Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Wednesday 8th June 2022

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my hon. Friend for what he has said. He and I have campaigned on this, and I have been following his campaign for a long time. I am told that the Department for Transport is currently reviewing the business case for exactly what he has just requested. We are putting the funding in, which is unlike anything that the Labour party could ever have delivered.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson  (Gordon)  (SNP)
- Hansard - -

Q7.   In Monday’s confidence vote the Prime Minister secured the support of just two of Scotland’s 59 MPs, which means that, from the massed ranks of his Scottish Conservative colleagues, he secured as much support as there are pandas in Edinburgh zoo. The Prime Minister is an intelligent man, and he must know that that position is untenable. If he is not going to do the decent thing and resign as Prime Minister, surely it is past time that he wrote a letter of resignation to himself to stand down as Minister for the Union.

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I redirect the hon. Gentleman to what I said to my friend the leader of the SNP, the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford). The more SNP Members campaign, in the current circumstances, for breaking up our United Kingdom—with all its strength and all its merits—the more damage they do to their own case.

Sue Gray Report

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Wednesday 25th May 2022

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I received the report—I had not seen it before— shortly after 10 o’clock this morning. On the hon. Gentleman’s second point about the events on 13 November, I have addressed those several times.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

We now know that, while the Prime Minister was happy to let the bodies pile high outside Downing Street, he was also happy to let the bottles pile up high inside Downing Street. We also know that he has come to that Dispatch Box and denied point blank that events took place—events that we now know did take place—that turned Downing Street into the most notorious party flat in central London. The Prime Minister has diminished and demeaned his office. He speaks of leadership, but any leader should know when it is time to go. Why will the Prime Minister not go, so that the country can move on as it needs to, without him in office?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

What the hon. Gentleman has just said of the civil servants—some of whom, I am sad to say, were fined—who worked night and day to minimise suffering and minimise casualties during covid is unworthy.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Wednesday 18th May 2022

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

There is a lot of pressure on me to dish out yet another hospital from this Dispatch Box. But I can tell my hon. Friend that we are reviewing all applications for the next eight hospitals in our new hospital programme, which is the biggest in a generation. That is only possible because we have a strong economy. My hon. Friend is a doughty campaigner for his constituents. We will make a final decision later this year.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
- Hansard - -

Q12. On 26 February, a private charter flight to Moscow was allowed to take off from Inverness airport, in an apparent breach of a UK ban on flights of that nature that had come into effect from midnight the day before. Air traffic control transcripts published this week in the Press and Journal newspaper have revealed that, despite being informed of the intended flight, no attempt was made by the UK Government or their agencies to prevent the plane from taking off. Will the Prime Minister commit to informing the House at the earliest opportunity who was travelling on that flight? Why, despite being informed in advance of the flight, was no attempt made by the UK Government to keep the plane on the ground? What will the Prime Minister personally do to try to prevent any similar breaches of sanctions from happening?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I do not know the answer to the hon. Member’s question, but as soon as we can get some information about that, I will make sure that the House is properly informed.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Wednesday 20th April 2022

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend is a fantastic champion for Watford. I know, because I have been to see him several times, that he has been campaigning to get this hospital in Watford ever since he was triumphantly elected, and he is going to be successful, because there will be a new hospital scheme in his local area as part of our plan to deliver 48 new hospitals in this country by 2030.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

Q11. The Prime Minister’s fundamental political problem at the moment is not about parties, or fixed penalty notices, or cake. It is about the lack of trust, integrity and credibility at the heart of Government, which he himself now personifies. When is the Prime Minister going to realise that people do not want to hear any more glib, half-hearted non-apologies, or hear him witter on about getting on with the job? They just want this Pinocchio Prime Minister to pack his bags and go.

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

When are the Scottish people going to hear—

Living with Covid-19

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Monday 21st February 2022

(2 years ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
- Hansard - -

I am sure that the Prime Minister has consulted the chief medical officer and the chief scientific officer for England, but consulting them is not quite the same as taking their advice. Can he confirm that he has taken their advice on the issue of ending mandatory self-isolation periods and ending testing?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I have not only consulted them for their opinions, but have taken their advice. I hope very much that after these exchanges, the hon. Member will be able to see a press conference involving both those gentlemen, and hear the questions that will no doubt be put to them as well.

