(3 weeks, 3 days ago)Commons Chamber
Clearly there was a lot in that question and statement. I will deal with a couple of issues, if I may.
With respect to universal credit and wider budgetary considerations, I have repeatedly said that they are matters for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor. We will have ample opportunity to discuss these things in the House. With respect to the move away from fossil fuels, the hon. Gentleman and I are in agreement: I think that we need a diverse supply of decarbonised sources of energy.
Finally, I dispute the idea that we are ill-prepared. We have the SOLR and SAR processes in place and we stress-tested them throughout the whole covid period, when I was in constant contact with the industry. I feel that so far we have managed to accommodate such supplier failure as we have seen with existing structures.
Again, there are further budgetary issues, but I have always said that we are absolutely focused on customers, particularly the most vulnerable customers. The warm home discount is staying and we are looking to protect the most vulnerable customers, particularly prepaid customers, from the worst effects of the energy price spike.
(1 month, 1 week ago)Commons Chamber
I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s championing of the vaccination programme. He raises an important point. One of the issues around lateral flow tests is the risk of people fraudulently inputting their test result, but also those are for a single excursion whereas being double-vaccinated means that people can go and enjoy nightclubs as many times as they like.
I hope that when my hon. Friend pauses and reflects on what we will be bringing forward, she will see that it is that it is much better for the nightclub industry to be able to open sustainably while we get through the next few months. The winter months are going to be tough and challenging not just for covid but also for flu. It is a far better option to listen to the clinical advice of the CMOs and implement something that is difficult for me to do, and goes against everything I believe in, but nevertheless is the right thing to do.
(5 months, 3 weeks ago)Commons Chamber
No, indeed. We want to make sure that we can get these answers quickly for sub-postmasters who have already waited up to 20 years for a sense of justice. As I have said, statutory inquiries can take more than three years to get these answers. I want a report on my desk this summer to report back to postmasters, and Sir Wyn is getting the co-operation that he needs to get answers.
I thank my hon. Friend for her question. I know that she is a champion for community services in her area. That is what the Post Office does—not only is it a business, but it adds social value, as Jay Patel and his family continue to do. That is why we need to get answers. That is why we need to get justice. It is to give existing and future postmasters the confidence that they can work in a great organisation that is offering that social value and supporting their communities.
(7 months, 3 weeks ago)Commons Chamber
At least 3 million people have been excluded from covid support schemes. One constituent of mine ran a tourism business from home. She has no rateable business premises to qualify for grant funding, she cannot afford to repay business support loans, and the minimal furlough she receives does not even cover her rent. Her situation is desperate. Another constituent works as a freelance interior designer for the hospitality sector. He has received only 20% of his usual monthly income, and he says:
“I honestly don’t know how I can carry on for much longer”.
A personal trainer saving to set up her own studio found that she was ineligible for support schemes and, because of her savings, also ineligible for universal credit.
There are hundreds of stories like these in Salford. Many people may now lose their homes, and the impact on their mental health and that of their families is profound. Indeed, recently the mental health spokesperson for ExcludedUK said that the group has had 13 suicides to date and noted widespread mental anguish. Of one case, the spokesperson said:
“I had one woman who posted on our Facebook group asking for someone to come and collect her dogs because she couldn’t afford to feed them anymore. She herself had been eating dog food because that was the only thing she had left in her house”.
The Chancellor must do the right thing. He must provide an immediate emergency grant for those affected. He must install new monthly arrangements while restrictions remain in place, in complete parity with the extension of the CJRS and SEISS schemes, and remove hard edges to eligibility criteria. Finally, he must backdate payments for a full and final settlement to deliver parity and fairness for those excluded from meaningful support. If the Chancellor refuses to heed these proposals today not only will his promise to leave no one behind be worthless, but he will be responsible for the most glaring and deliberate orchestration of social injustice we have seen during this pandemic.
Having heard the Chief Secretary to the Treasury talk earlier today about the apparent “sunny uplands” we have here in the UK, I fear that he has not been living in the same world as the rest of us. The Conservative party has been in government for 11 years—let us let that sink in. The Conservatives have had 11 years to make the changes needed to rebalance our economy and make our society more equal, but they have not done so. They have made things worse for hard-working families, children, old people, single parents and people with disabilities, and for those who are unable to work and the homeless they have made it much, much worse. When my hon. Friend the Member for Houghton and Sunderland South (Bridget Phillipson) takes over as Chief Secretary from the right hon. Member for North East Cambridgeshire (Steve Barclay), the note he leaves for her will undoubtedly read, “We’re doomed.”
