Debates between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing during the 2019 Parliament

Fri 19th November 2021
2 interactions (254 words)
Tue 14th September 2021
2 interactions (152 words)
Mon 12th July 2021
4 interactions (50 words)
Mon 12th July 2021
3 interactions (206 words)
Fri 12th March 2021
3 interactions (290 words)
Fri 12th March 2021
5 interactions (393 words)
Fri 16th October 2020
2 interactions (986 words)
Tue 15th September 2020
8 interactions (668 words)

Domestic Building Works (Consumer Protection) Bill

Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Friday 19th November 2021

(2 weeks, 1 day ago)

Commons Chamber

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HM Treasury
Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)
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Very briefly, may I say that I very much welcome the proportionate response from my hon. Friend the Minister? He says that this issue goes back many years. I remember raising an Adjournment debate entitled “Cowboy Builders” in the 1983 Parliament. In the 1987 Parliament, I was rewarded by becoming the Minister for the construction industry. I remember the representations then, and I remember working with the Federation of Master Builders and others.

As a lawyer, one of the most difficult questions I ever had to answer was, “Can you recommend a good solicitor?” That is also a really big challenge for those who are engaged in or thinking about having building work done. I hope that, as a result of today’s debate, people will realise that they should look at organisations such as the Federation of Master Builders and Checkatrade, and go for people who have a reputation locally. It may be a little more expensive, but otherwise they could get into all sorts of difficulties. When I worked for Ernst and Young, my boss there, who I thought had the wisdom of Solomon, ended up getting a rogue cowboy to redo his driveway. He then came to me, as a non-practising lawyer, asking for legal advice about it, and I said that it was too late.

Anyway, that is enough from me. I am pleased by the Government’s proportionate response. The Bill does not seek to define “domestic building works”, which must obviously be the starting point for any regulations.

Glue Traps (Offences) Bill

Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Friday 19th November 2021

(2 weeks, 1 day ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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I can assure my hon. Friend that licensed pest controllers have been very active on this housing estate. I have spoken to them, and they have said that it is fantastic; it is money for old rope, because nothing that they do has any lasting impact, which is one of the problems.

Some people—this happens with farmers and people who keep chickens and so on—say, “To deal with rats, I am going to get a cat as a ratting cat”, but what do cats do? They do not only attack rats; they also attack birds and wildlife, so much so that that is a real crisis in our country. Rats themselves often attack small birds, and they certainly take birds’ eggs. We would be going down a very slippery slope if we tried to treat one of these areas of the whole balance of nature in isolation. Basically, nobody likes the idea that glue traps will result in suffering for other animals, any more than I like the idea that as a result of the behaviour of cats, a lot of birds are dying needlessly. We have got to have a balance.

The Bill sets out the offences and so on in clause 1, but it does not require the Secretary of State to issue any licences in clause 2. It just says that the Secretary of State “may” grant a licence, so there is no connection between the creation of the offences and ensuring that the Secretary of State has to issue licences to try to counteract the consequences of outlawing glue traps used by unlicensed people.

I am concerned about this Bill, and I do not think my constituents will understand it at all. I hope we can have stronger confirmation from the Government that we are going to eliminate rats before we start dealing with eliminating the means by which we may be able to control rats. As I said at the beginning, rats and rodents are dangerous to public health, and we ignore that at our peril.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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Thank you. I call Cherilyn Mackrory.

Health and Social Care Levy Bill

(Committee stage)
Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Tuesday 14th September 2021

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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HM Treasury
Eleanor Laing Portrait The Chairman of Ways and Means (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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I have to say I was not quite sure about that. I thought that the hon. Member for Leeds East (Richard Burgon) had finished, but the hon. Member for North West Durham (Mr Holden) nevertheless managed to make his intervention. He may indeed have wanted more, but the hon. Member for Leeds East read the mood of the House very well.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Leeds East (Richard Burgon). He talked about alternatives, and perhaps I can throw out a possible alternative that he might think reasonable. Why should the very rich have unrestricted access to a free NHS?

Whenever that is raised by Conservative Members, Opposition Members object to the idea and say that it would undermine the principles of the NHS. I do not expect him to answer that question, but I throw it out there because it is another alternative that could be considered.

