Debates between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg during the 2019 Parliament

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 13th January 2022

(1 week, 4 days ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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As regards the Standards report into my hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham (Daniel Kawczynski), I had a discussion this morning with the Chairman of the Standards Committee, and the Government, as is normal, look forward to bringing forward the motion as soon as possible. The business statement for next week was prepared before we had received a copy of the inquiry, but that will be brought forward swiftly.

The hon. Lady went on to the Opposition day that was held earlier this week. The problem with that Opposition day was not the main subject that it tried to get to, but the process it was using, where the Opposition decided that they would take over the Government and suspend Standing Order No. 14. There is one very important thing that you have to do to control the Order Paper in this House, and that is to win a general election. The Labour party, in December 2019, failed to win a general election. It was won by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister with a majority of 80, and that is why, under Standing Order No. 14, the control of time in this House belongs to the Government. I would suggest to the hon. Lady that if she wishes to take control of the Order Paper, she wins an election—something that the socialists have found extraordinarily difficult in recent years and I expect they will continue to do so.

Then we come on to the issue of PPE, which has been raised before, and it is worth giving exactly the same answer: we needed PPE urgently. The normal procedure for procurement takes three to six months. We needed it immediately—there was not the ability to hang around. Interestingly, the judgment that came forth yesterday said that the contracts would have been awarded in the same way anyway and they were awarded not by Ministers, but by civil servants. Exactly what happened with the vaccine success was what was done with PPE. It was essential to ensure that the national health service had what it needed.

The hon. Lady challenged me about my hon. Friend the Member for Moray (Douglas Ross). My hon. Friend has an office within the Conservative party and it seems to me that people who hold office ought to support the leader of the party. That is the honourable and proper thing to do. But the United Kingdom is something that we can celebrate and debate in this Chamber daily. It is the foundation—the cornerstone—of the success of the nation as a whole. We are very fortunate to have the United Kingdom that we have and we are particularly fortunate to have the Scotland Secretary that we have, who is such a formidable figure in Scottish politics and offers the strongest, firmest and clearest leadership.

Let us come to the most important issue that the hon. Lady raised, which relates to events in Downing Street on 20 May 2020. First, I remind her that the Prime Minister came here yesterday and apologised. He said that with hindsight it was not what should have happened or what he would have wanted to happen. It is being investigated by Sue Gray, a civil servant of the highest integrity and of the greatest reputation. I think that everybody understands, on all sides of the House, that people were obeying the rules and that these rules were very hard for people to obey. I received a message last night from a friend of mine who was unable to go to the funeral of his two-year-old granddaughter. One cannot hear these stories without grieving for people who suffered. Decisions were taken at the beginning of the pandemic that affected people up and down the country and they were very hard. We must consider, as this goes to an inquiry and we look into what happened with covid, whether all those regulations were proportionate, or whether it was too hard on people. As we hear of these stories, we inevitably grieve for those who suffered, those who could not visit people they loved—their family—and could not attend funerals. But I think the key is that this is being looked into, Sue Gray will report, the Prime Minister has made his apology clear and, as he said yesterday, he understands—as do I—the “rage”, his own word, felt by people who they were making these terrible sacrifices. There is no doubt about that and the Prime Minister’s position was absolutely clear.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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I was going to ask the Leader of the House about my private Member’s Bill tomorrow on abolishing the licence fee and the support I seemed to get from the Prime Minister for it. Unfortunately, however, this morning, my office was yet again vandalised. It is not fair on my staff in Wellingborough and it is not fair for other Members who have suffered similarly. So my question to him now is: may we have a debate next week on the security of Members in this House and the importance of that to our democratic process?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend and I am very concerned, as I know you will be, Mr Speaker, about the issue that he raised on the security of his office and the risk taken by his staff. I can reassure him that the review of MPs’ security with the Home Office and the Metropolitan police is going ahead well, that an updated letter went to you, Mr Speaker, and the Home Secretary at the end of December, and that you have both approved work to continue. It is so important for the sake of democracy that Members are safe in their offices and I am sure that the police will take this attack extremely seriously. It is difficult for me to promise a debate because we do not debate security matters publicly, for very obvious reasons in relation to security itself.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 6th January 2022

(2 weeks, 4 days ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg)
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The business for the week commencing 10 January will include:

Monday 10 January—Remaining stages of the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill, followed by a debate on motions to approve the charter for budget responsibility: Autumn 2021 update and the welfare cap as specified in the autumn Budget.

Tuesday 11 January—Opposition day (10th allotted day). There will be a debate on a motion in the name of the official Opposition. Subject to be announced.

Wednesday 12 January—Remaining stages of the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill, followed by motions to approve a money resolution and a ways and means resolution relating to the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill.

Thursday 13 January—General debate on the effectiveness of the Government’s education catch-up and mental health recovery programmes, followed by a general debate on the report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill. The subjects for these debates were determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

Friday 14 January—Private Members’ Bills.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The provisional business for the week commencing 17 January will include:

Monday 17—Remaining stages of the Elections Bill.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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One of the great glories of this nation is the jury system. It is worth bearing in mind that Magna Carta was viewed as a reconfirmation of rights, not a creation of rights. Juries must be free to come to the decisions they choose to come to on the facts that are in front of them in relation to a specific case, and on what they hear from the prosecuting counsel, the defence counsel and the judge. We should always glory in the jury system as one of the foundation stones of our liberties in this country, whether we like individual judgments or not.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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Energy costs are not a luxury; they are a necessity. They cannot be avoided: we need to heat our homes. My right hon. Friend will have heard that the official Opposition are now adopting Conservative views. They believe in lower taxation and in leaving the European Union. Would it be possible for this Government to believe in Conservative views? Will the Leader of the House lay a statutory instrument next week removing VAT on energy?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend knows perfectly well that that is a matter for the Chancellor and not a matter for the Leader of the House. What I would say is that Conservatives have always believed in fiscal good sense. We have always recognised that taxpayers’ money must be spent wisely. There is not an unlimited pot of other money and if we wish to provide the public services the country expects then that has to be paid for somehow. There is no magic money tree. It is very easy in opposition to point at any individual tax and say that that one should be cut, because there is no overall responsibility for ensuring that things are broadly in balance or heading towards balance. The responsibility of the Government and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is to put all taxes and all expenditure together in a way that ensures that the country is able to live within its means. That responsibility sometimes means that individual taxes have to exist even though the Opposition may call against them, because they think there is short-term political advantage in doing so.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 9th December 2021

(1 month, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am grateful for the early notice on Holocaust Memorial Day, which is a very important date. As the hon. Gentleman rightly says, an acre is a chain by a furlong—22 yards by 220 yards. Where do we find a chain on a cricket field? Between the two wickets, although I am not sure they have been finding that as successfully as we might have liked in Brisbane. I very much note his point on energy costs for highly energy-intensive businesses and for the company in his constituency that produces cast roll products and employs 200 people. It is obviously really important that industry is able to cope with these energy costs, and we have a very good energy strategy. Current spikes in cost are difficult for business, and I will pass on his comments to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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I hope everyone would agree with the Leader of the House that it is absolutely right that this House works by being here and hearing the information, not by having television screens reporting all the information. Why, then, do the Government insist on having TV press conferences to announce new policies? It is, as the Leader of the House says, this House that debates the things. I really hope—this is a genuine request—for a statement next week on ministerial statements. When he announces the day for that, can he tell me that the hour before that a press conference will be given to explain what will be in that statement?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I seem to remember that Jim Hacker was initially the Minister for Administrative Affairs, and having a statement on a statement does sound like it was invented by Sir Humphrey Appleby for the amusement and entertainment of the nation, rather than for the elucidation of facts and information.

It is important that the country at large understands the changes that are being made. It was thanks to your good offices, Mr Speaker, and the co-operation of the Opposition that a statement was made interrupting the Opposition day. A motion was moved without notice, which is a highly unusual procedure, to ensure that protected time for the Opposition day was not eaten into. That ensured that the courtesies to the House and the constitutional proprieties to the House were observed, but there was also the opportunity to inform the nation at large. It is inevitably a balance, but yesterday—thanks particularly to you, Mr Speaker—we got it right.

