Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.
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).
Stop work on HS2 immediately and hold a new vote to repeal the legislationGov Responded - 14 Jan 2021 Debated on - 13 Sep 2021 View Michael Fabricant's petition debate contributions
We ask Parliament to repeal the High Speed Rail Bills, 2016 and 2019, as MPs voted on misleading environmental, financial and timetable information provided by the Dept of Transport and HS2 Ltd. It fails to address the conditions of the Paris Accord and costs have risen from £56bn to over £100bn.
These initiatives were driven by Michael Fabricant, 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.
Michael Fabricant has not been granted any Urgent Questions
Michael Fabricant has not been granted any Adjournment Debates
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision for the periodic updating of the Ancient Woodland Inventory for England; and for connected purposes.
The Reverend Dave Male, Director of Evangelism and Discipleship for the Church of England, addressed the inaccuracies in The Spectator and subsequent articles, in a statement issued on 8th July: “I am very aware that some recent commentary in media and social media purporting to set out the future direction of Church of England has caused real anxiety, hurt and pain to many. Some of this has been based on a fundamental confusion between the Church of England’s own emerging Vision and Strategy for the 2020s and beyond, which we will be discussing at the upcoming meeting of General Synod, and a separate initiative called Myriad to create 10,000 new lay-led churches - which is not a national Church of England project. It has been claimed in some places that there is a plan to dissolve the parish system, sideline or even replace trained clergy, especially paid clergy, or to get rid of our beautiful, historic church buildings. So I want to make it abundantly clear that the Church of England is committed, now as always, to the ministry of the whole people of God including to ordained ministry in our parishes.” The full statement can be read here: https://www.churchofengland.org/media-and-news/news-releases/clergy-and-parishes-heart-church-england-now-and-future
In his presidential address and in the subsequent debate on Vision and Strategy at the July General Synod, the Archbishop of York said that the Church needed more, not fewer vocations to ordination and that the limiting factor was the lack of vocations, not the valuable work of serving clergy across the country, of all forms of ministry.
The Archbishop of York’s presidential address can be read at https://www.archbishopofyork.org/news/latest-news/presidential-address-general-synod-july-2021 and his presentation on the Vision and Strategy is here: https://www.archbishopofyork.org/news/latest-news/vision-and-strategy-address-general-synod-july-2021
More information about Vision and Strategy itself can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance/emerging-church-england/vision-church-england-2020s
Parishes remain at the heart of the Church of England's mission and ministry to the nation and the Church is delighted that growing numbers of people are answering the call to the priesthood. This year 591 clergy have committed themselves to ordained ministry within the Church, the largest number in over thirteen years. More information about vocations can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/media-and-news/news-releases/recommendations-stipendiary-ordained-ministry-training-highest
The Church of England wishes to welcome all couples eligible to be married in its churches. The Church provides yourchurchwedding.org as a resource to couples seeking information about all aspects of a church wedding, and this has proven to be a popular resource which is now used by over a million couples a year.
The General Synod and Parliament approve the fees charged by the parishes of the Church of England for these and other services via the Parochial Fees Order. Details of the current fees set for 2021 can be found here:
The cost of getting married in a church remains very modest when compared to other locations. Weddings are bespoke services, and all churches have a basic charge that covers the ceremony, including the calling of banns, the banns certificate, marriage certificate, and administration cost. Should a couple wish to opt for bells, choir, organist and flowers, etc. they are arranged by the parish for an additional fee to cover people's time and additional administration costs. An incumbent priest also has the discretion to waive some of the fees for pastoral reasons.
The National Church Life Events team has worked with Archdeacons across the country to encourage all parishes to distinguish between the statutory fee and additional charges clearer. The local Archdeacon would be best placed to discuss any individual case.
The Speaker’s State Coach is currently on loan to the National Trust for display at their Carriage Museum at Arlington Court in Devon. The current loan contract is being renewed for two additional years to allow full consideration to be given to the future of the coach.
The Speaker has indicated that this is a matter for Members of the House of Commons. The House of Commons Commission will respond to any decision of the House on this matter. In the absence of any such decision, the Commission's position on the sounding of Big Ben remains unchanged.
For the Bell to ring on 31 January, the temporary striking mechanism used for Remembrance Sunday and New Year's Eve would need to be reattached and tested to ensure the timing is correct. Alongside this work, a temporary floor of the belfry where Big Ben is housed would also need to be installed, as extensive work is currently taking place in this area. The cost for the temporary floor and installing, testing and striking Big Ben would be approximately £120,000.
