Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Tuesday 25th October 2022

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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7. What steps he is taking to support households with energy bills over winter 2022-23.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg)
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We are providing a £400 discount through the energy bills support scheme over this winter, as well as the energy price guarantee, which will support millions of households and businesses with rising energy costs, and we will continue to do so from now until April next year. That is on top of a further £800 in one-off support provided to 8 million of the most vulnerable households to help with the cost of living, and of course pensioner households can receive £300.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn
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The cost of living, and especially energy, is of great concern to my Carshalton and Wallington constituents. I welcome the Government’s action on energy bills, but I know from talking to many of my residents while out delivering my cost of living advice guide that, apart from the energy price guarantee, they are sometimes unaware of the additional support they may be entitled to, including from their energy provider and the Department for Work and Pensions, or the Government support provided through local councils. Will my right hon. Friend outline what steps he is taking to ensure that people are aware of all avenues of support that are available to them?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend is quite right to raise this. Full details of the help available to consumers can be found on the Government’s Help for Households website, which people can get to from the gov.uk website. That covers my Department’s extensive energy support package and the additional help available, including through the Department for Work and Pensions, such as income support. In addition to the Help for Households site, we are communicating information on the support available to help with energy bills through suppliers, consumer groups and charities—and, it has to be said, through first-class MPs running events in their constituencies, who ensure that this happens—as well as through the media and

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 9th June 2022

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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How remiss of me not to wish you many happy returns for tomorrow, Mr Speaker. I expect that Chorley will be en fête over the weekend and that what it was doing last weekend was merely a warm-up for the main event.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Luton South (Rachel Hopkins) for bringing up the Procurement Bill, which has now started its passage in the other House. What is of fundamental and overwhelming importance—I think we agree on this—is value for money, and that is front and centre of the Bill. The other bits around procurement may be good to do, but if we do not achieve value for money, taxpayers’ money will not be well spent.

I go back to the procurement of PPE two years ago. Had we followed the normal procurement rules, it would have taken three to six months before we ordered a single extra glove. That cannot have been the right thing to do when there was an emergency. I am glad to say that the Bill provides better emergency procurement procedures.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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5. What steps his Department is taking to (a) improve Government efficiency and (b) reform Government online services.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 15th July 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Obviously the only place that people want to travel to is Somerset. The idea that everyone wants to travel to London is, I think, a mistaken one, so I am in agreement with the hon. Gentleman. I think he raises a really important point. These timetabling changes are very difficult, and he is also right that it is important that there are good connections within regions and not just to London, so I will take up his points with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con) [V]
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Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Culvers House Primary School in Hackbridge in my Carshalton and Wallington constituency, after pupils wrote to me to raise concerns about the levels of plastic pollution around the world. They told me more about why this issue is so important to them, so can we have a debate about plastic pollution so that we can discuss and hear more about the UK’s efforts to crack down on it?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I congratulate my hon. Friend on his assiduous work in his constituency, which I had the pleasure of visiting not that long ago. The Government have done many things, with some inconvenience to consumers. We have accepted the price to be paid in banning plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, and also in increasing the tax on plastic bags to 10p per bag. The 5p tax has cut usage by 95%, and there will be a new tax coming in from April 2022 for products that do not have at least 30% recycled content, so great steps are being made for unnecessary plastic, but I think he is right to suggest that the subject should be debated, because one should not forget how important it has been to have plastic for personal protective equipment during the course of the pandemic. It is about ensuring that plastic is used for good and essential purposes, and not ones where other materials are available, but I am afraid it will not be a debate in Government time; I think this is another request for the Backbench Business Committee.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I have great zeal for ridding this House of EVEL.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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The Croydon bottleneck is a major rail junction for the Brighton main line, but also serves suburban London, such as Carshalton and Wallington. Congestion here is causing massive delays and also prevents more frequent rail services from being run to outer London, which the Croydon area remodelling scheme is designed to fix. Can we have a statement from the Department for Transport about Government support for this scheme so that we can deliver additional rail services to Carshalton and Wallington?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Improving track layouts, remodelling the Selhurst triangle and constructing new tracks and two new platforms at East Croydon station would remove the bottleneck, which causes delays and disruption, improving the punctuality and speed of services. As I understand it, Network Rail has consulted on proposals to unblock the Croydon bottleneck and progress is expected later this year. I understand the concern that this must be to my hon. Friend’s constituents as so many of them are likely to be dependent on this service.

