Business of the House

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 21st July 2022

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Mark Spencer Portrait Mark Spencer
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I join the hon. Gentleman in paying tribute to the brilliant Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone).

On ticket offices, I would hope that even the hon. Gentleman, with his strong union links, recognises that the world is changing. When I buy a train ticket now, I buy it on my phone on an app. We need to get more people from behind glass screens on to the platforms supporting people as they go about their business commuting to and from work. The railways need modernisation. We need to bring modern working practices to the railways to support our constituents. I hope that he would assist us in doing that by convincing the unions to come back to the table and negotiate rather than strike.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Mid Sussex) (Con)
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Sticking with the rails, my constituents in East Grinstead are fed up with the lack of regular services. It is frustrating many of my Mid Sussex commuters who simply cannot get to their desks for 8 o’clock in the morning, particularly in the City. That is having an impact on people who want to come back to the office, which supports local businesses and hospitality. Often, services are dropped to prioritise central London services, where people have tubes, trains and other options. Sussex commuters have less choice. Will the Leader of the House find time for a debate on post-covid rail services, so we can properly support local communities and those who want to get back to business as usual?

Mark Spencer Portrait Mark Spencer
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My hon. Friend is a true champion for the needs of her constituents, and she is right to mention the importance of local transport links for people living outside our cities. That is why the Government have committed to more than £35 billion of investment between 2022 and 2025. Our transport Bill will modernise rail services and improve their reliability for passengers. High levels of short-notice cancellations are unacceptable and the Department for Transport is working with operators to ensure a reliable service is provided to all passengers.

Sir David Amess Summer Adjournment

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 21st July 2022

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Mid Sussex) (Con)
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I welcome the Deputy Leader of the House to his place. It is an honour to speak in this summer Adjournment debate.

I will take Members on a quick tour around Mid Sussex, as this is my first chance to do so as a Back Bencher for some time. Mr Deputy Speaker, I hope you will indulge me as I talk about my predecessor, who, if the rumours are true, may be in the other place very soon. I asked Sir Nicholas’s long-time agent, Ginny, to remind me of her time with him and to give me some tips. One message was, “If you ever order scampi and chips, you’d better make sure you get some spare scampi. And always have a spoon to share dessert, because he will never order his own but he will definitely want some of yours.”

When I first stood as a candidate, I asked Sir Nicholas to give me some tips on how it might work, and he said, “Mimsy, be careful. There are some very clever girls on the candidates list. I mean some of them are lawyers and barristers, and everything.” He was nothing but charming and incredibly supportive. One of his favourite things was Fridays in the constituency, which we all absolutely love—it is my favourite experience, too.

Sir Nicholas’s surgeries were hysterical, not surprisingly, and he was impeccable in supporting jobs, schools, businesses, country pursuits and, of course, the South of England show in nearby Ardingly. He also supported the Haywards Heath bike ride and the Mid Sussex marathon weekend, which I founded. He was a brilliant supporter from day one. We wish him incredibly well.

Finally, when Sir Nicholas was on his rather famous diet, he found tuna flakes. He found little pots of them in Portcullis House and it was life changing: “I have never experienced these things, these tuna flakes”—that is what Ginny told me. It is a pleasure to follow him and to speak about my constituency.

In my gallops around Mid Sussex, on Zoom and Teams over the last few years, and when giving out covid certificates, I have met and had conversations with about 300 groups, businesses, organisations, churches, schools and shops.

Dean Russell Portrait Dean Russell (Watford) (Con)
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As my hon. Friend mentions businesses, and given her role over the past few years, I want to thank her for supporting my local jobcentre in Watford and, in particular, for supporting the launch of the self-employed mentoring scheme.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies
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I thank my hon. Friend for saying that.

It was a pride and joy to be at the DWP for the last three years. I saw 163,000 young people going into their first job, and I opened more than 150 youth hubs and 200 new jobcentres to address the covid impact. It was remarkable to see just this week that 2 million women have gone back to work since 2010, which is very positive. Jobcentres can give important support to the self-employed, and my hon. Friend does important work mentoring and supporting people in his constituency.

The hon. Member for Hackney South and Shoreditch (Dame Meg Hillier), who has now left the Chamber, mentioned support for resettled Afghans and Ukrainians and getting them into work. Jobcentres are at the heart of this, helping people to get a fulfilling career, whether they are resettling, a veteran, over 50 or have been affected by the pandemic.