Next week’s Budget needs to put people at the heart of the recovery. Big businesses undoubtedly need support, but it is our small and medium-sized businesses—our independent shops and our fantastic producers—that will drive the build-back from this crisis. My beautiful constituency’s unparalleled tourism and hospitality sector was thriving before the pandemic, but it has been hard hit by the restrictions in place. The excellent Cakes & Ale in Mumbles, the picturesque King’s Head Inn in Llangennith and so many other businesses across my constituency—too many to mention—have been badly affected. Like so many hospitality businesses, they have been open for only 14 weeks in the past year. One way to help hospitality businesses to recover from this crisis is to keep the current reduced VAT rate, which is what they are all asking for. I know many local hospitality businesses in Gower are proud to be supplied by local producers. Our agriculture and fishery sectors are also missing out on supplying those restaurants, cafés and hotels, and boosting the hospitality sector will mean passing the benefits on to them.
It is also worth noting the challenge faced in the pandemic by breweries, especially my local Gower Brewery. They, too, are desperate for the pubs and hotels to be open, so I would be grateful if the Chancellor would look at proposals on duty on alcohol to aid their recovery. At the end of December 2020, 4,000 people in Gower were still on furlough. That is 4,000 people to whom the Chancellor has given no certainty or reassurance, and we need that scheme to continue after April. We need our recovery to be faster, and this Government need to learn from the Welsh Labour Government.
(8 months, 1 week ago)Commons Chamber
I am absolutely mindful of the immense pressures our businesses right across the UK are suffering under at the moment. I am in regular contact with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, who has acted in an unprecedented way; as I have said, he has put £280 billion into the economy to help our struggling businesses. But of course we are looking at the situation as it evolves, and we are very keen to help our economy through this.
Throughout this crisis, as I am sure my hon. Friend is aware, the Government have stood by businesses, as she mentioned, and worked tirelessly to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods across the entirety of our country. As we emerge from the pandemic, we will ensure that we seize the initiative, as she put it, to build back better, greener and faster from this pandemic.
(10 months ago)Commons Chamber
My Department continues to deliver a wide range of measures to support UK businesses. We have extended our loan schemes, which have already delivered more than £65 billion of finance, until the end of January.
I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend; now more than ever it is vital that we continue to help our local economy by supporting our town centres and high streets. That is why we have delivered one of the most generous comprehensive packages of support, with a total financial package of £200 billion.
The recent Small Business Saturday event meant that the spend from the Great British public rose to £1.1 billion this year, which is a 38% rise on last year. The Government will continue to champion small businesses, through our unprecedented support schemes, as they begin to recover from the impact of covid-19. As the Secretary of State has just reminded me, the spend is not £200 billion—it is £280 billion of support for small business.
(11 months, 2 weeks ago)Commons Chamber
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker; it is a privilege that I have not done something wrong in the Chamber.
Since December 2019, I have had many meetings with my hon. Friend the Member for Broadland, and I commend him for the passion with which he has served and tried to help those communities that have seen potential road maps of cable corridors coming through their small villages. He has been a champion for trying to stop that in those communities. I used to live in one of those communities—Cawston—and I know how much he has done to help it. One of the problems is that the current regulations prohibit the sharing of infrastructure due to competition rules, so each individual company must construct separate cable corridors.
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I know that she has an equally beautiful constituency; perhaps we should do an exchange programme one day and view each other’s constituency. She makes an important point: wind energy is just one part of the jigsaw of how we decarbonise and create enough green energy. There will be other forms of energy that are part of the mixture that will help us to decarbonise by 2050. We are lucky in Norfolk and Suffolk to have an enormous amount of wind energy off our coast, but there are many areas around the country with leading initiatives that are helping in the fight to tackle climate change.
The point I want to highlight, and the reason why this debate is so important, is what these cable corridors are leading to. They are causing major environmental damage, as wildlife habitats and agricultural land are dug up multiple times. Nutrient-rich land is sometimes irreversibly damaged from the disturbance caused, and many farmers report poor crop growth along cable routes—much worse than before those cables were put into the ground—caused by the disturbance of the digging. Communities also suffer great socioeconomic damage from the disruption and upheaval caused. For businesses that are along cable routes, there is disturbance, including from heavy goods vehicles and traffic for many months—sometimes up to a year—while these trenches are being dug. It causes enormous problems for these small, often rural communities in my part of the world.