Let me say how much I enjoyed visiting my hon. Friend’s constituency recently, going to the Sutton vaccination centre and meeting Wendy, who was the subject of a Commons mention. May I say how surprised I am that he has managed to find something in his constituency that is not the fault of an incompetent Lib Dem-run administration? I hope that next week he will try harder.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 22nd April 2021

(2 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con) [V]
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Tomorrow, residents in Carshalton and Wallington and across England will celebrate St George’s Day. Although many celebrations cannot take place this year due to covid restrictions, could we have a debate to mark this day and celebrate all that is great about this green and pleasant land?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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This week is actually a very interesting one for English saints’ days, because the 19th is that of St Alfege, who was murdered by the Danes for refusing to pay extra tax—a saint I have always particularly admired—and the 21st is that of St Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, who had a great row with William Rufus over the powers of the Church against the state. Then of course there is St George, who famously slew the dragon and did other great and noble things, and became our patron saint really in the reign of Edward III. He is the patron of the Order of the Garter as well, and a chivalrous saint, or very much thought to be. We should celebrate and discuss the great history of our nation and the interesting agglomeration of saints who pray for us on a daily basis, praying for the success not just of England but of the whole of the United Kingdom. St Andrew, St David and St Patrick—all the great saints—should be celebrated and commemorated.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 25th March 2021

(2 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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May I join the hon. Gentleman in wishing the Jewish community a happy Passover? I recall that when studying A-levels I looked in some detail as to whether the last supper was a Passover feast or not. In St John’s gospel it seems not to be, whereas in the synoptic gospels it seems to be. I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s good wishes and for his telling us the first debate in the next Backbench Business Committee business.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con) [V]
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Last week, I was delighted to visit the new vaccination centre at the St Nicholas centre in Sutton, where Carshalton and Wallington residents will soon be invited to come forward to receive their vaccinations. Will my right hon. Friend join me in thanking the site matron, Wendy, and all the staff and volunteers who have made this possible? May we have a debate on how we can recognise them and everyone who has stepped up throughout this pandemic?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend is so right to raise this and the incredible work that has been done by staff and volunteers at vaccination centres across the country. I am looking forward next Tuesday to going to the Bath racecourse, which is in my constituency—it is not actually in Bath—for my vaccination. For the record, I am not giving up my racecourse to Bath. I particularly congratulate Wendy, the site matron. She sounds absolutely splendid and deserves the commendation of the House. People like Wendy have played a vital role in the vaccine roll-out, and thanks to their incredible work about 28 million people have now received their first dose across the UK, which is more than half of all adults in our country.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 4th March 2021

(3 years ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The answer, I am sorry to say, is no.

As regards an Opposition day for the SNP, I will, of course, take that up; I am aware of the Standing Order requirements. In terms of the plea to free the Perth and North Perthshire One, the Government do not have a majority on the Scottish Affairs Committee, so I suggest that the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) works with all members of the Committee, so that it may come to an agreement to change the times.

Finally, I admire the hon. Gentleman’s gall in asking for a debate on honesty in public affairs—dare I say, motes and beams, and there is rather a beam in the Scottish Parliament at the moment.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con) [V]
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My constituent David Lansley has invested in a regeneration project, the Paradise Golf and Beach Resort in Morocco, which was promoted by the Government there back in 2007, but 14 years later, construction has yet to commence, despite multiple conversations with the British consular in Rabat. The investment of my constituent and many others is still nowhere to be seen. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office should intervene in this matter? Can we have a debate about the role of the FCDO in supporting British investors who have seemingly been defrauded by state-backed projects overseas?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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While the British Government are unable to intervene in individual cases, we raise property disputes with the relevant Moroccan authorities to urge a satisfactory resolution for British investors. We first raised these issues in 2013 and continue to do so regularly at official and ministerial level, although, as Members will be aware, the response to covid-19 has been HMG’s priority this year and last. Morocco has reassured us that it is keen to ensure that investors are treated fairly and to help to find a solution. We encourage UK citizens in a property dispute to seek legal advice by engaging an independent lawyer qualified in local law, who will be best placed to advise on their rights and methods of redress. Although the British embassy is unable to intervene on behalf of those investors involved in property disputes, we will continue to encourage the Moroccan authorities to make progress on this issue.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 11th February 2021

