8 Mims Davies debates involving the Attorney General

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Mims Davies Excerpts
Robert Buckland Portrait The Solicitor General
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I am committed to trying to achieve the best solution, whether it is in the Bill or in an amendment to Standing Orders. I will not presume to tie the hands of this place. I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend can take that as a clear assurance that I will do whatever I can to get this right.

The first and most important point to be made about new clause 15, tabled by the hon. Member for Nottingham East (Mr Leslie)—it has, I think, already been made by several other Members—is that we have strong rights and protections here, domestically, which are not contingent on our future membership of the EU. We have a proud record, and in many areas our standards far exceed the minimum standards required by EU law—for instance, entitlement to annual leave and maternity allowances. When we leave the EU, it will be for this Parliament and, indeed, the devolved legislatures to determine the law and the rights that apply here in the United Kingdom.

I must say to the hon. Member for Nottingham East, with respect, that in my view the new clause would impose an onerous and unnecessary duty on the Government. There will be nothing to stop future Governments of whatever hue, or future Parliaments when exercising their sovereignty, from considering any legislation that the EU or the European Economic Area may make. They need not be obliged to do that; it will be a matter that they can take into consideration. A requirement to report to Parliament each and every time the EU amended its rules would be excessively onerous, given the number of reports that might be made and considered.

Moreover, we do not want to give the inappropriate impression that the path followed by our European partners will always be the path that we as a UK Parliament should follow. While I am entirely supportive of many measures that ensure that we work, converge and keep pace with our European partners, there will of course be plenty of opportunities for us to forge our own path. That, after all, is what the vote was all about.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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I thank my hon. and learned Friend for giving way. He is being very generous with his time, and he is making a very useful and, I think, positive speech explaining how the Bill will deal with people’s concerns about the cliff edge and limitations. Does he agree that it also gives us a chance to support the working statute book, ensuring that we look after our own environment, consumer rights, workers’ rights and LBGTI rights?

Robert Buckland Portrait The Solicitor General
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My hon. Friend is a passionate campaigner on many of those issues. I can reassure her and her constituents that that is precisely what we seek to do.

I hope that I have dealt with the new clauses tabled by the right hon. Member for Birkenhead—

Oral Answers to Questions

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 29th June 2017

(6 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jeremy Wright Portrait The Attorney General
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The hon. Lady will have to wait until the Bill is published, but she will then be able to study it in detail, and the House will be able to discuss it in detail. However, she will appreciate that the principle behind the Bill is that we will transfer European rules and regulations into domestic law wherever it is feasible and sensible to do so. They will become domestic law at that point, and they will be enforced and upheld by our own courts. That is a sensible way of doing it.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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Human rights and the scaremongering around them came up time and again on the doorsteps of Eastleigh during the election campaign. Does the Minister agree that it is simply scaremongering and that leaving the EU will not change our human rights?

Jeremy Wright Portrait The Attorney General
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I agree with my hon. Friend. Leaving will not make a difference to how human rights are defended in this country. It is worth remembering—I am sure she made this point on the doorsteps—that this Government have a good record in the defence of human rights, both domestically and abroad. It was this Government that put forward a modern slavery Bill, which was not just the first in this country, but the first in Europe, and Conservatives in Government promoted the idea of sexual violence in conflict being something that the world must take seriously. We are proud of that record, and we will continue with it.

Oral Answers to Questions

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 26th May 2016

(7 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Maggie Throup Portrait Maggie Throup (Erewash) (Con)
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6. What recent steps he has taken to promote the provision of pro bono legal services.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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7. What recent steps he has taken to promote (a) public legal education and (b) the provision of pro bono legal services.

Michael Tomlinson Portrait Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (Con)
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8. What recent steps he has taken to promote (a) public legal education and (b) the provision of pro bono legal services. [R]

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Robert Buckland Portrait The Solicitor General
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My hon. Friend raises an interesting point. It is right to pay tribute to the existing pro bono commitment by the legal professions, working alongside the voluntary sector, to providing trustee support and other advice to a range of local charities in both her constituency and mine, and in many other communities the length and breadth of the country.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies
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Does the Solicitor General believe that public legal understanding has caught up with the legal changes in relation to sexting and revenge pornography?

Robert Buckland Portrait The Solicitor General
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Public legal education has an invaluable role to play. I have seen at first hand in schools how the Citizenship Foundation, with the support of lawyers, runs sessions on issues such as social media and the law. The particular issue that my hon. Friend raises is extremely sensitive and important to young people in particular, and I believe that running the appropriate courses can teach them about the consequences of such criminal acts.

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Justin Tomlinson Portrait Justin Tomlinson
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First, to be clear, those who would be in the support group will see no changes at all. On the specific area of those with learning disabilities, my Department, jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has set up a taskforce, which is chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys (Paul Maynard). We are looking at the best ways of accessing the apprenticeships scheme to help those with learning disabilities to have a greater chance of taking up an opportunity to work.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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Will the Minister confirm that there have been detailed conversations about the value of the Access to Work programme and that the Government continue to be committed to it? The scheme was raised with me at the weekend by two disabled working people in my constituency who are concerned that the Government are not committed to it and that they may be let down.

Justin Tomlinson Portrait Justin Tomlinson
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The Access to Work programme is one of the incredibly important levers we are using to meet our commitment to halve the disability employment gap. I am delighted that funding has been increased to provide an additional 25,000 places a year, which builds on our near record number of just short of 37,000 people who benefit from the scheme.

