Debates between Rachel Hopkins and Jacob Rees-Mogg during the 2019 Parliament

Thu 11th February 2021
3 interactions (346 words)
Thu 4th February 2021
2 interactions (185 words)
Thu 3rd December 2020
3 interactions (405 words)
Thu 26th November 2020
3 interactions (252 words)
Tue 10th November 2020
2 interactions (1,968 words)
Thu 16th July 2020
3 interactions (353 words)
Thu 5th March 2020
3 interactions (152 words)
Thu 23rd January 2020
3 interactions (245 words)

Business of the House

Debate between Rachel Hopkins and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 11th February 2021

(8 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Leader of the House
Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I am very glad that my hon. Friend supports the Government’s policy. The first £3.7 billion of funding for 40 new hospitals has now been confirmed, with a further eight schemes to be invited to bid for future funding, to deliver 48 hospitals—we are building back better and bigger than was promised in our manifesto—by 2030, so we will deliver on the commitment.

The Department of Health and Social Care is aware of the issues surrounding past use of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete in construction, including at Airedale General Hospital, and I note that my hon. Friend raised that. The Department is focusing on work on designing the criteria for the further eight new hospitals, which will be communicated to trusts in due course. My hon. Friend has made a plea for his own hospital, and he is right to do so, but I am sure that he may also want to make that plea to my right hon Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Rachel Hopkins Portrait Rachel Hopkins (Luton South) (Lab) [V]
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Tomorrow, Luton’s civic mayor, Councillor Maria Lovell, is holding a “wear it red” day to help raise funds for her nominated charities this year, Luton Foodbank and the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital’s helipad appeal. Will the Leader of the House join me in thanking Maria Lovell and all other civic mayors for their hard work and commitment to their democratic, ceremonial and charitable roles?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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It is an absolute pleasure to do that, and to congratulate Maria Lovell on what she is planning to do to raise money for her preferred charities as the Luton civic mayor. Civic mayors bring a great deal of pleasure to their communities. They have an ability to thank people who work in the voluntary sector, who are unsung heroes across our communities. The hon. Lady is so right to raise this issue, because it is not just civic mayors; it is lords-lieutenant, high sheriffs—all those people who just go round and say thank you. This is a really good bit of our civic society and one we should all take pleasure from.

Business of the House

Debate between Rachel Hopkins and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 4th February 2021

(8 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Leader of the House
Rachel Hopkins Portrait Rachel Hopkins (Luton South) (Lab) [V]
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Today is Time to Talk Day, which encourages everyone to be more open about their mental health. On that note, just a fortnight ago I met a number of leaseholders in Luton South who told me how the anxiety of living in an unsafe building, and the threat of having to pay for fire safety remediation that they simply cannot afford, is having a negative impact on their mental health. With the Prime Minister stating at Prime Minister’s questions yesterday that no leaseholder should have to pay these costs, will the Leader of the House outline when the Fire Safety Bill will return to this place so that the Prime Minister can back up his words with action by supporting the amendments in the name of the Leader of the Opposition?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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The Prime Minister indeed said that leaseholders ought to be protected from large costs, but the correct Bill for that will be the building safety Bill that the Government are bringing forward. The Fire Safety Bill is in its amending stages and will return to the Floor of the House in the normal way.

Business of the House

Debate between Rachel Hopkins and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 3rd December 2020

(10 months, 4 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Leader of the House
Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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It is always very sad to hear of cases of this kind, and I thank my hon. Friend for raising this really serious matter with the House. Knife crime is a great scourge on our society, and it is truly dreadful to see people’s lives taken away and to sense that justice has not been done. I do not know the details of the case she mentions, and I therefore as a Minister ought not to go into the details. It is essential that our justice system is able to operate free from political interference, but we must bring violent criminals to justice as well. The Government are spending over £200 million of taxpayers’ money on early intervention projects to prevent young people from committing violent crime in the first place, and we will also be piloting new knife crime prevention orders, introduced through the Offensive Weapons Act 2019. These are preventive orders that will provide an additional tool for police to steer young people away from serious violence. My hon. Friend will have the opportunity to raise this issue specifically at Justice questions on Wednesday 8 December.

Rachel Hopkins Portrait Rachel Hopkins (Luton South) (Lab)
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I, too, want to raise the issue of the Arcadia collapse and the people in my constituency who work at Debenhams and Topshop and look like they are going to lose their jobs before Christmas. I am grateful to the Leader of the House for ensuring that there is a general debate on the future of the high street, but can I have his assurance that there will be sufficient time for this debate if any forthcoming Brexit legislation is published at the weekend, and that it will not be bumped?