Parliamentary Partnership Assembly

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Monday 6th December 2021

(1 month, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I hope Hansard noted the “Hear, hear”, which I think came from my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone). [Interruption.] Oh, no, it was my right hon. Friend.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Indeed. I also thank the head of the Interparliamentary Relations Office, Lynn Gardner, for her assistance. Following these initial exchanges, the European Parliament confirmed its intention, on 5 October, to appoint a delegation of 35 Members to the PPA, announcing the names on 18 October. This matches the envisaged size of the UK delegation, as set out in today’s motion.

As the motion sets out, it is intended that the procedures currently applying to the nomination, support and funding of delegations to other treaty-based parliamentary assemblies—the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly—will apply. If both Houses agree to the participation of the UK delegation, the next step will be for the members of the UK delegation to be confirmed formally through a written ministerial statement in the same way as for the UK delegations to those assemblies. The Government expect to make this written ministerial statement shortly.

Following discussions between both Houses and others, this delegation will consist of 21 Members of this House and 14 noble Lords, and it will respect the party balances, with Members from the party of Government having the majority on the delegation, including six noble Lords.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend has played a good and sensible role in the history of this nation since he has been a Member of Parliament, and his distinction is, I think, unparalleled in the European debate, so I note what he says. He has of course written to me about this matter and people are aware of the representation that he has made.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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The Leader of the House is being charming, in his normal way, but the hon. Members for Belfast South (Claire Hanna) and for Strangford (Jim Shannon) have a fair point, and the Democratic Unionist party is a substantial party in this Parliament, so why does it not automatically have a right to a place on this so-called delegation—if, I might say, it goes ahead?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend is always punctilious in not anticipating a decision of this House—or, indeed, of the other place—and he is quite right to do so. As I said, there will be 35 members—21 from this House and 14 noble Lords. The composition has not yet been announced, but of course if right hon. and hon. Members and noble Lords wish to be on the delegation, there is still time for them to apply. However, I stress the fundamental constitutional point that this is the Parliament of the United Kingdom and a delegation from it represents the whole of the United Kingdom.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 2nd December 2021

(1 month, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I congratulate the hon. Lady on her support for Coventry’s NHS workers and for the charitable work that is going on there. I thought that she was going to ask me to wear a T-shirt, to which I am afraid the answer would have been no, but that does not mean that I am not very sympathetic to the cause.

May I just point out what the NHS recovery plan is? In 2018, delivering on the £350 million on the side of the bus, we gave NHS England an historic settlement that will see its budget rise by £34 billion by 2023-24. To help frontline services to tackle the coronavirus, we have made available approximately £97 billion of taxpayers’ money—ninety-seven thousand million pounds. That was sixty-three thousand million in 2020-21 and a further thirty-four thousand million in 2021-22. In September, we announced an additional £36 billion for health and social care over the next three years.

Applications to study nursing and midwifery have risen by 21% this year. If people are applying to join the NHS, that is surely a good sign about the terms and conditions available.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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It has occurred to me that I have failed miserably to get the Leader of the House to grant debates in Government time, so I have thought of a wheeze.

Will the Leader of the House kindly come to my constituency of Wellingborough and Rushden in the east midlands? He can whizz up from St Pancras on the newly electrified line. As he gets out at the station, he will see the beginning of the electrification north to Sheffield. We can pick him up and take him over the new railway bridge; through the new development of Stanton Cross, to see the new houses; on to the wonderful double roundabout at Chowns Mill, which will be opened officially this week; along the A45; past the new magnificent Rushden Lakes leisure facility; further along, seeing on our left-hand side the Wellingborough prison that will be open in the new year—

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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I must get him there, Madam Deputy Speaker. We can go up through Wellingborough; go up where the new Isham bypass will be built; see where the new Boris hospital is to be built; and then meet Jason Smithers, the new leader of the new unitary council. Then might I persuade the Leader of the House to have, in Government time, a debate on what levelling up means?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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It would be a joy to go back to Wellingborough. I have been to my hon. Friend’s constituency before; if I come, I hope he will invite me to speak to his local Conservative association and thank it for all the good work that it does.

My hon. Friend is heroic, because he has saved hours of Government time and Backbench Business time. He has managed to advocate the advantages of levelling up in one question, albeit a slightly long one.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 18th November 2021

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg)
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The business for the week commencing 22 November will include:

Monday 22 November—Remaining stages of the Health and Care Bill (Day 1).

Tuesday 23 November—Remaining stages of the Health and Care Bill (Day 2).



Wednesday 24 November—Second Reading of the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill, followed by a motion to approve a statutory instrument relating to terrorism.

Thursday 25 November—General debate on freedom of religion or belief: 40th anniversary of the declaration on the elimination of religious intolerance, followed by a debate on a motion on alcohol harm. The subjects for these debates were determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

Friday 26 November—Private Members’ Bills.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The provisional business for the week commencing 29 November will include:

Monday 29 November—Second Reading of the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [HL], followed by a motion to approve a Ways and Means resolution relating to the Animals (Penalty Notices) Bill, followed by a motion to approve a money resolution relating to the Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Bill.



Tuesday 30 November—Opposition day (9th allotted day). There will be a debate on a motion in the name of the Scottish National party, subject to be announced.

Wednesday 1 December—Consideration in Committee of the Finance (No.2) Bill.

Thursday 2 December—Business to be determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

Friday 3rd December—Private Members’ Bills.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The hon. Lady raises an important point that I think all of us are coming across as constituency MPs—access to GPs, face to face, on the telephone, or on Zoom or similar services. This has been difficult for GPs, who have a huge burden to carry at the moment with the extra demand that has come up post covid. The Government have provided £250 million of taxpayers’ money in the winter access fund to improve the capacity of GP practices, but the hon. Lady’s specific point on telephony is important and I will pass it on to the Secretary of State.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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Each week thousands of economic migrants come to this country illegally by crossing the channel from France. Now we know that migrants landing on the Kent coast will be taken to Wellingborough, put in a four-star hotel and given free board, free food and free medical care. There might be many reasons why people want to flee France, but adding the pull factor of coming to Wellingborough—one of the finest and friendliest towns in the country—is absurd. Will the Leader of the House arrange for a debate in Government time where the Government can lay out their position that in future economic migrants will be arriving not in the town of Wellingborough but in a town in Albania?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I think the reason everyone wants to go to Wellingborough is that they will be so well represented by the Member of Parliament for that distinguished constituency, who will take up their cases for them regardless of their immigration status. However, I can give my hon. Friend some comfort because the Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament, will give us much greater power to ensure that illegal asylum claims are dealt with efficiently and effectively, but also that people who have valid asylum claims that they declare legally early on will be treated in the properly sympathetic way that this country has a proud record of doing.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 4th November 2021

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I will just add in response to the hon. Member for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire) that I have had a note to tell me that the party chairman responded on behalf of the Prime Minister to the letter on Islamophobia. That was done earlier this year.

Nobody would wish to defend paid advocacy. I would say to the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) that his pre-prepared fury every week is becoming very much a broken record. It does not matter what the subject is; the fury is enormous. It may be that it is raining outside and the hon. Gentleman is furious. It may be that there has been a debate on standards and the hon. Gentleman is furious. Anything that comes up, he comes here to be cross, and he gets crosser and crosser as the weeks and the days go on.

If the hon. Gentleman had listened to what I said, rather than concentrating on his pre-prepared fury, he would have noted that I said that we need to make sure that this happens on a cross-party basis. It would be idle to pretend that there are not concerns about the system. It would be idle to pretend that there are not many people in this House who feel that not having a proper appeals process is a flaw in the system. It would be idle to suggest that there are not people in this House who recognise that the system set up for the ICGS, with the IEP, has, with a High Court judge, a better legal focus than the other system. These things are all true and they all need to be looked at, but of course, to maintain high standards and proper processes, we want to have cross-party support.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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I think one of the problems with yesterday was the fact that two issues were being put together; one was the case of my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson) and the other was the reform of the system. On what the Leader of the House has said now, I understand the process of going forward on a cross-party basis, but I am not sure how that leaves the case of my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire. Perhaps we could have a statement next week clarifying the Government’s position.

I voted for the Leadsom amendment, as it is called. I listened to the debate and I made up my mind. Will the Leader of the House issue a statement reminding people in the media that all votes in this House are free? I, for one, am never going to be told by someone else not to vote my conscience.

