Oral Answers to Questions

Selaine Saxby Excerpts
Monday 15th January 2024

(4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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13. What recent progress his Department has made on reducing neighbourhood crime.

Simon Jupp Portrait Simon Jupp (East Devon) (Con)
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16. What recent progress his Department has made on reducing neighbourhood crime.

James Cleverly Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (James Cleverly)
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This Government recognise the impact of neighbourhood crime. It is the crime that most affects people’s confidence—the confidence of individuals, businesses and communities. The strategic response to this is evidence-based and targeted, and getting policing right in this area is incredibly important for maintaining community confidence.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby
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I have seen for myself how successful the Government’s safer streets fund was in Barnstaple, and I am delighted that it will be extended into Ilfracombe this year. Will my right hon. Friend ensure that councils have the funding to help support those schemes?

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
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I thank my hon. Friend for highlighting that point. I am proud of the fact that, since 2010, neighbourhood crime is down by 51% because of the kind of interventions that she highlighted. I reassure her that we will continue to look at what works, to fund and support, and to make every effort to drive down neighbourhood crime even further.

Tackling Spiking

Selaine Saxby Excerpts
Monday 18th December 2023

(5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Laura Farris Portrait Laura Farris
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The hon. Lady is right to say that spiking is a form of violence against women. The data is irrefutable: the principal victims are young and predominantly women. It is a classic gateway offence by somebody who is at risk of going on to commit a much more serious form of offending, so this is not just about stamping out the crime; it is about making it impossible for perpetrators to behave in this way in the first place. The hon. Lady talked about the police training, and I want to provide her with some reassurance. I hope I am answering her question when I say that we now have 2,000 police officers in England and Wales who are undergoing specific rape and serious sexual offence—RASO—training. I met some of them on a visit to Bristol recently and I am due to see more in the new year. I would be happy to update her on how that is going and how effectively I think it is being rolled out across forces in this country.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I want to put on record my thanks to the new Minister for her rapid work in this area and to colleagues who have worked so hard to secure these changes to our spiking laws. Will she join me in thanking Braunton Councillor Pru Maskell and Barnstaple’s Soroptimists for their campaigning to tackle spiking and their promoting the use of Spikey bottle tops and stop-tops for glasses in North Devon?

Laura Farris Portrait Laura Farris
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What a brilliant idea! Of course I thank the local organisations that my hon. Friend mentions. This has been a collective effort. Perhaps representing Parliament is at its best when so many MPs have worked with their local authorities or local charities, or have heard the voices of victims who have come to see them in their surgeries, and relayed all that into Government. We have drawn all that information together and got to where we are today but, honestly, without the testimony and hard work of so many local groups such as the ones she mentions, we probably would not be here now.

Oral Answers to Questions

Selaine Saxby Excerpts
Monday 3rd July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Suella Braverman Portrait Suella Braverman
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At the Home Office, the Minister for Security and I take seriously the threats posed by hostile state actors. That is why the Minister for Security is chairing the Defending Democracy Taskforce, bringing together agencies and Departments in a cross-Whitehall approach to tackling the serious threats that we all face as parliamentarians and facing those in public office. I gently remind the right hon. Lady that one of her own parliamentary colleagues has a very dubious track record when it comes to working with the Chinese Communist party.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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T2. What steps is my right hon. Friend taking to ensure that police funding reflects rurality and the huge uplift in population experienced in remote coastal locations during the summer tourist season?

Chris Philp Portrait The Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire (Chris Philp)
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As I said in response to an earlier question, the Government intend to consult in due course on a new police funding formula, and part of that consultation will involve looking at the factors that should be taken into account. Those might include things such as population and crime levels, but things such as rurality, sparsity and seasonality, particularly seasonal tourism, are likely to form part of the new formula. I encourage Members across the House to engage closely with that consultation when it comes forward, to ensure that those factors are properly accounted for.

Illegal Migration Update

Selaine Saxby Excerpts
Wednesday 29th March 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I take this opportunity to thank my right hon. Friend for all his work in this area. I think most of us recognise that this is a multifaceted problem and that there is no silver bullet solution. Does today’s announcement mean that there will not be further requests by contractors to find hotel accommodation or similar? I am aware of challenging conversations in my own constituency at this time. Also, where we are looking to empty hotels, we have a community that is very willing to welcome people into their homes, so might we look towards a scheme where there is additional ministerial resource, as we did when welcoming Ukrainian refugees—I am not being disrespectful of my right hon. Friend’s experience in this matter—so that we can bridge that gap with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities? We have a housing crisis of our own; we have thousands of our own population unable to secure accommodation, but we are keen to work to find a solution. Might there be an opportunity to bridge the housing and the immigration situations?