In addition to the set-up, the delay to work in the belfry would push back the planned programme of works by two to four weeks, with each week of delays costing approximately £100,000 a week. As such, the minimum cost of sounding Big Ben would be £320,000 but could be much higher (up to £500,000). These costs are based on a notice period of approximately two weeks. Should the project team be required to strike the bell with less notice, these costs would increase substantially.
We are planning for all scenarios in the fight against COVID-19 and the Vaccine Taskforce is taking a number of steps to ensure the UK is prepared to respond to current and emerging COVID-19 variants as quickly as possible.
However, current data suggests that all deployed COVID-19 vaccines in the UK - AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna - offer protection against the prevalent virus variants currently circulating in the UK, and recent data indicates that the Pfizer vaccine remains effective against Beta variant.
We continue to assess the efficacy of the vaccines currently in our portfolio against new and future variants of the virus and continue to work closely with vaccine manufacturers to ensure that vaccines that have already received UK regulatory approval could be suitably updated, where possible and where needed, to remain effective against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2.
The UK Government has secured early access to 397 million vaccines doses through supply agreements with six separate vaccine developers. This includes agreements with:
In addition, the Government has a reservation agreement with GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses and a non-binding agreement with CureVac for 50 million doses.
The Government is working closely with vaccine manufacturers and Public Health England to understand the efficacy of our current vaccine portfolio against new variants and will continue to monitor the picture with variants as it develops.
The Government announced on 3 June 2021 that it has started commercial negotiations with AstraZeneca for future supplies of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine that have been adapted to tackle the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.
We are completely focussed on fulfilling our manifesto commitment to clamp down on irresponsible payment practices, supporting small businesses who are impacted the most.
We will shortly consult on the merits of strengthening the Small Business Commissioner’s powers, which could support compliance by larger businesses and further improve payment culture.
Since the end of the Transition Period the UK is no longer part of Roam Like at Home so surcharge-free roaming for UK consumers in the EU is no longer guaranteed. Mobile operators are now able to impose a surcharge on UK consumers travelling abroad to the EU for their mobile phone usage.
Ministers have regular discussions with senior representatives of mobile operators on a range of issues, including on the issue of mobile roaming, and the government will continue to promote a competitive marketplace that serves the interests of consumers.
Regarding the EEA, the UK recently announced a new agreement with Norway and Iceland for the first ever trade provision which will reciprocally cap the costs mobile operators are allowed to charge each other for international mobile roaming between these countries. This cap is the gateway to allowing surcharge-free roaming for everyone travelling between these countries.
On Thursday 12 November 2020 plans were announced to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June 2022. This will include the issue of a Platinum Jubilee medal. The medal will be awarded to people who work in public service including representatives of the Armed Forces, the emergency services and the prison services.
Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. Outdoor swimming pools have been able to open from 11 July, and from 25 July indoor gyms, leisure centres (including sports halls) and swimming pools in England should be able to reopen. These facilities will be able to offer on-site services to customers, provided they are COVID-secure and follow Government guidance.
Sport England have announced a £195 million package of support to help community clubs through this crisis. It recently boosted its Community Emergency Fund by a further £15 million to meet the demand, taking the total up to £210 million.
The income scheme announced on Thursday 2 July by the Secretary of State for Local Government, aims to support local authorities who have incurred irrecoverable loss of income from sales, fees and charge which they had reasonably budgeted for. Further guidance will follow on the principle of the scheme.
We recognise that waterways businesses have been severely impacted by the current crisis. My Department will continue to work closely with the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to assess how we can most effectively support heritage and tourism on inland waterways following COVID-19.
Waterways businesses and workers can access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans scheme. The £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their businesses following COVID-19.
Through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and its working groups, we have developed COVID-secure guidance which will help heritage and tourism businesses reopen safely.
VisitBritain have also introduced an industry standard quality mark that tourism businesses - including those associated with waterways - can acquire if they are compliant with COVID-secure guidance.
The £45m Discover England Fund encourages visitors to enjoy the West Midlands’ diverse waterways, including the Trent & Mersey Canal in Lichfield.
The Government is committed to supporting the education of all children and young people with special educational needs or a disability, including those with a hearing impairment.
The Department is aiming to introduce a GCSE in British Sign Language as soon as possible, so long as it proves possible to develop a qualification that meets the rigorous requirements that apply to all GCSEs. The Department is currently working with subject experts to develop draft subject content.
Schools may choose to offer basic sign language in their individual school curriculum or include it as part of their extra-curricular activities programme.
