Ian Blackford Portrait

Ian Blackford

Scottish National Party - Ross, Skye and Lochaber

9,443 (23.7%) majority - 2019 General Election

First elected: 7th May 2015


SNP Westminster Leader
20th Jun 2017 - 6th Dec 2022
Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament
16th Nov 2017 - 29th Apr 2019
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Pensions)
20th May 2015 - 20th Jun 2017
Petitions Committee
20th Jul 2015 - 31st Oct 2016


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Ian Blackford has voted in 626 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Ian Blackford Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(300 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(104 debate interactions)
Eleanor Laing (Conservative)
(19 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(307 debate contributions)
Scotland Office
(87 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(60 debate contributions)
Wales Office
(29 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020
(7,250 words contributed)
Coronavirus Act 2020
(3,193 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Ian Blackford's debates

Ross, Skye and Lochaber Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Ian Blackford has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Ian Blackford

14th May 2024
Ian Blackford signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Tuesday 14th May 2024

Ross Cowie, Point of Light Award

Tabled by: Ian Blackford (Scottish National Party - Ross, Skye and Lochaber)
That this House recognises the achievements and hard work of Ross Cowie who is a recipient of the Point of Light Reward for his work with the Lucky2BHere charity that he founded on the Isle of Skye in 2009; congratulates him and all of the others involved in Lucky2BHere for …
12 signatures
(Most recent: 24 May 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 11
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
1st May 2024
Ian Blackford signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 7th May 2024

Tall ship Tenacious

Tabled by: Munira Wilson (Liberal Democrat - Twickenham)
That this House celebrates the legacy of the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) in providing life-changing opportunities for over 55,000 people who have sailed with JST tall ships, which were purpose-built with initial funding from the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II fund, and the aim of integrating able-bodied and disabled people …
7 signatures
(Most recent: 14 May 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 3
Liberal Democrat: 1
Labour: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Conservative: 1
View All Ian Blackford's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Ian Blackford, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.



Latest 50 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the status is of the submission on behalf of the Campaign for the Harmonisation of Criteria for Both Versions of the Accumulated Campaign Service Medal which was received by AMSC, SW1A 2HQ, on 15 January 2021.

The assessment of historic medals claims is a matter for the independent Advisory Military Sub-Committee (AMSC). Campaigners can be assured their case is under review and recommendations will be made as soon as possible.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish the second Register of Ministers' Interests from 2020.

The Prime Minister yesterday announced the appointment of Rt Hon Lord Geidt to serve as the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests. The Independent Adviser oversees the production of a List of Ministers' Interests, and the next publication will occur once Lord Geidt has concluded that process.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Advisory Military Sub Committee plans to review all cases relating to nuclear test veterans.

Further to the answer given on 9 March 2020, campaigners can be assured their case is under review and recommendations will be made as soon as possible.

8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if she will take steps to introduce post-installation inspections for ECO4-funded works to ensure that those works are carried out to a high standard.

Under ECO4 installations of all energy efficiency measures, excluding district heating system connections, need to be carried out by TrustMark registered businesses, which are required to adhere to the independent Publicly Available Specification standards.

TrustMark carries out post-installation inspections on up to 10% of all projects, taking a risk-based approach.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
20th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that people in rural areas who do not have smart meter coverage are not left without heat and hot water when the radio teleswitching service is turned off.

Discussions are underway with radio teleswitching service (RTS) providers to secure its ongoing operation into 2025, beyond the end of the current contractual period ending March 2024.

The Government expects energy suppliers to upgrade households with RTS to smart meters as soon as possible. Households should contact their energy supplier who are best placed to advise based on knowledge of individual circumstances, including solutions for where smart meter coverage is not available.

Government is also working with the Data Communications Company on technical solutions to extend smart metering Wide Area Network coverage for those currently unable to receive it.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will provide additional support to those disabled people who are disproportionally affected by higher energy prices due to a requirement for high energy usage due to their health conditions.

To support the public with their energy bills, the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) is delivering a £400 non-repayable government grant. The Energy Price Guarantee will save a typical household in Great Britain £900 this Winter. People with disabilities are also entitled to one-off £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment. The Government is currently reviewing the Energy Price Guarantee. This consultation will explore the best ways to ensure that vulnerable high energy users, such as those with medical requirements, are not put at risk.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to implement the Contracts for Difference auction and allocation on an annual basis.