(3 years ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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It is an absolute pleasure to do that, and to congratulate Maria Lovell on what she is planning to do to raise money for her preferred charities as the Luton civic mayor. Civic mayors bring a great deal of pleasure to their communities. They have an ability to thank people who work in the voluntary sector, who are unsung heroes across our communities. The hon. Lady is so right to raise this issue, because it is not just civic mayors; it is lords-lieutenant, high sheriffs—all those people who just go round and say thank you. This is a really good bit of our civic society and one we should all take pleasure from.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con) [V]
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It has taken the Transport for London Bishopsgate High Court case to force Lib Dem-run Sutton Council to rethink its unpopular road closure schemes. While the announcement that all schemes are to be suspended is a temporary relief for Carshalton and Wallington residents, those who have been fined so far will not get their money back; fines remain in place, and the Lib Debs are determined to find a way to bring back these schemes, despite their own consultation showing huge resident opposition. May we have a debate about residents’ voices being heard in local government rather than their concerns being ignored?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend raises a very important point. The Lib Dems hate the motorist; we all know that. They are fanatical anti-motorists. I am on the side of the motorist, as are Her Majesty’s Government. We support motorists. It is one of the great expressions of freedom; the open road, the ability to go where one wants—admittedly not under covid regulations, but normally, the ability to get in one’s car and drive where one wants is a great British freedom and one that we should celebrate and enjoy, and we should not have pettifogging lefties making life difficult for us. I am fully in support of my hon. Friend. I think he should remind us of the failings of the Lib Dems at every opportunity that he possibly can, but the best way to do that is at the ballot box, by electing a Conservative pro-motoring council.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 14th January 2021

(3 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am grateful to the hon. Lady, whose question is well timed because the responsible Minister, the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Louth and Horncastle (Victoria Atkins), has just joined me on the Front Bench. The Domestic Abuse Bill will be looking into the legal aid matter, and the Government are looking into the charge being made to victims of domestic abuse who need to go to their GP to get certificates. Immediately following this session, my hon. Friend the Minister will be answering questions in greater detail.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con) [V]
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As chair of the all-party parliamentary group for Tamils, I know that my right hon. Friend will want to join me in wishing Tamils in Carshalton and Wallington, in the UK and around the world a very happy Thai Pongal. As we approach the UN Human Rights Council sessions in the spring, may we have a debate about human rights in Sri Lanka, especially given the recent worrying reports of the destruction of a memorial in Jaffna?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Vanakkam and happy Thai Pongal to everyone in Britain’s Tamil community and around the world. I hope that their happiness on Thai Pongal has not been reduced by the fact that we bowled the Sri Lankans out so quickly earlier today in the test match. I feel rather guilty that, on a day that should be celebratory for them, we have taken so many wickets. I would like to thank the Tamil community for all they are doing in our struggle against covid throughout this crisis. Their values of hard work, discipline and community spirit have shone through. Regarding the destruction of the memorial monument at Jaffna University, the Minister for south Asia, my noble Friend Lord Ahmad, expressed his concerns on 9 January. The UK has long supported efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, including in our role as penholder on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council—UNHRC. We regret Sri Lanka’s announcement in February that it no longer supports the UNHRC resolution on post-conflict accountability, and we made clear our commitment to the resolution in statements at the UNHRC in February, June and September 2020. We are working alongside our international partners on how best to take forward this issue at the March session of the UNHRC.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 10th December 2020

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Transport connectivity is absolutely essential to economic growth. In the arc to which the hon. Gentleman refers there has been enormous economic growth recently, and ensuring that there is good transport infrastructure will help that to go further. As regards a specific debate, I cannot promise him one, but it is a great advantage that we have an end-of-term Adjournment debate, because I can offer that to almost everybody for any subject that they may wish to raise.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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The great British pub has had a difficult year, not just being closed for much of it but also bearing the heavy brunt of the restrictions when they are permitted to open. Our pubs, restaurants and hospitality businesses in Carshalton and Wallington have been in touch to tell me about the struggles they have been having, so could we have a debate about support for hospitality so we can help them to thrive once the pandemic has passed?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am noting that a lot of people are asking about the hospitality sector. That shows the strength of feeling about this in the House, and it may well be something that people will want to raise in the debate on covid that will take place on Monday. We all know the difficulties that pubs in particular have faced in the extraordinary circumstances of this year. I would reiterate that the restrictions that we have placed on them have not been done lightly, but because of the clear need to suppress the virus. The Prime Minister announced last Tuesday that an additional grant of £1,000 will be provided to all of what are so inelegantly referred to as wet pubs, but what we in this House like to call boozers, in tiers 2 and 3 in December, benefiting around 27,000 businesses, and VAT has been cut to 5%. Ultimately, however, there will be broad sunlit uplands, at which point we must support our pubs. It will be our patriotic duty to go and drink a yard of ale.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 3rd December 2020