On jobs, it was exciting to see the University of Sussex research facilities come to Haywards Heath, with Universal Quantum Ltd. I will be having my latest bounce back business breakfast at CEA Systems in September. Boeing, also based in Burgess Hill, was here in Parliament just this week. I have some amazing charities in my patch, including Group Strep B Support, which was also in Parliament this week.

I am sure we are all going to enjoy our summer as we go to visit many of our businesses. Without the welcome back fund or the cultural recovery fund, some of them simply would not be there. For example, the support for Borde Hill in my constituency and the Orion cinema in Burgess Hill has been crucial. However, I must raise a couple of issues. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities needs to help shovel-ready regeneration projects get their money and get things out the door. We have been waiting since 2011 for a new town centre in Burgess Hill and people are getting fed up. There have been two planning permissions and we are ready to go. I really hope the new application coming forward will help to support our beleaguered high street.

We need a new Clair Hall—it has been delivering vaccinations, but we need a cultural centre back in Mid Sussex. We also need a running track and much more support for sports pavilions and other areas, where we absolutely have the participation but we do not have the funding matching what is needed. May I follow the Father of the House, my hon. Friend the Member for Worthing West (Sir Peter Bottomley), in linking transportation and planning issues? We are delivering homes in Mid Sussex, in the right places, where possible, through a local plan, but we are being ridden roughshod over by the Planning Inspectorate on neighbourhood plans and that is unacceptable. Our constituents are fed up. They are doing their bit when it comes to housing and they want Government to listen.

I wish the House a very happy summer, and I thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

--- Later in debate ---
Dean Russell Portrait Dean Russell (Watford) (Con)
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I refer the House to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, because I am a trustee of one of the charities that I will mention. I also want to say thank you to all the staff, to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, and to everyone across the House for the incredible work they do. Of course, I want to pay tribute to Sir David, who is still hugely missed by us all.

I also want to thank my community in Watford. Across my town we have such an incredible wealth of community volunteers and supporters. Our charities include is One Vision, with Enoch and Harjit, who are friends and colleagues when it comes to working for the local community; Small Acts of Kindness; Goods for Good; Hand on Heart; Sewa Day; New Hope, which is a fabulous homelessness charity; the Peace Hospice; the Salvation Army; and the Rotary Club, with the most magnificent lady called Actar, who is an incredible force for good.

There are also the volunteers who are working to deliver my mental health first aid initiative, which aims to train 1,000 mental health first-aiders across Watford. The team at Watford and West Herts chamber of commerce have helped deliver almost half of that target, which I am incredibly proud of and very grateful to them for.

When I talk about mental health, of course I cannot fail to mention health services. My biggest ask of the past two and a half years, since being elected, is to get Watford General Hospital rebuilt and to have the shovel in the ground as soon as possible—as I told the Prime Minister recently, during Prime Minister’s questions, I will even go and buy the shovel myself. That brings me to an important point about frontline services.

Earlier today, during business questions, I said that I would love to have a debate to say thank you to all our frontline emergency services. We have seen them do so much over the past week in response to fires, but just last week in my constituency, in the Meriden ward, there was an awful fire at the Abbey View tower block. Had the frontline services not got there as quickly as they did, the situation could have been a lot worse. Thankfully, there were no fatalities or serious injuries.

I am so proud to be able to support our local services, and that includes our police. I have been working with the local police and crime commissioner to make sure we get a new Watford police station, which will be coming later this year. I look forward to cutting the ribbon—I hope I will not get into trouble with the police through that act of vandalism.

On work with veterans, huge respect and thanks are due to Luther Blissett, the former Watford Football Club legend and England player, his partner Lauren, Liz and Norman, who have been working with veterans in Watford for a long time now. They have been setting up the former players club through which they are creating a tailor-made organisation. I say “tailor” because of the impact Graham Taylor has had and the inspiration he has been in creating Forces Reunited, which I believe will be launched today as a forces’ forum to help veterans.

There are lots of things I would like to cover about infrastructure. I am doing work to look at bus and train infrastructure, and also, as I have mentioned in this place before, to fix Woodmere Avenue, which is an absolute nightmare. The width restriction scratches very many cars and has become almost legendary in the challenges that it has brought to local residents. I hope there is some movement to get that sorted.

Over the past two years, I have seen how we have all come together to work together from an inter-faith perspective. The inter-faith community across Watford is truly incredible. At places like the Peace Garden where we are close to nature, all the different faiths across Watford come together for the good of our community. That ties into the environmental message and how we are trying to tackle waste in Watford. I set up my Dean’s green team, and I am very grateful to the young people who have been involved to help to make it a success. We have lots more to do, but listening to young people about the environment is critical.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies
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My hon. Friend makes a really important point about environmentalism. I presume that the green team does litter-picking and other interventions. When young people want to help their environment, that is one of the most positive things that they can do. They really benefit when we visit schools and then follow up with a litter-pick, as I have seen in my own constituency, because they have seen that direct action in their community.