On 9 February 2022, the Secretary of State announced that Contracts for Difference allocation rounds will be held on an annual basis from March 2023, when the next round (AR5) will open to applications.[1]

[1] https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2022-02-09/hcws600

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Royal Society's report, entitled A review of the UK and British Channel Islands practical tidal stream energy resource, published in November 2021, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of reaching 11.5 gigawatts of electricity output for tidal marine energy.

The Government has made targeted support available for tidal stream energy projects in Great Britain through allocation round 4 of the Contracts for Difference scheme. Promising technologies in the early commercial stage of development must prove their viability and scalability by driving down prices before the Government takes a view on whether the levels of deployed capacity are feasible.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the announcement to include £20 million of ring-fenced in the fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference Scheme, what target is in place for electricity gigawatt output generated through tidal marine energy.

The £20 million ring-fence of UK government funding for Tidal Stream was announced on 24th November. The Government has no specific target for gigawatts of capacity from tidal sources.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the £20 million of ring-fenced funding for tidal marine energy as part of the Contracts for Difference Scheme; and if the Government will provide increased ring-fenced funding should that assessment find those funds to be insufficient.

The next Contracts for Difference round will be the biggest yet, affirming this Government’s commitment to fully decarbonise the electricity system by 2035. The £20m ringfenced support for Tidal Stream is sufficient to kick-start innovation across the UK and balances our objectives of decarbonisation, fairness and value for electricity billpayers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made on the roll-out of national smart metering infrastructure in the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency.

The Data Communications Company (DCC), the organisation responsible for the national smart metering infrastructure, has contracts in place for the provision of communications coverage to at least 99.5% of premises in its ‘North Region’. Data on smart meter installations is not collected at a constituency level.

The DCC is required by licence conditions to seek to provide communications services to all premises where it is practicable and cost proportionate and is also required to assess opportunities to increase the overall level of coverage.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timeframe is for the introduction of smart meters on Glenhinnisdal on the Isle of Skye.

Smart meters are operating on the Isle of Skye and smart metering communications services are being provided to the island.

The Data Communications Company (DCC), the organisation responsible for the national smart metering infrastructure, has contracts in place for the provision of communications coverage to at least 99.5% of premises in the North Region by the end of 2020. Glenhinnisdal does not currently receive network coverage for smart meters due to mountainous terrain affecting wireless coverage in the area. The DCC is required by licence conditions to seek to provide communications services to all premises where it is practicable and cost proportionate, and is also required to assess opportunities to increase the overall level of coverage.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government's 2010 consultation on peat, whether it is his policy that the use of peat in amateur horticulture will end and more sustainable peat-free alternatives commence in 2020.

The Government is committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England by 2030. In 2011 we introduced a voluntary target for amateur gardeners to phase out the use of peat by 2020 and a final voluntary phase-out target of 2030 for professional growers of fruit, vegetables and plants. While some progress has been made, we stated in the 25 Year Environment Plan that we would consider implementing further measures if there is insufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020. We will set out our plans around the use of peat in horticulture in due course.

We are working with the industry to make the transition to peat alternatives and to overcome barriers to their use. This includes, for example, jointly funding research with the industry on peat replacements in professional horticulture.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the motor industry to use polyethylene glycol in vehicle cooling systems; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits for the environment of using this chemical.

The Department has made no assessment on this issue. The design of vehicle cooling systems is the responsibility of manufacturers.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Civil Aviation Authorities Siren notification concerning the NOTAM issued on 25 February 2022 at 21:00 GMT was communicated to all UK airports.

The restrictions prohibit any aircraft registered in Russia, or any aircraft, - irrespective of the state registry - that is owned, chartered, or operated by a person connected with Russia, from using UK airspace.

On 25 February, in a tit for tat response, the Russian authorities banned aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with the UK, or registered in the UK from landing at Russia's airports and from crossing its airspace.

We have remained engaged with NATS throughout and grateful to their work to reject flight plans submitted by Russian registered aircraft and working with us to investigate any potential breaches. NATS has confirmed to the Department that there have been two flights, operated by non-UK airlines, from UK to Russia since the 25 February.