Sue Gray Report

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Monday 31st January 2022

(2 years ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

We have an investigation going on. That is the one that I think people should focus on, and they should allow the police to get on with their job.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

The Prime Minister said in his statement, “sorry for the things we…did not get right” and, “sorry for the way this…has been handled”, which is a generic non-apology that will mean absolutely nothing to anyone who heard it. What I and millions of others want to hear is: apart from getting caught out in all of this, what is the Prime Minister personally sorry and genuinely regretful for in his own conduct? If he just resorts to that tired, hackneyed form of words that he used to begin with, does that not show that it is not a new Office of the Prime Minister that we need but a new Prime Minister in office?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I have repeated several times how sorry I am for any misjudgements that I made, and I continue to apologise for them. All I can say is that we need to get on and await the outcome of the inquiry and allow the Government to deliver on the priorities of the country, which are: to unite and level up; to continue to cut crime; and to make colossal investments across our whole country. That is what we are going to do.

Health and Social Care

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Tuesday 7th September 2021

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes. I thank my hon. Friend. I have been reading some of his brilliant contributions on WhatsApp groups about this issue, and I share his idealism about the ways in which the private sector—the financial services industry—can take advantage of what we are doing to help ordinary people up and down the country to protect themselves in exactly the way that he describes. I know that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care would very much welcome his help as we work towards the White Paper.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

I thank the Prime Minister for at least providing clarity that any reference to a “Union dividend” simply refers to devolved nations getting back the taxes that they pay and having the balance filled up with UK borrowing. In his belated attempts to tackle England’s social care crisis, with hedge fund owners to the left of him and millionaire property owners to the right, can the Prime Minister explain what it was that persuaded him to embed the advantages of inherited wealth and privilege, and instead shift the burden for paying for this policy on to the lowest earning and the youngest in society—those with the least assets?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I do not think there is anything much inherited on the left, the right or the middle of this particular trio. Again, I find it extraordinary that the Scottish nationalist party would rather not have the Union dividend that this programme produces. The people of Scotland need to look at what is now being offered in terms of raising the thresholds for protection and helping people across the UK, and I hope that we can all move forward together.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Wednesday 19th May 2021

(2 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

It says here that I must not express a preference on the location of freeports, and I will not, but my hon. Friend makes an outstanding case, as ever. Together with our Welsh Conservative colleagues, she is helping to apply the Vicks inhaler to the bunged-up nostrils of the Welsh dragon.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

Despite the opprobrium that the Prime Minister always seems to seek to heap upon the Scottish National party, at the Scottish elections two weeks ago, the SNP was returned to government with twice the number of MSPs as its nearest rivals, the Scottish Conservatives, securing 48% of the vote and 49% of the seats in the proportional system, with 51% of voters backing parties that support an independence referendum in the current term. If the Prime Minister genuinely believes that his criticisms of the Scottish Government have any merit whatsoever, why does he consider that the Scottish National party did so well in those elections, while his own party did so badly?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I totally reject what the hon. Gentleman just said. I notice that, actually, the Scottish National party did less well than it did under Alex Salmond in 2011—I hesitate to point that out to the hon. Gentleman, but that is the reality. I think the reason for that is that, notwithstanding the nationalist approach that he takes, the people of Scotland have been very disappointed by the record of the Scottish Government in fighting crime, improving education and making Scotland a great place to live and to invest. That is the failing for which his Government are being held to account.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Wednesday 2nd December 2020

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes, indeed. My hon. Friend is completely right about the importance of the new UK shared prosperity fund. It will be different from the levelling-up fund and we are going to work closely with him and with people in Cornwall to ensure that we use the additional funding best for the needs of people and communities in Cornwall.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
- Hansard - -

This week, the Scottish Government announced a £500 bonus scheme for our health and social care heroes who have helped to care for us through the pandemic. The Scottish Conservatives have been trying to claim some reflected credit for that policy over the past few hours. The Prime Minister is not responsible for health in Scotland, but he is responsible for it in England, so will he put his Government’s money where his Scottish colleagues’ mouths clearly are and match that bonus initiative for health and social care workers in England? Will he instruct the Chancellor to ensure that, whenever a bonus scheme like that is introduced, the Treasury will not try to snaffle back the tax from it, but let it be paid tax-free?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

On the last point, that is a matter for the Scottish Government, who have the fiscal freedom to do that. I thank health and social care workers in Scotland and across the whole country, and I am proud of the increases we have been able to put in—12.8% over the past three years, and a pay rise for 1 million people in the NHS, as part of the biggest ever investment in the NHS, even before covid began. This investment will continue under this Government.