But Sir, the issue that concerns me most—I am sorry to take so long—is that this morning, my office was vandalised because of the way I voted last night. That puts my staff in danger. This is not the way that this should happen. We can have strong disagreement, but I think some of us should remember what happened to Sir David Amess, and perhaps our language needs to be a little temperate. I ask the Leader of the House if we can have a statement next week setting out the Government’s position on what he has said today.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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May I just reiterate what I said at the beginning of these proceedings? While there is a very strong feeling on both sides of the House that there is a need for an appeals process, there is equally a strong feeling that this should not be based on a single case or applied retrospectively. I fear last night’s debate conflated the individual case with the general concern. This link needs to be broken. I hope that answers my hon. Friend’s question.

As regards the vexed question of whipping, as I understand it, all Whips are attendance Whips. My hon. Friend is well known for his independence of mind, and I am sure his constituents are aware of that, but to vandalise some Member’s property or office because of the way that Member voted seems to me to be potentially a breach of privilege, and it may be something that needs to be looked into with considerable care. As you warned us yesterday, Mr Speaker, we always need to discuss these things in a temperate and sensible manner.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 21st October 2021

(3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The previous Speaker used to say, when points were raised that answered themselves, that the Member concerned knew parliamentary procedure so well that very little intervention was required. The appearance in Hansard of the hon. Lady’s question will go a long way to ensuring a response from the DVLA, but just to help it along its way, I shall send a copy of Hansard to the DVLA to remind it that it must respond to right hon. and hon. Members.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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It is hard to believe that I was part of a tribute act, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Corby (Tom Pursglove) and Councillor Helen Harrison, when a leadership contest for the Conservative party was being run. We ran the “Back Boris” tour. We went to areas where the Prime Minister could not come and we had a substitute star. When David Amess found out about that, he was determined to get us to Southend. On that occasion, the star was the Leader of the House. We went to Iveagh Hall, Leigh-on-Sea, and it was packed, with people almost hanging from the rafters—we had everyone there. He made a wonderful speech and we overran. A lady had baked a cake for him, but because of all the events and how well David spoke we dashed off without taking it.

We dashed off to St Albans and the wonderful Anne Main. David rang me when we were on the motorway haring down to St Albans. He was desperately unhappy that the Leader of the House had not got his cake, not for that reason in itself, but because David felt he had let down his constituent who had baked the cake. David was really concerned and somehow or other he arranged to get that cake to St Albans before we left there. Taking into account what was said earlier, I wonder whether the Leader of the House could mark the pre-recess debate in the summer as the David Amess day, in response to such a kind and decent man.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I remember the incident very well. My children then benefited from the cake, which they enjoyed very much. What was so striking about the event at Iveagh Hall was, again, how loved by his constituents David was. That is what we all want, is it not? All of us want to have our own constituents on our side, and David had achieved that and was therefore, in my mind, a model of what a constituency MP wants to be. I am the servant of the House, and if the House would like the summer Adjournment debate to be the David Amess debate, that is what it will become.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 9th September 2021

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Brexit has been a triumph, I am glad to say. We saw that not least with the vaccine roll-out; if we had done what the Opposition had wanted, we would not have been vaccinating people so quickly and opening up so soon. We have regained our freedom so we are able to make decisions for ourselves, but there is the eccentricity of the SNP, which wants to have independence only to hand it over to the European Union and to be told what to do by Brussels. If that is what SNP Members wish to campaign for, I do not think that they will be successful. The matter to which the hon. Gentleman refers is working its way between the Lords and the Commons, and I am sure that it will be set up at a suitable time.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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It is evil, wrong and unacceptable that people are being trafficked across the English channel for the purpose of making huge sums of money for evil gangs, with what is certainly perceived to be the help of the French Government. The Home Secretary is totally right to introduce legislation to turn those boats back, because that is the only way that we are going to end this evil trade. I have a serious suggestion to the Leader of the House. My private Member’s Bill, the Asylum Seekers (Return to Safe Countries) Bill, does exactly that. It has had its First Reading and has its Second Reading tomorrow. I would undertake in Committee to change the wording of the Bill to that which would be acceptable to the Government. I think it would be a speedy way of moving the matter forward. Does the Leader of the House support that idea?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend is right to say that the people traffickers are evil. They are the cause of the problem and they trade on people’s distress, which is fundamentally wrong. The Nationality and Borders Bill is also going through the House—it is going off to Committee next month—so other legislative measures are being introduced, but my hon. Friend is extremely helpful in bringing forward good ideas as to how we can make things work. I note, again, that turning boats back was a policy followed extremely successfully by the Australians and has had the benefit of stopping the evil trade there.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Tuesday 7th September 2021

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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That was a fine example of sound and fury which signifieth nothing. It is entirely routine for matters to be brought before the House in this way. Whenever a Budget comes forward, the Budget resolutions may be voted on that very evening. It has always been the case that matters relating to taxation are dealt with swiftly, because it is important to ensure that people are not able to take forestalling measures and so forth which become possible if taxation is not dealt with properly.

Tomorrow is in fact about dealing with the Standing Orders of this House, which require a Ways and Means resolution before legislation may be brought forward. The legislation will be brought forward in due course, and I will announce it in a business statement. All of this is completely routine and standard. I am afraid that the more the Labour party says that there is no plan, when a plan has been published, detailed by the Prime Minister and announced to the world, the more it shows the vacuity of the opposition—an Opposition who learn nothing and remember nothing.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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I congratulate the Government on the Prime Minister’s giving another statement to the House. That is two in two days, I think. He has been one of the most active Prime Ministers in Parliament.

On the business statement, can the Leader of the House give us an assurance on the amount of time for tomorrow’s debate? I welcome the early debate, but I want to ensure that there is enough time for Members to get in. Has he any view on the length of the debate?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The House may be surprised that, in the absence of call lists, it is much harder to plant questions. However, my hon. Friend’s is extraordinarily useful, because I am pleased to tell the House that the whole of tomorrow will be available for the Ways and Means resolution, subject, of course, to urgent questions at the discretion of Mr Speaker, and statements that may prove necessary.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 22nd July 2021

(6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am not unsympathetic to the hon. Lady because as airports get back to normal there will of course be more flights, but this has to be balanced: flying gives an enormous number of people an enormous amount of pleasure as they go abroad on their holidays, but there is some disadvantage to it. The House has legislated for the expansion of Heathrow airport, but it is a private project that is in the hands of the private sector. As with so many things, there are competing interests, but I would not wish to see the airports remaining as unused as they currently have been.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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I am sorry I am not in the Commons today to thank the staff personally and also particularly to thank Mr Speaker for putting Parliament first, but unfortunately I, like many others, have been pinged.

Yesterday there was a statement updating the House on the NHS. The Minister refused to comment on the pay rise for NHS staff; in fact, she said that discussions were still going on. Yet just a couple of hours later the Government announced the pay rise to the media. Yet again the Health Department has shown contempt for Parliament; yet again Mr Speaker has told off the Health Department; and yet again a Minister has come to the Dispatch Box to apologise on its behalf. The Leader of the House is an exceptional Leader of the House and parliamentarian; he must be as concerned about this as I am. Will the Leader of the House arrange for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to make a statement on this in the first week back after recess, and if he fails to do that, will he consider summoning the Health Secretary to the Bar of the House to apologise?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The last person summoned to the Bar of the House—the gift of Jamaica, if one inspects it closely—was an editor of the Sunday Express, Sir John Junor. He had had the temerity to say that Members had been abusing petrol ration coupons, and the House was very upset about that. Unfortunately, it made the House look ridiculous, which is why we have not done it since. So I am not going to take up my hon. Friend on his suggestion, but I do take what he says very seriously.