Regarding notifications of the restrictions, a NOTAM was issued at 21:00 on 25 February informing all aviation stakeholders of the new strengthened restrictions. It is the responsibility of all aviation, including HIAL and Inverness Airport, to check NOTAMs. A further guidance was sent to the aviation industry, including HIAL, via the CAA Siren system on 26 February at 18:59. This provided the industry further clarification on the restrictions; however, the industry would have been fully aware restrictions were in place via the appropriate route, which was the NOTAM.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Civil Aviation Authorities Siren notification concerning the NOTAM issued on 25 February 2022 at 21:00 GMT was communicated to Highlands and Islands Airport.

The restrictions prohibit any aircraft registered in Russia, or any aircraft, - irrespective of the state registry - that is owned, chartered, or operated by a person connected with Russia, from using UK airspace.

On 25 February, in a tit for tat response, the Russian authorities banned aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with the UK, or registered in the UK from landing at Russia's airports and from crossing its airspace.

We have remained engaged with NATS throughout and grateful to their work to reject flight plans submitted by Russian registered aircraft and working with us to investigate any potential breaches. NATS has confirmed to the Department that there have been two flights, operated by non-UK airlines, from UK to Russia since the 25 February.

Regarding notifications of the restrictions, a NOTAM was issued at 21:00 on 25 February informing all aviation stakeholders of the new strengthened restrictions. It is the responsibility of all aviation, including HIAL and Inverness Airport, to check NOTAMs. A further guidance was sent to the aviation industry, including HIAL, via the CAA Siren system on 26 February at 18:59. This provided the industry further clarification on the restrictions; however, the industry would have been fully aware restrictions were in place via the appropriate route, which was the NOTAM.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will investigate whether the NATS Centre at Prestwick gave authorisation for a private jet to travel from Highlands and Islands Airport to Moscow on 26 February 2022; and if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of that authorisation with the NOTAM issued on the 25 February 2022 at 21:00 GMT.

The restrictions prohibit any aircraft registered in Russia, or any aircraft, - irrespective of the state registry - that is owned, chartered, or operated by a person connected with Russia, from using UK airspace.

On 25 February, in a tit for tat response, the Russian authorities banned aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with the UK, or registered in the UK from landing at Russia's airports and from crossing its airspace.

We have remained engaged with NATS throughout and grateful to their work to reject flight plans submitted by Russian registered aircraft and working with us to investigate any potential breaches. NATS has confirmed to the Department that there have been two flights, operated by non-UK airlines, from UK to Russia since the 25 February.

Regarding notifications of the restrictions, a NOTAM was issued at 21:00 on 25 February informing all aviation stakeholders of the new strengthened restrictions. It is the responsibility of all aviation, including HIAL and Inverness Airport, to check NOTAMs. A further guidance was sent to the aviation industry, including HIAL, via the CAA Siren system on 26 February at 18:59. This provided the industry further clarification on the restrictions; however, the industry would have been fully aware restrictions were in place via the appropriate route, which was the NOTAM.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many flights in the UK have been given air traffic control authorisation to travel to a destination in the Russian Federation since the issuing of the NOTAM on the 25 February 2022 at 21:00 GMT.

The restrictions prohibit any aircraft registered in Russia, or any aircraft, - irrespective of the state registry - that is owned, chartered, or operated by a person connected with Russia, from using UK airspace.

On 25 February, in a tit for tat response, the Russian authorities banned aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with the UK, or registered in the UK from landing at Russia's airports and from crossing its airspace.

We have remained engaged with NATS throughout and grateful to their work to reject flight plans submitted by Russian registered aircraft and working with us to investigate any potential breaches. NATS has confirmed to the Department that there have been two flights, operated by non-UK airlines, from UK to Russia since the 25 February.

Regarding notifications of the restrictions, a NOTAM was issued at 21:00 on 25 February informing all aviation stakeholders of the new strengthened restrictions. It is the responsibility of all aviation, including HIAL and Inverness Airport, to check NOTAMs. A further guidance was sent to the aviation industry, including HIAL, via the CAA Siren system on 26 February at 18:59. This provided the industry further clarification on the restrictions; however, the industry would have been fully aware restrictions were in place via the appropriate route, which was the NOTAM.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the effect has been of the Assignation Statement (Prescribed Information) (Scotland) Regulations S.I 2152/1991 (S.177).

Roads and bridges in Scotland, including road user charges and tolls on them, are the responsibility of the Scottish Government.

7th May 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will have discussions with the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council on the potential merits of classifying people with football-related brain injuries as having industrial injuries.

The Department is advised by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC), an independent scientific body, on changes to the list of occupational diseases for which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) can be paid. We have met recently with the Chair of IIAC, and will continue to engage with IIAC as appropriate.

