Stephen MetcalfeMain Page: Stephen Metcalfe (Conservative - South Basildon and East Thurrock)
Department Debates - View all Stephen Metcalfe's debates with the Leader of the House
Ministers do give accurate answers, and that is always important. What Mr Speaker said at the end of the urgent question was absolutely right: Members have a right to seek redress of grievance for their constituents, and Ministers have an obligation to respond as helpfully and efficiently as they can. Every day since 24 August, the call handlers have answered more than 94% of the calls that were made, and the average wait time since 20 August has been under a minute. The FCDO replied to all emails from MPs received by 30 August asking for an update by Monday evening—[Interruption.] Well, that is the information that is collated: emails received by 30 August have been replied to. [Interruption.] I would say to people who have not received a reply: resend your email—[Laughter.] I am appealing to people’s sense of realism. We all know from our own constituency email inboxes that emails do not always get through, so if anyone is in any doubt about an email, I would say that they should resend it. Hon. and right hon. Members have a right to a response, and the Foreign Office is working very hard to get those responses, but if Members are not getting a response, they should resend their emails, and if they do not get a response to that, they can come to my office and I will help them to get a reply. I have said many times that, as Leader of the House, I will always do my best to facilitate Members’ correspondence.
The dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings that we saw again last weekend are wrong, and the Government are determined to crack down on the criminal gangs that drive that activity and profit from it. I can tell my hon. Friend that there have been nearly 300 arrests and 65 convictions, and that we have prevented more than 10,000 migrant attempts. I was pleased to see that efforts are going to be made to send the boats back. That policy has been used very effectively by our friends in Australia. It took the profit away from the people smugglers, who are the real cause of the problem and who trade on the distress of unfortunate people.