Business of the House

Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Monday 12th July 2021

(4 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Leader of the House
Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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Right on cue—Sir Christopher Chope.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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Can I ask my right hon. Friend whether it will be possible to amend the business of the House motion to facilitate the deferral of the debate on the draft Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021?

Covid-19 Update

Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Monday 12th July 2021

(4 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department of Health and Social Care
Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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I thank both hon. and right hon. Gentlemen for their points of order. I am sure the House is well aware that it is not a matter for the Chair. I will not spring it on the Secretary of State for him to give an answer on this operational matter, but Mr Speaker usually observes that it is helpful to the House for Members to have as much information as possible before them when a matter of importance is to be considered.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The explanatory memorandum falsely asserted that the full impact assessment is available. Why was the House misled in that way?

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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Once again, the hon. Gentleman knows that I cannot answer that question, because what is said by Ministers and their Departments is not a matter for the Chair. However, if it were to be the case that a spokesman for a Minister had suggested that something had happened that had not happened, and on which Members were trying to rely and could not rely, Mr Speaker would take a very dim view of that. It is better if Ministers make sure that their Departments give as much information as possible to Members ahead of discussions.

Registers of Births and Deaths Bill

(Report stage)
Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Friday 12th March 2021

(8 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)
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I beg to move amendment 1, page 1, line 6, leave out from beginning of line 6 to end of line 4 on page 2 and insert—

“(1) Registers of live births, still births and deaths must be kept in paper form and must be retained in hard copy by local registrars.

(2) Copies of information in registers kept under subsection (1) must be transferred to the Registrar General in electronic form on a regular basis and no less frequently than every three months.”

This amendment requires that registers are retained in paper form in hard copy by local registrars but with provision that electronic copies of such information can be transferred on a regular basis to the Registrar General.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 2, page 2, line 5, leave out “also”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 1.

Amendment 3, page 2, leave out line 12.

This amendment removes from the Bill the repeal of section 28 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953, which makes provision about the custody of registers.

Amendment 4, page 2, line 27, leave out clause 3.

Amendment 5, page 3, line 13, leave out clause 4.

Amendment 6, page 4, line 22, leave out clause 5.

Amendment 7, page 4, line 25, leave out clause 6.

Amendment 8, in clause 7, page 5, line 7, leave out subsection (1) and insert—

“(1) This Act extends to England and Wales only.”

Amendment 9, page 5, line 8, leave out subsections (2) to (4).

Amendment 10, page 5, line 19, leave out subsection (6).

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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Amendment 1 is designed to ensure that we still have physical, hard copy registers alongside e-registers, so that we do not facilitate fraud and corruption in our registration service. I will not have time to go into detail—

Prisons (Substance Testing) Bill

(Report stage)
Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Friday 12th March 2021

(8 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)
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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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With this it will be convenient to discuss new clause 2—Expiry—

“This Act expires at the end of a period of 3 years beginning with the day on which it is passed.”

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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New clause 1, in my name and those of my hon. Friends the Members for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) and for Shipley (Philip Davies), replicates, almost exactly, a new clause that was moved in Committee to try to ensure that there is a proper assessment of the Bill.

The new—temporary; perhaps permanent—prisons Minister had the courtesy to phone me yesterday to discuss the reasons why he believed the new clause was unnecessary. I was able to exchange with him an actual case in my constituency that is causing me concern, which he said he would take away and act upon. I will summarise that case, which shows how important the issue of drugs in prisons is.

The case concerns a constituent whose husband was convicted of murder and sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment. Within a short time of his arrival in prison, never having taken drugs before, he became addicted to drugs, and he was then trying to get off those drugs. Ultimately, it resulted in him and his family being subject to payments of extortion amounting to no less than £60,000. Despite him and his parents and family reporting the matter, none of the people to whom the £60,000 was paid have been brought to justice. Fortunately, my hon. Friend the new Minister has assured me that he is going to investigate the matter and take care of other issues relating to the welfare of my constituent’s husband.

I tabled the new clause in order to raise that issue. I am not very familiar with procedures in the House, as you know, Madam Deputy Speaker, but as we need to resolve this Report stage so that the Bill can be given its Third Reading, would it be in order for me not to speak any longer about new clauses 1 or 2 but to seek the leave of the House to withdraw them both?