Dean Russell Portrait Dean Russell
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I thank my hon. Friend for her intervention. Absolutely—we are planning litter-picks and all sorts of things, but also looking at how we can tackle waste and food waste across the area, especially with organisations such as Random Café doing amazing work.

Culture is at the heart of our community. We have the “Harry Potter” studio tours, but also Leavesden studios, which makes what would be Hollywood movies but are Watford movies. During the pandemic, I worked with Tom Cruise’s team to open up the global film industry. That is a story for another time, but I was very proud to be able to do that from Watford and Leavesden studios. Watford culture is incredible. On the High Street we have places such as the Pump House theatre, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and has the Watford Fringe coming up later this year. Please do all buy tickets; there are some fabulous acts. We also have the Electric Umbrella doing cultural work with people with disabilities. I recently pushed a yellow piano up the High Street to promote its work and support it. The Watford Workshop works with people with disabilities as well to support them. We have fantastic clubs such as the Deaf Club, which also celebrated its 50th anniversary a few months ago, and I was proud to be there.

A few weeks ago in this place, I presented a petition to save the local Pryzm nightclub. The night-time economy is absolutely critical, and we need to support it. I was very pleased that last week we had the Second Reading of my private Member’s Bill to make sure that workers could keep their tips in hospitality and elsewhere.

Thank you to all, have a fantastic summer, and I look forward to seeing you back in September.

Margaret Ferrier Portrait Margaret Ferrier (Rutherglen and Hamilton West) (Ind)
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It is very touching to see today’s summer Adjournment debate bearing the name of our late colleague, who always stole the show in these debates. The renaming of the debate is a fitting tribute.

Much of January was spent on tenterhooks, and Russian forces finally invaded Ukraine in February. This produced a mountain of new casework for my office. My team and I have had some successes, such as in the case of Natalia, a 15-year-old Ukrainian girl. Last month I was able to visit her and her aunt in their new home in Hamilton. It was emotional but a wonderful reminder of the impact of what we do in this place on real lives.

Another humbling experience was taking through a private Member’s Bill in the previous Session. I was incredibly proud to see it gain Royal Assent just before Prorogation in May, becoming the Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Act 2022. I once again place on record my gratitude to the team at the Department for Work and Pensions, who provided such excellent support.

The cost of living crisis is the biggest challenge the UK faces right now. Like many colleagues, I have spent many hours in debates and question sessions raising fuel prices, household energy bills and affordability of food to highlight some of the biggest concerns that my constituents have. It is a shame that we will break for recess without having lined up other support for the autumn and winter months. I hope that work will continue in Government Departments so that new measures can be presented swiftly in September.

On another challenge this term, just the word “passport” elicits a visceral reaction from Members and staffers alike. I am very proud of my team, who have managed to secure a positive result in every case they have handled so far. There is some valid criticism that the crisis could have been foreseen and planned for, but I have to say that some of our cases have received excellent support.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies
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The hon. Lady’s comments are a pertinent reminder of the work of our caseworkers. I am sure you will agree, Mr Deputy Speaker, that this has been an incredibly hard period, with the challenges including covid grants, business reopening and passports. We have had over 60 cases. It has been very challenging, and we must thank all of our casework teams, because their work matters so much to our constituents.

Margaret Ferrier Portrait Margaret Ferrier
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I could not agree more. The staffers are the people behind us as we do our jobs. I thank the hon. Lady for that intervention.

One of the greatest things about this job is the variety. No two days are ever the same. I feel so honoured to represent my constituents during debates on topics such as animal welfare, which so many contact me about, the child maintenance service and energy prices. I feel honoured to make sure that their voice is heard when legislation is scrutinised and during important announcements covering crucial policy such as immigration and asylum, defence, and community access to cash, and to do casework helping people with their driving licences, visas and community projects. It is so important to me that every email that a constituent writes is read and, where possible, that that information is translated into action on their behalf.

It has been an absolute pleasure to see at first hand the brilliant community spirit in my constituency. People have really pulled together. I want to give honourable mentions to the community councils in my constituency—Rutherglen, Burnside, Cambuslang, Halfway, Blantyre, Hillhouse and Meikle Earnock—which take so much pride in their communities and work to support them.