(3 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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It will be published. Bills are published before we vote on them. Patience! It is coming, as is Christmas, of course. [Interruption.] Christmas is coming —because we are in Advent. Dear me, I would have thought that, as a former cleric, the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) would know the difference between Advent and Christmas, but there we go.

As regards Brexit and the vaccine, the UK should be really proud that our regulator got in first. We notice that the European regulator is a bit sniffy about it, wishes we had not done it, and that Germany and France and other European countries have not managed to do the same thing. We have, we are leaving—draw your own conclusions, Mr Speaker, as I am sure the British public will. We are now free of the dead hand of the European Union and will be even more free of it on 1 January. This is a huge British success that we should be proud of and pleased about.

The right hon. Lady talks about the Minister for vaccines. I remind her that Harold Wilson had a Minister for drought, so Ministers have had all sorts of responsibilities over the years. My hon. Friend the Minister will be doing a very important job in ensuring that the roll-out goes to the priority cases first, and the number of vaccines that has already been secured will ensure that we are able to have a very thorough programme. This is very good news because it is the beginning of the end. We should welcome that and be pleased about it.

In terms of tiers, the idea that Somerset is the same as Bristol is a ridiculous one. Somerset and Bristol are clearly different things. One is the great historic county of Somerset, and Bristol is a city important in its own right, but nothing like the same as the great historic county of Somerset. Bath and North East Somerset have a much, much lower number of cases per 100,000 than Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. The whole county council area of Somerset is also in tier 2, along with Bath and North East Somerset, which is the right place for it to be.

The right hon. Lady mentioned support for businesses. I would just reiterate that £280 billion of taxpayers’ money has been spent to protect jobs, businesses and public services across the United Kingdom. This is an enormous package of support, including £1 billion of support for schools to help people catch up. If she has questions for the Secretary of State for Education, they should have come a little bit before me, during his statement, rather than afterwards.

Finally—Scotch eggs. We had better finish on Scotch eggs, because I know this is a matter of great interest. I refer to the elephant bird. Do you know, Mr Speaker, that the egg of the elephant bird, which is now extinct, could weigh up to 22 pounds? That is quite a big egg. If you turned that into a Scotch egg, it would unquestionably be a substantial meal. If, on the other hand, you were to take a quail’s egg and make that into a Scotch egg, it would be a mere snack. In between, the great British people will make their mind up, along with publicans up and down the country, as to whether it is a snack or a substantial meal.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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Statistically, Carshalton and Wallington is one of the safest areas in London. However, over the past few months there has been a worrying number of catalytic converter thefts and other vehicle-related crimes. Indeed, only this morning I heard the story of Saffron, who challenged four men who were attempting to steal a catalytic converter on her road, and was chased back to her home by those men, who were armed with scaffold poles. Could we therefore have a debate in this place about how we can support our brave police officers in bringing these perpetrators to justice?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend raises a genuinely important issue, and he is right to stand up for law and order. Catalytic converter theft has been a growing problem in recent years, and I know that it has been a considerable concern up and down the country. The police are indeed brave and heroic—they run towards danger and do everything within their power to keep our communities safe—and he is therefore right to pay credit to them. Thanks to the efforts of the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister, we have made good progress in hiring new police officers towards the target of 20,000, with over 5,000 new recruits in 2020 alone. He raises an important point, and we must always focus on law and order.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 19th November 2020

(3 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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That is not true. There are not the resources to do it across all these various forums. The resources are limited, and it is a question of how they are shared out. We are ensuring that the bits that need to be done physically are, and that MPs are here to meet other MPs, to see Ministers, to go to Westminster Hall, to do the great variety of things that amount to the fullness of the role of the Member of Parliament. Fundamentally, we should be in the same boat as our constituents. MPs do themselves and their reputation harm when they argue that they should have special treatment, as if we were some priestly caste.