(11 months, 4 weeks ago)Commons Chamber
Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for granting time for this Adjournment debate, and I thank colleagues who are in the Chamber; I am conscious that it is the Friday afternoon ahead of recess.
Reviving the London economy is critical, clearly for London but also for every single person in this country. London contributes a massive 25% of all tax to the Exchequer. Two small London boroughs—mine, Kensington and Chelsea, and neighbouring Westminster—contribute 10% of all business rates in the entire country, and London contributes £436.5 billion of gross value added. If we take the gross value added of Scotland and Wales and double it, then we get to London’s number. Ensuring that the London economy functions is important for people in Northern Ireland, the north-east of England, Scotland and Wales. It is critical.
Sadly, the London economy is suffering—in particular the central London economy. I think that there are two principal reasons for that. First, people are not commuting into work, and they are not coming in for cultural and social events at places such as theatres and restaurants. Secondly, there has been a massive decline in international visitors to our city. Let me take those in turn and look first at commuters.
I thank my hon. Friend for her kind words, and she makes a very important point. This is in the interests not only of London but of those who commute into London.
Let us look at the numbers. Morgan Stanley commissioned a survey in September comparing going back to work in the UK versus in France. In September, 34% were back to work in the UK, whereas in France the number was 83%. I have looked at the latest Greater London Authority data specifically for London, and only 41% are back in work—less than half of the people.
A second issue is the perceived lack of confidence in public transport—a lack of confidence that is quite wrong, to my mind. I hear that a lot from my museums, for instance, where footfall is dramatically lower. They attribute it to a lack of confidence in public transport. We need to get that confidence back, and we need to encourage people to come into central London. That is why I opposed so strongly what the Mayor of London did in extending the congestion charge to seven days a week and increasing it to £15. On the subject of the Mayor of London, he consistently talks down our great city. His job should be to inspire confidence, not to breed fear and nervousness.
Let me move on to international visitors. VisitBritain believes that numbers are down 74% on last year, which is a hit of more than £20 billion to the London economy. Again, it is all about confidence. We need to get those visitors back.
Clearly, London is in tier 2 measures, and I want to say how much I welcome the announcement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday to give additional support to constituencies such as mine that are in tier 2. I would also like to thank the Chancellor for his enormous financial support package across the country, greater than £200 billion. At the very beginning of the crisis, in the Treasury Committee, I called for a big, bold and decisive package of support, and, goodness, we have delivered that.
On the margin, I would say that London has not benefited from the support package as much as some other areas for very technical reasons. Grants to the hospitality sector, for instance, were given on the basis of having a rateable value of less than £51,000. Commercial property prices in my constituency are three times the national average, so businesses in my constituency with comparable cash flows and size to those in the rest of the country were not getting the grants that people in other constituencies were benefiting from. There is a similar case with the holiday on stamp duty. Clearly, that has been terrific throughout the country in giving people a holiday on property prices of less than £500,000, but just because of an accident of geography the average house price in my constituency is £1.25 million. Even in my ward, with the cheapest housing prices, the average price is £510,000. Very, very few of my constituents have benefited from the stamp duty holiday.
I also want to put it on the record that I am very concerned about the Government’s announcement that they will abolish tax-free shopping come 1 January. This might seem like a very esoteric subject, but international visitors to central London are critical for our economy. They spend a huge amount of money not only in our shops but in our hotels and restaurants, and they are highly mobile. If we make it less attractive for them to come to London by effectively putting a 20% increase on the cost of their goods, they will simply go to Paris or Milan. Especially as we are leaving the EU, we need to project an image of global Britain and to be encouraging international visitors. For the sake of the London economy and our high streets, hotels and restaurants, we need these spenders back.
However, let me look forward in a constructive way, because it is very easy to talk about the problems. How do we get the London economy going again? If there is one word I keep coming back to it is “confidence”. We need the confidence of commuters and the confidence of international visitors. How do we get that confidence? First, we have to get the virus under control: we need to get our numbers below 100 and to get the R rate down. If we do that, London can go back into being a tier 1 region. I would urge the Government to make that review as soon as the health statistics allow. We need to get London into tier 1 because London is the engine of our entire country. I would also strongly recommend that the Government review the 10 pm rule, again as quickly as the health statistics allow, because we need to support our hospitality sector.