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

The hon. Lady asks me a particularly difficult question, because although next Thursday is scheduled for Lords amendments, the guarantee I can never give is what may come along in terms of statements and urgent questions, which depends on the demand from this House to be kept updated about affairs that are going on. It is always a difficult balancing act, in that the House wishes and has the right to be informed of things first, but it also has its regular business to go through. That debate is scheduled for the whole of the day, and therefore I hope that there will be sufficient time. I will at least do my best to ensure that I am not too long-winded when making my own statement.

Business of the House

Debate between Rachel Hopkins and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 26th November 2020

(11 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Leader of the House
Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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I do not want to be unhelpful but I have nothing to add to what the Chancellor said yesterday.

Rachel Hopkins Portrait Rachel Hopkins (Luton South) (Lab)
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I have heard first-hand from pubs across Luton South, including the Bricklayers Arms, the Castle, the Globe and the Chequers, about how the economic impact of the pandemic is destroying their businesses. So far, the economic support has not been sufficient to safeguard their future, and many are very frustrated that the scientific evidence has not been published to justify the extra restrictions on pubs, particularly those that do not serve food. Will the Leader of the House provide Government time for a specific debate on support for the pub industry so that we can protect our pubs’ future at the heart of our communities?

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

I know this is a matter of concern to many hon. and right hon. Members, as we all value the pubs in our own constituencies, and in these very difficult times, the closures have fallen very heavily upon them. There is support available of £3,000 a month for pubs that are forced to close or only to do takeaway, and there is other support for pubs in the different tiers. The £3,000 has been set at the median level of rent that they would have to pay, so the figure is based on an assessment. There will be time to discuss this because there will be a whole day’s debate on the covid regulations next week, and I encourage the hon. Lady to raise her point again then.

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill

(Consideration of Lords amendments)
Debate between Rachel Hopkins and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Tuesday 10th November 2020

(11 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

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Leader of the House
Rachel Hopkins Portrait Rachel Hopkins (Luton South) (Lab)
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10 Nov 2020, 12:05 a.m.

I will make a few final comments, because many have been made in the Chamber today. The effectiveness and legitimacy of the democratic process is contingent on the public’s confidence in the processes and the commitment of elected representatives to upholding its principles. So I agree that a boundary review must go ahead, as the current constituency boundaries are two decades old, but it is crucial that the review strengthens the functioning of democracy. Lords amendments 7 and 8 are important steps forward in defending and advancing the key principles of representation and voting rights in our democratic process.

I reiterate the important point that I and many others made on Second and Third Reading of the Bill, and here today, that the Government could still change course on amendment 7, which would widen the variance from quota from 5% to 7.5%. As a boundary geek, having worked for the Local Government Commission on ward boundaries, I have done the work of trying to make good boundaries. A strict 5% inhibits the ability of the Boundary Commission to invoke common sense when devising constituencies that protect local ties, reflect local authority boundaries and recognise natural topography, as has been said. Whether it is hills, valleys and rivers, or motorways, main roads and green space, it is really important that we take all of this into account when creating good constituencies to represent our communities.

From my work experience, I understand how the public respond to well-made and to poor boundaries, but it is not just the boundaries: as I understand it, it is also sensible and coherent constituencies that recognise local ties, as against those that look strange, that are strange and that do not reflect community ties. Giving that little extra leeway will give the Boundary Commission greater scope accurately to group community identities, connections and geographical areas. It is not just to do with the fairness of the vote. We also need to talk about the fairness of the representation when we are elected, recognising, for example, how much more difficult it is for Members in the valleys of Wales to get around their constituencies compared with those in a condensed urban constituency such as my own.

The Government have recognised the principle of flexibility in the arrangements that have been made for Isle of Wight and Ynys Môn. I hope that that could be recognised further in creating good constituencies, so we could adopt that slightly higher flexibility to avoid the ratcheting effect, as I call it—or, as it was nicely put earlier today, “the butterfly effect”—where just one constituency could have that extra tolerance. It is important to avoid a number of constituencies not accurately reflecting their constituents.

I also wish to speak in favour of Lords amendment 8. Much has been said about the fact that turnout is healthy for our democracy, which I agree with, and that the ability to vote is a right, not a privilege. Improving the completeness of electoral registers by enabling the Government to ask local authority registration officers to add 16-year-olds to the electoral register when they get their NI number, or ensuring that they are provided with information on how to apply to join the electoral register would be a significant step forward in expanding voter registration and would enable greater participation among young voters. Although the Government are not willing to do the right thing and introduce votes at 16, which I am in favour of, improving voter registration for young voters is a basic, non-controversial change, which could see a vital increase in the number of young people voting. I hasten to add that, when others tell me not to do something, I often think there must be something in it. So, young people, think about why they do not want to encourage you to be on the electoral register.