We can confirm that IIAC is currently considering whether there is a link between certain neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) and professional sportspeople. IIAC found studies covering a range of NDD, which is an umbrella term covering diseases such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), dementia and MND (motor neuron disease). IIAC is initially considering ALS where there is currently more evidence than for other diseases and will need to give more consideration to the evidence before it can make a decision. IIAC will also likely consult experts (neurologists) in this field and will then publish its findings when the investigation is complete.

It would be premature to speculate on how IIAC’s investigation will progress or whether there is enough evidence of a link between certain neurodegenerative diseases and professional sportspeople to meet the threshold for a new ‘prescribed disease’ to be recommended by IIAC for the purpose of IIDB entitlement.

If recommendations are made by IIAC on this matter, they will be carefully considered by the Department.

Mims Davies
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of claimants of New Style Employment Support Allowance were refused assistance because of insufficient National Insurance contributions during the covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make it his policy to reduce the requirement for National Insurance contributions in that period.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

As part of the Government's strategy to support people affected by the Coronavirus, we made a number of changes to ensure people who needed financial help could have access to the benefit system. People who were unable to claim New Style ESA due to insufficient National Insurance credits could alternatively make a claim for Universal Credit, which is a means tested benefit. There are no plans to change the New Style ESA contribution conditions for this period of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of implications for his policies of the second set of findings from the FOCUS study commissioned by the Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association and undertaken by University of Nottingham, published on 17 July 2023.

The department is advised by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC), an independent scientific body, on changes to the list of occupational diseases for which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) can be paid.

IIAC is carefully considering any connection between neurodegenerative diseases and the possible effects of repeated head injuries or blows to the head sustained during a career as a professional sportsperson. The Council has begun exploring the scientific literature covering various neurodegenerative diseases, which may include chronic traumatic encephalopathy and dementia. IIAC will publish its findings when the investigation is complete.

It would be premature to speculate on how the Council’s investigation will progress or whether there is enough evidence of a link between neurodegenerative diseases and professional sportspeople to meet the threshold for a new ‘prescribed disease’ to be recommended by IIAC for the purpose of IIDB entitlement.

A disease can only be recommended for prescription by IIAC if:

a) the risk to workers in a certain occupation is substantially greater than the risk to the general population, and

b) the link between the disease and the occupation can be established or presumed with reasonable certainty.

If recommendations are made by IIAC on this matter, they will be carefully considered by the department.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions his Department has had with the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council on assessment of the connection between repeated head injuries or blows to the head sustained during a career as a professional sportsperson and (a) chronic traumatic encephalopathy, (b) dementia and (c) other neurodegenerative diseases.

The department is advised by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC), an independent scientific body, on changes to the list of occupational diseases for which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) can be paid.

IIAC is carefully considering any connection between neurodegenerative diseases and the possible effects of repeated head injuries or blows to the head sustained during a career as a professional sportsperson. The Council has begun exploring the scientific literature covering various neurodegenerative diseases, which may include chronic traumatic encephalopathy and dementia. IIAC will publish its findings when the investigation is complete.

It would be premature to speculate on how the Council’s investigation will progress or whether there is enough evidence of a link between neurodegenerative diseases and professional sportspeople to meet the threshold for a new ‘prescribed disease’ to be recommended by IIAC for the purpose of IIDB entitlement.

A disease can only be recommended for prescription by IIAC if:

a) the risk to workers in a certain occupation is substantially greater than the risk to the general population, and

b) the link between the disease and the occupation can be established or presumed with reasonable certainty.

If recommendations are made by IIAC on this matter, they will be carefully considered by the department.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the waiting time for processing complaints; and if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of his Department's adherence to the Independent Case Examiner guidance on dealing with a backlog of complaints.

Our aim is to deal with complaints as quickly as we can and we will contact customers within 15 working days to resolve their complaint or agree on next steps if that is not possible. We always inform customers if there may be a delay in answering their complaint and give priority to vulnerable customers who may be at risk, and those with benefit payment issues.

We value the service the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) provides for our customers, and whilst they are independent of the department and don’t have specific guidance on dealing with backlogs, we do work collaboratively to improve the overall customer journey.

Mims Davies
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will overturn benefit reductions taken from some universal credit recipients whose payments have been adversely affected by receiving a small grant from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme which covers individual months but due to being paid quarterly has resulted in recipients losing money.