We all need to work together collectively to get that confidence back and to reclaim London’s position as the finest capital city and the most prosperous capital city in the world.
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Felicity Buchan) on securing this Adjournment debate and on raising some really pertinent issues about the economic recovery that we so desperately need for our great capital city.
We are both privileged to represent constituencies in the capital city. They are very different, and it is really important that we actually remember that London is not one homogeneous mass. Therefore, the economic recovery and the plan for it need to reflect that. There are 600-odd high streets around the suburbs of London. What we saw, as we gradually starting to open up, was people shopping locally, as they were working from home and in their neighbourhoods, and that worked out okay. In fact, footfall was still down, but spend per head was up as people had the confidence—my hon. Friend talked about confidence—to go out in their local area to spend and to buy something in particular, not to browse or to shop as they might have done some months ago.
What clearly did not happen, however, was people returning to the central activity zones—the likes of Kensington, as well as the west end, Soho, the south bank, the City, Canary Wharf and all those areas. As my hon. Friend said, people did not feel the confidence to use public transport and return to their workplace, despite the enormous amount of work that Transport for London has done, and the investment put in and the work done by so many employers around the central London area in particular in making their workplaces covid-19 secure, as well as in making the pubs, restaurants and shops in all these areas secure.
It is so important that we remember what a massive contribution London makes to the UK economy. A fact that does not get outed enough is that the west end itself—all the culture, the restaurants, the hospitality, as well as the corporate business in that area—has 3% of the UK’s entire gross value added sitting within it. We must remember that when employers are saying they are not going to bring their employees back to their workplace any time soon—until maybe next year, the health figures notwithstanding—they should not expect that London will naturally be the same London they left. It does not have a God-given right to exist preserved in aspic, and it is incumbent on all of us to work together to make sure that we have a plan for recovery.
Such a plan works in three different ways—short term, medium term and long term. We must have a 90-day plan. As and when the health figures allow us to move back to tier 1, as my hon. Friend says, we need to be ready to go. We have already had one go, but it did not work as speedily as we would have liked. We need to be absolutely ready so that, when we get the incidence rate down across the boroughs, we can move to tier 1 and ensure that people have the confidence to travel and to return to their workplaces, albeit in a more flexible way than was previously the case. We are not trying to get back to how things were in January or February, because there is certainly a sense of permanent change, but we need to be able to shape that change.
Clearly, yes. I want Shaun Bailey to be in post after May to help shape the recovery. We have been working collegiately with the Mayor, the Greater London Authority and the boroughs, and indeed with colleagues in this place, in relation to the structures and work that we have put in place, but that kind of working also needs to be replicated in public. They cannot be sitting on a letter criticising the Government and pointing the finger elsewhere, as we have seen from the Mayor and other people. What they do in public and in private is so important, because what might seem to be a good short-term political campaign is terrible leadership for our capital city, which contributes so much to the rest of the country.
For the short-term recovery, it is so important that we show people what Transport for London has done, and what our retailers, publicans and restaurateurs have done, to make sure they will be safe. It is about confidence, but beyond that it is also about joy. What do I mean by that? I mean that when people go to a pub and find that getting a pint is too onerous, because of all the structures that have been put in place, they will go back home and have a bottle of wine and a ready meal, as so many did during lockdown. We need to get them back into central London not just one time; we have to make sure they want to come back time and again, to enjoy everything that London has to offer.
Clearly there is work to be done on the medium term. Businesses, particularly in retail and hospitality, are talking about business rates, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington explained so eloquently, and about tax-free shopping and the effect on international tourism. They are also talking about rents. There is a certain amount of business structure that needs to change. A number of landlords, in the suburbs as well as in central London, are sitting on empty properties with an artificially high market rent, purely to keep their shareholder valuation at a particular level, and that is not good for high streets. How can we work with landlords and tenants to find a better balance that works for our local areas so that we do not hollow them out?
My hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Joy Morrissey) talked about the Mayor. I sometimes get the sense that he does not care whether he is the Mayor of London or the mayor of Gotham City; he just wants to be the Mayor. What do I mean about Gotham City? We run the risk of hollowing out the west end if we do not get the recovery right. If we have only the ultra-rich and the people on low incomes who service the city, but not the people in the middle who provide so much of the community and spend, London will not be the same as it was before.