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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I take it that the hon. Gentleman does not wish to press his new clauses, for which the House will be grateful.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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Yes, Madam Deputy Speaker. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Third Reading

Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill

(Report stage)
Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Friday 12th March 2021

(8 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department of Health and Social Care
Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)
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I beg to move amendment 1, page 3, line 29, leave out clause 5.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment 2, in clause 6, page 3, line 38, leave out from “force” to end of subsection and insert “on 1 October 2021”.

This amendment will incorporate into the Bill the guidance for policy makers issued in August 2010 that there should be two common commencement dates each year, one of which is 1st October, for the introduction of changes to regulations affecting businesses.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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Amendment 1 stands in my name and the names of my hon. Friends the Members for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) and for Shipley (Philip Davies).

The purpose of amendments 1 and 2 is to try to address the quality of the legislation that we produce in this House. Using clauses as a means of giving the power to change a whole mass of other legislation has long been a bugbear of mine and is exactly what clause 5 does, which is why the Bill would be better without it. I know that, inevitably, the response from the Government on these issues is always, “Oh, well, this is belt and braces and it will save time in the future because we won’t have to bring forward fresh legislation or statutory instruments in order to cover scenarios that we have not yet thought about.” It seems to me that the case has not been made, which is why I have moved amendment 1.

Amendment 2 is a similar provision to the one on which I was briefly trying to engage the Under-Secretary of State for Education, my hon. Friend the Member for Chichester (Gillian Keegan), when we were discussing the Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Bill. The Minister would not engage with me because she felt that that Bill was a deregulatory Bill—she was probably right—and that, therefore, this provision did not really apply. None the less, the purpose of this is to try to ensure that there should be two common commencement dates each year for regulations that impact on businesses, and that one of those should be 1 October, because that seems to be closest to the time when this Bill will be implemented, so that is the date that I have chosen. Perhaps the Minister will be able to give me an assurance that it is indeed the Government’s policy to deregulate and reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and individuals, and to reassert that the Government accept the virtue of having two days each year that might be described as regulatory days, because that will not only facilitate the effectiveness of our legislative process, but make it much easier for those who are impacted on by our legislation to respond and prepare for it. That is why I moved amendment 1 and have spoken to amendment 2.

British Library Board (Power to Borrow) Bill

(Report stage)
Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)
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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment 1, page 1, line 3, clause 1, leave out from “powers” to end of the section and insert

‘at the end, insert “in excess of £1 million in any calendar year”.’

This amendment would limit the British Library Board’s power to borrow money to £1 million per year.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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New clause 1 provides that the Act expires at the end of a period of five years beginning from the day on which it is passed, otherwise known as a sunset clause. I have tabled this new clause because I think it is particularly apposite in relation to this subject.

When the Government, or the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, first contemplated the idea that the British Library might be given the power to borrow, which it does not have at the moment, the report said that there would be an opportunity to have a full debate about the pros and cons of so doing, and I am not sure that that debate has ever really taken place. I am also not sure that the British Library board is that keen to exercise these powers. The reason for that may well be associated with the fact that borrowing incurs future costs, and those costs then have to be budgeted for from a grant in aid. It is well established that many of what are described as “arm’s length authorities”, which are the subject of grant in aid from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, believe that it is better to rely on grant in aid, where they know where they stand, than to go down the route of borrowing.

My concern is that the Bill could be used as a means whereby the Government cut their grant in aid to the British Library board and, if the board whinges, tell it to borrow the money instead. Given that our national debts are at record levels, it seems to me that such an attitude would be completely out of place. If the Bill becomes law, however, there is no guarantee that that will not happen—that it will not be used as an excuse to ramp up costs for future generations: “Spend now, pay later”. The grant in aid process is designed to ensure that the British Library board can receive funding sufficient to enable it to do its work during the course of the year.

My background interest in this comes from the fact that I was the Minister responsible for the Property Services Agency. One of the biggest projects on its books was the construction of the new British Library. That whole process and the way in which it was funded should be the subject of a treatise.