Waste water treatment in the UK is largely determined by the requirements of the Urban Waste Water Treatment (England and Wales) Regulations 1994. The Regulations have the objective of protecting the environment from the adverse effects of wastewater by setting minimum treatment levels supplemented by additional requirements to limit pollution from discharges. All discharges to the water environment require a permit issued by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. The Environment Agency will include the necessary conditions in water company discharge permits to limit sewage-related debris from entering rivers and seas. In the UK, rather than the Australian practice of using drainage nets, this is achieved through engineering design and the use of screens at the point of discharge to the environment.
The legal position is complex. It is the Government’s view that those seeking to navigate inland rivers for recreational purposes where there is no navigation authority should establish that they have a legal right to do so, either through voluntary agreement with riparian landowners or otherwise.
The Government has provided wide-ranging financial support across the whole economy, particularly focusing on small and medium-sized businesses. These include several loan schemes, such as: the 100% Government-guaranteed Bounce Back Loan; support for self-employed people; the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund to accommodate small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme; and most recently a £10 million tourism ‘kick-start’ package to help small businesses in our tourist destinations.
At this stage there is no specific sector support for the waterways, although we are keeping all decisions under review. Further significant easing of Covid-19 restrictions from 4 July should allow many waterways businesses to reopen to take advantage of coming summer demand.
The UK is at the forefront of international efforts to protect the interests of animals throughout the world.
The Government, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, also raises concerns about the health and welfare of animals with other governments and international authorities at every suitable opportunity.
The Government welcomes the Landscapes Review and is now carefully considering its proposals, including those concerning open access. The Government will set out its response in due course.
HS2 Phase 2b is at a much earlier stage of development than other phases of the HS2 project, with baseline cost and schedule information still being finalised. It is also being looked at as part of the Integrated Rail Plan, which will soon outline exactly how major rail projects, including HS2 phase 2b and other transformational projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, will work together to deliver the reliable train services that passengers across the North and Midlands need and deserve. This will provide further certainty on issues like phasing on HS2 Phase 2b, which, together with approvals on baseline cost and schedule information, will allow the project to proceed to its next stage and in turn improve delivery confidence.
No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate after HS2 services start running. These decisions will be taken nearer the time, drawing on advice from West Coast Partnership Development and Network Rail, and will be subject to public consultation.
The alignment of the new railway is unchanged from when Parliament passed the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act in 2017.
Please note that whilst the railway itself is all below ground level, it is not a “tunnel” under the A38 as such; an overbridge will be constructed to take the dual carriageway over the new railway, which will pass under the A38 immediately to the east of Streethay housing, just at the point where the slip roads to/from Burton Road meet the dual carriageway.
No, Ministers did not have discussions with HS2 Ltd on the paragraph included in the Phase 2a consultation and leaflet prior to its publication.
The leaflet published by HS2 Ltd did not accurately set out the purpose of the consultation and how responses will be analysed and considered. I have asked HS2 Ltd to send out an updated leaflet to those residents living within 1km of the route who received the first leaflet to make this clear, making clear that all responses will be carefully considered.
The aim of the Phase 2a consultation is to help the Government understand in more detail the environmental impacts of the scheme on local communities as it takes the scheme forwards, and to identify and implement further mitigation measures. It will also help the Government better understand the concerns of local communities on their local transport provision. Once the responses are analysed the Government will publish a summary report and set out how it proposes to address the issues raised.
Feasibility work in 2017 indicated that reconstruction of the Euston Arch would cost in excess of £50m and present challenges in terms of recovering the original construction materials. In developing the Masterplan for Euston Station, our development partner, Lendlease, is considering how the history of the station at Euston should influence and best be reflected in the future designs. We are determined to learn the lessons from the successful Kings Cross redevelopment, which has successfully used the restoration of our beautiful heritage railway architecture.
The UK left the European Union (EU) on 31 January and is now in a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which time existing arrangements remain unchanged. This means that UK driving licences will continue to include the EU flag for the duration of the transition period.
In-House Services did try to purchase these through their supplier; however due to the current high demand for sanitisers and sanitiser units there was a 3–4 week delivery time. They have therefore purchased the units without stands and requested that the Parliamentary Maintenance Services Team (PMST) provide suitable stands.
In-House Services are currently awaiting delivery of the dispensers, and PMST are in the process of making the stands.
I understand that officials from Transport for the West Midlands have met with the Hon. Member and that they are undertaking a study to evaluate the business case for this proposal. As the Minister responsible for rail, I would be happy to meet with him and officials in due course to discuss the findings.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) interim advice on a potential COVID-19 booster vaccination programme states that vaccines designed specifically against variants of concern will not be available in time for booster revaccination this autumn. The use of variant vaccines will be considered by the JCVI in due course.