There is so much that we are doing, such as the Chancellor’s winter support plan, to make sure that we preserve as many businesses and jobs as possible, while also moving to those long-term structures, whether a green recovery or the smarter use of digital in the centre of town, and building up the skills we need for the jobs that are yet to be created as we move towards a new economy. We have the new normal, with masks, one-way systems and hand sanitising—hands, face, space—but we are moving towards a new reality, with permanent behaviour change baked in. We need to recognise that and address it. It is about greater use of flexible working, recognising that people are not going to travel into London in the same way they did. It is about reduced use of cash, and different way of shopping. We need to be ahead of the game.
Conservative Members are always talking about levelling up the whole country, and that is so important. How does London play a role in that? Well, before lockdown I went to see the mixed-use regeneration at Battersea power station. The steels are made in Liverpool and are painted in the midlands, and the bricks are sourced from Gloucestershire. We are providing jobs all around the country for such projects, which also benefit London. The electric black cabs that go around town, which we need to return to the likes of Bishopsgate—some of the Streetspace initiatives are actually penalising not only black cab drivers, but disabled users of cabs as well—are made in Coventry. There are 2,000 people there making electric black cabs. There is also our culture sector in the centre of town. High House Production Park in Thurrock makes a lot of the production work for the Royal Opera House. The more that we can get that back, the more that we are creating and sustaining jobs around the country.
We need to level up London, so that it is not just an economic recovery, but a social one too; they feed into each other. The obvious example is Canary Wharf; if I stood at the top of One Canada Square, I would be among some of the richest people in the country, looking down at Whitechapel, which is one of the poorest areas. My hon. Friend the Member for Kensington speaks for and campaigns in her constituency, which also has a diverse community, with Ladbroke Grove on one side—the birthplace of one Shaun Bailey, who we were speaking to earlier—and Kensington on the other. Some people outside London only think of the richer part of Kensington.
(1 year ago)Commons Chamber
My hon. Friend is quite right. In addition to the proposed extension to the Rampion offshore wind farm off Brighton, I understand that there is significant market interest in the Crown Estate’s current seabed leasing round, and that, we expect, will include areas off the coast of the south-east of England, near my hon. Friend’s constituency.
My hon. Friend will know that we continue to support the transformation of the sector towards zero-emission vehicles. Last autumn, we announced up to £1 billion of new funding for the next generation of innovative, low-carbon automotive technologies. A competition, as we speak, is under way.
Green recovery is an absolute priority for my Department. We have brought forward funding to restart innovation, support business and deliver our decarbonisation ambitions. This includes £10 million through the Advanced Propulsion Centre and £12 million from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
(1 year, 1 month ago)Commons Chamber
I thank my hon. Friend for those comments, because they illustrate very well the sophistry with which the whole charade has been presented. We are told that it is a power surge, and a power surge it is; but it is a power surge in the wrong direction—it is a power surge away from the devolved Government of Scotland. To judge by past behaviour, those powers will be used to interfere, undermine and diminish not just the elected Government of Scotland but the very voice of the Scottish people.
Yesterday, I heard Members claim in this Chamber that the Bill would strengthen the Union, and in their mind that may be true, but the Union is not being strengthened by a shared vision, mutual respect or other honourable means. It is the strength of bondage, of subjugation and of the pomposity that only Unionist voices matter. I’ve got news for you: it does not strengthen the bonds of the Union; it exposes the bondage of the devolved nations and illustrates why Scotland must choose an independent future. “Lead Not Leave”; “broad shoulders of the Union”; “Vote No to stay in the EU”; “We Love You Scotland”—well, nothing epitomises our Union of equals like the Prime Minister bestowing the effective status of viceroy of Scotland on the right hon. Member for Dumfries and Galloway (Mr Jack), his very own Union Jack.
Today, the international community knows something that the Scottish people have known since 2014: believe not a word, not a promise, not even a vow. To this Government, agreements are always optional. The Bill does not strengthen the Union; it strengthens the case for Scottish independence.
The Sewel convention, which was put on a statutory footing—before the hon. Lady was a Member of the House, but many of us who were at that time will remember it—states that this Parliament will not normally legislate in respect of devolved matters without the consent of the devolved Administrations. That convention exists. It is on a statutory footing, so what is her objection to amendment 29?