With regard to the right hon. Lady’s point about human rights and freedom of speech, pull the other one it’s got bells on. We have freedom of speech in this Chamber. It is protected by the Bill of Rights. It is fundamental, and that is one of the reasons for coming together in this Chamber.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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Pharmacists have remained open during this pandemic, not only in Carshalton and Wallington but across the country. Pharmacists tell me that they are ready to do so much more than they can currently provide, including covid vaccinations. May we have a debate about expanding the role of community pharmacies and ensuring that they have the funding model that reflects the work they do?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend raises an important point. Pharmacies have shown themselves a bedrock of local communities this year. Their doors have remained open and the pharmacists within welcoming and wise. They have been a model of public service, and I commend community pharmacies for the essential work that they have done throughout the pandemic. The drive to vaccinate the nation will require a great national effort, and my hon. Friend makes an important point about the role of pharmacists in distributing and administering the vaccine. He is right to raise it, and I will pass his suggestion on to the Secretary of State.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 12th November 2020

(3 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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As the MP for the countryside surrounding Bath, I am only too aware of the problem, and, indeed, of the congestion in the city represented by the hon. Member. The council, under its previous administration, was considering a bypass to link the A46 with the A36, which would of course mean that Cleveland bridge would no longer be needed. I am not entirely sure that the current Lib Dem control of the council is as enthusiastic about this plan as its predecessors, but it would provide a solution and it is a matter that the local council could push forward.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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I have a number of extremely concerned Carshalton and Wallington residents who live in a block of flats with cladding on. I will not name the block so as not to prejudice their case, but the residents are essentially trapped; they cannot move, sell or rent their property. I know that this is not the only block in the country facing problems like this, so can we have a debate about support for such residents, who are essentially trapped through no fault of their own?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The Father of the House, my hon. Friend the Member for Worthing West (Sir Peter Bottomley), also alluded to this issue. It is a matter that the Government take extremely seriously, especially following the Grenfell tragedy. The Government are providing funding to get dangerous cladding off homes. We are proposing the most significant building safety reforms in almost 40 years, and are committed to ensuring that people are safe and feel safe in their homes. Some £1.6 billion of taxpayers’ money is being spent to speed up the removal of unsafe cladding, making homes safer as soon as is practicable. I thank my hon. Friend for raising this question and for the work that he is doing for his constituents to bring the issue to the attention of Ministers. I will certainly pass on the details that he has brought to the House to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 22nd October 2020

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Six years ago, in the year of our Lord 2014, a referendum was held in Scotland to decide on whether Scotland wished to remain part of the United Kingdom. The people of Scotland, in their wisdom, voted to remain in the United Kingdom and that is why they are benefiting from £7.2 billion of UK taxpayers’ money to help them through the coronavirus crisis. The benefits of the United Kingdom are enormous. But I would say this, as an Englishman. I think it is absolutely wonderful that we are a single country to which Scotland has contributed enormously over the centuries. We are all kith and kin. We should be so pleased that we are a single country and grateful for the contribution of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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Carshalton and Wallington residents living in New Mill Quarter in Hackbridge recently woke up to find that they had no heating or hot water for the eighth or ninth time in a few short months, thanks to the failings of the local Lib Dem district energy network. The scheme has tied residents into a long contract with no option to switch suppliers, and despite the patchy services and high utility prices, they cannot do anything about it. Can we have a debate about decentralised energy networks and how we can protect consumers such as those living in Hackbridge?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who, every single week, manages to come up with another example of absolute incompetence by Lib Dem councils. Perhaps he should ask the Backbench Business Committee for a more general debate on why the Lib Dems cannot run anything and why it would be better voting Conservative.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 15th October 2020