I also give my deepest thanks to all staff here in Parliament, who do so much to make sure that we are all supported. We could not function without you all. Thanks also to my staff: Kim, Gillian, Laura, Lynne, Natalie and John.

What has struck me most this term is how difficult a time it is in politics in the UK and in the world. Colleagues, staff and constituents are all feeling the pressure. That is why it is so important that we are able to work together, across these Benches, for the benefit of our constituents. On any given day, this Chamber is full of people with strong political beliefs. Naturally, we will not all agree on everything, and in some cases we may not all agree on much at all.

I put on the record my thanks to a number of Ministers, because they have genuinely endeavoured to help me in some of the most complex cases that my team have been dealing with. Although it is tempting to take all the credit, I have to acknowledge that those cases would likely not have been resolved without their input. I am glad that they have on occasion sought to work across these Benches. Only this week, the Home Secretary and her officials assisted me and my team in resolving a complicated case. I put my thanks to them on the record.

We need to see more such collaboration next term. Some might disagree, but regardless of our political differences, we are all here for the same reason, and that is to help our constituents, and I am always willing to work with whoever I need to in order to get the right resolution.

Business of the House

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 14th July 2022

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Mark Spencer Portrait Mark Spencer
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I am confident that we would win that Division quite handsomely, to be honest.

The hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) wants to pivot to talking about a referendum on independence, because he does not want to focus on the record of the SNP in Scotland. The Government are getting on with the job: we are delivering for millions of people up and down this country, including in Scotland, where people will be getting large amounts of support to help with the challenges of the cost of living. That is what we are focused on.

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will be here next week to make the same point about the need for a referendum. I will give him the same answer: we are focused on getting on with the job, and we will not fall for his smoke and mirrors.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Mid Sussex) (Con)
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The delivery of the urgently needed and far too long-awaited town centre revitalisation in Burgess Hill is an absolute priority for me. Nearby, 3,500 homes are coming forward, supported by Homes England. Our spade-ready pride in place bid for round 2 of levelling-up fund round 2 is ready to go. Will the Leader of the House please make time for a debate in Government time about how levelling up in action is based not on geography, but on the Government responding well to the needs of all our communities?

Mark Spencer Portrait Mark Spencer
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I wish my hon. Friend well with the bid for Burgess Hill and her ambitions to improve that area. She will be aware that there is a £4.8 billion levelling-up fund that I am sure she has been bidding into. I know that Members across the House will be making their bids and putting them in as we speak, and I wish all colleagues well with that process.

Business of the House

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 28th June 2018

(5 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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I feel I should say that I felt quite sad for Germany, as it was a difficult blow yesterday—

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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Sorry, but I did feel some sympathy there. We will absolutely take on board the hon. Gentleman’s request for as much notice as possible of Backbench Business Committee days in the run-up to the recess and in our September sitting. I will take that away and discuss it with my right hon. Friend the Chief Whip. The hon. Gentleman also raises the important issue of adults with learning disabilities. He will be aware that the subject has serious implications for the charities sector, with many organisations facing significant bills should what he suggests be the solution on back pay. The Government are looking carefully at the issue, which could be a useful subject for a Backbench Business Committee debate—he could apply to himself for that. I know the Government would welcome any debate on a resolution to this very tricky issue.

Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 21st December 2017

(6 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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I am very pleased to hear that the hon. Lady feels that the work is progressing well and that some good recommendations have been made. It is very pleasing that she wishes to make urgent progress. I am glad to hear that and look forward to working closely with her on this in the new year.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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I thank the Leader of the House and all the colleagues who have worked on this over the last six weeks, and I am glad that there will be updates in the new year. I welcome, too, the grip taken on this matter by the Leader of the House, on behalf of the Prime Minister, to get this right.

I have been committed to making this place a positive place for everyone working here. Sitting on your diversity committee, Mr Speaker, has been an honour, but it has also shown the number of challenges we face. I am chair of the all-party group on women in Parliament, and we hosted a positive parliamentary Christmas event here for staff, aspiring politicians, councillors, business leaders and—

John Bercow Portrait Mr Speaker
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Order. I do not wish to be discourteous to the hon. Lady, who is unfailingly courteous to everybody, but we have a lot of business to get on to, and I am waiting to call someone else who has other pressing business: I therefore need a single sentence question, nothing more.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies
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I will conclude: can we all commit to using every area, including all-party groups, to make this a safe place to work and to aspire to be?

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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My hon. Friend does a huge amount in this place to support particularly women, but also all equality issues, and I commend her for that and will be delighted to work with her.