The grant in aid process was used to fund the construction project each year; there would be an agreement between the Government, the Department and the British Library about how much money could be spent on it in any given year. But no limit was put on the overall costs. It was only when the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher got to hear about that that she decided that we could not carry on just funding the capital project of the British Library on a year-by-year, hand-to-mouth basis. We needed to say that that could not go on indefinitely and that there should be a finite sum of money for the project—and that would be that.

I do not know whether you have been round the British Library, Madam Deputy Speaker, but it is almost in two halves: part of it is adorned with fantastic panelling and money-no-object interiors, but I can only describe the second part as rather more utilitarian. That is a direct consequence of the then Prime Minister’s having said that there had been an abuse of the grant in aid process. I still have the trowel used in the British Library topping-out ceremony—as we would expect for such an extravagant project, it is made of finest silver and came from Garrard, I think. But that is by the by.

Just as the grant in aid was abused before Margaret Thatcher got a grip on it, I fear that the power to borrow could also be abused if we do not keep a tight rein on it. A five-year sunset clause would enable that assessment to be made, so that at the end of five years, if it had been a great success, it could be renewed, and if not, there would not be any need to renew it. Effectively, it would give this House the opportunity of policing what had actually happened under the powers being granted in this primary legislation. I go back to the point that we are not even sure that the British Library really wants these powers, and certainly it does not want these powers if the consequence is a reduction in its grant in aid.

Amendment 1 is designed to limit the amount of borrowing in any calendar year to £1 million. That is an off-the-cuff, arbitrary sum of money, but it seemed to be a reasonable sum for starters, in the absence of any other evidence as to what the British Library needs to borrow and for what purpose it needs to carry out those borrowings. I have tabled this more as a probing amendment, rather than one that I expect to be accepted just like that by the Government. This is quite a short point—and, indeed, it is a short Bill—but in the context of the national situation of public borrowing, it takes on a totemic significance greater than it might have had when the Bill was introduced last year.

I hope that those introductory remarks in support of my new clause will engender not only a debate but an opportunity for the Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness (Matt Warman), who I am pleased to see in his place, to respond and to share with the House his vision for the British Library and how much he thinks that vision is dependent upon the British Library Board having the borrowing powers set out in the Bill.

I would be interested to know whether the Minister has any idea of how much the British Library Board is thinking of borrowing. The explanatory notes make it clear that the board would not just be able to borrow willy-nilly; it would have to get approval for so doing from the Department. My understanding is that, at the moment, there is a sum of £60 million available for borrowing for all the arm’s length bodies that the Department sponsors. Would the British Library Board’s borrowings be subject to that limit, or would they be in addition to it? In the spirit of the need to ensure that we scrutinise these proposed pieces of legislation, I would be grateful if we could get some response on those issues.

Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill

(3rd reading)
Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Friday 12th March 2021

(8 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for Education
Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I did not rise in my place to speak on Third Reading because I understood that, as I was on the call list, I would be called, but the Minister is after me on the call list.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Well, that is an interesting point of order. I must say to the hon. Gentleman that the order of the call list is a matter for me. Yes, things are written down and these are unusual proceedings, but the order in which Members are called to speak is still a matter for the Chair. He will of course have his turn in due course.

Prisons (Substance Testing) Bill

(2nd reading)
Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Friday 16th October 2020

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Ministry of Justice
Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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Thank you very much.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

16 Oct 2020, 12:01 a.m.

I, too, congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Dame Cheryl Gillan) on bringing forward the Bill; it is a pity that she is unable to be here physically to support it today. This is a good Bill, but I will say a few things about where I think we could make it better.

As you know, Madam Deputy Speaker, I have been in this House for some time and one of the perpetual challenges that I have put out to successive prisons Minsters is, “I hope that during your time as prisons Minister you will be able to deliver not drug-free prisons, but just one prison in this country that is free of drugs.” The short answer is that none of my right hon. and hon. Friends who have held that position has ever been able to achieve a single drug-free prison as an objective, and likewise, Labour Ministers were unable to deliver that.

