Robert Courts Portrait

Robert Courts

Conservative - Witney

First elected: 20th October 2016

Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)

(since December 2023)

Defence Committee
25th Oct 2022 - 12th Dec 2023
Defence Sub-Committee
25th Oct 2022 - 12th Dec 2023
Defence Committee
25th Oct 2023 - 12th Dec 2023
Liaison Committee (Commons)
25th Oct 2023 - 7th Dec 2023
Seafarers' Wages Bill [HL]
11th Jan 2023 - 17th Jan 2023
Child Support Collection (Domestic Abuse) Bill
7th Dec 2022 - 14th Dec 2022
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill
7th Dec 2022 - 7th Dec 2022
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020 - 20th Sep 2022
Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [Lords]
4th Feb 2021 - 9th Feb 2021
International Trade Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 9th Nov 2020
Justice Committee
21st Jan 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Transport Committee
5th Nov 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Backbench Business Committee
16th Oct 2017 - 19th Mar 2018
Backbench Business Committee
30th Jan 2017 - 3rd May 2017


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 4th March 2024
16:00
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee) - Oral evidence
Subject: Defending Democracy
4 Mar 2024, 4 p.m. View calendar
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 279 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 226 Noes - 287
Speeches
Thursday 1st February 2024
Oral Answers to Questions
The Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office play a crucial role in bringing economic criminals to justice. Indeed, …
Written Answers
Wednesday 6th December 2023
Gaza: Israel
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what recent discussions he has had with his Israeli …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Virgin Atlantic Ltd
Address of donor: The VHQ, Fleming Way, Crawley RH10 9DF
Estimate of the probable …
EDM signed
Thursday 11th April 2019
Exiting the European Union
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 29th March 2022
Covid-19 Vaccine Damage Payments Bill 2021-22
A Bill to place a duty on the Secretary of State to improve the diagnosis and treatment of persons who …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Robert Courts has voted in 819 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Robert Courts voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
18 Oct 2022 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Robert Courts voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 103 Conservative No votes vs 113 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 297 Noes - 110
7 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Robert Courts voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 107 Conservative Aye votes vs 109 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 116 Noes - 299
View All Robert Courts Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Mike Kane (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Transport)
(18 debate interactions)
Gavin Newlands (Scottish National Party)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport)
(12 debate interactions)
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Transport
(393 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(20 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(18 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Robert Courts's debates

Witney Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Witney signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Swifts have declined by over 50% in the UK. Adult swifts, known for site-fidelity, return to the same nests. We want swift bricks to be required in all new housing, to provide homes for these birds. Surveys show these are used by red-listed swifts, house martins, starlings and house sparrows.


Latest EDMs signed by Robert Courts

11th April 2019
Robert Courts signed this EDM on Thursday 11th April 2019

Exiting the European Union

Tabled by: William Cash (Conservative - Stone)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019 (S.I., 2019, No. 859), dated 11 April 2019, a copy of which was laid before this House on 11 April 2019, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Apr 2019)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 70
Democratic Unionist Party: 7
Independent: 4
Non-affiliated: 1
View All Robert Courts's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Robert Courts, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Robert Courts has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Robert Courts has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Robert Courts has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


26 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
15th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential impact of notifiable disease outbreaks on exports.

The Secretary of State for Business and Trade maintains regular dialogue with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on a wide range of issues relating to agriculture and trade. The government will continue to prioritise trade facilitation in our FTAs to benefit UK exports.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding she plans to allocate to the Animal and Plant Health Agency in each of the next five financial years.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) Defra funding for financial year 2023-24 is £185.2 million RDEL (Resource Departmental Expenditure Limit) and £15.7 million CDEL (Capital Departmental Expenditure Limit). Indicative funding for 2024-25 has been set but is not yet confirmed and is expected to be agreed by January 2024. Future year funding beyond this is subject to the Government-wide spending review process which will determine the overall funding for Defra and APHA.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she made of the adequacy of Animal Plant and Health Agency veterinary resources; and if she will make a statement.

APHA has approximately 430 veterinary posts and at the end of May 2023, 60 of these were vacant. Recruitment is underway and locum vets are being used while vacancies are being filled. Because of the nature of APHA work, veterinary resource needs can change rapidly. This was seen during last winter and the large avian influenza outbreak that required a prioritising resource allocation and the temporary expansion of the Agency’s workforce.

