he said he had

“no intention of forcing reorganisation on local government where it isn’t wanted or needed”?

As you know, Mr Speaker, reorganisation is neither wanted nor needed in Christchurch, where 17,676 people voted against it in a local referendum. If the Secretary of State came to the House to make a statement, it would give him an opportunity to withdraw the opposition he continues to make in the High Court to Christchurch’s case against the Government. If the Government now withdraw their opposition to Christchurch, we could all live happily.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this constituency issue again. He will be aware that Housing, Communities and Local Government questions will take place on Monday 23 July, and that is obviously a question that is best directed straight to the Secretary of State.

Business of the House

Debate between Christopher Chope and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 10th May 2018

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 May 2018, 11:34 a.m.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his birthday wishes. As ever, I will of course seek to accommodate his requests.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 May 2018, 11:35 a.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for so robustly defending the rights of Back Benchers on both sides of the House. Will my right hon. Friend postpone the sitting, scheduled for Monday, of the Delegated Legislation Committee at which the Government propose to abolish Christchurch Borough Council, against the will of the citizens of Christchurch? I ask my right hon. Friend to do so because Christchurch Borough Council, on the advice of leading counsel, has issued a letter before action against the Government, and the Government have asked for extra time in which to respond to that letter. It seems to me that it is reasonable for us to see the Government’s written response to the letter before action before Back Benchers are asked to vote on this issue, and I hope she will agree that that is a perfectly reasonable request. The Government cannot have it both ways: they cannot delay issuing a decision while at the same time asserting that what they are doing is absolutely right.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

I do not know whether you have any particular constitutional view on this matter, Mr Speaker, but I am certainly unaware of the specifics. I will have to seek advice on it, and come back to my hon. Friend.

Break in Debate

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 May 2018, 12:10 p.m.

The hon. Lady is exactly right. Antisocial behaviour is a real blight on people’s lives and I am sure that we have all had constituency cases involving people who simply cannot cope with these levels of antisocial behaviour. A lot has been done to give the police more powers to tackle this, but I encourage her to seek an Adjournment debate or perhaps a Backbench business debate, so that all Members can share their views with Ministers.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 May 2018, 12:10 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This arises directly from business questions, during which we made reference to the Delegated Legislation Committee that is due to sit on Monday afternoon to discuss the abolition of Christchurch Borough Council. Because this hybrid instrument affects Christchurch exclusively, I applied to serve on the Committee that will consider it—I made my application to the Selection Committee. I hoped that I would then be able to raise in Committee the criticism that has been made from the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, as well as issues relating to the instrument being a retrospective measure, which, as I said, is the subject of potential legal proceedings. What can be done to reverse the Selection Committee’s decision that I should not be allowed to be a full member of the Delegated Legislation Committee? It is surely right that minority interests, particularly when one constituency is uniquely affected, should be able to be fully represented on a Committee. Obviously, I can attend the Committee, but I cannot participate fully in it. Is there any remedy available through which I can try to get myself on to that Committee?

Private Members’ Bills: Money Resolutions

Debate between Christopher Chope and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 10th May 2018

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard

As I have said, a number of private Members’ Bills are currently making their way through Parliament. We continue to look at providing money resolutions for those Bills that require them in the usual way, which is on a case-by-case basis. The financial initiative of the Crown is a basic constitutional principle, which means that it is for the Government of the day to initiate financial resolutions. This is a long-standing constitutional principle that is set out in “Erskine May”. The Government will keep the hon. Gentleman’s private Member’s Bill under review, but it is right that we allow the Boundary Commission to report its recommendations before carefully considering how to proceed.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 May 2018, 10:43 a.m.

I have to say I agree absolutely with the points made by the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Afzal Khan). I think the Government’s behaviour is undemocratic and certainly is in breach of the undertakings they gave to the Procedure Committee, which were that, if a Bill got a Second Reading, as night follows day, it would then get a money resolution and the Government would not abuse their power as they are seeking to do now.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 May 2018, 10:46 a.m.

I point out to my hon. Friend that a number of private Members’ Bill are going through and a significant number have had a Second Reading. Those are awaiting Committee. They include the Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill, the Health and Social Care (National Data Guardian) Bill, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill, the Stalking Protection Bill, the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill, the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill, the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill, the Overseas Electors Bill, the Refugees (Family Reunion) (No. 2) Bill and others. It is very important that the Government use their good offices to bring forward money resolutions on a case-by-case basis in line with the long-held constitutional principle that it is for the Government to bring forward money resolutions.