Covid-19 Update

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Monday 2nd November 2020

(3 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I congratulate my hon. Friend on the clarity with which he puts the dilemma. Even in areas where the incidence has been very low, it is now climbing very fast.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP) [V]
- Hansard - -

It was reported at the weekend that the chair of the UK Government’s vaccine taskforce showed official sensitive Government documents to an event for US venture capitalists—a move that a former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life described as “seriously ill-advised”. With jobs being awarded, even in the midst of a pandemic, without recourse to the approved recruitment processes, and billions of pounds of public procurement being awarded without going through open processes, what steps does the Prime Minister plan to take to restore public confidence in the competence and probity of his Government, and to help to reassure people that there is not a cronyvirus at the heart of his Government that requires eradication every bit as much as the coronavirus outside of it?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank people who are working pro bono on NHS Test and Trace, who come under repeated attack, or on our vaccine taskforce. It is thanks to their hard work that the UK is among the frontrunners in being on the verge of being able to deliver a vaccine. If and when a vaccine is produced next year—I must tell the House that it is by no means certain, but if and when it emerges—it will be at least partly thanks to their hard work.

Covid-19 Update

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Monday 12th October 2020

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I share my hon. Friend’s general hostility to unnecessary regulation of any kind and, believe me, it hurts to do a lot of the things that we have had to do over the last few months, but I see no reason at all why, without being too bureaucratic about it, we should not conduct an assessment of the implications of these measures as well.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP) [V]
- Hansard - -

Last week, prompted by data and scientific advice, the Scottish Government acted to introduce new restrictions to halt the spread of the virus. The measures, which were criticised at the time by Scottish Conservative politicians, have been largely followed by the Prime Minister this afternoon. It is vital that businesses and individuals get the financial support that they need through this crisis. In that case, why will the Prime Minister not match the public health powers that the devolved Governments already have with the financial powers which would allow them to do whatever it takes, whenever it is necessary, to support businesses and individuals, instead of always having to hope that eventually his Government will catch up?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As the hon. Gentleman knows, it is one of the features of this crisis that the UK Treasury has been able to step up to the plate and support people throughout the United Kingdom. That is going to be our approach throughout and I am grateful also for the close harmony in our approach to which he alluded earlier.

Covid-19 Update

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Tuesday 23rd June 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes, indeed. The guidance, as I say, will be published later today.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
- Hansard - -

The Prime Minister has highlighted examples around the world where restrictions have been relaxed and where there has been a subsequent resurgence of the virus, and he has said that he will not hesitate to reintroduce restrictions if required. I would just like to get an unambiguous commitment from him about not seeing anyone penalised for doing the right thing to combat this virus. If it was necessary to continue with the furlough and self-employment support schemes beyond October, would his Government do so?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

We have said what we have said about the furloughing scheme. It is our intention, obviously, to make sure that we are not in a situation where we have to keep those national schemes going. That is why the furlough scheme is tapering off in October. But, clearly—and I have said what I have said—if there are localised outbreaks or, indeed, if it is nationally necessary to put the brakes back on, then nobody should be penalised for doing the right thing.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Richard Thomson and Boris Johnson
Wednesday 12th February 2020

(4 years ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes, I thank my hon. Friend for her campaign against illegal wildlife trading and trophy hunting, and we mean to end the import into this country of trophies hunted elsewhere.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
- Hansard - -

Q11. In 2018, Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of Vladimir Putin’s former deputy Finance Minister, paid £20,000 for lunch with the then Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, who we believe is soon to be ennobled. Will the Prime Minister remind the House once more why his Government are yet to publish the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report into alleged Russian interference in UK politics?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As I think the hon. Gentleman knows very well, the report will be published as soon as the Intelligence and Security Committee is reconvened. As I have told the House several times, those of a conspiratorial cast of mind will be disappointed by its findings.