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The hon. Lady is absolutely right to highlight this important and troubling issue, which shows that there is still more to be done, but the Government have already achieved a great deal. It is worth noting that 200,000 fewer people live in absolute poverty now than in 2010, and absolute poverty rates across the country have fallen in every region since 2010. There are 786,000 fewer children living in a workless household now, which is a record low. Although I absolutely understand what the hon. Lady is saying, and I sympathise with her point and I accept that there is more to be done, a great deal has already been achieved.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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Carshalton and Wallington residents have been sending me photos and videos of the chaos that road closure schemes are causing, thanks to their introduction by the Lib Dem-run council. That has included videos of emergency service vehicles having to turn around while on call and find alternative routes to incidents. That is not acceptable, so can we have a debate about the introduction of these road closure schemes and the need for local authorities to consult properly with residents and with the emergency services?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Unfortunately, Lib Dems hate the motorist and therefore they have used this scheme, wherever they have had the opportunity, to make life more difficult for the motorist. Conservatives are supporters of the motorist and the great freedom that motoring brings, but local authorities are autonomous and therefore we must campaign for more Conservative councillors to try to be on the side of the motorist.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 1st October 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Again, the hon. Gentleman is so right to raise this matter. We are all, individually, champions for our constituents, and it is our job to seek redress of grievance when they are treated badly, whether that is by the state or by private companies, and to ensure that companies behave in a way that understands their societal obligations, as well as their shareholder obligations. I congratulate him on bringing the issue to the Floor of the House. It is a problem that the Government are aware of and I would encourage him to keep on asking for debates so that the issue can be examined more carefully.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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Carshalton and Wallington is home to some of the best schools in the country. However, there is a worrying lack of secondary school places due to the incompetent Lib Dem council’s handling of school place provision, trying at once to block a new school at Rosehill on what has been described as an ideal site while trying to force a school on a tiny and inappropriate site at Sheen Way. Can we have a debate in this place on school place provision to ensure that every child has a good or outstanding local school place to go to?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I have a nasty feeling that when my hon. Friend says “incompetent Lib Dem-run council”, he is guilty of a tautology. I have not yet come across a competently run Lib Dem council. Supporting local authorities to create sufficient school places is one of the Government’s absolute priorities. [Interruption.] I am sorry. I hope I have not upset the hon. Member for Bath (Wera Hobhouse). We share a local authority and I do not want to be too mean about it.

I sympathise with my hon. Friend. I am sure many Conservative MPs share his pain in dealing with Lib Dem-run local authorities and their flawed approach to planning in education. We provide funding for all the places that are needed based on local authorities’ own data on pupil forecasts. This is why we have announced nearly £750 million to provide places needed for 2022. The Government’s pupil places planning advisers will work alongside councils to provide support for any local authority that fails to provide sufficient school places. We announced that Sutton local authority will receive £16.2 million to provide new school places for 2022, taking its total funding between 2011 and 2022 to £141.8 million.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 17th September 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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There is always great sadness about children who are suffering from these very difficult conditions and questions about the drugs that are made available and who pays for them. Obviously, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has a responsibility to investigate that, but I will happily pass on the hon. Gentleman’s comments to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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My right hon. Friend will not be surprised to hear that the incompetently run Lib Dem council in Sutton is again not listening to Carshalton and Wallington residents, this time about road schemes, which are causing travel chaos across the borough. May we have a debate in this place about those road schemes and the way councils should consult residents properly?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend is right. The Lib Dems hate the motorist, of course, and want to make life as difficult as possible for motorists whenever they can. The emergency active travel fund, which was announced on 9 May, comprised £225 million of funding in two tranches for local authorities. The local authorities have the responsibility for how that money is spent, but the Government will ensure that if they do not demonstrate that it is providing improvements, the funding will be withheld.

Business of the House

Debate between Elliot Colburn and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 30th January 2020

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I cannot really add much to what I said to the hon. Lady the last time. A review is being carried out. This is a matter of great concern to constituents across the country, and the hon. Lady is absolutely right that people need to know what tax they will be expected to pay before the beginning of the tax year in which they will be expected to pay it.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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Many Carshalton and Wallington residents are angry that the Liberal Democrat council is planning to introduce controlled parking zones across large parts of the constituency. Some are appropriate and needed, but many are not and many people cannot afford the permits. May we have a debate on the implementation of controlled parking zones, in particular the cost of permits, so that residents cannot get ripped off by incompetent councils?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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It seems to me that my hon. Friend raises a very important issue. There is nothing more annoying, nor does it bear down on people in a more irritating way, than pettifogging rules being introduced by incompetent councils in search of moneygrubbing schemes to get money out of hardworking taxpayers.