SEISS payments are treated as self-employed earnings for Universal Credit, which are taken into account in the month that they are received. We will not therefore readjust previous months’ awards.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will increase the standard rate of (a) employment support allowance and (b) jobseekers allowance in line with the increases applied to (i) universal credit and (ii) working tax credit to help support claimants who are not entitled to other extra cost benefits.

Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support were increased by 1.7% in April 2020 following the Government’s announcement to end the benefit freeze.

It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they believe that they will be better off. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from January 2021.

Claimants should check their eligibility before applying to UC as legacy benefits will end when they submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits.

From 22 July 2020, a two-week run on of Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (IR) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (IB) is available for all claimants whose claim to UC ends entitlement to these benefits, to provide additional support for claimants moving to UC.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent comparative assessment he has made of the risks of prescribing (a) medicinal cannabis and (b) treatments for drug addiction including methadone and diamorphine; and for what reasons prescription of medical cannabis is required to be prescribed by clinicians listed on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council.

The Department has not made a comparative assessment of the risks of prescribing medicinal cannabis versus methadone and diamorphine. Methadone and diamorphine are licensed medicines, whereas the vast majority of cannabis-based medicines are unlicensed, which means they have not been assessed for their safety, quality and efficacy by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Whilst the evidence-base remains limited, the decision to prescribe unlicensed products remains with specialist doctors who have expert knowledge and take responsibility for prescribing.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to convene international partners to help support work on finding a resolution to the situation in the Lachin corridor.

Following Azerbaijan's military action in Nagorno-Karabakh in September, the UK was active in working with international partners to call upon Azerbaijan to end the use of force and to avoid further conflict. We welcome UN and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access following the conflict, and we are providing £1 million to the ICRC to provide life-saving medication, healthcare and other essential support to those affected. We are continuing to liaise with the UN, ICRC and others to assess humanitarian need in the region and what further UK assistance is required.

Leo Docherty
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure Azerbaijan’s compliance with international law on prevention of atrocity crimes.

The UK believes that those who commit atrocities in armed conflicts need to be held accountable. We call on states and non-state actors engaged in armed conflict to respect international humanitarian law, and to act in accordance with their obligations under it. In the case of Azerbaijani military action in Nagorno-Karabakh in September, the UK was vocal in calling for an end to the conflict, the protection of civilians and for immediate humanitarian access. The UN and other international actors have subsequently been granted access to the region.

Leo Docherty
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the situation in the Lachin Corridor in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on (a) UK imports of oil from and (b) commercial relations with oil suppliers in Azerbaijan.

The UK recognises Azerbaijan's role as a reliable energy partner that plays an important role in the global energy landscape. However, energy is only part of our overall relationship with Azerbaijan, and it is those broad ties which enable us to have wide-reaching conversations with senior representatives of the Azerbaijani Government on a range of themes, including the unfolding situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Leo Docherty
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office what steps he is taking to ensure people in Afghanistan with refugee reunion visas are able to travel to the UK.

We stand by our commitment to help all Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK, including those who hold refugee reunion visas, to travel by whatever routes are available. We are clear that the Taliban must ensure safe passage for these people out of Afghanistan, and any engagement with them will emphasise this first and foremost. We are also in frequent contact with neighbouring countries, and wider partners, to help secure safe routes.
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has for the application and administration of VAT thresholds in relation to non-VAT registered UK businesses exporting to individual customers in the EU from January 2021.

Following the end of the Transition Period, non-VAT registered businesses exporting to customers in the EU will not be subject to UK VAT rules but will be subject to any VAT rules in the country to which they are exporting. It would therefore be a matter for the country to which the goods are exported to set any such thresholds.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what her policy is on tariff payments for non-vat registered businesses that export directly to customers in the EU at the end of the transition period.

Following the end of the transition period, there will be no tariffs on the export of goods from the UK to the EU, or any other country. This is irrespective of whether the exporter is VAT registered or not.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to discount the state pension as income for the purpose of claiming the Self-Employment Support Scheme.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer to Parliamentary Question 49808 on 2 June 2020: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-05-20/49808/.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to review the tax status of furnished holiday lets.

Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHLs) make an important contribution to local economies across the UK, especially in coastal and rural areas. To support FHLs in England during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has provided full business rates relief and grants of up to £25,000 per business. Consequential funding has been provided to the devolved administrations in line with the Barnett formula.