Business of the House

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 21st December 2017

(6 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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The hon. Gentleman raises what I am sure is a very important point. If he has an EDM, it will be dealt with in the usual manner.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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Will the Leader of the House find time for a debate on the apprenticeship levy? In my constituency, Blaze Construction is working hard to support this process, but has concerns about how it affects its industry and its efforts.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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I know that my hon. Friend shares the Government’s enthusiasm for apprenticeships, of which there have been more than 3 million since 2010. That is fantastic news for young people’s careers and the development of their skills. If she wishes to promote particular issues around the apprenticeship levy, I encourage her to seek an Adjournment debate so that she can raise the matter directly.

Business of the House

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 14th December 2017

(6 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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The hon. Gentleman rightly raises an important and concerning constituency case. It may be tricky, but he may find a way to raise the issue in DWP questions on Monday. The Government are looking at measures to protect rental tenants better. Draft measures are coming forward and consultations are under way on making sure that people in rented accommodation have protected tenancies and more security about how long they can remain in their homes.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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Good news—more people are getting on their bike in my constituency for work or leisure. That is a good thing because my constituency is very clogged up and polluted. However, a number of my constituents have contacted me about shared spaces—the danger of pedestrians mixing with cyclists and the impact on people with impaired vision. Will the Leader of the House find time for a debate on road safety?

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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My hon. Friend always speaks up for her constituents; she is particularly concerned about congestion and a big fan of cycling, so I commend her for her question. She is right to raise the sharing of pavements by cyclists and pedestrians, and I encourage her to seek an Adjournment debate so that she can talk about her specific concerns in Eastleigh.

Business of the House

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 23rd November 2017

(6 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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The right hon. Gentleman might have noticed that there are quite a number of debates on Brexit going on at the moment. Perhaps he has not been present in the Chamber. I encourage him to stop talking the country down. We are extremely optimistic about the prospects for the UK as we leave the EU, and his constant pessimism is not helping.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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I was delighted to hear the Chancellor focusing on infrastructure, air pollution and productivity in his speech yesterday. Infrastructure and link roads are key, and they are vital to improving air quality. Will the Leader of the House consider finding time for a full debate on this issue?

Sexual Harassment in Parliament

Mims Davies Excerpts
Monday 30th October 2017

(6 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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I have been clear that the issue is around, first, those who are made to feel uncomfortable: I am setting the bar significantly below criminal activity. If people are made to feel uncomfortable, that is not correct. In terms of the consequences for the perpetrators, I have also been clear that staff could forfeit their jobs, Members of Parliament could have the Whip withdrawn and Ministers could be fired from ministerial office.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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If we do not call out bad, irresponsible or criminal behaviour, which we do weekly in our constituency surgeries, we are all part of the problem. The right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman) rightly raised the question and has used her gravitas to highlight the issue. I have the pleasure of serving on your diversity committee, Mr Speaker, which looks at these issues, and we have made some great strides in making this a positive workplace for all.

Can I ask the Leader of the House and the Prime Minister to work with me and all Members from all parties to make sure that we have a strong voice on all the separate issues—whether misogyny, poor language or criminal behaviour—and do everything to give the public confidence in every party?

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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My hon. Friend has been a great champion of treating others with respect, and I would personally be delighted to work with her on this.

Business of the House

Mims Davies Excerpts
Thursday 26th October 2017

(6 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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There is absolutely cross-party consensus that, first, Sir David Attenborough is a national treasure and, secondly, it is vital that we do everything we can to stop and reverse marine pollution. The Government have done an enormous amount to create a blue belt around our overseas territories to ensure the protection of those areas. We are looking into what further action we can take to reduce litter on land, because it often ends up in the seas, and of course we have the ban on micro-plastics, which I was keen to put forward when I was the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. My right hon. Friend the current Secretary of State is fully committed, and I am sure that many more Government initiatives will come forward to try to address this issue.

Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies (Eastleigh) (Con)
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The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs this week rightly highlighted the dangerous effects of intensive farming on soil nutrient levels, and the Woodland Trust has highlighted the grave danger to the soil and the special environment in our ancient woodland and pastures. Will the Leader of the House consider scheduling a debate on the important issues affecting ancient and precious sites?

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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I think that we all value our ancient woodlands enormously, and if Members have not been to one, I would encourage them to do so. These woodlands, the oldest in the UK, are really quite astonishing and absolutely irreplaceable. My hon. Friend is right to raise the importance of protecting our soils. As Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, I had the great pleasure of attending a conference sponsored by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to discuss just this issue and the importance of reducing the intensity of agricultural activity to reduce the damage being done to our soils. This is something that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is determined to promote.