APHA has contracts in place to enable it to bring in more veterinary resource from private veterinary practices at times of peak demand and this was heavily used during the outbreak.

APHA also was also able to draw on veterinary resource from core Defra. There are other potential changes to APHA’s responsibilities which will require more veterinary resource. These changes are individually impact assessed to identify resource requirements. One such example is the new Border Operating Model where APHA is likely to need significant extra veterinary resource to check imported live animals. Defra provides APHA with additional funding to expand veterinary resource where needed.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has undertaken planning exercises in the last 10 years to test the UK's preparedness for managing a farm animal disease outbreak.

There have been four UK-wide exercises involving Defra, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the Animal and Plant Health Agency including their operational partners and stakeholder organisations:

  • Exercise Holly (July 2021) tested government’s response to an outbreak of African swine fever.
  • Exercise Blackthorn (November 2017 to July 2018) tested the response to a major outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD).
  • Exercise Willow (2016) examined the UK’s capacity to respond to a large cross-border outbreak of FMD.
  • Exercise Walnut (2013) tested the response to an outbreak of classical swine fever.

We have also completed numerous operational, field and laboratory-based exercises to test and refine contingency plans on a yearly cycle, and our response capability has been tested by real-world outbreaks such as the ongoing outbreak of avian influenza.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Business and Trade on developing an avian influenza vaccination trade strategy.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of issues, and Cabinet discussions are considered confidential.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department plans to take steps to (a) review and (b) update the notifiable avian disease control strategy, published on 30 August 2018.

Current avian influenza disease control policy considers the latest scientific and ornithological evidence and veterinary advice, reflects our experience of responding to past outbreaks of exotic animal disease and is in line with international standards of best practice for disease control. Defra’s approach to avian influenza is set out in the Notifiable Avian Disease Control Strategy for Great Britain, published in September 2019. This document is currently under review and is being updated to reflect the recent legislative and policy changes that have already been implemented and an updated version will be published on gov.uk prior to the 2023/2024 high risk season. The Notifiable Avian Disease Control Strategy for Great Britain is supported by the Mitigation Strategy for Avian Influenza in Wild Birds in England and Wales, an updated version of which was published in March 2023.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of using powers under Section 20 and 21 of the Agriculture Act 2020 to make a declaration of exceptional market conditions for the poultry and eggs sector.

We recognise that the agriculture industry, including the poultry and eggs sectors, has faced a number of challenges over the last year, particularly in relation to the increase of input costs as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, our assessment is that the conditions for intervention under Section 20 or Section 21 of the Agriculture Act are not currently met, not least because input costs are now falling.

We continue to closely monitor the situation in each sector through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group and via regular, on-going sector stakeholder engagement.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many farm businesses have accessed at least one of the schemes available under the Agricultural Transition Plan in the financial year (a) 2021-22 and (b) 2022-23.

Outside the bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy, we are freeing farmers to enhance the natural environment alongside food production, supporting our drive to reach net-zero by 2050. We will deliver this by pressing ahead with our Environmental Land Management schemes and phase out direct payments.


As we set out in the Agricultural Transition Plan, we are providing a package of ongoing funding and one-off grants to support farmers with environmental actions, food production and productivity. We’ve already opened two new environmental land management schemes – the Sustainable Farming Incentive and Landscape Recovery - and already have thousands of farmers applying. That’s alongside Countryside Stewardship, which continues to offer payment for environmental actions, and will be enhanced to deliver our high environmental ambition. In parallel to the schemes, we have launched a number of grants for one-off funding to support productivity, such as money for new equipment and technology, slurry storage and water management. We urge all farmers to look at our schemes and grants and to decide what works for their farm business.


In 2021/22 there were at least 39,000 instances of businesses accessing at least one of the schemes available under the Agricultural Transition Plan. And so far in 2022/23, the number of businesses is at least 48,000 businesses. Of these 32,000 businesses (2021/22), and 36,000 businesses (2022/23) accessed at least one of the environmental land management schemes available under the Agricultural Transition Plan.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding his Department provided to farmers under each scheme within the Agricultural Transition Plan in England in the (a) 2021-22 and (b) 2022-23 financial year.