Robert Jenrick Portrait Robert Jenrick
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The Home Office and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are trying to work as closely as possible. My hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Felicity Buchan) is working closely with us on the operation of schemes such as Homes for Ukraine, the Ukraine family scheme, the Afghan schemes, Syria and so on—that is very important. We also have officials who are working jointly between the two Departments, so I hope my hon. Friend will see that all of Government are working closely together to address this complex, multifaceted challenge.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I warmly welcome this Bill from my right hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark). Too many women and, even more concerningly, many girls have experienced a form of sex-based harassment in public places. The Government’s call for evidence ahead of our violence against women and girls strategy received 180,000 responses, showing the depth and breadth of feeling among British women on their safety and exposure to harassment when they are just going about their daily lives. As part of this strategy, Barnstaple in my North Devon constituency has received £348,000 of safer streets funding to tackle violence against women and girls. I know that my police and crime commissioner and local force have been tackling these crimes, which act as barriers to women and girls enjoying their local community. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank my right hon. Friend for his work and to place on record my support for this important Bill.

Plymouth Shootings

Selaine Saxby Excerpts
Tuesday 21st February 2023

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp
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I cannot speak for my predecessor, but on the point about urgency, a number of steps have already been taken. The updated authorised professional practice guidance from the College of Policing is out for consultation now; that consultation started in January, and will close in March. Updated statutory guidance was issued in October 2021 ensuring that there must be medical checks in every single case.

On the point about medical markers, those markers are being fully rolled out as we speak, so that is in hand. As I said, I can commit to a consultation on the question of fees over the summer or in early autumn, with the objective of ensuring full cost recovery. Regarding the response to the recommendations, I think that 60 days following the coroner’s report is a good timetable for a response. That will obviously contain a proposed implementation timetable, but the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle) and others can be assured that I want to get any changes needed—I am sure there will be changes—implemented as a matter of urgency, for obvious reasons.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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As my right hon. Friend looks to review the licensing arrangements for Devon and Cornwall police, can he ensure that those arrangements accurately reflect the vast rural area that the force covers? We have already heard that the area has a high level of gun ownership, linked to those remote farms that require them for work, and there is concern that there is already a backlog in the renewals system and that the area’s rurality is not adequately reflected in the resources that the force receives.

Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp
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I thank my hon. Friend for her question. Obviously, Devon and Cornwall is a large geographical area. I understand that more resources are now being deployed into firearms licensing by Devon and Cornwall police, partly following this awful incident, but partly because there are quite large backlogs in Devon and Cornwall specifically for firearms licensing. However, notwithstanding the rurality of Devon and Cornwall, or indeed many other parts of the country, we cannot have different or lower standards anywhere. I know that that was not what my hon. Friend was suggesting, but we need to make sure that standards are high everywhere across the country.

In relation to the resource question more generally, there is an intention to consult shortly on the police funding formula. One of the inputs into that consultation will be rurality, so that adequate resources are given to more rural forces to reflect the additional costs that they very often face.

Migration

Selaine Saxby Excerpts
Wednesday 16th November 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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

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

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

Robert Jenrick Portrait Robert Jenrick
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My hon. Friend has raised important concerns, and I should be more than happy to meet him. He and I have already spoken, but a formal meeting would be an obvious next step.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Communities such as Ilfracombe, which is on my patch, are dependent on the tourism economy. What steps is the Home Office taking to support local tourism economies which are being damaged every single day? These hotels are not welcoming their normal visitors. What more will be done to expedite the return of tourist hotels to their communities?

Robert Jenrick Portrait Robert Jenrick
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We want to ensure that we exit the hotels as quickly as possible, and wherever we can we will do that in a prioritised fashion, so that when hotels are particularly unsuitable and particular harms are being done to local economies—including tourist hotspots—they should be at the top of the list as we exit these hotels and move to a more sustainable future.

Asylum Seekers Accommodation and Safeguarding

Selaine Saxby Excerpts
Monday 7th November 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Robert Jenrick Portrait Robert Jenrick
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Yes, there has. We have now recruited 1,000 caseworkers and we have a plan to recruit a further 500. Those individuals will be trained by the very best decision makers, such as those who have been through the pilot, which I mentioned earlier, in Leeds. Together, this new workforce hopefully will be able to power through the backlog and ensure that decisions are made swiftly.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Can my right hon. Friend assure me that steps are being taken to rapidly address the speed at which asylum claims are being processed before we run out of hotels? The economies of remote coastal towns such as Ilfracombe and Newquay rely on their tourists. Can he assure me that those hotels will welcome visitors in next spring’s vital tourism season?