Yesterday, the fact is that the decision had not been completed through Government channels at the point at which the statement was made, but a written statement was laid in the House with the information concerned. It is sometimes the case that a statement by the Government that is being made at one point has other information that is still in the pipeline, and I know the House is aware of this. However, I take what my hon. Friend says seriously. I am concerned about issues—because of the pandemic, so for excusable reasons—of responsiveness to correspondence and written questions, so I am aware that this is a problem. I will of course pass on his comments to my right hon. Friend Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 15th July 2021

(6 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I know that this is a matter of concern to a large number of Members of Parliament, and indeed to our constituents, who correspond with us regularly about it. The Government have long been committed to a two-state solution and we encourage conversation, diplomacy and moderation in the activities of everyone involved. I am aware of the demand for debates, but I would point the hon. Lady in the direction of the Backbench Business Committee, which I know is aware of the demand and interest in this subject.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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This week we debated and voted on the important issue of compulsory vaccination for care home staff. On 22 June, the draft statutory instrument was published, along with the words:

“A full impact assessment of the costs and benefits of this instrument is available from the Department of Health and Social Care, 39 Victoria Street”.

That would have been very useful because, as the Leader of the House will know, an impact assessment helps Members to decide on the merits or otherwise of the Government’s policy, but no such impact assessment was published. During the debate, the Minister for Care, my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Helen Whately), said that

“the impact assessment is being worked on”.—[Official Report, 13 July 2021; Vol. 699, c. 271.]

It seems to me that either there was an impact assessment, as the Department said there was on 22 June, or there was not, as the Minister said in the debate. But a third option came along, which was that in fact there was a full impact assessment but it was deliberately withheld from this House. Whichever is the case, this seems to be a very disappointing episode for scrutiny. This is a genuine request: could we have a statement from the Health Minister next week to clear up the situation, please?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Yes, I can assure the House that it was a matter of considerable concern to me that, when an explanatory memorandum said that an impact assessment was being published alongside it, no such impact assessment was published. I did make inquiries and am assured that the impact assessment was, as the Minister said, and as far as I am aware, still not complete. I reiterate the apology to the House given by the Minister for Care, my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Helen Whately), towards the end of the debate that inaccurate information was given to the House. That sort of mistake should not happen and is taken very seriously by the Government. I add only one caveat and that is a general caveat about impact assessments: they tend to try to predict with certainty the fundamentally unpredictable.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 17th June 2021

(7 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The hon. Gentleman and I normally see eye to eye on most issues, but on this I must diverge from him. The New Decade, New Approach deal was an historic achievement that brought to an end the three-year political impasse in Northern Ireland. Commitments in that deal were negotiated and agreed by all parties in the Executive, but there has now been a delay, a problem, in bringing forward some fulfilment of those commitments. That is why the Government have now committed to delivering these important commitments through the United Kingdom Parliament. I say to him, as a Unionist, that ultimately it is this Parliament—and we rejoice in it being this Parliament—that is the uniting focus of our nation, so when something is agreed at a political level and then not implemented, it is absolutely right that it should be implemented through this Parliament. I happen to think that the other changes, which were done when there was no clear majority in this Parliament, were done for more political, rather than constitutional, reasons.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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On Monday at 3 o’clock, the media were given an embargoed statement on covid road map changes. At six o’clock, there was a glitzy press conference featuring the Prime Minister. It was not until 8.30 pm that evening that the Secretary of State came to this House to make a statement. Mr Speaker has already said that that is unacceptable, and he is meeting the Prime Minister. I will not ask the Leader of the House to comment on that, because the Speaker has ruled, but I would guess privately that he was making similar noises within Government. However, I ask my right hon. Friend whether he would like the Government to adopt my private Member’s Bill, which will be presented on Monday and which would increase his authority? He is an extraordinary parliamentarian and a great Leader of the House, but if this House in the future was to elect the Leader of the House—from the governing party—he would have further authority and could not at any time be put under pressure or removed. Will the Government adopt my private Member’s Bill, and then I will not need to present it on Monday?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Flattery may get you everywhere, but not on this occasion, because I think the question misunderstands the role of the Leader of the House. Up until Lloyd George, who handed the post over to Bonar Law, the Leader of the House was the leader of the governing party in the House of Commons—the Prime Minister when the Prime Minister was in the House of Commons and somebody like Stafford Northcote when Disraeli was in the House of Lords. The role of the Leader of the House is to ensure that Government business passes through the House, and that cannot be done by somebody who is not an integral part of Her Majesty’s Government. It could not be done in the way that a Chairman of a Select Committee does their job and has a mandate from the House of Commons, or indeed the Speaker does his job and has a mandate from the House of Commons.

So I fear that constitutionally my hon. Friend’s proposal does not work, although I can reassure him that the Leader of the House has a dual-facing role and also has to make representations to Government on behalf of the House of Commons. Members may have noticed that when it comes to issues relating to written questions not getting a reply or correspondence not being replied to in an efficient way, I do my best to ensure that the Commons’ views are represented.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 10th June 2021

(7 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I will do that, and I will ask my office to get in touch with the CMS. The CMS ought to be responsive to Members. I have said before that I have found it one of the most difficult organisations to deal with, as a Member of Parliament for my constituents. I have great sympathy with the hon. Gentleman and I am grateful that he has raised this point. The CMS must respond to Members of Parliament; that is the duty of that type of agency.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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I am very much in favour of the Government’s policy on reducing overseas aid this year. We will still be giving ten thousand million pounds in aid, which is a higher proportion than France, Italy or, of course, the United States of America. But the House has a right to decide on this issue. Does the Leader of the House agree with me that it is very strange that the Government have given the opportunity, via an Opposition day this week, an Opposition day on 14 June and an Opposition day on 21 June, when that vote could definitely occur?

The Backbench Business Committee has been kind enough to announce the subjects of its debates in advance. Why are the loyal Opposition not telling us today that we are going to have that debate on Monday? Is it because they are pretty sure they are going lose the vote and the House will support the Government?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I must defend Her Majesty’s Opposition, because we changed the date of their Opposition day debate, so it is reasonable for them not to have put the debate forward. My hon. Friend lays down an interesting challenge to them, because they know the policy is hugely supported in the country. Polling indicates that a majority of Labour supporters support the policy, let alone Conservative supporters, who support it overwhelming. So, let us see, as time’s winged chariot passes along, whether or not they are brave enough to put their money where their mouth so often is.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 20th May 2021

(8 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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It is always difficult to suggest any degree of intervention with individual cases, because those are obviously matters for the court, although I will of course pass on what the hon. Lady has said to the Lord Chancellor. Let me just set out what the Government have done to try to ease this problem, because it is one that has been recognised and, along with other effects of covid, is one of the greatest seriousness. The Government have committed a quarter of a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money to a covid recovery. Additional space has been created to hear more cases, with 60 Nightingale courtrooms that have been opened, and plexiglass, as we see in our own Chamber, has been installed in 450 rooms. More than 20,000 hearings using remote technology are taking place each week, which is an enormous increase from March last year, so things are being done. Now, 2,000 cases a week are being completed in the Crown court, which is similar to pre-pandemic levels, so it is a question of working through the backlog. However, the issue the hon. Lady raises is one the Government take seriously, and as I have said, I will of course pass on the details to the Lord Chancellor.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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One of the great advantages of leaving the European Union was that we escaped from the protectionism of the superstate. Free trade agreements give more choice to the consumer and lower prices. Could the Leader of the House arrange a debate in Government time on a substantive motion, to allow Government Members to indicate how united we are behind free trade agreements and see whether the Opposition will support us?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right: free trade is one of the great advantages of leaving the European Union, which has always been essentially a protectionist racket and has led to higher prices for many staples of daily life in this country. The Government are a believer in free trade. We have rolled over any number of trade agreements, with the fantastic work done by my right hon Friend the President of the Board of Trade in ensuring that this has happened and in the negotiations with other countries. Free trade is good for both sides, but it is particularly good for the side that reduces tariffs. Why? Because we lower prices to consumers, which means they have more disposable income to use on other things, be it on investment in their country or buying other goods and services. So we grow the overall economy, reducing the tax burden on individuals because tariffs are taxation, and taxation on staples is not necessarily the best way to lead to economic growth, but it also helps producers because producers have to be more competitive, and that means that, globally, they will do better. For economic growth, free trade has always been the way forward, and God bless the late Sir Robert Peel.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 13th May 2021