One of my concerns is that when one talks to people who have been in prison and know the Prison Service, one finds that a lot of prisons seem to be rather relaxed about the current regime for drug testing. The Bill extends the substances in respect of which there can be testing, but why are we not already testing a lot within prisons? I have constituents who have served time in prison and have come as drug addicts having gone in without having a drug addiction. Too much of that is going on, and I would like to know from the Minister why there is this manifest policy failure. We have been discussing a lot of policy failures in this House recently centred around the Department of Health and Social Care, but there has been, and is, a continuing policy failure on the part of the Home Office not to enable people to stay in prison without being addicted to drugs. The one way of dealing with that is to have regular testing.

I was most concerned to see in the explanatory notes the financial implications of the Bill. Paragraph 29 states that

“the legislation would not significantly affect the practice of drug testing in England and Wales, so any financial impact would be modest.”

I hope that the Minister will be able to tell us why she does not believe that the present practice should be changed, because at the moment, a sort of game is being played within prisons. There is a minimalist approach and tokenism in relation to testing for drugs, because many prison officers take the view that it is better to have drug-dependent prisoners because they are less trouble. Why do we still have a situation where we are trying in vain to stop drugs coming across the borders into our country from overseas when we have proved ourselves incapable of preventing a single prison in this country from being infiltrated by illegal drugs?

It seems to me, as so often happens with private Member’s legislation, particularly when it has the support of the Government, that instead of concentrating on the real issue, which is the prevalence of drugs in prisons—there is already the power to test for that, but testing is not being carried out frequently enough—we are moving into saying that we need to test for other substances as well. I am sure that we do, but the same paragraph of the explanatory notes says that the Prison Service drug testing procurement exercise currently taking place—we heard earlier from the hon. Member for West Ham (Ms Brown) that there is a monopoly supplier, which is in itself unhealthy—is not scheduled to conclude until December 2021. Why is that? What is the delay? We seem to be able to get a lot of procurement pretty quickly under the covid-19 emergency legislation, so why can we not deal with the monopoly problem in the Prison Service drug testing system?

The explanatory notes suggest that

“Affordability will depend on achieving much better value for money from the new contract.”

If we are going to get new a new contract, why not get on with it now? Why is the specification for a new contract not being drawn up? Perhaps the Minister would like to place a copy of the draft specification in the Library so that we can see whether it will attract more than one bidder and save a significant amount of money.

It is amazing that so little money is being spent on this drug testing. The explanatory notes say that the current budget for mandatory drug testing is just £4.4 million. The cost to society of illegal drugs and substances being not just within prisoners inside the prison but within drug-dependent people who are released from prison is far in excess of £4.4 million. It almost seems as though the Home Office is giving some sort of perverse incentive to the Prison Service not to do more testing because it will be too expensive. It seems to me that of all the benefits that could come from expenditure of money, few could deliver better rewards for society than higher expenditure and more testing in prisons of those who are suspected of having drugs and other illegal substances. Therefore, although the explanatory notes say that we will have a money resolution for additional expenditure, it is envisaged that it will not be very much. We need a clear explanation from the Minister as to why this very important activity, which is designed to save lives and save public expenditure, has not been funded to a much better extent already within the Prison Service.

One of the great benefits of such a Bill is that it gives us a chance to discuss the policy background. I hope that, if the Bill gets to Committee and we do not get satisfactory answers, we will have a chance to explore it further on Report. I certainly support its Second Reading.

Business without Debate

Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Tuesday 15th September 2020

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)
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15 Sep 2020, 6:36 p.m.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. There are thousands—in fact, tens of thousands—of people who will be observing these proceedings and will have noticed that the Government have contrived to prevent this House of Commons from being able to have a substantive vote on some of the most repressive legislation we have ever seen in our democracy. My right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne) and I are but two among many Members who object to what is going on, and all I can say is that revenge is a dish best served cold.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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This really is a point of order for the Chair, because it is incumbent on the occupant of the Chair at any particular given time to decide whether there has to be a physical Division or whether the opinion of the House can be taken on the voices. I decided that the opinion of the House on motion 4 could be taken on the voices, because I could hear a great many more Ayes than Noes. That is my decision, and I will stand by it. If the hon. Gentleman or anyone else in this House had wished to make sure that a deferred Division took place, which would have happened had we reached this point in the proceedings after 7 o’clock, it was open to the hon. Gentleman—who, I know from many years of past experience, is quite capable of keeping the House from discussing a particular subject for many hours—and any other Member to make sure that the previous business did not finish before 7 o’clock.