In 2021-22, we spent £2.294 billion on our schemes within the Agricultural Transition Plan. We’ve laid before Parliament the spend at scheme level for 21-22 and we will continue to provide annual financial reports. The annual report can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-farming-and-countryside-programme-annual-report-2021-to-2022/future-farming-and-countryside-programme-annual-report-2021-to-2022-html-version.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding has been allocated to each of the schemes available to farmers in England under the Agricultural Transition Plan for Financial Years (a) 2021-22 and (b) 2022-23.

We will not have fixed allocations (or 'pillars', as they were known whilst we were in the EU) of money ring-fenced to different schemes. Instead, we will learn as we go and find the best ways to manage the overall budget to respond to demand in a way that helps us achieve our intended outcomes. This means we will keep the allocation of funding between different schemes under review over time.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding was released from the Basic Payment Scheme following the reduction of direct payments to farmers in England in the (a) 2021-22 and (b) 2022-23 financial year.

Applying reductions to Direct Payments frees up money to be spent on financial assistance under our other schemes for farmers and land managers. As set out in our Future Farming and Countryside Programme annual report, published in October 2022, we spent £1.654 billion on Direct Payments in financial year 2021 to 2022. That was part of a total spend of £2.294 billion on existing farming schemes and our new financial assistance schemes, as set out in that report.

Information about spend on Direct Payments and financial assistance under our other schemes for financial year 2022 to 2023 will be included in an annual report to be published later this year.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Habitats Directive on airfield planning applications.

The Government is supportive of airport growth where it can be delivered within its environmental obligations.

Every development proposal should be judged by the relevant planning authority, taking careful account of all relevant considerations, including environmental impacts and proposed mitigations.

Airport planning applications need to take into account the European Commission Habitats Directive where they could lead to significant impacts on areas of nature conservation, which could include a Habitat Regulations Assessment of the implications of the plans for that site.

19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of the report of the Independent Investigation into East Kent Maternity Services, published on 19 October 2022; and if she will make a statement.

A written statement to the House of Commons and the House of Lords was made on 19 October 2022 regarding the publication of the report of the independent investigation into maternity and neonatal services in East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Dr Caroline Johnson MP, also made an oral statement to the House on 20 October 2022.

The Department has established an independent working group, chaired by the Royal College of Midwifery and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which will help guide the maternity transformation programme to take forward the next steps from the reports into maternity services at East Kent and Shrewsbury and Telford.

Together with the NHS, the Department will consider actions from both reports to form a coherent national delivery plan for maternity services.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what recent discussions he has had with his Israeli counterparts on reports on the presence of a tunnel beneath Al-Shifa Hospital.

The UK cannot comment on specific reports. However, it is clear that Hamas has put Palestinians at grave risk by embedding themselves in the civilian population and using civilians as human shields. The Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 23 November, where he met President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and other senior Israeli interlocutors to discuss the conflict. We are also clear that, in pursuing its legitimate right to self-defence against Hamas, Israel's military actions in Gaza must be carried out in accordance with International Humanitarian Law and Israel must take all possible measures to protect civilians.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking with his international partners to help support Israel to tackle terrorist threats from the Gaza Strip.

The Foreign Secretary wrote to his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen on 10 May to express the UK's enduring support for Israel's right for self-defence. In his 14 May statement, the Foreign Secretary welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire between Israel and militant factions in Gaza, brokered by Egypt. The ceasefire must now be honoured to prevent the loss of further civilian life. The UK will support all efforts to promote dialogue and create a pathway towards sustainable peace.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will take steps to condemn Iran for its alleged support for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s recent attacks on Israel.

The UK Government regularly assesses the impact of Iran's destabilising activity throughout the region, including its political, financial and military support to several militant and proscribed groups, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Such activity compromises the region's security, its ability to prosper and escalates already high tensions, with consequences for the international community. It is for this reason that we currently have over 350 sanctions in place against the Iranian regime. PIJ and other terrorist groups must cease their campaign of violence, for which there is no justification. As the Foreign Secretary said in his 14 May statement, we welcome the current Egyptian-brokered ceasefire and urge all sides to de-escalate tensions.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

Iran's ballistic missile programme destabilises the region and threatens European security. UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (UNSCR 2231) calls on Iran not to undertake activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering a nuclear-weapon, including launches using such technology. Alongside France and Germany, we have written regularly to the UN Secretary-General, including on 23 November, to draw attention to Iranian missile-activity inconsistent with UNSCR 2231. We have also urged Iran to refrain from such activity in UN Security Council meetings, including on 19 December. We urge Iran to fully abide by UNSCR 2231 and all other relevant resolutions.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Chinese Government on (a) the treatment of dogs and (b) general hygiene practices during that country's Yulin Dog Meat Festival which is taking place from 21 to 30 June 2020.