Final decisions on the timing, scope and cohort eligibility of any COVID-19 vaccine booster programme will be confirmed once the JCVI has provided their final advice. The JCVI’s advice will take into account the latest epidemiological situation, additional scientific data from trials such as COV-Boost, surveillance of the effectiveness of the vaccines over time and emerging variants.
The closed circuit television camera was installed by the Department as part of the office fit prior to moving into the building in 2017. The camera was authorised as part of an approval for the installation of cameras by the Department’s internal governance. The previous Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (the Rt hon. Matt Hancock MP) was not made aware of the camera.
We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to increase levels of dental activity as fast as is safely possible. Contractual arrangements for the first six months of the 2021/22 financial year have been introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement. The revised unit of dental activity threshold set at 60% is based on data that indicates practices may now have capacity to safely achieve more dental activity. Arrangements will be monitored on a monthly basis and are expected to be in place for six months in order to provide increased stability for dental practices. National Health Service commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate.
We are working to address oral health inequalities. NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided local commissioners with a flexible commissioning toolkit to illustrate how best to use current flexibilities in commissioning to target capacity on improving access to urgent care and delivering care to high risk patient groups.
The Department has not currently commissioned any research into COVID-19 vaccines which can be delivered through an adhesive patch but the National Institute for Health Research, as the biggest public funder of health research in the United Kingdom, continues to welcome funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including on COVID-19 vaccine related research.
Dentistry has been particularly affected by the risk of COVID-19 transmission due to the number of aerosol generating procedures carried out. This has resulted in the need for an enhanced level of personal protective equipment and reduced throughput to allow for thorough cleaning and resting of rooms between patients, as set out in Public Health England’s Infection Prevention and Control guidance.
The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. We have been closely monitoring what has been possible and on 29 March announced that the threshold for full National Health Service contractual payment would be raised to 60% of normal activity. We continue to explore what more can be done to increase capacity including piloting pre-appointment testing.
NHS England and Improvement are in the process of reconciling the final payments covering July 2020 from this scheme. NHS England and NHS Improvement have not yet set a date by which final payments will be made but advise they expect the process to be completed and payments made, including any final funding due to St Giles Hospice, shortly.
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the four statutory education bodies are rapidly developing a temporary recorded alternative to the Clinical Skills Assessment (subject to approval by the General Medical Council). The RCGP have advised that this will provide trainees with an opportunity to demonstrate their competence to be awarded a Certificate of Completion of Training and qualify as a GP.
At the same time, the RCGP is working with their testing partner to enable the Applied Knowledge Test to resume at test centres with appropriate social distancing safeguards in place from July. The RCGP is also investigating options for remote invigilation for those who are shielding.
The UK ended traditional bilateral aid programmes to China in 2011. As the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated, global challenges need global solutions, and we recognise that China has to be part of them as a major driver of global growth with increasing presence on the global stage. We now offer China expertise and skills, to help tackle global issues like climate change, which is firmly in the national interest, as well as using ODA to fund the ODA eligible portion of the costs of UK diplomatic staff in China, Chinese Chevening scholars and the British Council's ODA eligible activity in China.
The Statistics on International Development (SID) provides an overview of official UK spend on international development, including a breakdown of projects. The 2019 data was published on GOV.UK on 24 September, and can be viewed through the following link:
The Government has announced unprecedented support for public services, business and workers to protect against the current economic emergency.
This includes significant changes to the operation of statutory sick pay, universal credit, and employment and support allowance to ensure that people have quicker and more generous access to a support system, and we have taken further immediate steps to give businesses access to cash to pay its rent, salaries or suppliers.
Our economic response is one of the most generous and comprehensive globally and the government is now working urgently to deliver these schemes as quickly as possible.
The government is monitoring the impact measures are having with regard to supporting public services, businesses, and individuals, and keeps all policies under review.
I have responded to the email from the hon. member for Lichfield most recently on 22 July.
Discussions remain ongoing regarding Educational Oversight for Private further education colleges and I will provide a further response as soon as possible.
We aim to respond to all correspondence from MPs in a timely manner. The Department works to a target of responding to 95% of MPs written correspondence within 20 working days.
My officials have been in discussion directly with the relevant organisations and other Government departments in relation to the issue of Educational Oversight (EO) provision for further education colleges raised in the email from the hon. Member for Lichfield.
Racist abuse is utterly unacceptable whether it takes place online or offline. Individuals who commit racist offences should face the full force of the law and we already have robust legislation in place to deal with online hate crime.
While companies have taken some positive steps, more needs to be done to tackle online harms, including hate crime. The upcoming Online Safety regulatory framework will put in place measures to tackle illegal and legal but harmful abuse, including racist abuse. If major platforms do not meet their own standards to keep people safe and address abuse quickly and effectively, they could face enforcement action. There is no reason for companies to wait until the regime is fully running to take action against this abhorrent abuse, and we will continue to press them to do so.