(8 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I think that the hon. Lady is really calling for the agricultural reforms that are being put forward to ensure support for farmers who support the environment. Certainly, talking to farmers in North East Somerset, I know that they are well aware of their obligations to protect hedgerows, but this is not an obligation that they resent. They feel it is a natural part of their farming duty.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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I am afraid that Parliament is not working. It is not properly holding the Government to account. It strikes me that Parliament should lead, so could we have a statement from the Leader of the House telling us when Parliament, and particularly the House of Commons, is going to be restored to its normal process? When will we end virtual proceedings, so that we can have proper voting and not have hundreds of votes in the Deputy Chief Whip’s pocket, and when will we end social distancing in the Chamber? We really need to lead and get Parliament back doing its job properly.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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A voice cryeth in the wilderness! I am tempted to say, “Physician, heal thyself.” Where is my hon. Friend? Why is he not in this Chamber holding me to account and leading by the example he wants? I entirely agree with him. I am waiting with joy for that day when we are back to normal, which I hope will be 21 June, when everybody will be back here and it will be safe, and we will not have to wear masks and the Dispatch Box will not be covered in perspex, and we will be back to a full and flourishing Chamber. I agree with my hon. Friend that scrutiny is good for the nation, good for the Government and good for our constituents, but I would encourage him to come to London, come to Westminster, and take his seat.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 18th March 2021

(10 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The hon. Gentleman raises a very important point and I think everyone shares his concern for people working in the steel industry, but particularly in the Trinity Steel plant. The Government are following these developments extremely closely and are going to remain involved in looking at what is happening. The Secretary of State co-chaired the UK Steel Council on 5 March and met interested MPs on 15 March to have an update on developments. My noble Friend Lord Grimstone also met the sector and co-chaired the steel procurement taskforce on 12 March. I will take up the hon. Gentleman’s question with the Secretary of State so that he is informed of the concern within the House. The Government have helped the steel industry with the £500 million in relief for the steel sector since 2013 in relation to electricity costs, but this is an important issue and I understand the hon. Gentleman’s desire for further information.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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I was first elected as a councillor to the County Borough of Southend-on-Sea, so I am glad to hear that it is moving towards becoming a city. I am also delighted—I give the Government great credit for this—that the Government are pushing ahead with the elections on 6 May, when we are going to have local elections, police and crime commissioner elections and now a parliamentary election, and are allowing campaigning to be carried out during the period up to those elections. That is the cornerstone of our democracy and the Government should be credited. However, the regulator of those elections is the Electoral Commission, which is inefficient, arrogant and politically corrupt. It is not fit for purpose, so could we have a debate in Government time about a new regulator that would be acceptable to people of all political persuasions?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Serious concerns have been raised about the Electoral Commission, not least by my hon. Friend and, as he knows, I was very concerned about some of the points he raised when this was last debated on the Floor of the House. With a modicum of ingenuity and with a benign Speaker or Deputy in the Chair, there is a debate on Monday on a motion relating to the appointment of the chairman of the Electoral Commission, which being a motion under an Act lasts for up to 90 minutes, where I think my hon. Friend may be able to say a few words of this kind. I have a feeling that I may be responding to that debate, so I may well say a few words in response.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 14th January 2021

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Mr Speaker, I think that was a reference to association football, so I congratulate you as well.

Before I respond to the right hon. Lady, I pay tribute to Godfrey Cameron, whose death was referred to in the Chamber yesterday, but not by name. Mr Speaker, you referred to him earlier today. He has been one of our security personnel. He worked incredibly hard for the House. He died suddenly at the age of 55. He was an heroic figure; he managed to stop a young lady jumping off Westminster bridge. He is a model of the type of service we have been so fortunate to have in this House. His death will be much mourned by his family, his wife, Hyacinth, and his children, and we pray for the repose of his soul. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

May I now move to happier news? I have not had a chance to congratulate all those who were rewarded in the new year’s honours. It is a fine list: the Counsel for Domestic Legislation, Daniel Greenberg, has been made a Companion of the Order of the Bath—that is well deserved, and for one of the cleverest people I have ever had the opportunity to engage with; Marianne Cwynarski has been made a Commander of the most excellent Order of the British Empire, which is most thoroughly deserved, for all the work she has done in keeping this place covid-secure and operating; John Angeli has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to Parliament, particularly for broadcasting; John Owen, Director of Strategic Business Resilience at the House of Commons and House of Lords, has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to Parliament; David Smith, Deputy Managing Director of the Parliamentary Digital Service, has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to Parliament; Matthew Stutely, Director of Software Engineering, Parliamentary Digital Service, has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to Parliament; Avi Dussaram, Member Services Officer, Parliamentary Digital Service, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to Parliament; Rupert Hay-Campbell, Head of Architecture, Parliamentary Digital Service, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to Parliament and to the community in Essex; Barry Underwood, Head of Distribution Services, Vote Office, House of Commons, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to Parliament, particularly during the covid-19 response, and for voluntary services to football—you will like that bit, Mr Speaker: as I understand it, that is one of your great interests. I really take pride in congratulating all of them, as this is symbolic of the wonderful service that this House receives from so many dedicated members of staff.

How fortunate we are to have Mr Jaggs in the Chamber so that I can add my tribute to him. I think the title “Keeper of the Great Clock” is most wonderful; it is hard to think of one that could be better—many people would swap the title of “Prime Minister” to be known as Keeper of the Great Clock. The enormous amount of work that is done is something for which we are very grateful. Thirty years’ service in this place is terrific—I did not know about the five years in Buckingham Palace, but I note Mr Jaggs’ affection for royal palaces, as well as his willingness to turn his hand to everything.

It is a comment on the enthusiasm and support we have in this House that before I came to the Dispatch Box today, Mr Jaggs, our very distinguished Keeper of the Great Clock, was cleaning the Dispatch Box—he was doing everything. When we had a leak in the ceiling, it was Mr Jaggs who dealt with it. I do not really know how this place is going to run after your retirement, so if you get an urgent call to come back, you will know that we need you as a matter of priority. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”]

I am sorry for that long preamble, Mr Speaker, but I think it was important. Let me move on to the right hon. Lady’s questions. The end of the Session will be announced in the normal way. She will ask about this every week and I will give the same answer every week: it will be announced in the normal way.

The news on the developments for Westminster Hall is encouraging. As I said yesterday, it is important that we maintain scrutiny. I take extremely seriously the right hon. Lady’s questions on ministerial responses. It is my aim to help any Member of the House who is not getting responses to try to speed the process up. I am grateful for her praise of my own office, although I must confess that the volume of correspondence that I receive is on an entirely different and lower scale from that received by the Treasury and the Department of Health and Social Care, so it is perhaps a little easier for me. One should have had sympathy for them at the beginning of the pandemic, but I think answers should now be coming through much more swiftly.

As regards the statutory instrument on repossessions, there always has to be a balance between renters and landlords; it needs to be a fair system to ensure not only that people’s rights of property are protected, but that people, during the pandemic, have their housing protected. It is all about getting that balance right.

The right hon. Lady raised the issue of council funding, which has been enormous, with £3 billion of additional support to councils announced in the spending review, more than £10 billion in additional covid funding, more than £22 billion for their local businesses and £4.6 billion of additional un-ringfenced funding. Councils have received the money that they need, and this has been an important part of what the Government have been doing with taxpayers’ money.

The right hon. Lady mentioned that the Education Secretary is here answering questions on Monday, which is the opportunity to raise those questions, rather than using me as the postbox between Thursday and Monday. I am sure he will answer all those questions if they are of interest to other Members.

The Prime Minister was clearly exercising reasonably within all the rules—both the spirit and the letter of the rules. This game of trying to pick holes in what people are doing when they are obeying rules is undignified, and I think there is clarity in the rules; I think people know what they are supposed to do. People are allowed to exercise, and at the moment they are allowed to meet one person while exercising. These rules are absolutely clear, and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis said that she did not believe people do not know the rules by now. They do, and the rules are being followed.

I obviously share the right hon. Lady’s concern about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe; that is a truly important issue. I raise it every week after business questions, and I will continue to do so. I hear her request for a debate. I am not sure I will be able to grant that, but I certainly think that keeping the pressure up via the House of Commons is the right thing to do.

