Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 30th March 2023

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
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Michael Tomlinson Portrait The Solicitor General
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The hon. Lady raises a very serious point, and I am grateful to her. IPP sentences were first introduced in 2003, and she is right that they were abolished in 2012, but not retrospectively, nor properly could they have been. Further reforms were introduced last year, but it is right that, by definition, those in prison on IPP sentences have not been assessed as safe to release. However, I will certainly put her in touch with the Prisons Minister to discuss the matter further.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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8. What steps the Crown Prosecution Service is taking to increase its number of legal trainees.

Michael Tomlinson Portrait The Solicitor General (Michael Tomlinson)
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The CPS runs an award-winning and highly competitive legal training scheme, which has seen hundreds of trainees undertake a training contract and/or pupillage across England and Wales with the CPS since 2012.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe
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I thank my hon. and learned Friend for his answer. Building on that, can he tell the House what steps he is taking to encourage people from a more diverse background to consider the law as a career?

Michael Tomlinson Portrait The Solicitor General
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I am very grateful indeed to my hon. Friend for raising this important issue. The CPS has extended its postgraduate qualification requirements to include new solicitors qualification examinations, which opens up the career to a more diverse audience. Madam Deputy Speaker, you will be pleased to know that for the last three years the CPS was ranked No. 1 in the Universum rankings as a highly attractive employer to law students. I commend to my hon. Friend, and indeed to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, a visit to your local chief Crown prosecutors to find out more and to encourage law students to sign up to the CPS. I addressed the CPS leaders conference in Bristol yesterday, and they are very keen to meet us all.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 25th June 2020

(3 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Felicity Buchan Portrait Felicity Buchan (Kensington) (Con)
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What steps he is taking to promote high animal welfare standards.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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What steps he is taking to promote high animal welfare standards.

Victoria Prentis Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Victoria Prentis)
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This Government are committed to the highest standards of animal welfare. Our manifesto made it clear that we will bring in new laws on animal sentience, end excessively long journeys for farm animals and ban the keeping of primates as pets. We have introduced one of the world’s toughest ivory bans and will be supporting the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill.

Victoria Prentis Portrait Victoria Prentis
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We all shared my hon. Friend’s disappointment, and I am pleased to be able to reassure her that the Bill is due to have its Second Reading on 23 October.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe [V]
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Our constituents expect us to uphold animal welfare and high food standards. Does my hon. Friend therefore agree that maintaining the UK’s high food standards and excellent animal welfare record is, among other things, in the Government’s interest, as that is what customers at home and abroad expect and demand from UK producers?

Victoria Prentis Portrait Victoria Prentis
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I absolutely agree with hon. Friend on that. The Government are proud of the high animal health and welfare, and environmental standards that underpin our high-quality produce. The UK’s growing reputation for quality food and drink, with high standards of food safety, animal welfare and sustainability, serves as a great platform from which to expand our exports.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 14th July 2016

(7 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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Perhaps the hon. Gentleman has misunderstood. The cost of the project has not changed. The difference is because of wholesale prices. As there is a fixed price agreed for consumers, when forecasts and current wholesale prices change, so will the difference between the fixed price and the wholesale price. To be clear, the cost of the project has not changed. It remains a good deal for consumers—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman is chuntering at me from a sedentary position, but let us be clear: we cannot just wait and see. We have to make investment decisions and stick by them. We cannot simply magic electricity out of thin air; we need to invest, make decisions, and be committed to them.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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9. What progress her Department has made on working with the major energy suppliers on the smart meter roll-out to ensure maximum benefit to consumers.

Craig Williams Portrait Craig Williams (Cardiff North) (Con)
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21. What progress her Department has made on working with the major energy suppliers on the smart meter roll-out to ensure maximum benefit to consumers.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Andrea Leadsom)
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Good progress has been made to date on the roll-out of smart meters, with more than 3.6 million meters installed across the country. There is evidence that these consumers are already saving energy. Research by British Gas shows that smart meter customers have reduced their energy consumption by an average of about 3% for both gas and electricity.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe
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Having recently installed a smart meter, I can confirm that it is a very useful tool in managing energy consumption. Will my hon. Friend join me in encouraging my constituents to contact their energy supplier to explore how these very useful little gadgets can save them some money?

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Andrea Leadsom
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Yes. I can also tell my hon. Friend that they are very useful when going away for the weekend, as a parent, because if your electricity use suddenly goes up dramatically, you know the kids are up to something.

My hon. Friend is exactly right. We need to encourage consumers to have smart meters installed in their homes to make sure that they can enjoy the benefits that he sets out. I encourage his constituents, and all our constituents, to find out more about the benefits of smart meters, and to request an installation or visit the Smart Energy GB website.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 4th February 2016

(8 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrew Griffiths Portrait Andrew Griffiths (Burton) (Con)
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5. What the role is of the Great British Food Unit in promoting British food (a) in the UK and (b) overseas.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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9. What the role is of the Great British Food Unit in promoting British food (a) in the UK and (b) overseas.

Richard Graham Portrait Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con)
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10. What the role is of the Great British Food Unit in promoting British food (a) in the UK and (b) overseas.

--- Later in debate ---
John Bercow Portrait Mr Speaker
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We are all now better informed.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe
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The success of the food industry, not least in counties such as Essex, is largely down to the innovation and skill of the workforce. How will the Great British Food Unit encourage more people into the industry, particularly through apprenticeships?