Is my hon. Friend aware of the decisions being made in Shetland that if the nationalists get their way and there is separation of the United Kingdom following a second referendum, Shetland will seek to go independent itself? Therefore, not only are the nationalists seeking to break up the United Kingdom, they are seeking to break up Scotland.
I do not want to break up the United Kingdom. As I have said, I am a Unionist and I want to see a functioning UK internal market. Does the hon. Member think it is respectful for her Government to give details of the Bill only the night before it was published to Welsh Government Ministers, who also want to see a functioning internal market and want to make sure our country functions effectively and economically in the way she suggests?
Before I call the next speaker, because a number of new Members are participating in Committee, I remind everybody that Members speak through the Chair, so saying “you” is a reference to me—and I might take that personally. I call Beth Winter.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Graham. This Bill is difficult for the Scottish National party. It is offensive to our values, it is not our world view, and it is being introduced in pursuit of a project that Scotland comprehensively rejected. We are engaging in good faith, but we do not consent to this project. Scotland does not consent to the way the Bill is drafted.
However, I was not sent by the people of Stirling to showboat and walk away, or to grandstand and not try to find solutions. As is typical of all our amendments, we have tabled amendments 28 and 29 in good faith, and to insert into this dreadful Bill the principle of consent from the Scottish Parliament and other devolved Administrations. If we cannot do that, we seek to exempt Scotland from this madness. We are engaging in this process in good faith. We are working within the constitutional reality of the United Kingdom, and by rejecting the amendments, this House will prove, in full view of the people of Scotland, that the constitutional reality of the United Kingdom does not work for us.
I was sent here to try to find solutions, and amendments 28 and 29 do that. We believe that decisions for Scotland should be made in Scotland. It is a fundamental principle of devolution that, unless reserved to this place, decisions should be made by the democratically elected Parliament of Scotland. That principle was endorsed by the people of Scotland with 74% of the vote in 1997, and those Government Members who are keen on referendums should be aware that they are up-ending a deeply held principle of the people of Scotland.
As I have said, this Bill is a poor piece of legislation, and it did not need to be this way—that is what I find so frustrating. It is offensive morally, politically, even intellectually, but it did not need to be that way. We are open to negotiation and to frameworks. We respect the fact that we have left the European Union—we regret it deeply, but it has happened. As a solicitor by trade, I accept that a domestic legal construct is needed to replace the single market legislation of the European Union, but it does not need to be this abomination. We could do this better. Our amendments seek to make this bad Bill better. We will still not be keen or in favour of it, but it does not need to be the naked power-grab that it is.
Part 4 of the Bill seeks to replace 60 years of juris- prudence from the European Court of Justice and the European Commission, democratically overseen by democratically elected Members of the European Parliament, and member state Governments who are themselves democratically elected—60 years of expertise on how the single market and internal competition works.
I thank the hon. Lady for that point. In my 15 years at the European Parliament I was always struck by how many unelected bureaucrats had been democratically elected by the people they served. It is great to engage with something that does not quite exist, such as the European Commission that the hon. Lady wishes did exist.
For those who are against unelected bureaucrats, I suggest only that they consider the reality of the Bill. The Bill replaces 60 years of jurisprudence, overseen by experts in the European Commission and the Court of Justice—be they democratically elected MEPs or democratically elected member state Governments—with a group of people who will be unelected. They will be appointed, but they have not been appointed yet. We do not know who they are. They will be operating a competition policy that has not as yet been revealed by this Government, who are so desperately negotiating with themselves that they cannot tell our European partners what they are trying to do. Those people will be operating with a budget that has not yet been shown to us, and with jurisprudence that does not yet exist. It takes a heroically Panglossian approach to think that that can be created in a matter of months.
(1 year, 4 months ago)Commons Chamber
The findings outlined during the Horizon case provided extensive insight into what went wrong with the Post Office—this includes the independent judicial review of the facts that all sides have been looking for. However, the serious impacts of this case mean more needs to be done. We want to be assured that the right lessons are learned, and that is the purpose of the independent review that we are in the process of setting up.
Justice is exactly what I want and what I want to be seen to be done. I would go further to extend my sympathy to the family of Mr Patel as well, because we must not forget, in all of this, at this particular moment in time, postmasters up and down the country are doing an incredible job for the most vulnerable people in society.