Finally, on the US Administration, we are right to be allies of democracy. It is really important that we get on with the incoming American President. I must confess that the actions of the outgoing President were a matter of the gravest concern. I do not think it is the business of Government Ministers to criticise the leaders of friendly countries, but what happened in Capitol hill is a reminder of how delicate and fragile democracy is and the responsibility of politicians to protect democracy and not to be what one might call an accessory before the fact to disorder. That is a real problem, and let us hope for better things in the United States and that our special relationship will be able to flourish.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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I do not know whether the Leader of the House is a fan of “The West Wing”, the fictitious political drama about an American President, but in that drama C. J. is the press secretary to the President, and every day she strides to the podium, announces the President’s policy and answers questions.

Apparently there is now a television studio built in Downing Street, and we are going to have our own C. J.: Allegra Stratton. However, we have a very different system of government. Ministers are supposed to come to the Dispatch Box to announce new policy first in the House of Commons and answer questions from MPs, not announce new policy to the media and take questions from journalists. Could we have a debate on this new situation in Government time at the earliest possible moment?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As it happens, I very much enjoyed “The West Wing”. I found it compelling TV watching and even bought the DVD set, which may sound surprisingly modern. Allegra Stratton’s role is one that has been carried on in the shadows for an extremely long time with the lobby briefings. Of course the Government have to brief journalists from both the newspapers and electronic media, to ensure that Government policy is advertised to the world at large. There are two lobby briefings every day; one of them will now be filmed and in public. This is open government, which I thought my hon. Friend might like, but it will not in any way change the requirement of the ministerial code that policy announcements are made to this House first.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Wednesday 30th December 2020

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am glad that we are able to move the Backbench Business debate. I wonder if I may make a plea in return to the hon. Gentleman that he might protect those whose debates in Westminster Hall need to be moved, because one of them is present in the Chamber, and it is obviously a concern that people do not lose the debates that they had.

The hon. Gentleman makes the point about the website on what schools will have to do, and the Secretary of State for Education’s statement that it will be up and running and that headmasters and headmistresses will be able to use it efficiently. I am sure that is right, but immediately after this session I will check with the Secretary of State to ensure that is taking place, because if there are gremlins in the system, the gremlins need to be removed.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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May I endorse the Leader of the House’s comments about the great Northamptonshire MP Brian Binley? He will be greatly missed, but, as someone who wanted to come out of the European Union, I think he will be smiling down on us today. When my hon. Friend the Member for Corby (Tom Pursglove) and I founded GO, the Grassroots Out campaign to leave the EU, our goals were to end the free movement of people, to stop spending billions and billions of pounds each and every year with the EU and to make our own laws in our own country, judged by our own judges. Today, the Prime Minister has delivered on that pledge. He has delivered for the people. Given the historic nature of the treaty and the fact that so many Members of Parliament could not participate in the debate today, will the Leader of the House arrange for a series of debates on the treaty, rather like those we have on the Queen’s Speech?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

We are going to have a debate as soon as we are back on global Britain, which allows us to look to the future now that we have left the European Union. I thank my hon. Friend: he has been a tireless campaigner in the Eurosceptic cause as long as I have known him and is one of the people who ensured that we got the referendum victory, so today is in many ways thanks to his efforts. I thought he was going to ask for a public holiday, and I was going to suggest that he could have one, not tomorrow, but the day after.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 26th November 2020

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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It is sometimes in the ability of the Leader of the House to grant something almost immediately, although by serendipity rather than by any action of my own, because there is a debate in Westminster Hall today in recognition of yesterday being the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which will be an opportunity to raise those issues. I would also point out that the Domestic Abuse Bill is in the House of Lords. This is an important contribution to reducing domestic violence, and I think the whole House, and certainly the Government, takes this issue extremely seriously.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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Two days ago, the Government tried to bounce the House of Commons into agreeing to their position on how hon. Members scrutinise the Government during debate. They deliberately pulled three items at the last minute to bring forward a motion that no one expected to be debated. There were no call lists and there was no advance knowledge for Members.

What is more, had there been a vote, the Deputy Chief Whip on the Government side would have cast hundreds of proxy votes in support of the Government motion in what was clearly a free vote, and many of those Members would not even have known that the vote was taking place. It was definitely a farce and probably a contempt of Parliament. Could the Leader of the House explain why on earth next week we do not have a proper scheduled debate on virtual participation?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend is a very experienced parliamentarian and knows the Order Paper very well. If he looked at the Order Paper on Tuesday and at the debates on offer, it was extremely likely that we would get, under all normal circumstances, to the debate on virtual appearances in debates. My expectation was that we would have had between three quarters of an hour and an hour for it, had the previous debates gone in the normally expected way.

For reasons best known to themselves, the Opposition decided to spend the full 90 minutes—which they are entitled to do—on the statutory instrument that came earlier in the day. Because we had been asked for a debate, we decided that it was sensible to allow full time for the debate on virtual appearances. Therefore, we moved the remaining business from Tuesday to Wednesday, so that it could be completed. It is not unusual for debates to be changed or motions to be pulled.

The Opposition, joined by the SNP, then decided not to allow this to go to a vote by the House, nor indeed to have the amendment which they supported put to a vote. So if anyone was playing ducks and drakes with parliamentary procedures, it was the Opposition.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 19th November 2020

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The hon. Lady has campaigned on this issue so effectively for a long time and has been enormously successful in her campaign, and rightly so, because the contaminated blood issue is one of great seriousness and difficulty for the people who were affected. I cannot promise her a debate, but as I have said to her before, if there are specific issues she would like taken up with Ministers from these sessions, I will unquestionably do so on her behalf.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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I hope the Leader of the House will agree with me that the greatest achievement so far of the Prime Minister, among many achievements, is to implement the decision of the British people to leave the EU. This Tuesday, Lord Frost indicated that the trade deal may well be landed. If that is the case, will the Leader of the House guarantee a statement on that day and, later in the week, a debate on the trade deal or, if there is not a trade deal, on what will come next? Let us be able to celebrate what is a fantastic achievement by our Prime Minister.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 12th November 2020

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The hon. Gentleman raises an issue of which I am aware, not least because my constituency is a former mining area. There is a disused coal tip in the constituency that has become a feature of the landscape in the decades since mining stopped. The anniversary of Aberfan was not that long ago, so this important issue is at the forefront of people’s mind. The hon. Gentleman makes an important point about the UK-wide agency, and I will ensure that what he has said in the House is passed on to it, in the hope that a fuller answer can be obtained for him from it. I cannot promise to be the Chancellor’s diary secretary.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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The Speaker was outraged that the new national lockdown was leaked to the media, rather than announced in Parliament first. The Prime Minister was furious and set up a leak inquiry. Last week, I asked the Leader of the House for a statement this week, so that Parliament could scrutinise the process. Instead, we have had media reports that Cabinet Ministers have been cleared of any involvement, and that the focus is on No. 10. Now we have the resignation of Mr Lee Cain, and the suggestion that he is responsible for the leak. This is not good enough. Parliament must be able to ask Ministers questions about this. Will the Leader of the House guarantee a statement next week about the leak inquiry?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend mentions Lee Cain; may I say what a fantastic public servant he has been? He was instrumental in ensuring that the Vote Leave campaign was successful, has made a huge contribution to this Government, in which he was an important figure, and will be a loss to it.

As regards announcements to this House, the Prime Minister and Mr Speaker were indeed seriously displeased by the leak, and that the House was not informed as the Prime Minister had intended, but there are opportunities to question the Prime Minister about the leak inquiry at Prime Minister’s questions; I am not convinced that it deserves a specific statement of its own.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 5th November 2020

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I agree that this is a crucial issue, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor will be making a statement and answering questions immediately after the business statement.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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Last weekend the details of the national lockdown were leaked to the media, and instead of the Prime Minister being able to announce it first in the House of Commons, it was announced in newspapers. I know the Prime Minister was furious about that, and has started a leak inquiry. May we have a statement next week about how that inquiry is progressing, who is in charge of it, and whether the mobile phones of the people at the meetings have been checked? Or, is this leak inquiry like the one in “Yes Minister”, where there is no intention of finding out who leaked the information?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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This is a leak inquiry that wants to find out what happened, and I know that the Prime Minister was far from gruntled over what happened last week. He had intended that the announcement should be made in the House first, and it needs to be looked into thoroughly. I would say there is something deeply distasteful about this culture of leaking. We want the House to hear first, we want a proper process and that is what was intended. It then came to the House and we had a vote yesterday, I would say that is also important: the commitment to have votes on important issues of national significance has been maintained and the rights of the House are therefore being protected.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 22nd October 2020

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The hon. Gentleman is perhaps the House’s most tireless campaigner for freedom of religion and for protection of religious minorities against persecution, and he has a great deal of support for what he does. The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief for all and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to freedom of religion or belief is one of the UK’s human rights policy priorities, as it should be. The UK remains deeply concerned about the severity and scale of violations and abuses of freedom of religion in many parts of the world, and this issue will be raised with the Vietnam authorities at all suitable opportunities.