--- Later in debate ---
Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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15 Sep 2020, 6:38 p.m.

I appreciate the point that the right hon. Gentleman makes. He has just solved his problem; let it be known that the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope) and the right hon. Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne) oppose motion 4. I note that there are two of them, and that there are a great many others who do not oppose it. I have just explained in my answer to the point of order from the hon. Member for Christchurch that there were very obvious ways in which he and the right hon. Member for New Forest West could have ensured that a vote on motion 4 was taken by way of a deferred Division.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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15 Sep 2020, 6:39 p.m.

I do not think there can be any more on this, but I will be fair to the hon. Gentleman and take his point of order.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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Madam Deputy Speaker, you are absolutely correct in saying that, in normal circumstances, there would have been ways in which we would have been able to ensure that business continued until 7 o’clock, but unfortunately that facility is not available in call list system unless one is on the call list.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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Order. I appreciate the hon. Gentleman’s point, but I am afraid that he is completely wrong. It would have been perfectly in order for Members not on the call list to participate in the proceedings that have just concluded by way of interventions and so on. There are ways in which that could have been done, and I am sure that, on reflection, the hon. Gentleman, who is more expert than almost any other Member on the use of procedure in this House, could have used the procedure to his advantage had he decided to do so. However, I have taken the decision on the Division on motion 4, so we come to motion 5.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Police

That the draft Police Act 1997 (Criminal Record Certificates: Relevant Matters) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2020, which was laid before this House on 9 July, be approved.—(David Duguid.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Rehabilitation of Offenders

That the draft Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2020, which was laid before this House on 9 July, be approved.—(David Duguid.)

Question agreed to.

United Kingdom Internal Market Bill

Debate between Christopher Chope and Eleanor Laing
Tuesday 15th September 2020

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)
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On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Can you help Back Benchers, please? A number of Back Benchers who wanted to come into the Chamber for this part of tonight’s business were prevented from coming in, and we now have a scenario in which almost the only people in the Chamber are members of the Government and Whips. As I understand it, their plan is to try to distort the votes that may take place on some of the remaining orders, which were originally going to be the subject of deferred Divisions. It seems that, as the business has finished early, the Government are intent on preventing our having a physical Division on some of the remaining orders.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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15 Sep 2020, 12:02 a.m.

I understand the hon. Gentleman’s point. Perhaps I have a better view of the Chamber than he has because I have the advantage of being in the Chair, but it would appear to me that there are several spaces in which Members could sit on the Government Benches and a great many in which Members could sit on the Opposition Benches. I point out to the hon. Gentleman, and to the House, that if there were too many members of the Government party on the Government Benches, I would not stop Government Members sitting on the Opposition Benches, given the unusual circumstances under which we are now operating.

I have to say that I do not understand the hon. Gentleman’s point. No one can be prevented from coming into this Chamber and—I will say this quite loudly—if there is anyone who feels prevented from coming into the Chamber right now, they should come and see me. People can come into the Chamber right now.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I am not sure that there can be anything further to that point of order, but out of courtesy and given the hon. Gentleman’s seniority in the House, I will take his point of order.

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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15 Sep 2020, 12:04 a.m.

I am grateful to you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

First, there was an attempt physically to stop me coming into the Chamber. When I said that I wished to come into the Chamber to shout “Object”, I was allowed in.

You just said, Madam Deputy Speaker, that there are spaces in the Chamber, and so there are, but that was not my point. My point is that while Back Benchers were discouraged or have been kept out of the Chamber, I can count the Government Whips—there are one, two, three on this Bench and four, five, six, seven, eight—

Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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There are about a dozen Government Whips here—

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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15 Sep 2020, 12:06 a.m.

Order. How many people with particular duties in the House there are sitting in the Chamber is not a point of order. Any Member can sit in this Chamber. The hon. Gentleman’s presence in the Chamber is itself evidence of the impracticality and impossibility of any Member—be they a Whip, a Minister or anything else—trying to prevent any Member, but especially a Member with the hon. Gentleman’s seniority, from entering the Chamber. I have just said it and will say it again: if there is any Member out there who feels prevented from coming into the Chamber and wishes to come in, let him or her come in now and I will protect them.

Let us proceed.