Robert Jenrick Portrait Robert Jenrick
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I certainly hope that is the case. As I said, my first priority was to ensure that Manston was operating in a legally compliant and decent manner. The second priority is to ensure that, where we are using hotels, we are doing so judiciously and that officials or our contractors are applying the criteria that I and other Ministers have set down, one of which is to ensure that we avoid tourist hotspots such as that which my hon. Friend represents. Thirdly, it is essential that we exit the hotels altogether and move forward with a more sustainable strategy that ensures best value for money for the taxpayer and a fair and robust asylum system.

Ukraine

Selaine Saxby Excerpts
Tuesday 1st March 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Priti Patel Portrait Priti Patel
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I refer the hon. Lady to what I have said already in the House about the practical routes we are putting in place. [Interruption.] She can shake her head. I am sorry that she wants to be political, but we are putting in some very powerful routes that we will support. We do not know how many people will come over, but those routes have been developed in conjunction not just with our colleagues in the Ukrainian Government and other counterparts, but from the actual needs of people from what we are hearing in the region. She has heard me say very clearly that there are no caps on numbers.

We are creating schemes for people to come over, but that takes time. Not only that, but it also takes time to work with our colleagues in the region and work to meet their specific needs. I would like to think that the hon. Lady would respect that. It is not about the British Government just saying that we are starting up the scheme without actually working with people in-country or in the region on how it can be operationalised and how to ensure that it meets the needs of the people of Ukraine.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I thank my right hon. Friend for her statement and for highlighting the vital work being done behind the scenes to ensure that the scheme meets the needs of those fleeing the atrocities in Ukraine, and that it works with its neighbouring countries as well as recognises our own security needs. We would all like to do more to help the displaced people of Ukraine. Will she detail what practical things my constituents can do to help?

Priti Patel Portrait Priti Patel
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My hon. Friend highlights brilliantly the generosity of the British people in her own constituency. We are all grateful for that. It is important, as I have said a few times now in the discussions we have had in the House thus far, that we provide people with a warm welcome, and also work with local authorities, local councils, NHS trusts, schools, education and county councils. I think she met me recently to discuss issues relating to local government, policing and crime. It is about getting local organisations to come together and integrate the welcome that can be given and the services that can be provided.

Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill

Selaine Saxby Excerpts
Friday 19th November 2021

(2 years, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Derbyshire (Mrs Latham) for what, to those of us who have not been in the House as long, has been an education in how to progress and deliver a Bill over such a long period. I thank her for the Bill, which is an excellent piece of legislation. I also thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromsgrove (Sajid Javid) for his work behind the scenes to make sure that when we work together as a team, we move things forward. Points have been made about cross-party working; we have all seen on recent Fridays what we can do when we work together and how much stronger we are when we do.

This is such an important issue. So many other things happen at the age of 18 that I think many hon. Members will be surprised that the marriage age is different. People cannot make a will, serve on a jury, become an MP or even get a tattoo until they are 18, yet they are allowed to get married. As my hon. Friend the Member for Aberconwy (Robin Millar) said, marriage is a serious undertaking that is not to be ventured into lightly. With increased life expectancy, we have no end of years to get everything packed in. As a former teacher, I am very keen for youngsters to spend as long as possible in education, whether it is vocational or formal, to ensure that they can fully appreciate their later years and enjoy their marriage when they get there.

My hon. Friend the Member for Mid Derbyshire and the hon. Member for Rotherham (Sarah Champion), who are both senior Members of the House, have made the important point that we cannot tolerate child marriage. It is child abuse—that is what we see in society. We have to lead the world. This is one opportunity of so many for us as legislators to lead the world and drive real change.

The charity Action Aid has said:

“Child marriage robs them—

girls—

“of their childhoods, education, health and freedom”.

I am delighted to be able to put my thoughts on the record today, and to support the Bill.

Let me give some more details about youngsters who go into marriage. At least four times as many girls as boys do so, but we need to look after the boys as well. We know that child marriage is associated with leaving education early, limited career and vocational opportunities, serious physical and mental health problems, developmental difficulties for the children born to young mothers, and an increased risk of domestic abuse. Surely it is only right for us to allow this Bill to make progress and ensure that children can enjoy their childhoods and we can put an end to this abhorrent practice.