The police are reviewing offending material and will work with the relevant social media companies to identify account holders and progress their investigations.
We understand that a local statement was issued by Luton United Synagogue, which referred to concerns about a protest on 29 May 2021 and incorrectly stated that Bedfordshire Police were advising members of the Jewish community to avoid parts of Luton. This statement was subsequently retracted. The protest did take place with approximately 100 attendees. No disorder was reported
The Government is clear that any criminal activity, including the incitement of violence or racial hatred, is completely unacceptable. We have robust laws to tackle such criminal offences.
The Metropolitan Police Service is investigating a number of allegations in relation to recent demonstrations in London.
The roadmap to reopening published on 22 February set out the steps by which restrictions on activities will be lifted and the considerations that will determine the rate of progress. Singing, playing some musical instruments, shouting and physical activity increases the risk of transmission through small droplets and aerosols and the cumulative effect of aerosol transmission means the more people involved, the higher the risk of transmission.
From 17 May, when Step 3 of the roadmap is taken, indoors in a Place of Worship a group of up to 6 amateur singers can perform, or rehearse for performance. There is no limit on the number of professional singers but they should follow guidance for the performing arts. Outdoors, the congregation may join in with singing in multiple groups of up to 30. Congregation members should continue to follow social distancing rules. A decision on whether to allow larger performances and communal singing in a place of worship will be taken as we approach Step 4 of the roadmap, no earlier than 21 June.
The Department has provided clear guidance on the membership of Local Enterprise Partnerships through our National Local Growth Assurance Framework.
Each Local Enterprise Partnership is required to set out the membership requirements of their Board and Sub-Boards in a Local Assurance Framework which should be published on their website.
At the start of this pandemic we advised Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people to shield - to not leave their homes and avoid face-to-face contact – and we set up the National Shielding Service; a huge logistical exercise unprecedented since the Second World War.
This has included delivering over 3 million free food boxes to date, securing priority supermarket slots, getting people’s medicines delivered to their doorstep, and social contact.
On 1 June, following clinical advice, we announced that?clinically extremely?vulnerable?people in England?can spend time outdoors?with members of their household, or with one other person from another household if they live alone, while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines.
The next review will take place this week. As part of this, the Government will consider the next steps for shielding beyond 30 June. The Government will write to all individuals on the shielded patient list with information about next steps on shielding advice and the support that will be available to them after this review point.
Since March, we have acted decisively to protect our staff, prisoners and the wider community from outbreaks in prisons and the youth estate. Our compartmentalisation strategy allows us to quarantine new arrivals, isolate those with symptoms, and shield vulnerable prisoners.
We have introduced routine testing of staff, and testing of prisoners on reception and transfer, in all prisons and YOIs. Whilst every death is a tragedy, thanks to the hard work of our dedicated prison staff, we have managed to limit deaths from Covid in the prison estate to far below PHE predictions.
This Government has made clear that there is no place for bullying, harassment, or sexual harassment in Parliament and by working cross party, we will ensure everyone working in Parliament is treated with dignity and respect. An independent inquiry into bullying and harassment of House of Commons staff was carried out by Dame Laura Cox and her report was published in 2018. Following on from this, Gemma White QC carried out an independent inquiry on bullying and harassment of past and present staff of Members of Parliament, as well as Members themselves, and her report was published in 2019. A key recommendation of both reports was that the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme should be amended, so as to ensure that those employees with complaints involving historical allegations can access the Scheme. As a result, in July 2019, the House of Commons approved the steps to make the necessary changes to extend the scheme to include historical allegations and that came into effect on 21 October 2019. An 18-month review of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme is due in June 2020.
I announced recess dates, up to the conference recess, on 9 January 2020 (Official report, col. 616). As ever, recess is subject to the progress of business and the agreement of the House. Further provisional recess dates for 2020 will be announced to the House in due course. I will look to provide as much forward notice on recess dates as is possible.
The hon Member will be aware that these areas are devolved and we believe in respecting the devolution settlement.I can reassure him that the Secretary of State for Wales and myself remain unceasing in our enthusiasm for promoting the wonderful array of attractions in Wales and the opportunities available for investors at home and abroad.
The rural and hospitality sectors form the backbone of the Welsh economy. The Eat Out to Help out Scheme helped protect two million Welsh jobs. This - alongside cutting VAT, months of furlough for staff, and incentives to keep workers in jobs - demonstrates the benefits to Wales of being part of the Union.