The Government does not currently plan to review the tax status of FHLs, which are well established and provide equitable tax outcomes.

However, the Government keeps all tax policy, including the tax status of FHLs, under review, including as part of the response to COVID-19.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether relationship breakdown due to (a) domestic abuse, (b) bereavement and (c) other reasons would affect a person's entitlement to a visa (i) under the Ukraine Family Scheme, (ii) as the third-country national family member of a Ukrainian and (iii) other visa schemes for Ukrainian refugees.

Where a person has already entered the UK using a visa issued under the Ukraine Family Scheme, the Homes for Ukraine Scheme or has had their leave extended under the Ukraine Extension Scheme, should they become the victim of domestic abuse or become bereaved, the leave granted to them under the relevant scheme would remain valid.

Where the person has yet to make an application to one of the schemes, whether they are in the UK or abroad, they will still need to meet the requirements of the relevant scheme. Under each of the schemes, decision makers are able consider any exceptional circumstances and apply discretion where appropriate.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to expand eligibility to refugee family reunion for Afghan refugees in the UK to sponsor their (a) adult dependent children, (b) parents and (c) siblings.

The Government’s refugee family reunion policy allows a partner and children under 18 of those granted protection in the UK to join them here, if they formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country. Afghan nationals recognised as refugees or with humanitarian protection in the UK, including those who will be resettled here under the new Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, can sponsor qualifying family under this route. In the year ending June 2020, over 200 Afghan nationals came to the UK under the family reunion policy, including 130 children.

There are separate provisions in the Rules to allow extended family to sponsor children to come here where there are serious and compelling circumstances. Refugees can also sponsor adult dependent relatives living overseas to join them where, due to age, illness or disability, that person requires long-term personal care that can only be provided by relatives in the UK.

Our policy makes clear that there is discretion to grant visas outside the Immigration Rules, which caters for extended family members in exceptional circumstances.

There are additional safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK should they wish to join family members here, work or study.  They would need to meet the requirements of the relevant Immigration Rule under which they were applying to qualify for a visa.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on mental health support for people arriving under the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme.

On Wednesday 18 August, the Government announced the launch of a new bespoke Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), to welcome up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK. The scheme will focus on those most at risk and in its first year will resettle up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans. Subsequently, on 31 August, the Government announced ‘Operation Warm Welcome’ to ensure that all those relocated to the UK can access the vital health, education, and support into employment they need to fully integrate into society.

The Home Office has been working across Government to ensure that those evacuated from Afghanistan are well supported in all their needs. This includes engagement with the Department for Health and Social Care where we are having ongoing conversations around health provision regarding England as well as local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups working with people directly. We are working with the devolved administrations in their actions to welcome Afghan people as well.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to ensure that Afghan nationals are not evicted from asylum accommodation.

Afghan nationals who have an asylum claim or appeal which has not yet been decided are eligible to receive support under section 95 of the 1999 Act if they would otherwise be destitute. Furthermore, failed asylum seekers may be supported under section 4(2) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (1999 Act) if they would otherwise be destitute and meet other conditions set out in the Immigration and Asylum (Provision of Accommodation to Failed Asylum-Seekers) Regulations 2005.

Regulation 3(2)(c) provides, subject to the individual being destitute, support may be provided where there is no “viable route of return” to the individual’s country of origin. However, this is not considered to be relevant to the current situation in Afghanistan, where the relevant issue is the safety of individuals if they were to return to the country, rather than the practicalities of travelling there.

Failed asylum seekers who consider they would be at risk of harm on return to Afghanistan because of the recent changes in the country are able to lodge further asylum submissions and would therefore be eligible to receive support under Regulation 3(2)(e) of the 2005 Regulations, subject to meeting the destitution criteria.

There are no plans to change the policy so Afghans may not be evicted from accommodation provided under section 95 or 4(2) in any circumstances. Like others supported under the provisions, their support may be discontinued in a number of circumstances, including where it appears they are no longer destitute, where they are no longer living in the accommodation provided to them and where they are granted refugee status and therefore become eligible to take up employment or apply for mainstream benefits.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Afghan applicants for asylum (a) have received a notice of intent that their claim is being considered for inadmissibility and (b) have had their claim deemed inadmissible since 1 July 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail inadmissibility decisions made and can be found online at:

How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

A breakdown of these figures into nationality is not currently available.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to allow Afghan refugees in the UK who have naturalised to be eligible to sponsor relatives under the refugee family reunion rules.