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 5th November 2015

(8 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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I would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would welcome the extra protection that the Department of Energy and Climate Change has put in place. Let us be clear that under the Environment Agency we have the best possible protection for the environment, to ensure that any fracking is done in a safe and environmentally friendly way.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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T7. South Essex is home to many small and medium-sized food businesses. What progress has been made since the launch of the 2013 food and drink international action plan to help those businesses export more?

George Eustice Portrait George Eustice
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We run a food export forum with industry, which I chair, and we are making progress. We have now helped around 4,000 companies to export overseas, which is four times more than we intended to in the initial strategy.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 29th January 2015

(9 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Tony Baldry Portrait Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con)
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1. What steps she has taken to improve the cleanliness of Britain's rivers and waterways.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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11. What steps she has taken to improve the cleanliness of Britain's rivers and waterways.

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Elizabeth Truss)
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We have made good progress and cleaned up more than 10,000 miles of our rivers. Pollution from sewage has gone down significantly. During this Parliament, phosphate pollution will fall by a fifth and ammonia by a sixth. This shows that a healthy environment goes hand in hand with a healthy economy.

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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My right hon. Friend mentions two fine rivers, and I have been on the River Cherwell, a very fine river. He is absolutely right. We have cleaned more than 10,000 miles of river and we will shortly put in place our new countryside stewardship scheme, which will enable farmers to get grants to improve water quality even further.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe
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The Thames is not only England’s longest river, but east of here and down to my constituency it is also the most populated. What steps are the Government taking to clean up the river, while balancing the needs of the users and flora and fauna?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the River Thames. It is vital not only for London but for our whole country, and it is unacceptable that at present raw sewage is regularly pumped into the Thames. That is why we are taking action, through projects such as the Thames tideway tunnel, to reduce that vastly.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 17th July 2014

(9 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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George Eustice Portrait George Eustice
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Tomorrow, I will be attending the CLA game fair and, among others, I will meet the British Association of Shooting and Conservation and the Angling Trust. I look forward to discussing some of the issues on their agenda.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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8. What recent reports she has received of progress made by other countries on bovine TB by tackling the disease in both cattle and wildlife.

George Eustice Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (George Eustice)
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The Government are aware of the success in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the Republic of Ireland in tackling the scourge of TB. For instance, in New Zealand the number of infected herds has reduced from 1,700 20 years ago to just 66 in 2011-12, whereas in the Republic of Ireland the number of BTB reactors fell by 65% between 1999 and 2013. All those countries have pursued a strategy of tackling the reservoir of the disease in the wildlife population as well as other measures.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe
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As we seek to tackle this dreadful disease, is not one of the main lessons from the countries the Minister listed that while we must be prepared to use every tool available to us, we must also continue to develop new tools that might as yet seem out of reach?

George Eustice Portrait George Eustice
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I completely agree with my hon. Friend. The 25-year strategy to eradicate TB, which was published earlier this year, emphasised the fact that no one measure will tackle the problem. We need to pursue a range of measures, and that is why we are constantly improving our cattle movement controls and why we are spending £4 million a year investing in research into vaccines. It is also why we are continuing to develop effective cull methods.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 27th March 2014

(10 years ago)

Commons Chamber
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Owen Paterson Portrait Mr Paterson
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I received the panel’s report only recently. I am considering it, and I will come back to the House in due course, when it has been fully considered.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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16. Does my right hon. Friend agree that although the badger cull may have played a part in tackling bovine TB in other countries, in the UK it has proved more difficult to achieve our desired result? Will he therefore agree to look at all other options, and accept that if one course of action fails, it is time to look for another?

Owen Paterson Portrait Mr Paterson
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My hon. Friend mentions other badger culls. The most obvious nearby country that has had one is the Republic of Ireland, where the number of cases went down from 44,903 in 1999 to only 15,612 last year. There are clear lessons to be learned from other countries—my hon. Friend is absolutely right—but the circumstances here are not entirely the same. That is why our strategy encompasses a whole range of other activities involving the vaccination of badgers, the vaccination of cattle and a strict cattle movement regime, which has been a key to success in other countries.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 10th October 2013

(10 years, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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George Eustice Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (George Eustice)
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The Department will look at this report from the NAO and study its recommendations very carefully, but I have to say there is no evidence that the division of the FSA’s role has contributed to this, and, more importantly, we have appointed Professor Chris Elliott to look at this whole issue in great detail and his report will be key.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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T5. Given the importance of exports to the country’s economic recovery, what is my right hon. Friend doing to help producers and exporters open up foreign markets?

Owen Paterson Portrait Mr Paterson
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Only this week I was in Cologne, taking our largest ever delegation to the world’s largest food fair; last month, I was in Moscow, where we announced a trade deal opening up the market for beef and lamb which will be worth up to £100 million over three years; and our work last year in opening up China has led to a 591% increase in pork exports in the first six months of this year.

Horsemeat

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 14th February 2013

(11 years, 1 month 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

David Heath Portrait Mr Heath
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The hon. Gentleman makes an extremely good point. I hope that people value locally sourced produce, and there is evidence that they do so. People value local butchers shops that know the provenance of the produce. They also value the quality assurance schemes that we have in this country, which indicate a high quality of produce.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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Families in Basildon and Thurrock have been defrauded in the food that they have bought. Does the Minister share my anger that the retailers have allowed that to happen?

David Heath Portrait Mr Heath
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We should all be outraged that people have been given meat that is not as described on the packet. The Government stand four-square with the consumer who goes into the shop and buys the product, and say, “This will not do.” It is unacceptable and those who have allowed it to happen, whether through insufficient checking or criminal activity, must be brought to book.