Business of the House

Debate between Christopher Chope and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 19th April 2018

(2 years, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Apr 2018, 10:53 a.m.

I join the hon. Lady in wishing the Chairman of the Backbench Business Committee and Her Majesty very happy birthdays for Saturday. I take it that the hon. Gentleman is slightly younger than Her Majesty, but I am sure he would not venture to suggest by how much.

The hon. Lady has raised a number of important points. I am glad she is glad that we have debates on the higher education statutory instrument, the money resolution and Opposition motions scheduled for next week. We are, in fact, extraordinarily busy, and I would like to remind her of some of the achievements so far. We have introduced 27 Bills in this Session so far, including the seminal European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and other very important legislation that she mentioned, such as that on the general data protection regulation—I assure her that we are very aware of the impending deadline, and proceedings will be brought forward very soon.

We have had 11 Bills sent for Royal Assent already, including the Space Industry Bill—a fantastic opportunity to build the new skilled jobs of the future. We have six Brexit Bills before Parliament at the moment—the withdrawal Bill and Bills on nuclear safeguards, customs, trade, sanctions and road haulage. Of course, hundreds of statutory instruments have also been passed by each House. In addition, we have seven draft Bills published in this Session, and I will not detain the House any longer by naming them all.

However, I want to make the point to the hon. Lady that, in fact, we are achieving a lot, and I am delighted that that is the case. I am also delighted that the House is taking such an active part in not only the legislative programme, but some of the vital debates we have had just this week—that is incredibly important.

On the Windrush generation, which the hon. Lady raised, I can only again apologise. These individuals are British; they have absolutely every right to be here. What has happened is incredibly regrettable. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have apologised without reservation, and I do so again today. The Home Office is determined to put this right in short order, and that is what it is absolutely focused on doing.

The hon. Lady raised the issue of a fee, which I am sorry to say I am not aware of. If I may, I will investigate and come back to her. She asked when the EU withdrawal Bill will come back. As she knows, there are no programme motions, so their lordships will send it back to us in due course. Of course, we will consider all attempts to improve legislation, as we always do, and we will respond in due course to amendments that have been passed in the other place.

The hon. Lady also raised the issue of the restoration and renewal of the Palace. I am sorry if she thinks there was some sort of statement. In fact, the article in The House magazine was merely an attempt to keep Members’ interest in the subject. I am, of course, delighted to talk to her about progress at any time. As soon as there is substantive progress—for example, once we have recruited the internal and external members for the shadow sponsor body—there will be the opportunity to debate that in this place.

Finally, I pay tribute to the hon. Lady’s constituent, Janine Webber. It sounds as if that was harrowing testimony, and I am sure all of us in the House absolutely support the hon. Lady’s view that we should consider each other for who we are, not for where we come from or what we believe in.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Hansard
19 Apr 2018, 10:34 a.m.

May I ask my right hon. Friend about two statutory instruments that were laid just before Easter, which are designed to abolish Christchurch Borough Council against its will? Will she assure me that neither of those instruments will be brought forward for debate until there has been a report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, to which I have written pointing out that one of those statutory instruments seeks to change primary legislation and to do so retrospectively, with hybrid effect and in breach of Government undertakings to Parliament?

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Apr 2018, 9:30 a.m.

My hon. Friend raises a serious matter, although it is not something of which I am aware right now. If he allows me, I will certainly look into it and write to him.

Business of the House

Debate between Christopher Chope and Andrea Leadsom
Thursday 20th July 2017

(3 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Leader of the House
Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
20 Jul 2017, 12:17 p.m.

I do not for the life of me see why the hon. Gentleman thinks that earlier improvements for passengers with less disruption can possibly be a slap in the face. The Department for Transport is acknowledging that technology is enabling it to deliver less disruption and earlier improvements for passengers.

Christopher Chope Portrait Mr Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Hansard
20 Jul 2017, 12:17 p.m.

Growing public anger at the BBC is made worse by the fact that the public know that the BBC is funded by a highly regressive television tax. May we have an early debate not just on the accountability of the BBC but on its funding, with a view to getting rid of the television tax, which at the moment results in 10% of all cases in the magistrates courts and particularly impacts on women? Some 70% of the victims of that tax are women.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom - Hansard
20 Jul 2017, 12:17 p.m.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that as a public service broadcaster funded by the licence fee the BBC has a responsibility to set an example for others and lead the way in promoting equality in the workplace. He might well wish to have a further debate on how the licence fee is working, and he will be aware that the recent debates on the BBC charter took up that very issue. If he wants to seek further discussion, he can do so in Westminster Hall or through an Adjournment debate.