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

I begin by thanking the hon. Member for Luton South (Rachel Hopkins). It is an absolute pleasure to follow her. I used to find that I was very often in agreement with her distinguished father on matters relating to the European Union, though it has to be said not on anything else. I thank all Members who have contributed to this debate on their lordships’ amendments. It has been a pleasure to be part of this important Bill, and I am very grateful for all the kind words that have been said about my hon. Friend the Minister for the Constitution. I will ensure that a copy of Hansard is sent to her so that she knows how highly respected and valued she is both as a Member of this House and as a Minister.

I also spoke on Second Reading, and both then and now, it has been a genuine pleasure to hear about the constituencies of hon. Members. In particular, I noted the plea from the hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Matt Western), who basically said that he loved his constituency and likes it as it is. I think that many Members across the House have huge sympathy with that view. It makes these types of debate extremely difficult for us, because all of us have an enormous affection for the places that we represent and we have incredible ties to them. I did not agree with all of his speech, but I must confess that I sympathised very much with the bit when he was praising his own area. However, this Bill will meet the Government’s manifesto commitment to have updated and equal parliamentary boundaries, and I am glad to see that it has broad support across the House, even though there are differences over some of the details.

If I may come to those, I will not try to repeat the points that I covered in my opening remarks, in the interests of time, but the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood (Cat Smith)¸ made a point about young registration. I would point out that we have seen a significant number of 18 to 24-year-olds register since online registration came in, with 8 million of them taking the opportunity of that.

The hon. Lady referred to the appointment of the deputy chairmen. It is worth reiterating that they are High Court judges anyway, so their independence has already been proved at the earlier appointment. I do not think we need have any worry about their continued independence. The hon. Lady also accused the Government of appointing a crony as the BBC chairman. As the appointment has not yet been made, I am not sure how we can have appointed the crony, unless the hon. Lady is accusing the Government of being Billy No Mates, which may possibly be the case, because no appointment has been made.

The hon. Member for Glasgow East (David Linden), as always, made an extremely charming and well-informed speech, with his one aim clearly in sight. His one aim is, of course, the independence of Scotland. That is his view; that is what he campaigns for. I fundamentally disagree with him, but he always puts his case elegantly and in the best traditions of this House. I just remind him that there are particular protections for Scotland, with the regulations relating to constituencies over 5,000 square miles and, of course, the protection of the constituency of Na h-Eileanan an Iar. I think that should be in entrenched legislation to keep the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Angus Brendan MacNeil) safely in this House, as he is a great figure and contributor to our debates. I apologise, Madam Deputy Speaker, that I did not notify the hon. Gentleman that I was going to mention him, but I hope he will not mind.

I am also relieved that the hon. Member for Glasgow East, when he read out at the end of his speech my words on an earlier occasion, had not looked through my speeches on the parliamentary constituencies Bill when it was passing through the House in 2010 and 2011 and did not quote those back at me. That might have been rather more embarrassing.

I come to the right hon. Member for Warley (John Spellar) and the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty). I am afraid I think they should stand for election to the House of Representatives, because they seem more interested in American politics than in British politics. Fascinating though that is, this House is concerned with the politics of the United Kingdom.

The hon. Member for North East Fife (Wendy Chamberlain) is not in her place, but she made the point that there will be an extensive change with the 5% level. That is inevitable because this change has been so long delayed. English constituencies are based on the register for 2000 and therefore are 20 years out of date. She made the very fair point that the difference between 5% and 7.5% is a variation on a theme, which is why I think we can reasonably, as a House, agree on 5%. It is a matter of getting the balance right. I think 5% is reasonable.

If I may come to my hon. and right hon. Friends, a number of them—my right hon. Friends the Members for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller) and for Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke) and my hon. Friend the Member for Heywood and Middleton (Chris Clarkson)—raised the issue of ward divisions. It is important to note that the Boundary Commission—the independent Boundary Commission—has the ability to use smaller areas, and therefore if it wants to use smaller areas to meet the 5% requirement, it will be able to do so.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke asked the specific question whether, basically, the Boundary Commission will have to follow the law, to which the answer is of course yes, it will have to follow the law, although in doing so it is independent. She also pointed out that Lords amendment 7 basically seeks to undermine the principle of the Bill by widening it, and if we end up widening it too much, we get away from what we are trying to achieve.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Tom Randall) made a telling point about the different purpose of data that has been collected. Suddenly using it for one thing rather than another raises all sorts of problems. He also kindly pointed out that the deputy chairmen are already impartial judges, which I reiterate because it is fundamental to the fairness of this process.