The UK Government is committed to raising standards of animal welfare at home and abroad. The sale and consumption of dog meat is legal in many countries, including China, and there are no international norms, laws or agreements governing this. We believe that it is necessary to work with Governments around the world to gain agreement on animal welfare standards, and to phase out cruel and inhumane practices. There is no suggestion that the event will break any local or international laws. We have previously raised our concerns on specific animal welfare issues with the Chinese authorities and will continue to do so.

7th Jan 2020
What fiscal steps he is taking to improve broadband connections in rural communities.

We want to deliver gigabit-capable broadband across the country as soon as possible.

We have already committed over £1 billion to support the rollout of next-generation digital infrastructure, and, at Conference, the Chancellor announced an ambition to invest £5bn to support gigabit broadband rollout in the hardest to reach areas.

We will set out further details of our approach in our National Infrastructure Strategy later this year.

Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of providing basic training for Ukrainian pilots on the RAF pilot training programme.

Elementary flying training for Ukrainian pilots is being planned in a manner which will not impact core Sovereign UK pilot training.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of the air mobility fleet has been engaged in the movement of equipment and supplies to Ukraine since 1 December 2022.

We are one of the leading providers of military support for Ukraine and were the first country to donate modern main battle tanks and long-range precision strike missiles. In addition, we have provided millions of rounds of ammunition, hundreds of armoured and protected mobility vehicles and other equipment.

Across hundreds of flights delivering this support in the last year, the entire Air Mobility Force has been engaged in the movement of equipment, supplies and trained Ukrainian recruits.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make an estimate of the number of (a) task lines the A400M fleet has been able to offer and (b) planned task line availability for each of the last 12 months.

Whilst the Hercules C-130J fleet will continue to drawdown, a number of the aircraft have sufficient remaining flying hours to enable an extended drawdown to 30 June 2023, maximising use of the fleet.

Atlas availability is being actively managed. There has been a steady improvement in aircraft availability and fleet resilience. Following direct intervention and a determined improvement campaign, the daily aircraft availability is approximately 25% greater compared to 18-months ago. A number of Atlas airframes will complete upgrade before the summer, adding to the available fleet.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make an estimate of the number of (a) task lines the C130J fleet has been able to offer and (b) planned task line availability for each of the last 12 months.

Whilst the Hercules C-130J fleet will continue to drawdown, a number of the aircraft have sufficient remaining flying hours to enable an extended drawdown to 30 June 2023, maximising use of the fleet.

Atlas availability is being actively managed. There has been a steady improvement in aircraft availability and fleet resilience. Following direct intervention and a determined improvement campaign, the daily aircraft availability is approximately 25% greater compared to 18-months ago. A number of Atlas airframes will complete upgrade before the summer, adding to the available fleet.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of the task line availability offered by C130J will be replaced by A400M on a one-for-one basis by 30 June 2023.

Whilst the Hercules C-130J fleet will continue to drawdown, a number of the aircraft have sufficient remaining flying hours to enable an extended drawdown to 30 June 2023, maximising use of the fleet.

Atlas availability is being actively managed. There has been a steady improvement in aircraft availability and fleet resilience. Following direct intervention and a determined improvement campaign, the daily aircraft availability is approximately 25% greater compared to 18-months ago. A number of Atlas airframes will complete upgrade before the summer, adding to the available fleet.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his timescale is for announcing the (a) Chair and (b) terms of reference of the proposed Royal Commission on Criminal Justice announced in the Queen's Speech of December 2019.

The Royal Commission is an important opportunity to address some of the key issues affecting the criminal justice system.

As we emerge from this unprecedented pandemic, we are carefully addressing the scope, terms of reference and membership of the Commission. In doing so we intend to embrace the lessons we can learn from the present crisis with Covid-19 to help make the system more resilient.

As this work develops, further announcements will be made in due course.