The refugee family reunion rules allow a partner and children under 18 of those granted protection in the UK to join them here, if they formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country. This route is available until the sponsor chooses to become a British citizen.

A person who wishes to settle in the UK as the spouse, partner, child dependant, parent or adult dependent relative of a British citizen or settled person must apply for leave to enter or remain under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules and meet the relevant evidential requirements as set out in Appendix FM-SE to the Immigration Rules.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to expedite decisions on asylum applications, including appeals made by Afghan nationals.

The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with our international obligations. All asylum claims are considered on a case by case basis and in line with published policy. Claims by Afghan nationals will be considered in the same way as claims from any other nationality; we do not believe it is appropriate to prioritise claims from one nationality over another as many claimants, irrespective of nationality, are potentially vulnerable and no one is expected to leave the UK while they have a claim outstanding.

We are currently reviewing the country situation and will issue updated country policy and information notes shortly for Afghanistan, which reflect revised assessments of risk of persecution. We have therefore temporarily paused asylum decision making for Afghan nationals to ensure that our decision makers are only considering claimants’ protection needs in the light of relevant and up-to-date country information.

All asylum appeals from Afghan nationals will be reviewed ahead of any hearing to look at the individual claim in light of the changed country situation, current guidance and any further information submitted by the claimant, to assess whether the decision to refuse is still appropriate.

No one who is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in Afghanistan will be expected to return there, and enforced returns of those who have been refused asylum and have exhausted all rights of appeal are currently paused while we consider the situation.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of allowing Afghan nationals in the UK to submit further submissions on asylum applications online.

In March 2020, to protect claimants and Home Office staff, we made changes to the further submissions process to allow for representations to be made remotely. It was always the intention of the Home Office to re-start the process of requiring further submissions from failed asylum seekers to be made in person as this helps to ensure people maintain contact with the Home Office and enables identity to be checked.

In order to make this process more accessible, we have recently increased the number of locations people can lodge submissions, with Glasgow coming on line in mid-August 2021, in addition to the previous locations of Liverpool and Belfast.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of whether there is a viable route of return to Afghanistan for the purposes of applications for support under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; and if she will make a statement.

Afghan nationals who have an asylum claim or appeal which has not yet been decided are eligible to receive support under section 95 of the 1999 Act if they would otherwise be destitute. Furthermore, failed asylum seekers may be supported under section 4(2) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (1999 Act) if they would otherwise be destitute and meet other conditions set out in the Immigration and Asylum (Provision of Accommodation to Failed Asylum-Seekers) Regulations 2005.

Regulation 3(2)(c) provides, subject to the individual being destitute, support may be provided where there is no “viable route of return” to the individual’s country of origin. However, this is not considered to be relevant to the current situation in Afghanistan, where the relevant issue is the safety of individuals if they were to return to the country, rather than the practicalities of travelling there.

Failed asylum seekers who consider they would be at risk of harm on return to Afghanistan because of the recent changes in the country are able to lodge further asylum submissions and would therefore be eligible to receive support under Regulation 3(2)(e) of the 2005 Regulations, subject to meeting the destitution criteria.

There are no plans to change the policy so Afghans may not be evicted from accommodation provided under section 95 or 4(2) in any circumstances. Like others supported under the provisions, their support may be discontinued in a number of circumstances, including where it appears they are no longer destitute, where they are no longer living in the accommodation provided to them and where they are granted refugee status and therefore become eligible to take up employment or apply for mainstream benefits.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether people arriving in the UK under the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme will be granted indefinite leave to remain.

On Monday 6th September, the Prime Minister announced that those arriving through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) will be granted immediate Indefinite Leave to Remain, allowing them to benefit from full rights and entitlements and providing them with the certainty and stability they need to build their life here.

This is consistent with the leave granted to those arriving through the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) and the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her timescale is for the Emergency Services Network and Extended Area Service mast in Strathconon becoming operational.

The mast is part of the UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN), which is designed to give our emergency services reliable communications coverage in more rural areas across the whole of the country. We are focussing on completing the infrastructures as soon as possible, but generally the sites will only be activated closer to the time when they are needed, as there are significant operational costs when the sites are live. The ESN Programme is currently looking at cases where there may be a particular case for early activation due to community need, as well as potential funding sources to enable this. In this instance the Programme is looking to activate this mast ahead of ESN, timescales are still to be determined.