Oral Answers to Questions

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 25th February 2016

(8 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Anna Soubry Portrait Anna Soubry
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I am not quite sure what is not correct, but, in any event, I know what the minimum wage is and it is for all apprentices. If there is evidence that women doing apprenticeships are being in some way discriminated against in their pay, we want to know about it, and we look forward to the hon. Lady coming forward, meeting the Minister for Women and Equalities, and between us we will sort it out.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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Will the Minister assure me that older women are getting a fair deal when it comes to apprenticeships, and especially that they are able to return to work after caring responsibilities? Will she look carefully at the engineering and construction sectors to ensure that they are truly open to all?

Anna Soubry Portrait Anna Soubry
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My hon. Friend makes a really important point. When it comes to those sectors, the Minister for Women and Equalities and I—in fact, all of us—are extremely keen to make sure that we use every opportunity and anything available to us to make the case that younger women in particular must go into these excellent work streams. We know we need to do more. We all have a part to play and that, of course, includes Government.

Oral Answers to Questions

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 14th January 2016

(8 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Nicky Morgan
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I will have to come back to the hon. Gentleman on the question of data collection, which I am happy to do. I suspect that some organisations are better than others. I mentioned the revenge porn helpline earlier, which clearly is monitoring and keeping data. We want to evaluate such data one year on, in February or March of this year. I have already said that what is illegal offline is also illegal online, and that has been made very clear to all police forces up and down the country. We continue to make that case to them.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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Does my right hon. Friend agree that the increasingly digital world in which we live makes it absolutely vital to help children, parents and carers to deal with this vile online abuse and cyber-bullying?

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Nicky Morgan
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Of course it is much better to educate young people against any of this in the first place, to ensure that they are robust and resilient if they come across unwanted images or cyber-bullying. She is also absolutely right to mention parents and carers. There is a range of websites and organisations to help parents to understand how to discuss these issues with children, and the Government Equalities Office and the Home Office have invested £3.85 million in a new phase of our This is Abuse campaign, which tackles abuse within teenage relationships and will be launched later this year.

Oral Answers to Questions

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 26th November 2015

(8 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Karen Bradley Portrait Karen Bradley
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I am very pleased to hear about the work taking place in Bristol. This Government are committed, as I have said, to making sure that violence against women and girls is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in society. I look forward to hear more about the work being done in Bristol.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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Does my hon. Friend agree that it is vital to provide extra protection for victims of stalking—who are often also affected by domestic violence and who are sometimes targeted and followed from family courts—in order to bring more perpetrators to justice?

Karen Bradley Portrait Karen Bradley
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My hon. Friend makes a very important point. Testimony that I have heard from victims of stalking shows the incredibly invasive nature of this crime and how damaging it is psychologically and emotionally. We are determined to tackle it, including by introducing the domestic abuse coercive control offence, which we passed in the Serious Crime Act 2015 and which we will be commencing shortly, to make sure that all domestic abuse is an offence and that the police have the weapons they need.

Oral Answers to Questions

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 15th October 2015

(8 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Caroline Dinenage Portrait Caroline Dinenage
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I thank my hon. Friend for his question. I know that he is no mean marathon runner himself. Running is a fantastic form of exercise and parkrun has been particularly effective at encouraging inactive people and those from all age groups to get involved in sport. In recognition of that, Sport England is investing £400,000 in parkrun to support its work. The primary PE and sports premium has been really effective in allowing schools to tailor this offer to pupils, giving them suitable opportunities to target particular groups, especially girls.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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2. What steps she is taking to tackle the causes of the gender pay gap (a) in general and (b) in STEM careers.

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Nicky Morgan)
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I echo my hon. Friend’s welcome to the new shadow Ministers and I look forward to debates on these important issues.

The gender pay gap has fallen to its lowest ever level, but any gap at all is unacceptable, which is why the Prime Minister has pledged to eliminate the gap in a generation. Transparency is an important step in tackling the matter, which is why, within 100 days of the election, the Government have taken steps to fulfil their manifesto commitment by launching a consultation on legislation that will require companies to publish details of their gender pay gap. We must also tackle the causes themselves, by encouraging girls to consider a wide range of careers, including those in the science, technology, engineering and maths fields, and by transforming our workplaces.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies
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I thank the Minister for her answer. The overall pay gap of 2014 stands at 19.1%. Does she agree that more needs to be done to help full-time carers and full-time parents who decide to re-enter the workplace so that we can reduce the pay gap?

Oral Answers to Questions

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 2nd July 2015

(8 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Nicky Morgan
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I shall take your direction, Mr Speaker, and say that we are talking about choice of careers, and that choice of course extends to women staying at home and looking after their families. We want women to be able to make that choice, as well as fathers, as often it will be they who stay at home. I am tempted by my hon. Friend’s invitation to speak to the European Union. I might change the language, but I think I will take him up on his offer.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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18. What steps the Government are taking to continue to ensure greater participation of women across all areas of public life.

Caroline Dinenage Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities and Family Justice (Caroline Dinenage)
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Following the general election we now have the highest number of women in Parliament in our history, although we recognise that we still have further to go. I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller) who has been elected as the first chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee. That Committee will play a pivotal role, and we are sure that it will take a close interest in increasing the number of women in public life.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies
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I thank my hon. Friend for that fine reply and look forward to seeing that work in action. I am proud to support the Government in their steps to increase the representation of women in Parliament and to give local communities more power to shape their future. What steps is the Minister taking to encourage women to stand for their local councils?

Caroline Dinenage Portrait Caroline Dinenage
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I welcome my hon. Friend to her place and as the new chair of the all-party group for women in Parliament. How can we get more women to be local councillors? I know that my hon. Friend served as a local councillor, as have many colleagues across the House, and she will know that women are under-represented on local councils, making up only 31.7% of members. That is why schemes such as the Be a Councillor campaign, which has been run by the Local Government Association since 2012, are important. We want to encourage new candidates from all walks of life to come forward and represent their local community.