My hon. Friend the Member for Heywood and Middleton made, I must confess, both a wise and entertaining speech and noted the partisanship of some of the amendments. I must confess that we have seen through the Opposition’s tricks and noted that the amendments are partisan, and that is why we will have pleasure in voting against them. Let us be honest about it: the Opposition know they are partisan too, but they felt they had to make some complaints on a principle—that we should have equal seats—that most people across the House agree with.

My hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine (Andrew Bowie) pointed out the size of his own constituency and the right of people to choose whether they participate in the electoral process or not. Of course that is a freedom that we have.

I loved the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for North West Durham (Mr Holden) that we should follow Malta, and we must—what a great thing to do. Malta is a wonderful place, and one thinks of its fantastic history in surviving not one but two sieges, one in the 16th century and one in the 20th century. I will not say the joke about making a Maltese cross, Madam Deputy Speaker, as you might think it out of order, and it is very old and hackneyed.

Business of the House

Debate between Rachel Hopkins and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 16th July 2020

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Leader of the House
Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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16 Jul 2020, 11:38 a.m.

It is very important that companies such as Churchill China and Steelite have the opportunity to supply the Government and to make a success of their businesses. I congratulate my hon. Friend on his question. He is a wonderful campaigner for the businesses of Stoke-on-Trent. Supporting high-quality small businesses through the procurement system is something that many Members want to see realised. As we return powers from the European Union, the Government are interested in looking at how public procurement works and how it can be improved. As regards purchases for Chequers, I think that is a matter for a private trust. However, I am sure that with his indefatigable charms, he will make sure that the trust that runs Chequers knows where china can come from.

Rachel Hopkins Portrait Rachel Hopkins (Luton South) (Lab)
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The House rises next Wednesday, but just two weeks later, on 5 August, it will be one year since the Indian Government revoked article 370 of the constitution and the people of Jammu and Kashmir were locked down. Human rights were attacked, and subsequent violence has resulted in many deaths. The Backbench Business Committee had listed a debate on human rights abuses in Kashmir on 23 March, and then on 26 April, but, as the Leader of the House is aware, debates were cancelled due to covid-19. The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is of urgent importance to many of my constituents in Luton South and those of other Members. Will he ensure that time is found early in September for a debate on human rights abuses in the region?

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

The hon. Lady is absolutely right to ask for a debate on this issue, and I note what she says about the Backbench Business Committee’s willingness to give her one. It will of course be possible to raise this at the pre-recess Adjournment debate, when a Minister will be answering, and I would encourage her to do that. We expect Westminster Hall to reopen from 5 October, so that will provide the opportunity for more debates. I hope that it will be possible to facilitate Backbench Business Committee debates once we are back after the recess.

Business of the House

Debate between Rachel Hopkins and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 5th March 2020

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Leader of the House
Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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5 Mar 2020, 10:54 a.m.

My right hon. Friend has made an eloquent plea to the Chancellor, and put it more finely than I possibly could, so I will ensure that his words are extracted from Hansard and sent to the Chancellor so that he may consider them while preparing his Budget.

Rachel Hopkins Portrait Rachel Hopkins (Luton South) (Lab)
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I took the Leader of the House’s previous advice and wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport on 11 February, to request a meeting on the decrepit state of Luton’s train station. I still have not received a response and the train station is in urgent need of vital investment. Will the Leader of the House advise me on how I can prompt a response from the Transport Secretary?

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

5 Mar 2020, 10:54 a.m.

The hon. Lady has proved, in an excellent way, that she needs no advice from me, but her point is noted and I will give the Department for Transport a gentle reminder on her behalf.

Business of the House

Debate between Rachel Hopkins and Jacob Rees-Mogg
Thursday 23rd January 2020

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Leader of the House
Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg
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What an excellent idea. Right hon. and hon. Members will know that Parliament does not have to be in Westminster and that in the middle ages, Parliament darted around all over the country—it met in Leicester and Shrewsbury, and the last Parliament to meet outside London met in Oxford. Therefore, if we were to become a peripatetic Parliament, we would be able to meet in Harlow and all sorts of exciting places. My hon. Friend’s pitch for Harlow has fallen on ripe soil and will be very well received, particularly in the other place—I think they could think of nothing finer.

Rachel Hopkins Portrait Rachel Hopkins (Luton South) (Lab)
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Luton station in my constituency is falling apart, the roof has leaked for years and it is not fit for purpose. Many Members have raised their unhappiness with poor rail services, but I would like to ask the Leader of the House for a debate on the level of investment in railway stations in large towns such as Luton.

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

That is a very important point. I have noticed that many questions are raised on the general railway provision in this country. In relation to specific constituency issues, the Minister of State, Department for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris), is holding meetings with all Members—any Members who want to go—and I suggest to the hon. Lady that it would be a good idea to seek one of those meetings to persuade him of the necessity of what she is recommending.