While answering the hon. Gentleman, may I congratulate him? I believe that, this week, he has become a grandfather for the fifth time, though he does not look old enough to have possibly managed this.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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A number of Members across the House have been campaigning all their political lives to get this country free from the shackles of the European Union. Therefore, it is exceptionally good news that the European Union has recently changed its position on a comprehensive free trade agreement and that Mr Barnier is coming to London this afternoon to try to finalise that deal. Will the Leader of the House recommend to the Prime Minister that Parliament should be recalled next week for a statement and a debate if such a historic agreement is reached?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am sure that my hon. Friend took the pleasure that I took that Monsieur Barnier decided that he might come to talk to us on Trafalgar Day, which seemed to have a certain historic resonance. I do not think that it would be right to recall the House next week for a statement, but the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and, indeed, the Prime Minister have regularly kept this House up to date with developments in the negotiations.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 15th October 2020

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am sure the Government will look at the report that the hon. Lady refers to, but it will not surprise her to learn that there are no current plans to change drugs policy.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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Lord Frost and the British EU negotiating team have returned from Brussels this morning and are about to brief the Prime Minister on whether to continue negotiations or to call it a day and prepare for a no-deal trade Brexit. Will the Leader of the House say whether there are any plans for the Prime Minister to come to the House tonight to make a statement or whether he plans to make the statement to the House on Monday, which would be a good day as it is my birthday and I would like to know, as a very good birthday present, the decision?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The House will be en fête on Monday in celebration of my hon. Friend’s birthday, the bunting will be up and the state trumpeters will be borrowed, if possible, from Buckingham palace, so that we may have a proper fanfare, but unfortunately I cannot at this point promise a particular statement.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 17th September 2020

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The hon. Gentleman may perhaps overstate his case just a little. It seems to me that the withdrawal agreement is a very good agreement, but it depended on the good faith of the other side. Had that been forthcoming, there was no question of tariffs on goods that were going to Northern Ireland and were going to stay there. That was provided for. There was no question of food not going to Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, the obduracy, the stubbornness, the pig-headedness of the European Union has put us in a position where we have to protect our interests. In terms of legislation around this Government, the greatest voice we had was that of the British people and they decided just last December who they wanted to run their affairs. They decided they wanted a Conservative Government who would deliver a departure from the European Union in the British national interest. That is what is being doing and that is why so many people across the country in historically socialist seats decided to put their faith in the Conservatives.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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I was very cheered up at the beginning of business questions when I saw my hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew), the Deputy Leader of the House, sitting next to my right hon. Friend. Last week, my hon. Friend undertook to go round to No. 10 and tell the Prime Minister off for making announcements to the media before making them to the House. Will the Leader of the House take that a little further? The rule of six, which limits the British people to gatherings of no more six, is a major change to the way this country works. Should not Parliament discuss those major changes first and vote on them? Could we have a statement next week, outlining that in future, before a major change in regulations relating to covid is made, an amendable motion is debated and approved in the House before the regulations come in? Perhaps it would be useful if the Deputy Leader of the House made that statement.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I apologise to my hon. Friend, but there was some problem with the technology. He was kindly helping my argument that technology is not the answer to every possible problem and that sometimes good old-fashioned turning up in person is helpful. However, I got the broad impression that my hon. Friend is not very pleased. I wish to correct the record. My hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew) did not undertake to go round to see the Prime Minister and tell him what my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) wanted him to say. I think that probably, had he answered the question at greater length—he was under pressure of time—he would have said that was going to go round to Downing Street to tell the Prime Minister what a wonderful job he is doing and how lucky we are to have such inspired leadership, with which I hope my hon. Friend would concur. However, I can assure him that there will be a debate. A debate is scheduled on the continuation of the Coronavirus Act 2020 provisions on Wednesday 30 September. That will be the opportunity for those points to be raised.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 16th July 2020

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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Yesterday the Intelligence and Security Committee elected my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) as its Chair. He is exceptionally well qualified and will do an excellent job. However, some in No. 10 seem to be having a huge hissy fit about the decision. Will the Leader of the House confirm that he will not bring forward a motion to remove my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East from the ISC?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The right hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) was playing ducks and drakes with the Labour party, and that is why the Whip has been withdrawn.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 9th July 2020

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Thanks to the Chancellor’s innovative scheme, we will all have a lot on our plate on some days in August—more on our plate than we might have been anticipating. As regards hydrogen, the right hon. Gentleman rightly raises an important point about an environmentally friendly source of energy. Yesterday’s statement was 20 minutes long and inevitably could not cover everything. As I said, there may possibly be a debate on matters to be considered before the forthcoming Adjournment, which will be an opportunity to raise the subject, but the right hon. Gentleman is an experienced parliamentarian and knows better than I do how to get things raised in this House.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) [V]
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The Committee on Standards in Public Life has just started a full investigation into the Electoral Commission to see whether it complies with the seven pillars of standards in public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. It is clear to me that the Electoral Commission complies with none of them following its political pursuit of leave campaigners after the EU referendum. May we have a debate on the Electoral Commission? Such a request would normally be for Westminster Hall, so is there any chance that we can get back to Westminster Hall and have a debate on the Electoral Commission?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend raises some serious concerns. The Electoral Commission should clearly be like Caesar’s wife: it should be above suspicion, and there should be no stain on it or fear of partiality of any kind. If there is any question, it is right that it is raised in this House in the way that he has done. Time for a full-length Government debate will be difficult to provide. However, any appointments made to the Election Commission do come before this House, so there are occasions when we are able to consider matters relating to the commission.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 25th June 2020

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I think the changes that are being made have the great virtue that they are not going to be compulsion, but they are advice. In their good wisdom, the British people can determine what they do, subject to the very clear guidance that the Government are giving. The restoration of our ancient freedoms that have never previously been so restricted is clearly the proper approach for the Government to be taking. As for a debate, the consideration of a procedural motion followed by all stages of the Business and Planning Bill will cover many of the issues that the hon. Lady is concerned about, so there will be chance to debate this on Monday.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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On Saturday, I was drawn to my local cricket club. I strode to the middle, stopped at the end of my run, the wicket looked superb, and, for a few moments, I imagined the crack of ball on willow, the ripple of applause from the boundary and the occasional shouts of “Howzat!” But I was imagining it. [Interruption.] Yes, in my case, it is imaginary—they always unfairly turn me down. Up and down the country, thousands and thousands of men and women, boys and girls are desperate to play competitive cricket. England is not England without cricket. Leader of the House, would you persuade the chief umpire to stroll across from No. 10 next week and make a statement in the House that play can resume?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I think very few right hon. and hon. Members miss cricket as much as I do. All my tickets to watch various test matches over the course of the year and my visits to Taunton have had to be cancelled and, worse still, there was a chance that Somerset might win the county championship for the first time in its history—[Interruption.] Not Lancashire, Mr Speaker—it could not possibly be Lancashire. Somerset was so close, other than the points that were meanly taken off us by some unfair people.

Leaving that to one side, it is a real loss for this country that cricket is not coming back, but we have to be as safe as we possibly can be. People can play with their families, so they can get some practice in. But there is some good news: my hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch) pointed out to me this morning that the MCC, the Marylebone cricket club, has its first female president in its history, in the form of Clare Connor. As I think, second only to being sovereign, being president of the MCC is the highest post in the land—even, Mr Speaker, above the Speakership or the Lord presidency of the Council —may I congratulate Clare Connor warmly on behalf of the House?

Proceedings during the Pandemic

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Tuesday 2nd June 2020

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The ancient right to attend Parliament goes back to 1340, and, as the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) pointed out, this is something that has been used against the Crown in the past. It is a most important and long-standing right. There must always be an exemption for Members to attend Parliament. What I was going on to elaborate is that I will be bringing forward, as I promised on 20 May, a motion tomorrow to allow Members who, on medical grounds, are unable to attend to continue to appear for scrutiny—questions, urgent questions and statements—remotely. That will be brought forward tomorrow, as I promised on 20 May when we discussed these matters in response to an urgent question.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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As usual, the Leader of the House is making a strong statement, but on this particular point on voting, surely, as this is a recall of Parliament, every Member should have the right to vote today on whether to accept the new proceedings. Why, therefore, is today’s vote not being done remotely?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend is right. Every Member does have the right to vote. Members accepted that these measures would be temporary—that they would continue until they expired. One has to deal with these matters in good faith. It was put to Members, some of whom were very reluctant to accept remote voting, to agree to it on the basis that it was temporary. It expired, and therefore we come back automatically, without any motion, to physical voting.

--- Later in debate ---
Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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Indeed I have—I took my sister Annunziata there many years ago. [Interruption.] Anyway, enough of my reminiscences. It is important that we protect, preserve and prioritise our parliamentary democracy. It has to continue, regardless of the disease that is afflicting the nation.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I know that it is unparliamentary for someone to filibuster, but when there is a 90-minute debate and it has taken this long—

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Wednesday 13th May 2020

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am always grateful to the Chairman of the Backbench Business Committee, and I understand it is difficult for his Committee at the moment, with no time available for his debates. However, the Standing Orders do provide a certain number of days each Session, and over the fullness of the Session the Government will obviously look to provide those.

As the hon. Gentleman rightly says, there are differences across the country, and that is why the Government are looking to have regional alterations, as necessary, to ensure that everybody is protected and kept safe. However, that requires people to follow the Government’s guidance and to remain alert.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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I congratulate the Leader of the House on his speech at the beginning, which he would undoubtedly have made from the Back Benches and not just from the Front Benches. We do need to be back in this House, because we cannot do the job remotely. I cannot complain about the Government not communicating properly, because it is not possible when I am working virtually. Could the Leader of the House therefore ensure that we get back as physically as possible as soon as possible, and could we have a written statement next week? And one other thing: will the Leader of the House confirm that, in future, all new Government policy will be announced in this House first?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I said yesterday—carefully—that I did not expect to bring forward further virtual Parliament motions. It is important not to forget the word “expect”, because things could change. However, the current expectation is that we will be back physically after the Whitsun recess. I note my hon. Friend’s point on Government statements, which is, of course, in full accord with the ministerial code.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 12th March 2020

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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There is absolutely no need to extend the transition period.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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As the advice from the Government on coronavirus changes and reaches a stage where many people are recommended to stay at home, a lot of people will want to watch sport on television. But, of course, major sporting events now take place on Sky and BT Sport. Would it be possible, while this emergency occurs, for those events to be screened on terrestrial television, so that people at home could watch them?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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That would be difficult because there are long-standing commercial agreements, and many people already have subscriptions to the services mentioned by my hon. Friend.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 27th February 2020

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I seem to remember that the apprenticeship levy came out of a Budget. We will have the Budget debate fairly shortly, which would be a suitable time to raise that important issue.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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May we have a statement next week—preferably on Wednesday—on celebrating United Nations Public Service Day, so that we can show our support for the police, the NHS and everyone who works in the public service? Can the Leader of the House tell me how we will celebrate that day? Why not have a bank holiday closest to that date?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend’s desired bank holidays would mean that none of us would ever be working. As a general rule, the Government try to avoid too many statements on Opposition days, as a courtesy to the Opposition, so the day that he suggests may not be ideal, but I pay tribute to our hard-working civil servants, particularly those in the Lord President of the Council’s office.

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 13th February 2020

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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May I begin by saying what a real pleasure it was yesterday to be at the Privy Council, where the right hon. Lady was sworn as a member? I congratulate her on that. To my mind, it was a very special occasion, and certainly one I will remember.

The right hon. Lady raises some very important questions relating to the pay rises at Highways England when the smart motorways programme is under such question. I think we all have the deepest sympathy for those who have been affected by the failures on smart motorways, and these concerns have registered very clearly with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, who has said in unequivocal terms:

“Smart motorways must be as safe or safer than regular motorways, or we shouldn’t have them at all.”

However, there is a review going on, and it would be wrong of me to try to pre-empt it.

As regards leaving the European Union and border checks, there will be an opportunity at Cabinet Office questions on Thursday the 27th to question the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on the work that he has been doing. However, we are leaving the European Union, and therefore things will change. We will be negotiating with it as an independent sovereign state on an equal basis, not as a supplicant, and that is quite right. That will apply to all the negotiations that we have. I am absolutely confident that the interests of our fishing industry will be protected.

I am deeply puzzled by the Labour party’s opposition to the deportation of criminals, particularly as it is done under a 2007 Act of Parliament that was passed when the Labour party was in office. It is absolutely wrong and really surprising that the Labour party wishes to conflate criminals with people affected by the Windrush scandal. The Windrush scandal affected innocent people who were British citizens and had an absolute right to be here. They should not be confused with people who have broken the law, who have committed either many offences or offences leading to more than one year in prison, and who do not have a right to be in this country. Their deportation is right, and the clarification and compensation provided by the Windrush Compensation Scheme (Expenditure) Bill, on which we voted earlier this week, for those sadly affected by the Windrush scandal is a completely different and separate issue—it is of top priority and importance to emphasise that. The Government must keep the country safe, and deporting foreign criminals is part of that.

As always, the right hon. Lady is right to raise the issue of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. The Government continue to be in touch, but we must always remember that the Iranian Government are the Government who are at fault and who are behaving in a way that is not in accordance with international norms. That is where our criticism should be focused.

I have six children and, as could be imagined, I watch a lot of cartoons—I am quite an expert. I feel I have much in common with Daddy Pig. Certainly any DIY I ever try goes very badly wrong, so it is best left to others, and my children have me wrapped around their little finger. Alfred would not forgive me if I did not put in a word for “Thomas & Friends.” The good news there is for Gordon, who will be thundering down a new High Speed 2 line in the not-too-distant future.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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The Leader of the House will no doubt know the importance of 23 June, which is, of course, Public Service Day. Would it not be right to have a bank holiday to celebrate that, and maybe also to celebrate the wonderful referendum on the same date, to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday and to celebrate the Union? Let us call it United Nations Day. Can we have a statement to that effect next week?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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My hon. Friend possibly means United Kingdom Day rather than United Nations Day, which, from memory, is 24 October. If we are thinking of a date in June, is not 18 June a particularly special day, Mr Speaker?

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 6th February 2020

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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The Leader of the House said that he was very much in favour of scrutiny, as I am sure he is. Standing Orders require us to have 13 days for private Members’ Bills in a Session, but when a Session is more than a year, as this one is going to be, the Government have usually provided additional days. Could we have a statement on when these Bills are going to be debated?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend is slightly putting the cart before the horse in that we will need to see the length of the Session before we decide on the additional days—although I do wonder why he wants them. Is it merely so that he can filibuster a greater number of Bills?

Business of the House

Debate between Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 30th January 2020

(1 year, 12 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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To be honest, cricket is about the only sport I know much about, though it has faced the same issue regarding rights, which is an important one. There is a balance for the sports to decide as to whether they want the extra revenue they get from being entirely commercial, or whether they want the extra exposure they get from being on terrestrial television. While we are on cricket, may I congratulate the England cricket team on their fantastic performance in South Africa, which was a joy for all to behold?

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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Next week, I intend to introduce a private Member’s Bill to create a bank holiday on the Friday closest to 23 June every year, to be called “United Kingdom day”, so that the country can celebrate sovereignty and the Union of our four great nations. Will the Leader of the House arrange for a statement next week saying whether the Government will support that proposal, be neutral or oppose it?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Oddly, that falls under my responsibility as Lord President of the Council because bank holidays come from royal proclamations. I wonder, however, if I might steer my hon. Friend. Would it not be nicer, if we are going to ask for a new holiday in June, to have, as some other countries have, a Queen’s birthday holiday? That is rather more in keeping with our traditions than the slightly—I do not know—republican sounding “UK day”.